If you’re looking for some fabulous crime thriller books to read over Christmas hop on over to http://noorosha.com/giveaways/christmas-giveaway/ where you can be in with a chance to win these 12 fabulous reads in their Christmas Giveaway …
Month: November 2014
CTG Reviews: WANT YOU DEAD by Peter James
What the blurb says: “When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror. Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has know and loved – and then her too…”
DCI Roy Grace returns in the latest book in Peter James’ best selling detective series – Want You Dead. He’s juggling the new responsibilities of parenthood with planning for his approaching wedding when his team is called to inspect the scene of an apparent suicide. But the suicide is suspicious, and when the dead man is found to be the current boyfriend of Red Westwood, a women whose previous boyfriend – Bryce Laurent – is known for his violent outbursts, Grace and the team are pulled into a deadly race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.
Red is a survivor of domestic abuse, determined to rebuild her life after being betrayed and brutalised by the man she loved. She’s started a new career, and is beginning to date again. But when her boyfriend is found dead, and she starts to catch glimpses of her ex – Bryce Laurent – her confidence begins to crumble.
Bryce is a smart and terrifying villain, able to be both utterly charming and brutally violent. Obsessed with Red, and destroying her and all she holds dear, anyone who threatens his success instantly becomes a target.
Told in short chapters, with points of view alternating between viewpoint characters including Grace, Red Westwood, Bryce Laurent, and Sandy (Roy Grace’s wife who disappeared many years previously) the tension continues to rise as Brighton becomes the setting for a series of devastating fires. Alongside the case, Grace and his fiancé – Cleo – prepare for their wedding, but unknown to them, in the background someone is watching – Sandy, Grace’s first wife, who has now been declared legally dead.
The story twists and turns at break-neck pace towards its dramatic showdown with plenty of shocks along the way. It’s a must-read for fans of the series, and all those who love police procedurals.
Your chance to win: The Escape and The Target by David Baldacci #bookgiveaway
This week I’m thrilled to be partnering up with those wonderful folks over at Pan MacMillan as a stop on the David Baldacci Blog Tour and to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a copy of David Baldacci’s latest books – The Escape (out in hardback last week) and The Target (published in paperback last week).
Here’s some more about the books …
The Escape by David Baldacci
What the blurb says: “Military CID investigator John Puller has returned from his latest case to learn that his brother, Robert, once a major in the US Air Force and an expert in nuclear weaponry and cyber-security, has escaped from the Army’s most secure prison. Preliminary investigations show that Robert – convicted of treason – may have had help in his breakout. Now he’s on the run, and he’s the military’s number one target.
John Puller has a dilemma. Which comes first: loyalty to his country, or to his brother? Blood is thicker than water, but Robert has state secrets which certain people will kill for. John does not know for sure the true nature of Robert’s crimes, nor if he’s even guilty. It quickly becomes clear, however, that his brother’s responsibilities were powerful and far-reaching.
With the help of US intelligence officer Veronica Knox, both brothers move closer to the truth from their opposing direction. As the case begins to force John Puller into a place he thought he’d never be – on the other side of the law – even his skills as an investigator, and his strength as a warrior, might not be enough to save him. Or his brother.”
With masterful storytelling and a quick-fire pace that’ll have you hurtling through the pages unable to put the book down, The Escape is a must-read for all thriller fans.
The Target by David Baldacci
What the blurb says: “A time to kill – or a time to die? The mission is to enter one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The target is one of the toughest to reach. The result could be momentous – or it could be Armageddon.
There is no margin for error. US government operatives Will Robie and Jessica Reel have to prove they are still the best team there is. But are they invincible when pitted against an agent whose training has been under conditions where most would perish?
An old man is dying in an Alabama prison hospital, it seems there is one more evil game he has still to play. And it’s a game which comes close to home for Reel and Robie. But this time the stakes might be way too high.”
The Target hooked me into the story from the very first page. Will Robie and Jessica Reel make for a great, if rather unconventional, duo. With high stakes, and ever-rising tension, this book will leave you breathless.
About the author …
David Baldacci has published twenty-eight novels – all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and tv. His books have been translated into more than forty-five languages and sold in over eighty countries. He’s received many accolades for his writing, and most recently was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame, and received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. You can find out more about him by popping over to his website http://davidbaldacci.com/ and follow him on Twitter @davidbaldacci
So, to the competition …
*** THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER NOTIFIED ***
For a chance to win all you need to do is tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. [You’ll also need to follow us on Twitter, so that we can send you a direct message should you win].
Rules (1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) We will draw the winner at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 9pm GMT on Sunday 30th November 2014 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
The Escape by David Baldacci is out now £18.99 (Macmillan)
The Target by David Baldacci is out now £7.99 (Pan)
For more opportunities to win David Baldacci books check out the rest of the blog tour stops …
CTG Reviews: Falling by Emma Kavanagh
What the blurb says: “A plane falls out of the sky. A woman is murdered. Four people all have something to hide. Jim is a retired police officer, and a worried father. His beloved daughter has disappeared and he knows something is wrong. Tom has woken up to discover that his wife was on the plane and must break the news to their only son. Cecilia had packed up and left her family. Now she has survived a tragedy and sees no way out. Freya is struggling to cope with the loss of her father. But as she delves into his past, she may not like what she finds.”
This is another fantastic debut for 2014. Right from the start, this psychological thriller is high on tension and drama, plunging us – literally – into the free fall of Cecilia’s plane in the opening scene. Told through the eyes of the four main protagonists, the narrative circles around two seemingly unrelated incidents – the murder of a young woman, and the shocking crash of a passenger plane in a small community – but as the events leading up to both incidents are gradually revealed it becomes clear that the two tragedies might have more in common than it had originally appeared.
It’s an unsettling story, pitching the reader into the worlds of the four main characters and giving a close-up view of their failures and regrets, and how each of them, in their own way, is haunted by their past, and by the lies they tell themselves and others. But it’s also a redemption story – a journey of people facing their deepest fears, overcoming adversity and loss, and finding a way to move forward.
A thought provoking and emotive read that grips you from the first page to the last.
[with thanks to Arrow Books for my copy of Falling]
CTG Interviews: best selling author Peter James
Today I’m excited to welcome best selling novelist Peter James to the CTG blog.
His latest novel – WANT YOU DEAD – is out now (watch out for our review next week) and he kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his many writing projects for us …
Dead Simple, the first novel in the Roy Grace series, is also rumored to venture its way onto the London big stage in January of 2015. Can you share some of the difficulties or advantages of adapting a thriller novel into a production play?
The two biggest difficulties are firstly containing the action within the very limited confines of a stage and the maximum number of set changes is it possible to have, and secondly reducing the number of characters in a book into the relatively small amount it is possible to have, both for economic and logistic reasons, in a play. The biggest challeng we have in bringing Dead Simple to the stage is that one of the central characters spends around two thirds of the entire play buried alive in a coffin. In the novel, much of the suspense comes from things that are happening to him – water rising within the coffin, his air supply being cut off, the excruciating claustrophobic fear of the enclosed dark space. So we’ve had to explore all kinds of different ways to portray this, from projecting the image of the actor in the coffin onto a screen, to simulating the feeling of being in a coffin by plunging the entire auditorium into darkness.
You recently contributed to the New York Times best selling novel, FaceOff. What were the highlights from the collaboration with Ian Rankin? Any challenges?
The whole concept of FaceOff, asking crime and thriller writers to have their central detective characters collaborate with another fictitious detective was both brilliant and highly daunting. Also although Ian Rankin and I are both British, the laws and police procedures in Scotland, where his character John Rebus operates are different to those in England where my character, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace operates. But right from the getgo, this collaboration was a really joyful experience. I’ve known him for some years and always found him to be a delightful, friendly, generous spirited guy, and all of this came through in spades during our time working together on this. Ian has a huge amount of knowledge about music, and it was his idea to hang the story around a cold case, and a rock and roll era, connecting our two cities of Brighton and Edinburgh. We met over a pint – or three – of beer in Scotland to kick it around, Ian started the ball rolling by writing a couple of pages which he sent to me, then I continued while he went off on tour to the US. We wrote the story in quite a short time period, with no arguments whatsoever. It was a strange feeling writing some of the scenes in which I had his central characters act and speak – I felt as if I was treading on sacred ground! I think the only real challenge was the amount of alcohol consumption the whole collaboration required 🙂
With 25 novels translated into 36 languages, publishing the world’s first electronic novel, Roy Grace’s 10th novel, a children’s novel, a novella, your involvement in Hollywood, your endless devotion and support to your hometown of Brighton, and charitable work under your belt we are all left wondering what is next for the man who seems to have done it all, and more importantly, how do you celebrate your successes?
Thank you! The big goal I now have in front of me is to see my books really break through in the USA. I’ve spent so much of my working life to date in the US, I feel as at home in North America as I do in England. I’m completely certain, from both the wonderful reviews I consistently get in the US press and from the enthusiasm of my fans, that it is possible. As to how I celebrate my success – it may sound strange, but I celebrate very cautiously. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have such a huge and global readership, to be able to make a living doing what I love, and to be able to travel so much, but equally I know, from my own experiences as a reader, just how many of my favourite authors seemed to decline as they became increasingly famous – almost as if they felt they didn’t have to make the effort any more. I’m determined not to let that happen, and I try my hardest to raise the bar with each book I write. My extravagances, when I am in full celebratory mood, are fine wines and fast cars – but not together!!!
A huge thank you to Peter James for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with the CTG blog.
You can find out more about Peter by hopping on over to his website: http://www.peterjames.com
Visit him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterjames.roygrace
And follow him on Twitter @peterjamesuk
CTG Reviews: Crow Bait by Douglas Skelton
What the blurb says: “Jail was hell for Davie McCall. Ten years down the line, freedom’s no picnic either. It’s 1990, there are new kings in the West of Scotland underworld, and Glasgow is awash with drugs.
David can handle himself. What he can’t handle is the memory of his mother’s death at the hand of his sadistic father. Or the darkness his father implanted deep in his own psyche. Or the nightmares …
Now his father is back in town and after blood, ready to waste anyone who stops him hacking out a piece of the action. There are people in his way. And Davie is one of them.”
CROW BAIT puts the reader up close and personal into the world of criminal gangs in Scotland back in the 1990s. It’s a tense, dangerous and often brutal world where trust is fragile, alliances between criminals and police are made and broken, and the rise of the drug trade is causing rising friction between gang members.
Davie McCall is a compelling narrator – his strong sense of justice, inner conflicts, and loyalty to his friends giving an interesting counterpoint with his capability for extreme violence. Fresh out of prison, he’s soon drawn back into his old criminal activities. But things are different – he’s convinced someone close to him is responsible for killing his old mentor, and he wants to find out who. Then the strange phone calls start, and the murders mimicking that of his mother, and Davie knows his father is back and coming for him. As the story twists and turns towards the final brutal showdown, Davie discovers who his friends and allies really are – on both sides of the law.
This dark, gritty crime thriller is packed with brooding, menacing atmosphere, up-close action and brilliantly drawn characters. It’s a must-read for fans of Tartan Noir.
The Falling Blog Tour: an interview with author Emma Kavanagh
Today I’m delighted to welcome Emma Kavanagh to the CTG blog as a stop on the blog tour for her fabulous debut novel FALLING.
Welcome Emma. Your debut novel – Falling – is out this month. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Falling is the story of a plane crash and a murder – two events that bring together the lives of four characters as they try to deal with the aftermath.
Have you always wanted to be a writer, and what was it that attracted you to crime fiction?
I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a writer when I was 5! So yes! I have very eclectic reading tastes and there are so many genres that I love, but crime fiction seemed to come naturally to me. I think mainly because of my background in police psychology. I like exploring the way in which people can be pushed into terrible deeds.
Could you tell us a little about your route to publication?
It wasn’t a simple process, but then I’m not sure that it ever is. I managed to complete a full novel length story, congratulated myself on that, then realised it was pretty dreadful. My second attempt was good enough to land me my agent, but still didn’t get me that coveted publishing deal. So, I rolled up my sleeves and started again, hoping desperately that this next one would allow me to begin my career. That book was Falling.
How would you describe your writing process, do you dive right in, or plan the story out first?
I’m a planner. In fact, I’m such a planner that I think I have a bit of a problem. I even use spreadsheets. Things do tend to move about as the story progresses, but at least using the spreadsheets allows me to keep track of everything.
Who are your favourite crime writers – which books and authors have inspired you?
I love Agatha Christie with a passion. Her plotting is so clever and complex. My absolute favourite is And Then There Were None – such a chilling story. My other huge inspiration is Kate Atkinson. She crosses many genres in her writing, and is so hugely talented
What advice would you give to new writers aspiring to publication?
Never give up. Getting published is not easy. It takes an incredible amount of perseverance. But it is a myth that you have to know someone to get an agent or get a publishing deal. I knew absolutely no-one. If you need to write, then write. And keep writing until you reach your goal.
And lastly, what does the rest of 2014 have in store for you?
2014 has been an incredibly busy year for me, with the release of Falling and the birth of my second son 8 weeks ago. I finished book 2 – Hidden – a couple of months ago, so my goal for the rest of this year is to enjoy spending time with my baby and his older brother before getting started on book 3 in the new year.
Fantastic. Thanks so much for stopping by the CTG blog. We loved FALLING (you can read our review next week) and really look forward to HIDDEN coming out next year.
You can follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaLK
And you can read an extract from FALLING via this link http://bit.ly/FallingExtract
Also, don’t forget to hop over to these other great blogs to check out the other stops along the tour …
CTG Reviews: Madras Miasma by Brian Stoddart
What the blurb says: “Madras in the 1920s. The British are slowly losing the grip on the subcontinent. The end of the colonial enterprise is in sight and the city on India’s east coast is teeming with intrigue. A grisly murder takes place against the backdrop of political tension and Superintendent Le Fanu, a man of impeccable investigative methods, is called in to find out who killed a respectable young British girl and dumped her in a canal, her veins clogged with morphine.
As Le Fanu, a man forced to keep his own personal relationship a secret for fear of scandal in the face British moral standards, begins to investigate, he quickly slips into a quagmire of Raj politics, rebellion and nefarious criminal activities that threaten not just to bury his case but the fearless detective himself.”
Madras Miasma is the first book in the Detective Le Fanu mystery series. Set in the 1920s it gives a glimpse into the life and challenges of a forward thinking detective at a time of rising unrest and change in India.
Le Fanu is an engaging protagonist. His meticulous attention to detail reminded me a little of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and his determination to follow the evidence, without bowing to those in society who expected special treatment, makes him a likeable and courageous hero.
The detective, Le Fanu, and his Sergeant, Habi, soon discover that the young woman found dumped in a canal is a ‘fisherwoman’ from England – an unmarried lady on a ‘fishing’ expedition to India to find a wealthy husband. As they track her movements during the final days of her life, they find a web of secrets and scandalous goings on, and come under increasing pressure from senior officials to modify their investigation.
What I especially enjoyed about this novel was the strong sense of place and the vivid descriptions of setting, society and customs which pulled me into the narrative and made me feel the heat of the sun, the rising political tensions, and the challenges between the old guard and more progressive police work.
Packed with mystery and suspense, this is an engaging read.
To find out more about Brian Stoddart and his writing hop on over to his blog at http://professorbrianstoddart.com/category/a-madras-miasma/
[with thanks to Brian Stoddart for my copy of Madras Miasma]
CTG Review Replay: Murder on Thames by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
Earlier this year I reviewed Murder on Thames – the first book in the Cherringham Murder Mystery series by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello. This week Bastei Entertainment are releasing an eBook collection of the first three books in the series, and so I thought it’d be timely to replay my review of the first installment …
Murder on Thames is the first book in the new Cherringham Murder Mystery series, an eBook series that will see a new novella-length mystery solved every month. Published by Bastei Entertainment (an imprint of Germany’s Bastei Lübbe) the series by Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US) is published both in English and German.
What the blurb says: “Cherringham is a quiet and peaceful town in the Cotswolds. Time moves slowly here, and nothing out of the ordinary ever happens, until one morning a woman’s body is discovered in the river. Sarah Edwards has just returned to Cherringham with her two children following the breakdown of her marriage. Sarah had been friends with Sammi Jackson – the woman in the river – before they both moved to London and she’s certain there is more to her death than meets the eye. But juggling the school run and her job as a web designer doesn’t leave much time to solve murder mysteries.
After the death of his wife, former NYPD homicide detective Jack Brennan has retired to Cherringham hoping for a quiet life. He soon realises “peace and quiet” isn’t really him and, despite his misgivings, he’s persuaded by Sarah to help her look into Sammi’s death. It quickly becomes clear that the case isn’t as simple as the police hope. From her violent ex-boyfriend to her alcoholic father, it seems everyone has something to hide. Sarah and Jack will need to use all their wits to get to the bottom of this case.”
If you’re a fan of Midsomer Murders and other ‘cosy’ (or ‘cozy’) crime drama and novels then this eBook series is well worth checking out. It ticks all the right boxes: quaint English village – check, traditional pub – check. Traditional game of cricket – check. Nasty goings on, and murderous intentions, lurking beneath the picturesque and seemingly tranquil setting – check, check, check.
Narrowboat-dwelling, retired ex-NYPD detective, Jack Brennan, and recently returned to the village, divorced single-mum, Sarah Edwards, make a great double act. Although I did think that Sarah seemed to get over her friend’s death rather too quickly, the spark between the two main characters, and the pace at which they launch themselves into their ‘off the books’ investigation, carried me along with the story and kept me turning the pages.
A fun read. And, at this time of year, perfect for curling up by the fire with while the rain pours down outside!
[Many thanks to Bastei Entertainment for my review copy of Murder on Thames]