Blog

#NewRelease 4* #Review #WhenTheMusicsOver #PeterRobinson #DCIBanks23 @HodderBooks

cover
When The Music’s Over by Peter Robinson

Synopsis:

Two young girls.

Two unspeakable crimes.

Fifty years separate them – their pain connects them.

When the body of a 15-year-old is found in a remote countryside lane, beaten and broken, DI Annie Cabbot is brought in to investigate how the child could possibly have fallen victim to such brutality.

Newly promoted Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is faced with a case that is as cold as they come. Now in her 60s, Linda Palmer was attacked aged 14 by celebrity entertainer Danny Caxton, yet the crime has never been investigated – until now.

As each steps closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll unearth secrets much darker than they ever could have guessed . . .

My review:

I have been a huge fan of Peter Robinson’s writing for a long time. I love the way he constructs his various Alan Banks novels to have a wide range of themes and they all work, beautifully! This novel has very dark subject themes but I think it is executed to be both very accurate and an intense story.

The novel focuses on two cases, one a historical case of sexual abuse. A seemingly cold case from the past, that will have repercussions for the police officers involved. Also a modern case of a murdered young girl, who appears to have been groomed for sexual abuse. This novel never lets up, not one sentence. The prologue is a violent scene with a young woman thrown naked into the mud, abandoned and in need, on a dark country lane….

Alan Bank’s is newly promoted to Detective Superintendent and he now rubs shoulders with the senior police hierarchy. But knowing Banks like I do, it won’t be long before he is causing trouble! Bank’s is called to a meeting regarding Operation Yewtree, where the sole focus is historical cases of abuse. The victim Linda Palmer has spoken out about her rape in 1967, hoping to bring closure now her parents are both deceased. Her alleged rapist is local widely-known celeb Danny Claxton. Danny is reminiscent of recent real life celebs who have been discovered to have harboured a life of degradation and abuse of children. But what Danny doesn’t know, is that Linda remembers a witness to her rape and Bank’s has had, 6 other victims come forward. Danny Caxton is without a doubt one of the vilest characters I have read in a long time. He is in fact, so repulsive you shiver, whilst you read!

DI Annie Cabbot, (Bank’s pervious cop partner). Is now working with DC Geraldine Masterton, known as Gerry. They are called to the crime scene of the young girl, thrown from the van, through their investigation we discover the girl was subjected to violent abuse and a recent gang rape. They speak to family of the victim and her best friend covertly calls in to the helpline. It appears the victim was known to have been befriended by a group of local Asian men and their appetites for young girls, well known. How were the men able to form relationships with these young victims so easily? How did it go unnoticed by local ‘on the beat’ bobby’s?

When Culture and crime collide.

The author has clearly done his research on these themes, they are so well written and emotive. The historical victim from the past Linda, pens a memoir which is scattered throughout the novel, it details her internal pain via her thoughts, in reflection, it is very powerful, tear-inducing writing. This is an era when children had no voice and that is clearly evident in the plot. An era when money and privilege ruled over working class families. But it was also an era of innocence, where children would always believe what an adult said and would unfortunately, do what they told them to.

The modern crime of the girl thrown from the van, brings back images from Annie’s own gang rape, where she was raped by detectives, when she first qualified as a police officer. It makes her more determined than ever to get justice for the young girl. Annie and Gerry, often discuss the case over the course of the novel and this makes for fascinating reading. They debate the actions of those involved and the victim herself. Did she contribute to her own murder? Was she destined to be somebody’s victim? The mentality of the victim is very concerning, that in her life she viewed her abuse with almost apathy.
This is what happens to girls like her, where she is from…….

4*

Q&A with #HistFic #Author @LJCruickshanks & #Inspiration #GuestPost @QuercusBooks #Vietnam #Burma

I am always looking for unique historical fiction novels, whether it be the era, location or characters etc. Then I happened to stumble across Lucy’s novels via Twitter, which ticks all the boxes for me.
Let me know what you think and what your favourite historical fiction novels are and why? 🙂

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I’m lucky enough to have had two historical thrillers published by Quercus in the last few years: The Trader of Saigon, set in 1980s Vietnam, and The Road to Rangoon, set in 1980s Myanmar (then called Burma).

Trader is about a US Army deserter turned human trafficker, the desperately poor young Vietnamese woman he tries to ensnare, and how their paths cross with a former highflying businessman, now unable to pay his financial and political debts to the government. The context to the novel is bleak but, in a way, it’s a redemption story really – and a story of self-determination. Each character is battling to take control of their life when the personal, cultural and political odds are stacked against them.

Rangoon takes place in Burma’s exotic ruby-mining region, against the backdrop of the world’s longest running civil war. It follows three characters again; a young woman smuggling gems to escape her past, the British Ambassador’s son, accidentally out of his depth and alone in the mountains, and an ambitious military officer determined to better his lot at any cost. It’s a story of cunning and resourcefulness in the face of enormous danger, but one of hope and salvation too.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I completed the first draft of Trader on the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. I wrote the novel quickly, found an agent quickly, and was rejected by a dozen London publishers quickly too. Though the manuscript didn’t sell, I received such positive feedback and encouragement that I didn’t feel ready to jettison it quite yet. I spent six months rewriting, took my time in finding a new agent who I believed would really champion it, and was thrilled to sell with a choice of lovely offers in the end, and a two-book deal.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Patricia Highsmith, for the darkness of her wit and how she somehow leaves you rooting for characters that are utterly deplorable. Amitav Ghosh, for his mastery of language. The way he can capture the essence of a time and place is astounding. George Orwell, for how he champions the underdog, and his caustic judgments on the nature of power. Corban Addison, for how he seamless stitches contemporary political issues with compelling characters and riveting plots. I can’t talk about favourite books or authors without naming Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn, too. I’ve never read anything more devastating about war. It’s a masterpiece.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Anything by Roald Dahl. I adore him. His imagination and sense of humour is still unmatchable, in my mind. I can’t wait until my children are old enough to enjoy him too.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Being shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award for Trader was such a surprise and a real honour, but it’s probably a handful of personal emails I’ve had from readers who lived in Vietnam and Myanmar at the times my novels were set that I treasure most.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My husband. He was the person who told me to stop talking about writing a novel and actually put pen to paper in the first place, the person who has ready every word of every draft and told me the truth about what’s great and what’s rubbish, and the person who always says ‘keep going’ when I want to stop. Trader could only ever have been dedicated to him.

Guest post: #Inspiration

The Inspiration behind The Trader of Saigon

My debut novel, The Trader if Saigon, was inspired by a chance meeting on a flight between Singapore and Vietnam in 2007, though I was unaware of this fact at the time. I had been travelling through Asia for several months and was heading to Vietnam for the first time to pick up my intended route, having taken an unexpected detour from Cambodia to the isolation ward of Singapore General Hospital with a nasty bout of suspected (though ultimately fraudulent) Bird Flu.

I was travelling with my husband, Scott, and we were seated beside a well-fed Asian man in a sharp grey suit and tinted glasses. The plane took off and he hailed the stewardess for a whiskey, then he pulled out his wallet, presented his business card, and casually told us how he made his fortune selling women. He said he’d sat next to a missionary couple on his previous flight and was delighted to have better company, this time. It quickly became clear that this was an exaggeration – he was not at all interested in talking to me – but I filtered my questions through Scott and listened intently. His business was strictly legitimate, of course; he sold nothing but brides. His women were young, beautiful, smart and ambitious. From across the continent, they had sought him out and were looking for love. These days, the market was mostly in China, where men outnumbered women and it was often difficult to find a wife, but he had sold his girls all over the world. American, German and British customers were not uncommon. Asian brides were the best wives a man could get – so loyal and obedient. Demand was unprecedented. He’d been clever to capitalise. Business boomed.

I continued my travels with his card as my bookmark for the rest of our trip. I had no intention of writing a book about this (or anything else) at the time, but several years later when I did sit down to write, the man on the plane was the character I just couldn’t shift.

The Novels:

The trader of saigon cover
The Trader Of Saigon

Synopsis:

In the chaos and corruption of 1980s’ Vietnam, three seemingly unconnected lives are brought together by greed, fear and hope.

As a US Army deserter, Alexander is a man without country; trapped in a life he no longer controls and embroiled in the dark business of trading women. His latest victim is Hanh, a rural girl who moved to Hanoi to escape inevitable poverty and who sees Alexander’s arrival as the answer to her prayers. Neither of them has ever met Phuc – a Vietnamese businessman who backed the wrong side in the war and is now unable to pay his financial and political debts to the Party. But his struggles are about to change both their lives.

From a society torn apart by war comes a tale of redemption and salvation; a thrilling saga and an explosive debut novel.

The road to rangoon cover
The Road To Rangoon

Synopsis:

In 1980s Burma, the British ambassador’s son goes missing.

Discovered in the north of the country, Michael Atwood is in imminent danger, trapped between sides fighting a bitter civil war and with no way of getting back to Rangoon. His best hope of salvation is to trust Thuza, a ruby smuggler who offers to help him escape.

Beautiful and deeply scarred, Thuza has spent her entire life in a frontier town between rebel and government forces, never choosing a side but trying to make a living from both. For Thuza, the ambassador’s son is her ticket out of poverty. For Than, an ambitious military officer, exploiting those caught up in the war offers an opportunity for promotion and distinction.

But as all three learn to their cost, in this exotic, enigmatic and savage country, everyone has a price.

Lucy Cruickshanks Headshot 2
Lucy Cruickshanks

 Author Bio:

Lucy Cruickshanks’ love of travel inspires her writing. A great fan of the underdog, she’s drawn to countries with troubled recent histories, writing about periods of time when societies are at their most precarious and fraught with risk.

Her debut novel, The Trader of Saigon, was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, and named a Top Ten Book of 2013 by The Bookbag. The Road to Rangoon was described as a ‘gutsy atmospheric thriller’ by Women and Home magazine, ‘enjoyable and well-written’ by the South China Morning Post and ‘haunting and heart-wrenching’ by Novelicous. It was chosen as Book of the Month by Candis.

Born in 1984 and raised in Cornwall, UK, Lucy holds a BA in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Warwick and an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. She lives in Hampshire and divides her time between writing and caring for her two young sons.

Authors Links:
Twitter: @ljcruickshanks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/L.J.Cruickshanks
Website: www.lucycruickshanks.com

*Both novels are currently on offer via Kindle Ebook for just 99p in the UK*

 

 

 

 

#BlogTour 5* #Review Calling Down The Storm by Peter Murphy @noexitpress @annecater

calling down blog tour poster final (5)
Calling Down The Storm by Peter Murphy

The synopsis:

Calling Down the Storm is the story of two separate but strangely parallel lives: the life of a defendant on trial for murder, and the life of the judge who presides over his trial.

April 1971.When DI Webb and DS Raymond arrive at Harpur’s Mews in Bloomsbury in response to a 999 call, a horrific scene awaits them. Susan Lang is lying on the ground, bleeding to death. Her husband Henry is sitting nearby, holding a large, blood-stained knife. In shock, Henry claims to have no memory of the events that led to his wife’s death leaving his barrister, Ben Schroeder, little to defend a potential charge of murder.

Unknown to his strict Baptist wife Deborah who lives in the family home in Guildford, Mr Justice Conrad Rainer has a secret life in his London flat, a life as a high-stakes gambler. In his desperation for money to fund his gaming, he has already raided his own and Deborah’s resources, and now he has crossed another line – one from which there is no return.

To his horror, as the trial of Henry Lang starts, Conrad discovers a sinister connection between the trial and his gambling debts, a connection that could cause his world to unravel. And then, there’s the other terrible secret he is hiding in his flat. In a rare case in which the judge is in greater peril than the defendant on trial in his court, both Henry and Conrad have called down the storm on to their heads.

Their lives are on the line, and time is running out.

My Review:

Every so often I enjoy an in-depth, plot layered novel with a legal theme. I am a huge John Grisham fan and recently finished the Mississippi trilogy by Greg Iles. However, legal thrillers based in the UK seem somewhat, rarer. So I was delighted to discover this series by Peter Murphy. Its intelligent, its cleverly written and gripping!

The novel opens in April 1971, DI Webb and DS Raymond are called to an horrific crime scene just a few minutes’ walk from the police station. A young woman lays bleeding to death on the street….. A man is sat in a doorway near the body, holding a blood dripping knife and he appears in a trance like state. The police must act fast to secure the weapon and bring emergency medical care to the woman. What started as a peaceful Wednesday afternoon, will certainly not, end as one, for those involved………..

Through DI Johnny Webb and DS Phil Raymond’s investigation we learn the victim was Susan Lang. The main suspect, her husband Henry Lang, remains in custody and his physical/mental health undetermined. Henry claims to have no memory of the attack, what happened and why he was found holding the murder weapon. Is this a clever act of amnesia? Or is Henry telling the truth? We learn that Henry and Susan were in the middle of a messy, chaotic divorce. With their two young children, Marianne and Stephanie being used as bargaining chips between the pair. They had a court appointed welfare officer dealing with their custody dispute, Wendy Cameron. Wendy is however, the main eye witness of the attack. The only one, who claims to know what truly happened! What would drive a man to viciously stab his wife? And why round the corner from a police station? Henry remains in a catatonic state and one thing is for certain, if he doesn’t come up with answers soon, he will spend the rest of his life in jail!

This novel interweaves the story of Henry Lang, main murder suspect and that of Judge Conrad Rainer. This is very cleverly done as the two men lead very different lives and come from very different backgrounds. I felt this worked incredibly well. As we are drawn into the downfalls of these men.

Judge Conrad Rainer lives a perfect middle class existence with his Baptist wife, Deborah. But Conrad has another side to his life, his wife knows nothing about. Conrad Rainer has many secrets……..
The novel shifts to 18 month previously in Conrad’s life and we learn how he often escaped to his flat for work purposes. Which enabled him to drink to excess and do as he pleases, away from the prying eyes of his wife. Conrad joins an exclusive gambling club and enjoys mixing with the affluent clientele. He meets an unusual woman of much intrigue and swiftly becomes addicted to his life in his flat, where he may be, who he really is, deep down. But is Conrad being groomed for something much bigger than his gambling debts? How much is Conrad willing to pay, for this secret life?

Remembering this is an era, when men rarely got custody of their children and had to be prepared to fight the system for simple visitation rights. This novel pulls at the emotions of a child custody battle and the feelings of the parents and children involved. When Henry’s trial begins, we see the inner workings of court cases and learn, there is more to this case, than meets the eye. Conrad learns a tough lesson, in that, where power and wealth mix, corruption surely follows………..

What will happen when the lives of the suspect, judge and a known criminal collide? Who can you trust, when everyone, has something to cover up?
A gripping legal thriller 5*

 

#BlogTour #Debut #Review A Deadly Game by Joanne Griffiths @Tazer129 @Bloodhoundbook

Blog Tour (2)

A Deadly Game by Joanne Griffiths

Synopsis:

A chilling serial killer thriller

Kate Palmer, an undergraduate student, discovers that she is pregnant and makes the decision to drop out of university. However, on the evening before she returns home, her body is discovered in Aston park. She is the first victim of several murders that will rock the city of Birmingham.

DS James “Jim” Wardell, who has his own issues to contend with, is given the case.

When Eddie Carter, a popular talk show host on Birmingham’s radio station, is contacted by someone claiming to be the killer, it is the start of a cat and mouse game between a deranged killer and the police.

After a second body is discovered the pressure mounts on the police to capture the person responsible.

Who is killing these women and why?

Can Jim apprehend the twisted killer before more innocent women are murdered?

My review:

A killer stalks the streets of Birmingham, attacking young women at their peril….

The prologue opens with young carefree student Kate Palmer, making the tough decision to leave university. Across Birmingham however we meet a woman also facing an uncertain and complex future, Alison.
Alison, is married to a man only described only as ‘he’ throughout, he is a volatile, angry and controlling man. The scenes of domestic abuse narrated make for painful reading and fully display the control abusers exercise over their victims. With a young baby, Alison needs help drastically, but as we read her internal struggles we realise how tough it is indeed for victims to face the reality of their treatment and can relate to their belief it will get better. Will Alison find the courage she needs? Can she escape with her young baby?

Career copper, Jim and his police partner, Angela receive an urgent 999 call at midnight during their shift. Summoned to the scene at Aston Park, they find the dead body of a young woman, in what appears to be a sexually motivated crime, due to the display of the body. The victim is Id’ed as local student Kate Palmer and Kate’s personal past is dragged out for everyone to see, secrets and all……..

The killer sends letters and items of the victims, to local radio host Eddie Carter. Eddie runs a Friday night talk show on the BTH FM station. The notes are violent in their wording and show the true level of depravity in the killer himself.

“She Deserved to die she was a whore I’m not done yet”

The police are worried this maybe an attempt at a hoax and the comparisons are drawn from the Yorkshire ripper case and the Hoax caller who confused the entire investigation for many months. When more and more young women’s bodies turn up the media dub the killer the ‘Aston strangler’. Is this Birmingham’s answer to the Yorkshire ripper?

This novel covered a wide-variety of themes and I found that thoroughly engaging. The impact of the crimes on the surviving family, Press intrusion and police pressure are fully explored as the plot plays out. I loved the dynamic of ‘double lives’ but predicting which characters are leading double lives is never easy.

The novel has layers of depth, with a killer twist at the end! 4*

received_462191193954283-1
Joanne Griffiths
Authors links:
Publisher: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/joanne-griffiths/
Twitter: @Tazer129

#Guest Q&A with Faith Hogan @GerHogan @aria_fiction

I am delighted to welcome author, Faith Hogan on to my blog for a Q&A 🙂

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) First off, Abby thanks so much for having me on your blog, it’s lovely to be here! My new novel came out in February and it’s called Secrets We Keep. It’s a story about love, family, betrayal and – yes, you guessed it secrets. It’s set in a little corner of the west of Ireland and the action plays out around a local dilapidated bath house. The book follows the story of Kate who wants to make something of her future and Iris who’s trying to make sense of her past. They are two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship, both forced to confront their pasts and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never meant to be kept.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) Secrets’ We Keep is a story inspired by place. It’s very much of the place I come from, however the books I love are all very character driven and I suppose that will always be the case for my books too.

I’m a bit of a planner in that I like to have an idea of who I’m writing about, I do like to sit and think for quite a while before I decide to write. Sometimes, there’ll be a great idea, but then when I actually start to flesh it out, I just know it’s not going to ever be much more than ten thousand words!

I love writing that first draft; it’s like a long ramble in the woods. I start and keep on going, occasionally I’ll glance at what is a very shaky plan, but mostly I let my fingers walk across the key board.

Round two is the tidy up then if I think it’s half decent I let my sister read it. While she has it loaded on her kindle, I try to forget about it. I’ll concentrate on other things. Eventually, I won’t be able to ignore it anymore and I have to dive in again. There will be more re-drafting, more cutting, filling in, changing around and wrestling with it before I think it’s done.

The next stop is the agent – if all is good with it and she’s happy, it will go to the publishers. After that, I’m working off their suggestions – which are usually very good. The final draft is always a bit nerve wracking, you know you’ve done all you can, without driving everyone crazy, but it’s still hard to let it go…

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) This is very much a moveable feast. I’ve read some superb Aria books over the last few weeks and I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite there, so I’ll just recommend them all 😉

Over the last year or so, the most memorable have probably been ‘The Trouble with Goats and Sheep,’ by Joanna Cannon – I adored the language in this odd little book. ‘The Muse’ Jessie Burton and I must say, I really enjoyed ‘The Chilbury Ladies Choir,’ by Jennifer Ryan.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) This is almost as hard! I loved books as a child and when I look back, most of childhood and teenage years are marked out in books. I was a big Enid Blyton girl, then it was onto Agatha Christie and from there onto Arthur Conan Doyle. When I was fourteen, I read Ivanhoe and I suppose I fell a little bit in love then!

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Honestly, there have been so many. I suppose, I’ll never forget that first email that Aria were interested in signing me for My Husbands Wives – that was one of those, once in a lifetime moments! Then holding the actual book in my hand, seeing it in a book shop…yes, there have been a few alright

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) It would be very hard to whittle this down to just one person, but suffice it to say, I’ve a great network of support around me. Without all of those people closest to me there would not be a chance to write and without their belief there may not be the sustained effort it takes to get to the finishing line every time.

Of course, outside of that, none of us would be writers without readers, publishers, agents and of course lovely bloggers! In the end, books come full circle, I think and sometimes it’s the feedback you get when they’ve flown the nest that makes you consider them all over again and gives you appetite for the next one!

cover 2

My Husband’s Wives by Faith Hogan

Synopsis:

One man, three wives, too many secrets. A heart-warming story of love, loss, family and friendship. A compelling debut that fans of Freya North will love. Paul Starr, Ireland’s leading cardiologist dies in a car crash with a pregnant young woman by his side.

United in their grief and the love of one man, four women are thrown together in an attempt to come to terms with life after Paul. They soon realise they never really knew him at all.

The love they shared for Paul in his life and which incensed a feeling of mistrust and dislike for each other, in his death turns into the very thing that bonds them and their children to each other, forever.

As they begin to form unlikely friendships, Paul’s death proves to be the catalyst that enables them to become the people they always wanted to be.

Cover
The Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan

Synopsis:

Some people are good at keeping secrets but some secrets are never meant to be kept…

Two distant relatives are drawn together and forced to confront their pasts. A bittersweet story for fans of Patricia Scanlan and Adele Parks.

The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.

For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?

FM
Faith Hogan

Bio Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She 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.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It was published by Aria, (Head of Zeus) in 2016.   ‘Secrets We Keep,’ is her second novel out on Feb 1st 2017.

Authors links:
Twitter (her favourite) https://twitter.com/GerHogan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithhoganauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faithhoganauthor/?hl=en
Web Page. http://faithhogan.com/

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.