Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole - Blog Tour

I'm delighted to be one of today's stops (or rather, victims) on the Ragdoll blog tour. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole is being published by Trapeze Books on 23 February 2017. 

Daniel Cole will be one of the panelists at March's First Monday Crime. You can scroll down for the link to buy tickets. But before you do, read my review...

By Daniel Cole
Published by Trapeze (23 February 2017)
ISBN: 978-1409168744

Publisher's description
A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the 'Ragdoll'. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William 'Wolf' Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The 'Ragdoll Killer' taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My verdict
Ragdoll's opening scene is intended to not just grab your attention but to leave you shocked and somewhat disturbed. And it certainly achieves that, with gruesome descriptions of body parts from six victims connected together to form a 'ragdoll'.

With its macabre deaths (graphic in places) and a very dark multi-layered plot, Ragdoll isn't for the faint-hearted. It's cleverly plotted, with a passionate yet damaged detective and a cat and mouse game to save lives. The twists and turns keep on coming, right until the bitter end. I admit that certain aspects of the plot were a little far-fetched for me, but I just had to go with the flow. To be honest, there was little time to breathe, let alone think. You can tell that the author's background involves script writing.

I love crime fiction dripping with humour, horror and unpredictability. I like to be frightened, challenged and wowed. Ragdoll ticked all the boxes. A gripping, intriguing and fast paced rollercoaster ride, this book certainly doesn't read like a debut.

This is the first in a series, and I definitely want to know what's next!

I received an Advance Reader Copy.

First Monday Crime, March 2017

Daniel Cole will be on the First Monday Crime panel on 6 March 2017. Come along and listen to him and three other fantastic authors - Erin Kelly, Julia Crouch and MJ Arlidge - talk about their books and crime writing. The event is held at Browns, St Martins Lane, London at 6.30pm.

You can buy your First Monday Crime tickets here.

Follow the Blog Tour

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell - Blog Tour

I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell. Because I Was Lonely is being published by RedDoor Publishing on 2 March 2017. Read on for my review...

Because I Was Lonely
By Hayley Mitchell
Published by RedDoor Publishing (2 March 2017)
ISBN: 978-1910453292

Publisher's description
Meet Rachel. She is caught in a spiral of endless crying, dirty nappies, and sleepless nights. She fears for her sanity and the safety of her children.

She's lonely.

Meet Adam. Suffering from the pain and trauma of a terrible accident that he blames himself for, he stays at home, unable to bring himself to leave the house.

He's lonely.

So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their long lost friendship online, what starts as a little harmless flirtation, soon becomes an unhealthy obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them.

Four lonely people . Two unhappy marriages . One dangerous, but inevitable climax.

My verdict
Because I Was Lonely reads like a book of two halves.

The first half is an introduction to the characters, with every detail of their lives put under the microscope. The author certainly has a knack for in-depth characterisation. I really felt like I knew each character by the time the story itself began.

Because I Was Lonely highlights post natal depression and the loneliness it can cause, especially if there's a lack of help when it's needed most, and how this can impact on relationships. Rachel, as a new mother, was portrayed very realistically. It was interesting to read her husband David's point of view too. Then there was Adam and Julia's story. Adam, an old friend of Rachel, is suffering with severe mental health issues after a tragic accident and his marriage is also falling apart.

Starting the book off in this way did, I felt, slow down the pace. Yet having seen some great reviews, I knew I had to keep reading to find out where this story was going. And I would urge others to do the same.

Around halfway through the book, the present day story began and the pace picked up. The characters' lives collided when Rachel and Adam found each other on Facebook. And they certainly collided with a huge bang. The narrative was tense and unsettling, as Rachel and Adam began to send messages to one another and their feelings escalated. I was nervous, worrying how this would end.

If you like loose ends tied up in the books you read, you may be a bit frustrated. The book ends on a cliffhanger, with many questions remaining unanswered, and makes me wonder if a sequel is on the way. Overall, I found Because I Was Lonely to be an enjoyable read, with some great writing, and I'm interested to see what's next.

Follow the Blog Tour

Thursday, 16 February 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Anna Mazzola

Welcome to a new feature on my blog called BEST OF CRIME, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


to share her BEST OF CRIME... 

Patricia Highsmith. Her novels are driven not just by their clever plots but also by their characters: lonely, amoral, sexually confused outsiders and mavericks.

Shallow Grave. Dark, bloody, bloody funny and featuring a young Ewan McGregor. Sigh.

Fargo, Series 1. Marvellously dark, funny and weird, and Billy Bob Thornton is perfection. Aces.

Grace Marks in Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace. Clever, cold, enigmatic and dryly humorous, rather like Atwood herself.

Nancy Drew, the icon of my youth. Only recently did I realise that the author, 'Carolyn Keene' was a generic term for a number of ghostwriters. I wish this job was still available.

The ashtray in Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests. She introduces it right at the beginning of the book, but I didn't notice until I reread it.

Patrick Bateman in a transparent mac axing Paul Allen while listening to Huey Lewis & The News. Obviously.

Old Bailey Online. A searchable edition of 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. It's where I found the transcript of the case of the Edgware Road murder (the case on which The Unseeing is based) and I've used it recently to search for cases involving witchcraft in the 19th century. A truly brilliant, and free, resource. 

There are so many writing tips out there that I've begun to suspect no one really knows anything. The only real rule is that you have to write, ideally every day, even if it what you write is terrible. I know so many people who say they just don't have time. None of us have time when we're starting out. You have to make sacrifice other things (TV, sleep, children). You have to get into the habit of writing.

Coffee coffee always coffee. I can't write without it. (Although sometimes I can't write with it either).

About Anna Mazzola
Anna Mazzola is a writer of historical crime fiction. The Unseeing is based on the life of a real woman called Sarah Gale who was convicted of aiding a murder in London in 1837. 
Anna has also written and published several short stories. She is currently working on a second historical crime novel about a collector of folklore and fairy tales on the Isle of Skye in 1857.
Anna studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before becoming a criminal justice solicitor. She began writing after taking a creative writing course with Literary Kitchen and later attended the Novel Studio at City University.
She lives in Camberwell, South London, with two small children, two cats, one husband and a lot of books.

Find out more about Anna on her website and follow Anna on Twitter - @Anna_Mazz

About The Unseeing

Publisher's description
Set in London in 1837, Anna Mazzola's THE UNSEEING is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Perfect for any reader of Sarah Waters or Antonia Hodgson.

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she's hiding something, but needs to discover just why she's maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

The Unseeing was published in paperback by Tinder Press on 26 January 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.