Hello all. Did you miss me? Took a week off as too tired after all the fun of Bloody Scotland and was pretty well straight into interviews and such on my return. The good news? Well, after a couple of months of doubting I’d even get interviews, last week I got three job offers. Three! I will be starting a new role in just a couple of weeks so more on that when the time comes but I am looking forward to it. A complete career change but one I hope will be very good for me.
Since we last spoke (or rather I rambled and you maybe read) I have had a wonderfully bookish time at Bloody Scotland. On the Friday morning, Mandie and I jumped in the car and started the drive north to Stirling. First duty of the day – coffee. What else? We also went for a bit of a walk making sure we were back to our room to relax a little before joining the opening gala followed by torchlight procession. We were there as Liam McIlvanney was crowned winner of the McIlvanney prize for his novel The Quaker, and may have partaken in a gin cocktail from sponsors, Stirling Gin. This was my first time drinking gin in any form but have to be honest, there was so much other stuff in there, I still don’t know if I like it. Next up was a panel with Val McDermid and Denise Mina, interviewed by Jenny Brown, which was truly entertaining and gave me a few ideas for my WIP. Val’s latest novel is Broken Ground, the latest in the Karen Pirie series, while Denise, 2017’s McIlvanney Prize winner for The Long Drop, recently released Garnethill. This was followed by a brilliant session with The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers. Always a brilliant way to end an evening.
Saturday morning saw us take a quick (3 mile) walk around Stirling as it was such a beautiful day. First panel was Steve Cavanagh and Tony Kent talking to Neil Broadfoot about their novels, Thirteen and Killer Intent and other lives working in the legal sector. We then said a quick hello to Helen Fields and CJ Tudor who were both giving away copies of their latest novels, Perfect Silence and The Taking Of Annie Thorne. A quick lunch break and then it was straight off to see Jay Stringer interrogate Stuart MacBride about his latest novel The Blood Road. Brilliantly entertaining as always, we were treated to a rendition of a song Stuart has fed into his latest novel, just to wind up his editor, and found out all about his former career as Audrey II. Just prior to the session Chris Curran was the author in the spotlight, reading to us all from her novel Her Deadly Secret.
We followed this with Ambrose Parry aka husband and wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. I really loved their book, The Way Of All Flesh, and it was great hearing them tell all about how the book came into being and the real life Doctor and research which inspired the story. Time then for a little Peter James who gave us the low down on this latest novel, Absolute Proof, before hot footing it to The Golden Lion for the madcap quiz. Here teams led by Val McDermid and Mark Billingham fought for the honour of winning in some very unusual rounds of questions, including one about Cat crime novels. I’m not convinced the scoring was entirely accurate, but after Scotland losing so emphatically in the football match earlier, it’s probably right that Val led her team to victory. Last session of the night was a panel called London Calling, featuring James Oswald talking about his new London set novel, No Time To Cry; Ed James talking about the latest in his DI Fenchurch series, Kill With Kindness; and Lesley Kelly talking about Songs by Dead Girls and what it was that took her team to London in search of answers. To round off our evening we headed to Crime at the Coo to soak up a bit of the Bloody Scotland atmosphere.
Sunday saw us back in walking mode. We were only going to head to a bakers that we loved but ended up making the hike up to the Wallace Monument. Not enough time to climb up tot he top of the monument itself, but enough to get to the top of the hill and back to town in time for our first Sunday panels. This time we split up with me heading to Pitch Perfect and Mandie heading to Lives Lived in Death with Professor Sue Black and Doctor Richard Shepherd who talked about their careers which are captured in the books All That Remains and Unnatural Causes. We had another brief break then before heading to the Breaking Barriers panel with Abir Mukherjee (Smoke and Ashes)interviewing AA Dhand (City of Sinners), Lilja Sigurdardottir (Snare) and Sanjida Kay (The Stolen Child). A truly fascinating discussion on how important it is for the industry to change and to recognise marginalised and underrepresented groups within the scope of literature, especially in the crime genre.
After this we went out separate ways once more, Mandie stopping on the Crime that Goes Bump in the Night panel with CJ Tudor, Alison Belsham and Luca Veste, talking about their books The Chalk Man, The Tattoo Thief and The Bone Keeper. I took in The Real CSI featuring Mark Billingham (The Killing Habit), Martyn Waites (The Old Religion) and Kate Bendelow (The Real CSI). Very entertaining and informative but definitely a case of TMI … Last event of the festival, but always a good one, we went to the play, Murder at the Knickerage. You would not believe it unless you saw it but I can categorically say that Michael J Malone provided perhaps the worst Yorkshire accent in history. It even surpassed Dick Van Dykes inability to mimic cock-er-knee in Mary Poppins. Highly entertaining though.
Fast forward five days and Friday just gone saw us head to London for a long (11 mile) walk as I weighed up my job choices before heading to Waterstones Tottenham Court Road for the launch of Amer Anwar’s Brothers in Blood. So chuffed for Amer who has been determined to get his book out there. Brilliant stuff.
In case you were worried she’d been forgotten, Blog Dog has been on tour too this week. joining my nephew Chris at his motocross practice. She loves her bikes does out Blog Dog.
So, with all of that in mind, I’ve been pretty pants at reading this past fortnight. I do, however, have a lot of new books. Several proofs and some new signed copies brought back from Bloody Scotland (of course). These were The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins; A Nearly Normal Family by MT Edvardsson; The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor; As Cold as the Grave and No Time To Cry by James Oswald; Perfect Silence by Helen Fields; The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry; Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd; The Real CSI by Kate Bendelow; Her Deadly Secret by Chris Curran; Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh; The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham.
I arrived home from Bloody Scotland to a piece of book post from Penguin which was unexpected. Cara Hunter’s No Way Out. I also received Rachel Sergeant’s new novel The Good Teacher, courtesy of Killer Reads.
Netgalley wise I’ve had two new titles, both for blog tours. Tom Bale’s One Dark Night and Elisabeth Carpenter’s Only a Mother. Amazon order wise I have been pretty good (for me) with a preorder/order of the following: One Dark Night – Tom Bale; The Dark of Night Trilogy by CS Duffy (who I also heard read at BS – very funny). The as yet untitled Logan McRae novel by Stuart MacBride due for release next summer; A House of Ghosts – W.C. Ryan; and one book I can’t tell you about yet but you’ll hear a lot more about this afternoon. Believe me it looks brilliant.
Books I have read
My little boy’s room was empty, his bed neatly made. Alarm bells should have rung immediately. Then the knock on the door came. All I remember is a thick fog wrapping itself tightly around me. This couldn’t be happening to us.
Three years ago, nurse Zoe’s son Ethan was found drowned in a muddy river by their home, along with his best friend Josh. With no witnesses, their deaths were ruled a tragic accident.
Heartbroken, Zoe and her family, move away from her home. They’re just beginning to get back to some kind of normality, when, out of the blue, Zoe receives an anonymous email:
You need to find out the truth about what happened to your son. Don’t let this rest. Don’t believe the lie.
Shaken, Zoe starts an obsessive hunt for the truth. But why is her husband so reluctant to help?
And why is Josh’s mother so determined not to believe her?
An absolutely unputdownable psychological thriller about a mother’s desperate search for the truth. Fans of The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl will be hooked from the very first page.
Twisted and unnerving, this book will have you on edge. Full of secrets and mysterious messages, and will a real sense of menace running through it, it will break your heart and make you think long and hard about what you would do to protect your family. I’ll be reviewing as part of the tour but you can but a copy here.
Marianne has a life others dream of. A beautiful townhouse on the best street in the neighbourhood. Three bright children who are her pride and joy.
Sometimes her past still hurts: losing her mother, growing up in foster care. But her husband Simon is always there. A successful surgeon, he’s the envy of every woman they’ve ever met. Flowers, gifts, trips to France – nothing is too good for his family.
Then Simon says another woman’s name. The way he lingers on it, Caroline, gives Marianne a shudder of suspicion, but she knows she can’t entertain this flash of paranoia.
In the old days, she’d have distracted herself at work, but Marianne left her glamorous career behind when she got married. She’d speak to a friend, but she’s too busy with her children and besides, Simon doesn’t approve of the few she has left.
It’s almost by accident that Marianne begins to learn more about Caroline. But once she starts, she can’t stop. Because what she finds makes her wonder whether the question she should be asking is not ‘should she be jealous’, but… ‘should she be scared’?
Fans of The Girl on the Train and I Let You Go looking for a dark, gripping psychological thriller, with a final twist that will put their jaw on the floor, will love Our Little Lies.
So what do you get when an author well know for rom-com success turns to the dark side. A tense and sometimes claustrophobic domestic noir which will make your skin crawl, that’s what. Full on manipulation and control this is a great crime/thriller debut from Sue Watson and I’m looking forward to more. You can read my full thoughts as part of the tour. For now, you can preorder the book here.
No one can protect you from your past…
When a young woman is found strangled in her own bedroom, DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles are plunged into an investigation to find a twisted serial killer who likes to date his victims before he kills them.
Determined to stop the horrific deaths, Imogen is forced to act as bait – but will she get caught in her own trap? As the search for the killer ramps up, attention falls on the strange new boy in town. Why does he watch his neighbours through the windows? And could the truth be closer to home than any of them realise?
Katerina Diamond is back with a bang in this dark, dangerous thriller, perfect for fans of M.J. Arlidge and Karin Slaughter.
This is only the second Imogen Grey novel I’ve read but it was every bit as good as I remember the books to be. Full of as much emotion as it is intrigue and unnerving tension, this is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat as Imogen comes desperately close to becoming a ruthless killers latest victim. This is not for the faint hearted with some rather dark scenes included. None is gratuitous but they will make you uncomfortable. Fab stuff. You can order a copy of the book here.
Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Now I loved Snare and I have been looking forward to reading the follow up, Trap, for so long. It did not disappoint. Poor Sonja is back and pulled even further into the mess that is drug smuggling. Desperate to keep her son, Tomas, she will do anything to win her freedom. Tense, beautiful writing and a truly compelling story, I raced through this, Can’t wait for book three now. You can order your own copy here.
And that was it. I know. Not very good for two weeks work but in my defence I have had a pretty hectic couple of weeks. I will be catching up this week while I still have time before I start back in the rat race as it were. Been a busy couple of weeks on the blog though so I think we made up for it. Recap here.
So there you have it. The two weeks in a (rather large) nutshell. Busy week ahead again. In fact it’s a busy month. I think there are only two days without something pencilled in so far. This week Mandie and I have tours for Stealth by Hugh Fraser; The Syndicate by Guy Bolton; Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen; Tell Nobody by Patricia Gibney; Starlight on the Palace Pier by Tracy Corbett; The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke; In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards; and A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft.
I hope you enjoy your week and it is full of bookish wonder. I am hoping the sun will shine on what is left of my freedom and that I will get plenty of reading done as lord knows where my head will be once I start working again.
See you in a week