[BLOG TOUR: Q&A] Deliver Me by Karen Cole #DeliverMe @QuercusBooks @QuercusUSA

Today is my stop at the blog tour for Deliver Me by Karen Cole and I am very pleased to share a Q&A with the author with you.

ABOUT DELIVER ME

A gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Teresa Driscoll’s I Am Watching You and C.L. Taylor’s The Fear.

THE NIGHT SHE DOESN’T REMEMBER WILL BE THE ONE SHE CAN’T FORGET

When Abby’s doctor tells her she’s two months pregnant she doesn’t believe him. She can’t be – she hasn’t had sex for over a year. But to her astonishment and dismay, multiple tests confirm it’s true.

Desperately searching for an explanation, Abby recalls New Year’s Day – the terrible hangover, the hole in her memory where the night before should have been and the inexplicable sense of unease – and realises that this baby must have been conceived at her best friend Danny’s NYE party.

Horrified that someone would have taken advantage of her intoxicated state, Abby enlists the help of Danny to find out which of the party guests assaulted her. But, when she starts to receive anonymous messages, it seems that while she has been looking into the father of her baby, someone has been watching her…

Published in ebook by Quercus on 1st November, £1.99

Q&A WITH KAREN COLE

First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer a few questions for Breathing Through Pages.

Breathing Through Pages: Your novel Deliver Me has such an interesting premise – tell me, what inspired you to write Deliver Me?

Karen Cole: The original premise came to me in embryo form, years ago, when I was pregnant with my first son and I thought, what if…? But I didn’t develop it until much later.

BTP: Has your degree in psychology inspired any part of your novel?

KC: Not directly, no. But I’m fascinated by motivation and memory and I think some of that knowledge and interest has probably seeped in to the book.

BTP: What is your writing process like?

KC: I don’t really have a process. I tend to write early in the morning. I don’t overplan as ideas seem to come to me as I’m writing.

BTP: How long did it take you to write this novel?

KC: Hard to say. The actual writing probably took about a year but as I mentioned the idea had been evolving for some time before that.

BTP: Do you have any strange writing habits?

KC: I don’t think so!

BTP: By reading the synopsis of Deliver Me the reader can see that assault plays a big part in it – Was there a particular scene which you found hard to write (spoiler-free if possible)?

KC: I think writers always have to draw on unpleasant memories and emotions for distressing scenes but there was no one scene that was particularly hard to write.

BTP: Which character in your book do you most relate to?

KC: It has to be Abigail though I don’t think I’m at all like her and I tried to keep my own personality out of the book as much as possible.

BTP: Are you an introverted or an extroverted person?

KC: I’m quite introverted. I think writers have to be happy in their own company as it comes with the territory.

BTP: What authors have influenced you and made you fall in love with reading and eventually writing a novel?

KC: Too many! I’ve read and enjoyed so many psychological thrillers over the years. Some authors that stand out are Gillian Flynn, Nicci French and Rosamund Lupton. But my first love and the deepest is of course the queen of Crime fiction, Agatha Christie.

BTP: If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what book would it be?

KC: Actually, it would probably be a big, thick non- fiction book like Bill Bryson’s ‘A short History of Nearly Everything’ or ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari. Books that make you see the world in a new light and imagine that you understand it a little more.

BTP: I love finding new books so I want to ask you what are your favourite books?

KC: This is an impossible question to answer. I love so many books. Classics would include any Jane Austen, Crime and Punishment andWatership Down. Recently I’ve enjoyed and would recommend ‘Good me bad Me’ by Ali Land,‘Longbourne’ by Jo baker and‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman.

BTP: What are you currently reading?

KC: A book of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates called ‘The Female of the Species.’

BTP: Are you currently working on a new book?

KC: Yes, I’m currently working on a psychological thriller set in Cyprus, where I live.

BTP: Thank you.

KC: That was fun. Thank you!

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Karen Cole grew up in the Cotswolds and got a degree in psychology at Newcastle University. She spent several years teaching English around the world before settling in Cyprus with her husband and two sons, where she works at a British army base as a primary school teacher. She recently completed the Curtis Brown writing course where she found her love of writing psychological thrillers.

Deliver Me is her debut novel.

[BLOG TOUR: GUEST POST] The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond #TheGoldenOrphans @GaryRaymond_ @parthianbooks

Today is my stop at the blog tour for The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond and I’m excited to share a guest post with you! Thank you very much to Emma (@damppebbles) for inviting me to join the blog tour as well as a huge thank you to the author for taking the time to write a guest post for Breathing Through Pages.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.

Published by Parthian Books on 30th June 2018

GUEST POST

Gary Raymond explores how he turned his own experiences in Cyprus into a fast-paced literary thriller.

My latest novel, The Golden Orphans (Parthian Books), is a fast-paced literary thriller, about a seen-better-days artist who finds himself getting mixed up in the very strange world of a Russian gangster when he goes to attend the funeral of his former mentor on the island of Cyprus. It’s a dark, peculiar story, in which I consciously evoke some of my favourite writers, like Patricia Highsmith, Dorothy Hughes, and particularly Graham Greene. To some extent it’s a genre novel, but then again it shares a lot in common with my earlier work. But whatever it is, The Golden Orphans, is my best piece of fiction, and certainly marks a bit of a watershed moment for me. Let me tell you why I think that is.

For some writers, it’s easier to write about things outside of your own story than it is to draw on autobiography. For some of us, there is such a thing as being too close to home. My new novel, The Golden Orphans, was me finding a way to explore my own experiences. I lived in Cyprus, where the novel is set, for a short while in the mid-00s, and for a decade or so I had never considered using that time as the basis for a book. It sounds counter-intuitive; by I was interested in writing about things beyond my experience. But there came a time, pushed by my publishers, where my Cypriot adventures began to move into a place in my mind where aspects would had a role to play in my fiction. When my publisher said, “Write about those people you met in Cyprus,” I was neck deep in the works and craft of Graham Greene, who was teaching me a thing or two about constructing fiction out of real life. Greene frequently used real people to populate his stories of intrigue, and the more I began to understand how – and why – he did it, the more I felt I had something to work with.

Looking back it sounds extremely naïve of me. Here I was with a stable of characters – gangsters, misfits, miscreants, tragic figures – at my disposal, and I had never really thought of using them. I see the writing of The Golden Orphans now as a major step in me becoming the writer I was destined to become. I found, when looking back at these characters, that I could construct a narrative that explored the themes that interest me in fiction, and yet have a thrilling page-turner at the same time. Writing The Golden Orphans was… shock horror… enormous fun to do, and I’m told that translates to the reading experience.

Almost every character in The Golden Orphans is based on a real person who I met during my time there. I have just given them a fictional story in which to roam about in. I have pushed many of them to the brink, given them different backgrounds, extreme motivations, but at the same time I have tried to retain that sense of oddness and mystery that I felt was integral to my time in Cyprus. Cyprus is, you see, a uniquely curious place; a place that attracts a certain kind of outcast – and I have no doubt I was one myself back then, in my mid-twenties at the time, looking for a role in life – struggling to become a writer without ever really believing I would become one. I was there working for a friend, who was himself a crook avoiding the attentions of some “business associates” back in England. It was through this friend that I was introduced to the underground of Cypriot society. And that Cypriot experience is one not easily described in a form such as this, but one that can be captured in fiction. Graham Greene of course mastered this kind of looking around corners in his novels – he did it with Cold War Europe, with Africa, Asia, Haiti and other places. After finishing the first draft of The Golden Orphans and sending it off to my publisher with mixed feelings about what I had produced, I found an essay on Greene by Christopher Hitchens (sitting the whole time on my bookshelf for 10 years or more, and never previously noticed), in which he begins by reminiscing a time when he was sat in a sweaty taverna in Nicosia, Cyprus’ capital, in 1974, just after the Turkish invasion, and looking around and wondering how on earth Graham Greene had never written a novel set there. So, in a very small way, I felt like I have maybe followed Greene’s hand, and put something out there that he may have approved of.

Again, thank you very much to Gary for taking the time to write a guest post for Breathing Through Pages.

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Gary Raymond

Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review, and has been editor since 2014. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator, and is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’ The Review Show.

Find him on: Twitter and Goodreads.

[BLOG TOUR: REVIEW] The Syndicate by Guy Bolton @gpbolton #TheSyndicate @PtBlankBks

Today is my stop at the blog tour for The Syndicate by Guy Bolton.

Before ever getting the chance to read The Syndicate I’ve seen it mostly on Twitter and found the cover to be intriguing as well as the 1940’s noir feel to it something I knew I’d enjoy – and I did enjoy reading it.

The Syndicate by Guy Bolton begins with a bang – a mobster called Bugsy Siegel comes home and has drinks with two friends but after a while something shocking happens, he gets shot in his home with two witnesses who know nothing about why he was killed and who would’ve killed him. Enter Jonathan Craine a now retired fixer who dealt with many scandals and deals featuring Hollywood movie stars. Craine now lives on a farm with his son and has distanced himself from his previous life but the murder of Siegel brings trouble his way. Craine and his son get visited by a few people who want Craine to investigate the murder but as Craine politely refuses his son becomes imprisoned by them. In order to save his son he has to cooperate with them and find out who killed Bugsy Siegel. As Craine begins the search for Siegel’s killer he enters a dangerous world where everyone could be a suspect and in order to find out who killed the infamous mobster and save his son he will have to do what he does best with limited time and limited access to news reports, crime documents etc. Will Craine be able to save his son and find Siegel’s murderer?

I found The Syndicate to be such a fantastic, fast-paced and thrilling book because right from the start you get action and it intrigues you and makes you want to read on and find out who killed Siegel and will Craine be able to find it out. Bolton writes superbly and I loved that he featured Old Hollywood stars like Ava Gardner, Judy Garland and more in the background of the book. You won’t find a dull moment in the book because the mystery keeps you pulled in. I loved how flawed Craine was and how we saw his vulnerabilites but more than that I loved that Bolton featured a woman as part of the story, Tilda Conroy as well as another woman of colour. Bolton mentions issues which were big at that time like colourism where only white people were allowed into bars and restaurants and sexism. I appreciated this and it gave points to Bolton in my mind. Whenever I read this book I read huge chunks of it which only happens when a book manages to keep you entertained. I liked the ending of the book and I when I finished the book I was left with a melancholic feeling because I had such a great time reading it.

If you’re someone who enjoys reading about mysterious deaths, who likes noir and getting lost in thrilling books, The Syndicate is the one for you.

I would like to thank the publisher Point Blank Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

The Syndicate was released by Oneworld Publications (Point Blank Books) on 4th October 2018. Hardback £16.99

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Guy Bolton is an author and screenwriter based in London. After graduating with a 1st in Film & Literature from Warwick University, he worked in music video, publishing and film before joining the BBC. After ten years working in television drama, Guy now writes full time.

ITV Studios, Tiger Aspect and Hat Trick are among the production companies who have optioned Guy’s work. He has also written feature film scripts for Bedlam Productions and Signature Pictures. He currently has a feature film in development with the BFI.

Guy’s first novel The Pictures, a detective thriller set in 1930s Hollywood, was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger award. It was listed as one of the top 10 crime books of 2017 by the Telegraph, The Times and the Mail on Sunday.

Guy’s second novel, The Syndicate, will be released in October 2018.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

[REVIEW] The Aladdin Trial: A Burton and Lamb Thriller by Abi Silver @EyeAndLightning

I was contacted by the publisher to review this book and when I read the synopsis it immediately made me want to read it. I love reading thriller/mystery genre and what stood out with this one for me is the setting and a very interesting murder case – a hospital cleaner gets blamed for the murder of an artist who happens to be a patient there! How exciting!

The Aladdin Trial begins with a, you guessed it, murder of an old woman who went in for  an operation and was recovering at the hospital. Her death is very mysterious because where her body was found doesn’t make sense if you try and explain it with suicide – she couldn’t have jumped from a balcony because of her condition as well as age so there must be something more to it. Ahmad – the cleaner – gets thrown into jail and is awaiting trial for the murder of Mrs. Hennessy – the old woman – but there is something more to it. Mrs. Hennessy had children to whom she left an inheritance of two million pounds which could give one of the children the motive for her murder or the doctors might have something to do with it since one of them is trying to cover something up. To help us find the truth we have Constance Lamb and Judith Burton – two brilliant and flawed characters – who are trying to prove that Ahmad is innocent and there’s something more to Mrs. Hennessy’s death.

I have to apologize for my bad synopsis summary but you can always check out the Goodreads page for this book and get the better version of the synopsis. The chapters in this book are short and very readable. I found The Aladdin Trial to be such a thrilling read that after about 50% made me want to read on and don’t stop until I find out what exactly happened to Mrs. Hennessy. At times The Aladdin Trial fails with chapters finishing abruptly or being out of place which some people might find annoying. I found Ahmad to be so interesting as well as the mystery around his wife and sometimes I wanted to yell at him because I wanted him to tell more to Constance and Judith about his life and events that happened that night. The resolution of this book was very good and I found it satisfying.

The Aladdin Trial is a thrilling book that will make you want to read and read so you can find out the truth behind the mysterious death of one of Hampstead hospitals patients.

I would like to thank the publisher Eye/Lightning Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Yorkshire-bred, Abi Silver is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first courtroom thriller featuring the legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, The Pinocchio Brief, was published by Lightning Books in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Her follow-up The Aladdin Trial, featuring the same legal team, was published in 2018.

Read more about Abi and her work at www.abisilver.co.uk.

Find her on: Twitter and Facebook.

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW] Kill For Me by Tom Wood @LittleBrownUK

When I was approached by a publicist from Little Brown UK to review this book I was thrilled because I haven’t read a thriller in a while and I was very excited to check Kill For Me and see how I’ll like it.

Victor is an assasin who gets hired by a variety of people to do the dirty work for them but what they don’t know is that Victor isn’t a regular assasin – he’s a highly intelligent and dangerous one. A war is taking place in Guatemala between two sisters who are drug lords. Both want to dominate the drug ‘scene’.  One of the sisters, Heloise, calls Victor and hires him to kill the other, Maria,  in order for her to rule the kingpin. From this point on we are taken on a whirlwind of events – from plotting a murder to Victor having another killer on his back. All of this takes place in Guatemala where every move has to be carefully calculated.

Kill For Me is the eighth book in the Victor the Assasin series by Tom Wood. I haven’t read the previous books in the series but can say with certainty that this book can be read as a standalone – you needn’t worry that you’ll miss something. Although at times there are a few events that reference past books a vast majority of it is very much new and it’s not confusing. Victor is such a interesting character and what makes him interesting is his profession – a killer you can hire to murder someone for you. It was very fun getting into the mind of this character and see how he operates as well as perceives the world and people around him. Victor is a very, very intelligent character and I assume that his past experiences gave him more insight into people and how they operate. He is manipulative, calculative, cunning and very dangerous. I seriously wouldn’t want to be his enemy!! What I found interesting in this book was the detail in it, the story was very complex and it gave the book life. At times there were other POVs which were great and gave more information to the reader. I rarely read these kinds of books but after this one I definitely need to read more of them! One thing I must say is that people might find Victor to be annoying, full of himself but that’s just who he is even though he did sound very pretentious at times.

I would recommend Kill For Me to every thriller/action genre reader because they won’t regret picking this book up. Tom Wood will take you on a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride into Guatemala and the dangers that lurk there.

I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK (Sphere) as well as Millie Seaward for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and are not influenced by anything.

My rating: 

Make sure to follow other bloggers on this blog tour!

Add ‘Kill For Me‘ to your TBR: 

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Tom Wood is a full-time writer born in Burton-on-Trent, and who now lives in London. After a stint as freelance editor and film-maker, his first novel, The Hunter, was an instant bestseller and introduced readers to a genuine antihero, Victor, an assassin with a purely logical view on life and whose morals are deeply questionable. Tom is passionate about physical sport, being both a huge boxing fan and practising Krav Maga, which has seen him sustain a number of injuries. He has not, however, ever killed anyone.

Find him on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.

[BLOG TOUR: GUEST POST] Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen @annecarter @orendabooks

Hello everyone, today I am very excited to share a guest post by the editor for Orenda Books, West Camel.

When PI Varg Veum is approached to find a missing girl, by a half-sister he barely knew, his investigation takes him deep into the dark web, and some personal history he’d rather forget…

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

Guest post by Orenda Books Editor, West Camel

In a typical Varg Veum novel, Gunnar Staalesen invites the reader inside the office of his private investigator, and from there she accompanies him as he seeks out the truth of whatever case has been brought to his door.

It is a classic crime-fiction format: the reader is privy to as much information as the investigator, follows his thinking and has the opportunity to pit her wits against him … or can just sit back and admire as he untangles the plot. However, Staalesen also uses the form to create an intimate relationship between the reader and VV. Over the course of twenty books we have come to know his strengths and failings, the delights and tragedies that have shaped him, and, probably most importantly, the unique mind of one of the most compelling characters in crime fiction.

But how can English-speaking readers become as acquainted as Norwegians with such a specific person – a Norwegian man in late middle age, specifically from Bergen, sometime alcoholic, father, quasi-widower, ex-social worker, justice seeker and lone wolf (‘varg’ means ‘wolf’ in Norwegian)?

The answer is through a close working relationship between Staalesen, his translators – most recently, the great Don Bartlett – and his editors, of which I am one.

Staalesen has invested Varg with idiosyncratic spoken and internal dialogue. To lose any of this would itself be a crime; so it is up to Don, in conversation with Gunnar, and with the editor alongside, to recreate the flavour of the original Norwegian. The closing lines of the first chapter of Big Sister is the perfect example of how this works. Varg is musing on the renovations to his Bergen office, and how, while the building has changed considerably, his work and his attitude towards it hasn’t.

Everyone was welcome to bring whatever they had on their minds.It took a lot to surprise me. Unless they came from Haugesund and said they were my sister.

Thus, with characteristic deftness, economy and quiet humour, Gunnar introduces the main theme of the novel, creates narrative tension and gives us a completely new angle on his protagonist. And all of this has to be transmitted in English. In my conversations with Don, I’ve discovered he does this by getting to know Varg intimately – in the same way the reader ultimately will:how the voice reads in English is guided by Don’s understanding of Varg the man.

Varg Veum also has a close knowledge of his city, his country and its people, and has a clear take on social issues. Much of this comes from Staalesen himself. But he is writing for Norwegians, so a kind of shorthand is inevitable – Norwegians don’t need the finer points of their country’s welfare system, open tax records, drinking culture, or religious history explained to them. English speakers might be baffled though. And this is where the discussions between the editor and translator can become quite fervent.

In Big Sister a key character is resident at an institution run by something called the Inner Mission. This is an evangelical Christian group, originally from Germany. While it’s widely known in Norway, in the UK, other similar Christian groups are more prominent. My suggestion as an editor was to offer the reader a little explanation – in order that English readers were apprised of the religious nature of the group at the same point Norwegians were. For the translator too long an explanation sounded patronising: surely readers would grasp what the Inner Mission was – it’s well known in Norway, and in the US too. Elegant compromise – what much of translating and editing is about – was achieved. Two words of explanation were added to the text (see if you can find them!).

Big Sister represents Gunnar Staalesen at the peak of his powers. In my view Don Bartlett has done his usual sterling job of recreating this bravura performance … and I hope my input has helped it reach the hands of the English speaking reader intact.

I would like to thank West Camel for taking the time out of his schedule to write a guest post for Breathing Through Pages!

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

Find him on: Website and Goodreads

[REVIEW] All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker @BonnierZaffre

All the Wicked Girls is a book I have been seeing everywhere for a while and because of the success of the author’s first book Tall Oaks [which I haven’t read yet but plan to] and every blogger adoring it I got intrigued to try and read one of his books and so it happens that when I got a chance to read his second book I immediately took it. I have to say I enjoyed reading it very much!

The novel centers around a town called Grace where nothing ever happens but because it’s a small town when something does everyone is quick to learn and spread the gossip about it. We have two sisters called Summer and Raine Ryan who are very different and when Summer goes missing everything changes and this event shakes up the whole town. Why would Summer disappear? She was a model student, she was smart, kind and lovable. Was there something that Summer was hiding? Raine takes the disappearance of her sister very hard and while the whole town starts a search for Summer she can’t help but get involved and with a little help from Noah and Purv she tries to find out where her sister might’ve gone. Summer’s disappearance is unusual but so are the disappearances of other girls… could it be possible that they are linked? Will Raine be able to find out the truth behind her sister’s vanishing?

All the Wicked Girls is a very interesting read. The writing style is something that might not be for everyone but that wasn’t the case for me because I loved reading it and it gave me the feel of the town. There’s no doubt that Whitaker can write and create the feel of a Southern town with a few words and those are his strong points in my book. I did find some issues with this book and it was mainly the characters because putting Summer and Purv aside I haven’t felt empathy towards any of them. Raine wasn’t a character I particularly enjoyed reading because her actions made me not care for her in a way I cared for Summer and I do understand how losing someone close can feel but Raine felt flat but I only admired her determination to find out more about her sister’s disappearance. I have been reading this book for a few weeks because of life so that might’ve affected my experience with it but I doubt it did because I liked the story and not the characters so much. When I look back at my time spent reading this book I look at the good parts because the whole premise of a small town with darkness lurking is so well done that it gets you in a great mood and makes read on.

All the Wicked Girls is a great mystery/thriller book and I’m sure everyone who loves reading about a town filled with secrets will definitely enjoy this and be swept by Whitaker’s ability to create such a thing.

I would like to thank the publisher (Bonnier Zaffre) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city. His debut novel, Tall Oaks, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger and also for the Last Laugh Award.
A Guardian crime book of the month, Tall Oaks also featured in Crime Time’s top 100 books of 2016 and BuzzFeed’s incredible summer reads.
Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, was published in August 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

Find him on: Twitter and Goodreads.

[REVIEW] Down for the Count by Martin Holmén @PushkinPress

This book is a second in a trilogy called the Harry Kvist Trilogy and what attracted me to this book is that it has a bisexual main character. I usually see a lot of straight main characters in mystery/thriller genres so this is what immediately intrigued me and made me request it. I haven’t read the first one in the trilogy called Clinch but that didn’t ruin my experience with it and I appreciate that because I had some concerns. It’s safe to say that this book can be read as a standalone.

This noir trilogy is set in Stockholm in the 1930s and the second installment Down for the Count is set in 1935. It follows our protagonist Harry ‘Kvisten’ Kvist who has just gotten out of prison [he has spent a year and a half there] and is planning on starting a new life with the lover [Doughboy] he met during his prison stay. From the beginning the reader can already tell that Kvist is someone who can’t stay away from trouble and so this time he receives devastating news that his friend Beda was murdered by her deaf son called Petrus. He finds this hard to believe because Petrus wouldn’t do such a thing and he also made a promise to Beda to take care of Petrus when she’s gone. During his investigation he stumbles upon shocking discoveries: what he suspected was true and the police are covering up the crime but why? This is what Kvist has to find out. Will Kvist be able to avenge Beda’s death and find out the truth behind the cover-up?

I really didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I read this book fairly quickly – the first day I read 15% and the second day I finished it completely. There’s no doubt that this book is fast-paced and keeps you at the edge of your seat. I have to salute Martin Holmén because he made his main character bisexual and it’s not often that I see that in mystery/thriller genre! I loved seeing that! What wasn’t a very great thing for me is that he wasn’t treated very well. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t get into details but I wish Harry Kvist expressed his sexuality more. I haven’t read the first one so I might be wrong because this installment didn’t have much of that. The people who’ve read the book might get what I mean. I also found a few things which moved too fast for my taste. Overall this didn’t affect my experience of enjoying the book that much and I would definitely recommend reading it. I seriously couldn’t look away while reading because I had to know what would happen!

Again this book can be read as a standalone so there’s no worrying about that. It will definitely thrill you and make you want to read on and find out what happens at the very end. Will I be reading the third installment of this book? Hell yeah, I will!

If you’re looking for a historical mystery/thriller to read then look no further because this book is for you.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher (Pushkin Press) for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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Born in 1974. Teaches History and Swedish at an upper secondary school in Stockholm. Author of the Harry Kvist thrillers, described as gritty, historical, queer noir fiction with a unique Swedish flavour. Available, or soon to come, in Australia, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The first installment Clinch was released in 2015. Out for the Count is due 2016 and the finishing part Slugger 2017. Contributor to the anthology of short stories Stockholm Noir.

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[REVIEW] Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

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Hey everyone! I’m back to reading and reviewing! I wrote this review a few months ago so I thought I’d post it. Hopefully I’ll have a review up by next Wednesday! Looking forward to reading your reviews and blogging!

The novel follows Catherine Bailey who upon meeting Lee Brightman – a handsome, mysterious guy – instantly falls under his spell and starts a relationship with him. But as the relationship progresses Lee turns out to be someone else: his behaviour changes from a loving and caring to a controlling, jealous and twisted personality.

Upon the realisation that Lee isn’t who she thought he was Catherine begins to slowly pull away from him. She confides in her friends who she trusts the most – surely they’ll believe her? Shockingly they don’t believe her because a sweet, charming guy like Lee couldn’t do such a thing. What Lee does to her is cause her pain, trust issues and changes her mindset completely with his behaviour. Four years have passed and Lee is in prison and Catherne has a chance to build a new life for herself, she can forget about Lee. She meets Stuart Richardson a kind clinical psychologist who is set to help her overcome her fears and make it easier for her to trust people. Then on one usual day, the phone rings and she begins to fear for her life once again.

Into the Darkest Corner was an excellent read. The novel is made up of small chapters which switch back and forth from the past to the present. Elizabeth Haynes paints our protagonist really well – she shows to us that she is mentally unstable, fearful and real. I have to say that this subject matter is quite hard for a person to read. I can’t believe that this sort of thing exists in real life – abuse and rape should be stopped and the perpetrator should be punished with more rigorous sentence. I loved the way Haynes showed us Catherine – we got inside her fragile mind and got to re-live her story with her. We got scared for her, we cheered for her.  This was a hard but and an amazing read which deals with real issues in our society.

I would definitely recommend this page-turner to all psychological thriller fans because it won’t disappoint. An engaging novel which makes you think about it long after you’ve finished it.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstarhalfstar

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Elizabeth Haynes grew up in Seaford, East Sussex, and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University. Her writing is partly inspired by her work as a police intelligence analyst in Kent.

She was encouraged to submit her debut novel Into the Darkest Corner following a creative writing course at West Dean College and it was published by Myriad Editions in February 2011. Elizabeth Haynes won the Amazon UK 2011 Rising Stars award and Into the Darkest Corner was Amazon UK’s Book of the Year for 2011. Following publication by Harper Collins in the USA it became a New York Times bestseller.

Find her on:   Website,  GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter

[REVIEW] The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker #4MK

I came across this book quite accidentally whilst scrolling through NetGalley in search for new books. I was immediately attracted to it because of it’s creepy cover and when I read the description I was like: ‘Yess, this sounds like my thang’. I managed to get a copy of it and boy was this book something!

The ‘Four Monkey Killer’ has been terrorising Chicago for over five years with his upsetting and unusual killings. The book opens with the killer’s body being found and the police soon find out that he was about to send a final message – that there’s one last victim he took before his death. His killings consist of torturing the victim and cutting their ears, eyes and tongue which one by one he sends to the close family of the victim. If this doesn’t sound creepy and interesting.. just wait. The book follows the Detective who has been chasing this killer for quite some time now called Sam Porter and he’s trying to piece out the meaning and the intellect behind Four Monkey Killer’s murders with his goal being to find the last victim. This book has several POVs – Sam Porters, Clairs, the Killers childhood (told through diary entries) and the victims. Are you sold now? I can’t say more because I don’t want to ruin this wild ride for future readers.

This book was so interesting and creepy in such a brilliantly done way. I have to say that the book itself doesn’t have long chapters which made it a fun read and it was also fast-paced with the hearing of different voices from other characters. I loved how Barker created the 4MK because his mind is so twisted and dark that the adding of the diary entries made the reader understand the reason why he is the way he is. A good and healthy upbringing is the most important thing in shaping the future life and personality of any child– the child gets to look up to his/her parents, sees the world the way they see it and learns from them – and this book shows us how this can be a trigger for such devious behaviour at a very young age. I found the diary entries the most interesting even though the events at the end were also great and filled with plot twists. I’m sure that this thriller will be well liked and be on everyone’s shelves when it comes out this summer. Trust me guys, you won’t be disappointed.

Very dark and amazing thriller which should be read by everyone who loves this genre.

I received an egalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

You can win a draft copy of this book – enter here.

My rating: 

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J. D. BARKER is the international best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Debut Novel. In addition, he has been asked to coauthor a prequel to Dracula by the Stoker family. Barker splits his time between Englewood, Florida, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Find him on: Website,  Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads