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August 2018

**BLOG TOUR** Through His Eyes by Emma Dibdin #Extract

I am really pleased to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for Emma Dibdin’s latest book, Through His Eyes. Described as ‘the perfect summer read’, Through His Eyes is a dark, unsettling thriller about a young female journalist drawn into the life of a troubled Hollywood A-lister. It is my pleasure to be able to share an exclusive extract with you, before the publication of the book on August 9th.

The Blurb

You have to know when to say no. That’s one of the first things they tell you. But from the first day I arrived in Los Angeles, I said yes.

Jessica Harris is a struggling Hollywood reporter hungry for her big break. When her editor asks her to profile movie star Clark Conrad, Jessica is sure her luck is on the turn. Clark is an A-lister with access to everyone. If Jessica can impress him, she’s made it.

When she arrives at Clark’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills, he is just as she always imagined. Charming, handsome yet disarmingly vulnerable. But then things take a darker turn. Clark’s world is not as straightforward as it seems and Jessica’s puff piece soon becomes something much more delicate – and dangerous. As Jessica draws herself deeper into Clark’s inner circle, events begin to spiral out of her control.

Transfixing, insightful and unsettling, Through His Eyes drops you into the mind of a young woman with everything to play for – and everything to lose…

The Extract

The Shortys are essentially the Oscars of streaming video content, honouring the best and brightest YouTubers and social media influencers. They are everything I hate about my job. I don’t answer, because I’m not technically sure I’m supposed to be taking freelance assignments during my time here, and though Justin won’t care you never know who else is listening.

‘Why don’t you sit in on this today?’

He’s gesturing towards the conference room, where the weekly editorial meeting is about to begin. As a temporary contractor I’m treated as two levels up from an intern, and do not usually warrant an invite.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Don’t get too excited – I may need you to cover for me if she asks for ideas.’

I nod and follow him in, already brainstorming in my head.

‘All right, what’s everybody got?’ Jackie Smart, the pixie-cropped, quietly formidable editor of Nest, asks. ‘I know I don’t need to remind anyone of this, but we’ve fallen just short of four million unique users for the past three months, and I want us to get over that threshold this month. Justin, want to start us off?’

‘So the high-res Rita Ora shots are in – I’m still not convinced anyone cares what her condo looks like but I guess we’re gonna find out. She’s agreed to share it on all her social channels, so we should get a decent spike out of that. We have talent lined up for the next three weeks of home tour videos… Oh, so we’re still looking for someone to take on whatever this Clark Conrad thing is.’

‘Clark Conrad?’ I say, trying to sound casual after almost choking on my coffee.

‘The one and only, although given the amount of restrictions on questions it’s gonna be hard to tell who the interview’s with.’

‘Why would Clark Conrad agree to an interview for Nest?’ Nest is where people go for a window into a more perfect world, be it Jackie Kennedy’s childhood home or Jennifer Lawrence’s first Santa Monica mansion. Nest allows you to tour the houses of people who will never know you exist. Nest is not publishing exclusive interviews with one of the most media-shy A-listers in Hollywood.

‘Because he’s very excited to talk all about the inspiration behind the remodelling of his Laurel Canyon home,’ Jackie replies. ‘It’s his post-divorce crisis pad – he’s gut-renovated it, added a new wing for his daughter, made the whole thing eco-powered. I get the sense he’s trying to rebrand himself as a cool single dad, divert attention away from the fact that his last movie bombed and America’s favourite marriage  is over.’

The Conrad family as a unit are almost more famous than Clark himself: Clark and Carol, their two beautiful blonde daughters Sarah and Skye and their golden retriever Banjo. They were on-screen lovers first, starring together in a late-nineties romantic comedy which is now remembered solely as the movie where they got together, rather than for its delightfully off-kilter plot about a woman who chases her ex to Texas in hopes of reconciliation and winds up becoming a rodeo star. Carol was the lead in the movie, but Clark was the breakout – playing the roguish cowboy who shows our heroine true love – and that dynamic held true in their marriage. As his career flourished, hers faded, and despite tabloid speculation that Carol’s first pregnancy was an accident, she seemed more than happy to transition into the full-time role of wife and mother. ‘I’m a Southern girl at heart,’ she would say in interviews for lifestyle magazines, in between glossy shots of her relaxing at home with Clark and the girls, stirring a big pot of chilli on the stove. ‘I’ve always been a homemaker.’

The Conrads had it all; they were wholesome enough to appeal to middle America, effortlessly glamorous enough to own every red carpet they attended, and just enigmatic enough to keep their tabloid appeal alive. The loss of them out of nowhere felt like a tangible blow to pop culture; so much so that the magazine I was working for when the divorce announcement happened declared an unofficial Day of Mourning, and let people drink at their desks as they wrote up coverage.

‘His architect is also thirsty as hell,’ interjects Justin. ‘Conrad is doing this guy a favour, from what I can tell. He’s desperately trying to become a thing, have you seen his Instagram?’

‘Wait, you need someone to do the interview?’ I said this too fast, I realize, too eager to make sure I’m not misunderstanding in my brain fog. ‘I’ll do it.’

‘Don’t get too excited,’ Justin tells me. ‘We’re not going to get anything good out of him. He won’t do any video, so the tour is just going to be ten minutes of this architect nobody cares about. We’re scheduled to be at the house for four hours, we’ll shoot all the various rooms, and you’llget colour quotes from the architect for each one, super-detailed. Then you’ll get twenty minutes with him, which they’ve negotiated down from an hour.’

‘I can make it work.’


Take a look at the rest of the blogs taking place on the tour.

With thanks to Emma Dibdin and Florence Hare from Head of Zeus for organising the blog tour.

Read my review of Emma Dibdin’s previous book, The Room by the Lake here, .

**BLOG TOUR** Night Driver by Marcelle Perks

Today I am really pleased to be able to share with you an exclusive extract from Night Driver, the new book from Marcelle Perks. I’m especially happy that I have the prologue and first chapter, setting the scene beautifully for what looks like a tense read!

The Blurb

Heavily pregnant Frannie is facing a crisis. An English woman living in Germany, her marriage is failing, her language skills are hopeless, and she feels like a fish out of water in a foreign country.

In a positive effort to tackle her problems she learns to drive so she can cope when her baby is born and build a sense of independence. After passing her driving test she drives in the early hours of the morning to gain experience on the eerily empty streets.

But when she encounters a Polish motorcyclist looking for his missing sister, she becomes sucked into a terrifying world of shady nightclubs, autobahn prostitutes and organ trafficking. And when she crosses serial-killing truck driver Stigelegger, there’s no turning back.

A most unlikely heroine, this nervous Night Driver must stay one step ahead of her pursuer on the darkest of roads in order to survive.

The Extract


In the black and white photograph, he looks too cheerful to have killed anybody. But because of what he did he was the first serial killer to make newspaper headlines all over the world.

Look again and his expression is less benign, as though he’s  concentrating on something. The eyebrows are thick, like furry  stripes, but his eyes are set too close together. Perhaps he is just
frowning. The pre-war Hitler moustache he sports, with a bald stripe in the middle, makes him seem worse than he really is. His hat is broad and jaunty, with a light-coloured ribbon around the crown. It fails to hide his sticking-out ears. There’s a flap of loose skin visible above his tight collar. The tie is a ridiculous miniature, in the dapper fashion of the time. Even all these years on, this middle-aged man is still trying to impress. He took so much, when he needed so little.

Every time Lars the lorry driver looks at his good-luck photo of Fritz, he feels a tingle of recognition.

When Lars picks someone up, they usually ask about the photo attached prominently on the dashboard.

‘Who’s that?’

That’s our Fritz,’ he always says, zinging on the ‘z’ at the end. Usually he laughs then. If they know about the killer Haarmann already, it gets them thinking. He likes it better when they’re scared.

Not that he knows who he will take and who he will just drop off at the next rest stop or wherever he’s heading. That’s Schicksal.

On the open road, anything’s possible, especially after dark. Real life just seems to disappear under the wheels of his lorry. The only world that stretches out into infinity is the burning strip of Autobahn he is travelling on and the possibilities that it carries: boys wanting to hook up with drugs or danger. Or something else. And if Fritz were here right now, in this world, Lars knows that he would embrace it. Sometimes he wants to be Fritz; sometimes he is Fritz.

Such a force of nature could never be completely extinguished.”> Marcelle Perks

[/caption]Chapter One

What Francesca Snell disliked, she did badly. And when she tried her damnedest, trotzdem, to fight her inborn stubbornness, every part of her body sweated strife. At thirty-one it was hard adjusting to life in Germany. Until recently she’d worked for a company and travelled every month alone on business to amazing Caribbean islands. There’d been the unexpected thrill of the turquoise blue sea, and the warm balmy air that calmed her senses. She’d never even been with her parents on holiday before to a foreign country. After years of struggling to get a decent job with her English degree, of her parents being disappointed that their talented daughter only bounced from one lousy short-term contract to the next, suddenly she was an offshore B2B publishing consultant. She had a year-round glow and was always going off
somewhere in a plane.

True, the job was more sales than creative, but she felt that her natural talent had been finally spotted. She could work anywhere and do anything as long as she had access to a laptop.

But then the recession came, and the publishing sector in which she’d worked was hit hard. With the rise of the internet, readers could search most things for free. She lost her fancy job and struggled to find a new one. She panicked and sold her East London three-bed terraced house rather than risk falling behind on the mortgage.

She’d had to struggle to find work in the creative industries, arts graduates were inevitably exploited, and it always irked her that the scientists and engineers who’d studied at university with her had it so much easier. Her parents didn’t have much money to support her and resented the fact that she’d studied the soft option – arts rather than a profession. Her dad had hoped she would be a doctor or IT expert and never got tired of telling her so.

Of course, her husband was cut from another cloth. Not only  was he an engineer, he was German. She’d met Kurt when he was testing a wind turbine project in the Cayman Islans. He’d
been so relaxed then. He was naturally attractive, with wide-open features and deep blue eyes. His was the kind of face that made you think of old-fashioned movie stars in double-breasted suits. He hadn’t tried to get her into bed instantly like the English guys she was used to. Instead he took her to dinner and showed her the best place for scuba-diving. He dated her, fastidiously, as if they were sixteen. Her every whim mattered to him. He wasn’t a genius creative like her previous boyfriends, a crazy film director and a brash journalist, but his interest in her was overwhelming. And that was addictive. The only thing they had in common was mutual attraction, but at first that was enough.

That first week in the Cayman Islands they drank one Mudslider Sling after another as they watched the sun go down. After a year of commuting, seeing each other every three weeks, when she’d lost her job she’d taken the plunge and moved over to be with him. She’d sold her house at a good profit and thought she could always move back if things didn’t work out. But then the property boom in London went crazy, and before she knew it she was priced out
of the market. 

Things were good with Kurt the first year or so but then they had got married and moved here, and after that their relationship had solidified in a direction she didn’t like. What for Kurt was
normality was, for her, oppression. After being an international jet-setter, suddenly she was stuck in the German suburbs with no driving licence. There was a bus once an hour. It was like
living in the fifties. In their village there was no takeaways; you actually had to cook if you wanted to eat. If you went to the local pub, people only went there for nosh and were in bed by
ten. Their house and garden were big – that was why they had chosen the village, and Kurt had grown up in the suburbs and was comfortable with it – and they had enough to live on, but every day was the same. Kurt worked, earned the money, but there was the unspoken assumption that she had to keep house. As a previously independent businesswoman, she was terrible at handling that. It pset her, having to live with her own clutter with no real job to
pour her energies into. For the first time in her life, she felt as though she’d taken the wrong path. She just couldn’t shake it off, a secret dread that her father had been right all along. All this time she had been wasting her talents.

A lot of the time she would throw herself into creative projects she could never bring to fruition. Two non-fiction books fell through. The never-ending cycle of housework deadened her,
and she knew that her ambivalence, in her occasional phone calls, worried her parents. She was proud and stubborn and didn’t like to reach out to anyone. A lot of her friends had distanced themselves now she was in Germany and not available to go down the pub.

Most of all she was frustrated with herself. She’d wanted security, a partner, to have children, but not this stilled life. She missed her old ways; the feeling of doing something with meaning
and purpose.

When she had got pregnant accidentally, after a stomach upset made her pill ineffective, she hadn’t known how to react. This had been part of her long-term plan, but she hadn’t yet settled in Germany and had been secretly hoping to persuade Kurt to move back to the city and that she would find a job. Kurt had initially said he wanted her to keep the baby, but as her pregnancy had become visible, and her previously small breasts had become full
and her flat stomach ballooned – and, she acknowledged, as getting heavier had made her more irritable – he’d started withdrawing from her. He wouldn’t admit that, of course. Every time she tried to discuss it, he gave her a shopping list of her failings that she was supposed to improve. And they hadn’t been intimate since the third month.

When they had first moved in, Kurt had convinced her that the key to coping with her new lifestyle was getting mobile, so she was taking daily driving lessons. But she hated the stupid driving rules. She had quickly realised she had a fear of driving; nothing else had the capacity to make her so anxious. She had persisted, but now it was even worse: it was hard to concentrate when you were hot and bloated and had to pee all the time.

The struggles with her driving instructor reinforced her view that living in Germany was miserable. But before she’d fallen pregnant she’d convinced herself that if she could just master this one mechanical skill, then she’d be able to drive to the local city, Hannover, and potentially find a new job and new friends. And if that was now out of reach, with the baby coming she would need to be able to drive just to buy baby supplies, to take the baby to its checkups, and so on. There was no corner shop and the doctor was three miles away.

Her driving instructor was laughably abrupt. His English was confined to a few words that he used inappropriately. Heinrich had been wearing drainpipe jeans since the eighties; he was fifty
going on fifteen. There was no allowance made for the fact that she didn’t really speak German. She had learned quite a lot, but Kurt’s English was very good so they spoke English at home. Most of the vocabulary relating to cars, like ‘windscreen wipers’, was unknown to her, yet Heinrich would bark a command and expect her to instantly comply; he forced her to drive in that pushy style which was curiously German. Today was a typical lesson.

‘Right,’ he said, in his broken English, ‘Nächste rechts, go!’

Frannie squinted at the peculiar way the road snaked into the curve ahead. Could she make the turn? The car already seemed to be falling down the hill just moving into third gear. Her hand
wavered on the gear stick. Should she change down to second gear already and risk the Mercedes behind going into her, or try and take the bend going at fifty? She fluttered with indecision.

RECHTS!’ Without warning Heinrich grabbed the steering wheel. The car dived sharply right. Through the windscreen, the road was a twisting blur. The wheel felt alien in Frannie’s hands.
It was a struggle not to instinctively brake to control her panic, because doing that annoyed her driving instructor more than anything else. And when he got angry, he shouted in German and
forgot all his English.

Shit. There was another parked car blocking her side. The road was alive with dangers. The car screeched left, right. She was having a hard time being delicate with the wheel. She checked the mirrors. Thank God there was no one behind her. Other motorists terrified her. She could only drive comfortably when she had the road to herself.

Her face was screwed up in concentration. The car lurched suddenly forward, and the engine screamed with a grinding wrench. The speedometer topped seventy. She looked down,
wondering if she’d pressed the accelerator by mistake. No, it was Heinrich again.

‘Go! Gehen!’ His foot was furiously working the parallel pedals. His face bristled with indignation. The car groaned as it responded to double commands. They sped abruptly left, forcing an oncoming vehicle to give them priority. Heinrich began to shout terse stuff in
German she didn’t understand.

Was machst du?’ He looked as if he was about to slap her. His startlingly green eyes, which once must have made him cute, didn’t fit the rest of his face.

She flashed him a warning look. She was older than his teenage regulars, and they were both frustrated that it was taking her so long to master the basics. Not speaking each other’s language didn’t help. And the fact that she was heavily pregnant.

The first five months or so she’d almost ignored her pregnancy, telling herself not to stress about it. Then she’d hit the sixth month and woken up a crazy woman, consumed with the overwhelming desire to get everything ready for her baby, which she knew now
was a boy – Kurt had insisted on finding out, and the evening of the scan had been almost as nice to her as when they’d first met, as if getting an heir was their singular reason for being together. He said he loved her but seemed to prefer the company of his mates. She had focused on getting the nursery just right, on having all the toiletries on hand (even the ones she might not even need). It all had to be perfect. And she’d booked a driving lesson every day so
she’d be able to drive and look after her baby like a proper mother.

And now, alarmingly soon, tomorrow was her driving test, and if she didn’t pass there wouldn’t be another chance to do it again before the baby was born. She couldn’t imagine how it would be once he was there, but she was sure it would be even harder to summon her energies.

Houses whooshed past. It was hard actually driving at the speed limit; Frannie always wanted to go much slower. She hated the constant pressure to concentrate on the road every second. She tried to sit straight, forget about her bump.

Suddenly, the road opened out, as a stream flows into a river, into a Schnellstrasse, the B6. The long, straight road thrummed with gleaming cars. Frannie’s knees trembled. Now she’d have to
somehow filter in and keep up with the flow of traffic that drove so close that if the windows were open you could smell their aftershave.

Gehen!’ shouted Heinrich. He flapped his little notebook at her. There was a dreadful screech, as if the car was driving over something broken. Frannie hadn’t quite got into fifth gear. Heinrich
shouted something. Frannie grimaced. Her white maternity dress was limp with sweat; it was an exceptionally hot June. Desperately, she looked for a gap in the traffic to get off the feeder road. The speeding cars ignored her frantic signals. Meanwhile, the entry lane was merging, but some idiot was behind her gunning for her tail-lights all the way.

Shit. Frannie went, pushing the car in front of her practically off the road. There was the whisper of a near-collision. Beside her, Heinrich gasped. Normally he had to tell her not to drive so
slowly. Now, with the devil in her, she was belting down her side of the white line for all she was worth. When she really wanted something, she could surprise herself.

She was going to pass the driving test. She must.

About the Author

Marcelle Perks is a British author and journalist living in Germany. She specializes in writing sexually-themed guide books, but also writes short stories. As a film journalist, she has contributed to such publications as British Horror Cinema, Fangoria, The Guardian and Kamera. Night Driver is her thrilling debut novel.


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

With thanks to Urbane Publications for my proof and to Kelly Lacey from Love Books Group for organising the blog tour.

Letters from the Dead by Steve Robinson

When Jefferson Tayte is tasked to find the identity of his client’s long lost 4x great-grandfather, the genealogist finds himself drawn into the search for a ruby that has been missing for generations. What is already a challenging case takes a murderous turn when others with knowledge of the ruby suddenly start turning up dead. With letters from 150 years ago being left for Tayte after each murder, each providing more information about a horrendous event in the past, can he solve his client’s mystery before he, too, suffers the same fate?

For some years I have been a fan of Steve Robinson’s Jefferson Tayte books, and I look forward to each one with great anticipation. Once again, the author has managed to produce a tense story that will appeal to fans of mystery, historical and genealogical fiction and has definitely become one of my favourite Tayte novels.

If you thought events in previous books would have made Tayte consider the potential dangers of the cases he takes on, you’d be very wrong! Once again, he finds himself taking on a deranged killer in a story that, at times, had more than the touch of an Agatha Christie about it. There was certainly a hint of And Then There Were None as we see each family member getting bumped off one by one, and the gathering of all the suspects in one room was definitely classic Poirot!

Letters From the Dead, in addition to being set in modern Scotland, also takes place in colonial India. Steve Robinson has certainly done his research to paint a vivid picture of life at this controversial time in British history. The characters were realistic and managed to show the contrast between life at the Residency for the British and the Indians. I enjoyed the slow build-up as we finally discovered just what secrets had been covered up and how this continued to affect people today. This gradual retelling of the story complemented the high octane closing chapters as the plot drew to a close.

If you have not read any of Steve Robinson’s work and are a fan of historical and genealogical fiction or merely just love a good mystery story, then you won’t go wrong with this series which is going from strength to strength.

With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for my advance copy.

Monthly Round Up – July 2018

July has been a very busy (and tiring!) month for me and due to work circumstances, I had a few days where I didn’t pick up a book. This is unheard of! Thankfully, I managed to make up for it at the end of the month and read a couple of corkers including one which, at the moment, is definitely making it into my top ten of the year!

I also attended the book launch for the latest in Mark Roberts’ Eve Clay series, Killing Time, where, as well as meeting the man himself and listening to him in conversation with Paul Finch, we were also treated to a reading from the book by Paul Goetzee and music from Nick Ellis. A great evening!

Books I Have Read

5156DXAqbrLThe Dancer by John Nixon

The latest in John Nixon’s Madeleine Porter series sees the genealogist trying to discover the story behind a woman who has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff. Not my favourite in the series, but a good read nonetheless.


51SXPfKJzFL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_The Tin God by Chris Nickson

I really enjoy crime fiction set in the Victorian era and have grown to love Chris Nixon’s Tom Harper series. Someone is trying to prevent women from standing as potential Poor Law Guardians in an upcoming election and will stop at nothing, even murder.


61XqWcu1-2L._SY346_Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

The follow-up to Why Mummy Drinks is a hilarious tale of one woman’s everyday life as a mum of two who has been coerced into leading the PTA whilst taking on a new job. Laugh out loud funny!




Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint

A brilliant serial killer police procedural featuring the no-nonsense detective Charlie Stafford. Dealing with the most vulnerable in society, this is my favourite in the series so far and definitely had a couple of fantastic twists that I did not see coming!


51JZymFAkPLThe Drowned Village by Kathleen McGurl

A timeslip story about a woman who returns to her grandmother’s place of birth to investigate her past. I love Kathleen McGurl’s books and this one is no exception.



40806267Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Wow! This one definitely grabbed my attention and held it right until the last page. When the serial killer, the Sweetbay Strangler, escapes from prison, his former girlfriend and accomplice fears for her own life. With numerous twists and a fantastic plot, this is definitely one of my favourites of the year so far!


38483098Letters from the Dead by Steve Robinson

The latest in the Jefferson Tayte series sees the genealogist investigating the disappearance of a ruby in India. This is another superb story from Steve Robinson and is a definite page turner!


Books I Have Acquired



An international crime thriller with an unforgettable detective. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo and Peter Robinson.

What do you do when the poison comes from within…?

The body of a young woman is found strangled by the side of the road.

There are no obvious clues to what happened, apart from the discovery of a large amount of cash concealed on her person.

The brilliant, but lazy, Lieutenant Josef Slonský is put in charge of the case.

With a wry sense of humour, a strong stubborn streak and a penchant for pastries, Slonský is not overly popular with the rest of the police force. But he is paired with the freshly-graduated, overly-eager Navrátil, whom he immediately takes under his wing.

When fingers start to point inwards to someone familiar with police operations, Slonský and Navrátil are put in a difficult position.

If what they suspect is true, how deep does the corruption run? Are they willing to risk their careers in their pursuit of the truth?

Anyone could be lying – and others may be in danger of dying…

LYING AND DYING is the first international crime thriller in the detective series featuring Lieutenant Josef Slonský: an atmospheric police procedural full of dark humour.



: Four female scientists invent a time travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril…


: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady…


: When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, that strong reek of sulpher. But when the inquest fails to find any answers, she is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?


51jPK1DYa5L._SY346_Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you

That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?


I’m reading The Psychology of Time Travel at the moment and am absolutely loving it – I can’t wait to feature on the blog tour! I’ll be featuring on several blog tours over the next few weeks and have some exclusive content from the following books:





Have a great August!



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