CTG Reviews: Falling by Emma Kavanagh

Falling cover image

Falling cover image

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.

Highly recommended.


[with thanks to Arrow Books for my copy of Falling]


The Falling Blog Tour: an interview with author Emma Kavanagh


Author Emma Kavanagh

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

Falling cover image

Falling cover image

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: Down Among the Dead Men by Ed Chatterton

Down Among the Dead Men cover image

Down Among the Dead Men cover image

What the blurb says: “At first glance, to newly-promoted DCI Frank Keane, the horrifically bloody crime scene in suburban Liverpool looks like a straightforward murder-suicide – the husband kills the wife and then himself. Frank and the rest of the Major Incident Team have seen too many cases like it before. But what of their missing teenage son, Nicky? Is he their prime suspect or the third victim?

For script-writer Dean Quinn, the killings are a potential disaster. The film he is working on is everything to him and with new London money and a rising American actor lighting up the set, his vision is almost complete. He’ll do anything to protect it.

Frank knows that time is running out to find the boy. But all too soon the case starts unravelling into one that will test Keane to the limit – and haunt him to his dying day.”

This is the second book in Ed Chatterton’s DCI Frank Keane crime series.

As with the first book, Down Among the Dead Men continues the dark, gritty tone. As unsettlingly atmospheric as the claustrophobic-inducing old tunnel system they’re using as a location for Dean Quinn’s film, this story gives more than a few heart-pounding moments.

First part of the book is set in Liverpool and has all the elements you’d expect from a police procedural. I think this was my favourite part of the book as there’s a high element of mystery, and as the actions and behaviours of each character associated with the murdered couple are revealed, the relationships between them are shown to be far from simple. I loved the complexity, the intrigue, and trying to guess who was responsible for the sinister activities surrounding the ill-fated movie.

The second part of the book ups the pace and becomes more thriller-like as the action shifts to follow Keane’s pursuit of the killer in LA. Fast-paced and dynamic, the chase pulls you along at a relentless speed.

If you’re a fan of gritty, atmospheric crime thrillers, this could be a series well worth checking out.

Ed Chatterton stopped by the CTG blog a few weeks ago. You can read the interview here.


[With thanks to Arrow for my copy of Down Among the Dead Men] 

CTG Reviews: The Woman in Black: Angel of Death by Martyn Waites

cover image

cover image

What the blurb says: “Autumn 1940, World War Two, the Blitz. Bombs are raining down, destroying the cities of Britain. In London, children are being removed from their families and taken to the country for safety. Teach Eve Parkins is in charge of one such group, and her destination is an empty and desolate house that appears to be sinking into the treacherous tidal marshes that surround it.


Far from home and with no alternative, Eve and the children move in. But soon it becomes apparent that there is someone else in the house; someone who is far deadlier than any number of German bombs …

The Woman in Black.”


I’ve long been a fan of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, having read the book and watched the play at the theatre, so I was intrigued to see how Martyn Waites approached the writing of a sequel.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Angel of Death is every bit as chilling, heart-thumping and edge-of-your-seat thrilling as the original.

The central character, Eve Parkins, is a courageous woman. Kind and fiercely protective of the children in her charge, she’s a more approachable teacher than her boss, Mrs Hogg. As they leave London she feels especially protective of one particular child, Edward, who has recently been orphaned.

It’s difficult to go into plot details without spoiling the story for you, but what I can say is that Eel Marsh House is every bit as scary as in the first story. Now it’s rotting, the mould eating away at its structure, decay destroying its contents. This story will have you looking at mould in a whole other way, and watching the shadows in case they start to follow you.

When Eve, Mrs Hogg, and the children arrive at the house bad things start to happen. Edward becomes increasingly distant from Eve, his only solace found in an ancient and mouldy Mr Punch puppet. It isn’t long before Eve realises that they are not the house’s only occupants.

And as for The Woman in Black, well she’s a menacing presence. Watching. Manipulating. Killing.

Given that this is a sequel the presence and identity of the Woman is not a secret from the reader. She has more ‘on the page’ time than in the original book – you see her before the characters do, and because of her history you can guess what she’s thinking and you know what she’s capable of. But Waites still manages to keep the tension high, building the suspense towards a nail-biting, hiding-behind-a-cushion-as-you-read conclusion as The Woman in Black turns what should be a safe haven for the evacuees into a place more horrific than their worst nightmare.

Highly Recommended.


[With thanks to Arrow Books and Hammer for my copy of The Woman in Black: Angel of Death]