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**BLOG TOUR** The Home by Karen Osman

I am pleased to be part of the paperback blog tour for Karen Osman’s The Home. With plenty of 5-star ratings on Amazon, and with a previous book The Good Mother being such a fantastic read, this is definitely one to catch! It is my pleasure to be able to share a great extract with you.

 

 

It was the one place she should have been safe.

Angela was just a baby when she was abandoned, and a children’s home is no place to grow up. When manager Ray takes girls off to his ‘den’ in the garden, they always come back crying…

So, when wealthy couple James and Rosemary come to choose a child to adopt, Angela is desperate to escape.

Years later, Angela starts to search for her birth mother, Evelyn, hoping to heal the scars of her childhood. But strange and sinister events start to unfold. And Evelyn fears she may not survive her daughter’s return.

 

 

Angela

Angela squeezed herself onto the Tube, trying not to breathe in the smell of sweat from the bodies pressed up against her. This wasn’t where she wanted to be on the Friday night of the Summer Bank Holiday weekend, but her parents had invited her specifically. In fact, she had been slightly intrigued as to what may have prompted the invitation for her to spend the long weekend with them. Angela tried not to think too much about the Astoria nightclub. It would have been a brilliant night out and her friends had been talking about it for weeks. Angela wasn’t too bothered about the drugs, but she did like the music. When you worked in a stressful industry like law, you needed a release. Besides, she thought, she worked hard and she deserved a night out once every so often. Yet here she was, jammed on the Tube on the way to her parents’ home in Tetbury. It was a good two-hour journey from her office in central London and she was getting the 4.15 p.m. from Paddington, which had meant leaving work early. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been outside her law firm during working hours other than to grab a sandwich to eat at her desk. Normally, she’d be ensconced in her cubicle working at least a sixty-hour week, often going in on weekends as well.

Escaping the stifling odour of the underground at Paddington, Angela got on the mainline train, happy to have found a seat, and took a few moments to straighten her new Jaeger suit. The eye-catching shade of green was perhaps a little too much for the corporate environment of Kings Solicitors, but it went fabulously with her dark hair and she knew she pulled it off by the number of admiring glances she received. The tailored trousers and fitted jacket with shoulder pads were so flattering. Besides, she didn’t want to blend in with all the other associates in the office, and this was just one way to be remembered by clients and the senior partners. Satisfied with her appearance, Angela pulled out some papers from her bag and began to work.

*

Angela had her own key to her parents’ house, a pretty bungalow, built of traditional Cotswold stone, and as she let herself into her childhood home she inhaled the familiar aroma: a mixture of clean washing, fresh flowers, and the trailing scent of her mother’s Estée Lauder perfume.

It was a few moments before she became aware of the stillness. She was used to the television being on or her mum talking animatedly on the phone about one of her various committees. Leaving her key and overnight bag in the hallway, Angela walked curiously through to the living room. Her mum and dad were sitting next to each other on the sofa, holding hands, and talking quietly.

‘Hello, darling! We didn’t hear you come in!’ Her mum got up to embrace her and Angela gave her a perfunctory kiss on the cheek. Normally, she would drop down on the sofa, complaining about the journey, but there was something about her mum that evening that made her think twice.

Pre-order links:

 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M50ma4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2LmFsya

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ErDoUc

iBooks: https://apple.co/2VZ8rRX

 

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

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**BLOG TOUR** Three by K J McGillick

Today, I am pleased to be one of the blogs opening the tour for Three, the latest book by K J McGillick. This looks like a thrilling one!

 

 

THREE: Deception Love Murder

Inviting a stranger into your home can be dangerous. Inviting a stranger into your life can turn deadly.

 How would you feel if you discovered your death was meticulously planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why. All you could do was wait.

Emma has it all-a job she loves and a man who professed to love her.

Or did she? How could she be so blind?

When her lover’s car is found burned and abandoned in another state, the police come asking some hard questions. What she discovers upends her world completely. Jude had been living a double life right under her nose. A deceitful life, a treacherous life. Who was this man that had already groomed another woman to take over Emma’s life? A woman who was Emma’s body double and now dead.

Why had she so easily trusted this psychopath with her heart? Betrayed on every level, consequences not of Emma’s making were nipping at her heels. Tick. Tock.

THREE is a gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked. A fast-paced psychological thriller that has been compared to the works of Dan Brown. It can be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the Path of Deception and Betrayal series.

 

 

“If you can convince me I am in possession of stolen property, I will consider more carefully allowing a search without a warrant. I don’t want anything to do with stolen goods. But I didn’t hear anyone say anything about stolen property. All I heard Detective Chavez say was these are two paintings in question that may have been lawfully acquired by Jude and as far as we know there is nothing illegal in their ownership. For some reason, Jude may have them in his possession, and as far as I can tell that is not illegal. Jude is a lot of things, but I can’t say I ever thought of him as a thief. So, no to a search,” I responded.

“Then we will be leaving. Thank you for your cooperation. Please call us if you need anything further. We shall inform the agent you will be by the bank to check your box tomorrow,” Chavez said.

“Again, technically it’s not my box, but I will do it. If we’re done here, I think our food delivery is here. You better step out of the way once Lucy realizes food has arrived,” I suggested as I corralled everyone toward the door.

I hadn’t heard Aunt Mary leave the room while I was speaking to the detectives and had started to escort them to the door, but she must have left. As I reached for the door to open it for the food delivery, she marched in the room blustering. I knew with one look she was out of control. It was my mistake. I had overlooked her evening dose of her prescription in the craziness of the day.

Aunt Mary stood wearing her yellow raincoat and pink wellies, carrying a black umbrella in one hand and hairspray in the other ready to fend off any enemies.

“So, you boys are the law?” she thundered. “Well, that’s good. Really good. You finally caught up with the two of them?”

If her outburst weren’t so embarrassing, I would have burst out laughing watching the detectives. Chavez’s jaw gaped wide. Detective Marino looked alarmed, taking a full step backward with his hand ready to un-holster his weapon.

Chavez, who seemed to have composed himself, spoke first. “Ma’am, would you mind placing the umbrella and hairspray on the table? We are here to talk to your niece and mean no one any harm.” I could tell he had hostage negotiation skills or cared for a family member with dementia by the way he spoke to her.

“So, you aren’t here to arrest her communist boyfriend? Everyone knows he carries on with the Russians. Started with the cold war. They got him when he was still a baby, and now he spies for them. They don’t think I hear them outside down by the dock at night. They think I’m some old lady off in dreamland. But I’ve been biding my time until the law came knocking and here you are. Do you want to take my statement? If so, I don’t want Emmie implicated in this. She gets full immunity. If you give her immunity, then I will be your prime witness. Dirty commie. I haven’t seen it around, but I bet he subscribes to the Daily Worker. And he speaks fluent Russian to them, the bastard.” She snapped the umbrella toward the window and motioned toward the boat dock.

 

 

J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

https://www.goodreads.com/Kmcgillick

With thanks to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.

 

**BLOG TOUR** The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth

I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, The Body on the Shore, so I am pleased to be able to share an extract from the latest DCI Craig Gillard book, The Body in the Mist. This is another fantastic book and my review can be read here.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face. Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business. Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined. The past has never been deadlier.

 

 

After being woken at seven by Napoleon scratching at the door, Gillard and Sam were lured downstairs by the smell of bacon. Trish watched them each consume a full cooked breakfast, but ate nothing herself.

‘I’ve got a small errand to run, then I’ll go and make friends with the local constabulary to find out what they know about the hit-and-run,’ Gillard said. ‘I’m sure I’ll be about as welcome as an outbreak of the plague, so don’t expect too much.’

‘I’m sure you’ll be able to straighten it out, dear.’

Gillard had to wait 45 minutes at reception at Barnstaple police station for Detective Inspector Jan Talantire. He had already looked her up on the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary website, so recognized her immediately as she walked in. If he had not done so, he would have pigeonholed her as a mid-ranking business executive in her late thirties: expensively coiffed, in a smartly cut white blouse, black trouser suit and houndstooth jacket. He knew from what Sam had told him how much those highlight hairdos cost. Talantire was on the phone, but had instantly eyed Gillard and turned her back to shield her confidentiality. After keeping Gillard waiting another five frustrating minutes, she hung up, turned and offered a brief but firm handshake. ‘Thanks for the email, Craig, if I may call you that. There were some good questions. But come on, you’re experienced, you know the score. Given your links to the Antrobus family, I can’t share any of our thinking about this case so long as there is the slightest uncertainty about who drove that vehicle.’

‘I understand perfectly,’ Gillard said. ‘I’m not here to make life difficult, but if I can help in any way, I’m available. You’ve got my contact details.’

She smiled. A keen intelligence shone in her brown eyes ‘We could always do with more hands on deck, just not from you, or on this particular case.’ She paused, and he felt her scrutinizing him. ‘I looked you up. Quite an impressive track record. Solved the Martin Knight murder case. Must have been tricky, given your connection to Mrs Knight.’

‘It was.’ Gillard immediately realized what a sharp brain this woman had. Picking the only other case in which he had a conflict of interest, asking around enough to discover something not mentioned in any of the official reports.

At that moment a young uniformed constable emerged from the door and called out to her. ‘Forensics called, ma’am.’ He waved a piece of paper. ‘We’ve got a match for the fingerprints on the can. Bit of a likely boy—’

‘Willow, zip it,’ Talantire said, flicking her fingers away from her to indicate the young constable should return through the door he’d so foolishly entered by. She excused herself to Gillard, then followed the PC, closing the door behind them.

* * *

Talantire was furious. She snatched the piece of paper from Willow’s hand and quickly scanned it. These were the results she’d been awaiting. Half a dozen different sets of prints from inside the vehicle, one matching the owner, one matching a known local bad boy. She looked up at the PC, then pointed a thumb over her shoulder, through the now closed door. ‘Do you know who that is?’

‘Yes, he introduced himself earlier, a Detective Chief Inspector…’ The constable screwed his face up trying to remember the name.

Talantire helped him out. ‘Craig Gillard, from Surrey.’

‘That’s the one. I saw him up at the crime scene this morning. He was quite helpful.’

‘The crime scene! Clifford,’ she said, gripping the constable by the shoulders, ‘that detective is the nephew of Barbara Antrobus.’

‘Is he? Is that why he’s come all the way down here?’

Talantire nodded, waiting while the cogs in Willow’s brain slowly turned. She found herself fervently wishing that Avon Police up in Bristol would hurry up and allocate the promised two detective constables to help her while DS Charmaine Stafford was on maternity leave. ‘Did he cross the crime tape? If he did, I’ll bloody nail him.’

‘No, we chatted outside the cordon.’

‘You chatted, did you? So what did he want to know?’

‘Just about where the body was, what condition he was in. He asked whether we had done fingerprints on the car, tyre analysis, and established whether the locks had been forced.’

‘I hope you didn’t answer any of those questions.’

The constable looked sheepish. ‘I didn’t see any reason not to. He showed me his card, mentioned your name, so I thought he was part of the investigation.’

Stupid boy. ‘Willow, from now on, do not tell him anything. On principle, okay? If it turns out that Barbara Antrobus was the hit-and-run driver, you might well have compromised any chance we have of getting a clean case to the Crown Prosecution Service.’

‘But we got all the fingerprint results through. And the fingerprints from the can in the car, they match Micky Tuffin. That’s what I was telling you—’

‘And broadcasting to everyone sitting in reception,’ she said.

‘He’s a bad ’un, Micky Tuffin,’ Willow said. ‘Regular car thief. Right from school.’

‘Your school?’

‘My year, my class. I know all about him. I had the desk in front.’

She rolled her eyes. ‘For God’s sake.’ She leaned back against the door, momentarily closing her eyes. ‘Okay, thanks for letting me know. Was he a friend?’

‘You’re kidding,’ Willow said, grinning. ‘I hated him. We had a punch-up during year nine.’

‘All right, to be squeaky clean, I’m still going to have to keep you away from that side of the investigation. Christ, another conflict of interest. Confine yourself to dealing with the leads that come in on the victim. Keep off the driver side of the investigation.’

Angry now, Talantire dismissed the young constable, turned on her heel and went out to confront Gillard.

He was nowhere to be seen.

The Body in the Mist was published by Canelo on 20th May.

With thanks to Nick Louth & Canelo and to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour.

 

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland

I’m really pleased to be on the blog tour for Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland and to be able to share an extract with you. Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theatre. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

 

 

By 1875, Lillian Nolan believes she has successfully shut off any connection to the spirit world. That winter she is thrilled when she wins the role of Ophelia in a new production of Hamlet in her home town of Chicago. Everything changes when the body of the managing director is found sprawled across the steps of the dress circle and all the investors’ money is missing. Lillian fears, once again, her career is over before it begins.

After her dearest friend is arrested for murder, Lillian commits herself to discovering the truth. Her search is complicated by a strange man who is following her, the romantic overtures of her co-star, and a reunion with an old nemesis. But nothing is what it seems. What she does find puts a member of her own family at risk and leads to the unmasking of the killer with lethal consequences for herself.

 

 

After a performance of Hamlet at Ellicott’s Theatre in 1875, Lillian Nolan, actress and sleuth, finds her mentor, Regina Ellicott, in danger:

Regina left to go meet Mr. Hearne and I went back to my dressing table and finished taking off my makeup. My anxiety level began to increase and I felt a deep need to follow her. I picked up my coat and went down the stairs and around to the front of the house. It was very quiet. No one was there. I didn’t see Regina anywhere. I called out her name. It was then that I heard a faint cry for help.

“Regina?”

Heart pounding, I ran into the theater. I could hear her cries clearly now.

“Lillian. Help! Help! Up here.”

I looked up and to my horror saw Regina dangling from the railing of the dress circle. Both her hands were wrapped around the lower railing and she was frantically holding on as tightly as she could. Immediately, I ran out to the lobby, up the stairs, through the double doors, and down to the railing of the dress circle. Regina was directly below me. I held out my hand.

“Take my hand, Regina.”

“I can’t. I can’t!”

“Try. Let go with one hand and I’ll grab it with both of mine.”

She let go but couldn’t reach my hand. She was now holding on with one hand and her body was swinging back and forth.

“I’m going to fall!”

Below her, Edward and Mr. Ferris came running up the aisle.

Edward shouted, “Regina, good God!”

“Edward, help me! I can’t hold on!”

“Regina, you must. Help is coming.”

“Help me, Lillian, Help me!”

“She’s letting go,” yelled Mr. Ferris.

Edward ran over to directly below where Regina’s body was suspended and reached out his arms, Mr. Ferris stood right next to him.

I watched helplessly as her hand lost its purchase on the railing. She screamed as she fell straight down and landed on top of Edward who knocked Mr. Ferris over. As she fell, Edward managed to pull her away from the back row of seats and they all fell into a heap on the carpet in the aisle.

I heard another scream, this one in pain.

 

 

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theatre early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theatre, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theatre History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

With thanks to Elizabeth Ireland and to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** A Walking Shadow by Elizabeth Ireland

I’m really pleased to be on the blog tour for A Walking Shadow by Elizabeth Ireland and to be able to share an extract with you. Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theatre. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

 

 

In 1871, Lillian Nolan accepts a small role in Macbeth, and finally fulfills her dream of becoming an actress. That is until the renowned, but venomous, female star of the production is murdered onstage opening night. When her enraged spirit haunts the theater, Lillian is shocked to discover she can communicate with her. Offered a Faustian bargain in which she will be given talent and expertise way beyond her ability in exchange for uncovering the killer, Lillian can’t resist.

Her quest for the truth causes her to descend into the Underworld, the den of inequity below the streets of Chicago. What Lillian finds soon embroils her in a battle between her passion for performing and control over her own body as it all plays out in a supernatural game of good and evil.

 

 

Lillian Nolan, protagonist and reluctant sleuth, follows a lead in solving the murder of renowned actress, Irene Davenport which brings her to the Underworld, the notorious den of inequity in 1871 Chicago:

I thought of Macbeth and screwing my courage to the sticking place so I said, “I don’t know what is so funny.”

At least that stopped their laughter.

“You are my sweet. Welcome to hell,” growled Ann.

Again, they laughed, finding Ann’s statement infinitely amusing.

“Make yourself comfortable. Sit down and I’ll be right with you,” said Ann.

I took stock of my surroundings and found I was being watched by the other, younger women who were sitting around as if they were waiting for something to happen. The two women conferred and Ann drew a bundle of money from her bodice, peeled off a number of bills and handed them over to Sally who nodded and left.

Then Ann turned to me, and said, with a smile that was not reflected in her eyes, “You cost me a pretty penny but I think you’ll be worth it.”

She walked over to me, reached out her hand and ripped the bodice of my dress straight down to my waist. Outraged, I tried to slap her across the face, but she punched me in the head so hard that in the next moment, I knew nothing.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theatre early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theatre, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theatre History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

With thanks to Elizabeth Ireland and to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** Death Will Find Me by Vanessa Robertson

Today, I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for Death Will Find Me, the first in the Tessa Kilpatrick Mystery series by Vanessa Roberts. The book was published on February 20th and I am thrilled to be able to share an extract with you.

The Blurb

Scotland, 1920.
Meet Tessa Kilpatrick; heiress and war-time covert operations agent.

Finding her husband – the feckless James – with another woman at a 1920s country house party, she demands a divorce. But when his body is discovered in a lonely stone bothy the next morning, Inspector Hamish Rasmussen sees Tessa as his only suspect.

Back in Edinburgh, links to another murder convince Rasmussen of her innocence. He enlists her help and together they set off on a pursuit that will bring Tessa once again face to face with the brutality of war as well as revealing to her the lengths that desperate people will go to in order to protect those they love.

Will Tessa be able to prevent a final murder or will she become the killer’s latest victim?

The Extract

The Water of Leith was fast-flowing with melt water from the Pentland Hills and the air was crisp and cold. A mile or so along the riverbank with the dogs had cleared Tessa’s head and rid her of the indecision she’d been feeling since Rasmussen’s visit that morning. By the time she, Bosun and Mycroft turned homewards, heading towards Heriot Row and a warm fire, she was resolved. She would make the list and take it to Rasmussen at Torphichen Street police station the next morning. She didn’t want to unfairly accuse anyone of being up to no good with her husband, but if finding James’s murderer meant some people had to brazen out a little embarrassment then so be it.

In the short term, she needed to warn her parents, especially her mother, of the grenade she was about to lob into the centre of Edinburgh society; she feared that the list of James’s known and possible lovers would be long and the fallout significant.

She whistled to the dogs, calling them away from their fossicking on the riverbank and turned up the steep hill of Bell’s Brae. The evening was drawing in. A few street lamps were lit, their lights glinting off the slick granite setts. For no reason she could name, the back of Tessa’s neck prickled. Just as at the boathouse, she had a feeling she wasn’t alone. It unnerved her. After she’d come home in 1917, she’d had spells of paranoia where she thought that she was being followed or that an intruder was in the house. Those had grown fewer, although she knew she was probably more vigilant than most when it came to locking doors and noticing strangers. She hoped James’s murder wasn’t going to drag her back to those fears.

Then she heard the scuff of a boot on the cobbles behind her and knew this was no irrational fear. Someone was following her. Tessa’s every sense was electrified and she spun round, fists clenched by her side to face whatever fear was behind her.

With thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group Tours for organising the tour.

**Blog Tour** Mummy’s Favourite by Sarah Flint

I’m really pleased to be able to share an extract from the brilliant Mummy’s Favourite by Sarah Flint as part of the blog tour. Available for some time as an e-book, it has now been published as a paperback so if you haven’t been able to read this fantastic series yet, there’s no time like the present. My review can be read here.

About the book

He’s watching… He’s waiting… Who’s next?

Buried in a woodland grave are a mother and her child. One is alive. One is dead. DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford is assigned by her boss, DI Geoffrey Hunter to assist with the missing person investigation, where mothers and children are being snatched in broad daylight.

As more pairs go missing, the pressure mounts. Leads are going cold. Suspects are identified but have they got the right person? Can Charlie stop the sadistic killer whose only wish is to punish those deemed to have committed a wrong? Or will she herself unwittingly become a victim.

‘Ah DC Stafford, you’re late again and you look like shit. Glad you could make it though, fresh from your Super Recognizer’s course. Where have you been? We’ve all been waiting for you. Or did you fail to recognize it was 8.30 and not 8 a.m.?’

DI Geoffrey Hunter didn’t wait for an answer. ‘Right, now we’re all here, at last. I’ll get on.’ He accentuated his words and Charlie felt herself redden at his sarcasm. A bollocking on a Monday morning in front of her colleagues was never the best start to a week.

‘Sorry guv,’ she tried.

He ignored her. ‘We’ve had a few new reports referred to us over the weekend which I need to assign. One of which has potential.’

Charlie pricked her ears up. There were rarely cases with potential in her department, unless Hunter meant potential for trouble. She worked in the Community Support Unit, a branch of the CID or Criminal Investigation Department, having only acknowledged her ambition to investigate major crime in the last year.

Up until then she had put off becoming a detective, preferring to be out on the streets dealing with crime as it happened, and as it often happened right in front of her she had excelled.

Her first big collar after leaving Hendon to join Charing Cross police station had been a rapist she’d recognized from an e-fit. On little more than a hunch and a similarity to the suspect, she’d found him in possession of duct tape, a knife and keys to a Vauxhall. Having scanned the streets, she’d located his car, and discovered photos and details of a female in a nearby street. Her suspicions aroused, she’d headed straight to the woman’s address and kicked the door down only to find her gagged and taped up in her bed, the last victim of a series of horrific attacks perpetrated by the same suspect. The mental anguish of the victim in the case affected Charlie greatly. It was personal. She went out of her way to stay with the woman through every step of the investigation, determined to obtain justice for her. She knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of injustice. It was exactly for this reason she’d joined the police.

She stayed at Charing Cross initially loving the adrenalin of the streets before transferring to Lambeth borough, where she continued to revel in her work. She was rewarded with an advanced pursuit driving course and the newly developed Super Recognizer’s course and was head-hunted by some of the specialized CID squads in the Met investigating serious crime and criminals.

After being shot at in a backstreet of Brixton, she’d decided that CID was the place to really make a difference so returned to Hendon Training College; only to find it a shell of its previous self, with many of the buildings and tower blocks empty and derelict.

She’d emerged as a detective constable and found herself immediately posted to the CSU, first stop for all budding CID officers. Nearly six months later she was still there.

The unit had the remit to deal with any allegations involving domestic violence, race, faith, sexual orientation or disability, but as she was just discovering, it was the most risky and politically explosive unit in CID. If you got it wrong here, your career would be ended before it had begun.

‘Anything interesting?’ Charlie asked.

She hoped it would give her the chance to get out and about and, if she did get out, that Hunter would come with her. He might be her boss but he too liked to be out on the streets and had the reputation for attracting action.

‘Like I said,’ he looked to be studiously avoiding making eye contact with her. He was obviously keen to make her sweat. ‘It has potential. A woman and her son, missing since Friday, reported by her husband today. Nothing too sinister at the moment, although the husband sounds like a nasty bastard. It’s being dealt with by the missing persons unit, but they’ve asked us to take a look, as the couple have a history of domestic violence. The chances are the wife’s probably just come to her senses and moved out, but it’s raised concerns because they have another son who has been left behind.’

He paused and this time looked directly at her.

Buy links

for the paperback:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2H6lIRT

Blackwells: http://bit.ly/2AEI4nT

Or get the eBook from:

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2FcoWRf

Googleplay: http://bit.ly/2ChkjlU

iBooks: https://apple.co/2GYdwTr

With thanks to Vicky Joss and Aria Fiction.

**BLOG TOUR** We All Fall Down by Cynthia Clark

I am today’s stop on the blog tour for We All Fall Down by Cynthia Clark, which was published by Aria on December 4th. The book has been described as ‘a breathtaking suspense novel for all fans of B. A. Paris and Sophie Hannah’, and I am pleased to be able to share an extract with you. What an extract it is too… definitely whets the appetite!

The Blurb

Many years ago orphans Bea, her brother Sebastian, Helen, Sandra and John lived together in a home, with their carer Miriam. But Miriam didn’t care at all. If you asked the children, they would have said that Miriam hated them. And it’s no fun living with someone who hates you, so the children decided to do something about it… Then a terrible accident changed everything, and the children were ripped apart from each other.

Many years ago Ronnie Moss made a mistake he can never take back, no matter how much he wishes he could, so instead he runs for his life. But he can’t run forever.

Many years later the secrets of the past are finally being revealed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The wind threatened to knock him off his feet, but he could barely feel it. He walked right to the lorry and fumbled with the keys, his trembling hands making it hard to find the ignition. He was determined to drive back and go straight to Laura’s house, talk to her, make her see sense, promise to quit this job, find a better one.

But as the hours went by, he started feeling less confident. She had sounded so determined. She had not even said goodbye, just hung up. Maybe he’d give her a couple of days to think about it. Take the next job, make some more money, then quit and go find her.

But what if she still didn’t want him back? Laura was the love of his life. He felt so lucky to have her. And now she was walking away from him.

‘Damn!’ He banged his fist against the steering wheel, wanting to be anywhere but in the lorry. He was exhausted, tired to the bone, but he had no choice other than to keep on driving.

He was thirsty. Reaching for his water bottle, he realised it was empty. ‘What the fuck!’ He could stop, find a twenty-four-hour shop. But that would waste time that he didn’t have.

And then he had remembered the small bottle of Scotch he had bought for his father. He’d take a small sip, just to wet his dry throat.

Ronnie rummaged inside his bag, his eyes not leaving the road. Holding the top tightly between his right molars, he turned the bottle with his hand until the seal gave way. He took a sip, the burning sensation in his throat momentarily making him forget the pain in his heart. One sip, then another, and another. Until the conversation with Laura started to seem hazy. Perhaps she was just having a bad day. He’d go to her house and speak with her. In fact, he’d go straight there, not even bother dropping off the delivery, getting rid of the lorry. She’d be pleased to see him, of that he was sure.

He needed to go to the bathroom, but didn’t want to stop. He was bone tired. His eyes kept fluttering shut and he had to fight to stay awake, to keep his focus on the road ahead. His knuckles were white as he tightened his fingers around the steering wheel, willing the journey to come to an end.

Might as well finish this, he thought, looking at the amber liquid. Bringing the bottle to his mouth, he took a deep swig.

And then, as he put the bottle down, he saw it. The blue van right in front of him. The children’s heads bobbing up and down among the seats. Time stood still as he saw it veer right, over the dividing line. Ronnie stepped his foot on the brake, every ounce of strength focused on stopping. He swerved the steering, trying to miss the van.

‘No, no, no, no, no,’ he shouted.

But it was too late. The front of the lorry hit the side of the van. He saw every movement in slow motion. The driver, a woman with long hair, burst through the windscreen and flew in a perfect arc, landing with a thud on the road. The van kept going for a few metres, then hit the boundary wall, flipping over. There were sparks on the road as the upside-down van continued moving forward.

Finally, it stopped, smoke coming from underneath it. Stones from the boundary wall showered down, burying it. Other cars stopped, people jumping out of them and running towards the van. They frantically removed the stones, screaming at each other. Nobody looked at him. He wasn’t important.

Ronnie dropped his whisky bottle. Grabbing his bag, he opened the door and jumped outside. He should go and see if they needed anything. He started walking towards the van when he stepped on something. Looking down, he saw the schoolbag, its contents spread everywhere. Bile rose in his throat and he ran towards the bushes on the side of the road and jumped behind them. He ran and ran, until he was sure that nobody would catch him. He was safe. For now.

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

**BLOG TOUR** Forget My Name by J. S. Monroe

Today, I am pleased to be the latest blog on the Forget My Name tour, the latest book by J. S. Monroe, whose previous book, Find Me, was definitely one of the most shocking reads of last year! It is my pleasure to be able to share an extract with you.

How do you know who to trust…

…when you don’t even know who you are?

You are outside your front door.

There are strangers in your house.

Then you realise. You can’t remember your name.

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

Tony positions himself in front of the door as I walk past him and up the stairs, my legs heavy with adrenaline. I try to picture the bedroom where I slept, remembering the layout of the house outside, which is single storey at the rear. There’s a sloping roof below the window, above the kitchen. Tiles and a central skylight.

I rush into the bedroom and look at my suitcase. There’s nothing I need in there and I have no intention of taking it with me. Instead, I grab my handwritten notes from the bedside table, skim read them again and fold them into the back pocket of my jeans. My hands are shaking. Tony is still at the bottom of the stairs. I walk across the landing and stand by the bathroom door.

‘Won’t be a minute,’ I call out.

I pull on the light cord and let it ping. Its handle is a carved wooden seahorse. I watch it whirl around for a second, feeling dizzy, and then I shut the bathroom door with its noisy farmhouse latch and tiptoe back to my room, closing the door behind me. The sash window opens more noisily than I expect and I slip one leg out onto the roof, desperate to get away.

‘What the hell are you doing?’

I spin round to see Tony standing in the bedroom doorway, arms folded. I stare at him and then turn back to the window. A robin on a tree in their back garden looks at me as if I’m the most stupid human on earth.

‘Running away isn’t going to help anyone,’ he says.

I don’t move. He’s right. I’ve made a mistake, thrown by the Jemma Huish development and the fact that she lived in this house. I just need to relax, trust the system.

‘I’m worried they’ll think I’m her,’ I say.

‘Listen, I dislike the cops more than most, but if you run now, you’re guilty. Period.’

I pull my leg in from the window and drop back into the bedroom, leaning against the window ledge. I’m embarrassed by my attempt to escape. It was the wrong move. Even the robin has flown off in disgust.

‘I’m sorry,’ I say. ‘I don’t know what I was thinking.’

‘It’s OK. We’ve all run away. It never helps.’

The room suddenly feels airless, intimate. As I pass him at the top of the stairs, he steps into my way and wraps his arms around me.

‘Here, let me give you a hug.’

I suppress my gut response to push him away and allow him to hold me. One, two, three seconds. And then I remove myself from his embrace. My breath shallowing, I follow him downstairs in silence and tell him I need the loo. After locking the door, I rest my forehead on the cold wall in front of me, close my eyes and try to think of the bodhi tree.

Forget My Name can be purchased here for only £2.48.

With thanks to Jade Gwilliam at Head of Zeus for organising the blog tour.

 

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