Blog Tour: Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst; Translated by Megan Turney #BookReview

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Oslo, New Year’s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion and the city is put on terrorist alert.

Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Semplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier … and never found.

Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia’s disappearance is not all that it seems…

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst, the second book in the Blix & Ramm series. Thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for asking me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I haven’t read the first book in the Blix & Ramm series (an oversight I intend to remedy soon, I have now downloaded it to my kindle for 99p!) but it did not impact my enjoyment of this book one bit. It was very easy to take stock of the relationship between the policeman and the journalist, and it was a fascinating and very effective dynamic in carrying the plot of the book.

It would be hard to think of a more dramatic opening to a novel that a bomb exploding in a crowded area just as people have gathered to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks, and we are immediately set on the road of following a terrorism investigation. However, when one of the survivors is identified as the mother of a missing child, a spur of the investigation leads to the opening of a cold case from Blix’s past, and we are taken on a wild and unexpected ride.

I am always fascinated by how two authors with their own individual voices and ideas manage to knit a book together without the join showing, and this is a particularly fine example. The writing flows perfectly, aided no doubt by the excellent translation by Megan Turney, and is surprisingly light and easy to read for a Nordic Noir novel. However, I don’t want to imply that this detracts from the tension in the plot, it doesn’t one bit, just that the book is an absolute pleasure to read and easily accessible to all, despite being translated fiction. I inhaled this in one single sitting and was very sad when it was done, hence the immediate purchasing of the preceding book.

The alternating between the points of view of Blix and Ramm worked really well to unveil different aspects of the case. Both individuals are invested in its solution for different, personal reasons, and I loved getting to know them both through their thoughts and actions. The relationship between the two of them is complicated as well, both personally and professionally, and the exploration of this adds another dimension to the story. Despite being easy to read, the book is complex and multi-layered, no mean feat to achieve for one author, never mind two working together. Or maybe two minds added an extra dimension – an interesting thought to ponder!

The plot of the novel was satisfyingly convoluted, I had no idea how it was going to pan out until near the end, so it gave my grey matter the workout I am always looking for in a good crime novel. I also really enjoyed the glimpses into life in Oslo; Scandinavia is an area of Europe I have never visited but which inches ever higher on my list of must-gos when the current pandemic is over. The book gave me everything I could want in a great read for an idle weekend – scintillating characters, a fiendish plot, tension and excitement both practical and emotional, and a visit to unknown shores. Ticked all my boxes, great stuff.

Smoke Screen is out now in ebook and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here. The first book in the series, Death Deservedis currently 99p on Kindle.

Please make sure you check out some of the other blogs taking part in the tour for this book:

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About the Authors

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved was Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller. They are currently working on the third book in the Blix & Ramm series.

Connect with the authors:

Facebook: Jorn Lier Horst / Thomas Enger

Twitter: @LierHorst / @EngerThomas

Instagram: @lierhorst / @thomas_enger_books

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Blog Tour: Seven Days by Michelle Kidd #BookReview

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One killer. One city. One week.

July 2012 and a serial killer is terrorising the streets of London. With the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games in just seven days time, Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh and his team at the Metropolitan Police have one week to find him. With the killer’s motives unknown, and a mysterious clue being left at each scene, the case takes on a menacing and personal twist. Distracted by his own demons, will DI Jack MacIntosh solve the case before it is too late?

The clock is ticking.
Tick.
Tock.

It’s my turn on the blog tour today for Seven Days by Michelle Kidd and I want to thank Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part and the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

A brand new detective series to me, I have to say that DI Jack MacIntosh is a great addition to the crime canon. This book was a fabulous thriller, set against the backdrop of a tense and claustrophobic London, sweltering under searing heat and almost boiling over with tension as the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games approaches. Against this simmering pressure cooker, Jack and his team are up against the clock to track down a serial killer who seems to be picking off victims at random.

Jack MacIntosh is a very relatable protagonist to carry the book. He seems very down to earth and approachable to his team, allowing them all to contribute and have their own ideas, which he takes seriously. He is obviously well regarded by his superiors, and has a cool relationship with his brother and other people in his life. I felt very affectionate towards him by the end of the book and would like to find out where his story goes from here. The details in the book about his past made me want to go back and read the first book in the series. In fact, I wish I had read the first book before I read this, as there were a few aspects of the book which would have made more sense with some of the back story, I think. However, I did enjoy it very much as a standalone.

The crime itself was baffling and intriguing at the same time. There was no obvious rhyme or reason to the murders and I could appreciate exactly why the team got lured down the false trails that they did. I fell into the trap more than once of believing it was going in a different direction, so the plot held me enthralled until the end and I didn’t guess where it was going before it was revealed. If I had a gripe, I wish there had been more details revealed at the end about the motivations behind some aspects of the killer’s behaviour, but I guess the reader is meant to draw their own conclusions about what happened and why.

There thread of the book involving DS Carmichael was a bit confusing, I wasn’t quite sure why it needed to play out the way it did, or what was the significance of one scene involving his and Jack’s pasts. I guess that maybe the first book might reveal more and I look forward to going back and catching up with that one. I do think the books would work best if read in sequence.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style, it is easy to read, captivating and flows easily. I liked her cheeky foreshadowing references to events that have happened since the book’s setting of 2012. I think she has a really great voice, and I will definitely read more of her writing, because there was nothing I didn’t enjoy about the book. I would just advise that you read the first Jack McIntosh book first. I’m off to download it to my Kindle right now.

Seven Days is out now in paperback and ebook formats and you can buy a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

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Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and had not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.

Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Michelle:

Website: https://www.michellekiddauthor.com/

Facebook: Michelle Kidd

Twitter: @AuthorKidd

Instagram: @michellekiddauthor

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Blog Tour: Gordon Square by Tracy Martin-Summers #Spotlight

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It is my turn on the blog tour today for Gordon Square by Tracy Summers-Martin and I am happy to be shining the spotlight on the book. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

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On a cold blustery November night, Detective Sergeant Mike Brugge and his partner Detective Constable Mel Bailey come across a girl, age unknown, in the parkland in Gordon Square. She was frail, malnourished, dirty and covered in excrement.

What had happened to this girl?Why was she covering down, shielding her eyes from the light, with a look of horror on her face? She appeared to be non-coherent, totally unengaged and would not speak to anyone. Nothing could penetrate the world where her soul had taken solace.

Mike and Mel set out to find out where she had come from and what had been per plight. Revealing hypnosis sessions allow them to glimpse some of her pain suffering.Follow their story deep into the horrors that unfold, causing chaos and turmoil among their own lives.

The detectives are about to discover a horrific, gut-wrenching story, that spanned over four decades. But will it end?

I’m shining the spotlight today on this thriller which has great reviews on Amazon and is described as a gripping crime novel with lots of twists and turns and relatable and likeable protagonists. The book is taking a tour, so make sure you follow some of the blogs listed below to read some reviews of the book for yourself.

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If you would like to get hold of a copy of the book, you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Tracy was born in Harrow Weald, Middlesex in 1964, growing up in a loving family home. She married her first husband in 1990, has two grown up children and a granddaughter.

She studied a variety of topics via module learning, embarking on City and Guilds and NVQ courses, ranging from a brief spell in hairdressing to administration and now works for a utility company in North West London.

Tracy has numerous hobbies consisting of landscape painting to landscape gardening and always likes to paint the scene, even if it’s changing the colour scheme, yet again, within her home.

Tracy has always enjoyed writing and used to write short stories for her own children’s amusement but it has only been in the last few years that she has taken this more seriously and has gone on to write her first debut crime detective Novel called Gordon Square.

Tracy Married her second husband in 2014 and now lives in Bedfordshire in a sleepy hamlet where she writes whenever she gets a spare moment.

Connect with Tracy:

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

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The Fiction Cafe Book Club Reading Challenge 2021: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman; Narrated by Lesley Manville #BookReview

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In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.

But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ finds themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing 80, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

It’s book three of the 2021 Reading Challenge for my online book club, The Fiction Cafe Book Club. The challenge is to read a new book every fortnight that fits the prescribed category for that two-week period. The third category is ‘A book by someone who is famous for something else.’

I have chosen The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, who is obviously better known for being the co-host of Pointless as well as presenting other TV shows. This was one of the biggest books of 2020 and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it!

I am often a little wary of picking up a book that has had as much positive hype as this had, for fear of being disappointed, but I have to say that I was charmed and delighted by this book, which gave me everything I was expecting and so much more. It is a fun, cosy crime novel, as you would expect from the blurb, infused with the humour of four OAPs investigating a crime in their retirement village, but it is also an affectionate and authentic look at what it means to get older and the challenges and obstacles that brings.

Four friends in a retirement village set up an amateur sleuthing group to mull over cold cases, details of which have, rather naughtily, been squirrelled away by a retired female Detective Inspector, who is now in a coma after a stroke. The remaining members recruit a replacement, just in time to investigate a real crime that lands on their doorstep, when a local property developer turns up dead. They employ all kinds of tricks and wiles to infiltrate the official police investigation (highly improbably, but this isn’t meant to be realistic in this regard, it is all very tongue in cheek) and exhibit some real ingenuity in cracking the case. The joy and gusto with which they embrace the investigation are entertaining to read about. Richard has created four different, realistic and absolutely delightful characters to take us through the story. They are very unlikely friends, but gel brilliantly together and I adored each of them. Man-mad Joyce, fiery ‘Red Ron,’ the ex-Union agitator, cerebral and methodical Ibrahim and Elizabeth, queen bee with a mysterious past in … well, we never quite know what it is she did, but their are hints from which we can draw our own conclusions. Age has dulled none of their faculties and, add to this their age-earned no-longer-give-a-toss attitudes and they are a force that no one can withstand, certainly not the unfortunate police officers who are given their ‘help’ in the investigation.

However, aside from the fun and games of the investigation, the book gently explores what it means to get older and the challenges that brings. Loss of partners and friends, memory loss, neglect by children, the feeling of being a burden, loneliness, being misunderstood and treated like you have suddenly become ‘less’ than you were before, are all explored here with kindness and care. Richard does not belittle or mock his characters for their ageing bodies or minds, he acknowledges that, whatever age you are, we are all the same inside and deserve the same care and respect, and that these people still have a great deal to offer society and the people they come into contact with. He offers them dignity, agency and excitement and we enjoy going along with them for the ride. He has really captured their voices, and the things that they care about (an obsession with cake being one!) and I just really loved his portrayal of them all.

This book is warm, fun, humorous, kind, enchanting, intelligent and entertaining. It was exactly the tonic I needed at the time I read it (during the grim, cold, dark January lockdown days) and left me with a warm glow at the end. I cannot wait for the second book to come out this autumn. Lesley Manville is the perfect narrator for the audiobook, she really brought the characters to life, and the audio version also includes a 45-minute interview of Richard Osman by Marian Keyes at the end, which was a bonus delight. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a bit of a lift.

The Thursday Murder Club is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Richard Osman is a British television producer and presenter. The Thursday Murder Club is his first and, so far, best novel.

Connect with Richard:

Twitter: @richardosman

Instagram: misterosman

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Blog Tour: An Eye For An Eye by Carol Wyer #BookReview

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A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for An Eye For An Eye by Carol Wyer. Huge thanks to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part and to the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the first book in a new series by Carol Wyer and it gets off to an explosive start, and then keeps up an intense pace from beginning to end. It is one of those books that you can’t bear to tear yourself away from until you have got to the bottom of the mystery, along with the detectives. The best sort of crime fiction in fact.

Here we have a book of two stories. The first is the crime happening now that DI Kate Young has been called back from sick leave to investigate. The second covers the traumatic events that lead to Kate being on leave in the first place and that she is still psychologically struggling to recover from through the course of the book. The way the second story is fed into the first through a series of flashbacks is handled well and is easy to follow, so does not impact the pacing of the book at all.

I found Kate a very sympathetic character, despite the fact she is going through something very unusual that few of us are likely to have experienced. It is obvious fairly early on what is troubling her, but this did not detract from the enjoyment of the story, it just makes the reader invest in wanting Kate to recognise her problem and find out how she is going to deal with it before it wrecks her career. The fact that she manages to work through a complex case and manage her team successfully whilst wrestling her internal demons makes her all the more admiral to the reader.

The case she is dealing with in real life is complicated and brutal. The murderer is using a particularly barbaric method of torturing and disposing of his victims, and all the investigative strands seem to lead to dead ends, which ramps up the pressure and frustration, felt by the police and consequently the reader. The fact that some of the clues point to suspects uncomfortably close to home, and the worries of her own small team about Kate’s mental fortitude leave her somewhat isolated, which only add to the pressure she is under. All in all, the stakes are high and there is no certainty in our minds that she won’t crack under the pressure.

There are enough red herrings sown throughout the narrative to send the reader down the wrong tracks, and I changed my mind about who the culprit was and their motives numerous times before the end of the book. I did reach my conclusion before it was revealed in the book, but not too far in advance that it spoiled my enjoyment and I was happy to be vindicated. I also liked the fact that the novel left some loose ends to interest me already in the next book and how Kate is going to tie them up. All in all, mission accomplished for the author as far as I was concerned.

This is a great example of detective fiction with a gripping plotline and an interesting new protagonist to lead the series, grappling with unique personal issues. Highly recommended for fans of the genre.

An Eye For An Eye is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

The book is taking a huge tour, please do make sure to visit some of the other blogs taking part:

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About the Author

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USA Today bestselling author and winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer writes feel-good comedies and gripping crime fiction.

A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in LITTLE GIRL LOST and demonstrated that stand-up comedian Carol had found her true niche.

To date, her crime novels have sold over 750,000 copies and been translated for various overseas markets.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband Mr Grumpy… who is very, very grumpy.

When she is not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

Connect with Carol:

Website: https://www.carolwyer.co.uk/

Facebook: Carol E. Wyer

Twitter: @carolewyer

Instagram: @carolwyer

Pinterest: carolewyer

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Spotlight: Leave Only Footprints by Nick Sands

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The year is 1972. Paul Sears is a young provincial reporter who drives around in a Morris Minor listening to pop music on his crackling radio. Keen for a break, his life revs into high gear when he stumbles across the scene of a brutal murder. Despite the carnage, his journalistic instincts kick in, his desperation to write a front page story to prove the doubters – including his nagging mother – wrong. 
 
When he’s embroiled in another fatal incident, he becomes convinced the killings are linked. With police efforts floundering, Paul vows to uncover the perpetrators and make the streets safe again. However, this is a path from which there is no easy escape. Sinking fast and realising that he has not only put himself but his young family in danger, Paul must make a choice. When a trusted friend becomes the prime suspect for the police, Paul knows there is no going back. As the gap between him and the killer narrows, a disturbing question forms: who is hunting whom?
 
Time for another spotlight on one of the new books recently published by Matador, and today we are turning our attention to Leave Only Footprints by Nick Sands, a crime thriller set in the year I was born!
 
You can buy a copy of the book in either paperbook or ebook format here.
 
About the Author
 
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After graduating in Philosophy, Nick Sands joined a Canadian aluminium company as a Press Officer. This was not his first media job. Before that he had been the voice behind the microphone at Lord’s cricket ground.
 
He has had articles published in many technical journals and also in the national press. After obtaining an MBA and several years as a company director, he has taken early retirement to focus on writing. This is his debut. He is based in Nottingham.
 
Connect with Nick:
 
 
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Book Review: A Favor for a Favor by Nat Chelloni

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“Forget favors given; remember those received.” – John Wooden

A time for love can’t be more deadly…

Julia Leonardi thought she put her past behind her. The widow of a mobster, all she wants is to steer clear of the criminal elements. Then she meets Domenico Bonacci…

Dom is handsome, charming, and intense. The world knows him as a prominent businessman, but Julia sees him as everything she fought to escape.

Once the scion of a powerful Mafia family Dom left the world of organized crime after his father’s death. And he swore he would never go back.

No matter how hard she tries, Julia can’t seem to ignore the powerful spark of attraction between them and her growing feelings for him. But when Dom’s shady past catches up with him, the two forbidden lovers find themselves trapped in a deadly game.

Will Dom renege on his vow and lose the woman he loves, or he will manage to break free of his past for once and for all?

This wouldn’t be the kind of book I would normally read, romantic suspense is not a genre I read much, but it is good to go out of your comfort zone every now and again and I do like to support debut authors, so I thought I would give it a try.

The main protagonist is Julia, the daughter of a Mafia boss who was married and widowed young due to a feud between underworld gangs and has since turned her back on that world, determined never to suffer that heartbreak again. However, when all your family are connected, it is hard to escape that world completely. Then she meets Dom, the son of a murdered don who also claims to have left that world, but Julia isn’t sure and is resisting her undeniable attraction to him.

The book starts off in dramatic form with their first meeting, and the initial impressions I formed of Dom weren’t great. In fact, if I hadn’t been mindful of the genre I was reading and determined to keep an open mind, I might have walked away quite early because he is everything I hate in a man and the thought of him being a love interest to anyone was off-putting. The author does include a trigger warning for this part, and I can see why it is needed, but I ploughed on and it turned out that first impressions can be deceptive. Dom did grow on me, although I’m not sure I ever got completely past his initial behaviour.

There are lots of great characters in this book, and lots of action. It was interesting to read a book set in an alien world, and see all the tensions and relationships that are involved, see how matters are negotiated and resolved. I could sympathise with Julia’s dilemma of being attracted to a man but resisting because she isn’t sure of his lifestyle, and I think this played out well. There is a lot of sexual heat in the book between the two main characters, which is well written and believable. If you enjoy this type of book, and this type of relationship, I think this book will work well for you.

The book has a few problems. Some of the pacing was a little uneven, and it did plough some of the same issues repeatedly, but overall I enjoyed it as a step outside my comfort zone. After my initial baulking at Dom, I was gripped by the story and wanted to know how it ended. I can’t tell you it has been the book that converted me to a romantic suspense groupie, but then I’m not sure that book exists, because it is just not my bag. However, it is a really excellent debut, I would not have known this was a first book if I hadn’t been told, and I’m sure fans of the genre would be delighted with it.

A Favor for a Favor is out now and you can buy it in paperbook or ebook here.

About the Author

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Nat Chelloni is a TV personality, a screenwriter, a film critic, an avid book reader across all genres, and now a published author of a debut novel A Favor For a Favor. Nat’s overactive imagination and a passion for storytelling have finally found an outlet.

Connect with Nat:

Facebook: Nat Chelloni

Twitter: @natchelloni

Instagram: @nat.chelloni

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Blog Tour: The Longest Shadow by R. J. Mitchell #Spotlight

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THE LONGEST SHADOW begins atop Scotland’s Wallace Monument where a skeleton from DS Thoroughgood’s past threatens to put a stop to his future.

The third installment in the DS Thoroughgood series of Scottish crime thrillers sees Angus Thoroughgood in pursuit of a suspect he believes to be the psychotic leader of a vicious gang wanted for abduction and murder. Taking to the streets of Glasgow’s West End, these famous streets are the stage for a high octane pursuit that will leave the reader gasping for breath — but does Thoroughgood have the right man?

With the case still wide open, Thorughgood’s complicated love life drags him into the battle for the control of the Roxburgh Whisky dynasty. Tensions build towards a nail-biting crescendo as Thoroughgood works to identify the killer intent of wiping out Scotland’s most famous whisky family. With the finger of guilt pointed at a powerful Triad leader, clues from a 70-year-old war-time diary lead Thoroughgood to realise nothing as it seems. However, with the charms of Victoria Roxburgh clouding his judgement, Thoroughgood is dragged into a fight to the end with a ruthless foe whose identity shocks them both.

I’m delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour for The Longest Shadow by R. J. Mitchell, the third book in his DS Thoroughgood thriller series. My thanks to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours again for inviting me to take part.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I have been unable to read this book in time to review it today but I am sure, if the previous two books are anything to go by, it will be a thrilling, action-packed ride and I look forward to reading it soon. You can read my reviews of the previous two books in the series, Parallel Lines and The Hurting here and here.

The Longest Shadow is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To reads some reviews of the book, please make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

RJ Mitchell
Pictured Author RJ Mitchell , crime writer , former Herald & Evening Times sports writer and ex cop. He is pictured at the old firing range within the the former Strathclyde Police college in Oxford Street ,next to the Sheriff Court. He has just announced that he has signed a four book deal with McNidder & Grace . His next crime novel The Shift is due out in the spring. It is based on his experiences as a rookie cop in Glasgow. As a cop he had spent many hours in this building over 20 years ago. It was the kind permission of Alistair Brand of Stallan-Brand architects who took over the building earlier this year and found out about the authors history with the place. Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 http://www.martinshields.com FEE PAYABLE FOR REPRO USE NB -This image is not to be distributed without the prior consent of the copyright holder. in using this image you agree to abide by terms and conditions as stated in this caption. All monies payable to Martin Shields (PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS CAPTION) This image is intended for Editorial use (e.g. news). Any commercial or promotional use requires additional clearance. Copyright 2015 All rights protected. first use only.

Robert James Mitchell was brought up in Stirling. Mitchell was initially detailed beat duties out of the former Blackhill Police Office and then Baird Street Police Office in the former ‘D’ Division, or the North, as it was known to all the men who served in the division. In January, 2007, while recovering from an appendicitis, Mitchell decided to write the first draft of ‘Parallel Lines: The Glasgow Supremacy‘, drawing heavily on his own experiences and featuring the characters of Detective Sergeant Gus Thoroughgood and DC Kenny Hardie.

Connect with Robert:

Website: https://rjmitchellauthor.co.uk/

Facebook: R J Mitchell Crime Writer

Twitter: @spitfiremedia

Instagram: @spitfire_07

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Blog Tour: The Conspiracy by Jack Probyn #BookReview

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Candice Strachan can’t breathe. 

A small jewellers is raided in Guildford High Street and leaves police chasing their tails. Reports suggest that it’s The Crimsons, an organised crime group the police have been hunting for years.

The device wrapped around her neck is suffocating her, crushing her chest.

But for rookie detective, Jake Tanner, something doesn’t seem right. The heist doesn’t fit any of their previous patterns. And the last time Jake met them, he was staring down the barrel of their gun, bargaining for his life.

The men who put it there have left her to die.

When the shop owner is kidnapped and a collar bomb is attached to her neck, Jake learns one of his own is involved – a police officer.

Her life now rests in Jake Tanner’s hands. 

As Jake follows the group on a wild goose chase, he questions everything he knows about his team. Who can he trust? And is he prepared to find out?

(Warning: This book is intended for mature audiences and contains disturbing and potentially offensive material.)

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour today for The Conspiracy by Jack Probyn, Book One in the Jake Tanner Crime Thriller series. My thanks to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part, and to the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

The Conspiracy starts off really promisingly with a violent heist at a jewellery shop in Guildford. It seems to have been perpetrated by a gang who have not been seen for a long while, so why have they resurfaced, and why have they suddenly got more violent? It’s Jake Tanner’s first day with Guildford’s major crimes team and he can’t believe his old enemies have chosen today to rear their ugly heads again.

I was drawn in to the story quite quickly with the surfeit of action happening on the page and the enthralling premise of the plot. The police have to solve a puzzle to release a hostage from a horrifying, fatal device that is the stuff of nightmares in a race against time, while the criminals make their getaway. it all was really promising from the beginning and I was eager to know what was going to happen. The prose is quite quick and easy to read, although quite graphic in its violence, and the time was passing very quickly.

I also enjoyed the dynamic between the gang and finding out what was driving them, their personal relationships and human frailties feed quite well into the plot to drive the narrative. I could understand and recognise their relationship as being quite authentic and see why things played out as they did.

However, this book has some problems. The main one being that the role that the main protagonist, Jake Tanner, takes in the investigation is just totally unbelievable. It started off seemingly well, so for the first third of the book I bought into the premise and was enjoying the narrative but, after a while, the role that Jake was taking got more and more outlandish. This is a very young man in his first day in a new police force, he is only a trainee detective, and yet the most senior officers are directing the whole investigation on his gut feelings. he’s telling them what to do, communicating behind their backs with a fellow junior officer who is also feeding into his behaviour, going off on his own track, visiting prisoners to interrogate them alone and generally just behaving in a way that it is too hard a stretch of the imagination to accept as in any way authentic. His actions get more outlandish as the book progresses, to the point where he pretty much solves the crime and saves the day single-handedly. Unfortunately, it makes the book almost cartoonish in its denouement.

I think there is a lot of potential in this author. There was a lot to enjoy about the book. He obviously has a great imagination and a good eye for story structure. The writing just lacks some maturity, it reads a bit like a grown up version of a teenage boy’s book, with not enough character development or authenticity of procedure, but plenty of action. I’m sure over time these things will develop and the author could be one to watch. I also accept that I may not be the target audience for this book and maybe it is aimed more to appeal to young, male readers. For the time being, this is a book for anyone who is prepared to suspend their disbelief further than I could manage in return for high action and an imaginative plot.

The Conspiracy is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour for alternative reviews:

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About the Author

Jack Probyn

Jack Probyn is the author of the DC Jake Tanner series. He hasn’t spent much time on the planet, but he knows what he wants: to entertain and enthral readers across the globe with his stories. Growing up as an only child and never owning a pet – something he reminds his parents of constantly – Jack spent a lot of time reading and writing.

After just about completing an English degree, he decided to turn his passion from a hobby into a career. When he’s not writing, he’s usually enjoying a sudoku or a true crime drama on Netflix. He lives in Surrey with his partner – who also one day dreams of owning a pet. Preferably a dog.

Connect with Jack:

Website: https://www.jackprobynbooks.com/

Facebook: Jack Probyn Author

Twitter: @jackprobynbooks

Instagram: @jackprobynauthor

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Blog Tour: The Hurting by R. J. Mitchell #BookReview

9781913230142

THE HURTING finds DS Angus Thoroughgood recovering from injuries from his most recent adventures in Parallel Lines and questioning his career with the Glasgow police force. After handing in his resignation, Thoroughgood is pulled back into the line of duty once his recovery at the police convalescence home, Castlebrae, is complete.

Terrorist attacks in and around Glasgow see Thoroughgood, alongside his partner DC Hardie, return to action. As their world as they know it and the city they love falls apart, the pair work alongside MI5 in a race to discover the source of these attacks.

The second instalment in the DS Thoroughgood series of novels by RJ Mitchell, The Hurting picks up right where Parallel Lines left off and sends Thoroughgood and Hardie on a rollercoaster ride through Glasgow’s seedy underworld and that of international terrorism.

The Hurting sees author RJ Mitchell drawing from his 12 years of experience as a Glasgow police officer to provide an accurate portrayal of real life police work whilst guiding the reader through an intricate plot filled with lies and subterfuge.

Today I am reviewing the second book in the DS Thoroughgood series by R. J. Mitchell as part of the blog tour. You can read my review of the first book, Parallel Lines, here. Thanks again to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author and publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This book carries on straight after the ending of the last book. In a lot of ways it is similar, same frenetic pace, same rollercoaster excitement and vivid portrayal of the seedy underside of Glasgow, but in other ways it is different, different enemy, different dangers and a changed DS Thoroughgood.

At the beginning of the book, a heartbroken Gus Thoroughgood cannot see any point in going on without the love of his life and considers quitting the force. But, he is a policeman through and through and we see his instincts kick in as he and Hardie encounter some familiar criminal faces on their way back to Glasgow from his month’s recuperation in Perthshire. What starts out as a simple car chase soon gives way to a much bigger and more terrifying prospect as the policemen find themselves embroiled in an international terror plot, which eventually turns personal.

Look, I’m going to be honest here, I wasn’t 100% convinced about the authenticity of some events in this book. Given the scale and threat of what is happening in Glasgow, I find it hard to believe that two policemen of the lowly ranks of Thoroughgood and Hardie would allowed to be embroiled in the investigation to the level they are, or that a lot of their maverick behaviour would be tolerated, never mind celebrated (Although my experience of policing is nil, so I could be wrong.) However, once you set aside any demands for realism in the plot, this is a rip-roaring story that is gripping and eminently readable. After all, the plots of most action movies are complete bunkum but that doesn’t stop many of us enjoying them as a piece of entertainment and, if you approach this book in the same way, it is a heart-stopping read. The story fairly races along, rarely stopping to allow the reader to catch their breath, with action from first page to last, and a huge body count along the way. Be prepared for George R. R. Martin levels of character disposal. It’s best not to get too attached to anyone in this book.

Another thing that struck, and amused me, was that this book is pretty much a middle-aged man’s fantasy. DS Thoroughgood, who I have pictured in my mind’s eye as a fairly ordinary bloke, spends quite a lot of the book seducing, or being seduced, by a succession of attractive, lithe young women who all happily fling themselves into bed with him with enthusiasm and nary a pause for consideration. Again, maybe this is reflective of the every day experience of your average Glaswegian detective (if so, the Irishman is considering a change of job and location), but I suspect not, Again, there is nothing wrong with this but, I would request that in future novels the author consider that a large proportion of his readership are likely to be women and he might like to throw in some eye candy for us girls too! (Also, he got over Celine pretty quickly, given how devastated he was supposed to be by her loss. We women take a dim view of such fickleness, Mr Mitchell!)

Overall, Gus Thoroughgood is a roguish, charming and gung ho copper (maybe this is what the women see in him and I’ve just grown out of this type of machismo as a sexual lure) who is a fun person to read about. The author is skilled at providing us with an action-packed and gripping plot, and bringing the streets of Glasgow to life, albeit it mostly peopled with villains and rotters. As close to escapism as you can get in violent crime thriller form, which is not a sentence I have contemplated typing before. I am really looking forward to reading the third book in this series for review next week.

The Hurting is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Please do follow the rest of the tour for alternative reviews:

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About the Author

RJ Mitchell
Pictured Author RJ Mitchell , crime writer , former Herald & Evening Times sports writer and ex cop. He is pictured at the old firing range within the the former Strathclyde Police college in Oxford Street ,next to the Sheriff Court. He has just announced that he has signed a four book deal with McNidder & Grace . His next crime novel The Shift is due out in the spring. It is based on his experiences as a rookie cop in Glasgow. As a cop he had spent many hours in this building over 20 years ago. It was the kind permission of Alistair Brand of Stallan-Brand architects who took over the building earlier this year and found out about the authors history with the place. Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 http://www.martinshields.com FEE PAYABLE FOR REPRO USE NB -This image is not to be distributed without the prior consent of the copyright holder. in using this image you agree to abide by terms and conditions as stated in this caption. All monies payable to Martin Shields (PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS CAPTION) This image is intended for Editorial use (e.g. news). Any commercial or promotional use requires additional clearance. Copyright 2015 All rights protected. first use only.

Robert James Mitchell was brought up in Stirling. Mitchell was initially detailed beat duties out of the former Blackhill Police Office and then Baird Street Police Office in the former ‘D’ Division, or the North, as it was known to all the men who served in the division. In January, 2007, while recovering from an appendicitis, Mitchell decided to write the first draft of ‘Parallel Lines: The Glasgow Supremacy‘, drawing heavily on his own experiences and featuring the characters of Detective Sergeant Gus Thoroughgood and DC Kenny Hardie.

Connect with Robert:

Website: https://rjmitchellauthor.co.uk/

Facebook: R J Mitchell Crime Writer

Twitter: @spitfiremedia

Instagram: @spitfire_07

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