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Children of Fire by Paul CW Beatty

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the book birthday blitz for ‘Children of Fire’ by Paul CW Beatty. I have an extract from this gripping novel to share with you, so please read on!

Synopsis

Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?

In 1841, at the height of the industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force, rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist ministry.

While Josiah was abroad, five men died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the community’s leader.

Now Josiah must race against time to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from Ireland.

Can Josiah put together the pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017.

 

Extract

There are vicious and violent forces abroad in Furness Vale. This time they have visited the religious community the Children of Fire at the least expected time. They have expressed themselves in a sacrilegious and apparently senseless murder. A murder that is designed to be seen as a matter of revenge. How will Josiah Ainscough, undercover for Stockport Police Force, cope with this outrage.

Here he comes, climbing the path towards your hiding place, his lantern swinging as he strides forward. You laugh inside yourself as you consider how appropriate darkness is for treachery and how easily this trap has been sprung. All it took was a simply worded note:

Information about Powder Mill. Come to Pulpit Rock two hours after sunset.

You step out in front of him and level your pistol at his head. He sees your face in the lamplight and gasps before he is struck down from behind.

You drag him to the base of the cross. There is a large wooden beam waiting on the ground. You lay him on it and bind his wrists so that he is stretched, open armed, along its length.

Slowly, he wakes up as you are finishing. You step back and watch as he becomes conscious. He looks around in a daze and tries to get up but the weight of the beam pins him to the earth. He wrenches at the ropes on his arms, twisting and struggling. He sees you and stops.

‘Do you remember me?’ you ask.

‘It cannot be you. You are dead.’

‘It is simply by chance that I bear a likeness of a face of someone you destroyed. Oh, I’m sorry, not chance, you don’t believe in that do you? Providence would, in any case, be a more appropriate term.’

‘Perhaps you are right,’ he says. ‘Either way I know who you must be.’

‘And by your own creed you are duty bound to do what you can to confess and prove that confession by trying to put right, the wrong you have done.’

‘And I do confess. I did your family a terrible wrong but I cannot amend it. All I can do is ask your forgiveness.’

‘Oh I think you can do something more practical than that and it will be a significant confirmation of the depth of your repentance, for it will take you the rest of your life. It’s just that the rest of your life is going to be much shorter than you might have thought.’

You cut off his shirt so that he is naked to the waist. You pick up a hammer and a nail and, stooping next to his left-hand, you push the nail into the soft flesh of the upturned palm and the hammer it into the wood behind. It takes several blows. One goes astray and breaks two of his fingers but he does not give you the satisfaction of crying out in what must be excruciating pain. Blood wells up round the shaft of the nail and pools in the palm.

You move round to the right-hand. You twist the nail repeatedly into the palm until it goes through to the back. Then you take up the hammer. Still he is silent before you.

You stand up and put your foot across his throat. Then gradually you throw your weight forward so that he starts to choke. After a few seconds he is not simply gasping for breath but uttering strange guttural sounds. Only then do you release the pressure; he is wracked by coughing.

Eyebolts have been fixed through the beam and rigged to block and tackle attached to the cross. He is heaved up so that his arms take much of his weight, but his feet are still just touching the ground. There is a terrible involuntary groan of exhaled air as his lungs are forced forward and downwards. More fierce, deep coughing.

You take the crown you have prepared from green twigs of sloe gathered in the wood. Its thorns are long and when you ram it down on his head, trickles of blood flow start down his face like red water tracks on a wet windowpane, as they merge with beads of sweat on his skin.

His shoes are pulled off and the stockings cut away. You bind his ankles and come up close to him, so your mouth is by his ear. You say something only you and he can hear and when he reacts and convulses his body in rejection, you laugh. You slip a blade in between his ribs and guide it towards his heart. You are careful not to kill him outright.

Around his neck you place a placard on a cord. You dip a finger in blood from his face and write across it. Then he is lifted clear of the ground until the extra crossbeam is at the same height as the original.

There are only two things left to be done. His legs are pulled back and two nails are driven between his tendons and the ankle bones, to pull the feet onto the upright. In a final touch, you take a sledgehammer and break his thighs.

He will die sometime before dawn, drowned slowly in his own blood from the chest wound. When is unimportant.

 

Purchase Links

 

Author bio

Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.

His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd.

Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.

 

Social Media Links – Twitter @cw_beatty

 

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A Friend In Deed by G D Harper: totally absorbing

A Friend In Deed

Britain: a few years from now. A new populist political party has won the recent general election.

Duncan Jones, freelance political journalist and blogger, loses his weekly column at a national newspaper and turns to investigative reporting. The chance remark of a friend leads him to suspect that the Russians are directing the new British government’s policies and decisions. As he visits Moscow and Ukraine to discover more, scandal follows intrigue, dark forces attempt to silence him by whatever means possible and he turns to an unlikely ally for help.

A Friend in Deed is a fast-paced psychological thriller set in an all-too-believable near future. It is also the story of how one man confronts the traumas in his past and works out how to resolve them.

 

My review

This is a totally absorbing novel.

A Friend in Deed is a political thriller as well as a psychological one, but it’s not obsessively political, in that you don’t need to be addicted to politics to enjoy what goes on. However, awareness of current political events in the UK add depth and pertinence. And send a warning – the events in the novel don’t seem so far-fetched compared with England in 2019.

The book is thus an edgy, fast-paced, multi-genre thriller that really does have you turning the pages at breakneck speed. Together with Love’s Long Road and Silent Money, A Friend In Deed forms a tight-knit series. The novels are linked in many ways, from the characters, situations, settings, even the dialogue at times. The implications of those earlier novels are felt throughout this third one. However, the book works as a standalone too but if you’ve read one book by this author, you’re going to want to read them all.

The settings in the novel are remarkable, detailed and extremely atmospheric. And so topical, as I’ve hinted already, given the current mess that Britain is with interference by foreign powers, corruption and rich, over-entitled people throwing money around believing they can buy anything. Fortunately they can’t quite: there is still some morality in the world, and white knights can take strange forms. Whilst Duncan is intelligent, thoughtful and wants to do the right thing, he’s flawed and a sixty-something journalist might not give the impression of the sort of superhero we need! But it’s the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Courage and determination can have lasting results.

G D Harper is an exciting and talented author whom you absolutely must discover for yourself.

 

Purchase Links:

 

Author bio

I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells’ Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.

I worked in Russia and Ukraine for ten years, which gave me the ideas for the plot and setting that I used in A Friend in Deed.

 

Social Media Links – www.gdharper.com

Facebook: @gdharperauthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/harper_author

 

Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of GD Harper’s Psychological Fiction Trilogy (Open UK Only) Prize features all three books, Love’s Long Road, Silent Money and A Friend in Deed

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494306/

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Silent Money by G D Harper: clever, complex and engrossing

Silent Money

Glasgow, 1972. Michael Mitchell is ambitious, talented and determined to succeed. But he learns the hard way that he will never achieve his goals in life – unless he plays by a different set of rules.

He partners with a small-time crook to help the Glasgow underworld launder the proceeds of their crimes. As the operation grows, Michael is forced to become more and more ruthless to protect what he has built.

Shocked by who he has become, he vows to leave the criminal world behind and start a new life. But the past has a way of catching up. Finally, he gambles everything on one last desperate attempt to break free.

 

My review

This is a thoroughly absorbing novel. It’s enjoyable too, although it carries the message that it’s all too easy to be driven by circumstances, and against your own better judgement, down a certain path that turns out to be a one-way street.

Michael Mitchell has worked hard to get to his position of responsibility in the bank. He knows he’d make a brilliant manager, since he’s diligent and very knowledgeable, but he’s passed over not once but twice. The people who land the job rely on him but never give him the credit he deserves. Michael has had enough.

Michael is such a reasonable, decent guy that it’s all the more shocking and impelling that he turns to the ‘dark side’. He strikes up acquaintanceships with some shady characters, sure that he can drop them once he’s achieved his goal. However, that’s not going to be as easy as he expects and he finds himself pushed further into nefarious dealings. How far exactly will he go?

The financial world Michael inhabits is carefully created for us in great detail. The wheelings and dealings are clearly explained so even if the reader isn’t familiar with how banks operate we learn enough to make sense of this clever, complex story.

An excellent read.

 

Purchase Links

 

Author bio

I was placed third in the 2015 Lightship Prize for first-time authors, won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition.

In 2017, I was one of twelve authors selected for Authors in the Spotlight at the Bloody Scotland book festival in Stirling, showcasing who they considered to be the best emerging talent in crime fiction, and was the only self-published author to be chosen. I have spoken at numerous other book events, including Blackwells’ Writers at the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; a stand-alone slot at the Byres Road Book Festival in Glasgow, and the Aye Write! Book Festival, also in Glasgow.

I went to Glasgow University in 1975 and lived in the city’s West End, the time and place for the setting of the majority of Silent Money.

 

Social Media Links – www.gdharper.com

Facebook: @gdharperauthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/harper_author

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Sacrificing Starlight by David Pipe: a dark, thrilling novel

Sacrificing Starlight

Time’s running out for DCI Hunter. His wife and child are missing, perhaps even dead. Unable to pursue those responsible he’s transferred to the wild landscape of Cornwall where another child has disappeared.

Alice Trevelyan’s father has his own agenda and wants retribution for the loss of his little girl and metes out his own violent justice.

Will Trevelyan help or hinder?

Hunter has to make his move if he wants to save Starlight.

But can anyone in this remote location be trusted?

 

My review

First up, I must apologise to the author for running late with this review. I’d marked down the wrong date in my diary for who knows what reason.

This is a challenging, disturbing novel dealing with the tough issue of child abuse. There’s graphic violence so this is very much a dark thriller, quite horrific at some points. But it certainly makes you sit up and take notice.

We have a good pair of lead characters in DCI Hunter and Iraqi war veteran Trevelyan They’re opposites in many ways, namely personality and their approaches to solving these heinous crimes, but united in their desire to put an end to an organised paedophile ring.

The action moves at a brisk pace and the plot is well thought-out. We are given different points of view on the action. The author keeps us guessing as to who the perpetrators are all the way to the exciting conclusion.

Bleak but realistic, this is a novel for anyone who enjoys a read that will shake them up and give them plenty to think about.

David Pipe is a talented and versatile writer.

 

Purchase Link

Author Bio –

David Pipe was born in 1949 in a small Essex village. He attended a local grammar school then the University of Hull where he took a B.Sc in chemistry. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry in England and South Africa before studying for a PhD in organic chemistry at Imperial College. After spells at universities in Geneva and Mulhouse he joined the oil industry in Germany where, aged 53, he gratefully took a redundancy package. Following a period of self-employment he wound down his business, eventually giving it up to scratch the writing itch which has produced Sacrificing Starlight, a timely reminder of the risks our children face and Henry’s Tale, where ghostwriting for his furry friend he describes the emotional growth of a puppy on the rollercoaster of life, compressed into a few weeks because puppies learn faster than their staff.

 

When he’s not writing David spends his time travelling, reading, swimming and jogging. He is married and lives in Hamburg with his wife and their Border terrier Henry.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter @dfpwriter

FB https://www.facebook.com/DavidPipeBooks/

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Pride, Prejudice and Poison by Elizabeth Blake: a clever, understated cosy mystery

Synopsis

In this Austen-tatious debut, antiquarian bookstore proprietor Erin Coleridge uses her sense and sensibility to deduce who killed the president of the local Jane Austen Society.

Erin Coleridge’s used bookstore in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, England is a meeting place for the villagers and, in particular, for the local Jane Austen Society. At the Society’s monthly meeting, matters come to a head between the old guard and its young turks. After the meeting breaks for tea, persuasion gives way to murder—with extreme prejudice—when president Sylvia Pemberthy falls dead to the floor. Poisoned? Presumably…but by whom? And was Sylvia the only target?

Handsome—but shy—Detective Inspector Peter Hadley and charismatic Sergeant Rashid Jarral arrive at the scene. The long suspect list includes Sylvia’s lover Kurt Becker and his tightly wound wife Suzanne. Or, perhaps, the killer was Sylvia’s own cuckolded husband, Jerome. Among the many Society members who may have had her in their sights is dashing Jonathan Alder, who was heard having a royal battle of words with the late president the night before.

Then, when Jonathan Alder narrowly avoids becoming the next victim, Farnsworth (the town’s “cat lady”) persuades a seriously time-crunched Erin to help DI Hadley. But the killer is more devious than anyone imagines.

 

My review

This is a very clever, understated cosy mystery. And I mean understated as a compliment in that, as with Jane Austen’s own books, everything is subtle and underplayed which just makes it all the more effective. For example, this book is gently humorous. It’s not a ‘laugh out loud’ type read, but more of a ‘frequent quiet smile’, which I actually prefer and which is harder to sustain since it doesn’t rely on slapstick or cheesy situations for comedy .

The characters are equally subtle. Their personalities gradually emerge as they book progresses, rather than being described in full to us at the beginning. We get strong hints as to what they’re like – Farnsworth is a cat lady and Sylvia is bossy, for example – but there’s a lot more to them than that and we watch them all develop nicely. Erin is an interesting heroine, very much a Jane Austen heroine in that she’s not the sort that’s cut out to play a lead role. She’s an intelligent, thoughtful woman who prefers the quiet life. She’s likeable and we enjoy following the events that unwind around her.

Interactions are great. As in any group of people, within the very dedicated Jane Austen Society there are friendships and animosities, organisers and followers-along, ambition and apathy. The bickering and niggling is extremely life-like – well, it is for me living in a small French village where committee meetings see the full gamut of emotions being run through!

The use of quotes from Austen’s novels is a witty touch. As always the author has a light hand with this and doesn’t overdo it, just throwing in an appropriate quote to add a little richness.

Well worth a read, whether you’re a Jane Austen fan or not.

Purchase Link

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Bridge to Eternity by Romola Farr: highly intriguing

Bridge to Eternity

Audrey, recently widowed, is not saying why she left her comfortable home in the south of England to move into an old school boarding house on the edge of a moor. Tina, a young estate agent, is concerned for Audrey’s safety as she believes the folklore about a schoolboy who never went home. Property developers, annoyed at losing a site ripe for demolition, make plans to encourage Audrey to sell. Malcolm, a charming widower, brings a welcome light into Audrey’s life until it shines into a very dark corner…

 

My review

This is quite a chilling story which will grip you from the very beginning. It centres on the old schoolhouse that our heroine Audrey has bought. But why exactly? And why are several other people particularly interested in the property? The reasons are complex and clever, and you’ll enjoy discovering them.

The action takes place in the mid-1960s and the present day, and we jump between the two time periods. That keeps the interest going and it’s satisfying to gradually see how events more than half a century apart tie together.

The pace is brisk and there’s plenty of excitement. The ominous Russian brothers are very well portrayed, and we meet plenty of other fascinating characters. The house provides an atmospheric, definitely brooding setting for this highly intriguing tale.

 

Purchase Links:


 

Author bio

“I started my working life in the theatre and was very lucky to find myself on the West End stage in a hit play at the age of 16. My career and life nearly ended there as I was knocked down by a car on the way home one Saturday night. I recovered and went on to be quite a successful photographic model. Later, when that part of my career did die, I turned to writing and made quite a good living writing screenplays, making films, and writing advertising copy for a marketing company. A few years ago I entered a short-story competition and fell in love with prose and knew I had to tell my own story within a fictional framework. At the moment I am hiding behind a nom de plume.”

Social Media Links – @RomolaFarr

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Palm Trees in the Pyrenees by Elly Grant: complex, compelling – and what an ending!

Palm Trees in the Pyrenees

A rookie cop, a dash of mysterious death, and a heap of suspicion – as the heat rises, lethal tensions boil over in the Pyrenees.

Unappreciated, unnoticed, and passed over for promotion, thirty-year-old Danielle’s fledgling career in law enforcement is going nowhere – until the unexpected death of a hated Englishman turns her small town upside down.

Set in the idyllic south of France, Palm Trees in the Pyrenees is the first whodunit novel in Elly Grant’s thrilling murder mystery series. Against a background of prejudice, jealousy, and greed, Danielle pieces together the sparse clues of a fractured homicide. But will she find enough evidence to solve the case – and get the recognition she deserves?

To find out, get your copy of ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’ – right now.

My review

This is not what you might expect from a whodunit in that it’s rather darker than many novels in this genre. But not initially, and that’s what is so very different and clever! From an apparently straightforward opening, things become increasing complex. And the ending will take your breath away.

An unliked and unlikeable Englishman falls to his death from a balcony in a quiet French tow. Young policewoman Danielle is the first on the scene and this story is about her solving the crime.

The book has a very immediate, happening feel to it due to the use of the present tense. And also, as our narrator Danielle is French, she explains that English isn’t her first language and that makes you pay more attention to her language. It’s perfect, but it’s a clever touch that makes you more aware than normal of the phrasing and nuances in her words.

The setting is vivid and transports you to southern France and those palm trees.

Thoroughly absorbing and intriguing, this is a compelling book that it’s impossible to put down once you start reading.

Purchase Links


 

Author Bio –

Hi, my name is Elly Grant and I like to kill people. I use a variety of methods. Some I drop from a great height, others I drown, but I’ve nothing against suffocation, poisoning or simply battering a person to death. As long as it grabs my reader’s attention, I’m satisfied.

I’ve written several novels and short stories. My first novel, ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’ is set in a small town in France. It is the first book of my ‘Death in the Pyrenees series and they are all published by Creativia. The others in the series are, ‘Grass Grows in the Pyrenees’, ’Red Light in the Pyrenees’, ’Dead End in the Pyrenees’, ‘Deadly Degrees in the Pyrenees’ and ‘Hanging Around in the Pyrenees’. Creativia has also published my grittier crime novels set in Glasgow, ‘The Unravelling of Thomas Malone’ and ‘The Coming of the Lord’ as well as my thriller, ‘Death at Presley Park’. Also published are my Romance ‘Never Ever Leave Me, as well as a collaboration on the quirky black comedy ‘But Billy Can’t Fly’ and short stories called ‘Twists and Turns’.

As I live much of the year in a small French town in the Eastern Pyrenees, I get inspiration from the way of life and the colourful characters I come across. I don’t have to search very hard to find things to write about and living in the most prolific wine producing region in France makes the task so much more delightful.

When I first arrived in this region I was lulled by the gentle pace of life, the friendliness of the people and the simple charm of the place. But dig below the surface and, like people and places the world over, the truth begins to emerge. Petty squabbles, prejudice, jealousy and greed are all there waiting to be discovered. Oh, and what joy in that discovery. So, as I sit in a café, or stroll by the riverside, or walk high into the mountains in the sunshine, I greet everyone I meet with a smile and a ‘Bonjour’ and, being a friendly place, they return the greeting. I people-watch as I sip my wine or when I go to buy my baguette. I discover quirkiness and quaintness around every corner. I try to imagine whether the subjects of my scrutiny are nice or nasty and, once I’ve decided, some of those unsuspecting people, a very select few, I kill.

Perhaps you will visit my town one day. Perhaps you will sit near me in a café or return my smile as I walk past you in the street. Perhaps you will hold my interest for a while, and maybe, just maybe, you will be my next victim. But don’t concern yourself too much, because, at least for the time being, I always manage to confine my murderous ways to paper.

Read books from the ‘Death in the Pyrenees’ series, enter my small French town and meet some of the people who live there —– and die there.

Alternatively read about life on some of the hardened streets of Glasgow or for something different try my other books and short stories.

 

Social Media Links –

www.facebook.com/elly.grant.92

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The Kompromat Kill by Michael Jenkins: an energetic and exciting novel

Synopsis

They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down.

When a British Diplomat is kidnapped in the heart of London, followed by a brutal double-assassination in Chelsea, MI5 braces for the threat of deep sleeper cells coming alive.

Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.

As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands…….……..

Tense, absorbing, and insightful, The Kompromat Kill is a gripping thriller leaving
you breathless at the pace of intrigue, cleverly unravelled in a dramatic finale.

My review

‘Energetic’ is the best term for this book. It’s full of action and life from the first page to the last. And death, of course, since it’s a thriller set in the brutal word of international espionage where anyone inconvenient is efficiently wiped out. Any violence, however, is somewhat matter-of-factly delivered, which is in keeping with the book’s genre, rather than being gratuitous and sensationalised.

Our hero is Sean Richardson, a man loyal to his country and colleagues, and prepared to do what needs doing, but who is also endowed with a sense of morals that weigh him down at times. He’s thoughtful and contemplative, but acts instinctively when necessary too.

All the characters we meet are convincing. Everything from their names to their actions conveys their personality and their role in this thriller.

The action takes us to all kinds of places, which are all described in enough detail so that we can picture the scene perfectly without becoming bogged down in minutiae.

The Kompromat Kill follows on from The Failsafe Query but works perfectly as a standalone. It’s an exciting, escapist read but it leaves you with a few things to think about after you’ve finished it. Absolutely one to read.

 

Purchase Links

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QFSF44F

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QFSF44F

 

About the author

I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.

I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

The Failsafe Query was my first novel, with The Kompromat Kill as my second.

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/FailsafeQuery

https://www.facebook.com/thefailsafethrillers/

 

Giveaway to Win 5 copies of The Kompromat Kill (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494254/

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Smile of the Stowaway by Tony Bassett: edgy and exciting

Smile Of The Stowaway

A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple’s motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder. Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth. This gripping first novel concerning a death in a remote Kentish country cottage is packed with mystery, suspense and occasional touches of humour.

 

My review

This is a modern, tingling psychological thriller that begins with the book’s title. At once you’re slightly on edge, wondering exactly what sort of smile that stowaway is smiling. A relieved one? A smug one? Triumphant, nervous, malicious?

The challenges to your possible preconceptions regarding immigration, keeping secrets and how far one should go to help a stranger continue in the story, which is fast-paced and gripping. The author has a spare, punchy way of writing that doesn’t bog you down with more than you need to know. It also gives you more to guess about.

The book doesn’t just make you sit up and think a bit more seriously about modern issues. There’s a crime to solve too, and the plot is tightly constructed and exciting. There’s some lighter relief along the way so it’s not a white-knuckle ride all the time. The author handles tone and tension very well.

There’s a lot packed into this novel which you really should discover for yourselves.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smile-Stowaway-Tony-Bassett/dp/1911546457

US – https://www.amazon.com/Smile-Stowaway-Tony-Bassett/dp/1911546457

 

Author bio 

Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years.  He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren.  He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/tonybassettauthor/

Twitter: @tonybassett1

Tony’s author website

www.tonybassettauthor.com

And do enter this fantastic giveaway!

Giveaway to Win 6 x PB copies of Smile of the Stowaway (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Testament by Alis Hawkins

Synopsis

What secrets lie hidden in the Medieval college of Kineton and Dacre…?

Salster, 1385

Master mason Simon of Kineton is building his magnum opus: a great college to rival any in England.

But the Bishop of Salster, hostile to free education, is determined to sabotage Simon’s project.

When rumours spread that the mason’s son is cursed, the bishop sees an opportunity to undermine both Simon and the college.

And everything Simon has worked so hard for could end up crumbling down around him…

Salster, 2019

Damia Miller has been employed to promote penniless Kineton and Dacre college.

Delving into the college’s history, she becomes captivated by the vast grotesque painting that has recently been uncovered during renovations.

It soon becomes clear to Damia that the painting holds the key to the past – a past which could reveal exactly what she’s been searching for…

 

My review

This is a fresh, clever book. We have two timelines – 1385 and 2019. Although six and a half centuries separate them, there is so much that’s similar: rivalry, the importance of education, strong personalities, families that are a little different from normal, intolerance and commitment. These elements and the apparently separate plots link begin to entwine firmly as the story progresses and the mystery of that painting is slowly solved.

Simon and Damia are the lead characters, one in each timeline. It is they who hold the action together in their sections of the book, but Damia is the overall lynchpin. It’s she who brings everything to fulfilment. She’s a very interesting heroine. Like Simon she’s unconventional in her outlook, opinionated and dedicated. We become very interested in seeing her at work and watching how her character develops.

The background to the historical element of the book has clearly been very carefully researched and we get a convincing sense of the period and the beliefs and politics of the time. The modern era is just as vibrantly and realistically portrayed.

The author has a clear, direct style that is easy and enjoyable to read. The plot is interesting and well constructed. All in all this is an absorbing and satisfying book.