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**BLOG TOUR** Blood on His Hands by Ian McFadyen

Today, I’m pleased to be one of the blogs featuring on the tour for Blood on His Hands by Ian McFadyen, the latest book in the Carmichael series. I really like the sound of this so, hopefully, the blurb and the extract will whet your appetite too! If it does, you’ll find a link at the end to win a copy of the book.

The Blurb

When a stranger enters DI Carmichael’s local church, with blood on his hands claiming to have committed a murder, Carmichael and his team are quickly summoned.

And when the man disappears, as mysteriously as he arrived, with few clues to his identity, where he came from and where he went, Carmichael quickly realises that all may not be as it seems.

The conundrum becomes even more puzzling when, in less than 24 hours, a corpse is discovered in the boot of a Bentley car down a quiet country lane.

As the body count rises Carmichael and his team remain confounded as to who is behind the murders and what motive they have for taking so many lives. In this, the eighth gripping murder mystery from the pen of Ian McFadyen, the author once again captivates the reader with an array of beguiling characters tightly woven within an intriguing, skilfully scripted plot.

It will keep you guessing right until the end…

 

The Extract

DC Rachel Dalton manages to locate the agent of Geoffrey Brookwell, an actor found murdered in the small Lancashire village of Moulton Bank. DI Carmichael is otherwise engaged, so Dalton is instructed to conduct the interview alone.  

Rachel Dalton looked up at the large clock that hung behind where Anna Montgomery was sitting; it read 12:35pm.

“I’m afraid Inspector Carmichael has had to rush off on another case,” she explained, “so it will be just me.”

The absence of Rachel’s superior didn’t seem to bother Anna Montgomery, who just gave a faint shrug of her shoulders.

“I’m more worried about the time,” she replied. “I’ve only got about thirty minutes, then I’ll have to be off, so I can get back to Manchester for my two-thirty meeting.”

Rachel Dalton looked up into Anna Montgomery’s eyes and smiled.

“How long have you been Geoffrey Brookwell’s agent?” she enquired.

“Just over fifteen years,” replied Anna.

“And what sort of actor was he?” continued Rachel.

“A mediocre one,” Anna replied immediately and without any hint of remorse. “He had one reasonably long run about ten years ago as Dr Damien Hook in The Cumbrian Way, which lasted about three years,

but since that ended, he’s not done much. A few voice-overs and adverts, but other than that, zilch.”

“I see,” remarked Rachel, who paused for a few seconds. “And when did you last have any contact with Geoffrey?” continued Rachel.

“I haven’t seen him in months,” replied Anna, “but we spoke the other evening.”

“When was that?” Rachel enquired.

“It was Monday evening,” replied Anna. “He called me at about 5:45pm. He was very excited about some big role he reckoned he had in the bag.”

“Really,” replied Rachel. “Is it normal for actors to get a role without it going through their agent?”

Anna Montgomery shook her head. “It does happen,” she conceded, “but it’s very unusual, particularly with actors who have low profiles like Geoffrey.”

“So, what role was this?” Rachel asked.

“I’ve no idea,” replied Anna. “He was being very guarded about it, but he said that it was a major role with a big producer, that he’d been given an advance, and he was doing an improvisation for one of the scenes

with another actor, on location, the next day.”

“And what did you make of what he told you?” Rachel enquired.

Anna Montgomery held the palms of her hands upwards, as if to emphasise her bewilderment.

“Geoffrey wasn’t one to fabricate things,” she remarked, “but it all sounded a bit unusual to me. Which is what I told him.”

“But he gave you no more details about this audition or the nature of this big role?” Rachel remarked.

“None whatsoever,” replied Anna. “He assured me I’d get my agent fee but refused to elaborate any more.”

“I see,” replied Rachel. “And that was the last time you spoke with him?”

Anna nodded. “Yes, that’s right,” she replied.

“Did he mention anything about intending to go to church on Tuesday?” Rachel enquired.

“Church?” replied Anna Montgomery, her shocked voice loud and shrill. “Absolutely not. I know for a fact that, like me, Geoffrey was an atheist. What on earth would he be doing going to church; and

on a Tuesday, too? I thought that lot did their thing on Sundays.”

 

About the Author

Ian McFadyen lives in Bishops Stortford, Herts and has published seven books in the Carmichael series so far. McFadyen has built up a strong following and is particularly well supported by library borrowers – being positioned in the top 10% of most loaned authors in the last few years. Favourably mentioned alongside Wilkie Collins and Colin Dexter, McFadyen’s titles are all available in paperback and on kindle.

Social Media Links – Facebook.com/ianmcfadyenauthor & Twitter @ianMcFadyen1

 

Purchase Links

Book Guild: https://www.bookguild.co.uk/bookshop-collection/fiction/detective/blood-on-his-hands/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-his-Hands-Dci-Carmichael/dp/1912881942

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/blood-on-his-hands/ian-mcfadyen/9781912881949

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/blood-on-his-hands,ian-mcfadyen-9781912881949?term=9781912881949

Blackwell’s: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Blood-on-His-Hands-by-Ian-McFadyen-author/9781912881949

WHSmith: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/blood-on-his-hands/ian-mcfadyen/paperback/9781912881949.html

The Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Blood-on-his-Hands-Ian-McFadyen/9781912881949

 

Competition!

Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of Blood on His Hands (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494341/?

 

 

 

**COVER REVEAL** Rabette Run by Nick Rippington

I’m really pleased to be able to share with you the cover for Nick Rippington’s latest book, Rabette Run. Described as, ‘Alice in Wonderland…With tanks and guns’, this is a standalone psychological thriller. I’ve also got an extract which, hopefully, will whet your appetite!

The Blurb

EMERSON RABETTE has a phobia about travelling on the underground, so when he is involved in a car accident his worst nightmare is about to come true.

A middle-aged graphic designer and father of one, Emerson’s entire future depends on him reaching an important business meeting. Without an alternative method of transport, he has to confront his biggest fear.

Things immediately go wrong when Emerson’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kicks in and his fellow passengers become angry at the way he is acting. Thankfully a young woman called Winter comes to his rescue and agrees to help him reach his destination.

Once on the train, she thinks her job is done. What she isn’t prepared for is Emerson taking flight after reading a message scrawled on the train’s interior.

It simply reads: ‘Run Rabette Run’.

Extract

PROLOGUE

HE was sneaking a glance at his daughter in the rear-view mirror, listening to her talk about college and friends, when their blue family estate was broadsided by the Jeep.

Time suspended before a tsunami of shattered glass crashed in and he lost control of the steering wheel. The airbag deployed and the seat belt cut painfully into his shoulder as it absorbed the strain of his 15-stone bulk before boomeranging him back into place. What was left of the windscreen retreated as his body reacted like the lash of a whip and, in his confusion, he experienced that eureka moment… ‘Ahhh, whiplash!’

As the car skidded across the road he was dazzled by a kaleidoscope of bright lights – neon advertising boards, shop windows and street lamps. When his eyes adjusted it was as if he was watching everything in slow motion: A couple he had noticed walking hand in hand moments earlier ran in different directions, while a newspaper seller deserted his pitch, money pouch flapping against his pounding legs. Further along, a dapper-looking bloke in tweeds seemed in two minds which way to flee before settling on the safety of the Underground steps.

The visions tumbled from his mind as the car completed its 360-degree spin and he finally locked eyes on his assailant. Marooned in the stationary Jeep, the dark-haired woman stared through the windscreen vacantly, a thick stream of blood meandering down her face from a garish wound above her eyebrow. Devoid of expression, it seemed the shock had vacuumed all thought from her brain.

As soon as she appeared, she was gone, the car continuing to spin. Facing the pavement again, the driver’s attention was captured by what he thought was a bundle of blankets and rags in a shop doorway. With alarm he noticed startled eyes staring out from a face swamped in facial hair. ‘Get out of the fucking way!’ the driver mouthed as he realised one of London’s street dwellers was totally oblivious to the approaching danger.

The car made jarring contact with the kerb and suddenly it was the driver who was spinning, like a sock in a washing machine. His head bumped against the ceiling, his left arm smashed against the twisted metal of the door and his right leg sent jolts of electrifying pain through his nervous system.

Finally, the fairground ride from hell came to an abrupt halt, the car thudding against something hard. The heap of tangled metal that was once a solid and protective shell settled slowly back in an upright position, bouncing like one of those gangster rides with hydraulic suspension that featured in American movies. This wasn’t America, though, this was twenty-first century Britain and he wasn’t a teen gangster, just an ordinary Joe going about his boring, routine business.

New sounds invaded the void left by the disintegrated windows: horns blowing, tyres screeching, glass crunching, people screaming. His ears slowly acclimatising to the noise, he then detected an unfamiliar ticking and saw steam pouring from the bent and buckled bonnet. Performing calculations in his head, he tried to work out how much this entire calamity might cost him. What would the insurance company say? Was there any possibility the vehicle wasn’t a write-off and did his policy contain the use of a courtesy car? How the hell was he going to get to work? What the hell was he going to tell his wife?

Shit, his daughter!

‘You OK back there, honey?’

There was a pause during which his heart skipped a beat.

Then…

‘Yeah, I think so. I’ve a… pain in my tummy.’

Superficial damage. Nothing serious. Thank God. Relief flooded through him.

‘You?’ she asked.

‘My leg’s killing me but otherwise…’

His thoughts were interrupted by another sound. Looking to his left, he was surprised to see the passenger window still intact. Outside, a man in a navy-blue uniform and cap gesticulated wildly, but it was hard to make out what he was saying. The driver felt as if his head was submerged in that slime kids found all the rage.

Still, at least he was conscious enough to interpret the police officer’s manic, hand-waving gestures and detect the urgency in them. Shaking his head to free himself from the gloop, he felt needles of pain attack his nervous system as he shifted sideways, utilising every muscle necessary to reach out and press the button which released the window.

The car’s electrics made an uncomfortable, whirring sound as the glass slid down a few centimetres then stopped. Jammed. He continued pushing the button, but the internal workings were badly damaged. He watched as a gloved hand slipped through the gap at the top of the door and exerted pressure. There was another crunching noise and the window dropped to around halfway, the brute force almost certainly rendering the mechanism irreparable. Not thinking straight, his first reaction was one of anger and his mind made calculations about how much compensation he should claim once he was back on his feet.

The police constable battled gamely to get his point across amid a deafening ensemble of alarm bells and sirens. ‘We need to get you out of there, sir. No need to panic, but we have to make you safe before we can get the paramedics to check you over.’

‘Sounds serious, Dad,’ said his girl.

‘Thanks, Sherlock, always the optimist.’

‘What was that?’ The officer’s face seemed blurred as the driver tried to focus.

‘Sorry, it’s my ears…’ he shouted, the frenzied effort to make himself heard betraying his underlying fear. ‘I can’t… Is the car going to explode?’

‘Umm, I sincerely hope not, sir, but there is a lot of fuel around, the engine’s smoking… It’s best to err on the side of caution. We need to get you a safe distance away in the unlikely event that things escalate. The fire brigade will be here in two ticks and they’ll bring it under control in no time. Until then…’

‘Not sure I can move to be honest, son. I think my leg’s trapped.’

‘Ahhh.’ The policeman nodded. ‘Can you have a look around – see what the problem is? You might be able to free it. On second thoughts, hold on, I’ll come around to your side and see what I can do.’

Appearing at the driver’s window, he then brushed aside fragments of glass and leaned through, peering into the gloom of the footwell. ‘O… K,’ he said slowly. He wasn’t very good at disguising his feelings. It was serious. ‘We have a bit of a problem. A lump of metal appears to have wedged itself in your leg. I’m guessing it will take special tools to get you out of there.’

Shit! The Jaws of Life. Only the other day he had been watching a TV programme about the fire service and the equipment they used to cut people free from road traffic accident wrecks. The jaws had saved many lives, but the name alone was enough to send a shudder rippling through his damaged body. The sirens in the distance were getting louder as they announced their urgency to the world. Blue spinning lights roamed the darkness of the car’s interior, before a more permanent red glow encroached on the shadows. Was it getting hot?

‘Ahhh…’ said the officer.

There were snapping sounds followed by a crackle. Random memories of an old advert for cereal entered the driver’s head: snap, crackle, pop. Twisting as best he could, the driver realised the noise was being created by flames eating into the car’s paintwork. ‘No!’ he muttered through clenched teeth. Damn, he’d just forked out a small fortune on a touch-up job after some local punk had dug a thick groove right along the passenger’s side with a coin or a key.

‘Uh oh!’ said his daughter, looking over her shoulder. ‘They’re going to get us out of here, aren’t they, Dad? I’m scared.’

‘Stay calm,’ he replied, wishing he could practice what he was preaching. ‘I’m sure it will be fine. The fire brigade is on their way and will be here shortly.’

‘Ahh, they’re here,’ the policeman announced on cue, relief evident in his tone.

Moments later the driver heard a new voice, the accent pure Cockney. ‘Stay calm, sir, and we’ll have you out in no time.’

The driver twisted in the direction of the person speaking and another wave of pain rolled through him. On the periphery of his vision he could make out a tall man with a pointed jaw in a fire brigade uniform.

‘What seems to be the trouble, eh? Let the dog see the rabbit.’ The fireman leaned inside. ‘Rrrr…igh…t,’ he said before shouting some instructions to the rest of his crew.

Suddenly, the car was plunged into darkness. The driver guessed it was being buried in that foam the fire services used to bring a blaze under control. It felt strangely comforting to know they weren’t going to be burnt alive. Another sound, a screeching, grating noise soon invaded the car’s interior, setting his teeth on edge.

‘Cool!’ muttered his daughter as sparks sprayed through the roof. Moments later the metal was peeled back like the lid on a tin of tuna, bright lights invading the space, making them cry out and shield their eyes.

‘Sorry, mate, it’s got to be done,’ advised the fire officer. ‘Once we’re inside, we can hopefully remove the obstacle that’s holding you in place and get you out of there. Second thoughts, the best thing we can do, looking at it now, would be to remove the door, together with your good self. It should be easier to cut you free elsewhere, rather than in the midst of this, um, chaos. When we get somewhere a bit less volatile the medical people can assess the problem and hopefully free your leg from the door.’

As he said this, for the first time the driver realised that up until now the darkness of the footwell had prevented him taking a closer look at his injury. Shielding his eyes from the glare, he glanced downwards. A thick metal shard was protruding from his leg and a dark, sticky substance soaked his trousers. The limb looked like a theatrical prosthesis in a zombie apocalypse movie, the foot at a right angle to the rest of the limb.

He experienced an unfamiliar dizziness and passed out.

GLOVED hands grasped the limp body and gently carried it to the stretcher. The patient felt a needle entering the soft tissue in his arm and after that remembered little, sliding into unconsciousness as he murmured her name. The paramedic whispered to one of the fireman.

‘What did he say? Sounded like a name? Jane, was it? I think he said something about a daughter. Was there anyone with him?’

‘Nope,’ replied the fireman. ‘He was all on his lonesome.’

A colleague arrived at the paramedic’s shoulder. ‘Right, best get him to intensive care, lickety spit,’ said the new arrival. ‘I hate to be the prophet of doom, but it will be touch and go if he survives the night.’

The Cover

About the Author

NICK RIPPINGTON is the award-winning author of the Boxer Boys series of gangland crime thrillers.

     Based in London, UK, Nick was the last-ever Welsh Sports Editor of the now defunct News of The World, writing his debut release Crossing The Whitewash after being made redundant with just two days notice after Rupert Murdoch closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011.
On holiday at the time, Nick was never allowed back in the building, investigators sealing off the area with crime scene tape and seizing his computer as they investigated the phone-hacking scandal, something which took place a decade before Nick joined the paper. His greatest fear, however, was that cops would uncover the secrets to his Fantasy Football selections.
Handed the contents of his desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old baby to support.
With self-publishing booming, he hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of the Rugby World Cup and in 2015 produced Crossing The Whitewash, which received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’ Digest self-published eBook awards. Judges described it as “evocative, unique, unfailingly precise and often humorous”.
Follow-up novel Spark Out, a prequel set at the time of Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands War, received a Chill With A Book reader award and an IndieBRAG medallion from the prestigious website dedicated to Independent publishers and writers throughout the world. The novel was also awarded best cover of 2017 with Chill With A Book.
The third book in the Boxer Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing The Whitewash, was released in December 2018 and went to the top of the Amazon Contemporary Urban Fiction free charts during a giveaway period of five days. A digital box set, the Boxer Boys Collection, came out in September last year.

       Now Nick, 60, is switching direction feeling that, for the moment, the Boxer Boys series has run its course. His latest novel, Rabette Run, will be released in the Spring and Nick says, ‘It is a gritty psychological thriller with twists and turns galore. Think Alice in Wonderland with tanks and guns.’
Married to Liz, When Nick isn’t writing he works as a back bench designer of sports pages on the Daily Star. He has two children – Jemma, 37, and Olivia, 9.

Links: 

Website: www.theripperfile.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/buckrippers

Twitter: @nickripp

Instagram: @nickrippingtonauthor

Where to find Nick’s books…

Amazon Author Page in the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nick-Rippington/e/B0135YST78

Amazon Author Page in the US:

https://www.amazon.com/Nick-Rippington/e/B0135YST78

Buying Links:

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084D3TT36

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084D3TT36

With thanks to Sarah Hardy from Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo.

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

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

The Blurb

This vacation is about to turn deadly…

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

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

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

The Extract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

You can purchase The Beach House here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Blurb

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka.

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page-turner.

The Extract

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

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

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

“Erik White.” Erik extended a hand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not anymore. I have a British passport.”

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

Erik handed it to him.

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

Erik jumped to his feet.

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

Copyright © 2019 A.A. Abbott

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

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

**BLOG TOUR** Ruby by Heather Burnside

I’m really pleased to be one of the blogs on the tour for Ruby, the latest book from Heather Burnside, and I’m thrilled to be able to share an extract with you.  Heather spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels. If you are a fan of Martina Cole or Kimberley Chambers, then Ruby could just be the book for you!

Follow Heather:

Facebook: @HeatherBurnsideAuthor

Twitter: @heatherbwriter

Website: https://heatherburnside.com/

The Blurb

The stronger sex.

Ruby has always been strong. Growing up with a feeble mother and an absent father, she is forced to fight the battles of her younger siblings. And when a childhood experience leaves her traumatised, her distrust of men turns to hatred.

On the streets.

With no safe place to call home, Ruby is desperate to fit in with the tough crowd. She spends her teenage years sleeping around and drinking in the park, and by the time she is sixteen, prostitution has become a way of life. But Ruby has ambitions, and she soon moves up the ladder to become the madam of her own brothel.

The brothel.

But being in charge of a brothel has its down sides, Ruby faces her worst nightmare when an enemy from the past comes back into her life, and gang intimidation threatens to ruin everything. Can she find a way to beat her tormentors? And will she be strong enough to see it through?

The Extract

 

August 1991

Nine-year-old Trina was helping her mother, Daisy, with the housework. As they worked, they both sang along to Tracy Chapman while two of Trina’s younger brothers were playing noisily, drowning out the sound of the stereo.

‘Shut up your noise!’ shouted Daisy, her Jamaican accent still pronounced after more than twenty years in the UK. ‘I can’t hear meself think.’

The two boys stopped their play-fighting, looked at each other and giggled.

‘Get up the stairs,’ said Daisy, clicking her tongue in annoyance.

‘No, we want to play out,’ said Ellis, the older of the two boys.

‘Go on, and take Tyler with you,’ said Daisy.

Trina looked across at her youngest brother, Tyler, quietly playing with his battered toy cars in a corner of the room. He was so different from the other two, Ellis and Jarell, who could be such a handful.

‘Go on, hurry up,’ said Daisy. ‘Let me get me work done.’

Trina put down the duster she was using and walked over to Tyler, ready to take him by the hand.

‘No! Not you, Trina,’ said her mother. ‘I need your help.’

‘But who’s gonna look after him?’ asked Trina.

‘Them two can,’ said Daisy.

Catching the expression on her mother’s face, Trina knew she wasn’t in the mood for arguments. She picked her duster back up and carried on with what she was doing, despite her qualms about the ability of Ellis and Jarell to look after Tyler, who was only three.

Usually the responsibility fell on Trina to look out for her three younger brothers – Ellis, aged seven, six-year-old Jarell, and Tyler – when her mother was busy cooking, shopping or washing. But today was cleaning day and Daisy often asked Trina for help. It seemed to Trina that her mother was overwhelmed with the amount of work involved in looking after a three-bedroomed house and four children. Nevertheless, she undertook her tasks every Saturday without failure, not happy till every surface was dusted, hoovered and cleaned.

Daisy was a respectable woman who took pride in having a clean home. Despite her status as a single parent on benefits, she did her best to maintain her high standards and set a good example to her children. She was an attractive woman in her thirties, of average height and with a womanly figure. Trina took after her mother in looks, but not in height for she was very tall for her age, something she had gained from her absent father.

Trina looked up from her dusting as the boys dashed excitedly to the front door. She was envious of them. It didn’t seem fair that she should have to stay and help her mother while the boys got to play outside. But that’s the way it was and she had long ago come to accept her status as the oldest child. Not only was she the oldest but she was also a girl, which made a difference as far as her mother was concerned. Girls helped with the housework; boys did not.

‘And keep a tight hold on him!’ Daisy shouted to her two eldest boys as they fled out through the front door.

They were no sooner outside than there was a knock on the door. Daisy clicked her tongue again.

‘What on earth’s the matter!’ she called, trying to ignore it.

There was a second knock. Trina said, ‘I’ll get it, Mam,’ happy to put down her duster again.

But before she got the chance, they heard a man’s voice outside. ‘Daisy! I know you’re in there so answer the door,’ he shouted.

Trina continued making her way towards the front door till she felt her mother’s sharp pull on her shoulder.

‘No,’ she whispered. ‘Get behind the curtain. Don’t let him see you or there’ll be hell to pay.’

Alarmed, Trina quickly took her place with her mother, standing to one side of the open curtains so they couldn’t be seen through the window. Daisy was busy peering through a gap at the edge of the curtains. A shadow fell across the window and the man’s voice came closer.

‘Open the door, Daisy! I know you’re in there. I’ve just seen the children leave,’ shouted the man.

A look of concern flashed across Trina’s face as she picked up on the grave tone of the man’s voice.

‘I think it’s Mr Dodds. Shouldn’t we let him in, Mam?’ she whispered.

 

Pre-order  links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Nd4O3g

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Sgd6sg

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2T65ahm

iBooks: https://apple.co/2pMSz6b

 

With thanks to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

 

 

**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.

**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.

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