Friday Night Drinks with….Angela Wren @AngelaWrenAuthr @crookedcatbooks @RNATweets #GuestPost #FridayNightDrinks #RNA #JacquesForet #Messandrierre #Merle #Montbel


Tonight I am delighted to have joining me for Friday Night Drinks, my fellow Yorkshire Terriers RNA member, author, actor and director, Angela Wren. Angela is the author of the French-set Jacques Foret mysteries, Messandrierre and Merle. The third book in the series, entitled Montbelwas published last month. Angela is also one of the contributors to the short story collection, Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings.


Welcome to our virtual evening out, Angela and thank you for joining me. First things first, what are you drinking?

As we’re eating later I would like a glass of chardonnay please.

I can’t drink much white wine without getting a headache these days so I think I will have a glass of prosecco. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Presumably money is no object?  If that is the case then I think I’d like to take us to Carcassonne and the fabulous restaurant in the Hôtel de la Cité.  The surroundings are stunning, the food is top notch and the service is excellent.  Oh, and the waiters are gorgeously French!


I have been wanting to visit Carcassonne for a while now, having heard many people rave about it, so thank you for bringing me! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

That’s a tough one!  I’d love to meet Dame Freya Stark.  She had a most interesting life and her travel books are fascinating.  I’m sure she would be an excellent dinner companion.  As for the second person…  So hard to choose and I’m having to narrow it down between Shakespeare and Alan Bennett.  I guess, as Bennett is still alive I’ll include him.

I would love to meet Alan Bennett, a fellow Yorkshireman, of course. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m currently writing Book 4 in my Jacques Forêt series of mystery stories.  I will be submitting the first three chapters and the synopsis to my publisher in January, and, assuming they like it, the book will be published sometime next year.  I’m also working on another Miss Moonshine short story for a second anthology that is due to be published towards the end of 2019.  I’ve got a brand new project that I need to pick up in the autumn of 2019 – something very different.  In addition to all of that I’ve got my regular blog post each week and I’m supporting the launch of Montbel (Jacques Forêt #3), which was published last month.  A lot to do!

As for your supplementary questions of ‘why?’ and ‘where?’ – I guess the answer is because I love writing, always have and I want to keep on writing books until I run out of ideas.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

I guess my proudest moment was when I eventually opened that e-mail from Crooked Cat – my publishers – saying they wanted to offer me a contract for Messandrierre, the first book in the series.  The e-mail had sat in my in-box for a couple of days because I’d convinced myself that it would say, ‘thanks but no thanks’.  Having opened it, I was dancing on the ceiling for weeks afterwards.

As for my biggest challenge, I think that was understanding the post-publication scenario.  Like a lot of new writers I mistakenly thought getting the book published was the end of the journey.  It’s not.  It’s the first step on a completely different but equally challenging journey.  However, that was 2015, and here and now, three years on I’m loving it.  It’s hard work but I just love it.

It’s so encouraging to hear success stories and that you are still enjoying the whole process. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!

Seeing my hero, Jacques Forêt, on the big screen.  I know it will never happen, but hey, I can dream can’t I?

Never say never! Dreams sometimes do come true. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

Book 4.  I’ve been wanting to get to this story for so long now, that when I sit at the keyboard my fingers are running at almost twice the speed of light.  At least, that’s how it seems to me.  Everything is there inside my head and I just can’t get the story down fast enough.  Even though I know the ending, I still can’t wait to get there.

That sounds exciting. Writing is a pleasure when it is virtually doing itself, rather the times you feel like you are pulling teeth. I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future.  Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Hmm… bucket lists.  I don’t have one.  My dad became very ill when I was a teenager and as a result he was never able to do all the things he’d planned to do once he’d retired.  I made up my mind a long time ago that bucket lists were futile.  If you want to do something, then just do it.  Don’t save it for later, life is so fragile, there might not be a ‘later’.  As you can probably guess there’s nothing at the top of my bucket list.  I spend three months of every year in my favourite place – France – and I spent almost a month in Egypt some years ago because I knew that if I didn’t go then, I probably never would.  I just want to keep on travelling and keep on learning.

Alas, if only time and funds allowed me to visit everywhere I wanted to go immediately. If I win the lottery, I will definitely be following your advice. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I played Mr. Twit in one of our family shows at Easter a few years ago.  After each show, myself and the actress playing Mrs. Twit would go into the audience and, using our natural voices but still in full costume and make-up, would offer the children little bags of sweets.  After one matinee performance a little boy in row B, who looked frightened at first, then bewildered when he heard my voice, suddenly piped up with the very serious accusation, ‘Ugh!  You’re a girl!’  As an actor, that’s the best compliment I’ve ever had!

‘Out of the mouthes of babes and sucklings’. Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

That’s a question that is almost impossible to answer.  My bookshelves are lined with books that I would like to recommend, but I will plump for The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen.


Another one for the TBR, since this is not one I have read. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

My failsafe plan is to never overindulge and I never do so I don’t have a go-to cure.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

As we’re in Carcassonne, let’s spend some time here in the citadel and then take a walk along the canal and through the surrounding town.  There’s a lot to see.


Angela, thank you so much for spending time with me this evening, I have enjoyed it very much and I look forward to seeing you soon at our next RNA meet up.

Angela’s latest book, and the third in the Jacques Foret series, Montbel is available now and you can buy a copy here.


A clear-cut case? 

A re-examination of a closed police case brings investigator, Jacques Forêt, up against an old adversary. After the murder of a key witness, Jacques finds himself, and his team, being pursued.

When a vital piece of evidence throws a completely different light on Jacques’ case, his adversary becomes more aggressive, and Investigating Magistrate Pelletier threatens to sequester all of Jacques papers and shut down the investigation.

Can Jacques find all the answers before Pelletier steps in?

You can find out more about Angela via her social media links :

Website :

Blog :

Facebook: Angela Wren

Twitter: @AngelaWrenAuthr

Next week I will be sharing a beverage with the lovely Wendy Clarke, founder of the amazing online book group, The Fiction Cafe Book Club, which is absolutely the best place on the internet to hang out if you love books, so I hope you will join us then to hear all about it.

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@angelabritnell) @ChocLituk @RaRaResources #RaRaResources #ChristmasAtBlackCherryRetreat

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat

Delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz today for Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to Choc Lit for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.


What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas? 

When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

I knew this was going to be a Christmas book with a difference when I picked it up, as it is not set in the UK, but in a remote town in Eastern Tennessee, not a standard setting for a Christmas novel. However, this book is actually not particularly a Christmas-centric story at all, given that it starts around Halloween and focuses on this, and Thanksgiving, rather than just Christmas. However, this does not stop it being a good book in any way.

We meet Fee just as she is arriving at the remote Black Cherry Retreat as Fall has taken hold in the mountains of Tennessee. Fee is running away from horrors in her past an is looking for solitude and isolation to try and heal herself. However, she is immediately drawn to Tom Chambers, a retired police officer who owns Black Cherry Retreat and who has reasons of his own for withdrawing to his remote cabin. The story then focuses on the development of the relationship between this two reluctant characters.

I really loved the setting of this book. It was somewhere very different and the author does a fantastic job of bringing the setting to vivid life with her descriptions. I defy anyone reading this book not to wish they could spend a month or two there with nothing for company but some books, a deer or two and a hunky Tennessean man! I really enjoyed the descriptions of the little town of Pine Ridge and the close knit community there, most of whom Tom is related to.

Which brings us neatly to the characters who are all delightful. I was very drawn to both Fee and Tom and fascinated by their burgeoning relationship, hampered as it was by their pasts. Fee, in particular, seems to be  a mass of contradictions and the author has done very well to develop a really interesting character in Fee. The subsidiary characters are a lovely bunch, particularly little Lulu, and added great charm to the story.

Although this book does not focus particularly heavily on Christmas as a theme, despite the title, it includes great descriptions of various holiday events which gives it a lovely, warm, festive feeling and I am sure anyone looking for a seasonal read will not be disappointed. It also includes a little mystery element, which was a nice sub-plot, and gave the book extra interest for me. All in all, a rewarding read. I could actually envisage this book making a great Hallmark movie, albeit one with a slightly deeper twist than some of the very twee, fluffy ones you see, so if that is the kind of thing you like, this will be right up your street.

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat is out now and is available here.

Please check out the reviews by the rest of the amazing bloggers taking part in the blitz. You can find their details on the poster below:

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Angela RONA Award Pub Photo

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

Connect with Angela:


Facebook: Angela Britnell

Twitter: @angelabritnell


Children in Read 2018 @TorUdall @janeholland1 @MHarrison13 @LouiseWriter @BloomsburyBooks @AmazonPub @simonschusterUK @OrendaBooks #AThousandPaperBirds #ForgetHerName #APinchOfMagic #TheLionTamerWhoLost #ChildrenInNeed


I am sure many of you are aware of, and probably took part in, the recent Children in Read auction, where many popular authors donated signed books and other items to be auctioned off in aid of raising money for Children in Need.

I, being unable to resist a good book auction, bid on a number of items and was lucky enough to win four of the auctions I was bidding on so, in the last week, I have received signed copies of the following books:

Forget Her Name by Jane Holland


Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?

As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past.

Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages…

While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? She doesn’t have the answers – and in one final question lies her greatest fear.

Is Rachel still alive?

I have been lucky enough to meet Jane at a recent RNA event where she was there as her romantic novelist alter ego, Beth Good and, having read some of her romantic novels, I promised I would read one of her thrillers, so I’m delighted to have this one to begin with

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech


Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

I have been wanting to get a copy of this for a while, as all my fellow book bloggers have been raving about it, so I was absolutely determined to win this one! I love the personalised dedication inside, a lovely book to be treasured.

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison


Three sisters trapped by an ancient curse.

Three magical objects with the power to change their fate.

Will they be enough to break the curse?

Or will they lead the sisters even deeper into danger? …

You will notice that the cover image of the book above is different to the photo of the book I received as shown at the top of the post. This is because this book isn’t going to be published until February 2019 so what I have is a LIMITED EDITION PROOF COPY of the book, which I am very, very excited about, can you tell? Michelle also sent me a lovely little Russian doll charm with the book which is now nestled in my book curio display shelf and I feel very lucky.

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall


Jonah roams Kew Gardens trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life after the death of his wife, Audrey. Weathering the seasons and learning to love again, he meets Chloe, an enigmatic origami artist who is hesitant to let down her own walls.

In the gardens he also meets ten-year-old Milly, and Harry, a gardener, both of whom have secrets of their own to keep – and mysteries to solve.

Another book that I have heard amazing things about and was high on my wish list, so I was delighted to secure this one too. It came with a beautiful postcard containing a personal message from Tor and two delicate origami birds, which fascinated my daughters, and are also on the curio shelf.

I just wanted to thank all the authors for donating their work to this fabulous cause, not just the ones whose books I bid on, and make sure they get credit for their generosity. The auction raised over £5,000 for Children in Need, which I am sure you will agree is an amazing result.

If you did not take part in the auction, there is still the opportunity to donate to this wonderful cause via the Children in Need website and help out a huge programme of good causes that benefit children both in the UK and abroad.


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


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:


About the Author

Graham Smith Author Pic

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 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:


Facebook: Graham Smith Author

Twitter: @GrahamSmith1972

Tempted by….Zooloo’s Book Diary: Cotton Tale by E. C. Fisher @ECFisherAuthor @zooloo2008 #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #CottonTale


A private jet violently crash-lands on a deserted island. Captain Newton and his stewardess Rebecca are reluctantly forced to band together with the Vanderbach family as a means of survival.

They soon discover the island holds a dark secret the mainland has kept hidden since the 70s. Something monstrous was genetically engineered nearly forty years ago that even nature couldn’t destroy. Now it stalks the group as they venture further into the jungle in search of rescue and escape.

Can the group of misfit survivors manage to work together to find a way off the island? As the tension, suspense, and horror rise, they realize time is not on their side … the ravenous creations are drawing closer, and their appetite is insatiable.

Two firsts on the Tempted by…. feature today, as this is the first time I have featured an e-book purchase and also the first time I have included a novella rather than a full-length novel, so well done for standing out from the crowd, Zoe! Today I have Cotton Tale, a short horror story by E. C. Fisher.

This book was brought to my awareness by this review by the lovely Zoe over on her blog, Zooloos’ Book Diary. When one of your favourite bloggers starts a review with ‘Holy Mother of OMFG!’, it makes me think that this might be a story I want to pick up and take a look at. When I read the blurb, it sounded like it might be a cross between Lost and Stephen King’s Langoliers and Zoe obviously really enjoyed it, so I didn’t think I had much to lose for the cost of a short e-book. I don’t read enough horror, and this should be a quick one so I am looking forward to squeezing it in to a free hour. After reading Zoe’s review, I don’t think I will read it at bedtime when I’m on my own though!

For those of you who have not come across Zoe or her blog before, you must check her out, I promise you will absolutely adore her. She is always so enthusiastic about what she reads, and books in general, and she is an absolute dynamo with her content; there is always something new and fun and interesting to see on her blog. She is completely lovely, and a huge supporter of fellow bloggers and I love her to bits.

Watch out for my own review of this novella – coming as soon as I can find a gap in my blog tour schedule to fit it in. In the meantime, if you would like to grab a copy for yourself, you can download it here. It is free if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Her Final Confession by Lisa Regan #BookReview #BlogTour (@Lisalregan) @Bookouture #HerFinalConfession #NetGalley


Watching her friend dragged away in handcuffs, Josie couldn’t believe for one second that Gretchen had killed that poor boy. Confession or not, someone else was involved. She would find out who…

When the body of a young student is found on the driveway of a local Denton home, a photograph pinned to his collar, Detective Josie Quinn is first on the scene. The house belongs to Gretchen Palmer, a dedicated member of Josie’s team, missing for the last twenty-four hours.

Working around the clock, Josie is stopped in her tracks when Gretchen hands herself in to the police. She knows that there’s no way Gretchen could ever be a killer, so why would she confess to a murder she didn’t commit? 

Digging deep into Gretchen’s secretive life, Josie uncovers a link between the boy, the photograph and a devastating case in Gretchen’s past. But just when Josie thinks she has it all figured out, the bodies of a young couple surface on the other side of town. Can Josie get to the truth in time to save her friend from a life in prison or certain death? 

I am delighted today to be taking part in the blog tour for Her Final Confession by Lisa Regan, which is the fourth book in the Josie Quinn Detective series. My thanks to Noelle Holten of Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.

This is the fourth book in the Josie Quinn series and I have to admit that I have not read the first three (not sure why, I must remedy that oversight). The fact that I had not read the previous ones did not diminish my enjoyment of this book at all, it can easily be read as a standalone, but I think that if you read this first, it probably contains some spoilers for the previous books, so you might want to read them in order if you plan on reading them all.

This book gets off to a flying start, flinging the reader straight in to the action from the beginning with a romantic encounter interrupted by the discovery of a dead body and it does not let up on the tension for a second until the end of the book. It really is a very tautly plotted, fast-paced thriller and very easy to read; the writing flows very smoothly and is perfectly pitched, not at all a chore to devour.

Despite not having read the previous books, I felt like I got to grips with the main characters of Josie and Noah very quickly. The author does a great job of introducing just enough back story to allow the virgin reader to the series to catch up enough to be drawn in to the story without shovelling it in in a way that bogs down the start of the story. Josie is a very likeable protagonist and I am definitely interested in going back and exploring in more detail some of her past which was obviously revealed in the earlier books in great detail.

The story in this book involves a young man shot in the driveway of a home belonging to one of the Denton PD team. Josie refuses to believe that her colleague has committed the crime, even when the officer in question  hands herself in and confesses, and she is dogged in her determination to track down the truth. This takes her on a rollercoaster investigation involving genetics, outlaw bikers gangs and an unsolved crime from the past. It twists and turns like an agitated viper and I could not begin to imagine where it was going, so I was pleasantly surprised when i got to the end and it was all unravelled. A very clever plot which kept me on edge all the way through.

A throughly enjoyable introduction to a fascinating detective series and a wonderful new author for me. I look forward to reading more of this series.

Her Final Confession is out now and you can get your copy by following this link.

Please do check out the rest of the reviews on the blog tour below:

Her Final Confession - Blog Tour

About the Author

Lisa Regan - Author Photo

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Lisa:


Facebook: Lisa Regan

Twitter: @Lisalregan

Bait, Grist & Security by Mike Hodges #BookReview #BlogTour @unbounders @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BaitGristSecurity #GetCarter

Bait Cover

Three darkly comic noir novellas from the cult director of Get Carter

In ‘Bait’, a slippery PR man, Mark Miles, is unaware he’s being manipulated and dangled as bait by an investigative reporter until he’s swallowed by a sadistic mind-expanding cult from America.

In ‘Grist’, the bestselling writer, Maxwell Grist, ruthlessly uses real people as fodder for his crime novels before finding himself living up to his name and becoming grist for his own murder.

In ‘Security’, an American movie star, unhappy with the film he’s working on, refuses to leave his hotel for the studios, while in the corridor outside his luxury suite mayhem and murder take over.

I am so excited today to be on the blog tour for this book, containing three comic noir novellas by the legendary Mike Hodges, director of ’70s cult classic movie, Get Carter. My huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the opportunity to review this exciting book and to Unbound for my copy, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a very different book than ones I would normally choose to pick up. A book of three separate, standalone novellas with a dark heart and a comic twist from the legendary director of Get Carter. One of my favourite things about being a book blogger is stretching my reading outside its normal ambits and I am glad that I picked this one up.

This is not a quick or easy read, it is a very dense book – in number of pages, density of type and just the nature of the prose, but it does make you concentrate on what you are reading, and this is a good thing, since the best way to get the most from this book is to wring every twist and nuance from the words. The prose is a huge part of the joy of the novel. It is a very visual book, with a lot of description, and written in a very individual style. There is no doubt that this book was written by someone who is used to working in the visual arts, and I think, once you have read it, it could only have been written by Mike Hodges.

The characters are all unpleasant people, existing in the underbelly of society. Some of them have power and influence and wield it over the others, and the book shows us how our position in this pecking order influences our behaviour. Our society is still hierarchical, despite what we might like to believe, but this is now a hierarchy of money and influence, rather than titles and land and everyone is jostling for a better position.

This book isn’t going to be for everyone. It is a book that takes some work to read, because it does not read as a piece of standard prose as previously described. Some of the language and imagery is crude and violent, the characters unattractive. However, the storylines are extremely clever, the characters well-developed and it is very, very funny. It will make you cringe in places while you are laughing, and you’ll be hoping you never meet its inhabitants in real life. But it is a book that will get a reaction from you, and will conjure very clear images in your minds eye, almost filmatic in their vividness, and this is an accomplished thing for a book to do.

Bait, Grist & Security is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the blog tour, check out the blogs on the dates listed on the poster below:

Bait Grist Blog Tour Poster

About the Author


Mike Hodges was born in Bristol, UK.
As a television producer in the 1960s, he was invited to join the investigative programme World in Action. This took him to the US, covering the 1964 presidential election, and that same year to the war in Vietnam. He produced and sometimes directed the arts
programmes Tempo and New Tempo.
He is perhaps best-known for his work in cinema and television, including: Get Carter, Suspect, Rumour, The Manipulators, Pulp, The Terminal Man, Flash Gordon, A Prayer for the Dying, Morons from Outer Space, Florida Straits, Black Rainbow, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.
He lives in London. This is his first book.
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