Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Literary, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick

Today I am delighted to be host for When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick as part of the Random Things Blog Tour.

Synopsis

A murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where long buried secrets threaten a small community

When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, the local police force set out to investigate. It’s not long before they uncover a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

But there’s worse to come. Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband Fergus, DI Georgie Strachan soon realizes that something very bad is lurking just below the surface. Meanwhile someone – or something – is hiding in the strange, haunted cave beneath the cliffs.

When The Dead Come Calling is a tense, atmospheric thriller which grips to the very last page.

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My thoughts

This is one of those novels that is just a joy to read. Yes, the subject matter is dark and at times unnerving but before I go into that can I just say how much I loved Helen’s writing. She writes absolutely beautifully, visually building location, story and characters so skilfully that you actually feel you are there, watching over the shoulder as the terrifying events unfold.

When discussing writing When The Dead Come Calling, Helen talks about false memory syndrome and I admit that I find it an intriguing subject. In this novel we discover a village paralysed by the past; an evil that has been lurking beneath the surface but refuses to be forgotten. Memories play a vital part of the plot and there are some things that just can’t be forgotten but, how real are the things we think happened, or does our memory play tricks on us?

Georgie Strachan is such a unique character. She has backstory and we do gradually learn much about her as the story progresses. I liked her very much. She was very, very human and to see such a caring, kind individual amongst such a dark story line was refreshing and created an amazing contrast, that I believe made this novel stand out. This is a great technique and really highlighted the atmosphere.

This novel captures everything that I love about stories. I felt completely immersed into the story and couldn’t wait to get back to it whenever ‘real life’ pulled me away. It made me feel so many emotions: fear, sadness, empathy and the joy of entering a different world for just a few hours. That along with the writing – it is the kind of writing that makes you slow down just to enjoy the sentence structure, the descriptions as events unfold, leading you by the hand to the very heart of the story. I absolutely adore her writing style and will definitely seek out her previous titles. I was sad to finish When The Dead Come Calling, it had me gripped throughout and I believe that there is room for many more tales featuring Georgie Strachan. Questions have been left unanswered and that, after reading such an engaging tale, is only a good thing, as it tells me there is definitely more to come. This is certain to be one of my top reads of 2020.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for introducing me to yet another fantastic author. Thank you also to Point Blank and Helen Sedgwick for sending me an early copy.

When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick was published by Point Blank on January 9th 2020 in hardback. It is also available on eBook and Audiobook (I imagine this is wonderful to listen to!)

About the author

img_0181HELEN SEDGWICK is the author of The Comet Seekers, selected as a best book of 2016 by the Herald, and The Growing Season, shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Before she became an author, she was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University. She now lives and writes in the Scottish Highlands.

 

Find out more about Helen by visiting her website here.

You can follow Helen on Twitter at @helensedgwick

You can follow Point Blank Books on Twitter @PtBlankBks

And a little extra treat…

Helen Sedgwick on the writing of WHEN THE DEAD COME CALLING

‘When the Dead Come Calling was inspired by a visit to St Ninian’s Cave in the Scottish borders – it’s a cave on a wild beach that became a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Even today, the cave is filled with crosses made out of twigs and ribbons, prayers scratched onto stones and offerings left in the crevices of the rock. It’s a creepy place.

I also wanted to write about rural life, having recently moved from Glasgow to the Highlands. It is a very different world. I absolutely love living in the country (a bit like Georgie loves it in the book) but that doesn’t mean I can’t see there are some pretty big issues. The lack of diversity, lack of opportunities, and the isolation are very real problems. And you do come across casual racism and homophobia, and often it has been left unchallenged because of the limits of the community itself and the lack of new experiences. So, I wanted to write about how people in small rural communities turn a blind eye to these problems, about the urban/rural class divide that leads to people in the city dismissing those in the country, and how history and inaction make us all complicit… But at the same time I wanted to write about how people in small communities can be exceptionally kind and warm and how living in a remote place can make you feel more connected to the past and to the landscape. It’s easy for people to judge the country without having lived there, but there’s a lot more to it than people think.

I’ve also had an interest in false memory syndrome for years. I wrote two unpublished novels before writing my debut The Comet Seekers, and one of them was a literary thriller about false memory syndrome. The book remains unpublished for a reason (I was still learning to write and it wasn’t good enough!) but the research I did all those years ago fed into the plot for When the Dead Come Calling. Memory is fascinating and also poorly understood, and I keep being drawn back to how our minds create and recreate ‘memories’ that can end up being very different to the lived experience that they relate to. Our brains actually rewrite our own memories over time. That idea kept calling to me, wanting to be written about.

It was at a crime writing event at Wigtown Book Festival that I got the idea for the main character of Georgie Strachan. There was a discussion about how fictional detectives always need to be broken or damaged in some way, and I wanted to turn that on its head. Is it possible to write a crime book in which the detective is just a good person who wants to see the best in everyone, despite evidence to the contrary? I started thinking about what would happen to a good, almost naive detective working in a broken world, and that world became Burrowhead.’

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

A Stranger On The Beach by Michele Campbell

Today I’m delighted to be taking part on the very first day of the blog tour for A Stranger On The Beach by Michele Campbell.

Synopsis

Strangers on a Train meets Fatal Attraction in Michele Campbell’s edge-of your-seat story of passion and intrigue.

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

My thoughts

Novels such as these are always difficult to review. You don’t want to give away even the slightest spoiler and so it can be hard to be too detailed. The suspense is all in the unknown and Michele builds it brilliantly with A Stranger On The Beach. The story begins with Caroline. She appears to have everything, is living the ‘American dream’ with a wealthy, successful and handsome husband, a daughter she adores and her dream house – still smelling of new paint and the promise of a bright, perfect future. Despite this Michele begins the story surrounding Caroline with a sense of isolation, she is alone at the beach house, the summer people have left and returned to the city and all that remains is Caroline alone in her dream house, a cranky, unsociable, elderly neighbour and the stranger on the beach.  Her perfect life is not all it seems and secrets and lies soon bubble to the surface. It’s not long beforeeverything Caroline holds dear is falling apart around her ears. At the end of her tether she embarks on an ill-advised one night stand that changes everything forever and unleashes a sequence of events that can only end in bloodshed.

There are clues scattered throughout as to where the story goes but Michele carries you on one hell of a rollercoaster making it difficult to settle on a conclusion right until the very end. Unreliable narrators, I believe, are at the heart of that. You never know quite what or who to believe. There are, after all, always two sides to the story and Michele uses that to brilliant effect. This is an incredibly exciting read, I read it pretty much in one sitting and would say this is going to be a massive hit this year. It would make the perfect read at any time of year but I can it see it being on many a ‘perfect holiday reading’ list.

Thank you so much for the lovely team at HQStories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

A Stranger On The Beach is available now on kindle, audiobook and in paperback.

You can follow HQStories on Twitter at @HQStories

About the author

Michele Campbell

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School. She worked at a prestigious Manhattan law firm before spending eight years fighting crime in NYC as a federal prosecutor. Her debut novel It’s Always The Husband was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

You can follow Michele on Twitter at @MCampbellBooks

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Ghost Stories, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

The Unforgetting by Rose Black

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for The Unforgetting by Rose Black

Synopsis

A story of the trappings of fame, magic and the power of illusion in Victorian London.

Power, theatre and ghosts in a Victorian gothic historical, perfect for fans of The Silent CompanionsThe Night Circus and The Familiars.

When Lily Bell is sold by her father to a ‘Professor of Ghosts’ to settle a bad debt, she thinks she about to hit the London stage as an actress. But little does she know that the professor intends her to be his very own ghost, part of an elaborate illusion for a fascinated audience.

Obsessed with perfection, the professor covers all bases to ensure his illusion is realistic – and when Lily comes across her own obituary in the paper, and then her own headstone in the cemetery, she soon realises that she is trapped, her parents think she is dead – and soon her fate is to become even darker…

A spellbinding story of obsession, the lure of fame, and the power of illusion.

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My thoughts

This is a dark, engaging Victorian gothic novel that I enjoyed greatly. This genre is one of my favourites. I do so love being swept up in the past. Lily Bell is a strong, wilful young woman who dreams of a life treading the boards, a life filled with adventure and the adoration of an audience. When her stepfather sells her to Erasmus Salt, a ‘Professor of Ghosts’, she imagines that her dreams will come true. However life with Professor Salt turns out very differently.

There are so many levels as to how this novel can be read. It could be considered an engrossing novel about the dark side of Victorian life, a time when science began to shake the foundations of a religious faith that brought comfort to many when loved ones died. An obsession with communing with the dead would unearth some unscrupulous individuals. Erasmus Salt is a dark figure indeed. Damaged by the death of his mother when he was just a child, he is obsessed with the dead and trying communicate with them. His scientific experiments conducted through the theatre, in an effort to create the perfect conditions for doing so prove unhinged and dangerous. Lily Bell’s dream of stardom as an actress are dashed as she discovers a truth that leads her to believe she would be better of if the man had actually killed her.

This is a good novel. The storyline is dark and at times unnerving and Rose has done well to recreate Victorian England. I found the characters difficult to warm to at times but I never stopped caring what happened to them. This novel could be described as a reflection to how women were both perceived and treated during this time in history. A time when many women would have had a ghost like impact on society – always in the background, never quite seen. The horrors inflicted on Lily are not unrealistic in any way. This is an engaging read that I would recommend for any lovers of gothic horror.

Many thank to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to the lovely people at Orion Books for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

You can follow Anne Cater on twitter at @annecater

You can follow Orion Books on Twitter at @orionbooks

About the author

Rose Black

Rose Black has written stories all her life. Her long-standing fascination with the Victorians and 19th century England underlies this novel. An award-winning freelance writer, she’s covered health, overseas development and education. Married, with two children, she lives partly in London and at other times by the sea. In her spare time, she enjoys wild swimming and growing food and flowers on her allotment.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Debut, Thriller

Followers by Megan Angelo

Today I am delighted to take part in the blog tour for Followers by Megan Angelo.

Synopsis

1984 for the Instagram generation, the debut novel from former Glamour contributing editor Megan Angelo is perfect for fans of Black Mirror.

205.  Marlow and her mother, Floss, have been handpicked to live their lives on camera, in the closed community of Constellation.

Unlike her mother, who adores the spotlight, Marlow hates having her every move judges by a national audience.  But she isn’t brave enough to escape until she discovers a shattering secret about her birth.

Now she must unravel the truth around her own history in a terrifying race against time…

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My thoughts

Wow, this was an incredibly thought provoking read and a very accomplished debut. It touches on so many aspects of modern life that should cause concern. A brilliantly, tense and atmospheric novel that taps into the heart of life today and a terrifying possibility of where it could all lead. Megan skilfully uses a dual narrative time-line that builds the storyline, leading me to read on and on, unable to put the book down until I reached the jaw-dropping conclusion.

Marlow is our voice from the future. 2051 to be exact – not top far away. Orla our voice from 2015. Marlow a young woman living her live on camera in some elaborate big brother world where an audience of millions can watch her daily comings and goings. Think The Trueman Show but with a sinister, darker edge to it. Marlow knows exactly what’s going on though, or at least she thinks she does until her plot involves having a baby and then things begin to go very, very wrong. This was such and engaging thriller that had a brilliantly dystopian edge that I couldn’t bare to put down. I wanted to know what happened to the Orla of the past and what it was that connected these two women. What are the fogs that Marlow witnesses the older generation suffering from and what caused them? they are obviously related to our obsession with technology but what price does Megan imagine us paying.

An outstanding debut and one that I will wholeheartedly recommend. Appealing, I would imagine, to Young Adult readers and any of us that question humankind’s obsession with social media and the smart phone technology we can now barely dare to imagine our lives without.

Thanks so much to the lovely team at HQ Stories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me an early copy.  I absolutely LOVED it.

You can follow HQ Stories on Twitter at @HQStories

About the author

Megan Angelo

810ZTczKqdL._US230_Megan Angelo was, until recently, an editor at Glamour magazine, and now regularly contributes entertainment-focused pieces to The New York Times, Elle, and Glamour.  She is a graduate of Villanove University and live sin Pennsylvania with her family.

You can follow Megan on Twitter at @meganangelo

 

 

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Coming Soon, Debut, Fiction, Relationship Stories, Romance

A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers.

Synopsis

The last thing top divorce lawyer Olivia Hamilton ever expected was to be served her own divorce papers! To escape her marriage troubles, she agrees to go on a year-long trip to find the ultimate guide to love.

Travelling the world, surrounded by stories of love and happiness, it’s not long before her thoughts turn to Nathan, her soon-to-be ex-husband, and she starts to take note of her own lessons in love…

But with Nathan over a thousand miles away, will it be too late?

Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Philippa Ashley and Caroline Roberts.

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My thoughts

This was such a delightful read.  Refreshing, charming and full of warm, loveable characters, I really enjoyed this debut novel from Rosie Chambers.

Olivia is a top divorce lawyer who has been working flat out for years to build her career and reputation.  Unfortunately this has all been done at the expense of every other aspect of her life.  Just a few days in to the New Year and Olivia  is delivered a life-changing blow in the form of divorce papers.  The man who she considered her soul mate has finally had enough.

Hopes of burying herself in her work to drown her sorrows are quashed when her boss enforces a sabatical to enable her to gain some perspective as well as a long overdue break.  The thought of a year with no work and no husband is enough to send her into despair but close friend Rachel offers a research job that involves travelling the world in search of the secret of lasting love.  And so, Olivia embarks on an adventure that begins in Malta, with stops in Hawaii, Copenhagen and Singapore, before ending in the city of love itself, Paris.  Will she finally discover how to find and hold on to love?  Or has she spent too much time working and left it too late?

I enjoyed this so much.  It was the perfect antedote to those post Christmas blues.  I absolutely loved following Olivia on her journey and Rosie has done a brilliant job of making me feel I was alongside all the way in each and every one of the fabulous locations.  This is a lovely upbeat story that will warm your heart and soul.  A brilliant debut from Rosie, I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Thank you so much to HQ Stories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me a digital copy via Netgalley.

A Year of Chasing Love is published by HQ Stories in digital on January 6th and paperback on the 19th of March 2020.

You can follow HQStories on Twitter at @HQStories

About the author

Adult Fiction, Bookish Post, Coming Soon, Crime, Fiction, Ghost Stories, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

I Am Dust by Louise Beech

It’s always a thrill to receive an early reading copy of a book. It’s especially thrilling when it is written by an author that never fails to excite, interest and sweep you away in the pages of her novel. Louise Beech is one such author and so you can imagine how delighted I was to receive an early proof of I Am Dust just before Christmas. I could have devoured it in one sitting but I wanted to take my time to enjoy her beautiful writing and as always she does not disappoint. I love the fact that each and every book Louise has written seems to creep into another genre but at the core of it all sits a brilliant story with engaging characters that will stay with you long after the final page has been turned.

Synopsis

When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Not all drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe is watching…

My thoughts

So this is the first novel I finished reading in 2020. The whole premise was exciting to me and I couldn’t wait to read it. Sometimes, no matter how high your tbr pile, a book refuses to sit quietly and wait it’s turn. It whispers to you. ‘Read me, read me now,’ until you succumb to the call and begin to read. I Am Dust did that to me and I couldn’t resist it’s call. This has proved a perfect start to 2020 and most definitely a hard act to follow.

Unnerving, scary, creepy and heartbreakingly sad, this atmospheric ghost story blew me away. Beautifully written, as always, with characters that reach right out of the pages and with who you feel a strong sense of connection. Good and bad you can’t help but feel drawn to them and their stories. Louise writes from the heart and sweeps you up within the arms of the story until finally releasing you after the last page. There is always a sense of loss whenever I reach the end of one of Louise’s novels. I hate to say goodbye to the characters, so brilliantly does she pull me in to their stories.

I Am Dust is a brilliantly atmospheric novel. The settings alone are perfect for the spooky suspense she invokes but along with the ethereal quality of the story, the ghosts that visit and the lines between this world and the next all come together to create something very special. A ghost story entwined with a murder mystery, who-dunnit combined with a tale of unrequited love, deceit and jealousy – quite frankly all the ingredients for a wonderful read that will pull at your heartstrings. I was a teenager in the 80’s where there was also a fascination (and fear) of ouija boards. They felt dangerous and something that shouldn’t be played around with and this evoked all those feelings.

No matter what the subject matter Louise’s novels are incredibly moving, I especially love the way she looks deep into the relationships between women in her novels: lovers, mothers and daughters, friends and enemies. Our closest confident could be our greatest danger. Yet she also shows great tenderness within each of these relationships.

I Am Dust will be published by Orenda Books in eBook on 16th of February and then in paperback on April 16th. Yet another treasure for my bookshelves and one I wholeheartedly recommend.

Thank you so much Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy.

You can follow Louise Beech on Twitter at @LouiseWriter

You can follow Orenda Books on Twitter at @OrendaBooks or visit their website by clicking here.

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Coming Soon, Thriller

The Home by Sarah Stovell

Today I’m delighted to host the blog tour for the latest novel from Sarah Stovell, The Home.

Synopsis

A gritty, dark and harrowing psychological thriller, The Home is also a heartbreaking drama and a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live… if they are allowed to live at all…

When the body of a pregnant fifteen-year-old is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For she lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them, cloistered away…

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations…and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

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My thoughts

Wow this is an incredibly moving novel, full of love, kindness, hatred, hurt, pain, self preservation, and evil. An everyday evil that has nothing to do with spirits or serial killers but an evil that is born from life experience.  Sarah is a superb writer.  She constructs stories that have the power to bring you to tears, break your heart, terrify you but keep you reading on.  She writes beautifully and yet also has the sharp edges required to portray the harsh plot lines exploring a part of society that perhaps we prefer not to see.  Visiting these damaged characters was an incredible experience.  My heart broke for them and still they have stayed with me, as through their eyes I was reminded that even in the most dire of situations love can make the world a little brighter, if only for a short while.

The novel begins with a dead teenager and another who loved her fiercly and is left distraught.  But what happened on that fateful Christmas eve?  And who was resonsible. Sarah takes us through the story using multiple view points from the living and the dead. The lives of the three girls living at the care home are explored.  We discover what brought them to this place where perhaps they have managed to find a little peace and hope, no matter how shortlived.  There is not much joy to be found within this story but it is a stunning and powerful read.  If you enjoy a dark, engaging thriller then I recommend The Home and if you’ve yet to discover the writing of Sarah Stovell then do seek out a copy of Exquisite too.

Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to the team at Orenda books for sending me an early copy. I was a big fan of Exquisite and was so excited to read this. It was another superb read from this exciting author.

The Home is available now on eBook and publishes in paperback on January 23rd.

About the author

Sarah Stovell

1Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by the Sunday Times.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter at @sarahlovescrime.

About the publisher

Orenda Books

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.
www.orendabooks.co.uk
You can follow Orenda on Twitter at @OrendaBooks

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