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November 2017

The Text by Claire Douglas

Refused time off work for a girls’ weekend in Edinburgh, Emily Latimer is furious with her boss, Andrew. Angrily firing off a text to her boyfriend, she is horrified when she realises she has sent it to her whole office by mistake. To complicate matters even further, Andrew is murdered and Emily is the prime suspect when it is revealed that her text wished him dead. Adamant that the text contained a typo, can Emily prove her innocence?

I have read two of Claire Douglas’s previous books (Last Seen Alive and Local Girl Missing) and loved them so was pleased to see that she had written a short story. The idea behind the book is a good one and is something that many people can relate to – who hasn’t sent a text with a typo? Hopefully, though, it never resulted in a dead body being found!

This is a very short story – only 40 pages long – and as a result, it appears rushed, especially when the murderer is revealed. I was expecting a little more than a full confession from the killer. I liked Emily’s character and feel that, if this book was slightly longer, more could have been made of the relationship between her and her boyfriend as this ends up playing a fairly big role in the plot.

If you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into, then this is not the book for you, but if you’re after a quick, free, easy to read mystery, then this could be what you want! It can currently be downloaded from Amazon for free.

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Return of the Magi by P J Tracy

Emil Rice is a habitual thief, promising, each time he is caught, that he will never steal again. When he is arrested for the twenty-third time, he is ordered to carry out community service at a secure mental health facility, where he will have to live-in for a whole year. While he is there, he is befriended by two elderly female patients  who have been waiting for the arrival of Emil for a long time having convinced themselves that he is the third wise man and that he will help them to find the Christ Child.

This is not the sort of book I would usually read but, as a fan of P J Tracy’s Monkeewrench series, and as the festive season is approaching, I thought I would venture into the unknown. What I found was an easy to read, humerous, short story that restores your faith in human nature.

Despite Emil being a career criminal, it is impossible not to like him and his carefree attitude. We are aware from the start that he has not had the happiest of childhoods and so, for much of his life, has been devoid of a conventional family. In some ways, he finally finds this at the facility, even if his new family consists of two elderly women who think he is one of the Magi! Underneath all of his bravado, Emil is an extremely caring man, a trait we see in his dealing with Ralph, another of the patients, and also when he embarks on his journey to ‘the City of David’.

Edith and Gloria, the two elderly women provide a comic touch to the book and although they are clearly deluded, their resourcefulness is a lesson in not to underestimate the aged. The way they take Emil under their wing is a joy to read, even if Emil does not always share their enthusiasm!

If you are looking for a short, heartwarming read, then Return of the Magi is the book for you!

With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin UK Michael Joseph for the ARC.

 

**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:

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!

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