Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls
By Amy Engel
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (7 March 2017)





Publisher's description
Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.
The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.
Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back.
She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

My verdict
The Roanoke Girls is compelling and thought provoking. I loved it from the moment I started reading, with mesmerising writing that urged me to keep turning the pages. It's very difficult to review though, due to the difficult subject matter and not wanting to give too much away.

This rich family has been covering up a tangled web of secrets for generations. The secrets are revealed early on - so no surprises there. In fact, they are hinted at but not portrayed in a graphic way, which means the book is chilling and leaves much to the imagination (which can be far more frightening than when it's written on the page in front of you).

Don't be deceived by the pretty cover, as The Roanoke Girls is hiding a lot of darkness. It isn't a thriller, but there's a mystery at the heart of it, with plenty of flawed characters in a wonderful atmospheric setting. The chapters flit between past and present, and the author gradually peels back the layers, one by one.

The Roanoke Girls is certainly not for people who steer clear of taboo subjects or get easily offended, and I expect it will be a controversial read.

I received an Advance Reader Copy.

Friday, 21 April 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Sharon Bolton

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





Today I'm delighted to welcome 

SHARON BOLTON

for her Dead Woman Walking blog tour

to share her BEST OF CRIME ... 




... AUTHORS
Gillian Flynn, for her ability to dig out the nastiest, deepest-hidden facets of the human character and point the finger at us all. You! You are like this too!


... FILMS/MOVIES
Silence of the Lambs with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Simple and terrifying. The perfect thriller, in book and movie form.


... TV DRAMAS
Peaky Blinders, compelling, dark and beautiful.


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Dexter Morgan, because who doesn’t love a superhero serial killer?  


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES
Adelia Aguilar in Ariana Franklin’s dark ages set, forensic crime thrillers.


... MURDER WEAPONS
Lily of the Valley water. Deadly poisonous, and the flowers grow profusely in my back garden.
    

... DEATH SCENES
The trail of maggots in Simon Beckett’s The Chemistry of Death.
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
SavidgeReads. I love Simon’s gentle, self-effacing style.


... WRITING TIPS
Read your work aloud.


... WRITING SNACKS
None. It’s too easy to gain weight with our sedentary lifestyle. Keep the snacks in the fridge.



About SHARON BOLTON
Sharon (formerly SJ) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which she is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer.

Her first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

Find Sharon Bolton on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @AuthorSJBolton


About DEAD WOMAN WALKING




Publisher's description
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.


Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .

Dead Woman Walking was published by Transworld on 20 April 2017.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.


Follow the Blog Tour







Thursday, 20 April 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Lesley Thomson

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





Today I'm delighted to welcome 

LESLEY THOMSON


to share her BEST OF CRIME ... 





... AUTHORS
Elly Griffiths is my favorite contemporary crime writer.  Her Ruth Galloway series invites the reader into a vivid world – the bleak yet rich Norfolk landscape, archeological (or not) remains, a sense of past and present merging – which is peopled with engaging complex characters (Cathbad is genius).  Then Griffiths began the Mephisto/Stephens series and did it all over again.


... FILMS/MOVIES
Blow Up (1966) by Michaelangelo Antonioni. Could be described as a murder story with no named victim or killer in which the ‘detective’ is a fashion photographer. I’ve always taken photographs (once developed in my dad’s dark room, now use my phone), I loved the idea of discovering the victim’s body in a photograph rather than finding it in ‘real’ life. After I saw this film (since seen many times) the sound of wind in the trees has never been the same. It conjures up such a possibility of mystery.


... TV DRAMAS
The Killing (Danish version) Season 1. This has influenced many wonderful dramas (Broadchurch being one). Not least that music swelling towards the finale of an episode. It was the first time I’d seen the grief of the victim’s family depicted so realistically and given such prominence on tele. We saw the context for the murder as well as the gradual revelation of the truth of the crime. It was as ground breaking and as absorbing as Prime Suspect had been back in the day. I felt it was a novel come to life (rather than adapted). 


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Has to be Tom Ripley in Patricia Highsmith’s novels. Highsmith a hero of mine and her books are where I first came upon the idea of the murderer getting away with it and the reader (me anyway) wanting them to. That’s despite disliking the killer. Ripley is a fabulous creation. 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES
Ruth Galloway is right up there. She’s methodical, intelligent, brave, informed and intuitive. As a child and young adult, I wanted to be both an archeologist and a detective. Galloway makes me realise that I’m better off sticking to crime-writing. I respect her way of living and working. She legitimizes a certain level of domestic slippage I rather recognize, while doing her job very well indeed. I emulate her! 


... MURDER WEAPONS
I’ve utilised an icicle and a dog lead in my time…. 
    

... DEATH SCENES
The Nine Taylors by Dorothy L Sayers.  Bizarre, but logical and clever. Who knew you could be murdered by a bell? This covers the question directly above too. 
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
I read widely when writing. I did a crash course in Botany for The House With No Rooms so I haunted the Kew Gardens website. The Dog Walker was mainly written from experience (except the murder bit) so I did lots of tramps along the Kew Towpath with a small canine. The novel involves a subterranean basement which meant I trawled several basement design websites. I’m a regular visitor to the Missing Person’s site despite it having a saddening and sobering effect. 


... WRITING TIPS
Write the story you’d want to read rather than the one you think the ‘market’ wants.  Sit down and start writing, if you wait for the muse to hit you, you’ll be waiting a long time. Write through the rubbish and eventually the muse arrives. 


... WRITING SNACKS

None at all now as I’m being good. But when I was being ‘bad’, nuts, chocolate, digestive biscuits.... I’ve started giving my characters these snacks. Jack Harmon has just consumed a whole packet of digestives in lieu of me.



About LESLEY THOMSON
Lesley Thomson grew up in west London. Her first novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won the People's Book Prize in 2010. Her second novel, The Detective's Daughter, was a #1 bestseller and sold over 500,000 copies. 

Find Lesley Thomson on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @LesleyjmThomson


About THE DOG WALKER




Publisher's description
A haunted house, a broken family and a body that has never been found. Stella and Jack must reawaken the secrets of the past in order to solve the mysteries of the present.
January, 1987. In the depths of winter, only joggers and dog walkers brave the Thames towpath after dark. Helen Honeysett, a young newlywed, sets off for an evening run from her riverside cottage. Only her dog returns.
Twenty-nine years later, her husband has asked Stella Darnell, a private detective, and her side-kick Jack Harmon, to find out what happened all those years ago.
But when the five households on that desolate stretch of towpath refuse to give up their secrets, Stella and Jack find themselves hunting a killer whose trail has long gone cold...



The Dog Walker was published by Head of Zeus on 6 April 2017.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.