Single or Multiple: what kind of a reader are you?



What kind of reader are you?

I must confess I struggle to read one book at a time. I usually have two or three on the go at once: a hardback or paperback fiction, a non-fiction, and then a kindle or ePub fiction.

I read them at different times of the day, in different locations.

For example, a paper book is best to read in the bath for me, because I’m very likely to dip it in the water by accident.

But a kindle or ePub book is easier to grab for a quick ten minutes during my lunch break at work.

On the train it’s got to be a paperback or kindle/ePub – a hardback is just too heavy! Although, if it’s an excellent story by one of my favorite writers I’ll often make an exception.

And in bed any format works.

So, I guess that makes me a multiple kind of girl.

What about you?

Indie Spotlight: Kiss and Tell by T J Cooke

book cover: Kiss and Tell

book cover: Kiss and Tell

A legal thriller with a heart

Now, I must admit, legal thrillers aren’t usually my thing. However what I especially liked about this story, and which makes this book stand out, is the main character, and heroine of the story, Jill Shadow.

Jill’s single parent who started in the company as a secretary and worked her way up the career ladder – juggling work, childcare and study – to become a qualified lawyer. Determined and courageous (aside from when dealing with spiders) she tackles the challenges that come her way in a direct and bold fashion, even if she might be trembling inside.

But Jill’s got a secret. When the unthinkable happens, and her life, and that of her child, are put in danger Jill sets out to determine the truth behind the case of drugs-mule Bella Kiss who claims to be an informant to local detectives, and the seemingly unlinked release from prison of Jimmy – her ex-boyfriend and father to her daughter Hannah. She discovers corruption and criminal activities that stretch far further than she had ever imagined.

The story is told in chapters which alternate between real-time (Jill in a police safe-house, desperate to find her missing daughter) and the past (her relationship with her ex – Jimmy – and the Bella Kiss case) that has led to her current predicament. It’s an interesting structure, and one that keeps you trying to piece together the clues and solve the puzzle along with Jill. It starts at a steady pace which rises significantly in the second half.

Kiss and Tell is an innovative, quirky take on the legal thriller sub-genre.


Author and screenwriter, Tim Cooke, a former legal executive, was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me.

Where did you get your inspiration for Kiss and Tell?

Kiss and Tell is an amalgam of two story strands, the journey of Jill Shadow, from a naive teenage secretary to an industrious and committed criminal lawyer… and her involvement in the case of Bella Kiss, which exposes a fresh and disturbing angle to the current ‘drug debate’.

Both character and story are based on research over recent years. I wanted a character who broke the traditional lawyer stereotype… she’s someone who always wants to get to the heart of the matter and has no other agenda than to find out the truth. I always find a character, particularly a professional, more intriguing when they’ve had to struggle to beat the odds.

As for the narrative, I have seen at first hand how our drug laws have failed society, and how they might be exacerbating rather than controlling the problem. Research then threw up the possibility that some of those who argue for the status quo in the current drug debate [ie against decriminalisation] might be doing so not to ‘protect our children’s future’ as they claim, but to further their own continued profit, via a labyrinthine network of laundered money.


So now that Kiss and Tell is published, what are your plans for Jill Shadow? I’m hoping there’ll be a follow-up book, am I in luck?

My second novel ‘Defending Elton is out soon. This will introduce us to Jim Harwood, a lawyer who doesn’t share Jill’s strong ethical code, and whose dysfunctional past is exposed after a fateful lapse of judgment… which results in one of the most extraordinary murder trials in the Old Bailey’s history.

This will be followed by a return to Jill Shadow, who gets embroiled in a complex and dangerous ‘cold case’ murder. A case where the victim seems to be providing clues ‘from the grave’.


Kiss and Tell is available now on Amazon Kindle.


Just finished reading: A Wanted Man by Lee Child

cover of A Wanted Man

cover of A Wanted Man

What the cover says: “When you’re as big and rough as Jack Reacher – and you have a badly set, freshly busted nose, patched with silver duct tape – it isn’t easy to hitch a ride. But Reacher has some unfinished business in Virginia, so he doesn’t quit. And at last he’s picked up by three strangers – two men and a woman.

But within minutes it becomes clear they’re all lying about everything – and then they run into a police roadblock on the highway. There has been an incident, and the cops are looking for the bad guys …

Will they get through because the three are innocent? Or because the three are now four? Is Reacher just a decoy?”


Firstly, I have to confess, that I bought the hardback of this book as a little treat for myself back in the Autumn, and got it signed by Lee Child at the CWA panel event in November.

Since then, it’s sat on my bookcase waiting for me to read it. I promised myself it would be my Christmas treat although, as it turns out, it’s been more of a New Year treat.

But it was totally worth the wait.

It’s a classic Reacher story. Told in Lee Child’s signature style: slick, fast and as gripping as ever.

When Reacher finds himself a pawn in a criminal getaway, and ends up a suspect in a murder, he has to decide what to do – run, or find out who did it.

In true Reacher fashion, he sets out to work out who did it and why. Half suspect, half unofficial partner to Special Agent Julia Sorenson, they work the case. It’s a real ‘why dunnit’ with plenty of twists and turns thrown in to keep the reader on their toes.

I can’t wait for the next one.


Hound of the Baskervilles – the t-shirt!

Office of Print t-shit

Office of Print t-shit



With huge thanks to the fabulous Criminal Element blog ( I’ve just spotted this wonderful t-shirt.

It features the original UK book cover of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle immortalised on a t-shirt – amazing!

And there are more. Out of Print Clothing have a huge range of t-shirts and other items showing original covers from a whole host of marvelous books – Catcher in the Rye, Pride and Prejudice, and many more!

To find out more, hop over to their website 

I’m off to order mine …

What book are you reading this week?





My ‘to be read’ book stack seems to grow higher each day. In fact, it’s so tall that it’s become two reading stacks!


Right now, I’ve just finished reading A Wanted Man by Lee Child (review to be posted soon).


I’ve started reading The Obsession by T.V. Locicero.


After that, the next book on my pile is Ghostman by Roger Hobbs.


What book are you reading this week?


Writing Prompts: The Frozen Lake

frozen river

frozen river

A few days ago, just after the first snow fell, I took a walk through a park near my work office. Despite being in a city, just a minute or so after straying off the usual path I found a stilted walkway leading through a reed bed.

I followed the walkway out to a river that I never knew existed. It was entirely frozen.

Beautiful. Silent. Remote.

And with all that snow and the ice it reminded me that winter, and colder climates, can make for fabulous settings in crime thrillers.

Do you prefer your crime fiction set in cold or warm settings?

Looking forward to summer: Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

 With the snow around us, one thing that’s keeping me going is planning how I’ll be spending the summer (hopefully warmer) months.

Something I’m really looking forward to is the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate. This festival of all things crime fiction is my idea of a perfect weekend getaway. So from 18 – 21 July 2013 I’ll be staking out the festival hotel and making optimum use of my weekend rover ticket.

It promises to be a fabulous weekend with special guests including Lee Child, Kate Atkinson, Charlaine Harris, Susan Hill, Ruth Rendell interviewed by Jeanette Winterson and Programming Chair, Val McDermid.

Weekend Break packages can be booked now, and individual event tickets go on sale in the Spring when the full programme is announced.

If you’re a fan of the genre, avid reader and/or budding writer, the festival website is well worth checking out 

I’m really looking forward to it.

Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Book Review: Sleepwalkers by Tom Grieves

book cover: Sleepwalkers

book cover: Sleepwalkers


A disturbing, gripping psychological thriller that keeps you guessing to the end

What the blurb says: “Blink. Keep your eyes open. Blink. That’s it. Don’t go back to sleep, not yet. If it weren’t for the nightmares, Ben would say he had a good life. He’s happy with his steady job, and loves his wife and kids to death. But it’s hard to ignore the dark, violent images that are so vivid that he often worries that the dreams are real and everything else around him is a lie.

Toby also suffers from nightmares. And the scars on his fifteen-year-old body are a ghostly reminder of actions he doesn’t remember or understand. Two people, two separate, unremarkable lives.

When their dreams and doubts collide and become too powerful to ignore, one fact will become clearer than any other – that the truth they are running towards is the very thing from which they should be fleeing.”


Rather like The Matrix, Sleepwalkers has the characters, and therefore the reader, questioning ‘what is the true reality?’ Three strangers – Ben, Toby and Anna – want to find out. Family-man Ben wonders if he’s just ungrateful for his seemingly pleasant albeit average family life, and is haunted by violent nightmares. Teenage Toby puzzles over how he came to have the scars that line his body, and if they are linked to the strange dreams he’s been having. And teacher Anna wonders whether this really is all there is in life. As their paths join, and they set out to discover what the truth really is, they discover that their lives are more connected than any of them could have guessed.

As Ben and Toby try to work out why their dreams seem more real and more vivid than their waking hours they discover a truth more shocking than they could have ever imagined. I found that I quickly cared about these characters and wanted them to succeed in their quest, even though I feared it could end badly for them. As the danger drew closer (I won’t tell you what – no spoilers here) I found myself holding the book tighter and reading faster and faster.

Tom Grieves’ writing is stunning: pacy, bold and completely absorbing.

In this action filled, disorientating and gripping story, nothing is exactly as it first seems. Sleepwalkers had me reading well into the night, unable to put the book down, and trying to puzzle out the truth (and what the characters will do when they find it) right to the end.

Highly recommended.

Guest Review on the Mean Streets Crime blog: Dark Eyes by William Richter

Dark Eyes book cover

Dark Eyes book cover

Today I’m guest blogging over on the fabulous Mean Streets Crime Fiction blog, and reviewing the debut thriller of Hollywood screenwriter and Emmy Award Nominee William Richter. Here’s a taster …

A gritty, action paced YA thriller

What the blurb says: “Danger is both her past and her destiny. Born in Russia but adopted by a wealthy American family, Wallis Stoneman has lived a life of glamorous luxury. But, aged sixteen, she rejects the world that doesn’t feel like her own to live on the streets of New York.

Now life is tougher than Wallis imagined – and it’s about to take a deadly twist. When Wallis discovers her real father’s identity, a fight to stay alive begins. Because Wallis’s real father is a terrifying Russian gangster on the hunt for her mother.

And he’ll stop at nothing and no one – even his own blood – to find her.”

Wallis Simpson, Wally, is determined to find her Russian birth mother. After leaving the home she shared with her adoptive mother, Wally has built a life, and band of loyal friends, on the streets. When a chance meeting leads her to discover a clue to her true identity, she throws herself into her search with renewed vigour. But, as she uncovers more clues, danger mounts and those around her begin to die. The race for Wally to be reunited with her mother and discover the truth about her Russian history is on. The challenge is for them both to stay alive long enough.

To read the rest of my post hop over to the Mean Streets Crime Fiction site here:

Today I’ve done a guest post over on the Nomad Novelist Writers Group blog. Hop on over to their blog to check it out …

NOMAD Novelist Writers Group

Do you still write?

Absolutely! Every day.

Whether it’s a blog post, a new scene, a character outline or some editing, I make sure I spend time each day to write. Usually that time is first thing in the morning before I go to work. It’s easier this time of year because when I look out the window it’s dark and so it’s harder to be distracted.


What are your plans for 2013?

Well, firstly keeping up to date on new crime fiction releases and reviewing them on is a priority. In 2012 I read some fabulous authors for the first time – and I’m looking forward to reading the new books from my favourite authors and also discovering some exciting new authors to add to my ‘must read’ pile in 2013.

With my own novel writing, I’m aiming to finish editing my current work-in-progress, and make a…

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