#BlogTour #BookReview – Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham (@HQStories @VickyNewham)

A twisted killer has a deadly riddle for DI Maya Rahman to solve in this pulse-racing thriller, the first in an addictive new series set in East London.

A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:

I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.

At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.

Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, and with a serial killer on her hands, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim. 

Published April 5th 2018 by HQ 

~ Review ~

I seem to have read a ton of brilliant  ‘first in a new series’ detective novels recently, so there’s the risk that eventually one’s going to disappoint.  Fortunately, Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham was not that one, managing to deliver a fresh voice and a page turning plot in one swoop.

DI Maya Rahman has just returned from burying her brother and is immediately called in to head a murder investigation. During a staff training school, the Head of a local school which prides itself on diversity and multiculturalism, has been found murdered in her office. Beside her body is an Budhist precept – the second of five. It’s now a race against time to discover the murderer as one by one the remaining precepts are acted out.

I think what sets Turn A Blind Eye apart for me was the slightly different focus of the book. Yes, there were twists and turns and I was kept guessing as to who the perpetrator was, but it was the intricacies of the cultural tensions, misunderstandings and prejudices that made Turn A Blind Eye a really interesting read and gave it a fresh, relevant and original feel.

I really liked the character of Maya, and we get a little bit of her back story throughout the book, however I’d love to know more. She has an interesting history and I feel there’s a lot more to come. There’s still a mystery surrounding her childhood, which I hope means we’re going to be reading more of her soon!

I also really liked the Budest precept angle, it kind of reminded me a little of the film Se7en (but less gruesome!), and has Maya and her partner Dan preempting who the next victim may be. This created a gripping race against the clock type scenerio, which resulted in the ‘one more chapter’ effect and me tearing through the book in a couple of sittings.

Turn A Blind Eye is a fantastic start to a new series and one I’ll definitely be keeping up with. It’s got a relevant, fresh feel about it and I look forward to reading more about DI Maya Rahman.

tabe bt

#BlogTour #BookReview – Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan (@RiverRunBooks @QuercusBooks)

too close to breathePerfect for fans of Tana French, Jane Casey and Gillian Flynn

TOO SOON TO SEE

Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.

TOO LATE TO HIDE

DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.

TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE

As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

Olivia Kiernan’s debut is a bold, brilliant thriller that will keep you guessing and leave you breathless.  

Published April 5th 2018 by Riverrun Books  

And BREATHE! – that’s what I had to keep telling myself while devouring this debut detective series novel. Sharp, crisp, taut, terrifying. More like Too Gripping To Breathe than Too Close To Breathe!

First book in the Frankie Sheehan series, Too Close To Breathe catapults the reader straight into a grisly murder investigation from the very first page. During an autopsy of what appears to be a suicide, DCS Sheehan is quick to suspect that all isn’t as it seems. In death, Eleanor Costello appears to be a perfectly polished, organised professional, but as Sheehan begins investigating she soon uncovers a murky, dark side and opens a door into the sinister and disturbing world of extreme sadomasochism, death fantasists and the dark web.  When another body is discovered, it becomes clear there’s a very dangerous serial killer on the loose.

Super-speedy fast paced is the only way to describe this book. Seriously, the plot races on at a breathtaking pace and had me absolutely gripped, completely ignoring life around me and unable to stop reading until I’d turned the last page. I read this in one massive binge read of four hours.

All the components of a great Detective book are here – a feisty, flawed lead, a barrage of red herrings and an attention to detail that’s grisly enough to satisfy any murder/crime reader. I really liked DCS Frankie Sheehan – she has her flaws, yes, but not so much as to make her unusual or have distracting personal/emotional difficulties. She’s a bit headstrong, she rushes in where she probably shouldn’t and she doubts herself. But she’s witty, strong, dedicated and pretty much straight down the line. I’ve a feeling we’ll get to know more about her in future books, and I really look forward to that.

The plot is intricate, meaning it wasn’t until the final pages that I had an inkling just what was going on. Packed full of twists and turns, chapter after chapter suspicions were raised, diverted and then pointed in a different direction. I loved the forensic elements of this book too, with an intriguing clue tying the cases together, it isn’t something I’d heard of or come across before. It’s pretty grisly and violent at times and had me shuddering in shock, and with a theme around death fantasy then I have to warn about some pretty upsetting and disturbing scenes.

Olivia Kiernan’s debut is a fantastic start to a new detective series, with a gritty, fresh and taut feel to it and an intriguing lead detective. Her compelling writing style and cunning ability to divert the readers attention and keep them hooked had me holding my breath throughout. I’ll be looking out for more from Olivia Kiernan and DCS Frankie Sheehan in the future.

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

too close to breathe bt.jpg

#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 .

#BookReview – The Chalk Man by C.J Tudor (@cjtudor @michaeljbooks) #Chalkman

chalk manIn 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader. 

Published by Michael Joseph January 2018 (UK) 

I’d heard a LOT about this book before reading it. Bloggers and reviewers were raving about it. When I asked what I should read next on Twitter and Instagram recently, the response was almost unanimous – this one! So, not being one to argue, I picked it up, curious to see what the fuss was about and also with a little apprehension. I mean, when everyone tells you how good something is there’s always the worry that it won’t live up to expectation, right?

Well, it wasn’t after too many pages that I could see why The Chalk Man had proved such a popular choice. C.J Tudor instantly grips the reader, with a shocking scene of murder on the first page and a tantalising way of leading the reader on to “just one more chapter” with constant twists and unanswered questions. This is a book that once you start, there’s just no way you’ll be able to put it down.

I loved the alternating chapters of past and present. Being an child of the eighties myself, I particularly loved the chapters set in this decade, and felt the sense of time was perfectly captured. I loved the dynamics of Eddie’s gang of friends, could imagine them vividly racing about on bikes and making dens in the woods. The chalk drawings are absolute genius. I could completely relate to the idea behind the coded messages between the friends, yet also found them disturbingly creepy!

The atmosphere of this book was vivid – expertly  told from a naive adolescent perspective, casting doubt as to whether dangers were always real or the result of an overactive imagination. This cleverly distracts the reader, meaning the twists are unexpected – yet make perfect sense.  The chapters in the present are equally gripping although I probably did favour the past slightly, but only for the haunting atmosphere found there. There were a couple of moments throughout the book which genuinely shocked me and made me jump, while the twists keep on coming right up until the very last page. This is a very clever and original book, full of atmosphere and suspense meaning that “one more chapter” turned into the entire book very quickly.

An atmospheric, unnerving and constantly surprising book with a haunting nostalgia that’s irresistible. I can see why The Chalk Man is so popular – it’s certainly deserves it.

 

#BookReview – The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty (@CJ_Daugherty @Fictionpubteam) #EchoKilling

The echo killingFifteen years ago her mother’s killer got away. Has he finally struck again?

MURDER SHOCKS PEACEFUL NEIGHBOURHOOD

A woman in her thirties. Found naked and stabbed on the kitchen floor. Discovered by her twelve-year-old daughter after school.

As top Savannah crime reporter Harper McClain stares at the horrific scene before her, one thought screams through her mind. This murder is identical to another murder she has witnessed. Her mother’s murder…

For fifteen years, Harper has been torn apart by the knowledge that her mother’s killer is walking free. And now, it seems he’s struck again. There are no fingerprints. No footprints. No DNA. Yet still, Harper is determined to discover the truth once and for all.

But that search will come at a cost…and it could be one she isn’t yet ready to pay. 

Published January 2018 (Ebook) and March 2018 (Paperback)  

Hold The Front Page! There’s a new crime series in town, and this is one you will not want to miss!

When Crime reporter,  Harper McClain, takes a sneaky look at a murder scene, she’s suddenly hurtled back fifteen years to her own mother’s murder. Everything about it tells Harper that the similarities between the two murders, over a decade apart, are far from coincidental. But the police disagree, dismissing her suspicions outright. Taking it upon herself to prove them wrong, Harper begins her own investigation. But what connects the two murder victims and why has the killer struck again after fifteen years? In a desperate bid to get to the truth, Harper must cross professional boundaries, test friendships to the limit and reconsider everything and everyone she’s close to.  And with someone desperate to stop Harper revealing the truth, put her own safety in jeopardy too.

Wow! what an absolute gripper of a book this was! Right from the first page I was hooked by the snappy, clean writing and the twisty, fast paced plot. It’s an intriguing premise – a murder which appears to be identical to one committed years ago, giving two mysteries for the price of one as past and present collide and overlap, and we join Harper as she aims to solve the complex case. Add in the personal and emotional involvement of the crime reporter turned sleuth, and The Echo Killing becomes an even more intense and fascinating roller-coaster of a read.

 

The plotting and pace of this book is immaculate. At just over 440 pages, it’s not short and I wondered if Daugherty could maintain the momentum set in the early chapters. I needn’t have worried though, there’s no dips or fillers – the plot is constantly moving forward, with many twists and turns. As Harper digs deeper, more and more unanswered questions are thrown up and I was desperate to know the answers. I was compelled to keep on reading as “one more chapter” quickly turned into me devouring the entire book in a few hours.

But what really made this book for me was the character of Harper herself. Fresh, feisty, smart, impulsive, brave, flawed and determined, I absolutely loved her. Part of me was in awe, while the other part wanted to put my arms around her as both her ferocity and vulnerability shines from the page. Giving Harper a deeply emotional involvement in the case worked so well, allowing extra layers of her personality to show and develope and ensuring I was right on side with her throughout the book. There’s also a nice dose of romance too in the form of Detective Luke Walker, which is both passionate and captivatingly tender – the chemistry between them is sparking! yet it never becomes slushy or out of place in the story, adding to rather than detracting from the atmosphere of this suspenseful book.

So, as you can tell, I pretty much loved this book. There’s one aspect that remained unsolved, and I’d have loved to have had that wrapped up, but as The Echo Killing is book one in a series, I’m assuming it’s still to come. One thing’s for certain, I’ll be looking forward to more from Harper McClain in the future.  A brilliant start to a fresh new crime series which I’m happy to recommend!

 

#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

#CoverReveal – Bad Sister by Sam Carrington – @AvonBooksUk @Sam_Carrington1

Bad Sister.jpg

Publishing in eBook: 9th October
Publishing in Paperback: 14th December

The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Saving Sophie.

Stephanie is scared for her life. Her psychologist, Connie Summers, wants to help her face her fears, but Connie will never really understand her. Stephanie’s past has been wiped away for her own protection. Stephanie isn’t even her real name. But then, Dr Summers isn’t Connie’s real name either.

And that’s not all the women have in common. As Stephanie opens up about her troubled relationship with her brother, Connie is forced to confront her own dark family secrets.

When a mutilated body is dumped in plain sight, it will have devastating consequences for both women.

Who is the victim?
Who is to blame?
Who is next?

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Bad Sister will have fans of Sue Fortin, B A Paris and Linda Green hooked till the final page. 

How great does this sound? And WOW … that cover is explosive! I’m looking forward to reading this one!