Let’s gossip…

The Darkest Hour Book Cover The Darkest Hour
(Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 4)
Anina Collins
crime fiction, mystery, thriller,

Poppy and Alex come up against their toughest case yet, and they may never be the same again.

When someone close to both Poppy and Alex is found brutally murdered, all the clues point to Alex as the killer. But Poppy knows in her heart that her partner could never commit such a heinous crime. As the evidence begins to mount against him, Poppy must race against the clock to prove that the man she trusts with her very life isn’t the murderer, even as everyone around her is convinced of his guilt.

But if Alex isn’t the killer, who is? As the mystery unravels, the past and present finally meet in Sunset Ridge.

A nice cosy mystery story with a female sleuth who is nosy but not confident in herself.

This is Poppy’s first attempt at solving a crime and she uses her sleuthing skills from her work as a columnist on the local paper to help her.

Small town USA comes again. Where there are no secrets – someone always knows something – and sometimes they use this knowledge in nefarious ways.

Light and easy reading with a surprise villain.

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The Dead pile up

Where The Dead Fall Book Cover Where The Dead Fall
DI Ridpath #2
MJ Lee
crime fiction, mystery, thriller,
11 Apr 2019

One chance encounter, one street side murder, will change everything…

The extraordinary new Ridpath crime thriller Manchester has been at peace for twenty years. Not any more.

DI Ridpath is in the process of getting his life back together when everything goes wrong.

Driving to meet his daughter, he is caught in a horrific motorway accident, in which a near-naked man is rundown by a lorry, while fleeing from a lone gunman.As Ridpath closes Manchester’s road network in search of the assailant, one question remains: why did nobody else see him?

Ridpath’s investigations, which at first seem to follow protocol, soon unearth a number of inconsistencies, which pulls the police force itself into question and hint at something sinister to come...

For Manchester is on the brink of a fresh surge of violence unlike anything it has seen in decades. As Ridpath battles this unprecedented conflict, he must battle his own demons. One thing is for sure. There will be blood on the streets…

The nail-biting sequel to Where the Truth Lies, M J Lee’s Where the Dead Fall is an absolute must read, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Faith Martin and Peter James 

This book is set in Manchester UK – a grim town as I recall (always raining) and according to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in their novel Good Omens, it was created by the demon Crowley as part of his work towards sending humans to Hell [not to mention his slight adjustment of the M25..].

This novel does not encourage you to think that it might be a nice place to visit and be a tourist. It talks about crime families – 4 in Manchester – having ‘carved up’ the town into 4 quarters each holding their own with no inter-gang warfare, but each specialising in drugs, or prostitution, or…  but not really guns until this story starts.

I found it a useful introduction to the work of a Coroner’s Office which I had not known – I always assumed that it was part of the offices that dealt with the post-mortem – no doubt confused by TV stories. But here we find out that they stand for the victim and attempt to discover just what happened to them and how the death was investigated, if necessary.

The story makes grim reading as we have a series of deaths and a very ill policeman working for the Coroner’s Office who is charged with assuring the Coroner of her facts as she holds her Inquest into their deaths.

But still compelling and whilst I had guessed some of it, I had not guessed all of the back story which ended up with these particular deaths.

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Nick Louth tells us:

The Body in the Mist Book Cover The Body in the Mist
DCI Craig Gillard, The Body in the Marsh, The Body on the Shore, Trapped
Nick Louth
Crime, Police Procedural
20th May 2019

A brutal murder hints at a terrifying mystery, and this time it’s personal.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face.

Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business.

Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined.  

The past has never been deadlier.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I do tend to think for quite a long time about a book before setting out to write it. I currently have 3 to 4 novels sketched out to several thousand words, the ideas still circling in my head like airliners waiting to land at Heathrow. I do find that it helps to begin writing some aspects quite quickly. Characters for example do not become real to me until I’ve started writing down their dialogue, and can hear their voice in my head. But plots I can work on for weeks or even months trying to get something genuinely original wriggling in the dark corners of my mind. A lot of my writing is driven by issues that I want to shine a light on. Mirror Mirror for example concentrated on the concept of the instant celebrity, and the costs of that both for the individual and for society.

  • What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I am good friends with a retired detective inspector, and have contacts with a Home Office forensic pathologist, and a scientist who undertakes DNA analysis. That is a minimum for anyone who is taking their crime writing seriously. There is a lot, of course, available online but some things never seem to be reflected, and you need to know people to know what the issues are. For example when sending off a DNA sample for analysis, do you choose the basic service which may take a couple of weeks, or the highly expensive express service, which may need a senior officer’s budgetary permission? If you want to be realistic about the police you need to reflect some of their day-to-day concerns: staffing shortages, managerial competence, and outdated attitudes to diversity, for example.

  • How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

The more successful you are, the easier it is to be taken seriously. As a former journalist I have a forthright way of approaching organisations. In general I would give the advice to make a brief phone call first, then follow-up with a detailed email, which also gives your bona fides, including the name of your publisher and/or agent as well as your own website address.

  •  How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

Dozens of times. It was a highly dispiriting experience, but if there’s one thing I should say to budding authors it is do not take no for an answer. Keep going.

  • Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

I was very lucky that my first thriller, while still self published, became the bestselling book in the UK for a couple of weeks in 2014. There were no marketing costs, no agent to pay, and I kept a good slice of the proceeds. That was a phenomenal year, and even though I now have all the apparatus of the professional publishing industry behind me, I still haven’t managed to replicate that experience. But overall, for me, it’s been a decent living.

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?

I’m almost never ill, and if I was well enough to read in bed, I’d be well enough to write. I certainly written tens of thousands of words when hungover, and sometimes they’re  unusually creative ones.

  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I wish I still had them, particularly some of the stories I wrote when I was seven or eight. In retrospect it does seem clear what I was destined to do.

  • What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

Two things: Managing to maintain a very harmonious marriage for more than 20 years and the books I’ve written. Without the first, I doubt whether I would ever have managed the second.

  • Do you have an unusual hobby?

Not exactly unusual, but I’m a county standard chess player. While I have occasionally included a plot strand or two about chess, I do know that it should never be mentioned on the cover because it’s the commercial kiss of death. 

Author Bio:
Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.

The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled  ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017. 

Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.


Twitter: @NickLouthAuthor


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How to Dream

Dreaming of Rome Book Cover Dreaming of Rome
T.A. Williams
Women’s Fiction
6th May 2019

Rome is where the heart is… The heart warming read of the summer

Jo has had enough of handsome men. After a painful break-up, she’s decided she doesn’t believe in love.

Then, while on a professional trip to the magical city of Rome, she meets Corrado, a scientist and her brother-in-law to be, who doesn’t believe in love either. To him, it’s just a biochemical reaction. So what’s the problem?

Well, he’s gorgeous for a start, as well as charming, generous, intelligent and attentive, and she feels herself immediately falling for him, despite her new outlook.

The majesty of the Eternal City brings them ever closer together. But is their relationship doomed, or will love conquer all?

Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure, Dreaming of Rome is a joyous and uplifting read from T.A. Williams, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver

Trevor Williams says:

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Dreaming of Rome sees a girl who is disillusioned with love meet a scientist who doesn’t believe it exists. They then proceed to fall in love – or do they? The biochemical explanations produced to get to the bottom of what we think of as love fascinate me. Science is somehow trying to explain the inexplicable. All through history, love has been a driving force in life and in literature and I was fascinated to imagine how people with such beliefs might fare when finding themselves faced with something happening to them that they can’t explain away. Whether my approach is unique or not will be up to the reader to decide.

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?

I now have seventeen published novels to my name and no two have followed the same creative course. My very first book was written in under a month (80,000 words in 27 days – you do the sums), while my historical novel, Chasing Shadows evolved over a period of years. Normally I embark upon a new book having taken a decision as to where it is situated, who the main characters are and roughly (and I mean roughly) what will happen. I am a firm believer in letting the book lead me in whatever direction it chooses. New characters pop up as I go along and, if all goes well, round about halfway through, it starts writing itself.

  • How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I always try to visit the locations of all my books before writing. As I write about gorgeous places like Venice, Florence and St-Tropez, this is not an unpleasant chore by any means (J). I do, however, always research the history of the place (I like history) as well (did you know that just after the Normandy landing in WW2, there was another allied invasion through St-Tropez of all places? As for the details of the contents, I also do a lot of research, whether it be on local food and wine (also not unpleasant), wildlife, traditions etc. I couldn’t quantify it really. As for “Dreaming of Rome” I also did a lot of research on conservation and removal of single use plastics.

  • What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

The internet. Google Earth is fantastic. Also, I make a point of only writing about places set in countries where I speak the language. I did French and German at university and then lived for 8 years in Italy, so am fairly competent in those languages. This allows me to read online stuff in the different languages and, in this way, get a more local and, hopefully, authentic flavour of things.

  • How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I first sent a manuscript to a publisher for consideration in 1976 (that’s right, 43 years ago) and I was only finally picked up by Harlequin/Harper Collins in 2013. Back in the old days, you sent the whole printed manuscript by post, with a stamped, addressed envelope attached. This cost a fortune and took months to get a response. As a result, I have enough rejection letters to wallpaper my study.

  • Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

There’s a wonderful scene in one of my favourite movies called “Get Shorty” in which Gene Hackmann (who plays a seedy movie producer) tells his client, “The only kind of writing that makes money is ransom notes”. I could just about live on what I earn from my books, but it would be a real struggle. I’ve sold almost 200,000 copies of my books in six years and half the time they were on offer at 99p a copy. Amazon take 30% (or more), I get 50% of what’s left. You work it out. Let’s just say that a new Rolls Royce is not an option. Now, if I could get a movie deal or two…

  • What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I still have all 44 handwritten (in pencil) pages of “The Lake Dwellers” – a shameless ripoff of “Swallows and Amazons” that I wrote when I was 13/14. Somehow I doubt if it will ever make it to publication, but I keep it for old times’ sake.

  • Which of your books are you most proud of?

Probably “Chasing Shadows” about two couples travelling along the Pilgrims’ Way to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. This book involved a massive amount of research on medieval history, the history of the Camino and the Knights Templar. It also involved me cycling all 1800 kilometres of the journey from here in England to Compostela. Yeh, pretty proud of that. I also think it might be my best book, but that’s not up to me to decide.

Author Bio:

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Previous Books: Dreaming of Venice, Dreaming of Florence, Dreaming of St Tropez, Dreaming of Christmas and Dreaming of Tuscany

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Serial killers kill killers…

Serial Killer Princess Book Cover Serial Killer Princess
A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count)
RJ Blain
Pen & Page Publishing;
(6 Mar. 2018)

Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

Why would anyone put a mermaid and a gorgon in the same room together? While Tulip enjoys being alive, her lineage brings her nothing but trouble.

Snakes eat fish, and the mer love tearing apart their serpentine nemeses with their hands and teeth. As for the gorgons… she’d rather not think about them at all.

The last thing Tulip wants is to rule the mer kingdom. First, she can barely swim. Second, she’s packing more than her fair share of her father’s genes. Third, what is a landlocked princess supposed to do with an aquatic kingdom?

If she gets her way, nothing. Add in her dirty little serial killing secret, and she’s an international disaster waiting to happen.

There’s just one small problem: her father’s bodyguard tempts her in ways no one should, and if she isn’t careful, he’ll uncover her secrets, domesticate her, and infect her with a severe case of normality.

Kill the serial killers? And become a serial killer of them? Twisted justice but basically she is still an FBI agent but with her own special additive – a desire for justice but murder as well.

Not quite as much fun as some of the novels in this series, perhaps because of the underlying serious concept.

But still a good read and personally, I’d love some pink pearls in a necklace – I’m fond of them too…

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