#Review By Lou of Black Hearts By Doug Johnston @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #BlackHearts #TheSkelfs #BlogTour #skelfaholics @RandomTTours #TartanNoir

Black Hearts
By Doug Johnstone

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A welcome return of The Skelfs, a family who run a funeral parlour and are also Private Investigators in Edinburgh. I am on the blog tour today, thanks to Orenda Books and Random Things Tours for the invite and book. Find out more in the blurb and then onto my review below.

 


Death is just the beginning…

The Skelf women live in the shadow of death every day, running the family funeral directors and private investigator business in Edinburgh. But now their own grief interwines with that of their clients, as they are left reeling by shocking past events.

A fist-fight by an open grave leads Dorothy to investigate the possibility of a faked death, while a young woman’s obsession with Hannah threatens her relationship with Indy and puts them both in mortal danger. An elderly man claims he’s being abused by the ghost of his late wife, while ghosts of another kind come back to haunt Jenny from the grave … pushing her to breaking point.

As the Skelfs struggle with increasingly unnerving cases and chilling danger lurks close to home, it becomes clear that grief, in all its forms, can be deadly…

Review

Beware of the single magpie on the cover…. “One for Sorrow” and all that. Grief can have consequences and people can behave oddly and “Black Hearts” becomes both literal and figurative. As grief takes hold, guilt also seeps in.
 Family is at the heart of this series of books and a love of music also creeps in.

The Skelfs are funeral directors, as a family, turned Private Investigators, so also deal with families in their many states of life on a day to day basis. Readers can follow this latest case as well as the backstory of the Skelfs themselves and delves deeper into their personalities and lives.

The lives of the Skelfs are in danger; Dorothy takes on a missing person’s case and little does she know what would come next…
Hannah has a disturbing problem to contend with – she is being stalked.
With so much at stake and so much to deal with, its a gripping read.

What occurs in Black Hearts is totally chilling, but with the dark humour that has been established in this series of books and always cuts through well in this Edinburgh based haunting mystery, as does the warmth that cosies it up, just a little, to show a little shed of light through the Black Hearts.

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#BloodyScotland Write up of Fair Cops and Foul with James Oswald, Óskar Guõmundsson and Mari Hannah @SirBenfro @oskargudmunds @mariwriter #CrimeFiction #AllThatLives #TheCommandments #HerLastRequest

Fair Cops and Foul

The latest book in the Tony McLean series is All That Lives by James Oswald.
Check out Icelandic Scandi-noir with The Commandments by Óskar Guõmundsson.
Discover Her Last Request by Mari Hannah

 

It’s set in Leith and a body is discovered from 700 years ago, but another, which the police are even more interested in, is a body buried only 30 years ago, then similarities in burial emerge.

There’s also a new drug on the scene to interest Tony McLean.

This is about what can happen to people in power in small communities. Iceland he noted was small and a good place to have a story about abuse and a story within a story.


It’s about 2 women, 1 dead, the other alive; set on the Northumberland Coast. It explores the victim by the clues she left behind. There’s a note left that Kate Daniels thinks was written for her, even though anyone could have been chosen to go to the crime scene and be on the case. It bears the instruction to find Aaron…

Mari Hannah also talked about one of her books being turned into a tv programme – Murder Wall.

They talked a bit about their characters. James Oswald talked about having a good support cast in his books and how he wanted Inspector Tony McLean to have an interesting backstory, but also having him being both self-reliant and contented, but not wanting things too perfect in his life, which makes Maclean even deeper and more intriguing as a character.
It was fascinating to hear that James Oswald didn’t always write crime books with Tony McLean as his central character, he in fact used to write comics in all different genres.

Oskar on the other-hand talked about not initially connecting with his character initially, so changed it. It isn’t often, if at all, I’ve heard an author admit this so candidly. He talked of liking writing about characters that have fractured stories to tell, yet are strong. He also talked about the person behind the person, basically sounds like he really delves into them to see what is hidden behind the initial glance.

Mari Hannah likes to push her characters into corners to see how they can get out of them. She also seems to like to write about having a good team, since she had one around her when she was a probation officer. Interestingly she also talked about how there can be a comfort in writing/reading about tragedy because you know then, that there is a resolution to be found at the end.

All in all it was a great panel of authors who had interesting topics to talk about and gave great insights to their audience.

#Review By Lou of May God Forgive By Alan Parks @AlanJParks @cannongatebooks #HarryMcCoy @RandomTTours #BlogTour #TartanNoir #MayGodForgive #CrimeFiction #Thriller

May God Forgive
By Alan Parks

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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I am thrilled that today is my turn on the blog tour. May God Forgive is a page-turner gritty Tartan Noir. This is the 5th Harry McCoy series by Alan Parks, who is cleverly including each month in the title. They work as stand-alone or as part of a series. All books in the series are critically acclaimed. You can find more titles at the end of my review. 
Thanks to Random T. Tours and publisher – Cannongate for inviting me to review. Discover more below about the author, the blurb and my full review.

About the Author

Alan Parks Author PicALAN PARKS captures the dark beating heart of 70s Glasgow in his highly acclaimed Harry McCoy series.
Parks has spent most of his working life dealing with the production of images for Musical Artists, as Creative Director at London Records in the mid 1990’s then at Warner Music. From cover artwork to videos to photo sessions, he created ground-breaking, impactful campaigns for a wide range of artists including All Saints, New Order, The Streets, Gnarls Barclay and Cee Lo Green. He was also Managing Director of 679 Recordings, a joint venture with Warner Music. For the past few years he has worked as an independent visual and marketing consultant.
Alan was born in Scotland and attended The University of Glasgow where he was awarded a M.A. in Moral Philosophy. He still lives and works in the city as well as spending time in London.

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Blurb

Glasgow is a city in mourning. An arson attack on a Royston hairdresser’s has left five women and children dead, and a community reeling. People, more used to turning a blind eye to criminality, erupt now with rage.

When three youths are charged with the crime, an angry mob gathers outside the courthouse, the prisoners are snatched from a police van and disappear. Days later the body of one is found with a note attached to his mutilated body – ‘One down, two to go’.

Detective Harry McCoy comes from these streets; his feral childhood battling to survive on them still haunts him years on. But it also gives him an insight into the soul of Royston and the people who control it. Time is ticking, and Harry must confront his own past and figures that haunt him still to prevent another body being found on its mean streets.

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Review

Alan Parks books have a month of the year in the title in this series and now he has reached the month of May. Set in Glasgow, 1974, a city that is very troubled and as hard as can be, especially in that decade, Detective Harry McCoy has another case to solve as this thriller gets off to an action-packed start and to add to the tension, time is ticking fast and there’s not much of it left to crack the case.

Dolly’s Salon had been attacked by arson in an already hardened part of the city, where any heart that was in it before a motorway was built, had practically diminished and there was little left. Instantly the atmosphere and depiction of Royston, Glasgow in the 70’s can be grasped.

Detective Harry McCoy needs to help DS. Doug Watson (Wattie) make progress on a case, concerning a 15 year old, dressed for a night out and discovered dead, but isn’t easily yielding much evidence as to what happened… He is also working on the quiet for to get answers about the arson at the salon. It’s a full on first day back at work from being off on the sick.

There’s gangland underworld, drugs, violence and arson, but also a detective who is prepared to do everything he can to protect the city’s citizens in this compelling series.

May God Forgive is intensely gritty and a fascinating work in fiction, closely relating to fact, that is engaging and depicts Glasgow at a very particular time.

Further books in this series can be found below…

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Alan Parks Praise

#Review By Lou of Quicksand of Memory By Michael J. Malone @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks #QuicksandOfMemory #Revenge #PsychologicalThriller #TartanNoir #BlogTour #RandomTTours #TeamOrenda

Quicksand of Memory
By Michael J. Malone

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Quicksand Of Memory is a page-turner that packs a punch! Check out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below about this psychological thriller/TartanNoir… Today I have the privilege of closing the blog tour. The book is Available Now!
Thanks first, to Random T. Tours and publisher – Orenda Books for inviting me to review and for a copy of the book.

Quicksand of Memory Proof Cover

About the Author

Michael Malone pic

 Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and   brought  up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems   in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland,   Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won   the  Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers.
 His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died, In the Absence of Miracles and A Song of Isolation soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.
Michael lives in Ayr.

Blurb

Quicksand cover 2Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships.
Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy.
When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need.
And yet, someone is watching.
Someone who has been scarred by past events.
Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…
Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…

Review

Michael J. Malone has skillfully delved into the inner-sanctum that is memory. The way he plays with his characters memories has created a psychological thriller that waxes lyrical and yet grips hard until the end.

Jenna has attacks of anxiety due to her relationship issues, so seeks a therapist – Luke. It’s rivetting being in the therapist’s room with her, as she pours out her life to him, which is more than what she thought she was originally for as he probes into other life events. This is possibly the most sedate the book is and then delving further, it all becomes such a page-turner.
hrough Luke, you can really see the power of loss and guilt and so much more, that permeates through, and through his clients, the sense of needing a support system, or at least someone to give support through life, or parts of life.
It’s just as, or even more fascinating when it comes to learning about Luke. There is so much more to Luke than healing people in his therapy sessions and the sinister burdens he carries.
Then, as time moves on, the fractures in lives really start to open up, wider and wider, increasingly revealing more secrets, more previously buried truths and falsehoods and deadly obsessions.

Quicksand of Memory twists and turns, leading readers down a deep, dark path of the professional and personal aspects of life and the blurring of lines and crimes committed, with romance flourishing and revenge, later in the book with revenge occuring. It is beautifully constructed and written. Once started this visceral, chilling psychological thriller; it’s pretty hard to put down as you find out more about people’s pasts, where they are presently and the spine-tingling secrets that emerge. 

Malone gives lots for readers to ponder over, with the thought-provoking, complex themes of obsession, guilt, love, revenge, support, memory, trauma, grief, violence, drug-use and more… It really packs a punch. 

Quicksand Graphic 3 

Quicksand of Memory blog tour banner

 

#BlogBlitz by Lou – Info about #Thriller – Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant – Happy Publication Day to @helengrantsays @FledglingPress @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours

Too Near The Dead
By Helen Grant

Blog Blitz – Blurb and About The Author

Today I am delighted to present to you a bit of info about this new thriller – Too Near the Dead, set in the Perthshire countryside, Scotland. Today is exciting as it is publication day, so you can get your hands on it if you so wish, from now! Find out more in the blurb and then about the author as well as how to buy this new addition to the ever popular “Tartan Noir” genre.
Thanks to Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to share this info with you and to Fledgling Press for gifting the info you will see in this blog post.

Too Near the Dead 1

Blurb 

Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much…

For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside.

Barr Dubh house is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous secret lies buried. And at night, Fen is tormented by horrifying dreams. 

Someone wants Fen’s happiness, and nothing is going to stop them – not even death…

Too Near the Dead - Love Books Tours P1Buy Links

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Near-Dead-Grant/dp/191228040X/
The book is available in paperback and on Kindle.

About the Author

Too Near the Dead Twitter 1

Helen was born in London in 1964. She showed an early leaning towards the arts, having been told off for writing stories under the desk in maths lessons at school.


Helen went on to read Classics at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, and then worked in marketing for ten years to fund her love of travelling. Her two most memorable travelling days were the one spent exploring Damascus in Syria and the day she went to the Raj Mandir cinema in Jaipur to see the romantic blockbuster Beta.

In 2001, she and her family moved to Bad Münstereifel in Germany. It was exploring the legends of this beautiful old town that inspired her to write her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, which is set there.

Helen now lives in Scotland with her husband, her two children and her two cats.

The April Dead by Alan Parks @AlanJParks @blackthornbks @RandomTTours #TheAprilDead #HarryMcCoy #Thriller #CrimeFiction

The April Dead
By Alan Parks
Extract/Excerpt

April Dead Banner

Today is a chance to see a little bit of what is inside The April Dead by Alan Parks and it sounds thrilling!!! This dark and grimy crime novel is the fourth in the Detective Harry McCoy series which has sold over 40,000 copies acrossall editions. This instalment sees McCoy battling corruption on an
international scale, investigating a kidnapping from a US baseand bombings in Glasgow.
The April Dead will appeal to fans of Ian Rankin, Denise Mina,Peter May, William McIlvanney and Val McDermid, as well as TV series such as Idris Elba’s Luther. Listen out for radio broadcasts and the book featuring in crime podcasts. Look out for a UK-wide bookshop tour and festival appearances.

Follow down to find out more about the author, see some fabulous media graphics, the blurb and a few paragraphs that are within the book. Thank you to Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour and to Black Thorn Books publishers for providing an extract from the book.

About the Author

Alan Parks Author Pic (1)Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.

Bobby March Will Live Forever is the third Harry McCoy thriller

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Blurb

NO ONE WILL FORGET . . .
In a grimy flat in Glasgow, a homemade bomb explodes, leaving few remains to identify its maker.
Detective Harry McCoy knows in his gut that there’ll be more to follow. The hunt for a missing sailor from the local US naval base leads him to the secretive group behind the bomb, and their disturbing, dominating leader.
On top of that, McCoy thinks he’s doing an old friend a favour when he passes on a warning, but instead he’s pulled into a vicious gang feud. And in the meantime, there’s word another bigger explosion is coming Glasgow’s way – so if the city is to survive, it’ll take everything McCoy’s got . . .

The April Dead Cover

Extract/Excerpt

‘Who on earth is going to set off a bomb in Woodlands?’ asked McCoy. ‘It’s the back arse of Glasgow.’

‘The IRA?’ asked Wattie.

‘Maybe,’ said McCoy. ‘It’s Easter Friday I suppose. Not sure blowing up a shitey rented flat in Glasgow is the best way of striking at the British Establishment, not exactly the Houses of Parliament, is it?’

They were standing in the middle of West Princes Street looking up at the blown-out windows and scorched sand- stone of what had been the flat at number 43. The flats around had suffered too: cracked windows, torn curtains hanging out, a window box filled with daffodils sitting face down in the middle of the road. McCoy got his fags out and lit one, waved the match out, and dropped it on the wet street.

‘How come you know it’s rented anyway?’ asked Wattie.

‘They all are around here, rented or sublet, no rent book, no contract. Half of Glasgow’s waifs and strays live in the flats around here.’

‘You think that’s it started? Here I mean?’ asked Wattie. ‘Bombings?’

McCoy shrugged. ‘Hope not but you know what they say. Glasgow is just Belfast without the bombs.’

‘Until now that is,’ said Wattie.

A shout from one of the firemen and they stepped back onto the pavement as a fire engine attempted a three-point turn in the narrow road. The whole street was a mess of fire engines, hoses, ambulances, police cars, uniforms trying to set up ropes to cordon the area off. The flats around 43 had been evacuated, residents standing in the street looking shocked, dressed in an assortment of different clothes from pyjamas and blanket-covered underwear to a man in a pinstripe suit and socks holding a cat in his arms.

A burly fireman emerged from the close and took his helmet off, sandy hair stuck to his head with sweat. He spat on the ground a couple of times and wandered over.

‘It’s safe,’ he said. ‘You can go up now.’
McCoy nodded. ‘Any bodies?’

‘One,’ he said. ‘Half of him’s all over the walls, other half ’s burnt to a bloody crisp.’
McCoy’s stomach turned over at the thought.
‘All yours,’ said the fireman and headed off to the reversing fire engine.
‘Shite,’ said McCoy. ‘We’re going to have to go up there, aren’t we?’
‘Yep,’ said Wattie. ‘You want to throw up now and get it over with?’
‘Smartarse,’ said McCoy, feeling like that was exactly what

he wanted to do. ‘Maybe we should wait for Faulds? He’s on his way.’

‘Any other excuses you can think of?’ asked Wattie. ‘Or is that it?’

McCoy sighed. ‘Let’s go.’

They ducked past the firemen rolling the hose back onto the wheel and headed into the close. Streams of water running down the stairs, stink of smoke and burnt wood in the air. They trudged up the stairs, making for the top-floor flat and the inevitable gruesome scene.

‘You remembering about tonight?’ asked Wattie.

‘How could I forget it?’ said McCoy. ‘You keep reminding me every five minutes. I’ll be at your dad’s at six as instructed.’ ‘He’s booked a Chinese,’ said Wattie. ‘Down in the town. It’s cheap.’

‘Great,’ said McCoy, making a mental note to eat before he went. A Chinese restaurant in Greenock whose selling point was that it was cheap sounded like a recipe for indigestion at best, food poisoning at worst.

They were at the top landing now. Front door of the flat had been burst open by the firemen, was hanging half on-half off its hinges. McCoy gave it one more go.

‘Maybe we should wait for Phyllis Gilroy?’ he asked. ‘What do we know about bomb casualties? She’s the medical examiner after all, she’s going to be much more use than you or me.’

Wattie sighed, looked at him. ‘Look, if you don’t want to go in, it’s fine. I’ll go.’

‘Really?’ asked McCoy. ‘That would be brill—’

‘Aye, and I’ll make sure and tell Murray when we get back to the station all about my commanding officer who was too scared to look at a crime scene.’

‘You really are becoming a bit of a smartarse, Watson,’ said McCoy.

‘Learnt from the best. Ready?’ asked Wattie and pushed the door aside.

Praise for The Harry McCoy Series

Fascinating and dangerous . . . Parks has clearly studied the masters of tartan noir but has his own voice. He shows how, among the welter of violence, a spontaneous act of kindness can have just as great an impact’ – The Times, Book of the Month
‘An old-school cop novel written with wit and economy . . . Think McIlvanney or Get Carter’ – IAN RANKIN
‘1970s Glasgow hewn from flesh and drawn in blood’ – PETER MAY
‘Bloody and brilliant. This smasher from Alan Parks is a reminder of how dark Glasgow used to be’
– LOUISE WELSH
‘Gripping and violent, dark and satisfying. I flew through it’ – BRET EASTON ELLIS

The April Dead BT Poster