#CoverReveal #PublicationDay The Final Trail by AA Abbott @AAAbbottstories #LoveBooksTours

Hi lovelies! Today not only do I have a fab cover reveal for The Final Trail, the last in the Trail series but also like to wish happy publication day to AA Abbott! A huge thank you to Kelly at Love Books Group for inviting me to take part.  Here’s a little about the book and the series so far:

Birmingham has well and truly been put on the crime thriller map with the success of the TV series Peaky Blinders but for bookworms amongst us the popular Trail Series has long brought readers into the modern day 21st century with its tense storylines, murder and intrigue set in and around the city.

The Trail series features a vodka business, a cancer cure and obsessive killers. Every book is a good read in its own right – each is a great crime story with terrific twists to keep the tension mounting – but together, they follow the same characters over several years.

The Trail series author AA Abbott also known as Helen Blenkinsop, has been compared with the likes of Ruth Rendell, John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer.  She lived and studied in Birmingham for nearly 20 years and her passion and love for the city became the inspiration for the Trail series.

Now, after four successful editions the last storyline will be revealed in the publication of THE FINAL TRAIL which will be launched in Birmingham on 28th October.

In the last book …”Glamorous Kat White has built a successful craft vodka brand in Birmingham, but she has an uneasy relationship with her business partner, Marty Bridges. Her mother had previously supplied with poisonous vodka. Marty doesn’t trust Kat, resents having to depend on her for commercial success, and isn’t thrilled that his eldest son wants to marry her. That’s not his biggest problem, though. He’s trying to develop a cancer drug with Kat’s brother, Erik, and it’s draining money he doesn’t have. Just as he finds an investor with pockets deep enough to fund their research, Erik is lured to the former Soviet Union and thrown into jail. Meanwhile, Ben Halloran, who killed his father to save Kat’s life, is faced with the twin risks of a murder charge and his brother’s deep-seated desire for revenge. Can Ben escape with his life and liberty? And can Marty save both Erik and his business – and learn to trust Kat?”

Helen said “I’ve been writing about these amazing characters for over 5 years, so you can imagine, they have become a part of my life. It’s been a great journey and they have come through so many storylines that it feels right for them to achieve their dreams at last.”

Most of the action in THE FINAL TRAIL takes place across the city and features the famous Rose Villa Tavern and 1,000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter; The Mailbox, home to the BBC in Birmingham, Holloway Head by the famous Pagoda Island and locations in Harborne and Edgbaston.

Helen addedIt’s going to be very sad to launch the last book as the stories and characters have built up such a following but it will give me the opportunity to weave new and exciting tales – I have so many ideas buzzing in my head.”

THE FINALTRAIL is a perfect read for those who like a fast-paced crime thriller combined with suspense, humour and plot twists.  It’s ideal to take away on holiday and provides a great read during the autumn/winter nights.

Title: The Final Trail by AA Abbott

Date Published: 28th October 2019

Genre: Thriller

Description: 

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka.

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page turner.  

TFT thumbnail

You can buy your copy via the link below:

https://amzn.to/2BJmoHg

For more from the author AA Abbott, you can check out her website: https://aaabbott.co.uk or follow her on twitter: @AAAbbottstories

Happy Publication Day! The Forgotten Child by D.E White @DEWhiteAuthor @HQStories #Review

Title: The Forgotten Child by D E White

Publisher: HQ

Date Published: 27th September 2019

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

Lights blinded her in an eerie white flash. She yanked the wheel as she felt the impact from the car behind her. There was a sharp pain, and then a bang in front of her, and after that nothing but darkness.

Holly Kendal is trying to put her painful past and broken marriage behind her and focus on her beloved son, Milo. But while driving him home on a dark February night, Holly loses control on the rain-slicked tarmac, and her car spirals off the road.

When Holly regains consciousness, everything is silent and in the dark she can’t see Milo. Desperately, she claws her way out of the car and forces the back door open.

To her relief, Milo is where she left him, injured but breathing – but then she sees something that makes her heart stop.

Milo isn’t the only child in the car. Next to him is another little boy, unharmed but unconscious.

And Holly has absolutely no idea who he is.

Review:

I’ve read a number of D.E White’s (she’s also published under the name Daisy White) novels over the years so when I hear she has a new book out, it’s always a must read for me.

Holly Kendal is a single mum, trying her hardest to put her ex husband and troubled past behind her. She’s driving home with her son Milo when she skids off the road, crashing her car.

When she wakes up, she finds not only her son but another boy. Who is this child and where did he come from? Unable to rest until Holly knows who the boy is, she must look into her past and confront the secrets that lie there.

The Forgotten Child is a tense and intriguing thriller with a cast of fascinating characters.

Holly is a great character that you really can’t help rooting for. She’s worked hard to escape from her gangland past and built a new life for her and her son, working in call centre for the ambulance services, yet she still has an edge of toughness about her. Ugh and her ex husband, how she deals with him is beyond me!

The book was billed as a psychological thriller but it felt like it was edging more into a gangland thriller territory. This type of novel is not usually my cup of tea but D.E White’s writing draws me in every time!

I did feel that the boy who Holly finds in her car, the whole incident that starts the story, got a little forgotten in the overall story but of course that’s just my opinion.

The Forgotten Child is a gritty and intense read that’s packed with tension from that very first page.

About The Author:

D.E. White writes psychological thrillers for HQ Digital (HarperCollins). Her first two Daisy+White+author photopsychological thrillers, REMEMBER ME, and THE FORGOTTEN CHILD, were published this year. She also writes cosy crime as Daisy White, including THE RUBY BAKER MYSTERIES for Joffe Books.

She lives near the Sussex coast, and has two children, both of whom are bookworms, so it must run in the family!

Daisy would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and review her books, as she learns something new from each critique.

website; http://www.daisywhiteauthor.co.uk

email; daisy@daisywhiteauthor.co.uk

Twitter; @DEWhiteAuthor

Facebook; Daisy White Author

Happy #PublicationDay A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores by Laura Biggs @rararesources @PaperDollWrites #Giveaway

Hello lovelies! Wishing a happy publication day to Laura Biggs for her new book A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores. I have an exclusive Q&A with the author herself plus an amazing giveaway (see bottom of post) but first a little about the book:

A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores Amazon Cover

Title: A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 2) by Laura Biggs

Date Published: 23rd July 2019

Genre: Chicklit

Description:

It looks like a perfect Cornish autumn, with aspiring novelist Maisie Clark still finding inspiration as a maid at the historic Penmarrow Hotel. Between the staff of quirky co-workers, glamorous and unusual guests, and her growing friendship with the charming but mysterious Sidney Daniels, Maisie is living out adventures instead of just penning them in the pages of her would-be novel’s growing number of chapters.

And then there’s the slight problem of keeping the balance between friendship and ‘something more’ with Sidney, who’s helping introduce her to the village’s version of a Cornish Halloween, and has recently taken an interest in Maisie’s secret that may change things between them. But even Maisie’s imagination can’t conjure the unusual event this Halloween brings to the Penmarrow. An eccentric earl has chosen this site to host his lavish birthday celebration that includes a pretty (and perceptive) young psychic whose predictions seem to have everyone on edge — and, to Maisie’s delight, the elusive novelist Alistair Davies is rumored to be part of the guest list! But with the earl’s bickering relatives and illustrious friends on hand— and more than one ghost of the past waiting to be revealed — it’s anyone’s guess what the festivities will bring before the party is over.

Will the psychic foretell doom for the earl’s gathering—and is her ‘gift’ as genuine as it seems? Will Maisie finally meet her favorite author face to face? And, more importantly, what about the romantic sparks that fly between Maisie and Sidney?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spirited-Cornish-Shores-Little-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B07R59BM53

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Spirited-Cornish-Shores-Little-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B07R59BM53

Q&A with Laura Biggs

Can you tell me a little bit about your book?

It’s the second book in a series about an American waitress and aspiring novelist who ends up working across the Pond in a beautiful Cornish hotel. It has a little bit of a Halloween theme, with some spooky events taking place when an eccentric and wealthy guest at the hotel hires a famous psychic as part of their elaborate birthday celebration.


Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

I think it came partly from my long-time fondness for light-hearted, mildly scary stories. Growing up, I adored classic films like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Blackbeard’s Ghost. And the idea of a wealthy earl’s bickering relatives gathering at a historic hotel for a haunted birthday party seemed very Agatha Christie somehow, even if there was no real mystery involved.


If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?

A feel-good romance with a dash of Halloween fun!


What is a typical writing day like for you?

Well, it usually consists of about six to eight hours of writing on a laptop. I sometimes have a music playlist to work to or maybe some television to run in the background. And, of course, other obligations surface throughout the day, so it’s not complete solitude and screen time, thankfully!

If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?

As far as fiction books go, I wouldn’t know where to start. There are so many I love and feel are prime examples of certain genres, such as Jane Austen for romance and Agatha Christie for mystery. It would be too hard to choose just one, I’m afraid!


Who are your favouriteauthors?

I’d have to say Jane Austen is among my all-time favourites authors. Her novel Sense and Sensibility is one I will never get tired of reading.


Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)

Hmmm, let’s see. This isn’t so much interesting as a bit unconventional, BUT…I didn’t own a cell phone until 2018. So, yeah, I’ve been behind the times for awhile now, LOL!


What are you currently working on?

Right now, more books for my series ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’ are in the works (including a Christmas one for the end of the year!).

About The Author:

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especiallyA Little Hotel in Cornwall Author Pic ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/

Giveaway to Win one of 3 Cornish themed prizes (Open Internationally)

1st Prize: A Ross Poldark collectible Knitdark character doll (Open Internationally) –1 winner

Perfect for fans of all-things Cornwall, this Ross Poldark doll with tricorn hat is made by AngelaA Spirited - Ross Poldark Knitdark Giveaway Blay, whose popular Knitdark creations have been featured on The Graham Norton Show. Since each doll is hand made, the Ross the winner receives may vary slightly in appearance from the one in the picture. Readers can learn more about the Knitdarks at Angela’s Twitter page @kwerkyknits as well as her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/kwerkyknits

 

2nd Prize: A decorative tin T.A.R.D.I.S (Open Internationally) –1 winnerA Spiritted - T.A.R.D.I.S. tin Giveaway

A tin T.A.R.D.I.S similar to the keepsake Maisie is gifted by Sidney in Book 1, A Little Hotel in Cornwall. Designed by Etsy artist KittyConduitt81 and perfect for fans of Doctor Who! Being a unique, hand made item, the final design may vary slightly in appearance from the one pictured. Learn about KittyConduittDesigns on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/KittyConduittDesigns

3rd Prize: A Kindle/Tablet case featuring cover art from A Little Hotel in Cornwall (Open Internationally) –1 winner

A Spirited - Cover art for Kindle or Tablet GiveawayA specially designed case for a Kindle or Tablet featuring the cover art for Book 1 in the series A Little Hotel in Cornwall. The final product’s size, texture, and color will depend on the winner’s device.

*All 3 winners will also receive a digital copy of Book 1 in the series, A Little Hotel in Cornwall.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494258/?

#Review The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg @JessRothenberg #SciFi #YA

Title: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Date Published: 11th July 2019

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Mystery

Description:

“Disney on steroids… a sure fire discussion starter about desire and power.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Welcome to the Kingdom, a dazzling fantasy theme park where ‘happily ever after’ is not just a promise, but a rule . . .

It’s a fairytale which ends in murder as the one of the ‘Fantasists’ goes renegade… Ana, a half-human, half-android princess, is tasked with entertaining visitors and making wishes come true but now she’s on trial, after finding herself experiencing emotions and romantic feelings against all her programming.

Told through court testimony, interrogation records and fragmented flashbacks, The Kingdom has the futuristic appeal of Westworld and the twists and turns of a true-crime thriller.

Review:

On the surface the kingdom and it’s princesses (or fantasist as they’re called) are perfect but it soon becomes clear all is not well. Sinister things start happening around the park culminating in a murder. What is really going on in The Kingdom?

I really enjoyed The Kingdom! Part mystery, part science fiction, the two genres are blended nicely together to make a really entertaining story. I’m always on the lookout for mystery books with a twist or a combination of genres like this.

The story is told in an interesting way with a mix of flashbacks, courtroom scenes and post trial interviews.

I was really intrigued by the main character Ana. She’s never questioned her life as a fantasist, obey the rules, doing what she’s told. She thinks she’s safe within the walls of the kingdom. Then things start to happen, her sister and best friend Nia starts acting strangely and accidents happen around the park. Then she meets Owen and starts having feeling that she shouldn’t. She begins to question everything, is the world outside as bad a place as she’s been told?

This getting compared to Westworld a lot but as someone who’s never seen the movie and only watched one episode of the show, I don’t like westerns even if they do have robots in them, I preferred the Disney like setting.

I did guess the ending about half way through but I just really enjoyed the characters and the story so it didn’t bother me too much.

My only issue was what the Fantasists actually were. Only now I’ve re-read the synopsis, I know that they’re part human, part robot but for a good chunk of the book I thought they were brain washed humans. I just wanted a bit more clarity there within the story.

I think The Kingdom will appeal to anyone who loves a different kind of mystery.

About The Author:

Jess Rothenberg is a writer and freelance editor. A former editor of books for young readers,the kindom author including the bestselling Vampire Academy series, she was also the author of The Catastrophic History of You & Me, published in more than a dozen countries and The Kingdom, a futuristic thriller. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

#BlogTour #Review A Little Hotel In Cornwall by Laura Briggs @rararesources @PaperDollWrites #PublicationDay

A Little Hotel in Cornwall Cover

Title: A Little Hotel In Cornwall by Laura Briggs

Date Published: 30th April 2019

Genre: Chicklit

Description:

Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance. 

When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast. But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.

Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too. 

Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?

Purchase Link: http://smarturl.it/alittlehotelbook1

Review:

So if you’ve heard of Laura Briggs before, you may know she does have another set of novels with Cornwall in the title but this is a completely new series with a new cast of characters to get to know.

Masie Clark wants nothing more than to be an author. In an attempt to find a mentor she journeys to Cornwall, to find her favourite author the mysterious Alistair Davies. When she gets there a case of mistaken identity means she’s offered a job as a maid with a probationary period of two weeks. That should be enough time to find Alistair Davies, right?

Wrong! No matter what she does disaster ensues, then she bumps into her ex boyfriend Ronnie. She becomes torn between him and local lad Sidney Daniels. Will she find the love she’s always wanted and get the publishing contract of her dreams?

The theme of this book is all about taking chances, you never know what might happen!

The beautiful Cornish coast really is the perfect setting for this lovely little novella. It’s so well described, I really want to visit there now!

Maisie is one of the those characters you just automatically root for, I especially enjoyed the fact she was a wannabe author like myself. Her supporting cast of characters are also a good mix of the eccentric and interesting.

I have to be honest, the introduction of her ex boyfriend, I mean he happens to be at the same hotel as Maisie at the same time, felt a little too convenient and a little contrived but of course that’s just my opinion.

A little hotel is Cornwall is the light hearted read that will make you fall in love with the characters and Cornwall itself!

About The Author:

Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100A Little Hotel in Cornwall Author Pic Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/

Happy Publication Day! #Review Sleep by C.L. Taylor @AvonBooksUK @callytaylor

Title: Sleep by CL Taylor

Date Published: 4th April 2019

Publisher: Avon Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

The million-copy bestseller is back in her darkest, twistiest book to date. Read it if you dare!

Review:

I received a copy of this from Avon Books via NetGalley.

Anna is running away from her past and the tragic accident that killed two of her colleagues and severely injured another. She thinks that taking a job on the remote island of Rum will help her come to terms with her guilt but some has followed her intent on harming her.

Now she’s trapped in a hotel with seven strangers as a terrible storm blows in with no way of escape. Can she survive?

I absolutely devoured this novel! CL Taylor is becoming one of those authors that I can pick up one of her books and know I’m going to enjoy it from beginning to end.

I love the way CL Taylor takes an ordinary person, some you could see in the street and puts them in extraordinary situations, pushing them to their limit. I really felt for Anna dealing with all the guilt, with an unsupportive boyfriend and a lot of people who blame her for the accident.

The island of Rum made for a really atmospheric and almost claustrophobic setting coupled with Anna’s paranoia made it such a tense and gripping read.

I don’t want to say too much more about the storyline, because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but boy was this a real tension packed read with an ending I didn’t see coming at all!

My only issue was the fact that the character happens to find a job on a remote island, by chance and in her first week a bad storm happens to roll in…a bit of coincidence but I think the author manages to get away with it.

Overall Sleep is fast paced and thrilling read that you just won’t want to put down.

About The Author:

C.L. Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of six gripping psychological thrillers. They are not a series and can be read in any order:

2014 – THE ACCIDENTcally-taylor-109-800x533
2015 – THE LIE
2016 – THE MISSING
2017 – THE ESCAPE
2018 – THE FEAR
2019 – SLEEP

She has also written a Young Adult thriller, THE TREATMENT, which was published by HarperCollins HQ and is currently writing her second, which will be published in June 2020.

C.L. Taylor’s books have sold in excess of a million copies, been number one on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play and have been translated into over 25 languages and optioned for TV. THE ESCAPE won the Dead Good Books ‘Hidden Depths’ award for the Most Unreliable Narrator. THE FEAR was shortlisted in the Hearst Big Book Awards in the ‘Pageturner’ category.

Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014. She lives in Bristol with her partner and young son.

Sign up to join the CL Taylor Book Club for access to news, updates and information that isn’t available on the web, as well as exclusive newsletter-only competitions and giveaways and the books that CL Taylor thinks will be the next big thing. You will also receive THE LODGER for free when you sign up:

http://www.callytaylor.co.uk/cltaylorbookclub.html

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#BlogTour #Excerpt Deliver Us From Evil by Conrad Jones @ConradJones @Bloodhoundbook

Hello lovelies, today I’m bring you an excerpt from Conrad Jones’ latest novel, Deliver us from evil but first a little about the book:

Title: Deliver Us From Evil by Conrad Jones

Date Published: 26th March 2019

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

Detective Braddick is summoned to a horrendous crime scene, where it appears a double murder has taken place. The victims’ bodies are missing and the police have no clue as to their identities or who killed them.

As the investigation snowballs, the potential body count rises and the Major Investigation Team have little to go on until DNA evidence is examined.

There appears to be no motive for the dreadful murders until an ancient script is found daubed on the walls of a nearby property. As the clues are unravelled, Braddick and his team realise they are dealing with something they have never experienced before. Because this time they’re tracking evil itself…

Excerpt from Deliver Us From Evil:

CHAPTER 1

The whirring sound of a power saw woke him from his sleep. He couldn’t tell where it was coming from – above or below. The flats were well soundproofed, but the high-pitched sound of the saw travelled through the structure, grating on his nerves. He checked his watch: it was three o’clock in the morning. What type of idiot would use a power tool at that time? One without a job, that’s who. A lot of the flats were occupied by wasters now. It hadn’t been like that when he’d moved in. The landlords had since dropped their standards and allowed the unemployed to rent apartments next to hard-working residents. Some of the newer families were African and Eastern European, and they all seemed to work hard. It was like the United Nations in the lifts but they all had jobs. The jobless were the problem. He didn’t think of himself as a snob, but the unemployed had lowered the standards in the tower block; it was noisier, dirtier and more dangerous. No one had used power tools in the middle of the night until the landlords allowed the unemployed to move in. The sound pierced the night again, louder this time. He tried to pinpoint where it was coming from. Below him, someone shouted angrily in a foreign language. A baby started crying, followed by more shouting. The saw whirred again, provoking more angry protests from below. He swore beneath his breath and threw the quilt off. He couldn’t sleep through that nonsense. Enough was enough.

Paul Skelton was angry. He was angry most of the time. Life was one monotonous pile of bullshit. Stupid people made him mad, and most of the people he met were very stupid. People who used power tools at night were incredibly stupid. He switched on the light and swung his legs out of bed. The saw had stopped, momentarily. He paused and listened; the baby downstairs had settled down and the angry voices were muffled and less frequent. He thought about climbing back into bed when a sudden thud on the ceiling made him jump; it was followed by the sound of something heavy being dragged across the floor. It wasn’t directly above his bedroom, but it was close. His heart quickened and he held his breath. Another thump rattled him.

You’re taking the piss, stupid idiot,’ Paul muttered. ‘That’s enough.’

He struggled into his tracksuit pants and pulled a vest over his head. The dragging sound began again. Then another thump. He stuffed his feet into his trainers and padded over to the door, muttering to himself about what he was going to do with that saw and where he was going to shove it. Then the lights went out.

I don’t believe this,’ he said, searching for the door handle.

His hands touched the cold metal and he opened the door, feeling his way through the darkness while his eyes adjusted. A yellow glow filtered through the blinds from the streetlights below. The power cut was localised to the tower block – it happened in the building quite a lot. Too often. The last time it had happened, it was off for over an hour. He reached the kitchen and fumbled his way to the bits-and-pieces drawer. There was a torch in there, somewhere amongst the adapters and old phone chargers. The baby started crying again, joined quickly by another. A man and woman started arguing on the floor below in a language he didn’t recognise. Getting to sleep tonight was going to be difficult. He found the torch and switched it on. The beam cut through the night and he aimed it at the ceiling. A circle of light shimmered. The knife block caught his eye and he thought about taking one, just in case, but dismissed the idea just as quick. A blade glinted in the light, its edge cold and sharp. Taking a blade to a noisy neighbour was a touch over the top. He would ask them politely to be quiet. If that didn’t work, he would give them a slap. Nothing too heavy, just a jab on the nose. Make their eyes water and they would think twice about building an extension in the middle of the night. Another heavy thump from above steeled him on. The idiots were not giving up on whatever project they had started.

Paul walked to his front door and unlocked it. He opened it and the cold night air rushed in, touching his exposed flesh with icy fingers. Goose bumps appeared on his arms and he felt a sense of dread growing inside him. He looked across the landing at the city below. The lights twinkled like yellow jewels on a sea of black ink. A gust of wind whistled along the landing, blowing a polystyrene cup towards the stone stairwell. It tumbled over and over before disappearing into the dark. He listened as it clattered down the steps. A deep chill made him shiver, his mind searching for excuses not to step out of the warmth into the darkness.

It occurred to him that the power cut would silence the saw. He thought about not going upstairs, about going back to bed and trying to sleep despite the noise. The saw whirred again and the hairs on his neck bristled. Obviously they had a battery-powered tool. That was it. The final straw. He shone his torch towards the stairs and tried to close the door quietly behind him but the wind caught it, slamming it loudly. The noise echoed through the building and he froze to the spot, waiting for a torrent of abuse to be shouted from the neighbours below. None came. He took a deep breath and moved down the landing.

The stairwell was pitch black and looked like the entrance to the underworld. He shone the torch up the stairs and the beam of light illuminated the concrete steps. Black blobs of chewing gum stained them and there were dark patches in the corners. The reek of urine drifted to him. He whispered a curse that was carried away on the wind. The entire block was turning into a giant toilet. He was going to make a complaint to the estate managers directly. There were so many landlords in the building that nothing got done unless they were bypassed. Another gust of wind urged him up the first tier of steps; the cold made the task more pressing. He turned on the landing and took the steps two at a time. The wind was stronger as he climbed, funnelled along the balcony by the angle of the roof. The stench grew stronger and it was darker on the top floor – the power of the streetlights became diluted as he climbed.

He moved quickly from the stairwell along the landing using the torch to light the way. The windows in the first flat were boarded up. Scorch marks reached from the top of the lintels to the roof. The flat had caught fire in suspicious circumstances months ago. Paul heard the wind whistling through the handrails. It was then that he caught the smell of cooking: garlic, onions, pork. He glanced at his watch again. Three fifteen. What was wrong with these people?

Paul marched past two more empty properties and stopped outside the door of number ninety. The curtains were clean and tidy and drawn. Everything was quiet. He wasn’t sure where the noise had been coming from but he knew it was above his flat somewhere. That meant it was either ninety or ninety-one. He walked to the flat next door and looked in through the window. The kitchen inside was stripped, only the sink remained. Electric wires hung from empty sockets and a pile of copper pipes were leaning in the corner. Tins of contract paint were stacked near the door. Paul could see it was being renovated and ruled it out as the source of the noise. The flats beyond were all boarded up. That meant that the occupants of number ninety were the culprits. He walked back and listened outside the door. Someone was gently humming. He recognised the tune but the name of it eluded him. The sound of the saw whirring made him jump.

Shit!’ he hissed. He knocked on the door and waited. Nothing happened. He knocked again, louder this time. Nothing. ‘Don’t pretend you’re not in,’ he muttered as he knocked again. There was no response.

Paul moved from the door and looked in through the windows. He aimed his torch through the cracks in the curtains, but he couldn’t see anything – the light was reflecting on the glass. He went back to the front door and opened the letter box. The odours of cooking drifted to him, making his mouth water. His hunger added insult to injury. He pointed the torch through the narrow gap and searched the hallway. There was no sign of life. He noticed some dark spots on the door near the kitchen that looked like fingerprints.

Hello!’ he shouted through the letter box. A clatter from the kitchen echoed up the hallway. Then it was still again. ‘Hello?’ he shouted again. He heard footsteps but it was impossible to make out where they were coming from. ‘I’ve come to ask you to keep the noise down,’ he shouted. ‘Using power tools at this time of night is ridiculous, mate!’ Paul looked through the letter box again. The beam of light scanned the walls but nothing moved. ‘I know you can hear me,’ he shouted. Another clatter came from the back of the flat. ‘You can talk to me, mate, or you can talk to the police. Make your mind up.’

There was no reply. Paul went back to window and tried to penetrate the blackness inside with the torch. It was impossible. The glare on the glass was blinding. He heard the front door open and he turned around.

About time,’ Paul said, angrily. The man stepped out and looked around. ‘You’ve woke up the whole building, mate. What do you think you’re playing at, using tools at this time of night?’

The man looked at him blankly. His eyes looked as black as the night. Paul felt uneasy. The man smiled and Paul saw dark smudges on his teeth. He was about to take a step backwards when, too late, a flash of dull metal registered. The hammer hit him upside the temple. He felt his knees buckle as the man swung again.  A strong arm came from behind him, choking him. He felt himself being dragged inside the flat but he couldn’t shout for help. There were two attackers. One of his shoes became snagged on the sill and he kicked out to free it. The front door slammed closed and Paul knew he was in dire trouble. He struggled desperately to release the grip on his throat but his attacker was too strong. The first man raised the hammer again and brought it down on the top of Paul’s skull; there was a blinding flash. White-hot bolts of pain shot through his brain. This time, the lights went out completely.

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About The Author:

Conrad Jones is a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. He spent a number of years living in Holyhead, camperbookAnglesey, which he classes as his home. He worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working his way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th 1993 he was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day he was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. He began to read anything crime related that he could get his hands on and links this experience with the desire to write books on the subject.

He signed a three book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The Alec Ramsey series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. Conrad has also written The Soft Target series, which has received critical acclaim.