Blog Tour Guest Post: Our House by Louise Candlish

Hi everyone,

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Our House by Louise Candlish. I’ll be sharing a guest post with you all further down, but first, its time for the all-important bookish information!

About the author:

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Louise Candlish is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF THE FRASERS (2015) and THE SWIMMING POOL (2016). Her new thriller OUR HOUSE is published in the UK in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster.

Though her stories are about people facing dark dilemmas, Louise tries to get through the day without too much drama of her own. She lives in South London with her husband and daughter and is very attached to her dog Maggie and cat Tilly.

Follow her on Twitter at @louise_candlish or find out more at louisecandlish.com or facebook.com/LouiseCandlishAuthor.

About the book:

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FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

TILL DEATH US DO PART.

Our House by Louise Candlish

Over to Louise…

 

Top 5 properties in literature

 

Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Thornfield Hall is, of course, one of the classic houses of English literature, part of an august group that can be considered characters in their own right. A roll call of great mansions have followed, many with hauntings of one variety or another, but at Thornfield the hidden secret in all the more shocking for taking real bodily form. Jane’s own bond with Thornfield is powerful – ‘I grieve to leave’, she tells us – and we’ve all felt that sense of deep loss when we’ve left a place where we’ve been content.

 

Dr Jekyll’s house, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

In most crime and thriller novels, the monster behind closed doors is metaphorical: a shameful secret, a sense of jeopardy, an atmosphere of evil. Not so in Dr Jekyll’s Victorian London house. Though it ‘wore a great air of wealth and comfort’, there is attached to it sordid and rundown quarters where Jekyll’s murderous alter ego resides. Over 130 years later, readers are well advised to be on guard when encountering a desirable-sounding residence in their fiction: a respectable-looking house does not necessarily contain respectable people.

 

Manderley in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A quick Twitter straw poll before writing this confirmed Manderley to be the best-loved house in fiction (closely followed by Pemberley). A symmetrical edifice of grey stone, set in a natural paradise of woodland and coast, it is ‘secretive and silent’, the ultimate haunted house. It possesses the reader from the first line – the most famous of all first lines – and is all the more precious for being gone: ‘Manderley is no more’.

 

Malory Towers in the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton

The first books I remember loving were the Enid Blyton boarding school series Malory Towers and St Clare’s. It’s Malory Towers that comes with a memorable sense of place: a great castle on a Cornish clifftop, its architecture likely inspired by Lulworth Castle in Dorset. And who can forget the swimming pool cut from the rocks, where poor friendless Gwendoline Mary almost drowns?

 

51 Pepys Road in Capital by John Lanchester

Adorned with all the status symbols of the noughties’ affluent classes, including a sleek German kitchen and a Damien Hirst Spot painting, the Younts’ Clapham house has already had £650,000 lavished on ‘work’. When we first go inside 51 Pepys Road, Arabella Yount is putting up shelves in the store cupboard ‘she liked to call her pantry’ (the rustic pretensions of the urban middle class!) while plotting to give her husband a nasty shock. He’s not the only one to get what’s coming to him in this superb satire.

 Many thanks to Louise Candlish for this great post, and to Jess Barratt for letting me take part 😊

 

Make sure to check out the blog tour:

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Blog Tour: A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Alice Blanchard’s A Breath After Drowning and I’ll be sharing my review with you all further down the post!

About the author:

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Alice Blanchard won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction for her book of short stories, “The Stuntman’s Daughter.” Her first novel, “Darkness Peering,” was a New York Times’ Notable Book and a Barnes & Noble Best Mystery. Her thriller, “The Breathtaker,” was an official selection of the NBC Today Book Club. Alice has received a PEN Award, a New Letters Literary Award, and a Centrum Artists-in-Residence Fellowship. Her books have been published in 16 countries. Her new psychological thriller, “A Breath After Drowning,” will be published by Titan Books in April 2018.

About the book:

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Sixteen years ago, Kate Wolfe’s young sister Savannah was brutally murdered. Forced to live with the guilt of how her own selfishness put Savannah in harm’s way, Kate was at least comforted by the knowledge that the man responsible was behind bars. But when she meets a retired detective who is certain that Kate’s sister was only one of many victims of a serial killer, Kate must face the possibility that Savannah’s murderer walks free.
Unearthing disturbing family secrets in her search for the truth, Kate becomes sure that she has discovered the depraved mind responsible for so much death. But as she hunts for a killer, a killer is hunting her…

Out now, you can get your copy by clicking HERE!

My thoughts:

A Breath After Drowning is one of those books that gets its hooks into you quite early on, but you don’t realize it until you try to put it down. I found myself thinking about the story and the characters when I wasn’t reading it, which is always a sign of a good book for me.

Character-driven for the first while, the author does a great job of getting the reader invested in Kate’s life and her work. We learn her routine, her issues arising from her sister’s death and how she deals with her job as a psychologist on a daily basis. This all builds a foundation for how dark the book gets.

This is a really gripping book, I loved how the author wove past and present events, and how it all played out between the pages. I won’t lie, I had some suspicions along the way, but this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Guessing something isn’t the same as seeing how creatively the author will bring you towards the ultimate denouement, and Alice Blanchard does this beautifully.

Engaging, clever and more than a little dark in places, A Breath After Drowning is a most excellent psychological thriller.

Highly recommended!

Check out the tour:

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Blog Tour: My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland

My ittle eye

About the book:

Can a group of true crime addicts take on the police to catch a serial killer?

A young woman is found dead in her bedroom surrounded by rose petals – the latest victim of ‘The Lover’. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out.

As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in to their own hands – to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group.

As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they’re being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim – Clementine – firmly in his sights.

My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland

About the author:

 

Stephanie Marland has worked in the University sector for over ten years and published research on how people interact and learn together in virtual environments online. She’s an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and an avid reader of all things crime fiction, blogging about books at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com. Steph also writes the Lori Anderson action thriller series (as Steph Broadribb) for Orenda Books.

My thoughts:

When the body of a young woman is found surrounded by rose petals in her room, DI Dominic Bell is tasked with finding the culprit, nicknamed “The Lover” due to their creation of a romantic scene around the victim.

Parallel to this, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime club, and they are convinced they can find The Lover and bring them to justice before the police. Angry at the ineptitude of the investigation, the online group become information vigilantes, infiltrating scenes to see what information they can glean.

Both Starke and Bell make progress on their respective investigations, but neither of them seem to realise they have attracted the attention of the killer. These actions unwittingly put them at the forefront of the action, and could have devastating implications for all involved.

My Little Eye is a really good crime thriller. It will satisfy the appetite of armchair sleuths and crime aficionados alike, as it places the reader in the middle of everything. The pace, action and plot are gripping, and I enjoyed the ride.

Recommended for sure!

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Blog Tour: Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley and I have a great post from Mary-Jane for you all further down. First though, the all-important bookish information!

About the author:

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Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Mary-Jane has three grown-up children and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two golden retrievers.

DARK WATERS is her third crime thriller featuring investigative journalist, Alex Devlin.

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

Twitter: @mrsmjriley

Instagram: maryjanerileyauthor

 

About the book:

Cover Dark Waters

Secrets lie beneath the surface…

Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.

Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.

But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger.

Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

And now, over to Mary-Jane…

I can’t believe DARK WATERS is my third book and that it’s been three years since my agent called me to say that Killer Reads/Harper Collins had offered me a contract for my first book, THE BAD THINGS (now I’ve just got to think of a  way of squeezing the name of my second book, AFTER SHE FELL, into that sentence…). Writers often talk about the long and winding road to publication – the difficulties, the rejections, the blood, sweat and tears, and all that is true (except for those who strike it lucky first go … grrr), but do you know what? What? I hear you cry (I hope). I have learned even more over these last three years that I would like to share with you….

  1. Trust your instinct.

I wrote a book to send to agents. I wrote a prologue for said book, then I read a lot of stuff about how agents/publishers/uncle Tom Cobbley and all didn’t like prologues. I took the prologue out. The lovely person who was to become my agent asked for some revisions on the manuscript, then said ‘I think you need a prologue”. Reader, the prologue went back in.

An extreme example of not following my instinct came some time after the prologue incident. I wanted to get my book to my agent (a different one). My instinct was telling me, nay screaming at me, that I should read the whole thing again because the book wasn’t ready, wasn’t polished enough. I knew it in my gut. But what did I do? I sent it. It was returned with a very stiff admonishment and a long bruising phone call. I polished that book.

 

2.

Don’t fret about other people’s deals/success/prizes.

Therein lies madness and the waste of several hours on social media and Amazon stalking the author and wondering why your book isn’t racing up the charts/in the Sunday Times/the subject of a bidding war (actually, a little boast here: my first book was the subject of a bidding war in Germany and it was very exciting!). You have to remember that people put their best faces on Facebook, and the best bits of their writing lives on Twitter. No-one talks about falling sales or publishing deals falling through in a public space… if they do, point me at ‘em! No, the best thing to do is put your head down and write your book and make it the very best you can. Ignore the success stories, they really are few and far between.

 

3.

Turn off the WiFi

This advice is everywhere, but it does bear repeating. Social Media is a total time-suck. If I leave the wifi on, I find that I look at social media every two minutes when I’m writing a difficult scene or I don’t know where I’m going next. As if watching a BGT performer from Romania will help! Turn it off, keep it off. Of course, it’s a bit difficult when you need to do some research – I do mine as I go along – because it has to go back on. And then it’s just a little look at a couple of cute cat/dog/baby videos….

 

4.

I can call myself an author

 

Yes, I can! Three books in and it starts to feel as though I’m not the biggest imposter in the world. Possibly.

 

5.

Celebrate!

Every. Step. Of. The. Way. (I usually hate seeing separate words punctuated by full stops, but it seems appropriate in this case). This was my agent’s very good advice. It’s a huge thing, writing a book. When you finish, celebrate. When you get an agent, celebrate. A publisher? Celebrate. Self-published? Celebrate. Finished editing? Celebrate. You get my drift?

 

6.

The support of readers and bloggers

Invaluable. I didn’t realise how many people would see my books, would read my books, and it has been so exciting. It is always fabulous to get reviews (as long as they are nice, thank you very much). It was lovely after the first book was published to get messages from people I had worked with saying how great it was to read my books (especially as I had plundered their names for characters) and friends I hadn’t seen for many years got in touch to say they were buying my books (whether they read them is another matter, but they have bought all my books so far).

And as for book bloggers, your enthusiasm and hard work is amazing and I can’t thank you enough. You treat each book you review/read/host on a tour as though it was the only book in the world at that moment. I don’t know where you get your time and energy from, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 


 

Huge thanks to Mary-Jane for such an insightful post, and I wish you all the best with Dark Waters 🙂

Check out the other fab blogs taking part in the tour:

Blog Tour - Dark Waters

Blog Tour Review ~ Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

Morning all,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield and I get to share my review with you!

About the author:

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James Stansfield grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and now lives in Cardiff with his wife and daughter.  He began his writing career contributing features and television reviews to the website Den of Geek, covering shows such as The Killing, Banshee and Archer.

His action thriller debut, Anaconda Vice, will be published in February 2018.

About the book:

anacondaviceKINDLE

When Lucas Winter, a retired professional wrestler, runs out of gas on a dark and desolate road, his only thoughts are on getting to the lights of the small town up ahead, getting some gas, and getting out of there…only things aren’t quite what they seem in the tiny town of Anaconda.

Before he has a chance to solve his transport problem, Lucas finds himself in trouble with the law after a local man picks a fight with him…and then ends up dead. Innocent, Lucas fights to clear his name, tangling with the local law enforcement and the family of the dead man, who seem set on taking their revenge. Can Lucas get out alive? And just what is it that the residents of Anaconda are hiding….

Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield

My thoughts:

I’m a sucker for small town claustrophobia, so needless to say, Anaconda Vice is right u my street. So much so, that I devoured this book in a handful of sittings over 24 hours. I just couldn’t put it down!

Lucas Winter is a fantastic character. Retired from wrestling, Lucas is returning home from an event when his car decides to give up on him on the side of a road. Seeing lights in the distance, Winter finds himself walking into Anaconda, a seemingly deserted town that is all shut up for the night.

Hanging around in the hope of getting his car towed to a garage, Winter unwittingly finds himself in trouble with the law after an altercation, and when the other person turns up dead, well then he’s in real trouble.

What follows is a dark journey into how far a place will go to keep outsiders away and the lengths they will go to protect their own. Finding it hard to clear his name, Winter finds himself in big trouble. It’s really hard to review this one without going into too much detail!!!!

I genuinely loved this one. Lucas Winter is a fresh new addition to the list of characters I will want to read about forever, up there with Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch even! A story full of surprises, showing the extremes to which people will go to keep secrets buried. Anaconda Vice is an absolute thrill ride. Exciting, clever and action-packed. A superbly written thriller, it has a quiet menace that builds with intensity until the explosive end.

Highly recommended!

Make sure to check out the blog tour posts:

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Blog Tour~White Midnight by Daniel Culver

Hi guys,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for White Midnight by Daniel Culver and I get to share my review with you all!

About the author:

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Daniel Culver is a writer and editor, currently living and working in east London, having spent his formative years fluttering between the council estates of Essex and the wilds of Asia and the Americas.

He is an alumnus of both Faber Academy and Curtis Brown Creative and his quirky, crime debut will be published in March 2018.

About the book:

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Elizabeth Nowicki, a British woman and self-confessed stoic, settles down in the seemingly idyllic American town of Midnight, with her new husband and his two children. Six months on, life as a step mom is harder than she thought, and the shine of the American Dream has already worn off.

Bored and lonely, Elizabeth is drawn into a nightmare when someone in a duck mask murders two local cops…and the investigation reaches her new neighbourhood. When this is followed by strange happenings across the street, leading to another death, Elizabeth starts to conduct her own investigation….but can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

Published by Manatee Books on March 15th, you can pre-order your copy by clicking the link below:

White Midnight by Daniel Culver

My thoughts:

White Midnight is one of the quirkiest books I’ve read in a long time, but those quirks are definitely what made it stand out from the crowd for me.

Set in a quiet American town called Midnight, it follows British woman Elizabeth Nowicki as she settles in with her new husband and his two kids. All is not what it seems in Midnight though. When two local cops are murdered by someone in a duck mask, Elizabeth becomes tangled up in the investigation, putting herself firmly in the sights of a dangerous killer.

White Midnight is a superbly-written debut. It is weirdly wonderful, with a very interesting cast of characters, There is a tension that bubbles under the narrative the whole way through, adding a sense of foreboding as to what could happen. I couldn’t put this book down, and more than once it actually made me shudder. Who knew ducks could be so malicious!

Daniel Culver has written a very clever first novel. Highly entertaining, humourous in parts, but always dark. White Midnight is one of the best, most original debuts I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time.

Highly recommended!

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Blog Tour: Burnout by Claire MacLeary

Hi all,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Burnout by Claire MacLeary and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all!

About the author:

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Claire MacLeary lived in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Fife, before returning to her native Glasgow. She describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”. Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies.

About the book:

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“My husband is trying to kill me.” A new client gets straight to the point, and this line of enquiry is a whole new ball game for Maggie Laird, who is desperately trying to rebuild her late husband’s detective agency and clear his name. Her partner, “Big” Wilma, sees the case as a non-starter, but Maggie is drawn in.

With her client’s life on the line, Maggie must get to the ugly truth that lies behind Aberdeen’s closed doors. But who knows what really goes on between husbands and wives? And will the agency’s reputation – and Maggie and Wilma’s friendship – remain intact?

Click HERE to order your copy!


Burnout, by Claire MacLeary

The woman leaned in. ‘I’ll get straight to the point. I think my husband is trying to kill me.’

Wow! Maggie jolted upright. That’s a first!

She struggled to maintain eye contact whilst her mind worked overtime. If their initial telephone conversation was anything to go by, this Mrs Struthers promised to be a profitable new client for the agency. But a threat on her life? That was a whole new ball game.

Maggie re-lived the dressing-down she’d had from DI Chisolm earlier that year when she got herself involved in an active murder investigation. What on earth was she going to do now?

Maggie took another squint at Sheena Struthers. Small-boned. Short hair. Good skin. Not much make-up. Pretty in an old-fashioned sort of way. And ages with herself, she reckoned, or thereabouts. In short, the realisation hit home, like Maggie in another life.

Poor woman looked a bag of nerves: eyes staring, fingers picking relentlessly at her cuticles. Almost as fraught as Maggie had been when she’d first picked up the reins of her husband’s private investigation business. Still, the woman would be frightened, wouldn’t she, if someone really was trying to top her?

‘That’s a very serious allegation, Mrs Struthers,’ Maggie continued.

‘Sheena, please.’ The woman opposite pushed her cappuccino to one side.

They’d met in Patisserie Valerie in Union Square. Maggie had passed it often enough but never been inside. In her straitened position, she couldn’t afford to stump up nearly three pounds for a cup of something and the same again for a pastry. But the easy parking suited both her and her prospective client, and the cafe was low-key, more private than Costa Coffee or Starbucks.

‘Sheena.’ Maggie started to smile, then, remembering the subject matter, hastily rearranged her face. ‘On what grounds, might I ask, is this allegation based?’

Lord, would you listen to yourself? Since becoming a PI, Maggie had schooled herself to think like a detective. Now she was beginning to talk like one.

‘Just a feeling, really. It’s hard to explain, but…’

‘It’s this time of year.’ She cut the woman off mid-flow. ‘The run-up to Christmas puts a strain on the most solid of marriages.’ What she wouldn’t give, now, to have a man at her side, strain or no.

‘You’re so wrong.’ Sheena Struthers looked her straight in the eye. ‘I’ve done my homework, Mrs Laird. Looked into other agencies, in Aberdeen and further afield. For one thing they’re much too big. You’ll appreciate that in my situation…’ She cast a furtive glance around the cafe. ‘Discretion is paramount. With companies that size, one can never be sure.’

‘But the police,’ Maggie interjected. ‘Shouldn’t you…?’

‘My dear…’ Keen brown eyes gazed into Maggie’s own. ‘One gets the impression they’re stretched enough, don’t you agree?’

Maggie offered a non-committal, ‘Mmm.’

‘And besides,’ Mrs Struthers insisted, ‘you must realise that any police involvement could endanger my marriage.’

For the second time that afternoon Maggie was caught on the back foot. Make your mind up, woman: your marriage or your life? ‘Oh, yes,’ she murmured, ‘I see what you mean,’ though she was at a loss to follow this line of reasoning.

‘Nor could I take the matter to a solicitor,’ Sheena Struthers continued. She leaned in close, dropped her voice. ‘My husband is an accountant, you see. Moves in rather a closed circle. And Aberdeen, it’s small enough, still. Word gets around,’ she looked to Maggie for reassurance. ‘Doesn’t it?’

‘It certainly does.’ Maggie buried her nose in her cup. She knew only too well what the woman was alluding to. The police were as much a closed circle as any other professional body.

‘From what I’ve heard, you are a person of some integrity. And operate outwith,’ she raised a questioning eyebrow, ‘what one might loosely call “the establishment”. In short, Mrs Laird, your firm seems the perfect fit.’

Oh, to Hell! Maggie had intended to bring the meeting to a close. Now she’d let this Struthers woman take control. She straightened in her seat. ‘It’s kind of you to say so, but I really don’t think I’m the right person.’

‘You will help me, won’t you?’ Sheena reached across the table, clutched at her arm. ‘Please?’

Burnout, by Claire MacLeary is published by Contraband. Available as an ebook from 8 March, price £5.99. Available in print from 29 March, price £8.99.


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