Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Razia by Abda Khan

Today I’m delighted to be the final spot on the Random Things Tours #BlogTour for Razia by Abda Khan.

From the exclusive residences of Knightsbridge to the filthy brick kilns of Lahore, Razia reveals the human cost behind a world of glamour and wealth. Written by the lawyer, domestic violence campaigner and novelist Abda Khan, it gives a unique insight into global power and corruption as they impact on one young woman’s life. Did you think that slavery is something that only happens to other people in faraway places and distant times? Read Razia, and think afresh.

Farah is a young lawyer living and working in London. She’s just ended a long relationship, and her parents are looking for a husband – whether Farah wants one or not. So far, so normal. But at a work dinner, hosted by a dangerously powerful man, she comes across a young woman called Razia, who Farah soon realises is being kept as a domestic slave.

The novel follows Farah’s daring investigations from the law courts of London to the brick kilns of Pakistan, uncovering the traps that keep generations enslaved. She encounters deep-rooted oppression and corruption everywhere she turns; when the authorities finally step in, their actions have tragic results.
Farah teams up with a human rights lawyer, Ali, and the two become close… but can she trust him; can they help Razia and others like her; will they ever discover the explosive secret behind these disastrous events?

Razia is a literary novel based on years of research, but with the pace and intrigue of the best kind of thriller. Abda writes with authority, sympathy and a heart-stopping plot that will have readers gasping until the very last page.

This is Britain’s darkest secret, made human. This is Razia’s story.

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‘The Home Office estimates that there are currently around 13,000 slaves in the UK, though other sources suggest this is a gross underestimate).’ – Can you even imagine it?  When you hear the word slave you think of the past before those oppressed and forced into servitude were made free.  I know that is naive and  that possibly, at times, I look at the world through rose-tinted glasses but I was shocked when I read this.  I mean this is in the UK! Really!  I was compelled to read more and so I embarked on Razia’s story.

Abda’s careful consideration and research is evident throughout the novel.  It is a thrilling yet disturbing read.  She shows us the stark contrast of the very rich, powerful and corrupt, to the victims who suffer at their hands; the victims who desperately need someone to fight their corner. Farah is a muslim women raised in the UK.  She is strong, independent and has a loving family behind her who are willing to let her live her life the way she sees fit… within reason.  She is supported and has been raised with empathy and kindness.  As she begins to uncover more and more about Razia and the suffering she has experienced it puts her own difficulties and concerns into perspective and she embarks on a dangerous journey from London to Pakistan as she seeks to bring justice and freedom for Razia and her family.

Abda brings the streets of Pakistan to life showing both great poverty and wealth.  For a young muslim woman there is danger around ever corner and as Farrah seeks to take on the rich and powerful she risks everything to help Razia.

It is an interesting journey, and at times chilling, as you see just how brutal human beings can be to one another.  I did enjoy this novel and it took me somewhere that I have never been before and made me question the things that are sometimes hidden away from view.  Corruption is an evil that can seep it’s way into the most powerful and it take bravery to take it on.

Published to coincide with World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July, Razia is a novel that reminds us that slavery is still very much a part of our present no matter how much we try to keep it buried in the past.

About the author

Abda Khan

1-8Abda Khan is an author and lawyer, and a passionate advocate for women’s rights. She won the Noor Inayat Khan Muslim Woman of the Year Award 2019 and was highly commended in the 2017 NatWest Asian Women of Achievement Awards in the Arts & Culture category.

Her first novel, Stained, was published in 2016. She writes fiction that deals with challenging and often taboo subjects, such as rape and ‘honour’ abuse (as featured in her novel Stained), and modern day slavery in Razia.
Abda also undertakes voluntary work as a Trustee with Birmingham & Solihull Womens Aid, as a mentor, and as a Lloyd’s Bank Women of the Future Ambassador. She is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issues she writes about, and to empowering others, as a speaker engaging with schools, youth groups, women’s organisations, community groups, prisons, and community radio and television. – excerpt taken from Unbound

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn

Today I am thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn.

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Ever since Tom started his new school, something’s changed. He doesn’t seem like my little boy anymore, and I’m frightened…

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For Lizzie Riley, switching her eight-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation and outstanding results, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home.

But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds and inside, there are bars across the classroom windows.

Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember anything about his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And when Lizzie tries to question the other children, why do they seem afraid to talk?

Tom’s new school might seem picture-perfect. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving…

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A chilling psychological thriller for anyone who loved Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie and The Couple Next Door.

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Oh. My. God.  That was the only words that came to mind after I finished this very excellent thriller.  It literally had me on tenterhooks throughout. Lizzie is running from Ollie, her violent ex-husband.  Both she and six year old Tom are moving on and starting again where he can no longer hurt them.  Starting again isn’t easy though but Social Services has secured Tom at the local academy school, a school that has excellent reputations – and should be a safe haven for Tom.  There’s a lot of things that start to ring alarm bells for Lizzie though and she begins to feel that the happy, healthy child she knows and loves is disappearing.  Something is going on inside those walls and she’ll do anything to get to the bottom of it.

I read this pretty much in one sitting.  It was absolutely gripping and, as a mother of a young boy, absolutely terrifying but I just could not look away.  There is a sense of menace and tension running throughout and so many twists and turns!  I was absolutely stunned as the ended unfolded and things became clearer.  I honestly did not see it coming.  I felt so wretched for poor Lizzie and what she was going through.  The School and it’s slightly sinister staff added so much suspense and a little fear to be honest.  We send our children off to a place where we expect them to be protected and what if that trust was abused?  Social Services and their difficult job was also very well portrayed in exhausted, work stretched Kate.  Without wanting to give to much away I will say that the small note she held towards the end sent an absolute chill down my spine.

This is a chilling read that was completely absorbing and one that I thoroughly recommend.

Don’t Tell Teacher is available on both Audiobook and eBook.  The paperback edition is published today! (July 11th 2019).  Go get it!

About the author

Suzy K Quinn

91d4yprsxEL._SY200_Suzy K Quinn is a British fiction author, and writes in three different genres: psychological thriller, comedy and romance.

She was first published by Hachette in 2010 with her debut novel Glass Geishas (now Night Girls), then self-published a romance series, the Ivy Lessons, which became an international bestseller and a #1 Kindle romance bestseller in the US and UK.

After her second daughter was born in 2013, she self-published the Bad Mother’s Diary series, which also went on to become a #1 Kindle romantic comedy bestseller.

Suzy K Quinn’s novels have been translated into 7 languages and her books have sold over ¾ million copies worldwide.

Suzy lives in Wivenhoe, Essex, with her husband Demi and two daughters, and travels to Mexico every year to write and study Mayan story telling.

Suzy loves her family, friends and readers, but when pushed to add more to the list, she also loves travelling, food and alcohol.

Visit Suzy’s website for more info on her numerous books (and a free one!) www.suzykquinn.com
You can follow Suzy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzykquinn
You can follow Suzy on Twitter at @suzykquinn

 

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

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

Today I’m delighted to take part in the blog tour for Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland.

 

Keep You Close is the heart-pounding, twisty follow up to Need to Know, one of 2018’s biggest thriller debuts.

‘A strange sensation runs through me, a feeling that I don’t know this person in front of me, even though he matters more to me than anyone ever has, than anyone ever will. ‘

You go into your son’s bedroom. It’s the usual mess. You tidy up some dirty plates,

pick up some clothes, open the wardrobe to put them away.
And that’s when you find it. Something so shocking it doesn’t seem real.

And you realise a horrifying truth…
Your own son might be dangerous…

Karen Cleveland brings her trademark themes of domesticity and deceit to bear in this gripping new stand-alone thriller that will make you question how much you really know about the child you raised.

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Goodness, this was super thriller with lots of twists and turns along the way.  Steph is an FBI agent woking Internal Affairs, picking up enemies along the way but driven by her pursuit to protect the innocent from the bad.  But what happens when the bad guy appears a little too close to home?  Suddenly she is filled with fear in the one place she should feel the safest, with the one person she knows the best… or she thinks she knows the best.  As her life begins to unravel Steph is forced to face the reality that her son might juts be a stranger to her and that the past always has a way of catching up with you.

This is a taught, highly charged thriller and one I thoroughly enjoyed.  As a mother I really felt for Steph.  We worry that our children will slip away from us but she faces a parents worst nightmare and some.  Karen carries the tension right the way through and has you wondering just what else Steph has to lose before this thing is finally over.  I have to say that after much consideration of ‘what would I do?’, I have to say I probably would have done exactly as Steph did in the end.  And I’m kind of hoping there might be more to come with this story…

A perfect summer read, it will keep you reading late into the night.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

Keep You Close is published by Bantam Press (a division of Penguin Books) on June 27th 2019 and is available in both print and eBook, and also on Audible.

About the author

Karen Cleveland

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Karen Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA analyst, focusing on counterterrorism and working briefly on rotation to the FBI. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin and Harvard University.  She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young sons.

 

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen

Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen, yet another cracker from fabulous Orenda Books.

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and
comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so
soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their
participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that
Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.
While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that
there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the
victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking
results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

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It begins with our protagonist experiencing an unnerving event where he gets run off the road. Was it just a reckless driver or did they intend to cause him harm. He’s on edge as he knows of two others tied up in his past recently ‘died suddenly and unexpectedly’. So what is waiting in his past that could cause someone to want him dead? Veum takes us back to when he was falsely accused of child abuse. Two out of three men accused and convicted are now dead and so Veum begins to wonder if his near miss is related. Someone wants vengeance and the past is hurtling back to haunt him!

I love the way Gunnar has written Veum. His voice is incredibly clear and the style has the feel of an old gangster story but Gunner has brought it bang up to date. The subject matter has the perfect balance of being a strong part of the plot but not gratuitous or over done. The tension is there from the get go and continues well throughout the novel. Veum is concerned for his own safety but as he digs deeper and deeper he begins to uncover events that not only put his own safety at risk but also of those closest to him. Can he discover who is behind the threat before him in time or will he still be forced to pay for a crime he never committed.

A thrilling and gritty read that is another great addition to the name Nordic Noir.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and to the wonderful team at Orenda for the review copy.

About the author

Gunnar Staalesen

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One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Suspense, Thriller

The Body Lies by Jo Baker

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Body Lies by Jo Baker.

When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget.  But despite the distractions of a new life and single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle.  To make matters worse, a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group.

When a troubled student starts sending in chapters from his novel that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognises herself as the main character in his book – and he has written her a horrific fate.

Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it’s too late?

At once a breathless battle-of-wits and a disarming exploration of sexual politics, The Body Lies is an essential book for our times.

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I don’t think I’ve ever felt such fear for a character.  There is something deeply unsettling within this story.  From the very beginning there is a sense of menace deep rooted within and the tension gradually builds and builds until I could hardly bear it.  For the Friends fans amongst you, there was a point where I considered putting the book in the freezer!

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In all seriousness though this is a riveting read.  Afterwards I thought about how much it had got into my head, how much I actually felt as though I was living the story.  The story is written in a first person narrative.  We watch things unfold as our protagonist does.  We go through the first attack and then everything else that follows.  It was intense.  But it wasn’t just this that made it feel so intimate.  It was only afterwards that I realised that I never even knew what this characters name was.  I looked back through, perhaps I’ve missed it but even now she is nameless.  This is one of the things that made me feel so involved,  I couldn’t segmentize her in my mind as Paula or Emma or whoever.  This had an incredibly powerful effect at pulling me into the story and really living it with her.  Superb.  As I drew closer and closer towards the end it made me smile at the cleverness of this author and the way she writes.

The story itself is dark and delves into the effects of writing.  It is often wondered where writers come up with their stories and some consider that there must be an element of truth there and this story touches on the brilliantly.  Jo uses it as another form of harassment.  Yet of course writers are not actually always writing from experience but this novel just goes to show the power stories and words have.

As the synopsis says The Body Lies  is heavily influenced by sexual politics.  As I read I found myself watching the errors of judgement that our narrator took and wanting to say ‘no, no, no’, to stop the fallout I could see coming.  However, it’s easy to judge when looking in from the comfort of your safe, warm, home how we possibly should react in such circumstances.  Yet our narrator is kind, thoughtful and simply trying to do her best with whatever is thrown at her – she really is not deserving if what happens to her.   But I do think that Jo’s message here is important.  Quite often women are held at fault for things that are out of their control: a situation taken advantage of, the fear of reaction and how to deal with something that you want to just ignore and hope will fade away but feels like a ticking bomb.  This is what forces so many to remain silent. The reaction of how others perceive what is happening is key and can make circumstances even more difficult.   Of course what happens here is extreme but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t women suffering a similar fate.  I’d say that this novel is a lesson in speaking up and remembering that violence or abuse it is never okay.

All in all this is a thrilling, gripping read where there are moments that you may want to look away…but you won’t be able to, not until you turn the very final page.

The Body Lies has been published by Doubleday, an imprint of Penguin Books.

Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and for sharing with me this sleep-depriving read. :). I loved it.

About the author

Jo Baker

1-2JO BAKER is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling LONGBOURN and A COUNTRY ROAD, A TREE. Her new novel, THE BODY LIES, is a thrilling contemporary novel that explores violence against women in fiction but is also a disarming story of sexual politics.

Jo Baker lives with her family in Lancashire.

 

 

You can follow Jo on Twitter at @JoBakerWriter

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

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou – blog tour 14th June

Today I am delighted to host the blog tour for Laurie Petrou’s debut novel, Sister of Mine.

TWO SISTERS.  ONE FIRE. A SECRET THAT WON’T BURN OUT.

The Grayson sisters are trouble.  Everyone in their small town. knows it.  But no-one can know of the secret that binds them together.  Hattie is the light.  Penny is the darkness.  Together they have balance.

But one night the balance is toppled.  A match struck.  A fire is started.  A cruel husband is killed. The potential for a new life flickers in the fire’s embers but resentment, guilt and jealousy suffocate like smoke.

Their lives have been engulfed in flames – will they ever be able to put them out?

Stepped in intrigue and suspense, Sister of Mine  is a powerhouse debut; a sharp, disquieting thriller written in stunning, elegant prose with a devastating twist.  And of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies  and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door will be utterly absorbed by this compulsive novel.

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Well this is certainly an engrossing read and a gripping debut from Laurie Petrou who sets the scene with unwavering tension that continues throughout the entire novel.  You are constantly just waiting for the truth to be spilled, for some further tragedy to occur and everything to come tumbling down.  Our narrator is Penny, abused by her husband and one day she snaps and he dies in a fire.  She shares her secret with younger sister Hattie and it’s only through the course of the novel that we find out what really happened that night.  Their secret begins to eat a whole in their quiet life. Of course secrets always have a way of being found out and this one might just tear them apart.

To be honest I can’t say I liked either sister very much but I was compelled to follow their story, I knew there was more to the fire that killed Buddy, the abusive husband, and of course there was.  The relationship between the sisters is intense, toxic and seems to burn all those who come within reach.  Sister of Mine is a well written debut that has a sense of menace running throughout, an eerie tension that pulls you into the story right until the very end.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

Sister of Mine is published by No Exit Press.

About the author

Laurie Petrou

1-5LAURIE PETROU has a PhD in Communication and Culture, and is an Associate
Professor at Ryerson’s RTA School of Media in Toronto, where she is also the Director
of the Masters of Media Production program. She has given several TEDx talks on
subjects including gender and rejection. Laurie was the inaugural winner of the Half
the World Global Literati Award in 2016, a prize that honours unpublished work
featuring female protagonists, for her novel Sister of Mine. She now lives in a small
town in Ontario wine country with her husband, a wine maker, and their two sons.

You can follow Laurie on Twitter at @lauriepetrou

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Suspense, Thriller

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

She thought she would never go back… 

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. Her father. Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.
With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her. And when Ailsa confronts the first nighttime intruder, she sees that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything…

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Ooh this was a gripping novel.  Creepy house, strange goings on and an absent father make up for an interesting, and at times unnerving read.  It’s wonderfully plotted and paced, keeping you riveted until the very end.  There is a sense of the paranormal going on and at times I wondered why the hell Ailsa was hanging around there, she’s made of tougher stuff than me that’s for sure.  This is one of those reviews where I really don’t want to give much away as it’s a a joy to see the story unfold before you.  However I will admit I am a bit of a sucker of story where a house is almost a character in itself and Lexie builds up the atmosphere brilliantly here.  I absolutely love a few shocks along the way and The Missing Years certainly saved the best for last.  Lexie had written a fabulous novel that I couldn’t put down.  It’s still making me smile.  A deliciously creepy, thrilling read that will make the perfect pool side companion this summer.

Thanks so much to Anne Carter for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

The Missing Years is published on June 6th by Corvus Books.

About the author

Lexie Elliott

1-4Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was The French Girl, which was published by Berkley in February 2018.

When she’s not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won’t be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won’t be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn’t out of the question.

Find out more about Lexie on her website: www.lexieelliott.com

You can find Lexie on Face book at http://www.facebook.com/lexieelliottwrites
You can follow Lexie on Twitter at @elliott_lexie

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