#BlogTour #Review – #Troll by #DBThorne @Thorne_D @CorvusBooks

Troll (blog tour poster)

Troll by D.B Thorne

The synopsis:

Years ago, Fortune gave up on his daughter, Sophie, after a troubled adolescence. Now she’s gone missing, vanished without trace. And after weeks of investigation, the police have given up on her, too.

Driven by guilt, and a determination to atone for his failures as a father, he takes on the search himself. He soon finds that his daughter had been living in fear of a vicious online troll who seemed to know far too much about her. Could Sophie’s disappearance be linked to this unknown predator? Fortune is about to discover that monsters which live online don’t always stay there…

My review:

As a blogger myself I found the plot of this novel terrifying! An internet troll that relentlessly pursues and harasses a blogger. It literally screamed at me to be read! However, it is also a very thought-provoking novel on the themes of parental responsibility and harsh/quick judgements we may make towards the victims of crime.

Fortune, gave up on his daughter during her troubled adolescence. Now he is back in London searching for her! Sophie, his daughter is a young woman living a lonely and isolated existence in Hackney London. She works for a scandal type magazine and blogs similar content. Celebs drug use, affairs and mental health problems etc. Sophie isn’t frightened of the monsters that lurk online………that is until it’s too late!

Fortune is currently living in Dubai, where he works within private banking. Having flown back to the UK, he meets with Marsh the only police officer working the case to locate Sophie and ever Marsh has given up! We learn that the police have lost interest in the case, Sophie was known to have had suicidal ideation and been in trouble with the police of late. There’s no body, no leads and no one cares! I found this quite thought-provoking, do we regard ‘troubled’ people in society as less worthy? That somebody’s mental health problems would lower them in the hierarchy in society! When statistics tell us that having mental health problems, actually increases your chances of being a victim of violent crime!

Fortune investigates Sophie’s flat, her workplace and her friends. Yet he comes only across small pieces of a larger puzzle. Similarly, we read chapters from within Sophie’s blog, we become aware of ‘starry ubado 9’ an online troll sending Sophie violent and threatening messages via comments on her blog. We also learn that Sophie was attempting to take down celeb Charlie Jackson, for his known trysts with underage and often drugged up young girls. Is Charlie the Troll? When 90 Million goes missing from online accounts, oh which fortune is responsible for managing. You have to ask who is the target of the hatred Sophie or Fortune?

This is a novel where you never truly know the motives of those involved. Your second guessing every character involved and asking are they the troll? It makes for interesting reading in this modern age of social media, where we are internet and phone obsessed.
A dark yet intriguing 4* read!

DBT
D.B Thorne
Authors Links
Web:http://www.davidthornecri.me/
Twitter: @Thorne_D

#Review – You Can Run by @stevemosby. #ChattingSerialKillersWithSteveMosby Q&A @orionbooks

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You Can Run by Steve Mosby

Synopsis:

When a stolen car crashes into a house on a suburban street, the police are shocked to discover a woman being held captive inside the building. As the remains of many more victims are found in the house, it seems that the Red River Killer – who has been abducting women for twenty years and taunting the police with letters about his crimes – has finally been identified.

As the hunt for the killer intensifies, DI Will Turner finds the investigation edging dangerously close to uncovering his own demons. He must be the one to catch the killer while keeping his own past buried. The clock is ticking, and there are lives at stake…

My review:

I have long since been a fan of Steve Mosby’s books. They are always extremely dark and gripping and I am not quite sure, if I have completely forgiven him yet, for the seriously scary opening to ‘The Nightmare Place’! This novel begins in the aftermath of the ‘Red River Killer’ as he attempts to evade capture. With the killer clearly identified from the outset, this is not whodunit, but more of a why did they do it? And how did they remain uncaught for so long? With plot twists and gruesome crimes this novel is everything that I have come to love, about the authors writing style and I’d even go as far to say that it is, his best yet!  

The prologue opens 25 years previously in Detective Will Turners childhood, with best friend Rob. Throughout the novel the character of Will Turner is unravelled. However, he always remains quite vague, which for me only made me want to know more and kept me guessing. I much prefer this writing style of a protagonist, to one where we are told every aspect of the character within the first 100 pages etc.

When a car thief loses control of the vehicle during a police chase and ploughs into the garage on a residential street. A bound and gagged woman is discovered amongst the rubble. Rushed to hospital for emergency treatment the police are left to wonder, what sort of man keeps a woman as a slave in a garage? Whilst the motives seem obvious, the detectives have evidence to gather and now, a manhunt on their hands. Detective Will Turner is paired with partner/lover DI Emma Beck are tasked with the case and their focus is solely on the suspect John Blythe’s house. Searching the house and its contents makes for grim reading that, the reader can easily visualise. But it is when they get to the cellar and the contents of the 4 barrels are discovered, we learn the true depravity of John Blythe………

With John Blythe now clearly identified as the ‘Red River Killer’, we learn of all his past victims, their stories and the letters, the killer used to taunt the victim’s families. This is extremely dark and well thought out, in-fact I would go as far to say that the ‘Red River Killer’ reads like a true crime story. Every factor of the killer’s psychology is discussed and it makes for interesting reading. Why do some men become violent, depraved and sadistic killers? The point of view shifts from three different views the police, the killer and someone else who has involved themselves in the case. Are the police searching for a suspect or a pair of suspects? Will the victim survive the evil acts inflicted on her body? What is the link to Will Turners past?

One thing is for certain the plot and in-depth characterisation, makes for spine-chilling reading. Hugely recommend not only this book but all of the authors crime fiction books. 5*     

#ChattingSerialKillersWithSteveMosby Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you give a summary of yourself and your latest release?

A) Hi there, and thank you very much for having me on your site! For the readers, I’m 40 years old and live in Leeds. I’ve wanted to write stories for as long as I can remember, and my first book was published in 2003. Since then, I’ve published ten novels in total, although it was really with my third book, The 50/50 Killer, that I properly settled into what I’ve written ever since: very dark standalone psychological thrillers.

My most recent release, You Can Run, is about the hunt for the Red River Killer, a man who has been abducting women and taunting the police with notes for twenty years. At the beginning of the book, he’s identified when the police stumble upon his house by accident. The problem is: he isn’t there. So the majority of the book is a cat-and-mouse manhunt between the killer and the main character, Detective Will Turner. Turner has a personal connection to the case, and over the course of the book he begins to realise there’s more going on than it seems at first.

Q) I have long since, been a fan of your writing and have read all of your books to date. Which is your favourite? And which was your favourite to write?

A) Thank you very much. I like all of them for one reason or another, but I do have a few favourites: The 50/50 Killer, Black Flowers, Dark Room and I Know Who Did It are probably the ones I’m most happy with. I should obviously say You Can Run as well! But the thing is, it often takes me a couple of years before I can take an honest look at a book and work out how I feel about it.

In terms of favourites for writing, there are good and bad moments with every book: days when things click and feel right, and (far more frequently) days of self-doubt and abject despair. The more you write, the harder it gets, because you understand more and you’re testing your limits. So I probably had an easier time writing the earlier books, but I’d say I enjoyed I Know Who Did It more than most. I’d written a book based on that concept, with many of the same characters, a couple of years earlier, but I just couldn’t get it to work, so it got shelved and I basically lost a year in publishing terms. But then, a book or so afterwards, I figured out what I could do with it. So when it came to writing I Know Who Did It, I already had several scenes and characters in the bank, and I understood what I was doing better than I usually do when I go into a novel. Plus, it was a real relief not to have entirely wasted that year.

Q) In my review, I comment that the novel is similar to that of a true crime story. Every aspect has been meticulously covered and it has a very real feel to it. What is your research process? And does it involve reading true crime stories?

A) I do read a fair bit of true crime, but that’s mainly out of interest rather than for research. What you say is really flattering, actually, as the truth is I do very little research at all! I prefer to make as much of it up as possible, and I care far more about the needs of the story than I do about strict accuracy. I’m interested in who the fingerprint belongs to, say, rather than how long it would realistically take for the results to come back from the lab.

And I think you can get away with doing that as long as you’re careful. Believability is much more important than accuracy; you don’t have to get everything right so long as you don’t get anything egregiously wrong. If I’m reading a book with a scene set in a helicopter, for example, then I have absolutely no idea where the various dials and controls are, and it’s not going to spoil it if you make those things up. But if you fly the thing upside down then I’m going to fall out. So to speak.

Q) I am a huge fan of true crime reading and watching crime TV shows. Usually until I absolutely scare myself senseless and then I avoid the genre for a while. One of the most harrowing true crime reads, I read was regarding Fred and rose west. I also wish I could erase from my memory everything I read regarding serial killer David Parker Ray. Especially the audio tapes! Have you read anything that, has particularly stuck in your mind and horrified you?

A) Lots of things, honestly. The transcript of the David Parker Ray tape you mention is one example. It’s the recording he played to victims after he abducted them, and it’s awful to read and imagine how terrifying it must have been to hear that in real life. And there is so much, really. Still Bleeding is about murderabilia and online death fetish forums, and I saw some videos while writing it that have certainly stayed with me. My books are really dark, I know, but in real life any kind of deliberate cruelty really affects me.

I suppose it’s a cliché to say this, but anything to do with kids bothers me, especially when the parents are involved. I found the murder of Daniel Pelka almost impossible to read about. Obviously, you don’t need to be a parent yourself to appreciate the horror there, but it’s definitely true that, since having my son, I’ve found stories like that increasingly incomprehensible and difficult to read.

Q) John Blythe reads like a real life serial killer. Was there a real life inspiration behind his character?

A) Not in and of himself, but the beginning of the book was inspired by a real case. Jerry Brudos killed a number of women in the US in the 60s, and when he was away for Thanksgiving one year, a car crashed into his garage. The police attended the scene and failed to notice there was a dead woman in the damaged garage, and he went on to kill again. Pure chance that he was nearly discovered; pure chance that he got away with it. I found that scenario fascinating, although in You Can Run the victim is found alive and the police do identify Blythe.

But in terms of him, there was nobody in particular. Blythe is this blank, blunt force. When anybody encounters him they’re basically staring into an abyss: a complete absence of empathy, connection, compassion, or any of the other things that make us human. There’s that famous quote from one of Terry Pratchett’s books about how things always go bad when people start treating other people as things, and I think that’s true on both a micro and a macro level. To Blythe, people are just things. On that level, I guess he is drawn from lots of different killers.

Q) The media nickname ‘Red River Killer’ is iconic and also realistic to modern day media portrayal of serial killer’s/murder victims. In the novel there is a comment, that the media focus more on the profile of the serial killer than they ever do on the victims. Is this something you believe? And why do you think this happens?

A) Yes, I think that’s definitely true. In fact, when Ian Brady died recently, I was struck by the fact that he was one of the few serial killers where people did generally know the names of the victims. Whereas with other famous killers, I suspect most people would struggle a little. And of course, there are specific reasons with Brady and Hindley, but generally I think people are always more fascinated by the monster – the psychology; the nastiness of the details; the very existence of such an individual – than the victims, who almost become blank canvases onto which we can project ourselves and our fears at encountering that kind of horror.

 
And the naming obviously ties into that. It’s not enough for these killers to be men; they have to be elevated to the status of monster, and names inevitably convey power. The Yorkshire Ripper. BTK. The Milwaukee Monster. They’re supervillain titles, and it adds to the sense of fear. To the extent that, as one character actually mentions in the book, Dahmer’s body remained shackled during his autopsy: he’s just a guy, and he’s dead, but such is the fear around him that they still kept him chained up.
 
At the same time, you mentioned David Parker Ray above, and he’s known as the ‘Toy-Box Killer’. The ‘Toy-Box’ there was actually a sound-proofed trailer he’d kitted out, at great expense, to help him imprison, rape, torture and murder women. So I think the name given to a serial killer can also serve to sanitise their crimes to an extent.
 

And You Can Run deals with all this. The book’s ultimately about stories and who has the right to tell them, and so the narrative around killers and their victims that builds up in the media is one necessary aspect of that.

Q) In my review, I remark on the terrifying opening in The Nightmare Place. In fact, that is probably one of my favourite albeit, scary openings in a book ever. What gave you the idea for that particular opening?

A) I genuinely can’t remember! It wasn’t the first thing I wrote, and I guess the idea must have just come to me at some point. It’s one of those things that plays into people’s fears, I think. It’s a childhood thing – at some point, everyone is scared by that scenario. But I’m always really pleased when that scene gives people a bit of a jolt. In a good way, of course…

Q) What are your favourite writers in the crime fiction and horror genres? And favourite serial killer thrillers?

A) There are too many to name, and I’m scared I’ll miss out someone and kick myself later. Aside from the more obvious candidates, a few names off the top of my head: Michael Marshall; Tim Willocks; Mo Hayder; Sarah Pinborough; Jack Ketchum; Eva Dolan; Mick Herron. In terms of specific books, Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs loom pretty large. I really loved Michael Marshall’s The Straw Men. And while I’m not a huge fan of series characters, Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffrey books have always been ones I buy and read as soon as they come out.

Q) 2017 has seen some amazing book release so far, what are your favourites that have been released this year?

A) I’ve really liked a few. Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes was brilliant. More recently, I thought Michael Ridpath’s Amnesia was excellent, and also Six Stories by Matt Waselowski. The latter is really interesting, actually. It’s basically transcripts of episodes of a (fictional) true crime podcast, examining a murder from six or so different perspectives. It works really well, and has several exceedingly creepy elements that were totally up my alley.

Q) This is a question I am dying to know the answer to, when is the next book released? And can we have any snippets of information?

A) The short answer is: I don’t know. I’m about halfway through something now, but I’ve no idea when it will come out. I’m hesitant to talk about stuff when I’m still writing as I’m a bit superstitious, and anyway, everything changes once the first draft is done. But right now, it’s one third about fathers and sons, one third about serial killers, and one third playing on haunted house story tropes. But I’ve no idea what it will be about by the time I’m done. Full steam ahead in the meantime as I try to find out…

 

*Huge thanks to Steve Mosby for being part of a Q&A on my blog.
SM: Thank you very much again for having me!

SM
Steve Mosby
Authors Links:
Web: http://www.theleftroom.co.uk
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/stevemosby @stevemosby
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theleftroom

 

 

  

#Review – The Constant Soldier by William Ryan @WilliamRyan_ #WW2 #HistFic

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The Constant Soldier by William Ryan

Synopsis:

1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war.

When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her.

But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope – for Brandt and the female prisoners – grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.

And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance . . .

My review:

WW2 is one of my favourite genres in historical fiction. I have been a huge fan since I was in my teens. It is unusual for me to find something I would class as different/unique in the genre, as I have read such a variety of series/stand alones etc. I think this novel had something unique in that it focuses on the redemption of one man and his internal struggles with his conscience. which makes for, incredible reading!

Paul Brandt returns home to his sleepy village, having been wounded in an attack by the Russians. We later learn there are substantial injuries to his face. Brandt’s father was a surgeon during WW1 and when Brandt returns to Germany, he is aware it is a broken Germany indeed! The village is covered in swastikas and he notices a POW hut within the village. We meet Weber the baker, but under Nazi law, he has fast been promoted to Mayor of the town and this gives him absolute power and authority. This is something I have read time and time again in my ww2 non-fiction reading. How much power the Nazi party offered to small, vicious men, who followed their belief system!

We learn of Brandt’s past and the actions that led him to be on the front line. We also discover that he knows one of the female POW’s in the hut. But who is she? and where does he know her from? He sets about acquiring himself a job at the Hut. I found the theme of German resistance and redemption, very interesting and found this gave Brandt so much depth as a civilian, soldier and man.

The tables are turning of the Nazi’s at the POW hut, the soviets are closing in. The Nazi’s fear their violent revenge will be delivered soon! The violence and death, rolled out daily in the POW camp makes for tough reading. But these things did happen, so nonchalantly in the Nazi’s routine. Neumann is one character that is specifically savage in his approaches to prisoners. But everything I have ever read proves the Nazi party was riddled with men this evil………………..

This is a story of the tension and realisation that was brought to many Germans at the end of the war. It is thought-provoking and very well written.
Highly recommend 4*

The novel is available in hardback and Ebook format.
Paperback release is 1st June 2017.

WR
William Ryan
Authors links:
Web: https://www.william-ryan.com/
Twitter: @WilliamRyan_

*The authors website has a wealth of information and galleries, in relation to his novels and is well worth checking out!

#Review – Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer @MeyerDeon #SouthAfricanNoir 5* Genius

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Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer

Synopsis:

Soldiers never find it easy returning from war. So it is with Thobela Mpayipheli, former freedom fighter, trying to settle back into the new South Africa. But at least he has his boy, an adored companion who is a link to a happier past. Then the boy is taken from Thobela, one of a staggering number of children murdered or abused in South Africa, and Thobela knows only despair…and a cold desire for revenge. Thus is born the vigilante killer known as ‘Artemis’. The police respond by putting on the case a man who can’t afford to fail. Benny Griessel is on the brink of losing everything — his job, his family, his self-respect — and this could be his last chance to drag his life back out of the gutter. And then Benny meets Christine, a young mother working as a prostitute in Cape Town. And something happens that is so frightening, the world can never be the same again, for Benny, for Christine, or for Thobela.

My review:

I have been aware of this author for quite some time, after stumbling across his books when looking for crime fiction based in other countries. I had never read anything based in South Africa and so this immediately peaked my interest. I downloaded the sample via kindle and was gripped, so much so, I decided to buy the paperback, as I gathered this would be a series I would eventually want to collect!

The novel opens in Cape Town, it is broken into four parts all named after characters central to the plot Christine, Benny, Thobela and Carla. This is so much more than a police procedural, mystery or whodunit. It is a master piece of writing, with the plot never once letting up! The main theme being the impact these characters will have on each other’s lives.

Thobela is a former freedom fighter, seeking a life of peace on his farm. When his young son Pakamile is violently killed at a routine trip to the gas station. The pain and aftermath of this event, leads Thobela on a dangerous journey of revenge…..

Benny Griessel is a policeman, father, husband and most paramount a drunkard! He has wasted his life via his love for alcohol and blocking out the voices of previous cases. When his wife offers a stark ultimatum, he has 6 months to free himself from the clutches of alcohol, or she will leave with their kids. Can he do it? Can he turn his back on his only love…….alcohol?

The paragraphs written from Christine’s point of view are exceptionally powerful. Christine is a single mother and prostitute, who has spent life drifting from bad experience to bad experience. Her life story follows in a series of confessions to a minister. It details her early life and childhood, which actually made me feel quite tearful.

When the bodies of criminals, who have evaded justice, begin to turn up stabbed with an assegai spear. It is clear someone is sending a message to those whom harm children. With a sober Benny on the case can he find the killer? Does anyone within the serious and violent crimes unit really want to stop the killer? The theme of a vigilante style killer, who murders those who commit murder or sexual based crimes against children, added a whole Dexter spin to this novel. I must admit, I completely understood the killers motivations and intentions. Who will defend the children? Who will deliver justice for them?

“If children can’t depend on the justice system, to whom can they turn?”

Benny starts to see the errors of his ways and the impact of his alcoholism and thus forms a redemption theme for him. Benny needs to solve this case for his conscience, sanity and personal forgiveness! It is when Benny first meets Christine that we see this case will strike right at the heart of everything Benny holds dear!

Devil’s peak is the first a series and as I finish this review, I shall be logging into Amazon to purchase the second! An amazing opening to a series, highly recommend 5* Genius!
*Actually logged on and bought #2 and #3 in the series!

DM
Deon Meyer
Authors links:
Web: http://www.deonmeyer.com/
Twitter: @MeyerDeon

#BlogTour Reconciliation For The Dead by Paul E Hardisty #GuestPost @Hardisty_Paul @OrendaBooks

Reconciliation for the Dead Blog Tour poster
Reconciliation For The Dead by Paul Hardisty

Synopsis:

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

Guest Post- The power of reading:

Recently, I was talking with my sensei, my instructor and mentor in the martial arts. He had just read the second novel in the Claymore Straker series, The Evolution of Fear, and we were discussing a fight scene that occurs early in the book. Clay enters a cottage and is surprised by a knife wielding assailant. As soon as my sensei mentioned it, I was expecting a detailed critique of what I’d done wrong, and how I could have improved the scene. What I got was the opposite. My sensei raved about the scene, said he could see it so clearly in his mind’s eye. When I reread the scene later that day, I realised that I had written it with minimal detail. And yet my sensei had described it back to me so differently, as a fully choreographed sequence. Without realising it, my sensei had taken the simple description I had provided, and subconsciously used all of his experience and knowledge to add a new level of detail. Each strike was perfectly aimed, the hips and core twisting to deliver power, the legs balanced, the combination landing quickly and accurately. And yet, as he described it to me, he thought that it was just part of the book. In his memory, it was what I had written.

            To me, this is the powerful difference between reading and watching something on TV or in a movie. When we watch a film, we are given everything, provided every detail. It is a completely passive experience. That’s why it can be so enjoyable, so easy, so relaxing. All the work is done for us. And each viewer’s experience of the film is fundamentally similar. That’s part of the fun. We can relive moments together – ‘do you remember that time where …?’

A book however, is like a lattice: there is much more open space than there is matrix. And our imagination relentlessly fills these voids with our own experience and knowledge, so that once we have read a book, it becomes ours. Each reader’s experience of a particular book is as individual as they themselves are. As soon as a writer offers his work to the public, it ceases to become his. Just as my sensei made that fight scene so much better than it was, every part of a book is there for the reader to shape and customise. What a powerful thing this is. And as a writer, so hugely liberating. The world’s experience and passion is out there, just waiting to imprint itself on and muscle-up the humble skeleton I create, making it much more than I could ever have hoped. For me, it is just one more reason to keep on writing, even in an age where film and TV and video seem to continue to grow in dominance. Reading, it seems to me, is here to stay, an experience that cannot be eclipsed.

Paul Hardisty
Paul Hardisty
Authors Links:
via Orenda books:http://orendabooks.co.uk/paul-e-hardisty/
Twitter: @Hardisty_Paul