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.
Today it is my stop on the blog tour for James Carol’s 17 Church Row. I was keen to be on this blog tour because I’ve read a few of the authors books and have enjoyed them, especially The Killing Game and the blurb sounded interesting. I received a copy of the book via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to read the book and all thoughts are my own.
Many people are scared about artificial intelligence and where it is taking us, is Alexa really listening in to what we talk about? Does Facebook read our messages and send us adverts for things based on what we’ve talked about with our friends?
It is scary when you think about it, I use Google Maps on my phone so it knows where I go and how long I stay there, let alone all the Google searches I do. Amazon knows and awful lot, I have Alexa and she is regularly used in my house, but what would happen if Alexa had more control over me than I realised?
When Nikki Rhodes decides that moving home might help her heal from the death of one of her twin daughters they start to house hunt and her husband, Ethan, is excited when he finds a new house that has the most up to date security you can get, an inbuilt system that senses what you want before you realise you might even want it, something designed to simplify your life in ways you never imagined. Nikki isn’t so sure but she agrees to the move after meeting the architect who convinces her that the system will be good for them all.
Of course, things don’t go quite to plan. In fact it all goes spectacularly horribly wrong. I read in horror at what was happening and what Nikki had to go through as she questioned her sanity and fought against something that she didn’t know was trying to tear her life apart.
I thought the idea for this book was brilliant, and while I didn’t like Nikki very much I was drawn into the story and wanted to know what was going to happen. I enjoyed reading it and the whole AI angle made me think. I hope that nothing like this could ever happen though!
For fans of J. P. Delaney’s The Girl Before comes a thriller that makes us question our relationship with technology and the lengths we would go to, to keep our family safe.
Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.
Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.
For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.
But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?
About The Author:
James Carol was born in Scotland, where he spent his early years. He moved to England in the eighties and has lived there ever since. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor.
Broken Dolls, the first Jefferson Winter thriller, was published in 2014 and has sold a third of a million copies and been translated into twelve languages. This was followed by three other Jefferson Winter thrillers and a trilogy of novellas set during Winter’s FBI days.
James has also written three standalone thrillers. The first of these, The Killing Game was shortlisted for a CWA Ian Fleming Dagger award.
When he’s not writing, James can usually be found in his recording studio where he is currently writing and recording the first Dream Nation album.
James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, two children, a dog and a horse.
Well, where do I start with this one? I am beyond excited to be part of this amazing tour for one of my absolute favourite authors and my favourite series, and it is even more exciting because until today I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that the book even existed! I know many, many fans of Angela Marsons and her brilliant DI Kim Stone books, we’ve all waited for a new book in the series to be released, we’ve laughed and most of us have cried as we followed the journey of Stone and her team, we’ve read as the characters grew and learnt and gained confidence in themselves and, if you are anything like me, you’ve wondered what it was like at the very beginning.
Well, wonder no more. Angela Marsons has given us such a treat, she has gone back to the beginning when Stone and her team were first introduced to each other and, well, I’m sure you aren’t reading this now because you’re scrolling down to the buy link so you can get reading! And if you are still here, then here is my review of this blooming brilliant book, I received a copy of First Blood by Angela Marsons from Bookouture, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
If you are a fan of Angela Marsons then head over to the Bookouture Facebook page tonight, Thursday 14th November, at 7pm for a live video chat.
Holey Moley, Angela Marsons! This book just confirms what I have always thought, Marsons is an amazing author and I cannot understand why is she not a household name like James Patterson, Val McDermid, Patricia Cornwell and Karen Rose!
I have loved the DI Kim Stone series since I read Silent Scream back in 2015, the series has got better and better and I have loved every single book in the series. I love the character of Kim Stone, her vulnerability that is hidden behind her tough exterior and her heartbreaking childhood make her a complex and interesting character. Her team all contribute to the stories and I know that I am not alone in loving each of them and there is many people who hold grudges against Marsons for some of what she has put her characters through.
What I wasn’t expecting was for Marsons to go back to the beginning and tell us the story of when Kim Stone first met her faithful team, and how they began to pull together as a team despite them appearing to be so very different from each other. But what a blooming brilliant idea it was, I was so excited to read the book that I immediately stopped reading the book I was a third of the way through and started reading First Blood. I just couldn’t wait and I tore through the book and stayed up far later than I should have so that I could finish the book. But it was definitely one of those books where I wanted to get to the end to find out what would happen, but I also didn’t want the book to end because I was enjoying reading it so much.
I just loved reading about the teams first impressions of each other and how they found their strengths and weaknesses that meant that together they were a team that solved even the toughest crimes.
If you have read previous DI Kim Stone books then I doubt you are even reading this as you will have bought the book regardless of what the reviewers had to say, but if you haven’t read an Angela Marsons book before then buy this book, buy it and read it and enjoy the rollercoaster of the rest of the series, you will love every moment of it!
In the darkness of a cold December morning, Detective Kim Stone steps through the doors of Halesowen Police Station. She’s about to meet her team for the first time. The victim of her next case is about to meet his killer…
When the body of a young man is found beheaded and staked to the ground in a secluded area of the Clent Hills, Kim and her new squad rush to the crime scene.
Searching the victim’s home, Kim discovers a little girl’s bedroom and a hidden laptop. Why is his sister relieved to hear he’s dead – and where is the rest of his family?
As Kim begins to unearth the dark secrets at the heart of the case, D.C. Stacey Wood finds a disturbing resemblance to the recent murder of Lester Jackson. But that’s not all Stacey finds.
She’s convinced there is a link between the victims and a women’s shelter run by Marianne Forbes, Lester’s niece. A child of the care system herself, Kim knows all too well what it means to be vulnerable. Could Marianne be the key to cracking this case?
With the killer about to strike again, Kim is in deep water with a rookie squad. Inexperienced Stacey is showing signs of brilliance but struggling to hold her nerve and, while D.S. Bryant is reliable and calm, D.S. Dawson is a liability. With his home life in pieces, his volatile behaviour is already fracturing her fragile new team.
Can Kim bring Dawson in line and pull her crew together in time to catch the killer before another life is taken? This time, one of her own could be in terrible danger…
Discover where it all began for Kim and her team. An absolutely heart-stopping mystery thriller that will keep you glued to the pages, reading late into the night. Perfect for Kim Stone fans and new readers to the million-copy bestselling series.
A detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.
About The Author:
Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 3 million in 3 years.
She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.
She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.
After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.
She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.
Many of her books, including Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Fatal Promise and Dead Memories reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.
First Blood by Angela Marsons is out now on e-book, it will be released in hardback on 21st November 2019. Go to https://geni.us/B07ZDG34ZCblogger to get your copy now!
Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for a lovely little book called Home Alone Harry by Jerry Rhodes and Rachael Messiter and illustrated by Nicky Hill. Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of the book but was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
This really is a fabulous little book!! The first thing that jumps out is the brilliant illustrations, they really bring the story to life and help to engage a young reader.
I love how this book teaches children how to be around a pet dog, especially if they are getting a new pet. I wish this book had been around when I got my dog and my children had such a tough time giving her space and time to sleep etc without being bothered. It isn’t easy for excited children to do that so anything that helps them to understand why that is so important is great in my eyes.
But whether you have a dog or not, I think that most children will delight in reading this book, it is targeted at three to six year olds and I think that is a fair age range, although younger children would no doubt enjoy it too even if they didn’t understand it as well as they might.
This is the first book featuring the Thunkies and I hope that it is the first of many, these really are books to look out for!
Harry is a mischievous young dog, adored by his family, Mum, Dad, Maisie (8) and Max (5). When the family leave him on his own he creates chaos, and Dad cries out, “That bad dog must go!” Alone and sad in bed that evening, Max asks, “Can anyone help?” The Thunkies respond to his call. They help the family learn how Harry, as a dog, thinks completely differently from them. There is a surprising game “Home Alone Harry” that the family play together, which helps resolve Harry’s behavioural problem.
Written for children aged 3 – 6 years, the book is bursting with vivid, colourful illustrations and uses a rich vocabulary. The aims of the book are threefold: to delight readers, to show through the story how the Thunkies cartoon characters help the family realise that dogs don’t think like humans, and to reveal the wisdom of respecting the dog’s world-view.
The educational substance of the book arises from the research and teaching of its two authors. They demonstrate that we can learn to understand how dogs really think even though as humans we all think differently. The registered names of the research are Amichien® Bonding and Thunkies®.
Jerry Rhodes Author Bio:
Jerry Rhodes’ life-long research and teaching is the inspiration behind ‘Home Alone Harry’, this first book in a series for children featuring the cartoon characters, Thunkies®. After completing his degree and teacher training at Oxford University, Jerry’s career as a school-master was cut short by polio. He changed course to a management career in industry, discovered his talents for creativity, and formed his world-wide consultancy to collaborate with international organisations. A special project with Philips led to the discovery of ‘Thinking-Intentions’, to which he has now given the playful name, Thunkies®. Jerry writes his books from his weather-beaten old farmhouse in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.
Rachael Messiter Author Bio:
Rachael Messiter, a Dog Listener, uses the approach known as Amichien® Bonding pioneered by Jan Fennell. Rachael has her own practice, Talking Paws, based in Staffordshire. Previously she lived with wolves for close on two years in Colorado, USA, to learn how packs work. She has identified a group of issues that dog owners experience that are due to the well-meaning but flawed behaviours of owners, rather than ‘nuisance’ dogs. How to properly avoid and resolve such troublesome issues will be the theme of each book in the series Thunkies® love Dogs
Nicky Hill Illustrator Bio:
Nicky Hill is an illustrator and storyteller from Winterbourne near Bristol. Her artwork is featured throughout the Thunkies® Love Dogs books, bringing a bright, vibrant style that captures the imagination. A great lover of animals both wild and domestic, Nicky also illustrates and writes her own series of books about ‘The Wotton Pack’; a group of inquisitive pooches who spend their days and nights having many adventures. She currently lives with her own pack of three dogs in Wottonunder-Edge, a small town in Gloucestershire, where she also co-runs the shop called ‘The Collective’.
Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Break The Silence by D.K. Hood. I’ve been a fan of this series from the start and although they can be read as standalone books I would really recommend reading them from the start as that way you can fully appreciate the stories and characters.
I received a copy of Break The Silence by D.K. Hood from the publisher, Bookouture. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
I do enjoy a good story that hooks me in and keeps me reading and wanting to know what happens and who is committing the crimes that some of my favourite detectives are trying to solve.
Jenna Alton and her sidekick Kane are once again looking at another murder spree that has hit the remote American town that they live in, but this time it isn’t so simple because they aren’t completely sure whether the spate of students dying are the work of a serial killer or tragic freak accidents.
Given that this is a crime book I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which one it is, but has the Sherrif and Detective met their match?
Once again D.K. Hood finds twisted and unusual ways of killing her characters and teases the readers with her character’s relationships with each other. I always enjoy reading the authors books and Break The Silence is no different. The books are easy to read and I always get to the end all too soon. Roll on book eight!
Her head throbbed as she stumbled up the stairs. Music vibrating and the sound of partygoers fill her head as she walks into one of the dark, empty rooms. As she sits on the bed, she hears the unmistakable sound of the door locking behind her. She is not alone.
The body of college student Chrissie Lowe lies curled into a ball – long red cuts along her arms suggesting how she had met her death. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.
Purplish bruising on Chrissie’s upper arms and thighs make Jenna believe there is more to Chrissie’s death than others suspected, and she soon finds herself following the trail of the student’s last few moments, leading her to the scene of a party that had ended just hours before Chrissie’s body was found.
When Jenna hears reports that Chrissie was seen going into the bedroom of a college football star, she knows that finding out what went on behind that closed door could be the key to finding out how Chrissie ended up dead. But then another partygoer dies in an apparent accident at the campus gym just hours later, and Jenna is convinced the deaths are connected.
Facing a wall of silence from the student population, Jenna has to act fast to find the killer, but soon another student is found dead on the campus. As Jenna sends in one of her deputies undercover, she prays that she hasn’t just sealed his fate. Can she find the killer before any more lives are taken?
Fans of Lisa Regan, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott will love this totally gripping page-turner from bestselling crime author D.K. Hood. You won’t be able to put it down!
**Each Kane and Alton book can be read as part of the series or as a standalone**
About The Author:
I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories. My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine-tingling stories with you.
D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.
Today I’m on the blog tour for Ghoster by Jason Arnopp, I have to admit that this was a strange book that kept me guessing and more often than not, confused, about what was going on. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of Ghoster via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
I’m not really sure where to start with this review. Ghoster is a book unlike any that I have read before, in many ways it seemed like a pretty standard book about a girl who fell in love with a boy who was a jerk and who left her high and dry with nowhere to live. Social media and phone use are a prominent part of the story and I felt confident that this book would be a story about how phones are bad and that the moral of the story is that you should use your phone and social media less.
Of course I was totally wrong, although I do think that message is there, but this book is about so much more. The spooky element was not something I had expected, and if I’m honest it was a part of the story that I was really not sure about.
What was great about the book were some of the characters. I really like Kate Collins, the main character who was frankly rather naive and totally obsessive (hence her trying to cut down on her social media use) but also kinda brilliant. Even better than Kate was her best friend, Izzy, someone who was living with the consequences of Kate’s phone obsession yet remained a brilliant friend. I really enjoyed reading the parts with Izzy in it.
This book, despite being very confusing at times, is also very clever, thought provoking and downright crazy. The ending is one that I will be thinking about and trying to work out what on earth had happened for some time to come.
Jason Arnopp – author of acclaimed cult hit The Last Days of Jack Sparks – returns with a razor-sharp thriller for a social-media obsessed world. Prepare to never look at your phone the same way again . . .
Kate Collins has been ghosted.
She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.
Except for his mobile phone.
Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.
That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.
Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realises just how little she really knows about the man she loves.
About The Author:
Jason Arnopp is the author of the upcoming chiller-thriller novel Ghoster, The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (Orbit Books) and the co-author of Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.
Arnopp wrote the Lionsgate horror feature film Stormhouse, the New Line Cinema novel Friday The 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat, various official Doctor Who works of fiction (including the BBC audiobook Doctor Who: The Gemini Contagion) and script-edited the 2012 Peter Mullan film The Man Inside.
Arnopp has also written 2012’s Beast In The Basement, a horror novella available at Amazon, and experimental ghost story A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home.
He is the author of non-fiction ebook How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else.
He is on Twitter here, and is represented by literary agent Oli Munson at The AM Heath Agency. He is also represented for film and TV by Lawrence Mattis at Circle Of Confusion.
I am honoured to be able to be part of the cover reveal for When Stars Will Shine, a book of short stories compiled by the fabulous Emma Mitchell, editor extraordinaire. Help 4 Heroes is surely a charity that we all know about and would hopefully like to support. Emma has done an amazing thing and so many amazing authors have contributed stories so I hope that you will click the link below and pre-order the book now!
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!
A Note From Emma Mitchell, editor of When Stars Will Shine:
As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas themed short stories complied to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.
Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.
When Stars Will Shine is available for pre-order now and will be published on 9 December 2019.
There isn’t anyone in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.
It has been an honour to work on these stories and to create this anthology and I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as I have.
If you like true crime then you will love this book, Manhunt by Colin Sutton is probably the best true crime book I have read. It sucked me right in and shocked me and upset me and made me feel almost every emotion out there. A very impressive book.
I had wanted to read Manhunt by Colin Sutton for a good while before I finally got round to reading it. Like many I watched the television programme with the same name, staring Martin Clunes as Sutton. It was an excellent dramatisation but as someone who is fairly familiar with the crimes of Levi Bellfield I knew that a fair amount of dramatic licence had been used so it was time to read the book and hear the story from the man who led the police team who finally bought Bellfield to justice.
I’ve seen Sutton on various television programmes and I’ve always felt that he speaks well and knows he stuff. I was worried that the book would be full of how wonderful he is and how he almost single handedly caught Bellfield. But thankfully Sutton comes across as a team player, who appreciated his team and how hard they worked to catch the killer.
It is a shame that the blurb focuses on Milly Dowler, because this book is about so much more than her, and the other cases deserve to be as well known and talked about as Dowler.
The story is fascinating, the way in which Sutton and his team gradually pieced it all together, worked out that the killings and attempted murders were the work on the same person, the many hours of CCTV they trawled through and then eventually, the way they arrested Bellfield and then gathered further evidence as people finally felt safe to be able to talk about the things they had seen him do.
That bit was shocking and fascinating. So many people know just how awful a person Levi Bellfield is but were too scared to come forward while he was a free man. It was also really interesting to read how resources were thrown at Sutton and his team when they realised what a dangerous man Bellfield was, they were determined that Bellfield would not be able hurt anyone else while they compiled the evidence against him.
I really enjoyed reading this book, sure it is horrible to think that this really happened and Bellfield was able to hurt so many people over the years and how he managed to manipulate almost everyone to get what he wanted, but it was so interesting and a story that kept me hooked and desperate to keep reading.
Sutton surprised me as an author who was able to describe what had happened clearly and with impressive recall. I was surprised to read the criticism that he gave other police forces, especially the one responsible for investigating the disappearance of Milly Dowler.
If you are interested in true crime then this is a great book to read, if you have watched Manhunt and want to know more, then read this book. If you want to learn more about how the police go about solving major crimes, then this book is for you. So many people will get something out of this book, I got loads and it is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come. Thank goodness Bellfield is in prison and will never be released to hurt and manipulate people again.
NOW A MAJOR TV DRAMA STARRING MARTIN CLUNES
What does it take to catch one of Britain’s most feared killers?
Levi Bellfield is one of the most notorious British serial killers of the last fifty years – his name alone evokes horror and revulsion, after his string of brutal murders in the early 2000s.
At 3:07pm on 21st March, 2002, Milly Dowler left her school in Surrey for the last time. Less than an hour later, she was to be abducted and murdered in the cruellest fashion, sparking a missing person investigation that would span months before her body was found.
In the two years that followed, two more young women – Marsha McDonnell and then Amélie Delagrange – were murdered in unspeakably brutal attacks.
Yet with three murdered women on their hands, and few leads open to them, investigating officers were running out of ideas and options, until SIO Colin Sutton was drafted into the investigation for the murder of Delagrange. Seeing a connection between the three women, and thriving under the pressure of a serial killer hunt, Sutton was finally able to bring their murderer to justice after the case had begun to seem hopeless.
Manhunt tells the story of how he led the charge to find a mystery killer, against the clock and against the odds – day by day and lead by lead. At once a gripping police procedural, and an insight into the life of an evil man, this is the story behind what it takes to track down a shockingly violent murderer before he strikes again.
About The Author:
Colin Sutton was a Senior Investigating Officer in the Metropolitan Police from January 2003 to January 2011, leading more than thirty successful murder investigations, notably the Levi Bellfield case and the successful re-investigation of the seventeen-year reign of terror of the ‘Nightstalker’ Delroy Grant.
Manhunt: How I Brought Serial Killer Levi Bellfield To Justice by Colin Sutton is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
I’m delighted to welcome Rachel Amphlett too If only I could read faster as part of the blog tour for Cradle To Grave. Rachel has written a piece just for us on her writing process. I found it really interesting to read and I hope you will too.
My writing process
These days I’m a full-time author after years fitting it around first full-time work and then a part-time job, but something that hasn’t changed is that every day, I write.
When I started out, I lived on the northern outskirts of Brisbane, Australia. Our suburb was the last stop on the train line into the city and so every morning, I’d find a seat, open my laptop, and write my word count for the day. By the time the train got into Brisbane half an hour later, I’d typically have 500-750 words. I was usually too tired after a day’s work to write, but I maintained this morning habit every day for three years of my writing life.
I’ve carried that habit with me since I got made redundant in mid-2017 and being a writer became my full-time role.
Today, I’ll make a cup of coffee, head up to the spare bedroom that serves as my writing cave, add anything going around in my head to my “to do” list next to my computer so it doesn’t clutter my thoughts, and then settle in to write.
When I first begin a book, I usually have the first scene in my head and a few ideas for other scenes spread throughout the story so I open a new file in Scrivener and start setting out these Chapters. Scrivener is a brilliant app for writing because I can keep all my character profiles, research, location information, and the manuscript all in one place. That way, I’m locked into my story world and not getting distracted by having to open up other documents to find something – or surf the internet!
I write fairly quickly – a first draft typically takes me 8-9 weeks, a bit longer if it’s a standalone novel or the first book in a new series when I’m getting to know new characters and settings. I set a deadline date, tell Scrivener how many words will be in the first draft, and the app spits out a target for the day’s writing. I don’t touch the “to do” list, social media, or emails until I’ve hit that target.
I don’t always hit the target in one go. I’ve been in the habit of working from 8am through to about 9:30am, then take my dog for a walk to blow away the cobwebs and mull over what I’ve written. When we get home, I’ll go back and keep writing until I’ve either hit the target or gone past it. If I’m really flying along in a particular scene, then I won’t stop – I’m not one of those writers who can hit pause and go back to the scene the next day.
Once the first draft is done, I’ll leave it alone for a few days before having a read-through. It takes a few more weeks while my close-knit team of first readers have a look at it before it goes off for edits and a proofread prior to publication.
Of course, while all that’s going on, I’m already writing the next book…
When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity – and where he came from.
The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.
Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads, and no motive for the events that have taken place.
Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?
Cradle to Grave is the eighth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series by USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett, and perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves, Peter James and Stuart MacBride.
The Detective Kay Hunter series:
1. Scared to Death 2. Will to Live 3. One to Watch 4. Hell to Pay 5. Call to Arms 6. Gone to Ground 7. Bridge to Burn 8. Cradle to Grave
About the Author:
USA Today bestseller Rachel Amphlett writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Kay Hunter British detective series, the Dan Taylor espionage novels, the English Spy Mysteries featuring Eva Delacourt, and a number of standalone crime thrillers.
Rachel is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.