One Law For The Rest Of Us by Peter Murphy #BookReview #BlogTour @noexitpress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #OneLawForTheRestOfUs

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When Audrey Marshall sends her daughter Emily to the religious boarding school where she herself was educated a generation before, memories return – memories of a culture of child sexual abuse presided over by a highly-regarded priest. Audrey turns to barrister Ben Schroeder in search of justice for Emily and herself. But there are powerful men involved, men determined to protect themselves at all costs. Will they succeed? Is there indeed one law for the rich and powerful, and one law for…?

I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for One Law For The Rest Of Us, the latest Ben Schroeder legal thriller by Peter Murphy. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I absolutely love legal thrillers and I am always on the look out for new authors so, when I found out that this was the sixth book in the series following criminal law barrister Ben Schroeder, I was surprised that I had not come across Peter Murphy’s work before. However, although this is the sixth book featuring this character, it works completely as a stand alone and I did not feel that I was missing anything from the plot by not having read the previous five books.

The novel follows the case of Audrey Marshall upon, who finding out her daughter has been abused at the boarding school she herself attended a generation before, she is flooded with memories of her own experiences at the school thirty years before and sets out to seek justice for both of them. However, she is thwarted at every turn as it becomes apparent that powerful people have very good reasons to stop her story ever seeing the light of day.

This is a UK-set legal thriller and deals with the ins and outs of trying to prosecute a case through the UK courts. Fans of John Grisham who are looking for his style of legal thriller where lawyers are forever breaking the law and getting involved in car chases and gun battles won’t find that here. The UK legal system is far more reserved and refined and British barristers a much more genteel and old-fashioned breed who wouldn’t consider doing anything so vulgar that would set their powdered wigs askew. That is not to say, however, that the book lacks thrills and suspense because it does not. The action and tensions is more cerebral in nature, though, as it takes the form of pitfalls and frustrations by trying to pursue justice through the courts.

Frustration is, indeed, the main driver of this book. By the end, I was almost screaming, my nerves twanging with tensions as Audrey and her daughter are thwarted at every turn by people high up in the executive who have vested interests in stopping their case succeeding. The fact that this is all too likely and plausible, makes it even more maddening, and you will be glued to the page, willing her lawyers to find a way through the maze of obstacles erected against them to get justice for the family. If you like a properly argued legal thriller, you will love this book but your nerves will be tested.

The plot, although clearly fiction, does have echoes of recent scandals in this country and may be triggering for some readers. It does give a good insight into the workings of the English justice system, and how it is not a perfect system for delivering justice. The author has a legal background, so it able to make the writing feel very authentic, although there is obviously poetic licence taken for the sake of the plot.

The book is populated by an intriguing mix of characters, it is very well written and easy to read and is not too filled with jargon, so will be appealing to non-lawyers. I think it is an excellent addition to the genre and I will definitely be going back to check out the other titles in the series by this author. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys legal dramas.

One Law For The Rest Of Us will be published on 13 December and you can pre-order a copy here.

To read more reviews of this book, please follow the blog tour as detailed on the poster:

One Law For the Rest of us Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

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Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He has written seven novels: two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve; five historical/ legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, A Higher Duty, A Matter For The Jury, And Is There Honey Still For Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr and Calling Down the Storm. He is also the author of Walden of Bermondsey and Judge Walden: Back in Session and Judge Walden: Call The Next Case, which is due to be published in 2019.

Peter Murphy will be appearing on BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Cambridge, BBC Radio West Midlands, BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC radio Manchester this summer as part of promotion for his Walden of Bermondsey series.

Connect with Peter:

Website: http://www.petermurphyauthor.co.uk

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The Silent Dead by Graham Smith #BookReview #BlogTour (@GrahamSmith1972) @Bookouture #NetGalley #TheSilentDead

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He’d found an angel for his collection. But one angel at a time was never enough…

Detective Beth Young has just joined the Cumbrian major crimes team when a body is found posed in a ritualistic manner – arms spread and graceful wings attached – at a crumbling castle in the hills of the Lake District.

The entire police force are on red alert. But Beth begins to feel she’s the only one who can follow the disturbing clues left by the twisted killer. Because she doesn’t think like everyone else. To Beth, crimes are puzzles she can solve. Even if real life is a little harder.

As more bodies are discovered in derelict stately homes across the Lake District, she knows she’s in a race against time.

But the killer is looking for another victim to add to his collection… Will Beth be able to save her? Or will he get there first?

I am delighted to be on my second blog tour this year for Graham Smith for the first in his new crime series set in the Lake District. The Silent Dead is the first book in a new series which features young, female detective Beth Young. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for my place on the tour and my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Can I just say how much I love the cover of this book? Gorgeous colour and very atmospheric imagery. Great job by the Bookouture cover design team.

I really enjoyed my first book by Graham earlier this year (you can find the review of that here.) but this is something very different. The first in a new series, it features brand new DC Beth Young, who is in her first week as a member of the FMIT (Force Major Investigation Team) and she is a fascinating character to be the focus of the book. Extremely bright and ambitious, but unsure of herself and her place in the new team and carrying scars, literal and metaphorical, from an attack in the past, she is a riveting conundrum of a character and I was eager to learn more about her throughout the book and see how her relationship with her colleagues develops. It was a very interesting dynamic, seeing someone so new in her job and relationships with her colleagues, and I very much enjoyed this aspect of the book. The author does a wonderful job of giving us some insight into Beth but leaving tantalising details to be teased out in future books.

Beth is thrown in to the deep end as, no sooner is she in the job, the team is confronted with a murderer carrying out bizarre and ritualistic killings that seem to have no pattern or motive for them to fix on. We are then given certain aspects of the book from in the minds of other characters, including the killer and a potential victim. I have to say that I was quite confused at certain points in the book as to whose perspective we were looking at things from between two unnamed characters. I am sure this was deliberate on the part of the author as a method of deflection and deception as to who was carrying out the murders but I did get a little muddled in parts. There was absolutely no way I had any clue who was doing what and why until right at the end, so it worked well as a book giving us the same perspective as he police have, as they seemed equally as baffled, but it did have me frustrated in parts as I felt we were scrambling around in the dark!

The plot is very twisted in this book, with a very disturbed killer and a lot of violent and graphic imagery which is intimately described. Not a book for a reader looking for a gentle Agatha Christie-type mystery, but if you like your crime gritty and dark, you will enjoy it. The brutality of the murders forms an interesting juxtaposition against the picturesque Cumbrian setting, and the whole book works really well from that perspective.

This book kept me intrigued and on the edge of my seat all the way through. I love the new protagonist in Beth Young and will definitely want to read the next book she appears in. Great work by the author, I highly recommend it.

The Silent Dead is available now by following this link.

Make sure you check out the rest of the tour for this book as detailed on the poster below:

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About the Author

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Graham Smith is the bestselling author of four explosive crime thrillers in the Jake Boulder series, Watching the Bodies, The Kindred Killers, Past Echoes and Die Cold. Watching the Bodies spent over two weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and Amazon CA charts. Graham is also the author of the popular DI Harry Evans series and has collections of short stories and novellas. His latest novel – The Silent Dead is published by Bookouture and set in Cumbria / the Lake District, featuring DC Beth Young.

He is the proud father of a young son. As a time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well-respected review site Crimesquad.com since 2010.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.

Connect with Graham:

Website: https://grahamsmithauthor.com

Facebook: Graham Smith Author

Twitter: @GrahamSmith1972

Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett #BlogTour #BookReview @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #SmallTownNightmare

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A young drifter is in deep trouble, his sister is his only hope…

Lucy’s younger brother has gone missing. When she sets out to find him, the trail takes her to Night Town. It’s a rural backwater deep in the forests of south western Australia.

Lucy tries to enlist the help of the local police, but she is met with hostility. She befriends a man who might help her cause. Yet he is not quite who he says he is.

As the locals begin to resent her presence in the town, danger quickly mounts. The town has secrets and they seem to centre on the enigmatic Samuel Nightmesser, its wealthy benefactor.

What connects her missing brother to this grim boondock? And why do the townsfolk want rid of Lucy?

As the story unfolds we are immersed in a creepy, claustrophobic drama in which everything is at stake. If you like books with a strong female lead that keep you on the edge of your seat, you’ve found your next favourite read.

I’m delighted to be rounding off the blog tour today for Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willetts. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles blog tours for asking me to take part and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Well, this book does exactly what it says on the tin! The story of Lucy who is looking for her missing drifter brother in a tiny, remote rural town in Western Australia and finds a horror more awful than she could have anticipated. The book was gripping from the opening pages to the end and kept up the suspense all the way through and anyone picking up the book because of the title will not be disappointed. The author really brought the environment and setting to life and I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the book, as it is not a place I have read much about, but is a harsh and barren land very fitting to the story.

The author has set the book in a town where community are close-knit and suspicious of outsiders and, as the story is kept largely within its confines, we feel intimately the constrictions of the setting which gives an intense sense of claustrophobia to the story and heightens the tension to almost unbearable levels, particularly towards the end of the book. There were plenty of moments which had my nerves jangling and would be ‘peeping from behind a cushion’ scenes if this were a TV drama.

The book was well-plotted and had a surprising narrative, one which some people might find disturbing as parts of it involve fairly graphic examples of torture and violence. There is a theme of sadism and disturbed mentality in the book that will not suit everyone but makes for a compelling story for the reader. Lucy is a strong protagonist, which is always a pleasure in a book, although I did find her very reckless and naive to a degree that didn’t quite ring true for an investigative journalist if you really stop to examine it closely, so it requires a suspension of disbelief. Quite why she trusted one particular person so quickly and readily, given the circumstances, was the main sticking point for me.

The one other issue I had with the book was that I felt there were couple of loose ends which were adequately explained for me which left the book slightly hanging. I one way, the ending was great and exactly right and the motives of the main antagonist were clear but there were some developments at the end which happened rapidly and weren’t fully fleshed out and left me guessing. This may have been deliberate but it left me feeling faintly dissatisfied with that particular thread. It is hard to say more without giving away the plot so I apologise if this doesn’t make too much sense. You’d better read the book yourselves and then come back and tell me if you know what I mean and whether or not you agree!

This book is quite a quick read, but packs a lot of punch into the pages and definitely is one I would recommend. It was tense, disturbing and gripping thriller set in an environment not much written about and the author really captured a sense of menace and insularity in the pages. A worthwhile read.

Small Town Nightmare is available now and you can get a copy here.

To get a range of opinions on the book from my fellow bloggers, make sure you check out the rest of the blogs on the tour:

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About the Author

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Anna Willett is the author of Backwoods Ripper, Retribution Ridge, Forgotten Crimes, Cruelty’s Daughter and the best-selling thriller, Unwelcome Guests. Her new release, Small Town Nightmare is available on Amazon. Raised in Western Australia Anna developed a love for fiction at an early age and began writing short stories in high school. Drawn to dark tales, Anna relishes writing thrillers with strong female characters. When she’s not writing, Anna enjoys reading, travelling and spending time with her husband, two children and their dogs. 

Connect with Anna:

Website: https://www.annawillett.info

Facebook: Anna Willett

Pinterest: Anna W Author

Goodreads: Anna Willett

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Her Last Move by John Marrs #BookReview #BlogTour (@johnmarrs1) @AmazonPub @EmmaFinnigan @damppebbles #HerLastMove #damppebblesblogtours

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“She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?”

This is my first book by John Marrs, I am embarrassed to admit. I know, I know, I should have read The One by now, everyone I know has raved about it, and I do have a copy sat on my shelf but I’ve just not got round to it yet. Having read this book and given the standard of the writing, I’ll have to move it up the TBR pronto.

This book is a breath-taking rollercoaster of a police procedural that kept me on my toes the whole way through. Honestly, every few pages there was a new plot twist that had me exclaiming ‘What?” and ‘No, that can’t happen!’, sometimes out loud. Lucky I’m on my own a lot otherwise people might have thought I was going a bit mad. (Actually, maybe that’s why I’m on my own a lot, constantly muttering to myself over books, I’ll have to watch it).

The book starts with a bang as we are launched straight into the mind of the killer, which is not the most relaxing place to be as the author has managed to create an extremely twisted mind to perpetrate the crimes in the book and he doesn’t pull any punches with the gruesome action right from the beginning. A seemingly random set of murders in quick succession leave the police, and the reader, scratching their heads as to what is the connection between and the motive for the murders. As we get alternate chapters from inside the mind of the killer, we have a better insight and a few more clues than the police but it is still baffling and kept me guessing all the way through.

The police woman at the forefront of the investigation is a young DS who is a single parent struggling to juggle home life and work and trying to make her mark in her job. Fortuitous timing leads to a toe hold in the investigation which she believes could be the big break she is looking for, but how can she square this with meeting the needs of her family? I thought Becca was a wonderful character that I could relate to very easily and this made the book all the more compelling as I was willing things to go well for her.

My favourite aspect of the book, though, was the involvement of DS Joe Russell, who is one of the Met’s ‘super recognisers’ – police men who have a photographic memory for faces and can be seconded to an investigation to help track down a perpetrator. I found the whole process behind his involvement absolutely fascinating, and he was another complex and well-drawn character that made the story even richer and more engaging.

This book was so well plotted, I was carried along with the story with ease and the author is not afraid to make some tough decisions with the story and the characters that really took the book in unexpected directions and left me shaken and affected. The last third of the book was so exciting that I had to read it straight through without even stopping to make a cuppa (unheard of!).

This book was a fast-paced, gripping read that kept me guessing right to the end. What more could you ask for?

Her Last Move is out now and you can buy your copy here.

To get a range of reviews for this book, follow the blog tour below:

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About the Author

John Marrs

John Marrs is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a film with Urban Myth Films), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. 

Her Last Move is dedicated to John’s late father, Charlie, who was a police officer for 25 years.

Connect with John:

Website: https://www.johnmarrsauthor.co.uk

Facebook: John Marrs Author

Twitter: @johnmarrs1

Instagram: @johnmarrs.author

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The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer #BlogTour #Extract (@mark_farrer) @damppebbles #Giveaway #TheGoodTheBadTheRugby #damppebblesblogtours

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“Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.
Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.”

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer today, and this post is packed full of delightful things for you. I have an extract from the book, a link to a free download of the author’s previous book and a giveaway to enter. See, I’m really spoiling you today! My thanks to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part and to the author for allowing me to publish this extract from his book today.

Extract

“Big Paul was sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage. He was walking his dogs out over Minch Moor and the spring sunshine was unseasonably warm. As he walked, he was unconsciously playing fetch with his dogs. Ant would retrieve the scabby old tennis ball from the undergrowth and trot back to Paul with it in his mouth; Paul would extract the slobbering article from the dog’s soiled mouth and mindlessly throw it overarm, whereupon Dec would take up the chase, find the ball and bring it back. The three participants all knew their roles and played them on auto-pilot – the only difference being that whilst the dogs were having a rare old time of it, Paul was otherwise occupied. Whilst they happily snuffled and frolicked in the heather, weeing up against the small conifers, Paul had other things on his mind.

Well, one other thing.

Shirley.

Paul and Shirley had been a thing for over a year now and whilst all was lovey and, indeed, dovey on the surface, even Paul’s atrociously underdeveloped senses were picking up signs that Shirley was dissatisfied at the moment. What the problem was, and what he could or should do about it, however, were issues which completely evaded him.

He ran his mental slide rule over the problem at hand. First off, he obviously couldn’t ask her what the problem was. Noooo. Schoolboy error. Asking a woman what the matter was merely opened you up to an accusation that you were insensitive, unfeeling or insufficiently engaged in the relationship. A man should know what the problem was – since, usually, it was the man that was the problem.

On the other hand, maybe he could resolve the situation by buying her some flowers. Didn’t even matter, then, if the problem was real or all in his imagination. Flowers would fix it, if it existed; if it didn’t, she would love them anyway. What woman doesn’t love flowers? 

That’d sort it. If he had money. 

Flowers were expensive and right now Paul had a minor cashflow problem. Again. Buying flowers was a ten pound solution to a five pound problem. He tried to recall when he’d last bought Shirley flowers. Her birthday, was it? Shit! Had he missed her birthday? No, that was September the somethingth. He made a mental note to see if he could somehow pry free the actual date from her later.

Anniversary then? How long had they been together now? He couldn’t recall buying her anything for an anniversary, or celebrating one with her. And he’d have remembered if Shirley had proudly presented him with a card and a gift one day only to discover that he had no clue what was going on. He’d not forget a real dignity-stripper event like that.

So there was still time. Cool! He didn’t know how much time, right enough, but he wasn’t too late. That in itself was a novelty he was prepared to relish while it lasted. Pleased with this mental exertion, he corralled his dogs off the moor and onto the track heading down to the car park. So, if their anniversary was coming up. And he had no money. What exactly was he going to do?

“No.” Cullen had said.

“Why not?”

“Neither a borrower or a lender be.”

“But it’s only a few quid! I’ll pay you back.”

“That is not the point.”

“Well, what is the point?”

“I’ve just told you.”

“Aw, fuck.” Paul’s huge shoulders heaved beneath his black T-shirt. “You realise this’ll ruin me and Shirl?” Cullen remained impassive while Paul rumbled around the sink and poured boiling water from the kettle. “It’s alright for you. You don’t have a partner. You don’t have to consider anyone ‘cept yourself. Me and Shirl – we’ve got a good thing going here. Don’t want to fuck it up.”

“In that case you should have thought about buying her an anniversary gift.”

“I have! That’s why I need the money.”

“Beforehand.” Cullen emphasised. “It’s called budgeting. Planning. Thinking ahead.”

“I am thinking ahead.” Paul slopped a mug down in front of Cullen. “I’m thinking of what it’s like trying to find a potential partner once you’re past forty.”

“By a considerable margin.”

“Alright, Methuselah. I’m still younger than you.”

Cullen regarded the muddy liquid in the mug in front of him. “I didn’t want tea. You know I don’t drink tea.”

“Well I’ve made it now so get it down you.”

Cullen took a sip and grimaced. “What is this?”

“I’ve told you. It’s a nice hot cup of tea. Get it down you.”

“Hmm. Let’s not be so free and easy with the noun tea here, shall we?”

“Thought you said you didn’t drink tea?”

“I don’t.” Cullen put the mug down. “And I’m not going to. I think what we have here is… a cup of hot. Let’s just leave it at that, hmm?”

“Everyone’s a critic.” Paul snarked. “Look. My point is, once you get past forty, finding a potential partner… it’s like trying to find a parking space in Sainsbury’s. They’re either taken, handicapped, or w-a-a-a-a-y out there.”

“Like I said. Thinking ahead. You should try it sometime.”

“Thanks, pal. Thanks a fucking lot.”

Cullen sighed and looked at his friend thoughtfully. “You know what you should do?”

“No.” Said Paul. “What?”

“Trust the soup.”

Trust the soup was Paul’s unofficial motto. His official motto was: Ah, That’ll do.

What trust the soup boiled down to was: don’t worry, be happy, something will turn up, the universe will provide and everything will be alright, you’ll see. Paul had, it was true, come to rely upon this to the extent that he  repeatedly pushed the very fabric of the universe to its limits, in attempting to fulfil its duty to provide. But it usually came through, so Paul continued to push, while the universe continued to heave and sweat and toil and still, somehow, deliver. If Paul had been a reader of management theory (or, come to that, a reader), he would have realised that what he had managed to do – very successfully – was outsource the need to worry. To the point where the outside observer might even replace the term outsource with the verb abdicate.

He unlocked his van and slid the door open for his dogs to leap in but only Dec obliged. He sat obediently on the dirty towel, draped over a couple of bags of finishing plaster, while Paul did his best to wipe most of the mud off his legs and belly. 

“Ant, mate?” Paul looked round. “Here boy!”

When the dog didn’t materialise, Paul gave a loud whistle and looked back up the hill to see if he had absently left him stranded somewhere on the trail. He heard a series of barks behind him and turned to spot a tail stump wagging excitedly in the bushes at the edge of the hard scrabble area.

“Mate!” Paul shouted, but Ant resolutely stayed put. Paul let out a deep breath, pointed at Dec to stay, and strode over to the bushes.

Ant was scratching around in the dirt and when Paul pulled him away he saw a glint of gold shining up through the soil and brambles. He reached down and picked up a dirty sack with a torn neck and peeled back the sacking to reveal a large silver trophy on a mahogany base. It was inscribed The Ladies Cup, Melrose Rugby Club and some smaller cursive writing that Paul’s eyesight couldn’t make out. 

Ant returned his nose to the shallow hole and continued scrabbling and scooping earth back between his hind legs. 

“Mate! Come away. I think you’ve found the treasure.” He reached down and grabbed Ant by the collar, dragging him out of the bushes while the dog continued to resist. When Paul had wrestled the determined creature back into full daylight he saw more gold glinting in the dog’s mouth. He held Ant’s snout and put his fingers into the dog’s mouth to prise its teeth apart. What dropped into his grimy hand was a necklace on a gold chain. The pendant on the necklace was a gold disc with S S on one side and a centred H on the other. Paul flicked it with a finger and the small disc spun quickly round, creating the appearance of a single side bearing the initials SHS.

Well, bugger me, thought Paul. SHS. Shirley Harriet Simpson.

The soup had truly outdone itself this time.”

If this has whetted your appetite for more, you can order your copy of the book here.

And if you would like to take advantage of a free download of Mark’s previous book, Dirty Barry, you can find that link here.

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Giveaway

As if all that wasn’t enough, we have a giveaway of 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, all you have to do is click on the Rafflecopter link below.

Please note this a UK only giveaway.  The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer.  There is no cash alternative.  The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018.  Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn.

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To read some reviews of The Good, The Bad & The Rugby and other great content, check out the rest of the blog tour on the poster below:

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About the Author

Mark Farrer

Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Connect with Mark:

Website: http://markfarrer.com

Facebook: Mark Farrer

Twitter: @mark_farrer

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Purgatory Hotel by Anne-Marie Ormsby #BookReview (@AMOrmsby) @crookedcatbooks #HalloweenReading #booklove #PurgatoryHotel

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“Dakota Crow has been murdered, her body dumped in a lonely part of the woods, and nobody knows but her and her killer.

Stranded in Purgatory, a rotting hotel on the edge of forever, with no memory of her death, Dakota knows she must have done something bad to be stranded among murderers and rapists. To get to somewhere safer, she must hide from the shadowy stranger stalking her through the corridors of the hotel, and find out how to repent for her sins.

But first she must re-live her life.

Soon she will learn about her double life, a damaging love affair, terrible secrets, and lies that led to her violent death.

Dakota must face her own demons, and make amends for her own crimes before she can solve her murder and move on.

But when she finds out what she did wrong, will she be truly sorry?”

Having been offered the chance to review this book, I decided it would be a good one to read around this time of year when we are all looking for something spooky or scary to get our pulses racing as the nights draw in and, having read it, I can confirm it will definitely do that, but it also offers so much more than simple scares.

This is an intelligent book, which explores a lot of fairly existential questions in a really innovative storyline and I was very drawn in to the story and the questions raised, to the extent that I am still thinking about some of them today. The story is quite disturbing, as you would expect from the cover image and the blurb, and it does not pull back from giving you uncomfortable and graphic detail, but it is not sensationalist for the sake of it. There is a point to everything in the story, and a very provocative and inciting point which I really enjoyed about the book.

The setting is a hotel in the Afterlife where people who have done bad things in their life on Earth are stranded, trying to work out what they did wrong and how to atone for their crimes so they can get to Heaven, so this place is full of the worst people who lived on Earth and many of them are really not interested in atoning at all. Dakota is stranded amongst these terrifying people, unaware of what has happened to her and desperate to find out what happened so she can get out. But sometimes the truth hurts.

The author manages to build a very disturbing and sinister world in this hotel that will work its way under your skin and into your subconscious and give you the creeps. I was reminded strongly of the Hotel Cortez in Season 5 of American Horror Story. But more than that, the process that Dakota has to go through after death was ever more chilling and raised the hairs on the back of my neck as I read this under the covers.

One minor issue I had was that the book possibly started to drag in places three-quarters of the way in when I would have liked more drama and less of the reading, and I think the author could have gone even further with some of the interactions with the other patrons of the hotel, to really bring the horror of this place to life. I also felt that the storyline regarding Danny was slightly too much of a coincidence and could have been omitted without affecting the book at all. However, this did not really detract from the overall power of the book for me and I was gripped from start to finish.

The author was very skilled in her use of imagery and language to bring this original world to frightful life and the characters were really well-developed and authentic, despite being deeply flawed. I really believed in them, even though they were in a largely fantastical environment. The story development is skilful and the overall book works really well. I can highly recommend it. It would particularly appeal to fans of Stephen King, I think; someone who is looking for a horror story with a little bit more to it.

Purgatory Hotel is out now. To get it in time for Halloween, order it here.

About the Author

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On a warm day in July 1978, a mother was admitted to hospital, awaiting the arrival of her new baby. She was reading Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and the midwives thought it a gruesome choice for an expectant mother. A story of a long forgotten murder and repressed memories. As it turned out her new baby, Anne-Marie would grow up and find herself drawn to all things macabre, and would one day herself turn out a story of murder and memories lost.

Anne Marie grew up on the Essex coast with her parents and six siblings in a house that was full of books and movies and set the scene for her lifelong love of both.

She began writing short stories when she was still at primary school after reading the book The October Country by Ray Bradbury. He was and still is her favourite author and the reason she decided at age 9 that she too would be a writer someday.

In her teens she continued to write short stories and branched out into poetry, publishing a few in her late teens. In her early twenties she began committing herself to writing a novel and wrote one by the age of 20 that she then put away, fearing it was too weird for publication.

She wrote Purgatory Hotel over several years, but again kept it aside after several rejections from publishers. Luckily for her, she found a home for her twisted tale with Crooked Cat Books.

Her favourite authors include Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Denis Lehane and Douglas Coupland. She also takes great inspiration from music and movies, her favourite artists being Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Johnny Cash, Interpol, David Lynch and David Fincher.

Anne-Marie moved to London in 2008 where she lives to this day, amidst books and DVDs, with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Anne-Marie:

Website: https://www.annemarieormsby.com

Facebook: Anne-Marie Ormsby

Twitter: @amormsby

Instagram: @pirateburlesque

Goodreads: Anne-Marie Ormsby

Tempted by…On The Shelf Reviews: Before I Trust You by Daisy White @DEWhiteAuthor @JoffeBooks @ljwrites85 #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #Blogtober18 #BeforeITrustYou #TheRubyBakerMysteries

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DO YOU LOVE GRIPPING MYSTERIES?

Then discover Ruby Baker, a young woman with a talent for uncovering the truth.

Rita Stonehill runs in front of the horses on a sunny day at Brighton racecourse. Why did she kill herself and is there more to it than meets the eye?

Ruby Baker is shocked to witness this dramatic event. Rita’s brother thinks she was murdered, but there’s no evidence to suggest that.

It seems like an open-and-shut case of suicide, but as a sordid love triangle emerges, Ruby concludes that someone wanted Rita dead.

Ruby plunges into the glamorous world of horse racing to discover the truth. This is her most dangerous case yet and Rita’s death strikes very close to home for Ruby.

And then Ruby’s best friend Mary has her whole life turned upside down.

Today, in my series showcasing books I have bought as a result of the persuasive powers of my fellow book bloggers, I have Before I Trust You by Daisy White, which I discovered by reading this review by the lovely Lorna on her blog, On The Shelf Reviews. Lorna’s blog is a fairly new discovery for me, but I quickly became a subscriber, as I find her reviews very detailed and honest, and we seem to have similar views on the books we have both read. Plus, she is an extremely supportive blogger who I love having in my circle.

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover image (I know, I know..never judge a book,,yada, yada, yada. I often do, sorry, not sorry. Covers matter, peeps!) I have a thing for carousels; I absolutely love them. I have to jump on as soon as I see one. I have a book plotted out which centres around one. Did I mention I love carousels? I also am a huge fan of books set in the world of racing. Once I had read the review, getting the book was a no-brainer. I haven’t read the first two Ruby Baker mysteries but Lorna said this can be read as a standalone, so I’m looking forward to getting to it soon.

Please do go and check out Lorna’s original review, and have a look around her wonderful blog while you are there. And if you are tempted by this book, as I was, you can get a copy here.