Cover Reveal – The Note by Andy Barrett

It comes as no surprise that I am a big fan of Andy Barrett as an author – he encapsulates a lot of what I love about crime fiction in his writing – Really accurate science and CSI and trust me i’m picky about that but you know you are in safe hands when the author is a practising CSI. He also writes fantastic characters that are real people you don’t always like Eddie Collins one of his leading characters but then again you’re not meant to but you do admire him. There is also plenty of humour and crime fiction really needs that, when you go to some of the dark places that a crime author goes to you also need some comic relief to lighten the mood.

In light of all that I was really honoured when Andy asked me to reveal the cover for his new Novella the Note which will be released on the 5th May. Here’s the blurb to get you interested

I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI.

Ever had that feeling of being watched but when you turn around no one’s there?

I did. 

It was raining, and I was working a murder scene around midnight when that prickle ran up my spine. If I’d listened to that feeling, if I’d thought back to my past, maybe I could have prevented the terror that was to come.

Back at the office, I found a death threat on my desk.

I had no idea who sent it, and I didn’t know why they wanted to kill me.

But I was about to find out.

 

and finally here’s the cover:

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Keep your eyes peeled to the UK crime book club to get your chance to request an ARC.

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My problems with Waterstones

You would think that living in Leeds one of the Uk’s bigger cities would mean you had a great choice of bookstores including some fabulous independent ones to support. Unfortunately that is not the case unless you are into comics then the outstanding OK comics has you covered. Unfortunately if you are into print books then that leaves you with Waterstones, which I don’t object too overly and our local one has some fantastic staff. Although recently they have done everything they can to make me angry – now I really don’t at the moment want to give my money to a certain popular internet bookstore (thats a whole other rant entirely) but I feel like that might start becoming my only choice. So here in full detail and hopefully maybe being read by people who can do something about it are my problems with Waterstones and Waterstones Leeds in particular.

I like many other people have been really excited about Philip Pullman releasing the Book of Dust – I think the northern lights trilogy is possibly amongst the best set of books published in recent times and I’m even embarking on a reread of the series before the new one comes out (even though that means I have to buy them all again). And here’s my big problem – Waterstones are running a midnight launch event and selling the book for £10, sounds perfect right and I was completely up for it – I get the book at a reasonable price and maybe get a head start on reading it because I pick it up at midnight. Except here’s the deal you can only do that if you pay the entire £10 up front. The reasoning from waterstones being it’s an expensive book. And if you don’t do this well if you’re lucky enough to find a copy in there on launch day then you’ll be hit for the full £20 RRP.

Why is this making me so angry do you ask – there are many reasons, there is no guarantee the book will not be delayed in which case Waterstones have my money but I have no book.

Secondly I have shopped there for years I have a really good relationship with some of the staff there to the point that we have a standing order for Manga (Japanese comics) from them many of which cost a similar price to the book of dust and yet I have never once been charged up front for these or even been asked for a deposit and I still always  pay for my books. So why Should i have to pay upfront for something else now.

This happened recently with the Release of norse mythology by Neil Gaiman a book as both a Gaiman fangirl and Scandinavian fanatic I could not have been more excited for – they charged up front I didn’t preorder – on release day there was not a copy in sight nor were there for days to come so I had to popular internet bookstore it.

Harming pockets by charging people the full RRP for the novel if they don’t preorder is something that can only be likened to the one week that people have to pay full price for a sofa at DFS. Everyone knows there is a time when you have to pay the nominal full retail price but no-one ever actually does it. Why should people in a bookstore be punished for not wanting to pay a full price up front. How many stores do that well you can pay for your food now and we’ll keep the money and you can collect it in a week or so when it comes out, it’s not a sensible thing to do. All waterstones do by coming up with this stupid idea is drive people to the internet to source their books there. Considering that local stores even large chain ones are seeking support from customers this seems to be a particularly short sighted move. I would not have even objected to paying a nominal fee of a couple of pounds for an event ticket that could have counted as a deposit to the book which is what they used to do in the past.

my Other problems with Waterstones as a whole is that apparently they are phasing out points cards – you now have to download an app and probably let them tap all sorts of your data. Also they have a policy of having events that will only draw a large crowd gone are the days you can go there and meet emerging authors and with Waterstones Leeds in particular forget them being interested in hosting local authors they ignore any attempts to get in contact with them over this or brush you off in store.  This saddens me as I have found and gone to meet a lot of authors at book stores when they were starting off or have found new authors because they have been doing signings in store. I remember going to meet Elly Griffiths at Waterstones Leeds when she only had a couple of books out me and my dad loved meeting her, it was a really special experience and she is now a much bigger author so probably could still sign with them but if she was starting out now probably wouldnt get a look in.

There is also the death of the Mini-con a fab event that seems to have died due to the stores later opening hours, this was one of the best inventions of Waterstones leeds in recent years and it really saddens me that they have ended. And dont even get me started on their complete inability to even stock a decent scfi, fantasy and horror section. As a massive book geek I really want to support my local book store and my local authors  and it angers me to no end that one of our largest chains of bookstores and my local one just has zero interest in supporting this. Where will I source my books from now?????

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Undercurrent blog tour

Today is my turn on the Undercurrent blog tour – I have the great job of posting some content about how Undercurrent came to be, but first here’s the synopsis of the book:

Phoebe and her disabled husband, Martyn, move into a new house in a village on the edge of County Durham. They plan to lead a quiet existence, a set up that suits them both.

Then Anna, who lives over the road and is bored of spending her days alone, seeks friendship with Phoebe and events take a dark turn.

Phoebe has secrets and is haunted by her past and Anna’s arrival in her life may prove to be the catalyst for her undoing.

What is Phoebe hiding and why are she and her husband so reclusive?

When Anna gets caught in a storm and is rescued by Phoebe the truth becomes apparent and Anna is thrown into danger.

Is there a difference between madness and evil?

and now for:

How Undercurrent Came to be

I’ve always wanted to be a writer but like many aspiring novelists, life always got in the way. It was moving house to a village next to a river that finally clinched it for me. The idea for Undercurrent came to me one evening and it was a ‘now or never’ sort of moment. The main character was a strong protagonist from the outset, her persona crystal clear in my mind. The others came later as the story progressed.

I started putting all my ideas down on paper and dipping in and out of it for many, many months, deleting parts and adding to others, sending it off to literary agents only for it to be rejected. With hindsight, I fully understand those rejections. Undercurrent was still in its raw form and needed to be refined. So I spent the next six months doing just that and then sent it off again. More rejections followed.

My writing position is perched in the kitchen next to the window which overlooks the river. It was that particular view that kept me going. Through all the rejections (and there were many!) through all those moments when agents and publishers showed a strong interest only to turn it down, it was my little seat at that kitchen window that saw me through! I’m sitting there now as I write this, except of course this time I have a different perspective. Undercurrent was accepted by Bloodhound Publishers on 2nd December 2016 and the whole thing took me complete surprise. I saw the email and steeled myself for yet another publisher turning me down as they had only had my manuscript for a week. I’d had a flood of rejections that week and was beginning to think my refinements and edits to Undercurrent were a waste of time. It took at least two reads for it to sink in. Most writers will know that feeling of receiving yet another one of those emails or letters – that gut sinking sensation that your ideas and hours of effort are simply not good enough. Except this time a publisher did actually want my book. I signed a contract with Bloodhound Books the following day and have never looked back. It’s been hectic, tiring (I have a day job) and a steep learning curve but I have loved every minute of it and am currently in the process of arranging book signings and setting up a brand spanking new website. You can follow me on Twitter @thewriterjude or look my author page up on Facebook at J A Baker Author. My website is jabakerauthor.com where you can find out more about me and the latest news and events. Enjoy Undercurrent and feel free to use the contact section on my website if you have any queries or want to get in touch.

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Before the Devil Knows you’re Dead by Owen Mullen

Today I am on the blog tour for Before the Devil Knows you’re dead by Owen Mullen. Another fantastic new release from Bloodhound books.

The story: Charlie’s Back!

Gavin Law was a whistleblower.

Now he’s missing.

Just another case for Glasgow PI, Charlie Cameron, until he discovers there is more to Law and his disappearance than anyone imagined.

Wallace Maitland, the surgeon responsible for leaving a woman brain-damaged may have abandoned his sacred oath and become a killer. Did the hospital which refused to accept responsibility for the tragedy have Law silenced permanently? Or, with his wife little more than a vegetable, has David Cooper, believing he has been betrayed yet again, taken justice into his own hands?

Charlie comes to realise the world of medicine can be a dangerous place.

Across the city, East End gangster, Sean Rafferty is preparing to exploit the already corrupt city council in a multi-million pound leisure development known as Riverside. The project will be good for Glasgow. But not everybody is keen to work with Rafferty.

With more than money at stake, Sean will do anything to get his way. His motto, borrowed from his old man, is simple. Never take a no from somebody who can give you a yes.

If that means murder, then so be it.

Charlie has crossed Rafferty’s path before and lived to tell the tale.

My Thoughts: I have always been a Charlie Cameron fan, I think Owen Mullen writes a wonderful brand of modern detective noir fiction. In the characters of Charlie and his sidekick Patrick you have interesting and well developed characters, who still have shades of grey within them. When you read one of Owen’s books you expect a beautifully written novel with plenty of twists and turns and one that really brings the city of Glasgow to the fore. However this New work from Owen takes all of these concepts to the Max. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s one of those devour in one sitting kind of novels. The story develops well you could read this as a standalone, but for Charlie fans the novel continues to give us more information about all the characters we’ve grown to love. Owen Mullen has always been a 5* read for me and this new book is no exception.

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Sins of the Father blog tour

My turn on the blog tour for Sheryl brownes new book, I have the priviledge of sharing with you an excerpt from her novel:

Matthew woke abruptly, hurtled from sleep by a nightmare he thought would never end. Sweat saturating his face, pooling in the hollow of his neck, he pulled himself upright and squinted against the thin trickle of sunlight filtering through the slatted blinds at the window. His first thought was that he had a hangover the size of an airdrome. His second, that they had no blinds at their bedroom window.

Easing his legs over the edge of the bed, a wheeze rattling his chest and nausea gripping his stomach as the room revolved in sick-making revolutions around him, his gaze went instinctively to the bedside table. His inhaler was there, the blue curative he carried with him, lined up neatly alongside his phone. Disorientated, Matthew blinked hard. His vision was blurred. His memory? Where the bloody hell was he?

A hotel room. Functional, he registered. Scanning his surroundings, he noted the fire instructions pinned to the door, the ancient fire extinguisher on the wall, the dusty circa nineteen eighties carpet. A shithole. Matthew closed his eyes and swallowed against the acrid taste in the back of his throat, then almost had a heart attack as his phone rang, loud and shrill, screeching through his brain like an express train. Scrambling around his mind for some recollection of what had happened the night before, he came up with nothing that was tangible, his tenuous thoughts seeming to slip away, like sea filtering ineffectually through sand. He had a few grainy, grey memories: Jasmine, the apartment, tastefully decorated. The painting, abstract colours intermingling. Coffee. Dripping. Shoes, clacking, like the ominous slow tick of a clock. One shoe. A stiletto. Connor …? Had he been there? Here? Matthew squeezed his eyes shut, tried desperately to remember. Natalie? Christ, no. 

His phone rang again, sharp, insistent. Becky, it had to be, and Matthew had no clue what to say to her. Attempting to control his escalating panic, to regulate his breathing, he let it ring and reached for his inhaler instead … and then stopped dead.

Seeing the crimson stains on his hand, Matthew’s heart somersaulted in his chest.

Dried blood, he registered, trying hard not to let the panic, now gripping his gut like a vice, cancel out logical thought. Old blood. His? How old?

Bringing both palms shakily to his face, he examined them. They were ingrained with the stuff. He flipped them over. His knuckles were bruised. Right hand. Sweet Jesus, what had he done? Disentangling himself from the duvet, Matthew scrambled to his feet, then quelling the nausea now clawing its way up his windpipe, he checked himself over. Deep wheals ran vertically down his chest. Four. Matthew swallowed hard. Checked his limbs. Found scratches on his arms. His neck, too. He could feel those, raw and sore.

His pulse rate ratcheting up, he yanked the duvet back. More blood. Too much. Stark against the grey-white of the sheets. Trying desperately to keep a lid on his emotions, he turned, stumbling towards the bathroom, where he leaned over the toilet and vomited the sparse contents of his stomach.

Standing unsteadily, Matthew clutched the sink hard for support. Deep gouges on his cheek, he noted through the mirror, then flinched as a flashback hit him head on: Jasmine, smiling, her eyes, flat and emotionless. Her fingernails trailing down his face, his torso. Her touch had been light. She’d inflicted no damage. So how? Who? Natalie? A fresh image assaulted him, Natalie lying next to him. On top of him. Had he? No! His gaze straying to the wall behind him, Matthew’s legs almost gave way. There were blood spatters on the tiles. Perspiring profusely, he dragged an arm over his forehead. Irregular, splattered all over the walls. Christ, this couldn’t be happening.

A terrifying scenario unfurling in his head, Matthew willed himself to turn to the bath. His hand visibly shaking, cold trepidation snaking the length of his spine, he steeled himself to reach for the mould-stained shower curtain, hesitated, and drew it back.

A tap dripped, slowly, steadily. Each drip echoing distortedly around the room, sounding like a nail being driven into his coffin. He registered the watery trickle of blood washing over the carcass of a spider wedged in the plughole.

No body.

Wilting with relief, Matthew turned away. Taking several slow breaths, he grabbed a towel from the rail, whilst simultaneously reaching for the sink tap, and then stopped, his head screaming, his instincts colliding. If he cleaned himself up, he’d be destroying evidence. If he ran … Matthew stared hard at himself in the mirror. More images assailed him, disjointed memories. Surreal, foggy recollections. He’d been here with two women. Jasmine and Natalie. Matthew knew that much. Thought he did. And every indication was that one of those women had been badly injured, or worse, possibly by him. If he was going to call this in, and terrified though he was, his conscience told him he had to, he couldn’t wash. He needed to. The smell in the room was cloying. A woman’s scent. It was all over him.

He had to call Becky. Trying to keep calm, to not give into his urge to run from the room and keep running, Matthew headed back to the bedroom, where his phone had been ringing constantly. Whatever had happened, she needed to hear it from him first. He needed to tell her … Tell her what? Something’s happened, but I don’t know what? I think I’ve been set-up but I have no idea why? I might have had sex with someone but it wasn’t intentional?

Consensual.

No! Disbelieving, Matthew gulped back an immediate deep sense of shame.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

CHOC LIT

 

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Keep you Near Blog tour

Today i’m on the keep you near blog tour – I love Robin Roughley as an author he was one of my first new discoveries when we set up the UK crime Book club and has remained a favourite ever since. Keep you near is the first in a new series featuring Marnie Hammond.

A normal day in the park turns into a nerve shredding nightmare for eleven-year-old Marnie Hammond when she find herself in a desperate chase to stop the ‘bad man,’ from abducting Abby.

Fifteen years later, Marnie is a Detective Sergeant but the memory of her missing sister still haunts her dreams.

When it becomes clear that someone is stalking the streets of Kirkhead DS Hammond has her hands full, and after remains are discovered buried in dense woodland, Marnie fears the worst. But this is only the start of a nightmare that will unearth more bones, more victims and the terror that Abby might be among the dead.

To stop the monster Marnie knows she must break the rules, but when the twisted killer turns his attention on her it becomes a fight not only for the truth but for her sanity and her survival.

Can Marnie catch the murderer and solve her sister’s disappearance?

This is a change from Robin’s usual style of writing but it still has lots of features you’ve come to expect from a Robin Roughley book. Great characters – I particularly enjoyed the story arc that featured the young lad fresh out of a young offenders institution. Deftly written plot with plenty of twists, there are twists aplenty in this book. However it is really Dark, possibly too dark for some people it deals with the sensitive issue of child abduction and there were moments when I found it a difficult read. However it was  compelling and gripping it had me from the very first page and i didn’t want to stop reading until I found out what happened to the characters involved. I would read more from this series but i’m not sure if I should describe this book as something I enjoyed due to the dark nature of the subject material.

If you are not easily upset and can cope with a dark and twisted crime novel then I heartily recommend this  – Dark twisted and compelling this is truly a knockout 5* read from Robin.

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Some thoughts On Anglesey Blue

I recently read Dylan Jones new novel Anglesey blue – the first featuring Inspector Tudor Manx

MURDER. BETRAYAL. REVENGE.

It’s not the homecoming Detective Inspector Tudor Manx was expecting, but solving the case is just the start of his problems.

Recently transferred from the London Met to the North Wales Constabulary, Detective Inspector Tudor Manx has come to Island of Anglesey hoping for a quiet life.

But his hopes are dashed when a brutally mutilated body is found crucified to the bow of a fishing boat sending shockwaves through the peaceful community.

Manx’s faces pressure to solve the case quickly equipped with an inexperienced team.

Is the body a message or a premonition of more murders to come?

Adding to his mounting problems, Manx’s troubled past returns to haunt him. Manx left the island after the disappearance of his younger sister, Miriam; a cold case that still remains unsolved.

Can Manx solve the case before the body count rises?

How will he cope when he is forced to choose between his family and his duty as a police officer?

This is a really gritty crime drama – set on a small island in Wales. It is full of twists and turns and even though you work out the culprit before the end the route of how the inspectors get there is refreshing and interesting.

This has plenty of gruesome moments and some interesting characters not least our strangely named inspector – However I did find the name a little jarring. I liked the touches of Welsh thoroughout the book and the feeling that the author clearly knew the locations he used.

At times I felt there were to many twists and turns for me  – but for a debut novel this is certainly one with promise and I would be interested in reading more from this author, A solid 4* read for me

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