Tag Archives: crime fiction

Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie – a review BLOG TOUR

Today I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie published by Black and White Publishing.

In Evidence of Death Billy Nelson returns to his loyalist roots following his discharge from army service and leads a gang in a series of violent attacks. Being forced out of Belfast which has changed since he was there he moves to Edinburgh. Here he decides to get into the drugs business and take on the criminal underworld that stretches from Edinburgh to Glasgow and back to Belfast. It is newly promoted Grace Macallan who has to try and keep the streets of Scotland safe whilst dealing with police in Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie is the second in the Grace Macallan book, and although I hadn’t read his previous one there is enough in the story to fill in some of the background. This was a really interesting read that grabbed my attention from the start.

It is quite a violent novel, yet it doesn’t seem out of kilter with the book. Rather the violence draws you into the incredibly seedy and disturbing world that Billy Nelson inhabits. I particularly liked the character of Grace Macallan. She is tough, and doesn’t take any nonsense as you would expect. However we also get glimpses into a softer side of her.

There is a lot of police procedural in this book, yet that in no way distracts from the story. I actually found it fascinating learning details about how the police work. You almost felt like you were part of the investigation. I was also bizarrely drawn to some of the characters, even those who you are not meant to like, which says something about the quality of writing. Even mindless thugs have a different side sometimes!

I very much enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more from Peter.

Evidence of Death is out on the 22nd February and can be purchased here.

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While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt – a review

I was recently sent a copy of this from the publisher. When I’d originally agreed to read it the name hadn’t rung any bells. So it wasn’t until I received a copy of the book that it clicked Stephanie Merritt was SJ Parris, an author who I had had the pleasure of joining for dinner a few years ago at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

It begins, they say, with a woman screaming… Well in the case of While You Sleep in begins with Zoe arriving on a remote Scottish island from America. She wants to get away from her marriage and is hoping that some time away from everything will help restart her painting career. However things within the house are not as peaceful as she hopes. She starts hearing singing and ghostly happenings, which gets worse as she starts to learn more about the spooky history of the McBride house.

This was a really intriguing story that certainly kept my interest even though I’m not usually a fan of supernatural twists. However to me the supernatural element was very small and almost felt like an extra element rather than a way of making unbelievable things happen as can often be the case.

I have recently read a few novels that use a similar plot device (which I can’t say as I don’t want to give anything away) so I did guess partly one of the big twists. Yet this didn’t spoil my enjoyment in anyway.

I must confess to finding the sex scenes all a bit gratutuous, I understand the reasoning behind them in order to build up the suspense. Yet for me personally they just felt a bit at odds with the rest of the book. However the rest of the novel more than made up for it. The setting of this novel on a small remote island is incredibly evocative. The descriptions are suitably earie evoking the feeling of claustrophobia and isolation that is heightened by our main character arriving from America and settling into a place that is so different from where she has come from.

This is great story that keeps you interested until the end. I would recommend it to anyone who likes stories where the place plays as big a part as the characters.  

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A Gallery of the Dead by Chris Carter – Q & A BLOG TOUR

I am delighted to welcome Chris Carter to acrimereadersblog today. Although I had of course heard of Chris, for some reason I hadn’t actually read any of his books. Therefore when I was invited onto his blog tour I jumped at the chance to discover someone new to me, and I can’t believe it has taken me so long. Gallery of the Dead is a chilling read about a serial killer who seemingly kills people at random. Each scene is played out in all it’s gruesome glory with some truly disturbing images. Yet there are also elements of humour and social interaction between the FBI and the local police that provide some welcome distraction from the murders. This is an excellent read that I would thoroughly recommend to those of you who like your crime fiction definitely hard boiled.

Welcome Chris and thank you for joining me. Gallery of the Dead is your 9th novel I believe all featuring Robert Hunter. Where did you get the inspiration for Robert?

Well, since I was writing a crime thriller, it was obvious that I needed a detective, so I just created one out of the blue.  At first, there wasn’t much thought put into his character.  I just created a detective that I thought would work.

Most people don’t know this, but my first novel – The Crucifix Killer – was supposed to be a stand-alone.  The original story didn’t end very well for Hunter and Garcia.  It was my agent who suggested that I made Hunter into a series character.  In our first meeting he told that he loved my story, but my ending didn’t work.  We discussed a whole spectrum of possibilities and I ended up re-writing the last twelve chapters of the book to move Hunter from a one-off character to a series one.

Do you still like your main character or ever think about killing him off so you can write about someone else?

I actually really enjoy writing Hunter stories, so much so that I actually miss the character when I an in between books.

Did you always want to be a writer?

No, not ever.  The truth is that I had never planned on writing a book.  I never thought about a career in writing and I never spent any time thinking up stories or developing characters in my head that I would one day want to write about.  My submersion into the world of books – writing books that is – came out of a dream I had back in 2007.  I didn’t exactly leave music to become a writer.  I had stopped being a professional musician many years before I had the dream that led me to write my first book.

I believe you have had a few varied jobs in your time, other than being a writer obviously, what was your favourite?

Hands down I would have to say being a musician.  I absolutely loved being on stage with a band

Can you tell us what a typical working day looks like for you?

My typical working day is quite boring, I would say.  I always start my days by reading what I wrote the day before and editing as much as I can.  I will then work all day until I reach my desired target (usually a certain number of words).  Some days I will get there quite quickly, others I will write all the way into the evening before reaching that target.  Some days I spend the entire day just researching something that I would like to include in the novel.

How would you spend a perfect afternoon away from work?

Easy – partying.

Are you an avid reader yourself? If so what are some of your favourite authors?

I know that this will sound quite sad, but for an Author, I read very, very little – around two books a year, if that.  I also don’t have a favourite writer.  Not now.  Way before I decided to write my first novel, I used to love reading Frederick Forsyth.  I guess I still do, he just doesn’t release as many books anymore.

Finally what are you working on next?

I am already working on my next novel.  I usually only take around one month off between books

Well I shall look forward to that, in the meantime I will definitely try and catch up on the previous adventures of Robert Hunter. Thanks very much for joining me Chris.

Pre-order Gallery of the Dead from amazon

 

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Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb – a review BLOG TOUR

I am a big fan of crime stories featuring gutsy females. In fact one of my favourite females of all time is the fantastic Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich. Therefore when I heard that there was a new bounty hunter on the shelf I jumped at the chance to read her.

Deep Blue Trouble is actually the second novel by Steph Broadribb to feature her character Lori Anderson. Lori is a single mother to Dakota and a fearless bounty hunter. In Deep Blue Trouble Lori’s daughter has cancer and she needs help from Dakota’s father JT. Unfortunately JT is on death row. In order to try and save him Lori takes a deal whereby if she can capture Gibson ‘The Fish’ Fletcher then the FBI will allow JT to walk free. As Fletcher heads to California, Lori follows him and here she teams up with local bounty hunter McGregor. However their different ways of working soon cause problems.

This was a superb novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It is a thrilling, action packed read that once you pick up you find hard to put down. Lori Anderson is a great character that manages to combine her caring mothering side, with an action packed no nonsense streak. It’s great to be able to read about a strong independent woman who is fierce and loyal and able to look after herself.

I must confess to being surprised that this was an American setting (yes the clue is in the bounty hunter bit!) Having heard Steph speak in Hull I’d assumed that it would be British. However it is clearly a testament to the quality of writing that within a couple of pages I had completely forgotten my British bias and was swept up in Lori’s world. The story zips along at a fair old rate, however there are also moments of calm where you can feel how desperate Lori’s situation is.

Although I wish I had read Deep Down Dead first, this novel completely works as a standalone as there is enough information to catch up on the story. I will certainly be going back and reading Deep Down Dead now and I can’t wait to find out what will happen next in Book 3.

For more reviews of Deep Blue Trouble and to find out more about author Steph Broadribb please do visit the other stops on this blog tour, including my fellow blogger today https://broadbeansbooks.wordpress.com/

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City Without Stars by Tim Baker – a review BLOG TOUR

A while ago I read Fever City which was a fascinating portrayal of the Kennedy era (review here) Therefore I was delighted to be asked to join the blog tour for his latest novel City Without Stars.

City Without Stars is described as an epic novel. Which I have to say would normally put me off as I find in the film world that just means overly long. However I’m glad I hadn’t seen that before I agreed to read it as this was absolutely fascinating and certainly not too long.

The novel is based in Ciudad Real, Mexico where a deadly war is erupting between rival drug cartels. Alongside this, hundreds of female sweatshop workers are being murdered, which policeman Fuentes believes is linked to the main drug lord El Santo.  Activist Pilar is trying to take matters into her own hands and arranging protests at the sweatshops to try and improve conditions and make people take the killings seriously. She starts working with Fuentes and also gets involved with journalist Ventura. As they investigate further the name that keeps arising is that of the Padre Marcio, a local hero who is known for his work with orphans. No one wants to believe that he can be involved, yet there is evidence they can’t ignore.

This was an interesting read. It’s certainly not one for the feint hearted. As with Tim Baker’s previous novel, this is a story that intertwines fact and fiction to create a fascinating insight into a corrupt and dangerous society. It is a violent novel, by necessity, as the world it is depicting is cruel and harsh. Yet it is also a story of hope and good trying to overcome evil.

Mainly the story is told with chapters focussing on the main characters. Yet they are also interspersed with other personalities and scenes including some women who end up victims. However despite the many characters, it is easy to keep track of and I felt the writing flowed easily. For me, one of the strengths of the novel is the portrayal of the females within it. Despite the high number of victims, there are also some incredibly strong characters that are standing up for change throughout immensely difficult circumstances.

This is an incredibly evocative novel, that is disturbing yet captivating at the same time. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a powerful story with characters that will stay with you long after the final page.

 

 

 

 

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Hydra by Matt Wesolowski – a review BLOG TOUR

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Hull Noir event (funnily enough in Hull) and in preparation for that I picked up a copy of Matt Wesolowski’s debut novel Six Stories. I didn’t actually get around to reading it until after the event but I loved it when I did. Therefore I jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour for his latest book Hydra.
Hydra tells the story of Arla Macleod who bludgeoned her parent’s and younger sister to death. She is now in a secure mental institute. Scott King, creator of the Six Stories podcast has picked this case, not this time because he wants to uncover the murdered but because he wants to try and find out why she did it. Again the story is told in the form of six podcasts, each telling a different persons view. With each episode we find out a bit more background and build up a picture of the type of person Arla was and what might have led to the murders.
I absolutely loved this novel. When you read as much as I do it is not often that you find something really unique, to me this is just that. The way of telling the story as a series of podcasts rather than a normal narrative gives it a very different feel to other novels. Scott King is the lead character who takes us through the six different episodes presenting facts about the case alongside the thoughts of the different interviewees. The high quality of the writing means that each character has a very distinct voice which draws you into each individual episode.
Overall this is a relatively simple story and we know from the outset that Arla committed the crime. Yet the beauty of this story is the way it manages to weave other relevant topics into the narrative. Many elements come under scrutiny including social media and its effect on real relationships, twitter and trolls, mental health and even supernatural Japanese rituals.
Hydra manages to use modern day ideas but the outcome is almost an old fashioned ghost story. It’s the type of book that sets you on edge right from the beginning and has you looking over your shoulder until the end.
I would highly recommend Hydra and Six Stories, especially if you are fan of well written original novels.

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I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May – Giveaway – BLOG TOUR

A few years ago Peter May was appearing at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and in preparation I read The Blackhouse, the first in his Lewis series. I really enjoyed this and went on to read the others in the trilogy. So when I was invited to take part in the blog tour for his latest I jumped at the chance, and I was very glad I did. Read on for a chance to win your own copy of Peter May’s latest novel.

I’ll Keep You Safe is about husband and wife team Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane who co-own a tweed making company on the Isle of Lewis. On a trip to Paris she learns that her husband is having an affair, just before she witnesses the pair being killed by a car bomb. The police rule out terrorism, so Niamh is allowed to return to the island with her husband’s body. French Detective Sylvie Braque is then sent to the Island to try and uncover the killer.

This was a fantastic novel that I read over a few days. Although it starts off in Paris, the majority of the story is set in the Hebrides. It weaves (pun intended) through Niamh returning home and negotiating the funeral, Sylvie’s investigation into the murder, and through flashbacks we are told the story of Ranish tweed and Niamh’s and Ruairidh’s relationship.

I was absolutely fascinated by this book. It hooked me in right from the start. I have to admit that it wasn’t the story I was expecting. I had assumed the focus would be in Paris and would concentrate on the investigation but there was so much more to it. This was a superbly atmospheric book. The isolation and brutality of the islands shone through, yet behind this there was the warmth of a community place that was surrounded by incredible beauty.

The story itself was good and I enjoyed learning about life on the island, and about tweed making. Yet the real pleasure of this novel is in the place and the writing. I would recommend this to anyone who likes being immersed in a setting. 

If you would like to own your own copy of Peter May’s I’ll Keep You Safe then either comment on the blog, or enter via twitter and Midas PR will send one lucky winner their very own copy!

Don’t forget to visit other stops on this fantastic tour:

https://ravencrimereads.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/blog-tour-peter-may-ill-keep-you-safe/

https://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com/

 

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