Your Chance to WIN: Crime Thriller book bundle from Orion Books #bookgiveaway

To celebrate THE DISTANCE by Helen Giltrow coming out in paperback today, those lovely people at Orion have given me three five-book bundles of fantastic crime thrillers to giveaway to three lucky winners.

The Prize:

Each bundle includes the following wonderful books …

The Distance by Helen Giltrow

Missing You by Harlan Coben

Hell’s Gate by Richard Crompton

The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham

Touching Distance by Graham Hurley

It’s a fantastic prize with five great books. To wet your appetite, here’s a bit more info about each of them …

The Distance cover image

The Distance cover image

The Distance by Helen Giltrow

What the blurb says: They don’t call her Karla anymore. She’s Charlotte Alton: she doesn’t trade in secrets, she doesn’t erase dark pasts, and she doesn’t break hit-men into prison. Except that is exactly what she’s been asked to do. The job is impossible: get the assassin into an experimental new prison so that he can take out a target who isn’t officially there. It’s a suicide mission, and quite probably a set-up. So why can’t she say no?”

This breath-taking thriller from Debut Dagger shortlisted author Helen Giltrow is described by bestselling author Lee Child as “Fast, hard and very, very good.”

You can check out my review of The Distance here: 



Missing You by Harlan Coben

Missing You cover image

Missing You cover image

What the blurb says: It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart 18 years ago. Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable. As Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved – her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.”

Harlan Coben is an international No.1 bestselling thriller author and a winner of the EDGAR, SHAMUS and ANTHONY AWARDs. His books are published in over 40 languages, with more than 47 million copies in print worldwide.


Hell’s Gate by Richard Crompton

Hell's Gate cover image

Hell’s Gate cover image

What the blurb says: When Mollel, a former Maasai warrior turned detective, ends up in a small, fly-blown town on the edge of a national park, it looks as if his career has taken a nose-dive. His colleagues are a close-knit group and they have not taken kindly to a stranger in their midst. Mollel suspects they are guilty of the extortion and bribery that plague the force, but when the body of a flower worker turns up in the local lake, he wonders if they might be involved in something more disturbing… For all is not as it seems in Hell’s Gate. Amid rumours of a local death squad, disappearances and blackmail, Mollel is forced not only to confront his Maasai heritage, but also to ask himself where justice truly lies. In upholding the law, is he doing what is right?”

Richard Crompton lives in Nairobi. Hell’s Gate has been described by bestselling crime writer Ian Rankin as “A compulsive whodunnit set in Kenya”.




The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham

cover image

cover image

What the blurb says: “When DC Fiona Griffiths says ‘yes’ to her policeman boyfriend, it’s an affirmation that she wants finally to put her psychological breakdown behind her, and become a resident of ‘Planet Normal’ like everybody else. But she still can’t resist the challenge of an undercover policing course, and finding it remarkably easy to assume a new identity, she comes top of the class. So when an ingenious payroll fraud starts to look like the tip of a huge criminal iceberg, Fiona is selected to infiltrate the fraudsters’ operation, posing as a meek former payroll clerk now forced to work as a cleaner. But as she penetrates deeper into their operation, coming closer to identifying the mastermind behind it, she faces another, even more frightening danger – that her always fragile grip on her sense of self has now been lost and she may never find her way back.”

You can check out my review of The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths here: 



Touching Distance by Graham Hurley

cover image

cover image

What the blurb says: “DS Jimmy Suttle is trying to get his life back on track. His marriage has fallen apart and he rarely sees his young daughter, Grace. But then a murder shuts the door on the chaos of his personal life… The victim was shot through the head at the wheel of his car on a lonely moorland road. The only witness? His two-year-old son, strapped into the rear child seat. Within days, two more killings, equally professional, equally without motive. Meanwhile, Suttle’s estranged wife is embarking on an investigation of her own in the world of journalism. But the story brings her to the question at the very heart of Jimmy’s case – what does it take to make a man kill?”

Graham Hurley has twice been shortlisted for the THEAKSTON’S OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD, and has been praised as one of the INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY’s five best UK crime writers.



So, to the competition …

For a chance to win a five-book bundle 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].

 (1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) We will draw the winners at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 9pm GMT on Wednesday 4th March 2015 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck!

CTG Reviews: The Distance by Helen Giltrow

The Distance cover image

The Distance cover image

To celebrate the paperback release (this week) of Helen Giltrow’s fabulous debut thriller – THE DISTANCE – I’m re-running my review of this brilliant book ...

What the blurb says: “Charlotte Alton has put her old life behind her. The life where she bought and sold information, unearthing secrets buried too deep for anyone else to find, or fabricating new identities for people who need their histories erased.

But now she has been offered one more job. To get a hit-man into an experimental new prison and take out someone who according to the records isn’t there at all.

It’s impossible. A suicide mission. And quite possibly a set-up. So why can’t she say no?”

This is a stylish, espionage-type thriller with a bold and courageous female lead character. Karla (and her alter-ego Charlotte Alton) is super-smart, brave and principled (in her own very distinct way). She is the best of the best at helping people who want to disappear, and is herself a master of disguise.

But this job is different. To get a hit-man into ‘The Programme’ – an experimental prison that is meant to be impossible to break in or out of, and the hit-man is Johanssen – a guy she has a history with.

Karla takes the job, but as Johanssen assumes a new identity in order to enter The Programme, Karla gets increasingly suspicious of the client and their motives. The target of the hit is a woman, and the only information they have on her is a photo and an assurance that she did ‘something bad’. Yet she seemingly has no identity, no history, and there is no record of her being inside the prison. Still, Karla has seen the CCTV footage – she knows that the target is inside and very much exists.

Concerned for Johanssen’s safety, Karla digs deeper to find the identity of the target and, in doing so, unravels the complex web of lies, bribes and murder. As she gets closer to uncovering the violent truth hidden behind the hit, Karla, and those close to her, become targets.

Set in the near future and played out over twenty-four days, the story is packed with tension. It’s told in the present tense, which adds to the momentum, and hammers along at a tremendous pace. The plot twists and turns, then twists some more and turns again, ramping up the suspense page by page. A great read, it had me hooked from the first page to the last.

Dark, edgy and, at times, brutal, this is a stylish and highly original debut.

Highly recommended.


[I bought my copy of The Distance]

#TheAbruptPhysicsofDying Blog Tour: Simplifying my Life by Paul E. Hardisty

cover image

cover image

Yesterday, I reviewed the fabulous debut thriller THE ABRUPT PHYSICS OF DYING by Paul E. Hardisty, a novel that’s been described by best selling author Peter James as “a stormer of a thriller”. Today, I’m thrilled to be the latest stop on wonderful new publisher Orenda Books’ blog tour for this brilliant book.

So, just to recap, here’s the blurb for THE ABRUPT PHYSICS OF DYING: “Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is what it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead.”

And here, to tell us about how he’s planning to simplify his life (if his book collection will allow it!) is debut author Paul E. Hardisty …

Pretty Soon I am Going to Simplify my Life.

I’ve realised that I don’t need much to be happy.   Don’t need three-quarters, more, of the stuff that fills up the place I live. Hell, I don’t even need the place I live – now that the kids are older and starting their own lives. A roof to keep out the ever less-frequent rain and something to keep me warm on those ever rarer cold nights, sure. But rooms filled with furniture and exercise equipment and shipping containers of appliances and toys and obsolete printers and all of the clutter that suffocates most citizens of G20 nations? I’ve decided no.

So one day soon, we’re going to go South, into the bush, and live in a shack. All I need, I’ve decided, is my mountain bike, writing stuff, and my favourite books. But the place won’t be big. And we’ll probably build most of it ourselves.   So I’ll have to choose carefully. The first twenty or so are easy, like your all-time best ever football (or in my case, ice hockey) side. After that it gets tougher.  I guess I could always just go with the kindle, pack a lifetime of reading in one place, but I can’t be stuffed with all the chargers and cables, and quite frankly, the lack of smell.   That musty old-book smell that makes you want to stick you face into the pages and breathe in all of the words you love. I must be part dog (my wife thinks so).

Paul E. Hardisty

Paul E. Hardisty

Ok. Top Twenty. Criteria: none – just go with it, without planning. And be honest. As fast as you can. A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway) – my dad’s old paperback copy; The Way of a Transgressor (Negley Farson) – a first edition, falling apart. He was the original real traveller. My hero. War and Peace (Tolstoy) – read it while rough-necking in Texas, oil smudged pages, the contrast; A Moveable Feast (Hemingway) – when I realised I wanted to be a writer of fiction (which I’ve since found is truer than non-fiction); The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas), in French, timeless storytelling; Chaos (James Gleick) – everyone should read this, the mysteries of the universe exposed; Goodbye to All That (Robert Graves) – to survive that war, the way he did, and to think of what could have been lost if he had been killed, how much was lost in that nightmare; and so, I Claudius and Claudius, the God (Robert Graves) – his masterpiece (counts for two). What’s that? Nine.

Eleven more. Okay. Les Particules Elementaires (Houellebecq) – in French, hard, challenging, utterly contemporary; Antarctica (Kim Stanley Robinson) – science fiction about the present, beautifully written; Adventures in the Skin Trade (Dylan Thomas) – another one of my dad’s old volumes; Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy) – pretty close to top five, the last line has propelled me ever since I read it; Pure (Andrew Miller) – something about this book grabs me, it’ll take me a few more years to figure out exactly what; Le Pere Goriot (Zola) – in French, genius; Martin Eden (Jack London) – another book that cried out to me not to give up; A Night Over Water (Ken Follett) – a subtle thriller, loved it; Three Cheers for Me (Donald Jack) – the funniest book I’ve ever read; Macbeth (you know who) – just re-read it a few months ago, more there every time I pick it up; and twenty (but probably first) Seven Pillars of Wisdom (T.E. Lawrence).

Out of space. Too many missing. Especially some fantastic newer stuff. Guess I’ll have to take my kindle along. Screw it, we’ll build the interior walls of the shack out of books.


You can find out more about Paul here:

Follow him on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul 

Plus, check out his fabulous publisher ORENDA BOOKS here: and on Twitter @OrendaBooks

And don’t forget to hop over to the other stops on this fantastic blog tour …

Abrupt Physics Blog Tour Banner

CTG Reviews: The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E. Hardisty

cover image

cover image

What the blurb says: “Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is what it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead.”

This epic story is a spell binding read. Highly atmospheric, it feels grounded in the Yemen landscape, with the tension of a country on the brink of civil war sparking from every page.

Rugged and resourceful, Claymore ‘Clay’ Straker has an incredible personal journey from “company man”, there to do a job – no more, no less – to smooth the way with the local people and get the oil company closer to their profit targets, into a dynamic eco-warrior, determined to get to the truth of what’s really causing the children in Al Urush to become so sick, and to put a stop to it – whatever the personal cost.

And as the reader, you’re there for every step of his journey – the highs and the lows, the decisions and the regrets, the people saved and the people sacrificed.

THE ABRUPT PHYSICS OF DYING is a thought provoking and heart wrenching book. It exposes the horrors some are willing to inflict in pursuit of riches, it shows the lengths others will go to in order to stop them, and it highlights the scars and wounds left both in the earth and on flesh as a consequence. This emotive subject, combined with fabulous writing, a great cast of characters, and a pulse-poundingly fast pace makes it a real page turner of a read.

A must read thriller and a stunning debut.

Highly recommended.


[with thanks to Orenda Books for my copy of The Abrupt Physics of Dying]


CTG Reviews: DANGEROUS by Jessie Keane

DANGEROUS cover image

DANGEROUS cover image

What the blurb says: “Whatever the cost, she would pay it. Coronation year: 1953. Fifteen-year-old Clara Dolan’s world is turned upside down following the shock death of her mother. Battling to keep what remains of her family together, Clara vows to keep her younger siblings, Bernadette and Harry, safe whatever the cost.

With the arrival of the swinging sixties, Clara finds herself swept up in London’s dark underworld where the glamour of Soho’s dazzling nightclubs sit in stark contrast to the terrifying gangland violence that threatens the new life she has worked so hard to build.

Sinking further into an existence defined by murder and betrayal, Clara soon realises that success often comes at a very high price.”


Set in gangland London, this is the story of Clara Dolan, a determined and smart woman who after losing her parents at an early age, and being left to bring up her younger sister and brother, sets out to build an empire in sixties Soho for herself. But as her wealth builds, and her husbands fall by the wayside, Clara begins to realise that sacrifice and hard work aren’t the only way to get ahead. As her enemies increase, her family abandon her, and the few people she loves become targets, it seems that Clara may have taken on more than even she can handle.

This is a real page-turner of a book. It had me reading way into the early hours, and returning to the story as often as I could, eager to read more. Atmospheric and bold, showing the extremes of the social spectrum – the riches and excess of the wealthy against the filth and poverty endured by those forced to live in the slums – the story conjures up different images of the sixties from each of the characters’ points of view.

What I especially love about Jessie Keane’s books is the way she creates such a compelling cast of unique and nuanced characters. DANGEROUS is no exception, with brilliantly drawn main characters, and fully rounded supporting characters, all adding to the intrigue and richness of the story.

Mystery, fast-paced action and – of course – danger, this is a fabulous rollercoaster of a read.

Highly recommended.


[with thanks to Pan Macmillan for my copy of DANGEROUS]

CTG Reviews: Shallow Waters by Rebecca Bradley

Shallow Waters cover image

Shallow Waters cover image

What the blurb says: “When the naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway, post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events. Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team in the Nottingham City division of Major Crime Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock, they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths. But it doesn’t stop there. When catching a killer isn’t enough, just how far are the team willing to push themselves to save the next girl?”

Shallow Waters is the first book in the DI Hannah Robbins series. From the opening page to the final one, this is a tense, suspense-filled read. Hauntingly dark, and highly emotive, the child abduction storyline hooked me as a reader and compelled me to keep reading.

DI Hannah Robbins is an action orientated and dynamic lead. Striving for justice, and determined to get to the ringleader of the gang, she follows the evidence and motivates her team to go over and above in order to solve the case. She’s also trying to navigate a rather tricky new personal relationship, getting up close and personal with Ethan Gale – a local journalist covering the case – which may not be her wisest move.

What I really liked about this book is the way that the layers of complexity and deeper mystery are gradually revealed. DI Robbins and her team uncover an operation far more shocking and wide-reaching than they could ever have anticipated, as what at first seemed to be a single incident is soon found to be one of several, and the abductor one of many. Packed with twists and turns, this is an investigation that gets into your mind and stays with you long after you’ve put the book down.

Shallow Waters is perfect for fans of gritty police procedurals.



[with thanks to Rebecca Bradley for my copy of Shallow Waters]


Event Alert: Chip Lit Fest – Crime Day, 25th April 2015

Chip Lit Fest logo

Chip Lit Fest logo

The lovely spring literature festival Chip Lit Fest has a day (and a package) especially geared towards crime fiction fans. On Saturday 25th April 2015 you can spend the day soaking up the festival atmosphere and listening to some amazing crime and thriller writers talking about their books and all things writerly.

Here are some of the great sessions they’ve got lined up …

10.00 – 11.00am* New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, creator of the Jack Reacher series, will be in conversation with bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham, creator of the Tom Thorne series.

12.00 – 1.00pm* Breaking Through: hear from bestselling authors Mel Sherratt, Mark Edwards and C L Taylor about what it takes to become a published author.

2.00 – 3.00pm* Nordic Noir: Three of Denmark’s most exciting writers – Sara Blaedel, Kenneth Degnbol and Dagmar Winther talk about the phenomenon that is Nordic Noir.

4.00 – 5.00pm New Voices: meet three new writers who’ve recently made a splash – Paula Hawkins, whose debut thriller The Girl On the Train had a huge buzz around it when it published last month, Renee Knight whose novel Disclaimer was an international sensation, and Jason Hewitt whose novel The Dynamite Room was long listed for the Desmond Elliott prize.

6.00 – 7.00pm* Second Life: SJ Watson, author of the bestselling novel Before I Go to Sleep will be talking about his latest book – Second Life.

Then from 7.45 – 9.30pm it’s the Chip Lit Quiz – hosted by bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham. Test your knowledge alongside writers and festival goers, compete for prizes and celebrate books!

And that’s not all, there are loads of non crime fiction related events, events for children and creative writing sessions for writers – it’s all set to be a fun and informative weekend.

With so many great sessions going on, I’m really looking forward to this festival!

For more information, hop on over to the festival website at and follow them on Twitter @ChipLitFest for up to date festival news.


*Indicates the sessions included as part of the Crime Festival package.