2018 Watchlist: If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch 


About the book:

HOW DO YOU SOLVE YOUR OWN MURDER? Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen. But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger. As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go. 

My thoughts:

I know I said I’m taking a break, and I am. But I couldn’t wait to get my thoughts out on If I Die Before I Wake. 

IIDBIW is billed as a psychological mystery, and it is, but it is so much more too. 

When we meet Alex, he’s lying in a hospital bed, with all those around him believing he’s in a coma. Yet he can still hear, and feel, and think for himself. He just can’t move. He is trapped in his own body. 

We see everything from Alex’s perspective, and along with him, we learn that his climbing accident may have been something more sinister. As his visitors come and go, we all learn a little bit more about them all and how they fit into Alex’s life before the fall.

If I Die Before I Wake is a very clever novel. I loved the fact that the main character was male, as it’s not the usual thing in the psychological thriller genre lately. The narrative is brilliantly told, and with each new piece of information gleaned, the tension rises.

I found myself unable to put the book down. So much so that I read almost all of it in one day. Today, in fact. The characterisation is excellent. We learn a little about everyone. Family members, friends, their various experiences. All of this lends itself really well to how I felt about Alex. I was rooting for him from the very beginning. Willing him to move, to talk, to do anything.

I loved how the author built tension throughout the book. More than once I had to remind myself to relax. I was getting so caught up in the story that my body was rigid! It also makes the reader feel a range of emotions for all of those involved too. 

Compulsive, engaging and thoroughly gripping, If I Die Before I Wake is most certainly a book to watch out for in 2018. I can’t wait to see where this author goes next!

Highly recommended!

~Blog Tour Ellen’s Review~ The Kindred Killers by Graham Smith @GrahamSmith1972 @Bloodhoundbook

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s turn to take part in the blog tour for The Kindred Killers, and I’ll be sharing her review with you in a bit, but here’s the all-important bookish information first!

The Kindred Killers FINAL correct .jpg

About the book:

Jake Boulder’s help is requested by his best friend, Alfonse, when his cousin is crucified and burned alive along with his wife and children. As Boulder tries to track the heinous killer, a young woman is abducted. Soon her body is discovered and Boulder realises both murders have something unusual in common.

With virtually no leads for Boulder to follow, he strives to find a way to get a clue as to the killer’s identity. But is he hunting for one killer or more?

After a young couple are snatched in the middle of the night the case takes a brutal turn. When the FBI are invited to help with the case, Boulder finds himself warned off the investigation. When gruesome, and incendiary, footage from a mobile phone is sent to all the major US News outlets and the pressure to find those responsible for the crimes mounts. But with the authorities against him can Boulder catch the killer before it’s too late?

Get your copy HERE!

About the author:

A time served joiner Graham has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and now two books in the crime series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor/?fref=ts

https://www.grahamsmithauthor.com/

https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972?lang=en-gb

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491159376&sr=8-1

Ellen’s Review:

Watching the Bodies was one of my top reads of 2017 so I jumped at the chance to review the next in this new series from Graham Smith! It was fantastic to get reacquainted with Jake Boulder and his particular brand of law enforcement.

Jake is really pushed to the limits this time when he is involved in a spate of what appear to be hate crimes in his hometown. The first of these are close to home as the victims are relatives of Alfonse; Jake’s friend and sometime business partner. Now I’m a pretty hard-core reader when it comes to gruesome deaths and torture but even my stomach of steel rolled at some of the murder methods described. It was a difficult read in places but only highlighted what is sadly occurring in the world right now to some extent and I think we all need a dose of reality with our fiction to keep it current.

 

In The Kindred Killers we get a little more understanding of how Jake is made up thanks to his psychologist Dr Edwards; I loved their relationship and how Dr Edwards traded his insight on the case with Jake in return for answers on his personal issues. It was also nice to see Jake finally (possibly,maybe!?) settling down with someone, much to the chagrin of book bloggers around the world who hold him dear as their fictional love interest!

 

Although this is the second in the series it could be read as a standalone but why deny yourself the joy of Jake!? Five shiny stars from me and I look forward to the next!

Make sure to catch up with the blog tour:

BLOG TOUR (3)

An extract from The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Hi everyone,

Today is publication day for Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Scarred Woman and I’m delighted to be able to share an excerpt with you all. First though, here’s the all-important bookish information!

About the book:

 

Scarred Woman_jacket.jpg

The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Causes delivers his most captivating and suspenseful Department Q novel yet—perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson. 
 
Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold cases division, meets his toughest challenge yet when the dark, troubled past of one of his own team members collides with a sinister unsolved murder.

In a Copenhagen park the body of an elderly woman is discovered. The case bears a striking resemblance to another unsolved homicide investigation from over a decade ago, but the connection between the two victims confounds the police. Across town a group of young women are being hunted. The attacks seem random, but could these brutal acts of violence be related? Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q is charged with solving the mystery.
 
Back at headquarters, Carl and his team are under pressure to deliver results: failure to meet his superiors’ expectations will mean the end of Department Q. Solving the case, however, is not their only concern. After an earlier breakdown, their colleague Rose is still struggling to deal with the reemergence of her past—a past in which a terrible crime may have been committed. It is up to Carl, Assad, and Gordon to uncover the dark and violent truth at the heart of Rose’s childhood before it is too late.

You can grab your copy by clicking HERE!

About the author:

JAO.jpg

Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark’s #1 crime writer and a New York Times bestselling author. His books, including the Department Q series, routinely top the bestseller lists in Europe and have sold more than fifteen million copies around the world. His many prestigious Nordic crime-writing awards include the Glass Key Award, also won by Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson, and Peter Høeg.

 

Excerpt:

1
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

As always, her face bore traces of the night before. Her skin was dry,
and the dark circles under her eyes were more pronounced than they’d
been when she went to bed.
Denise sneered at her reflection in the mirror. She had now spent
an hour on damage control, but it was never good enough.
“You look and smell like a hooker,” she said, mimicking her grandmother’s
voice as she applied her eyeliner one more time.
In the studio apartments around her, the noise signaled that the
other tenants were waking up and that it would soon be evening
again. It was a well-known cacophony of sounds: the chinking of bottles,
the knocking on doors to bum cigarettes, and the constant traffic
to and from the run- down toilet with shower that the contract described
as exclusive.
The small society of Danish outcasts from one of the darker streets
of Frederiksstaden was now set in motion for yet another evening
with no real purpose.
After turning around a few times, she stepped toward the mirror
to inspect her face close-up.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” She
laughed with an indulgent smile as she caressed her reflection with her
fingertips. She puckered her lips, let her fingers slide up her hips, over
her breasts, up to her neck, and into her hair. She picked some fluff
from her angora blouse and dabbed a little foundation on a couple of
insufficiently covered blemishes on her face before stepping back with
satisfaction. Her plucked and painted eyebrows, together with
NeuLash- enhanced eyelashes, added to her overall appearance. The
makeup, paired with the glow of her irises, gave her a more intense
look, adding with ease an extra element of aloofness.
In other words, she was ready to take on the world.
“I’m Denise,” she practiced saying, tensing her throat. It was as
deep as her voice could be.
“Denise,” she whispered, slowly parting her lips and letting her
chin drop toward her chest. The result was fantastic when she adopted
this attitude. Some might interpret her look as submissive, but it was
exactly the opposite. Wasn’t it precisely at this angle that the
hotspots—a woman’s eyelashes and pupils—best caught the attention
of those around her?
Totally in control. She nodded, screwing the lid of her face cream
back on and piling her arsenal of cosmetics back in the bathroom
cabinet.
After a quick look around the small room she realized that hours
of hard work lay ahead of her: clearing away the laundry, making the
bed, washing all the glasses, taking out the trash, and sorting all the
bottles.
Fuck it, she thought, grabbing the duvet and shaking it and plumping
the pillow, convincing herself that when one of her sugar daddies
had made it this far, he wouldn’t give a damn about the rest.
She sat on the edge of the bed and checked that her handbag had
all the essentials she would need.
She nodded with satisfaction. She was ready to take on the world
and all its desires.
An unwelcome sound made her turn to face the door. Click, clack,
click, clack, came the limping, loathsome sound.
You’re far too early, Mother, she thought as the door outside between
the stairs and the corridor was pushed open.
It was almost eight o’clock, so why was she coming now? It was
way past her dinnertime.
She counted the seconds, already feeling irritated as she got up
from the bed, when the knock came at the door.
“Honey!” she heard her mother shouting from the other side.
“Won’t you open the door?” Denise took deep breaths, remaining silent.
If she didn’t answer, her mother would surely just go.
“Denise, I know you’re in there. Open up just for a moment. I have
something important to tell you.”
Denise sighed. “And why should I do that? I don’t suppose you
brought any dinner up with you?” she shouted.
“Not today, no. Oh, won’t you come downstairs to eat, Denise? Just
for today. Your grandmother is here!”
Denise rolled her eyes. So her grandmother was downstairs. The
mere thought was enough to make her heart race and cause her to
break out in a sweat.
“Grandmother can kiss my ass. I hate that bitch.”
“Oh, Denise, you mustn’t talk like that. Won’t you just let me in for
a moment? I really must speak with you.”
“Not now. Just leave the dinner in front of the door, as usual.”
Apart from the man with the flabby skin who lived a few doors down
the corridor, who had already downed his first beer of the day and
was now sobbing in despair over his miserable existence, it was suddenly
totally quiet out in the corridor. It wouldn’t surprise her if
everyone was pricking up their ears right at this moment, but what
did she care? They could just ignore her mother like she did.
Denise filtered out the sound of her mother’s pleas, concentrating
instead on the whining coming from the loser down the hall. All the
divorced men like him living in studio apartments were just so pathetic
and laughable. How could they believe the future might be
brighter given how they looked? They stank of unwashed clothes and
drank themselves into oblivion in their pitiful loneliness. How could
these cringeworthy idiots live with being so pathetic?
Denise snorted. How often had they stood in front of her door in
an effort to tempt her with their small talk and cheap wine from Aldi,
their eyes betraying hope of something else and more?

As if she would ever associate with men who lived in studio
apartments.
“She’s brought money with her for us, Denise,” her mother said
insistently.
Now she had Denise’s attention.
“You simply have to come down with me because if you don’t she
won’t give us anything for this month.”
There was a pause before she spoke again.
“And then we really won’t have anything, will we, Denise?” she
said severely.
“Can’t you shout a little louder so they can also hear you in the
next building?” Denise retorted.
“Denise!” Her mother’s voice was now quivering. “I’m warning
you. If your grandmother doesn’t give us that money, you’ll have to
go to the social services office because I haven’t paid your rent for this
month. Or maybe you thought I had?”
Denise took a deep breath, went over to the mirror, and put on her
lipstick one final time. Ten minutes with the woman and then she was
out of there. She had nothing but shit and confrontation coming her
way. The bitch wouldn’t leave her in peace for a second. She would
just come with demand after demand. And if there was something
Denise couldn’t deal with, it was all the demands people put on her. It
simply drained all the life and energy out of her.
It depleted her.
Down on the first floor in her mother’s apartment there was a not unexpected
stench of tinned mock turtle soup. Once in a while it might
be cutlets only just past their sell-by date or rice pudding in sausageshaped
plastic packaging. There wasn’t exactly entrecôte on the menu
when her mother attempted to put out a spread, which the blemished
silver-plated candlesticks with spluttering candles emphasized.
In this flickering artificial ambience the vulture was already seated
at the center of the table, scowling and ready to attack. Denise was
almost knocked out from the stench of her cheap perfume and powder,
which no shop with any self-respect would demean itself to sell.
Now her grandmother parted her dry, red, blotchy lips. Maybe the
vulture was preparing to smile, but Denise was not so easily fooled.
She attempted to count to ten but this time made it to only three before
the woman’s verbal abuse began.
“Well! The little princess could finally find time to come down and
say hello.”
A dark and disapproving look came over the grandmother’s face
after a quick inspection of Denise’s seminude midriff.
“Already plastered with makeup and I don’t know what. No one
will miss you coming, because that really would be a catastrophe,
wouldn’t it, Dorrit?”
“Would you stop calling me that? It’s almost ten years since I
changed my name.”
“Since you ask so politely, yes, as it isn’t something one is accustomed
to from you. Then you think that name becomes you better, do
you . . . Denise? A little more French. It almost puts one in mind of
the suggestively dressed ladies of the night, so, yes, maybe it is more
fitting.” She looked her up and down. “Then congratulations with the
camouflage work, is all I can say. You’ve prepared yourself for the
hunt, I wouldn’t wonder.”
Denise noticed how her mother tried to calm the mood with a slight
touch of her hand on her grandmother’s arm, as if that had ever
worked. Even in that area her mother had always been weak.
“And what have you been up to, if one might inquire?” continued
her grandmother. “There was something about a new course, or was
it actually an internship?” She squinted. “Was it a job as a nail technician
you wanted to try this time? I almost can’t keep up with all the
excitement in your life, so you’ll have to help me. But wait, maybe
you’re not actually doing anything at the moment? Could that be it?”
Denise didn’t answer. She just tried to keep her lips sealed. Her
grandmother raised her eyebrows. “Oh yes, you’re much too precious
for work, aren’t you?”

Why did she bother asking when she had all the answers? Why was
she sitting there hiding behind her wiry grey hair in a mask of disgust?
It made you want to spit at her. What stopped her from doing it?
“Denise has decided to enroll in a course to learn how to coach
people,” interjected her mother bravely.
The metamorphosis was enormous. Her grandmother’s mouth was
open, aghast; the wrinkles on her nose disappeared; and after a short
pause the change was accompanied by a laugh that came so deep from
within her rotten core that it made the hair on Denise’s neck stand
on end.
“Oh, that’s what she’s decided, is it? An interesting thought, Denise
coaching other people. Just in what, exactly, if I might inquire? Is it
actually possible to find anyone in this disturbed world who would
want to be coached by someone who can do absolutely nothing besides
dolling themselves up? In that case, the world must have come
to a complete standstill.”
“Mother—” Denise’s mother attempted to interrupt.
“Be quiet, Birgit. Let me finish.” She turned toward Denise. “I will
be direct. I don’t know anyone as lazy, talentless, or with so little sense
of reality as you, Denise. Shall we agree that you actually can’t do anything?
Isn’t it high time that you tried to get a job to fit your modest
talents?” She waited for an answer, but none was forthcoming. She
shook her head, leaving Denise in no doubt as to what was coming next.
“I have said it before and I have warned you, Denise. Maybe you
think it is acceptable to just lie on your back? It’s downright shocking.
You’re not as beautiful as you think, my dear, and certainly won’t be
in five years, I’m afraid.”
Denise inhaled deeply through her nose. Two more minutes and
she’d be out of here.
Now her grandmother turned to her mother with the same cold,
contemptuous expression. “You were the same, Birgit. Thought only of
yourself, never doing anything to get on in life. What would you have
done without your father and me? If we hadn’t paid for everything
while you squandered life away in your self-obsessed megalomania?”

“I have worked, Mother.” Her tone was pitiable. It was years since
her ammunition of protests hadn’t fallen on deaf ears.
It was now Denise’s turn again, as her grandmother turned her attention
back toward her, shaking her head.
“And as for you! You couldn’t even get a job folding clothes, if
that’s what you think.”
Denise turned around and disappeared into the kitchen with the
poison from her grandmother trailing behind her.
If it was possible to see what was inside her grandmother, the ingredients
could be laid out in equal measure of intense hatred, vengeance,
and unending images of how different she thought everything
had once been. Denise had heard the same fake nonsense over and
over, and it was irritatingly hurtful every time. About what a good
family she and her mother came from; about the golden years when
her grandfather had had his shoe shop in Rødovre and earned really
good money.
All a load of crap! Hadn’t the women in this family always stayed
at home and done their duty? Hadn’t they been supported solely by
their husbands, been meticulous about their appearance, and looked
after the home?
Hell yes!
“Mother! You mustn’t be too hard on her. She—”
“Denise is twenty- seven and is good for exactly nothing, Birgit.
Nothing!” shouted the witch. “How do you two propose to survive
when I’m not here anymore, can you answer me that? Don’t for one
second expect any significant inheritance from me. I have my own
needs.”
Something else they had heard a hundred times before. In a moment
she would attack Denise’s mother again. She would call her
shabby and a failure, before accusing her of passing on all her negative
qualities to her granddaughter.
Denise felt disgust and hatred right to the pit of her stomach. She
hated the shrill voice, attacks, and demands. Hated her mother for being
so weak and for not having been able to keep a man who could
look after them all. Hated her grandmother precisely because that was
what she had done.
Why wouldn’t she just lie down and die?
“I’m out of here,” said Denise coldly when she stepped back into
the dining room.
“Oh, are you, now? Well then, you won’t be having this.” Her
grandmother pulled a bundle of notes from her handbag and held it
in front of them. One-thousand-kroner notes.
“Come and sit down now, Denise,” her mother implored.
“Yes, come and sit down for a moment before you go out and sell
yourself,” came the next tirade from her grandmother. “Eat your
mother’s awful meal before you head out to find men to ply you with
booze. But be careful, Denise, because the way you are, you’ll never
find a decent man who’ll go for you! A cheap girl with fake hair and
hair color, fake breasts, fake jewelry, and bad skin. Don’t you think
they’ll see through you in a second, my dear? Or maybe you think a
decent man can’t tell the difference between elegance and your cheap
appearance? Maybe you don’t think that as soon as you open your
bloodred mouth that he’ll immediately discover that you know absolutely
nothing and have nothing to say? That you’re just a waste of
space?”
“You don’t know shit,” snapped Denise. Why wouldn’t she stop?

 

~Blog Tour Giveaway~ House of Spines by Michael J. Malone

Hi all,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for House of Spines by Michael J. Malone and I have a copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader of my blog 🙂


**********GIVEAWAY*********

 

To be in with a chance of winning House of Spines, all you have to do is LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST. It is that simple!!!

  • Winner will be chosen at random
  • Winner will be notified accordingly
  • Only comments on this post will be counted

About the book:

House of Spines front.jpeg

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman …

Published by Orenda Books, you can get your copy by clicking here!

About the author:

Michael Malone Photo.jpg

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.


**********GIVEAWAY*********

Don’t forget!!!

To be in with a chance of winning House of Spines, all you have to do is LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST. It is that simple!!!


Make sure to check out the fab blogs taking part on the tour!

House of Spines blog poster 2017

~Cover Reveal~ Seven Seconds by Lisa Compton

Hi all,

Today I’m sharing the cover for Seven Seconds by Lisa Compton, the second book to be published by Perpetuity Publising. First though, here’s the bookish information!

About the author:

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Lisa Compton knew she wanted to be a writer in the fourth grade when her teacher read one of her stories to the class. Lisa has spent more than two decades in healthcare. Away from the hospital, she spends most of her time writing about things that keep her up at night in the company of at least one cat. She lives in her adopted home of San Antonio, Texas with two of her three children.

About the book:

Seven Seconds by Lisa Compton marks the debut of a thrilling paranormal crime series.

Olivia Osborne, a forensic psychologist and former FBI agent, is blessed (or cursed depending on who you ask) with unique gifts. Olivia is able to sense what others cannot–the spiritual presence of those who have “crossed over,” as well as the living who are influenced, or some cases possessed, by evil. The passing of her beloved Gran was the catalyst Olivia Osborn needed to leave the FBI behind and return to her native San Antonio. But a familiar evil has followed her home. 

When a series of brutal murders rock her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, Olivia is pulled into the investigation despite her plans to leave that part of her life behind. What if she isn’t supposed to run? What if she was always supposed to stand and fight?

Seven Seconds will launch in December 2017 through all major retailers in eBook, paperback, and hard cover formats.

 

Are you guys ready to see the cover???

 

 

 

 

How about now??

 

 

 

 

 

Feast your eyes on this beauty!

 

 

 

Seven Seconds 4.1

 

 

Looks fantastic! I’ll definitely be checking this one out! 🙂

~Blog Tour~ There Was A Crooked Man by Cat Hogan #Review #Q&A

Hi all,

Today, I’ve got the lovely Cat Hogan answering some questions as part of the blog tour, and I’m also  going to be sharing my review!

 

The Crooked Man cover REVISE-1 (1) (1).jpg

About the book:

Scott makes enemies everywhere. Powerful people want him dead. He’s coming back to Ireland to finish what he started. But first, he must make it out of Marrakech alive.

Jen knows Scott will come back. Every day, she waits. He almost killed her last time and, fuelled by hate and arrogance, he’s not a man to ever just move on. He will kill her and he will kill her young son. But her husband and friends believe she has spiralled into paranoia.

So she knows, when he returns, she’ll face the psychopath alone.

Published by Poolbeg, There Was A Crooked Man is out now and you can grab your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:

CatHogan--3.jpg

Cat has worked for many years in the hospitality industry training hotel management. She earned a bachelors degree in business from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology as well as an honors degree in law from Carlow Institute of Technology. When she is not bringing her imaginary friends to life, she offers a freelance writing service to business start-ups.

You can follow Cat on Twitter at @Kittycathogan

My review:

Having read and enjoyed They All Fall Down earlier this year, I was thrilled to be asked to review There Was A Crooked Man as part of the blog tour. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it, but I was quickly hooked and ended up having it read in 24 hours!

TWACM (Yep, I’m doing that, because its a long title to keep typing, haha!) begins with a bang and the pace genuinely doesn’t let up for the rest of the book. Scott is most definitely back, and he is badder and more arsey than before, if that is even possible! The author has chosen to have chapters from Scott’s POV at the beginning and they make for tense reading. Going into the mind of a psychopath is no easy feat but these chapters are gripping.

Its a little way into TWACM before we meet the rest of the characters, but it is plain to see how the events of They All Fall Down have impacted their lives. I really like how the author tries to capture the various issues that Jen, her friends and family are all dealing with. There is more than enough drama going on within the pages to keep the reader more than a little intrigued.

TWACM is quite a different book to They All Fall Down. It is much darker, and much more of a departure for Cat Hogan than her debut. I think it was a risk worth taking though, because the reader gets a gripping and completely enthralling story with plenty of red herrings thrown around the place.

There Was A Crooked Man weaves a tangled narrative that leaves the reader questioning the characters and their motives. It is dark, compelling and thoroughly riveting.

Highly recommended!


 

If you were to cast your characters from They All Fall Down, who would you pick and why? (Add in pics if needed!)

 

 

When I was about 20 thousand words in to writing the first draft of They All Fall Down (in the spirit of dreaming big), I sat down one night to write the cast list for the Hollywood block-buster this (unwritten) book would clearly become. I’ve changed my mind a thousand times over – with one exception. Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Queer as Folk, Love/Hate, The Dark Knight Rises, The Wire) was the only choice for my anti-hero, Scott. As I continued with the novel, it was his face I saw as I wrote the scenes for my everyone-loves-to-hate-bad boy. His voice remained in my head as I wrote the sequel, ‘There Was A Crooked Man.’

Through a series of bizarre chance encounters, I finally got to meet Aidan. I told him the back story and he agreed to read the manuscript for book two- and if he liked it, he would give me a quote for the cover. He loved it – in particular Scott’s character and I now have a brilliant quote on the cover from the man himself! Next step is the screen play so watch this space 😊  

 

 

 

How has your year been since They All Fall Down was published?

 

Since then, I haven’t had a chance to draw breath! TAFD hit the shelves in July 2016- it quickly became an Irish Times best seller and a best seller on Amazon in the UK and in the US. We were delighted with the response the novel was getting and that’s when the fun started. I had started a stand alone novel- another dark tale of death, destruction and misery but the characters from the first novel wouldn’t leave me alone. Then the readers started- and the question on everyone’s lips was ‘When is the sequel?’ Scott had to come back and so too did the rest of the characters. I started writing the first draft of ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ in late September/ early October 2016 and the pressure was on. If this one didn’t work- I had just knocked myself back by about half a year. Luckily, it did work and the novel was launched this week!

It was a fast and interesting year and a very steep learning curve. You learn fast on your feet and now I feel as though I’m getting to grips will all the different facets of this busy industry. There has been loads of high lights over the last 12 months or so. I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you balance your writing life with a young family? Do you stick to a strict routine?

 

 

I am incredibly organised and structured. I always have been. I survive on very little sleep and I’m not one for procrastinating. If I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it- end of story. I like to be busy and I like to get shit done. ( #gsd) I take my professional life very seriously and I don’t waste a minute. That said, I’m fierce and protective of my time when it comes to my children too. Nothing interferes with that. Joey is in primary school and Arthur is in Montessori. I work in the morning when they are away, I spend my afternoons after school with the boys doing the mammy thing- homework, dinner, and all the lovely normal things and when they go to bed, I go back to work. I rarely work past midnight and I’ll either go to bed with a book or wind down with a movie. It works for me (for now!)  It is so important too, to have a bit of down time- coffee/drinks with friends and the odd duvet day.

 

 

 

 

What has been your proudest writing achievement so far?

 

 

They All Fall Down was nominated for The Annie McHale Debut Novel of the Year award, shortly after publication. It got really amazing reviews and all in all, it has been flying off the shelves. Already, ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ has been getting great reviews too- and of course, was endorsed by Aidan Gillen and Jackie Hayden. It’s a big deal to have their names associated with the novel. The biggest thing for me though, was at the two back to back launches last week. It was the look on my mother’s face and the faces of my close friends. They were about to burst with pride. They are all the people who have been in my life, through thick and thin, and seeing that look on their faces is more precious to me than all the tea in China. That’s the moment of magic for me and it will never get old.

 

 

 

What kind of research do you do for your books? Have you come across anything weird or crazy while researching?

 

Researching is one of my favourite parts of writing. I’m a bit of a nerd like that- I’ll start off researching one topic and the end up going down the rabbit hole of internet searches and YouTube. I often wonder how my contemporaries did it years ago, without the monstrosity that is Google at their fingertips. A lot of my research was done through Wexford Library too- with good old-fashioned books. A couple of people have asked me about when I was in Marrakech- a good portion of ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ is set there. I’ve never been. Good research and a wild imagination can take you anywhere.

The second novel touches on the sex-industry and human trafficking. That was difficult to research. When you are looking at the darker side of human nature, it’s hard to comprehend the depths of evil sometimes.

On a lighter note though, while researching They All Fall Down, I came across an interesting fact I had never heard before….

On November 1st, 1755, a series of tsunamis lasting more than seven hours tore at the south west coast of Ireland, “wrecking fishing boats around Kinsale” and “even damaging coastal buildings as far north as Galway Bay. In Kinsale Harbour between 3 and 4 pm, the water came over the quay with such violence as to throw many people down” – Now, I’ve just taken that from a piece online but there’s very little documented evidence about the actual events. I was told this story by a local and there’s a brief reference to it in the first book. If anyone would like to furnish me with more details- get in touch!!

 

 

 

If you had to choose a different career, what would you pick and why?

 

I trained and worked for many years in the Hospitality industry and it was a career I loved, but it’s difficult to have anything outside of that career because of the long, and very anti-social hours (and the mediocre pay). But, I loved it. I’m very much a people person, always have been.

In a voluntary capacity, I’m a trained Emergency Medical Technician with the Wexford Unit of The Order of Malta Ambulance Corps. I often thought about going on and training to be a full-time Paramedic. Maybe I’ll just write a novel about being one instead. That’s the beauty of story-telling, you can be whatever you want to be!

 

 

Whats the hardest scene you’ve had to write?

 

 

I think writing all the scenes from Scott’s perspective proved interesting. He’s male, he’s a psychopathic killer and he’s a real misogynist.  A few of the scenes made me a little bit uncomfortable while writing them- but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s fiction for me!

In They All Fall Down, there’s a scene where Jen’s little boy is in real danger. That was hard to write as I had to put myself in her shoes and imagine if it were me and my boy, Joey. I felt the same things she felt as I walked though that scene.

In There Was A Crooked Man, one of the characters shuffles off their mortal coil (no spoilers). I cried the whole way through writing the scene. There’s a piece of music associated with that character and I played it on loudspeaker the whole time. I was a wreck at the end of it!

 

 

 

What lessons have you learned as a writer?

 

I’ve learned many lessons in the last twelve months in particular, more about the industry I’m now in, rather than the creative side of my profession. I take what I do very seriously, but I don’t particularly take myself very seriously (in a positive way). And the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to stick with the people who bring the magic out of you, and not the madness.

I’m a dreamer as well as a grafter- I’ll always keep my eyes open for signs and my ears open for good advice. If people can’t cheer for me while I’m on this journey, they can shag off and go cheer for someone else.

Roald Dahl sums up my approach to life perfectly with this quote:

 

‘And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.’


 

Huge thanks to Cat for answering my questions, and for having me on the blog tour. Make sure to check out these other fab blogs taking part:

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~Blog Tour Ellen’s Review~ Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell 

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Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour and I’ll be sharing her review a little further down. Also, I have a HILARIOUS guest post from Caimh!

First though, here’s the all-important bookish information!

About the book:

For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.

It’s 1999 and his hard won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain in the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He’s set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbery gang in Irish history. So the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.

Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?

Angels in the Moonlight is a standalone prequel to Caimh McDonnell’s critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit, and it is complicated.

Click the links below to get your copy:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

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Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and ‘the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces was released in 2016 and it is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The follow-up, The Day That Never Come was published in 2017. Both books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh’s home town of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh

Facebook:  @CaimhMcD

 

Ellen’s Review:

My name is Ellen and I love Bunny McGarry. There I said it. There should probably be some kind of support group for #Bunnylovers – hang on that doesn’t quite sound right but you know what I mean! Having been firmly ensconced into my heart after reading A Man With One of Those Faces and The Day That Never Comes it was a delight to get to know young Bunny and his particular brand of policing.
As always with Caimh’s book there is the perfect mix of crime and humour and I still can’t get over how successful this is. One minute we have a hard as nails local thug commandeering armed robberies and the next a flying sheep. It never gets ridiculous, it works. Every. Single.Time. So yeah; it’s a gritty crime story but it has a hilarious undercurrent and a heart of gold. Did I mention I love Bunny McGarry?

In this prequel we are introduced to a love interest for Bunny (erm….back off love) in the Southern beauty shape of Simone, a gorgeous jazz singer who is very secretive about her reasons for being in Dublin. Reasons which can only spell trouble for Bunny. Simone lives with a bunch of nuns (The Sisters of the Saint) who are in a league of their own. Including such delights as Sister Bernadette’s homemade mace, Sister Assumpta’s stripping antics and sleepy Sister Margaret. The nuns are part of the colourful cast of characters that we always find in this series. I have had a favourite one in every book and for this one I pick Magpie Mary, a tiara wearing homeless old lady. It was great to get a sneaky peek of Paul Mulchrone too and the hurling scenes had me rolling with laughter.

 

So you must have guessed by now that I REALLY enjoyed this book, it gets #allthestars and once again Mr McDonnell has left me gagging for more!

Previous reviews:

A Man With One Of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

The Day That Never Comes by Caimh McDonell Review


Telephonic Spree

 

I read an article recently where an author went through a list of morning routines she had in order to inspire her creativity; I’ll be honest, I was dead jealous. I’m really not a morning person at the best of times and frankly, I invariably don’t end up doing much writing until about midday, which means I’m wasting quite a bit of time faffing about. As a ‘creative professional’ you’re always trying to find a way of getting into that blessed ‘flow’ state as quickly as possible, and then staying there for as long as possible. You know the one I mean, everyone has experienced it regardless of what they do – where you’re brimful of ideas and any problems you encounter are laughably easy to fix. It feels like your brain is firing on all cylinders. You’re like Bradley Cooper in that film Limitless; you are to all intents and purposes a superhero/God/Stephen Fry.

 

I have tried meditation but  I honestly just sit there going ‘so, this is meditation?’.  A morning walk, caffeine, listening to the right music, reading a few motivational quotes – I’ve tried them all. I’ve had some glimmers of success but nothing consistent. In fact, do you know the only activity I’ve found that gets my mind immediately in the zone? My version of the little blue pill that makes Bradley Cooper into a tornado of genius? Telephone rope-a-dope!

 

I shall explain; my wife and I have a landline in our flat because, as we all know, you have to have one to get broadband. The only use the landline gets is when we use it to ring a mobile that has gone into hiding. Nobody has ever been given our landline number and we’ve had ourselves removed from all registers to stop us getting sales calls. Yet, we still get calls most days  – we just get those calls. You know the ones – scammers who have got your number from somewhere and who are looking for easily scared and vulnerable people to take advantage of. Most people see these as a nuisance, I don’t. It is very, very rare in this world to have someone on the other end of the phone who you know is a nasty piece of work, an utter waste of space. My advice is, don’t get mad, get creative!

 

I literally skip to the phone now when it rings, my head instantly a maelstrom of ideas. The purpose of the subsequent conversation is seeing how much time of the scammer’s time I can waste and how creative I can be. I have answered as Jorgen the Swedish ski instructor, Tourettes Terry, Barry on a rollercoaster (I pretended to be on a rollercoaster), Confused Colin who kept opening an actual window as opposed to one on the PC, and my personal favourite, Narcoleptic Niall (I explained the situation to the very understanding scammer who then shouted ‘wake up Niall’ seven times in the conversation when I kept falling asleep).

 

Normally the scammer is a ‘BT Engineer’ or ‘from X bank’. Once though, I did get a phone call from ‘the government’ informing me that I had been given a grant of ten thousand pounds for reasons that never became clear. In case you’re wondering, I explained how I was going to use the money on fake boobs – for me (three pairs), the cat, the dog and on the front of the house. The beauty of this is that, although the person on the other end thinks you’re insane, that was also one of the options they were hoping for, someone crazy enough to give a stranger bank details or download a dodgy bit of software. I’m really hoping ‘the government’ rings back as I have a lot more ideas on what I can spend the money on. I want to launch the first manned privately funded space mission to the sun!

There are also numerous musical options – for example, I tried to see how long I could go for only speaking in U2 lyrics. That is dead tricky by the way, he hung when I told him I couldn’t live with or without him – men really are bastards! I’ve also used it as an opportunity to stretch my own musical wings though, I do enjoy putting the scammer ‘on hold’ and then providing the hold music myself. I’ve done show tunes, freeform jazz, a brief and regrettable foray into gangster rap  – the point there is that there are no wrong choices in telephonic improv.

 

So, when they hang up, as they always do – I’m left creatively inspired and feeling morally fulfilled as I’ve made my day start with a bang and I’ve hopefully made a terrible human being more fully aware of the contempt they are held in by the rest of society.


 

Huge thanks to Elaine Ofori and Caimh McDonnell for having Ellen on the tour! 🙂

Make sure to check out these great blogs too:

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