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, Crime, Thriller

One Way Out by A. A. Dhand

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the final day of the blog tour for the incredible One Way Out by A A Dhand.

The much-anticipated new Harry Virdee thriller from rising star A.A Dhand….

Bradford is Dhand’s city – he grew up there, studied there. He knows these streets as well as anyone. Tensely paced and characteristically meticulously plotted, One Way Out takes you into the dark heart of a city under siege..

A bomb detonates in Bradford’s City Park.

When the alert sounds, DC I Harry Virdee has just enough time to get his son and his mother to safety before the bomb blows. But this is merely a stunt.

The worst is yet to come.

A new and aggressive nationalist group, the Patriots, have hidden a second device under one of the city’s one hundred and five mosques. In exchange for the safe release of those at Friday prayers, the Patriots want custody of the leaders of radical Islamist group Almukhtareen – the chosen ones.

The government does not negotiate with terrorists. Even when thousands of lives are at risk.

There is only one way out.

But Harry’s wife is in one of those mosques. Left with no choice, Harry must find the Almukhtareen, to offer the Patriots his own deal.

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Oh. My. Goodness!  This book was amazing!  I read it on the train, couldn’t put it down and almost missed my stop!  It was completely absorbing and an absolutely thrilling read.   Right from the beginning the tension is there as we open on a bright, sunny day with families enjoying a film in the park.  Children are playing, there is laughter and fun being had, until that is, a security message flashes up on the screen just before all hell breaks lose.  Extremists are holding the city to ransom and Harry Virdee is drawn into a desperate hunt to find the leaders of a radical Islamist group.  There are of course many layers to this story and everything is not always as it seems.   A. A. Dhand brings a different perspective on racial relations, religious tensions and extremism to the streets of Bradford. It has you wondering who the bad guys actually are.

I absolutely loved Harry.  I loved him commitment and love for his family.  I was rooting for both him and his wife Saima.  And oh how I adored his mother.  Dhand shows us the conflict that often is faced both in and outside of family life and he made me really care about these characters.   Harry’s wife is in one of the mosques held under siege, the countdown is on and he suddenly needs his estranged family more than ever.  Life just became one big nightmare.  He needs to keep his head and more than anything he needs to find all four of the wanted men.  This is a complex, engaging thriller that I had be completely on the edge of my seat.  I completely lost track of time as I read on and on, each chapter drawing me further into the story.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and introducing me to this fantastic author.  I can’t wait to read his previous novels.

One Way Out by A. A. Dhand was published by Bantam Press on June 27th 2019 and is available in Hardback or eBook.

About the author

A A Dhand

1-9A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

 

 

You can follow A A Dhand on Twitter at @aadhand

Find out more on his website here.

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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, 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, Crime, Nordic Noir, Thriller

His Sweet by Hildur Sif Thorarensen

When small town sheriff Yolanda Demetriou comes to work that day, she has no idea what to expect from her new case – or the horrors that lie ahead.

What are the diary entries about? And who wrote them? When Sheriff Yolanda Demetrioy receives boxes of notebooks, she has no idea of the horrors that lie ahead.  Will she be able to piece together the information and locate the house where childhood dreams become nightmares? Or will she be too late to save an abducted girl?

In this dark psychological thriller, Yolanda and her team embark on a hunt for a monster, following maddeningly sparse clues in a race to solve a heartless crime.

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Hildur very Kindly sent me a copy of My Sweet to read and review.  It was a pleasure to receive such an intriguing package form Norway.  I do love Nordic Noir and so I was happy to dive in.  So did I enjoy?  Absolutely, I read it in one sitting.  Hildur is an interesting writer and I felt the technique of the using the victims diary entries along with the realtime investigation by Yolanda and her team to tell the story worked really well.

Yolanda is sheriff of Crowswood, Alabama, a small town with small crime.  So when a box of disturbing diaries are handed in that hint at a young child being held captive locally they all pull together to try and find her.  The content of the diaries lead them to believe that time is running out and it’s not long before the big guns from Washington arrive to give a helping hand in the hunt for the girl before its too late.  For Yolanda the case has become personal and she’s so eager to find and save the girl that she may just have put both herself and the victim in even greater danger.

An exciting and interesting new voice in Nordic Noir and one that I look forward to watching grow.

Thank you so much Hildur for sending me a copy.  I really enjoyed reading My Sweet.

My Sweet is now available on Amazon in both paperback and eBook.

About the author

81VyknWQgBL._US230_Hildur Sif Thorarensen was born in Iceland but is currently living in Norway. Although, spending most of her adult years at the University, she’s been writing ever since she was a little girl and alongside Medical studies and a Master’s in Engineering, has also taken a year in Creative Writing.

At the age of eight she started a neighborhood paper with her friend which was filled with short stories about the neighborhood, written by Hildur Sif. The girls sold the paper to the people living in their street and used the profits to buy candy, much to their parents chagrin.

Hildur’s way with words later led her into working as a journalist for a newspaper in the Westman Islands. There she was known as the optimistic girl because of her exuberant, cheerful spirit which always seemed to find its way into her work.

Her first novel was published in Icelandic at the end of 2016 and in English in 2018. Her second novel, My Sweet was published in November 2018.

You can follow Hildur on Facebook at hildursifthorarensen

You can follow Hildur on Instagram at hildursifthorarensen

You can follow Hildur on Twitter at hildur84

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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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