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.”

Follow the blog tour:

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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!

Check out this awesome video:

 

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.

Make sure to keep up with the blog tour:

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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:

Bloodhound author image

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:

The Cutaway.jpg

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:

Sanjida Book.jpg

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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