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**BLOG TOUR** Arcam by Jason Minick

51Pv5HlKsGLI’m really pleased to be able to share an extract from Arcam the debut novel from Jason Minick. Set in his favourite part of the UK, Arcam is a crime/conspiracy theory and a sequel is already in the pipeline. The extract may only be short, but definitely leaves me wanting to read more!

The Blurb

DCI Jack Robson believes he is hunting a kidnapper…

Away from his posting in London, Robson is asked to lead an investigation in the south west of England. But what begins as a baffling local kidnapping mystery, quickly escalates into something far more sinister.

In pursuit of the perpetrators, DCI Robson joins forces with Inspector Emma Wilson and the rest of the regional CID team. Together, they attempt to make sense of the lack of evidence or motive, eventually getting drawn to the tiny island of Steep

Holm, in the Bristol Channel.

As the investigation progresses, Robson, Wilson and their colleagues find themselves facing something far beyond normal detective work. Unthinkable connections lead them to a conspiracy, so great it could change the course of humanity. The question is, can they intervene before it’s too late to prevent the appalling future that potentially lies ahead …

The Extract

She hadn’t noticed the horror spreading across her father’s face as he stood rooted to the rock ten yards away, eyes unblinkingly fixed on the dark, soaking wet industrial safety boots.

Unlike her keen-eyed father, Ellie hadn’t noticed the discolouring around the boots where they protruded from the seaweed. When he spoke again, she looked up instantly, detecting the anxiety in his shaky request.

“Ellie. Come here now please, darling.”

“What’s the matter, Daddy?” She began to cry in reaction to her father’s tone.

He swept across the area of slimy rocks that separated them and stretched forward to take her by her arm. The pain of the fall wouldn’t hit him until later – it was the grim vision that presented itself which terrorised him, as he slipped and landed on his backside a few feet away from the boots. The seaweed in front of him parted with the disturbance, to reveal the ghostly wide eyes of a man beneath the shallow surface. Ellie screamed instinctively as she watched her father vomit over the seaweed.

With thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for organising the tour and to the author for providing a brilliant extract!

Arcam

The book can be purchased here.

Contact Jason Minick on Twitter : @JMinick_Author

 

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**BLOG TOUR** The Cold Cold Sea by Linda Huber #GUESTPOST

I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for the new book from Linda Huber: The Cold Cold Sea, and am thrilled to be able to share a guest post written by Linda. I am always interested in how authors choose the settings for their books and Linda has shared how she chooses her locations and how important it is to get the right one.

Choosing the Right Location

Setting is important. The entire atmosphere of a book can change, depending on whether it’s set in a city, a village, deep in the country or by the sea – Wuthering Heights wouldn’t have been half as dramatic set in London, for instance.  So it’s something I give a lot of thought to before I start a novel.

The Cold Cold Sea, unsurprisingly, needed a beach location, more than that, it needed a hot beach location (not many of those around in the UK!) for Maggie to doze off in and not notice that three-year-old Olivia isn’t running across the deserted sands to her daddy like she’s supposed to… And I needed cliffs, and crashing waves, and a tide that ebbed and flowed, because all these fitted so well with Maggie’s despair in the days and weeks following her little girl’s disappearance. Did Olivia go into the sea, the beautiful sea that stretched and sparkled into infinity – or did something else happen?
I set this book in Cornwall, because I’d spent several holidays there and could ‘feel the wind in my hair’ as I was writing. I think that’s important too; it’s harder to write authentically about a real place if you’ve never been there.

I think the book location I had most fun writing about was Ward Zero’s. Sarah and family lived in a fictional town near Manchester, comparable to the Stockport area where an old school friend of mine lives – but much of the action took place in the local hospital. I was a physiotherapist in a previous life, and worked in a big general hospital in Glasgow before coming to Switzerland, so these parts of the book were easy – and I really enjoyed transporting ‘my’ hospital down to England and having Sarah & co wander around the various departments.

Death Wish is another with a slightly medical theme – assisted suicide. This time, I could combine locations I was very familiar with. Little Joya and her family live in Glasgow, in Langside, where I usually stay when I visit the city. And assisted suicide, which Grandma Vee wants more than anything, isn’t possible in the UK but is here in Switzerland, so the family fly over to find out more. I watched the BBC documentary Simon’s Choice too, and this helped enormously, for of course I’ve never been inside an assisted death facility. People often call them clinics, but they’re not.

Different settings can bring some contrast into your plot. One part of The Attic Room takes place in a gloomy, neglected old house in Bedford, the other on the lovely Isle of Arran in Scotland, where I was lucky enough to spend all my teenage summers. To Nina, the situation in Bedford was dangerous; she wanted nothing more than to return to her home on the island, where she was safe and loved. The contrast of old house vs. beautiful island helped me show this.

The location can bring fun to a book too – my Lakeside Hotel novellas as Melinda Huber are set right here in Switzerland, and of course the characters do all the touristy things, like visiting the Rhine Falls, and taking the ferry across the lake to Germany and the cable car up our local mountain, the Säntis. Writing these little books was almost like having a Swiss holiday – I loved it!

About the Author

Linda’s writing career began in the nineties when she had over fifty short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she turned to psychological suspense fiction, and her seventh novel, Death Wish, was published by Bloodhound Books in August 2017.

She grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Currently, she teaches one day a week and writes psychological suspense novels and feel-good novellas with (most of) the rest of her time.#

About the Book

They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose in her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and tapped 999.

When three-year-old Olivia disappears from the beach, a happy family holiday comes to an abrupt end. Maggie is plunged into the darkest nightmare imaginable – what happened to her little girl?

Further along the coast, another mother is having problems too. Jennifer’s daughter Hailey is starting school, and it should be such a happy time, but the child is increasingly moody and silent. Family life has never seemed so awkward, and Jennifer struggles to maintain control.

The tide ebbs and flows, and summer dies, but there is no comfort for Maggie, alone now at the cottage, or for Jennifer, still swamped by doubts.

Links

Amazon Author Page: viewAuthor.at/LindaHuber

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19

Website: http://lindahuber.net/

With thanks to Linda Huber for the excellent guest post and to Kelly at Love Books Group for organising it. Don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the tour!

 

**BLOG TOUR** Implant by Ray Clark

Implant - Ray Clark

I’m really happy to be the latest stop on the blog tour for Implant, the third book in the Gardener and Reilly crime series by Ray Clark. Today, I am able to share an extract from this grisly serial killer story, and one that definitely leaves me wanting to read more! Warning – the extract contains swearing!

The Blurb

Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.

Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence. Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?

The Extract

4.

3:30 a.m.

Alex Wilson still had no idea what was going on, or the length of time he’d been wherever he was. In fact, he had no idea how long he had been awake: it could have been minutes, it could have been hours.

It was still pitch black, but whatever thoughts he’d harboured about his possible non-existent carcass were disappearing as feeling had begun to return.

And fucking hell did it hurt!

His first sensation was the feeling of pins and needles overtaking his entire body, as if the circulation had been stopped and then started again. All his limbs had felt heavy, and he’d felt sick. Within minutes that had turned to pain, proper pain, and the level was increasing with each passing second.

But he still couldn’t move. Not fully anyway. He knew there was something hard against his back, and it felt like his arms were stretched out. The slight movement he was allowed seemed to create a gap between the hard surface and his limb. But that was as far as he could go. The same could be said for his legs, a little movement and no more, as if his feet had been pinned, but by what he could not see because it was still too fucking dark!

Furthermore, something was stopping him opening his mouth. It wasn’t a gag, and it hadn’t been taped up, but he still couldn’t open it. He could only breathe through his nose.

What the hell was going on?

He’d managed to work out that he was vertical, because if he moved his head, it hung forward very easily and it preferred to stay there. Returning it took an effort, and it wouldn’t have done if he’d been lying down.

Had Lance Hobson given him something? Was he under the influence of some new and untested hallucinogenic drug that only Hobson knew about? Was he a guinea pig?

If it was a new kind of drug they were going to knock out, they had better do something with it. People wouldn’t come back for any more if they suffered symptoms like these.

Hobson was a dangerous bastard, a very rich, dangerous bastard who had everything simply because he had everyone else do his dirty work. Wasn’t that the way with the people at the top of the drug chain? They never sullied their own hands.

Alex went into a spasm as his whole carcass was wracked with a pain equivalent to nothing he’d ever felt before. It filled his entire body from head to foot, as if someone had pulled his fucking nerves through his skin and plugged them into the mains.

Alex twisted and writhed and still could not break free of whatever held him in position.

As his body calmed, he could feel himself bathed in sweat. He was shaking, and although the pain had subsided, his hands and feet continued to throb incessantly.

And then he heard something that momentarily distracted his thoughts.

Footsteps from above.

5.

3:40 a.m.

After telling Richard Jones to stay outside and keep an eye open for his colleagues, Gary stepped inside the shop.

Armitage’s hardware store was a shrine to the past. Moving from the doorway into the main area was like walking through a tunnel. Display boards on either side were crammed full with Hoover bags and belts and other accessories. In front of him was a stand with gardening products and implements, ranging from plant food and compost, to small trowels and forks.

He moved forward slowly, peering into the dark shop. From his vantage point, he could not see anything untoward. He listened carefully for any movement. There was nothing.

He glanced to his right and saw the counter in front of the back wall of the room. On the extreme left side, near a window – looking out onto what he presumed would be a back yard – was a lift-up hatch, which was down at the moment. Behind the counter he saw a cabinet with hundreds of drawers with brass handles on them. God only knew what they contained.

The store probably hadn’t changed in years, and seemed to stock everything anyone would need: tools, paint, varnish, wood, and tiles. If you could name it, old Armitage had it.

A range of smells pervaded the building, comfortable aromas that DIY enthusiasts would soak up every time they entered. The fragrance of pine was the strongest, and beneath the frame holding the lumber, the excess shavings supported the fact. He could smell polish, and linseed oil.

The ceiling had beams with old-fashioned arc lighting and copper shades, none of which were lit, and couldn’t possibly be helping the environment when they were. But he doubted old Armitage would believe that.

The only illumination Gary could see was a floor lamp. It resembled an ancient, upright mantle, around six feet tall and gun metal grey in colour; the type used in London streets in the early nineteenth century that ran on gas and had to be manually lit.

In his opinion, the lamp had been placed there deliberately, and had probably come from Armitage’s stock.

He gazed back around the interior to see if he could confirm that. A sudden movement caused Gary to jump, which in turn made him lose his balance. From there he crashed backwards into a stand with dustpans and mops and buckets and other cleaning materials. The sound seemed louder than anything he had ever heard in his life, one that could have woken half of Bramfield.

Mops, brushes, and buckets fell to the floor all around him, along with brand-named containers like Flash and CIF Cleaner. As he was about to move, one struck the corner of his eye. He lost his temper and yelled an obscenity.

“Are you okay in there?” shouted Richard Jones from the shop doorway.

Gary allowed the dust to settle before he quickly found his feet, desperate to keep the man from entering.

“I’m fine, but don’t come in. It could be a crime scene.”

“You don’t have to worry about me, son. I know about this kind of stuff, I’ve watched them all. Morse, Frost, The Bill…”

Doubt you’ve learned much, then, thought Gary.

As he glanced around he realized what had caused him to react like a tit:  the appearance of his own reflection in a mirror.

Disgusted with himself, he straightened his uniform and ran his hands up and down his body, clearing the wood shavings from his clothes.

Gary jumped again at the sound of a phone receiving a text message. He reached into his inside pocket, only to discover it hadn’t been his.

So whose was it?

He moved toward the counter. Under the light was a retro mobile with the screen lit up. Gary recognized the phone as a Nokia 101, only because he’d bought one from a car boot sale earlier in the year. He didn’t have to touch the phone to be able to read the message.

“The station at Bursley Bridge holds the key to a terrifying secret.”

He grabbed his police radio and contacted Cragg.

Ray Clark Author ImageAbout the Author

The British Fantasy Society published Ray Clark’s first work in 1995 – Manitou Man: The World of Graham Masterton, was nominated for both the World and British Fantasy Awards. In 2009, Ray’s short story, Promises To Keep, made the final shortlist for the best short story award from The Tom Howard Foundation. Ray is based in Goole, and has set his Gardener and Reilly crime series in nearby Leeds.

Social Media links:

Website: http://www.thelordofmisrule.net/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/T1LOM

With thanks to Urbane Publications and to Kelly Lacey from Love Books Group for organising the blog tour. Take a look at the rest of the tour:

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Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Georgina (or Geo as she is known) seems to have it all with her high-powered job and wealthy fiance. It all comes crashing down, though, when the body of her high school friend is discovered over a decade after she went missing. Geo’s then boyfriend, Calvin, is found guilty of her murder and Geo is also sentenced for her part in covering it up. Calvin is also convicted of the killings of several others and has now has the moniker Sweetbay Strangler. 

Now, five years later, and Geo is about to be released from prison. She knows that it is going to be hard to readjust to the outside world, but she wasn’t bargaining in having to protect herself from her ex who has escaped from prison. When other bodies are discovered bearing the hallmarks of the Sweetbay Strangler, Geo knows that her own life may be in danger. Are the bodies a message to her and is she going to be the next victim?

Books that grab me from the very first page are few and far between but this was exactly what Jar of Hearts did. We are introduced to Geo, who despite the crime she has been accused of, seems to be an ordinary woman who, for some reason, has helped to conceal the murder of her best friend. We then follow her to prison, and here we witness the first of several disturbing scenes in the book. My heart really went out to Geo as I was sickened by what she had to endure.

The book jumps about in time as we discover what really happened to Angela Wong, Geo’s best friend. Sometimes, this can become a bit confusing but I didn’t find this here. If anything, it helped to build up the suspense in several of  the plot lines: Why did Angela get killed? Where is Calvin? Is Geo the next victim? I found that, as I reached the end of each chapter, I needed to read the next one, then the next one, then the next one…

I love a book where, all of a sudden, you have a ‘lightbulb’ moment when all becomes clear. This definitely happened here, making me actually declare my discovery out loud! Despite this, I did not anticipate what was going to happen at the end – a great twist I did not see coming.

Jar of Hearts is a well-written, twisty thriller that I could not put down. This is the first of Jennifer Hillier’s books that I have read but it will definitely not be the last!

With thanks to Corvus and Readers First for my ARC.

**BLOG TOUR** Tubing by K A McKeagney

unnamed (1)I’m pleased to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Tubing, the new book from K A McKeagney.

When Polly is seduced by a man on the London Tube, little does she know that this encounter will lead her into the murky world of ‘tubing’ where elicit meetings on the London Underground take place between strangers. Thinking that she can keep her new pastime separate from the rest of her life, things take a sudden turn when she spots the man with a young, pretty blonde. Filled with jealousy, she watches them. Something isn’t right, however, and soon Polly realises how dangerous this phenomenon is. Can she get out before it’s too late or is she already in over her head?

Before I go any further, I am going to write a warning – if you are offended by sexual content, then this book, which I suppose would be categorised as ‘erotic thriller’, is probably not for you. Indeed, for the first half of the book, I was left wondering if I had been misled by the genre as Polly, the lead character, explores the world of ‘tubing’.

At the start of the story, I had some sympathy for Polly who is suffering from a long term eating disorder and is clearly troubled. Having to deal with her mother’s ‘illness’ is also taking its toll although she does appear to have a stable life both at work and with her boyfriend. After the fateful tube ride, however, things changed and I began to despair of her actions as she realised that what she was doing was stupid. After her second tubing encounter, I was almost screaming at her to get out only for her to get drawn in even deeper.

About halfway through the book, the tone changed into something much darker and it finally hits home to Polly just what a dangerous world she is part of. As her paranoia kicks in (with legitimate reason, I might add), her actions become more and more erratic and I began to wonder whether she was going to make it to the end of the book. I was happy with the ending although, in the real world, the story would not conclude here due to her known association with Sebastian.

Tubing  is a quick, easy read that I enjoyed although any future journeys I make on the London Underground will now take on an entirely different meaning!

With thanks to Red Door Publishing for my ARC.

Take a look at the rest of the tour:

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