#BlogTour #Review : Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone  @OrendaBooks @doug_johnstone @annecater #FaultLines

I am thrilled today to be taking part in the blog tour for Fault Lines. Many thanks to Orenda and Anne Cater for having me on this tour.

Blurb:  In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery. 

On a clandestine trip to The Inch – the new volcanic island – to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body. Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done… 

My Review: I have to admit that this is the first book by Doug Jonstone that I’ve though it won’t be the last. I’m also going to admit that it took me a wee while to get into this book. I’m really busy at the moment and whether it’s connected to that or not I don’t know. However I kept going becase what I was reading was very intiguing and then, all of a sudden I was hooked, one tiny thing changed the feel of the of the story and that was all it took. 

I found it an interesting concept, a volcano in the Firth of Forth, particularly as I lived near the river for over 20 years. I think, for me, because I am so familiar with how the river looks I had trouble imagining it differently but that’s something that became less difficult as the story went on. I know some people won’t have that problem but if you do, persevere, it’ll be worth it. 

I liked, to varying degrees, the characters in the story but Surtsey was particularly interesting. I felt as if I experienced everything she did, she got annoyed and so did I, something happened that scared her and I got jumpy at the slightest sound. I love having that experience when reading. An author who can write such immerse prose is clearly one with great skill and that is borne out in my experience with this novel. 

Being told from the perspective of a character that is not police or crime related makes it a bit different from the conventional crime fiction novel but that difference works in its favour. This is a book that will appeal to those who like mystery and suspense, the crime itself is almost irrelevant, it’s what happens after, the consequences of various actions which the story focuses on. 

Now I’m off to check out more of Doug Johnstone’s writing so I can add it to my to-read list!

About the author:

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His seventh novel, The Jump, was published by Faber & Faber in August 2015. Gone Again (2013) was an Amazon bestseller and Hit & Run (2012) and was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. Smokeheads (2011) was nominated for the Crimefest Last Laugh Award. Before that Doug published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008). His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

In September 2014 Doug took up the position of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Doug was writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. Doug is currently also working on a number of screenplays for film and television. He is also a mentor and manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released two solo EPs, Keep it Afloat and I Did It Deliberately.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars.

He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.


#BlogTour #Extract : The Wrong Man by Kate White. @canelo_co @ElliePilcher95

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for The Wrong Man by Kate White. I have an extract for you along with information about the book itself.

Blurb: A moment of pleasure leads to a deadly game of cat and mouse in this slick and suspenseful thriller.

Kit Finn meets handsome sculptor Matt Healy on a business trip and the two share a night of passion. They arrange a second date, but when Kit arrives at Matt’s apartment she is greeted by a stranger claiming he is the real Matt and that his identity was stolen.

Realising she has been duped Kit decides to put the encounter behind her. Shortly after, the police ask her to identify a man killed in a hit and run, carrying only her business card, and she is shocked to find the dead man is the person she knows as the genuine Matt Healy.

Kit fears she has become unintentionally embroiled in a sinister web of deceit. With no real evidence to take to police, Kit resolves to unravel the mystery herself. But can she do so before more lives, including her own, are put in danger?

For fans of psychological suspense and compulsive mysteries, don’t miss this tense and page-turning novel.


She threw the bolt on the door and set the chain.

After kicking off her boots, she grabbed her laptop and searched online for Ithaka, the hedge fund Healy had jotted down on the napkin. She quickly found the firm’s official website, tapped on it, and seconds later was staring at a bio of Matt Healy, complete with photo. It was the same guy she’d just met. There was no doubt now that he’d been telling the truth and that X had tricked her.

She thought of one more step she could take, mainly to satisfy morbid curiosity. X had introduced himself as Matt Healy and she wanted to know if he’d presented himself to the hotel that way or just to her. She called the hotel and asked for Matt Healy’s room.

“I’m sorry,” the operator said after a pause. “Mr. Healy has already checked out.”

So he’d definitely posed as Healy. But how had he paid the hotel bill? The real Matt had said that he’d cancelled his cards. Wouldn’t X have needed a credit card to check in? Had he somehow managed to get a new card under Matt Healy’s name, using the identity he’d stolen?

Even if she had the answers, none of them would shed any light on why he had duped her into going to apartment 18C. She told herself to feel lucky that she’d escaped Islamorada with only her ego bruised.

She tugged off her gray jersey dress and hung it back in the closet. It looked mopey and morose on the hanger, as if its feelings had been hurt, too. She couldn’t help but picture herself three hours ago, shimmying into the dress and pairing it with a long silver pendent. How pointless all her efforts had been.

She forced herself to the fridge and rooted around for food. There was half a chicken breast, left over from a rotisserie bird she’d bought the day before, a bag of mesclun greens, and a chunk of blue cheese, not quite ripe enough to kill an STD but almost. As she stood at the kitchen counter, fashioning a salad from what she’d found, she thought of the meal she’d eaten that night with X—conch chowder, blackened red snapper, a slice of key lime pie, all so different from her usual fare.

There was something else that was troubling her, she realized, something that the memory of those dishes forced her to recognize. Her Florida trip was supposed to have been a turning point, the beginning of a more daring, more adventurous chapter in her life. Not so much a new Kit really, but the Kit she’d once been as a girl, before everything had unraveled in her family’s life. Well, so much for being a bit of a badass. Maybe she should take the whole episode as a warning.

The irony was that in her work she rarely held back. She’d started her own business, and when it came to the actual design work, she liked to turn things on their ear, like painting a wall to resemble awning stripes or upholstering a couch with the fabric inside out.

That was one of the reasons she’d been so excited about teaming with Baby, a bold decorator who advocated that every room have at least “a dash of clash.” She always pushed the envelope, like choosing Fanta orange for the accent color in a posh Upper East Side apartment. The two of them loved tossing wild-card ideas back and forth.

“Oh, you naughty girl,” Baby would say to her.

But in other aspects of life, including love, Kit had always played it ridiculously safe. Risks scared her pants off, or rather, for the most part kept them on. She thought of herself as the total opposite of a woman who was buttoned-up all day at the office but after sundown turned into a whip-wielding dominatrix, with a name like “Madame Darke” or “Nurse Payne.” After a gutsy day at work, she turned into “Miss Goody Two Shoes.”

Of course her friends would probably have been surprised to discover she thought of herself that way. They referred to her as spunky—or at least most of them did. Kit suspected that after her bland, lame relationship with Jeremy, a few might have begun to revise their sense of her.

She crashed at eleven that night. The sound of a couple arguing on the street below woke her just after one, and it took her over an hour to fall back to sleep. She kept thinking of X, wondering how she could have done such a bad job of reading him. A few memories surfaced: X on the phone on the walkway, sounding slightly aggravated. Maybe he’d been talking to a cohort. X casting his gaze around the restaurant right after they’d finished eating. At the moment she’d supposed that he was searching for the waiter. But it could have been the instinct of a criminal who was always on the watch.

First thing the next morning, she emailed Matt Healy and told him that she’d drop by his office at noon. The sooner she got it over with, the better. She dressed casually—she planned to shop a good part of the day—grabbed a yogurt, and unlocked the door that led to her office from the apartment. The point of the door wasn’t simply for her convenience. Both she and Baby occasionally used the living space for client meetings—it was a great way to show off the kind of nontraditional aesthetic they subscribed to—and the inner door gave them easy access back and forth.

Baby had beaten her into the office that morning. She’d laid trace paper over an apartment floor plan and was plotting out where the furniture ought to be positioned.

Baby had spent nearly four decades as one of Manhattan’s top decorators—not quite in the same league as Bunny Williams or Mario Buatta, but in demand by tons of well-heeled clients. She’d retired at sixty-four, planning to travel, entertain, and relish life, but when her adored husband Dan had died five years later, she’d decided that the best way to tackle grief was to jump feet first back into work. After meeting Kit at an event and getting to know her, she’d suggested partnering with her—and investing a small amount of money in the business. Kit had been ecstatic. This time, though, Baby had no interest in her projects being splashed in the pages of Elle Decor or Architectural Digest. She wanted out of the limelight and that’s why a small boutique business had appealed to her.

In the two years they’d worked together, she and Baby had become not only colleagues but also friends, often reaching out to each other for personal guidance. The day after her return from Florida, Kit had reported on her dinner under the stars with the man calling himself Matt Healy—and had admitted to spending the night with him. As soon as Baby set eyes on Kit this morning, she arched a brow mischievously, eager for a full report about the date.

After dropping into her chair, Kit blurted out what happened.

“That’s perfectly dreadful,” Baby declared. “The man should be shot.”

“Yes, but so should I. It was just so stupid of me to believe he was the real deal.”

“It’s not like you let someone convince you the moon landing was faked. Thinking an attractive, educated-seeming man is who he claims to be isn’t stupid. It’s a mistake any woman could make.”

“I appreciate your saying that, Baby. But it was a lapse, a big one. The guy was a freaking con artist. I hate the thought of making a bad call like that.”

Baby tapped her hands together softly, her red nails gleaming.

“I don’t know if I ever mentioned this to you, but I was married briefly in my twenties before I met Dan. These days they call that a starter marriage, though back then the euphemism was ‘too young to know better.’ The man was a real cad and he cheated on me within months. For years, even after I married Dan, I beat myself up about it, really doubted my judgment. What helped me was to finally step back and ask myself what the warning signs might have been and why I missed them.”

“Had there been warning signs?” Kit asked.

Baby scoffed. “Does French kissing the maid of honor at the rehearsal dinner count? Unfortunately I didn’t learn that until much later. But there had been subtle signs from the very start, ones I’d chosen to ignore. Put this behind you, Kit. But there may be something to learn from it.”

Kit nodded glumly. The only lesson she’d gleaned so far was that taking a risk had blown up in her face.

Author Bio: 

Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve works of fiction: seven Bailey Weggins mysteries and five stand-alone psychological thrillers, including most recently, The Secrets You Keep. For fourteen years she was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate on being a full-time author and speaker.

Twitter: @katemwhite

#BlogTour #Review : This Dark Place by Claire Kittridge. @annecater #ThisDarkPlace

This Dark Place FINAL FINAL Poster


Blurb:   Priscilla Ames is the daughter of a Wall Street hedge fund manager that has made millions in the stock market. She’s reckless, impulsive, always wanting to be the center of attention, but one thing has been constant – her friendship with Avery Moss. They are like sisters that share adventures and look out for each other in times of need.

Avery Moss comes from a working-class family in Brooklyn. She met Priscilla as an 8 year-old at an elite NYC private school where Avery was on a one-year scholarship. They became friends on the first day of school when Avery beat up a boy that was teasing Priscilla. When Avery’s scholarship was discontinued, Priscilla’s father, Peter Ames, stepped in and has supported her schooling ever since, including sending the girls to a prestigious acting college in London

NYPD Detective Kelly Moore is a member of the elite Queens Violent Felony Squad. She is smart and strong and direct. Years ago, her older sister disappeared while traveling in England and the case was never solved, haunting all of her investigations. Moore’s greatest strength and her greatest weakness are two sides of the same coin: when she’s on her game, she works from the inside out, acting on hunches and then backing them up with evidence – but under duress, she acts rashly, leaping before she looks.

When Priscilla’s body is found by Avery in a posh London flat and her death is splashed across headlines worldwide, Kelly Moore flies across the Atlantic to join a crack team of British investigators working on the case.

Together with the London Metropolitan Police, Kelly must track down a twisted serial killer who seems to know her every move and her darkest secrets. As the body count rises, and panic spreads, the killer threatens to make Kelly the next victim.

In a heart-racing game of cat and mouse, Kelly must outwit this elusive master of surveillance – who might be the last person she suspects.


This Dark Place Cover


Review:  I’m going to admit now that I’ve looked at some of the other reviews on this tour and I seem to be the only person so far that isn’t going to rave about this book

I really liked the premise of this book and was interested to see how the transplanting of a New York detective to London would work. However I never really got on with the main character and didn’t feel the story flowed as well as it could have.  I don’t have to like the main character to enjoy a book but I found her quite jarring and didn’t warm to her at all.

The story got off to a promising start, a dramatic beginning that suggested more drama to follow but I didn’t feel it delivered.  I struggled to read it and didn’t find it at all absorbing in the way that others have.  On the whole I found the story a bit cliched, rich girl dies and it appears more effort is spent investigating than there would be for someone poorer, detective with flaws and a past that haunts her, clashes between her and the London police, etc.  There are lots of crime books out there that have main characters with flaws, clashes between different police forces, etc and in many of them these work but I didn’t feel they worked here. While this is not a badly written book by any means it just didn’t work for me.


About the author:

Claire Kittridge Author Pic

Claire Kittridge grew up in Brooklyn, NY watching The X-files, Law and Order, and a worn-out VHS tape of Sweeney Todd that she found in the basement. Long a lover of atmospheric landscape, rolling hills, and rainy days, Claire fell in love with England and its great fictional detectives while traveling around Britain as a teenager.

An avid reader, triathlete, and boxing fan, Claire lives in New York City with her cat, Chairman Meow. She is currently at work on the second Kelly Moore novel.


Twitter: @cpkittridge

Instagram: @clairekittridge

Amazon author page:  amazon.com/author/clairekittridge











#BlogBlitz #Guestpost : Desperate Ground by L J Morris. @LesJMorris @Bloodhoundbook

I am thrilled today to be taking part in the blog blitz for Desperate Ground. Many of you will know that I’m really busy at the moment so I’ve been unable to review this book but I do have a guest post from the author in which he talks about Heroes and Villians.

Blurb:  When the secrecy of a nuclear weapon agreement is thrown into doubt, a disgraced intelligence operative is recruited to find out if the deal is still safe…

Ali Sinclair, wrongly convicted and on the run from a Mexican prison, is enlisted to infiltrate her old friend’s inner circle and find the evidence.

The only people on her side are an ex-Cold War spook and the former Royal Marine that was sent to find her. Together they discover that the stakes are much higher than anyone knew, and the fate of the world is at risk…

But when you live in the shadows who can you trust?

Guest post: Heroes and Villains. 

I’ve always preferred stories with an anti-hero as the protagonist. Someone who is unconventional or outside of the system. Characters who have flaws and imperfections. From the rebel who isn’t afraid to break the rules (Jack Reacher) to the character who is, in fact, bad (Dexter Morgan). 

In my debut novel, Desperate Ground, the two main characters are in a similar mould. Ali Sinclair is a disgraced intelligence operative who is on the run from a Mexican prison where she has been wrongly serving a sentence for drug smuggling. Frank McGill is a former Royal Marine who has been investigated in connection with a number of killings. I think it’s safe to say that they both have questionable pasts.

However, in both of their cases, it is that questionable past that has given them the skills that turn them into the heroes of the novel. McGill, in particular, is only one step away from being one of the villain’s henchmen. He has a similar background to them and, given the right circumstances, could easily have ended up on the wrong side. 

McGill’s back story includes the murder of his wife and the revenge that he takes on the perpetrators. It shows that he is willing to break any law, in this case murder, to do what he thinks is right. In the eyes of the police, McGill is a criminal even though they don’t have enough evidence to lock him up.

McGill doesn’t see things as good or bad, right or wrong, he is only doing what is necessary to help Sinclair. She is all he cares about and that is the reason she is the only person who is 100% safe from him. Even those on his side. When Simeon Carter uses McGill to track down Sinclair, he is playing a dangerous game. If McGill suspects that he is being played or double crossed by Carter, especially where Sinclair is involved, he will turn against him.

Ali Sinclair, on the other hand, is now a criminal through no fault of her own. At the beginning of the story, she is serving seven years in a Mexican prison for a crime she didn’t commit. She has been abandoned by the people who she thought would help her. Even though she now has no problem with being on the wrong side of the law at times, she still has a very strong sense of right and wrong. She will always try and do the right thing and, in doing that, is the only person keeping McGill in check.

A few weeks ago, my friend, and fellow author, Graham Smith made a comment that I’ve never really considered before. He said that the film Die Hard is a heist movie when watched from the point of view of the film’s villain, Hans Gruber.

Now, leaving aside the argument over whether Die Hard is a Christmas film or not, most people would describe it as the story of a hero cop stopping a group of terrorists who’ve taken over a building. 

However, from Hans Gruber’s point of view, it is the story of a gang of would be thieves having their heist plans foiled by bad luck (John Maclean is only in the building to visit his wife). A story akin to Ocean’s 11 or The Italian Job with Gruber playing the George Clooney or Michael Cain part.

Similarly, in Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal, the character of The Jackal is, undoubtedly, bad, but there is no real difference between his character and Jack Higgins’ Sean Dillon. Dillon is an ex-assassin and terrorist who is now on the “good” side. In The Day of the Jackal, if the target of the assassination plot were changed from General De Gaulle, as it is in the book, to some third world dictator, The Jackal suddenly becomes the hero.

The villain in Desperate Ground, Viktor Bazarov, believes that what he is doing is right. He thinks that the world would be a better place if he achieved his goals. The same is true of his backer. Bazarov’s henchmen, on the other hand, are just there to take orders and get paid. The only difference between them and McGill is Sinclair. Without her influence, McGill could easily become a gun for hire.

I think a phrase that I’ve often heard sums it up pretty well, “Every character is the hero of their own story.” The best characters, hero and villain, are those who are convinced that they are in the right. Villains, even serial killers, don’t see themselves as evil and a henchman who thinks what he is doing is wrong can easily be turned or switch sides. 

The hero who could have been or could still become a villain and vice versa creates a level of conflict that makes for a great character.

About the author

L J Morris is an author with a love of books and storytelling that he developed as a child.

After a career in the Royal Navy, which spanned most of the 80s and 90s, he settled back in Cumbria and soon realised that an unsuccessful attempt to write a serial killer novel at the age of 12 hadn’t blunted his ambitions.

He started to write again and has enjoyed success with his short stories appearing in several anthologies. Although he still enjoys writing short stories, his passion has always been for thriller novels and he has spent the last few years following his dream of being a published novelist.


Website:          www.ljmorrisauthor.com

Facebook:        www.facebook.com/LesJMorris

Twitter:           @LesJMorris

#BlogBlitz #Guestpost : Mark of the Devil by Tana Collins. @TanaCollins7 @Bloodhoundbook 

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz for Tana Collins’ latest novel, Mark of the Devil. Unfortunately I’ve not had time to read this fabulous sounding book but I do have a guest post from Tana about her journey to getting published.

Blurb:  While Inspector Jim Carruthers and team are busy investigating a series of art thefts they receive an anonymous tip about the body of a young woman on a deserted beach.

The bizarre clues to her identity, and what might have happened to her, include a strange tattoo, a set of binoculars and slab of meat left on the cliffs.

The team’s investigations lead them to a local shooting estate and its wealthy owner Barry Cuthbert. However, Carruthers suspects Cuthbert is not all he seems and the DI soon starts to wonder if the cases of the missing works of art, the dead woman and the estate are connected.


Then when the body of a young gamekeeper is pulled from the sea tensions boil over. The trail of clues lead the team to the unlikely locale of Tallinn and into the sinister world of international crime and police corruption.

Needing answers Carruthers must look further afield than Fife. However, the closer he gets to discovering the truth the more danger he finds himself in.


Since everyone who crosses the vengeful killers seem to end up dead, can Carruthers solve the case with his life intact?

Guest post: My journey in to getting published.

It took me a long time to write my first book and as luck would have it a relatively short time to get published. I always think you need a bit of luck in order to get a publishing deal. For starters you need to hit the market at the right time with the right sort of book.

My luck came in the form of the decision to write three books in a series and get the first two professionally edited before even thinking about approaching publishing companies. That decision stood me in really good stead. I also had an excellent editor without whose structural guidance would have made my debut novel, Robbing the Dead, a completely different book. And a poorer one at that. After her first reading of Robbing the Dead she told me that I would have to do a massive rewrite if I wanted it to be good enough to get published. In actual fact I ended up rewriting it twice.  But I didn’t give up.

That’s the other thing about writing. You can’t be a quitter. I once heard the saying, “the writers who get published are the ones that never quit.” And that is so true. I’m living testament to that. In fact it took me ten years to write and rewrite my first book. In that time, to be fair, I had already written the second in the series, Care to Die. And it was on the strength of the second, not the first, that I got my publishing deal. I actually got turned down by my now publishers for Robbing the Dead. They told me that my work was too close to someone else they had on their books, but that if I didn’t have a deal with another publishing company by October of that year, (the year being 2016) I was to get back in touch with them.

Although I’d had a few publishers nibbling nobody else had stepped forward and snapped me up so in September I approached Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books again, letting her know that I had a second book in the series. The commisisoning advisor, Alexina Golding, read Care to Die and told Betsy they had to sign me up! In October 2016 I was offered a three book publishing deal. I’ve never looked back.

Although I’d had a few publishers nibbling nobody else had stepped forward and snapped me up so in September I approached Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books again, letting her know that I had a second book in the series. The commisisoning advisor, Alexina Golding, read Care to Die and told Betsy they had to sign me up! In October 2016 I was offered a three book publishing deal. I’ve never looked back.

Robbing the Dead, was released in February 2017 and became an Amazon Number One bestseller. Care to Die was published in June 2017 and became a Top 10 bestseller, endorsed by Peter Robinson, the author of the DCI Banks series. Mark of the Devil, the third novel in the series, is being published on 24th April. I am utterly delighted with the reviews I’ve received for the series from Amazon and Goodreads readers. I aim to write contemporary plots set in a Scottish setting with a cast of convincing characters. One reviewer said of my books that I write “hard hitting crime thrillers which have a deeply emotional side to the plot.” I love that. I think it sums up what I’m trying to achieve perfectly.

About the author:

Edinburgh based Tana Collins is the author of the popular Jim Carruthers detective series set in Fife. Her debut novel, Robbing the Dead, published February 2017, became a No 1 Amazon bestseller for Scottish crime fiction.  Care to Die, the follow up in the series, also became a Top 10 Amazon bestseller. Published on 1st June 2017 Care to Die was described by Peter Robinson, author of DCI Banks,  as  “A finely plotted mystery. Tana Collins racks up the suspense on this one. DI Jim Carruthers is a cop to watch.”  In September 2017 having won one of the coveted Spotlight places at Bloody Scotland Tana supported Lynda La Plante on stage.

Her third novel, Mark of the Devil, is to be published 24th April 2018. Author Leigh Russell writes of it, “A cracking read. The suspense never lets up.”

Tana is a trained Massage Therapist and Stress Management Consultant.

Author Links: 

Website: tanacollins.com

Twitter: @TanaCollins7

Author Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Tana-Collins-490774634440829

#BlogTour #Q&A : Julie Newman, The Kindness of Strangers. @UrbaneBooks @Lovebooksgroup #KindnessofStrangers

Today I am delighted to bring you a Q&A with the author of this book, Julie Newman. My thanks therefore must go to the author for answering my questions and to Love Books Group for having me on this tour.

Blurb:  Secrets  and  lies  abound  in  Julie  Newman’s  breath-taking new novel.  When  Helen’s  chance  at  happiness  is  threatened  what lengths  will  she go  to  in  order  to  hide the truth?  Deceived  by her husband  and  desperate  for  a  ‘perfect’  family  life,  Helen  will do everything  she  can  to  get the  life she wants.   

Following  the  gripping and  controversial  Beware  the  Cuckoo, Julie Newman’s  new  novel  lifts  the  lid  on  family  secrets,  and  the dark past that haunts a seemingly happy household… 

Author Q&A : Julie Newman 

Tell us about yourself

I was born in East London but now life a rural life in North Essex. I am married with two children. I have been: a shop assistant, a carer, a saleswoman, a secretary, a driver, a painter and decorator, (yes, I really have), an invigilator and I have made umbrellas. I have had a small publishing business, but always wanted to be a writer. 

What made you start writing?

Reading made me start writing. The joy I got from reading was something I wished to share with others. 

Where do your ideas come from?

Anywhere and everywhere. A news item or a snippet of a conversation may spark an idea.

How do you manage to create such varied characters?

By observing people, the world is full of varied characters.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Just do it. By that I mean write whenever and whatever you can. I have kept a diary since I was eight years old and I like to write poems. Also read, lots. 

When you aren’t writing, what would we find you doing?

If I am not doing something with my family, you will find me reading, listening to music, running or cycling. If I’m not doing any of these things I am probably at the theatre. 

What are you reading just now?

I have just finished The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal and plan to read The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford. I’m also reading Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. I always read a non-fiction title alongside a fiction one.

Any plans/ideas for the next book?

Yes, the next book is underway. All I can say at the moment is that it is a story set across two continents with a strong female protagonist. 

#BlogTour #Review : Keeper by Johana Gustawsson. @OrendaBooks @annecater @JoGustawsson

Many thanks to Orenda books and Anne Cater for having me on this blog tour.  Having been fascinated about Jack the Ripper for years this book captured my attention and so I had to read it, my thoughts are below but first, read the blurb to find out more about the book.

Blog tour banner

Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.

London, 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?

Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

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My Review:  I’ve always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper and the fact that he was never caught so when I heard about this book I was immediately interested.  The historical parts, while good were a smaller part of the book than I expected with the main focus being on the murders and abduction in 2015.  That being said the historical details and the descriptions of the cases at that time an in 2015 were very well done, so much so that I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone who is squeamish.  The images that are conjured up by the writing are very vivid and quite unpleasant at times.

If you’re not a fan of historical fiction but love crime I would still suggest giving this book a go.  The historical parts are relevant and interesting but are also giving background to the 2015 murders so the book has quite a different feel from one that is set entirely in the past.  Because of that I would recommend this book to both crime lovers and historical crime fans.

Although this is a crime story and the police in both London and Sweden are very much involved it’s more a story of Emily Roy investigating both disappearances and murders in her job as a profiler.  Alexis Castells is present too but in a smaller capacity and while what she is doing is connected to the current murders it has more of a personal connection for her.  The story moves about quite quickly, one chapter you are in 1888 London, the next Sweden in 2015 but thankfully the chapters are very clearly labelled which avoids the confusion that does arise in some novels.

It’s a gripping story, I found for me there were times when it didn’t flow as well as others but it kept my attention throughout.  All the time I was wondering what was next, was there more to the 1888 connection, why were there murders in both London and Sweden.  I did have ideas about the conclusion and in part I was right but there was such an unexpected ending that this book really does deserve that much used phrase of ‘a twist you won’t see coming’.  I really didn’t see that ending coming at all and am still dealing with the shock!

About the author:

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Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut, Block 46, became an international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.