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**COVER REVEAL** Knock Knock by Chris Merritt

I love a good crime series, and I’m really pleased to be able to share the cover of a new series from Chris Merritt. Knock Knock, the first in the Detective Dan Lockhart series looks right up my street!

The Blurb

Natasha Mayston wasn’t expecting anyone to knock on her door so late at night and she has no idea that the face staring back at her is the last one she’ll ever see…

 As Detective Dan Lockhart is called to a wealthy London street to investigate Natasha’s death, he’s startled by the similarity to another case. Noticing the cable-tie restraints and the tiny scratches on Natasha’s wedding finger, Dan already knows what he will find if he looks in her throat – the small metal ball which choked her to death. He knows for sure that this isn’t the killer’s first victim and that he will strike again.

Months earlier, Kim Hardy was found in the same position in a hotel across the city – the same cable ties around her wrists, lacerations on her left hand and the same silver ball in her throat. But Kim’s murderer was caught and sent to prison – did they arrest the wrong man? Fearing that he’s dealing with a serial killer, Dan calls in psychologist Lexi Green to help with the case.

Then another body is discovered just days later, just as Lexi finds a clue online leading to the killer. Dan and his team aren’t convinced she’s found the right man, but Lexi reaches out to the suspect, putting herself in unthinkable danger. Dan thinks he knows who’s next on the killer’s list. But can he reach her before it’s too late?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Cara Hunter will love this thrilling new series from Chris Merritt. From an explosive start to a heart-stopping finale, you will not want to put this book down!

The Cover

About the Author

Hello! I’m a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.

All my novels are set in London, where I live. My first trilogy starred Zac Boateng and Kat Jones, two detectives motivated by family, who tackle organised crime and police corruption. LAST WITNESS, the second Boateng and Jones book, reached #13 in the UK Kindle chart in 2019.

My second series features detective Dan Lockhart – an ex-soldier with a missing wife – and psychologist Dr Lexi Green, an American living in London. These novels are darker, more psychological serial-killer cases, with romantic relationships as a central theme.

I began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. I specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked my interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.

Now, I spend most of my time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When I’m not writing, I love climbing and playing basketball.

You can find out more about my work at www.cjmerritt.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @DrCJMerrit

**BLOG TOUR** The Beach House by P R Black

Earlier this year, I was fortunate to be one of the blogs featuring on the tour for P R Back’s previous book, The Family, a twisty, disturbing read that kept me gripped until the very end. It is my pleasure to, now, be able to share with you an extract from his latest novel, The Beach House, the story of a dream holiday that goes drastically wrong.

The Blurb

This vacation is about to turn deadly…

Cora’s on the island vacation of her dreams: a private beach in paradise, a romantic proposal, and an eight-figure cheque following the sale of her new fiancé’s business.

When their island turns out to be not so private after all, Cora tries to make the best of a bad situation by inviting their strangely friendly neighbours to celebrate with them.

But it doesn’t take long for her once-in-a-lifetime holiday to take a very sinister turn…

The Extract

Cora got to her feet, hastily brushing the fine grains off her legs.

‘I’m so sorry,’ the man said, raising a hand. ‘I didn’t mean to startle you.’

By shading her eyes from the sun, she could make out the fine details. He was about as tall as Jonathan, equally rangy but perhaps a little broader at the shoulders. He was more heavily built, with thick wrist muscles squeezing out of the rolled-up sleeves of a particularly offensive Hawaiian shirt. He wore shades and a sun hat, tilted at an angle. A wispy rusted-blond beard clung to a longish chin, and his shades had surely been stolen from his girlfriend, or even his mother-in-law.

‘That’s OK, I guess,’ Cora said, still a little flustered. She fought an urge to fold her arms across her chest. ‘Something we can do for you?’

‘I just want to introduce myself – I’m Dylan. We’re just on the other side of the bay, in the other house. Me and Hazel.’

Jonathan joined them. ‘Pleased to meet you. I’m Jonathan, and this is Cora.’

‘Hey,’ Dylan said, as they shook hands. ‘I like your style, man.’

Jonathan stared down at himself; he was clad only in a pair of khaki shorts, which hung precariously off his bony hips.

‘The beard,’ Dylan said, pointing to his own chin. ‘Strong look, man.’

‘Oh. Got you. Yeah, it’s the perfect disguise, I reckon.’

Cora shook hands, slightly repelled by the other man’s clammy palms. But she remembered her manners. ‘Nice to meet you. British, yes?’

‘By way of Los Angeles, but yeah. Born and brought up in Bermondsey, believe it or not.’ He allowed some south London to creep into his voice – a little exaggerated, perhaps.

‘Small world!’ Jonathan said. ‘It’s funny, I was sure they said the other house was empty when they brought us over on the boat.’

‘Hey, us too! Hazel was just saying that. The guy on the boat told us the same thing – that we had the island to ourselves. We figured they must have hired out your house last-minute. Hazel sent me over to say hello – nice to be nice, hey? Seeing as we’re technically neighbours.’

Dylan jabbed a thumb over towards the furthest point, where a rocky outcrop marked the outermost curve of the bay. Beyond this was the second house – but closer than this, almost blotted out of any discernible shape by the heat haze, another silhouette paddled in the water. As she drew closer, Cora could see it was a woman. She was absurdly startled to note the woman was topless. Yep, she thought. I’m British, all right. She smiled at Dylan. ‘The more, the merrier.’

‘Absolutely! Hey, I’ll let you get on with your morning; sorry to disturb you. I see you started early.’ He nodded towards the champagne bottle, embedded head first into the damp sand.

‘It’s a celebration,’ Cora said, a little too quickly.

The newcomer grinned. ‘Ah it’s all good – we’re about to do the same! Hey, maybe catch you both on Big Island later? Perhaps we can turn it into party town.’

‘That’d be nice,’ Jonathan said. ‘We’re heading over later, in fact. Maybe see you there?’

 

With thanks to Aria Fiction and to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

You can purchase The Beach House here:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Rf58CK

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2DLkJ4V

Google Play: https://bit.ly/360Psa9

iBooks: https://apple.co/34LkbIa

**BLOG TOUR** The Final Trail by AA Abbott

Today, I’m really pleased to be part of the blog tour for the fifth book in AA Abbott’s ‘Trail’ series, The Final Trail, and I’m thrilled to be able to share an extract with you.

The Blurb

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.

The Extract

Hearing his mother has been imprisoned in his homeland, Bazakistan, Erik White has flown there to help her, leaving his business partner in charge of their cancer research in England. Called to a meeting in the local police station, Erik isn’t fazed. At worst, he’ll be asked for a bribe. He’s completely unprepared for what actually happens. 

Leo operated from an office like Marty’s old quarters in Florence Street. It was designed to impress. Ten times the size of Dinara’s anteroom, it was lined and furnished in oak. A traditional wool rug, patterned in squiggles of red and gold, covered the ubiquitous linoleum. Leo lounged in a horsehide swivel chair, his feet on the splendid leather-inlaid desk before him. He didn’t rise for Erik.

“You’re Erik Belov?” Leo spoke Russian with a hint of the countryside in his accent. His cold blue gaze swept over Erik. The face beneath the cap was youthful, yet hardened. As boss of the station, Leo was powerful, and it looked like he enjoyed it.

“Erik White.” Erik extended a hand.

Leo didn’t take it, instead pointing to a less luxurious seat opposite. “Of course, your allegiance lies with the Queen of England,” he sneered, as Erik sat down.

“How can I help you?” Erik asked, ignoring Leo’s contemptuous tone.

“You’ve offended people in high places,” Leo said, bluntly. He removed his feet from the desk, and leaned forward. “You’re using the nation’s indigenous herb, darria, for the benefit of an English pharmaceutical company. It’s a theft of intellectual property from Bazakistan.”

Erik sensed colour rising in his cheeks. Whatever he’d expected Leo to say, it wasn’t this.

“It’s not true,” he said. “I don’t know who’s making that claim to you, but it’s risible. No one in Bazakistan paid any attention to darria, until I’d spent years studying it and researching its properties.”

“A professor in Bazaku City is working on it,” Leo said.

“Maybe now that I’ve obtained a patent and almost finished clinical trials.” Anger sent the words tumbling out. “If this goes to court, I’ll win. You know that, don’t you?”

“It won’t go to court.” Leo paused. Frost glittered in his eyes. At last, he said, “I’m empowered, on the President’s behalf, to place restrictions on your movement. You will stay in Kireniat, Bazaku City, or points in between. You will transfer the business of Darria Enterprises to Bazakistan.”

“I can’t do that, because I don’t own the business. Marty Bridges has half the shares. Anyway, you have no right to detain me.” A disquieting notion formed in Erik’s mind: that it had been a trap all along, and his mother was part of it. Raging with indignation, he nevertheless wondered if he’d been too hasty when he noted Leo reaching into a trouser pocket.

“You’re a citizen of Bazakistan, Mr Belov.” No pistol had appeared yet. Leo’s hand was still.

“Not anymore. I have a British passport.”

“Let me see it.” Leo stretched his other arm across the desk.

Erik handed it to him.

“Thank you.” Leo smirked, fetching a cigarette lighter from his pocket, and flicking it on. He applied the flame to a corner of the burgundy-coloured document. Bitter smoke rose as the edges blackened and curled.

Erik jumped to his feet.

“Sit down.” Leo’s voice was pure ice. “You’re in trouble. Don’t make it worse.”

Copyright © 2019 A.A. Abbott

A compelling psychological thriller, The Final Trail is the last book in a saga of vodka makers and villains. Find out more about the Trail series of psychological thrillers here, and about The Final Trail at mybook.to/TheFinalTrail. All five crime thrillers are available in ebook, paperback and LARGE PRINT, which is also super-easy for dyslexic readers to enjoy.

With thanks to A A Abbott, Perfect City Press and Kelly from Love Books Group Tours.

The Other People by C J Tudor

Driving home, Gabe receives a devastating phone call – his wife and daughter have been murdered at their home. How can this be, though, when he has just seen his daughter being driven past him? For a while, it is thought that Gabe was responsible for their deaths, and now, three years later, he is a shadow of the man he once was. Never giving up hope of finding his daughter alive, he travels up and down the motorway, searching for her. Whilst at a motorway service station, he meets Katie, a waitress who knows what he is going through as her father was brutally killed nine years ago. Fran and her daughter, Alice, are also constantly on the move, desperately trying to evade someone who knows the truth about what links each of these events…

After reading (and thoroughly enjoying) C J Tudor’s previous books, The Chalk Man and The Taking of Annie Thorne, I was fully expecting them to be of a similar vein. Whilst there are shadowy undertones to The Other People, it is more of a straightforward thriller than the previous two books, and this made it an unexpected and very welcome read.

I love C J Tudor’s storytelling and it is to her credit that she manages to successfully weave together several stories to create a tight, cohesive plot. At the start, I did wonder how each part of the plot related to the other, but gradually the truth was revealed, creating a timeline of events that explained everything clearly.

I warmed to the character of Gabe straight away and had great sympathy for his plight. I could feel his frustration in knowing that his daughter was still alive yet not being able to convince anyone else that he was telling the truth. His confidant, The Samaritan, was a fascinating character and I was pleased when we finally discovered his story.

The Other People is one of those books that, once I reached a certain point, I found myself saying, ‘I’ll just read one more chapter…’ It has an addictive plot that demands you know what is going to happen next. If you’re a fan of this author, then you are going to love this!

With thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley for my ARC.

**BLOG TOUR** Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

In a Somerset school, the unimaginable has happened: gunmen are on the loose, stalking the grounds and corridors. The school is on lockdown, some more secure than others, each person focused on one thing: survival. With one person already seriously injured, the police have a race against time to identify the gunmen before a massacre occurs.

Ever since reading Sister in 2010, Rosamund Lupton has been one of those authors whose books I always look forward to. I was absolutely thrilled, therefore, to be given the opportunity to share my review of her latest book Three Hours as part of the blog tour. I knew that this was going to be a book that I would enjoy, buy I was not prepared for the emotions that I would go through whilst reading.

Told in real time, the siege has a very true to life feel about it as we see it from the perspective of all those involved. As someone who works in a similar environment and has had experience of a staged lock down situation, I was able to immediately put myself in the pages of the book and wonder how I would react if I were placed in the same terrifying circumstances. The bravery and resilience shown by the staff and pupils was immense and I was in awe at how some of the characters responded to this inconceivable horror. From the teenage girl who tries everything in her power to save her headteacher, to the deputy head who is fighting depression yet showing tremendous courage to protect others, we witness the best of people in the worst of situations.

I was impressed by the stoicism of the children and staff in the theatre as they continued with their Macbeth rehearsal. The parallels between what the children were rehearsing and what was going on outside were evident, with power and manipulation being common themes. Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play and I was delighted to see it playing such a huge part in the culmination of the plot.

My favourite character in the book was Rafi, the teenage boy who has escaped untold terror in Syria with his young brother, Basi. My heart really went out to both boys as they found themselves involved in yet another terrifying incident, Rafi’s love for his sibling shining through. It was heartbreaking reading what they had been through and Rosamund Lupton’s writing really highlighted the dangers faced by child refugees.

With such an emotive, hard-hitting plot, it may sound strange to say that I found Three Hours a very heart-warming story. At a time when true horrors were being experienced, we saw the very best of human nature and it is a huge lesson in how important it is to stand together against acts of terror. It may only be January, but I think it is safe to say that this will be one of my favourite reads of the year – the plot will stay with me for a long time to come.

With thanks to Viking Books UK, Ellie Hudson and Rosamund Lupton.

 

The Stranger’s Wife by Anna-Lou Weatherley

To the outside world, Beth has the perfect life: a wealthy husband, a beautiful daughter and everything money can buy. Looks can be deceiving, though, as the marriage is a far from happy one, and when she finally makes the break and leaves him, she realises just how manipulative Evan can be. Cath, on the other hand, has the complete opposite: a grotty bedsit with a violent drug addict partner who she is too scared to leave. Then one day, the two women meet, and things will never be the same again…

I wasn’t aware, before reading, that this was the third book in the Detective Dan Riley series, but please don’t be put off by this if you haven’t read the previous two. Although I have read the first, Black Heart (formerly known as Last Cry), I have not read the second, but did not feel that this hindered me in any way – if anything, I will now be going back and reading this one (The Couple on Cedar Close) as soon as possible!

I really liked the format of The Stranger’s Wife, merging police procedural with psychological thriller. Most of the book focuses on Beth and Cath, two unconnected women who have something in common due to the abuse they are experiencing at the hands of their respective partners. My heart immediately went out to Cath who is on the receiving end of horrific physical abuse and, although she is desperate to escape, fears for her life should she ever manage to do so.

Beth has found herself in a different sort of abusive relationship, and we soon discover the extent her husband, Evan, will go to to preserve the life he wants to lead. Despite the series of awful events to happen to her, I found Beth an incredibly strong and resilient woman and willed things to go right for her by the end of the book. Evan, on the other hand, had no redeeming qualities whatsoever – a truly despicable character!

Although it was obvious what was going to happen with these women, the inclusion of the police procedural element of the book made this a bit different to other books of this genre. Dan is a great character and I admired his ‘straight down the line’ stance. It’s not often that we meet a fictional detective with so much integrity and this definitely added to the tension as I wondered how he was going to wrestle with his conscience to get the result he wanted. I also liked how, although we find out some information about Dan’s personal life, it does not take over the plot which is something that can happen in similar books.

The Stranger’s Wife has a great plot and I will definitely be looking forward to seeing what Dan investigates next!

With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

After finally building the beach house of her dreams, Caroline Stark feels like she has it all. Little does she know what is around the corner… Finding out that her husband, Jason, has been lying to her, she finds comfort with a man who works in the local bar, but is he who she thinks he is? As her life begins to crumble around her, her lover’s infatuation with her begins to grow and soon she begins to fear for her life. What is the truth and who will make it out alive?

Well, Michele Campbell has definitely written a page-turner in A Stranger on the Beach! Starting off from the perspective of Caroline, alarm bells were ringing straight away as she first encountered Aiden. It was understandable how, after being humiliated by her husband, she would find herself attracted to the younger man. As we found out more about Aiden, those alarm bells were ringing louder as I willed her to put an end to their dalliance before something serious happened.

Now this is where my head nearly exploded! After spending the first part of the book reading about and fearing for Caroline, we started to get the story from Aiden’s perspective, and what a perspective it was! All of a sudden, we were reading two accounts of the same event, each telling a completely different story. So, who was telling the truth? Was Caroline in fear for her safety or was Aiden hopelessly in love with the older woman? I loved this twist in the plot and I started to desperately search for holes in their stories to try to determine what exactly was happening.

As the story progressed, I did have an inkling as to what was going to happen, but the events were even more twisted than I could imagine. This book definitely shows how we should not always take people at face value and that people are not always who they say they are.

A Stranger on the Beach was one of those books that I could not put down, even taking it with me to read whilst queuing up in the Boxing Day sales! A thrilling, roller-coaster ride of a book with some very unsettling moments, A Stranger on the Beach is a superb read.

With thanks to HQ for my copy and to Jessica Lee for organising the blog tour.

 

The Penmaker’s Wife by Steve Robinson

In 1880, young mother Angelica Chastain has fled her old life in London in the hope of starting again in Birmingham with her son, William. After successfully moving up the social ladder, she soon has the life she dreams of, and the hope of a comfortable future for her son. The past has a habit of catching up with you, however, and it is not long before faces she had hoped she had left behind resurface. When people close to her begin to question what her motives are, we begin to wonder just what Angelica will do to preserve the life she has become accustomed to.

Angelica was a very complex character. At the start of the book, when we read about why she is fleeing London, it is hard to have nothing but sympathy for her. Despite the peril of what she does, it is understandable that she is willing to do anything to save the life of her young son and I admired her for the risk she was prepared to take.

It was whilst on her journey to Birmingham that we first see a glimpse of the real woman behind the protective mother. Again, though, even though this is a shocking moment, I could see why she did what she did. Unfortunately for Angelica, she soon realises that there are far too many people who know about her past and that these unscrupulous characters are willing to exploit her in order to gain their silence. As the story progressed, I became more and more shocked by Angelica’s actions and began to fear for anyone she came into contact with!

There are several twists in the book as Angelica continues on her mission to give her, now grown up, son a good life. I did fear that one loose end would be left, but was pleased that the author had certainly not forgotten about it and that, despite what had happened, shocked that Angelica had not either!

I really enjoyed the late-Victorian setting and the contrast between the wealthy and the lower, criminal classes. Although Angelica wasn’t a nice character, she was certainly fascinating to read about!

With thanks to Net Galley and Amazon Publishing UK.

**PROMO** Hiding in Plain Sight by Eoghan Egan

Today we are celebrating the release of Hiding in Plain Sight by Eoghan Egan. The official launch is on the 11th of January in Ireland and you are cordially invited. Your invitation below, for now here is more information about the book and the author.

The Blurb

A vicious serial killer roams the Irish Midlands… with his sights set on the next victim.

A successful businessman has found the perfect recipe for getting away with murder.

No bodies, no evidence.

No evidence, no suspect.

High art and low morals collide when graduate Sharona Waters discovers a multi-million euro art scam in play. She delves in, unwittingly putting herself on a direct trajectory with danger as the killer accelerates his murder spree.

When Sharona gets drawn into the killer’s orbit, she peels away his public persona and exposes the psychopath underneath. Suddenly, the small town has no hiding place…

About the Author

A native of Co. Roscommon, Eoghan studied Computer Programming in college, works in Sales Management & Marketing, but his passion for reading and writing remains.

Eoghan’s work got shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize, and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition. His novel was a contender in literary agent David Headley’s opening chapter Pitch Competition, and during March 2019, Eoghan’s entry won Litopia’s Pop-Up Submission.

A graduate of Maynooth University’s Creative Writing Curriculum, and Curtis Brown’s Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Eoghan’s novel Hiding in Plain Sight – the first in a crime fiction trilogy based around the Irish Midlands – will be available in paperback and audio on January 11th 2020.

www.eoghaneganwriter.com

You are invited!

With thanks to Kelly from Love Books Tours.

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