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**BLOG TOUR** In the Dark by Andreas Pflüger Q&A

She lost her sight, but she can still see the truth…

Jenny Aaron was once part of an elite police unit tracking Germany’s most dangerous criminals. She was the best. Until it all went wrong. A disastrous mission saw her abandon a wounded colleague and then lose her sight forever.

Now, five years later, she has learnt to navigate a darkened world. But she’s still haunted by her betrayal. Why did she run?

Then she receives a call from the unit. They need her back. A prison psychologist has been brutally murdered. And the killer will only speak to one person…

It is my pleasure to be the next stop on the blog tour for In the Dark, the latest book by Andreas Pflüger. I am incredibly grateful to Andreas for taking the time to answer my questions in such a detailed and fascinating way:

Your lead character, Jenny Aaron, is blind. What challenges did this bring when writing In the Dark?

I had to do a tremendous amount of research because the story is told mainly from the point of view of my heroine. I read for almost a year, talked to blind women who were so friendly to share a lot of time with me, talked to doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, brain researchers. In the end one of the most distinguished experts for blindness worldwide became my special adviser: Professor Bernhard Sabel from the Otto-von-Guericke-University of Magdeburg (formerly of MIT and Harvard). He reads every sentence of my Aaron novels and is my guarantee that the facts about blindness are right. His work is a great inspiration for me.

Jenny is a government assassin. How did you research this role?

My first thriller Operation Rubikon which is not published in English, takes place  in the world of special branch, intelligence agencies and international terrorism and my main adviser was the former President of the BKA – the Federal Criminal Investigation Office of Germany. I worked for five years on that novel and learned so much about that business that I still benefit from the research.

You have written for the radio and theatre as well as writing novels. Which do you prefer to write and why?

In the last three years I concentrated on my novel writing. Both forms of storytelling are very different and each is fun. But there is one thing that helps to create a novel: A screenwriter is paid for a lot of things. But mainly for one talent: When somebody else wants to see a movie, he or she has to go to a cinema or turn on the TV. A screenwriter is able to watch a complete new film in his head. I am convinced that a good novel always is a kind of mental cinema. So you could say my first life as a screenwriter was a great preparation for my second one as a novelist.

Which authors do you enjoy reading that you would recommend to other readers?

Most of the time I only read non-fiction books about medicine, brain science or martial arts techniques. The novels I like most are the old fashioned ones: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett or James M. Cain. But I am a fan of Robert Harris and Stephen King too. His novel 11/22/63 is a brilliant piece of writing.

For anyone who has not yet read any of your work, why should they read In the Dark?

Because Jenny Aaron is a heroine you never met before.

 

In the Dark is available to purchase now.

Take a look at the other great blogs forming part of the tour:

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Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

When a young prostitute is found murdered, Detective Kim Stone and her team find themselves on the hunt for a serial killer who is preying on the more vulnerable residents of the Black Country. Meanwhile, an abandoned baby and the subsequent search for the mother leads the detectives into the murky world of illegal immigrants, trafficking and modern-day slavery. As secrets from Kim’s past come to light, will she be able to solve the case before the death toll rises?

Broken Bones is the seventh book in the Kim Stone series and, once again, Angela Marsons has managed to write an absolute page turner! From the very first few pages, I was hooked as we are introduced to a young woman, forced into prostitution by her own family. Her story, along with the story of the other women who were murdered, was incredibly tragic and whereas some people are of the opinion that their predicaments are as a result of their lifestyle, Kim believes that no person is above another and is determined to bring the culprit to justice. In true Kim style, she makes many enemies along the way and her conflict with the abhorrent pimp, Kai Lord, is a joy to read. You just know that in a case where there can be only one winner, Kim is going to enjoy the battle.

The other main plot in the book is a very emotive one, featuring the subject of human trafficking. With little evidence to go on, Kim’s tenacity has obviously rubbed off on the rest of their team as they try to find the identity of the mother of the abandoned baby, facing obstacles at every turn. This case becomes much bigger than they could ever imagine and exposes the dark underbelly of the Black Country where people are forced into a life they would never have chosen for themselves. After the traumatic events of the previous book, Dead Souls, it was good to see Stacey getting herself stuck into a case alongside her new protector, Dawson. I loved reading about the relationship between these two characters with Dawson showing a very different, pleasing side of his character!

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was how easy it was to read despite it being a very impassioned plot. There were several humorous asides and it was amusing to picture the very practical Kim Stone in charge of a young baby when we are more used to seeing her handle motorbike parts! One caveat I will make is that there are references to events that occurred in previous books (Dead Souls and Evil Games) so it would definitely be worth reading these books before starting this one. Why wouldn’t you have already read them though?!

Every time I read the next installment in the Kim Stone series, I always wonder how Angela Marsons will top the previous book, but she has done it yet again. Surely it’s time we saw Kim on the small screen…

With thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

 

Monthly Round Up: October 2017

It’s been a busy and tiring month so I haven’t read as many books as I was expecting to. I did, however, manage to read a couple of books I’d been looking forward to, including the new Dan Brown novel so all was not lost!

Books I’ve Read

Trust Me by Zosia Wand

Lizzie enjoys her life in the Lake District but when she meets a stranger, all is about to change. Soon, things are happening that are out of her control but no one else can see what is happening.

 

Blood’s Game by Angus Donald

The first in a series featuring Holcroft Blood tells the story of the circumstances behind the theft of the crown jewels during the reign of King Charles II. A great introduction to a new character.

 

The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney

The third in the Lottie Parker series sees the detective dealing with her most complex case to date where the death count just keeps on rising! Patricia Gibney’s series is fast becoming one of my favourites.

 

Origin by Dan Brown

Another outing for the symbologist Robert Langdon sees him, this time, in Spain, trying to discover exactly what his former student, Edmond Kirsch, had discovered before being brutally stopped in his tracks.

 

The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup

An atmospheric, slightly macabre tale of buried secrets which are beginning to come to light. Ann Troup has, again, written an entertaining, mysterious book dealing with the dark side of humanity.

 

The Malice of Angels by Wendy Percival

The third full-length novel to feature the genealogist Esme Quentin sees her coming to terms with an incident from her past whilst investigating the case of a nurse that disappeared during the Second World War.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

51nvG9lTR6LWarm your heart this Christmas with this wonderful festive tale from bestselling author P.J. Tracy – perfect for fans of It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street

Emil Rice’s heart is in the right place – it’s just his hands that always seem to end up in someone else’s wallet. Facing yet another Christmas behind bars, he’s surprised when he’s offered a way out – community service at a mental health facility. Emil thinks it will be a piece of cake – but he hasn’t reckoned on two elderly inmates, who need Emil for a very special plan…

Warm and wise, funny and festive, this wonderful Christmas tale from Sunday Times bestselling author P.J. Tracy is perfect for the cold winter nights!

 

51xLXqtfgrLFrom the bestselling author of MUMMY’S FAVOURITE and THE TROPHY TAKER.

DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford returns with a superb new, brutally gripping serial killer thriller, where the hunter becomes the hunted. Perfect for the fans of Angela Marsons.

A faithful dog lies wounded beside the mutilated body of its owner.
A woman is discovered bound and gagged, dead in her own bed.
Both are police officers.
Both have a red rose at their side… worryingly more will follow…

Lies and accusations abound but who is behind the murders and why are the victims being targeted?

Charlie, Hunter and the team must find the killer targeting their own before another body is found.

 

51G29ghJMvL._SY346_They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

 

41cxnbhoYTLFor fans of Nicci French and Sophie Hannah, Corrie Jackson’s explosive new thriller will leave you questioning how far you would go for friendship.

Charlie and Emily Swift are the Instagram-perfect couple: gorgeous, successful and in love. But then Charlie is named as the prime suspect in a gruesome murder and Emily’s world falls apart.

Desperate for answers, she turns to Charlie’s troubled best friend, London Herald journalist, Sophie Kent. Sophie knows police have the wrong man – she trusts Charlie with her life.

Then Charlie flees.

Sophie puts her reputation on the line to clear his name. But as she’s drawn deeper into Charlie and Emily’s unravelling marriage, she realises that there is nothing perfect about the Swifts.

As she begins to question Charlie’s innocence, something happens that blows the investigation – and their friendship – apart.

Now Sophie isn’t just fighting for justice, she’s fighting for her life.

 

41J9gKE9XDLShe lost her sight, but she can still see the truth…

Jenny Aaron was once part of an elite police unit tracking Germany’s most dangerous criminals. She was the best. Until it all went wrong. A disastrous mission saw her abandon a wounded colleague and then lose her sight forever.

Now, five years later, she has learnt to navigate a darkened world. But she’s still haunted by her betrayal. Why did she run?

Then she receives a call from the unit. They need her back. A prison psychologist has been brutally murdered. And the killer will only speak to one person…

 

I hope you’ve managed to read some great books this month!

The Malice of Angels by Wendy Percival

When Max Rainsford, a former journalist colleague of her late husband, Tim, arrives to quiz Esme about a story he was working on thirty-five years ago, the genealogist is reluctantly forced to revisit her troubled past. Meanwhile, Esme’s friend, Ruth, is desperate to know the story behind her aunt, Vivienne, a nurse during the Second World War who never returned home. As Esme starts her investigation, she soon realises that the two cases are linked and is forced to come face to face with the devastating truth about her husband’s death.

The Malice of Angels is the third full-length Esme Quentin mystery and is by far the most complex. At the start of the book, we see Esme preparing to relocate to Devon where she will be nearer some of her old friends. The appearance of Max Rainsford, however, makes her return to a particularly dark period in her life when her husband was killed whilst pursuing a story. Initially reluctant to help Max with his task, she is soon drawn in after looking at her late-husband’s notebooks from the time of his death. Ever since being introduced to Esme, it was inevitable that her past would, one day, be explored and Wendy Percival has done this with style. I really felt for Esme as she was forced to confront her past and finally discover the true circumstances behind Tim’s death.

The way the two stories intertwined was very clever and I particularly enjoyed reading about a part of World War Two that I didn’t really know too much about – the Special Operations Executive. The story of Vivienne, Ruth’s aunt, was a particularly harrowing one and was one that was filled with subterfuge and cover-ups. It was clear to see how much research the author had done in order to make this complicated plot into a story that was easy to follow. I also liked the short chapters, making you want to read ‘just one more’ before putting it down.

Lately, for fans of Esme, we have been spoilt with The Malice of Angels and, also, the short story Death of a Cuckoo. I hope it won’t be too long before we find out what Devon life holds in store for the genealogist.

The Malice of Angels is available now: The Malice of Angels 

 

Origin by Dan Brown

Former student, Edmond Kirsch, has invited professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to witness his unveiling of something that will challenge existing views on the origin of our species. What already promises to be an explosive event turns catastrophic and Langdon is forced to flee the museum accompanied by its director, Ambra Vidal. Embarking on a quest across Barcelona to try to locate a password that will launch Kirsch’s theory into the world, Langdon’s life is, once again, in danger. Will he be able to share Kirsch’s discovery before the forces acting against him catch up with him?

I know that there are a lot of readers who sneer at the thought of a Dan Brown book but, as far as I’m concerned, any book that encourages people to read is a good one. The fact that his books have sold over 200 million copies and have been translated into 56 languages must mean that there are a lot of fans out there! Origin is the fifth book to feature symbologist Robert Langdon and the action sees him returning to Europe, this time to Spain, to partake in another battle between science and religion.

From the outset, we know that Edmond Kirsch has discovered something that threatens the doctrine of all world religions but we do not find out until near the very end of the book what the discovery is. This was a very clever move as, throughout my reading, I was desperately looking for clues as to what it was, and it was not until a few paragraphs before the big reveal that I worked out part of it. I enjoyed this ‘not knowing’ as it built up an air of anticipation and when it was finally revealed, it made me think about how this could actually happen.

For me, the thing I enjoy most about Dan Brown’s books is the setting. Through this series, I have been introduced to many historical places, museums and galleries that I did not know about and I find that, as I am reading, I am often looking them up online to find out more information. In Origin, Brown paints a picture of the Guggenheim Museum so detailed that I could imagine I was there. Other locations visited include Casa Milà and the impressive Sagrada Família.

As with Dan Brown’s other books, it will not be seen as a classic but it is an entertaining, fast-paced read which allows you to have a few hours of escapism whilst reading it. I, for one, will be awaiting the next Robert Langdon book eagerly!

 

The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup

51C90-oXxsL._SY346_Nurse Maura Lyle has been having a hard time of it lately so when she is personally requested to work at Essen Grange to care for its owner, Gordon Henderson, she sees it as a good opportunity to get her life back on track. On arriving at the house, however, she soon senses that all is not right and that there seem to be secrets lurking around every corner. She should have trusted her instincts…

I loved Ann Troup’s previous books so had been looking forward to reading this one and I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint. From the first chapter, the author draws you in and you fear for Maura’s safety in the old, mysterious house she has found herself in. Although Maura knew something was amiss, due to her circumstances, it is easy to understand why she stayed even though her head was telling her to get out of there!

If you are looking for a book with multiple deaths and a psychopathic killer then this is the book for you, although it must be said that not all of the deaths are at the hand of the said killer. The amount of characters and how they interconnected did, at times, get slightly confusing and I wished I’d drawn up a family tree to help me understand exactly who was who! Once I’d established the relationships, however, what followed was a tangled web of deceit and intrigue with more than a touch of the macabre.

Although the story starts from the perspective of Maura, there’s is a shift part way through when we get to see more of the police investigation into the goings-on at Essen Grange. I felt that this enabled the story to move along nicely and allowed us an insight into the minds of some of the other characters.

Ann Troup has, once again, written a page-turner, full of twists and turns, that I could not put down. A great read!

Thank you to NetGalley and HQ Digital for my ARC.

The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney

51Ce958tbdL._SY346_When an elderly woman is found murdered and her daughter cannot be found anywhere, Detective Lottie Parker begins to fear for the safety of the whole family. Then a nearby house is set on fire, exposing secrets that threaten the make this the biggest murder case Ragmullin has ever seen. For Lottie however, it proves to be much more personal, as there appears to be a connection to a case that her father was working on shortly before he took his own life. Could Lottie be finally about to discover the truth about her father’s death?

The Lost Child is the third in Patricia Gibney’s Lottie Parker series and, like the others, is a tale of murder and deeply buried secrets. Here, we find Lottie, once again, struggling with her past, relying upon the use of prescription drugs and alcohol just to get her through the day. Determined to find out the truth about her father’s suicide, the strain on the relationship she has with her mother is becoming even more pronounced and the addition of a new baby to the household is doing nothing to help her stress levels.

What starts out as, potentially, a home invasion gone wrong, soon turns into a large-scale murder and missing person investigation when Tessa Ball is found killed in the home of her daughter who has subsequently gone missing. The name of the deceased soon strikes a chord with Lottie and leads her off into a dangerous investigation with links to her father and a cover-up of the highest level. As the death count rises, Lottie and her team have to try to piece together all the clues and link all the main players – of which there are many! With so many key characters, it could have been confusing to keep up with who they all were but Patricia Gibney’s style of writing makes the plot easy to follow.

Ever since discovering the cause of death of Lottie’s father, it was inevitable to the reader that she would not give up her search for the truth. There was always going to be more to the story but I was not prepared for what was about to come! The circumstances surrounding his life and death have made a particular relationship in the series more understandable and certainly makes any future books interesting! A very clever twist!

The Lost Child is a great addition to the Lottie Parker series and I look forward to the next one!

With thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my ARC.

 

***BLOG TOUR*** Trust Me by Zosia Wand

Lizzie loves the life she has made for herself in the Lake District with her partner, Jonty, and his teenage son, Sam. Being only ten years older than Sam, however, Lizzie does sometimes miss the friendship of people her own age. This changes when she meets Rebecca, a woman with a zest for life who is soon showing Lizzie how to be young again. Meanwhile, something more disturbing is happening with Sam – why hasn’t he been attending school and just what has made his personality alter so dramatically? Lizzie knows something is wrong but people are beginning to think that she may be the cause of the problem…

The start of Trust Me sets the tone for the rest of the book with headstrong Jonty showing how, despite being the elder, he could be the more immature person in the relationship. We also get our first glimpse of the closeness between Lizzie and Sam. Although Lizzie sees their relationship as that of a step-mother and step-son, I felt that she was incredibly naive in her interactions with him and could fully understand how the wrong conclusions could have been reached.

Zosia Wand

As the story progressed, I started to get really annoyed with Lizzie and her reluctance to talk to the people who could have helped her to remedy the issue. As Sam’s behaviour became more erratic, Lizzie constantly put her trust in the wrong person and it soon became obvious that this relationship was going to prove toxic. I was not prepared for exactly what happened next, however, and, without giving too much away, my severe horror at Sam’s actions became something entirely different as we discover just how much he is being manipulated. I applaud the author for dealing with a ‘taboo’ issue in a clever and sensitive way.

Although I did enjoy this book, I did feel that it could have been shorter as there were times that I found myself skipping through the text in order to find out what happened next in the main plot. The characters were well-written and had a very ‘real’ feel to them and the setting for the book provided a good back drop for the story.

A good debut.

With thanks to Clare Gordon at Head of Zeus for my ARC.

Take a look at the rest of the blogs participating in the tour:

Blood’s Game by Angus Donald

IMG_1162Close to poverty, young Holcroft Blood can’t believe his luck when he begins working for the Duke of Buckingham, one of the most powerful men in England. Noticed almost immediately for his ability to decode ciphers, Holcroft is soon promoted to a position that enables him to betray his master. Meanwhile, Holcroft’s father, Colonel Thomas Blood, has fallen on hard times and makes a living by any means necessary so when he is tasked to steal the Crown Jewels, he knows he is putting the lives of himself and his family in danger.

Charles II is my favourite king (yes, I have a mental list of favourite monarchs!) so when I saw the premise of this book, I knew that this would be right up my street. Although he does not appear much in the book, the first time we encounter the king is certainly a memorable experience with him attempting to evacuate his bowels! He certainly lives up to his ‘Merry Monarch’ nickname, and I was happy to find that although some of his antics are definitely questionable, Blood’s Game does not besmirch his memory in any way!

I initially thought that this would be mainly about Colonel Blood and his attempt to steal the Crown Jewels and, although this is one of the plots in the book, the main character is his son, Holcroft. I really enjoyed reading the rise of Holcroft from the boy who was bullied on the streets of London to the trusted helper of the Duke of Buckingham. Nowadays, he would definitely be classed as being on the autistic spectrum, but back in the Stuart times, his ability to remember card sequences and decode complicated ciphers would have made him an oddity. I was pleased to see that, rather than ridiculing him, Holcroft’s talents were recognised and used to advance his career.

Although this is a piece of historical fiction, the author has stayed close to the facts of the stealing of the Crown Jewels by Blood, embellishing where it is needed. As a direct contrast to his son, Colonel Blood is a thoroughly unlikeable character although, even though I already knew the outcome of his crime, by the end of the book, I was willing him to get away with it! The writing of the characters in Blood’s Game is one of its biggest strengths and Angus Donald has created realistic portrayals of some of the most interesting people in British history.

I am pleased to see that this book is now going to be part of a series – something I will definitely be awaiting with interest!

With thanks to Readers First for my copy of Blood’s Game.

 

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