Blog Tour ~ Giveaway ~ Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy

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I am very lucky today,  to be able to offer a giveaway of an eBook of Bad Sons by Oliver Hardy as part of the blog tour. 
All you have to do is leave a comment on today’s post with either you twitter handle or email address and the names will be placed in a hat. The lucky winner will have a copy emailed to you! 
Take a look at the description of this exciting new thriller and good luck. 

Book Description:

David Booker returns to Romney Marsh on the south coast of England for a holiday. He is expecting to spend time helping his aunt and uncle pack up the stock of their second-hand bookshop in preparation for a happy retirement.
He arrives in Dymchurch on a miserable April night to find his relatives missing without word or clue regarding their whereabouts.
As events unravel, the outlook of the local police pushes Booker to search for his own answers to the questions surrounding his family’s disappearance. To unravel the mystery he will have to put himself in danger.
Will Booker find the answers he needs and make it out alive?

Author Bio

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Oliver Tidy was born and bred on Romney Marsh, Kent. After a fairly aimless foray into adulthood and a number of unfulfilling jobs he went back to education and qualified as a primary school teacher.

 
A few years of having the life sucked out of him in the classroom encouraged Oliver abroad to teach English as a foreign language. The lifestyle provided him the time and opportunity to try his hand at writing.
 
Oliver’s success as a self-published author has led to his Booker & Cash series of books, which are set mainly on Romney Marsh, being signed by Bloodhound Books.
 
Oliver is now back living on Romney Marsh and writing full time. 
You can follow Oliver on Twitter,  Facebook and his Website.
BLOG TOUR (3)

Guest post ~ Reconciliation For The Dead by Paul Hardisty

 

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Book summary

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

Why Apartheid Matters

By Paul E. Hardisty

At the Newcastle Noir crime writing festival recently, someone in the audience asked me if I wrote to entertain, or to challenge the reader. My answer was: both. Fiction should entertain, and I try to give my thrillers a fast, hard, surface that drives the action along at bullet train speed, with plenty of sharp curves, switchbacks and sheer drops. Hopefully, by the time you’ve finished, you feel like you’ve gone ten rounds with a UFC fighter and survived. But the reason I write, the thing that gets me to the computer every morning I am able, is to challenge the reader to consider the social injustices that surround us every day, but that are too difficult, and in many cases too distant, to confront in their pure, factual form, and do it in a way that is unobtrusive enough to be, at first, invisible.
In my latest novel, Reconciliation for the Dead, third in the Claymore Straker series, Clay returns to South Africa to testify to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Through his testimony, Clay takes us back to his days as a young solider in the South African army, fighting the communist insurgency in Angola, and defending his country’s apartheid regime. During a patrol deep inside Angola, he and his friend, Eben Barstow, come face to face with an act of such shocking brutality that they begin to question all that they have been told about the war. Caught up in a descending spiral of events, unable to stand by and watch, Clay and Eben decide to act. As they strip away the layers of falsehood, they come to see the sinister depths of apartheid, and just how far the ruling elite is prepared to go to hold on to power. It will change their lives forever.
The core plot elements of the book are based on little known, true events during this dark chapter of South African history. Apartheid was conceived as a way to guarantee the white minority’s long term hold on power. It was first introduced in 1948, and continued as official government policy until 1991. However, by the early 1980’s, the leading architects of the system and members of the ruling National Party began to realise that demographics were against them. High black population growth rates would eventually mean that the white minority would simply be too small to rule. The end was in sight. But no animal fights harder than when it is most threatened. This is the battle Clay is caught up in.
Apartheid is important not only as a reminder of the horrors of institutionalised racism, but as an example of what can be done when people and nations stand up against injustice. As the realities of apartheid became known more widely around the world, South Africa was increasingly isolated and subject to international condemnation. Years of economic and political sanctions followed. Inside South Africa, many joined the struggle for freedom, black and white, and many paid for dissent with their lives. By the early 1990’s, the end was near. In 1994, after years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela became the first elected black President of South Africa. Today, perhaps more than ever, we need to remind ourselves of what can be achieved when people stand up for what is right. Reconciliation for the Dead is about a group of people who do exactly that, blowing the reinforced concrete roof off the most heinous of apartheid’s twisted secrets.

You can buy the book from Waterstones or Amazon and other good suppliers.

Author

Paul Hardisty

Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.

 You can follow Paul on Facebook and Twitter

Reconciliation for the Dead Blog Tour poster

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin.

They say that reading is solitary hobby and to an extent that is true, when you read a book you do so alone. The relationship is between you and the characters.  Yet to say that, is to ignore the power reading has to form friendships, discover connections and start conversations with friends and complete strangers. Not all readers are introverts, some are, others are extroverts, many are a bit of both. They like to talk about books they’ve read, share their love of a character and writer.  Its through these networks of friendships that we discover new books and it was how I came to read the incredible, The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin. A lovely nurse that works tirelessy to help others and has great taste in books recommended this book to me.  Thank you Delyth, I adored it and I hope many others will to.

Death is a subject we all have to face up to, but what if its not the end of our journey? What if or memories live on in other lives, even when our bodies die?

Sharon Guskin has written a tender, beautiful and deeply touching story about rebirth and memory.  It’s a memorizing tale of young four year old Noah, who from the time he can talk, asks his mother to take him home.  Despite constant reassurance that that he is home, Noah is haunted by memories of a previous life and has talents no one can explain.  To find resolution, Noah, his mother and doctor, must all go on a cathartic journey of discovery.  It takes them to a family whose young son Thomas disappeared years before.  Is Noah, Thomas?  Does Noah have within him elements of Thomas’s memories and life?  Can he provide them with answers to Thomas’s disappearance?  Importantly, can they provide Noah with the ability to forget the memories that haunt him?

It is a profound story about the meaning of life and the power memory has in shaping who we are.  It asks us all the question, what if what we did in our lives mattered, because it shaped who be became in this life and the one after that.

In a society where death is feared, The Forgetting Time is a book that has a lot to teach us about life and death.  It’s a book that calls out to you, asks you to read it and fills you not only with questions, but also a sense of wonder and peace.  Resolution to all the fears that haunt us.  Young Noah connects one life with those that went before.  He is a channel for a soul made up of memory and experience.

Life may not end with the death of our bodies.  Join Noah and all those who love him on an emotional and powerful journey to The Forgetting Time. 

 

The Forgetting Time can be bought from Amazon  and Waterstones

 

 

 

The Girl On The Bus by N M Brown

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Book Description:
 

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears.

Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her former friend and room-mate, Laurie,  for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up and seems to have vanished.

Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter. Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice.

The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods he and Vicki track the killers who are working across the dusty freeways of North America.

Soon Vicki and Leighton find themselves nervously waiting at a remote bus stop expecting the arrival of the bus.

Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie?

And can they both escape with their lives?

Review 

Firstly,  I would like to once again thank Bloodhound Books, N M Brown and Sarah Hardy, for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I should start by confessing that this book made me glad I don’t have to travel by bus in America and determined never to travel on a coach on my own!

Now I admit I’m easily scared.  So the fact this book scared me, freaked me out a little and has made my phobia of coach travel worse, won’t surprise my friends.

The Girl On The Bus did more than enough to scare me, but wasn’t full of gratuitous violence for which I was very grateful.  I think dedicated, hardcore thriller readers might wish this book had more shock factor, but for me it delivered the perfect balance.

The characterisation was interesting, with a young female protagonist and an older male lead to balance the partnership out.  Vicki is a depressed, insecure IT expert looking for her missing friend and Leighton a recently retired detective, seeking relief from memories that haunt him.  They make an unusual and original partnership and I loved that at the point they meet, both are in need of friendship and its this that binds them into the novels two main characters.  We don’t get to learn much about the supporting cast, but that worked, because they were there to provide the drama and by not fleshing them out, the writer avoided the story being overly cluttered.

Its an easy read and I think it will appeal to those thriller readers who find darker novels not to their liking.  It doesn’t seek to freak the reader out with glory details, leaving much to the readers imagination.

Its what I most liked about the book, the ease of reading, the likeable characters and the plausible storyline.  There are so many different types of thrillers, some are gritty and dark and that’s not to everyone’s taste. The Girl On The Bus will appeal to those who like a thriller that entertains and doesn’t seek to horrify them with detailed descriptions of the victims untimely deaths.

I would certainly read more by this author. But no trains please, I’m running out of transport options!

The book can be bought from Amazon and Waterstones.

Author Bio:

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Norman M. Brown is an author living and working in Scotland. He attended secondary school in Stirling where he spent more time in the library or in the nearby park with a paperback, than he did in classes. Ironically, having graduated from Stirling University with a degree in English, he soon ended up back on the classroom again – where he has shared his love of fiction for two decades.

Having experimented with poetry, scripts and short stories over the years, he finally decided to write sit down and write the type of fiction he would like to read. The result was his crime thriller -The Girl on the Bus. As result, Norman was delighted to be signed to Bloodhound Books at the start of this year. The Girl in the Bus, is his first published novel. He is currently writing a second novel based on its protagonist – detective Leighton Jones.

You can follow N M Brown on his blog and on Twitter

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Bad To The Bone by Tony J Forder

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Book Description:
 

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

Review

Firstly I would like to thank Bloodhound Books, Tony Forder and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC copy of Bad to the Bone in return for an honest review.

I’ve been reading a lot of crime fiction of late and have been incredibly lucky to be gifted some fabulous reads.

Bad To The Bone continued that trend with a story that sucked me in and thrilled me throughout.  The writer Tony Forder with great skill led me down a narrative path to where I thought I would figure out the mystery at the heart of this novel, but he wrong footed me. Then he led me through a series of twists and turns, left agape at the final relevation.

Its a story about murder, criminals and the police, but its also a story about friendship, jealousy, corruption and secrets.  Murder is portrayed as an act of self protection, a self indulgent act from the belief that one life has more worth than another.  Not all murderers are crazy twisted psychopaths, some are people caught in a moment of madness, otherwise living normal lives.  It’s a complex set of behaviours, that many simply can’t fathom out, Tony Forder can and does in Bad To The Bone.  He will make you look around you at friends, colleagues, the man who fixes your car, even your neighbours and question what they are capable of.  Anyone of the characters in this book could be the killer.  I have met a few killers in my time and some leave you feeling chilled, while others make you take a step back and wonder how they, so friendly, so full of regret, could be guilty of such a crime! Tony Forder brings this across with great skill and an instinctive understanding of a killers motivation for his crime.

He has delivered a first class novel, full of characters who are complex, believable and who you want not to be the one capable of killing another.  It is a story full of false turns, edgy and reeking of nerve tingling tension.

Bad To The Bone be bought from Amazon

Author Bio:

On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone this spring. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.

The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.

During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”

Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.

Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.

As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.

This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy Bad to the Bone, introducing DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler.

Follow the author on his Author’s Facebook Page and Twitter Page

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After The Affair by Jonathan Kaye

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Book Blurb

“University Lecturer David Ryan is having an affair. And he thinks no-one knows.He’s wrong. Someone does know. And that someone is out to blackmail him.

But when the blackmail attempt goes wrong, both Ryan and the blackmailer find themselves dragged into an underground (and decidedly seedy) world of secrets, lies and violence. A world where no-one can be trusted and everyone has something to hide.

Set in modern-day Dublin, ‘After the Affair’ is the unputdownable debut thriller from author Jonathan Kaye.”

Review
 I’ve been trying to figure out why I loved this book so much!
One of the reasons simply is, it’s a top class thriller.
Another is because the story flows along and carries the reader with it.  It’s like placing your hand in a beautifully crafted leather glove, the fit between reader and the story, is perfect.
Its written by a talented writer. One who, if life is fair, should have a dazzling future ahead of him.
It really is edge of the seat stuff.  I hid away from my family on Easter Sunday, because I had to know what happened.  My anxiety levels having risen so high by that point, I couldn’t bear to put the book down.
It has a villain who is evil, sickening and incapable of redemption, or is he?  The tension mounts because you know he potentially could destroy characters who as a reader you have become fond of.  We all wish such people didn’t exist, but they do. Sometimes perversion and evil are part of someone’s very DNA.
While it has a lead character who could be anyone of us.  The story works from the premise that a life can spiral out of control from making one simple mistake.  He is flawed. He is a normal man. So if this spiral down into the loss of all he holds dear happens to him, it could happen to you or me.
Take all this and you have everything a thriller should have.  Great characters, an addictive edge of the seat storyline, tension that leaks from the page and enough twists and turns to wrong foot the reader.  It’s also written by a writer that should have a bright future ahead of him.
If you want to read a top notch thriller then After the Affair is a sure bet.  I know there are hundreds of great thrillers out there all clamouring for reader’s attention and its hard to choose, but this is already one of my favourite reads of 2017 and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as a first class book.
About the author
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Jonathan Kaye is a stay-at-home dad who decided to write a thriller when his son started school. The house was tidy by ten every morning so what else was he gonna do till, like, three? Apart from drink coffee with moms – which he is very good at by the way.

It took him a while to figure out the plot. He even had to use google to find out what policemen and judges and people like that did. Characters were easier. He just based one of them on himself and all the others on people he knew. Seriously it’s what all writers do. Why do you think Stephen King’s protagonist is invariably a novelist?

Three years after starting out, he wrote the words ‘The End.’ It was quite the experience. Then he proofread and proofread and proofread again … but he knows there might still be one or two typos and he asks you to not be too upset by the fact.

Finally, he’s sitting here now wondering why he’s writing about himself in the third person. It is making him feel important and aloof though!

You can follow Jonathan on Facebook and on Twitter
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Good News Bad News by WHS McIntyre

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Review

I would like to thank the author WHS Mcintyre, his publisher Sandstone Press and publicity officer Keara Donnachie, for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I think it is important to note this book is part of a series, but it reads great as a standalone. I for one will be reading all the books in the series.

In the acknowledgements the author thanks the Sandstone publicity officer for doing her best to make him a household name, a task he claims is not easy even in his own household. Well Mr McIntyre deserves to be a household name, because Good News Bad News is a first class defence mystery.

It has all the elements of a fabulous read.  Great characterisation, especially in the lead character Robbie Munroe. Flawed but loveable, doing his best to save his clients from a criminal conviction; even if that involves shady deals or manipulating the law.  This is no idealist, who sees the law as a paragon never to be challenged, but a realist, who uses his skills, dogged determination and keen intelligence to get his clients of charges most are guilty of.

On top of an entertaining hero, the novel reads smoothly because of the use of humour, wry observations of city life and the many and varied characters that make up Edinburgh and its surroundings.  Even the baddies have a soft side! It maybe buried deep, but it makes them far more believable, than many of the cardboard cut out villain’s that litter so many of today’s thrillers.

It helps that Good News Bad News is set in one of my favourite cities, Edinburgh, because in some ways it makes it feel familiar. But that is a personal response by me to this very entertaining read.  What draws you in, is the humour, intelligence, likeable characters, balance between drama and everyday normality and so so important, the atmosphere the writer creates.  You can feel the way the city works away from the typical tourist haunts and into the criminal underworld of this iconic city.

Why not take a journey into the criminal world of Edinburgh. Take a step into the courts of Justice.  Robbie Munroe will in turns make you shake your head and then delight you,  as he seeks to capitalise on good news, never giving up when it turns into bad news.  Robbie is a realist and that is why I love him.

Without a doubt if they made this book into a TV series, I for one would be there to watch it.

Author

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William McIntyre is a partner in Scotland’s oldest law firm Russel + Aitken, specialising in criminal defence. William has been instructed in many interesting and high-profile cases over the years and now turns fact into fiction with his string of legal thrillers, The Best Defence Series, featuring defence lawyer, Robbie Munro.

Based in Scotland and drawing on his thirty years as a criminal defence lawyer, there is a rich vein of dry-humour running through the series, which William describes as an antidote to crime fiction featuring maverick cops chasing a serial killers, emphasising that justice is not only about convicting the guilty, but also about acquitting the innocent.

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Undercurrent by J A Baker

 

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Synopsis
Phoebe and her disabled husband, Martyn, move into a new house in a village on the edge of County Durham. They plan to lead a quiet existence, a set up that suits them both.

Then Anna, who lives over the road and is bored of spending her days alone, seeks friendship with Phoebe and events take a dark turn.

Phoebe has secrets and is haunted by her past and Anna’s arrival in her life may prove to be the catalyst for her undoing.

What is Phoebe hiding and why are she and her husband so reclusive?

When Anna gets caught in a storm and is rescued by Phoebe the truth becomes apparent and Anna is thrown into danger.

Is there a difference between madness and evil?

Some friendships can be murder.

I want to thank Author J A Baker, for taking the time to write about how on finishing her debut novel, the ideas and themes for her second were already taking shape. But how to fit in promoting Undercurrent and shaping the new story?

 

When the Dark Water Beckons…

After writing Undercurrent, I wanted to get straight on with my second novel and knew more or less immediately where it would be set. I always think that the setting plays such a strong part in books especially psychological thrillers and suspense stories as writers can use it to their advantage to add some real tension to the plot and build up suspense. Without even realising it, I found that the theme of water played a major part in my second book as well as my first. There’s definitely a pattern here!

It’s set in an old coastguard’s cottage up on a cliff by The North Sea and it is a place that’s close to my heart. My ancestors on both sides of the family were coastguards back in the early 1800’s and lived in the cottages that still stand now. The family were transferred over from Ireland and their roles were predominantly to watch out for smugglers and intercept any contraband. I used a grain of that information and built my psychological thriller around it as I have learnt so much about these coastguard buildings over the years it seemed silly to not put it to good use! I also love the idea of inclement weather and a thrashing sea being interwoven into the plot adding that extra bit of darkness and tension and The North Sea without a doubt, has more than its fair share of rough seas and storms. It’s set in modern times but I’m using the idea of the cottage and its location overlooking the wild seas which I’m hoping will result in a good old nail biting suspense story.

The writing of my yet to be named second book is being written whilst also working full time and promoting Undercurrent. The one thing I’ve learnt from all this is that that no matter how busy you think life is, it can always get busier! It has been and still is, an amazing time and I am learning so much. I have also made many new friends who are wonderfully supportive and of course have the round the clock support of my publishers, Bloodhound Books who quite literally never seem to sleep!

Undercurrent can be bought from Amazon and Waterstones

Author

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J.A. Baker

J.A. baker was born and brought up in Middlesbrough and has a love of local history and genealogy. She is married to Richard, has four grown up children, a grandson and an over excitable dog called Theo who is definitely the master of the house and licks to death anyone who is brave enough to enter.

She works full time in a local primary school as a Teaching Assistant. After gaining an MA in Education & Applied Linguistics with the Open University, she found herself with what is laughingly called spare time and embarked on doing something she always wanted to do – write a novel.

Four years ago she moved house to a village in County Durham and decided to use the area as inspiration for her novel Undercurrent. Her house backs onto the river and has a public footpath run past the end of the garden. Therein the similarity ends!

She enjoys reading many genres of books but thrive on being scared. She is an addict of thrillers, suspense stories and anything that keeps her awake at night yet ironically is frightened of the dark.

Why not pay a visit to Author Website or her Facebook page.

You can also follow her on Twitter.

The Book of Air by Joe Treasure

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Synopsis

Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.
Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.
These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.
The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

Extract

Survivors gather

Jason has escaped the chaos of London and is in his house in Wales. He has been sick with a virus that is wiping out most of the population. Abigail and Maud, who he found squatting in the house, have been taking care of him. Then three other people turn up.

I’m looking at the visitors. They’re getting to their feet now that I’ve appeared, and it’s not deference to the owner of the house. The woman speaks first. ‘Are you sick? You look sick. Doesn’t he look sick, Aleksy.’ She turns to Abigail. ‘Has he had the sweats?’ She’s a bit bashed about, but striking, even so. God knows what she’s been through.
‘And the rest,’ Abigail says. ‘Five days ago at least and he’s on the mend.’ She looks at me as though there’s something she wants me to understand. ‘This is Deirdre,’ she says. ‘Deirdre’s on her way to the coast.’
‘Five days? Nobody lasts five days.’ She’s twitchy, this Deirdre. With me in the room, she doesn’t want to settle. She takes a long pull on a cigarette. She’s a classy smoker, all cheek bones on the in-breath, head angled self-consciously to blow. Between puffs her hand is poised at shoulder height, cigarette aimed at the ceiling. She might be thirty – probably less, given the rate at which we’re all aging.
I ask her, ‘Why the coast?’
‘I thought maybe Ireland. They say Ireland’s better.’ I hear the accent now – subtle, like posh English softened at the edges.
‘How better? Like people don’t die in Ireland? Nowhere’s better.’
‘Five days? Are you sure?’ She’s talking to Abigail.
‘How are you planning to get to Ireland anyway? Do you think the ferry’s running?’
‘No one lasts five days. Aleksy, tell them.’ Aleksy is built like an ox, but short – less than five foot. The monkey sits on his shoulder foraging in his hair.
‘I’m here, aren’t I?’ I say. ‘Jesus Christ!’ I don’t know why I’m so angry. Don’t even know what I mean exactly – here in the room while she talks about me? Here alive? Here asserting ownership of my kitchen? All of these.
Aleksy has been working up to saying something, preparing his hands in a judicious gesture, controlling the involuntary movements of his face. ‘A new miracle every day. We live in a time of miracles. Five days and still alive? Who can say? A survivor? It’s possible.’ He settles on a chair, sitting on the edge so that his feet touch the floor.
‘You’re both well, then?’ I ask him.
‘Untouched, thank heaven. Who knows why? Polio I had as a child. You work with animals from Africa, they said. Of course you get sick. But they were peasants who said this and knew nothing. That was a long time ago. Fifty years. And then comes the virus – I watch them go down with it, this one and this one, gymnasts and jugglers. Clowns too. All young and full of health. Dead now, their beautiful bodies scattered across Europe, and me still here – no sense to it, no justice.’
The clarinet starts up in the hall, a wild howling like jazz and not like jazz.
Aleksy nods towards the door. ‘Django. He don’t talk so much. Music is his consolation.’
‘A friend from your circus days?’
‘All gone. The circus is gone.’
‘We picked Django up on the road,’ Deirdre says. ‘I stopped for a pee and there he was, sitting on a branch practically over my head, tooting away. Scared me half to death.’
‘But a gentle boy,’ Aleksy says.

Review

The Book of air is a compelling, character driven tale of survival in a post apocalyptic future.  Beautifully paced, it weaves between Jason’s life in a society imploding in on itself when a deadly virus kills millions and Agnes’s in a community regenerating from the ruins mankind’s near destruction.

One of the reasons I loved this book, is that Joe Treasure gives us something unique in genre which is so often full of depressing tales of darkness.  He gives us a tale of hope!  I have read a number of similar themed books and have been left feeling bereft after each one.  Treasure develops his theme of devastating loss, but achieves a unique balance between hope and despair.  He gives us a tale in which there is the possibility for mankind’s redemption.

It is also interesting how he uses Jane Eyre to connect Jason’s heartbreak and struggle for survival with the need of later generations to find answers in a world far removed from the one we know now.  In Agnes he gives us a figure of heroic bravery, a women who strides out into the unknown, rather than live as a figure of derision within the claustrophobic confines of village life. Jason is a flawed character who is forced to navigate a life in a world left devastated by not only his personal loss, but of all the things that make up society as we know it.  He must draw on those parts of his character, that give not only him a chance of survival, but the odd assortment of people who form a community in his country home.

We are drawn to turn the pages, to see if Jason lives and what his connection is to young Agnes.  Will society survive and in what form? Treasure makes you care about both of his characters, and those around them. He wants you to understand what makes us human, and gives you hope that when all seems lost, its possible to find promise in the bleakest of troubles.

Its a first class novel, written with skill and understanding. He will draw you in and take you on a journey of discovery, while championing the power of the individual to fight against cruelty and oppression

If you like novels about survival in adversity and the power of memory to shape the future, you should give this book a try. Its a worthy contribution to a genre to often depressingly hopeless in its outlook .

I like feeling hopeful and this book allows me to remain that way.

The Book of air can be bought from Amazon

 

About Joe Treasure

Joe Treasure Photo

Joe Treasure currently lives in South West London with his wife Leni Wildflower. As an English teacher in Wales, he ran an innovative drama programme, before following Leni across the pond to Los Angeles, an experience that inspired his critically acclaimed debut novel The Male Gaze (published by Picador). His second novel Besotted (also published by Picador) also met with rave reviews.

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The Crying Boy by Jane E James

 

crying-boy-book-cover

I’m lucky today, to be able to share with you an extract of Jane E James new best selling novel, which is already riding high in the Amazon charts.

I was very touched that Jane took the time to come up and say hello when I attended the second birthday bash for the Facebook book club TBC. She is a lovely lady and a very talented writer.  I hope this her new book continues to a best seller.

Chapter 1

Inside Cleopatra’s neon-lit lounge, the plush corner seats are made from blood-red velvet – as if it is a place used to concealing stains – and a shadowy line up of scantily clad women is silhouetted on its walls – women who once worked here but never will again.

A semi-naked dancer is curled around a shiny pole and no wonder all eyes are on her – she has long spraytanned legs and a mop of dark curly rockstar hair. Wearing a see-through fishnet body and stockings, she does things with her limbs that no ordinary human should.

But for a few unusually well-behaved customers, the place is empty. After all, it is a weekday afternoon, Thursday to be precise, in a side street off Leeds City Centre. The kind of street nobody really ventures down unless they happen to be on a stag night or leaving do.

Judging by their work gear, this group of men are builder types. They sip their beer sparingly, hating to have paid quite so much for it, and study the dancer as she spread-eagles herself on the pole.

Perched on the edge of a sofa and looking as if he might make a bolt for it any second, Clayton Shaw is the only one of the group to remain seated and his John-Boy Walton eyes are anywhere but on the pole dancer.

In his mid-thirties, Clayton looks at home in washed denim; the tighter the better, he’s been told. His corncoloured hair might be on the retreat but he clearly has a few more years good looking left in him.

The music changes to ‘Need You Tonight’ by INXS and the transition acts as a signal for the dancer to disentangle herself from the pole and strut toward the group of men. Her approach is greeted with cheers and whistles from the majority but Clayton springs to his feet; anxious to be someplace else.

‘I’m not sure this is a good idea.’

Bearded mate Crusher and silver-haired supervisor The Fox push Clayton back into his seat and playfully hold him down. ‘You’re not leaving your own leaving do,’ The Fox warns.

The dancer wiggles a nicotine-stained tongue at Clayton and gyrates against his leg; a grotesque move that reminds him of a dog humping a cushion. He keeps his eyes on a faulty spotlight on the ceiling that sizzles and flickers. Then, from out of nowhere, he produces a screwdriver.

‘I should take a look at that,’ he grins foolishly and groans go up all around. The guys know him too well.

‘Once a sparky, always a sparky,’ Crusher jokingly cuffs the side of Clayton’s head.

With that, they drag him out of his seat and thrust him ‘up close and personal’ with the dancer, who just happens to wear the same perfume as his wife – a fact that puts him off even more.

Laughing good-naturedly (he knows when he is beat) and enjoying the friendly ribbing of his mates, Clayton slips a twenty-pound-note in the dancer’s G-string.

‘My wife is going to kill me,’ Clayton warns playfully

This best selling book can be bought in paperback and eBook from Amazon and Waterstones.

Author

author-jane-e-james

Jane is a mystery/psychological thriller writer from Cambridgeshire. She comes from an editorial and marketing background and when she isn’t being mysterious, like her books, she enjoys living the ‘good life’ in the countryside with her husband and two dogs.

Visit her website www.janeejames.com or catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter. But bring wine and monster munch…