#CoverReveal – “Silent Night” by Geraldine Hogan @Bookouture

Many readers are familiar with the outstanding women’s fiction of Faith Hogan. Well, good news folks, she has turned her hand to detective fiction!

Writing under her real name, Geraldine Hogan, she has a two book publishing deal with Bookouture.

I’ve read this author’s women’s fiction and I’m VERY EXCITED to try her new Detective Iris Locke series! Here is the blurb:

Silent Night by Geraldine Hogan

A baby is snatched from her pram in the garden. She’s never found. Thirty years later her sister, now a mother herself, is brutally killed.

When Ann Crowe is killed in her sleep alongside her children, the quiet local community of Corbally is shocked. It’s also a chilling reminder of when her sister, Janey, disappeared as a baby, twenty nine years ago, never to be seen again.

Detective Iris Locke is assigned to the case and, after a year undercover which ended in failure when her cover got blown, she’s desperate to make her mark – and to live up to the reputation of her ex-cop father, the former head of the Limerick Murder Squad.

Jack Locke ran the investigation into the disappearance of baby Janey. But by reopening the case, Iris is also reopening old wounds for the team. Can she untangle the dark secrets that lead to one sister vanishing and the other’s death – even if it means digging into the past of someone very close to her?

Fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons, and L.J. Ross wont’ want to miss this – the first book in a gripping and unputdownable new crime series.

 

Do you want to see the cover? It is FAB!

Okay… I’ll put you out of your misery. LOL

I have just pre-ordered my Kindle copy from Amazon.ca for only $1.99

Geraldine Hogan gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
Writing under the name Faith Hogan, she was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.  She has written four best-selling novels including: Secrets we Keep; What Happened to Us; My Husband’s Wives; and most recently, The Girl I Used to Know.

Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland and still lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children, and an overweight cat.

Follow her on Twitter.

Posted in 1st in series, Anticipated titles, Bookouture, cover reveals | Tagged , | 3 Comments

“A Mother’s Confession” by Kelly Rimmer – Book Review

The Tragedy – When we join the story, a thirty-seven year old man has recently died. David Wyatt Gillespie was charming, a successful businessman, an avid sportsman, was on the town council, and was married with an infant daughter. He was also an abusive husband.

A Mother’s Confession” is the story of the two women who loved him.

The Wife – Thirty-five year old Olivia Gillespie, is deeply traumatized by her husband’s death. Swept away initially by David’s charm and persuasiveness, she learned, after a decade, that David’s love for her bordered on obsession. He was extremely controlling, emotionally manipulative, and physically abusive. Over the years he had cut her off from her own family and isolated her from all of her friends. Now he is dead, and Olivia finds she cannot move on.  With a daughter who is only a few months old to look after, she rarely leaves her lavish home, and then only to visit her grief counselor in the accompaniment of her mother. Olivia once worked as a veterinary surgeon, but since the birth of her daughter Zoe, she has not returned to her career. Olivia blames herself for what happened to David.

“Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer.”

As the book progresses, so too does Olivia’s mental anguish gradually lessen. Enough so that she makes a list to get on with her life – using her maiden name, Olivia Brennan.

The Mother-In-Law – Ivy Gillespie is David’s mother. Reeling from the shocking death of her only and much beloved son, she is trying to grasp what has happened.  We learn much about Ivy through her reminiscences of David’s life, starting when he was just a small boy. Ivy had an unhealthy relationship with her son. She couldn’t see that he had any flaws, and always completely centered her life around his. Unhappily married to the town’s only grocer, she wants for nothing, yet she has never really loved he husband Wyatt. Her only love has always been her handsome and athletic son who learned his manipulative ways at his mother’s knee.  Ivy has always been jealous of her son’s relationship with Olivia, and she blames Olivia for what happened to David.

“David was my perfection – and raising him was instantly my purpose. I threw myself into motherhood with great abandon.”

The Vet – Sebastian McNiven is the veterinarian in Milton Falls. Once he was Olivia’s boss and good friend.  He suspected what was going on, but felt he could not interfere…

The Setting – A small town in Australia called Milton Falls which is about four hours drive away from the city of Sydney.

The reader is never made privy to how David actually died until the very end of the book. We only know that it must have been something spectacular because Olivia mentions that his death was captured by national media. This is the crux of the whole book.

I absolutely hated Ivy’s character. I was often impatient with Olivia’s character. Yet, the author must have done something very right for me to FEEL so strongly about these two women.

Don’t let the cover misguide you, this is not your sappy romance. Though it does have a small element of love story, this is mostly a book about unhealthy parenting, abuse in marriage, and even more than that, it was about grief and the grieving process.

Although readers often expect a plot twist when reading thrillers, you don’t often get one in women’s fiction. This book was the exception. The twist when it came near the end of the novel was profoundly shocking to me. That being said, after I thought about it a bit more, I realized that there were many hints in the book that I should have picked up on, but didn’t. Shame on me.

Recommended to those readers who enjoy cleverly written women’s fiction.

Thank you to the publisher Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of A Mother’s Confession via Netgalley. I was under no obligation to give a review.


Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels. Her latest, Before I Let You Go, was released in 2018. This year, she will be releasing her new novel, The Things We Cannot Say. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil.

Follow Kelly Rimmer on Twitter

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookouture, NetGalley, Women's fiction | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Yes – these are REAL #words

While perusing the internet, I came across an article about words. So, of course I had to then stop and check it out.

Reader’s Digest has compiled a list of 15 words that many folk argue aren’t words at all.

But they are wrong. They ARE real words.

The others include:

irregardless

prolly

funner

anyways

orientate

snuck

madded

impactful

gonna

ginormous

nother

conversate

This list was originally compiled by Brittany Gibson for Reader’s Digest.

Most of these I’ve heard many times. One I hadn’t heard before was prolly (used instead of probably). Some of these I’ve used myself in everyday speech.  The four words from the list that I’ve NEVER used myself are: prolly, conversate, nother,  and madded.

Interestingly, the WordPress program underlined SIX of these words in red indicating that they are not words. LOL.

The SIX that WordPress underlined are: prolly, snuck, madded, impactful, nother, and conversate.

Your thoughts?

Posted in ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

“Block 46” by Johana Gustawsson – Book Review

“Block 46 is the antechamber to death”

“Outstanding, devastating, and memorable crime fiction”

Originally written in French, it is brilliantly and seamlessly translated by Maxim Jakubowski The blurb:

In Falkenberg Sweden, the mutilated body of a talented young jewelry designer Linnéa Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In Hampstead Heath, London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnéa’s.

In Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944, Erich Ebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.

Are the murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to the gruesome and barbaric events at Buchenwald? 

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection gradually comes to light.

Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller.


This book introduces a female investigative pair. Emily Roy is a profiler with the Canadian R.C.M.P., currently seconded to Scotland Yard. She teams up with Alexis Castells, a true-crime writer, to investigate a barbarious series of crimes with links to the past.

When jewelry designer Linnéa Blix fails to show up at a Cartier event showcasing her work, her friends know that something serious must have occurred.

Her friends, including Alexis Castells, travel to Sweden. When they arrive, they meet the police team headed by Lennart Bergström,  as well as Linnéa’s neighbours, one of whom is Stellan Eklund who becomes an important figure in the life of Alexis Castells.

The profiler, Emily Roy carries a tiny black box with her at all times. She occasionally peers into it when she is alone. What could possibly be its significance?

The murders of the young boys in London closely resemble the murder of Linnéa Blix. What could possibly connect them? What links the northern London, and the western Swedish kill sites? And, more importantly, how could the story of a man incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp possibly be connected to the serial killer story?

I’ve had this novel on my TBR for some time now and I’m SO happy that I finally got a chance to read it. WOW! The epilogue states that the author’s grandfather was an inmate in Buchenwald concentration camp, and that he played a part in the liberation in April 1945. This book is an outstanding tribute to him and his comrades.

The cover.  This is part serial killer/crime thriller and part historical/holocaust fiction. Whoever designed the cover captured both elements perfectly.

The writing. Told in brief chapters, there were three well-constructed narratives running throughout this novel. The present day serial killer investigation, the historic Buchenwald story of Erich Ebner (German medical student turned Nazi prisoner), and, a third which was narrated by the serial killer (thankfully his sections were short).

The characters. There were quite a few different characters in the book, but I had no trouble discerning who was who. All were clearly defined, yet the two protagonists, Emily and Alexis, seemed to be holding back secrets. Perhaps these secrets will be explored more fully in future novels.

Emily Roy, in particular, was an enigma. A Canadian, seconded by Scotland Yard, she is a driven criminal profiler.  Although she can interview victims with empathy and compassion, her co-workers find her brusque to the point of rudeness. They find her to be cold, with a misanthropic attitude.

My only quibble. Emily and Alexis had met three years prior to the events in this book, which is the only attempt the author makes to explain why Alexis, a true-crime writer, is given almost free reign in the investigation and is made privy to all the evidence. She is an integral part of the investigation, but I’m still not sure why she was granted such access. Surely her friendship with a visiting criminal profiler would not normally do so?

The settings. The scenes set in Sweden painted a vivid picture of the bone-chilling cold, the scrumptious food, and the housing styles. The scenes in Buchenwald were horrific, barbaric, atrocious, and depressing. Dark, harrowing, and graphic, they could possibly deter some readers from appreciating the book. But these things really DID happen, and it is important for us in this cossetted age to realize the true meaning of ‘inhumanity to man’.

The serial killer. He refers to “The Other”. Does he have a partner in crime? Is he delusional? As is all good thrillers, the identity of the killer was not revealed until the end of the book. And yes… I was surprised by who it turned out to be.

The twist. Yes there certainly was one. But being the non-spoiler type of reviewer I am, I couldn’t possibly ruin it for you.

I am very happy to know that a sequel to this novel (“Keeper“) is available, and I very much look forward to reading it. Emily Roy and Alexis Castells together again.

Highly recommended to those readers who enjoy thrillers with a visceral punch. It was a fast-paced, chilling, and memorable novel.

My gratitude goes to the publisher, Orenda Books, for generously providing me with a digital copy of this novel for review.

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, including Block 46, Keeper and, soon to be published, Blood Song, has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons.

Follow @JoGustawsson  @Orendabooks on Twitter or on facebook.com/johana.gustawsson/

Visit johanagustawsson.com/en/

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Historical fiction, novels in translation, Orenda Books | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Great books I haven’t read yet… #bookblogger stress

All of the novels in the above graphic are on my TBR.  I do NOT have review commitments for any of them. But these are the ones I really, really, really want to read.

Sometimes I wish I could live forever as there are SO many wonderful reads out there.

Do YOU have a huge TBR that you don’t have review commitments for? If so, what title is at the top of your list?

Posted in Anticipated titles, Book bloggers, ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged , , | 59 Comments

“The Clockmaker’s Daughter” by Kate Morton – Now in paperback!

Back in September 2018 I read and thoroughly enjoyed Kate Morton’s sixth novel, “The Clockmaker’s Daughter“.

Today, it is being released in paperback format by
Atria Books/Simon & Schuster.Exclusive to the paperback is a timeline of the chronology of Birchwood Manor, the house which is the centerpiece of what Booklist called Morton’s “most ambitious work yet“.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter” has several different protagonists as the narrative is set over a vast span of years, from 1862 – 2017.  The story jumps back and forth between these different protagonists, yet the reader is constantly aware that they all are in some way linked.  The primary linking factor has to be the Berkshire manor house, Birchwood Manor. Situated near the bank of the River Thames, and built very close to one of Britain’s mystical ley lines, the isolated house was described so atmospherically that the author has made the house itself the main character. “It is a strange house, built to be purposely confusing. Staircases that turn at unusual angles, all knees and elbows and uneven treads; floorboards and wall panels with clever concealments.”

“Birchwood Manor was one of those places in which the threads of time slackened and came unstrung.”

How I imagined Birchwood Manor might look…

In 1862, a wealthy, talented, and charismatic young artist named Edward Radcliffe bought the house.  He was drawn to the way the house made him feel.  It was a place of refuge, contentment, security and belonging.  Although Edward, in his early twenties, was engaged to marry, he immediately fell in love with a girl he met whilst at the theater.  He was taken by her beauty and her obvious intelligence.  He asked her to be his model – his muse.  He took her, along with his sisters and a group of artist friends, the group called the ‘Magenta Brotherhood’, to Birchwood Manor to spend the summer there.  Though the summer began in an idyllic way, there would be no happy ending for Edward, or for his muse, Lily Millington aka Birdie Bell. Edward’s fiancée was shot dead – and the Radcliffe family heirloom, the Radcliffe Blue pendant vanished.


“There is a wound that never heals in the heart of an abandoned child.”

Birdie Bell was told her father had traveled to America to find work. She was taken in at the age of seven, and groomed to be a pickpocket and a thief under the name Lily Millington.  This was not her true nature though… she was the clockmaker’s daughter and retained memories of a time when she lived with her father. Her mother died with she was very young, so she and her father became very close.


Lucy Radcliffe had run a girl’s boarding school at Birchwood Manor. The school closed in 1901 after one of the students drowned in the nearby river.

In the early 1940s we meet Juliet Wright. Struggling in London during the war, she is a journalist and the mother to three children.  When Juliet learns of the death of her husband, AND, that her house has been razed to the ground in the Blitz, she packs up her three children and travels to Berkshire where she rents Birchwood Manor.

In 1980 the Manor was opened to the public.

In 2017, we meet Elodie Winslow who works in London as an archivist. She is engaged to be married, yet the reader senses that her fiancé is NOT the love of her life.  One day at work, Elodie discovers an old box containing a fine, bespoke leather satchel, a photograph of a beautiful woman, and an artist’s sketchbook. Within the sketchbook’s pages is a rendering of a house. Elodie immediately feels a strong sense of déjà vu.  The house reminds her of a house from a story she heard often as a child…


Also in the present day we come to know a woman who resides in the house. She remembers everything. She “stands outside time“.

“I miss touch. I miss being touched.” “I miss having a face. And a voice. A real voice that everyone can hear. It can be lonely in the liminal space.”

Kate Morton certainly knows how to weave a story. This time, she had her work cut out for her as there were so many threads that had to come together to make the whole.  The very many characters and time periods was a bit overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day, “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” was a very satisfying read.

More than just your usual historical fiction, it was a study of aging, regret, of loss, of great love, of parents and children, and of the different incarnations of one old house over many years. A great read for a stormy winter’s day.


Favourite quotes from”The Clockmaker’s Daughter”:

“Oh, but it is worst thing about getting old, time. There isn’t enough of it left. There is simply too much to know and too few hours in which to know it.”

“The truth depends on who it is that’s telling the story.”

“People value shiny stones and lucky charms, but they forget that the most powerful talismans of all are the stories that we tell to ourselves and to others.”

Kate Morton was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim.

Kate Morton’s five previous novels – The House at RivertonThe Forgotten GardenThe Distant HoursThe Secret Keeper and The Lake House – have all been New York Times bestsellers, Sunday Times bestsellers and international number 1 bestsellers; they are published in 34 languages, across 42 countries.

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

“The Lighthouse” by Alison Moore – Book Review

All the women in Futh’s life seem to abandon him. First his mother, then his wife. In fact, he has never really gotten over the fact that his mother left – because – she was bored to death my his father. His wife in turn is bored by Futh, and she can’t stand the way he keeps comparing her to his mother.

“His heart feels like the raw meat it is. It feels like something peeled and bleeding. It feels the way it felt when his mother left.”

When Futh’s mother left, his father destroyed all of her things that she left behind. Unbeknownst to his father, Futh kept a small silver lighthouse that belonged to her. He keeps it with him always and views it as some might view a St. Christopher medal.

Futh has just been banished by his wife. He is taking a walking holiday in Germany to ‘get his head together’. When this holiday is over, he will be moving into an apartment on his own. He is worried that his wife, Angela, will not feed his stick insects. This worry is very plausible because Angela hates them.

His ‘holiday’ is a singularly lonesome one, which he is not prepared for. He is wearing brand new hiking boots which have chafed his feet horribly. He has little sense of direction, and he seems to miss most of his meals at the hotels because he always arrives too late.

As he walks, Futh reflects back on a walking holiday he took with his mother and father in Cornwall when he was a boy.


Ester, the wife of a small hotelier in Germany, has cleaning methods would make you reconsider ever staying in a hotel again. Her relationship with her husband, Bernard, is a weird one. She loves him, yearns for him (despite the fact that he smells like camphor), yet… she sleeps with just about any guest who will have her.

“These days, Bernard only notices Ester when other men do.”

Futh is to spend the first night and last night of his walking holiday at Ester and Bernard’s hotel.

When Futh notices that his little silver lighthouse is missing, the results of his discovery are tragic…

MY THOUGHTS

The Lighthouse” is a debut novel with literary merit.

Despite that, I found that it was a bleak, forlorn, and desolate story. Futh’s character was well depicted, he just wasn’t interesting. Futh was a sad, unremarkable man with not many redeeming characteristics.

Ester, though interesting, was also a very sad woman. A woman to whom life seemed a major disappointment. In fact, all of the women in the book seem to have unfulfilling lives.

The book was well rendered, yet I found it to be depressing with a feeling of hopelessness. All of the characters seemed dissatisfied with their lives.

The title of the novel was very apt. Futh was looking for a ‘safe harbour’.

I received a complimentary digital copy of “The Lighthouse” from Biblioasis via Edelweiss.

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Literary fiction | Tagged , | 6 Comments

“Sweet Little Lies” by Caz Frear – Book Review

“Problem is, while the lie may be sweet as it falls from your lips, the feeling in your gut is always putridly sour. And almost always bang-on.”

“I’ve spent most of my life, not exactly sure in the belief, but certainly toying with – then blocking out – the idea that Dad might have killed Maryanne Doyle in 1998.”

“Good daughter. Bad cop”

Good cop. Bad daughter.

This is the conundrum Cat Kinsella finds herself in.

I read a lot of police procedurals and enjoy them very much. “Sweet Little Lies” was different in that the protagonist is not a Detective Inspector, or someone of high rank. She was a twenty-six year old Detective Constable with little experience on the murder squad. Unmarried, she rents an attic room from a family with young children. She likes her work and is good at it, yet she fears that family loyalty has jeopardized her career. She compromises her personal and professional ethics and is deeply conflicted over this. Also, Cat is still reeling from emotional trauma she experienced on her last case. She drinks too much. She is obsessed with fairness and justice.

“The most devastating punishments aren’t always the legal ones.”

A Londoner born and bred, Cat grew up in a flat over a pub in Islington. Her family are originally from Ireland. Her father is a bit of a rogue and a scoundrel, always delving into ‘shady’ endeavors to make money. Once the apple of her father’s eye, Cat now harbors a deep suspicion of him which started when she was only eight years old. Cat was very close to her mother who passed away a few years ago.

Cat’s family, like a lot of families, is quite dysfunctional. She is estranged from her Dad, she has little in common with her older sister Jacqui, and she outright dislikes her brother Noel.

Cat’s police family were an interesting lot. Her ‘work-Dad’, Detective Sergeant Lu Parnell, her diminutive yet commanding Detective Chief Inspector (who is aptly named Steele).

The action in the book takes place Christmas week 2016. A time when emotions and stress run high for most people. This adds pathos to the situation.

I really enjoyed the writing style which reminded me of a cross between Tana French and Angela Marsons. The characters were well rendered and the mystery/police case was interesting and rather unique. Overall, a stellar debut novel.

I very much look forward to following Cat Kinsella in further books and already have a copy of “Stone Cold Heart” loaded on my Kindle. Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from HarperCollins via Edelweiss.

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry, England, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the second finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, and when she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. Sweet Little Lies is her first novel.

Follow Caz Frear on Twitter

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, debut novels, Edelweiss, Mystery fiction | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Amazing Literary Event to take place in London #capitalcrime19 @CapitalCrime1

Capital Crime Festival

26-28th September 2019

line up so far: https://www.capitalcrime.org/guests/

Abir Mukherjee| Ian Rankin| Kate Atkinson | Martina Cole | Ann Cleeves| Mark Billingham | |Tom Bradby | John Connolly| David Baldacci | Frank Gardner | Robert Glenister | Robert Harris | Charles Cumming  Peter James | Lynda La Plante | Simon Mayo | Steph McGovern | Kate Mosse | Denise Mina| Leye Adenle| Dreda Say Mitchell | |Catherine Steadman | Stella Rimington | Don Winslow | And many, many more to come…

Capital Crime today announces further names for its inaugural festival taking place this September at the Connaught Rooms in London. Mark Billingham, Martina Cole, Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves, Don Winslow, Robert Glenister, Leye Adenle, Denise Mina, Catherine Steadman and Abir Mukherjee are among the guests announced today.

The first international crime and thriller festival in London, Capital Crime offers fans unprecedented access to their favourite crime and thriller creatives. Capital Crime is a celebration of books, films and TV and the line-up is an unrivalled mix of world class talent, rising stars and newcomers. Capital Crime is a must for fans of all things crime and thriller.

Among the stellar list of speakers are Kate Atkinson, David Baldacci, Ann Cleeves, Robert Harris, Peter James, Lynda La Plante, Simon Mayo, and Kate Mosse.  (list of confirmed guests can be found here:https://www.capitalcrime.org/guests/).

The crime and thriller community is excited about Capital Crime.

Martina Cole (No Mercy – Headline – Autumn) said: ‘We have all been waiting for a London based festival like Capital Crime.  It’s fantastic to see such a diverse line up of crime and thriller writers taking part.  David Headley and Adam Hamdy have put together an amazing programme of events for the first crime festival in London and I’m thrilled to be part of it.’

Ann Cleeves (The Long Call – Pan Macmillan – September)  ‘I’m delighted to be taking part in the very first Capital Crime and can’t wait to meet readers and writers in London in September.’

 

Best-selling London based author Abir Mukherjee (Smoke and Ashes – Vintage – June) said: ‘London is one of the world’s great cities, the setting, and often the inspiration, for some most infamous true crimes and some of the world’s best loved fictional detectives. It’s the home of Scotland Yard, Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes and a natural location for a festival bringing together international fans and authors in a celebration of the very best and latest that crime fiction has to offer. It’s long overdue and I hope Capital Crime becomes a regular fixture in the crime fiction calendar.’

Panels of note include:

The Interrogation of Mark Billingham: The bestselling author is put through his paces by Graham Bartlett, an experienced police interrogator

Ian Rankin discusses The Human Cost of Crime with Don Winslow.

 

Also there is a quiz panel Whose Crime is it Anyway? pitting debut crime and thriller authors against each other with Paul Clayton hosting

The Forensic Mind: Denise Mina and Ann Cleeves discuss what makes a great detective, moderated by Chris Ewan

Plus Are We Living in An Espionage Thriller: Tom Bradby, Charles Cumming, Frank Gardner and Stella Rimington offer their unique insights into events that concern us all.

Capital Crime is a diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival, running initiatives including social outreach to support students exploring a literary career, an innovative digital festival and the launch of their New Voices Award. The festival is the brainchild of British screenwriter Adam Hamdy and Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, David Headley.

David Headley: ‘It is thrilling to announce more fantastic authors and creatives who are attending our first Capital Crime festival. The support and enthusiasm we have received is wonderfully encouraging and we are looking forward to an amazing inaugural event.’

Adam Hamdy: ‘We’re excited to be able to reveal more of the Capital Crime line-up. We’re very grateful for the support we’ve had from authors and the publishing community and can’t wait to bring our exciting new festival to London.’

Tickets for the festival are now on sale at https://www.capitalcrime.org/

About David Headley

David Headley studied theology in London and Durham before co-founding and becoming the Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, a much admired, leading independent bookseller, based in central London.

He has gained a reputation for championing debut authors and he created the UK’s largest collectors’ book club. David has won awards for bookselling and in 2015 he was included in the Top 100 most influential people in publishing by The Bookseller.

David is also the MD of The Dome Press, a small, independent publisher based in London, and co-founder of Capital Crime.

About Adam Hamdy

Adam Hamdy is a London-born, British screenwriter and author. Adam recently signed a three-book deal with Pan Macmillan. BLACK THIRTEEEN, the first book in the new thriller series, will be published in autumn 2019. As a screenwriter, Adam is currently adapting a multi-million copy New York Times bestselling novel for a US studio. In the past year he has written screenplays for four Academy Award-winning production companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Adam has a degree in Law from Oxford University and a degree in Philosophy from the University of London. He is a seasoned skier, rock climber, and marksman.


 About New Voices Award

Capital Crime will be launching an exciting competition to help undiscovered crime and thriller authors further their writing careers. Writers are invited to upload the first three chapters of their novel to the Capital Crime website and festival attendees will be able to vote for their top choice. The ten entrants with the most votes will be invited to the Opening Night Cocktail Party and the winner of the New Voices Award will be selected from that shortlist and announced on the night.

 About Capital Crime Social Outreach Initiative

Capital Crime is a diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival. With more cuts than ever to creative programmes in schools and universities across the United Kingdom, Capital Crime wants to support the communities on their doorstep to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity to meet leading industry professionals and authors. Capital Crime’s Social Outreach Initiative hopes to inspire and educate aspiring talent and includes events with bestselling authors and publishing professionals for state-funded sixth-form students and special ticket rates for librarians and low-income families.

Photos of the first event here: https://twitter.com/CapitalCrime1/status/1113409181778948096


 About the Capital Crime Digital Festival

Capital Crime is launching a Digital Festival in conjunction with the live event. This will provide an opportunity to reach crime and thriller writers and readers all year round. The Capital Crime Digital Festival will showcase interviews, profiles and features with over 70 authors on multiple platforms after the inaugural festival. It will be regularly updated throughout the year with new and engaging content.

www.capitalcrime.digital

For more information on Capital Crime please contact:  Sophie Ransom and Phoebe Swinburn at Midas PR on sophie.ransom@midaspr.co.uk @sophmidas and phoebe.swinburn@midaspr.co.uk  @phoebe_swinburn or call them on: 020 7361 7860


Sounds like a crime fiction fans’ dream event. It is at times like these that I wish I lived in London.

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , | 6 Comments

English pronunciation poem

Saw this poem on Pinterest and just had to share it with you. Once again, it has made me fully appreciate how very difficult it must be to learn English as a second language.

My love of my native language knows no bounds.

For some other posts on the English language check out:

English language quirks and perversities

Glorious, complicated, perverse English language

“ough” and its NINE pronunciations

 

 

Posted in ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged , | 19 Comments

“Things My Son Needs to Know About the World” by Fredrik Backman – Book Review

“Words matter”

The short personal essays in this collection will tug at your heartstrings. They will make you laugh and cry, and, they will make you examine your own parenting strategies.

With an essay devoted to ‘poop’ and another to ‘following the arrows at IKEA, with yet another expounding on what sleep deprivation does to new parents, the author writes humorously, candidly, and with empathy.

“Follow your passions. Find someone to love. Do your best. Be kind when you can, tough when you need to be. Hold on to your friends.”

The month of August 2014 was a happy time. That was when I first discovered Fredrik Backman and read “A man called Ove“. Since then he has delighted me with another six outstanding fiction reads. This time out, he has ventured into non-fiction with this compilation of short, humorous, and very heartfelt essays on what it means to be a father in this day and age. Wow!

As usual, while reading Backman, my emotions took a roller coaster ride. Laughing aloud one minute, shedding a tear the next. He does that to me…  I found the timing of this read especially poignant because my son is expecting his first child (a boy) within the next month.

The author’s deep love for his wife and children fairly shines from the pages.

I particularly enjoyed the essay where Backman discusses inter-generational conflicts and lists the differences between people of his generation and the one of his parents.

The author’s education in philosophy has made me understand a bit more about why I love his writing. He is a thinker. A philosopher. It is my belief that in generations to come he will be revered. His wisdom far exceeds his years.

I’m in my early sixties and I think Fredrik Backman would be perfect as a son. If I was in my thirties I think Fredrik Backman would be perfect as a husband. And, finally, and more importantly, if I was a little boy I think that Fredrik Backman would be the father I would want. Backman is… quite simply…. everything.  (But I never gush, LOL, so disregard the last few sentences if gushing annoys you.)

Highly, highly, recommended!


Thanks to Atria Books/Simon & Schuster who provided me with a complimentary digital copy of this book via NetGalley. Now I’m off to the order a paper copy to give to my son…

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish columnist, blogger and writer of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called OveMy Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s SorryBritt-Marie Was HereBeartownUs Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries, in more than twenty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @backmansk.

Posted in Authors, Book Reviews, Favorite books, NetGalley, Scandinavian | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

#CoverReveal – “The Road to Cromer Pier” by Martin Gore @rararesources @authorgore

Janet’s first love arrives out of the blue after forty years. Those were simpler times for them both. Sunny childhood beach holidays, fish and chips and big copper pennies clunking into one armed bandits.
The Wells family has run the Cromer Pier Summertime Special Show for generations. But it’s now 2009 and the recession is biting hard. Owner Janet Wells and daughter Karen are facing an uncertain future. The show must go on, and Janet gambles on a fading talent show star. But both the star and the other cast members have their demons. This is a story of love, loyalty and luvvies. The road to Cromer Pier might be the end of their careers, or it might just be a new beginning.


Now for the Cover Reveal

In the United Kingdom

In the United States

In Canada

Martin Gore is a 61 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore his love of creative writing. In his career he held Board level jobs for over twenty five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. He was born in Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.

When he was nine year’s old he told his long suffering mother that as he liked English composition and drama he was going to be a Playwright. She told him that he should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.

He started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. He thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. His first career ended in 2015, when he semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. His second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed him free time to travel and indulge his passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.

The opportunity to rekindle his interest in writing came in 2009, when he wrote his first pantomime, Cinderella, for his local group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. He has now written eight.

Pen Pals was his first novel, and his second, The Road to Cromer Pier, will be released in the Summer of 2019.

He is an old fashioned writer. He wants you to laugh and to cry. He wants you to believe in his characters, and feel that his stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.

Follow Martin Gore on Twitter or on Facebook.

Posted in Book Reviews | 2 Comments

“Watching You” by Lisa Jewell – Book Review

High on a hill in Bristol, England there is a street of colourful houses. The neighbourhood is called Melville Heights. It is here, in this affluent, innocuous location, that a brutal murder took place…

We meet some of the people who live there…

Tom Fitzwilliam – a ‘super’ head teacher who has made a reputation for himself turning around schools who have fallen below expectations. Charismatic, Tom is in his early fifties and is married with one son, Freddie. Tom is watching Freddie.

Nicola Fitzwilliam – Tom’s wife. Much younger than her husband, Nicola seems besotted with him and does everything to please him – often to the detriment of her relationship with her son. Nicola is watching Tom.

Freddie Fitzwilliam – Fifteen years old, fiercely intelligent, and friendless, Freddie lives at the top of the house. It is here that he uses his digital binoculars to ‘watch’ everyone. He keeps a journal he calls the Melville Papers. Nothing escapes his notice. Freddie watches everyone.

Joey (Josephine) Mullen – is a twenty-seven year old newlywed who married in haste and is now questioning her decision. She is very fond of her handsome husband, Alfie, but she treats him like a puppy – and doesn’t want to break his heart…. She and Alfie live with her brother Jack and his pregnant wife, Rebecca . Joey works at a children’s daycare centre and is lusting after her attractive neighbour, Tom Fitzwilliam. Joey is watching Tom.

Jenna Tripp – a schoolgirl who attends the school where Tom Fitzwilliam is the head. She lives with her mentally ill mother, Frances who is paranoid and thinks she is being ‘gang-stalked’ and spied upon. Jenna is watching her mother – and her best friend Bess.

Bess Ridley – Jenna’s best friend also lives alone with her mother.  She has a schoolgirl crush on the new head teacher.  Bess is watching Tom. 

You have to admire this author who can create a myriad of characters, keep them all distinct, and create a convoluted scenario that works magnificently.

The teenagers are the stars in this novel. Freddie and Jenna were my favourite characters. Freddie, with his first crush (with which his brilliance cannot help him) and Jenna with her struggles to maintain a normal life living with her paranoid mother.  I even became fond of Joey, despite her poor life choices.

As a naive adult, I was astonished at how much the teens used ‘Snapchat’ to communicate and to track each other with ‘Snap Map’. It was an eye-opener.

This novel has many themes in addition to it being a crime thriller. It tells of conflicted teenagers in the age of advanced social media. It explores people who feel ‘trapped’ by their choice of marriage partners. It gives credence to the idea of ‘grooming’ adolescents by adults in positions of authority.

I liked the way the story was told via flashbacks which were interspersed with police interviews following a brutal murder.

This is Lisa Jewell’s sixteenth novel and she has honed her craft to such an extent that she is now one of my automatic buy/read authors. I need not even read the blurb, I’m sure to enjoy her work. Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.

 Lisa Jewell was born in London in 1968.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further ten novels, as is currently at work on her twelfth.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

Follow Lisa Jewell on Twitter

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = SING

Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles. Often these words are associated with a particular genre. Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

I know there are thousands of books with the word ‘SING’ in the title, but I’m featuring a small selection of titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love. Two of these titles I’ve read, three others are on my TBR.

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

If you’ve added even one of these titles to YOUR TBR,
Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 8 Comments

“Play Dead” by Angela Marsons – Book Review #MarsonsOfTheMonth

For some time now I have noticed that the D.I. Kim Stone series has been highly praised by my fellow book bloggers. Therefore, I decided that despite my lengthy TBR, I would read the series in its entirety, one title every month. What a wise decision I made!

D.I. Kim Stone – An acerbic, brusque, and driven young woman who works as a Detective Inspector for the West Midlands Police, the second largest police force in the country.  She is socially inept, and has been known to break the rules, as well as to disregard instructions and protocols in her search for justice. An insomniac, she is fueled by nervous energy and lots of coffee, and is beautiful, but she works hard to hide it. She is 34 years old, brilliant, hot-headed, and damaged.  As a child, she suffered horribly, and was shunted from foster home to foster home. Only once did she experience a nurturing, loving relationship – and that was very short lived….  Now, when not working, her favourite thing to do is work at restoring vintage motorbikes. Bikes are her passion, and she uses a Kawasaki Ninja as her regular form of transport.

Other than her second in command, Bryant, she is friendless. Her one real weakness is her fondness for her adopted dog, Barney.

“Barney wasn’t keen on other people and certainly not on other dogs. Kim often wondered what had happened in his early years to make him such a complex little character. She supposed he wondered the same thing about her.”

Her team respect her and are very loyal. However… one of them defaced her coffee mug. LOL

Her two nemeses are cooking (which she is spectacularly bad at), and a local journalist by the name of Tracy Frost.

Police team

  • D.S. Bryant, twelve years her senior, is Kim’s partner and dearest friend. He is married and the father of daughters.
  • D.S. Kevin Dawson, young, vain, fit, and not yet mature. Yet each book in the series shows his growing potential to be a great police officer.
  • Constable Stacy Wood, a diligent and hard-working local girl who excels at online research which is often invaluable to the team’s work.

D.C.I. Woodward (Woody) is Kim’s long-suffering superior. Like the rest of her team, he is loyal and stands up for her when the higher-ups would have her removed from the case. Kim gives him lots of reason to use his stress ball.

Keats is the local pathologist. He and Kim Stone have an acerbic but mutually respectful relationship.

“Inspector, if you spent less time on small talk, you’d save yourself… well, no time at all really.”


In DI Kim Stone’s fourth outing we find her and her team working a murder case. When they are instructed by their boss to attend a tour of Westerley, a biological research facility that studies the effects of various natural phenomenon on dead bodies left out in the open, they expect to find corpses… but not fresh ones. During their tour they stumble upon a young woman who was killed very recently. Her head has been bashed in with a rock and her mouth filled with dirt. After some investigation the team determine that the victim’s name is Jemima Lowe. Then another woman is found at Westerley. This time, although her injuries match those of Jemima, she is still alive… The killer was interrupted by Westerley’s security officer doing his evening rounds.

Kim and her team are stymied as to WHY the killer is leaving his victims at the Westerley facility. And… what links the victims?

The narrative of “Play Dead” is interspersed with sections which give the reader insight into the mind of the killer. He seems quite juvenile and refers to his mother as “Mummy” in his mind. It is clear he has experienced a deep-seated trauma at the hands of his manipulative and twisted mother.

“Cold cases were frustrating to any officer on the force. They stayed in the back of your mind like a conversation that had ended before you’d had your say.”

Simultaneously, Kim is working a cold case suggested to her by the journalist, Tracy Frost. Three years previously the body of a middle-aged man was found with his fingers removed after death. Because his body is still awaiting identification in the morgue, and his case never solved, Kim makes it her mission to determine who the  dead man is and see his case closed.

This fourth novel in the series has proved to be a worthy successor to the first three. I enjoyed every minute of the read.

Tracy Frost always wears stilettos

This time out Kim’s nemesis, journalist Tracy Frost, plays a bigger role than in previous novels. Although Kim and Tracy will likely never be friends, we learn more about Tracy’s past and are privy to the begrudging mutual respect the two women display toward each other.

Also, this time, Kim meets up again with Doctor Daniel Bate . The two share a spark of attraction, but Kim is not ready to share her life with anyone. She sends him packing back to Scotland.

The current murder case and the cold case Kim is working on turn out to be connected in a macabre way. The villain is deeply disturbed and scores full marks for the creepiness factor.

This was another stellar installment in what is fast becoming a favourite crime series.

By the time I finished this fourth novel in the series, I was left with the feeling once again that I wanted MORE Kim Stone. Lucky for me I purchased the entire series in order that I might read one installment every month for my “Marsons of the Month” blog series.  I look forward to reading the fifth book, “Blood Lines” in May.  Oh, and in case you didn’t already guess… “Play Dead” is highly recommended by me.

I purchased Play Dead in Kindle format.

I read this book in April, but I’m late posting my review.

Angela Marsons discovered her love of writing at Primary School. She wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner, she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries. She self-published two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
After many, many submissions she signed an eight book deal with Bookouture as their first crime author. Her D.I. Kim Stone novels have sold 3 million copies.

Angela Marsons is from Brierley Hill in the West Midlands and is a former security guard at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. She continues to live in the Black Country with her partner and their bouncy Labrador and potty-mouthed parrot.

Follow Angela Marsons on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookouture, Mystery fiction, Page turners | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments