#BlogTour #BookReview – I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

l Know Who You Are is the brilliant tale of two stories. One is about Aimee Sinclair—well-known actress on the verge of being full-on famous. If you saw her, you’d think you knew her. One day towards the near-end of her shoot on her latest film, Aimee comes home from filming to find her husband’s cell phone and wallet on the dining room table. He never goes anywhere without them. But he’s nowhere to be found. She’s not too concerned—they had a huge fight the night before. They both said things they didn’t mean. He might have done things he didn’t mean, things she can’t forget. Even though she has a history of supposedly forgetting. After all, she’s a very good actress.

The next morning she goes for her morning run and then goes to her favorite coffee shop. But her card is denied. When she calls the bank they say her account has been emptied of $10,000. She immediately suspects her husband. But they say no, it was Aimee herself who closed out the account. And thus begins a bizarre rabbit hole into which Aimee finds herself falling where nothing is at it seems.

Alternating with Aimee’s story is that of a little girl who wandered away from home. We always tell our kids not to talk to strangers or bad things will happen. Well, bad things happen.

In I Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master at brilliantly complicated plots and twists after twists.

Published May 16th 2019 by HQ (UK)   

~ Review ~

It’s two years ago now that I was lucky enough to participate in the blog tour for Alice Feeney’s debut novel, Sometimes I Lie , and it is fair to say I was blown away. I’ve been eagerly awaiting her second book, I Know Who You Are, for what feels like forever! So when HQ got in touch to ask if I’d like to participate again it was a no brainer. Thank you HQ!

Some authors just have that knack of ferociously hooking their reader from the very first page and holding them captive right through to the end. Alice Feeney has it and then some. With I Know Who You Are she proves that the first time wasn’t just a fluke, but  a finally honed skill that once again had me glued to the pages.

In I Know Who You Are,  Feeney continues to explore the theme of identity and celebrity – the public persona versus the real self and how intermingled they become. I Know Who You Are takes it a step further and the reader is constantly suspicious of who is putting on act and who can be trusted. It makes for exhilarating and compulsive reading – I was never sure what to expect or where the twists and turns were going to take me.

There’s a dual timeline throughout the book, but I’m not going to go into detail regarding these as I wouldn’t want to give anything away. What I will say is that the earlier timeline is excellent, shocking and at times heartbreaking and so very well written. The chapters alternate between the two timelines and by the end of each one, I was unable to put the book down and just HAD to read one more.

Following on from such a successful, shocking and gripping book as Sometimes I Lie with a second novel must be difficult. Expectation among readers is high and the pressure to deliver again huge. It feels rather unfair to say that I just still prefer Sometime I Lie that little bit more, because this book by any standard is excellent and has all the ingredients readers will hope for. The ending is one hell of a shocking twist, and possibly a teeny weeny bit too bizarre – though really I’m being nit-picky here. It’s still a bloody brilliant book – a speed read that will leave you gasping at twists you won’t see coming a mile off. Sure to be this summers must read psychological thriller, this is one you definitely don’t want to miss.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me with a free copy for review

i know who you are BT

#BlogTour #BookReview – Dead Man’s Daughter by Roz Watkins

She was racing towards the gorge. The place the locals knew as ‘Dead Girl’s Drop’….

DI Meg Dalton is thrown headlong into her latest case when she finds a 10-year-old girl running barefoot through the woods in a blood-soaked nightdress. In the house nearby, the girl’s father has been brutally stabbed to death.

At first Meg suspects a robbery gone tragically wrong, but something doesn’t add up. Why does the girl have no memory of what happened to her? And why has her behaviour changed so dramatically since her recent heart transplant?

The case takes a chilling turn when evidence points to the girl’s involvement in her own father’s murder. As unsettling family secrets emerge, Meg is forced to question her deepest beliefs to discover the shocking truth, before the killer strikes again…. 

Published April 4th 2019 by HQ Stories 

 ~ Review ~ 

Last year I was invited to take part in the blog tour for Roz Watkins debut book, The Devil’s Dice which I absolutely loved. The atmospheric setting, hints at myth and the seemingly unexplainable, coupled with a fantastic female lead, ticked all my boxes. So I was thrilled to take part again in Roz’s second blog tour for Dead Man’s Daughter.

Carrying on with intuitive, spontaneous and at times reckless DI Meg Dalton, Dead Man’s Daughter absolutely blew me away. This is intricate, complex, fascinating, thought provoking, original and utterly gripping reading and I could not tear myself away.

Once again, the atmospheric setting of the Peak District and local myth and history intermingle with a very modern case. This time, the fascinating subject of cellular memory in transplant organs is tackled. I remember watching a program years ago about transplant recipients who believe they have taken on personality traits from the donor of their new organ. It’s such an interesting subject, and Roz Watkins has woven it into her story with great plausibility and skill.

There are so many layers to this book, it’s impossible to go into them all without spoiling it for other readers. But the worth and value of a human life and ethics, both medical and personal, are at its core. While this book is fast paced and suspenseful, I found it incredibly thought provoking too. I couldn’t have predicted in a million years where this book was going to go and was fascinated throughout by this highly original story.

DI Meg Dalton remains a favourite character – I love her impulsiveness and spontaneity, which admittedly lands her in trouble occasionally.  Her personal circumstances are a great influence on her actions, meaning she’s not always perfect but incredibly relatable. While the first book in the series does cover a lot of her back story, Dead Man’s Daughter can absolutely be read as a stand alone.

Roz Watkins hasn’t just done it again with Dead Man’s Daughter – she’s done even better and cemented her place as a must read author for crime fans everywhere. However, I think this book will appeal to a wider audience, who may not read a lot of crime but enjoy a complex, thought provoking and fascinating story.

( I read an advance readers copy courtesy of the publisher)

Dead Man's Daughter blog tour

#BlogTour #BookReview – The Woman I Was Before by Kerry Fisher ( @Bookouture @KerryFSwayne )

A new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Of all the emotions single mother Kate Jones feels as she walks into her brand new house on Parkview Road, hope is the most unexpected. She has changed her name and her daughter’s, and moved across the country to escape the single mistake that destroyed their lives.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the street starting afresh. Warm, whirlwind Gisela with her busy life and confident children, and sharp, composed Sally, with her spontaneous marriage and high-flying career, are the first new friends Kate has allowed herself in years. While she can’t help but envy their seemingly perfect lives, their friendship might help her leave her guilt behind.

Until one day, everything changes. Kate is called to the scene of a devastating car accident, the consequences of which will test everything the women thought they knew about each other, and themselves.

Can Kate stop her own secrets from unravelling, or was her hope for a new life in vain?

From the bestselling author of The Silent Wife, The Woman I Was Before is a book about the things we hide from those closest to us – and the terrible consequences that keeping those secrets can have. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain. 

Published 22nd March 2019 by Bookoutre 

~ Review ~

I seem to be making a habit of reading new to me authors recently and so far not one has been a disappointment. In fact I loved this book so much, Kerry Fisher has gone straight onto my must read authors list.

The Woman I Was Before tells the story of three different women, who all move into a new housing developement around the same time. Kate is a single mother to teen Daisy, and running from her past. Sally has an extremely successful career , but feels something is missing in her marriage. Gisele seems to have the perfect life – a happy marriage, two teenagers with promising futures and enough money to fund her taste for luxurious shopping – but behind the perfect family image she portrays on social media things are unraveling.

What I absolutely loved about the this book was that despite the three women all being very different, from each other and myself, I found them so utterly relatable.  This is a very honest depiction of family life from three different view points, referencing the image we portray on social media and the truth behind that image. I know I’m not alone to have felt jealousy and inadequacy when looking at posts on facebook – and I’m guilty myself of presenting the one photo where everyone is smiling between the arguments and general drudgery of daily life. Who hasn’t? Kerry Fisher expertly uses this obsession we have with perfection and self doubt created by social media to tell the story of these women.

Each has a secret they’re hiding, and all were fascinating, relevant and believable. I was drawn to Kate the most, whose secret remains a mystery for most of the book. I desperately wanted to know what she was running from, what she had done that was so bad. Her story is the most heartbreaking, yet hopeful and inspiring and I loved seeing how she developed throughout the book.

I also really enjoyed the fact that the woman where all a similar age to myself (between late thirties and early forties) meaning that their problems, feelings and insecurities where ones I also recognised. Again, the author captured this perfectly and by the end of the book I felt these characters where people I knew, could be living on my own street – even seeing myself once or twice.

There’s some heavy themes in this book, which Kerry Fisher deals with sensitively, but there’s also dashes of wit and humour at times which I really enjoyed. I had absolutely no expectations when I went into this book, but after spending a few hours in the company of her characters, I know I’ll be looking out for more from this author in the future. Written with empathy, warmth and searing honesty, The Woman I Read Before is a fantastic book which will make you cry and smile in equal measures. Perfect.

I read an advance ebook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley

TWIWB BT

#BlogTour – The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins – Guestpost and #Giveaway

I’m absolutely thrilled to be kicking of the blog tour today for Roz Watkins new crime debut, The Devil’s Dice! The first book in the DI Meg Dalton series, this is a gripping and atmospheric thriller you won’t want to miss! One of the most striking things I found about this book was the Peak District setting and I’m delighted to welcome Roz Watkins to Cosy Books today to tell us just why she chose it.

Detective Inspector Meg Dalton has recently returned to her Peak District roots, when a man’s body is found near The Devil’s Dice – a vast network of caves and well-known local suicide spot. The man’s initials and a figure of the Grim Reaper are carved into the cave wall behind his corpse, but bizarrely, the carvings have existed for over one hundred years.

The locals talk about a mysterious family curse that started in the times of the witch trials, and Meg finds it increasingly hard to know who to trust. Even her own mother may be implicated.

For Meg, the case is a chance to prove herself in a police force dominated by men, one of whom knows a lot more about her past than she’d like, and is convinced she’s not fit for the role. In a race against time, Meg finds her own life at risk as she fights to stop the murderer from killing again.

Published March 8th 2018 by HQStories

Roz Watkins is the author of the DI Meg Dalton crime series, which is set in the Peak District where Roz lives with her partner and a menagerie of demanding animals.

Her first book, The Devil’s Dice, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and has been optioned for TV.

Roz studied engineering at Cambridge University before training in patent law. She was a partner in a firm of patent attorneys in Derby, but this has absolutely nothing to do with there being a dead one in her first novel.

In her spare time, Roz likes to walk in the Peak District, scouting out murder locations.

Why I chose to set ‘The Devil’s Dice’ in the Peak District  

The original reason was my dog and his foul habits. I live on the edge of the Peak District, which my dog approves of because of the excellent walking. We were out one day when he disappeared. This is always a bad sign as it means he’s:

a) Found a group of picnickers and decided to invite himself along;

b) Found a stinking foetid pit in which to take a bath;

c) Found a decomposing rabbit, sheep, or on one horrible occasion cow, to devour.

So it was with some trepidation that I watched him emerge from the undergrowth looking very pleased with himself, with something dangling from his mouth, swinging pendulously with every bounding step. I caught my breath and took a step back, because (to my brain at least) it looked just like a human spine.  

As he got closer, I realised it was a hare, but it got me wondering what it might be like to come upon a human corpse when on a dog walk. And that’s what happens in ‘The Devil’s Dice’. A man dies in a cave and is found by a Labrador.  

Here’s Starsky, very proud of himself!  

I soon realised that The Peak District is a perfect location for crime novels. It has underground passageways, cliffs, quarries, and pools where evil mermaids are supposed to lurk. It also has some lovely towns, and I used Wirksworth as the inspiration for my fictional town, Eldercliffe. Wirksworth has an incredible area called The Puzzle Gardens where a jumble of tiny cottages and random gardens perch on a hillside so steep it feels like you can step out of one cottage onto the roof of another.  

There are also miles of tunnels running underground in the area of the Peak District where I live. Being trapped underground with water rising around me is one of my worst nightmares, so it seemed natural to inflict this on my poor, long-suffering character in my fist book. I invented a network of tunnels called The Labyrinth, but it was based on real cave systems like the ones at The Heights of Abraham and Castleton.  

I gave my main character a fear of heights so I could torture her some more by making the victim live in a house perched on the edge of a quarry. This was based on the quarry at Wirksworth, where the houses almost teeter on its edge.  

This Peak District is also rich with folk tales and legends. I tend to make up my own stories to fit with the themes of the books, and in the first book, suspected witches were historically taken into the Labyrinth to be hanged. But my ideas are often inspired by real local folk tales which are usually quite gruesome.  

Friends think it’s strange (and a little worrying) that the beauty of the Peak District gets me thinking about murder, but my excuse is that it all started with the dog.  

Win!!!

Thanks to the very generous people at HQ Stories I Have THREE hardback copies of The Devil’s Dice to giveaway. Simply pop over to follow my twitter account @Vicki_cosybooks and Re-tweet my pinned post. U.K. Only I’m afraid. Ends Midnight 22nd March 2018 .

#BlogTour – The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare – Extract and #Giveaway (@MillsandBoon)

I’m thrilled to be hosting the stop on The Duchess Deal blog tour today with an extract and a chance for one lucky person to win their very own copy of this gorgeous looking book!

THE DUCHESS DEAL is a perfect witty, sassy Regency Romance from the internationally bestselling author, Tessa Dare, with a definite hint of Beauty and the Beast. The book debuted at #6 on the New York Times bestseller list when the book released in the US earlier this month.

So what’s it about? 

the duchess deal‘I am a Duke. I’m not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It’s a different thing entirely.’

When the Duke of Ashbury returns from war scarred, he realises he needs an heir – which means he needs a wife! When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress visits wearing a wedding dress, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars. 
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has secrets and some rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

When a girl meets a Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules… 

Published 22nd February 2018 by Mills and Boon (UK) 

Like the sound of this? Here’s an extract to give you a little taster of the book! 

A duchess? 

Well. Emma was grateful for one thing. At least now she had an excuse to stare at him. Ever since the duke had revealed the extent of his scars, she’d been trying not to stare at him. Then she’d started worrying that it would be even more rude to avoid looking at him. As a result, her gaze had been volleying from his face, to the carpet, to the coins on the desk. It was all a bit dizzying. 

Now she had an unassailable excuse to openly gawk. 

The contrast was extreme. The injured side of his face drew her attention first, of course. Its appearance was tortured and angry, with webs of scar tissue twisting past his ear and above his natural hairline. What was more cruel—his scarred flesh stood in unavoidable contrast with his untouched profile. There, he was handsome in the brash, uncompromising way of gentlemen who believed themselves invincible. 

Emma didn’t find his appearance frightful, though she could not deny it was startling. No, she decided, “startling” wasn’t the right word.  

Striking. 

He was striking. 

As though a bolt of lightning had split through his body, dividing him in two, and the energy still crackled around him. Emma sensed it from across the room. Gooseflesh rippled up her arms. 

“I beg your pardon, Your Grace. I must have misheard.” 

“I said I will make you a duchess.” 

“Surely . . . surely you don’t mean through marriage.” 

“No, I intend to use my vast influence in the House of Lords to overturn the laws of primogeniture, then persuade the Prince Regent to create a new title and duchy. That accomplished, I will convince him to name a vicar’s daughter from Hertfordshire a duchess in her own right. Of course I mean through marriage, Miss Gladstone.” 

She gave a strained laugh. Laughter seemed the only possible response. He had to be joking. 

“You can’t be asking me to marry you.” He sighed with annoyance. “I am a duke. I’m not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It’s a different thing entirely.” 

She opened her mouth, only to close it again. 

“I need an heir,” he said. “That is the thrust of the matter.” 

Her concentration snagged on that word, and the blunt, forceful way he said it. 

Thrust. 

“If I died tomorrow, everything would go to my cousin. He is an irredeemable prat. I didn’t go to the Continent, fight to preserve England from tyranny, and survive this”—he gestured at his face—“only to come home and watch my tenants’ lives crumble to ruins. And that means those laws of primogeniture—since I don’t intend to overturn them—require me to marry and sire a son.” 

He crossed the room, advancing toward her in unhurried strides. She stood in place, unwilling to shrink from him. The more nonchalant his demeanor, the more her pulse pounded. His face might be striking, but the rest of him . . . ? 

Rather splendid. 

To distract herself, Emma focused on her own realm of expertise: attire. The tailoring of his coat was immaculate, skimming the breadth of his shoulders and hugging the contours of his arms. The wool was of the finest quality, tightly woven and richly dyed. However, the style was two years behind the current fashion, and the cuffs were a touch frayed at the— 

“I know what you’re thinking, Miss Gladstone.” 

She doubted it. 

“You’re incredulous. How could a woman of your standing possibly ascend to such a rank? I can’t deny you’ll find yourself outclassed and un-befriended among the ladies of the peerage, but you will no doubt be consoled with the material advantages. A lavish home, generous lines of credit at all the best shops, a large settlement in the event of my death. You may pay calls, go shopping. Engage in some charitable work, if you must. Your days will be yours to do whatever you wish.” His voice darkened. “Your nights, however, will belong to me.” 

Any response to that was beyond her. An indignant warmth hummed over every surface of her body, seeping into the spaces between her toes. 

“You should expect me to visit your bed every evening, unless you are ill or having your courses, until conception is confirmed.” 

Emma tried, one more time, to understand this conversation. After running through all the possibilities, one alternative seemed the most likely. 

The duke was not merely scarred on his face. He was sick in the head. 

“Your Grace, do you feel feverish?” 

“Not at all.” 

“Perhaps you ought to have a lie-down. I could send your butler for a physician.” 

He gave her a quizzical look. “Do you need a doctor?” 

“Maybe I do.” Emma touched one hand to her brow. Her brain was spinning. 

If he wasn’t ill . . . Could this be some sort of ploy to make her his mistress? Oh, Lord. Perhaps she’d given him the wrong impression with her willingness to disrobe. 

“Are you—” 

There seemed no way to say it but to say it. “Your Grace, are you trying to get me into your bed?” 

Yes. Nightly. I said as much, not a minute ago. Are you listening at all?”   

About The Author 

tessa dareTessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties. 

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook 

the duchess deal

Giveaway!!! 

Fancy owning a copy of your own? Simply head over to follow my twitter account @vicki_cosybooks where I’m giving away one copy (courtesy of the publisher) and ReTweet my pinned post – you can find me HERE 

Closes March 9th at Midnight GMT, Winner will be selected at random and contacted for mailing address to be passed onto the publisher. Open Internationally!

Good luck!  

duchess deal

#Blogtour – My Mother The Liar by Ann Troup – An Extract (@HQDigital @TroupAnn)

I’m joining the blog tour today for Ann Troup’s latest thriller, My Mother, The Liar. Released by HQ Digital on 12th February 2018 in ebook, I’ve got the incredibly gripping and dramatic first chapter to share with you!

my mother the liarEvery family has its secrets…

From the author of The Lost Child, and The Forgotten Room. Perfect for fans of The Secret Mother and Linda Green.

Two dead bodies. A lifetime of secrets.

When Rachel Porter’s estranged mother dies, she returns to her family home filled with dread about having to face her past, and the people who populated it.

Little does she know that there are dead bodies waiting to be discovered, and a lifetime of secrets are about to untangle.

Secrets kept by her mother, the liar.

 

 

Chapter 1 

Rachel’s mother had been fond of blanket statements that set others indelibly in their places. Proud of her insights into the characters of others she had set out her children’s traits like a script. As if they were pickles in jars, all three of her daughters had been permanently labelled and preserved by her assertions.
Frances was the clever one, Stella was useless, and Rachel was just downright difficult.
Did all parents like to define their offspring, leaving their children floundering and typecast? Rachel felt imperfectly moulded by her family, an inconvenient, bit part player in the sometimes drama that had been her life. It had made her bitter.
Now her mother was dead. Valerie was no more and Rachel wasn’t feeling much of anything except antipathy.
She would have known about Valerie’s death weeks before, but she’d quietly ignored the first letter from Frances, knowing that it couldn’t contain good news. The Porters didn’t trade in good news. The slanting, deeply etched handwriting on the envelope had said enough. Frances could ooze anger even when writing a simple address. She’d used green ink, which Rachel was inclined to think had been distilled from her sister’s bile.

It had taken a second letter containing the expected diatribe of accusations and sour grapes to make Rachel finally take notice. She had already missed the funeral. Frances had been brutal and unforgiving about that. Rightly so in Rachel’s mind – missing your own mother’s funeral was pretty shabby in anyone’s book. Even if your mother was Valerie Porter. She might not have gone back at all if she hadn’t been required to assist with the application for probate. Without that she’d have carried on burying her head in the sand and ignored them all for ever. It was Valerie Porter’s final revenge to force her to go back.

When she was sitting on the train, when it was too late to turn back and take refuge again, she allowed herself to think about the consequences of going back. Of what she’d have to face.

Who she’d have to face.

There were people more dreadful than Frances who populated the past.

While the train took her relentlessly towards ‘home’, she pulled out the second letter and reread Frances’s words.

‘I am patently aware that you still harbour resentment about the past however the house is a joint responsibility and whatever grudges you still bear, I feel you should put them aside for once and show a little loyalty,’ Frances’s letter baldly stated. ‘Stella is nowhere to be found and I’ve been left to deal with this alone. You have a legal obligation to carry out Mother’s last wishes at least. I will expect to see you at the soonest opportunity I shan’t say at your convenience because that would mean waiting for ever”

Rachel could imagine the gritted teeth and grim expression that had fuelled those words. It had been a sense of stale guilt and obligation that got her to Paddington Station plus curiosity and a strange, unpleasant yearning for something she couldn’t define which had made her get on the train. Since when had Frances ever needed anything from her?
With every mile that took her closer to home she felt an increasing sense of apprehension. Given the circumstance of her departure all those years ago it was bizarre that Frances would contact her at all, let alone request her help – they both knew that there was no love lost between Valerie and Rachel, they hadn’t spoken in years.

The only logical conclusion she could draw was that her physical presence was needed to allow the sale of the house because no connection between sisters, or mothers for that matter, would have driven Frances to write otherwise. Given that for most of Rachel’s life Frances hadn’t been able to bear being in the same room as her for more than a few minutes there couldn’t be any other reason.

Frances wanted the money. Nothing else on earth would have forced her to make contact, not even the truth. That was something none of them could bring themselves to face.
***
By the time Rachel arrived at the house Frances had already sold everything of any remote value that Valerie hadn’t, and had resorted to burning what was left on a large bonfire in the overgrown garden. Things that couldn’t be burned, like the ancient enamelled cooker that their grandmother had bought in 1959, and the six broken vacuum cleaners that had languished in the attic for years along with numerous
other aged and dishevelled domestic items were to be taken to the local tip by Sid, ‘The Man With A Van’ and his monosyllabic sidekick, Steve.

Sid and Steve were cheap, available and discreet. Frances valued discretion and economy above most things – including false sentiment. She showed none of that when greeting her sister, merely offered her a pair of rubber gloves and a black bag and told her to pick a room, any room, and get on with it. Rachel received a warmer welcome from Sid. The amiable Sid explained that he and Steve had been at the house for days, repeatedly loading the van and making trips to the local landfill site as Frances steadily forced the large old house to disgorge its contents and bare its mouldering soul.

Rachel arrived with barely enough time to salvage Stella’s meagre belongings from the purge, and only just managed to stop Steve feeding yet another box of books onto Frances’s pyre. They were Stella’s books, children’s classics that Stella had kept from her own childhood and had read to Rachel during hers. Frances argued that if Stella had wanted the books she would have taken them with her. Rachel shrugged and said that she was keeping them anyway. One of the rare pleasures of her childhood had been
listening to Stella read those stories, so even if Stella didn’t want them, she did. Besides, monstrous though Frances could be, what kind of person could burn books?

Frances had been so eager to clear the house that she hadn’t really left much that Rachel could do, except stand by and wonder at her sister’s vigorous enthusiasm for incinerating every last stick the house had ever contained. It felt as if she were only there to witness the destruction. It was Frances’s way of punishing her she supposed.
‘I’ve spent too many years being oppressed by all this junk!’ Frances yelled above the crackling bonfire, eyes blazing as bright as the fire as she watched the flames consume yet another chunk of their past. ‘It’s liberating, don’t you think?’

Sid, standing next to Rachel, shook his head and said ‘I dunno, seems a shame really – could have got a few quid for some of that stuff on eBay. Sacrilege ’ he added, bemused. He looked back at the house ‘ must really have been something in its day. They don’t build them like that any more.’

Rachel followed his gaze and looked back at the mock Tudor sprawl she’d once known as home. ‘Probably ’ she said, her voice dull. Not that she could ever remember it being anything other than dark, damp, cold and gloomy. By the time she’d been born The Limes was already suffering from serious neglect. Valerie had been too mean to heat the rooms they didn’t use and mildew had taken hold running riot over the walls. The negligence had been an open invitation for rot and decay to come on in and have
a ball. Even in winter it had sometimes been warmer outside than in – a childhood full of blue noses chilblains and chipping the ice from the taps had left its mark on Rachel. She still couldn’t bear the cold.

The house had eight bedrooms. In Rachel’s memory only four had ever been regularly used. Of the four bathrooms, they had all shared one, and out of the study, drawing room, morning room and reception room, they had only ever used the morning room as it was close to the kitchen and easier to heat. The attics and cellars had been no go zones for so long that she had almost forgotten they existed other than as repositories for the things Valerie had been too lazy to throw away.
As far as Rachel was concerned The Limes was a mausoleum that housed a bitter past. If it had ever had a heyday it was so far back in the mists of time she would have to squint to imagine it.

Much in the way that she needed to squint at Frances through the billowing smoke. She was prodding the fire with the end of a garden hoe, her eyes glinting and flickering with reflected flames making her look like a reject from the legions of hell. The fire had brought out a demonic glee that made Rachel instinctively shudder despite the heat that rolled across the neglected lawn.

‘Right, that’s going nicely ’ Frances called. ‘Stephen, you come with me and we’ll tackle the outbuildings and Sidney, you can go with Rachel and make sure there’s nothing of value left inside.’

A brief flicker of panic crossed Steve’s face as he looked at Sid. Sid had quietly confided to Rachel that both men had fallen foul of Frances’s imperious temper over the past few days and it was considered the short straw if one of them had to work alongside her. ‘Come on, chop chop!’ she shouted, clapping her hands as if Steve was a refractory Pekingese.

Rachel watched them go. ‘I suppose we’d better follow orders ’ she said to Sid, preparing herself to go back into the near naked house. Free of its clutter, the house was even more cavernous than she remembered, all its strident objections to old age and infirmity amplified by the lack of furnishings. With nothing to soak up the sound and attract
the eye it looked bare and ashamed of itself Rachel almost felt sorry for it. Nobody loved it, and she couldn’t remember anybody ever having been happy there. As a home its heart had been hollowed out by acrimony and now it was being finished off by arch indifference.

She and Sid ascended the stairs, the bare treads creaking in protest now that they had been stripped of carpet. They checked the bedrooms, finding them damp and empty, until they entered Valerie’s room. Their mother’s room had always been sacrosanct, an oasis of calm and solitude that Valerie had often retreated to – usually complaining of a headache and clutching a medicinal bottle of sherry. Rachel couldn’t recall ever having been allowed inside, and it surprised her that she’d never thought it strange before that moment.

Now only a few black sacks stood against the wall ready for Sid’s next run to the tip. This first and final ingress into her mother’s secret chamber – the room that had been the inner sanctum, the room that had been the container of Valerie’s personal misery – was a frank disappointment for Rachel. As a child, she had often spied by squinting through the keyhole like a woebegone urchin, imagining that beyond the locked door lay another realm. The wardrobe in the corner might have been the entrance to another dimension, where Valerie existed differently and found the peace she had so often demanded before shutting the door against the needs of her family. Although, in Rachel’s imagination the White Witch had always had much more of a resemblance to Valerie than had been entirely comfortable. Stella’s books had stirred some lonely and uncomfortable memories.

Though Valerie’s presence still echoed in the hollow room, Rachel could not for the life of her imagine what peace of mind her mother had ever found from lying on the bed staring drunkenly at the blowsy roses scrambling across the wallpaper beneath the dust and cobwebs. Those keyhole shaped memories had suggested something exotically different from the chilly, mildewed reality she now faced. The only piece of furniture not yet consigned to the tip, or dispatched to be consumed by the flames of Frances’s blaze, was the wardrobe.

Rachel walked over to it and touched its mirrored door, which opened with an ominous creak. She gave it a wry smile, unsurprised that it wasn’t filled with fur coats and melting snow after all.

‘She said I could have that ’ Sid said, apparently afraid that Rachel might condemn it to the fire. ‘I was saving it for when we finished. That way I can put it on the van and take it straight home ’

The faintest aroma of mothballs belched out as she shut the door. ‘I’ll lock it so it’ll be easier to move. You should hang on to the key- they’re always better when they still have their keys.’

The door was a little warped, and she had to shove it hard to make it fit properly, promptly dislodging the prized key in the process. ‘Bugger!’ she said. The key had bounced on the bare floorboards and hidden itself underneath the wardrobe. On hands and knees, Rachel peered into the murky spider graveyard that lay beneath ‘I can’t see it we’ll have to pull the bloody thing out ’

Sid obliged, and together they coaxed it into a reluctant slide across the wooden boards. As Rachel bent to retrieve the key, something prodded at the edges of her awareness. ‘I didn’t know that was there ’ she murmured, standing up and looking at a door that had been hidden from view.

‘Built in cupboard ’ Sid pronounced knowledgably. ‘What d’you need a wardrobe for if there’s a built in cupboard?’

Rachel shrugged. ‘More junk for you to get rid of I expect ’ she said, prising open the cupboard door and cringing as the hinges squealed in protest. The cupboard was surprisingly empty given the rubbish that had always cluttered the rest of the house. A faint flurry of fetid air wafted into their faces as they peered into its dark recesses. On the lone shelf, there stood a biscuit tin and on the floor stood a metal box. Rachel took down the biscuit tin and levered of the lid. Various bits of paper and old photographs nestled there – mostly showing Frances as a young child. The papers proved to be old school reports, all describing Frances’s attributes in glowing terms. Rachel couldn’t recall Valerie keeping a record of either her or Stella’s school records – though Frances probably would have burnt them if she had. As Rachel rifled through it occurred to her that she had never seen a photograph of herself as a child anywhere in the house. Probably because there weren’t any to see.

Under the photographs was a small red book – the type that had a tiny lock. She took it and the photographs and stuffed them into her back pocket. Maybe Frances would want them, maybe not. The rest she put back in the tin and threw the whole thing into one of the black sacks that flanked the room.

Sid grabbed the metal box ‘Bloody hell, this is heavy. Hey, perhaps we’ve found the family jewels!’ he quipped.

Rachel responded with a sardonic smile. The box was little bigger than a bread bin but looked like it weighed a ton. Sid placed it at Rachel’s feet, grunting with the effort.

‘Want to do the honours?’ he asked.

She shook her head, watching as Sid attempted to release the lid. Though the metal had been galvanised, some substance had affected it, causing rust to scab the edges and eat into the structure. Sid took out a Swiss army knife and used the screwdriver bit as a lever, giving a satisfied grunt as the orangemcrust gave way. He lifted the lid, revealing the contents.

‘It’s full of sand ’ he said, puzzled.

‘Sand?’

‘Hang on, there’s something poking out of it ’ he tugged, dislodging a torrent of dry, gritty matter as the object shifted.

It was some kind of parcel, wrapped in dirty cloth. Sid unwound the material, causing more sand and grit to fall and litter the floor as each layer of fabric came away and disintegrated in his hands.

‘What is it?’ Rachel asked, peering over his shoulder at what appeared to be some type of shrivelled, leathery doll.

Sid didn’t speak. His skin had turned a ghastly shade of grey and all Rachel could see as she peered at his stricken face was his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down like a fishing float as he fought for the words to describe the thing that was now lying on the floor.

***

Frances’s scream was so piercing it rattled the glass in the rotten window frames, buffeting Rachel’s eardrums and snapping Sid out of his shocked stupor as effectively as if it had taken tangible form and slapped him in the face.

Once the sound receded, everything became horribly quiet as if there had been a sudden solar eclipse and the birds had stopped singing in deference to the dark. Time became elastic as seconds extended themselves into blurry, suspended pockets of disbelieving minutes.

Sid’s mobile phone began to ring he tinny, incongruent tones of ‘My Way’ shattering the silence and stirring him into action. When he finally answered the thing after fumbling for it in every pocket, Rachel could hear Steve’s high pitched voice. With escalating panic, he told Sid about the scene outside. Rachel doubted that Steve had ever uttered so many words in one hit before. Which was probably why he sounded confused.

She could have sworn she heard him say that they’d found a dead body in the shed.

 

Doesn’t that just make you want to read more?  Then you can purchase the rest of the book here

About The Author  

ann troup

Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.

Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.

She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.

In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it. Occasionally she may decide to give away some of these creations (you have been warned!).

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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#BlogTour ~BookReview – Need To Know by Karen Cleveland (@Transworldbooks) #NeedToKnowBook

Need to knowIn pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust? 

Published 25th January 2018 by Bantam Press (UK)  

I’m not going to lie, Spy Thrillers are not usually my thing. As a child, I had no interest in Bond whenever it was on the TV and since then have avoided stories of espionage like the plague. I don’t really know why – other than I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this kind of book. But something about Need To Know appealed to me – perhaps the promise of “psychological depth” on the cover or the fact that this book centred around a marriage built on lies. Anyway, with some glowing reviews from the blogging world, I thought I’d give it a go.

And yes! I’m so glad I did! Need To Know is such an incredibly gripping and catchy read right from the start. When Vivian, a CSI agent working on bringing down a Russian sleeper cell, discovers a picture of her husband of twenty years  on the computer of a Russian agent everything she knows and trusts is suddenly up in smoke. How exactly is the man she knows and trusts involved? How can she have been living with someone all these years and not know them at all? And what does she do when faced with the dilemma between loyalty to her country and protecting her own family?

I wanted to know the answers to all these questions and sped through this book at break neck speed to find out! I thought the conflict between loyalties that Vivian feels was very well written and believable – her turmoil coming across as she struggled with the betrayal of her husband and fear of the complex and dangerous situation her whole family now faced. Along with Viv, her husband Matt kept me on edge as unease and doubt about him conflicted with some pity and optimism that he was a good guy. Karen Cleveland kept the momentum up right to the very last sentence, so that the reader never knows who exactly can be trusted in this twisty, tense thriller.

The book also mixes psychological elements as claimed on the front cover, with heart stopping danger meaning that as a reader who generally avoids the more physically action packed crime and spy genres, I found this incredibly accessible and satisfying. It turned out to be a breathtakingly quick read for me, which I couldn’t put down and read over a few hours. Would I read more from this author? YES! Definitely! Has it changed my feelings that all spy books aren’t for me? Absolutely! I’m glad I took a chance with this one, and would urge anyone else with an aversion to spy thrillers to give this one a go too. You won’t be disappointed!

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#BlogTour #BookReview – Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys @TransworldBooks

img_1401England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go …

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done? 

Published in Paperback August 10th 2017 by Transworld (UK) 

 

I’d heard so many great things about Dangerous Crossing from bloggers whose tastes and recommendations I trust and respect, and had it marked as a must read. So when the opportunity to read and review as part of the paperback release blog tour arose I was right on board (Ha!) I am so glad too as THIS is exactly the type of book I love to read. Immersive from the very first page, it’s a book that takes you away to another time and place entirely for a few hours and I devoured it in one sitting.

Dangerous Crossing begins in July 1939 when Lily Shepherd boards the cruise liner Orontes for a five and half week journey to Australia. Escaping her past, she’s hoping for adventure and a new life as part of the governments assisted passage scheme for young girls prepared to work in domestic service. While she’s set to work as a maid when she arrives, those five weeks aboard the ship are an opportunity to enjoy leisure and luxury, see some of the world and mingle with the varied and intriguing mix of characters among the other passengers, hailing from all walks of life. But with the world on the brink of war, tensions are high and Lily is set to discover that she isn’t the only one among her new friends with secrets to hide and a past they’d rather forget.

I loved, loved, loved this book. Rachel Rhys’ writing is atmospheric and captivating, bringing the world-within-a-world of life on a cruise liner alive. The setting of Dangerous Crossing is fantastic, an ideal and genius way to represent the breaking down of social barriers and conventions happening around this time, while adding complexity and tension through the suspicion and mistrust stirring among the passengers as war appears imminent.  The rich cast of characters were intriguing and so vividly drawn I could almost see this book being acted out as I read. I also loved the author’s colourful depictions of the places the cruise liner visited, brought to life through the eyes of the somewhat naive and unwordly Lily.

The reader knows, from the beginning of the book, that when the ship finally reaches it’s destination, something awful has happened during the passage and a woman is led off in handcuffs,  but with so many people with secrets to hide, and tensions reaching boiling point over the course of the five week journey, I had no idea who or what had occurred and the need to find out kept me turning the pages. What I particularly appreciated was the subtlety of the intrigue, which complimented the time and setting of the book perfectly. This isn’t an edge of your set mystery, and nor should it be. It’s a deliciously scandal packed unfurling of secrets, leading to a shocking climax I was not in the least expecting!

Dangerous Crossing is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of the year. I’ve been distracted and struggling recently with concentration and suffering the dreaded slump. This book was the perfect anti-dote and I enjoyed every single page. Rich, evocative and intriguing from start to finish, this is one book you don’t want to let sail by!

Dangerous crossing

 

#Blogtour Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill #Guestpost @HQStories

Warm welcome this morning to Melissa Hill who joins me for a stop on the Keep You Safe blog tour with a guest post!

Keep You Safe is Melissa’s latest novel, tackling issues of parenting, vaccination and social responsibility. I’m reading this now and as a parent myself, find it terrifying, Heart wrenching and gripping!  Melissa’s guest post profiles the two main characters, Kate and Madeleine – giving us a little insight into what makes them tick. Enjoy!

keep you safeFor readers who love issue-driven fiction, Melissa Hill has written a breakout novel exploring the “to vaccinate or not” debate and the tragic consequences of one mother’s decision on another.

Single mom Kate O’Donnell is living her worst nightmare. Her young daughter, Clara, who has a medical condition that doesn’t allow her to be vaccinated, becomes critically ill when one of her classmates, Lauren-whose family chose not to vaccinate-contracts and spreads the virus. While Lauren has no trouble recovering from the disease, Clara’s condition worsens. With time spent by her daughter’s bedside, Kate loses her job and slides deeper into medical debt. But when another school parent points the blame at Lauren’s mother, Lucy, and the media begins an attack, we see two very different views on parenting and how badly things can spin out of control when all either of these two women wanted was to keep their daughters safe. 

 

 Keep You Safe – Character Profiles

Single mum Kate O’Hara, widowed two years before the story begins, lives in the small Irish town of Knockroe with her five-year-old daughter Rosie.  

They are both quite new to the community, the family having moved there not long before Kate’s husband Greg, passed away unexpectedly. 

Kate is a nursing professional who works locally, and she and Rosie enjoy a wonderfully close relationship and in Greg’s absence, have gradually developed well-rehearsed household and family routines.  

As the story begins, Rosie has just started school, the worst of Kate’s grief is subsiding and she’s begun to come out of her shell a little, making friends with some of the other mums at Rosie’s school, Applewood primary. 

Having weathered a tough few years she’s on the verge of getting her life back and looking forward to moving on. Rosie herself is flourishing, she loves school, has a wide range of interests and is an outgoing and friendly little girl.  

Money is short and while Kate occasionally feels lonely and isolated from other family, for the most part, life in Knockroe is good. 

But there is one ongoing worry that Kate can never ignore; Rosie has a medical condition that means she cannot be vaccinated. For this reason, Kate needs to keep a very close eye on any infectious childhood diseases going round the school or the locality, because it’s entirely up to her to keep her daughter safe. 

 Another resident – this one Knockroe born and bred – is mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, who lives with her husband Tom and their two children, Jake and Clara. They are an affluent family with a big house in the town, and lots of family support close by.  

Madeleine is popular amongst the locals, though her increased media appearances and occasionally controversial stance on motherhood ensures she has some detractors, namely some of the other Applewood Primary school mums. 

Like Kate, Madeleine wants the absolute best for her children. Which is why she’s working tooth and nail to build her mummy blogging empire and regain some of the independence – financial and personal – she lost since having the kids and being a stay at home mum. A former high-flying marketing consultant, she really struggled with self-identity and found the early days of childrearing a challenge.  

A self-proclaimed ‘unmumsy mum’, Madeleine also found it difficult to identify with fellow new mums, and as such felt isolated from the local mother/toddler community.  

Instead, she turned to internet and found a tribe of like-minded people there, and a series of humorous posts and articles about the harsh realities of motherhood soon led to ‘Mad Mum’, her popular blog with a burgeoning number of followers – and subsequently some advertising deals. 

Ultimately, Madeleine is unapologetic about her belief that mums need to give themselves a break and aim to balance their own needs against parental obligations. 

But she’s also made some choices that Kate didn’t have the luxury of choosing.  

While Kate is unable to vaccinate her daughter, Madeleine and her husband Tom decided against vaccinating their children because they are wary of potential side effects. 

Kate and Madeleine’s worlds collide when Rosie and Clara both become ill with measles, and KEEP YOU SAFE is the story of two mothers, two different choices and two very different outcomes. 

Melissa Hill, 2017. 

 About The Author 

melissa hillMelissa Hill lives in County Wicklow with her husband and daughter.

A USA Today and international No 1 bestseller, she is the author of 15 novels. A TV adaptation of A GIFT TO REMEMBER will be released as Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017 and SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S is currently in development with a major Hollywood studio.

Melissa’s books have been translated into 25 different languages including Bulgarian, German, Czech, Finnish, Latvian, Serbian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Brazilian, Thai and Chinese and have hit bestseller lists in multiple countries. The Italian edition of SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S, ‘Un Regalo da Tiffany’ spent eight weeks at No 1 in Italy, selling over 600,000 copies, making it one of the bestselling 2011 Italian books overall.

Her writing combines all the warmth and humour of contemporary women’s fiction with plots that keep readers guessing from page to page.

Melissa also co-writes forensic thrillers with her husband Kevin under the pen-name Casey Hill, featuring crime scene investigator Reilly Steel. For more information visit http://www.facebook.com/caseyhillbooks.

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#BlogTour – Q&A With The Mother Author -Jaime Raven @avonbooksuk

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Jaime Raven to the blog to answer some questions about her new book, The Mother.
the mother 2Hello Jaime, and welcome to Cosy Books. Could you tell us a bit about yourself ? 

I’m a full-time author and I live with my partner in Southampton, although I’m originally from London. I have three children and I’ve written three books for Avon/Harper Collins – THE MADAM, THE ALIBI and THE MOTHER. I used to be a journalist and worked in newspapers and for TV news programmes for a number of years. I enjoy reading crime books and thrillers by other writers.

The Mother is your latest novel, could you tell us what it’s about in your own words?

The Mother is about the abduction of 15-month-old Molly Mason. She’s the daughter of detective Sarah Mason, who works for the Metropolitan Police in London. What makes The Mother different from other ‘stolen child’ stories is that the kidnapper says he has taken Molly as punishment for something that Sarah did to him. However, she has no idea what it is and the agony is made worse because the kidnapper sends her upsetting messages and video clips of her daughter. His aim is to make sure that ‘her suffering does not diminish over time.’ The book follows the desperate hunt to find Molly and the impact it has on Sarah and the rest of her family, including Molly’s father.

I’m intrigued by your main character, Sarah, a single mother working full time (like me, but thankfully not as dangerous a job!) Can you describe Sarah and what makes her tick?

Sarah is like many women – struggling to hold down a full-time job while raising a small child by herself. She divorced her husband, who is also a detective, because he cheated on her. But they stay in touch because he has his daughter every other weekend. As a police officer Sarah is used to dealing with victims of crime, but this is the first time that she’s been a victim herself and she finds it hard to cope. However, she’s a strong woman and is determined to get her daughter back even if it means  putting her own life on the line to do so.

Your books feature some pretty dark themes, can you tell us about the research you the alibi cover picundertake before writing?

Searching for information is much easier now than it used to be thanks to the internet. I enjoy research and I carry it out before and during the writing process. It’s true that my books feature some pretty dark themes and if anyone looked at what’s on my computer without knowing that I’m an author they would think I’m a real dodgy character.
For instance, I’ve downloaded lots of material on various ways to murder people, on child abduction, prostitution, cyber-crime and how to spy on individuals without them knowing. It all helps to add reality and credibility to a story. Researching a novel is fun because it expands your knowledge base and opens your eyes to all manner of things that you wouldn’t otherwise know anything about.

Crime thrillers keep going from strength to strength in popularity – why
do you think readers can’t get enough of the genre? What elements do you
think make a great Crime thriller book?

I think crime thrillers continue to be popular for several reasons. They’re a great form of entertainment because they take us into a world that very few of us would want to visit in real life. They arouse our curiosity and excite us at the same time. And they can also make us feel genuinely grateful that we’re not in those tricky and dangerous situations that our fictional heroes find themselves in.

To my mind a great crime thriller needs to be full of twists and turns and move along at breakneck speed. The characters – both good and bad – must be engaging and plausible. And originality is crucial if a book is to stand out from the rest in a crowded marketplace.

the-madam-coverMost writers are readers first….is this the case for yourself? Which
authors and novels would you recommend as must reads? 

I’ve been an avid reader of crime novels and thrillers since I was a teenager. I still read at least two books a month even when I’m working on a novel. Among the books I would recommend are two of my all-time favourites – The Godfather by Mario Puzo and Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. The first is about the American mafia and the second introduces readers to fiction’s most notorious serial killer – Hannibal Lecter.
I’m also a big fan of Lee Child’s books because I love his creation, Jack Reacher. My favourite Reacher book is Tripwire. Another bestselling author I would recommend is Linwood Barclay, who never disappoints. A must read would be his early work No Time for Goodbye in which a teenage girl wakes up to find her entire family has disappeared.

As a non-writer, I’m always fascinated by the writing process…can you tell
us about where you write and any rituals or routines you have to aid the
creative process?

I’m one of those authors who have to write in longhand first. I just can’t tap out a story directly onto the computer. I have a small office at home but I don’t like to use it. Instead I visit coffee shops on most days. For some reason the words and ideas flow more easily when things are going on around me. I tend to sit for a couple of hours in a coffee shop and then return home to type up what I’ve written. After I’ve completed several chapters I’ll upload them onto my Kindle and go through them again because it helps to see how it will look when it’s published.

I also have to carry a small notebook and pen with me wherever I go. If I ever forget them I start to panic because I hate the thought of coming up with a brilliant idea and not being able to jot it down.

Finally, can you tell us what you are working on next? 

I’ve actually just finished the first draft of the next book for Avon. I can’t give too much away because I haven’t yet sent it to my agent and my editor. The working title is THE THREAT and it’s due to be published early next year. The book is set in London and features two very strong women whose paths cross in a story that includes generous helpings of love, sex, villainy and violence! 
Thank you Jaime for taking the time to answer my questions…I hope you enjoyed
them!

The Mother by Jaime Raven

the mother 2I’ve taken your daughter, as punishment for what you did …

Prepare to be gripped by the heart-stopping new thriller from the author of The Madam.

South London detective Sarah Mason is a single mother. It’s a tough life, but Sarah gets by. She and her ex-husband, fellow detective Adam Boyd, adore their 15-month-old daughter Molly.

Until Sarah’s world falls apart when she receives a devastating threat: Her daughter has been taken, and the abductor plans to raise Molly as their own, as punishment for something Sarah did.

Sarah is forced to stand back while her team try to track down the kidnapper. But her colleagues aren’t working fast enough to find Molly. To save her daughter, Sarah must take matters into her own hands, in a desperate hunt that will take her to the very depths of London’s underworld. 

Published 7th September by Avon (UK) 

The Mother