Blog Tour: Burnout by Claire MacLeary

Hi all,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Burnout by Claire MacLeary and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all!

About the author:

cmcl.jpg

Claire MacLeary lived in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Fife, before returning to her native Glasgow. She describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”. Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies.

About the book:

Burnout.jpg

“My husband is trying to kill me.” A new client gets straight to the point, and this line of enquiry is a whole new ball game for Maggie Laird, who is desperately trying to rebuild her late husband’s detective agency and clear his name. Her partner, “Big” Wilma, sees the case as a non-starter, but Maggie is drawn in.

With her client’s life on the line, Maggie must get to the ugly truth that lies behind Aberdeen’s closed doors. But who knows what really goes on between husbands and wives? And will the agency’s reputation – and Maggie and Wilma’s friendship – remain intact?

Click HERE to order your copy!


Burnout, by Claire MacLeary

The woman leaned in. ‘I’ll get straight to the point. I think my husband is trying to kill me.’

Wow! Maggie jolted upright. That’s a first!

She struggled to maintain eye contact whilst her mind worked overtime. If their initial telephone conversation was anything to go by, this Mrs Struthers promised to be a profitable new client for the agency. But a threat on her life? That was a whole new ball game.

Maggie re-lived the dressing-down she’d had from DI Chisolm earlier that year when she got herself involved in an active murder investigation. What on earth was she going to do now?

Maggie took another squint at Sheena Struthers. Small-boned. Short hair. Good skin. Not much make-up. Pretty in an old-fashioned sort of way. And ages with herself, she reckoned, or thereabouts. In short, the realisation hit home, like Maggie in another life.

Poor woman looked a bag of nerves: eyes staring, fingers picking relentlessly at her cuticles. Almost as fraught as Maggie had been when she’d first picked up the reins of her husband’s private investigation business. Still, the woman would be frightened, wouldn’t she, if someone really was trying to top her?

‘That’s a very serious allegation, Mrs Struthers,’ Maggie continued.

‘Sheena, please.’ The woman opposite pushed her cappuccino to one side.

They’d met in Patisserie Valerie in Union Square. Maggie had passed it often enough but never been inside. In her straitened position, she couldn’t afford to stump up nearly three pounds for a cup of something and the same again for a pastry. But the easy parking suited both her and her prospective client, and the cafe was low-key, more private than Costa Coffee or Starbucks.

‘Sheena.’ Maggie started to smile, then, remembering the subject matter, hastily rearranged her face. ‘On what grounds, might I ask, is this allegation based?’

Lord, would you listen to yourself? Since becoming a PI, Maggie had schooled herself to think like a detective. Now she was beginning to talk like one.

‘Just a feeling, really. It’s hard to explain, but…’

‘It’s this time of year.’ She cut the woman off mid-flow. ‘The run-up to Christmas puts a strain on the most solid of marriages.’ What she wouldn’t give, now, to have a man at her side, strain or no.

‘You’re so wrong.’ Sheena Struthers looked her straight in the eye. ‘I’ve done my homework, Mrs Laird. Looked into other agencies, in Aberdeen and further afield. For one thing they’re much too big. You’ll appreciate that in my situation…’ She cast a furtive glance around the cafe. ‘Discretion is paramount. With companies that size, one can never be sure.’

‘But the police,’ Maggie interjected. ‘Shouldn’t you…?’

‘My dear…’ Keen brown eyes gazed into Maggie’s own. ‘One gets the impression they’re stretched enough, don’t you agree?’

Maggie offered a non-committal, ‘Mmm.’

‘And besides,’ Mrs Struthers insisted, ‘you must realise that any police involvement could endanger my marriage.’

For the second time that afternoon Maggie was caught on the back foot. Make your mind up, woman: your marriage or your life? ‘Oh, yes,’ she murmured, ‘I see what you mean,’ though she was at a loss to follow this line of reasoning.

‘Nor could I take the matter to a solicitor,’ Sheena Struthers continued. She leaned in close, dropped her voice. ‘My husband is an accountant, you see. Moves in rather a closed circle. And Aberdeen, it’s small enough, still. Word gets around,’ she looked to Maggie for reassurance. ‘Doesn’t it?’

‘It certainly does.’ Maggie buried her nose in her cup. She knew only too well what the woman was alluding to. The police were as much a closed circle as any other professional body.

‘From what I’ve heard, you are a person of some integrity. And operate outwith,’ she raised a questioning eyebrow, ‘what one might loosely call “the establishment”. In short, Mrs Laird, your firm seems the perfect fit.’

Oh, to Hell! Maggie had intended to bring the meeting to a close. Now she’d let this Struthers woman take control. She straightened in her seat. ‘It’s kind of you to say so, but I really don’t think I’m the right person.’

‘You will help me, won’t you?’ Sheena reached across the table, clutched at her arm. ‘Please?’

Burnout, by Claire MacLeary is published by Contraband. Available as an ebook from 8 March, price £5.99. Available in print from 29 March, price £8.99.


Keep up with the blog tour:

BuO_Blog_tour (1)

Blog Tour: We Were The Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for We Were The Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard, and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all. First though, here is all of the bookish information you will need!

About the author:

RB1.jpg
Roxanne Bouchard reads a lot, but she laughs even more. Her first novel, Whisky et Paraboles, garnered an array of prestigious awards in Quebec and caught the attention of British researcher, Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani, of the University of Westminster, who saw for herself how Roxanne weaves poetry and geography together to delve into her characters’ intimate worlds. This desire for intimacy permeates all of Roxanne’s novels, as well as her play, J’t’aime encore, and her published essays, which have focused on the human aspects and impacts of the military. In 2013, the publication of her private correspondence with Corporal Patrick Kègle, entitled En terrain miné, started quite the conversation.

This thought-provoking discussion about the need for weapons was a stepping-stone for Roxanne to undertake unprecedented research at Quebec’s largest military base. Meeting and speaking with dozens of women and men who served in Afghanistan in 2009 inspired her to write a collection of hard-hitting short stories, Cinq balles dans la tête, slated for publication in autumn 2017.

We Were the Salt of the Sea is Roxanne Bouchard’s fifth novel, and the first to be translated into English. As much a love story and a nostalgic tale as it is a crime novel, it was shortlisted for a number of crime fiction and maritime literature awards in Quebec and France. It haunts people’s memories, ties seafarers’ hearts in knots and seeps its way into every nook and cranny, but most importantly, the sea in this book is a calling for us all to set our sails to the wind. Roxanne Bouchard is currently writing an essay on literary creativity and plotting Detective Sergeant Joaquin Moralès’s next investigation.

About the book:

rb.jpg

As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky…

Published by Orenda Books, click HERE to order your copy!


 

Dredgers and trawlers
‘Well, let me tell you, mam’zelle, that hotel and bar over by Caplan
beach – burned to the ground, it did!’
He opened the dishwasher too early, allowing a scalding cloud
of steam to escape. He slammed it shut again and turned to me.
Leaning over the counter, he tried to catch a glimpse of the letter
from Key West I had reopened to remind myself what it said, but I
pulled it away.
‘And let me tell you, quite the fire it was and all! The whole village
came out for a ganders in the middle of the night. Folks even came
up from Saint-Siméon and Bonaventure to see! I made the most of
it and opened up the bistro. It didn’t let up for two days! The flames
were licking all up the walls, and bed springs were popping all over
the place. Had the firemen running around in circles, it did! You
should’ve seen the ashes all over the beach! And let me tell you, it all
went up in smoke! The hotel, the bar, even the slot machines! You’re
not too disappointed, I hope?’
I smiled. If I’d driven for ten hours to feed the slots at the Caplan
beach hotel, then yes, I probably would have been disappointed.
‘Over there, see? It was just the other side of the church – a bit
further west. But now there’s nothing left of it. Must’ve been about
two months ago, I’d say. Everyone knows what happened. I can’t
believe you didn’t hear about it – it made the front page in the Bay
Echo. They even did a special feature about it, with colour pages and
everything! They say it was probably arson, and the insurance won’t
pay up. Cases like this, they’re always looking to point the finger. But
let me tell you, it’s funny they told you to go sleep there, you know…’
I checked the date. The letter had been mailed from Key West
We Were the Salt of the Sea.indd 10 23/01/2018 17:20
we were the salt of the sea 11
two months ago. I put it back in my bag. I had nothing to hide, but
nothing to say either. He cleared away my leftover pizza, tossed it
into the bin and took a step to the side, not entirely satisfied.
‘Let me tell you just one thing, the best place to stay is at Guylaine’s,
right here, just across the way. You’ll be a lot more comfortable
there than up at the hotel that burned down!’
Keeping his distance this time, he opened the dishwasher again,
which was still rumbling away. He picked up a red-chequered tea
towel and started flapping the steam away like a matador struggling
to tame a mad bull. Then, brimming with local pride, with the tip of
his chin he pointed out a big house to the east of the bistro, nestled
against the cliffside, looking out to sea in quiet contemplation. A
charming auberge that promised a warm welcome.
‘It’s the finest one around! Quiet too. Guylaine doesn’t have kids
or a husband. And further down, over there, that’s the fishermen’s
wharf and the Café du Havre is right alongside. If it’s fishermen you
want to meet, you should go there for breakfast mid-morning, when
they come back in. Guylaine will be out for her walk right now, but
she’s sure to stop by later. She always comes in to say hello.’
He visibly softened. Without thinking, he picked up a scalding
glass, juggled with it then flung it onto the counter like a curse. He
gazed out towards the auberge again, then turned to me with a sigh.
‘How about a coffee while you’re waiting?’
I’ve never really liked those bed and breakfasts where you’re
expected to make chit-chat, tell people who you are, where you’re
from, where you’re going and how long you’re staying, and listen to
the owners spouting on about their country-home renovations. But
it sounded like I might as well forget about finding another hotel
around here, and I’d never been one for camping, so Guylaine’s was
beginning to look like my only option.
He cleared my plate and empty glass away and placed a mug on the
counter in front of me before charging back for more, index finger
pointed questioningly at my bag. ‘If you’re looking for someone
around here, I can probably help.’
We Were the Salt of the Sea.indd 11 23/01/2018 17:20
12 roxanne bouchard
I hesitated. Swivelled my chair around to face the other end of the
bistro. As I recall, the sea was the only thing on my mind right then.
The thick smell of it. The breakwater darkening into shadow, ready
to slip beneath the heavy blanket of night. With no lights out here,
how much could you see along this coast?
‘Let me tell you just one thing, though, I know plenty of folk
around here.’
I still didn’t have the words to talk about her. She had always been
unpronounceable; but now, all of a sudden, I had to casually drop
this woman’s name into conversation. Should I roll it seven times on
the tip of my tongue, swish it around my mouth like a vintage wine
or crush it with my molars to soften it?
‘Spit it out, then. Who are you looking for?’
I figured I’d have to get used to the name, for a while anyway. Put
on a brave face and add it to my vocabulary at least, if not my family
tree. So for the first time, contemplating the sea, I said it. I took a
deep breath in and let it all out.
‘Marie Garant. Do you know her?’
He recoiled. All the sparkle in his face fizzled out, as if I’d blown
out a candle. Suddenly on his guard, he looked at me suspiciously.
‘She a friend of yours?’
‘No. I don’t actually know her.’
He picked up the glass again and started rubbing the heck out
of it.
‘Phew! You had me worried there. Because let me tell you, that
Marie Garant, she’s no woman to get close to. Especially not you, if
you’re a tourist that is. I wouldn’t go around shouting about her if
you want to make any friends around here.’
‘Excuse me?’
‘But you’re not from around here, so you weren’t to know, of
course.’
‘No, I wasn’t.’
‘Is she the reason you’re here?’
‘Er … No.’ It was barely a lie. ‘I’m on holiday.’
We Were the Salt of the Sea.indd 12 23/01/2018 17:20
we were the salt of the sea 13
‘Ah! So you are a tourist! Well then, welcome! I’m Renaud. Renaud
Boissonneau, dean of students at the high school and businessman
with business aplenty!’
‘Er, pleased to meet you.’
‘Let me tell you, we’ll take good care of you. How did you like the
pizza? Most of the tourists haven’t arrived yet – this place is usually
full of them. That’s right, it’s always packed here. People think it’s
nice and rustic. Did you see the decor? This place has history, let me
tell you. Because you might not have noticed, but we’re in the old
rectory. That’s why the church is right next door! The patio wraps all
the way around, so anyone who wants to avert their eyes from the
steeple while they’re drinking their beer can go and look at the sea
or the fisherman’s wharf instead. Oh, and the curate lives upstairs.
Which means, let me tell you, that when you’ve had a couple of
drinks and you’re ready to confess your sins, you can just go right
on up!’
Having successfully tamed the dishwasher, he was now noisily
unloading some mercifully unbreakable plates.
‘I do pretty much everything around here, I do. How about that
decor? … See. I was the one who did it all. Let me tell you, I brought
up everything I could find in the basement. See how original it is?
There’s wagon wheels up on the ceiling with oil lamps hanging from
them, clogs, little wooden birdhouses, tools, saws, cables and rope,
and I hung some old oilskins in the corner. Do you need a rain
jacket? I suppose it’s been a nice day today. But it has rained a lot the
last little while, don’t you think?’
‘I hadn’t noticed.’
‘Ah, a city girl!’
As if the distance gave him permission to confide in me, he leaned
in to whisper something. ‘And let me tell you, I do all the decor, wait
tables and wash the dishes, but you’ll never guess what – soon I’m
going to be cook’s helper as well! At fifty-three! Never too old to be
young again, mam’zelle!’
He straightened up and slammed the dishwasher shut again.
We Were the Salt of the Sea.indd 13 23/01/2018 17:20
14 roxanne bouchard
‘Everything you see over there, it’s all from our place. That globe,
them old cameras, the marine charts, the grandfather clock, the twohanded
saw, the horseshoes. Do we say horseshoes or horse’s shoes?
Let me tell you, I reckon you can say either. Oh, and them bottles,
the clay pots, them mismatched mugs, even the recipe books! So
tell me, which way did you come? Through the valley or round the
point?’
‘Er, through the valley.’
‘Good on you, not going out of your way for nothing!’
He rubbed the counter like he was trying to make his rag all dizzy.
‘Out of my way for nothing?’
‘The point! Percé, the Northern Gannets, Bonaventure Island …
talk about going out of your way for nothing, mam’zelle! Think you
want to go there?’
‘I don’t know. I haven’t made any plans yet.’
‘Because we just got some tourist brochures in today! I haven’t
read through them yet, but … Ah! If it isn’t the fair Guylaine herself!’
All at once, he flung the rag away into the sink as if he had dirt
on his hands.
Guylaine Leblanc, to look at her, must have been at least sixtyfive.
With salt-and-pepper hair pulled up into a loose bun, she had
about her that air of goodness that grandmothers in American family
movies exude. She laughed tenderly with a twinkle in her eye for
Renaud, who was clearly putty in her hands.
‘Have you met our new tourist, Guylaine? What was your name
again?’
‘Catherine.’
‘Catherine what?’
‘Day. Catherine Day.’
‘Catherine Day wants to stay at yours; you have a room for her,
don’t you?’
Renaud kissed Guylaine on both cheeks and then she walked me
over to her sewing shop, Le Point de Couture, on the south side of
Highway 132, where she sold clothes and did alterations. The auberge
We Were the Salt of the Sea.indd 14 23/01/2018 17:20
we were the salt of the sea 15
was at the rear of the shop, well away from any road noise. The
vast ground floor was decorated in the same fashion as Renaud’s
bistro with a surprisingly comforting hodgepodge of antiques and
easy chairs, and there was a deep veranda overlooking the shore.
Guylaine had three rooms for tourists upstairs; she must have slept
somewhere at the top of the staircase that led to the attic. She gave
me a room facing the sea – her favourite, she said – all decked out
in white and blue, with driftwood trim and a hand-stitched quilt on
the bed. It was a very nice room.


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Blog Blitz: Blind Luck by Dave Stanton

Hi all,
Today I’m taking part in the blog blitz for Blind Luck by Dave Stanton, and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all further down. First though, the bookish info!
About the book:
Dave Stanton - Blind Luck_cover_high res
 

Jimmy Homestead’s glory days as a high school stud are a distant memory. His adulthood hads amounted to temporary jobs, petty crime and discount whiskey. But when he wins $43 million on the  lottery all that changes.


With money, everything is great for Jimmy, until people from his past start coming out of the woodwork seeking payback over transgressions Jimmy thought were long forgotten.


Caught in the middle are private detective Dan Reno and his friend Cody Gibbons – two men just trying to make a living.

Reno, fighting to save his home from foreclosure, thinks that’s his biggest problem. But his priorities change when Gibbons and Jimmy are kidnapped by a gang of cartel thugs. In a fight to save his friend’s life, Reno is drawn into a case that will result bodies scattered all over northern Nevada.

But Can Reno save his friend?

Blind Luck by Dave Stanton

About the author:

Dave+Stanton

Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960, Dave Stanton moved to Northern California in 1961. He attended San Jose State University and received a BA in journalism in 1983. Over the years, he worked as a bartender, newspaper advertising salesman, furniture mover, debt collector, and technology salesman. He has two children, Austin and Haley, and lives with his wife, Heidi, in San Jose, California.

Stanton is the author of six novels, all featuring private investigator Dan Reno and his ex-cop buddy, Cody Gibbons.

Links:

www.facebook.com/DanRenoNovels

Twitter: @DanRenoNovels

danrenonovels.com/

www.amazon.co.uk/Dave-Stanton/e/B00HLT6BB0/

www.amazon.com/Dave-Stanton/e/B00HLT6BB0/


BLIND LUCK

DAN RENO BOOK 2

Say you’re on a wandering drunk binge. The year you spent on the wagon seems a lifetime ago, a life that ended when you came back to the bottle like a soldier coming home after a long war. You don’t remember the day you decided to have a quick taste, just one, and then, it would be back to your predictable, sober life. But there’s no such thing as ‘just one,’ you always knew that, and you stayed drunk from that moment, as if it were the most natural process in the world.
Then, you run out of money, taking odd jobs to stay afloat, until one morning, you wake up in some unknown town out in the godforsaken Southern California desert. You crawl from your bed and step into the parking lot of the fleabag boardinghouse you call home. And for some reason, as you hike down the empty street to your day labor job, you suddenly take a hard left and walk straight out of town, out onto the ancient, sunbaked sand and rock of the earth’s floor. You walk through the sagebrush and thistle, heading east toward the horizon, as if the vastness of the land holds some sort of mystical answer to your life.
Before long, you fall to the ground and sleep in a patch of shade. Around noon, you wake up, parched, confused, your lips so dry they’ve split, your hair gritty and hanging in your face. Automatically, you trudge back toward the distant buildings that shimmer in the heat, sadly but stubbornly beckoning you back to a life you gave up on for no reason you can remember, and traded in for a bottle of whiskey.
But you’re broke again, and you got to eat, so it’s back to another day of bust-ass, miserable hangover work, with only the prospect of begging a front for chow and liquor to look forward to. That night, for the hell of it, you buy a two-dollar state lottery ticket, get drunk on a quart of beer and a half pint of cheap bourbon, and dream of an existence so farfetched that you almost cry when the gray light of dawn creeps through the ratty curtains in your room and wakes you from your drunken fantasy.
You walk down the deserted street with your head hanging from your shoulders like a bag of wet sand, and stop at the twenty-four-hour market to spend your last four bits on a cup of coffee. The clerk runs your Lotto stub through the machine, and you’re halfway out the glass door before his frantic screams jolt you out of your stupor. You stare at him with bloodshot eyes, a Styrofoam coffee cup shaking in your dirt-caked fingers, the steam rising to your trembling mouth. And you listen to him tell you that you’ve just become a rich man.


 

Make sure to check out the other blogs on the blitz:

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Blog Tour: A Known Evil by Aidan Conway

Hi all,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for A Known Evil by Aidan Conway and I get to share an extract with you all!

About the author:

Aidan Conway was born in Birmingham and has been living in Italy since 2001. He has been a bookseller, a proofreader, a language consultant, as well as a freelance teacher, translator, and editor for the United Nations FAO. He is currently an assistant university lecturer in Rome, where he lives with his family. A Known Evil is his first novel.

About the book:

AKE.jpg

A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…

A gripping debut crime novel and the first in a groundbreaking series, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.

A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.

A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.

A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?

Click HERE to get your copy!

Extract:

They’d found the body in the entrance to their block of flats where, sometimes, bleary-eyed,
they would avoid treading on the dog shit some neighbour couldn’t care less about cleaning up
– teenagers on the way to school at eight in the morning. They’d been the first to leave the
building, apparently, although it was now known the victim didn’t live in the same complex.
Paola Gentili, mother of three, a cleaner, on her way to work. Multiple blows to the cranium.
No sign of sexual assault. No attempt to appropriate money or valuables. No sign of a struggle.
So, it seemed she had been taken completely unawares. Better for her. Husband had been
informed. Distraught. Had given them the few preliminary details they required without the
need for any formal interview. That would have to wait until they got the go-ahead from the
presiding magistrate. But the guy seemed clean enough going by the checks the new
‘privatized’ IT system had given them in record time. What social media access she had was
regular and only moderately used. Meanwhile, they’d started looking into the other stuff. No
particular leads. No affairs. No money issues. No links to known families in the organized
sector. Worked in a ministry in the centre of the city. No unexplained calls. Just waiting now
on the forensics guys to come up with something more concrete to work with.
Inspector Michael Rossi had only just driven through the gates in the Alfa Romeo. He
had known immediately that something big was coming by the urgency of Carrara’s steps as
he’d emerged from the baroque archway leading from the Questura’s offices to the car park. If
Rossi had bothered to switch his phone on before it would have got him out of bed, what?
Twenty minutes earlier? But that wouldn’t have saved anyone’s life. Now, the debris of
takeaway espressos and sugarsachets violated the bare desk space separating them in his office.
Their own cleaner had just been in, chatty as ever, oblivious as yet to the news.
“Other than that,” said Carrara, “we’re totally in the dark on this one. But it does look like
there’s a possible pattern emerging.”
“You’ve been busy,” said Rossi.
The second such killing in as many weeks. The modus operandi and the victim profile
bore distinct similarities but no one had dared yet to use the term. Serial? Was it possible? In
Rome?
Detective Inspector Luigi Carrara. Five years Rossi’s junior, several years under his belt
in anti-mafia, undercover, eco-crime, narcotics, now on the Rome Serious Crime Squad.
Recently married, he had the air of one of those men who neverseem to have overdone anything
in their lives: hardly a wrinkle, haircut every month, bright, fluid in his movements. Just the
man Rossi needed on a Monday morning like this one.
“How similar?” said Rossi, still struggling to form what he considered decent sentences,
though his mind was already whirring into action. “The weapon, for instance?”
“Blunt instrument. Iron bar or hammer, probably.”
“Who’s on the scene?”
“A few boys from the local station. They got the magistrate there sharpish though.
Hopefully they’ll have disturbed as little as possible. She was carrying ID, so we got to work
with that straight off, once the news came in on the police channel.”
“Press know?”
“Not officially. But they will.”
“Silvestre?”
“Out of town, I think.”
“Good. Let’s go,” said Rossi grabbing his battered North Face from the coat stand, feeling
more vigorous and even a little bit up for it. “I want to see this one for myself.”

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Blog Tour~ Come A Little Closer by Rachel Abbott

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the Come A Little Closer blog tour, and I get to share a video and an extract with you guys! 🙂

About the author:

rabbott1

Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again and The Sixth Window. Her most recent novel, Come a Little Closer, is available from February 2018.

Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages and her books have sold over 2.8 million copies in the English language.

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed #14 in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel’s website, or follow her on Twitter.

Rachel’s website can be found at

Website : http://www.rachel-abbott.com
Blog : http://rachelabbottwriter.com/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/RachelAbbott1Writer
Twitter: @RachelAbbott

 

About the book:

CALC.jpg

They will be coming soon. They come every night. 

Snow is falling softly as a young woman takes her last breath.

Fifteen miles away, two women sit silently in a dark kitchen. They don’t speak, because there is nothing left to be said.

Another woman boards a plane to escape the man who is trying to steal her life. But she will have to return, sooner or later.

These strangers have one thing in common. They each made one bad choice – and now they have no choices left. Soon they won’t be strangers, they’ll be family…

When DCI Tom Douglas is called to the cold, lonely scene of a suspicious death, he is baffled. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she get there? How many more must die? 

Who is controlling them, and how can they be stopped? 

Published today, you can click HERE to order your copy!

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Come A Little Closer~ Extract:

The two women sat at either end of a small pine table, both staring at the bowls of soup in front of them. As if by some unspoken command, they picked up their spoons at the same time and slowly started to scoop the dark brown liquid into their mouths.
A single low-wattage bulb dangled above them, creating a pool of light in the centre of the table, leaving the rest of the room in shadow. The only sound was the clink of metal spoons on earthenware bowls.
For a few moments neither of them spoke.
‘She’s gone, then,’ the younger of the two finally said, pushing her straggly hair behind her ears. The other one grunted in agreement and carried on eating. ‘She was ready, I think.’
Another grunt was all she got by way of response. The woman opposite was next in line. She had been there the longest, and was preparing herself for the day when she would leave, when her time and her usefulness were done.
‘At least we get a break now,’ the young woman said, trying once more to start a conversation.
There was no answer, but slowly the other woman lifted hollow eyes to look at her.
‘I’m ready to go,’ she said finally. ‘I don’t want to wait any longer.’
They rarely spoke. At times they weren’t allowed to, but when they were down here, alone, they could – if they wanted to. Usually they were too tired, too lethargic, and there was always so much to do.
The young woman felt as if every bone in her body had turned to jelly. It was hard to find the strength to get through the day, and she had to force herself to get out of bed each morning.
In spite of the listlessness that she seemed unable to shake, she still sometimes tried to fight against what was happening to her. But as she kept being told, she was safe here. She was fed, warm and only had to do the tasks she was set each day to pay for her keep. The alternative was far, far worse.

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~Blog Tour Extract~ Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton

Hi everyone,

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

About the book:

BEYOND 1.3 FINAL (1)

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

Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton

About the author:

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

Prologue

 

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

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

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

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

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


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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.”


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