I’m thrilled to share The Day She Disappeared by Lisa Hall with you today.
A remote island. A missing girl. A woman with a troubled past.
Becky is back on the tiny island where she was born, the island she swore she’d never return to.
Apart from her former best friend Megan, everyone makes it clear she isn’t wanted. The islanders have long memories. They haven’t forgotten the scandal. What Becky did.
Becky decides to leave as soon as she can. But first she must discover what happened to Violet.
Violet disappeared exactly a year ago, the day of the summer festival. Everyone assumes she ran off to the mainland with her boyfriend. Only her sister believes something more sinister happened to her.
Becky starts to ask questions — and becomes convinced that Violet never left the island. Someone in this remote, suspicious community knows exactly what happened to her. Someone who’s determined to keep the truth hidden — whatever it takes.
As Becky pieces the clues together, she is forced to confront the dark secrets of her own past. But has she got it tragically wrong . . . yet again?
And then another teenage girl goes missing . . .
I loved the premise of this book, so I jumped at the chance to read it. It started at a slow burn but built as the book progressed. The main character, Rebecca (Becky) Gannon, is a former resident of Kirton Island who left after a major scandal when she was eighteen, swearing never to return. Things change when she receives a message from her friend Megan telling her that her mother is dying.
Becky returns to her former home to clear up the estate and to put her investigative powers to the test as she searches for a girl who went missing from the island. She hopes to find the girl and use her story as a chapter in her next true crime novel.
There were some things that niggled at me. Why did Becky not want the police involved when her house was vandalized? If it were my home, I’d want the police involved. I had the perpetrator 99% figured out at about the halfway mark. Not that it ruined the story. I thought there was a lot of ‘fluff’ in the book’s second half that could have been left out without detriment to the storyline.
Still, it was an enjoyable read and I’ll be watching for more books written by this talented author.
Lisa Hall is the bestselling author of six psychological thrillers and the Hotel Hollywood time-slip murder mystery series. Her debut novel Between You and Me was a Kindle UK number one bestseller, sitting in the top spot for over four weeks. Lisa has a First Class Honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She lives in Kent with her husband and their three children.
I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Chris Blackwater’s novel, Emergency Drill.
Blurb for Emergency Drill
Shortlisted for the 2020 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger award
Newly qualified offshore medic, Danny Verity, arrives on the Cuillin Alpha oil platform shortly before a storm damages the satellite system, severing the crew’s only mode of communication to the mainland.
Storm or sabotage?
Danny is forced to perform emergency surgery on an injured crewmate, whose accident he suspects was the result of sabotage. The man dies, a member of the crew disappears, and yet another is attacked.
Enter the Pied Piper, whose sinister announcements carry his threats through the entire platform.
While the North Sea rages around them, emotions and suspicions run high.
Danny knows he’s the only one who can stop the saboteur. But will the crew trust him?
With no way of calling in help and unable to risk escaping on the lifeboats, everyone aboard the oil platform is trapped. So is the killer… and Danny is determined to smoke him out.
I can’t imagine being on a North Sea oil rig at the best of times, let alone when the weather is foul, and you’ve lost contact with the mainland. Add in a murderer out there with you who is not only killing but sabotaging the systems, stir, and you’ve got Chris Blackwater’s novel Emergency Drill.
He brought together all the components of an unthinkable disaster and crafted a gripping read. The characters were well-rounded and likable. Danny Verity, the new medic onboard, tasks himself with saving the rig and his co-workers from disaster. Danny has his own baggage and is a great character, and I hope to see him in future books.
Chris Blackwater is a writer and chartered engineer from Leeds, England. His first novel Emergency Drill, book 1 in the Danny Verity, PI series, set on a North Sea oil platform, was shortlisted for the 2020 CWA Debut Dagger Award. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies including contributions to the much-missed Mad Scientist Journal.
Book two in the series, Dead Crude, is set in Orkney. Apart from Danny Verity, it features other characters who survived Emergency Drill. He is working on a third book in the series, called Head Hunting.
Chris began writing to entertain himself whilst working on offshore oil platforms and remote power stations. His career has taken him all over the world to unusual locations and introduced him to some remarkable characters. In recent years Chris has gradually drifted down to the south coast of England where he spends his spare time learning to sail and play the flute, though not at the same time.
I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Hunter’s Secret, written by Val Penny and published by SpellBound Books Ltd.
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.
Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.
Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?
Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?
This is the best of the Hunter’s series books so far. Val Penny has outdone herself with this one. I’ve been to Edinburgh many times, and the scenes the author paints take me back there. I love her style!
Plot twists and secrets, both past and present, are neatly tied up at the end, making Hunter’s Secret a most satisfying read.
About the Author
Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs, including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.
Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters, of whom she is justly proud, and lives with her husband and their cat.
I’m happy to announce the forthcoming book in the DI Hunter Wilson Crime Series written by Val Penny.
DI Hunter Wilson never has just one problem to solve. Three elderly women he knows have died in mysterious circumstances. Hunter appears to be the only link. A little girl goes missing on a cold winter’s night. When his team discovers cocaine hidden at the farm where she was living, the search becomes even more urgent. Why did the women die? And what did the child witness? Hunter must find the answers to these questions to ensure his family and his city are safe.
First off, let me say how much I love Val’s writing. Her setting of Edinburgh comes to life through her words. Her characters are believable, likeable, and some are just downright nasty.
In this 4th book of the series, DI Hunter Wilson and his team are tasked with solving the murders of three elderly women, one of which is his aunt.
I read this book a few years ago when Darkstroke released it, but I had forgotten how gripping it was until I read it again, now published by SpellBound Books Ltd. It was like settling in with an old friend. The characters and their foibles immediately found their way back into the forefront of my memory, and they, the crimes, and the setting kept me glued to the virtual pages until I reached the end.
BUY LINK(S) HUNTER’S BLOOD
Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd. Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.
Today, I welcome Marsali Taylor to Celtic Connexions and the latest installment of her Shetland Sailing Mysteries, Death in a Shetland Lane.
Days before the final Shetland fire festival, in broad daylight, a glamorous young singer tumbles down a flight of steps. Though it seems a tragic accident, sailing sleuth Cass Lynch, a witness at the scene, thought it looked like Chloe sleepwalked to her death.
But young women don’t slumber while laughing and strolling with friends. Could it be that someone’s cast a spell from the Book of the Black Arts, recently stolen from a Yell graveyard?
A web of tensions between the victim and those who knew her confirm that something more deadly than black magic is at work. But proving what, or who, could be lethal – and until the mystery is solved, innocent people will remain in terrible danger…
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist guide who is fascinated by history and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women’s suffrage in Shetland. She’s also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht and an active member of her local drama group.
The Shetland Islands are the backdrop for another murder mystery by Marsali Taylor.
It’s the dark nights in the run up to Christmas, and sailing sleuth Cass Lynch’s first night on dry land is disturbed by strange noises outside her isolated cottage. Tiny footprints in the moonlit snow trail from her front door before mysteriously disappearing. Soon Cass learns others were visited by the same tiny feet in the night.
It looks like ingenious local teenagers playing tricks – but what happens when festive games turn deadly?
Cass soon finds out as a schoolboy disappears, leaving only a trail of footprints into the middle of a snowy field. She’s determined to investigate, but uncovering the truth will also put her in danger . . .
Chapter One Extract One
trow: The trows were Shetland’s “little people”, who lived in mounds in the hill, and could only come out after dark. They liked bright colours, feasting and music (there are tales of human fiddlers being kidnapped underground for a trowie wedding), and were known for working mischief about the croft; sometimes their actions were more sinister, like substitut- ing a baby of their own for a human child (Old Norse, troll)
There was the sound of children giggling, stifled quickly as if they were up to mischief; a group of trainees planning some devilment. Kitten growled and jumped down from the bed. Whoever was on watch would deal with it, I thought, hunch- ing into the bedcover, and the thought jerked me awake. I wasn’t in my cabin aboard Sørlandet but in Gavin’s cottage in Shetland. Our nearest neighbour was a mile away over the hill, and didn’t have children.
I eased my nose out from under the downie and listened. Cat stirred and sat up. Nothing; silence, that dead silence after snow had fallen. There had been the first few flakes as Gavin had driven me back from the airport, followed by a rattle of haily puckles that had covered the ground in white; a good base for snow to lie on. I tilted my head up to look out of the window. Yes, more had fallen while I’d slept. The low hill of Papa Little was blue-white in the moonlight, and the stars sparked with cold light.
I reached for my watch and pressed the button to light up the face. Half past eleven. Naturally the youngsters of the ship’s watch would be up at that hour, but I wasn’t on board ship now. All good land children were tucked up in their beds, sleeping peacefully, or illicitly playing on their computers or texting their friends. They weren’t wandering round a cottage miles from anywhere.
I was thoroughly awake now. Sørlandet had spent the last two months exploring the eastern seaboard of the States, and my body-clock was telling me it was six in the evening. I’d had a short nap to refesh me, and now I could get up and party. Beside me, Gavin was curved over on his side, back towards me, his breathing deep and even.
I slid out of bed and padded over to the window. The sliver of crescent moon had gone down, but the clear sky gave a pale light over the snowy hills and stars gleamed in the depths of the coal black water. There was no sign of move- ment anywhere, yet I had this sense of something stirring in the darkness. Kitten looked downwards from the sill, growled again, then trotted downstairs. I heard the clack of the cat flap.
Whatever it was, I supposed I’d better inspect. Maybe the ponies in the field behind the house had broken into the gar- den. I lifted up my bundle of clothes from the chair, and was tiptoeing out of the bedroom when I heard a car start up, way in the distance. I wouldn’t have heard it at all if I hadn’t been awake, if the back skylight hadn’t been open, if it hadn’t been such a still night. I reached the window just as the sound died away, and thought I saw a brief flash of headlights move across the starry sky. The silence closed in again.
I went slowly downstairs, not switching the light on. The ground shifted disconcertingly under me, as if the land had become fluid. It would take a couple of days before my balance adjusted. Freezing lino under my feet, the air icy on my skin.
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women’s suffrage in Shetland. She’s also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.
What would you do if you saw your father murdered and no one believed you? When he was twelve Finn McAdam, saw his father, a scientist, murdered. No one believed him. Now he has returned to his native Galloway to discover the truth. Wherever it leads him. Whatever it costs. But the conspiracy he discovers exposes a cover-up involving leading political figures and places his life in great danger. Some people are determined that the truth must not get out.
Chapter 1 – Part one
I was level with the library when I first saw him across the road, emerging from the entrance to a garage. He moved into the light of the late afternoon sun, casting a long, dark shadow across the pavement, which felt like a dagger pointing at my heart. There was no doubt it was him. His face was etched in my mind forever: straight, long nose perched above a narrow mouth, not overly attractive, dour type. Black hair that now looked dyed, slicked against his head. He seemed at peace, unaware of me as he walked down the road, wearing what looked like an expensive tweed jacket edged with leather piping, smart tan trousers and black brogues.
I was stunned that I had finally found him, disbelieving, adrenaline surging, light-headed. I had searched for him unsuccessfully for many years, always on the lookout. Now I had run into him when I hadn’t expected it, on my way to get food from a local supermarket.
Jolted by his sudden appearance, I found myself standing gawking at him but turned away not wanting to alert him to my presence. Desperately trying to regain my composure, I walked on trying not to turn around. Hurriedly, I reached stone steps leading up to a car park at Market Hill near the top of the town, clutching at the handrail gasping for breath, my stomach knotted, head light, dizzy. After all this time I had seen him again.
Fascist populists, callous sex-traffickers and murderous mafia gangs – these were not what Pastor Jude Kilburn had expected to face when he moved to Albania. But when vulnerable 19-year-old Alban disappears from his poverty-stricken village to seek work in Greece, Jude has to undertake the perilous journey across the mountains to try and rescue him from the ruthless Athenian underworld. Accompanied by a volatile secret-service agent and a reformed gangster, Jude soon finds himself struggling to keep everyone together as personal tensions rise and violent anti-austerity riots threaten to tear them apart and undermine the mission. Caught between cynical secret police and a brutal crime syndicate, the fate of them all will be determined by a trafficked girl – but not every one will make it home. The Migrant is a tense and evocative thriller with a powerful redemptive twist.
Chapter One Part Three
Ssshhh … budalla,’ hissed Ervin as he stepped back and lifted him by the arm. When he was upright, Alban yanked it back and glared again at him. He walked briskly for the next hour close behind him, listening as the trees rose around them and the darkness between them deepened. At one point they came upon a wolf cub lying alone on its side at the track’s edge. Its breathing was shallow and rapid. Alban squatted down beside it and gently lifted its head.
‘Oh, how bad,’ he whispered to Ervin. A little blood from its mouth came off on his fingers. He remembered his uncle Skender and the argument they’d had: the shock and the hurt when Skender struck him across the mouth forwards and backwards. He loved Skender. It was the raki: he drank too much of it. Well, he was nineteen now, not fifteen, and old enough to make his own decisions. He wanted to take the cub and nurse it. He brushed a tear from his cheek, partly for Skender, and left it.
The track came to an arched, stone bridge just wide enough for a cart to cross, and Alban stopped to peer over the side. The sound of trickling water came up from the ravine where a cluster of fireflies were gyrating around each other.
‘Ervin, shall we stop a little? What time is it?’ he asked quietly.
‘Let’s get across that clearing … by the edge of those trees. It’s gone ten.’ They passed a circle of blackened stones that lay around the charred remains of branches, plastic bags and empty Tirana Beer cans. ‘Albanians … always leave the local picnic spots clean when they leave. Why don’t they mark the route with arrows so the Greeks know where to wait for us?’ said Ervin with disgust. Alban slumped down on the grass by him and lay on his back.
‘Hey! Ervin, that was close. I thought you’d done this before?’ said Alban. Ervin looked away, avoiding the embarrassment of an acknowledgement, thought Alban. ‘So, what are the Greeks like?’ he continued. ‘Do they cook their pilaf like us?’
‘You’ll see them soon enough,’ said Ervin. ‘There are good and bad ones … the army are the worst. They could shoot you in these parts in the early years. They caught a group of Albanians once and made them all climb up a tree. Then they cut it down – laughing – as they fell through the branches, like it was sport.’ He then smiled and wiggled his finger as if it was swimming through water. ‘They like their pilaf with seafood in it. Prawns.’
Alban felt a coldness entering him despite the warmth of the June night. He drew his sack closer and untied the string around its neck. He lifted out a jar of village cherries in syrup with a spoon, and some sardines fried in flour and wrapped in newspaper his mother had cooked yesterday. Then he pulled out a roll of plastic sheeting for sleeping under. Lastly, he took out his best training shoes. They were white with a black tick on the side. He buffed them with the edge of his T-shirt while he ate a little.
‘They are originals, not Turkish,’ he snapped as he noticed Ervin’s sceptical look. They were like his cousin Shpetim used to wear. They would help him make a good impression on Greek employers, he thought. He’d find work, despite the crisis. He would show them that he was a good worker too. He could put his hand to many things: plastering, picking peaches – he even knew a little about plumbing. He picked up a tiny, tin compass that had rolled out onto the ground. It had the flag of Great Britain on the back and the white wheel of the London Eye on its face. He tapped it and noted where the needle pointed and then where south-east was, deeper into Greece, where the distant silhouette of a watchtower could be seen just above the treeline. ‘Want some fish?’ he said and passed the sardines over to Ervin as he stuffed the other items back inside.
Paul Alkazraji worked as a freelance journalist in the UK from the mid-nineties. His articles were published in Christianity Magazine, The Christian Herald, The Church Times, The Baptist Times and other publications. His travel articles were also published in The Independent. His first book Love Changes Everything, a collection of seven testimonies, was published by Scripture Union in 2001. His second book Heart of a Hooligan, a biography of ex-football hooligan Dave Jeal, was published by Highland Books in 2000. His third book Christ and the Kalashnikov, a biography of missionaries Ian and Caralee Loring, was published by Zondervan in 2001. From 2004 to 2010 he was editor and publisher of Ujëvarë magazine in Albania. His first novel, ‘The Silencer’, was published by Highland Books in 2012. His new novel, ‘The Migrant’, set in Albania and Athens during the austerity troubles, was published by Instant Apostle in February 2019.
A husband is given an early release from prison. What could go wrong? Better yet, what could go right? Karen Moore spins her take on just that in her latest novel.
When Hanna’s estranged mafioso husband, Luciano, is released early from a Sicilian prison, she fears he will come after her and her young daughter, Eva.
The revelation leaves her with a dilemma. Invited to Sicily to attend her best friend’s wedding, can she really take the risk?
But even staying at home in North Wales may not be safe. Something strange is going on at her old cottage in the hills. As the lines between Sicily and North Wales blur, Hanna uncovers a criminal operation that leads her to fear for Eva’s life all over again.
Will Hanna ever be able to release herself from Luciano’s grip? Or will her discovery lead her into even deeper danger?
Karen Moore is passionate about all things noir – crime, mystery, thrillers – and writes in that genre.
She has been writing all her life, mostly for work purposes, and is now delighted to be able to spend more time developing her own creative work.
Her debut novel, Torn, is a dark tale of intrigue and betrayal set in Sicily and North Wales. Release is the sequel, although it is written as a standalone novel for people who may not have read Torn.
Karen worked as a tour guide across Europe, North America and Canada, followed by a career in PR and marketing. She has lived in France and Italy, and is now based in Cheshire, England. Her cat, Lexi, often appears in her social media feeds.
I happen to love books every day of the year. There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, whether it’s an ebook or print.
How will you celebrate, participate?
There are many genres out there to choose from – crime, romance, erotica, YA, memoirs, creative non-fiction, non-fiction and the list goes on.
All these main genres have a multitude of sub-genres as well, so there is something out there for everyone’s taste in reading.
I write romance, primarily, although YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS has a psychological thriller element included. It’s probably my darkest work yet. I remember when I was having the computer read it back to me, my husband entered my ‘writing cave’, and the particular segment scared him. I guess I nailed the creepy, unnerving bit.
You can check out all my books on the novels page on my website. Perhaps, you’ll find a little something to your liking.
In what format do you prefer to read your book?
Are you a hardcover fan? Paperback (trade size or mass market)? E-book (kindle, kobo, nook, or other)? Or do you read from a combination of all of the above?
Leave a comment stating what your favourite genre and format is. I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences.
My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King