Category Archives: Crime/Mystery

THE BRIDE’S TRAIL by A. A. Abbott #Excerpt

bride's trail

THE BRIDE’S TRAIL

by

A. A. Abbott

Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and Ruth Rendell

Twenty grand has vanished from Shaun Halloran’s casino, and so has gorgeous blonde croupier Kat White. Once he’s tracked her down, he’ll shoot first and ask questions later.

Amy Satterthwaite’s just learned Kat stole her ID for a sham marriage. Desperate to clear her name and save her friend from Shaun, she swallows her pride and turns to arrogant Ross Pritchard for help. But can they find Kat in time?

Twists and tension keep the pages turning in A.A. Abbott’s stunning crime thriller. As Kat’s trail leads from London’s smart Fitzrovia to secret tunnels below central Birmingham, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Extract

“What do you want?” she asked.

“Where’s Kat? I need to see her.”

“I don’t know.”

He took the knife from his pocket.

“No,” Amy said, “I really don’t know. If I did, I’d tell you. She’s been gone for three days and I can’t reach her. I’ve tried, believe me.” This was no time for heroics. Had she the slightest idea of Kat’s whereabouts, she would have divulged them, of that she was sure.

His eyes darted down to the knife. He flicked it open, stroked its blade, then looked up at her again. “I need answers, Amy,” he said, almost sorrowfully. “If someone had stolen twenty grand from you, you’d want some answers too.”

“Kat stole twenty thousand pounds?” A week ago she wouldn’t have believed it. Now, she couldn’t be sure. “That’s not all she’s done. She married an illegal immigrant, using my name. The police were round this morning.”

“Do they know where she is?”

Amy sighed. “No.”

“Good. I want to see her before the police do. I don’t suppose they’ve searched this flat for clues to her whereabouts?”

She was silent.

“No,” he said. “I thought not. You and me, Amy, we’re going to do that now, before any such clues might do a vanishing act like our mutual friend. Show me Kat’s room.”

“You’re in it.”

He looked around, shook his head. “Really? I thought this was the lounge. Okay, I want you to take everything out of those boxes.” He pointed to a stack of wooden wine crates, painted white, in which Kat’s belongings were stowed.

The top crate was crammed with shopping bags, over a dozen of them, bearing the names of designer boutiques: Prada, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and more. Reluctantly, Amy picked up a bag.

“Open it,” the knifeman said.

It was from Agent Provocateur, a powder pink paper bag sealed with a black ribbon. Carefully, Amy untied the bow. Inside, there was a pink cardboard box.

“Now that,” he ordered.

“Must I?” Amy pleaded. “These are Kat’s personal things.”

“That’s the whole point.”

Silently, she opened the box, unfolded the black tissue paper inside and shook out a frilly silk underwear set. A receipt showed it had cost two hundred pounds.

He whistled, leering. “Very nice. Now the rest.”

Altogether, Kat had spent over four thousand pounds on unworn purchases. “A shopping addiction,” he said thoughtfully, reflecting Amy’s surprised reaction. “Carry on.”

The crates below mostly contained clothes, neatly folded, and shoes in bags. There were a few books, overspill from the shelves by the wall, and finally, a box file containing paperwork.

“Give me that,” the dangerous stranger commanded. He fished out a letter. “Dearest Kat,” he read aloud, “I hope you are well. I am fine, and so is Cedric the Cat, but he is very old now. I have a little job now at Treasures in Harborne. Same old, same old. Do write and tell me your news. With love, Auntie Lizzie.” He paused. “Isn’t that sweet?” he said sarcastically. “Let’s see if there’s more of the same.”

He rifled through the box, shaking his head. Evidently, nothing further was deemed worthy of comment. He asked her to empty the only other article of storage in the room, a large rosewood chest, but that merely yielded towels and bedding.

“Interesting, and predictable,” he muttered. “I’ll tell you what we haven’t found. No suitcase, money, passport, women’s things like cosmetics. No certificates for qualifications, birth, marriage even.” He looked pointedly at Amy. “She’s done a runner.”

Amy bit her tongue. He was unlikely to appreciate being told he was stating the obvious.

He pocketed the letter. “I’ll be back. And you’ll tell me where she is, okay?” He fingered the knife again. “Not a word to the Old Bill. I’ve never been here, not on your life.”

“What about the CCTV?” she couldn’t resist challenging him.

“What about it?” he said dismissively. “None in that car park. I cut the wires.” He stood to leave, putting a finger to his lips. “You’re a lucky, lucky girl, Amy, because I believe you. Thousands wouldn’t. Now don’t forget – not a dicky bird, okay?”

When he’d gone, Amy bolted the door and searched the kitchenette for alcohol. Finding a bottle of Snow Mountain vodka, less than a quarter full, she drank all that was left of it and went straight to bed.

Please note there is also a taster story, The Gap, at:

http://aaabbott.co.uk/free-stuff/

About A.A. Abbott

bride's trail

AA Abbott (also known as Helen) chose her pen name in a shameless attempt to slot into the first space on your bookshelf. Born near London, she’s lived in Birmingham and Bristol, and worked in all three cities. She works for big companies for half the year as a tax accountant, taking temporary work so she can spend the rest of the year writing fast-paced crime thrillers. Although her work gives her inspiration, she says none of her colleagues have murdered, blackmailed or defrauded anyone. Hanging out in coffee shops and cocktail bars, she loves city life and can’t resist writing about it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AAAbbottStories/

Twitter: @AAAbbottStories

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7339437.A_A_Abbott

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AAAbbott

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/aaabbottstories

Blog: http://aaabbott.co.uk/

Website: http://aaabbott.co.uk/

REMEMBER NO MORE by Jan Newton #Crime #DSKiteMystery #Giveaway

Jan Newton

REMEMBER NO MORE

by

Jan Newton

Jan Newton

Genre: Crime

Series: A DS Kite Mystery # 1

Release Date:  16 March 2017

Publisher: Honno Press

A DS Kite novel – a city detective joins the mid-Wales force
bringing new insights and ruffling country feathers

Newly promoted DS Julie Kite is at a crossroads.  Her husband’s desire for a different life takes her away from urban Manchester and its inner city problems to tranquil mid-Wales. It is to be a clean slate for them both. On her first day at Builth Wells police station, Julie is thrust unexpectedly into the centre of an investigation into a suspicious death in a remote farming community.

Back in Manchester, Stephen Collins is set free from HMP Strangeways.  Bible in hand he makes his way to mid-Wales, the scene of the heinous crime for which he was imprisoned, in order to confront those who had a hand in his incarceration.

The twists and turns of the investigation into solicitor Gareth Watkin’s death force

DS Kite to confront her own demons as well as those of her rural community and, ultimately, to uncover the lengths to which we’ll go to protect our families…

BUY LINKS

http://www.honno.co.uk/dangos.php?ISBN=9781909983564

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Remember-No-More-Jan-Newton/dp/190998356X/

https://www.amazon.com/Remember-No-More-Jan-Newton/dp/190998356X/

https://wordery.com/remember-no-more-jan-newton-9781909983564

ABOUT JAN NEWTON

Jan Newton

Jan grew up in Manchester and Derbyshire, spending her formative years on the back of a pony, exploring the hills and moorland around her home.  She lived and worked in London and Buckinghamshire for 19 years until moving to Wales in 2005, where she learnt to speak fluent Welsh. Jan has won several writing competitions, including the Allen Raine Short Story competition, the WI Lady Denman Cup, and the Oriel Davies Gallery competition for nature-writing. She has been published in New Welsh Review.

 

A WORD FROM JAN NEWTON

I wrote my first novel when I was seven, all about the adventures of a little green one-legged spaceman, who crash-landed his tiny ship in my north Manchester suburb.   We had plenty of adventures, Fred and me, filling fourteen Lancashire Education Committee exercise books and earning me two gold stars in the process.  But when I was eight, a rotund Welsh Mountain Pony by the name of Pixie trotted into my life, and writing was immediately relegated in favour of all things equine.

It took more years than I care to admit for me to resume my writing career.  In 2005 we moved to gloriously inspiring mid-Wales.  In 2009 I stumbled across an Open University creative writing module and the rest, as they say, is history.  After completing my OU degree, I fulfilled a lifetime ambition and enrolled on an MA course at Swansea University.  The whole experience was magical.  It was like being taken by the hand and led back to a place where my imagination could run riot.

I began by writing short stories, which I love, but I always feel disappointed when I have to say goodbye to my characters so soon, and so the next challenge was to attempt a novel.   It’s been a fantastic experience, from its shaky start in a brand new exercise book, but now, finally, I have my second novel.  I still have a horse – this one’s been with me for over twenty years – but these days I seem to be able to allow the two obsessions – books and horses – to run side by side.

Twitter:  @janmaesygroes

Blog:  https://jannewton.wordpress.com

Website:  www.jannewton.net

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ONE DARK LIE by Clare Chase #Mystery #Giveaway

One Dark Lie

One Dark Lie

by

Clare Chase

 

one dark lie

Genre: Mystery

Release Date: 12 December 2016

Series: London & Cambridge Mysteries #3)

Publisher: Choc Lit Ltd (Death by Choc Lit imprint)

The truth can hurt, and sometimes it leads to murder …

After becoming embroiled in a murder investigation, Nate Bastable and Ruby Fawcett have decided to opt for the quiet life. But crime has a habit of following them around.

When her work dries up, Ruby finds herself accepting a job researching and writing about Diana Patrick-John, a colourful and enigmatic Cambridge academic. Simple enough. But then there’s the small fact that Diana was found dead in suspicious circumstances in her home – the very place where Ruby has now been invited to stay.

As she begins to uncover Diana’s secret life, Ruby’s sleuthing instinct kicks in, leaving her open to danger and retribution. But can she rely on Nate to support her? Especially when his behaviour has become increasingly distant and strange, almost as though he had something to hide …

BUY LINKS

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NOOK Book

ABOUT CLARE CHASE

one dark lie

Clare Chase writes mysteries set in London and Cambridge featuring crime-solving couples. She fell in love with the capital as a student, living in the rather cushy surroundings of Hampstead in what was then a campus college of London University. (It’s currently being turned into posh flats …)

After graduating in English Literature, she moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.

She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

One Dark Lie is her third novel with Choc Lit. Previous titles are You Think You Know Me and A Stranger’s House.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClareChaseAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ClareChase_

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10204574.Clare_Chase?from_search=true

Blog: https://clarechase.com/blog/

Website: www.clarechase.com

GIVEAWAY!

A fantastic prize going to one winner!!!

  1. paperback copy of A Stranger’s House (the first Ruby Fawcett and Nate Bastable Cambridge mystery),
  2. a sweet treat from Hotel Chocolat and
  3. a Cambridge key ring.

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No More Birthdays by Lissa Pelzer #excerpt #giveaway

birthdays

No More Birthdays

by

Lissa Pelzer

 

birthdays

Genre: Crime

Release Date: Aug 2015

Series: Carol Ann Baker #1

Runaway teenager, Lilly Lessard has some secrets. For a start, that’s not her real name and she wants to keep quiet about her real age too. Bumping into ex-hitman Bobby at a small town film festival isn’t the coincidence it seems either. She’s tracked him here. He owes her money and she’s desperate enough to come looking for it.

And she’s not the only one who has followed him here. Detective Davis is after him too. She’s been after him in Miami for years, but never quite managed to get a hold on him. Maybe this weekend she’ll get lucky.

But the closer Lilly gets to Bobby and his money, the closer Davis gets to them both. One by one, their secrets are coming out. And Lilly’s about to find out, the worst secrets are the ones you keep from yourself.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

 EXTRACT

 ‘There’s no money,’ Cassandra said dryly. ‘Don’t be a dumbass. Don’t get in that car. It’s not safe.’

Lilly watched the end of the girl’s cigarette burn as she took a hit. Cassandra had always liked the fact that Bobby was a dangerous man. But she hadn’t seen him that night when he got back in the room after killing The Judge. His face had blanched and his false teeth had hung half out of his mouth. Killing The Judge hadn’t been easy for Bobby, not like when he drove past that phone box down in Florida and shot three times into some guy’s back. Bobby had lost his appetite for murder. He wouldn’t try to kill her, not unless it was absolutely necessary.

‘I have to take the risk,’ Lilly said. ‘I’ve got nothing. I’ve got to try. And if Bobby doesn’t give me the money, I’m as good as dead anyway.’

ABOUT LISSA PELZER

birthdays

Lissa Pelzer is a British crime writer living in Germany.

Her previous published work includes romance fiction under a pseudonym. No More Birthdays is her first work under her own name.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLissaPelzer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LissaPelzer

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14589741.Lissa_Pelzer

LinkedIn: https://de.linkedin.com/in/lissa-pelzer-51838a34

Website: https://lissapelzer.wordpress.com

GIVEAWAY

An ecopy of the book

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DEVIL’S PORRIDGE by Chris Longmuir #authorinterview

devil's porridgeWelcome back to Celtic Connexions, Chris. I see you’ve brought your latest novel with you. Can you tell us about Devil’s Porridge?

Devil’s Porridge has been on my radar to write since 2008, but I kept putting it off, mainly because other things got in the way, like winning the Dundee International Book Prize in 2009 which meant I had to concentrate on my contemporary crime novels, namely the Dundee Crime Series. So, Devil’s Porridge had to take a back seat for several years. But it’s always been niggling away at the back of my mind, demanding to be written. We authors are slaves to our books and characters.

The book is a historical murder mystery set in Britain, during the First World War. I have mixed real events as well as fictional ones into the story. For example, I start off in East London with the massive munitions factory explosion which almost obliterated Silvertown. How could I resist an event like that, it made a great start to the story. The secret service plotline features Captain Vernon Kell and William Melville who actually did exist and were part of MI5, and the visit to Gretna by King George and Queen Mary did take place on 18 May 1917, although my assassination attempt is purely fictional.

I suppose you could describe Devil’s Porridge as a murder mystery with bits of sabotage, spying and an assassination attempt thrown into the mix. I must warn you there are quite a lot of characters in Devil’s Porridge, and varying subplots. I should also say I write in a multi-viewpoint style in a modern fashion rather than a historic one. So you won’t have to cope with any outdated language. And, for those readers who like to delve into the history behind the book, I’ve included a historical endnote.

Did this book require you making a trip to visit the locations used in your book or were you able to get everything you needed online?

This book needed a lot of research. I stumbled across information about Gretna and the munitions factories when I was researching the origins of women police. Did you know that the Ministry of Munitions (a UK government department) contracted with the Women’s Police Service to supply women police to patrol and work at Britain’s munitions factories? So, my initial research originated in Joan Lock’s excellent history of the origins of women police ‘The British Policewoman’. After reading that I sought out other books, and did a lot of online research, both about women police and munitions factories.

I also visited Gretna and Eastriggs where the main action takes place. Unfortunately I couldn’t access the ground the munitions factory occupied because it is owned by the MOD (Ministry of Defence) and no one is allowed access. Goodness only knows what they do there! However, they have a fabulous museum in Eastriggs, also called Devil’s Porridge, and the secretary allowed me to access the archives.

I also had to do research on the Belgian situation during the First World War, because Kirsty teams up with Beatrice, a Belgian refugee. And because I have Irish revolutionaries working as navvies at Gretna, I had to research the Irish situation and the Easter Rising of 1916. I also delved into how German spies operated at this time, and the handlers of my German spy were real people based in Antwerp. I could go on and on, the research was a massive task.

This book is set, two years (I believe) before The Death Game so Kirsty has yet to arrive in Dundee.  Is she a member of the Women’s Police Service in Devil’s Porridge?

Yes, Kirsty joined the Women’s Police service when it was formed in 1914. Did you know that the women police were initially voluntary organisations formed by suffragette societies when they gave up their militant activities at the start of the war? There were actually two different sets of women police at this time. The Women’s Police Service, and the less militant Women’s Patrols. Kirsty was in the Women’s Police Service which was contracted to police the Gretna munitions factory. The agreement was signed in October 1916, and at its peak there were 167 policewomen serving at Gretna. I have included details of the different organisations in my historical endnote.

The title is unusual. How did you decide on Devil’s Porridge? Is there a meaning behind it?

Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, visited the Gretna munitions factory in 1916 and wrote an article based on this visit, which was published in the Annandale Observer. You have to understand that Gretna Munitions Factory was a vast place. Nine miles long and two miles wide, and they built two new towns, Gretna and Eastriggs, to service it. At the Eastriggs end the munitionettes mixed guncotton and nitroglycerine together, with their bare hands, into a paste needed for the manufacture of cordite which was the propellant used in bombs. The paste the munitionettes kneaded in lead drums was likened to a porridge consistency, and it was this that Conan Doyle named Devil’s Porridge. Here is what he said “Those smiling khaki-clad girls who are swirling the stuff round in their hands would be blown to atoms in an instant if certain very small changes occurred. The changes will not occur, and the girls still smile and stir their ‘devil’s porridge’, but it is a narrow margin between life and death.” The name caught my eye and I thought it would make a great book title. As I said before there is also a museum with this title so they must have had the same thought I did. If you are ever in the Gretna area you really must visit this museum, it’s something special. Here is the online link for it http://www.devilsporridge.org.uk/

Do you prefer writing Historical Crime as opposed to your Dundee Crime Series?

I really don’t have a preference. I like writing both contemporary and historical, it’s the crime and the mystery I find intriguing. I’ve read a lot of crime fiction over my lifetime. I like the darkness of Scandinavian crime fiction, and I find the American and Canadian style of writing has more action and suspense than a lot of traditional British crime fiction which seems to be more cerebral. But on the other hand, I like the puzzle element of British books – Agatha Christie was superb at this style of writing. So, I think my crime fiction is a cross between the crime thriller, mixed in with the puzzle element. It seems to work, and readers seem to like it.

What’s next for Kirsty Campbell? Are you working on another novel featuring her?

I’m tossing up at the moment as to whether to write a Kirsty Campbell book next, or a DI Bill Murphy one. I have readers clamouring for both. But, be assured, both Kirsty and DI Bill Murphy will be back.

If you, or any of your readers are tempted by Devil’s Porridge, there is a description of the book on my website, plus a link to read the first chapter.

Thank you for having me, Melanie. It’s nice to visit Canada again, even though a virtual visit doesn’t let me explore your lovely town. I have fond memories of my last visit when I did the Thousand Islands boat tour, as well as the creepy witch walk in the evening.

Check out Devil’s Porridge on Chris Longmuir’s website

And while you’re at it have a look at Chris Longmuir’s blog

 

THE VAULT by Karen Long #guestpost #giveaway

vault

The Vault

by

Karen Long

 

vault

Genre: Mystery / thriller / crime

Eleanor Raven Series: 2

VAULT: A large room or chamber used for storage of valuables, especially an underground one…

In the unrelenting heat of the Toronto summer, a fire at a land-fill site uncovers the remains of a local prostitute. But the post-mortem reveals disturbing details –the body has been preserved and is not who or what it seems.

DI Eleanor Raven is back on duty six months after barely surviving being kidnapped and tortured by a depraved serial killer. Work is her sanctuary but she’s carrying deep scars – mental as well as physical. Where do you go when the place you feel safest is also the place where you are most at risk?

As Eleanor battles her own demons, it looks as though a killer in the city is making a gruesome human collection. And Eleanor’s fight to save the last victim of the Collector becomes a battle to save herself.

Praise for the first novel in the Eleanor Raven series:

Most fictional detectives these days have to have a ‘thing’ to set them apart from the others, and Raven’s is one of the most original for a long time. The plot moves in some unexpected directions, and builds to a genuinely exciting climax. The Safe Word is an impressive, confident debut. Convincing characters and some nice twists make for a compelling, satisfying thriller, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Eleanor Raven. Killing Time

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON.COM

**********

Being a writer is one of the most wonderful jobs on the planet. I spend a day with my imagination, don’t have to deal with real world problems and can take a coffee break whenever I please. However, there are good, bad and ugly sides to everything that glistens…

Organised?

As I only have one daughter left at home now and my husband works abroad for most of the year my day starts when the front door slams shut, the dogs and garden birds have been fed and watered and the biohazard that is the kitchen is tidied. I have to be very determined to keep myself on track, as there are so many domestic distractions that break my concentration. I also have to write in total silence (no music or radio) and without anyone else being in the house. If I know someone is popping in for a coffee it can make it impossible to write for the whole day. There’s no sitting in coffee shops and putting out a couple of thousand words for me, sadly!

Methodical?

I see the story I’m writing as a film that can only be played in my head linearly. I can rewind a couple of chapters but invariably I read from start to finish once a week and this can be very time consuming.  I really envy writers like Stephen King who have such an organised, methodical and productive approach to writing. My husband, a writer himself, frequently sends me links to pages on ‘The Rigours of Writing’ but I guess there’s just the way that works for you.

Realistic?

A novel always takes longer that you thought to complete. That your choice of language, character and event is frequently not as entertaining, or clear to the reader as you thought it was. That when people pay money to read what you have written they are entitled to an opinion. The most valuable lesson was given to me by a wise bird who said, ‘show don’t tell’ and that is the mantra I run with every time I write. Don’t tell a reader how they should interpret an action or judge a character. That’s their job not yours, so butt out!

Criticism?

I have always held to Oscar Wilde’s belief that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. So provoking a reaction that merits comment and opinion is, in itself, rather flattering. I have also found that, after shrugging off my initial outrage, most people make very valid comments about my writing. I do believe that you have to be honest with yourself. If a comment reminds you that you had considered that question before, then go back and deal with it. By the same token, just because someone has a thought on a plot point, or character, or line of dialogue it doesn’t mean that they are right. Be flexible but believe in what you wrote. Eventually the sales will tell you if you were right.

**********

ABOUT KAREN LONG

vault

Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, later joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.

AUTHOR LINKS

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

BLOG

TWITTER

GOODREADS

All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston – brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

Did you know that Eleanor Raven is also online?

vault

http://twitter.com/RavenEleanor

https://www.facebook.com/TheEleanorRaven/

check out THE SAFE WORD!

vault

http://amzn.to/1WOHzh2

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THE SAFE WORD by Karen Long #giveaway #guestpost

safe

The Safe Word

by

Karen Long

 

safe

Published January 14th 2014

Genre: Mystery / thriller / crime

Eleanor Raven Series: Book 1

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

B & N

PRAISE FOR THE SAFE WORD

Just read The Safe Word by Karen Long – an unputdownable serial killer tale. James Purefoy

For DS Eleanor Raven It’s not so much who, what or when but ‘why’ that leads this powerful read to its conclusion and Karen Long reminds us that a brutal, vicious and destructive act is not something inherently ‘Evil’ or derived from Satan but is a rational choice made by a human being. The quirky, offbeat and endearing relationship between Eleanor and her partner Laurence Whitefoot shines a light on this dark compelling world of sexual intrigue and mystery. My imagination was certainly held captive! Robson Green

Most fictional detectives these days have to have a ‘thing’ to set them apart from the others, and Raven’s is one of the most original for a long time. The plot moves in some unexpected directions, and builds to a genuinely exciting climax. The Safe Word is an impressive, confident debut. Convincing characters and some nice twists make for a compelling, satisfying thriller, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Eleanor Raven. Killing Time

Karen’s top five recommended reads for crime writers.

I love to read about forensic science. It is the backbone of modern crime fiction and your audience is knowledgeable and critical of duff science. That is not to say that you can’t manipulate time factors to push on a narrative but not understanding the physical world and modern techniques of evidence collection means you are writing science fiction not crime fiction.

The books listed below have enabled me to acquire a solid grounding in how a crime scene is worked, how to kill someone, how to cover your tracks and why that is so difficult in the light of modern forensics.

The Forensic Casebook: N.E. Genge

This is my favourite book on the subject of, well pretty much every aspect of forensics. It begins by defining what the differences are between the ‘scene of crime’ and the ‘crime scene’, a seemingly dry semantic debate. However, Genge’s style is pithy and well illustrated, using television, film and real life cases to expand and clarify concepts. The presentation is varied and invites a ‘dip in’ approach to reading. Bullet points, different fonts and highlighted sections break the material down into appetising segments. I loved the incidental job adverts and the well-edited interviews with crime scene workers.

Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances Larson

Frances Larson works as a curator at the wonderful Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, where there is an extensive shrunken head display. The book focuses on the human head as a trophy, an object of morbid curiosity and as an artistic expression. I found it particularly useful, while writing the third book in the Eleanor Raven series, as it covers the psychological foundation of taking body parts as trophies during military conflicts. Difficult subject matter, deftly analysed.

Forensic Entomology: Dorothy E. Gennard

I wouldn’t say this was an easy, or accessible read…at all. It is a serious, well-documented degree level textbook. There are some photographs but nowhere near enough for the lay reader. If I’m going to dip in, this is not a linear read by the way, I either access images on the internet or have an identifier open. I find insects astonishingly beautiful and alien, their life cycles and behaviour, which when combined with temperature, can pinpoint the time of death, is something I am particularly interested in.

Postmortem: Dr Steven A. Koehler and Dr. Cyril H. Wecht

This book has lots of glossy photographs and thoughtfully presented diagrams. The material is compact but it’s designed as a quick introduction to the study of forensics and, as such, is a great writer’s help. The photographs don’t pull their punches and the case notes are relevant, if a little rushed. There is an excellent chart on p75, which measures the visual changes of different bruises over a time period of 15 days. If it’s an exciting introduction to the discipline you’re after, then this book is the one for you.

Molecules of Murder: John Emsley

I am happy to recommend any of John Emsley’s books. They are well written, well researched and don’t skimp on the science. Each chapter has selected a poison and exemplifies its usage in numerous crimes both historical and contemporary. There is a helpful glossary, which gives further information on highlighted words. I confess to being particularly intrigued by the use of poisons and loved the way that Emsley’s conversational and enthusiastic style jumps out of the narrative, on occasion, and sweeps the reader off on an anecdotal journey.

I believe that books make books. You read, absorb and mold information into narratives. Fact, however seemingly dry and inconsequential, is the basis of all crime fiction. Without a working knowledge of how forensics is applied in a contemporary, or even an historic setting, there will be gaps in your plot, or opportunities missed. I am not advocating that fiction should be determined solely by fact, you are not writing a textbook but to omit or fudge modern criminalistics is to deny richness and depth to your story.

ABOUT KAREN LONG

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Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.

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All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston – brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

Check out Book 2 – The Vault – http://amzn.to/1WSnlDn

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EVERGREEN COPSE by Katie Nimmo #excerpt #giveaway

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Evergreen Copse

by

Katie Nimmo

 

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Genre: Mystery / Crime

Release Date: May 2015

A long kept state secret is at risk of being discovered. False identities reveal their true colours as the hunt turns to Evergreen Copse.

As the deaths increase it becomes clear that no one is safe. But from whom are they all running?

Amazon UK

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Barnes & Noble

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EXCERPT

Robin and Co. Business Associates sat on the second out of four floors in a fire station turned office building in the town of Baxden. Consisting of just three rooms the ‘Robin’ floor was small, but adequate for its needs.

A moderate sized reception room welcomed all visitors with a pine desk sat facing the main door. Including a potted plant on the right hand side to lighten up the so called dreary environment. A coffee machine was also attached to the wall next to four rather tired looking chairs, a little like a doctor’s waiting room.

At the rear of the reception two separate doors led off to two small offices, each identical in size right down to the radiator being in exactly the same place. Mr Harold Robin, chair of the company, inhabited the office on the left and his associate, Mr Percy Brumpton, the one on the right. A system devised purely out of the fact that Brumpton was Robin’s right hand man, so naturally he had the office on Robin’s right hand side.

To look outside the office windows didn’t hold any amusement. Staring out at a brick arch which marked the entrance to the courtyard in front of the building, and nothing else. Appearance clearly not taken into consideration during its construction, the area within the arch was a very sordid place to come to.

Through that brick arch a tall, gangly looking man tiptoed through the courtyard blowing his nose into his handkerchief as he went. Bernard felt that the January weather had been very unkind to him so far that year. He couldn’t cope with the cold and detested having a wet handkerchief in his pocket all day. Bernard’s short brown hair did nothing to keep his head warm so his grey and blue bobble hat did that for him, though it really didn’t match his shirt and tie.

Since climbing out of his old car he knew straight away he should have bought a new coat. Muttering to himself such things as the icy wind bit in to his thin and inadequate office clothing. Quickening his pigeon like pace he padded over to the office building, shivering as he went, thinking dreamily of the inviting coffee machine that was near his desk upstairs.

Removing his batch of keys from his pocket he fumbled for the correct one to open the outer door, his hands being numb making it difficult to get the key in the lock. A grunt of satisfaction announced the key was in the lock and the white plastic door was opened.

Springing through the door Bernard closed the door a little more forcefully than needed to make sure the cold stayed where it was. Outside. He could already imagine the smell of the hot coffee that awaited him upstairs. Crossing the lobby he untangled another key to open up the post box sat adjacent to the stairs.

“Bill, bill, bill and…” He paused as he ripped open the fourth envelope with his finger. “Junk mail.” With a sigh he reclosed the post box and started up the four sets of stairs.

Reaching the Robin floor Bernard was slightly out of breath. Three years gone and he still wasn’t used to all these stairs, he thought to himself. On arrival at the office door Bernard clumsily dropped his keys and his tie fell to the floor as he bent to pick them up. It wasn’t the first time he had forgotten to do up his tie and it probably wasn’t the last.

The door swung open with a nasty squeak and the smell of papers and coffee hit Bernard’s nose. Smiling to himself he headed straight to the coffee machine and asked it to make him a white coffee. Dropping the boring post onto the desk Bernard started to reattach his tie around his neck.

“Good morning Bernard.” A voice came with the familiar squeak of the front door. He knew that voice anywhere, at least he should after three years.

“Good morning to you Mr Robin.” He replied with a little nod of his head, a half nod as his hands worked around his tie.

“I really think you should find somewhere else to hide that key.” Mr Robin laughed, noting a small key on the reverse of Bernard’s tie. Removing his coat Bernard promptly took it and hung it on the coat stand in the corner of the room.

“Safest place is where I hide it, sir. An intruder would have to strangle me with my own tie before I let them take it. Can I make you a coffee sir?” Picking up his own coffee he placed it on the reception desk out of sight from any would be visitors.

“Sounds like a very good idea to me, the usual please.” Mr Robin departed into his office and dropped his newspaper in front of him. Feeling a chill he glanced over at his window, single glazing never kept the room very warm. He contemplated putting his coat back on.

“Your coffee, sir.” Bernard entered with a cup that was steaming.

“Thank you Bernard, just what I need. That chill has really picked up this morning. Which reminds me, I didn’t see your coat on the stand? Don’t tell me you came in like that.” Robin looked enquiringly at Bernard, already knowing the answer before he spoke.

“Yes, sir. You see, sir.” Bernard stammered, trying to think of a reason instead of giving the real reason he didn’t have his coat.

“She locked you out didn’t she?” Robin asked with an arched eyebrow.

“Yes, sir.” Bernard replied facing the floor. “Didn’t pay my rent in time, sir. I didn’t have the money for my rent so,” he paused. “She took my coat, sir.”

Robin erupted into laughter, the look on Bernard’s face making him worse. “Oh Bernard, that’s the best thing I’ve heard in quite a while. Your landlady is certainly a piece of work isn’t she?” Chuckling to himself he reached into his top drawer. “Now, I look after you Bernard. Like you do for me, so I’ll tell you what I’ll do.” He looked up at Bernard, he was wearing a very confused face.

“I want you to take this cheque and get yourself a new coat when you go to pay the bills this morning. Take some extra time, not too long mind, but get yourself a coat on me.”

“Thank you, sir. That’s very kind.” Half smiling Bernard stamped his feet together with a full nod and left the room. Mr Robin smiled after Bernard as picked up his steaming coffee to warm up his hands. Taking a sip of his drink he heard voices out in the reception area, he gathered Percy had arrived.

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ABOUT KATIE NIMMO

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Katie A Nimmo was born in England, September 1986. Born and bred in the Surrey countryside Katie had a quiet upbringing around the virtues of family and working hard to make dreams become reality. These ethics have led to many of her aspirations coming true. Previous to her writing career Katie performed on the stage for several years contrary to the popular belief of her shyness among those in her school hood years. Katie’s newfound confidence to defeat the odds led her to pursue her dream of writing which has led to many adventures both on and off the page.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KANimmo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatieAScottx

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