~Blog Tour Extract~ Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton

Hi everyone,

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

About the book:

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

Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton

About the author:

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

Prologue

 

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

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

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

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

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


Keep up with the blog tour:

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*Blog Tour* The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Cutaway by Christina Kovac and I get to share an extract with you all. It’s on my TBR so make sure to keep an eye out for my review sometime soon!

About the book:

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It begins with someone else’s story. The story of a woman who leaves a busy restaurant and disappears completely into the chilly spring night. Evelyn Carney is missing – but where did she go? Who was she meeting? And why did she take a weapon with her when she went?

Click here to get your copy!

About the author:

Kovac

Christina Kovac managed newsrooms and produced crime and political stories in the District. Her career as a television journalist began with Fox 5’s Ten O’Clock News, followed by the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. For the last nine years, she worked at the Washington Bureau of NBC News. She lives with her family outside of Washington D.C.

Extract:

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

I PUT MY feet on the desk, making myself comfortable for a long read. The journal was fascinating, frustrating, full of flowery and effusive descriptions of people and places, and not one damn name or date to fact check any of it. Evelyn Carney was either naturally discreet, or she was being secretive. In either case, it seemed she worried she’d have a reader. Who? What did she have to hide?

In one entry, she wrote fondly of a man and how he told her boyhood stories of summers spent at his family estate by a river, bow hunting and fishing in the shadows of the pawpaw trees, reciting the work of the Lost Poets to his grandpa, whose vision was deteriorating.

And later, she described the opera, which she hated but attended anyway, accompanying a powerhouse of a woman she wanted to please. Paige, I wondered? At intermission this woman chatted with a Supreme Court justice, as if they were old friends. How did she get to this place, within striking distance of rubbing elbows with the elite, she wondered yet again, and more important, how to hold on?

I flipped back to the beginning and started again, reading more slowly this time. The earliest entry mentioned a teacher’s great kindness to her, how he’d helped her land a job and given her good advice. He thought she was smart. No one had ever said she was smart. She liked being admired for her mind.

This teacher appeared on CNN, wearing a pinstripe shirt that she described as jumping on the screen, and she warned him it was too distracting, a bad wardrobe choice. This seemed to me an intimate observation, the kind a wife or a girlfriend might make. Assuming this teacher was one of Evelyn’s law school professors, I had two data points—finally, something to work with.

On CNN’s website, I searched the transcript section for George Washington University Law Professor. The query brought up too many hits, so I restricted the field to the last two years, since Evelyn’s journal appeared to have been written fairly recently. Of the legal analysts listed, two were men. I eliminated the senior legal analyst who appeared frequently, thinking he’d know how to dress properly for air. The other was Bradley Hartnett, constitutional law professor.

His profile was on the law school’s website. At the top, screen right, was a portrait of Professor Hartnett. I’d seen him in the crowd at Evelyn’s vigil. No one answered the office number listed on the website, but his voice recording referred me to a cell phone number, which I dialed.

“Hartnett here.” He had a big voice, deep and booming. I barely got out who I was and what I was working on when he agreed to meet. “If it’s about Evelyn, I can talk now. Not sure if I’m up for a taped interview. Mind if we do off-camera?”

I sighed. Only in the District would you find a professor well versed enough in TV lingo to jam me up. Fresh video was desperately needed, but I told him we could begin any way he liked, as long as he talked.

Bradley Hartnett lived in the Kennedy-Warren, a condominium wedged between Connecticut Avenue and Rock Creek Park and to its south, the National Zoo. It was a beautiful prewar building made of limestone and had eagles carved on its colonnade. The setting sun flashed across the windows, gilding the glass.

Hartnett was waiting by a fountain in the courtyard. He was a large, barrel-chested man, and his thick neck sported a green tie, carelessly knotted. As we shook hands, mine disappeared into his.

“Not sure how you do these kinds of interviews,” he said nervously. Whether his nervousness had to do with Evelyn or the interview remained to be seen. “If we need privacy, we can go up to my apartment. Otherwise, there’s a lounge in the building, members only; no one will see us.”

That gave me pause. “Why would we need privacy? You’re not asking for anonymity, right?” I still needed someone to go on the record, for god’s sake.

“Let’s hit the lounge.”

We went through the glass door and into the lobby, where I found myself gawking like a tourist. The lobby was wonderfully glamorous with its brass zigzag railings and deco lamps brightening the rich green walls. Ornate columns soared to high ceilings cut into geometric grids.

Hartnett led me to a bar that belonged in a black-and-white movie. Club chairs surrounded little tables scattered around the room. There was a shiny black piano that no one was playing, and a mahogany bar where a man in a suit polished glassware. We were the only patrons. Hartnett ordered sparkling water for me, a scotch for himself, and we carried our drinks to a corner. He was clinging to his drink like it was a life raft.

I tried to soothe him with chitchat. “What a lovely place to live, and so close to the zoo. Do you ever hear the animals?”

“In the morning sometimes,” he said. “My wife and I used to get up at dawn and listen for lions.”

“Is she here now? Your wife?”

He looked at me strangely. “They didn’t tell you?”

“Who?”

“The police. They told you about me, right?” He had an ankle over his knee. His wing tip oxford was kicking in agitation. “I’m widowed almost five years now. They should have told you that, too. They made me look like a dirty old cheat, didn’t they?”

“A . . . cheat?” I thought about the intimate way Evelyn had written of him in the journal. Had I stumbled on the guy I’d been looking for? “You had a relationship with Evelyn Carney?”

His chin lowered. He gazed moodily into the glass. “No, we weren’t in a relationship,” he said, and then, choosing his words carefully: “We were . . . friends. She confided in me, shared her worries. Why won’t they believe that?”

“Who?”

“Police detectives.”

There are many reasons people talk to a journalist. To help a person find their reason, I’ve played good cop and bad, confessor, psychologist, fellow mourner, and friend. But Bradley Hartnett needed only a willing ear. For him, talk was catharsis, and his words rushed out.

He repeated what he’d told police: he’d never been involved with any student, not even a former student, he swore it. Not that he was any great arbiter of morality, but he took pride in his work. He had always maintained an open-door policy, and while popular with students, he kept firm lines. Besides, those bright young women with their ironed hair and diet-starved bodies held no allure for him. They had no mystery. No depth. They gave voice to every idea, certain theirs were inarguably right. All that youthful sincerity made him feel ancient.

Then one day, Evelyn Carney walked into his lecture hall. She was older than the others, more mature. She always sat in his front row, center seat, all alone, and—it seemed to him—lonely; her serious eyes lingering on him as he lectured. Her loveliness was to him a thing incandescent. As he wove his story, I wondered if Professor Hartnett was a romantic, and his view of Evelyn was idealized, except for this: I’d seen Evelyn in that cutaway video, and she was incandescent.

During the fall that Evelyn was his student, Brad Hartnett became infatuated beyond reason. His life condensed to Thursday afternoon lectures, those ninety minutes he could gaze on her in his front row. Sometimes she’d cross her legs, and he’d get lost in midsentence, but his discipline held firm. If she approached him, he would treat her no differently. He would speak to her as any other student. Every Thursday before the lecture, he made these promises to himself, but she never approached. He never even heard her voice. He only knew her work, and then the class was over.

Months later, she appeared in his office doorway. “She wanted to know if I remembered her,” he said with a humorless laugh. “There she stood, her small hand gripping her opposing wrist, which I’d later learn she did when she was nervous. She was far from home and knew no one in the city. She needed help with her career, and, I like to think, she also needed a friend. I told her she could drop by my office anytime, and she did, frequently. Those visits became the best part of my day. The more we talked, the more dazzled I was.” When he went silent, I gazed at him with sympathy. “You grew to care for each other?”

His face flushed. “Not the way I had hoped, but yes.”

“You loved her?”

He winced. “I do.”

The present tense, I noted. “But you never had a sexual relationship?”

“She’s married,” he said quickly. He took a gulp of his drink and balanced the glass on his knee. “Besides, I don’t believe she has ever thought of me in that way.”

“Understood,” I said, and then I asked him to help me understand the timeline. “She began visiting you, when?”

“Last winter. She was in her final year and needed help on the job search. She wanted to prove to her folks back home she could make it on her own merits.”

“They expected a lot?”

“They expected nothing at all, except for her to be pretty and harmless. They thought even less of her ability to have a successful career in the law. Marry the boy next door. Keep a nice home. Join the local country club. I think their disregard hurt her.”

I understood that, too. “She’s a lawyer, that’s who she is. She wanted recognition for being good, right?”

“Yes,” he said, and then in a defensive tone: “I only arranged the interview. She landed the job herself.”

It was Paige Linden he turned to. Paige had been a schoolmate of his wife, Maggie, who’d been quite a bit younger than Hartnett. He’d always admired Paige’s talents as a litigator and her support for other women in the workplace. Paige also knew firsthand the difficulties working in a male-dominated field, so he’d hoped she might look out for Evelyn.

After Evelyn began working at the firm, he’d planned a celebration that never happened. Evelyn was too busy. Her new bosses were demanding, so he gave her the space she’d asked for, even though he missed her.

Then, several weeks ago, she rushed into his office as though there’d been no time apart. By then, the fog of his infatuation had lifted, and he saw her as he’d never been able to: nearly twenty years his junior, so young it broke his heart. Beneath her makeup, her cheeks were blotchy from crying. He begged her to tell him what was wrong.

“What did she say?” He glanced up as if he’d forgotten I was there. He gave me a troubled look before he said, “What happened Sunday night? Do you know?”

“Investigators say she argued with her husband and left the restaurant alone. She hasn’t been seen since.”

“Yes, yes, that’s what the police say. What really happened?”

I sat back in my chair and watched him. “You don’t believe the police?”

“Take the chief ’s press conference on the news yesterday,” he told me, lifting both eyebrows suggestively. “She described Evie as if she were some silly girl who’d wandered aimlessly into the dark. What a ridiculous caricature.”

“How so?”

“Evie’s small and delicately built, and she understands she’s in a city dangerous to women. She’s far too intelligent to have left the restaurant like that, alone.”

This line of reasoning always mystified me. How did people think we lived? Were we supposed to lock ourselves away the moment night fell? Refuse to leave a restaurant without a man to escort us? Besides, a decade of reporting news in the District had taught me a woman’s intelligence—or lack thereof—had nothing to do with becoming a victim, with influencing who was picked out as the lion locked on one antelope while the rest of the herd moved on.

His eyes shifted away from mine. “What about Evie’s phone?” he said. “Have you heard anything?” A range of expressions played across his face—anxiety? Worry? Guilt? “If she had her phone that night? Do you know?”

There it was again, that look—was it guilt? Suddenly everything he told me took on a darker tone. He had said his infatuation for Evelyn Carney was beyond reason. She cared for him, but not the way he wanted. He was in love with her. He couldn’t have her. He gave her space and was not happy about it.

Investigators had questioned him. Why don’t they believe me?

“Where were you the night Evelyn disappeared?” I said.

“Are you asking if—if—I did something to Evie?” he sputtered. He had thick wrists and hands that were fisted in anger. They were the kind of hands that could crush a small woman. Hell, they could probably crush me.

I kept an eye on his fists. “Could you answer the question, please?”

“On the night Evelyn disappeared, I was at a dinner party,” he said.

“The party was at a friend’s weekend house in Annapolis. I drank too much and stayed overnight. But aside from that, use a little logic, would you? I could never hurt Evelyn. It’s Peter Carney I wanted gone.”


Make sure to follow the blog tour!

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The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay Blog Tour

Hi everyone,

So the lovely Sanjida Kay is publishing her latest novel, The Stolen Child on Thursday April 6th and I get to share an extract with you all. First though, here’s all of the bookish information!

About the book:

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Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn’t. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie.

Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum it’s not easy for Zoe, but life is good.

But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts.

The sender claims to be her birth father.

He has been looking for his daughter.

And now he is coming to take her back…

Buy the book:

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay

About the author:

Sanjida

‘Bone by Bone’, published by Corvus Books, was Sanjida’s first psychological thriller. It was longlisted for a CWA Steel Dagger Award, and was nominated as one of the best crime and thriller books of the year by the Guardian and the Sunday Express. It has also been published as an audio book by Audible.

Sanjida’s second thriller, ‘The Stolen Child’, is out in April. It’s set in Ilkley, where she grew up. Sanjida spent a large proportion of her childhood rambling over the moor, as you’ll probably be able to tell!

Sanjida lives in Bristol, with her husband and daughter.

Extract:

I’ve been searching for you since you were born. There hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t missed you or thought about you. Seven years. It’s taken me seven years. I would never have given up – I hope you realize that when you’re older and understand what I’ve been through. Sometimes I thought I would never find you, but I always knew that God was on my side, and He would help me put this wrong right. As the Lord says, ‘My success can only come from Him. In Him I trust, and unto Him I look.’

I never gave up looking for you but, at times, I was sad and felt hopeless. On one of those occasions, I visited my parents in Yorkshire: where we come from, you and I. They don’t make me happy, my parents, your grandparents, but we are getting on better now. My mother told me some details about your fake mother she’d never mentioned before. I was able to track her down. That was how I found you. It was two years ago. I was walking home along the edge of the river, past the park, feeling the weight of my life pressing down on my shoulders. I knew you lived here by that stage, you see, but I hadn’t managed to find your address yet.

I saw a little girl standing at the top of a slide. I couldn’t see your face – your hair was haloed by light. I felt my breath catch, my heart beat quicken. You slid down, your dress rising. I remember you were wearing shoes with clear sequins and embroidered strawberries. I felt the old sadness rise in me, you seemed about the same age as my daughter, and I was reminded, yet again, of what I had lost. You turned to look at me. I don’t think you realized our connection; maybe I caught your eye because I was standing so still, watching you. The shock of recognition hit me, like a blow to my chest; a left hook to my stomach. You smiled. Your green eyes glowed. You still had your baby teeth. You were – and are – so beautiful. I was absolutely certain, like I know the feel of the breath in my body, the beat of my heart. You, the little girl on the slide, were my daughter. You were five years old. I had finally found you.

I sat on a park bench and pretended to read a paper. I watched you and watched you, drinking you in, like a thirsty man craves water in a desert. You have the same colour eyes as me. You certainly don’t look like your adopted mother, father or your baby brother. I was relieved to see that you were healthy and happy – although you are painfully small and thin for your age. I’ve been worrying all this time – what if your pretend parents didn’t care for you or didn’t love you? They do. They do love you – I can see that. But then, they’re well off. They can afford to buy you nice things. I followed you home. I couldn’t bear to lose you again.

Over the next year, it took hard work to get close to you, but I was energized, I had a purpose once more. And nothing was going to get between me and my daughter again. Later, when I was able to speak to you, you told me that you left London when you were little. It’s ironic that you’ve been here all along while I was on the other side of the world. Now that I know you better, I can see you’re not as happy as you looked then, that carefree day in the park. You’re troubled. It’s sad to see it in a child – but how could you not be? For your entire life, you’ve been in mourning for your real parents. You lost something so profound, the day you were born, that you have never been able to recover. I watch you: in the playground, walking home from school, in your bedroom at night. You are like a beautiful bowl that has been cracked. There’s a fragment missing. I will heal you. I will mend you. I am your flesh and blood. I’m the lost piece in your life. No one can love you as much as I do. No one else knows how you feel like I do; no one else sees your loss.

Every day is a bitter-sweet joy. I watch you as often as I can, but I have to maintain my distance. Your fake parents touch you, hug you, kiss you. I can never get close enough. Even when I’m right next to you, I’m not near enough. The relief I felt on finding you was tarnished, because the old bitterness and rage rose up again.

They stole you from me. They took you away for seven years. Your entire lifetime. A life sentence. The waiting has been endless. The watching. The planning. Now, finally, I’m almost ready. I’ve got a few things to take care of and then we can be reunited. Make no mistake, my darling. I am coming for you.

I will take you back.


I haven’t had a chance to read The Stolen Child YET, but it is on my April TBR so keep an eye out for my review. Having read and loved Bone By Bone by Sanjida Kay, I am totally looking forward to reading this one!

Make sure to check out what Liz thought about it tomorrow on Liz Loves Books!

*Blog Tour* Run by Mandasue Heller

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Mandasue Heller’s new book, Run, and I get to share an extract with you all along with my wonderful guest reviewer Ellen’s review. Firstly though, here’s all the bookish info:

About the book:

After being cheated on by her ex, Leanne Riley is trying her hardest to get her life back on track, which isn’t easy without a job and living in a bedsit surrounded by a junkie and a mad woman.

On a night out with her best friend she meets Jake, a face from her past who has changed beyond all recognition. Jake is charming, handsome and loaded, a far cry from the gawky teenager he used to be. Weary of men, Leanne isn’t easy to please, but Jake tries his best to break through the wall she’s built around herself.

But good looks and money can hide a multitude of sins. Is that good-looking face just a mask? And what’s more, what will it take to make it slip, and who will die in the process…?

Run is published on January 12th and you can click HERE to pre-order your copy!

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About the author:

Mandasue Heller was born in Cheshire and moved to Manchester in 1982. She spent ten years living in the notorious Hulme Crescents which have since become the background to her novels. Not only is she a talented writer, but she has also sung in cabaret and rock groups, seventies soul cover bands and blues jam bands. She still writes and records with her musician partner between books, and their music can be found in Amazon’s music store.
You can also connect with Mandasue on Facebook and Twitter.

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Extract:

Prologue

She shivered when the moon disappeared behind a thick bank of clouds, plunging them into inky darkness. Rain began to spatter the windscreen as the car tyres bounced slowly over the cobbles, and the sudden swish of the automatic wipers made her jump. Hugging herself, she gazed up at the rear windows of the derelict row of shops to her left and the uninhabited terraced houses to the right. Most were concealed behind metal sheeting or smashed, and they were all as dark as the alleyway they were driving into, which told her that there was no one around to help her.
He eased to a stop alongside a padlocked gate halfway along the alley and cut the engine before jumping out and walking quickly around to her side. An icy blast of wind whipped her cheeks when he opened her door, and her legs felt like jelly as she unhooked her seat belt and climbed out.
‘Don’t even think about it,’ he warned, gripping her tightly by the arm when he caught her casting a surreptitious glance back down the alley in search of an escape route. ‘I don’t want to hurt you, but I will if I have to.’
‘You already are,’ she replied shakily, wincing at the pain of his fingertips digging into her flesh.
He let go after a moment, and she rubbed at the sore spot as he turned and slotted a key into the padlock. The gate opened on to a rubble-filled yard at the rear of an empty shop unit, and he waved for her to go in ahead of him.
‘I can’t,’ she croaked, taking a stumbling step back. ‘It’s too dark. There could be rats.’
A squeal of fear escaped her lips when he seized her by the wrist and hauled her into the yard, and tears flooded her eyes when her ankle twisted painfully as he marched her across the debris. He stopped at the steel back door and unlocked it with a mortice key before shoving her into a tiny, pitch-dark hallway. A steep flight of stairs faced them, at the top of which was another door.
The hallway reeked of mildew and rotten food, but when they reached the top of the stairs and he opened the door, an even fouler smell hit her in the face. Covering her nose with her hand, she stumbled over the threshold into the flat above the shop.
The front room was dark, but the moon had emerged from behind the clouds and tiny pinpricks of light were leaking in through the holes in the metal covering the window. As her eyes began to adjust, she was able to make out the outlines of a sofa, a single bed, a cluttered coffee table, and what appeared to be an upturned cardboard box holding a portable TV.
Behind her, he locked the door and then slid his hand along the wall in search of the light switch. Squinting in the unexpected brightness, she inhaled sharply when her gaze landed on the origin of the putrid smell.
‘Oh, my God!’ she cried, staring in horror at the battered body sprawled on the floor between the sofa and the window. ‘Is she . . .’
‘Dead?’ he finished for her. ‘I’d say so, judging by the stench she’s giving off. Not that she was too bothered about hygiene when she was alive,’ he went on, a glint of disgust flaring in his eyes as he gazed down at the body. ‘And she actually thought I’d be interested in a skank like her. What a joke!’
‘I don’t understand.’ She stared at him as if she’d never seen him before. ‘What did she do to deserve this?’
‘She couldn’t keep her big mouth shut,’ he replied, gazing coolly back at her. ‘And the other one’s lucky she was out when I called round there, or she’d have got the same.’
‘Is that why you’ve brought me here?’ she asked. ‘Are you going to kill me, too?’
He opened his mouth to speak, but the sound of a brick knocking against another in the yard below made him snap his head around.
‘What are you doing?’ she gasped, her voice rising to a squeak when he yanked a gun out of his pocket.
‘Shut your mouth!’ he hissed, pushing her out of the way and rushing over to the window. Straddling the body, he pressed his face up against the glass and peered through a hole in the metal sheeting. Several shadowy figures were moving through the darkness below, heading towards the door. A bright light suddenly flared, causing him to wince as it hit his eyes.
‘Armed police . . .’ a voice boomed. ‘Come out with your hands in the air!’
‘We’ve got to do as they say,’ she sobbed, her legs shaking wildly as she backed towards the door. ‘They’ll shoot us both if you make them come in! Please . . . I’m begging you!’
The vibration of a battering ram being repeatedly smashed into the steel door shook the floor beneath their feet, and she almost wet herself with terror when, seconds later, footsteps began to thunder up the stairs.


Ellen’s review:

Mandasue Heller is a new author to me and this urban thriller certainly packs a punch. With an opening chapter that pulls you right in, I knew that I was in for a treat.

Leanne Riley is down on her luck and living in a grotty flat when she meets Jake, an old school acquaintance who has carried a torch for her since then, on a night out with her best friend Chrissie. She is quite a guarded character due to being cheated on in the past but Jake soon wins her over. Jake appears to be the blue eyed boy of the tale but if something seems to good to be true…alarms bells were ringing for me!

Leanne’s best friend Chrissie is central to the story; I’d go so far as to say it gives a “chick lit” (albeit a gritty one!) feel to the book. Their relationship and personal lives resulted in me investing in them both and waiting to see how they would cope with everything that was coming their way. They are both put through the mill throughout!

A book featuring sex, violence, drugs and betrayal but underneath all that is friendship and what people will do when they are pushed to the brink. Four stars from me.


Huge thanks to Macmillan for having us on the blog tour for Run.

Make sure to keep up with the tour:

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Weekly Wrap Up Oct 30th

Hi everyone,

It’s a fairly short and sweet wrap up this week! By the time this is posted, I’ll be at a wedding so I figured I’d best have it done in time! 🙂

In contrast to last week where I read 7 books, this week I haven’t even managed to read one!!! But I am in the middle of 4 different books so here’s hoping I finish them soon as I’m on blog tours for 3 of them!

It was another busy week on the blog again this week with 5 blog tours and a couple of reviews as well, so pretty much a post a day for the week! I’ve listed them in chronological order below if you want to catch up:

*Blog Tour* Gone Astray by Michelle Davies

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*Blog Tour* Her Last Breath by J. A. Schneider

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Dead is Best by Jo Perry

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*Blog Tour* Chaos by Patricia Cornwell 

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Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

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*Blog Tour* The Secret by Katerina Diamond

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*Blog Tour* The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

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Next week is another busy week for blog stuff too! Coming up next week I have:

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Daniel Pembrey and Susi Holliday in conversation on Monday

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What Alice Knew by T. A. Cotterell review on Tuesday

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The Bone Collection by Kathy Reichs blog tour on Wednesday

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October Book Haul post on Thursday

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Crash Land by Doug Johnstone blog tour on Friday

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Before It’s Too Late by Jane Isaac review on Saturday


So that’s been my week!How has your week been? Have you read anything I need to know about? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Hunt For The Enemy by Rob Sinclair *Extract* Blogival

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About the book:

The breathtaking and action-packed finale to the bestselling Enemy series. The Hunt is on. They’ve erased his past. Wiped out his very existence. But Carl Logan isn’t finished yet. On the run in a harsh Russian winter, Logan – once an invaluable asset but now branded a traitor – has been framed for murder. His own firm, the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency, have labeled him a rogue operative after two decades of loyal service. The agency is hunting him down… and they’re not the only ones. But there’s much more at stake than just Logan’s life. One by one, agents and informants from all sides, all allegiances, are dying. And Carl Logan is the only man who can put a stop to it, once and for all.

Sounds fab doesn’t it?! All of Rob’s books are on my TBR!!! Read on for an extract…

 

Chapter  1

July 2000

Marrakech, Morocco

It was summer. It was hot. No, not hot, scorching. The sun blazed down, heating the ground and everything around. Humid, sticky air seemed to seep through cracks in the road and from the walls of the sand-coloured buildings, rising upwards, choking everyone who breathed it. Carl Logan drove through the twisting city streets in a rusty old tin can of a car that clunked and jerked and whined every time he changed gear and every time the engine revved. He wore a pair of khaki linen trousers and a thin cotton shirt, but with the windows of the car fully wound down, the stifling air burst against his face and he was dripping wet. A thunderstorm had not long passed, leaving behind wispy grey clouds in the sky. Even though the fierce sun had done its best to burn away the remnants of the rain clouds, the humidity levels remained peaked.

And yet Logan was almost oblivious to the debilitating conditions. Because today was the day.

Three years of gruelling, agonising training had brought him to this point. The training had been more than tough; it had been life-changing, taking him to the brink physically on numerous occasions. He’d suffered terrible injuries, been hospitalised for weeks on end. It had been mentally draining too. From the intensive mock interrogations to the mind-bending psych evaluations, he’d felt like he was losing his mind. In many ways, he probably had. Numerous times during the training he’d questioned why he was going through it at all. Why he was committing his life to this cause that just three years before he’d not once considered.

But those thoughts were buried deep now.

Finally the training was over. It was time to show his true worth.

Logan had been in Marrakech for four weeks, but the full details of his first assignment for the Joint Intelligence Agency had only been relayed the previous evening by his boss back in England, Mackie. No details or explanation had been offered as to why the targets were on the JIA’s radar and Logan hadn’t asked. The targets were on the blacklist and that was all Logan needed to know. The JIA had hammered into him that his job wasn’t to ask questions. It was to carry out orders.

Sitting next to Logan in the passenger seat of the car was John Webb, a fellow JIA agent. Webb was a number of years more senior than Logan and had been a close mentor over the previous twelve months as Logan assimilated himself into the life of a field agent. The first two years with the JIA had been non-stop training, not even a hint of a real assignment. For the last year, he had been shadowing others in the field, learning.

Now it was his time to shine.

Logan had admired Webb from the very first time they’d met. After a troubled upbringing, like Logan’s, Webb had come into his own since joining the JIA ten years previously. He had an air of respect and dignity and yet he was tough and ruthless. The job of an agent was a loner’s one – there wasn’t the time or capacity for close friendships. And yet Logan had enjoyed the time he’d spent with Webb and he could tell the older agent had relished the opportunity to act as guide and tutor.

‘Take this next left,’ Webb said in his bass voice.

Logan took his foot off the accelerator and the car slowed. He was beginning to turn the wheel when a moped came sweeping up on his inside. Logan slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. Oblivious, the moped driver sped off into the distance. Logan clenched his hands on the steering wheel, attempting to return his focus to the task at hand.

‘Everything okay there? You seem a bit distant,’ said Webb.

It was the second time already on the short drive that Webb had questioned Logan’s state of mind.

Logan shot him a look.

‘I’m fine. I didn’t see him. That’s all.’

‘Okay, okay, only asking.’

Logan put the car into first gear and eased around the corner, into a cramped side street. On one side it was lined with industrial bins and bags of rubbish from the various shops, cafes and restaurants that occupied the parallel street at the front of the buildings. On the other was a series of ramshackle buildings, anything from two to five storeys tall. Cars and mopeds were parked tightly up against the buildings here and there.

The alley was narrow and dank – and dark, which at least provided immediate relief from the ferocious sun. They drove for a couple of hundred yards, Logan keeping the pace slow, winding the car through the at times impossibly narrow gaps where other cars had parked a little too far from the side of the road.

‘This is the place here,’ Webb said, ducking down and looking up through the window at the building on the right-hand side. ‘Pull up wherever you can.’

Logan drove just past the building and the nearest space, then put the car into reverse. He swung the vehicle back toward the wall, only stopping and re-aligning the steering when the rear of the car was a few inches from making contact. He misjudged it. As he turned the car in, there was a scraping noise: the bumper raking against the building.

‘Easy there!’ Webb shouted. ‘Come on, man. Just keep it cool.’ ‘I am cool,’ Logan said.

‘Then straighten this thing up and let’s get inside.’

Logan pulled the car forward a couple of feet, then eased it back into the space, this time missing the wall without any trouble. He and Webb opened their doors in unison. Webb squeezed his muscled frame through the six-inch gap that Logan had given him – it was the only way to park the car and still allow other vehicles to pass. They couldn’t afford to block the street, which would cause unnecessary commotion.

Logan went around to the boot and opened it up. He picked up the larger of the two black aluminium cases that lay there. Webb took the smaller, lighter one. After shutting the boot, Logan followed Webb around to the door of the building. It was derelict, a set of apartments that was in the process of being sold on for refurbishment. Most of the other buildings either side were in a similar state of disrepair, including those that were still occupied. The worn door to the building had a simple lock. Logan stood watch, eyes darting up and down the street and over the surrounding buildings, as Webb expertly picked the lock. It took less than ten seconds. Webb pushed the door open, its warped wood creaking and straining.

‘Come on, follow me,’ Webb said, heading in.

The building was dusty and dark inside but the air felt cool and dry. Webb did a quick recce of the ground floor, looking for any signs of life. There were none. He headed for the bare wooden staircase and Logan followed, lugging the heavy case with him.

‘You’re sure you’re ready for this?’ Webb asked without turning.

‘Yeah,’ Logan responded.

‘You know, it would be understandable if you were nervous.

This isn’t for everyone.’

‘I’m not nervous.’

‘I’m just saying, don’t feel bad if you are. Training is one thing.

But doing this for real? Not everyone can hack it.’

‘Whatever you say.’

‘But I know you can do it. I wouldn’t have let Mackie pass this job to you otherwise.’

‘Okay, I get it.’

‘You ask me, I’d say you’re a natural. Some people just don’t have it. Others do. I’m sure you’ll be fine.’

‘I never said I wouldn’t be.’

‘Okay, okay. So let’s just get this done.’

They passed the fifth and final floor, after which the staircase became narrower and steeper. At the top, they came to a stop at a gun-metal door. Webb pushed down the security bar and the door swung open to reveal the flat roof of the building.

Webb walked out and Logan followed, wincing as the blast of superheated air smacked him in the face. He followed Webb across the burning roof tiles to the far southerly corner. From there they had an unobstructed view toward the Kasbah district with its mix of old-world charm – the sumptuous colours of the rooftop gardens of luxury riads and the minarets from its many mosques poking proudly into the sky – together with the deep blue of the rooftop pools and gleaming glass of flash new hotels.

Webb kneeled down and opened up his case, then took out his spotter’s scope. Logan came down beside him and placed his larger case next to Webb’s. He undid the thick clasps and opened the lid to reveal the green and black AWSM sniper rifle, snug in the deep foam interior of the box.

Logan took out the rifle and attached the bipod, then quickly gave the rifle a once-over, making sure the mounted scope was securely in place. He opened a pouch on the case lid to reveal five shiny .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges and placed them one at a time into the rifle’s detachable magazine. With all five cartridges neatly inside, Logan clipped the magazine onto the assembled rifle and set it down on the ground.

‘Fifteen forty,’ Webb said, looking at his watch. ‘The target isn’t scheduled to arrive back until sixteen hundred.’

‘May as well set up the spotting position now,’ Logan said. ‘Get our sights ready.’

‘Agreed,’ said Webb. He lay flat on the ground and pushed his scope through a gap in the worn concrete wall that lined the rooftop.

But Logan didn’t lie down next to Webb to align the sights on the rifle. There was still plenty of time for that. Instead, he stood up, leaving the assembled rifle on the floor, and fished in his pocket for the plastic cord that he’d stashed there just a few minutes before the two agents had left the safe house.

‘The distance to the front entrance of the hotel is six hundred and seventy-three yards,’ Webb said. ‘The drop is forty-three feet.’

Logan knew the measurements already. He and Webb had been through every last detail numerous times. Webb’s repetition was just part of the routine. Everything had to be perfect for the shot. They would only get a few seconds. But Logan was confident he would take the shot exactly as planned. The distance wasn’t that difficult. The rifle could handle twice with ease. Logan himself had managed close to two thousand yards in training. Six hundred and seventy-three yards wouldn’t be a problem.

‘Wind speed is close to zero,’ Webb said, looking at his handheld anemometer. ‘But I’ll keep rechecking. And we should take readings from different spots on the rooftop over the next hour just to make sure. If we get another storm coming over, it could change significantly.’

‘Okay,’ Logan said, as much to himself as to Webb.

He took a deep breath.

And then he was ready.

Logan wrapped the cord tightly around both of his hands, leaving just two feet of flex in the middle. He was aware that his breathing and heart rate were speeding up, but he was sure it wasn’t nerves. Just adrenaline and anticipation.

With Webb still preoccupied, Logan stepped over his colleague, one foot either side, then quickly dropped his weight to the ground, his knees pinning down Webb’s arms. Webb immediately let go of the anemometer, squirming for just a second before Logan swept the flex under his colleague’s neck. He used his left hand to wrap the cord around a full turn and then he pulled back and out, hard and fast.

Webb rasped, trying to shout out but unable to with the crushing pressure on his windpipe. He kicked and writhed and squirmed. But Logan had taken him by surprise. The experienced agent simply hadn’t been ready and there was no way he was getting out.

Webb coiled and bucked but Logan held firm. He pulled on the cord, using every ounce of strength he could muster, his arms, his whole body tensing and straining. His face turned red, his knuckles white. Veins throbbed at the side of his head; his biceps bulged. But all the time he focused on just one thing: pulling as hard as he could.

Pained sounds escaped Webb’s lips but they were quickly becoming weak, shallow. He clawed at the ligature cutting into his neck. Droplets of blood dripped onto the ground beneath him. It was wound so tightly there was nothing for him to grasp.

Soon, Webb began to scrape and rake at Logan, but he was too far gone already for it to make a difference.

When Logan felt the resistance from his associate wane, he only pulled harder. The cord dug into his hands, sending a shock of pain up through his arms. But he didn’t let up – he just kept on tugging, harder and harder.

Webb’s body went limp and it flopped down, melting into the rooftop. Even then, Logan held tight a few seconds longer, keeping Webb’s lifeless head suspended in the air.

When Logan finally released the grip, unwinding the cord from around the neck, Webb’s face thudded down against the hard floor with a sickening crack. And then he was completely still.

It was done.

Logan stood up, panting, sweat pouring down his brow. He unwound the cord from around his hands and a rush of blood coursed through them, making them throb and sting. He saw several lines of indented red flesh on his palms and the backs of his hands where the plastic had dug in and cut into his skin. Logan dropped the cord and put his hands to his knees for just a few seconds as he got his breathing back under control. His whole body ached from exertion.

When he was ready, he kneeled down next to Webb’s body and rolled his former colleague onto his side, away from where he had been spotting.

After taking one last look at the man who had so readily mentored and guided him, Logan fished his phone out of his pocket and dialled Mackie. He picked up after just two rings.

‘I’m in position,’ Logan said.

‘Good,’ Mackie replied. ‘And you’re alone?’

‘I am now.’

‘Excellent. Then call me when it’s done.’

Logan ended the call and put the phone back in his pocket.

He didn’t know why the targets had been chosen and he hadn’t asked. They were on the JIA’s blacklist and that was all he needed to know.

That was his job now.

He picked up the rifle and looked through the scope, eyeing the hotel entrance, six hundred and seventy-three yards away.

And then he lay down and waited for his second target to arrive.

 

About Rob Sinclair
Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller.

 

Rob’s first novel, Dance with the Enemy, was published in June 2014 and is the first in the Enemy Series following embattled intelligence agent Carl Logan. Rise of the Enemy, the second book in the series, was released in April 2015, with the third book, Hunt for the Enemy, being released in February 2016. The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. He now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSinclairAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rob-Sinclair-746087495413628/

Website www.robsinclairauthor.com

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