Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Suspense, Thriller

We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla.

Think Contagion meets The Da Vinci Code in the next heart-stopping
thriller from the internationally bestselling author Daniel Kalla.

A critically ill patient lies dying in a remote town in Italy. Alana Vaughn, an infectious diseases expert with NATO, receives a desperate call – she must fly to Italy
immediately and confirm what everyone already suspects… that the dying woman has the plague, a merciless disease that kills in days.

When Alana arrives, her worst fears are confirmed. But the patient isn’t just dying of the plague – she has the strain of the plague known as the Black Death, one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, which eight hundred years ago killed more than a quarter of the world’s population. And if Alana and her counterpart at the World Health Organisation, Byron Menke, can’t track down the source of the disease…then it will be the end of them all.

We All Fall Down Cover

I thoroughly enjoyed both The Da Vinci Code and Contagion so this novel appealed to me straight away and I wasn’t disappointed!  We All Fall Down is as fast past and deadly as the plague that sweeps through Genoa and beyond.  We begin on the construction site where an old monastery has been pulled down to make way for a new development.  An old monk turns up on a daily vigil to the site with warnings of the consecrated ground they are working on.  The workers pay no heed and carry on with their work until one collapses, coughing up blood.   So begins a disease that spreads with unrelenting speed; children, adults, men, women and even animals are struck down.  The World Health Organisation begin to investigate alongside NATO. Dr Alana Vaughn comes to the conclusion that the victims are suffering from The Black Death.  The question is not only how to stop it but if they even can? They need to find out where and how a disease centuries buried came to be. It’s a race against time as the disease spreads further and further, killing without discrimination.

This is an absolute page turner that I couldn’t read fast enough.  It filled my sleep with dark shadows and even when awake my mind kept returning to the story as I eagerly awaited my next opportunity to read on.  Daniel also takes us back to the 14th-century as the Black Death tore the small town of Genoa apart.  Can it survive a second time?  Indeed, can the world?  Thoroughly recommended and I will definitely be seeking out more by Mr Kalla.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

We All Fall Down has been published by Simon & Schuster.

About the author

Daniel Kalla

Daniel Kall Author PictureDaniel Kalla is the international bestselling author of Pandemic, Resistance, Rage
Therapy, Blood Lies, Cold Plague, and Of Flesh and Blood. His books have been
translated into eleven languages, and two novels have been optioned for film. Kalla
practices emergency medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Visit Daniel at danielkalla.com and follow him on Twitter at @DanielKalla.

 

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

55 by James Delargy

Two Suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints. 

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers – he was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim. Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55. Gabriel is the serial killer. 

Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins needs to find out who is telling the truth – and quick. He is forced to call in Mitch, his former partner and now insufferable superior, a partnership which dissolved in acrimony years earlier. Can Mitch and Chandler uncover the truth, before the 55th victim is taken?

James Delargy has written one of the most exciting debuts of 2019. He masterfully paints the picture of a remote Western Australian town and its people, swallowed whole by the hunt for a serial killer.

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Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for 55 by James Delargy.  I can’t believe that this is actually a debut!  It’s very well plotted and shows incredible promise from this new author.  I can’t wait to see what he brings us next.

For a brief time we enter the small, remote town of Wilbrook.  A community where the local police sergeant knows all his residents.  His small team are like a second family to him and life is quiet.  That is until one day Gabriel walks in to his station claiming to have escaped from a serial killer, a man called Heath.  Of course things become complicated when a man called Heath arrives at the station claiming that Gabriel kidnapped and tried to kill him.  This is what we do know as we go into the story and James skilfully carries us through, leading us to conclusions and then shattering them along the way.  The twists and turns kept me on my feet and although I thought I knew what was going on, he made me constantly doubt myself right the way through.  It made for exciting reading.

I was immediately on Chandlers side and I can’t tell you how many times I would have quite happily punched Mitch in the face.  His arrogance, lack of empathy and the underhand way in which he treated Chandler, left me wondering just what had gone on between these two men who had once been ‘friends’.  As the story unfolds we also flash back to a time when both men were newly instated as officers and worked together on a case searching the harsh Australian outback for a lost teenager.  That case had a lasting impression on both men and it’s not surprising that it now comes back to haunt them.  However, no one could have foreseen the devastating consequences that it would have brought so many years later as Chandler and Mitch attempt to put their issues aside and work on this new case.  Old ghosts are hard to bury though and soon the investigation becomes personal and very deadly.

The two suspects also made a lasting impression and my mind changed on many occasions as to which one was the guilty party.  Now it’s not often that I get spooked by a book whilst reading during the day but this one certainly had me on edge.  Snuggled up on my sofa, alone in the house and suddenly every creak and groan of my surroundings became an ominous sign.  My pulse raced and yes I was very nervous when nature called and I had to venture upstairs. I had to check EVERY ROOM for goodness sake.  This is an absolutely riveting read and one that had me on the edge of my seat right from the very start. The ending left me with my heart in my mouth as James tormented my imagination right to the very last word. I’m thrilled to discover that there may be a film adaptation and hope that comes to fruition.  I urge you to read 55 and thoroughly recommend it!

About the author

James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives.  He incorporates his diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing.  55 is his first novel, which has been sold in 19 countries so far and optioned for film by Zucker Productions in partnership with Prodigy Pictures.

You can follow James on Twitter at @JDelargyAuthor

For more information visit his website at Jamesdelargy.com

55 is published by Simon & Schuster  on the 4th of April. Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour which runs until the 10th of April.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Debut, Suspense, Thriller

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

Today I am thrilled to host the blog tour for The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North.  It’s a few days since I finished reading this and I’m still recovering.  Now that is a sign of a good read!

The Perfect Betrayal Cover

After the sudden death of her husband, Tess is drowning in grief. All she has left is her son, Jamie, and she’ll do anything to protect him – but she’s struggling to cope. When grief counsellor Shelley knocks on their door, everything changes. Shelley is beautiful, confident and takes control when Tess can’t bear to face the outside world. She is the perfect friend to Tess and Jamie, but when Jamie’s behaviour starts to change, and Tess starts to forget things, she begins to suspect that Shelley might not be the answer to their problems after all. When questions arise over her husband’s death and strange things start to happen, Tess begins to suspect that Shelley may have an ulterior motive. Tess knows she must do everything she can to keep Jamie safe – but who can she trust?

The Perfect Betrayal is a dark, emotionally engaging novel that asks:

Who can you trust in your darkest moment?

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This novel was not an easy ride I can tell you that. Right from the very start it had me on tenterhooks, unsure as to where it was leading. As a mum it’s a terrifying.  It’s so easy to put yourself in Tess’ position and I keenly felt her despair after the death of her husband and the absolute obsession with keeping her son safe from harm, her last glimmer of hope in a world gone dark with grief.

At first the arrival of Shelley seems like a blessing, a ray of light to help her through the darker days, but soon strange things begin to happen and Tess begins to become suspicious. Before long she’s fighting a desperate battle to keep her son with her, and keep him safe as she starts to suspect all is not as it seems with Shelley.

This is an absolute roller coaster of a journey and I felt helpless as I was carried along, watching events happen before me. I read to the end with a sense of horror and total fear for what was unfolding before me.   The ending was particularly good and has left a lasting impression.  As a debut this is a very bright start for Lauren and an absolute shocker of a psychological thriller (in a good way).

Thanks to Anne Carter for inviting me to be part of this Random Things blog tour and for arranging my review copy.

About the author

Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside.

Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C _North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Historical Fiction, Literary, Thriller

The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl

‘This is what dying is like, she thinks. You have gone and the world doesn’t care. You die and others eat pastries.’

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester ’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire. And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

Written with Dahl’s trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway’s most critically acclaimed authors at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrifying periods of modern history. With its sophisticated storytelling and elegant prose, this stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd.

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Now I read a LOT of books and a lot of good ones at that. That’s not a boast, it’s simply a fact. I’m not entering in to a ‘I can read the most books (smug face) competition’, it’s just part of what I do. My love of reading led me to study literature at degree level and come away with a first class distinction. I also worked in the book recommendation industry for a good few years, with an extremely knowledgeable mentor who had worked in publishing for years and years.  So in a (slightly smug) way I do consider myself to have some expertise on the subject.  I tell you this, not to show off or flex my ‘experience’ muscles but just to highlight that when I say The Courier IS A FANTASTIC BOOK… that it really is FANTASTIC.

Of course Kjell Ola Dahl’s resume speaks for itself.  He is an award winning writer whose work has been published in no less then 14 countries.  This is the first of his books that I have read and I can honestly say that he is an incredibly skilled writer.  This is even more evident thanks to the superb work of the translator, Don Bartlett. I was absolutely blown away by The Courier.

Each chapter moves back and forth between different points in the timeline. From war time Norway and Sweden to 1960’s and 2015 Oslo.  Now this technique is often used, but in this case it was used quite brilliantly. Each period guiding you through the story, building the suspense and tension, and carrying you on, always wanting to read just one more chapter, and then another and another…

This novel shows us the lingering horrors of war and oppression but it also highlights the crimes that go on in times of conflict, crimes that are equally horrific and can be used and distorted for others means, the real cause overshadowed and (almost) forgotten.

For me, as an English woman who had grandparents who lived through the horror and hardships of WWII, I find it incredibly interesting to read the view point of others. We all know the horrific persecution that many millions endured but I think at times we can be a little unaware as to just how far this actually spread out of Germany and France. It never ceases to move and horrify me.  In my naivety I never considered the idea of Jews suffering in Norway, so this novel has again imparted more about this part of history (a subject that one of my fellow bloggers, Victoria Goldman,  was moved to investigating further after also reading The Courier.  You can read her fascinating findings here.)

I grew up with World War Two as part of my history but a history that I was still removed from and experienced by others.  My grandparents chose not to talk about it and I wonder what horrors they themselves witnessed.  What stories they could have told, especially my grandfather who spent a time in a concentration camp – something he never discussed with us.

But this isn’t a story about concentration camps or soldiers fighting on the front line.  Within this story the war itself is a backstory. This is about those living with the war and the repercussions they feel in a time when Europe was filled with conflict and hate. This is the story of those fighting in a very different way and trying to survive against a force that is so evil and only intent on destroying everything in its path.

There are complexities to the plot but it is expertly built so it felt an easy read. Beneath the spies, the resistance, the gestapo and the war, there is the story of the murder of a young mother.  The crime remains, almost forgotten through time, but the truth will be revealed and I have to say that I for one didn’t see it coming.  It is shocking, compelling – A very excellent novel that I thoroughly recommend, not only as a piece of historical fiction but also as a thriller that will hold you spellbound until the end.

About the author

0One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

 

Thank you to the lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and to Orenda Books for my review copy.  It was absolutely stunning.

 

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Adult Fiction, Crime, ReadAgatha2019, Thriller

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

I have been following the official Agatha Christie website on Instagram and Twitter and their #readchristie2019 challenge in which they suggest a different Christie novel to read each month. In January they kicked the challenge off with The ABC Murders and I as I had been lucky enough to receive this beautiful hardback edition for Christmas so I happily jumped on board. I am a big Christie fan, watching countless TV adaptations, but as a reader I have read shockingly few of her actual novels and short stories. Time to rectify that me thinks.

If you’d like to join in with Read Christie 2019 then why not visit their website here and sign up for the newsletter.

The February book is The Giant’s Bread which Agatha wrote under the pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. I’m currently listening to that on audio book (my first!).

The March title is The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, the 8th Miss Marple novel and one that I very much look forward to reading soon. I have read none of the Miss Marple stories as of yet.

There has been much discussion and awareness about The ABC Murders after the recent BBC adaptation was screened over Christmas. This adaptation was my first experience of the story.

But before we get into the TV adaptation let’s talk about the novel itself…

It is not often that I read the book after watching the film or TV adaptation but I did on this occasion. I enjoyed all three versions but I have to say that it was wonderful to return to the original story, exactly how Agatha Christie wanted to tell it. Her writing is superb and I can see why her stories continue to inspire and engage. If you’ve never read a Christie novel then I urge you to pick one up. They are such a delight and she has a rather brilliant way of bringing humour and a lightness of touch to even the darkest of subject matter. They are, after all, jolly good crime novels, written to reveal the dark side of human nature but first and foremost to entertain…and that they certainly do.

The edition that I received is a stunning hardback edition published by HarperCollins. It is beautiful and certainly adds to the joy whenever picked up. I am hoping they may reproduce the entire Poirot collection in this format. I want to read each and every one. What a wonderful addition to the bookshelves that would make!

Now on to TV…

Now, I came to the conclusion long ago that when watching a film or small screen adaptation of a book it is best to view it, where possible, as a completely separate entity. Very rarely can they be the same. It is after all not (usually) written, directed or produced by the author. It is therefore a collaboration of opinions pulled together from an original story. Not one person will read a story in exactly the same way and when it comes to reproducing they will, of course, want to add their own touch to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sarah Phelps’ interpretation on the BBC. It was dark, brooding and kept me thoroughly gripped over the three nights. It has moved towards the slightly more gruesome side that TV seems to need these days. I mean why just batter someone other the head when you can literally decapitate them with a spade or leave them in a vast pool of blood after slitting their throat?

I also found the stereotypical chubby sister of the second murder victim, Betty Barnard, finding freedom from the shadows of her slim, beautiful sister a little unnecessary. The Megan Barnard of the novel was rather intelligent and interesting. We could delve deeper into why Sarah chose for the attractive, promiscuous sister to meet a gruesome end, and the sister who was presented on screen as over weight, drab and bitter, as the one who eventually finds freedom by escaping out the window (where on earth does she go!?) but that’s not for this blog to discuss today. Agatha has written many meek, forgotten women in her novels but they quite often tend to end up having strength simmering beneath the surface, as what is revealed is a strong, resilient (and at times calculating and murderous) woman. Perhaps this is how Sarah chose to portrayed this.

My only (slight) disappointments in this adaptation being the death of Detective Inspector Japp, the absence of Hastings, and the rather sad, lonely and humiliated Poirot that I couldn’t really see in the novels. Once I got over that though I became thoroughly engrossed. I did feel John Malkovich made an excellent Poirot and as the story progressed our beloved character did make a rather wonderful comeback. Saying that I do feel that losing the Belgium accent takes away part of the essence of the character (but I believe that was director, Alex Gabassi‘s call). You could say they have almost created a completely different Poirot.

The retelling as a whole did encourage me to look at Agatha’s books in a new light to see where Sarah’s inspiration came for the backstory and changes she chose to make. This is the wonderful thing about brokerage bringing these fresh adaptations to the screen. Not only do they bring a whole new audience to the stories but they make those of us familiar with the author and characters look at them with fresh eyes too. The acting and overall production was superb and I look forward to more from the BBC and Sarah in the future.

David Suchet – my Poirot

A few weeks after watching the BBC adaptation I settled down to watch the wonderful David Suchet take the lead in the investigation along with Hastings and, thankfully, a very fit and healthy Japp. I never tire of watching these versions and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have enjoyed each of the many different actors who have taken on the famous detective but Suchet is without doubt my favourite. He played the detective for 25 years and in an article in The Express is quoted as saying that whilst preparing for his role back in 1988…

I started to write my private list of Poirot’s habits and character. I called it my ‘dossier of characteristics’. It ended up five pages long and detailed 93 different aspects of life. I have the list to this day – in fact, I carried it around on the set with me throughout all my years as Poirot, just as I gave a copy to every director I worked with on a Poirot film.

I feel that he is possibly the truest Hercule to Agatha’s creation. He is a joy to watch and he is how I imagine Poirot to be when I read the books.

Are you taking part in Read Christie 2019? Which Christie novel would you most like to read this year? I’m hoping for Murder on the Orient Express. A story I know very well but still haven’t read.

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Thriller

The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes

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Today I am delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes. This novel is equally incredible and disturbing and without doubt will stay with you for a very long time.

Synopsis

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the carnage and detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them…

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.

And so it is, as post-war Europe tries desperately to drag itself back onto its feet, and soldiers attempt a return to normality, that retribution continues to ferment in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and beneath the surface of apparently ordinary lives.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

The Blameless Dead is an epic, compelling, edge-of-the-seat drama that sweeps the reader from twentieth century Europe to modern-day New York, taking in some of the most important events of modern history and exposing them in honest and unflinching terms. Part murder-mystery, part historical novel and shot through with adrenaline-pumping action, this novel superbly demonstrates that, while the hostilities may cease and the peace be signed, the horror that is war is never really over.

This novel is an incredibly brutal read. Gary’s writing technique is distinctive and rather unusual. At times blunt and cold, yet there was also incredibly beautiful descriptive passages which stood out amongst the dark story line. This style, I think, reflects the subject matter brilliantly. I found it an incredibly stirring read and quite difficult at times. It shocked me. The horrors arose from the outset and it wasn’t an easy ride but was nonetheless incredibly gripping.

There are so many layers to this novel and the story is built gradually, moving back and forth through different timelines. Characters damaged by the most heinous of acts that ricochet through generations, culminating in an explosive, emotional ending. Violence breeds violence and you wonder where it can ever end. Not for the feint-hearted but an important exploration of the effects of extreme trauma.

About the Author

Bestselling thriller, crime and historical fiction novelist published by HarperCollins/Endeavour Quill. Gary Haynes studied law at university before becoming a commercial litigator. He is interested in history, philosophy and international relations. When he’s not writing or reading, he enjoys watching European films, travelling, hillwalking and spending time with his family. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Fiction, Thriller

The Bridal Party by J G Murray

Today I am delighted to kick off the blog tour for The Bridal Party by J G Murray.  This is one chilling read!

WINNER OF THE DEVIANT MINDS CRIME THRILLER PRIZE 2018

Sometimes friendship can be murder…

It’s the weekend of Clarisse’s bridal party, a trip the girls have all been looking forward to.

Then, on the day of their flight, Tamsyn, the maid of honour, suddenly backs out. Upset and confused, they try to make the most of the stunning, isolated seaside house they find
themselves in.  But, there is a surprise in store – Tamsyn has organised a murder mystery, a sinister game in which they must discover a killer in their midst. As tensions quickly boil over, it becomes clear to them all that there are some secrets that won’t stay buried…

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From the very first page this novel grabs your attention with bloodstains and the creepy events.   Immediately the atmosphere is filled with tension but as you continue you are drip fed information leaving you on edge and unable to stop reading. We going a group of friends embarking on a hen weekend in Jersey.  A weekend of fun, drink and surprises all organised by maid of honour, Tamsyn.   However things begin to unravel when, at the last minute, Tamsyn in unable to make it.  Now it’s down to the rest of the hens to make sure the bride still has a weekend she’ll remember.

Things are looking up when they arrive at a luxurious, yet remote house with the promise of cosy, drink fuelled fun.  It’s not long before a series of events occur that leave the friends feeling uneasy and on edge, and what should be a fun filled girlie weekend becomes a fight for survival from an unknown predator. Desperate to keep their fearss from the bride, the hens try to keep the atmosphere light but there’s a growing sense of unease as small things start to chip away. It seems that events from the past are coming back to haunt them and being miles from nowhere, with no phone lines or internet connection, things begin to spiral out of control. This is quite a intense read and the end was brilliantly done, leaving me reeling with the after effects.

Allow yourself some me-time, this is a novel to curl up with and read in one sitting. Absolutely chilling. Sink into the atmosphere and be carried along on the ride.

About the author

J G Murray Author Picture

J G Murray grew up in Cornwall and, after a spell selling chocolates in Brussels, qualified as an
English teacher. Murray now lives, teaches and writes in London.

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for my review copy.

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