Little Bones by Sam Blake *Blog Tour*

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to feature a post from Sam Blake, author of Little Bones which is published tomorrow!

Sam Blake’s Five Favourite Female Sleuths


The men might get the best lines (and more of them, ahem) in the movies, but on the page there are a multitude of female crime fighters who absolutely rock.

When I created the character of Cat Connolly, or more accurately, when Cat Connolly found me, she was inevitably influenced by my favourite fictional characters, although in truth, she is shares a huge amount with a very good friend of mine who is a real life crime writer…

Cathy Connolly is only twenty four, but since she was twelve years old and saw a little girl alone on the green in the middle of her estate – a man in a hoody heading towards her – Cat wanted to be a cop.

Following in her older brother Aidan’s footsteps, she joined An Garda Síochána at 18 and the detective unit at 22. One of the lads, she’s an undefeated National Kickboxing champion, and took a distance learning degree in criminology when she joined the job, too impatient to get out on the street to bother with more years in education. She’s bright, focused and determined, but she’s also an impetuous risk taker and when she’s up against it, will follow her heart over her head. She gets into a lot of trouble.

Cat is really interested in what makes people tick and in piecing together the puzzle, and one of my favourite lady detectives does exactly that – but she’s not really a detective in the uniformed sense, she’s actually a pathologist, Dr. Kay Scarpetta. I’ve been blessed to have help in my writing from Ireland’s real live state pathologist (who will is launching Little Bones in Dublin) Professor Dr. Marie Cassidy, and I know she loves Scarpetta too because I was involved in an event where Patricia Cornwell spoke at Trinity College Dublin , and I invited Dr. Cassidy along to introduce her. They had a lot in common!

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is Italian American, but unlike a stereotypical Italian, she’s blonde. She is a perfectionist, a sharp dresser and an incredibly hard worker completely immersed in her work who relaxes at home in the kitchen, where she loves to cook.

In Cornwell’s early novels Scarpetta is the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia, she becomes a private forensic consultant and later the head of the National Forensic Academy in Hollywood, Florida, before relocating as a freelance forensic examiner/expert to Charleston, South Carolina. In Scarpetta (2008), she moves to Massachusetts, where she is an M.E. The flexibility she shows in her career gives Cornwell huge flexibility in writing each book, and keeps us on the edge of our seats.

Another medical lady whom I could read forever is Karen Slaughter’s Sara Linton. A pediatrician and coroner for the town of Heartsdale, in rural Grant County, Georgia, Sara is ‘a tall drink of water’, at 5’11’’, has dark auburn hair, and (brilliantly) she spent her teenage summers working for her father’s plumbing business, Linton & Daughters, and as a result is an accomplished plumber.

After college, Sara completed her medical internship at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, and then became a pediatric resident. Working late one night she was attacked, raped and left for dead. The rape resulted in an ectopic pregnancy which led to a partial hysterectomy, and Sara can never have children.

Just like Scarpetta, Linton is a multi-talented, focused lady who has her own ghosts to deal with as she becomes embroiled in the troubled lives of her patients and she lives on the page.

Lynda La Plante’s Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison is another strong female character. She’s an eye for detail that gives her the edge when she’s interviewing suspects and she’s determined to prove to the old boys’ network that she’s better than all of them put together. Tennison doesn’t have the same deep rooted background and issues that the previous two characters have – she’s all about the now, and, as with all La Plante’s stories, the now is a fast paced, brutal place.

Lena Adams, another of Slaughter’s creations has back story and issues in spades. A detective on the Grant County police force Lena is the polar opposite of the controlled Sara Linton – she’s angry, aggressive, cocky and confrontational. She’s also only about 5’4″ and has olive skin and dark brown hair, inherited from her Mexican grandmother.

Lena and her twin sister, Sibyl, were born in the poor town of Reese in Elawah County, Georgia, their father, Calvin Adams, was a police officer who was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop three months after marrying their mother Angela. Although her identical twin, Sibyl is completely different from Lena, a chemistry professor, with a stable lesbian relationship, and is blind as a result of a childhood accident. And she’s brutally murdered at the beginning of the series. Lena has a lot of reasons to be angry. Robert McKee talks about story being about character’s reactions to each other – Lena reacts to everything around her, often explosively and I am sure she must have been as fun to write as she is captivating to read.
Written closer to home, although still based in America is Alex Barclay’s Special Agent Ren Bryce. Ren is beautiful, intelligent, insightful, sharp-minded, funny, loyal, and loving. She can also be risk-taking, paranoid, and aggressive. But she is always determined.
Ren Bryce was voted ‘Most Likely to Kill or Maim’ in her unofficial high school yearbook. She was also voted ‘Most Likely to Hug a Stranger’ and ‘Most Likely to Marry Kurt Cobain’. There are few writers who understand their characters so well that they know what is written in their High School Yearbook, and this is why I love Ren Bryce. She feels like a friend who literally jumps off the page, she’s all there, her quirks and her weaknesses as clearly drawn as her strengths.
Ren Bryce goes deep under cover and blows apart an organized crime operation but is deeply damaged as a result and spiralling into depression is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Medicated and closely watched by her boss, she joins Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force, a nine-man, one-woman violent crime squad based in Denver, Colorado, handling robbery, kidnapping, sexual crimes against children, serial killers, and violent fugitives. The perfect place for someone with a mind that can come unhinged the moment she stops taking her medication. But Ren makes some of her finest breakthroughs when she is manic, takes her greatest risks, and makes some of her most spectacular mistakes.
Getting into the head of this utterly brilliant character is the true skill of the writer. I know Alex Barclay feels like Ren is a friend who lives down the road – exactly how I feel about Cat Connolly, I can only hope I bring her to the page half as well as Barclay does!

© Sam Blake


About the author:

Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the national writing resources website She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication. Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book.

Little Bones is the first in the Cat Connolly Dublin based detective thriller trilogy. When a baby’s bones are discovered in the hem of a wedding dress, Detective Garda Cathy Connolly is face with a challenge that is personal as well as professional – a challenge that has explosive consequences.

Follow Sam Blake on Twitter @samblakebooks or Vanessa @inkwellhq – be warned, they get tetchy with each other!


A fab post from Sam Blake! Huge thanks for stopping by Bibliophile Book Club today! Keep up with the blog tour! 😉


C.J. Carver Spare Me The Truth Blog Tour

Hi everyone,

Today its my stop on the Spare Me The Truth blog tour, C.J. Carver’s new book! I’m thrilled to have a guest post from the author herself further on in the post.

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About the book (via Goodreads):

Dan Forrester, piecing his life back together after the tragic death of his son, is approached in a supermarket by a woman who tells him everything he remembers about his life – and his son – is a lie.

Grace Reavey, stricken by grief, is accosted at her mother’s funeral. The threat is simple: pay the staggering sum her mother allegedly owed, or lose everything.

Lucy Davies has been forced from the Met by her own maverick behaviour. Desperate to prove herself in her new rural post, she’s on the hunt for a killer – but this is no small town criminal.

Plunged into a conspiracy that will test each of them to their limits, these three strangers are brought together in their hunt for the truth, whatever it costs. And as their respective investigations become further and further entwined, it becomes clear that at the centre of this tangled web is a threat more explosive than any of them could have imagined.


About the author:

CJ Carver is a half-English, half-kiwi, author living just outside Bath. She lived in Australia for ten years before taking up long-distance rally driving – she has driven London to Saigon, London to Cape Town, and completed 14,500 miles on the Inca Trail.

Since then she has written seven novels which have been published in the UK, USA and translated throughout Europe. CJ’s first novel Blood Junction, won the CWA Debut Dagger Award.

CJ is a co-founder and one of the first judges for the Women’s World Car of The Year Award.


Guest Post from C.J. Carver

Five things I can’t write without:

1) Music

I always have music playing when I write.  Radio, Spotify or a CD, something in the background.  I’m not sure if it’s to keep me company – writing is so solitary – or if it’s the stimulation I need, but one thing I do know is that I have to be careful when I’m writing a particularly tense scene not to let the music have an effect.  I was writing a heated discourse between two adversaries in Spare Me The Truth who were supposed to come to blows but thanks to a run of dreamy music tracks they ended up shaking hands!

  1. Bath (the city, not my tub)

Even if I’m in the middle of writing a book I still need inspiration.  People say I must find the bucolic country view from my office inspiring, but the reverse is true – it sends me to sleep!  So I head into Bath instead, which is always bustling, always busy, and I meander aimlessly for a bit before settling in a favourite café.  Here I people watch, doodle a bit, watch a bit more, and let the energy of the place seep into my consciousness and fire me up for the next few chapters.

  1. My desk

I may be the only person to get excited about this, but this is no normal desk, it’s an electric Sit Stand Desk.  I believe Oscar Wilde, among other authors, used to write at a lectern and stride about while he thought, and although my body loves standing while I write I was somewhat taken aback when a medical friend of mine told me that research has shown that concentration levels fall by 25% when you stand.  Not quite what I wanted to hear.

  1. My kettle

It sounds trite, but it’s incredibly important that I get a break from time to time, not just to re-energise my brain but get my body moving.  Since my office is upstairs, I get to jog all the way to the kitchen, which may not be far but on the way I’ll get distracted by the mail, the fact the bird feeder needs topping up, the front path could do with a sweep.  By the time I’ve made my tea, I’ve usually had a decent 10-15 minute break doing other stuff and I return to my desk with my tea pretty refreshed.

  1. The train

I haven’t found anywhere better for coming up with ideas, whether it’s for a new book or the next chapter of the book I’m writing.  I make sure I’m at the window and gaze outside, notepad at the ready, and the rush of countryside flashing past triggers the right side of my brain – the creative side – and my notepad is invariably full of really good ideas at the journey’s end.

Driving can also have a good effect – it’s the movement against the eye that I find does the trick – so I could have made my car my fifth choice but I’d much rather go on a train.

© CJ Carver 2016

Fab post from C.J Carver! You can follow the blog tour and/or catch up with the brilliant blogs that are also on the tour!

Spare Me The Truth Blog Banner

My thanks to C.J. Carver for taking the time to write a post for my blog, and to Emily at Zaffre for all her hard work! 🙂

Spare Me The Truth is out TODAY! You can purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking the link below!

Spare Me The Truth by C.J. Carver

Happy reading! 🙂



Marnie Riches The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows Blog Tour

Hi everyone!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Marnie Riches’ new book The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows and I’m super excited to have a guest post from the lovely Marnie to share with you all today! 🙂

First off though, here’s all you need to know about Marnie and her previous books in the series…

About the author:

Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester, aptly within sight of the dreaming spires of Strangeways prison. She swapped those for the spires of Cambridge University, gaining a Masters degree in Modern & Medieval Dutch and German. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. In her spare time, she likes to run, renovate houses and paint. Oh, and drinking. She likes a drink. And eating. She likes that too. Especially in exotic destinations.

Having authored the first six books of HarperCollins Children’sTime-Hunters series, her George McKenzie crime thrillers for adults were inspired, in part, by her own youth and time spent in The Netherlands as a student. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction.

The George McKenzie series so far:

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die:


When a bomb explodes at the University of Amsterdam, aspiring criminologist Georgina McKenzie is asked by the police to help flush out the killer.

But the bomb is part of a much bigger, more sinister plot that will have the entire city quaking in fear.

And the killer has a very special part for George to play…

A thrilling race against time with a heroine you’ll be rooting for, this book will keep you up all night!

The Girl Who Broke The Rules


When the mutilated bodies of two sex-workers are found in Amsterdam, Chief Inspector van den Bergen must find a brutal murderer before the red-light-district erupts into panic.

Georgina McKenzie is conducting research into pornography among the UK’s most violent sex-offenders but once van den Bergen calls on her criminology expertise, she is only too happy to come running.

The rising death toll forces George and van den Bergen to navigate the labyrinthine worlds of Soho strip-club sleaze and trans-national human trafficking. And with the case growing ever more complicated, George must walk the halls of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, seeking advice from the brilliant serial murderer, Dr. Silas Holm…


Of course, the next book in the series is:

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows


The third edge-of-your-seat thriller in the Georgina MacKenzie series. Fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo won’t be able to put it down!

Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Roma gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?

You can purchase The George McKenzie series by clicking the relevant links below:

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die

The Girl Who Broke The Rules

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows




Without further ado here’s Marnie’s fab guest post for Bibliophile Book Club…



What’s next for George McKenzie?


It’s very difficult to talk about my future plans for George without giving away a little of what happens in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows. So I must be careful not to litter this post with spoilers about my own book! But what I would say is that George is a character who is so complex and does such interesting work as a criminologist that she is never going to be short of professional adventures, personal trials and tribulations in her private life.


I’ve read the odd review on Amazon – not just for my series but for the novels of fellow crime writers, too – bemoaning the fact that main protagonists in the genre are often flawed in some way, i.e. alcoholics or terrible womanisers or socially odd loners. And yes. Dr. Georgina McKenzie is terribly flawed. She has a short temper and is slow to trust others. She’s argumentative and contrary. She suffers from borderline OCD at times in her life when she’s under extreme stress. Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen, who is as much of a star of the series as George, is addicted to prescription painkillers, suffers from anxiety disorder and despite being head over heels in love with George, is a shocking commitment-phobe. But I would argue that it is these flaws that inspire readers’ sympathy and drive the stories forward. Without adversity in a character’s life, there is simply little scope for dramatic tension. That makes for a very quiet read – not something I’m interested in writing in the least. So, it is the contrariness of George’s character and the complexity of her backstory that suggests what might happen next…Relationship angst – tick. Mother-daughter squabbles – tick. Danger at every turn – big tick.


When I was planning The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, I knew I wanted to write a story that continued to explore themes of international trafficking, the psychology behind brutal criminality and the darker side to sexuality that appear in books one and two. George is a little older in this third novel – she is 26 and now qualified as a criminologist, working on studies in women’s prisons as well as researching people-trafficking – and she needs to be. The novel tackles the tricky subjects of child pornography, paedophilia and child abuse, though I hope I’ve addressed them with a sensitivity and seriousness that informs but never glamorises such dark, emotive topics. Though she has been fearless to the point of recklessness from the outset (usually fuelled by her short temper and fierce loyalty), twenty-year-old George in The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die could never have faced the emotional trials that twenty-six-year-old George does in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows. So, in the short term, the future for George holds danger and darkness, lightened by a domestic backdrop we can all recognise of relationship anxieties, family squabbling, office politics and financial woe.


But what will happen beyond this third book? Do George and her pals have a future? Well, given that crime is the ultimate world-traveller, I think we can safely assume that if a fourth book were to appear, George and Van den Bergen’s fight against organised crime and trafficking might lead them beyond the tough streets of S.E. London, Cambridge’s ivory towers and Amsterdam’s canal network once again. Perhaps George will wash up on distant shores in pursuit of the bad guys. Given her propensity to become entangled in the dodgy dealings of the underworld she is trying to study and given George’s knack for courting high drama in her personal life, I think it’s safe to say there might well be more international thrills in store for our coolest, mouthiest, brightest, most kick-ass heroine!


Huge thanks to Marnie Riches for joining me on the blog today! You can follow the tour and catch up with previous stops on these brilliant blogs!

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Guest post- author Martin Lee

Many thanks to Martin Lee for agreeing to do a guest post for my blog!

About the author~ (via Goodreads)

Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

Seven novels that killed me.

And inspired me.


I’ve always loved crime.


Murder. Larceny. Blackmail. Arson. Kidnapping. Burglary. Serial killings. Extortion. Gang violence. It doesn’t matter what sort of crime, I’m up for it.


Luckily, it hasn’t landed me in jail yet, but it has given me a love of one of the most popular genres of writing.


The Crime Novel.

Here are seven books that inspired me to write about crime.


And then there were none.

From the Queen of Crime herself. I remember reading this when I was eleven. It was called something terribly non-PC then. Having finished it, I went back to the beginning and started over again. All the clues were there, I just hadn’t seen them. Fiendishly well plotted, even for Agatha Christie


The Daughters of Time

Again, something I read when I was young. Beautifully constructed, it made me revisit the history of the period and re-evaluate all that I believed about Richard III. Great title too. I read it again this year. It stands the test of time which is always the sign of a great novel.



The Complete Sherlock Holmes


The series of works that gave rise to the modern crime novel. An eccentric detective, a fumbling sidekick and stories that blew readers away with their sheer brilliance. Every other crime novel is measured against the master.

The Name of the Rose
Every once in a while, a book comes along that shows the crime novel can be far more than a series of gory killings. This has wit, erudition, an understanding of philosophy and, at its heart, a plea for more laughter in the world. Who could ask for more?


The Remorseful Day


A great central character with enough quirks to sink the Titanic. A sidekick with a love of the Full Monty. Great plots, intriguing stories, palpable intelligence, and the most wonderful sense of place: Oxford in the Eighties. Colin Dexter created a cult classic that went on to become some of the finest crime dramas on television.


L A Confidential


I could have chosen any of James Ellroy’s books. Once I start them, I can’t put them down. They have such a pace, style and sheer pizzazz, that is quintessentially American. Ellroy leaves out the bits other authors keep in. I’d love to have those bits.



The Talented Mr Ripley


Vastly underrated, Patricia Highsmith for me was the writer’s writer. Beautiful sentences, crisp characterisation and an understanding of human psychology go hand in hand for a wonderful series of crime novels. Even better, she created an anti-hero that we could all love. Brilliant.

So those are my choices.


I can hear you all shouting and screaming now. How could you leave out Mario Puzo, Val McDermid, Stieg Larssen, Peter James, Ellis Peters, Dashiell Hammett, P D James,Thomas Harris, C J Sansom and Stephen King?


Nobody said choosing seven novels was easy, You have to murder some you love. But that’s the job of a crime writer after all.


What would be your seven most inspirational crime novels?



Massive thanks again to Martin for doing this guest post! 🙂


M J Lee is the author of ‘Death in Shanghai’, the first in the Inspector Danilov series, set in the city in the 1920s from Carina/Harper Collins and available on Amazon. He loves to chat about crime, real or imagined, and can be found at his website,, Facebook or Twitter under the same handle.