Blog Tour ~ The Hangman’s Hold (DCI Matilda Darke 4) by Michael Wood Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today s Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Michael is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.

About the book:

The Hangman’s Hold: A gripping serial killer thriller that will keep you hooked (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 4) by [Wood, Michael]

Your life is in his hands.

In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.
The Hangman waits in the darkness.

He knows your darkest secrets.
He’ll make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

And he is closer than you think.
DCI Matilda Darke is running out of time. Fear is spreading throughout the city. As the body count rises, Matilda is targeted and her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

Click HERE to order your copy now!

Ellen’s Review:

Having loved the three previous novels in the DCI Matilda Darke series by Michael Wood and being an ardent #TeamDarke member I couldn’t wait to get stuck into book four, The Hangman’s Hold. This book could be read as a standalone but personally I’d recommend you read them all – why deny yourself the pleasure of getting to know Matilda and her team?

Michael Wood has gone really dark in The Hangman’s Hold and poor Matilda’s fragile mental strength is certainly pushed to its limits. There is a serial killer who appears to be carrying out murders in the manner of a vigilante, unhappy with how the victims have seemingly got away with crimes they decide to deal with them in the old fashioned way of hanging. Matilda and her team are being pushed from every angle, superiors, the press and even the killer, and it’s clear that not everyone disagrees with the killer’s reasoning. Matilda struggles to keep her team focused at times and it was upsetting to see cracks in what has always been a great working relationship between them all.

It was interesting to see a possible love interest on the scene for Matilda, I’d like to think she deserves a little dose of happiness (especially after the events in The Hangman’s Hold). I love the friendship element that has run through this series and watching the team grow closer and probably heavier after indulging in Sian’s treat drawer!

There are some truly horrific scenes in this book, it’s definitely not for the faint hearted! My heart rate must have been through the roof at certain points and just when you think you can’t take anymore…BAM..another gut punch of a reveal. Speaking of reveals there’s an absolute humdinger but I’ll let you discover that for yourself…..

All the stars for The Hangman’s Hold and bring on book five!!

Follow the blog tour:

Blog Tour ~ The Forgotten by Casey Kelleher Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for The Forgotten by Casey Kelleher and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the book:

The-Forgotten-Kindle.jpg

The more people you love, the more you have to lose…

Nancy Byrne might be the head of the notorious Byrne crime family, but she’s determined to give her little daughter, Scarlett, the best start possible.

After the death of her beloved father, the notorious gangster Jimmy Byrne, nothing’s stopping Nancy from making money on her own terms – even if she has to combine motherhood with providing for her entire family. But with enemies at their door, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones.

But then comes the day when Scarlett goes missing, snatched by a stranger during a trip to the local park, and Nancy’s world is torn apart. Amidst the terror of losing her precious daughter, Nancy is sure of only two things. Someone has taken her daughter … and when she finds them, there’s going to be hell to pay.

Can she find Scarlett – before it’s too late? Or will Nancy’s life of crime come back to haunt her in the worst way possible?

A gritty and hard-hitting thriller packed with shocking twists… Fans of Martina Cole and Kimberly Chambers won’t be able to put this down.

Click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

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Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole.

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time.

She has since published Rise and Fall, Heartless, Bad Blood, The Taken, The Promise, The Betrayed, The Broken and her latest release The Forgotten is due for publication on the 7th August 2018.

For all news and updates:

www.caseykelleher.co.uk

www.facebook.com/officialcaseykelleher

http://caseykelleher.wordpress.com

Twitter: @caseykelleher

Ellen’s Review:

The Forgotten is the final book in the Byrne Family trilogy (The Betrayed and The Broken being book #1 and #2) and as much as I’ve been desperate to read it there is also a pang of regret. This is the end of the road for this series and I’ve really enjoyed being on the journey from the beginning. I highly recommend reading all three to immerse yourself in the dark underworld of The Byrnes! I’ve always maintained that I’m not a fan of gangland books but Casey Kelleher forced me to make a 360 on this decision and in my opinion she is the Queen of this genre.

In The Forgotten Nancy Byrne is still the head of the lucrative family business but there are a lot of people that would like to see her topple and are jealous of her success. Faces from the past are watching, growing envious and desperate for a slice of Nancy’s glamourous life…whatever the danger. Now, I for one would not go poking about with the wasp’s nest that is Nancy Byrne, forget that! She is feared for a reason and you’d have to be a little bit dim, or a little unhinged to think you could get one over on her. Someone is daft enough to abduct Nancy’s precious daughter Scarlett and you can guarantee there will be hell to pay and blood shed when the culprit is found. We see Nancy at her most vulnerable but it brought to mind a quote from Agatha Christie: “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”

 

I loved reuniting with all the familiar faces and meeting some new characters – look out for a particularly dedicated nurse (she needs her own series!). A fantastic conclusion to the trilogy. I’m going to miss The Byrnes but can’t wait to see what’s next from Casey Kelleher.

Catch up on the blog tour:

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Blog Tour~Unrest by Jesper Stein

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Unrest by Jesper Stein and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Jesper Stein, journalist, forfatter
Jesper Stein, journalist, forfatter

Jesper Stein was born in Aarhus, Denmark. He began his writing career as
a journalist and covered the Balkan war, and catastrophes in Africa. He
then worked as a culture journalist for 10 years, interviewing lauded fiction
writers, such as John le Carré, Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbø, Henning Mankell, Peter
Høeg, Peter James, PD James, Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood and Haruki
Murakami.
He made his literary debut in 2012 with Unrest – the first in the Axel Steen
series. He has received massive attention for his sharp eye for detail, rich
and innovative plotting and confident prose. Praised by critics as a writer
who will keep readers on the edge of their seat, Stein has emerged as one
of the most talented authors of crime fiction in Scandinavia.

About the book:

UNREST_HIGH

2007. On the streets of Nørrebro, the worst riots Denmark has experienced for many years see violent
clashes between the police and far-left autonomists protesting the closure of the Youth House.
Meanwhile, in a local cemetery, an unidentified man is found bound and murdered, his body propped
up against a gravestone.
Detective Superintendent Axel Steen is called to the scene, where all signs suggest the dead man is the
victim of police brutality during the riots. But as the investigation progresses, Axel soon discovers that
many people, both inside and out of the force, have an unusual interest in the case – and in preventing
its resolution.Axel will stop at nothing until he’s uncovered the truth – no matter what. But as he tussles
with his ex-wife, his boss, a far-left journalist with a grudge, the security forces and a well-known drug
lord, the consequences turn out to be greater than expected… especially for Axel himself.

Click HERE to get your copy!

Extract:

While they were speaking, Axel looked over at the dead man. He was slight and appeared to be dark-haired, with a narrow face and wide open, empty brown eyes. Axel took a few steps closer. The custom was to wait for the forensics team, let them do their work and afterwards hold a preliminary post-mortem with a forensic pathologist, but Axel always tried to read the crime scene right away. The first unconscious impression could be invaluable later.

There were traces of blood on the body’s lips; not red, closer to black, the colour blood goes when oxygen has been working on it for a short time. The tongue was sticking out between them, thick and purple, as often seen in victims of strangling.

The earth around the body was heavy and black, with no grass. There were bottle tops, broken glass, a chipped cobblestone, wet branches and a pizza box between the white snowdrops. No particular signs of a fight, but on the wall about three feet above his head there were traces of a dried liquid, most likely blood. Maybe he had been killed right here?

Axel thought it through: was it one of the autonomists who, during the street fighting, had got into a scuffle with some officers, who had then overreacted? At the police academy in recent years, much hadbeen done to ensure the mental health of the corps, but it didn’t change the fact that many policemen hated the demonstrators in Nørrebro and their occasionally life-threatening actions. There weren’t many who, like Axel, could remember as far back as May 18, 1993, when the police had found themselves forced to shoot at a group of demonstrators who were on the verge of killing them withcobblestones – but there were enough confrontations nowadays for the hatred to are up again.

He had to swiftly get an overview of which police officers had been on guard duty in the cemetery. And if it turned out that they had nothing to do with the murder, who could have killed him and, moreover, dumped him in a place that was swarming with cops, while the rest of the city had been vacuumed clean of police?

Axel walked up to the wall and looked behind the dead man’s back. His hands were bound with something that looked like strips – the modern plastic handcuffs that the police used. They had been pulled really tight and seemed to have cut into the skin on his wrist. He was wearing a pair of black military boots, black canvas trousers, a brown sweater and a black windcheater. He didn’t look like a typical autonomist. Axel went over to him and bent down. The smell of death was mixed with the stench of urine. It could have been people who had pissed up against the wall, but it was more likely the victim who had wet himself during the treatment he had been subjected to. Axel carefully put his hand into the inside pocket of the jacket and shed around for a wallet or something else that could reveal who he was.

Nothing.

He called the divisional commander over.

“I’ll need a list of the names and numbers of the men on duty in here last night, where they’ve been, when, and records of anyone else who’s been in the area – personnel, people under arrest, press – withnames and civil registration numbers. And then all of you will have to come into HQ to report what you’ve seen – or not seen.”

“Isn’t that a bit over the top? We’ve been on the go since eight o’clock yesterday evening.”

“Nothing is over the top when it comes to murder.” Axel looked down the path. “Do you have everything under control? Are you sure you haven’t seen anyone here yesterday evening or tonight?”

He got an ice-cold, indignant look from his colleague.

“We’ve taken six people in total – four of them climbed over the wall during the street fighting outside and they were just thrown out again. Two were arrested. We hunted them down with dogs. Theywere stockpiling Molotov cocktails in here.”

“No one else?”

“We haven’t seen anyone. We’ve kept it completely closed.”

Axel shook his head and nodded at a figure trudging towards them. “And what about him over there, you bloody amateur? Is he one of ours in civvies, maybe?”

Catch up with the tour:

UNREST_blog tour 2018

Blog Tour~ Blood Tears by Michael J Malone

Hi guys,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Blood Tears by Michael J Malone and I’ll be sharing a Q&A with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Michael J Malone

Michael J. Malone 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, maybe.

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. Don’t ask.

BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a “J” to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.

He is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com and his blog, May Contain Nuts can be found at http://mickmal1.blogspot.com/

He can be found on twitter – @michaelJmalone1

About the book:

Blood Tears.jpg

The first in a series of books with D.I. Ray McBain – a Glasgow detective who turns to his best friend, Kenny O’Neill when he goes on the run after he becomes the prime suspect in a grisly murder.

An old man is found murdered in his Glasgow flat. DI Ray McBain is called to the scene and is the first to notice that the man’s wounds mirror the Stigmata. The police quickly discover that the victim is a former janitor who worked in several care homes where he abused his charges. Is someone taking revenge thirty years after the fact?

McBain, as a child was a resident of Bethlehem House, a Catholic run care home where the murdered man worked and early on in the investigation, McBain decides to hide a crucial bit of evidence relating to his stay in the convent orphanage.

When his superiors find out, McBain becomes the prime suspect in the case and has to make a decision which will leave him on the run and alone, trying to solve the murders and, at the same time, the puzzle of his past – a past that is pushing into the present with a recurring suffocating dream of blood and feathers that descends on him every night.

Click HERE to get your copy!

Q&A:

Blood Tears

First we do the introductions and get some gratuitous plugs in.  Would you like to introduce yourself and draw our attention to the Michael J Malone books which we should be reading?

I started to take my writing seriously around 1996 – after I found myself saying that once I retired I would write a novel. Then I asked myself: why wait? I discovered my local writing club. Met lots of amazing, generous people – learned lots and put in lots of practise – and it took a few years to get published. My poetry took on more quickly and within 2 or 3 years I was regularly getting poems published. The novels were a different story, and it took until 2012 for my first novel to be released.

As to which MJM books people should be reading? All of ‘em, thank you please very much.

The book I would like to focus on today is Blood Tears which was first published in 2012 – so why have we singled this book out to chat about today?

My publisher for this book (and the follow-up) Five Leaves – to whom I will be eternally grateful to taking a chance on me – are concentrating on their other business (a bookshop) so it felt like this was the time for me to take the right back – and re-publish.

For readers who may not have met Ray McBain before could you introduce your leading man and give us an indication as to what type of guy he is.

He’s abrasive, loyal, committed to the job, doesn’t suffer fools, haunted by his past, has an unhealthy attitude to food – there’s a lot to him which makes it a real pleasure to write.

When Blood Tears was a work in progress was there already a plan in place to bring him back for further outings?

I can barely think beyond the next page that I’m writing so I rarely have a big plan in mind. I just concentrate on the book I’m writing. So, no, I had no idea that this character had “legs” when I started writing him.

I have heard more than one author say that once they publish a book they have gone through it so many times that they never want to read it again…how does it feel to return to Blood Tears after all this time?

There’s been enough distance – 6 years – since I went through that part of the process. A period during which I have published another 8 books, so there’s enough literary water gone under the bridge – if you excuse the strangled metaphor. To go back after all this time, was – how shall I put it – interesting? I’m not sure how to characterise it. I’m not one for self-analysis when it comes to my writing. I’ll leave the critique to others. Friends tell me they can see that I’ve matured as a writer, which I appreciate, but I’m unable to make that judgement. But I can see Blood Tears has a raw feel to it. Not sure if that has answered your question.

Do you have any urge to tinker with the story for this re-release?

I did. But I resisted. It felt dishonest to do so. When it was first released it sold a good few copies and to change it in any way felt like I was cheating those early readers who supported me.

Has self-publishing Blood Tears presented some new challenges?  Are you having to perform roles which previously were dealt with by someone else?

Yes, absolutely. Sourcing a cover. Formatting the script for the various e-book outlets – I’m a technophobe so a good friend of mine (thanks, Martie) was a massive help. And now that the book has been re-released I need to help people discover it and that’s where marketing comes in.

Do you have any other manuscripts lurking on a hard-drive somewhere which you may consider self- publishing?

The VERY first book I wrote hasn’t been published – and the story in there deserves an audience and I’m hoping my publisher will help me whip it in to shape. So the answer is no, but I have a number of poems that could be released in a collection when I get the time.

Catch up with the tour:

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Blog Tour~No One Will Hear by Joel Hames Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for No One Will Hear by Joel Hames, and I’ll be sharing her review a little further down!

About the author:

Joel Hames

Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire, England, with his wife and two daughters, where he works hard at looking serious and pretending to be a proper novelist.
After a varied career in London which involved City law firms, a picture frame warehouse, an investment bank and a number of market stalls (he has been known to cry out “Belgian chocolates going cheap over ‘ere” in his sleep), Joel relocated from the Big Smoke to be his own boss. As a result, he now writes what he wants, when he wants to (which by coincidence is when the rest of the family choose to let him).
Joel’s first novel, Bankers Town, was published in 2014, and The Art of Staying Dead followed in 2015. The novellas Brexecution (written and published in the space of ten days following the UK’s Brexit referendum, with half of the profits going to charity) and Victims were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Joel’s website can be found at http://www.joelhamesauthor.com, where you can find out more about the writer and the books, and sign up to his email newsletter. If you want to know what Joel has planned for the future, what he thinks right now, or just stalk him a little, you can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/joelhamesauthor or Twitter at @joel_hames. Joel has never seen the word “Joel” appear as frequently as it does right here, and wholeheartedly approves.

About the book:

Joel H book

Four murders
Four messages
One chance to catch a killer.

Renowned human rights lawyer Elizabeth Maurier lies dead, her body mutilated, her killer unknown. For DI Olivia Martins and her team, it’s a mystery. For the victim’s daughter Lizzy, a poet and academic with a shaky grasp on reality, it’s a tragedy. But for Sam Williams, the man Elizabeth fired a decade ago and hasn’t spoken to since, it’s a whole new world of pain.

Elizabeth’s death has stirred a sleeping past back to life. Former clients are darkening Sam’s door, old enemies returning, ancient cases reopening. It doesn’t help that DI Martins is on his case, the press are dogging his every step, and his girlfriend’s behaviour is increasingly erratic.

But Elizabeth’s murder is just the start. As Sam reluctantly digs his way back into the past, more truths will crumble into lies.

More certainties will shade to doubt.

And more innocent people will die.

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

Ellen’s review:

I have had all of Joel’s books and novellas on my kindle for quite a while so I was glad of the nudge of a blog tour to finally read one! I really struggle to pick from my enormous TBR mountain and it’s great to discover such a fantastic book in there. I am not entirely sure why I haven’t picked one up before; I think I was worried that it wasn’t my type of read. Happy to report I was totally wrong!!

No One Will Hear is Sam Williams #2 and begins within days of where Dead North ended. We have a still bruised and battered Sam returning home to London from Manchester, processing the events that have occurred. This could easily be read as a standalone as the author provides enough information from previous stories but I’d highly recommend you read everything else Joel Hames has written.

There is a darkness to these books (tongue removal anyone?) but humour as well and a nod to a lot of classics. I was torn between being shaken by a murder scene to then chuckling at Sam’s acerbic humour. Sam is one of those character’s you can’t help but love. In No One Will Hear he is bequeathed with writing the memoirs of an old colleague and friend, Elizabeth Maurier, he overcomes the dislike of an arch enemy to get the job done all the while getting drawn into the investigation of her murder. Not only does Sam have memoirs to write and a murder to solve he must deal with Elizabeth’s fragile daughter and his partner Claire who is obviously distracted with her own demons.

A cracking read and I can’t wait to read more!

Catch up with the tour:

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

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About the book:

Fourteen years ago, teenager Ellery Hathaway was victim number seventeen in the grisly murder spree of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. She was the only one who lived.
Now Coben is safely behind bars, and Ellery has a new identity in a sleepy town where bike theft makes the newspapers. But each July for the last three years, locals have been disappearing. Then Ellery receives strange messages hinting that the culprit knows exactly what happened to her all those years ago. When she tries to raise the alarm, no one will listen, and terrified she may be next, Ellery must turn to the one person who might believe her story…

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

My thoughts:

I read the majority of The Vanishing Season in one day because once I got pulled in to the story I had to keep going to see what was going to happen!

Ellie Hathaway is living under a new identity after surviving a killer when he was younger. Said killer is now behind bars, but Ellie has been getting strange messages, and now people are disappearing from the town she lives in. Nobody will believe her when she tries to tell them, so she takes matters into her own hands and calls in the FBI.

What follows is quite a tense read, packed with plenty of shady characters and a really interesting story. I was thoroughly engaged with this one and I was eager to see if my suspicions were correct or not. The Vanishing Season is definitely a fast-paced and clever crime thriller.

Recommended for sure!

Blog Tour~Motherland by G. D. Abson

Hi everyone,

Today I’m closing out the blog tour for Motherland by G. D. Abson and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all!

About the author:

Garry Abson 15BW.jpg

G.D. Abson was born in County Durham and grew up on army bases in Germany and Singapore before returning to the North-East. He is the author of Motherland, the first in a series featuring Senior Investigator Natalya Ivanova, and was shortlisted for a Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.

About the book:

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Student Zena Dahl, the daughter of a Swedish millionaire, has gone missing in St Petersburg (or Piter as the city is colloquially known) after a night out with a friend. Captain Natalya Ivanova is assigned the case, making a change for Natalya from her usual fare of domestic violence work, but, because of the family’s wealth, there’s pressure for a quick result. As she investigates she discovers that the case is not as straightforward as it may seem. Dark, violent and insightful, Motherland twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion.

Motherland by G. D. Abson

Prologue:

Two hours had gone by since they’d left the city behind. The heater was on full but still she shivered. Out here, away from the water and heading north to Finland, forests threatened the road and the temperature dropped to minus thirty in winter. Ksenia stirred with the noise of the engine and Kristina shifted position, bringing circulation to her numb right arm. The silence was oppressive in the Zhiguli and he broke it by turning on the radio; there was nothing except static and he switched to long-wave. She heard the President’s voice and was stunned.

There had been the horror of Chechnya, then everyone’s savings had been wiped out when the rouble crashed. And still Yeltsin survived, propped up by Berezovksy and the other oligarchs. He’d gone to America and been discovered drunk outside the White House in his underwear. On the TV puppet show, Kukly, she had cringed as he was humiliated again and again.

‘He’s leaving,’ she said in shock. ‘Boris Yeltsin is resigning.’

She twisted the volume control to hear it over the Zhiguli’s engine and caught phrases:

“I want to ask for your forgiveness because many of our dreams didn’t come true… the pain of every one of you, I feel in myself, in my heart… in saying goodbye, I want to say to every one of you: be happy. You deserve happiness. You deserve happiness, and peace.”

The old buffoon had made her cry. She dipped her head forwards to dab her tears on the arm of her jacket.

Now the Acting President, a KGB goon called Putin, was promising freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. She wondered if he was smirking while he spoke. At least he didn’t drink, maybe he was what the country needed now: someone serious and sober.

They were travelling faster, a hundred kilometres an hour on the empty carriageway; the Zhiguli’s lights illuminating cones of snowflakes. She wanted to tell him to slow down but she was just as impatient to get away. The radio announcer cut to a live broadcast outside the Kremlin and they sat in silence as the bells of Spasskaya Tower clock chimed.

‘Happy New Year, darling.’ She reached across to squeeze his hand. ‘To our happiness and peace.’

‘I love you,’ he said.

‘I love you too.’ She offered a smile to cover up the white lie.

He yanked his hand from hers.

She looked at him, confused, and saw him gripping the steering wheel; his mouth had fallen open.

The Zhiguli slid silently along the iced road. He stamped on the brake pedal; the car jerked to the left. She held Ksenia tightly against her chest. The Zhiguli cut across the opposite carriageway and there was a smashing of steel that thrust her forwards. She floated in clear air and screamed all the way down.

 

Catch up with the tour:

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