Who killed the Mince Spy BLOG TOUR – Guest post

Some of you may remember that a while ago I read a book called Addicted to Death by author Matthew Redford (Addicted to death by Matthew Redford – a review) This introduced us to the hilarious world of the food-sapiens, and the food related crime led by Detective Carrot Wortell. The first novel had me laughing out loud. Therefore I jumped at the chance to read a short story featuring the food-sapiens ‘Who killed the mince spy’. I am delighted that author Matthew Redford has provided a guest post for this spot on the blog tour.

who-killed-the-mince-spyDear A crime reader’s blog

Ok, so I need some help. No, not that kind of help, although I can understand why you leapt to that conclusion given that I write about food sapiens. You know what I mean when I say food sapiens don’t you? The walking, talking food items which live and breathe alongside homo sapiens. I can almost guarantee that you know a food sapiens celebrity but that you have just never made the connection.

Let’s take music. We all know the song ‘unforgettable’, well that was sung by the famous food sapiens Nat King Coleslaw. And more recently, we had Ham Smith singing the lead song to the Bond movie ‘Spectre’. And don’t forget celebrity TV presenters. Of course, there is Ant and Duck but don’t forget morning TV host Quiche Lorraine Kelly.

So now that you are on board with food sapiens, you won’t be surprised to know that the police have their own specialised food related crime team, which is led by Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, who also happens to be a carrot. Well, I have become the leading (and by leading I mean only) food sapiens crime author in the UK who has access to the Food Related Crime team.

They have a hugely busy workload and trying to prioritise which case is documented next is really challenging. So this is where I need some help. I’ve briefly outlined some of the cases which the Food Related Crime team have been involved with (more case titles on my website www.matthewredford.com) and it would help me greatly if the lovely people viewing A Crime Readers Blog could provide some much needed feedback about which case they would like to read about next.

Hot and crossed buns: Easter is approaching and the preparations for a long weekend are disrupted when 30 pieces of silver cutlery are stolen. And amidst the robbery lies the body of a hot and crossed bun, who has been murdered. While investigating, the Food Related Crime team also have to work out who has stolen the golden Easter egg.

The Codfather: The Food Related Crime team investigate some mysterious goings-on as food sapiens find themselves swimming with the fishes. There is no point carping on or red snapping about it, but with no obvious leads to find the killer, the team are caught between a rock and a hard plaice.

A cereal killer: Breakfast oats beware. Look out crunchy nuts (no, not those kind). Keep a look out cornflake, there is a cereal killer on the loose. Can the Food Related Crime team catch the killer before another breakfast cereal says cheerio?

Why did the artichoke? When a strange plumb of smoke fills the air causing an innocent artichoke to suffocate, could the Food Related Crime team be facing chemical weapons? Fearing a mustard gas attack can the villain of the piece be unmasked in time?

So there we have it, lots of stories to write, so little time, which is why I need your help. What story should be written up first? Answers on a postcard please?

Matthew Redford.

Thanks so much Matthew, personally my vote is for ‘A cereal killer’.If you fancy reading more about the food related crime team, this short story by Matthew Redford follows his deliciously irreverent debut Addicted To Death (Clink Street Publishing, 2015).

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Killed-Mince-Spy-Investigation/dp/1911525158/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1478177564&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=matthew+redford

About Matthew Redford

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels. To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

Website – http://www.matthewredford.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/matthew_redford

 

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Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land – a review

imagesI was given a copy of this via netgalley.

Good Me, Bad Me centres around a young girl called Milly. She has recently moved in with a foster family and has been given a new identity. This is because she is awaiting the trial of her Mother, a serial killer. Milly is looking forward to being able to put what has happened behind her, and start a new life. Only her foster parents and the head teacher at her school know who she really is. However her foster sister Phoebe isn’t quite so keen on having yet another foster child staying with them, and soon starts to cause trouble. Milly also begins to realise that it isn’t always that easy to stay hidden, especially if people don’t want you to.

The publishers blurb for this book states that Good Me, Bad Me is ‘set to be one of the most extraordinary, controversial and explosive debuts of 2017’. Normally I think you should take this kind of sellers advert with a pinch of salt. However this time I completely agree, this was a superb book that I read pretty much in one sitting on the train to Birmingham.

The story is completely gripping. Milly has had a truly horrific childhood, with a single mother who was clearly deranged. She then had the hardest decision to make that any child could, to give her mother up to the police, or let her continue her murderous ways. Her Mother may have been a serial killer but Milly still loved her.

This is a story that will keep you thinking about it for days afterwards. The writing in it is seamless and the pace keeps you turning the pages (or clicking the button in the case of a kindle) There are parts where you feel that you are actually inside Milly’s head which is not a particularly nice place to be. Despite the sympathy you feel for her and her life there is something about Milly that makes the reader a bit uneasy. As the story unfolds you get drawn deeper into the family and realise that secrets are clearly everywhere. One of the bits I enjoyed most was the way the novel Lord of the Flies was referenced. I remember reading this at school although unlike the children at Milly’s new school I didn’t take it as an instructional manual for how to behave. The mob mentality is clearly evident throughout the novel and you realise just how cruel children can be,

This was an excellent and very disturbing book that will stay with you long after you finish it. I would thoroughly recommend Good Me, Bad Me and think it is definitely going to be in the running for debut novel of the year before the year has even begun.

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The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange by James Calum Campbell – A review BLOG TOUR

 I was sent a copy of this book by Impress books and am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour.

 

The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange was an intriguing book advertised as a thriller with a medical twist. Being a big fan of Lisa Gardener and Tess Gerritsen this sounded right up my street so I was very pleased to be asked to review.

 

The novel starts with Dr Cameron-Strange being tried for manslaughter of one of his patients. We then go back in time to find out how he arrived in this situation. Having returned to New Zealand following an event from the previous novel (which I hadn’t read but this didn’t detract from the the story) he is soon tracked down by two British agents. They want him to look into the death of a man who collapsed whilst taking part in a reality TV show owned by American Business man Phineas Fox.

 

I read this on a train ride down to London and back after having had a pretty bad morning waking up to snow, cancelled buses and worst of all the news that Donald Trump had been elected  as the US President. Ironic then that I should chose this day to read The Seven Trials of Cameron Strange where one of the main characters within the story – the millionaire Phineas Fox – would seem to be closely based on him.

 

This is probably not my usual type of thriller if I’m honest but I did still enjoy it. Cameron-Strange is a medical doctor, who seems to be a cross between James Bond and Kay Scarpetta. As well as saving people’s lives with medicine, he is a qualified pilot, a runner who likes to run up volcanos for a past time and has an amazing abililty to escape predicaments. This is all lucky as he needs it to escape from seven trials set by the hideous Fox who is hoping to run for President.

 

This was a fast paced novel, that certainly made the train trip pass by quickly. Cameron-Strange is a likeable character, that you do actually feel has been accidently thrown into a world he was trying to avoid and so I almost felt sorry for him. The novel is well written and I enjoyed the fact it was set in some unusual places. Definitely one for fans of Lee Child and action films.

 

To hear what others thought of this novel head over to the other stops on the tour:

 

Damp Pebbles: https://damppebbles.com/tag/the-seven-trials-of-cameron-strange/

Never Imitate: https://neverimitate.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/book-review-the-seven-trials-of-cameron-strange/

Best crime books and more: http://www.bestcrimebooksandmore.co.uk/2016/11/blog-tour-kats-review-of-seven-trials.html

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Rattle by Fiona Cummins – a review

I received a copy of Rattle by Fiona Cummins in the goody bag at the festival back in July. It wasn’t one that I heard of before although my sister had seen in advertised. Needless to say the cover picture of the rib cage and the line on the back stating ‘a psychopath more scary than Hannibal Lecter’ meant this seemed right up my street, and it most certainly was.

Rattle introduces us to Detective Etta Fitzroy. She is investigating the case of Clara who has gone missing.  This isn’t her first missing child case, and sadly for young Jakey it won’t be her last. Both missing children suffer from unusual bone conditions.  It is this that singles them out for the ‘Bone Collector’ who is looking to add to his families heirlooms.

I can honestly say I thought this was one of the best books I have read in ages and I couldn’t stop reading. The premise of a man who abducts children being followed by a troubled detective with family issues isn’t that original. Yet the twists and turns within this story really did make it feel ‘new’. The main character of Etta was ok, and despite her issues, to me she felt like a detective that actually put the job first. This can often be lacking in female leads and was refreshing. However what I really liked was the insights we got into the characters involved. Many of the chapters are told from the point of view of the familes, so you really feel like you know them and care about them, they are not just faceless victims.

Some of the scenes within Rattle are truly chilling. I really enjoyed the style of writing, and the descriptions within the novel. The visions they conjure up in part of the book will stay with you after it’s finished. I love a good serial killer story, especially one that has you double checking all the doors are locked before you carry on reading. The Rattle certainly did that. It was the perfect balance of scary thriller, and excellent character led story.

This was one of the best books I have read all year, and an incredibly accomplished debut. An excellent addition to this year’s goody bag and I hope there is lots more to come from Fiona Cummins.

 

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The woman next door by Cass Green – a review

The Woman Next Door is about Hester and Melissa who have lived next to each other for years. They used to be good friends, the older woman Hester, helped out with Melissa’s daughter when she was young. However recently they have not been close. Hester is lonely and misses her friendship with the glamorous Melissa so when she sees an opportunity to do Melissa a favour she jumps at it. This soon turns out to be a mistake for both of them.

I really enjoyed this book. Clearly ‘next door’ is the new craze in book titles, as I’ve also read ‘The Couple Next Door’ recently. The Woman Next Door switches between the viewpoints of the two main characters. As an observer you can see that Melissa is fed up with Hestor’s interfering busy body ways. However you also see that Hestor believes she is doing everything for the right reasons and just wants to help. This is a slow burner of a novel that is definitely worth sticking with. The characters are both unreliable and I kept changing my opinion of who was good and who was bad throughout. Hestor is clearly desperate for some companionship other than just her dog and sees Melissa as her likeliest friend. Melissa is struggling with keeping up with the life she has built for herself, whilst hiding her childhood. Even when circumstances push them together their friendship is still on shaky ground.

Whilst there is no doubt that some of the actions may be a little bit far fetched I am a big one for believing that sometimes in fiction you just have to enjoy the story and not get too hung up on how it would really be. I enjoyed the writing within this book, and thought it was a nice easy read that really draws you in without noticing. As someone who lives surrounded by nosy neighbours The Woman Next Door certainly makes you think twice about befriending  any of them.

I was pleased to receive a copy of this via netgalley.

 

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Her Husbands Lover by Julia Crouch – a review

During the festival back in July there was a twitter competition to win a copy of Julia Crouch’s new novel, Her Husband’s Lover. I had completely forgotten about the competition until I received a copy of the novel through my door. I am a huge fan of Julia, having once had the privilege to be on her table during a murder mystery dinner, so this was very exciting.

There is of course a problem when you read novels by people who you really like. There is always the danger they won’t live up to the previous ones. Well I need not have worried, as this was superb.

her-husbands-lover Her Husband’s lover starts with Louisa recovering from a car crash in which both her husband and her two children died. In order to recover she moves away from the house they lived in and gets herself a new flat and job in a big city. Unfortunately her husband’s lover Sophie is not quite so happy to move on and tracks her down demanding that Louisa giver her money.

This was an excellent novel that I really enjoyed. It starts off as a relatively simple tale of  an abused wife trying to rebuild her life whilst trying not to let her husband’s mistress ruin her life even more. Yet it soon unravels into something altogether more chilling. The story is told mainly from the viewpoints of Louisa and Sophie with flashbacks to the time of Louisa’s marriage to Sam. This gives a real sense of a slow unfolding drama that positively ramps up the tension.

The writing is as usual superb, and you are drawn into the lives of the two main characters. Yet as you read you start to get an uneasy feeling about everything. The ending itself was incredibly disturbing and it will stay with you even when the book is back on the shelf. As with all of Julia’s novels the characters are incredibly realistic and you quickly get drawn into their lives.

I would thoroughly recommend all of Julia’s novels but personally I think this is one of the best. It was certainly worth the twitter picture.

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Killer Women

killter-woemn-crime-writing-festival-2016I am quite used to getting strange looks off friends and colleagues when I’m asked about my weekend plans. My penchant for heavy metal music, combined with a love of crime novels, Coronation Street and horse riding regularly leads to a look of confusion when the question is asked. Usually followed by a mumbled ok before they back quickly away. This weekend was no exception. People seemed to run away even quicker than normal, when I announced I’m off to the Killer Women Festival in London.

Luckily for Mr F this wasn’t an instructional day on how to do away with your partner (although I think I met a lot of people there who might be able to help with ideas on that front) It was the first ever festival organised by a fantastic group of mainly London based crime writers, collectively known as the Killer Women.

The event was held in Shoreditch Town Hall and was a fabulous mix of panel discussions, author interviews and workshops. As soon as the programme had been released, I started by circling all the sessions I wanted to attend. This seemed like a sensible plan until I realised that actually I wanted to see them all. Therefore, on the day, me and the Sister decided we’d adopt a divide and conquer approach and split up so we could see as much as possible.

The day passed by way too quickly, in a blur of crime, books and our festival pastime of author spotting. Martina Cole, one of my favourite authors, had us all in stitches as she talked about her life and her novels. There was an interesting workshop on how to write a successful book blog with Ayo Onatade of Shots magazine, apparently her blog gets on average five hundred hits a day (Very similar to acrimereadersblog – well the five part anyway) I was entertained by Mark Billingham and Douglas Henshall amongst others in Serial Thrillers, although I’m not convinced that the Great British Body Off would be a big hit. I heard a discussion about being Inside a killers head with authors including Jane Casey and Tammy Cohen. This was a truly terrifying line up, never mind inside a killers head, inside a female crime writers head is much more disturbing! There was even a session where I learnt about solving a crime, with two real life detectives. Having been shown the building blocks of solving a crime I went into the interactive ‘Murder mystery session’ pretty confident that I could solve it quicker than Miss Marple could say knit one purl one. Only to be put in my place rather smartly when I got the answer completely wrong.

The whole day was absolutely superb, it was a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and you can’t beat a day that ends in some killer women cocktails. I would thoroughly recommend this event to anyone interested in reading or writing crime fiction. If next year we could throw in some heavy metal, and a Coronation Street actor on horseback it really would be a perfect day.

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