The Long Count by JM Gulvin

*** Originally published on Random Things Through My Letterbox in March 2016***

First off, huge thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Through My Letterbox for my copy of The Long Count to review 😊


About the book (via Faber & Faber):

In The Long Count, the first book of JM Gulvin’s masterful new crime series, we meet Ranger John Quarrie as he is called to the scene of an apparent suicide by a fellow war veteran. Although the local police want the case shut down, John Q is convinced that events aren’t quite so straightforward.

When his hunch is backed up by the man’s son, Isaac – just back from Vietnam, and convinced his father was murdered – they start to look into a series of other violent incidents in the area, including a recent fire at the local Trinity Asylum and the disappearance of Isaac’s twin brother, Ishmael. In a desperate race against time, John Q has to try and unravel the dark secrets at the heart of this family and get to the truth before the count is up…

Dripping with atmosphere and a sense of time and place, The Long Count is a page-turner and a psychological puzzle – for fans of Shutter Island and True Detective. It will be available in ebook format in May 2016, and paperback in October 2016.
My thoughts:

The Long Count is a brilliant crime thriller. I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I first started the book as I only glanced at the blurb without really taking it in. Once I started, I didn’t want to put it down. I devoured The Long Count in 3 sittings.

John Quarrie (John Q) is a Ranger and he reminds me of Jack Reacher and Walker, Texas Ranger at the same time. He is tough, honest and very quick with his guns if the situation arises. When he is called to the scene of a suicide of an Army vet while  on his way to another incident, he is all but convinced that it’s not as simple as it seems. Quarrie suspects murder, but the local law enforcement disagree.

The Army vet’s son Isaac, just having returned from Vietnam is also certain that his father would never commit such an act. Together, John Q and Isaac find coincidences in nearby violent crimes and so they investigate the connections further not realising that it will have dangerous consequences.

I don’t like to divulge too much about plots, but sufficed to say this book is so well planned out. It is full of red herrings, beautiful descriptions of the American deep South, moments where you find your pulse is racing a little because you just know something is going to be said or done. Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed The Long Count. It has everything I look for in a book. It has a really likeable character in John Q, there are plenty of little nuggets of information scattered around the book which only come together towards the end and it is also a fantastic appetite-whetting beginning to a series.

Regular readers of my blog will know I’m a sucker for a good series, and if The Long Count is just the start, then I cannot wait for the next installment. John Q is also one of my favourite characters I’ve encountered so far in the books I’ve read this year.

Massive thanks again to the lovely Anne Cater for letting me review this hidden gem of a book that I’m so glad to have found!

The Long Count is released in ebook format on May 3rd by Faber & Faber and you can pre-order your copy by clicking the link below:
The Long Count: A John Q Mystery

Happy reading! 🙂

 

 


***New Monthly Feature***

Hi everyone!!!

Ok, so I’ve been thinking about new blog post features for months now and it turns out I’m not made for thinking 😂

However I was folding the washing earlier (random, I know!) and out of nowhere some ideas popped into my head so I’m just going to run with them. I won’t say anymore until I figure out logistics but the first of these I’m going to try is…

“I’m a sucker for a Series”

More than once this week, I’ve said the words “I’m a sucker for a series” on social media, mainly as I’m collecting certain authors books written in a series so where better to start with something I know a bit about and call it something I say all to often 😏
I’m thinking, initially, I’m going to do this post once a month… BUT I have a lot of series in mind, so it may even become a weekly feature if it takes off in any way.

I’m going to do an “I’m a sucker for a Series” post on the 13th of each month. 

Why the 13th I hear you say?!

Well 13 is my lucky number, I was born on the 13th, got married on the 13th and have two 13 tattoos so there’s no triskaidekaphobia here 😂

If there are authors who would like me to feature their series, then please feel free to drop me an email. Also, if there are any bloggers out there who’d like to take part in this new feature by discussing their favourite book series, you know where to find me! 😉

*This will be a regular feature, (bear in mind my main genres are crime thrillers, mystery, suspense, psychological thrillers and so on) and posts will be scheduled well in advance*

Please feel free to share this post with anyone you think may be interested! I’d love for this to become a regular and interactive feature on Bibliophile Book Club! 😊

Email bibliophilebookclub@gmail.com if you’re interested!

Here’s hoping this hare brained idea works out 😂

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:

Marnie1

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

Marnie2

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

Marnie3

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!

BLOG TOUR (1).png

Author Q&A with Jack Kerley

A couple of weeks ago I finally built up the nerve to ask one of my favourite authors if they would be willing to do a Q&A for my blog and I’m so excited because he said yes! 😊

Jack Kerley is the author of the Detective Carson Ryder crime series, one of my all time favourite series to read. I got the recommendation off Goodreads for his first book, The Hundredth Man, and as I’m a bookworm I went and bought the first four. I read and loved them all so needless to say I went and got the rest of them too! 😂

Here is my collection (any that aren’t there are on my kindle!) :

When I was reading up on the books, I found out that 3 of Jack’s novels are no longer available in the US as they didn’t sell hugely! The Hundredth Man, The Death Collectors and The Broken Souls, and I have all three so that instantly makes them more special to me!

I know I’m rambling on, but I can’t recommend these books highly enough. I would happily read the series again from the start, and you should know by now that I don’t usually re-read!!! 😉
Huge thanks to Jack for agreeing to this! 😊
Anyway, without any more fangirling from me, here is my Q&A……

 

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

In high school when I discovered I got better grades by writing in a more complex fashion; using larger words, basically. Teachers would often overlook the vapidity of my presentation in favor of its polish. That was a revelation.


How long does it take you to write a book?

I once figured that if I stacked my writing into traditional 40-hour weeks, a book averages about seven months.

 

What is your typical routine when writing like?
After a quarter-century as a adverting writer and producer, I tend to treat it like a standard job. I hit my desk in the morning and work until my head gives out. I work at home until I get bored with its urban surroundings (across the river from downtown Cincinnati), then go to our cabin in the Kentucky mountains for a change of venue, always a good thing for my work.

 

How did you create Carson Ryder?

Through a joke. When writing my first novel The Hundredth Man, I had no idea how to commence, so I had a character tell my favorite joke in a morgue. The joke-teller became Harry, the joke was used as a description for Carson and they both developed from there. The joke also gave me the title for the book, not bad for a clean joke.


And Harry Nautilus for that matter? Both are wonderful characters.

My characters tend to write themselves, thus I make no outline, since the stories could change on a line of dialogue, and frequently do.

Is there another book in the works?

A book is in the works, though I’m not sure it’s in the series. See what I mean about not being in charge?

 

How much research do you do for your books? Do some books require more research than others

A lot. Whether it’s a depiction of human trafficking, sociopathy, collecters serial-killer art—or many other diverse and disturbiing topics—I want verisimilude to guide the reader into an unfamiliar world. And yes, some topics take more research time than others.

 

How do you like to spend your down time? 

Outdoors. I hike, bike, canoe, build trails at our cabin. I also greatly enjoy cooking, brewing beer and woodworking.

 

Do you get writers block? If so, how do you break through the wall?

I’ve never had writers’ block, probably from my advertising days where, if you didn’t produce, you got fired.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing a series?

Keeping it fresh and offering new insights into familiar characters.

 
What is your favourite thing about Ryder? 

His basic goodness and belief in humanity, despite bouts of cynicism.

 
When it comes to publishing, do you proofread your book or do you ask someone else to do it? Do you have proofs done up for reviewers before the final book goes to print? Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? How do you feel about positive/negative reviews and feedback? *I’ve grouped these questions together as they are all related!*

Authors shouldn’t proofread their books, at least not me. It should be someone new to the book who can divorce her- or himself from the story and see it on a word-by-word basis.

Proofreading is done by the publisher.

Again, mostly handled by the publisher, although I often answer writing-oriented blogs that question me directly. Every writer gets both positive and negative reviews, often of the same book. I absorb them all.

 

Do you read much? If so, what do you like to read?

I read anything and everything. My favorite mystery/suspense novelists would include James Lee Burke, Robert Crais and, as an early influence, John D. MacDonald. But I also enjoy non-fiction, particularly books on psychology and culture. I just finished a book titled The Comedians, a history of stand-up comedy; fascinating!
Finally, How can readers discover more about you and your work? 

I have a website, Jackkerley.com that I should update more often, but it provides a list of all books, brief synopsis, and chronology.
********************************************


So, there you have it! 😊 I can highly recommend Jack’s website as all the information you need about him and the books can all be found there!

Website:

www.jackkerley.com

Amazon Author Page:

J. A. Kerley


Happy reading 😊 📖

My Top Ten Books & Series of 2015 Part 2!!!

Ok, so this is part 2 of my Best of 2015. You can catch part 1 HERE!!

In this post I’m only talking about book series. Once again, these are in no particular order!!

My Favourite Book Series of 2015

  • Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series.

The first two books are Snowblind (read my review HERE) and its follow-up Nightblind (read my 5  STAR review HERE). I loved both of these books, the latter just edges it for me though. One of my absolute favourites of the year. Orenda Books are on a publishing roll! 🙂

 

  • LJ Ross DCI Ryan Series

Holy Island and Sycamore Gap are both superb reads. I love Louise’s writing style and they are both fantastic books. My review for Holy Island is HERE and my 5 STAR review for Sycamore Gap is HERE.

 

  • Angela Marsons’ DI Kim Stone series

WOW! One of the only words I can use to describe these books. I devoured them one after another for Bookouture Thriller Week. Each book is brilliant in its own right, but I reviewed the three together in a triple decker revie. You can read my 3 x 5 STAR review for Silent Scream, Evil Games and Lost Girls HERE!

 

  • Caroline Mitchell’s DC Jennifer Knight series

Bookouture have some great authors and books this year! I read both of these supernatural crime thriller books this year and thoroughly enjoyed them. Don’t Turn Around is a superb introduction to DC Knight and you can read my review HERE. The follow-up is Time To Die. This book was way creepier than the first, I likened it to Hitchcock’s The Birds, and you can read my 5 STAR review HERE.

 

  • Mel Sherratt as Marcie Steele

These books aren’t a series, but I feel they have to get a mention as they are written by crime writer Mel Sherratt and they are chick lit. Not my usual genre at all, but I read and loved both Stirred with Love and That’s What Friends Are For (read my 5 STAR review HERE). Although not a series, I’m still including them!

 

Well, that’s part two finished with! Any standout reads for you this year?! 🙂

My Top Ten Books & Series of 2015 Part 1!!!

This is my first ever Top Ten list that I’ve done for the  blog and my god but it’s hard!

I’ve read so many great books this year, more than any other year, so there are a lot of standouts for me.

I’m also mindful of the fact that I don’t want to offend any of the lovely authors whom I have ‘met’ over the past year thanks to Twitter and Facebook.

While compiling the list, I’ve noticed that quite a few books I’ve read fall into the category of series as opposed to standalones, so I will separate the lists into two posts instead.

 

TOP 10 BOOKS

In no particular order:

  • For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood.

 

An absolutely stunning debut novel that has left me wanting more since I finished it. You can read my 5 STAR review HERE.

 

 

  • The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.

 

A masterclass in epic plot twists, this book had me hooked from the first page. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Funnily enough, I never wrote up  a review after I finished it. Another 5 STAR book for me.

 

  • I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.

 

Another contender for best plot twists, my jaw dropped when i go to the biggest twist. I just couldn’t believe it. I had to re-read the previous pages to make sure I had read it right!! You can read my review HERE.

 

  • Normal by Graeme Cameron

 

This book was unique in that you are essentially in the mind of the killer as opposed to reading about them. It was a brilliant take on the normal style and I loved it. My 4 STAR review is HERE.

 

  • I Am Death by Chris Carter

 

No list of great books is complete for me without including a book by Chris. This year’s release was I Am Death and it was superb. I love all of Chris’s books but I was eagerly anticipating this one and thoroughly enjoyed it. My 5 STAR review is HERE.

 

  • The Widow by Fiona Barton

 

This book is one to watch in 2016. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of the book from the publisher and loved it. You can read my 4 STAR review HERE.

 

  • The Perfectionist by Simon Duke

 

Another one to watch out for, released in January 2016. I was lucky enough to help Simon with some promo on my blog and get to read an ARC of his book. I really enjoyed it, it has a great plot twist near the end! I gave it 5 STARS and you can read my full review HERE.

 

  • The Lobster Boy and The Fat Lady’s Daughter by Charles Kriel

 

This book deserves to be on this list because it is one of the most unique, fun and different books I have read in a long time. It was a breath of fresh air when I read such similar books all the time. My 5 STAR review can be read HERE.

 

  • The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

How could I not include this book?! A superb book based on the London Bombings. I loved this book, and it was an easy 5 STAR read from me. My review in full is HERE.

 

  • The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft

I read this as part of Bookouture Thriller Week and absolutely loved it! I read it super fast, it was just so engrossing. You can read my full 5 STAR review HERE.

 

In my next post, I’m going to be listing my Best Book Series of 2015! 😊

 

 

Silent Scream, Evil Games and Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

I’ve decided to review these three books together because in the interest of honesty, I loved them all and to review each alone would be like writing the same review 3 times! 😂

About the books: (via Goodreads) 

Silent Scream: 

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?
Evil Games: 

The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game…

When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.
Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal.

Lost Girls:

Two girls go missing. Only one will return.

The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.
And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.
Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…
Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

My thoughts:

I’ve had Angela’s books on my TBR since Silent Scream came out and I kept telling myself I’d get to them eventually. I attempted to get to them during Bookouture Thriller week but alas, time was not on my side. I made it my mission to read them this month after doing up a guideline for what books I wanted to read. You can read my Hello November post here.

I started Silent Scream on Nov 17th and worked my way through the three books until I finished Lost Girls on November 22nd. Not too bad, 3 books in 5 days. 😊

I wish I didn’t wait so long to read them, but at the same time I’m glad as I got to read them all in quick succession. I absolutely devoured all three as they were just brilliant!

Angela Marsons has a wonderful way of writing. It draws you into each story and makes you feel like you know these characters. I love that in a book, as it engages you and you want to solve the crimes just as much as DI Stone and her team do.

I’m not going to go into detail with my thoughts on each book. The synopses are above so you have an idea of what each one is about. I will however, talk about my favourite characters.

First up is Kim Stone obvs. Stone is a wonderful example of a woman hardened by past traumatic experiences which make her the strong willed detective that she is. While she may be cold, she is effective and has a heart underneath it all.

Bryant is also a great character. The closest thing to a friend that Stone has, he provides a sounding board for her, along with some light comedic relief at times.

Dr Alex Thorne in Evil Games. One of the most vile, ruthless and emotionally destructive villains I have seen in a long time. Thorne made my blood boil, for so many reasons. I even tweeted Angela saying how much I hated the doc! 😉

Special mention goes to Dougie who is also in Evil Games.

DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DONT WANT SPOILERS!!!! (I warned you… 😂)

I don’t know how to say how great Dougie is without possible spoilers hence the above message just in case I inadvertently reveal anything!

Dougie suffers from severe Autism but there’s just something about him that made him stand out for me. Towards the end of Evil Games, in my mind, Dougie is a hero!

I don’t know what else I can say about Angela’s Kim Stone series other than it’s absolutely fantastic. One of the best series I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait for book 4 to come out! 3 of the easiest 5⭐️ reviews I’ve given on Goodreads this year!

If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?! 😉

Silent Scream Buy Here

Evil Games Buy Here

Lost Girls Buy Here

Happy reading 😊📖