Friday, 28 April 2017

Guide Star by Joy Ellis - Book Review - Emotional drama - Joffe books

Title - Guide Star

Author - Joy Ellis

Publisher - Joffe Books

Publication Date - 28th April 2017

Buy Link - Click here

Synopsis -

Who do you turn to when life goes wrong?
Stella’s life has changed forever. Her only support is her amazing grandmother, Beth. But Beth also faces the biggest challenge of her life.
Stella North, a rising star in the police, has her life torn apart by a gunman’s bullets. All her life she has faced danger, but these injuries mean she must give up the job she loves.  Her grandmother Beth is her rock. And Beth is no ordinary woman. At seventy, she runs marathons and has an exciting past that Stella knows very little about.
Will Stella find the strength to overcome the challenges of her new life, and will her grandmother at last resolve the deep emotional turmoil of her past?

By UK #1 best-selling author, Joy Ellis, this is a gripping and emotional departure from her acclaimed crime fiction.

I had just read a Thriller by this author, when I was given the opportunity to read Guide Star which was a departure from her normal Crime genre. I was hoping the writing would be as good and I wasn't disappointed.

I loved the main character Stella, who had been shot trying to save others. She was such a caring person and I really admired her. I think she would be the Friend who would always put others first. The type of Friend everyone wants.  The Author has written some really strong personalities into this emotional read, and apart from one Senior Police Officer, I really liked them all. They seemed like real people; whether they were based on people the author knows I don't know but they just all had such deep personalities.

Again as with other Joy Ellis novels, the descriptive scenery makes the places really vivid in your mind; from the rugged cliff tops to the fens.

All this combined makes the book a rollercoaster of a read. One that I couldn't put down and read in two sittings. For anyone that knows me, that's really unusual as I'm a slow reader. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you Joffe books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.



Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the
prestigious Mayfair flower shop, Constance Spry Ltd. Many years later, having run her own florist shop in Weybridge, Ellis took part in a writer’s workshop in Greece and was encouraged by her tutor, Sue Townsend to begin writing seriously. She now lives in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner Jacqueline and their Springer spaniels, Woody and Alfie.
Contact the author

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl ~ Oslo Detectives ~ Nordic Noir Book Review

TITLE - Faithless

AUTHOR - Kjell Ola Dahl

GENRE - Nordic Noir

PUBLISHER - Orenda Books

PAGES - 276

BUY LINK - Click

Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back … and this time, it’s personal… When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her … and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he ponders the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda investigates a disturbingly similar cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway and Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers – and the killer – before he strikes again. Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, Faithless is a breath-taking and atmospheric page-turner that marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

‘If you want your worst fears about what goes on inside a cop's mind confirmed, meet K.O. Dahl's Oslo sleuths, Gunnarstranda and Frølich … impossible to put down’ Guardian
‘A formidable talent’ Booklist
‘An absorbing study of sexual enthrallment, dogged police work and a harrowing twist or two: Fans of procedurals…will snap this one up’ Kirkus

For FANS of Stieg Larsson, Wallander, Thomas Enger, Ragnar Jonasson, Karin Fossum and Gunnar Staalesen

There's been a lot of books by Scandinavian authors in recent years. This is the first I've actually read though; set in the beautiful country that is Norway. It translated well into English, although I did get confused some with the long names, not knowing sometimes which were place names and which were persons.

Frank Frolich had cause to arrest a female called Veronika, who happened to be at the home of a male who was of interest to Police. He later finds out that his old school friend has links to Veronika. Can she be leading two separate lives?

Frolich along with Gunnastranda, his colleague, then have the difficult task of dealing with a murder, and there is also the disappearance of an African student to deal with too. Are they linked?

The book is very well written and descriptive. It appears to have been excellently researched in the area of forensics, which is an interest of mine. It has a very well constructed plot. It reads well as a standalone novel . I liked Frolich. He comes across as a hardworking and dedicated officer, who loves his job. I would have liked to have known a bit more about him.

There was a part of the book that I didn't really think fitted in with what was going on and that was the illicit relationship between two of Frolich's colleagues. I didn't think that part leant anything to the story.

The novel was gripping and page turning, however I felt a bit let down by the ending, as it wasn't as gripping as the rest of the book had been and left me feeling a bit deflated. I would however like to read some more books by this author that include Frolich, and am pleased that I had the opportunity to read and review this one.

Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Through my Letterbox, and Orenda Books for allowing me to review this book.


Kjell Ola Dahl is a Norwegian author of fiction, crime fiction, non-fiction and screenplays. He published his first novel in 1993. The book's title is Dødens Investeringer – English title is Lethal Investments.
Dahl's series of crime fiction – about the cult character Chief Inspector
Gunnarstranda is translated into a number of languages. The series is published all over Europe, USA and Russia.

Dahl has written screenplays for two feature films in cooperation with film director Hisham Zaman, the titles of these are Winterland (2007) and Before Snowfall (2013)


Monday, 17 April 2017

Alice by K.L.Loveley ~ Excerpt and Giveaway - Contemporary fiction

Title: Alice

Author: K.L.Loveley

Publisher: Self-published 

Tour: 17th – 30th April 



Alice is near breaking point. Floods have left her beautiful dream home a damaged mess, her step children's lack of respect is giving her migraines and, worst of all, her husband is giving her no support to lean on. Her life is slowly spiralling out of control.
When Alice's daughter, Anne Marie, repeatedly falls victim to aggressive vandals, Alice finally can take no more. She decides to take control of the mess that has become her life, and finally frees herself from the chaos that has been bringing her down.
Freedom, however, isn't as sweet as Alice first thought it might be. She finds herself yearning for something she can't quite put her finger on. In her quest to find it, Alice finds herself turning to drink

Chapter One

A ray of light found its way through the fraction of a gap in the badly closed bedroom curtains; this was enough stimulation to rouse Alice from yet another night of restless sleep. She could feel the light penetrating her tightly closed eyelids, beckoning Alice to open her tired bloodshot eyes. She was in the twilight zone, between sleep and waking, her mind still charged with the emotions of the traumatic dreams which consumed her restless over-active mind. Her eyelids appeared to be the only part of her body she could consciously connect with, and the sheer effort of opening them was paramount to a movement against the force of gravitational pull as the first spectrum of light penetrated the tiny slit of exposed cornea between upper and lower lids. Alice not only felt the ache behind her eyes, but also the deep-rooted pain from the tight muscle fibres, across her shoulders, radiating down bilateral sides of her neck, burning deep into the tissues and exciting the nerves into spasm.

A quiet groan escaped from her parched lips as Alice gingerly propped herself up in bed, gently resting her head and shoulders against the supporting pillows. She looked at the clock on her bedside table. It was seven fifteen, much too early to be rising on a Sunday morning. Alice swung her legs over the edge of the mattress, trying not to disturb her husband Robin, who was sleeping soundly beside her. He looked so peaceful and settled, not a care in the world, thought Alice, he was stretched out with his feet hanging out of the bed, no doubt to cool them down from the heat of the duvet.

Making her way to the bathroom as quietly as possible, she closed the bathroom door. A light breeze was blowing the window blind, sucking the blind backwards and forwards towards the open window. Alice shuddered. The sound of the toilet flushing disturbed Robin from his sleep. He called out to his wife, enquiring if she was okay. He was well aware of her restless sleep, for unknown to Alice, her constant tossing and turning disturbed him also, although he was fortunate enough to slip back into sleep quite easily.

Robin knew the source of his wife’s tension and how she struggled to cope with the daily family dramas and the increasing responsibility she endured at work. Robin understood how difficult life had become at home. Indeed, he was well aware of the difficulties and trials and tribulations that Alice endured with his family. He had witnessed this first hand and was well aware how much worse the situation was for Alice when he was not around. Lately, he too, had felt the rising tensions in the family home and was frustrated because he knew that sooner or later, Alice would approach him to try and initiate a serious discussion about their present predicament and their future. Predictably of course he would try and avoid the situation using any excuse he could muster. Robin had tried this approach with her many times in the past, but Alice could be like a dog with bone; sometimes she would not let go. He also knew her to be a woman of her word and if she made a promise or commitment, she felt duty bound to undertake her obligation and would let nothing stand in her way. He hoped she felt the same determination with respect to her wedding vows no matter how much she was put to the test. He consciously tried his best to help make the situation less difficult for his wife, but in doing so he often overcompensated for his children who possessed no sense of teamwork and took full advantage of the lifestyle he and Alice provided. But today was Sunday, he and Alice had worked hard all week and he wanted to show her just how much he loved her. “I’ll bring you a mug of tea then have a nice soothing shower,” said Alice as she slipped on a soft towelled bath robe and her mules which she had purchased during a spa hotel holiday they had enjoyed in Turkey two years previous. Robin watched Alice as she climbed out of bed, wearing her black satin camisole with tiny shoe string straps. He admired her petite body and her long, tousled hair which, this morning, was shining and healthy. Her femininity was so appealing. He thought back to the time when they first met, ten years ago. Alice was just getting over the traumatic divorce from her first husband, after twenty-two years of marriage. It had been a difficult time for her, discovering the infidelity and betrayal of a husband she had trusted and loved. Because of this trauma, Alice had lost a lot of weight and was only seven stone when they met and, although in proportion, he was worried that if she took ill, there was no weight on her to sustain her and keep her strong. Robin had lost his first wife to leukemia and was well aware of the need to keep healthy and strong. Around the time of Alice’s discovery of her husband’s affair and the end of her marriage, Robin’s life had been thrown into pain and despair with months of worry and sadness, finally leaving him with the loss of his beloved wife and the mother of his four children, Gary, Wayne, Stephen and Julie.

Alice had helped Robin come to terms with his loss while trying to overcome her own emotional rollercoaster.

Alice had found it difficult at first, to trust another man, but with the help of her friends she had gradually grown accustomed to the dating game which was new territory for her. She had been sixteen when she met her first husband and although she had previous adolescent relationships, they had mostly been with old school friends whom she had felt safe and comfortable with. In any case, more often than not she had usually socialized in groups. Alice had been courting her first husband five years when they married. It was the accepted progression of relationships in the early 1970s.

Courtship, engagement then marriage before the age of twenty-five. Alice was only a few weeks from her twenty first birthday when she married. Most of her friends were already married with children. It was considered a worry to young women in her village not to be married by the age of twenty-five. However, having a family was another matter. They waited five years before deciding to become parents. Mathew was born into a well prepared loving family and three years later he had a sister, Anne Marie, making their family complete.

Years later when Alice looked back at the pictures of herself post marriage break up and compared them to the happy family photographs with her children. She saw a frail, sad looking creature, caught on the camera as opposed to the happy family pictures of the many holidays and special occasions they had shared together. It was in this post traumatic period of her life when Alice ventured out into the unknown territory of singleton.

The very first time she went out with her friends was to a well-known local singles bar. Alice felt uncomfortable the moment she entered the smoke-filled room. Her first impression was to liken the venue to a cattle market full of many cows and a disturbingly equal number of bulls. The cows were dressed up like male peacocks strumming around with their full plumage on display. Everyone stood shoulder to shoulder already making body contact with whoever happened to be standing either side, men waved £20 notes in the air trying to catch the attention of the obviously overworked bar staff, shouting their drinks orders above the noise of the crowd and the music.

The one and only saving grace of the night for Alice was the music as the gravelled voice of Rod Stewart singing “Maggie May” rang out above the buzz of the crowd. Alice wondered how she was going to squeeze in amongst this circus, but somehow along with her friends she did, and half an hour later, she was stood pressed against a wall with a large glass of red wine in her hand, holding on to it tightly for fear of being elbowed and spilling it down herself, or even worse, one of her friends. Not used to flirting and chatting to strange men that first experience as a new forty something single had been hellish for her.

My god, thought Alice, is this going to be my life from now on? Standing in a cattle market being looked up and down like a prized Heifer? The thought had kept her awake for many a night, reinforced by the knowledge that her now ex-husband was sleeping soundly with the new woman in his life who he had chosen over herself, and she surrendered to the fate of an uncertain future.

Her friends, of course, had observed Alice’s distress and how she had stood uncomfortably first on one foot then the other, fidgeting all night like a virgin in a brothel. The following week her friend Kay organised a girls’ night in, which turned out to be an evening of enlightenment for Alice as they each discussed their own personal problems and fears they had encountered on their own early step into singleton. Apparently, Alice had been giving off the wrong signals with her body language and demeanor which could be interpreted as “don’t come near me. I’m not available”. Alice explained she didn’t feel available. What she had felt was vulnerability for any gold digging lothario who might fancy their chance. Her friends tried to reassure Alice that she wouldn’t always feel that way and perhaps next time they all went out together, she may take on board what they had said. Relax a little more and enjoy the evening

K.L Loveley is a contemporary fiction author from Nottinghamshire, who writes gritty, realistic novels which tackle medical and social issues.
The author has enjoyed a successful 47-year nursing career with the NHS, during which she acquired vast skills. She has transferred her medical knowledge, and incorporated her excellent human observation skills into writing interesting stories about people affected by social and medical issues.
Her debut novel, ‘Alice’ tackles alcoholism head-on, and presents the reader with an empathetic account of a spiralling addiction and the resulting pattern of hopelessness that many fall into.
Buying links:


One lucky person will win the following #GoodieBag!!

To Include:-
Signed copy of Alice

"Mindfulness for the frazzled" by Ruby Wax
Mindfulness colouring book
Staedtler Colouring pencils (Johanna Basford edition)
Pukka Relax Tea
K.L.Loveley Mindfulness Mug.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis - Thriller full of intrigue

TITLE - Their Lost Daughters

AUTHOR - Joy Ellis

PUBLISHER - Joffe Books

BUY LINK - Click here



Toni, the surviving teenager, is found delirious, wandering the muddy fields. She has been drugged and it’s uncertain whether she’ll survive. She says she saw her friend Emily being dragged away from the party. But no one knows who Emily is or even if she’s still alive.

Meanwhile the drowned body of another girl has been found on an isolated beach.
And how does this all relate to the shocking disappearance of a little girl nearly a decade ago, a crime which was never solved? The girl’s mother is putting immense pressure on the police to re-open the high-profile case.


DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans of the Fenland police are stretched to the limit as they try to bring the perpetrators of these shocking crimes to justice.

There is evidence of an illegal drinking club run by a shadowy group of men, who are grooming teenagers. And the team come across a sinister former hospital called Windrush which seems to house many dark secrets.

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the shocking ending.
Sometimes when you read a book, it can take you a couple of chapters to get into it. I was hooked on this book after a couple of paragraphs! I had never read anything by this author, and being honest I hadn't heard of her. Not one to just follow the more well known authors I was happy to try and find myself another author to read.
There was so much content in this book and each story line blended seamlessly. As the blurb says, two girls go to a party & only one returns; also a young girl has been missing for several years and just seems to have disappeared without trace; also illegal drinking parties held for teenagers but by who? How are all these storylines linked?
The book was very descriptive, from the surrounding scenery to the numerous intriguing characters. Sometimes I get lost if there are too many characters in a book, but these all had such distinctive personalities and characteristics that it was hard not to follow who was who.
I felt the main Police characters were well written and the research seems to have been well done. It was great how the author had blended them all as a team.
This was a fast paced novel, with something different to grab your attention in each chapter. I found it hard to put down. Great twist at the end and totally unpredictable. I will most certainly be reading books by this author again. 
Joy Ellis grew up in Kent but moved to London when she won an apprenticeship with the
prestigious Mayfair flower shop, Constance Spry Ltd.
Many years later, having run her own florist shop in Weybridge, Ellis took part in a writer’s workshop in Greece and was encouraged by her tutor, Sue Townsend to begin writing seriously. She now lives in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner Jacqueline and their Springer spaniels, Woody and Alfie.
Contact the author
Goodreads // Facebook // Website

Friday, 14 April 2017

Blogger Recognition Award ~ 6 years on

Well I've just gone passed my 6 year Blogiversary and I've been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award! I was nominated by the Author of The Infinity Pool, Jessica Norrie. Check out her blog. I recently assisted her with some research for her up and coming new novel, recruiting some friends of mine from various ethnic backgrounds. So thank you Jessica, I was really touched by this. 

How and why did I start my blog?
I think it was world book night in 2011 that got me into blogging. I was chosen to give out the book "Fingersmith" by Sarah Waters. When I look back at that post, it makes me proud of how far I've come with my blogging. The post itself was basic, boring and lacking anything interesting. I'm surprised I managed to get any followers at all. I have learnt a lot over the past 6 years ago, mainly thanks to other bloggers. 

How is it going now? 
To date my blog has had over 150k views, although I only have 130 followers, but I'm okay with that. More would always be nice though. It's interesting that they are from all over the world. I do however have 470+ followers on Facebook and others on Twitter. That always puzzles me as my posts link through to my blog.

Most of my posts are obviously book and travel related, although mostly books at the moment. I hope to increase my travel posts. I have had other bloggers share posts on my blog too, which is always fun. 

I have met some amazing people through my blogging, ranging from fellow bloggers to Authors and Publishers. I love the blogging community.

What advice would I give to other bloggers?
1. Think about your post and re-read it before you post it. Does it make sense? Is it interesting?
2. Watch out for copyright if sharing images. It's not always easy to find out who they belong to, but if it says who owns it try and contact them for permission and credit them with the image. 

3. Choose a font that is easy to read for everyone. Also be aware of font colours. I myself for example, have a job to read red writing on certain backgrounds. Choose a background that's easy on the eye. 
4. Break up your posts with images. People switch off if you post just lots of text, if you haven't grabbed them in the first few sentences. 
5. Don't put pressure on yourself to be as articulate as other bloggers. Just be yourself and enjoy it. 
6. Keep in touch with the blogging community on social media. There's some great blogs out there! 

I would like to nominate a few of my favourite blogs too. The badges I've chosen have no copyright marks shown, so please notify me if they're yours! 

OK my blog choices are

Random Things Through my Letterbox - Anne's blog is full of great book recommendations and reviews. Her reviews have cost me a lot of money in book purchases!

Being Anne - Books, Travel and Other Interesting Things. 

Trip Fiction - A blog that features books set in destinations all over the world. I've bought some great reads from their recommendations.

Going Crazy! Wanna Go? Janet is from Texas. She blogs about being a Mum, Weigh Loss and Depression and lots more. A brutally honest blog. 

Murder Down to a Tea - Rebecca is an ex police detective and gives tips on different aspects of policing for those who want to write a crime novel. She is also a crime author herself. She has some really interesting posts on her blog. 

To all of you, please keep blogging as I love following your blogs. Feel free to choose from either badge above if you accept the nomination. As I've said I can't find copyright for them. 

If you accept this nomination (and you don't have to):

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide links to their blog.
  • Write a post to show you have the award and attach the logo to your post
  • Write a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give a piece of advice or two, to new bloggers
  • Select your choice of blogs you want to give the award to. There is no limit.
Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them. Please don't be offended if they decide not to mention it on their blog or make any awards of their own. It is entirely up to them what they put on their blog and it may not fit in with their plans. 

Thank you again to Jessica for my nomination! 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Pitch Black - A DCI Lorimer Novel by Alex Gray - Showcase & Giveaway

Pitch Black by Alex Gray

Pitch Black

by Alex Gray

on Tour: March 20 - April 20, 2017


DCI Lorimer is back in the next gripping atmospheric police procedural by international bestselling author Alex Gray.
When Chief Inspector Lorimer returns from holiday on the island of Mull, he feels a welcome sense of calm. But that doesn’t last long. Kelvin Football Club’s new star midfielder is found brutally stabbed to death in his own home, and with his wife apprehended trying to leave the country, a seemingly straightforward new case begins. But the grisly murder of a referee after a Kelvin match throws light on some dark secrets. And when the newest player who signed to the club becomes the latest victim in a string of killings, Lorimer knows there’s a serial killer on the loose—one that’s only beginning to show his true colors. As lies emerge and tensions build, Lorimer must discover the truth before one of the players or managers become the next Kelvin fatality.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Detective
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659149
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 3
The dust motes swirled round, captured in the one beam of light that filtered through a gap in the blinds. Behind him an insect buzzed drowsily against the window, seeking to escape from the confines of the room. Listening to its feeble struggles, Lorimer felt some empathy for the tiny creature. At that moment he would have given a great deal to walk out into the warm air of the city streets. Before him on the videoscreen were pictures of the deceased, not happy snaps at all. The scene-of-crime photographer had managed to convey each and every aspect of the man’s death, from the bread knife sticking out of his chest cavity to the open-mouthed grimace portraying that final scream of agony. Close-ups of blood spatters surrounded the main pictures, adding graphically to the image.
‘It was hot,’ Mitchison commented, somewhat unnecessarily, releasing the stills and letting the film pan in on the body. The black patches around the wound showed a moving mass of flies. Lorimer could almost smell the scent of corruption and was glad for once that he had not been first on the scene. But now Mitchison’s peremptory call had stolen the final day of Lorimer’s break and he had to be brought up to speed if he were to take charge of this case.
‘We’ve got the woman in custody and she’ll appear in court in the morning,’ the superintendent began, ‘but there are some problems.’
Lorimer raised his eyebrows.
‘She says she didn’t do it, of course, despite the fact she drove all the way up to the Hebrides...’ Mitchison’s drawl tailed off.
‘So, the problems are . . . ?’
‘We need to have some forensic evidence to connect her to the crime. There’s been nothing on her person and we couldn’t find anything else in the house. Either she was extremely forensically aware and managed to remove any traces of blood from the scene, or she’s telling us the truth.’
Lorimer, fixing his gaze on the images of a man who had bled to death, wondered what had provoked the attack. ‘What’s your own opinion, sir?’
Mitchison frowned. ‘She certainly had the means to do it. There was a huge rack of knives on one of those magnetic strips. It was one of these that was the murder weapon. No prints, I’m afraid. No residual traces, either. And the door was locked. There was no sign of a forced entry.’
‘Just circumstantial evidence, then?’
Mitchison nodded and screwed up his eyes in the half-light, then blinked. He’d probably been working through the night, Lorimer realised.
Method, means and opportunity, a familiar voice intoned in Lorimer’s head. It had been old George’s mantra. A wave of nostalgia for his former boss washed over him just then. Weary or not, George would never have delegated a case like this. He’d have ferreted away at it, looking for something more than the obvious. Though a runaway wife was a fairly obvious place to begin, Lorimer had to admit to himself. The method was straightforward enough and, despite his level of athleticism, the victim might have been taken by complete surprise. His expression alone was testament to that theory. She’d had the means easily to hand. And the opportunity? Who could say? Knife attacks were usually random affairs undertaken in a moment of frenzy.
‘What d’you reckon, then? A domestic gone wrong?’
The super made a face. ‘Janis Faulkner’s saying nothing. No plea for mitigating circumstances. Just a persistent refusal to admit she’d had anything to do with her husband’s death.’
‘Anything else suspicious?’
Mitchison paused for a moment then looked past Lorimer. ‘What would I call it? A strange absence of grief, I suppose.’
Lorimer gave a non-committal shrug. You couldn’t charge the woman for failing to mourn her dead husband, but still . . . His thoughts wandered for a moment to the sight of Janis Faulkner’s face as she’d glanced up at him on Fishnish pier. Had she been showing remorse? That haunted look had stayed with him since he’d seen her yesterday.
‘What do we know about her own movements before she scarpered?’
‘Says she was down at the gym. We’ve checked and her signing in and out times tally with her story. But as for simply setting off afterwards and not returning home first, well that was fairly unlikely, don’t you think? A few rounds on an exercise bike then she suddenly decides to leave her husband. It doesn’t make sense.’
‘So she’ll be charged?’
‘Yes, first thing tomorrow. There’s not another shred of evidence to show anyone else was in the house. I don’t care what Janis Faulkner claims; she did it, all right.’
Lorimer looked at his boss. The vehemence in Mitchison’s tone surprised him. Or was it simply that he was afraid Lorimer would see things in a different light, take away his prime suspect and cause problems? There was a past between these two senior officers that had never been adequately resolved. Mitchison had been promoted to superintendent when everyone’s expectations had been on Lorimer stepping into his old boss’s shoes, but it was their different attitudes to police work that had been the real cause of friction between them. Mitchison did everything by the rule book, creating masses of paperwork for everyone, while his DCI preferred a more handson approach. Lorimer remained silent. He was being officially designated as SIO and unless something new emerged, Janis Faulkner’s guilt or otherwise remained a matter for the jury.
‘Her solicitor is bound to ask for bail to be granted, pending a full investigation. We’ll see what happens in court tomorrow, but I have my doubts.’ Mitchison passed over the case file. ‘Don’t expect you’ll have too much bother with this one.’
Famous last words, Lorimer told himself as Mitchison left the room. Whether it was that quirk of fate placing him at the scene of her arrest on Mull or the victim’s high profile, the DCI had a strong feeling that this case was going to be anything but straightforward.
The woman had been brought back from Mull and placed in the police cells for one more night until she could be brought to court and officially charged with Nicko Faulkner’s murder. Lorimer waited outside as the duty officer unlocked the cell and stood aside. The first thing he noticed was the smell. It wafted towards him, a mixture of stale sweat and something more pungent that he recognised as menstrual blood. He’d smelt it before from women banged up over long weekends without any facilities to shower or change their clothes. Janis Faulkner was sitting in a corner of the bunk, feet together, head down and clutching her stomach. A movement as the cell door was opening made him realise she had looked up for a split second but now her expression was hidden under that curtain of damp hair.
‘Anyone thought to give her some paracetamol?’ he asked the uniformed officer.
‘Hasn’t asked for it,’ the man shrugged. ‘What’s she want it for anyway?’
‘Just go and get some,’ Lorimer told him, ‘and a drink of cold water.’ He let the man close the cell door behind them and stood waiting for the woman to look his way.
‘Feeling bad?’ he asked, as if she were an old acquaintance and not a stranger who was also his prisoner. He heard the sigh first, then Janis raised her head and looked at him. There was a brightness in her eyes that spoke of unshed tears. Her little nod and a flicker of recognition were all Lorimer needed to know he’d begun to win her confidence.
The door clanged open and the uniform strode in, proffering a tumbler of water and a strip of foil containing two painkillers. Both men watched as she unwrapped them, her fingers shaking as she clutched the glass and tilted back her head, then swallowed.
‘Thanks,’ she said, her voice hoarse. But it was to Lorimer that she spoke, to Lorimer that she handed back the empty tumbler.
‘You’ll have been told that we have to keep you here till tomorrow?’ he asked quietly, a hint of apology in his voice. She nodded again, but her head had drooped once more and Lorimer sensed she was withdrawing into herself, just as Mitchison had described. ‘You can talk to me if you want to,’ he told her. There was no response at all this time and as the minutes ticked past he realised that there was little point in trying any longer.
As he turned to leave, the silence inside that cell was redolent of misery.
Excerpt from Pitch Black by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & on Twitter .


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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Harper Collins. There will be 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Pitch Black by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on March 20th and runs through April 21st 2017.
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Monday, 10 April 2017

Secrets of Death ~ Stephen Booth ~ Showcase for this fictional thriller

Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth

Secrets of Death

by Stephen Booth

on Tour April 3 - 30, 2017

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Fiction
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062690353 (ISBN13: 9780062690357)
Series: Cooper & Fry #16 (Each is a Stand Alone Novel)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Residents of the Peak District are used to tourists descending on its soaring hills and brooding valleys. However, this summer brings a different kind of visitor to the idyllic landscape, leaving behind bodies and secrets.
A series of suicides throughout the Peaks throws Detective Inspector Ben Cooper and his team in Derbyshire’s E Division into a race against time to find a connection to these seemingly random acts — with no way of predicting where the next body will turn up. Meanwhile, in Nottingham Detective Sergeant Diane Fry finds a key witness has vanished...
But what are the mysterious Secrets of Death?
And is there one victim whose fate wasn’t suicide at all?

Read an excerpt:

And this is the first secret of death. There’s always a right time and place to die.
It was important to remember. So important that Roger Farrell was repeating it to himself over and over in his head by the time he drew into the car park. When he pulled up and switched off the engine, he found he was moving his lips to the words and even saying it out loud – though only someone in the car with him would have heard it.
And he was alone, of course. Just him, and the package on the back seat.
There’s always a right time and place to die.
As instructed, Farrell had come properly equipped. He’d practiced at home to make sure he got everything just right. It was vital to do this thing precisely. A mistake meant disaster. So getting it wrong was inconceivable. Who knew what would come afterwards? It didn’t bear thinking about. Last night, he’d experienced a horrible dream, a nightmare about weeds growing from his own body. He’d been pulling clumps of ragwort and thistles out of his chest, ripping roots from his crumbling skin as if he’d turned to earth in the night. He could still feel the tendrils scraping against his ribs as they dragged through his flesh.
He knew what it meant. He was already in the ground. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Wasn’t that what they said at your graveside as they shoveled soil on to your coffin? The dream meant his body was recycling back into the earth. In his soul, he’d already died.
Farrell looked around the car park. There were plenty of vehicles here. Although it was the middle of the week, a burst of sunny weather had brought people out into the Peak District in their droves. They’d come to enjoy the special peace and beauty of Heeley Bank, just as he had.
Of course, in many other ways, they weren’t like him at all.
He let out a sigh of contentment. That was the feeling this scenery gave him. The green of the foliage down by the river was startling in its brightness. The farmland he could see stretching up the sides of the hills was a glowing patchwork between a tracery of dry-stone walls. Cattle munched on the new grass in the fields. Further up, a scattering of white blobs covered the rougher grazing where the moors began.
The sight of those sheep made Farrell smile. He’d always associated them with the Peaks. This landscape wouldn’t be the same without sheep. They’d been here for centuries, helping to shape the countryside. And they’d still be here long after he’d gone.
It really was so green out there. So very green.
But there’s always a right time and place.
A silver SUV had pulled into a parking space nearby. Farrell watched a young couple get out and unload two bikes from a rack attached to their vehicle. One of the bikes had a carrier on the back for the small girl sitting in a child seat in the car. She was pre-school, about two years old, wearing a bright yellow dress and an orange sun hat. Her father lifted her out, her toes wiggling with pleasure as she felt the warm air on her skin. The family all laughed together, for no apparent reason.
Farrell had observed people doing that before, laughing at nothing in particular. He’d never understood it. He often didn’t get jokes that others found hilarious. And laughing when there wasn’t even a joke, when no one had actually said anything? That seemed very strange. It was as if they were laughing simply because they were, well . . . happy.
For Roger Farrell, happy was just a word, the appearance of happiness an illusion. He was convinced people put on a façade and acted that way because it was expected of them. It was all just an artificial front. Deep down, no one could be happy in this world. It just wasn’t possible. Happiness was a sham – and a cruel one at that, since no one could attain it. All these people would realise it in the end.
With a surge of pity, Farrell looked away. He’d watched the family too long. Across the car park, an elderly man hobbled on two sticks, accompanied by a woman with a small pug dog on a lead. She had to walk deliberately slowly, so that she didn’t leave the man behind. The pug tugged half-heartedly at its lead, but the woman yanked it back.
These two had probably been married for years and were no doubt suffering from various illnesses that came with age. Did they look happy? Farrell looked more closely at their faces. Definitely not. Not even the dog.
He nodded to himself and closed his eyes as he leaned back in his seat. His breathing settled down to a steady rhythm as he listened to the birds singing in the woods, the tinkle of a stream nearby, the quiet whispering of a gentle breeze through the trees.
As the afternoon drew to a close, he watched the vehicles leave one by one. People were taking off their boots, climbing into cars and heading for home. All of them were complete strangers, absorbed in their own lives. They could see him, of course. An overweight middle-aged man with a receding hairline and a distant stare. But they would never remember him.
A few minutes later, a young man jogged past on to the woodland path, checking his watch as he ran, as if he knew the time was approaching. A black Land Rover eased into a spot opposite Farrell’s BMW, but no one emerged.
And finally, the lights went off in the information centre. A woman came out and locked the front doors. She took a glance round the car park, seemed to see nothing of any interest to her, and climbed into a Ford Focus parked in a bay reserved for staff. Farrell watched as she drove away.
When it was quiet and there were only a few cars left, he leaned over into the back seat and unzipped the holdall. Carefully, Farrell lifted out the gas canisters, uncoiling the plastic tubing as it writhed on to the seat. He placed the canisters in the footwell. They looked incongruous sitting there, painted in fluorescent orange with their pictures of party balloons on the side.
It had taken him a while to find the right brand of gas. Some manufacturers had started putting a percentage of air into the canisters, which made them quite useless for his purpose. That was when things went wrong, if you didn’t check and double-check, and make sure you got exactly the right equipment.
Still, you could find anything on the internet, as he well knew. Information, advice, someone to talk to who actually understood how you were feeling. And the inspiration. He would be nothing without that. He wouldn’t be here at Heeley Bank right now.
And this is the first secret of death. There’s always a right time and place to die.
Farrell said it again. You could never say it too often. It was so important. The most important thing in the world. Or in his world, at least.
He reached back into the holdall and lifted out the bag itself. He held it almost reverently, like a delicate surgical instrument. And it was, in a way. It could achieve every bit as much as any complicated heart operation or brain surgery. It could change someone’s life for the better. And instead of hours and hours of complicated medical procedures on the operating table, it took just a few minutes. It was so simple.
With black tape from a roll, he attached the tubing to the place he’d marked on the edge of the bag, tugging at it to make sure it was perfectly secure. Everything fine so far.
Farrell had spent days choosing a piece of music to play. The CD was waiting now in its case and he slid it out, catching a glimpse of his own reflection in the gleaming surface. He wondered what expression would be in his eyes in the last seconds.
Despite his reluctance to see himself now, he couldn’t resist a glance in his rearview mirror. Only his eyes were visible, pale grey irises and a spider’s web of red lines. His pupils appeared tiny, as if he were on drugs or staring into a bright light. And maybe he was looking at the light. Perhaps it had already started.
The CD player whirred quietly and the music began to play. He’d selected a piece of Bach. It wasn’t his normal choice of music, but nothing was normal now. It hadn’t been for quite a while. The sounds of the Bach just seemed to suit the mood he was trying to achieve. Peace, certainly. And a sort of quiet, steady progression towards the inevitable conclusion.
As the sun set in the west over Bradwell Moor, a shaft of orange light burst over the landscape, transforming the colours into a kaleidoscope of unfamiliar shades, as if the Peak District had just become a tropical island.
Farrell held his breath, awed by the magic of the light. It was one of the amazing things he loved about this area, the way it changed from one minute to the next, from one month to another. Those hillsides he was looking at now would be ablaze with purple heather later in the summer. It was always a glorious sight.
For a moment, Farrell hesitated, wondering whether he should have left it until August or the beginning of September.
And then it hit him. That momentary twinge of doubt exploded inside him, filling his lungs and stopping the breath in his throat until he gathered all his strength to battle against it. His hands trembled with the effort as he forced the doubt back down into the darkness. As the tension collapsed, his shoulders sagged and his forehead prickled with a sheen of sweat.
Farrell felt as though he’d just experienced the pain and shock of a heart attack without the fatal consequences. His lips twitched in an ironic smile. That meant he was still in control. He remained capable of making his own mind up, deciding where and when to end his life. He was able to choose his own moment, his own perfect location.
There’s always a right time and place to die.
Roger Farrell took one last glance out of the window as the light began to fade over the Peak District hills.
The place was here.
And the time was now.
Excerpt from Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth. Copyright © 2017 by Stephen Booth. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Stephen BoothA newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine mill town of Burnley. He was brought up on the Lancashire coast at Blackpool, where he attended Arnold School. He began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine, and wrote his first novel at the age of 12. The Cooper & Fry series is now published by Little, Brown in the UK and by the Witness Impulse imprint of Harper Collins in the USA. In addition to publication in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, translation rights in the series have so far been sold in sixteen languages – French, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian, Japanese and Hebrew.Stephen left journalism in 2001 to write novels full time. He and his wife Lesley live in a village in rural Nottinghamshire, England (home of Robin Hood and the Pilgrim Fathers). They have three cats. In recent years, Stephen Booth has become a Library Champion in support of the UK’s ‘Love Libraries’ campaign, and a Reading Champion to support the National Year of Reading. He has also represented British literature at the Helsinki Book Fair in Finland, filmed a documentary for 20th Century Fox on the French detective Vidocq, taken part in online chats for World Book Day, and given talks at many conferences, conventions, libraries, bookshops and festivals around the world.

Catch Up With Stephen Booth On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:

Stop by these blogs to follow the tour and learn more about this awesome thriller!  


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Stephen Booth and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth. The giveaway begins on March 30 and runs through May 1, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours