Category Archives: Crime/Mystery

Unravelling ~ a gripping tale of dark secrets, lies and murder

#UNRAVELING

a gripping tale

Celtic Connexions is happy to welcome Helen Forbes, author of Unravelling ~ a gripping tale of dark secrets, lies and murder.
gripping tale
And just look at that cover! If that doesn’t draw you into this gripping tale, then perhaps the blurb will.
gripping tale

Blurb

Incarcerated in the gloom of a Highland asylum, 

a young mother finds illicit love. And death.

Kate Sharp’s family is a mystery. Her mother, Ellen, disappeared into the shadows of Craig Dunain psychiatric hospital when Kate was a child. When her grandmother dies, Kate is desperate for answers. What were the circumstances of her mother’s life and death? Who is her father?

Kate’s not the only one trying to uncover the truth. The remains of two bodies with murderous injuries have been found buried in the forest next to the former hospital.

And someone else is searching for answers, and he will stop at nothing to find them.

As the tale of Ellen’s tragic unravelling unfolds, the secrets that led to her death are exposed, along with the shocking truth about Kate’s father.

Unaware of the danger stalking her, Kate continues her search. 

Will she find the answers? And can she save her own life?

Excerpt

Go, a voice cried in my head. Run. Before it’s too late. A little overdramatic? Not really. Who wouldn’t run from a seven-hour shift of spooning mushed-up food into gaping, toothless mouths, wiping backsides, and mopping up body fluids? But I didn’t have a choice. Not without another job, and I lacked the energy or motivation to find something else. Pushing open the front door, I caught the scent of tangerine and lemon. Mrs Shelby had been at the homemade air fresheners again. It made for a pleasant welcome to the foyer of the care home, but a few essential oils couldn’t cover up the natural scents of warm cabbage, bed sores and incontinence. Not that it was a bad care home. A large Victorian villa with high ceilings and big rooms, clean and well-managed, it was one of the better ones. There were just some scents that couldn’t be shifted. And some residents.
I heard Smyth before I saw him, his entitled plummy tones and the squeak of his wheelchair grating through me. Scarcely a shift passed that I didn’t fantasise about smothering him with a pillow, but that would be far too kind. He needed to be strung up and eviscerated.
‘Pole, you come here right now.’
Stefan was at the reception desk. He ignored Smyth and smiled at me. Deep in my belly, something primitive tugged and taunted. It was another good reason for running, but I’d left it far too late.
‘Pole!’ Flecks of spittle shot from Smyth’s mouth. His face was twisted with venom. There were bulging veins on his forehead, a crimson flush creeping up his wrinkled neck. I willed Stefan to pull the old man from his wheelchair and throw him on the floor.
He didn’t. Of course, he didn’t. He held out his hands. ‘Mr Smyth. What may I do for you?’
Smyth’s eyes narrowed. ‘What is your name?’
‘Stefan Nowak.’
‘Why are you here? Aren’t there care homes in your own
country?’
Stefan nodded. ‘There are, Mr Smyth. Remember, we
talk yesterday and I tell you all about them. The story of my grandmother and the tattoo?’
‘Yesterday?’ The old man’s eyes shifted between us. ‘A tattoo? Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve never seen you before in my life. I couldn’t believe it when Matron said you came from Poland to work here.’
Stefan’s smile didn’t falter. ‘I did, Mr Smyth, with others.’ ‘There are others? My God. Matron, get me out of here.’
As Smyth’s frantic hands wheeled his chair down the corridor,
I apologised to Stefan, and not for the first time. He waved his hand. ‘Kate, it is not your fault. There are many head-dicks.’
‘Dickheads.’
He laughed. ‘Ah, yes. I will learn.’
‘What’s this about your grandmother and a tattoo?’
‘My grandmother is… was… in a care home in Warsaw. My
young wild sister – you know, I tell you about her punky hair and purple lips – she take my grandmother out one day and she comes back with a little black cat on her ankle. There is… what do you say? Hell to pay. My father, he doesn’t speak to my sister again. Yesterday, Smyth, he almost die laughing when I tell him this.’
‘Almost died?’ I shook my head. ‘Stefan, you have to try harder next time.’
He laughed. ‘Today, he remember nothing. His head, it is full of holes.’
‘Full of shite.’

‘This too.’ Stefan smiled. ‘Forget him. He is just an old man. Tomorrow he will be my…’ He frowned and fished his notebook out of his pocket. He thumbed through the pages of scribbled vocabulary. ‘Ah, he will be my beastie.’
I couldn’t keep my laughter in. Stefan looked devastated. ‘This is not right?’
‘Let me see.’ I looked at his notebook. ‘I think you mean bestie, though you’re not too far wrong with beastie.’
‘Whatevers.’ His hand rested on my arm. ‘You are tired, Kate. How is she?’
I would have told him. I might have cried, and he might have held me, but our conversation was severed by the shrill voice of Mrs Shelby, a cloud of stale perfume, the crackle of starched polyester, and then the woman herself. She looked about to cry. ‘Stefan, whatever have you said to Mr Smyth? He’s in quite a state. His daughter will be here shortly and we mustn’t upset her. She’s very generous…’
Stefan shrugged. ‘I no know what you ask, Madame Shelby, but you look very… how you say…?’
‘Haggard,’ I muttered.
Stefan sighed. ‘Very beautiful, Madame.’
Mrs Shelby blushed and waved her hand. ‘Oh, Stefan. Just be
more careful. It’s not your fault things get lost in translation. Kate, there’s a new resident in room nine. She’s a little fragile. Younger than our usual clientele. She’s refusing to get out of bed. Says she can’t walk, but she had no problems yesterday on arrival. Perhaps you could have a chat, see if you can get her up and dressed, and into the dayroom.’
I nodded. ‘I’ll try. What’s her name?’
‘Lucille Leonard. You’ll need the key. She wants the door kept locked.’
That was understandable with the likes of Smyth roaming around, interfering with everyone else’s business.
‘What’s wrong with her?

Buy Link

amazon.co.uk

About the Author

gripping tale Helen Forbes is a mystery author known for her crime novels Madness Lies and In the Shadow of the Hill. The author has also written a few contemporary and historical fiction pieces as well as short stories. When she is not writing, Forbes enjoys her work as a lawyer in Inverness. She published the first two novels based in Outer Hebrides and Inverness, two areas that she feels have not been given enough attention in the crime-fiction genre. Forbes also has a deep liking for the Gaelic language and island communities, which explains her choice of characters in her stories.

Links

 Website: www.helenforbes.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Helen-Forbes-Author-457783327732599

Twitter: https://twitter.com/foreva48

Hunter’s Chase by Val Penny #HUNTERSCHASE

Hunter’s Chase Audible Tour

Hunter’s Chase, book 1 in the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series, written by Val Penny is now available as an audiobook through Audible.

Val Penny

BLURB

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course.

Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough.

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

Val Penny

MY REVIEW

Well plotted and fast-paced. I loved this book! al Penny wrote a fantastic debut novel. I can’t wait to read more DI Hunter Wilson stories.

This is my first time listening to an audiobook, so I’m glad it was one I was familiar with. I loved the narrator. Give me a man with a Scottish accent and I’m automatically in swoon mode. If there was a downside to the book, I found the breaks between chapters a wee bit too long. As I said, it was my first time with an audiobook so perhaps that’s the industry standard. Also, in one of the later chapters (I’m sorry I didn’t make note of it at the time), the narrator started a sentence and then started it over again.

I can’t wait for the rest of the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series to be available in audio format.

AUDIBLE BUY LINK

Hunter’s Chase Audible

ABOUT VAL PENNY

Val Penny

Val Penny’s other crime novels, Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force Hunter’s Blood, and Hunter’s Secret form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.

You can connect with Val at the following links:

Website: www.valpenny.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Authorvalpenny

Facebook: www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

Friends of Hunter Wilson & The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries: www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

Val’s Book Bundle: https://www.facebook.com/groups/167248300537409

Twitter: https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17300087.Val_Penny

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Val-Penny/e/B07C4725TK

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/val-penny

Val Penny

 

It’s National Book Lovers Day!

Today is National Book Lovers Day!

National Book Lovers Day
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

How will you celebrate, participate?

This year on National Book Lovers Day, I currently have two books on the go – one fiction, one non. Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton is a crime novel set in Scotland.

The non-fiction is Marketing Matters by Wendy H Jones. Right now, I need all the help I can get in this department.

In addition to reading, I’m also working on Book 3 in my It Happened series set in the village of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula of the province of Quebec.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve struggled with writing, but my reading has flourished. According to my 2020 Goodreads challenge, I’m nine books ahead of schedule. That should give you an idea of how I’ve been spending much of my spare time.

Some of these books were already on my TBR (to be read) list having languished on my shelves or Kindle for some time. Others were new purchases that I just “had” to get. Still, others were review copies.

What to read?

There are many genres out there to choose from – crime, romance, erotica, YA, memoirs, creative 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.

What format do you prefer to read?

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 staying what your favourite genre and format is. I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences.

THE ROAD TO NEWGATE by Kate Braithwaite #historical #crime #giveaway

newgate

The Road to Newgate

by

Kate Braithwaite

newgate

Genre: Historical Fiction (crime/mystery)

Release Date: 16th July 2018

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

 

What price justice?

London 1678.

Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.

Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.

When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.

EXTRACT

“Mr. Thompson?”

At my side is a skinny fellow that Henry sometimes employs to deliver our pamphlets about the coffee shops. His sort often has a nose for news and will know if an arrest has been made or a scandal is brewing. He knows something now. I smell it on him, read it in the eager nod of his head. God knows, there’s gossip aplenty in the city, with talk of a missing magistrate and arrests of prominent Catholic Lords, so I turn my back on Anne, anxious for news. My conscience may creak as I listen to the young lad’s tale, but that’s easily ignored. Easily that is, until the sound of an altercation causes us both to twist round.

A woman, tall and sharp-featured, her lips pulled back from her teeth in bare anger, has her hand on Anne’s arm and is screeching at her. For a moment, I’m dumbfounded. I step towards them, but not quickly enough. In that split second, the woman tilts back her head and hurls a plume of spit right into my wife’s face.

No-one moves. Then the woman disappears into the crowd and Anne does her best to make light of it. She wipes her face, shows me her new bag, and insists on continuing about the fair as if nothing has happened. All she will say is that the woman was obviously deranged, some Bedlamite; quite a sorry case, in fact. I squeeze her hand, proud that my young wife can be so composed. And then I put it out of my mind.

In my defence, there is little enough time to remember it or question Anne further in the days that follow. The rumour whispered to me at the fair is the main news on everyone’s lips by the next morning. A man has been found dead in a ditch on Primrose Hill. He is identified as the missing magistrate, Sir Edmund Godfrey.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK: https://goo.gl/b2Nmu6

AMAZON US: https://goo.gl/11AJS7

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NEWGATE

Kate Braithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her first novel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Award. Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

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

Twitter: @kmbraithwaite

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10792752.Kate_Braithwaite

Instagram: katembraithwaite

Blog: www.kate-braithwaite.com

Website: www.kate-braithwaite.com

GIVEAWAY

 A copy of the book, plus small handmade book of illustrations from the period. (Open internationally)

NEWGATE

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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

GIVEAWAY

 

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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

Amazon

Apple iBooks

Kobo Books

Google Play Books

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

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The Vault

by

Karen Long

 

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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

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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.

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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, 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?

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http://twitter.com/RavenEleanor

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

check out THE SAFE WORD!

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http://amzn.to/1WOHzh2

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