It is hard to believe that today marks five years since Silent Scream by Angela Marsons was released. Now, you might be wondering why I am writing a blog post about it because it isn’t like I normally mark a publication anniversary. But Silent Scream is not a normal book.
Silent Scream was the start of a journey, one of ups and downs, laughter and tears and the start of making new friends. Ok, ok, those friends are fictional but that doesn’t make any difference. Twelve books later, and one fabulous prequel, the series is going strong and has sold millions of copies all over the world.
There really is something special about the series that is set in the Black Country and focuses on Detective Inspector Kim Stone and her team. Kim Stone is one amazing character, she has an amazing back story and she is so believable and I would love to meet her and have a good chat. She has led her team through some pretty awful things and some very disturbing crimes and all of the team have grown and evolved over the years.
I think that I can comfortably say that the Kim Stone series is my favourite series that I have read. It is impressive that the series is still going strong after so many books and that is down the Angela Marsons, the fabulous author of the series. It is hard to believe that many publishers turned her books down until Bookouture saw the potential and signed her up. I bet that is a decision that they are delighted with.
I’m not sure what else I can say, hopefully if you haven’t read any of the DI Kim Stone series then I may have convinced you to give them a try. I’m pretty confident that if you have read some or all of the books that you agree with all that I have said.
I have reviewed most, but not all, of the books on my blog because some I read before I started reviewing on here but it is hard to believe that for every one of them, I have given them five stars. That is crazy and just shows how brilliant they are. If you want to read the reviews that I have written on this blog then you can find them here.
Book twelve in the series is looming and I cannot wait to read it! And when I do I will be sitting there sipping from my fabulous Silent Scream anniversary mug.
You can find all of Angela Marsons books on her Amazon page. There are also some special events on the Bookouture Facebook page on 20th March 2020 to celebrate the anniversary.
I have to confess that I really wanted to read Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton and not like it, which is not how I normally feel when starting a book. The reason is that the first book that I wrote (but as yet haven’t done much with) was about a school shooting in the UK and I was not impressed that there was another book about a school shooting by a successful author. I found that this book is totally different to mine, but also that it is an absolutely amazing book.
I received a copy of the book from the publishers via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
I read Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton in, well I’d like to say three hours but that would be impossible for me, but definitely, three days which is fast for me. From the very first page, this book sucked me in and took me on a rollercoaster of a ride which lasted until the very last page.
I was totally hooked and desperately wanted to get to the end but at the same time, I really didn’t want the book to be over. I loved the diverse characters, how the situation brought out the good in many and how the school itself and the weather became characters of their own.
Three Hours is a book that I thought about a lot since finishing it, it has stayed with me and I have actually considered reading it again which I never, ever do as there are just too many books that I want to read to spend time reading one twice, but I think that I will be reading it again soon.
This book really was amazing, It may just be February but I am confident that this book will be in my top 2020 books.
Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.
It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.
It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.
It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.
In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.
About The Author:
Rosamund Lupton’s new book, ‘Three Hours’ is published on 9th January 2020.
Her debut novel, ‘Sister’ was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, a Sunday Times and New York Times best seller and the fastest selling debut in WHSmiths’history. Her next two books ‘Afterwards’ and ‘The Quality of Silence’ were also Sunday Times best sellers. Her novels have been translated into over thirty languages.
I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Criminal Actions by Mel Comley, she’s a lovely author who is very active on social media and she has a wicked sense of humour. The links to follow her are at the bottom of this post. She also manages to write a crazy number of books, something that I am only slightly jealous of, and she has sold many, many books. I have to admit that I haven’t read as many of her books as I would like, I did read The Caller which she co-wrote with Tara Lyons, and I loved it. I remain disappointed that they have not written more books in the series. Anyway, when the opportunity came up to be on the blog tour for Criminal Actions I decided to take part, I don’t normally read books in a series when I haven’t read the previous books but I decided to make an exception and I’m pleased that I did.
Thank you to Sarah Hardy for asking me to be part of the blog tour. I received a copy of the book but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
I haven’t read any of the previous books in the Hero Nelson series so I was slightly wary of reading this one out of sync but I really want to read more books by M.A. Comley so I decided to risk reading Criminal Actions. I didn’t feel at any point in the book that I was missing out because I hadn’t read the previous books, there didn’t appear to be any complex back story that I couldn’t understand.
The storyline is brilliant, it is definitely one of the best storylines that I have read recently and given the number of books the author has written I am impressed that she is able to come up with such a great storyline.
Jacinda is a nanny with a seemingly nice family, but all is not as it seems behind closed doors. When Hero Nelson is called to the family’s home he is not expecting what he finds. The family has disappeared, but where are they and why did they leave in such a hurry?
Hero sets about finding out all he can about the family and where they ran to, everything points to things not being as they should and he can’t help but think that he needs to find them urgently.
The book is written in a way that makes it easy to read and I loved the premise. I wasn’t so sure about Hero and him seemingly perfect home life, but it makes a change from the alcoholic detective with a broken marriage that so many books seem to feature. I also never felt that the person that Hero was rushing to save was really going to come to any harm which made it a lot less thrilling than the book may have been.
But that said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Criminal Actions and I will definitely be reading more from the author.
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Justice series, M A Comley who has sold over two and a half million copies worldwide to date.
In a position of trust… What happens when that trust is broken?
Jacinda Meredith follows her boyfriend south from Scotland. After a few weeks she finds a dream job working as a nanny for Sadie and Leonard Knox. However, all is not as it seems.
DI Nelson and his partner are called to a murder scene which turns out to be both horrifying and perplexing.
Other cases soon come to light.
Does this mean Nelson has yet another serial Killer on his patch?
Other books in this series are: Torn Apart End Result In Plain Sight Double Jeopardy Criminal Actions
About The Author:
M A Comley is a KINDLE UNLIMITED ALL-STAR author as well as being a New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, she has topped the book charts on iBooks as a top 5 bestselling and reached #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. Over two and a half million copies sold world wide. She’s a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that’s when she turned her hobby into a career.
When she’s not writing crime novels as well as caring for her elderly mother, she’s either reading or going on long walks with her rescue pup Labrador, Dex.
Here is a list of her books, Cruel Justice, Impeding Justice, Final Justice, Foul Justice, Guaranteed Justice, Ultimate Justice, Virtual Justice, Hostile Justice, Tortured Justice, Rough Justice, Dubious Justice, Calculated Justice, Twisted Justice, Prime Justice, Heroic Justice, Shameful Justice, Immoral Justice and Overdue Justice. There are several novellas and short stories in the series too.
No Right To Kill, Killer Blow, The Dead Can’t Speak, Deluded and The Murder Pact in the DI Sara Ramsey series.
Her other successful series are: The DI Sally Parker thriller series, which includes WRONG PLACE, NO HIDING PLACE, COLD CASE, Deadly encounter and Lost Innocence
The DI Kayli Bright Trilogy – The Missing Children, Killer on the Run, Hidden Agenda, Murderous Betrayal and Dying Breath.
The Hero series, TORN APART, END RESULT, IN PLAIN SIGHT, DOUBLE JEOPARDY and CRIMINAL ACTIONS.
There are three books in the Intention series, Sole Intention, Grave Intention and Devious Intention.
Plus a couple of standalone novels – EVIL IN DISGUISE and FOREVER WATCHING YOU. I’ve also penned a cozy mystery Private Investigator series – Murder at the Wedding, Murder at the Hotel and Murder by the Sea.
As well as co-authoring the Deception Series co-authored by fellow NY Times bestselling author, Linda S Prather Clever Deception, Tragic Deception and Sinful Deception.
Emma Mitchell is a fellow book blogger and fabulous editor that gives so much of her time to help authors. And now she has decided to combine that with helping an amazing charity, Help For Heroes. Some amazing authors have written short stories for the anthology, many have a Christmas theme but not all.
I received a copy of When Stars Will Shine but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
Anthologies are a great way of discovering new authors, and when buying the book also helps an amazing charity then that can only be a good thing.
Some of the stories in When Stars Will Shine are only a few pages long, and others are longer, a lot have a Christmas theme but this book can be read year round. Given the charity the book is raising money for, many of the stories have a war theme, but many do not. The stories fit into a variety of genres so it will suit every reader.
I have read books by many of the authors before and it was great to read their stories, but I also discovered authors who I haven’t read and now want to. I loved reading this book, not only to discover new authors but because you never knew what the next story was going to be about as they were all so different from each other.
Editor Emma Mitchell has done an amazing job putting this anthology together, I know she has worked incredibly hard on it and that has paid off with this fantastic collection of stories from some amazing authors. Buy this book, you will be helping an amazing charity and you’ll have a cracking book to read. Win-win in my book!
When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist. With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time. From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride! When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!
Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Girls In The Lake by Helen Phifer and published by Bookouture. This is the second book in a series but it can be read as a standalone, and I don’t say that often!
I received a copy of the book but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
I really enjoyed the first book in the Beth Adams series that follows the forensic pathologist on the shores of Lake Windermere. The Girl In The Grave introduced us to Beth at a time when she was vulnerable and a low point in her life so it is nice to see her, a few months down the line, moving on from that, although of course, the path isn’t going to be smooth.
I don’t like reading books in a series when I haven’t read the previous ones, I’ve done it but not very often, but I do think that The Girls In The Lake could be read as a standalone book. Although saying that reading books in order does make the story flow and gives the characters more depth.
When dead girls start showing up in the beautiful Lake Windermere, Beth Adams job is to confirm that the deaths were the accidents they look like so the police can close the file. But something doesn’t feel right to Beth and so she starts to dig deeper and soon finds herself facing the dark side of the beautiful lake.
I love the setting for these books, it’s somewhere so idyllic and an unlikely setting for the story that unfolds. I loved that the story was not what I was expecting, but I did feel that it didn’t grab me in the way the author’s books normally do. This is the fifth book of hers that I have read and they are all easy to read books that suck you in. This one didn’t quite do that.
It’s still a great read and is the second book in a promising series that I look forward to reading more of!
Peering over the side of the boat, the glare of early morning sun catches on something pale in the inky water. The boy’s curious fingertips break the surface, pulling up a tangle of long blonde hair from the reeds below…
The discovery of a young student floating face down in Lake Windermere, her naked skin almost translucent in the freezing water, looks like yet another tragic teen suicide. But the victim’s lack of clothes make Forensic Pathologist Beth Adams want to investigate further. Anything to distract her from the arrival of her abusive ex-boyfriend’s body on the mortuary table that morning.
With witnesses keeping tight-lipped and any clues washed away by the tides, it’s up to Beth to find the evidence her team needs. But then another girl is found in the lake, this time still clinging to life. She tells them she was at a party on a boat, and that she was pushed…
As more bodies surface, Beth finds tiny traces of boat paint present on each victim. It’s a critical lead that links these attacks back to a tragic accident involving a group of school children years ago.
Faced with a killer hungry for revenge, and with her own life spiralling out of control, it’s going to take every ounce of skill and determination for Beth to catch this monster before he takes another innocent life. But will Beth realise he’s been right beside her all along?
An absolutely unputdownable serial killer thriller that will have you sleeping with the lights on. Fans of Patricia Gibney, LJ Ross and Angela Marsons will have to hold on tight for this nail-biting rollercoaster ride!
About The Author:
Helen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children. Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.
If a book is set in New Zealand then you can be pretty sure that I will want to read it so I jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour for The Sound Of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell. Thank you to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of The Sound Of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
When most people think of New Zealand they think of sheep, greenery and stunning views. They would be right, all those things exist in New Zealand but there is a far darker side to the country than most people know. Gang culture is big and that leads to crime and violence that you wouldn’t think would be part of life in a county that is often hailed as one of the best places to live.
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell is a gritty crime book, following Detective Matt Buchanan as he tries to solve some truly heinous crimes. The death toll in the book is high and many of them involve people that Buchanan is close to, it drives him to do everything to solve the crimes and ensure that those responsible are held to account, and that often leads him to act far outside the law.
I often wondered how much of the book was based on fact rather than fiction, it felt so very real at times. The author, Nathan Blackwell although that is not his real name, does a frankly remarkable job of portraying the mental impact of the job on the Detective. It is hard for me to put into words how real it all felt and how at times it was painful to read Matt Buchanan’s breakdown.
This book is not for the faint hearted or the easily offended. There are many, many swear words in the book including the ‘c’ word, it is strong and that might bother readers. I don’t mind swearing if it is appropriate, and most of the time it was but the one thing I would change about the book is the number of swear words including the ‘c’ word.
But if you can stomach that and the gruesome murders and the descent into madness then read this book, it is disturbing and thought provoking and may just make you look at policing a little bit differently. I was blown away by The Sound Of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell and it will stay with me for a long time to come. Hopefully, the author will write more books as I will be keen to read them!
Some murder cases you can’t forget. No matter how hard you try.
The body of a woman has been found on a pristine New Zealand beach – over a decade after she was murdered.
Detective Matt Buchanan of the Auckland Police is certain it carries all the hallmarks of an unsolved crime he investigated 12 years ago: when Samantha Coates walked out one day and never came home.
Re-opening the case, Buchanan begins to piece the terrible crimes together, setting into motion a chain of events that will force him to the darkest corners of society – and back into his deepest obsession…
Sound of her Voice is an authentic, gritty, character-led police procedural by an elite former detective – for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart Macbride, and Joseph Knox
About The Author:
Nathan Blackwell was raised on Auckland’s North Shore and attended Westlake Boys’ High School before commencing a ten-year career in the New Zealand Police. Seven of those years were spent as a Detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch, where he was exposed to human nature at its strongest and bravest, but also at its most depraved and horrific. He investigated a wide range of cases including drug manufacture, child abuse, corruption, serious violence, rape and murder. Because some of his work was conducted covertly, Nathan chooses to hide his true identity.
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Oi, a powerful book that I really wanted to support even if I wasn’t able to read it myself. David Jackson, author of Oi has joined us to tell you a bit more about himself and his book.
1) Tell us of your journey as a writer.
It all began when I attended the inaugural Your Life, Your Story event organised by Amanda Knowles (MBE) and Rosie Canning. I had tinkered with the idea of writing previously, but never got round to it because, I like to procrastinate. After the event, it all seemed like a case of the right time, and the right place, and so I simply started writing, then couldn’t stop.
2) What made you choose to write about care experience?
It was something that just seemed appropriate at the time. I had turned the story over in my head a millions times, and so it was an easy hit in that sense for a first stab at writing. The key for me was to enjoy the writing. I didn’t want it to become onerous, and once I had started, the last thing I wanted was an unfinished manuscript on my hands.
3) Do you have any personal experience with the care system, fostering, children’s homes etc?
Yes, I spent the first sixteen and a half years of my life in one form of home or another. It was a brutal indoctrination into a careless world as it was at the time, but it taught me plenty, and made me the man I am today.
3) How did you go about the writing process?
My starting point was to develop my timeline. As the story was a reflection of my life at that moment in time, there was a clear chronology. I plotted the start date, the end date, the midpoint, and then I began to populate events that occurred between all points on the time line. Within the hour, I was looking at a timeline with nearly one hundred events listed against it.
I then began to trim that down, using on those events that had a significant link between them, and which also at face value, appeared to support that narrative that I had in mind. This proved a more difficult task, as items came, went and then returned. But eventually it led to a strong timeline, from which I could begin the actual writing process.
My first draft comprised approximately 70,000 words, which was essentially a brain dump of everything that I had rolling around in my head. It was completely without structure, but the point was to get it onto the screen in order that I could work on it later. The second draft rose to around 100,000 as I added more and more detail, fleshed out the storyline and improved the overall readability. I think the final draft peaked out at around 130,000 words.
4) What is the meaning of the title?
In essence it is just a reflection of the feelings that I and many others probably felt as life was brutally unfolding in front of us. It is the one word that I seem to recall hearing frequently throughout my childhood. It was as if people simple chose not to use your name, and that ‘Oi’ would do..
5) What are you currently working on? What can we look forward to reading?
I am currently sketching out a thriller, and have a few other ideas rolling around in my head. I will follow the same process as before when I start writing, and hopefully you will all see me on a best-sellers list sometime soon.
6) What diverse characters do you think are missing from literature?
It would be nice if a care experienced person was portrayed somewhere in literature that didn’t involve a prison, drugs, homelessness, etc. The change has to start somewhere, and so I am writing in one or two care experienced characters into my thriller, and they will feature prominently.
7) Who is your favourite literary character from childhood and why?….
I sadly don’t have one. My childhood reading was mainly confined to comics and football stickers/albums. There was no parental influence, and very few books at my disposal as a child, and so you could say I not only missed out, but have cultivated the non-reading habit into adult life. Maybe that’s my next big challenge. A book a month for a year, and see how I go.
This is a harrowing personal voyage into the 1960-80s childcare system as experienced first-hand by the author and many like him. It was a brutally horrific system, that made countless victims of the very children it was designed to protect. These brutally horrific regimes, founded upon extraordinary levels of inhumanity, cruelty, violence, fear, and intimidation, brought children to their knees, brutalised, cowed and often in fear for their very existence.It was a stark, depressive, and oppressively dysfunctional system, that imposed perpetual physical suffering and mental hardship, upon its most vulnerable charges. It was a pernicious cycle of ritualised systematic abuse, inflicted on some of the most vulnerable children society could offer up.This was the environment that the ‘Unfortunates’ found themselves embedded in during the 1960s. It was a system that lacked care, thought, and all things humane. A system where the imposition of brutal physical and sexual abuse had become normalised, legitimised, embraced and ultimately, forcefully accepted. This was life in a local authority home. These were the homes of ‘the Damned’, where a catalogue of daily horrors were inflicted for the personal pleasure of those charged with the care of this hidden, and often forgotten, sub-culture of children who, through no fault of their own, were forced to embrace these traumas, and endure a fight for their very survival.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The author, David Lee Jackson (1964 – Present) was born in Withington, Manchester in England, into an impoverished black family. Within months of being born, he found himself on the wrong end of abusive parenting, being hospitalised and close to death.
Eventually recovering and well enough to be treated as an out-patient, he was placed into foster care, where he was loved and he began to thrive. Unforeseen circumstances forced him from this loving home, and he found himself at the brutal and often criminal mercies of an abusive and violent childcare system.
The 1960s and 1970s British Childcare System cared little for the children under its control. It was a brutal, degrading, violent and occasionally deadly environment, into which children were not only thrown like lambs to the slaughter, but were then expected to emerge as competent, capable, contributing members of the society that had so shamelessly failed them at every juncture.
He survived by navigating his course through one violent and abusive encounter after another. Living on his wits, and his fists where necessary, and longing for the day he would finally be freed from this physical and psychological turmoil.
David survived, educated himself, obtaining an Honours Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in International Business. He has been an elected public official, served on a number of charity boards and forums, and is an active campaigner on social justice and equality issues. David has worked in the criminal justice system, working with drug-addicted offenders, many with shared or similar backgrounds to his own, and he is a well-travelled and widely respected project management consultant.
In 2018, David (under the name Snowball) published the widely praised and much talked about book, ‘Oi’ through the Amazon network, in which he detailed in all its brutally cold and horrifically ignoble glory, the horrifying levels of abuse, brutality and criminality that he encountered, while being raised in the British Childcare System throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The book itself is a testament to the enduring resilience of all children living through adversity and both physical and psychological hardship, and an indictment of the casually brutal and often criminal systems, that inflict relentless brutality upon children it has been charged with caring for.
…..Harrowing, Brutal and Truthful! Buckle up and read Snowballs heart wrenching account of a life that no child should ever experience- prepare to be shocked to the core, be ready to feel every emotion…..(Brenda Lee)
……one of the most emotional journeys you will ever take with a child who survives unbelievable childhood adversity. At times it is almost too painful to witness, it truly is a tribute to the child and the man who wrote it……Amanda Knowles (MBE)
…..this book is as epic, as it is painful read at times and extremely sad! It illustrates a time when Victorian child care was still in evidence even in the 60s, 70s & 80s and children were definitely to be seen and not heard………this book will educate……Anon
David is currently resident in the United Kingdom, where amongst other professional endeavours, he has embarked on a blossoming career as a Keynote Speaker and Motivational Presenter. He has an adult son and enjoys the comfort of a vast extended family, that is spread across the entirety of the United kingdom.
To quote David in words he would choose himself:
………….Life has been a tough ride at times. It would have been easy, and acceptable to simply give up, to shrink, to fade away as expected. However, there is an irrepressible force inside all of us called, the Human Spirit, and it constantly screams at me, ‘David, you may not be responsible for being down, but you are responsible for getting back up again’…………………and so I get up.