Blog Tour ~ Review ~ No Bodies by Robert Crouch.

 

No Bodies - Robert Crouch - Book Cover

No Bodies – robert crouch kent fisher #2

No motive. No connection.
Why would environmental health officer, Kent Fisher, show any interest in finding Daphne Witherington, the missing wife of a longstanding family friend?
The police believe she ran off with Colin Miller, a rather dubious caterer, and Kent has problems of his own when a young girl who visits his animal sanctuary is rushed to hospital.
When enquiries into Colin Miller reveal a second missing wife, Kent picks up a trail that went cold over a year ago. But he’s struggling to find a connection between the women, even when he discovers a third missing wife.
Is there a killer on the loose in Downland?
With no motive, no connection and no bodies, Kent may never uncover the truth.
 
‘Robert Crouch has brought both a fresh voice and a new twist to conventional crime drama.‘ Alaric Bond

Review

My thanks to the author and blog tour organiser Caroline Vincent for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

 

I always worry when I love a book, that the next one in the series will be a disappointment! I loved the first book in the Kent Fisher series and No Bodies was just as good. In fact it’s better.

Kent Fisher is a wonderful creation and unique in crime literature, not your atypical grumpy policeman, but a environmental health officer.  The best bit about this book, is Kent himself, smart, with a conscience, but at the same time he has the right amount of skepticism to give him an edge. Frankly I love him and would happily read about his crime fighting adventures for years to come. You get to also meet the supporting cast of characters as Robert Crouch fleshes them out, makes them integral to the story. We get to meet Gemma’s fiancé and can’t help but wonder if the feelings she and Kent each other are really buried far in the past.

The story builds up an incredible head to steam to a thrilling ending. It’s a real page turner and a fabulous read.  It does feel like a story many members of the family could enjoy, just as Robert Crouch intended.

I would love to see Kent with his own TV adaption.  I even know who I want to play him!

Fun. Enjoyable. Entertaining and begging to be adapted for TV!

No Bodies can be purchased in eBook form from Amazon and in paperback form from Amazon.

Author spotlight 

Robert Crouch Author Image

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.
At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.
Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.
Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

Robert Crouch can be followed on the following social media sites.  

FacebookTwitterAuthor website

Advertisements

Blog Tour ~ Guest Post ~ Second Son by Andy Blackman.

The Second Son Cover

As the second son of the Duke of Hampshire, Grenville St John Hampton isn’t likely to inherit his family’s title or estate, leaving him pondering an empty, aimless future. During the summer break from university, he impulsively decides to go backpacking with one of his oldest friends, Johnathan; their destination is Belize.

One sultry night on the Central American coastline, Grenville and Johnathan meet Tom. A game of darts takes a vicious turn. Realising he has nothing to look forward to back at home, Grenville decides to stay on in Belize with Tom, in pursuit of adventure. Together, the new friends establish an import business, and for the rst time in his life, Grenville has a sense of purpose.
But back in England all is not well. The sudden death of his brother leaves Grenville with an unexpected – and now unwanted – inheritance, with new consequences and responsibilities. He will return to claim the family’s seat with a dark secret in tow.
Andy Blackman is the author of For the Love of Grace (published by Clink Street, 2016).

Many thanks to Blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey and Clink Street publishing for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for The Second Son. 

I would like to thank its author Andy Blackman for taking the time to share his top tips on how to write a thriller.

This is quite a hard question to answer, as a new author and not a trained one, by which I mean I have no formal background in the art of writing, I just write from my gut most of the time, as long as your outline story is sound and believable then most of it will fall into place, but I guessed pressed my top tips are:

Never try and over complicate the plot let the characters become natural and let them grow into themselves.
Never get a character do something which is totally out of their comfort zone, you would not in the real world, we all live by our own moral compasses.
Try and pick places you have visited or know well, this way when writing the story will flow plus you will have knowledge for background information, it is believable.
Do not over complicate the plot with characters, try and keep them to a minimum, introduce some briefly, but remember you are trying to let your book flow.
Do not baffle your book with over complicated and boring sub plots, a good book must flow from the start to the end, and have the reader gripped.
Think about where the book is going, is it a one off then by all means end characters, but do not end a character realising you want to use him later, this will be picked up on by eagle eyed readers.
Lastly enjoy what you write, read and re-read and change as you go, what started off like a good idea you can later realise it is not, so always been prepared to adapt, but never compromise.

I will finish by saying that throughout my writing experience I enjoyed writing, sometimes I would write a chapter or a part of it, got to bed and sleep on it or mull it over in a few days, and dream or think of a better way, so don’t get despondent, remember anyone can write a book, perhaps not a Shakespeare, but enjoy it, it is a learning process like everything in life, and never ever let anyone crush your dreams, be true to yourself and the words will flow.

The Second Son can be bought from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Author spotlight

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren. His previous novel, For the Love of Grace, was published in 2016.

The Second Son_Banner

Blog Tour ~Review~ The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen.

The Man Who Died new front (1)

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, markinng a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir. . ‘I was glued to this book. It made me laugh and grimace at times, and also made me sad. 

Review

Many thanks to the author, Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC copy of The Man Who Died in return for an honest review.
It’s not always guaranteed that a book in translation works outside the language it was originally written in, but this darkly funny and original story is an utter triumph. It’s compelling, intelligent, packed full of atmosphere and will make you smile, it will even make you laugh. Scandinavian Noir is not normally known for its comic element and this is what makes The Man Who died such a new and imaginative creation.
If you’re worried that the comedy element will ruin your enjoyment, because you read this genre for its edgy darkness, fear not, for it has this in abundance as well. Reading this book is like enjoying your very favourite choice of food, but adding a new ingredient, the balance and flavours are different, better, enhanced and deliciously appetizing.
From page one to the conclusion I was addicted to the story of Jaakko Kaunismaa who faces his own death, when he discovers he has been poisoned over a period of time by an unknown assailant. I smugly thought I had worked out who had poisoned the unsuspecting Jaakko, worked it out from the clues in the story, oh, how wrong was I, writer Antti Tuomainen is far too clever to reveal the guilty party so easily! He takes you down one road, smacks you with a literary u turn and only when he has beguiled you with unexpected twists and turns, do you find out who it is that wants Jaakko dead.
The novel is full of amazing characters, quirky individuals who each play a part in this very different thriller. From the yet to die victim, bear with me, his death is promised, to his fellow mushroom obsessed employees and crazy murderous competitors. You are never going to be bored by this cast of unusual characters.
As for those traditional elements you enjoy so much, all the twists and turns propel the story forward at a thrilling speed. You are sat on the edge of your seat, book in hand, turning pages over without pause, needing to know who is responsible for all that befalls Jaakko. While at its core the novel retains a darkness that envelops you the reader in it’s chilling embrace. You may find yourself laughing at some of the events, but the comedy is dark and shows human relationships at their worst.
I adored this book. Its differences from more traditional Scandinavian Noir were exciting. You get everything you love from this genre, but with an altogether more original element. It’s stunning and will stay with me for a long time. I will be very surprised if this book does not feature in my top reads of 2017.

A special mention goes to David Hackston for the superb translation from Finnish to English.

The Man Who Died can be purchased from Amazon and Waterstones.

Author spotlight 

Antti Tuomainen

innish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labeled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen “The king of Helsinki Noir” when Dark as my Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula.

“Antti Tuomainen is a wonderful writer. His characters, plots and atmosphere are masterfully drawn.”
Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Antti  Tuomainen can be followed on Facebook

man who died blog poster 2017-2

Blog Tour ~ Guest Post ~The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas.

The Watcher Cover
It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

Many thanks to Clink Street Publishing, blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for The Watcher. Special thanks to Monika Jephcott Thomas for taking the time to write a guest post.

ERIKA – CHARACTER SPOTLIGHT

The character of Erika is heavily based on my own mother. Nearly everything that happens to Erika, in The Watcher and my previous novel Fifteen Words is based on true events. These events, when I heard about them, seemed so inherently dramatic, that basing Erika on my mother was, for me, a no-brainer.
In The Watcher Erika is the mother of a five year old (Netta) and her husband Max has just returned from the war and a subsequent four years in a Russian POW camp in Siberia. Max is greatly changed by the experience. He is malnourished, and physically not the attractive man Erika once knew. But more importantly to her, he is distant, his behaviour erratic – he is suffering from PTSD, and although both Erika and Max are practising doctors, neither of them (like the rest of the medical world in 1949) have the therapeutic vocabulary to identify and deal with it. Consequently the strain on their relationship is immense.
The door was ajar and Erika saw Karin peering in at Max slumped awkwardly in the tiny bath. Erika was speared with jealousy in that instance. Not because Karin was younger and thinner than Erika – no, the girl may have been only nineteen, but she was unhealthily thin, and her short brown hair and the dark circles round her eyes gave her the appearance of a boy rather than a female rival. It wasn’t anything physical. It was the way she looked at the unseeing Max right then through the gap in the door with such sympathy. The kind of sympathy Erika found it so difficult to show. And who could blame her? This man was meant to be her brave military doctor, back from the war, undefeated by internment. The wonderful specimen she had shown photographs of to little Netta as she tried to get her off to sleep at night; to whose image they sang:
If I were a little bird and had wings, I would fly to you…
Whom she desperately wanted back – not just because she loved him, not to dampen her urges towards Rodrick even, but to help her share the unexpected and undeniable burden that being a parent was.
Erika put herself in the gap between door and frame, ostensibly to protect her husband’s privacy, but actually to obscure her own lack of connection with the man in the bath.
‘Is everything all right?’ Karin had the voice of a mouse. ‘Can I help at all?’
‘It’s all right, Karin,’ Erika said, reminding herself and the housekeeper who was the boss here. ‘We don’t need you. You can go back to bed.’

Erika and Max’s relationship has never been plain sailing. It is rooted in tension. When they met Max was a practising Catholic, deeply opposed to the Nazi regime, while Erika was an irreligious supporter of the Nazi party, since she had been led to believe that her ailing country could be ‘made great again’ by Hitler and his policies, some of which chimed with her own scientific convictions.
Fifteen Words charts the many influences which tug at the young Erika and lead her down this path: from joining the Hitler Youth Movement as a way out of her oppressive family home as a teenager, to becoming embroiled in the attempted assassination of an opponent of the Nazi regime when, as a penniless student, she is offered money to do so. Also in Fifteen Words Erika is forced to give birth to and raise Netta for four years not knowing if Max is alive or if he will ever return. So when she finds solace and simply pragmatic support in Rodrick the local carpenter, a solid, practical breadwinner, can we blame her? In Fifteen Words I have tried to paint the many light and dark sides which make up Erika (and all of us for that matter). I have tried to show the many circumstances and agents, external and internal, which push and pull us around as we grow and lead us down the paths we choose, for better or worse.
Nevertheless, if Erika is hard to sympathise with in Fifteen Words, in The Watcher I think we must find her situation – trying desperately to mend her family, relate to the stranger her husband now is and break through the wall he has built around himself – a moving one.
Knowing her shady past, when there is murder in the household, the reader may instantly suspect Erika of foul play. She certainly seems to have a motive and the ability. But is that just our prejudice at work?
When Max invites a prostitute (Jenny), whom he seemed to be falling for in Siberia, into his and Erika’s home, it puts Erika’s relationship with the carpenter into sharper perspective, and hopefully illuminates that these characters are all trying (desperately) to be a normal family after a war where the extraordinary became the norm. Surprisingly perhaps, Erika welcomes Jenny into her home, because she is convinced Jenny will be a conduit for Erika to learn more about Max’s past in the labour camp which he refuses to talk about. Desperate times call for desperate measures! But of course this situation creates more problems for the family, not less. At least, at first.
‘I know it’s been really difficult for you since you got back. I know that you went through some terrible things and that your mind is—’
‘Please do not presume to tell me what’s going on in my own mind!’ he snapped, eyes still on the window. ‘You do not know what’s going on in my head.’
‘So tell me!’ she cried. ‘Let me in! I’m your wife and I want to know.’ She refrained from adding: as Jenny does, but hurried over to the bed and perched on the nearside, a sea of blankets between her and where he sat. ‘I want to help you.’
Those last words seemed to prick him. She saw him flinch and knew she was onto something. She knew he always thought of himself as the helper, the curer, not the victim or the casualty.

Erika is a good doctor, although there are many professional obstacles for her in the age where women are expected to be nothing ‘more’ than nurses. We see her in action as a doctor throughout The Watcher, but she also has to deal with the fact that her daughter Netta is suffering from an illness she cannot seem to fix. Partly this is because one aspect of Netta’s illness is psychological and psychology is an underrated medical practise in this era, but also it is because they live in a city where the air is polluted, ironically, by the factories which are fast rebuilding the country. That is when Erika has to make the difficult decision to send her daughter away for some fresh sea air.
In Erika therefore we have a woman struggling to be a supportive wife, a good mother and a good doctor. In order to be these things, we will learn that she has kept some dark secrets during the course of The Watcher, just as she did in Fifteen Words, but this time her motives might be less dubious. Or they might not. You’ll just have to read the book to find out!

The Watcher can be purchased from Amazon

Author spotlight 

Monkika Jephcott Thomas

Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. In 2016 her first book Fifteen Words was published.

Monika Jephcott Thomas can be followed on her website.

TheWatcher_Banner

Blog Tour ~ Character Spotlight ~ Sun, Sea and Sex by Greta Horwood.

Sun Sea Sex Cover

Escaping to live on a Caribbean island, Zeeta and her two best friends reflect on their turbulent lives, loves and the decisions that shaped them.

Growing up Zeeta always strove to be the perfect daughter and be everything her parents hoped. Unfortunately, she soon realised that she’d never be good enough, it’s her brother who holds their love. Thankfully, she can always turn to her lifelong friend Sheila —a boy-mad teenager whose love of the opposite sex will follow her into adulthood with a rollercoaster of consequences. Determined to make something of her life Zeeta continues to be a model student and earns a place at cookery college where good qualifications should pave the way to a career and security. But getting the job she wanted proved impossible. However, a chance meeting on her train to work with Peggy —a vibrant and successful career woman— who offers Zeeta an exciting new job in London changes the course of her life forever.

Happily enjoying her new independence, and friendship with Peggy, Zeeta finally feels like life and luck is on her side. And so whilst at a work conference when she unexpectedly meets her childhood friend Martin Zeeta wastes no time throwing herself into a whirlwind romance. And when Martin proposes marriage she doesn’t hesitate but love never did run smoothly and all too soon Zeeta’s bliss leads to disaster and heartbreak. Reeling from events, on the rebound and emotionally unready, Zeeta quickly falls into a second marriage. But her second husband has a dark side one with a depraved sexual appetite. Trapped and afraid it is only with the help and support of her two best friends, Sheila and Peggy, that Zeeta will find the strength to finally emerge free and independent.

A story of life, love and friendship, Sun, Sea and Sex by Greta Horwood is the perfect next read for fans of commercial women’s and romantic fiction .

My thanks to blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey and Clink Street publishing for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Sun, Sea and Sex. 

accessories-beach-blue-feminine-65900

Special thanks to author Greta Horwood for sharing her character spotlight on my blog today.  Get to know Zeta in greater detail here, then why not go onto read, Sun, Sea and Sex which can be purchased from Amazon.

Zeeta was a late war baby so her early life was ‘difficult’, rationing and the short supply of other goods were so much part of her life. Her father in was in the RAF, but he never saw action, he was valued on the ground, he repaired and got planes flying again.  Her mother was an armature winder in a war factory.

Her parents were always busy, so often left by herself, Zeeta read books.  She learnt so much from books.  Her all consuming passion was horses.  She would have loved to ride.  Reading books and dreaming was the next best thing.

There was a big age gap, between her brother and herself. From the moment he was born; she knew he was the child her parents wanted – a son.  She wanted to do well to please her parents, it was a struggle.  She gave up trying to please them, nothing was good enough, and so she worked hard for herself.

She had two friends at school.  Sheila was her confidant and lifelong friend.  Sheila was boy mad, Zeeta thought herself strange because boys left her cold, she was afraid she would never be able to love.  Her other friend Andrea had horses.  A friend with horses meant she could get near to a real live one.  Trips to Andrea’s house led to her being allowed to stay.  Andrea’s brother became for her, a true brother, a good friend, but she enjoyed his kisses, she realised later in life.

Staying with the Trents showed her a proper family, a home filled with love and laughter.  She loved her time there.

Going to cookery college led to job opportunities, but even better she made a friend, Peggy, who offered her a well-paid job.  This gave her the opportunity to leave home.  At last she was going to have a life, how she enjoyed planning.

Zeeta changed.  She now could do almost, all the things she dreamed about doing, and she could become a new person.  A change of hairstyle and a few new clothes saw her blossom as a woman.

A chance meeting at a business conference led to a whirlwind romance and marriage.  She had found someone who loved her, a new experience, she revelled in his love.  She loved him with all her heart.

She compared every man against Martin, her husband, but later realised what she had, was not normal in every relationship.

She endured hell with Graham, her second husband, married in haste, regretted at leisure.  She blamed herself.

She survived Graham with the help of Peggy, her boss and now very good friend.

A visit from Andrea’s mother led to a reunion with Ben, Andrea’s brother.  Zeeta had vowed, never to become involved with another man, he could be another Graham and there was no way she could face that again.

A kiss from Ben made Zeeta realise that the brotherly kisses, Ben gave her, years before, meant more that she realised.  She kissed him back.  This kiss made her a woman again, it made her realise she wanted Ben to kiss her again.  His kisses led to a relationship, but Ben was recovering from a woman who wanted marriage, but not him.  He was hurt, he needed time to heal.  Zeeta needed time to see what she wanted.  So waiting was best for both of them.

Zeeta realised she wanted Ben’s love, she needed Ben’s love.  It would heal her. They lived together, they were happy.  They had two sons.  The boys cemented their loving relationship.

After Ben she decided not to open her heart again, but an unlikely friendship led to a sexual one.  Dexter, was her son’s age.  She loved him like a son.  An accident led to him declaring his love that led to sex and more sex, he could not get enough.  Zeeta was surprised.  Then rejection.  Hard to take.  It rolled back the years.  She became a child again rejected by her parents.  It was not a good place to be in.  Over the years, she and Sheila planned to get away together, that time had come. They moved to a Caribbean Island.

Author Bio

Greta Horwood Author Pic

Retired and living in Great Horwood, Buckinghamshire Greta Horwood is the pen name for Patricia Rudkin. An active member of her community, Patricia has worked as the secretary for the Village Hall management committee, arranged village fetes and fundraising events and worked as the caretaker for Great Horwood Village School. Along with her late husband, she also used to run a youth club called Great Horwood Sports and Activities Club. And up until last January she was a weekly contributor to the Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser and Great Horwood Village News. Patricia is also Membership Secretary and Welfare Officer for the Blue-Pointed Siamese Cat Club Committee and life member of the Seal Pointed Siamese Cat Club. She fund raises for cat welfare, via eBay for both clubs. Her other interests include Genealogy.

Sun Sea Sex Banner

Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis.

51mdRbqtpAL._SX349_BO1,204,203,200_

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape.

Review

I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser Abby Fairbrother for the ARC copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Lloyd Otis’s book is brimming with the atmosphere of 70s Britain. It’s a good old fashioned police investigation story and that’s what I liked about it. No fancy thrills, good edge of the seat stuff, with believable characters.

DI Breck is a good solid policeman, with a flawed home life and possibly a secret hidden somewhere, who works to solve the murder of two women, though he is hampered by those around him who are working to an alternative agenda. Throughout the novel, I felt myself not really trusting any of the characters to be who they were, including Beck and that made the novel edgy and exciting. The writer keeps you guessing right to the end of the book. He teases you with threads of the story, but doesn’t show his hand until the end and that is what any reader wants, to be excited and made to turn those pages.
The best bit of the novel for me is the way the atmosphere of the 70s is brought to life. Dead Lands felt very reminiscent of the hit TV show Life on Mars. That era when policeman thought nothing of hitting a witness or locking someone up to protect those deemed to be too high profile to be prosecuted . You can feel yourself falling back into that era and its fabulous.
If your looking for a good old fashioned Police thriller, then Dead Lands is for you.

Dead Lands can be purchased from Amazon and Waterstones

Author Bio

LO2

Lloyd was born in London and attained a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication. After gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, he completed a course in journalism. Lloyd has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block. Two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology, and he currently works as an Editor.

Lloyd Otis can be followed on Facebook and Twitter

BANNER

Blog Tour ~ Guest Post ~ Doing Scary by Donald M.Bell.

Doing Scary Cover

Two marriages haunted by betrayal. Four people whose pursuit of the American Dream has taken a nightmarish turn.

Roman and Sage Bryant-Cole have spent nine months trying to salvage what was left of their marriage after it was rocked by the revelation of Roman’s serial affairs. Sage is dealt a second blow when she discovers that her cherished cousin, Owen Bryant, has been cheated on by his ruthless, gold-digging wife, Leah.
Sage’s discovery hits the reset button on the progress she and Roman had been making on their marriage, as all the doubts and fears she has tried to suppress come flooding back. In order to reclaim Sage’s trust, and to save a love now left dangling by a thread, Roman must take his efforts to win back his wife to another level.
Leah and Owen Bryant are visited by a ghost from their past; Leah’s college sweetheart, Casey. Leah and Owen must confront a dark secret at the heart of their marriage, if they are to stand a chance of surviving as a couple.
One family’s legacy, two marriages, four lives, and millions of dollars are at stake.
Doing Scary is a coming of age story which explores the transition from adolescence to adulthood and the battles we face in our thirties to keep our spiritual, emotional and psychological progress in check, as the things we hold most dear are put to the test.

I once again have to thank Clink Street Publishing and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for inviting me onto the blog tour for Doing Scary.  My thanks also to the author Donald M. Bell for taking the time to write a guest post.

Mythology around infidelity

Myth number one: Myth number eight: all adulterers are created equal. Over the years I have identified two types of adulterist relationships (predatorial and parasitic), and four types adulterers (predator, prey, parasites, and host). Adulterist relationships are coevolving relationships meaning they are antagonist built around a way of relating that benefits one person while it compromises the dignity and personal empowerment of the other. Adulterist relationships are inherently imbalanced relationships because of presence of a spouse in the life of one or both the adulterers.
Predatorial affairs are relationships initiated by a predator who holds the dominant role in the relationships. Predators attach themselves to persons who are willing to play the role of prey who identify with the perceived power and strength of the predator. The person who takes on the role of prey in a predatorial relationship supports has to walk in denial to support the delusions overdeveloped sense of self of the predator. The predator relates to the prey in a manner that I would describe as ‘loveless order.’ There are a whole bunch of rules without a lot of affection, which is why the most entrenched aspect of the prey’s denial is about how much the predator cares for them. The most lethal weapons in the arsenal of a predator are combativeness and contempt. The two themes at the heart of all the communication in a predatorial relationship are voice and choice. Arguments over who has the right to speak and who should listen along with arguments about who has the right to choose and who should be supportive are endless. At the end of the day the predator initiates an affair to affirm their manufactured self, while the prey is receptive because they are in need of a hero.
Parasitic affairs are initiated by a parasite who holds the dominant role in the relationships. Parasites attach themselves to persons who are willing to play the role of host whose need to be needed is feed by the inexhaustible neediness of the parasite. The person who takes on the role of host in a parasitic relationship supports has to walk in denial to support the delusions arising from the soulless core of the parasite. The parasite relates to the host in a way I describe as ‘disordered love.’ while there is a whole lot of passion and fire mixed with the chaotic drama fueled encounters. Because of the one-sided random nature of the way parasites do relationship the most entrenched aspect of the host’s denial is focused on the level of sharing that is taking place between them and parasite. The most lethal weapons in the arsenal of a parasite are disruption and distance. The two themes at the heart of all the communication in a predatorial relationship are needs and deeds. Arguments over who has done what and who needs to what for whom are endless. Ultimately the parasite initiates an affair to support their continual need for experiences to fill their emptiness; while the host is vulnerable to their advances because of their need to be needed.

Myth number two: infidelity is criminal act one spouse commits against another. Excluding for sexual addiction and sociopathy infidelity is more of a conspiracy perpetrated by both spouses than it is a crime committed by one spouse against another. Let explain to have an affair of any depth and duration you need at least two things time and boundaries that promote secrecy. To have the time and boundaries to have an affair a spouse must give their consent to both implicitly or explicitly. Unless your spouse is a black ops soldier for the government, they need to be accountable to for their time. Oh, and while I am mentioning it if you meet someone who claims their work is top-secret, you might want to verify that with a second source. File that under potential sociopath. One of the reasons a spouse stops holding their spouses accountable for their time is it serves their purpose too. Husband stop complaining about his wife working overtime even when she began coming home after midnight. When asked her if she was having an affair she broke down and cried. Later when I ask the husband why he never asked her what she was doing with her time he admitted that both he and the kids enjoyed the calm over the house when she wasn’t around.

Myth number three: once an affair is out in the open and the spouse who has had an affair decides to end it a couple can get on with their lives. Not true – even though a spouse has committed his or her self to stopping an affair their spouse has no way of knowing what is in their partner’s heart. Especially considering the fact they just found out their spouse has been unfaithful. Another issue standing in the way of moving on is the likelihood that all the details about the affair haven’t been disclosed. If the spouse who had an affair is like the hundreds of people I have counseled with who have had affairs. They’ll opt to let the scandalous details of their affair leak out over time. At the heart of the ‘need to know basis’ approach to sharing the details of their adultery with their spouse is fear. Fear based on the self-serving belief that if I share all the details about my infidelity my husband or wife will leave me. So instead of being transparent, they engage in a second act of infidelity they let their spouse heal a little only to have the bandage ripped off as fact about the affair leak out.

Myth number four: my spouse’s infidelity is the only problem we have in our relationship. If infidelity were a physical ailment, it would be a symptom, not a disease. A very painful symptom but just a symptom nonetheless. One of the ways I try to break through the denial that there is nothing wrong is by asking the question; if the life you and your spouse built is so strong why did your spouse higher a subcontractor to build a part of their life they can’t or won’t share with you.

Myth number five: infidelity is a moral issue, committed by those who lack character. People don’t have affairs because they are morally corrupt they have affairs because they are emotionally vulnerable, moralizing the situation only drives their behavior further underground. While guilt and shame have the capacity to motivate, it’s like a sugar rush. It is a short-term fix that’s destined to be followed by a crash.

Myth number six: this is a private matter that two people in love ought to be able to work out on their own. While this may be true for some, it has been true for any of the couples I have walked with who have successfully rebuilt their marriage. The reality is it takes a diverse set of skills to resurrect a marriage. In wrestling (yes I know it is fake) there is a match called a Lumber Jack match. The way it works is two wrestlers enter the ring. Other wrestlers (called lumberjacks) then surround the ring, half of whom support one wrestler while the other half supports their opponent. If either fighter tries to leave the ring, the wrestlers that surround the ring toss the fleeing fighter back into the ring till the two of them settle things amongst themselves. Sometimes a couple needs some lumberjacks to surround their marriage, who will tell them the truth in love as they toss them back into work things out.

Myth number seven: because I am the one who had an affair I have permanently lost the moral high ground in our relationship. Because my spouse has agreed to take me back or work of the relationship I don’t have the right to complain about anything. Even though it may not be a good idea to voice your complaints about your spouse immediately following the disclosure that you have had an affair; know that at some point sooner rather than later you are going to have to share disappointments and frustration with your spouse. Holding it in only builds resentment, the kind people use to justify their behavior.

Myth number eight: time heals all wounds. Most couples I have encountered are operating on the mistaken belief that if enough time passes without a spouse having an affair at some point their relationship will be out of the woods and trust will be restored. Trust doesn’t get rebuilt because time passes. Trust gets established in an atmosphere where there are specific behaviors, with specific standards, that can be monitored and measured to determine a spouses’ commitment to earn back the trust they lost. In other words, there needs to be some hoops a person has to jump through, not to punish them but to give them the opportunity to earn back some of the trust they have lost.

Doing Scary can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Author Bio

donaldmbell_2017

Donald M. Bell Sr. is the Senior Pastor/Teacher of Covenant Blessing Fellowship (CBF) launched out of an adult bible study 2001. Pastor Bell has been preaching since he was sixteen and holds a professional degree in Organizational Psych. Behavior. Bell’s profound ability to communicate spiritual principles in secular settings has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC 20/20, and the documentaries Sister I’m Sorry, and Soul Mate. He was also a weekly guest on KJLH nationally syndicated radio program Love in the Spirit hosted by Kevin Nash. Bell lives in a suburb of Los Angeles with his lovely wife, Michelle, who wedded in 1994 and is the father of three.

DoingScary_Banner

Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir.

SNARE new front cover

Description After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath the Icelandic financial crash.

Review

Many thanks to Orenda Books, blog tour organiser Anne Cater and the author for the ARC copy of Snare in return or an honest review.

It has to be said, I adored Snare and for numerous reasons.  The outstanding quality of the writing, how the story slowly builds to a thrilling conculsion and the way the characters make you question your own actions if you to where caught in the Snare.

Its a slow burner, where the tension is built carefully. You don’t notice it at first, then suddenly you feel the muscles in your chest begin to tighten, your nerve ends tingle and your gripping your kindle or book so tightly your hands hurt.  It has you sitting there literally on the edge of your seat, uncertain if your brave enough to turn the next page.

All the characters are superbly drawn, from Sonia who you initially might find yourself disliking, given she smuggles drugs, but bare with her, I promise she’s is worth it. Then there is Alga who is a deeply troubled character, in love with Sonia, but ashamed of her sexuality and tied up herself in crimes we might find hard to forgive her for.  Even Bragi, an essentially good man, who weaves his own snare around Sonia, determined to catch her out.  Importantly two LGBT characters are given a central role in a main stream story and weren’t there as background filler, which I adored.  It might seem a minor thing, but its still rare for this to happen and I want to applaud Lija Sigurdardottir for the way she gives a voice to characters like Sonia and Alga.

The intracies of the plot line and the subtle way it weaves you the reader into a snare, holding your tight within the narrative is to be celebrated! It’s rare for a book to carefully weave a narrative into your subconcious in such a way you find it hard to move on from it when it’s finished, but Snare does!  It’s portrayal of the drug smuggling sub culture that is around us all, even though we don’t partake or are aware of it’s presence it disturbing and worrying.  You will look around you when your finished and wonder, who do I know that could be caught in such a snare.

Supberb writing, story telling and a bright new star in Lilja Sigurdardottir.

A special mention must be given to Quentin Bates who’s translation of Snare is flawless.  It takes great skill to translate another writer’s work and he derserves to be applauded for capturing the essence of the orginal story and bringing it to a British audience.

You can purchase Snare from Amazon and Waterstones

Author Bio 

Lilja Sigurðard.

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Lilja Sigurdardóttir can be followed on Twitter

Translator Bio

Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England. He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident. He has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as one novel (Gudlaugur Arason’s Bowline). He’s currently working on translating the next title in Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series: Blackout.l

snare blog poster 2017-2

Blog Tour ~ Location Spotlight ~ Sometimes The Darkness by Will Campbell.

Sometimes The Darkness

Sometimes the Darkness 

American Hanley Martin is troubled by his success. A wealthy aerospace industrialist, he was taught he should help others as a means of balancing the scales for his good fortune. He searches for ways to give back that will comfort his soul.
A trip to the Paris Air Show in 1999 changes the course of Martin’s life when the head of a Catholic mission in southern Sudan tells him of the need for pilots to fly medical supplies and visiting doctors to and from their remote clinic and school in Mapuordit, which sits on the refugee trail from Darfur to Kenya.
Sister Marie Claire, a French nun working at the Mapuordit mission, helps the Sudanese people fleeing the war in Darfur. She’s crafted a network of volunteers to save the children sold into slavery and forced to work in the country’s more prosperous cities. She needs only one additional piece to complete her plan.
As Hanley Martin and his plane arrive at Mapuordit, she asks herself if the American may be the answer to her prayers.
Sometimes the Darkness is the first novel by the author Will Campbell. It tells the story of two people brought together by fate and the price they pay helping a horrific war’s most vulnerable victims.

I would like to thank Will Campbell for taking the time to write a fascinating location spotlight to feature as part of the blog tour for his book Sometimes the Darkness. 

I would also like to thank Clink Street publishing and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the chance to be a host on this tour.

Location Spotlight

The locations featured or mentioned in the novel, Sometimes the Darkness trace an arc from where the stories protagonist, Hanley Martin, begins journey and back again. The arc follows his flight plan from Kokomo, Indiana, his home, to Mapuordit in the southern region of what was then a unified Sudan. The exception is Paris, France, a location visited prior to his decision to do volunteer work in Africa, but a location playing a vital role in that decision. During a trip to the Paris Air Show in 1999, Hanley has a chance conversation with the head of a Catholic mission in southern Sudan who tells him of the need for pilots to fly medical supplies and visiting doctors to and from their remote clinic and school in Mapuordit. The mission is on the refugee trail from Darfur to Somalia and Kenya. He make the decision to interrupt his life to work at this mission station in Africa.

The plane Hanley takes to Africa is an meticulously restored older model Beech, a C-45 Expeditor, the cargo version of what was then an early executive aircraft, the Beech 18. The locations allowed the C-45, modified for extra fuel capacity, to make the flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe and on to Africa.

The locations along this path are:

Kokomo, Indiana
St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
Nuuk Airport, Greenland
Reykjavik, Iceland
Galway, Ireland
St. Nazaire, France
Salento, Italy
Heraklion, Crete
Cairo, Egypt
Port Sudan, Sudan
Mapuordit, Sudan

While some of these are just names mentioned in the narrative, some have a more prominent role, specifically Kokomo, Indiana; Cairo, Egypt; Port Sudan, Sudan and Mapuordit, Sudan, the location of the Catholic mission. Here are some location specific extracts from the book:

Kokomo, Indiana – Rocky Vicenti, Hanley’s next door neighbor, his widowed lover, sat on a folding chair in his large, dimly lit hanger facing him as he sat on the steps that formed the interior wall of the plane’s cargo door. It was March of 2001 and unusually cold in north-central Indiana. The hanger was built to house two planes and had, before Hanley crashed one when landing at the Russiaville Airport outside of Kokomo almost six months earlier.
“She’s not that old,” Hanley said, trying to not so gently correct her. “She’s younger than me.”
With a coarse black thread as heavy as a strand of dental floss, Hanley mended a weak spot on the border of the netting, which, once fixed, would stretch across the cargo hold of his old, meticulously restore Beech C-45, the plane he would hopscotch across the Atlantic to Europe and then on to Africa.

Cairo, Egypt – Cairo was pleasant surprise. The customs people were all efficient and courteous, English was spoken and he was finished with his inspection and paperwork in under two hours. Hanley also suspected he arrived at the right time of day to facilitate the process. Seeing he carried virtually nothing in his cargo hold, the inspectors checked in all the obvious areas, examined his paperwork, and questioned him about his destination, registering mild surprise at his answer of southwestern Sudan and the Catholic outpost. The young customs inspector, Riyhad, looked hard at Hanley and asked, “Mr Martin, what brings you to the desert?”
Hanley looked at the sky, removed his old, black baseball cap with the emblem of the Pittsburgh Steelers on it, swiped his forehead with the back of his hand and said, “A woman.” Riyadh smiled and nodded.

You can purchase Sometimes The Darkness from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Author Bio

Will Campbell is the pen name of Stephen Weir. He lives in Charleston and Greenville, WV. Stephen Weir is a former certified economic developer (CEcD) with over thirty years experience managing economic development organisations from the city to state level. He has also worked in international trade, helping establish the West Virginia’s first international trade office in Nagoya, Japan. He has previously published economic development articles and op-ed pieces in the Economic Development Review, West Virginia Executive Magazine and the Charleston Daily Mail and Gazette. His interest in politics, literature and writing led to the penning of his debut novel.

SometimetheDarkness_Banner

 

Blog Tour ~ Review ~ sister, psychopath by Maggie James.

 

SISTER FINAL

When they were children, Megan adored her younger sister Chloe. Now she can’t bear to be in the same room as her.
Megan believes Chloe is a psychopath and her sister does appear to be a textbook case: cold, cruel and lacking in empathy.

 

Why does Chloe want to taunt Megan at every opportunity?  And why does she persist in manipulating their mentally ill mother, Tilly?

When Tilly, under Chloe’s malignant influence, becomes dangerously unstable, the consequences are ugly. Megan’s world falls apart. Her sister’s out of control and there’s little she can do about it. Until Chloe’s actions threaten the safety of Megan’s former lover. A man from whom she has kept an important secret…

A study of sibling rivalry and dysfunctional relationships, Sister, Psychopath tells the story of one woman’s struggle to survive the damage inflicted by her own flesh and blood.

Review

Firstly I need to thank the author Maggie James, publisher Bloodhound books and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC copy of sister, psychopath in return for an honest review.
Let’s face it, when reading a psychological suspense novel you want shed loads of suspense! You also anticipate feeling nervous, tense and filled with anxiety. You’d like to be wrong footed to! Have the writer, in this case Maggie James, trick you into making an assumption about where the story is headed and who her characters really are!
Luckily for readers these elements are in plentiful supply in this her new bestselling novel! Your constantly wrong footed, worried at all times for those characters you have come to care about. The story is built up like bricks being used to build a wall, or the intricate pieces of a puzzle that only when it’s completed is the real story revealed to you.
Character development has been invested in, so you get to know Megan and Chloe and why they seem to dislike each other so much. Then Maggie James takes what we think we know to tease us, to make us question our assumptions. You never quite know if you are right about any of the characters in this story, from page one right on and into the conclusion. Perfect in the way she manages to make you invest in characters, even horrible questionable people like Chloe! She is a utter cow to those around her and you want to pay for her actions, and you really do find yourself disliking her.
It’s edgy and full of tension and leaves you feeling like the investment you made in the story was not only worthwhile, but repaid in spade loads by an author, who clearly wants the reader to enjoy every single moment of the story. She knows that readers don’t want a straight forward story, they want to be thrilled so she thrills them.

You will think about the ending for days after. It’s fun to read and will teach you that people aren’t always who you think they are. Don’t ever trust a talented author to give you the ending you want, that’s her not her job. Her job is to tell you a story and make while you take her story and make it your own. Each of you will take something different from this story, but all will be thrilled, shocked and manipulated by the author and her array of fascinating characters.

Sister psychopath can be purchased from Amazon

Author Bio 

Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels.

 Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!

6142Per829L._UX250_

Maggie James can be followed on the following social media sites.

Facebook/ Twitter  / Blog / Website / Goodreads

BLOG BLITZ (3)