Saturday, 30 June 2018

Overkill by Vanda Symons

Overkill
By Vanda Symon
Published by Orenda Books (Ebook - out now; Paperback - 6 September 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher



Publisher's description
When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast said her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. To find the murderer... and clear her name. A taut, atmospheric and pageturning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand s finest crime writers.

My verdict
I predict that Overkill is another winning book for publisher Orenda. I loved this crime thriller from the moment I started reading the chilling prologue, through every spellbinding chapter and right through to the shocking ending.

Set in a small town in New Zealand, this book features police constable Sam Shepherd, a feisty, risk-taking protagonist with a wicked sense of humour (prompting actual laughs as I read). When Sam investigates the suicide of a young mother, Gaby, she soon realises this was, in fact, murder, which means there's a killer on the loose. To complicate matters, Gaby happened to be married to Sam's former lover. When her bosses discover the link, Sam's not only taken off the case, but treated as a suspect. Though nothing will stop Sam from conducting her own investigation on the quiet, to discover the truth about what happened to Gaby in her final moments.

Sam wears her heart on her sleeve, and her friendship (and conversations) with flatmate Maggie really brought her to life. I loved being inside her head. She's tough but also vulnerable and possibly a little naive. She felt like more than just a character in a book - someone very real - and I found myself warming to her immediately.

Overkill features short, snappy chapters, which move the plot forwards at a fast pace, with great literary writing. Tension and emotion spill out of every page, and I found myself whizzing through from beginning to end. I genuinely couldn't stop reading, addicted not only to the gripping twisty plot but also to its great sense of place and range of believable characters - a perfect combination.

I don't rave about many books, but this one prompted a few raving tweets and is certainly one that I'll be recommending widely. The Sam Shepherd series isn't new - the books have been around for a decade in New Zealand but have slipped under the radar, until now. This is the first to be published by Orenda Books, and it has been 'lovingly and beautifully rewritten'. Now I'm desperately waiting for the next one! And I can't wait for other people to discover Overkill's brilliance too.


Thursday, 28 June 2018

Laura Pearson's Writing Toolkit

WRITING TOOLKIT gives you an idea of an author's writing process through the tools they use. The tools can be anything (real or virtual) that they think is essential for their writing - serious, fun or even a fetish (that they're willing to own up to)! 


I am delighted to welcome 

LAURA PEARSON

AUTHOR OF MISSING PIECES

TO SHARE HER WRITING TOOLKIT

FOR HER BLOG TOUR

Missing Pieces was published on 21 June 2018 by Agora Books. 



Armchair and footstool
I have an enormous armchair and footstool in my living room and I usually write sitting there. Sometimes I start out at the dining table in the morning, but I almost always end up back in my armchair at some point. I’m not sure why. I suppose I’m just comfortable there.


Laptop
I write on my laptop, using Word. I’ve had a few laptops over the years; my current one is a HP. I’m not fussy. It just has to be reasonably fast and straightforward. My husband takes care of anything technical – if I get a new phone or laptop, he always sets it up for me, and he deals with any issues I have. I know that if I only have my work in progress open, I’ll get a lot more done, but despite that, I often open up Twitter and Facebook and my emails and Netgalley and Amazon, and then I flounder.


Books
I like to have books around me wherever I am. We have bookcases in almost every room of the house. I don’t often refer to a specific book when I’m writing, but it’s important to me that they’re close by. I’m always reading at least two books (usually one is an audiobook), no matter what stage of writing or editing I’m at.






Snacks
I’m a terrible snacker. I’m obsessed with chocolate. I’ve always had a sweet tooth but it was out of control in both my pregnancies and has never really gone back to normal. If I get stuck on something I’m writing, or the words aren’t flowing well, the first thing I do is usually head to the kitchen cupboards. I don’t think I would ever tire of eating cappuccino chocolate bars from Thorntons or Marks and Spencer. Or Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, for that matter.



Writing buddies
I have some really good writing friends. I met two of them, Lia Louis and Rebecca Williams, on Twitter, and we’re all mums to young children and writers, and we have a What’s App group where we talk daily about our successes and failures, our frustrations and our excitements. It helps so much. I’m forever sending them bits of drafts or asking for their advice about stuff. Lia has a novel coming out next year and Rebecca is working on a novel that’s really fresh and original, and I feel really lucky to have them in my pocket (as it were). Another one, Rachael Smart, sort of fell into my life about a year ago and I’ll always be grateful that she did. She’s clever and funny and kind, and reading her words is a bit like stepping out into thick, untouched snow.


Silence
I’ve never tried writing with music on, but I know that if the TV’s on, I get really distracted. Sometimes I try to do a bit of writing while my daughter is napping and my son is watching cartoons, but it never works. When I’m at home alone, I write in complete silence, and that seems to work for me. 



Writing mentor
I’ve had a writing mentor, Gillian McAllister, since last summer. She was supposed to give me two hours of mentoring, and here we are, a year later. Because I signed my deal with Agora quite soon after we met, the mentoring hasn’t so much been about her critiquing my writing (although there’s been some of that) but more about her answering my never-ending questions about the publishing process. She’s very patient, really insightful and a wonderful writer. 




THANKS FOR TAKING PART, LAURA!


About Laura Pearson
Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She lives in Leicestershire with her husband and their two children. Missing Pieces is her first novel.

Find Laura on her website, on her Facebook page and on Twitter - @LauraPAuthor

About Missing Pieces

Published by Agora Books (21 June 2018)


Publisher's description
What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?
All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.
Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.
That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?

Read my review here.

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Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson

Missing Pieces
By Laura Pearson
Published by Agora Books (published 21 June 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher



Publisher's description
What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?
All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.
Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.
That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her?
What happened that couldn’t be fixed?

My verdict
Missing Pieces is a heart-wrenching book that takes its characters, and its readers, on a rollercoaster journey through grief, as a family comes to terms with the loss of a child. Laura Pearson writes with passion, creating believable characters going through a full spectrum of emotions.

Linda and her family are trying to pick up the pieces after a tragic incident, but Linda in particular isn't coping well at all - struggling through her pregnancy and living with a husband who is slowly drifting away from her. Each of the family members, including seven-year-old Esme, feels responsible for the past.

I like the way the book is structured - a book of two halves, featuring two timelines (1980s and present day). Chapters count the time in days from the tragedy, then swiftly move forward by 25 years. Even the present day chapters show the day count, proving that time doesn't always heal, especially when there are questions to be asked.

I often read books and wonder what happened to the characters afterwards. Missing Pieces provides some answers, showing the impact of so many years tinged with sadness. As the book progresses, there's some mystery and intrigue too, as details of the tragedy gradually surface, when youngest daughter Bea wants to know the truth about what happened all those years ago.

Missing Pieces is a story of families, especially fathers and daughters. It's sad, but also hopeful, with a focus on family ties. The loss of a child is every parent's nightmare, and Laura Pearson has tackled the topic with sensitivity and compassion.


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

Dark Water
By Mary-Jane Riley
Published by Killer Reads (16 March 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher


Publisher's description
Secrets lie beneath the surface…
Two men, seemingly unconnected, are discovered dead in a holiday boat on the Norfolk Broads, having apparently committed suicide together.
Local journalist Alex Devlin, planning an article on the dangers of internet suicide forums, starts digging into their backgrounds.
But Alex’s investigation soon leads her to a much darker mystery – one that will hit closer to home than she could possibly have imagined, and place the lives of those she loves in terrible danger.

My verdict
I really enjoy Mary-Jane Riley's writing. All three of her Alex Devlin books have been very easy to read, with plenty of description to paint a vivid picture in my head of characters and places without taking anything away from the pace of the plot.

Alex Devlin is a fantastic character - a feisty journalist with a nose for mystery who throws herself into her job 100% but still manages to maintain a strong sense of family. There are some larger-than-life flamboyant characters in Dark Waters too, providing some light-hearted humorous moments. There's one particular character I would have loved to see more of (since he features more heavily in the previous books) but he's still there in the background.

I highly recommend Dark Waters. I found myself racing through the pages and had to remind myself to breathe! A couple of twists and turns made me sit upright as I really didn't see those coming. This series is getting better and better, and the main characters are definitely growing with each book. As with the previous books, Dark Waters left me wanting more (in a good way).

Can this be read as a standalone? Yes, it probably can. But I would suggest you buy (and read) all three books in this series so far anyway!

Monday, 25 June 2018

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings

The Cliff House
By Amanda Jennings
Published by HQ Stories (17 May 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher



Publisher's description
Some friendships are made to be broken
Cornwall, summer of 1986.
The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.
If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.
If only her life was as perfect as theirs.
If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.

If only she lived at The Cliff House…

My verdict
I'm a huge fan of Amanda Jennings' books - her exquisite prose, amazing sense of place and sharp believable dialogue. The Cliff House is yet another stunning read - a superb psychological thriller that will stay with you afterwards.

This is a story of parental love and families, mother-daughter relationships, jealousy, grief and possession. It looks at the devastating aftermath of tragedy, and how easily our experiences and memories can be distorted by our own thoughts and also by the people around us. This book is very much about ownership, of places as well as people, and a reminder that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

The Cliff House is chilling from the start, with a sense of impending doom. I could guess how it was going to end - but had no idea who, what, how or why. This book reminded me not to believe everything that's on the page, and that you often have to read between the lines, as well as the words themselves, to really get to the heart of what's going on.

Amanda Jennings' gorgeous, vivid descriptions made me believe I was there in Cornwall, swimming in that pool overlooking the sea. While the book is very much character-led, its title 'The Cliff House' is also very apt, as the house has a significant influence on the lives (and interactions) of all of the main characters. I didn't actually realise how much the characters had touched me until I noticed tears in my eyes at the end.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

The Lion Tamer Who Lost
By Louise Beech
Published by Orenda Books (E-book - 15 July 2018; Paperback - 30 September 2018) 
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher 



Publisher's description
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 it 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. 


My verdict
While The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story between Andrew and Ben, it was also a love story for me - as I was bewitched by Louise Beech's stunning writing for a fourth time (having read her previous books How to Be Brave, The Mountain in my Shoe and Maria in the Moon).

This is a sweeping drama of Zimbabwe, with evocative descriptions of the African landscape and two rescue lions who need to learn how to live independently. I found myself reading some of the prose again and again, with everything so vividly described that I felt I was there too. The narrative switches between Ben and Andrew (relaying their thoughts, feelings and emotions), between past and present, and between the two contrasting locations of Africa and England. The characters felt very real and, once again, reminded me of the talent shining through the pages.

I believe that everyone who reads this book will take away something different. For me, it was a story of unrequited love, of families and friendships, lovers and relationships, and promises, wishes, hopes and dreams. Of feeling trapped and desperate to break free, but needing the confidence to learn to fly, with similarities between Ben's own situation and that of the lions he was caring for. It was about the strength of love and the selfless sacrifices that people make at a time of crisis, and also having the maturity and courage to deal with life's setbacks if things don't go as planned..

I knew this book would be a tearjerker as soon as I immersed myself in Louise Beech's story, with her poetic words leaping off the page like little sparks of light. I had tissues, chocolate and counselling service on standby by the time I reached the end. Each one of her books is unique - nothing like her previous ones, but just as compelling and compassionate. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Author Catch Up: GX Todd

It's taken me a while to get to Defender and Hunted by GX Todd. I read the first book in January 2018 and have only just read the second book, which is being published later this month. It made sense to read them reasonably close together, as they are the first two books in a planned quartet. Here's my Author Catch up with a double review.

Defender and Hunted are the first two books in The Voices series. My suggestion is to read them as I have done - buy both and read them in succession, so then you don't need to recap on the story of the first one before you read the second. Obviously I then have to wait to read books three and four, as this is a quartet. BUT there is no way I could have waited until all four books were published to start reading this series!



Defender: Publisher's description
In a world where long drinks are in short supply, it's dangerous to listen to your inner voice.
Those who do, keep it quiet.
But one man listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road.
There is a reason why Pilgrim and Lacey must cross paths.
They just don't know it yet . . . 
#HearTheVoices 


Hunted: Publisher's description
The birds are flying. The birds are flocking. The birds sense the red skies are coming.
One man is driven by an inner voice that isn't his - this Other is chewing at his sanity like a jackal with a bone and has one purpose.
To find the voice hiding in the girl. 
She has no one to defend her now. 
But in an inn by the sea, a boy with no tongue and no voice gathers his warriors. Albus must find the girl, Lacey . . . before the Other does. 
And finish the work his sister Ruby began.

My verdict of both books
I enjoyed both Defender and Hunted, though they did provide a slightly different reading experience each time. The writing in both books is stunning, with descriptions that made me startle, grimace, laugh and cry. Author GX Todd left me feeling, tasting, hearing and seeing everything she described, vividly in my own head as if I had a voice in there too. The books are graphic, violent and bloody - so they are not always an easy read - but also compelling, gripping and heartbreaking. They are filled with hope and emotion, as people begin to build relationships, forge friendships and develop communities. The characters are real and convincing - ordinary people pitted against the dangers of a broken society, with an unknown force (or voices) in control.

In Defender, we're pulled into a world where some people can hear (and even talk to) their inner voice. We're introduced to Lacey, a girl on the cusp of adulthood, and Pilgrim, a mysterious man with a mysterious past and an inner voice with attitude. The book looks at the worst (and sometimes best) side of human nature, as people fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic setting. The world has been destroyed by human behaviour, triggered by voices in people's heads, leaving no leadership, authority figures or even organised society. The voices in The Defender are far more than a conscience - they are independent, with the power to lead you to kill yourself and others. Niggling at you, urging you, driving you crazy - with no escape. But it seems that not all voices are bad - and not all voices are equal.

Defender is compelling and addictive, with definite reminders of The Walking Dead, of which I am a huge fan. Straight away, we're introduced to the main characters through vivid descriptions, not just of their outward appearances but their inner thoughts too. I guess it helps when there's someone else inside their head for them to talk to - though not everyone has an inner voice. Defender is certainly an action-packed thriller, with each chapter reading like an episode of a TV series. And it left me hungry for more, so it was just as well I had Hunted waiting patiently on my Kindle.

Hunted follows on from Defender, with tension mounting as some of the original characters continue along their journey, running from danger and trying to keep those around them safe. They are being hunted by new characters, some good and some bad - though it's not actually clear which are which until later on in the book. No one knows where the voices have come from, why they exist or what they want. But it's clear that some, if not all, have their own agenda, leading the characters along a twisty, and often dangerous, path until they all converge.

Hunted wasn't what I expected at first, I'm not going to lie. It starts off with different characters to Defender, which left me somewhat confused, trying to keep track of them. It also started off at a slower pace, setting the scene and introducing each of the character groups in turn. Yet despite feeling a little lost, I ploughed on and eventually couldn't put this book down either, as the tension and action reached full throttle. As with Defender, Hunted is filled with amazing descriptive writing, with plenty of sadness, humour, shocks and surprises amid the darkness. Eventually old and new characters collided, with plenty of sparks and an explosive ending. While Hunted doesn't necessarily answer many questions or tie up many loose ends, some things started to make sense, though this then led to more questions circulating around in my head.

Defender and Hunted have definitely left me wanting more, and I could certainly hear my own 'inner voices' by the time I turned the final page! I can't wait for the next instalment in The Voices series!


Defender was published by Headline on 12 January 2017.
Hunted is being published by Headline on 31 May 2018.

Monday, 18 June 2018

BEST OF CRIME with Sandie Jones

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 

SANDIE JONES


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
I love almost everything that Harlan Coben writes. His narrative is so immersive – he speaks my kind of language, and his plots are so well crafted. I especially enjoyed Six Years as you never know who you’re listening to and who you should trust. The same applies to Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go. I love getting to the end of a book and having everything I thought was true, turned on its head.


... FILMS/MOVIES
Primal Fear stayed with me for a long time after I watched it, and clearly still has an effect on me 20 years later! The ending shook me to the core – it was one of those moments when I looked around me with my mouth agape, thinking, ‘what the……..?’ 
It also introduced me to Edward Norton, one of my favorite actors, who, in my opinion, is hugely under-rated.


... TV DRAMAS
Cracker, starring Robbie Coltrane, was a show I never missed in the 1990’s. It was the first time I’d seen a police drama with such an emphasis on the psychology behind the crime. I guess today’s equivalent would be Luther, as Idris (and his coat) seem to know what makes a killer’s mind tick!


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
If it’s allowed, I’d like to say the women of Pirriwee in Big Little Lies. Although we know only one of them is the killer, I love the fact that they stood in solidarity, so the police had to charge them all or none at all. 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
Julien Baptiste in The Missing is, for me, the epitome of a detective. He’s an old school sleuth, being dragged, kicking and screaming into contemporary crime-solving. There are no airs and graces, no political correctness, no holding back, yet he’s still charm personified and boy, does he get the job done?


... MURDER WEAPONS
The crossbow and arrow used in Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin,for the ultimate heart-stopping moment.
    

... DEATH SCENES
The most bizarre and yet incredibly moving death scene is the jellyfish in the bath in Seven Pounds. The care and attention that is put into creating the perfect death, so that others are able to benefit is extraordinary and had me crying for hours!
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
I’m a late comer to Facebook, but it’s a great source for advice and fact-checking. There are groups and clubs for every subject under the sun, whether it be crime research, writing guidance or if you just want to sound an idea out amongst fellow writers/readers.
I also rely heavily on www.thesaurus.com as I can spend half a day thinking of the word that’s on the tip of my tongue!


... WRITING TIPS
Start. Simple, but true. Every day there will be reasons not to write and every day we berate ourselves for not getting on with it. But once you start, you’re off and away. 
And be open to the idea of writing anywhere. I wrote The Other Woman on an Ipad, in waiting rooms, hairdressers and on public transport!


... WRITING SNACKS
I start off the morning with blueberries, a banana and almonds. By the afternoon, I’m so chuffed with my healthy eating regime that I reward myself with crisps, chocolate and biscuits!


About SANDIE JONES
Sandie Jones is a freelance journalist and has contributed to The Sunday TimesDaily Mail, Woman’s Weekly and Hello magazine, amongst others. If she wasn’t a writer, she’d be an interior designer as she has an unhealthy obsession with wallpaper and cushions. She lives in London with her husband and three children.

Find Sandie Jones on her website, on her Facebook page and on Twitter - @realsandiejones


About THE OTHER WOMAN


Publisher's description
When Emily meets Adam she knows he is the One. 
That together they can deal with anything that is thrown at them.
But lurking in the shadows is another woman, Pammie. A woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves. A mother whose love for her son knows no bounds.
Now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants . . .

The Other Woman was published by Pan on 14 June 2018.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.


Sunday, 17 June 2018

BEST OF CRIME with Alex Caan

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 

ALEX CAAN

for his First to Die blog tour

to share his BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
Graham Greene and John Le Carre. I was approached to work for the security services after University and since then my fascination with all things espionage has been extreme. But beyond just your average spy thriller, these two writers also give great insights into the human condition. Beautiful writers that really pack a punch each time.

... FILMS/MOVIES
Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK’. That was as thrillers go perfect. Multi-layered, suspenseful and actually scared me in a few places. 


... TV DRAMAS
The X Files. For me the ultimate show. Everything else that came after it borrowed so heavily from it, as a fan I can see the hangover even to this day. The chemistry between the leads, the terrifying storylines, the complex characters and villains, the mindblowing mysteries. I seriously cannot rate this show highly enough, and it changed me in so many ways and I think people can see my own TXF hang-ups in my novels.


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
The Jackal from The Day of the Jackal. I love blindingly clever villains like Hanniabl Lecter and Dr Alex Thorne from Angela Marson’s Kim Stone series, and the Jackal is just that. The way he manipulates, plots and ruthlessly kills to keep his identity secret, it’s fascinating. 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
Mulder and Scully of course. I loved how Mulder is the sensitive one in a way, the spiritual one, whereas Scully is clever, logical, tough and still able to be vulnerable. Scully especially is a blueprint I think for every hero I write whether they are male or female.


... MURDER WEAPONS
Jo Nesbo. He comes up with the craziest murder weapons. That ball thing from Phantom? And the teeth in The Thirst? It’s like he’s Googling these warped weapons and then building his novels around them. 
    

... DEATH SCENES
Not really crime but Thelma and Louise. I never felt so uplifted and positive after the death of anyone. It was a very weird feeling.
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
University libraries. Academic papers are the best for ideas and research. Really would recommend it to anyone, it’s more bizarre, fun and cutting edge than any google search.


... WRITING TIPS
If you want to write because you want to be the next J K Rowling then you will probably fail. Write because you love to write even if no one is publishing you yet. It’s a calling I think, and you will find your audience. Oh and the first draft is always shit. Don’t worry. 


... WRITING SNACKS
Cake. Any.


About ALEX CAAN
Alex Caan has spent over a decade working in Information Systems Security for a number of government organisations, and is currently specialising in Terrorism Studies. A lifetime passion for writing was sparked by the encouraging words of an English Teacher in school, and eventually led to Alex successfully completing an MA in Creative Writing, and write Cut to the Bone.
Cut to the Bone has been a Kindle Number 1 bestseller, was picked as a WH Smith 'Everyone's Talking About' book of the week, chosen as Sainsbury's best of summer reads and was Angela Marson's pick for crime novel recommendation of the year. Alex Caan was also a rising star on Amazon in 2016.

Find Alex Caan on his website, on his Facebook page and on Twitter - @alexcaanwriter


About FIRST TO DIE


Publisher's description
SOMEWHERE IN THE CROWD IS A KILLER 
Bonfire Night and St James's Park is filled with thousands of Anonymous protesters in a stand-off with the police. When a cloaked, Guido Fawkes mask-wearing body is discovered the following morning, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner's office are called in.
The corpse has been eaten away by a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus. The autopsy reveals the victim was a senior civil servant, whose work in international development involved saving lives. Why would anyone want him dead? 
THEY WILL STRIKE AGAIN 
As the research team looking into the origins of the deadly virus scramble to discover an antidote, first one, then another pharmacist goes missing. Meanwhile, a dark truth starts to emerge about the murder victim: he was an aggressive man, whose bullying behaviour resulted in the suicide attempt of one of his former staff members.
AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT . . .
With thirty lives potentially at stake, Kate and Zain have their work cut out for them. Can they find the two missing pharmacists in time, or will they too end up dead?

Read a snippet of my review
'The plot is complex, steeped in science and politics, with plenty of twists, turns and surprises throughout - and a few 'heart in the mouth' moments too.'

To read the rest of my review, click here.

First to Die was published by Bonnier Zaffre on 14 June 2018.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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