#BlogTour #Review : The Cinderella Plan by Abi Silver. @abisilver16 @rararesources @EyeAndLightning

The Cinderella Plan

Blurb: When James Salisbury, the owner of a British car manufacturer, ploughs his ‘self-drive’ car into a young family, the consequences are deadly. Will the car’s ‘black box’ reveal what really happened or will the industry, poised to launch these products to an eager public, close ranks to cover things up?

James himself faces a personal dilemma. If it is proved that he was driving the car he may go to prison. But if he is found innocent, and the autonomous car is to blame, the business he has spent most of his life building, and his dream of safer transport for all, may collapse.

Lawyers Judith Burton and Constance Lamb team up once again, this time to defend a man who may not want to go free, in a case that asks difficult questions about the speed at which technology is taking over our lives.

Purchase Links

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 50% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkoutBLOGTOURCIND

http://eye-books.com/books/the-cinderella-plan

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cinderella-Plan-thriller-topical-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B07R857W32

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Plan-thriller-topical-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B07R857W32

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB of The Cinderella Plan (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494247/?

The Cinderella_FRONT_FINAL

My Review: When I saw the blurb for this book I thought it would be an interesting read. I am not a fan of driverless cars because I don’t feel technology can adjust to unexpected changes the way people can. Perhaps in 20 years but certainly not sooner. This story, however, is set in a Britain poised on the edge of the possibility of autonomous cars becoming an everyday sight on the roads. It shows the people involved in Parliament, care insurance and the car manufacturers grappling with the various intricacies of bringing such a thing onto the roads on a large scale and, even more importantly perhaps, trying to determine liability if something goes wrong.

And then, something does and we see the consequences of that, the impact of it on the person in the car, the family that it hit and the other characters in the story. All of the perspectives of these people are handled well, from the grieving and angry father to the person who was in the car, James Salisbury, who remembers nothing and wants to get to the heart of what happened.

We see the debates about autonomous cars, the accident, the investigation and court case and then the consequences of the verdict. The whole thing from start to finish is thoroughly covered so exactly as it would be if it were to happen in real life, it doesn’t skim over the unpleasant bits but shows all of it.

I liked the debating, for this is likely to be an endless, unanswerable question so to have so much debate and conflicting viewpoints was good to see. I did find the book a little long but I suspect the length was necessary for the debates and depth that it covered.

If you like reading books that examine puzzles from all angles and attempt to answer unanswerable questions then this may be right up your street. It has a cast of solidly realistic characters and plenty of ‘what if’ questions to ponder over.

About the author:

The Cinderella Author

Yorkshire-bred, Abi Silver is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first courtroom thriller featuring the legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, The Pinocchio Brief, was published by Lightning Books in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Her follow-up The Aladdin Trial, featuring the same legal team, was published in 2018.

Read more about Abi and her work at www.abisilver.co.uk .

Social Media Links

Twitter: @abisilver16

Facebook: Abi Silver, Author

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Short story : The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Ok, now I know it’s not Christmas yet but I posted a short story, Hunted, on here well over a year ago and it’s getting regular views still so I thought I would post this up and see what people thought. If it looks familiar to anyone it’s because it was on Portobello Book Blogs 12 Days of Christmas in 2017.

Let me just warn you now, not everyone in this story gets a happy ending……….

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Enveloped by the darkness and shadows Emily sat and watched, waiting patiently for the occupant of number 3 to return home.  Number 3 was an unassuming terraced house that looked exactly the same as its neighbours though Emily knew there was something quite different about it.  For the past few weeks she had watched, careful not to arouse suspicion. She had enough doubts of her own about what she was doing without getting unwanted attention from anyone else.  She had used the local shops so that her presence in the village seemed less strange but at the same time she had tried to not visit them or speak to people too much so that when she was gone, when her task was done, no one would remember her.  This was a small village and Emily had realised quite quickly that people were friendly. If you were walking around, particularly in the evening, people assumed you were out for an evening stroll and said hello. Lovely as this was she didn’t want to have any more contact with other people than was absolutely necessary. 

Emily shivered sitting on the wooden bench.  Although she was wrapped up warmly the cold bite from the frosty air found its way through to her limbs, frozen from sitting in the same position for too long.  Wiggling her toes she huddled into herself a bit more, trying to minimise the amount of her body that was exposed to the cold. Being in the north of Scotland on Christmas eve it was no surprise that the temperature was so low.  The snow that had fallen the day before was crispy and, thankfully for her, covered in footprints so hers would not stand out. Clearly everyone in the village was sensible and either away or cosily tucked up at home as there was no one around, the stillness and silence was broken only by an occasional car passing through.  

Her planning had been meticulous, or so she had thought, but despite the fact that her quarry had returned by 8pm every night she had watched Emily was beginning to get concerned about his continued absence tonight given it was now well after 9pm.  She wasn’t concerned for him as such, his safety was of no issue to her. What worried her was that she would be deprived of the closure that she and so many others needed. It had to be tonight, that way Christmas would be untainted by it and she and everyone else could enjoy a fresh start in the New Year, something they all deserved.  

A sudden noise broke the silence, startling her and she realised that she had dozed off.  Trying to clear the fog of sleep from her brain she noticed that the sound was of a car door slamming.  It was him. Typical that he would make so much noise on such a quiet, peaceful night. Watching as he fumbled with the key for his front door before heading inside, Emily then carefully looked around to ensure that she was alone.  She hunched further into the cold bench, pulling her scarf up round her nose and mouth.  

“This was it”, she thought, “this was what everything had been building up to”.  Everything she had done over the past few weeks had led up to this. Now she just needed to find out if she really had the courage to go through with it. “After all”, she mused, “no one would notice if I did nothing and just went home, although I would know…….no, I have to do this, I’ll regret it if I don’t.”

With that final decisive thought Emily stood up, wiggling her legs to wake them up before walking in the direction of number 3.   The blue door stood out amongst all of the other white and cream ones, almost as if it was a beacon for her in the snow and frost.  As she walked she thought through her plan while removing the scarf from her face. It was just starting to snow again, big, wet flakes were landing on her face as she walked, making her cheeks feel tingly and damp.  Reaching the door she pulled the envelope from her pocket, another part of her plan, before ringing the bell and waiting.

As she heard footsteps inside the house her nervousness increased.  There was no turning back now. Suddenly the door opened and there he was, looking at her with absolutely no recognition at all.  Realising he was waiting for her to speak she went into her pre-prepared pitch.

“Evening! I’m collecting money for the local animal shelter, or any donations of blankets or old bedding that you might have?”  Emily showed him the envelope with the shelter’s details on it. It was genuine although they had never canvassed in this village before.  

“Huh, oh, ok, I suppose I might have something”, he said, sounding a bit surprised. “Come in and I’ll see what I have.”  He opened the door wider, letting her inside. Emily walked past him into the lounge. “She was in, this was going to work!”, she thought trying to contain the fear and excitement suddenly coursing through her.  “Wait here”, he said, “I think there are some spare towels upstairs.” He took the stairs two at a time and soon she could hear him walking around above her head.  

Before she knew it he was coming back down the stairs, carrying some old but clean towels.  He handed them to her and she started to take them. Just as he was about to let go, her right arm came from behind her back and in one swift movement, hidden by the towels, the knife in her hand went into his stomach.  A cry of pain and surprise came from him as he stepped backwards in shock. Automatically his hand had gone to the knife, and both were quickly being covered in blood. The towels dropped to the floor with a soft thump, both he and Emily ignored them.  Although she knew what she had done she hadn’t expected there to be quite as much blood so looked just as stunned as he did, though obviously for completely different reasons. He took a few more steps backwards before his legs gave way and he fell onto the floor.  

Lying there, still bleeding profusely he looked at his hand and then at her. “Why?”, he gasped, clearly in a lot of pain.  “Why?”, he repeated when she didn’t answer. She blinked, realising he had been speaking to her. “Why?” she said, “Why for all of the women, myself included, that you duped into believing that you loved.” He looked confused and she knew he didn’t recognise her so she elaborated. “You don’t recognise me because I lost weight and changed my hair after you dumped me.  I thought we were getting married but you never intended to marry me did you? Just like you never intended to marry any of the other women you strung along.” Emily could see from his expression that he knew exactly what she was talking about but she wasn’t finished yet. “After I realised how much of a toad you are I decided to take revenge so I used social media and found a group, a whole group, just about you.  The women that you have used and tossed aside found each other and grouped together to plan payback, but they were taking too long so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve ensured that you won’t do this to anyone else ever again. You’re pathetic, you really are.”  

She realised, looking at him as he lay dying, that she felt nothing for him.  She had expected to feel something, even some strange form of joy but there was nothing. She had researched stomach wounds and knew that loss of blood was the main cause of death so all she had to do was wait.  He tried speaking, possibly to defend his actions or ask her for help but he couldn’t get the words out so she ignored him and looked instead at the room she was in. She hadn’t paid it any attention till now but Emily was relieved to see that the blind on the window was closed, something she scolded herself for not checking on her approach to the house.  It was a pleasant room, a little small but nice and cosy and she hoped that this death wouldn’t put people off living here in the future. She looked back down at him, suddenly wanting to leave this place. He was barely conscious. Prodding him with her foot she got only a faint groan in response. Emily bent down, loathe to touch him but wanting to check his pulse.  It was there but very slow. She stood up again, noticing that the towels he had brought down were now soaking up his blood. They clearly were very good towels, it was a shame they would be wasted on him. Taking one final look around, she decided to leave.  

Opening the front door slowly she glanced out but saw no one.  She stepped out into the snow, now falling thick and fast and pulled the door closed behind her.  The Yale lock clicked shut and she started to walk away, across the street and through the square to where she had parked her car.  As she walked she decided this was going to be the best Christmas ever.

 

THE END

#BlogTour #Review : Forget My Name by J. S. Monroe. @JSThrillers @HoZ_Books

Today I’m on the blog tour for Forget My Name. Many thanks to Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of the book for review.

Blurb:

She is outside your front door.

She got on the train after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, her mind went blank. She couldn’t even remember her name.

She says she lives in your house.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She is certain she lives in their home. But they have never met her before.

Would you let her in?

My Review: I ws intrigued by the sound of this book and the question it posed. Would you let someone in if they arrived your house and claimed it was theirs? Would I? I honestly don’t know so i wanted to read the book and see what the characters in it would do. I have to admit that it took me a while to get into it, it was good but I wasn’t sure where it was heading at the beginning. It kept stringing me along, in a good way, and then suddenly it changed. I wouldn’t call it a twist because I hate those descriptions but suddenly we got more clarity without getting any clarity at all. The pace kicked up a gear and it became more like the story I had been expecting.

The characters were good, some I liked and some I found irritating but it felt a lot like the mixture in a village would be, a random group of people brought together simply because they all live in the same place. I can honestly say happily I’ve never suffered from amnesia but the main characters confusion felt realistic and her fear and sense of loss came across really strongly. It was fascinating following her journey and finding out what she did and what happened next.

Although it took me a little time to get into the story, once I did it was definitely worth continuing with. I really enjoyed this story, it kept me guessing all the way through and I will definitely be checking out this authors future works.

About the author:


J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was Weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full-time writer. Monroe is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller, Find Me.

#Review : The Darkest Place by Jo Spain. @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

Today I’m reviewing The Darkest Place, the fourth book in the Inspector Tom Reynolds series. Many thanks to Quercus for approving my NetGalley request for this book.

 

Blurb:   Christmas day, and DCI Tom Reynolds receives an alarming call. A mass grave has been discovered on Oileán na Caillte, the island which housed the controversial psychiatric institution St. Christina’s. The hospital has been closed for decades and onsite graves were tragically common. Reynolds thinks his adversarial boss is handing him a cold case to sideline him.

But then it transpires another body has been discovered amongst the dead – one of the doctors who went missing from the hospital in mysterious circumstances forty years ago. He appears to have been brutally murdered.

As events take a sudden turn, nothing can prepare Reynolds and his team for what they are about to discover once they arrive on the island . . .

 

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My Review:  As said in a previous review I’m catching up on my overdue reviews which is why this one is getting published at the same time that book 5 in the Inspector Tom Reynolds series is out in the world. What can I say, better late than never?

I’ve read all of the previous books to this one and I have to say that so far I think this is the best. Now I may change my mind once I get round to reading book 5 but of the first 4 I feel this is the best one. I love reading these books, having gone through the previous 3 this one felt like meeting up again with old friends because the characters are now so familiar to me. This story is set on an island just off the coast of Ireland, where a psychiatric hospital was once housed. Though the hospital is long since closed the discovery of a body of a missing person, brings Tom and his team to this windswept and creepy place.  Through their investigation we find that some people still live on the island and few of them are quite what they seem.

I loved this book, it felt a lot like the first book to me but with a more settled and gelled together team. As I’ve said it was like meeting old friends again and as I did that I also explored the island alongside them because the author writes in such a way that you feel as if you are part of the team, following Tom on his investigation and feeling what he does, suspicion, fear, joy, everything.  The writing is perfect and I would say has improved with each book. The character and location descriptions are spot on. I felt as if I could see and hear all of them as well as feeling the sense of foreboding that seemed to emanate from the island and it’s buildings and even the howling gales and rain that clearly would be a feature of such an exposed place.

As with any good crime story things are not as they seem on the island and this causes some headaches for the team and their families, given as this story is set at Christmas. However, this just adds to the enjoyment of the story and the impact on the festive season adds to the realism of the police work, after all, that doesn’t stop for holidays. I genuinely look forward to each of these books coming out, the next one, out now is on my list and will be read when I have time to properly savour it as that is what these stories deserve. If you’ve not read any of them yet then definitely start at the beginning as there are changes to the characters relationships as the series progresses but please, try these out. If you like police procedurals with something a little different I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BlogTour #Review : The Butcher by Nathan Burrows. @NathanBurrowsUK @damppebbles

Thrilled today to be starting the tour for a most unusual book. Many thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for having me and sending me a copy of the book to review.

the butcher blog tour

Blurb: She thought it was pork. She was wrong.
The first time hapless food inspector Emily Underwood meets butcher Frank Pinch, he’s not got much at all in his display counters. But what he does have is a rather unusual plan to restock his shelves. The next time they bump into each other, he’s won an award for his sausages but is running out of meat.
Can Frank keep up production of his unusually tasty sausages? Will Emily discover the source of Frank’s award-winning meat? And what will happen the next time she tries to inspect his butcher’s shop?

Book 1 in the Rub-a-Dub-Dub trilogy, this deliciously British dark comedy will change the way you look at sausages forever.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07FCVB791/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Butcher-Rub-Dub-Dub-Book-ebook/dp/B07FCVB791/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+butcher+nathan+burrows&qid=1561548847&s=gateway&sr=8-1
Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Butcher.html?id=fpnZuQEACAAJ&redir_esc=y
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-butcher-14

Extra Information:
The Butcher is available to download in ebook format for only 99p/99c for a limited time.

the butcher

My Review: It doesn’t take a genius to guess at what the ‘not pork’ actually is. However, even guessing correctly doesn’t detract from what is a dark and funny read. I read this book in a day, yep 1 day, I genuinely could not put it down. The story is set in an UK post Brexit where there are no EU imports so Frank is struggling to run his butcher’s shop. Through a serious of random accidents and misunderstandings Frank ends up with an award for his sausages which are created by his brother Tom who runs their farm.

Essentially this is a story about two brothers trying to survive in a world which has been the subject of changes that have affected them quite severely. This is also a story of near-misses, grisly humour and how we don’t always know what will happen next. I’m not squeamish so didn’t happily have any issues with that side of the story. I enjoyed the characters, I didn’t like all of them but that’s understandable as some were just cringe inducing and smarmy and no one likes people like that. The descriptions were good, detailed a ough but not too detailed.

The thing about this book though, is the fact that you know from page 1 what is happening. There’s no mystery to solve but what kept me reading was wondering when/if the truth will be discovered and what would happen next. It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste (ha ha) but it will definitely appeal to those who like their stories dark and with macabre humour. And apparently I am one of those people, who knew, thankfully there are more in the series so I have something new to get stuck into……..

About the author:

nathan burrows

Nathan Burrows is a writer based in Norfolk in the United Kingdom. His debut novel, a legal thriller called ‘Blind Justice’, was published in March 2018.

He’s also the author of a dark comedy trilogy set in Norfolk. The first in the series is ‘The Butcher’, a deliciously funny story about – amongst other things – sausages. The second in the series is ‘The Baker’, which features Norfolk’s most useless cult. And finally, ‘The Candlestick Maker’ is about a fitness instructor with a difference.

The next book to be released will be ‘Man Down’, a return to more traditional thrillers. It’s a military story set in Afghanistan which will be released in the Autumn, 2019. Also releasing later in the year is ‘Finding Milly’, which explores just how far a man will go to find his missing daughter.

Nathan’s a keen reader as well as a writer. He occasionally runs marathons, has a Norwich City football club season ticket, and is the proud part-owner of a Daschund puppy called Bertie.

For more information, visit http://www.nathanburrows.com

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NathanBurrowsUK
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NathanBurrowsUK/
Website: https://nathanburrows.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nathan-Burrows/e/B079KS96CQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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#BlogTour #Review : The Little Village of Happiness by Holly Martin. @HollyMAuthor

I am over the moon to be taking part in another tour for a Holly Martin book. This is a fabulous read and you can read my review below and the thoughts of others on the tour, just check out the graphic directly below for details. Many thanks to Holly for inviting me to be on the tour and for sending a copy of the book for review.

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Blurb:  Fall head-over-heels in love with the beautiful new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin and let The Little Village of Happiness warm your heart and make your spirits soar.

Willow McKay needs a fresh start. Her recent break-up may not have left her heartbroken but it’s certainly wounded her pride. Desperate to escape the whispers and stares of her town’s gossips, an advert offering homes in a picturesque village in the grounds of a majestic castle on the Cornish coast sounds like just what she needs. Without thinking twice Willow applies for a cottage and packs up her life for the village of Happiness.

But when Willow arrives she finds a crumbling ruin and ramshackle cottages, nothing like the pretty picture the advert had boasted. It seems Happiness was too good to be true. That is until she meets the incredibly handsome estate manager Andrew Harrington…

His passion for restoring the village to its former glory is contagious and soon they are working together to bring happiness back to Happiness. And as sparks fly between them Willow can feel herself falling. But Andrew is holding something back.

Can Willow risk her heart again? And will they succeed in transforming the old village to its original beauty before it’s too late?

Get swept away to the sun-kissed Cornish coast with this gorgeous love story, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Miranda Dickinson and Lucy Diamond.

 

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My Review:  I’ve read quite a few of Holly’s books and like the style and storylines so I did expect to enjoy this one. However, my level of expectation didn’t match reality….. I loved this book! It was such a warm and joyous tale of starting over, trying something new and taking a chance on a leap into he unknown. So many of us stagnate because we are scared to risk, scared of change, so it was lovely and refreshing to read something about someone realising that they wanted to change their life and went for it. This isn’t the only book like this out there, I read another one not that long ago but I think this one is easier to relate to as the main character, Willow, moves to a different part of the country to start over somewhere new. However, when she reaches this new place it’s not as she expected and this is where we find out what she’s made of, whether she will have a go or whether she will turn round and leave and go back to the familiar.

I really liked Willow, I’m not usually a fan of overly happy people that are all smiles at 6am but for some reason, this one I liked. She had such enthusiasm for life that I ended up questioning where my own was as I’m sure I used to be more like that, many years ago. I liked the other characters as well but it was Willow who stood out for me. The setting was stunning, I was hoping at one point that it was real and considering if I had any useful skills. Although it is a summery read, lots of late nights and sunshine, I would argue that it could be read at any time of year and would be a perfect cosy, winter warmer. Regardless of when you read it I hope you’ll fall in love with the characters and location as I did and then get excited about the next book from this fabulous author.

 

About the author:

Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books.

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Q&A with S.G. MacLean, author of The Damian Seeker series.

I’m catching up on books I’ve had on my shelves for a while or reviews that I’ve not yet written and one of the other things I’ve been really lax in posting is this Q&A session I did with S.G. MacLean, who writes the fabulous Damian Seeker novels.

If her name looks familiar it’s because she also wrote the amazing The Redemption of Alexander Seaton which I read and adored and reviewed here.  I’ve read the first Damian Seeker book, simply titled The Seeker which won the 2015 CWA Historical Dagger and my review of that will be up soon.

Her latest book Destroying Angel has been longlisted for the CWA Sapere Historical Dagger award and her next Seeker book, The Bear Pit is out on the 11th July 2019. Below is the blurb of both Destroying Angel and The Bear Pit and the Q&A.

 

Destroying Angel 

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Captain Damian Seeker has gone north. Charged with preparing the way for the rule of the major-generals, he is now under the command of Colonel Robert Lilburne at York. But when Lilburne orders him to a small village on the North York moors with details of the stringent new anti-Royalist laws, Seeker finds that what should be a routine visit will reveal a plot to rival anything in scheming London

An invitation to dinner at the house of local businessman Matthew Pullan lifts the lid on the bubbling cauldron of grudges and resentment that is Faithly village. The local constable, drunk on the tiny bit of power he holds, using it to avenge old resentments. The hated lord of the manor, the last of a staunchly Royalist family who has managed to avoid suspicion of treachery – for now. The vicar on trial for his job and his home, accused of ungodly acts. And the Pullans themselves, proudly Puritan but disillusioned with Cromwell’s government, respected and despised in Faithly in equal measure. The man for whom this unlikely gathering was organised – The Trier, the enforcer of Puritan morality for the local villages – hasn’t shown up. And by the end of the night, on of those gathered around Matthew Pullan’s table will be fatally poisoned.

Seeker must find out the motive behind the death – mushroom misidentification, petty revenge, or part of a larger plot against Cromwell’s government in the north? But who in Faithly, if anyone, can he trust? And when the most painful part of his past reappears after eleven years, will the Seeker meet his match?

Purchase link: Amazon UK

 

Q&A 

For any readers of my blog who are unfamiliar with you and your work, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I was born in Inverness in 1966. My parents were hoteliers and I grew up in small, traditional Highland hotels, with my brother and three sisters. I studied history at Aberdeen University and have a PhD specialising in C16th/C17th Scottish history. I’m married (to a secondary school head teacher) with 4 children, and it was being at home with small children, and living in a northern Scottish town (Banff) which still has lots of remnants of the C16th and C17th in buildings, street layouts and street names that galvanised me to write my first book. About 8 years ago, we returned to live in the area I grew up in. Although my youngest child is now 15, and the rest have left home, the arrival of a Labrador puppy has seriously impacted on my work rate!

 

You’ve studied history and write historical fiction. Where did your interest in history come from?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in history. Any old building, tumbledown wall, evocative name will get me wondering about what that place used to be like, who used to live there. I’ve always been like that. I spent several of my early years in the Seabord village of Balintore, and as children we were very aware of the area’s Viking heritage, although nowadays there is much greater awareness of the importance of that area for Pictish history. My Dad, who was a tremendous reader, would sometimes come home from trips to Inverness with history picture books for me.

 

What got you into writing?

It was something I’d often day-dreamed about. My uncle was the thriller writer Alistair MacLean, so it always seemed a perfectly possible thing to do. It was really only when I’d reached the stage of progressing my academic career after I finished my PhD, but finding myself living too far from the nearest university to commute, and with young children to look after, that I turned to writing to occupy my mind and interest. Writing was my ‘me time’. Living in Banff, as we were, and so close to the North East ‘Castle Trail’, there was inspiration everywhere. I found some of the characters I had spent years studying came back in to my mind, and I used them as ‘types’ in my story.

 

Your first book was The Redemption of Alexander Seaton and your recent books, including Destroying Angel, feature Damian Seeker as the lead character. Do you have any plans to re-visit Alexander Seaton, write more Damian Seeker books or do you have a new main character in the pipeline?

I’m just preparing to submit the 4th Damian Seeker book, and am contracted for a 5th. I would like to go back to Alexander Seaton – there are things I would still like to do with him and his friends, and I’ve always known how his story will end, but it’s a question of what the publishers want. They made it fairly clear they didn’t want another Alexander Seaton unless I sent him to London, where neither he, nor I, wanted him to go. That lead eventually to the Seeker books which are mainly set in London. My agent advised me that other publishers don’t tend to be keen on picking up a series another publisher has started. My publisher (Quercus) are planning a redesign of the Alexander Seaton covers, because the books are continuing to sell steadily, so they may at some point become more open to letting me finish off his story. My next plan after the Seeker books is for a Scottish standalone set in the 1830s society of Cromarty on the Black Isle. There may be a murder. After that I might be in a better position to go back to Alexander Seaton

 

All of your books to date are set in the 17th Century.  If you could visit that time would you, or would you choose to visit a different period in time?

I’d love to go to Aberdeen in the seventeenth century, and meet some of the characters I studied, and some that I’ve written about – George Jamesone the painter, Lady Rothiemay and others.

 

What are your plans for the next few years?

Finish the Seeker series, write my Cromarty standalone, read more for pleasure, cycle more, train my dog!

Author links:

Instagram: @iwritemybike2

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/S-G-MacLean/e/B0034OGNF0?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

 

The Bear Pit

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London1656: Captain Seeker is back in the city, on the trail of an assassin preparing to strike at the heart of Oliver Cromwell’s Republic

The Commonwealth is balanced on a knife edge. Royalists and disillusioned former Parliamentarians have united against Oliver Cromwell, now a king in all but name. Three conspirators, representing these factions, plan to assassinate the Lord Protector, paving the way back to the throne for Charles Stuart once and for all.

Captain Damian Seeker, meanwhile, is preoccupied by the horrifying discovery in an illegal gambling den of the body of a man ravaged by what is unmistakably a bear. Yet the bears used for baiting were all shot when the sport was banned by Cromwell. So where did this fearsome creature come from, and why would someone use it for murder?

With Royalist-turned-Commonwealth-spy Thomas Faithly tracking the bear, Seeker investigates its victim. The trail leads from Kent’s coffee house on Cornhill, to a German clockmaker in Clerkenwell, to the stews of Southwark, to the desolate Lambeth Marshes where no one should venture at night.

When the two threads of the investigation begin to join, Seeker realises just what – and who – he is up against. The Royalists in exile have sent to London their finest mind and greatest fighter, a man who will stop at nothing to ensure the Restoration. Has Seeker finally met his match?

Purchase link: Amazon UK