Author Q&A- Simon Duke

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Today, I’m lucky to have Simon Duke on the blog answering some questions for me. I recently read and loved his book The Perfectionist, and you can read my review here.

As always, I’m extremely grateful to authors who take the time out to answer a few question, and if I haven’t said it enough, thanks again Simon!:)

 

– First off, can you tell everyone a little about yourself?

SIMON

 

I was born in Stoke-on-Trent (UK) in 1979. I lived a while in rural England and had a very happy childhood. My family moved to France when I was eleven and I was parachuted into a French school without really speaking French. It took me a while to get up-to-speed with the other kids and I was (and I guess I always will be) an outsider and an observer. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, reading books and watching many American movies of that period. Meantime I grew fond of the modern gangster and of the transition from film noir and epic to the more gritty and realistic portrayal of crime in more recent times. Today, I’m a journalist and I’m often on the lookout for good stories. I’d also like to reassure you that, contrary to the dark subject matter of my books, I’m considered a rather well-rounded person with my heart in the right place, more often upbeat than a preacher of gloom and doom. I have yet to murder someone, but I do keep a list of potential victims in the drawer of my bedside table!
– How did you start writing?

 

During my teenage years. But I really started proper novel writing with Out of Bounds in 2012 (N.B. Out of Bounds is my first novel, published in 2014). Until then I’d only managed to write short stories, and my writing was infrequent, despite my mind over-spilling with ideas. I like to remember one particular day; a day when I had car trouble on my way to work. I took my car to a garage and the mechanic quoted me a hefty amount of money to carry out the necessary repair work – an amount I wasn’t willing to invest. So I began commuting by train and rediscovered the joys of reading, and devouring books in under a week. By doing so I discovered crime fiction authors whom I’d never heard of before. I’d read good books and not so good books. All this influenced me immensely. And at some point I wondered: why not me? This led me to writing the opening scene of Out of Bounds. In May 2013, I’d penned down the first draft.

 

– Can you tell us how you got the inspiration for The Perfectionist?

 

I’ve always wanted to write about serial killers. I’ve read many serial killer books (fiction and non-fiction) and watched my fair share of movies on the persona. Some direct movie influences for The Perfectionist include Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986), Se7en (David Fincher, 1995), Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1986), The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone, 1994)…

 

Serial killers fascinate me. In fiction, they are highly stylized, and even real-life serial killers have become celebrity monsters through media coverage. I read somewhere that serial killers are for adults what monster movies are for children: that is the guilty pleasure of scary fun. Serial killers are so extreme in their brutality and in their behaviour that we can be drawn to them out of basic and intense human curiosity. Their behaviour is seemingly inexplicable, so we feel a duty to try and understand what their motives are. And they appeal to our most primal feelings: fear, lust or anger. So I reckoned I’d give it a shot myself, but with a novel angle.

 

The killer in The Perfectionist could be considered the ultimate serial killer. He seemingly chooses his victims at random across America; he has been at large for more than two decades; he has flown under the radar of the cops and the FBI by navigating through the loopholes of the federal law enforcement system; he respects a unique and horrific modus operandi and fine-tunes methods of execution to seek artistic perfection. In the world of law enforcement, there exists a scale on which to rate killers. My killer does not feature on the scale.

 

Finally given my journalistic background, I’ve always dreamed of stumbling on a killer myself and pursuing him before submitting the proof of his guilt to the police. Gerry Stokes in the book lives that dream for me.

 

– Some of the killing methods are very violent, I bet your browser history is fun! Are they true to life and as gruesome as they are described in the book? How did you decide on the various modus operandi?

 

Indeed, I hope the FBI hasn’t hacked my computer. I’d have trouble justifying my highly suspicious Internet history! I must’ve researched dozens of the methods of execution and selected just some of the disturbing MOs that are out there. It’s a frightening realization that some of the methods of execution in The Perfectionist are shockingly quite commonplace. The Colombian necktie, for instance, is a frequent statement that is made in the world of drug cartels. Other methods I refer to in the book where used on a regular basis in the Middle Ages, Feudal Japan, or in Roman times. The killer in The Perfectionist respects a unique and horrific modus operandi and fine-tunes various methods of execution to seek artistic perfection. He has surgical precision. He’s highly intelligent and methodical. The human body is his canvass and he’s not afraid to experiment.

 

– When you began writing The Perfectionist, had you the ending mapped out or did it all just lead up to the events naturally?

 

I have tons of story ideas, and I note them down as soon as they begin to gain in substance in my mind. If inspired, I will look into them deeper and weigh the possibility of taking some further and writing them up. So, be it with The Perfectionist or with Out of Bounds, I started off with an idea and wrote it down in a summary. I began by writing a few scenes and things gradually fell into place. As soon as I had a solid enough backbone to the story, I fleshed it out and divided the result into chapters. From then on, I wrote bit by bit. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t alter things along the way. Sometimes I realised the storyline was weak and needed beefing up, or I had a change in mind with regard to how events unfolded. I then went back to the backbone and fitted in these new ideas. The first ending of The Perfectionist for instance struck me as not very satisfactory. The whodunit aspect needed a bigger concluding twist. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with an alternative finale.

 

– What’s a typical day for you when writing?

 

I’m not a full-time crime fiction writer… well not yet! Therefore I must write, research, plan, and meditate outside office hours. So it’s weekends, evenings, and sometimes lunch breaks for me. I also have to be present for my daughter and for my girlfriend and have some sort of social life too! I also occasionally work as a projectionist at my local cinema. But if I have a free full day ahead of me, I’m the kind of person who likes to get up early in the morning, have a cup of tea, and write non-stop until lunchtime. In the afternoons and evenings, I prefer to focus on other things and recharge the batteries. I do sometimes dream of a getaway log cabin next to a lake lost in some faraway forest. I believe that Michael Connelly quit his job at the L.A. Times after his third Harry Bosch novel. Maybe one day I’ll get there as well!

 

– I always assume writers are voracious readers but I’m probably wrong! Do you read much, if at all? And if so, do any authors you read influence your own writing?

 

As mentioned I am constantly reading the works of my peers. My influences are multiple and varied. The literature influences are also quite numerous. However, if I had to come up with a shortlist of inspirational authors and books which helped me write The Perfectionist, I’d have to mention the works of Michael Connelly (e.g. The Poet), RJ Ellory (e.g. The Anniversary Man), Henning Mankell (The Kurt Wallander series), James Ellroy (e.g. Killer on the Road), Shane Stevens (By Reason of Insanity), as well as possibly Dennis Lehane, John Grisham, and even Paul Auster and Ernest Hemingway. Authors I read influence me in one way or another, and I’m always on the lookout for new favourite writers. I love discovering new talents, even if that means I can be sometimes disappointed by what I stumble upon.

 

– If you could choose a character from your book to meet, who would it be and why? I’d pick The Perfectionist myself!

 

It’s got to be Gerry Stokes. He’s a complex character. He’s a rookie reporter stuck in small-town Iowa in the late 80s, working for a local paper, but with great ambitions. We meet him again more than twenty years later. He’s become a seasoned business journalist working for the Chicago Tribune. He’s a self-centred, obnoxious and arrogant guy with a soft spot for sex with prostitutes. Despicable. But he’s got talent and flair. The morbidity and seriousness of the investigation will change him, and so will his relationship with the woman who puts him on the track in the first place, Sarah Howard. Gerry’s evolution in the book is gradual and we grow to like his character. He might not be of the Walter White of Breaking Bad calibre, but I’m sure he’d be the heart of any given party.

 

– For those who haven’t read The Perfectionist, can you give a spoiler free synopsis?! Sell your book basically! 😉

 

This 47 second video should get you intrigued: https://youtu.be/6rXPMFLeKTg

 

It’s a video trailer for The Perfectionist, which I produced myself. I integrated some very eerie footage, still shots of the book cover which was designed by my friends Oscar Sanchez and Bertrand Raes, and I incorporated (courtesy of the Marmoset music agency) a track by Josh Garrels.

 

And here’s a short synopsis:

 

“In 1988, a severed head belonging to an unidentified old man is found rotting in an Iowa corn field. Confronted with this gruesome discovery, rookie reporter Gerry Stokes is urged by the local sheriff and his newspaper editor to cover up the affair. But the truth can’t be concealed forever.

Twenty-two years later, Stokes, now an arrogant and unpleasant sex-driven, yet seasoned veteran journalist at the Chicago Tribune, must at last atone for his wrong-doings as the shunned-upon past returns with a vengeance. Payback ultimately comes in the attractive form of Sarah Howard, a young woman who believes she has identified the old man as being her own long-lost grandfather, Ted Callaway. Unwilling to be exposed by the young woman, Stokes is forced into an investigation to discover the truth of what happened in 1988. Stokes stumbles upon an even more sordid truth: Callaway is one of many victims; people seemingly chosen at random across the nation by a serial killer who has been at large for more than two decades: a killer who has flown under the radar of the cops and the FBI by navigating through federal law loopholes while respecting a unique and horrific modus operandi. By fine-tuning methods of execution, the killer seeks artistic perfection. He is “the Perfectionist”.

Three years later, the investigation is given a new lifeline after Stokes is alerted to a series of gruesome Colombian neckties. Stokes realizes that the Perfectionist, who had been dormant for a long time, is still at large and has resumed his hunt for new victims. To obtain confirmation that his killer is still active, Stokes must confront the FBI’s determined lead investigator, Special Agent Elliot Keppler.

 

At the same time Stokes sets himself an ambitious target and potential path to fame: he wishes to publish a special book, which for the very first time in publishing history will give the police the means to capture a serial killer. With such high stakes, the pressure is on. Stokes is in the race of his life to discover the killer’s identity and publish his bestseller, while bending the notions of what can be considered ethically right.”

 

– When can people buy your book? Release dates etc.

 

The Perfectionist will be available in both paperback and ebook formats on January 19, 2016.

 

The paperback will be available on Amazon’s websites http://www.amazon.co.uk/Simon-Duke/e/B00J0YEZYE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

The ebook is already available for pre-order on Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/The-Perfectionist-SIMON-DUKE-ebook/dp/B016WCU56I

 

as well as on Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/585299

 

and at various online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo,  FNAC, Rakuten, etc…

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-perfectionist-simon-duke/1122801579;jsessionid=16C824F21C6EA5EC4E4515615AC746B8.prodny_store02-atgap11?ean=2940152412017

 

My first novel, Out of Bounds, is available at most of these links too.

 

– Lastly, where can people follow you and your work?
Feel free to connect with me at any of the following:

 

Author Website and newsletter: http://simongduke.blogspot.com
Twitter: @SimonGDuke
Facebook: www.facebook.com/simonduke
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8287983.Simon_Duke

 

Blog Tour- For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood

Super excited to be the first stop on the blog tour for Michael’s For Reasons Unknown. Blogsquad may or may not have pressured him into it, but only because we loved the book and wanted to share it far and wide! 🙂 Here’s the blog tour schedule!

 

I’m lucky enough to get to post my review AND give you an excerpt from For Reasons Unknown too.

 
About the author:

 
Michael Wood 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:



Two murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more…
A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald.

DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word.

Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda’s case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more…


My thoughts:



Where to start?!

First off, I loved this book. I read so many crime books that at times they all run into each other but every so often a book comes along with a story that stands out. For Reasons Unknown did just that.

DCI Darke (what a name by the way!) is back to work after some traumatic events in both her personal and professional life. Clearly not 100%, she is tasked with solving a cold case from twenty years ago. The double murder of Miranda and Stefan Harkness, whose murder was witnessed by their eleven year old son and in turn, rendered him mute.
Simultaneously, acting DCI Hales is investigating a murder in the city. Both past and present cases end up related so it becomes a race against time as it appears that the murderer may not be finished. While I saw this coming, I still enjoyed the way it was going.
I really enjoyed the pace of this story, and I found myself reading at every opportunity (including in the car even though it makes me sick!!! I had 6% left to read!! 😄) as I was enjoying it so much. Hence I had it finished fairly quickly!
As I was nearing the end, I think from about 70% on, my brain starting working everything out! Having said that, I think the author has created an intricate web in a larger story which really comes into its own in the last few chapters. That’s where things really get going, in my opinion.
Now that I’m finished, I feel like I have a book hangover. I don’t get that very often! 🙂
I have recommended this book to people already, and I will recommend it again as I genuinely loved it! Usually on Twitter, so I’m sorry Michael for all the @@@!! 🙂 (@Bibliophilebc if you fancy following)
I gave For Reasons Unknown 5 ⭐️ on Goodreads (a rarity but it does happen! 😉).

BUY YOUR COPY HERE!

Happy reading! 😊📖

Excerpt from For Reasons Unknown:


                                                       Prologue 

It could have been any sitting room in any house throughout the country but it wasn’t. It was a room in the middle of South Yorkshire Police HQ, designed to give a relaxed, homely atmosphere. From the outside, it looked friendly and inviting, but if walls could talk they would tell a different story. Here, parentless children were comforted; victims of rape and sexual abuse were given tea and sympathy; and elderly victims of brutal crimes were consoled by fresh-faced WPCs with soothing tones and a never-ending supply of tissues.

Sitting on the floor was a blond, blue-eyed eleven-year-old boy dressed in a grey tracksuit that didn’t belong to him. He was surrounded by blank sheets of paper and an array of wax crayons, coloured pencils, and felt-tip pens. Squatting next to him was a young PC, who, against orders from his superiors, had not changed out of uniform. The door opened and in walked Dr Sally McCartney. Unlike the PC, she had softened her appearance. Gone were the severe ponytail and conservative jacket. She had removed her glasses and suffered the anxiety of touching her eyes to put in contact lenses. She shot the PC a look of indignation. He could have at least taken off his uniform jacket. ‘Hello Jonathan,’ she said. The young boy didn’t look up from his drawings. ‘My name is Sally. I’ve come to have a chat with you if that’s all right?’ He continued to scribble on the paper. Sally McCartney knelt down to his level and looked over his shoulder. He had drawn a house and was colouring in a large tree next to it. ‘Is this your house?’ Jonathan nodded. ‘It’s very nice. That’s a lovely tree too. Do you climb it?’ No reply. ‘Which room is yours?’ He pointed to the top right window with the blue curtains, then went back to colouring in the tree. ‘Is the room next to yours your brother’s?’ He nodded again.

‘Jonathan, we’ve been looking for your brother but we can’t seem to find him. Do you know where he might be?’ Jonathan stopped drawing and looked up as if in thought. He looked across to Dr McCartney and fixed her with an expressionless stare, then returned his attention back to his drawing. ‘Jonathan, we need to find your brother. It’s very important. Do you know any of his friends?’ The door opened and Detective Sergeant Pat Campbell popped her head into the room. She looked haggard, having been on duty for more than twenty hours. She signalled for Dr McCartney to join her in the corridor. ‘Why didn’t that PC change out of his bloody uniform as I told him to?’ she asked before the DS could speak. ‘I don’t know. He should have done.’

The DS sighed and looked to the ceiling. ‘Has the boy said anything?’ ‘Not yet.’ ‘It is paramount we find his brother.’ ‘I heard that his mother was still alive. How is she?’ ‘I don’t know where you heard that from. Both parents were pronounced dead at the scene. They were hacked to death.’ ‘Jesus. Well he doesn’t need to know any of that. Not now at any rate.’ ‘We’ve managed to locate a relative in Newcastle. She’s coming straight down, but it’ll be a few hours before she gets here. Look, whatever happened in that house, he saw it, or at least heard it, and I need to know.’ ‘I’m aware of that.’ Pat Campbell looked over the doctor’s shoulder, through the narrow glass window in the door, and into the room at the young boy drawing as if nothing extraordinary had happened.

‘How does he seem?’ ‘He’s in a complete shutdown, which isn’t uncommon. When it comes to anything traumatic sometimes our brain takes time to come to terms with it and until it does, it shuts down. It’s a self-preservation thing.’ ‘So he’ll soon come out of… whatever this is, and be able to tell us what happened?’ ‘In theory, yes.’ ‘Why only in theory?’ ‘Depending on what he saw his brain may not want him to remember.’ ‘Bloody hell,’ Campbell said, leaning back against the wall for support. ‘What’s with the drawings?’ ‘It’s a way of helping young children come to terms with what they’ve witnessed. Whatever they draw is usually an indication of what’s going on in their heads. Hopefully it will help to understand what went on in that house, and then we can take our therapy from there.’ ‘And what’s he drawn so far?’ ‘He’s drawn his house with a tree next to it.’ ‘Does that tell you anything significant?’

‘Not yet,’ she half smiled. ‘It’s early days. He’s clearly looking at what happened from the outside. If his next drawing is also a house, I’ll ask him about the inside and see what he draws when I talk about the rooms in the house.’ Pat shook her head. ‘My God, the mind is a powerful thing isn’t it? I don’t envy your job.’ There was nothing the doctor could say to that. There were times she didn’t envy her job either. ‘Is there any chance of getting him in some of his own clothes? That sodding tracksuit stinks.’ ‘I’ll get something brought over from the house.’ ‘And how about a glass of milk and some chocolate?’ ‘Whatever you want.’ ‘Thank you.’ She turned and went back into the room. Jonathan had drawn two adults, a child, and was currently on a second child: his family. Dr McCartney bent down next to him and watched him draw in the details: the hair, the clothes, the eyes, the smiles. He then picked up a red felt-tip and with a forceful action that caused the doctor and PC to jump, he scribbled all over the picture. He didn’t stop until his mother, father, and brother were completely covered in blood.

————————

Now! If that opener doesn’t make you want to read For Reasons Unknown then I don’t know what will! Definitely one of my books of the year! 🙂

Thanks to Michael for letting me be a part of the blog tour (like I was giving him a choice 😂) and for being the first stop on what will no doubt be a fun blog tour! 😊

The Perfectionist by Simon Duke

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Those of you who follow me over on Facebook know that I have been helping Simon Duke with promoting his new book, The Perfectionist and I have been lucky enough to read it! So massive thank you to Simon 🙂

SIMON

About the book:

Iowa, 1988. An unidentified severed head is found rotting in a corn field. Confronted with this gruesome discovery, Gerry Stokes – an arrogant and obnoxious newspaper reporter – agrees to cover up the affair. But the truth can’t be concealed forever.

More than twenty years later, Stokes must finally atone for his errors as the past returns with a vengeance. Forced into an investigation to discover what happened all those years ago, he stumbles upon a sordid truth: the victim is one of many; people seemingly chosen at random across America by a serial killer at large for more than two decades; a killer with a unique and horrific modus operandi who’s flown under the radar. Still at large the killer seeks to achieve artistic perfection in his methods of execution. He is “The Perfectionist”.

While tracking the killer under the cloak of FBI suspicion, Stokes sets himself an ambitious target and potential path to fame: write a book that leads the police to the killer, a first in the history of publishing.

The stakes are high and the pressure is on. Stokes is in the race of his life to discover The Perfectionist’s identity and publish his bestseller, while forced to bend the notion of what is ethically right.

My Thoughts:

I was really looking forward to reading The Perfectionist as I loved the premise of the book, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The book started off relatively slow for me, but once we go forward 20+ years, and meet Gerry again, it starts to gain pace. I’ll be honest, Gerry wasn’t the most likeable characters to begin with but owing to the events in the book, he changes completely. Stokes goes from a solitary life as a borderline alcoholic, to a driven and focused reporter again.

Stokes is contacted by his old editor in Clarion, Earl De Vries. Earl tells him a woman has been asking to contact him as she thinks the John Doe from back in ’88 is her grandfather. Gerry isn’t too willing to talk with her but Sarah Howard isn’t easy to say no to.

In the search for the truth regarding Sarah’s grandfather, Stokes finds another similar case and begins to formulate his theory of a serial killer. As more and more murders appear from the past 20 years, with some unusual modus operandi, Stokes and Howard uncover much more than they could ever have imagined.

The Perfectionist really picks up pace from here on in and becomes a much more enthralling read. I loved the dynamic between Gerry and Sarah, they work well together trying to piece everything together. When an unusual murder occurs, they go to the FBI with their findings, and the FBI enlist their help. Both groups essentially are in a race against time to find The Perfectionist, before he commits any more murders.

Stokes, during his hunt for the killer, has decided to turn his research into a book. It is about tracking the serial killer, and it will end by disclosing the murderer. A publishing feat never done before.

I wont go into any more detail, I’m useless at trying to explain plots without spoilers. The Perfectionist has a brilliant twist in the last quarter, one which I may have suspected slightly earlier on, but the big reveal and events surrounding it are superbly written.

Simon Duke has written a very well crafted novel, with a truly evil villain. If I had to pick a favourite character, honestly, I’d pick The Perfectionist. Intelligent, patient, calculating and just wicked. I liked Stokes as well, but The Perfectionist won out.

I would highly recommend The Perfectionist. Fans of crime thrillers and serial killer novels would devour this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads! Thanks again to Simon for giving me the opportunity to read The Perfectionist! 🙂

 

 

30 Day Challenge- Day 27

Book that has been on your to read list the longest…

I have quite a few books on my shelves that have been there for quite some time, but I could be here all day listing them. I’ve gone with one that I’ve had on my shelves since before we moved house (4 years ago) and another that was bought in or around the same time!

A Voice For The Dead by James E.Starrs

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In the midst of his distinguished law school career, James Starrs made an extraordinary leap into the politically fraught, physically arduous business of actually exhuming bodies to solve cold cases that have defied answers for years. Helped by cutting-edge technology as well as the forensic science he had been teaching for decades, he has made important discoveries. These fascinating revelations are dramatically chronicled in A Voice for the Dead.

Starrs’s passionate intention is to set the record straight, to right the wrongs done by tall tales and cover-ups, by even the most cherished historical legends. Among the high-profile cases he writes about are Jesse James-are the remains buried in his purported grave really Jesse’s? Mary Sullivan-was she, as supposed, a victim of Albert DeSalvo, who confessed, perhaps falsely, to being the Boston Strangler? And the Cold War government scientist who fell to his death from a high floor of a New York hotel-did he jump or was he pushed?

 

Blind Fury by Lynda La Plante

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A motorway service station on the M1: dimly lit, run down, poorly supervised, flickering lights, dark corners; a favourite stopover for long-distance lorry drivers on their way up north from London. Behind it, a body is found in a ditch, that of a girl barely out of her teens. She appears to have no family, no friends, no connections anywhere. Other girls have gone missing in the vicinity and no one has stepped forward to claim them. Anna Travis is assigned to the case. Her blood runs cold when she receives a letter from a lifer — someone she was responsible for arresting in the past — who writes to her from prison, asking her to visit him urgently. For he claims he knows who the killer is…

 

So, there you have it, two of my longtime TBR shelf warmers! I will get to them eventually! 😉

 

 

30 Day Challenge- Day 22

Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise…

I’ll be honest, I had to Google plot devices as i had no idea what they were. I know what irritates me when I’m reading a book now though 🙂

I am not really a romantic person, I’m sure it’s there somewhere, but mainly it just makes me go

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So I have to say my least favorite plot device is romantic interludes for what of a better phrase. I read a lot of “manly” books, so the last thing I want to read is that the main character and a female sub-character magically fall into bed in a moment of weakness or whatever!

I was reading a book lately, and the male lead and female lead spent the first 200 pages gazing longingly, thinking about what it would be like to be together, yada yada yada, and it just took from the main story. The main story was a serious theme, trafficking i believe, and reading the book it just felt like it wasn’t being addressed. Thanks to one of my friends, it has now become known as #sexytension 🙂

Lee Child is another author who is fairly predictable with his main character’s dalliances with women. Jack Reacher fairly gets around bless him. Even though I’ve read all the JR books, and i know it’s coming, it still annoys me!

Any plot devices you don’t like?!

 

 

 

30 Day Blog Challenge- Day 8

Most underrated book… 

I am having zero luck with this challenge lately! 😂

I have racked my brains and I cannot think of many books I have read that are underrated. The only one I can think of is a book I read about 8 years ago.

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld.

 

Synopsis:

In this historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattan’s wealthiest heiresses

Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind’s most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protege. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelier—whipped, mutilated, and strangled. The next day, a second beauty—a rebellious heiress who scorns both high society and her less adventurous parents—barely escapes the killer. Yet Nora Acton, suffering from hysteria, can recall nothing of her attack. Asked to help her, Dr. Stratham Younger, America’s most committed Freudian analyst, calls in his idol, the Master himself, to guide him through the challenges of analyzing this high-spirited young woman whose family past has been as complicated as his own. 


I don’t generally read historical fiction but I loved this book!!! And I rarely hear it mentioned anywhere. I lent my copy to a friend years ago, and never got it back!!! (Grrrrrrr!!!)

I was book shopping online on Friday night and I came across it for €2 on a used book site so I repurchased it!

Anyone else read this book?! 😊📖

Time To Die by Caroline Mitchell 


Well… Where do I begin?!
Time To Die is my fourth read for Bookouture Thriller Week, which ends today! I’ve already read and loved Caroline’s first DC Jennifer Knight book Don’t Turn Around, my review of which you can read here!



About the book:

Don’t ever cross his palm with silver.

He will reveal your most shameful secrets.

He will predict your death.

He is hiding a secret.

He is hiding a monster.

And all his predictions come true.

Investigating a series of chilling murders, Detective Jennifer Knight finds herself tracking a mysterious tarot card reader known only as The Raven.
As the death toll rises, Jennifer and her team build a picture of a serial killer on the edge of sanity, driven by dark forces. But these are not random killings. And the method behind the madness could be the most terrifying thing of all …
Especially when it seems the death of one of their own is on the cards.


My thoughts:

I loved Don’t Turn Around and I couldn’t see how Caroline could write a better book in the series. How wrong was I!!!! Time To Die is absolutely fantastic. It is full of suspense, mystery and some very chilling scenes.

I’m usually not creeped out when I read books, but to be honest for parts of this book I was glad the light was on and that my husband was next to me! 😂 Towards the end of the book in particular, when I started hearing random noises in our bedroom while I was finishing the book, my heart was pounding. I was genuinely freaked out.

The Raven is one of the eeriest characters I’ve come upon in books for a long time. The prophecies he relays to the intended victims all have roots in their past, and when he tells them their future they are almost incredulous. Much to his annoyance. The chapters in the mind of The Raven are some of the spookiest, most atmospheric pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time. I feel I should add I don’t read horror/suspense books normally so I don’t have a lot to compare it to but I was 100% freaked out by this book.

Caroline has a wonderful way of crafting her books to give the maximum impact when it comes to the final reveals. In my opinion, her twists are some of the best I’ve read in this type of writing genre. I would happily keep reading the DC Knight series for as long as Caroline writes them!

I thoroughly enjoyed Time To Die. I read it at every spare opportunity as I was dying to see what was going to happen to the characters. I admit if I stopped on a chapter in The Ravens voice I was more than a little apprehensive to pick up reading as I was afraid of what he would have to say for himself.

I remember watching Hitchcock’s The Birds when I was small (too small if you ask me!!!) and this book is its bookish equivalent in my opinion. The Birds in the movie are the villains, and I think birds are ominous at the best of times for me, so the Ravens really made me feel uneasy.

I’m really glad I got around to reading Time To Die. It was one book I won’t forget in a hurry, and you can be damn sure I won’t be making eye contact with birds any time soon!!! 😂😂😂

I gave Time To Die a well deserved 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ on Goodreads!

Happy reading! 😊📖