Blog Tour~Die Cold (Jake Boulder #4) by Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today Ellen is one of the stops on the blog tour for Die Cold, the latest Jake Boulder novel, by Graham Smith and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Graham Smith Author Pic

Graham Smith is a time-served joiner who 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.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has six books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and four novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

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

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, ten attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.

Social Media Links:

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972 @GrahamSmith1972

Website www.grahamsmithauthor.com

About the book:

Die Cold (Jake Boulder Book 4) by [Smith, Graham]

Boulder is back.

Jake Boulder is working as a bartender, at an exclusive Vermont ski resort on New  Year’s Eve, when armed terrorists hold up the lodge and take the guests hostage.

Trapped with the other hostages, Boulder watches in horror as the female terrorist leader disfigures a singer to make her point. He wants to fight back, but is unarmed and being held at gunpoint.

When Boulder finds a way to escape from the terrorists he searches for a way to raise the alarm. After he discovers the terrorists plan to leave no witnesses to their crime, he knows he has a race against time to save as many innocent people as he can…

But will Boulder be the reluctant hero and save the day?

Die Cold (Jake Boulder #4) by Graham Smith

Ellen’s review:

Die Cold is a high octane thriller from first shot fired to the final punch thrown! Book four in the Jake Boulder series – a series that just keeps getting better and better.

After being concerned about how Jake would recover from the events of Past Echoes (book 3) it was fantastic to see him back on form and then some!

Jake is working as a barman for an exclusive ski resort favoured by the uber rich when a group of terrorists descend and take everyone hostage. This gang are obviously professionals and it is clear to Jake that no one is going to get out of this situation to tell the tale unless he takes action.

An absolutely gripping read that I could not put down, this book would make an amazing film although I’m not quite sure who would star as Jake, I’ll leave that to your own sordid imagination….

If I had to say there was anything missing from this book it would be a white vest for Mr Boulder.

Yippee Ki-Yay Boulder lovers!! Bring on book five!

Previous reviews:

Watching The Bodies- Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

The Kindred Killers by Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

Past Echoes by Graham Smith Ellen’s Review

Check out the tour:

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Blog Blitz ~ Avian by Emma Pullar Ellen’s Review

Hi guys,

Ellen is taking part in the blog blitz for Avian by Emma Pullar today and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Emma Pullar is a writer and book reviewer. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, went to number four on the bestseller list and was named ‘best opening lines’ by NZ Post. As well as picture books, Emma writes online articles and speculative fiction. Her short horror story, London’s Crawling, which was published in the Dark Minds charity anthology, was a finalist for Twisted50 and shortlisted for the SJV Award.

Emma has been writing dark tales since she was a little girl. The first picture book she wrote was called ‘Attack of the Killer Wheelie Bins’ and was about wheelie bins getting sick of people stuffing them with rubbish and so they started eating people! She then wrote a particularly disturbing story about two kids who fell down a pit and were eaten alive by a beast. It was graphic, her primary school teacher was concerned and called Emma’s parents in for a meeting. It was agreed that Emma had a wild imagination and no intervention was needed.

Emma is from London but is also a New Zealand citizen and has lived in NZ and Australia, she now resides in a sleepy little village in Kent. When not writing, she can be found spending time with her three children, husband and naughty cat called Rupert. She also teaches Tai Chi. Emma loves dark stories and fantasy, and enjoys dreaming up twisted tales of torment and terror.

About the book:

Avian: a tense dystopian thriller you won't want to miss by [Pullar, Emma]

CENTRAL IS LOSING ITS GRIP ON THE CITIZENS OF GALE CITY.

Megan Skyla, who refused to play by Central’s rules and become a surrogate for her masters, has thrown the city into chaos. Corrupting those around her, she and her friends are forced into hiding – hunted by Central, the evil rulers of Gale City. Skyla’s desperate attempts to keep everyone alive ends when they’re kidnapped by feuding gangs.

Skyla cuts a deal and then betrays both gangs. Now there is nowhere left to run. It’s the desert or die. Her best friend, Crow, thinks she still wants to find a way to cure the Morbian masters of their obesity and finish what she started.

But Skyla has other plans. She’s sure there are settlements in the desert, there must be something out there … and there is. Something terrible.

Skyla is about to find out there’s more than one way to bring about change but one truth remains … Central must be destroyed in order to ensure her survival. There is no other way.

Click HERE to get your copy!

Ellen’s review:

Dystopian fiction has always been a favourite genre of mine and I couldn’t wait to get back into Skyla’s world in Avian. Skeletal is the first book in this series and I recommend reading it first although the author has done an excellent job in refreshing my memory of previous events which is important with this kind of book with SO much happening.

As we rejoin Skyla she is still reeling over the events of Skeletal and is more determined than ever to break free of Gale City, the only problem is it seems everyone wants a piece of her! There is a reward for her capture and she is caught between a rock and a hard place (or Gale City and the desert), as well as looking out for her own safety she has the added complication of her companions Andia, Cara and Dove who aren’t the easiest people to look after. In desperation Skyla joins a gang which involves completing life threatening rituals of initiation. During these trials she encounters the Mutils – hands down the most disgusting, depraved creatures you will ever meet! Enough so that I coined the phrase #mankymantils at a certain chapter and that was my PG rating version. *shudders* I loved the introduction of some mysterious new characters in Avian who Skyla and friends encounter in the desert, with their appearance comes more illumination on the facts Skyla thought she knew.

 

The Mutils aren’t the only abhorrent creatures you will meet in Avian, those flesh eating crows are back, there’s a Sand Kraken and some particulary vile Scrabs. Now I love this type of thing and the author’s descriptions really grabbed my imagination; I can totally see this series of books on the big screen….maybe not in 3D, even I have my limits.

We are also reaquainted with Crow who has now become my new book boyfriend, his and Skyla’s friendship isn’t as straight forward as she’d like to believe and life is about to get a whole lot more complicated for the pair of them. Knowing the author I won’t hedge my bets on a happy ending, I’ve been burnt too many times.

Avian features lies, deception, shocks, guts and gore. If you’re looking for a REALLY dark dystopian here it is and it’s definitely a firm favourite for one of my books of the year. I can’t wait to see what Emma Pullar thinks of next!

Check out the blog blitz:

Blog Blitz~ The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog blitz for The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas and I’ll be sharing my review with you a little further down!

About the author:

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Chris Thomas was born near London in 1978 before moving to Buckinghamshire a few months later. He attended the University of Bristol, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1999. It was here that he developed his interest in criminal psychology and serial killers.
After a brief stint working at an investment bank in London, he left the City to work for his wife’s family business, a position he still holds.
Chris is an avid film fan, especially horror, thrillers and dark comedy- something that he tries to blend in his writing. He self-published his debut novel The Red Room in February 2017 before joining the Bloodhound Books stable and re-releasing the book as Enter The Dark.
The follow up, “The Edge of Sanity”, will be released by Bloodhound Books in August 2018.
In his spare time, Chris enjoys karate (holding a black belt) and spending time with his wife and two young daughters.
Links:

About the book:

Chris Thomas - The Edge of Sanity_cover_high res.jpg

In a derelict squat, the Smart Man watches as the new narcotic developed by his shadowy organisation wreaks havoc on it unsuspecting victims. The drug is now ready for sale on their exclusive darknet market place.

Elsewhere, DCI Robert Smith, the retired head of the Cyber Crimes Unit, seeks out crime boss Curtis Slater at his remote farm. He offers to provide Slater with information in exchange for money. But what information is he offering?

Meanwhile, former detective Pete Harris had started a new life, away from the Cyber Crimes Unit, with his daughter and begins to rekindle his relationship with old colleague Grace Brooks.

With his life seemingly complete, Pete’s world comes crashing down as he is drawn into Slater’s game with fatal consequences. He must join forces with his old enemies in a race against time. But can Pete save his daughter and Grace from the clutches of Slater, the Smart Man, and the sinister ring master, the Professor?

A dark psychological thriller, click HERE to order your copy!

My thoughts:

Firstly, I would recommend you read Enter The Dark as the characters from that book at recurring in this one and you may miss out on some of the background if you don’t read it!

The Edge of Sanity is another dark read, with elements of violence and drug abuse. In this one there’s a new drug being marketed but only to the wealthiest cartels, and the dark web is where to be if you want to get your hands on it.

This new drug is volatile, and it has some horrific effects on the users. It is extreme and grisly in its depiction of what happens when it’s ingested.

As I mentioned, some characters from the first book are also in this one, and there is a lot going on for them. I don’t want to give anything away, but it is definitely an action packed story!

Interesting plot threads cleverly woven together, with plenty to keep the reader turning the pages, The Edge of Sanity is one to add to your list!

 

Previous reviews:

Enter The Dark by Chris Thomas

Catch up with the blitz:

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Blog Blitz: The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog blitz for The Bitter End and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the authors:

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ANN EVANS

Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-Evans-Books-146957850210/

https://twitter.com/annevansauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9812907.Ann_Evans

Robert+D+Tysall+.jpg

ROBERT D. TYSALL

Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/robert.tysall

https://twitter.com/TYSALLSPHOTOS

About the book:

Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall - The Bitter End_cover_high res.jpg

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

Ellen’s Review:

I was that weird child that loved reading Greek myths/legends and horror stories, I’ve never been sensitive to gore and scary stuff so as soon as I read the Blurb for The Bitter End I knew it was my kind of book. This is definitely a supernatural horror story rather than a mystery thriller.

The Bitter End opens in Auschwitz where a young woman called Petronella survives the gas chambers and is summoned to see Hitler. Hitler is actually possessed by a daemon called Lamia (in ancient Greek mythology Lamia was often described as a bogeyman; a night-haunting daemon which preyed on children) who has been using his body to enact horrors on the world for her personal amusement. Lamia is all about destruction and revenge!!

After this transfer the story skips to the 1980’s where we become acquainted with Paul and Owen, two young boys who are best friends and get up to the kind of mischief you’d expect at their age. One of their favourite games is knock-a-door-run and one of their favourite victims for this is the local cat lady/rumoured witch who just happens to be Petronella/Lamia. On this occasion their game goes seriously wrong leading to nothing but pain and trauma that will haunt Paul for the rest of his life. As I mentioned before, Lamia lives for revenge!

I really enjoyed the horror/supernatural elements of this story and it definitely gave me the chills as I read under my duvet. I live in the countryside and was avoiding looking out of my window onto the nearby woods as I neared the end. I finished this book in one sitting I was so engrossed in the story. If you’re looking to give yourself the heebie-jeebies go buy The Bitter End!

Catch up with the tour:

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Blog Blitz Guest Post ~ The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall

Hi everyone,

Today I’m on the blog blitz for The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysall and I’ll be sharing a guest post with you all a little further down!

About the authors:

download (1).jpg

ANN EVANS

Ann Evans was born and bred in Coventry, West Midlands, and started writing just for fun after giving up her secretarial job to have her three children.

Having caught the writing ‘bug’ there was no stopping her, and as her children grew up, she continued to write for a variety of genres. She spent 13 years at her local newspaper as a Feature Writer as well as working freelance on magazine articles.

She also writes books for children, young adults, reluctant readers and some romance. (Ann Carroll) Her first adult crime novel, Kill or Die was published in 2017 by Bloodhound Books.

Having worked with writer/photographer Robert D. Tysall for many years through magazine work, Ann and Rob teamed up to write the supernatural thriller, The Bitter End – Ann’s first collaboration with another writer.  This will be published by Bloodhound Books in the summer of 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-Evans-Books-146957850210/

https://twitter.com/annevansauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9812907.Ann_Evans

Robert+D+Tysall+.jpg

ROBERT D. TYSALL

Robert Tysall was born and brought up in Rugby, Warwickshire, and played the sport the town is famous for in his youth, until he discovered a passion and talent for photography, music and writing poetry and song lyrics. His career so far has been a busy mix of being lead vocalist and percussionist in bands plus working as a professional freelance photographer.

He is currently in a 60s, 70s & Beatles duo, and lives in Warwickshire with his wife, Heather. He has two grown up children. Rob is multi published on the photographic side of things with countless magazine articles, generally working alongside writer Ann Evans.

For many years he has dabbled with ideas for stories and finally the time felt right with this book. It seemed a natural turn of events for both Rob and Ann to team up and write The Bitter End together.

With his debut novel completed, now there’s no stopping him, and two more book collaborations with Ann are currently in the pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/robert.tysall

https://twitter.com/TYSALLSPHOTOS

About the book:

Ann Evans and Robert D Tysall - The Bitter End_cover_high res.jpg

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.

As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.

Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?

Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.

Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.

Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.

As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

Guest Post from Robert D. Tysall:

The idea behind the story.

 

I’ve always felt that a lot of the witch stories were all along the same lines and I wondered if it could be approached from a different angle. What if the witch wasn’t just a human witch but a demon witch, in fact the first of her kind; and that she has been walking side by side with us through the annals of history, throughout the time that mankind has been here – and doing the biddings of Beelzebub.

She and others of her kind have spread all over the planet and Satan has been using them to cause all the mayhem and catastrophes in the world – all the hatred, wars and fighting. Unbeknown to us they have all been caused by this almost alien-like creature.

The working title for the book was Witch One but we felt it was too simplistic to tell the full tale. Also, it dawned on me that Lamia and those of her kind may not even consider herself to be, as we call them, a witch. As the conception of a witch is purely human.

I also wanted to create a situation where people of the military fighting forces who tend not to have any belief in such supernatural ideals, find that they have no other choice but to believe. They have to accept there is something else here that is not helping us, or on our side. Hence the creation of the protagonist Paul Christian, a former Naval Officer.

You often hear people in authorive professions such as the police say that they don’t believe in coincidence or conspiracy theories, but our characters are faced with undeniable evidence that can’t be dismissed.

Thinking of a new angle for any supernatural or horror type of situation is never easy, but I do think we’ve actually achieved it with the story of The Bitter End.

Follow the blog blitz:

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Blog Blitz Extract ~ The M Word by Eileen Wharton

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog blitz for The M Word by Eileen Wharton and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all further down!

About the author:

31501118_1664430320342396_8895463327074058744_n.jpg

Eileen Wharton is not the naughty great-grandaughter of Edith Wharton. She is currently employed by MI5 but has had various jobs including: wigmaker to Donald Trump, Megan Fox’s stunt double and Ann Summers ‘toy’ tester. She also tells lies for a living.

She currently has five ‘lively’ offspring ranging from thirty to ten years of age and has no plans to procreate further much to the relief of the local schools and police force.

Her first novel, ‘Shit Happens’ was published in 2011 to worldwide critical acclaim. She’s also won awards for exaggeration. It did top the Amazon humour chart so she’s officially a best-selling author.

Her first children’s picture book, ‘The Shmoogly Boo’ was published in the same year and another is in the pipeline entitled, ‘My Dad’s Better than Your Dad.’

Her first crime novel, ‘Blanket of Blood’ was launched as a paperback on Friday 28th November 2016. She is now working on the sequel ‘Blood’s Thicker.’

 She teaches English to teenagers and lives on a council estate in Bishop Auckland. She has never eaten kangaroo testicles, is allergic to cats and has a phobia of tinned tuna.

Author links

https://www.facebook.com/eileen.whartonwriter

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eileen-Wharton/e/B00QQT2IKE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1525777837&sr=8-1

http://eileenwhartonwrite.wixsite.com/eileenwharton

About the book:

Eileen Wharton - The M Word_cover_high res.jpg

Roberta Gallbreath is middle aged and menopausal. She dislikes her children, detests her ex-husband and despises her colleagues.

When her mother dies, Roberta is left with a pile of letters and a mystery surrounding her son. The letters reveal Roberta’s heritage is not what it seems and she is soon on a mission to become a better person.

Told with humour and emotion, The M Word is the tale of one woman’s journey to find out where she came from. As she looks to the past for answers, more questions are raised. Will Roberta discover who she really is?

The M Word by Eileen Wharton

Extract:

Chapter 1

 

@RobertaGallbreath

#Restingbitchface

#Flissflop

‘Mother is dying,’ a voice on the house phone says.

‘Who is this?’ I ask.

‘It’s Fliss, who do you think it is?’

‘Let me see. It’s three years since I spoke to you last, Felicity, so I wasn’t expecting to pick up the phone and hear your voice.’

‘Are you coming or not?’ my sister snaps.

‘Where?’

‘Home, of course. She’s dying, Roberta. Even you must care about that.’ What’s with the even you shit? Why do people say that? My sister is good at emotional blackmail. ‘She’s asking for you. God knows why.’

‘How long?’

‘Days rather than weeks. Doctor said to gather the family. Can you tell Carolyn and Shoni?’

‘And Drew,’ I say. Silence. ‘He didn’t do it, Felicity.’

‘Whatever.’

‘I know my own son.’ Silence. ‘He might be a lot of things, but he’s not a thief.’

‘I didn’t ring to argue with you. Just get here, will you.’

‘I’ll come tomorrow,’ I say. She hangs up.

My sister’s a bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all sweetness and light myself, but Felicity is a witch and a martyr, and there’s nothing more unattractive than the smell of burning martyr. She stayed with Mother when she could have left to live in Bermuda with a police officer from Pocklington she had met on eHarmony. She’s bitter and twisted, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t be, living with Mother all those years?

 

#nilbymouth

Mother’s on form. Even on her deathbed, she can make me feel like crap. She sits up in bed, her grey curls flattened by the pillows she’s now propped on, winceyette bed jacket draped around her spiky shoulders, “ALICE GALLBREATH: NIL BY MOUTH” at her head.

‘Don’t know why you bothered coming all the way up here,’ she says.

‘It’s only twenty minutes up the road.’

‘Why do I never see you, then? There’s nowt for you in t’ will.’

‘I don’t want anything, Mother,’ I say.

‘That’ll be a first. Stand up straight and put your legs together. You couldn’t stop a pig in a passage.’

‘Stop with the compliments, will you?’ I say.

‘What you doing here?’

‘I came to see you.’

‘Want to watch me die?’

‘No, Mother. I came to say my goodbyes.’

‘Goodbye, then.’

‘Jesus, can you not just…’

‘What? Just what?’ Mother asks.

‘Just be nice,’ I say.

‘That’s rich, coming from you.’

‘Look, I know I haven’t been the World’s Best Daughter,’ I say.

‘Pah. Understatement of the year. Get one of those thingies from the nurse, will you?’

‘Thingies? Which nurse?’

‘The one that’s plain as a pikestaff. I need to say a decade of the rosary every time I look at her… A thingummy jig whatsit doodah…’ She sets off coughing, and I think she’s going to choke to death there and then. She waves her hand madly in the direction of the cupboard next to the bed.

‘In here?’ I ask. She nods. ‘A tissue?’ She nods again. I hand her a tissue, and she spits into it. Fresh red blood mixed with black swirls like a marble. She folds the tissue, shoves it into my hand and gestures to the plastic bag taped to her locker. I try not to retch as I stuff it in. ‘You haven’t exactly been Mum of the Year, either.’

‘Go on, kick me while I’m down.’

‘I’m not here to kick you, Mother. Felicity said you were asking for me.’

‘Yes, I wanted you to know that I know who took the money and your father’s watch, and I want you to get it back.’

‘Listen, if you’re going to accuse Drew again, I–’

‘I’m not.’

‘That was a terrible time for us…’

‘I wasn’t going to accuse Drew,’ she says. ‘I know it wasn’t Drew. He wouldn’t nick off his granny. I want you to get it back. I still want Drew to have it.’

‘Who was it?’

‘I don’t want it to cause trouble. I just want you to get it back.’

‘From where, Mother? Where do I get it from?’

‘Fliss,’ she says faintly.

‘I don’t understand. What about Felicity?’

‘It wasn’t your dad’s watch. Well, it was. But not the man you thought was your dad.’

‘What do you mean? What are you talking about? You’re talking in riddles. Whose was it? Mother?’

‘The letters explain,’ she says, her breath shallow and laboured.

‘Letters? What letters?’

‘In there,’ she says, pointing to the bedside cabinet. ‘They explain.’

‘Explain what?’

‘Everything. They explain everything. Forgive me…’

Her breath grows ragged, and the machine beside her beeps. A nurse comes running. It’s all a bit of a blur after that. Doctors run in. They shock her, and her heart starts again, then stops. They shock her again, calling, ‘Alice, Alice, can you hear me, Alice?’

When I’ve seen paramedics performing CPR on the telly, it’s so clean and clinical. This is brutal. Messy, noisy, the sound of ribs cracking, a blue mouth foaming, eyes rolling.

It seems like hours before a man in a white coat shakes his head and says, ‘Time of death, eleven twenty-two am.’

I can’t say that what I feel is sadness, but there is shock. Definite shock. Seeing Mother silent and not deadly. I wouldn’t say she looks peaceful or that she looks like she’s sleeping. She looks dead. Bitter Alice. Deceased. What did she want to explain? What did she want me to forgive?

I open her bedside cabinet and take out a brown bag. Inside is a bundle wrapped in red cloth. Unwinding the material, I can see letters, a huge bundle of letters, held together by elastic bands. I stuff them into my bag, intending to read them when I get home.

I sit beside the bed in a state of shock until Felicity arrives and blames me for killing our mother. ‘I think, in fact, that it was lung cancer that killed her.’

‘She was alright last night,’ she says. ‘She was chatting about Freda Birchill’s granddaughter being done for shoplifting.’

‘She wasn’t alright, though, was she? You called me up here because she was dying. You said to me that she didn’t have long left.’

‘Yeah, but I didn’t think…that she would really die.’ Her face crumples then, and I feel almost sorry for her. I put my hand on her shoulder, and she shrugs it off. ‘Do you think it’s been fun looking after her for the past twenty years while you swanned off to the city? You, the big I am.’

‘It’s Newcastle, Felicity, not New York. If you wanted a life, you could have chosen one.’

‘Chosen? Chosen?’ Her voice rises, and she beats her chest. ‘I didn’t have choices. My path was paved when you left. I couldn’t leave as well, could I? She’d have been on her own.’

I ignored her self-pity party. ‘She mentioned the money and Granddad’s watch. She said she knew Drew didn’t take it.’

‘If you’ve come here to cause trouble, I swear I’ll …’

‘Do what? Fliss, you invited me to come.’

‘Just go back to where you came from.’

‘I came from here, actually.’

‘So why do you talk as though you have a mouth full of marbles?’

‘What is it you want from me, Felicity?’

‘Nothing. I want nothing. Precisely what you’ve given me over the years.’

‘I’m going back,’ I say. ‘Let me know the arrangements for the funeral.’

‘Oh, yes, leave it all to me as usual. You can tell Drew to stay away, for a start.’

‘I’ll tell him no such thing. And I’ll tell you another thing, Mother wants him to have his granddad’s watch. Well, she said it’s not Dad’s. So, what do you know about that?’

‘Nothing. I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.’

‘She wants me to find the watch and give it to Drew, and that’s what I’m going to do.’ Her face turns red, then green, then white. She storms off, sticking her nose in the air.



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Blog Blitz: Pressure by Betsy Reavley Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog blitz for Pressure by Betsy Reavley and I’m sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

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Author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Frailty, Carrion, Beneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the Bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London.

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford, where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller.

Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in London, with her husband, 2 children, dog, cat and chickens.

You can follow her on Twitter @BetsyReavley

About the book:

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When the submarine departed, none of the ten people on board knew it would turn into a nightmare.

Trapped on the sunken vessel on the bottom of the ocean and unable to escape, one of them is discovered dead. The tension escalates as the survivors realise there is a murderer among them, who is preparing to strike again and again…

With mounting desperation, people begin to turn on each other. While they struggle to identify who is responsible, each must contend with their own past, the claustrophobia and the secrets they are hiding.

But who is who? And which of them will be next to die?

Below the surface, the pressure is building and time is running out…

‘Betsy Reavley is back with a novel of such impact and power; nothing is clear, the tension so strong it holds you from the first page to the last. Pressure delivers on every level, leaving breathless readers in its wake.’ Bestselling author of Captor and 34 Days Anita Waller

 

 

Ellen’s Review:

A few of my worst fears are as follows; deep water, enclosed spaces, the sea…and being murdered. I really wouldn’t like to be murdered! So obviously a book about a group of people trapped in a malfunctioning submarine slowly being picked off by a psychotic maniac totally pushed all my buttons! As a total thrill seeker I will actively seek out a book that is going to freak me out and make me think “what would I do?”. Now there is no chance you’ll ever find me on a submarine but to be able to immerse myself into this story was a dark delight. I have a vivid imagination and Pressure played out like a horror movie in my mind – I was there shivering in the freezing darkness, smelling the rank odour of bodies beginning to decompose and praying for a solution.

The story is told from quite a few different POV’s including the cast of the movie to be filmed and crew of the submarine. There is also a narrator identified only as Child giving an account of historical abuse at the hands of their mother. This may seem like a lot to get your head around but each chapter is quite short and I found them easy to follow. It seems like each character has an underlying reason to be involved in the film but who is out for murder??

Pressure is the ultimate locked room mystery and I advise you put a few hours aside and read this in one seating just don’t forget to breathe!!

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