I am delighted to be one of the reviewers opening the Blog Tour and to share my review today for The Face at the Window by Ruby Speechley. The cover and synopsis were intriguing when I saw the email for this and joining the Blog Tour. My huge thanks to Sarah at BOTBSPublicity for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy.
They’re in your house.
They want your life.
And now, they have your baby.
To the world, I’m @HappyWife. Online, people only see my picture-perfect home, my handsome husband, Nick, and my beautiful baby, Thomas.
They don’t see the real Gemma Adams. They don’t see my past, the dark secrets I’m hiding in my marriage. They don’t see the fear I live in every single day.
But I know someone is watching me. And now, they’ve taken Thomas.
I just don’t know why.
But I’m going to stop at nothing to get my baby back.
Even if it destroys everything I’ve got to find him.
A compelling thriller, packed with suspense – fans of K.L. Slater and Lisa Jewell won’t be able to put it down.
The cover for this book definitely caught my eye. It has an unsettling synopsis and one that made me intrigued before I even started it.
Gemma is married to Nick, and everything about being a mum to Thomas is new. He’s only 5 days old and she is trying to do some shopping. When one of her employees spots her and offers to help, Gemma is only too happy to. After all, she knows this person and trusts them!
This is a suspense novel that is told in differing timelines and from differing perspectives. It caught me initially but as I got to know the characters I was able to differentiate between them.
The author has woven a story that is about a missing baby. It does, however, have more to it than that, it does sound like I am downplaying the severity of the baby, honestly, I am not. The baby is the finale in some ways even though it’s at the beginning. The story that follows is the lead up to that climax and you get all the whys, who’s and where’s.
His was a story that definitely hooked me. Even though you will guess early who he who is going to about the journey that takes place between the characters.
This one was an addictive read as I was so curious. Took a route I didn’t expect and it was a route I enjoyed. This is one for readers who like mystery, intrigue and stories set in a domestic setting. I would happily recommend this book.
About the Author…
Ruby Speechley is the author of four psychological thrillers published by Hera Books. She loves writing about domestic situations with plenty of twists and secrets.
She was born in Portugal but has lived in the UK since she was three months old. She now lives in Cheshire with her husband and two of her three children and two dogs. She has an older son and grandson.
Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour today and share my review today for Her White Lie by Jackie Walsh. This is a wonderful first for me by this author and I will be looking at reading more of her books.
My huge thanks to Sarah at Book ON The Brightside Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book via NetGalley. Also a very Happy Publication Day to Jackie xx
Her dream wedding might become a nightmare
Tara Moore feels like the luckiest girl in the world. She’s finally found the man of her dreams, and after the fairytale wedding, she’s leaving Dublin to start a new life in Australia.
Until Avril Ryan’s body is discovered in a house that Tara lived in three years ago.
Tara doesn’t know Avril, so why was she the last person Avril called? How has she become the number one suspect?
But what the police don’t know is that Tara’s past conceals her own dangerous secrets. And as the detectives start digging and old friendships come to light, Tara begins to wonder who she can trust.
This was a very enjoyable read and a first for me for this author. I did like the twisty and intriguing plot.
The story alternates between two main characters, Tara who is counting down the days until her marriage to Lucas. The other is Faye, a childhood friend of Tara’s. They had been inseparable from 8 years old, although in the past three years they had not been close at all.
The author alternates between the two women and this is a great way of getting both sides to a story. One problem is that one side isn’t very reliable. This doesn’t mean that one is good or one is bad, as the other has a secret that is niggling away. It is obvious that something happened in the past, but quite what and why is kept a mystery until much later in the story.
I have to say I wasn’t a fan of either of the women, but the storyline I really did like. The women come across as being very different. One appears strong and confident, the other a worrier. Needing reassurances.
The author gradually weaves her tale, she starts to sow seeds of doubt that had me hooked to what could possibly happen next. Whatever I thought may happen. didn’t, instead, the author sprang a few surprises.
I enjoyed this story a lot, there is a touch of psychological thriller and there is the obvious crime as there is a body. A very good introduction to this author for me and I will be looking at some of her earlier books. This is one for those that like their crime and thriller reads that are not blood, guts and gruesomeness, but more on the mysterious side. There is a police presence in this book but I would necessarily put this in a police pr0cedural. It is one I would happily recommend.
About the Author…
Jackie Walsh lives in Dublin with her husband Paul and dog Layla. She is a member of the Irish Writers Centre and The Irish Crime writer’s group. After years spent building her own business she decided to take time out and pursue her interest in writing. With a lot to learn, Jackie attended classes, writing groups and travelled to lots of festivals and launches. She secured a publishing deal with Hera Books who published Familiar Strangers and The Secrets He Kept in 2019, Five Little Words in 2020 and Her White Lie which will be published in July 2021.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review for Dead Secret by Noelle Holten today. This is the 4th book in this fabulous DCI Maggie Jamieson series and boy is it a good one!
My huge thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy via NetGalley.
Psychopaths can take root in the unlikeliest soil…
DC Maggie Jamieson crosses paths once again with Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood when a domestic violence survivor stumbles into her new refuge, unable to speak, desperate for help.
Then another case hits Maggie’s desk. A young man has been murdered, and a curious constellation of black dots has been inked onto his cheek.
That’s when DCI Hastings goes missing and Maggie uncovers a shocking connection that turns the case on its head.
Every family may hide secrets, but not every family buries them…
This is the 4th book in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, and while it could be read as a standalone you would get a better idea of the team dynamics if you have read the series.
This is was a really riveting read and one that I feel the author really got to grips with the plot lines. It feels much bolder and more intense as the main characters have quite a lot to deal with. A body is found beaten up, quite a grisly murder with very little to go on, but possibly a robbery.
While this murder investigation is going on a report that a fellow officer and his family have been abducted comes in. Definitely a full workload for Maggie and the rest of the team to deal with.
Lucy runs a refuge that is due to open, a stranger in need of help turns up on her doorstep. Reluctant to speak about themselves or the reason behind their wounds, she is an enigma.
I did mention this story had several plot lines, so along with the cases, there is also additional threads that delve into the more personal lives of some of the key characters. With various threads, the author very craftily weaves her story and gradually gathers the loose ends over the course of the story. I loved how it wasn’t just about the cases, but also included personal stuff as well. It adds realism to the characters as they struggle with home and work life.
This is a story that I really, really enjoyed and I loved getting back up to speed with the characters again. The author draws on her knowledge of interagency investigations and her work with the Probation Service and Domestic Abuse cases, it does show as you read the story. It’s the little details that are included that make this a riveting read.
This is a tense crime thriller that I read over a couple of days. It has various threads that have been twisted and worked throughout giving a wonderful read. It is one for fans of crime, thriller and procedural genres and one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author…
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
I am delighted, if somewhat late today, to help kick off the Blog Tour for The Housewife by Alex Kane. This was a fabulous gangland crime thriller that I adored.
My huge thanks to Sarah at BOTBSPublicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this cracking book.
Even perfect mothers have secrets…
Leah. She’s the perfect mum to ten-year-old Samuel, wife to loving husband Thomas, head of the PTA. But her closet is full of skeletons – and if the truth gets out, her world could be destroyed.
Annie. She’s the gangster’s moll with a brain. She might be a woman, but she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty to play the men at their own game. But what no one knows is the devastating secret haunting her.
Terry. He’s the king of Glasgow gangland, working his way up from estate to mansion. From drugs to guns, there’s nothing he won’t stop at to grow his dirty money. He might be a hard man, but his weakness is women.
As their three stories collide, the lives of each will never be the same. Because even perfect women hide dark secrets… Don’t they?
This is a fabulous crime thriller story that involves three main characters as well as a handful of secondary ones. The story revolves around the gangland scene in an area in Glasgow. An area where drugs are rife and lives are not lived, people just exist.
The author has woven such a brilliant story that focuses on Leah, a mother who has a secret that she is desperate to keep hidden from her son and husband. Annie has stepped away from her life and into that of the girlfriend of gangland crime boss Terry. Terry is the third main character, the boss who is not averse to breaking the law to maintain control of his area.
This is such an addictive read as I was drawn further into the three storylines. Throughout the story, I was taken into the murk and grime of an inner-city housing estate. The author built a picture of deprivation and drug addiction. There is one however who has seen what drugs do and steers clear of using and wants a better life.
Using to of the characters, the author has injected a secretive edge, it is one that kept me so intrigued as I desperately wanted to work out the connection. When that was eventually dropped I was shocked. Definitely a “I never saw that coming” moment.
I really enjoyed how quickly I was taken into the lives and the story. It is gritty as I was taken into the drug world from both the user and the dealer. As well as those who are involved through association. The stories are brilliantly worked and had a tense filled edge to them. A fabulous story from start to finish and it is one for those who love their crime thrillers on the dark and gritty side. I would definitely recommend it.
About the Author…
Alex Kane is a writer from Glasgow. She has been writing for ten years and in 2018 signed with Hera Books, a digital first publisher.
(2019) No Looking Back (2019) What She Did (2020) She Who Lies (2020) The Angels (2021) The Housewife
Alex Kane writes gangland crime and psychological thrillers and will read anything she can get her hands on from both genres. If she is not writing, she can be found relaxing at home reading, or drinking tea and/or gin (sometimes all of the above). Alex is currently working on future books but can also be found procrastinating on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I am delighted to day to share my review for The Darkness Within by Graeme Hampton. This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I would like to say a huge thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of the book.
Here is more about the book…
You can run… but death will always find you
A man is discovered on a leafy North London street, fighting for life after a brutal beating. DI Matthew Denning and his team are quickly called in to to track down the monster responsible.
Except the victim is hiding secrets of his own. His name shows that he was reported missing two decades ago – but it’s clear that the missing person is not the same man lying broken in a hospital bed.
A visit to a squalid East London flat unearths a victim with his throat slit, his body left to decompose. A sad end to any life – but when it is identified as former DCI Frank Buckfield, star of the Met police, the case takes on a new significance.
Two seemingly unrelated cases – but as Denning, along with DS Molly Fisher, investigates further, they uncover links between the two victims that lead back to a ring of silence cloaking the blackest of crimes.
But as Denning and Fisher try to track down a killer with revenge on their mind, they find themselves pitted against a psychopath who will kill to keep their secrets hidden. Can they uncover the truth, before they end up the latest victims?
The latest in the gripping London crime series featuring DI Matthew Denning and DS Molly Fisher, The Darkness Within is a must-read if you like Angela Marsons, L.J. Ross or Joy Ellis.
This the first time I have read a book by this author, starting part way through a series is never the best idea but I do have to say that this book well as a stand-alone. The obvious benefit of reading in order means that you get to know the characters traits and how they interact, I soon found myself getting to grip with these as I read.
This story starts with the discovery of a body, that of an ex DCI. The crime is murder, the reasons for it are not easy to come by for DI Denning and his team. This case will test them all and when results are slow to come the hierarchy do what they do best and add unnecessary pressure. Another similar murder and some accusations and rumours start to emerge of historic crimes that may have been covered-up start to emerge.
I really enjoyed this book, it is not a fast-paced story and this was good for me as I got to know more about the characters as while they were dealing with the cases before them. Sometimes it is nice to get into a more detailed book as far as the investigation, the characters and the storyline goes. As the characters are new to me I did occasionally forget who was who, but this didn’t stop any enjoyment. The investigation is a slower more dogged one, knowing that something isn’t right and proving it are two very different things and this kind of sums up the story in a way. Finding the evidence, connecting the dots and proving that your gut instinct is correct provides a very gripping read.
I really liked this and yes I do wish I had read the previous books, this is a series I will keep going with. I really enjoyed the mix or current crimes with links to historical ones, the power struggles and how the case was worked through and sorted. A crime, with a strong police procedural and more of mystery aspect rather than a full-on crime thriller and one I would definitely recommend it.
About the Author…
Graeme Hampton was born in Paisley, and grew up in Stirling. After leaving school, he trained as a stage manager and worked in London for a number of years. He returned to Scotland in his late twenties to study for a BA in English Literature at Stirling University. His first novel, Know No Evil – featuring Met detectives DI Matt Denning and DS Molly Fisher – was published in 2019 by Hera Books. This was followed by Blood Family in January 2020. The Darkness Within is the third novel in the series. Graeme lives in Hastings, East Sussex.
I am absolutely delighted to finally share my review on the last day for Bliss Uncovered by Tony Forder. I am a big fan of this Author and my reviews of his books have featured regularly on my Blog. If you have never read one of Tony’s Bliss books then this could be just the place for you to start. Bliss Uncovered is a prequel novella that begins at the beginning, so to speak. It is a great intro for readers new to Forder and Bliss as well as working really well for established fans.
My huge thanks to Sarah at BOTBSPublicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and to Tony for supplying a early review copy. Now, let me show you what this is all about…
The bestselling author of the stunning DI Bliss crime series is back – this time with a thrilling prequel novella.
A double life – a single truth.
Fresh out of uniform, DC Jimmy Bliss finds himself at the centre of an undercover sting. Enlisted by a crew of villains to crack a safe, he fears his cover is blown when he’s seen in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But on the night of the job, things run smoothly enough until the gang leader changes the location of the heist. As the job spirals out of control, Bliss has to trust his instincts and buy some time. There’s just one problem: he has no idea if his team know what has become of him.
As the situation escalates, Bliss finds himself at the mercy of a violent criminal who will do anything not to be caught.
Purchase from – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link and may earn me a small commission)
I am always a little wary and dubious about prequels that appear when a series is well established. Some work and some almost do, thankfully this author definitely made this prequel work!
Set in the early years of Bliss’ career I found a man who is a little cocky, little too sure of himself and already has a target on him from those higher up, oh and he is also a little opinionated! While he hasn’t got all the moodiness and wise-cracking repertoire he has in the series, there are elements of him still there.
I liked how the author made this a stand-alone read, yes it is part of the Bliss series as all the books are, but taking a step back in time gave this reader a chance to see a character who is not quite so cynical, battle-worn or weary around the edges. There is more of a lighter side to him, and if you know this series then you will know to what I am referring.
The plot for the story is an undercover one, Bliss is one of the thieves in a gang planning a robbery. Bliss is one of the new members of the gang so tension and mentions of being completed trusted are expected. A novella that does have quite a lot packed into it and not just a crime thriller read.
A wonderful prequel and it was wonderful to see a lighter side of one of my favourite fictional characters. If you have not read any of the Bliss series then this gives you a great intro, but the main series does start a few years in time. Given my initial trepidation, I am delighted to say that I would definitely recommend this.
About the Author…
Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins,The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, will be joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.
Tony’s other series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder, and Cold Winter Sun.
In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins, released in November 2020.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on Bliss #8, The Autumn Tree.
I am absolutely over the moon to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour today for Fifteen Coffins by Tony J Forder. Regular readers of my blog will probably be aware that Tony is an author who is a favourite of mine. He is usually associated with his highly successful DI Bliss series, Tony has taken a step away from his series and written another stand-alone book and I adored it a lot!
I would like to thank Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of Tony’s latest book. Also to wish Tony a Happy Publication Day 😁
From the bestselling author of the DI Bliss series comes an enthralling mystery thriller.
The truth can set you free – or bury you.
When FBI Agent Sydney Merlot returns to her home town in northern California to wind down her late father’s PI business, she soon finds herself on the wrong side of the aftermath of a high school shooting.
Sydney’s childhood friend – who is now county sheriff – plus the local PD, the mayor’s office, and most of the town’s inhabitants, are convinced the horror ended when the gunman was killed. Now they just want to be left alone to mourn. But Sydney has other ideas – and she is not alone.
While having to work through her own personal grief, Sydney is openly intimidated and receives anonymous threats. After discovering she is under surveillance, she begins to fear for her life. During her investigation, she gains several allies, but as the days pass, Sydney doesn’t know who to trust, and which new friends might actually turn out to be foes…
Purchase Links – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)
This is one of my favourite authors and I adore his DI Bliss series so I was really looking forward to reading a book that is a step away from this series. Enter Sydney Merlot an FBI agent who has returned to her home to start to get her fathers Private Investigator business and house in order after his untimely death. A potential client of her fathers comes to her and asks if she would look into the case of his son. He was accused of being the gunman responsible for the deaths of 14 highschool children. He believes his son was a victim and not the one responsible.
I really enjoyed the intro to this new character from the author. Stepping away from the UK and onto US soil with different law enforcement agencies was a real treat. The usual suspense and twisted storyline that I have come to expect from this author is very evident, in some ways more so. I think taking a step away from his usual characters have almost given the author a free rein to explore different way s of investigating. With a change of country, it also opens up a different way of life than we are used to in the UK.
The story starts off as one that seems like a father not accepting his sons’ guilt, but there is something that grabs Syndey about his story that leads her to look further. This then begins the slope into something more than she bargained for. Coming home should be positive, but she wonders what has changed, who can she trust. I like the feeling that Sydney feels as she is spiralling and has trouble performing to her usual standard, it adds a realism to the story as after all she is still grieving for her father.
This is Sydney’s hometown, therefore she should feel confident about who she can trust. Things have changed, people have changed, they have different responsibilities, loyalties and priorities. Those she thought she could have banked on left her feeling unsure, this is really the tip of an iceberg. The author does a brilliant job with a sense of suspense and lurking danger.
I really enjoyed this book and I really hope this is top be the start of a new series. I like the character of Sydney, she is bull-headed, determined, stubborn and doesn’t take no for an answer if she thinks it should be a yes! A wonderful read and one that readers of crime and mystery will enjoy and it is one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author…
Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.
Tony’s other series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun. In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California called Fifteen Coffins which was released just last November. Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on Bliss #8, The Autumn Tree.
Today I am delighted to share my review for Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten. This is the 3rd book in the series and another great read. My huge thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for my spot on the Bog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book.
A murdered woman…
When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer. The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else. Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.
A determined detective…
Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger. Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls?
Can Maggie find the depraved killer? Or will Kate become his next living doll?
Purchase Links – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)
Dead Perfect continues where the previous book left off, with this in mind I do think it is a series that should be read in order, you could read it as a stand-alone, but you would miss out on a lot of detail.
DC Maggie Jamieson is the main character and when her boss calls her to say there is a body that looks like one of her friends Maggie does go into a spin. Frantically trying to get hold of Kate who is notorious for not having her mobile phone with her! Kate is found and the story unfolds of a body that has a very specific wound, not a pleasant one as there is not the level of blood and gore that some murders have, but still an unpleasant one!
The author uses more of a police approach to this story as it is a focus on the investigation from Maggie’s perspective that takes s precedence. The previous books have had more focus on inter-agency involvement in her stories, while other agencies are mentioned in this story they do take more of a backseat.
For Maggie though, this is more personal, Kate is a colleague and also a friend. The author does bring the insecurities and worries from the previous case into this one and injects doubts. Maggie feels under more pressure and finds that her temper is frayed, her mood is short and I think the feeling of being on the edge of overwhelmed has been done so well.
This is story has a much more personal feeling, it is a story that explores Maggie’s emotions as well as how Kate deals with a stalker. For Maggie, the emotions and strain are more evident as she works in a team and so interacts with more people. I should also mention that there is another voice, it pops up occasionally and it is that of the killer.
Now, I did get the identity pretty early on, and I didn’t waver on my initial thought. Yes, I was right but the full extent of the why the crimes were committed was a revelation. It is a story about the journey rather than the who did it.
This is a police-procedural murder mystery book and one that general crime readers would definitely enjoy. I did and therefore I would recommend it.
About the Author…
Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
I am absolutely delighted to share my review for Slow Slicing by Tony J Forder. This is a brilliant series and this latest one is a fabulously dark read. My huge thanks to Sarah at Book on the Bright Side Publicity for spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this brilliant book.
I am away from Social Media at the moment so any shares would be massively appreciated ❤
Let me show you what this one is all about…
The bestselling author of the compelling DI Bliss crime series is back with another stunning novel.
WHEN DEATH BECOMES THE KINDEST CUT OF ALL When slices of flesh and body parts are discovered in different areas of the country, DI Bliss and his team are tasked with running the operation. After Bliss realises the victims have been subjected to a specific form of torture, it leads him to a cold case involving the brutal and bloody murder of a woman in London twenty-six years earlier.
As the team discover links between their victims, the murdered woman, and gangland crime, they begin a dangerous investigation into both the past and the present. But Bliss is stumped, unable to decide if the current spate of mutilations are acts of revenge or the result of ageing criminals seeking to hide their despicable actions. Following a leak to the media, Bliss’s reaction may have dire consequences.
With the hunt for the victims at fever point, Bliss uncovers evidence steering him in the direction of one particular individual. The only problem being, his prime suspect is the one person it cannot possibly be. When Bliss orders a sting operation, the astonishing truth is revealed. And that’s when things really start to go wrong…
The stunning DI Bliss series of fast-paced police thrillers will appeal to fans of authors like Michael Connelly, Joy Ellis, Peter James, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons. Tony J Forder is also the bestselling author of Degrees of Darkness, Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun.
Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)
Oh Wow! The author has really gone to the dark side with the 7th book in the DI Bliss series. It involves body parts turning up in random areas. When I say body parts, I don’t mean like a head, or a leg, I mean a chunk of flesh! I did say he had gone dark, didn’t I?
I felt that this is one of the more challenging cases for Jimmy Bliss and his team have had to deal with. There are three body parts and the first one falls under the Bliss’s team at Peterborough, when another two pieces are found in other areas it makes sense to form a Joint Task Force to pool resources.
As odd as it may sound, the further two body parts were kind of a lead that Bliss and his team needed, their investigation had fallen flat, no leads, no clues and no evidence. With more discoveries, the emphasis and drive to solve the case is renewed. Again another dark side!
With a large investigation, there are a lot of moving parts, pressure mounts and nerves are frayed. The team are tired and still, the investigation goes on. Bliss may be a blunt and to the point old boy, but he does have a very big heart and this is very evident in this story. The author has woven a sense of doubt into Bliss and this leads him to think back over his past and think about the future. He loves his job, in fact his job keeps him sane but he does stand on a few toes.
This is a complex story and it has many parts that are all linked, so in some respects, it has one storyline. There are lots of little parts that need slotting into place before the bigger picture is seen, very much like a jigsaw that has no picture on the box and you are left puzzling which bit fits where. But at no time did I feel lost or confused, I felt in the loop of the story and was more curious with each chapter.
This is a brilliant story and one that I got into from the very first dark and disturbing chapter. The banter between Bliss and his sidekick Penny Chandler is great and at times hilarious and definitely had me laughing. The story didn’t feel fast, but methodical and deliberate and this kind of matched the storyline, it wasn’t until later that the pace picked up and for me, it made it a cracking read.
If you haven’t yet read any of these books and you are a crime reader who loves police procedural books then you really do need to look at this series. I suppose you could read Slow Slicing as a stand-alone but in my opinion, it is much better if read in order as you get a chance to get to know the characters and the bonds that they have formed over the previous books.
Slow Slicing is a dark read, the author doesn’t elaborate too much on the nature of the crimes, but gives enough for the reader to imagine and often I felt myself cringing and making that funny “urghhhh” sound! A must read for crime fans and one I would definitely recommend.
Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first six books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins,The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, and Endless Silent Scream, will be joined on 10 August 2020 by Slow Slicing, and in December by the DI Bliss prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.
Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Scream Blue Murder, an action-adventure thriller, was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, was published in November 2018.
In November, Tony will release a new standalone suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #7, Slow Slicing.
Today I have something a little different for you. I have a wonderful Q&A with Cali Bird, the author of Tales of the Countess. This is one for chicklit fans and here is what it is all about…
How can a woman so capable at work be so useless at getting a man?
Kennington, London, 1998
The Countess of Kennington awakes one morning after a heavy night and realises it all has to stop.
She has to stop drinking her problems away. She has to stop acting irresponsibly. And she has to stop obsessing over the MSL: the Man She Loves.
But things are often easier said than done, and when she discovers the MSL is attending a conference where she is presenting, she cannot hold back her burgeoning hopes.
In a Sex In the City meets Toy Story scenario, the Countess lives in an unusual household where her chief confidantes, known as the accessories, are a collection of beloved handbags, a beautiful sheepskin coat and her teddy bear who provide her with support and advice.
As the conference gets underway, the Countess tries hard to focus on work, but encouraged by the accessories, she cannot resist the draw of the MSL.
The bags might talk but this is no kids book…
Tales of the Countess is a highly original chicklit novel by British author Cali Bird, about the need to find happiness in yourself before you get your man.
Buy it now for the perfect piece of romantic escapism.
Now for the Questions & Answers…
Hi Cali. Tell us about Tales of the Countess.What’s the book about?
The book is about the need to be happy in yourself and then you get your man. The main character, known only as the Countess is a modern woman, living in London, who is very capable in her work but useless on the relationship front. She drinks and parties too much and is faced with a situation where she really needs to sort herself out.
Is there any man in particular that the Countess has fallen for?
Yes. It is someone that she used to work with in New York. There had been a few sparks between them but he always insisted on remaining friends because of their work relationship. The book opens with her having left that job and returning home to London. She tries to get over him but then runs into him again through her work. She discovers they will both be going to the same conference which makes it much harder to put him out of her mind.
I’ve heard that some of the characters are handbags that talk. Is this true?
Yes. They are inspired by a collection of handbags that I already owned. I loved the film, Toy Story¸ where the toys are their own community and do their own thing while their owner, Andy, isn’t around.
I imagined the same thing happening with my handbags when I was out at work. When I bought a new one, and it became my new favourite, I always wondered what the others made of this and whether they were jealous.
Unlike Toy Story, the bags interact with the Countess. They try and advise her on her love life. When she gets upset because something has gone wrong, which seems to happen a lot, they support her through her emotions.
How did you decide what characters to give them?
That happened quite naturally as I started writing. One of them is very bitchy, while another is a girly-girl true romantic. The Countess’s teddy bear also features. I’ve always thought that teddy bears are very wise and her bear is no different. He works with the bags to try and support her. Later in the story she buys a beautiful sheepskin coat which has more of a tough-love personality and tells her a few home truths which initially, she doesn’t like.
Was it easier to write for them than the people in the book?
Yes. I always found that the conversations between the bags, including their squabbles, flowed easily.
With the people characters it was important to make sure that they were realistic and carried the story forward in a way which works for the reader.
Do you have a favourite bag?
Tough question! The bags in the book vary between something you’d take clubbing, a formal handbag and some beautiful fake fur casual bags. The formal bag is called the Queen Mum bag. I bought it in the late 90s at the end of the January sales. It has a cream tortoiseshell patent print and I used it for work. Wherever I went with it, it was men, not women, who commented on how much they liked it. It must have reminded them of their grannies or something! I used it for years and eventually the clasp broke. I sought out a specialist handbag repair shop but they couldn’t fix it without changing the look of the bag, which was a heart-breaking moment.
Recently I bought a bag by Aspinall which is very similar to it. I call it the Queen Mum Redux and I am often found stroking it and referring to it as “my precious”.
The book is set in the late 1990s. Is that when you started writing it?
I started writing it in 2000. I’d had the idea for a few months. For a laugh, I used to call myself Countess Cali of Kennington. In 1999 I started writing and as I worked through some creativity exercises, I realised that there would mileage in a fictional version of the countess and her handbags.
It originally began as a short story but kept growing. I worked on it for a few years but then run out of steam as my own life had moved on and I was no longer single. I parked it for nine years and it sat in the proverbial drawer. During those years I learned a lot about story structure and other novel writing techniques, and worked on other projects. Three years ago, I decided to return to Tales of the Countess and this time was determined to get the story fit for publication. Twenty years after I began writing about her, the Countess is finally out in the world.
How does the book mirror your life?
I was single when I started writing it, and suffering one of many heartbreaks. Another liaison with someone I liked didn’t go the way I would have wished. Initially I was attracted to writing the story because, unlike real life, I could choose the ending!
Once I got into writing it though, the story took on a life of its own. As I revised it, the elements in the initial draft which had been based on real events dropped away. Over time it developed its own truth.
I guess I’m similar to the Countess in that at the time I was doing the same kind of work. She’s much more capable than me though. I’ve been too busy playing around with creative stuff!
Thanks very much Cali. It sounds like a fun read.
Thank you. That’s the feedback I’m getting from people who have read it. It seems to be the perfect piece of escapism for the current times.
Cali is in her mid-fifties and lives in Bedfordshire. She was single until she was nearly forty and used to be the archetypal career girl, living in Central London and working in investment banking. One day, she had an epiphany, realised that she needed to honour her creative side and started writing. Since then, she had various side projects including running a life-coaching business, giving self-development talks and blogging about creativity at www.gentlecreative.com. She has practised Buddhism for over thirty years and is a self-confessed tree-hugger.
Cali has known her husband, Graham, since they were at school together. Although they once had a smooch when they were nineteen, they didn’t get back in contact for many years. Within a month of their first date, they realised they had found someone special in each other, but it was another few years before they were married at the tender age of forty-six. It’s never too late to find love!