It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6. Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.
And nothing will ever be the same again…
Ever since I picked up the Puppet Master a few years back this series has always been a must read for me and the third is no different.
Fingers are being displayed around Cumbria at Christmas, so Poe and Tilly are brought in to investigate. What seems to be a serial killer case takes an stranger turn when they discover a sinister figure, The Curator, is involved. Will they be able to find him before more people die?
The Curator is what I’ve come to expect with this series, a complex mystery, coupled with a few gruesome scenes and nail biting moments.
For me what makes the series a standout is Poe and Tilly. Their relationship is sweet, they’re very loyal to each other and always look out for one another, which makes the perfect contrast to the gruesome/upsetting murder cases they investigate.
Truthfully, it kind of lost my attention a bit in the middle but the tense and emotional ending really made up for it.
The Curator is a good addition to this great series, I’m looking forward to Tilly and Poe’s next adventure!
About The Author:
M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .
M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.
Today I’m shining a spotlight on the latest novel from Richard Dee, The Hitman and The Thief as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.
Title: The Hitman and The Thief by Richard Dee
Date published: 31st August 2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Organised Crime
Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.
Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.
Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.
To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.
Can the hitman and the thief get the job done, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?
Beta Readers comments,
“Richard’s latest book, The Hitman and the Thief, takes the reader on a twisting journey through different worlds. The action moves swiftly, with unexpected twists and turns. As usual, Richard’s excellent technical knowledge conveys a gritty reality with ease. This is a fun read, hard to put down and I sure hope there is a sequel in the making.”
Richard Dee is from Brixham in Devon. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then he went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
He has also worked as an Insurance Surveyor, Lockmaster, Harbourmaster and Ships Pilot, taking over 3,500 vessels up and down the Thames, passing through the estuary, the Thames Barrier and Tower Bridge.
Since the publication of his first Science Fiction novel, Freefall, in 2013, Richard has written another twelve novels, a textbook and a selection of short stories. He has been featured in several anthologies, including 1066 Turned Upside Down and Tales from Deepest Darkest Devon.
He writes Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures and also chronicles the exploits of reluctant amateur detective Andorra Pett.
Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.
Title: Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium
Date Published: 13th July 2020
Genre: Horror Anthology
Diabolica Britannica is a collection of 14 dark tales from the dark isles. It features contributions from the following authors: Adam L G Nevill, Tim Lebbon, Keith Anthony Baird, John F Leonard, Morgan K Tanner, Arthur M Harper, Christopher Henderson, Beverley Lee, Sarah E England, Catherine McCarthy, Stephanie Ellis, Janine Pipe, Sarah J Budd and Alyson Faye.
I want to thank Yvonne at Insidious book tours for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I love short stories and I don’t read them often enough, particularly horror, and I saw that Diabolica Britannica was all for a good cause, with all profits going to fund the NHS’ efforts COVID-19 research, so I thought why not.
What I loved was the variety of British horror that was in Diabolica Britannica, from monsters to folklore inspired tales to psychological horror and so much more. Another thing I loved was I now have a whole host of new authors I want to read.
Each story may have only been short but they were creepy, chilling and utterly captivating! Of course there were a few stand outs for me:
Tourist Traps by Christopher Henderson, is a story about a boy who is obsessed with ghost hunting, so much so he takes a ghost tour of London and gets more than he’s bargained for.
The Secret of Westport Fell by Beverley Lee, was an atmospheric historical story about a young woman sent to look after her ailing aunt and ends up taking in a young girl she finds wandering in the cold.
Scripted in Shadows by Morgan K Tanner, is a blood soaked story about a mysterious and murderous book.
The Coven by Sarah E England is about a woman who returns to the town she was born in to find out why her family was forced to flee the country.
I could go on but I’d think I’d be boring you with this review soon!
Diabolica Britannica is packed to the brim with talented authors and a must if you love horror.
About The Authors:
Catherine McCarthy is a spinner of dark tales, often set in the wilder regions of her native Wales, U.K.
She has published two novels and a collection of short stories, and is currently querying a dark fantasy novel,The Wolf and the Favour, which is entwined with ethereal elements and Celtic lore.
Several of her stories have been published in anthologies such as Graveyard Smash, Dead Alive, and Diabolica Britannica, and earlier this year she won the Aberystwyth University Imagining Utopias prize for creative writing.
She lives in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse with her illustrator husband and its ghosts, and when she is not writing she may be found hiking the rugged coast-path or squirrelling among ancient churchyards for story inspiration.
Keith Anthony Baird is the author of The Jesus Man: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Horror (Novel), Nexilexicon (Novel), And a Dark Horse Dreamt of Nightmares (Book of Shorts) and This Will Break Every Bone In Your Heart (Novelette). His works can be found on Amazon and Audible. He is currently working on a dystopian novel titled SIN:THETICA.
Diabolica Britannica is his brainchild and was developed in response to 2020’s global pandemic. A collective of British talent seemed the obvious vehicle to bring further horror to the masses, but ensuring some relief in the process by donating all profits to help fight COVID-19.
When not at his desk writing, you might find him up a mountain, snorkelling on a coral reef with his partner Ann, or having fun with his grandson. Failing that, it’s a good bet he’ll be on Twitter.
Janine Pipe is a Horror lover and writer who was first introduced to the genre as a child reading ‘Salem’s Lot – and she hasn’t looked back since. She is inspired by Stephen King and cites Glenn Rolfe, Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz as her favourite current writers. She likes to shock with her writing, there is usually a lot of gore and plenty of swearing … She is very thankful to her biggest cheerleaders, her husband and daughter and her mentor, Graeme Reynolds. She chews the fat with fellow authors on her blog – Janine’s Ghost Stories and reviews for Scream Magazine and Nightworms.
You can find her work at Tales to Terrify, Ghost Stories the Podcast and The Horror Tree. Several of her short stories have been published, including an all female anthology with Kandisha Press.She is currently writing a splatterpunk novella about a teenage vampire hunter. .
Christopher Henderson was born in Streatham, south London (UK), a few months after the first human beings landed on the Moon. At the same time, only a few miles away on the other side of that city, other human beings were preparing to hunt and stake a supposedly genuine vampire in its lair in Highgate Cemetery. It was the beginning of 1970, the overture to a very weird decade.
Throughout Christopher’s childhood, popular culture was steeped in the eerie, the macabre, and the uncanny. The supernatural, it seemed, was only ever a half-heard whisper away – and it never stopped talking to him.
Half a century later, Christopher continues to haunt south London. In a parallel life, he was for many years involved with the scientific and open-mindedly sceptical study of paranormal and fortean phenomena, and he is the author under a different name of several non-fiction books specializing largely in folklore and ghost stories. In this incarnation, however, he writes horror fiction, and especially supernatural horror fiction, as he attempts to escape the deeper horrors that plague the real world.
He is the author of Artemis One-Zero-Five (a horror/SF novel set in the near future, partly in London and partly on a remote asteroid) and The Horror at Lavender Edge (a supernatural horror novel set in 1970s London). Currently, he is working on a sequel to The Horror at Lavender Edge.
Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her latest work includes the novella, Bottled, published by Silver Shamrock, who will also be publishing her novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel in October. She has recently been published in Flame Tree Press’ A Dying Planet anthology with “Milking Time” and is included in Silver Shamrock’s upcoming Midnight in the Pentagram anthology with “Family Reunion”. Her poetry can be sampled in the Horror Writer Association’s Poetry Showcase Volume 6 and in the upcoming Volume 7. She has collected a number of her published, and some unpublished, short stories in The Reckoning, her dark verse in Dark is my Playground, and flash in The Dark Bites, all available on amazon. She is co-editor of Trembling With Fear, HorrorTree.com’s online magazine. She is an affiliate member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on twitter at @el_stevie.
Alyson lives in West Yorkshire, UK with her husband, teen son and four rescue animals. Her fiction has been published widely in print anthologies – DeadCades, Women in Horror Annual 2, Trembling with Fear 1 &2, Coffin Bell Journal 1, Stories from Stone, Ellipsis, Rejected ed. Erin Crocker)and in many ezines, but most often on the Horror Tree site, in Siren’s Call and The Casketof Fictional Delights.
In May 2019 Night of the Rider, was published by Demain in their Short Sharp Shocks! E book series and later that year Demain published her 1940’s crime novella – Maggie Of My Heart.
Currently she has stories appearing in the Strange Girls anthology (ed. Azzurra Nox), two charity anthologies, Burning Love from Things in the Well, and Amongst Friends (Gypsum Sound Tales); another Gypsum anthology, Colp: Black and Grey and by Emerald Bay Books, Horror for Hire: First Shift.
Her work has been read on BBC Radio, local radio, on several podcasts (e.g. Ladies of Horror), posted on YouTube and placed in competitions.
She performs at open mics, teaches, edits for an indie publisher and hangs out with her dog on the moors – in all weathers.
A full list of her publications can be found via her author page on amazon:-
John F Leonard
John messes around with words for a living. He was born in England and grew up in the industrial Midlands. That was where he learned to love scrawny cats, the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains.
His official education mostly involved English, Art and History. Everything else came later. The employment record is somewhat difficult to summarise. Chequered is probably a good word for it. Shop worker and office boy, sculptor and odd-job man, fraud investigator and thief. It’s all the same, when you boil it down. Pay your way and try to have a good day.
He enjoys apocalyptic stuff, horror, comedy and football (not necessarily together). A family man, John now lives a few miles from the old Victorian house in which he was born. Scribbling scary stories seems to keep him vaguely sane (accurate at time of writing). Current projects include more tales from the Dead Boxes Archive, another everyday cosmic horror novel from the Scaeth Mythos, and new books set in the post-apocalyptic world of Collapse.
Beverley Lee is the bestselling author of the Gabriel Davenport vampire suspense series (The Making of Gabriel Davenport, A Shining in the Shadows and The Purity of Crimson) and the gothic horror, The Ruin of Delicate Things. In thrall to the written word from an early age, especially the darker side of fiction, she believes that the very best story is the one you have to tell. Supporting fellow authors is also her passion and she is actively involved in social media and writers’ groups.
You can visit her online at www.beverleylee.com (where you’ll find a free dark and twisted short story download) or on Instagram (@theconstantvoice) and Twitter (@constantvoice).
Morgan K Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.
He is the author of An Army of Skin, The Mind’s Plague and Other Bites of Brutality, The Unbeliever & The Intruder; a Short Sharp Shocks! Book, and The Snuggle Zombies; his attempt at a horror book for kids.
You can praise or indeed abuse him by visiting www.morganktanner.com or find him on Twitter @morgantanner666 and Instagram @morganktanner
S.J.Budd is a dark fiction author from Cornwall. Her work has appeared in The NoSleep Podcast, Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome and many others.
When not writing she is mostly reading, tending to her huge collection of cactus plants and going for long walks in the country-side..She spends far too much time on twitter @sjbuddj. You can find out more about her stories at www.sjbudd.co.uk
Hello lovelies! I always see these types of posts about and I realised I’d never done one myself so thought I’d share my July/August ebook haul with you.
Title: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis
Some people won’t let a little matter like death stand in their way …
A terrible tragedy leaves Hattie Hastings widowed and heartbroken. But her late husband isn’t about to take his demise lying down.
Torn between delight and frustration, Hattie struggles to convince friends and family of her ghostly predicament.
There’s also the small problem of best friend Cat’s ex-husband trying to worm his way back into her life. And both Hattie’s son, Johnny, and mum, Rachel have their own problems to face.
Bouncing between earth and the Afterlife, Gary discovers he has a mission. But what could it be, and will his beloved wife be able to help?
Title: Murder In G Major (Gethsemane Brown Mysteries #1)by Alexia Gordon
Winner– Lefty Award, Best Debut Novel
Nominee–Agatha Award, Best First Novel
Chosen one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debut Novels in 2016
With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none.
The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?
Title: The Penguin Killer by Ste Sharp
Brighton, during the glorious Britpop summer of 1995.
A second hand bookshop becomes the centre of a serial killer investigation when vintage penguin books are left at murder scenes.
Luke Redfern has just inherited the bookshop Red Books from his Grandad and is busy trying to make the big time with his indie band, Beachhead.
When Detective Mellor asks him to help find out who has been leaving penguin books at crime scenes, Luke is drawn into the mystery of what the papers are calling the Penguin Killer.
Title: Publishable by Death A.C.F Bookens
A bookstore, a grumpy newspaper woman, and a murder. Quiet St. Marin’s has just gotten a little more lively . . . and a little less alive.
All Harvey Beckett wants to do is read books, help the residents of St. Marin’s find the perfect book for that moment, and snuggle with her hound dog Mayhem. But when the small, waterside town’s newest resident discovers the body of the community’s persnickety reporter in her bookshop storeroom on opening day, Harvey finds herself bound and determined to figure out the crime. Her task won’t be easy, though, since the town is flooded with visitors for the first annual Harriet Tubman Festival to honor the community’s most famous resident. Plus, a quiet but charming mechanic named Daniel isn’t helping with her concentration at all.
Publishable By Death is the first book in the St. Marin’s Cozy Mystery Series by ACF. Bookens.
Title: Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side-and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora “Roe” Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases.
It’s a harmless pastime—until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal “copycat” killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims.
Title: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.
The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant. As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought.
And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs…
Title: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stephenson
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Title: The Creak on The Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir Translated by Victoria Cribb
When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.
Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …
But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.
Title: Murder She Wrote: Killer in the Kitchen by Donald Bain
In the latest in the “USA Today” bestselling series, someone writes a recipe for murder.
Jessica loves the Leg & Claw restaurant, owned by young couple Brad and Marcie. And the restaurant is the couple s dream come true.
But when famed chef Gerard Pepe Lebeouf decides to open an eatery right next to theirs, tensions rise fast and hot and lead to a nasty confrontation between Lebeouf and Brad. So when Lebeouf is found dead with a knife planted in his chest, Brad becomes suspect number one. But plenty of others had a motive to kill Pepe, and it s up to Jessica to uncover who really added murder to the menu.”
Title: Black Cherry Betrayal (Claire’s candles 2) by Agatha Frost
Claire Harris is excited to get the keys to her candle shop finally. A foul smell coming from the attic, however, turns her excitement into a living nightmare. There, she finds the body of Jane Brindle, the owner of the tearoom, which had stood in the heart of the village for decades.
Jane’s eventual retirement at eighty after years of fruitlessly hounding her daughter, Em, to take over the tearoom sent her to the south of France, or so everyone assumed. Jane never left Northash, but nobody is admitting to knowing what happened to her. Accusations fly everywhere, with many fingers pointing at free-spirited Em, and even some at Claire for daring to change the status quo.
How did Jane end up dead in the locked attic after having supposedly left the village for a new life under the sun four months previously? How is Jane’s impossibly wealthy 102-year-old mother, Opal, involved? Someone close to Jane killed her, but can Claire find out who before her candle shop dreams crumble around her?
Title: Funland by Richard Laymon
Step right up to the land of fun…
Funland is another classic horror story from the master of the macabre, Richard Laymon. Perfect for fans of Dean Koontz and Clive Barker.
‘Laymon’s at the top of his form in Funland, his deceptively simple prose becoming by turns humorous, horrific, stunningly erotic. The funhouse climax is not to be missed. This novel belongs on every serious horror fanatic’s bookshelf’ – The New York Review of Science Fiction
The Funland Amusement Park provides more fear than fun these days. A vicious pack known as the Trolls are preying on anyone foolish enough to be alone at night. Folks in the area blame them for the recent mysterious disappearances, and a gang of local teenagers have decided to fight back. But nothing is ever what it seems in an amusement park. Behind the garish paint and bright lights waits a horror far worse than anything found in the freak show. Step right up! The terror is about to begin!
Title: Organized For Murder by Ritter Ames
Starting a small business is tough. Becoming prime suspect when your first client gets murdered is a killer…
A move to small-town New England meant a new start for the McKenzie family. When Kate opened her organizing business and immediately gained a rich client, she thought everything was finally stacked in their favor.
Until her client is found dead. Then the police take a hard look in her direction.
Things only get worse when forensics evidence finds her fingerprints on the murder weapon–and suddenly Kate shoots to the top of the list as prime suspect.
The stopwatch is ticking for Kate to prove she had nothing to do with the murder. The odds are further stacked against her when stolen items turn up in the McKenzie home.
She must trust her methodical skills and expert eye to sort out who is trying to frame her and uncover the real killer before she’s organized right into a jail cell.
Title: Grubane (Lost Tales of Solace 2) by Karl Drinkwater
Date Published: 13th June 2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/ Novella
Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.
His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.
But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.
Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?
I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author for providing me with a copy of Grubane in exchange for an honest review.
This is actually the second novella in the Lost Tales of Solace series but each story is written as a standalone so you don’t need to have read the other book in the series to read this one. Each of the novellas also tie into the author’s Lost Solace series there’s plenty to read for sci-fi lovers out there.
I read and enjoyed the first book in the series Helene, a couple of months ago so I was eager to see what Karl Drinkwater had in store for me this time.
Grubane is a major in the UFS (they basically run most of the colonies in space and pretty much want to take over everything). He’s been sent on a mission that quickly turns ugly and we see the fearsome major in action.
What I love about these books is the unique perspective the author uses to tell the story, this time it was mostly from the AI Aurikaa 12’s POV. As the story goes on, you can see it becoming more self aware, trying to interpret the world around it, particularly Grubane himself.
For me, this book lacked a little of the humour of the first book Helene but that was a minor thing overall.
Grubane is a slick sci-fi story and a perfect way to escape reality for a while.
About The Author:
Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.
He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.
Today I’m shining a spotlight on Nia Lucas’ latest release Choices Shape, Losses Break as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.
I also wanted to let you know that Nia Lucas’ first book Love Punked will be available for FREE from 18th-22nd August.
Title: Choices Shape, Losses Break by Nia Lucas
Date Published: 3rd April 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Shunned and struggling at home and school, teenager Lorna Davies clatters into chaotic and charismatic Shay O’Driscoll and Leon Barrett at an illegal rave in 1995. As Lorna’s talent for dancing sees her unexpectedly employed in the strobe-lit heart of 90’s club culture, her world is turned on its head by her budding friendship with Shay and Leon. For the boys, their high-risk lives endanger all three of them in an association that blurs the lines between friendship and dependency.
As the risks escalate, Lorna’s best friend Hannah, her brother Dan, her bully-turned-protector Nico and her unexpected friend Rosa watch with concern as she is thrust ever closer to harm in an intoxicating new landscape. When life-threatening events risk separating them permanently, Lorna, Leon and Shay juggle love, loyalty, sacrifice and exploitation as their lives change beyond recognition. Will the losses they face break them all?
I am a UK-based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about writing amazing, strong and relatable female characters who readers really invest in- I love to write stories about the best mate you wish you’d had! My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s, especially Rave and Clubbing culture. My first novel, ‘Love Punked’ is rated 5* on Amazon and my second 5* rated Novel ‘Choices Shape, Losses Break’ is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!
Social Media Links – My Facebook Page is Nia Lucas Books where my latest news and updates are posted and readers can also follow me at @BooksNia on Twitter or @nialucasbooks on Instagram.
Title: A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook by Richie Billing
Date Published: 12th June 2019
Genre: Non Fiction/Writing
‘A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook’ provides detailed guidance on the pillars of storytelling as well as aspects of writing that rarely feature in other books, such as writing fight scenes and world-building. At times the focus shifts away from the technical elements and considers the philosophies behind writing, ways to help you maintain focus, and methods of battling the demons of doubt that forever loom over our shoulders.
Section two explores the thriving genre of fantasy and the many facets that make it what it is, before looking at the histories of our world that so often inspire our fantasy tales.
The final part looks at the things that come after you’ve finished your story—formatting, peer-reviewing, finding publishers—and other things the contemporary writer can do to enhance their careers, such as making and maintaining a website, blogging, and marketing methods.
By the end, you’ll have a sound foundation upon which to build as well as the tools to venture on alone with courage and confidence.
This is a seriously overdue review, Richie Billing himself sent me a copy of this last year and I’ve only gotten round to reviewing it now!
I write mostly mystery but I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with fantasy but I thought there was no way I could write something like that, so I was interested to see what A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook had to offer.
Written in a friendly conversational style, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook offers advice on characters, world building and even editing.
Don’t be put off by the title A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook because there are plenty of practical tips on things like characters and plotting that are helpful to any wannabe author no matter the genre.
What made this standout for me was not only was there loads of writing advice, there were suggestions of extra reading on writing and editing which I really appreciated.
Like most writing advice books, not everything will work for you but writing is a learning curve afterall!
A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook is a well written and helpful book that I’m glad I’ve got a copy of on my kindle shelf for when I want to tackle a fantasy story in the future.
About The Author:
Richie Billing writes fantasy fiction, historical fiction and stories of a darker nature. His short fiction has been published by, amongst others, Kzine, TANSTAAFL Press, Bewildering Stories, Liquid Imagination, The Magazine of History & Fiction, Aether and Ichor, and Far Horizons. His debut novel, Pariah’s Lament, will be published by Fiction Vortex in Summer 2020. He co-hosts the podcast The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed, a venture inspired by the requests of readers of his acclaimed book on writing, A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook. Most nights you can find him up into the wee hours scribbling away or watching the NBA. Find out more at www.richiebilling.com.
Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world – the Big Apple.
She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up – as well as fake not-really-dead bodies – Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.
Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?
I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the author providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Bella and her husband Will are invited on a murder mystery cruise and end up stuck in the middle of the Atlantic with her ex husband and her writing nemesis. To make matters worse the fake murder mysteries become real and Bella ends up the prime suspect.
So this is the second in the Bella Tyson series it can easily be read as a standalone, something I can attest to having not read the first. There’s no spoilers for the first book either and having enjoyed this one so much I will be getting myself a copy and reading that too!
Murder Ahoy is a cozy mystery with a little more edginess to it that your standard cozy with a small smattering of swearing and some saucy language which on more the one occasion had me giggling out loud.
There was a fantastic array of interesting characters from Bella’s self centred cheat of an ex-husband Joel to her new more mild mannered beau Will. And there of course there’s Bella herself, who is wonderfully sarcastic and self deprecating, even though she could be a little snarky at times.
I have to be honest I had the killer pegged quite early on but the motive wasn’t clear until the end.
Murder Ahoy! is a light hearted and fun filled mystery that I enjoyed from beginning until end.
About The Author:
Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.
In the distance Leah heard sirens. She ignored them. Right now, her daughter needed her and Emily was just out of reach, curled up under the bed, her eyes closed, desperately shaking. Leah did the only thing any mother would do. She crawled through the blood to get to her daughter.
Dr Leah Wright returned to her childhood home in rural Pennsylvania with her husband to find peace and quiet, start afresh and raise her six-year-old daughter Emily. But when she gets home one dark winter night, clutching roses in her hand, she finds her daughter huddled under her bed and her husband’s blood all over the floor…
When Detective Luka Jericho is called to investigate, he’s shocked to learn that the killer left a witness behind – the victim’s young daughter. The scene is a painful reminder of his fiancé’s unsolved death, and he is desperate to find out what Emily saw that night. He knows that the killer could still be out there, waiting to strike again.
But growing up, Leah learned the hard way that the only person she could rely on was herself. And it’s not until she and Emily are attacked again that she realizes just how close the killer is. Can she trust Luka to keep her daughter safe?
Fans of Karin Slaughter, Kendra Elliot and Tess Gerritsen will devour this fast-paced and chilling new crime series from New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons. You won’t be able to put this book down.
I want to thank Noelle Holten for inviting me on this blog tour and Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dr Leah Wright returns home one evening after a tough shift at the hospital to find her husband dead and her daughter Emily huddled under her bed. All evidence points to Leah but can she prove her innocence and keep her daughter safe?
The Next Widow is a real whirlwind of a novel! Fast paced, fraught and full of tension. There were also a few heartbreaking moments too, especially as Leah struggles to connect with her traumatised daughter in the aftermath of her husband’s death.
There was a nice back and forth in the POVs and we get to know the characters of Leah and Luka really well. They both have their own sets of personal problems, even before Leah’s husband is murdered, but both are tough and determined to push through their emotional scars.
I have to be honest I pegged the killer fairly early on, although the entire motive wasn’t clear until the end.
The Next Widow is a gripping and fast paced read, I’d recommend to any thriller lovers out there. I’m looking forward to seeing where this new series is headed.
About The Author:
As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times and USA Today Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.
CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).
Title: The Dying Light (Matt Ballard 3) by Joy Ellis
Publisher: Joffe Books
Date Published: 23rd July 2020
Genre: Psychological Thriller
From multiple #1 best-selling author, Joy Ellis, comes a psychological thriller that will have you glued from first page to last.
WHISPER FEN HOLDS DARK SECRETS As the mists roll over the fens and enigmatic lights twinkle in the distance, only the locals know their way along the hidden paths through the mysterious watery terrain of one of England’s most beautiful and sometimes dangerous places.
Detective Matt Ballard may have retired but there’s still plenty going on the fens to keep him busy.
Someone trashes an old lady’s garden and daubs her isolated cottage with hateful graffiti. Emilia Swain seems to be totally harmless, so why is she being targeted?
Matt’s best friend Will and his wife Kate moved to Holland House to put their past behind them. But Kate’s mental state is deteriorating and she’s obsessed with the tragic history of the house and an old doll she finds in the garden.
And why is Kate suddenly friends with a loner who haunts the fens?
Has the dreadful past come back to haunt the present owners?
Former detectives Matt and Liz want to help their friends and neighbours. But how can you help people who don’t want to be helped?
DISCOVER A TOTALLY ENTHRALLING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM JOY ELLIS
What readers are saying about JOY ELLIS
“The suspense starts on Page 1 and continues through the twists and turns until the very surprising ending.” Linda Strong
“OMG, this book was fantastic I absolutely loved it. I was gripped from the first page but as the tension and suspense mounted throughout the book it just got better and better and that ending, well just WOW!” Dawn Jones
“I absolutely loved it.” Viv
“Will keep you guessing until the end of the book.” Barbara
“What a book!!!” Sian
“I was so engrossed I sat up way too late to finish it in one sitting.” Elaine
The Setting England’s rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves (the old livestock routes) that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.
ALSO BY JOY ELLIS THE BEST-SELLING NIKKI GALENA SERIES Book 1: CRIME ON THE FENS Book 2: SHADOW OVER THE FENS Book 3: HUNTED ON THE FENS Book 4: KILLER ON THE FENS Book 5: STALKER ON THE FENS Book 6: CAPTIVE ON THE FENS Book 7: BURIED ON THE FENS Book 8: THIEVES ON THE FENS Book 9: FIRE ON THE FENS Book 10: HIDDEN ON THE FENS
JACKMAN & EVANS Book 1: THE MURDERER’S SON Book 2: THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS Book 3: THE FOURTH FRIEND Book 4: THE GUILTY ONES Book 5: THE STOLEN BOYS
DETECTIVE MATT BALLARD Book 1: BEWARE THE PAST Book 2: FIVE BLOODY HEARTS Book 3: THE DYING LIGHT
I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw at Books n All Promotions for inviting me on this tour and Joffe Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I was so excited when I heard there was a new Matt Ballard book coming out! I loved the first two and I was eager to see how Joy Ellis would carry on Matt’s story. Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of the other novels (you should because they’re really good) as it’s easily read as a standalone.
The Dying Light is something a bit different from Joy Ellis’ usual police procedurals but it’s just as enjoyable.
I love Matt and Liz, they’re such a sweet and loving couple and even though they’re now both retired they still use their time as private detectives to help other people. The addition of former colleague Will’s POV made it even better.
I got a slightly creepy feeling during the novel, Whisper Fen makes an ethereal backdrop to the story.
The ending was jaw dropping. I’m still thinking about it as I’m writing this review and honestly, it’s one of the most fraught and emotional I think Joy Ellis has ever written.
I will warn you that mental health is one of the main themes in the story which may be triggering for some people although Joy Ellis does handle this with sensitivity.
I did wish the plot had been streamlined a little more, there were a couple of times I got a little confused at the beginning.
The Dying Light is a complex, emotional and atmospheric read that will really stick with you after you’ve read it. .
About The Author:
UK #1 BEST SELLER WITH THEIR LOST DAUGHTERS, DARKNESS ON THE FENS, THE FOURTH FRIEND, BEWARE THE PAST, FIRE ON THE FENS, AND THE GUILTY ONES
OVER 2 MILLION BOOKS SOLD!
“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!
And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, a highly decorated retired police officer, and our four barking mad Springer spaniels. If I do get any spare time, which is rare these days, my one relaxation is painting, especially using soft pastels. We have been here for twenty years now and although I’ll never be a true ‘Yeller Belly’, a native born to this county, I have adopted it as my own. I love the mists, the big skies and the endless waterways. All my books are set here on the Fens, and why not? The location is perfect for murder!”