Welcome to my book-blog. I spend as much time as I can within the pages of a book and hope you'll get some reading inspiration from my library. Catch me on Instagram as well as books.tea.and.me – I'm always looking for recommendations!
A gruesome discovery unravels a dark trail of murder and madness.
A six-year-old girl sneaks out of bed to capture a mermaid but instead discovers a dead body. Terrified and unable to make sense of what she sees, she locks the vision deep inside her mind.
Ten years later, Lily is introduced to the charismatic Flo and they become best friends. But Lily is guilt-ridden – she is hiding a terrible secret which has the power to destroy both their lives.
When Flo’s father is accused of killing a schoolgirl, the horrors of Lily’s past come bubbling to the surface. Lily knows that, whatever the consequences, she has to make things right. She must go back to the events of her childhood and face what happened at the boat house all those years ago.
Can Lily and Flo discover what is hiding in the murky waters of the lake before the killer strikes again?
‘The Cry of the Dark’ is a debut novel from Charlie Tyler that explores deep manipulation, darkness, abuse and family bonds. And, it all begins with a murder…
The story is told via a mix of multiple first-person narratives, via Lily, Grace and Flo, providing the reader with starkly alternative perspectives. It’s very soon clear that there’s something dark at play as the eerily casual response to a murder victim at a table is dealt with. The story develops into an interplay between two sisters and their lives, and as their memories surface we find out more about the past and why they are behaving as they are. Outside of this is the narrative of Lily’s friend Flo, which is needed to balance the storytelling, and her narrative becomes tragically and disturbingly joined up with the sisters, Lily and Grace, and leads to a heart-pounding climax.
There’s also the gradual uncovering of the past, of the childhood between two girls and fractured home-life around them. There’s an underscore of abuse and forbidden love.
I love the puzzle read structure, slow reveals are made and the pieces start coming together; this keeps you turning the pages. It’s a story wrapped in a psychological plot of manipulation and murder. There’s a study of grief and loss, identity, young love, passion and trauma. A strong character led debut novel.
Charlie has been writing for years but it was taking a creative writing course in 2018 which gave her the gentle kick she needed to finish her debut novel. Charlie is very much a morning person and likes nothing more than committing a fictional murder before her first coffee of the day. She studied Theology at Worcester College, Oxford and now lives in a Leicestershire village with her husband, three teenagers and golden retriever.
It’s lovely to be on the blog tour chatting about the third DC Cat Kinsella book, particularly as I’ve really enjoyed the previous two. With thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers. See below for the full blog tour, and for more bookish chat, please keeping scrolling down…
Four victims. Killer caught. Case closed . . . Or is it?
Christopher Masters, known as ‘The Roommate Killer’, strangled three women over a two-week period in a London house in November 2012. Holly Kemp, his fourth victim, was never found.
Her remains have been unearthed in a field in Cambridgeshire and DC Cat Kinsella and the major investigation team are called in, but immediately there are questions surrounding the manner of her death. And with Masters now dead, no one to answer them.
DCI Tessa Dyer, the lead on the 2012 case, lends the team a hand, as does DCI Steele’s old boss and mentor, the now retired Detective Chief Superintendent Oliver Cairns.
With Masters dead, Cat and the team have to investigate every lead again.
BUT IF YOU’D GOT AWAY WITH MURDER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WHEN THE CASE IS RE-OPENED?
What’s really enjoyable about these books is the blending of Cat’s rather challenging personal life and the cases she works on. In this book, Cat’s facing an unusual challenge with a closed case coming into question. I really enjoyed the plotting, and how a previous conviction begins to fall apart; it’s something to get your teeth into and puzzle out.
Frear writes great characters and backstories; the reader is given great depth, which adds to the superb storytelling. In this book, Cat’s personal life is on the up, however, she is still hiding many secrets that could not just damage her new relationship, but also her career. I feel, the crime takes the lead in this book, and it’s a great balance. The interplay with Cat and her colleagues is enjoyable, and she has a great, mixed team of characters around her.
‘Shed no Tears’ comes highly recommended from me, it’s smart, carefully plotted, and at its core is an intelligent, flawed, but likeable protagonist to follow. A crime thriller with heart, drama and camaraderie; there’re twists, turns, red-herrings, all ending with a tense, heart-pounding climax.
My favourite of the DC Cat Kinsella books so far ~ thanks to Caz Frear for the wonderful storytelling, throughly enjoyable.
So happy to be a part of the Blog Tour for WRITTEN IN BLOOD – if you’re not aware, this is the 11th book in Chris Carter’s Robert Hunter thriller series, and… there’s a serial killer to catch. With huge thanks to Anne for the tour invite, and do keep scrolling for some bookish chat…
A serial killer will stop at nothing…
The Killer His most valuable possession has been stolen. Now he must retrieve it, at any cost. The Girl Angela Wood wanted to teach the man a lesson. It was a bag, just like all the others. But when she opens it, the worst nightmare of her life begins. The Detective A journal ends up at Robert Hunter’s desk. It soon becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose. And if he can’t stop him in time, more people will die.
If you have read it You must die
I first met Robert Hunter in ‘The Crucifix Killer’ and have really enjoyed this series – if you are a new reader, then don’t worry, each works as a stand-a-lone. In this case, Hunter is pitted against a serial killer, who comes to the attention of the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit, via the theft of a journal. This brings both the thief and Hunter to the attention of the journal’s author and the game begins. It soon becomes clear that there has been a serial killer in circulation for a considerable time, and this person is truly a ‘professional’ and needs to be caught.
What I really enjoy about Carter’s books, and very much this one, is the ease of the story telling; you know you are in safe hands, as Carter crafts the plots, red-herrings, tensions, characters and reveals with such control and dexterity. I loved the puzzle narrative via the journal, as we slowly learn from the killer’s words about the victims, their lives, and begin to work out what’s behind the inconsistencies in the patterns.
Hunter is smart, and like his name he sets his sights on his prey and is relentless; this also comes with high personal costs. There’s a great balance between Hunter and his partner Garcia, and they make a great team. In addition, we have small-time thief Angela, who becomes caught in the killer’s sights and needs protecting; I really enjoyed her story, and how this added emotional depth to the overall crime thriller.
This is a dark book, that looks into the mind of a controlled and incredibly dangerous psychopath. Thoroughly enjoyable, and it’s a highly recommended read.
Born in Brazil of Italian origin, Chris Carter studied psychology and criminal behaviour at the University of Michigan. As a member of the Michigan State District Attorney’s Criminal Psychology team, he interviewed and studied many criminals, including serial and multiple homicide offenders with life imprisonment convictions. He now lives in London. Visit his website http://www.chriscarterbooks.com
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I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for HINTON HOLLOW DEATH TRIP by Will Carver and published by the fabulous Orenda Books, with thanks to Karen, and to Anne for the tour invite. This is my first time reading one of Will Carver’s books, and it seems I’ve been missing out! Please keep scrolling for some bookish chat about the addictive, disturbing and unsettling world of Hinton Hollow… be brave, take the trip!
It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.
Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120. Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow. Because something was coming. Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves. Making them cheat. Making them steal. Making them kill.Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone.
Evil had a plan.
This is the third book featuring Detective Sergeant Pace, now admittedly I’ve not read either of the first two books (Good Samaritans or Nothing Important Happened Today) however, it really didn’t matter, as DS Pace is not the central character or the main narrator of the story; it is actually, Evil. Yes, Evil is our narrative voice, and that’s the creative and unusual second person narrative that begins the book. By directly calling out to the reader pulls you into the story in quite a personal way, and it also comes with a readers’ warning – ‘you can leave now, if you want… this is the last time I try to save you’. The brave, or inquisitive reader will of course continue, how could you not after that… and soon we are passing the crossroads and entering the world of Hinton Hollow, and how it becomes a living hell once Evil begins to play and manipulate its inhabitants.
I loved the creativity and drama of the story-telling – my goodness, it’s a struggle to put the book down. Crazy, as it’s creepy; it’s also disturbing, repulsive and traumatic. Be warned, children die, animals are tortured and killed, people are manipulated into the darkest of deeds, and overlapping all this is a stark message about human nature.
The structure is rather Brecht-like as the narrative is constructed to pull on our own consciousness. The book is split over a serious of days, with headers to summarise what you will learn. There are several other headers breaking down the story into units of focus; I really enjoyed the creativity of this. The reader is asked to reflect, consider, and evaluate as our narrator bombards us with signs and scenes; we have no choice but to question humanity and the essence of who we are.
Hinton Hollow questions what is ordinary? More importantly, what lies behind the ordinary. It’s a dark book and stalks the reader like a predator. You begin to question everything you think you know, as you fight through an often depressive bombardment of statements about humanity: its perversions, its vacuous selfish people and the detached predator lurking inside in our inconsistencies, ironies and collective consciousness.
This book is written with confidence, control and a significant level of darkness. Capricious in nature, and disturbing in tone this is a creative read, but definitely not for the sensitive or easily triggered reader. However, in all of the darkness there’s a shining ray of hope on day six, where we take a moment to think about our connection to time, to needing more time, for waiting; it’s blatantly clear the message is to stop. To stop delaying, trying to please, wasting time and try changing… and to be a good person. I loved this lift to the heavily, emotionally bleak world of this book. It has that Inspector Goole vibe, of the collective consciousness and responsibility to each other and ourselves. We actually question the notion of evil, and the puppet master controlling Hinton Hollow.
Far from your typical crime mystery novel, Hinton Hollow Death Trip pushes at the boundaries and then pushes at your consciousness – Will Carver’s head must be a full-on place to be! Bold, creative, absorbing and complex writing that hooks you in with a mighty grip. Be brave. Read it.
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.
In a world of dwindling light… you’re a bonfire in the night.
‘Anna Undreaming’ is the first book in The Metiks Fade Trilogy by Thomas Welsh, a fantasy author and games writer. Thomas is the winner of the Elbow Room fiction prize and has been published in 404 Ink and Leicester Writes. He received an honourable mention in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Award, and his story ‘Suicide Vending Machine’ is featured on the Pseudopod Podcast.
His work has qualified him for induction into the Fellowship of BAFTA, and he has been published on major sites like Kotaku, Unwinnable Magazine and Glitch Free Gaming. He loves Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny and dark fantasy stories where women save themselves! He lives in Scotland with his wife Nana.
Anna is a student surviving the city, and she lives by a simple credo, Never play their game; their game is always rigged. For every man she has ever known, it’s a saying that has served her well.Especially when Anna becomes lost to the dark heart of the city. She finds herself hunted by Dreamers–artists, both good and evil, who construct new worlds–within a complex community that threatens to undermine reality itself. When Anna learns that she’s an Undreamer with powers she cannot yet comprehend, she must travel through their strange and treacherous creations to discover that there’s as much beauty in life as there is darkness. As her existence spirals into wonder and danger, Anna must look deep within herself and face the horrors of her own past, to save her old world as well as her new one.
This book is described as an Urban Fantasy, and Welsh creates a detailed and inventive world where our protagonist, Anna, learns the reality of who she actually is alongside the reader. The world-building is detailed, so it takes time to understand and adjust; it’s all okay, as we are learning and experiencing with Anna, and there’s also a helpful glossary in the back of the book.
Anna is a likeable character, who has both vulnerabilities and strength, she is also an Undreamer, a powerful Metik, a person who can manipulate the Hazes, (a space that changes the rules of reality) that are created by dreamers – these are aesthetics. Anna finds out that the alternate reality is a dangerous place with characters like the Midnight Man, who creates using imagery of macabre poetry about murdering women. There is certainly a darkness here, with suffocating monsters and Anna, with some help, learns control of her abilities and brings in the light. Okay, so this may sound confusing, and at first it is, but as the story develops we learn more about this world, and can begin to concentrate on the characters and their adventure.
It’s a book about understanding who we are, our capabilities, our grief and ability to repair. It’s about faith and trust in others, resilience and survival. If you like films like the Matrix and Inception, when you may enjoy this. Despite being quite heavily layered with new words and worlds, this is an entertaining urban fantasy read with a strong female lead.
Anna and the Moonlight Road (The Metiks Fade Trilogy Book 2) is also out now, so you won’t have to wait to continue the adventure.
It’s lovely to be a part of this blog tour for Megan Miranda’s ‘The Girl From Widow Hills’, with thanks to Anne Cater for the tour invite, and to Corvus Books for the gifted copy. Please keep reading for some bookish chat…
Everyone knows the story of the girl from Widow Hills.
When Arden Maynor was six years old, she was swept away in terrifying storm and went missing for days. Against all odds, she was found alive, clinging to a storm drain. A living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book, and fame followed. But so did fans, creeps and stalkers. It was all too much, and as soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and left Widow Hills behind.
Now, a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden is known as Olivia. With the twentieth anniversary of her rescue looming, media interest in the girl who survived is increasing. Where is she now? The stress brings back the night terrors of Olivia’s youth. Often, she finds herself out of bed in the middle of the night, sometimes outside her home, even streets away. Then one evening she jolts awake in her yard, with the corpse of a man at her feet.
The girl from Widow Hills is about to become the centre of the story, once again
I do love a good mystery thriller, and ‘The Girl from Widow Hills’ is a hurtling page turner that I devoured in one sitting. This is the story of Olivia, well actually Arden, before she decided to change her name and begin again. This is a mystery at its core, but it’s also a tale of trauma, greed and murder.
During the story of this carefully plotted novel, we join Olivia as she tries to make sense of what’s happening around her – via sleep walking blackouts, blood-covered hands, missing weapons, strange behaviours and figures from her past. There’s not much time for pause, as the reader begins to piece together events from the past, told via transcripts, interviews, press reports, voicemail, 911 call logs, and stirring memories. I enjoyed these snippets and they created additional interest to the main narrative.
I really enjoyed this book, it’s atmospheric, well-plotted and from the opening pages I was immersed into Olivia’s story, and the puzzle of the girl from Widow Hills. There’s a hard to spot twist, (always welcome) some disquieting psychological interplay, and a compelling group of suspects to track to the nail-biting climax of the dramatic closing pages.
I was hooked, so definitely a recommended read from me.
Megan Miranda is the author of All The Missing Girls, The Perfect Stranger, and The Last House Guest, which was the August 2019 Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.
Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitter and Instagram, or @AuthorMeganMiranda on Facebook.
THE WAITING ROOMS, published by the brilliant Orenda Books, and thanks to Anne Cater for the tour invite!
GIVEAWAY for a digital copy of ‘The Waiting Rooms’ – I will pick a winner at RANDOM on Monday, all you need to is LIKE and COMMENT, if you’d like to FOLLOW me that would be AMAZING, but not a requirement of the GIVEAWAY. Do keep reading for info about the book, and the other brilliant bloggers reviewing this new novel.
Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.
Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.
Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues. Set 20 years after an antibiotic crisis, her debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places.
It’s lovely to be able to share an extract from ‘Thirty One Bones’ today as part of the Random Things Blog Tour for Morgan Cry’s new novel. With thanks, as always, to Anne for the invite. Please keep scrolling…
When Daniella Coulstoun’s estranged mother Effie dies in Spain under suspicious circumstances, she feels it’s her duty to fly out for the funeral.
On arrival, Daniella is confronted by a dangerous group of expat misfits who claim that Effie stole huge sums of cash from them in a multi-million property scam. They want the money back and Daniella is on the hook for it.
When a suspicious Spanish detective begins to probe Effie’s death and a London gangster hears about the missing money, Daniella faces threats on every front. With no idea where the cash is and facing a seemingly impossible deadline, she quickly finds herself out of her depth and fighting for survival in a strange and terrifying world.
Extract – Thirty-One Bones
At right angles to the bar sits a pool table that can be wheeled away to provide room to play darts on an ageing dartboard. In older days it also allowed a band or a DJ to set up. Not any more. The rest of the pub’s furniture is a job lot of chairs and tables that Effie picked up when the Carnes Frías restaurant in the old town had gone tits up. It was the first replacement furni- ture the bar had seen in twenty years. The regulars had been stunned into silence. Not so much by the surprise of the change. More by the lurid pink colour that both the tables and chairs were painted in. The colour scheme choice of the owner of Carnes Frías going some way to shortening the restaurant’s lifespan. Effie reckoned the colour added some brightness to her place. The regulars thought it looked like shit, but still came in for drink.
Beneath her feet the wooden floor, a decade out from its last polish, is seven parts wood and three parts alcohol. The air conditioning is the same ratio on the working to not working axis.
To her right she looks on a row of booths, the last one occu- pied by the young investor. She returns to the booth, dropping the beer glass on the table before heaving her bulk into the chair opposite Paul. She eyes him up. If he chooses to reject her offer to invest he will pay for the two beers and the packet of cheese and onion crisps she’s already given him. But she doesn’t expect him to have to pay.
‘How was the apartment?’ Effie asks. ‘Stunning,’ Paul replies. ‘The new ones will be even better.’ Paul sweeps at the long hair cascading over his face. Effie thinks
the shoulder-length mane, scruffy goatee and flea-bitten Afghan coat a crock of crap. It marks Paul out as a prick. But a prick with twenty grand in his account. Twenty grand earmarked for Effie’s bank.
‘When do you break ground?’ Paul says. Effie smiles. The dick is trying to use building-developer terminology. Good luck with that. I’m right in the mood for this.
‘We need full planning first,’ she says, winding up the well- practised pitch. ‘But that’s not proving to be straightforward.’
‘Nothing to worry about,’ she replies. ‘It’s just, since the Gürtel scandal, in Spain the local authorities are a lot warier over approving developments.’
‘I read something about that,’ Paul says. ‘A massive issue here. Bribery, wasn’t it?’
‘And the rest,’ says Effie. ‘And it’ll rumble on for years. It’s changed the whole political landscape in Spain. It’s why we have to show the Ayuntamiento that half of our investors are not connected to us.’
‘They want to ensure we don’t have any controlling interest. Especially when we are talking a couple of million per property. It’s a pity because we’d love to put all the cash in ourselves. It’s such a sweet deal – but rules are rules.’
Paul rubs his nose, ‘I have to say I couldn’t find anything about any fifty per cent rule.’
That’s because it doesn’t exist, dickwad. Let’s get this done soon. I’m up for another pill.
‘It’s new,’ Effie says. ‘George Laidlaw can explain it. He’s the legal beagle on this. But it’s good news from your end. You only have to front up twenty k as a deposit. The rest would normally be payable when we complete – but, by then, we’ll have sold out, be a lot richer and you won’t have had to fork out the balance. Twenty k for a million plus – how can that not be the deal of the century? This is better than a lottery win for you.’
Like hell it is.
Paul scrubs at his forehead. ‘Why so little cash up front? Seems too good to be true.’
Effie smiles, a crooked beast at best. ‘The new rule requires us to deposit a hundredth of the estimated final sale price with the Ayuntamiento on application. We’re not allowed to take any more than twenty thousand per investor until planning is approved, at which time, before any more money is needed, we will sell it on to a bigger developer.’
Take it easy, Effie, take it easy. Now for the tricky part.
Gordon has seven crime and thriller books published to date, along with a number of short stories. His latest novel, Highest Lives, published by Strident Publishing, is the fourth in the Craig McIntyre series.
Under a new name, Morgan Cry, Polygon will be publishing Gordon’s new crime thriller, set in Spain. Called ‘Thirty-One Bones’ it will be available in July 2020.
Gordon also helped found Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival (see http://www.bloodyscotland.com), is a DJ on local radio (www.pulseonair.co.uk) and runs a strategic planning consultancy. He lives in Scotland and is married with two children.
In a former life Gordon delivered pizzas in Toronto, sold non-alcoholic beer in the Middle East, launched a creativity training business, floated a high tech company on the London Stock Exchange, compered the main stage at a two-day music festival and was once booed by 49,000 people while on the pitch at a major football Cup Final.