Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Thriller

In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone.  This is an absolute must read for lovers of psychological thrillers.

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Synopsis

In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive
and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…

My thoughts

‘Superb’ springs to mind when I think of how to describe this novel.  It’s an absolutely chilling read and right from the moment John discovered that single, mysterious shoe I was absolutely enthralled with the story.  Any parent will admit that a child disappearing is their worst fear.  never knowing what happened to them?  How can anyone deal with such a thing?  And yet there is so much more to this story then that.  The mystery surrounding the family is intriguing and throughout the novel a darkness is hinted at with whispers of memories hidden, memories that are bound to erupt above the surface leaving catastrophe in their wake.

John is an interesting character and you know that there is so much going on there, he is struggling with something but he doesn’t know what.  All he knows is that drink and avoidance keep him sane. He craves normality.  A good job and a woman to love but something is holding him back.  The self destruct button is never far away.   Life begins to spiral out of control as he begins to investigate a brother he has no memory of.  So what happens when the memories can no longer be avoided, what happens when they begin to return?

This was a fantastic page turner and one that I really didn’t want to put down.  Another fantastic novel from the team at Orenda Books and another author that I can add to my ‘must read!’ list.

Thank you so much to the lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Orenda Books for my review copy.  Another absolute cracker you guys!

About the author

1-1Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

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Adult Fiction, Crime, Fiction, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

Summer Reads – The Closer I Get

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting. I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations. (Don’t forget to check back through my July post for further summer reading recommendations)

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Adult Fiction

Here’s the synopsis:
Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one `like’ away…

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Now, I know I have only posted my review for this quite recently (do have a read of it here) but it really is a super novel and I so wanted to include it in my summer recommendations.
The Closer I Get was published in July and is available in paperback, eBook and on Audiobook. Visit the Orenda website here for more information but it should be available in any good bookshop.

Paperback ISBN: 9781912374779

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Read it already? Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for the rather excellent The Last Stage by Louise Voss

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At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now she lives incognito in a cottage on the grounds of Minstead House, an old stately home, whilst working in the gift shop. Her past is behind her and she enjoys her new life.

But a series of inexplicable and unsettling incidents have started to happen around her – broken china, vandalised gardens… And when a body is found in the gardens of Minstead House, Meredith realises that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is and who wants to destroy her…

A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Final Stage is a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.

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There is such a wonderful amount of thrilling crime novels in out midst at the moment that you would be forgiven for feeling spoilt for choice, The Last Stage, however, is one you must not miss. There is an underlying sense of menace from the very start and Louise brilliantly builds the tension steadily as the novel moves on. At times she has the ability to create a kind of stillness that almost makes you feel as though you are holding your breath before the next devastating scene unfolds.

Meredith Vincent has a colourful past. After living in the public eye as the lead singer of a popular indie band back in the 80’s she is now enjoying a life of obscurity managing the gift shop in a historical house. No-one recognises her and that’s the way she is keen to keep things. Her past is not a place she wants to revisit and most certainly she doesn’t want to be found by the one person who nearly took her life one terror-stricken night over twenty years ago. Unfortunately Meredith soon discovers that the past has a way of catching up with you – especially when someone has vengeance on their mind.

The isolated setting of a stately honest time full to the brim with visitors and yet at others completely devoid of life provided an impressive and atmospheric backdrop for events to unfold. Strange happenings that couldn’t quite be explained and could initially be shrugged off but actually became much more sinister and unsettling as the story moved on.

The Last Stage is a brilliant murder-mystery come psychological thriller. The effect of events on Meredith kept me on edge throughout as her past came hurtling into her present. There was a sense of the inevitable upon finding the body but from there on the twists and turns kept me completely engrossed in this thrilling read. I whole-heartedly add this to my list of Summer Reads and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thank you so much to the lovely Anne Cater of Random Things Through My Letterbox, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to the fabulous Orenda Books for sending me the review copy. As always the quality of their fiction is top notch!

The Last Stage was published on July 11th and is available in paperback, on eBook (currently 99p on Amazon) and on Audiobook (I would imagine this is fantastic to listen to!)

About the author

Louise Voss

img_0231Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one bestseller in eBook. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at www.thewritingcoach.co.uk. She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime- writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

 

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Adult Fiction, Fiction, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

Summer Reads – Call Me Star Girl

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Adult Fiction

 

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Here’s the synopsis:

Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

With echoes of the Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

From the critically acclaimed author of Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost…

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This has got to be one of my favourite reads so far this year (and I’ve read some blooming outstanding books!) I read and reviewed this on Tales at the beginning of the year so please do check out my review here.  This is a brilliantly constructed and taut thriller, and I absolutely loved it.

Call Me Star Girl  was published in April and is available in paperback, eBook and on Audiobook.   Visit the Orenda website here for more information but it should be available in any good bookshop. 

Paperback ISBN: 978-1912374632

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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Adult Fiction, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

Summer Reads – A Matt Wesolowski Triple!

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

I’m doing three books in one this time!  Because once you’ve read the first you won’t be able to stop… and why on earth would you!

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Book 1

Adult Fiction

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Here’s the synopsis:

One body. Six stories. Which one is true?

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…

As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.

A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

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Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Book 2

Adult Fiction

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Here’s the synopsis:

A family massacre. A deluded murderess. Five witnesses. Six stories.

Which one is true?

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

As King unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.

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Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Book 3

Adult Fiction

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Here’s the synopsis:

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the Wentshire Forest Pass, when a burst tyre forced his father, Sorrel, to stop the car. Leaving the car to summon the emergency services, Sorrel returned to find his son gone. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel, his son and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. He takes a journey through the trees of the Wentshire Forest a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there. He talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know where Alfie is…

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

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All three books have been published in hardback by Orenda Books and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of them too if they don’t already have a copy.). All three are also available on both Audio and eBook.

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Read them already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

 

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston. I’ve been so excited to read this! It’s been calling me from my tbr list for some time now. I urge you not to delay though and go grab yourself a copy today. It’s brilliant!

Tom is a successful author, but for the first time in his life, he has writer ’s block. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone. Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her sick father and her social media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has. When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world collapses, whilst Tom is free to live his life again, and to
concentrate on writing. But things aren’t adding up. For Tom is also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he’s powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk on the other side of a screen…

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There is a real buzz around this novel and oh my does it deserve it. This is surely one of THE psychological thrillers of 2019. The book that everyone would have (SHOULD HAVE) read. It is absolutely gripping and each and every narrative we have is totally unreliable. Even now, my mind is still racing, I’m not quite sure what I think of these characters and their side of the story.
Tom is a bestselling author, his second novel bombed and he’s feeling the pressure to come up with something spectacular for book three. Yet something sinister is brewing on social media, a place that feeds insecurities, egos and yet encourages relationships with complete strangers; allowing them into your life, into your home. Who can you really trust? Tom is, unfortunately, someone who is rather wrapped up in himself and tends to use and disregard those he allows briefly into his life. He soon learns that this careless attitude will soon come back to bite him.

I’m actually not sure who I felt sorry for at the end of this novel. It really hits on how social media can feed on mental health issues and how easy it is to invade someone’s life with devastating consequences. No longer is a figure lurking in the shadows required to fill us with dread and a feeling of intense unease. The internet has provided a whole new playground for those wanting to mess with our minds and even at times force us to question our own sanity. I found it an incredibly compulsive read, not knowing what was going to happen next but I could feel the atmosphere gradually increasing, as I watched Tom falling to pieces at the hands of Evie. There is definitely a touch of ‘Misery’ about this novel. Paul’s writing is smart and eloquent and his knowledge of music and literature seeps into the story. His characterisation is superb, to the point where I was obsessed with discovering what becomes of this group of characters.

Paul has captured a snapshot of our modern world perfectly with the issues of online trolls and witch hunts, as well as making us question freedom of speech and if there are actually any lines left to cross – it seems to be getting harder to distinguish the truth from a lie. The Closer I Get also highlights the danger we can place ourselves in when we engage with strangers who we know very little about. I’ve always found social media a very tricky space and try to be mindful that a comment once left is very difficult to remove, even after it’s been deleted. The damage is done in a nanosecond and what previously would have been only a drunken memory to cringe over has suddenly become something that snowballs and imprinted forever in our browser history.

This was a wonderfully intense and thrilling read. It’s left me with questions and a desire to read again right from the start to see the clues and try and distinguish what was real and what wasn’t. This is a fabulous summer read that will suck you in and keep you turning ‘just one more chapter’. A book to fall into and you won’t be able to climb out until you reach the final twist sitting quietly right at the brilliant, unforgettable end.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy. Yet another scorcher from Orenda!

About the author

Paul Burston

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Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television. He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”. He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari Prize.

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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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