Q&A with Chris Ewan

Hi all,

Today I’m delighted to share a Q&A I did with Chris Ewan recently to coincide with the release of The Good Thief’s Guide books. Here’s the all-important bookish information for you guys to have a look!

About the author:

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Chris Ewan is the author of the popular GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO … series of mysteries about globetrotting crime writer and thief-for-hire, Charlie Howard. The series has been praised as “crime writing at its best” (Sydney Morning Herald) and a “delightful series” (The Seattle Times) and comprises THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM (winner of the Long Barn Books First Novel Award), THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO PARIS, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VEGAS, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VENICE and THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO BERLIN.

Chris’s critically acclaimed standalone thrillers include the major bestseller SAFE HOUSE (which has sold more than 500,000 copies in the UK and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award), DEAD LINE (which is optioned for film), DARK TIDES (an Observer “Thriller of the Month”) and LONG TIME LOST (a “masterful thriller” The Independent). He is also the author of the Kindle Single story SCARLETT POINT which, like many of Chris’s thrillers, is set on the Isle of Man.

In 2011, Chris was voted one of America’s favourite British authors by a Huffington Post poll and in 2017 he was longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library.

Born in Taunton in 1976, Chris graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in American Studies with a minor in Canadian Literature, and later trained as a lawyer. After an eleven-year spell living on the Isle of Man, he now lives in Somerset, England with his wife, children and labrador, where he writes full time.

Chris loves to hear from his readers and always responds to every email he receives. You can find out more at http://www.chrisewan.com, where you can also sign up to Chris’s newsletter to receive advance information about new books, enter competitions and giveaways and be sent a FREE Good Thief’s Guide short story.

Come say hello to Chris on Twitter @chrisewan or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chrisewanauthor

About the books:
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Meet Charlie Howard. He doesn’t just write books about a career thief, he also happens to be one.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam

In Amsterdam working on his latest novel, Charlie Howard is approached by a mysterious American who asks him to steal two apparently worthless monkey figurines from two separate addresses on the same night. At first he says no. Then he changes his mind. Only later, kidnapped and bound to a chair, the American very dead and a spell in police custody behind him, does Charlie begin to realise how costly a mistake he might have made.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris

Charlie is flush with the success of his Paris book reading when he agrees to show a complete novice how to break into an apartment. The next day, Charlie’s fence hires him to steal an ordinary-looking oil painting – from the same address. Mere coincidence? Charlie figures there’s no harm in finding out – until a dead body turns up in his living room.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas

Charlie is in for a tough vacation in Las Vegas. Losing heavily at poker is one thing, but to find his literary agent, Victoria, being charmed by the Fifty-Fifty casino resort’s star magician, Josh Masters, is another irritation entirely. Still, Charlie’s not one to hold a grudge, least of all when he could be holding Masters’ wallet. With access to the magician’s deluxe suite now tantalizingly at hand, a spot of burglary seems to be in order and Charlie’s only too happy to oblige. Problem is, everything’s bigger in Sin City – including the fall-out from petty crimes.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice

Charlie has gone straight. But holing himself up in a crumbling palazzo in Venice in an attempt to concentrate on his next novel hasn’t got rid of the itch in his fingers. And to make matters worse, a striking Italian beauty has just broken into his apartment and made off with his most prized possession, leaving a puzzling calling card in its place. Sneaking out into Venice’s maze of murky canals, Charlie’s attempts to tame a cat burglar embroil him in a plot that is far bigger and more explosive than he could ever have imagined.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin

Charlie is back in the saddle, robbing the people of Berlin blind. But his larcenous binge is about to be interrupted by a call to duty – on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government. A sensitive item has been stolen from inside the British embassy in Berlin. Four employees are suspected of the theft and Charlie is hired to discreetly break into each of their homes, identify the guilty culprit and steal the item back. There’s just one problem: the item is so sensitive that Charlie can’t be told what it is. But how do you find something when you don’t know what you’re searching for? And what do you do if you witness a murder during your first break in?

*The books are currently available in a box set, which you can see here, or you can pop over to Chris’s Amazon Page to see them individually. 
* The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam (book 1) is currently only 99p, click here to check out the book!

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

Sure. I’m the author of nine crime and thriller novels. My Good Thief’s Guide To … series of mystery novels about globetrotting crime writer and burglar-for-hire Charlie Howard have been published in thirteen countries and optioned for television three times. My first standalone thriller, Safe House, was set on the Isle of Man where I lived for 11 years. To date, it’s sold more than 500,000 copies in the UK and was shortlisted for the Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. My other standalone thrillers include Dead Line, Dark Tides and Long Time Lost. Nowadays I write full-time and live in Somerset with my wife and two kids where I’m hard at work at my next book.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

I always loved writing and reading but I had no idea how to go about becoming a writer or if it was even possible to get published. That only changed when I read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road at university and decided to have a go at writing my first novel. It only took me ten years and three more books to get my break!

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Everywhere, really. Stories in the news, things I read about or see on TV, rumours I’ve heard or myths I’m aware of. Usually I start out by deciding broadly what kind of story I’d like to tell and then I try to think of a fresh and inventive way of telling it.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

 

I always find that a hard question to answer but I guess I’d hope that readers would find my books to be punchy and fast paced, filled with twists and reveals and stuffed with colourful characters. I’d like to think there’s some sly humour in there, too.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

It definitely can’t hurt but the main benefit to me is interacting with other people who happen to be real (rather than the imaginary characters in my head). That said, I think the most important thing any writer can do is concentrate on their writing and the stories they want to tell.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

 

Tragically, it’s the writing itself – when it’s going well. There’s nothing better.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

 

I really don’t have any complaints. There are always more things I’d like to write – the only problem, really, is finding the time to get to everything.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

 

If the past ten years have taught me anything, it’s that the future of any writing career is impossible to predict. I’d like to think I’ll be publishing more books and more readers will want to read them. I hope so, anyway.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I am just now finishing a new book that will be off on submission before long. After that … another book! And possibly this time it will be a new Good Thief’s Guide mystery. I really want to move the Good Thief on to a new city and a new adventure.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

I read as much as I can and much of what I read is crime fiction and thrillers. These days, with two young children and lots of writing to do, I don’t read quite as much as I used to but I still read every day and miss it if I don’t.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

 

My all time favourite is and will probably always be Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

 

Yes. Lots! But probably the reason I wish I’d written them is that I know they’re books I could never have written in the first place.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

 

Driving the people around me a bit nuts because I’m not writing …

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

 

I like to travel (which is a fancy way of saying I like to go on holiday). I love watching movies and catching up with the latest TV shows. And I realize I should put some form of exercise here – I must start to exercise!

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

Ooh, tricky. California, maybe. No, Toronto. No, Amsterdam. I can’t decide!

 

Favourite food?

 

Shepherd’s Pie.

 

Favourite drink?

 

Coffee.

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

Oh, I ask myself this pretty much every day. Believe me!


 

Huge thanks to the lovely Chris Ewan for answering my questions! 🙂

~Blog Tour Review~ If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

Hey everyone,

I’m on the blog tour for If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio today and I get to share my review with you all. First though, here’s the all-important bookish information that you need to know!

About the book:

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Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of one of his closest friends – a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened ten years ago. As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life. When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

Click the link below to get your copy:

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

About the author:

ML Rio

M. L. Rio was born in Miami and raised in North Carolina by parents from California, and has never been able to satisfactorily answer the question, “Where are you from?” She spent most of her childhood in Middle Earth or Neverland or Wonderland, attended Hogwarts for a number of years, and eventually graduated from the real-life University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in English and dramatic art and a minor in creative writing. Storytelling has always been her specialty.

My Thoughts:

It has been a while since I read a literary thriller. If We Were Villains is essentially that kind of book. Thoroughly Shakespearean in its voice, with a clear association to the Bard from the outset, it is an extremely dramatic novel. Interspersed with quotes and soliloquies from his works, if you are a fan of Shakespeare, this book will enthrall you from the beginning.

We meet Oliver, fresh out of jail after a ten year sentence, he returns to his old stomping ground at Dellecher with the Detective who put him in prison. Both characters have demons in their past regarding events of ten years ago, and they need to lay them to rest. Told in Acts and Scenes, the reader is instantly transported along with them to what happened all those years ago.

Following the lives of a group of students as they work their way through theatre school, it becomes very dark very quickly when tragedy befalls one of their own. The students then close ranks, not knowing what happened, but protecting each other from any storms that come their way.

In terms of characterisation, it is (for me anyway) reminiscent of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. In that, I mean that we get to see the characters, really see them, faults and all. Their highs and lows, petty dramas, competition between themselves, selfishnes and methods of self-preservation are there in all their glory. The arcs of these young, strong-willed characters takes the reader on an emotional journey, and this is where the story format really excels. It feels like you are reading a contemporary Shakespearean drama, yet it still stays true enough to the originals. it is bloody, honest and gruelling at times, but utterly rewarding to read.

There are so many themes in If We Were Villains that it can be hard to keep up, but M. L. Rio has done a superb job in capturing the violence, jealousy, love, hate and everything in between.

If We Were Villians kept me enthralled and utterly captivated until the very end.

Highly recommended!

Follow the blog tour:

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~Blog Tour Extract~ Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton and I get to share an extract with you all. First though, here’s the all-important bookish information!

About the book:

BEYOND 1.3 FINAL (1)

In an alley way of the back streets of Glasgow there lies a decomposing corpse of a slain female baking in the midday heat. No one has found her yet, but medium Patrick McLaughlin knows she is there. It is not the first time he has dreamt of death… and he soon finds out that it is not to be the last. Meanwhile, the local police start to request DNA samples from twenty something men in the bustling city of Glasgow where several bizarre murders have taken place. Through a hunch and in the belief that the terrifying dreams hold the key to the identity of the murderer, Patrick works alongside the police to track down the predator before they can strike again. The nightmares do not ease up and begin to tear at Patrick’s sanity and in the midst of the investigation, at what cost would Patrick have to pay to stop the killer striking again? His friends? His family? His life?

Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton

About the author:

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Emma Clapperton, born December 1985, has always had a passion for reading and writing. She particularly enjoys reading supernatural or horror books.
Emma studied childcare and gained qualifications to work with the early years in 2002, later going on to work in the Montessori sector of early years. In 2017 she gained a qualification to work as a Forest School early years leader and can often be found teaching three and four year olds how to cook on an open fire.
She is the writer of a supernatural crime series based in Glasgow, which she writes under the pen name of Emma L Clapperton.
She currently resides in a little town outside of the city of Glasgow with her husband and ginger cat and is working on future projects.
You can contact Emma via:

Prologue

 

The darkened and deserted streets were the perfect setting. He watched as she struggled to run, adrenaline rushing through his veins as he strolled after her. He called out playfully, relishing in the fact that the fear would be coursing through her, along with the pain in her head.

The heel of one of her shoes snapped. She tried to keep running but she was all over the place. Her pace slowed and the gap between them was closing.

The tips of his fingers tingled as he reached out for her. She collapsed, face down on to the ground. He fell to his knees, gripping her neck with his hands. Her hair fell round the sides of her face. She struggled, but the drugs were too much for her to handle. He heard her attempts to cry out. All he could hear – all he wanted to hear – was the sound of death taking over.

Her body slumped. He didn’t want to let go of her. She felt good under his grip. Her skin was soft, wet from the rain. He held her for longer than necessary. To kill felt wonderful. Life, gone in a few seconds. The power was overwhelming.

Running his hand over the back of her head, and relishing the thought he had just taken her life, he stood up, fixed his jacket and stepped over her. As he walked away, the adrenaline rushing through his veins made him feel more alive than he had ever felt. He did not look back at the girl. He didn’t have to. He knew she was dead, and it was all thanks to him. Each and every one after that night would be down to him. There could be no better feeling than the power of deciding who lives and who dies.  


Keep up with the blog tour:

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Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

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*Many thanks to Hideaway Fall for my review copy!*

About the book:

Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Pre-order your copy from Hideaway Fall by clicking HERE.

My thoughts:

I had eagerly awaited the arrival of Broken Branches from new publishers, Hideaway Fall, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this book.

Centered around a family curse, Broken Branches is told in alternating past and present chapters. The reader meets Ian and his young family but we also meet Ian when he was a boy living with his parents and brother in the house that he now lives in years later with his family.

The family have always seemed to be unlucky, with accidents and death befalling them down through the generations. Ian sets out to prove that this curse really does exist, but at what cost?

Broken Branches has a menacing feel to it, with elements of the supernatural that lend itself well to the overall story. I found the past and present chapters to be a little confusing at times, but it made sense to the way that book was written as a whole.

I managed to read Broken Branches pretty much in one day. It is a relatively short book, at less than 300 pages, so it was easy enough to plough through it. Ultimately, although it was a page-turner, I found it to be a little flat at times. Still though, it was the kind of book that kept the intrigue up enough to keep me interested in the outcome.

Recommended!

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

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About the book:

Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life–orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought…

On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive?

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

My Thoughts:

Knights of the Borrowed Dark was a new addition to my personal TBR recently. I had the pleasure of meeting the author in Galway recently and had a chat about his books. I have a 7 year old boy (his reading age is that of a 9/10 year old) who is an avid reader, and he asked me to read this for him to see if it is suitable for him to read himself. Personally, I think he’s still a bit young for it, but I LOVED IT!!!!

Knights of the Borrowed Dark follows Denizen Hardwick, a orphan living in Crosscaper Orhanage on the west coast of Ireland. One night, the gates to the orphanage open and Denizen is collected on the promise of being introduced to his long lost aunt. On the way to meet her, the car in which he is travelling is attacked, by something. Denizen then learns that this something lives in the shadows, and sometimes can get through the breach.

What follows is a super fun read full of action and monsters and knights. These knights don’t deign to tell poor Denizen very much, and he end up having to learn their methods in his own ways. Give the option to join this order of knights, Denizen then has to make a life-changing decision.

Knights of the Borrowed Dark is a thrilling, compulsive and completely magical story. Packed full of enthralling characters, with more action and mystery than I was expecting, this book exceeded my hopes entirely. I cant wait to read the next book, and I also can’t wait to re-read this along with my son when he gets to it!

Highly recommended!

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough~ Mini Review


About the book:

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

My thoughts:

13 Minutes had been on my kindle for way too long so I figured it was high time I read it, especially considering I had read Behind Her Eyes by the same author.

While reading the book, I think definitely as a YA psych thriller, with elements of crime and mystery interspersed throughout the narrative. 13 Minutes is the story of Natasha and how she came to be dead for that length of time. There is also a heavy weight placed on secrets and lies between the characters and how they can slowly chip away at solid foundations.

13 Minutes is a compulsive read. I found myself flying through it trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together along with Natasha. The minds of teenage girls are scary places to be, and the author has done a good job of capturing the devious and underhanded behaviour that some kids partake in.

13 Minutes is a fast paced book, with plenty of different threads that are all woven together towards the end relatively well. I enjoyed it even though it wouldn’t be my usual kind of read.

Recommended.

 

Blackwater by GJ Moffatt

*Many thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit Press for my review copy!*

About the book:

Deputy Sheriff Early Simms of the Blackwater County Sheriff’s Department knows about the violence that incubates within the souls of men – and that sometimes it needs a release. As a high school football player he relished inflicting pain, until he made a tackle that left a promising young athlete dead from a broken neck. Early did not play another game and his dreams of leaving the small town that he grew up in never materialised. Instead, he followed his father into the town’s police force.

Now older, Early is outwardly content with the life he has made for himself in Blackwater. But that life is about to be turned upside down. Kate Foley, his high school girlfriend, arrives in town on the run from an abusive husband and it stirs feelings that Early thought he had forgotten.

Jimmy and Marshall Cain are brothers – men with the capacity for the kind of violence that Early Simms knows all too well. A botched home invasion by the brothers goes horribly wrong, leaving a man and woman dead and their teenage daughter kidnapped.

Events spiral further out of control, with the brothers embarking on a killing spree that leads them to a confrontation with Early Simms and an FBI task force. At the same time, Kate Foley’s husband is armed and on the hunt for his wife.

Early is about to find himself in a fight not just for the life he has known, but for the future he has glimpsed in stolen moments with Kate. And to defeat the maelstrom hurtling towards him, he must once again confront the violence in his own soul.

Blackwater by GJ Moffatt

My thoughts:

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of American crime fiction. Most especially when it takes place in small towns. Something about a tight-knit community and the sense that everyone knows everybody’s business really appeals to me. Needless to say, I was eager to read Blackwater as it sounded exactly like the kind of book I would love.

I was not disappointed!

Early Simms is the Deputy Sherriff of Blackwater, a relatively quiet little town on the east coast of America. Chaos descends onto his doorstep initially with the arrival of Kate, his old high school girlfriend, who happens to be on the run from an abusive husband. Naturally, this stirs feelings in Early both as a professional and in a rather more protective capacity too.

Alongside this arrival, there is a much more dangerous duo who have appeared, the Cain brothers, fresh from a home invasion that went dramatically wrong. Violence seems to be their method of communication, and they are intent on wreaking havoc in Blackwater. This causes a host of problems to Early and the residents of the town.

What follows is a riot of action, violence and mayhem. These bursts of drama are interspersed beautifully with rare moments of calm through vignettes into Early’s life both now, and in the past. I genuinely loved Early as a character as he is so well-drawn that its nigh on impossible not to become invested in his fate and that of those he cares about. The reader is rooting for him from the beginning, willing him on and hoping that he can prevail over the evil that the Cain brothers are intent on bringing to Blackwater.

American crime fiction at its best and most gripping, Blackwater will grab you by the throat from the first chapter and won’t let go. Addictive as f***!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!