Write up of a Virtual Book Launch for two highly successful authors – William Shaw and Elly Griffiths @william1shaw @QuercusBooks @ellygriffiths @HatchetteKids @HGCFiction #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Adventure #GravesEnd #AGirlCalledJustice #VirtualEvent #BookLaunch

Virtual Event with: William Shaw and Elly Griffiths

Happy Publication Day (yesterday) to both William Shaw and Elly Griffiths, first of all on the new books, published Thursday 14th May. William Shaw’s latest book is – Graves End (for adults) is available now on Kindle and audio and later in phyical book copy.
Elly Griffiths book for children is Justice – To the Smuggler’s Secret.

Elly Griffiths, who has written many crime fiction books for adults, such as The Stone Circle and The Lantern Men with her detective – Ruth Galloway, has now written a book for children, which is also now available to buy and was published yesterday… More about that below. First, I will present William Shaw’s new book, which is highly rated by Val McDermid and Peter May and The Financial Times.

                                                            

William Shaw has written 8 crime books, such as Salt Lane and Deadland, the 8th being Grave’s End. This is actually book 3 in the Cupidi series. He has written 2 different series to date – The DS Alex Cupidi series, The Breen and Tozer series and a stand-alone called The Birdwatcher.

There was a reading from it, cleverly put together by many people reading a bit, giving a lovely sense of comaraderie amongst crime writers, . It sounds atmospheric.

It was discussed that the crime book, set in Dungeness, has environmental themes and issues within Dungeness. It is written from the badger’s point of view, in the third person. He knew right away that underground was a great place to write from. It starts really well and powerful and is such an original point of view. It was talked about it is a plot with twists. This is absolutely an adults fictional book.

William Shaw likes that we know so little about badgers and yet have been living for such a long time, which makes them good for writing about. It is tense and also deals with issues surrounding badgers.

It was also mentioned that it is a book interspersed with emotions of love and loss. William Shaw, interestingly, also talked about how crime fiction investigates more than just the murder.

Gravesend picThe Blurb is:

A BIZARRE DISCOVERY

An unidentified cadaver is found in a freezer in an unoccupied luxury house. No-one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there. When DS Alexandra Cupidi is handed the case, she can have no idea it will lead her to a series of murderous cover-ups and buried secrets. Namely the discovery of the skeleton of public-school boy, Trevor Wood, beneath a housing development.

A HISTORIC CRIME

His disappearance twenty five years earlier had almost passed unnoticed. But as evidence surfaces that his fate was linked to long suppressed rumours of sexual abuse, Cupidi, her teenage daughter Zoe and her friend Bill South find themselves up against powerful forces who will try to silence them.

A BURIED LIFE

Digging deep into the secrets that are held underground leads to Cupidi’s realisation that crime and power are seldom far apart. There are dangerous connections between the two cases, which are complicated by Constable Jill Ferriter’s dating habits, a secret liaison and the underground life of Trevor Grey’s only friend.

A Girl Called Justice – To The Smuggler’s Secret by award winning author Elly Griffiths. This is the second in the series for children about a girl called Justice Jones and sounds like it is full of mystery and crime and perfect for those enjoying Enid Blyton.
Elly has written many books for adults and now has also crossed into writing for children, which is available to buy now as it is launched today too. Justice is a corageous girl. It includes issues of the time and is set in 1937. It is based a bit on her mum who went to a boarding school.
She talked a bit about how in the 1930’s, people of course called it The Great War because they didn’t know it was just the first one of course.

It is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook now.

The blurb is

Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, is back for her second spine-tingling adventure! For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.

A Girl Called JusticeWhen Justice returns for spring term at Highbury House, it’s not long before murder is back on her mind. Assigned to look after the elderly Mr Arthur in Smugglers’ Lodge on the other side of the marshes from school, Justice is initially dismayed. But dismay quickly gives way to intrigue as she finds herself drawn to Mr Arthur and his stories of piloting in the First World War – and especially when Dorothy, who lives nearby, tells her that the lodge is haunted.

But when Mr Arthur dies in mysterious circumstances, Justice soon has a list of questions in her journal: why hasn’t he been given a proper military funeral? Why does the new Matron not seem to know much about First Aid? And what secrets does Smugglers’ Lodge really hold?

Justice sets out to uncover the deadly truth in this brilliant follow-up to A GIRL CALLED JUSTICE.

This is the last broadcast that William Shaw wil be doing for the time being as he has been doing them over many weeks, but may do some more occasionally. They have been great interviews. I couldn’t watch them all, due to time, but what I have seen have been good and creative.

#Review of Murder at the Music Factory by Lesley Kelly @lkauthor @sandstonepress #BookReview #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour

Murder at the Music Factory
By Lesley Kelly
Rated: 4 stars ****

Murder at the Music Factory is the latest Health of Strangers book by Lesley Kelly and I am just so pleased to have been asked to join the blog tour by Scottish publishers Sandstone Press, whom I also thank for sending my a physical print copy of the book to review. With its music, a gun man and all the intrigue, it makes for a great read. I can see why Ian Rankin rates Lesley Kelly.

About the Author

Lesley KellyLesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past 20 years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won several writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story Award in 2008. Her debut novel: A Fine House in Trinity, was long listed for the William McIlvanney award in 2016. She can be followed on Twitter @lkauthor where she tweets about writing, Edinburgh and whatever else takes her fancy.

Click for Social Media Link: 
Twitter Link

Blurb

The body of Paul Shore toppled onto him, a stream of blood pooling around them on the concrete. Bernard lay back and waited to see if he too was going to die.

An under cover agent gone rogue is threatening to shoot a civil servant a day. As panic reigns, the Health Enforcement Team race against time to track him down – before someone turns the gun on them.

Leley Kelly Murder at the music factory

Review

A pandemic, music and a gunman in Edinburgh, Scotland , well, this book certainly is a thriller to behold.

It’s quite something to read a book with a pandemic and live through one in real life and I am glad to say that there are bits of a normality to be found here and there and some wit in some of dialogue, that lifts it. Murder in the Music Factory is book 4 in The Health of Strangers series. It works as part of the series and as a standalone, so you can jump straight in.

The North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team (HET) are back in this brand new book – Murder at the Music Factory, part of the Health of Strangers series, that once you’ve started, you see what a great series it is. It is worth joining a week in the life of this team (the book is split into days of the week).
The books were an alternative Edinburgh, where a virus is rampant, but now fiction and fact have somewhat collided (the books began way before this current virus pandemic). Foresight is perhaps a wonderful thing, or maybe it isn’t, who knows in this instance, but one thing I do know, is it is there and this is a very good book.
I know people are worried at this time, but this is still an excellent thriller of a book to read. It isn’t just about a virus. There’s a gunman at large who Mona and Bernard need to track down and a vulnerable witness needs to be protected.

More foresight, but perhaps not quite as it is in our new reality for this time. In the book, schools are closed, the NHS carries on, but electives are cancelled. A lot like now, except in the book it’s because of the gunman, all the same, it is in-escapable that this (minus the gunman thank goodness), has become a reality and thank goodness for the NHS.

There is some entertainment to be found in this book and I do like that Bernard has a need for chocolate. I’ve read that quite a bit around social media, that chocolate is a must for people right now too.

There’s a bit of familiar music mentioned within the book, that is carefully placed and works really well. This book, although was, at time of writing, like all of this series, set some time in the near future, and now sees a bit of fiction and realiy weaving together, actually has some lightness in parts of it. There’s life away from work, which gives the book a bit of humanity about it and a bit more insight into the characters.

To read a book about, not just a thriller, but one that has a global pandemic going through is surreal, no doubt about it and I’ve used a lot of my resilence to complete the book, so I could review for you. These are unusual and worrying times and I will say that I do hope that everyone is staying safe and are well. That being said, it is still a very well-written book and one that is still worth reading, whether it is your book of choice for now or later, because one day, whenever that may be, things will return to normal. Who knows if they will in this series of books or not, but they will in the real world.
Take care and keep safe and thank you in advance for reading my blog post on this blog tour.

#Review of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery by Lin Anderson and Donald McKay @Lin_Anderson @Blazespage #BlazeDogDetective #Childrensbook #kidslit #mystery #adventure #cozymystery #kindle #ReadingforPleasure #Easter

Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery
By Lin Anderson and Donald McKay,
Rated 5 stars *****

Today on Good Friday, to wish you all a good Easter weekend (even if it will be different), I am pleased and delighted to be sharing my review of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery. This is the first in the series, available now as an e-book on Amazon and will be available in physical form when normality resumes. 

Twitter page links:
For Blaze – Oor Blaze Fae Skye – Blazes Page
For Lin Anderson – Lin Anderson

I thank Lin Anderson for contacting me with the opportunity to review this book and for providing a PDF copy of the book, and the various photos of Blaze, which you will see as you scroll further down my blog post. 

About the Author

Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels and is now also writing the children’s books – Blaze Dog Detective series. She is also known for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival. 

Blurb

When the famous fairy flag of the Clan MacLeod disappears from a locked room at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the police immediately call in Blaze Dog Detective.
After all his scenting skills on the island are legendary.
With his team of Rosa, Rory and wee brother Laoch, Blaze leads the chase to rescue this magical flag before it can be spirited away from the island forever.

Blaze Cover

Review

A map, a castle, a secret passage, adventure, cute dogs, robbers, police, a mystery to be solved, this children’s book has it all. There is wonderful mix of mild trepidation and humour and a terrific energy throughout. With all that and excellent characterisation and plot, I am highly recommending this book for children. Read on to find out more…

blaze fae Skye
Blaze from Skye

This is the first in a brand new detective series for children. Blaze happens to be a real dog in Skye who lives with his wee brother Laoch and their human dad and these are the main characters within this book, in fictional form.

The approach of writing about the dogs is excellent as they are not cartoon-like, they are written much more realistically than that. The instincts and observations of the dogs is cleverly written as they take on this quality that readers will want to get to know more of. There’s a warmth and wisdom in the characterisation that makes them endearing.

I enjoy the fact that readers will get to know the Isle of Skye, Scotland  and then the dogs and then the story pulls you in even deeper into the mystery of the stolen and valuable Fairy Flag.

I love that there is a map of Skye that children can have fun with. I love maps in children’s books. It always, immediately helps to give them a sense of place as the story is set, whether readers have been to the setting, in this case the Isle of Skye, Scotland or not. The writing throughout also gives a beautiful sense of Skye and its magical landmarks.

Blaze and naughty on beach
Blaze and Laoch on beach

Readers quickly find out how Blaze became a detective dog and also meet Granny Beaton (Granny B). She is no ordinary granny at all, riding a motorbike and possessing a crystal ball and has a 10-year-old granddaughter – Rosa from Glasgow.

There is a bit of danger within this story when news unfolds that the Fairy Flag at Dunvegan Castle, where the Chief of Clan McLeod lives,  has been stolen, meaning that the school trip for a summer castle party may be cancelled. There’s a terrific illustration of the castle and its grounds, plotted like a map to explore, that is a brilliantly conceived idea.

Fang is easy to sympathise with as his story unfolds and readers will find out if he knows anything about the Fairy flag or not and about the mysteriously clever crows that appear.

The hunt is on and there is a determination to find the Fairy Flag and who stole it, with secret passageways, a cave, a mysterious boat called The Darkness, there’s excitement, adventure and mild trepidation and team work to try and get the flag back, before it is gone forever. There’s also the distraction of rabbits to chase along the way and a hope that PC Munroe will be able to help. 

blaze and ferry          blaze figures it out

There’s some red herrings here and there, that creates for a great story for keeping readers guessing and gives scope to feel really involved in solving the mystery.

So this book is very much worth transporting yourselves to Skye and joining Blaze with his mischievous, fun brother in Skye, as he tries to solve this mystery.

The book is available now on Amazon and later on there will be physical copies available, when restrictions are lifted, so I highly recommend you watch out for all the different ways to purchase this book as they materialise. Just now, it is in E-book form and will make for perfect Easter weekend reading.

Click the link to purchase: Amazon

Blaze knows all the best walks in Skye and even sometimes comes to the mainland. 
Lin Anderson kindly shared a few. Hover your curser over the photos to find a little more about where Blaze is in each of the locations. 

 

Blaze 'n Trails
Walks on Skye

A Message of Kindness #KindnessMatters #Kindness #Books

This can be an anxious time for many. There are so many uncertainties around employment, health, the thought of being cooped up indoors, shops closing their doors and more… I think of every one of you because we are all in it together. I hope that everyone is well and if very sadly you are not, that you recover very soon. I appreciate that you are still following and reading my blog, even if it isn’t the first thing on your mind at this time.

I also wanted to share a bit about what is going on in the book world and also with ways for you to access books as bookshops close their doors (there are more than you may think) and also to give some thought on just spreading kindness to each other (from a distance of course). That and reading is good for periods of uncertainty. Yes, there are times you have to do something, but be kind to yourselves too and allow times  for rest and a little escapism. Books are a very safe way to do this.

Reading can help for a bit of escapism, they are terrific for your health and wellbeing. This has been proven, but how do you get books when bookshops are closing their doors and Amazon is only delivering essentials (and this is not including books, although their e-books are available, as are books on Audible)?

Independent bookshops are doing deliveries and some are solely online.
In no particular order:

Bert Books is solely online
Woodbridge Emporium
Highland Books
Toppings & Co
Hive.co.uk
This is just to name a few. As businesses struggle, but also become innovative, now is a fabulous time to support them and also you will know that you can do it from your own home. These independent bookshops are however also giving books for free (not because they can particularly easily afford it, but because they want to support the keyworkers, the elderly, those who have self-isolated).

Authors are also self-employed and are worried about their future. Most are not very rich. There is a saying going round – support authors and they will support you. Well, this, I have found to be true. Check out people like:

Adam Croft who is giving away a set of books for free. He will take no royalties and make nothing from a set of Knight and Culverhouse books. Excellent Police Procedural. I am also reviewing the latest in a new series from him and Stephen Moore soon too, so look out for that.

Lydia Monks – author of What the LadyBird did is doing activities over on Facebook.

Libby Page has done my mum a great kindness in giving her book 24 Hour Cafe to her because she is self isolating.

Urbane Publications have been/are giving some books for free too.

Keep a look out on publishers and authors sites and twitter for what they are doing, this is only a small fraction of it.

There’s a lot more acts of kindness happening out there too (whilst also practicing social distancing very diligently).

What about us bloggers? Well, we too are spreading messages of kindness. We are also reviewing and promoting more because there are authors who have events cancelled for their new books. We know that books are good for supporting people’s health, especially when unwell or having to stay indoors. We are there for each and every person to support the best we can as a book community. Individually we are also doing other things as well, outside the book community, but that’s a whole different story.

Take care and also keep reading. I have new books I am reading and reviewing. Enough to keep me going until summer, which means you get to know the latest and best books to see you through this time too.

Next review is Paper Sparrows, and it is an amzing book for you to discover.

Thank you!

 

Happy World Book Day #WorldBookDay 2020 #Books #Bookish #CrimeFiction #Fiction #NonFiction #Kidslit #PictureBook #HistoricalFiction #History #Romance #Biography #ContemporaryFiction

Happy World Book Day 2020

Happy World Book Day and I hope that everyone is having a fabulous day, however you are celebrating. There are many author events going on around the UK in public and community libraries as well as schools. There are also lots of other bookish events too that can be participated in as you read for pleasure. There are also other ways you can participate in World Book Day, if you cannot attend an event, such as, curling up with a good book and leaving an author a review on Waterstones and Amazon.

Today I am attending a World Book Day Event to hear a talk by rising star Alison Belsham, author of The Tattoo Thief and then it will be my turn to host an event up here in Scotland too on Monday with Liz Treacher – author of The Wrong Envelope and The Wrong Direction.

I also have some great books in my review pile for both adult and children that are being published between this month and summer.

In the pile I am currently reading are fiction and non-fiction books. In no particular order of publication or review dates, look out for book one of a new series by Ben Kane – Made in Battle, Forged in War; Us Three by Ruth Jones (yes, the actor/writer from Gavin and Stacey and author of Never Greener); Eileen – The Making of George Orwell, Eileen was his wife, but not much is known about her, until now…; Paper Sparrows; A Conspiracy of Bones – the latest book by Kathy Reichs; I return to reviewing again for Lesley Kelly for her book Murder at the Music Factory – the latest in the health of Strangers series (read as a series or stand alone); I return to The Bobby Girls series to review the latest book – The Bobby Girl’s Secrets to see what the police volunteers are up to in their second and newest book.

I return to Janey Louise Jones children’s books to see what else Princess Poppy has in store now she has worked out how to save the bees. This time she is tackling plastic. I also will be reviewing for a charity Helping Hands who have had the Duchess of York on board to craete books  about how to tackle bullying, first days at school and strangers. There is a fantasy book to continue the series about Akra The Healing Stone, by Vacyn Taylor and a new book – Snow Child by a new author – Larraine Harrison.

This is just a few of the books sitting on my pile to date that you will start to see full reviews for soon. So, lots of books for you to look forward to exploring and to see what I think of. Coming up very soon are some children’s books and then an adult thriller that Lee Child and many other authors have a lot of praise for.

I of course thank all the authors, publishers and blog tour organisers for all these amazing opportunities to review and of course I thank just as equally, the readers of my blog as without everyone, my blog couldn’t exist.

Review of The Rise of the Rays by Wes Markin @MarkinWes @CazVinBooks #CrimeFiction #Thriller #Review #BlogTour

The Rise of The Rays
By Wes Markin
Rated: 4 stars ****

Today is my turn on The Rise of the Rays blog tour. Thanks to Caroline Vincent and Wes Markin for the invite and the proof-copy. I’ve reviewed most of this series now and there is plenty of suspense, especially in this well-written, fast-paced thriller that will make you want to keep turning those pages.

About the Author

Rise of the Rays Wes Markin Author Image (1)Wes Markin is a hyperactive English teacher, who loves writing crime fiction with a twist of the macabre.

Having finished the fourth instalment in the DCI Yorke series, Rise of the Rays, Wes is now working on the fifth instalment of DCI Yorke’s wild ride. He is also the author of Defined, a prequel to his DCI Yorke novels, which takes the reader back to his blood-soaked university days.

Born in 1978, Wes grew up in Manchester, UK. After graduating from Leeds University, he spent fifteen years as a teacher of English, and has taught in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Now as a teacher, writer, husband and father, he is currently living in Harrogate, UK.

Wes Markin on Social Media  

                                       Links:
Twitter                                      twitter.com/MarkinWes
Facebook Author Page       
http://www.facebook.com/WesMarkinAuthor
Goodreads Author Page     
bit.ly/GRtoWesMarkin

Blurb

Wes Markin’s most heart-pounding and dark thriller yet

They say that lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice. How the people of Wiltshire wished that were true.

When Paul Ray decides to burn down his evil family’s legacy, he falls into the clutches of those he thought gone.

And now Detective Yorke and his team face a race against time to find Paul before Wiltshire again falls under the dark spell of a ruthless family.

Unfortunately for Yorke, the answers lie in the most sinister of places. The beating heart of a long-dead killer.

Can Yorke find the truth before it’s too late? Or will the curse of the Ray family prove too strong?

Rise of the Rays book cover (1)

Review

Today I welcome back the Detective Yorke books. I have had the privilege of reviewing a few in this series now. I thought The Silence of Severance was dark and yet gripping, but wait until you get the chance to read this one. It goes even deeper and darker into what sort of family the Rays were/are. They aren’t a family to be messed around with, nor the type you would want to meet or be involved with. Wiltshire is about to be under this mean family’s spell yet again and it is most definitely a county in trouble if it does. There are some quite chilling scenes and can get pretty gory at times. Even though, perhaps the faint-hearted may find Wes Markin’s books a bit much, they are a compulsive read because there is always enough to make you wonder what is next. There is also plenty of suspense within this book. There is generally suspense within this series, but there seems even more so in this one.
The ending is an intriguing ending. Book 5 is already for pre-order, I am told and I have a feeling the end to book 4 will lead onto book 5, just a bit.

I would say it is probably good to read the series from the beginning, but there is also however, enough written about previous events to remind readers about what happened previously or to be introduced to the series and the characters involved.

The book isn’t all just about the crime, like those previous in the series, it shows the police characters lives outside trying to solve the case. They have their personal issues to deal with. I still like this, it shows they are human and life has many strands to it.

I have been invited to review on blog tours for Wes Markin’s books  from book 2 – The Repenting Serpent and haven’t been disappointed yet. The quality of the writing is good and gets better the more the Wes Markin writes too. The premise of the plots and the characters are very good. All in all, this is a series you can really get stuck into and have that anticipation of wanting to know what will happen next to the characters.
If you like your books fast-paced, dark and intriguing, this is the series for you.
You will also have to check the book out to see if Detective Yorke will find Paul or not…

Below is a list of the series so far:

#1 One Last Prayer for the Rays          
#2 The Repenting Serpent                       

#3 The Silence of Severance

#4 Rise of the Rays

Enjoy following the rest of the tour.

Rise of the Rays Blog Tour Poster 2.0 (2)