Friday, 11 December 2015

Book showcase ~ What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan ~ Psychological Thriller

What She Knew

by Gilly Macmillan

on Tour December 2015




Synopsis:

cover
In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother’s search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.
In a heartbeat, everything changes…
Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.
Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.
As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.
Where is Ben? The clock is ticking...


Book Details:


Genre: Thriller
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Number of Pages: 467
ISBN: 9780062413864
UK Title: Burnt Paper Sky
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads



Critical Praise



“What an amazing, gripping, beautifully written debut. WHAT SHE KNEW kept me up late into the night (and scared the life out of me).”
— Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author


“Tightly focused and fast-paced. You won’t rest until you really know what happened.”
— Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One


“Every parent’s nightmare, handled with intelligence and sensitivity, the novel is also deceptively clever. I found myself racing through to find out what happened.”
— Rosamund Lupton, international bestselling author of SISTER


“This accomplished, intelligent debut should come with a warning-it’s completely addictive. A nail-biting, sleep-depriving, brilliant read.”
— Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins


“Heart-in-the-mouth excitement from the start of this electrifyingly good debut…an absolute firecracker of a thriller that convinces and captivates from the word go. A must read.”
— Sunday Mirror


“One of the brightest debuts I have read this year - a visceral, emotionally charged story….heart-wrenchingly well told and expertly constructed, this deserves to stay on the bestseller list until Christmas”
— The Daily Mail


“A terrific debut”
— Reader's Digest


“A very clever, tautly plotted page turned from a terrific new writer”
— Good Housekeeping




Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

In the eyes of others, we’re often not who we imagine ourselves to be.
When we first meet someone, we can put our best foot forward, and give the very best account of ourselves, but still get it horribly wrong.
It’s a pitfall of life.
I’ve thought about this a lot since my son Ben went missing, and every time I think about it, it also begs the question: if we’re not who we imagine we are, then is anybody else? If there’s so much potential for others to judge us wrongly, then how can we be sure that our assessment of them in any way resembles the real person that lies underneath? You can see where my train of thought’s going with this. Should we trust or rely on somebody just because they’re a figure of authority, or a family member? Are any of our friendships and relationships really based on secure foundations?
If I’m in a reflective mood, I consider how different my life might have been if I’d had the wisdom to consider these things before Ben went missing. If my mood is dark, I find fault in myself for not doing so, and my thoughts, repetitive and paralysing, punish me for days.
A year ago, just after Ben’s disappearance, I was involved in a press conference, which was televised. My role was to appeal for help in finding him. The police gave me a script to read. I assumed people watching it would automatically understand who I was, that they would see I was a mother whose child was missing, and who cared about nothing apart from getting him back.
Many of the people who watched, the most vocal of them, thought the opposite. They accused me of terrible things. I didn’t understand why until I watched the footage of the conference – far too late to limit the damage – but then the reason was immediately obvious.
It was because I looked like prey.
Not appealing prey, a wide-eyed antelope say, tottering on spindly legs, but prey that’s been well hunted, run ragged, and is near to the end. I presented the world with a face contorted by emotion and bloodied from injury, a body that was shaking with grief and a voice that sounded as if it had been roughly scraped from a desiccated mouth. If I’d imagined beforehand that an honest display of myself, and my emotions, however raw, might garner me some sympathy and galvanise people into helping me look for Ben, I was wrong. They saw me as a freak show. I frightened people because I was someone to whom the worst was happening, and they turned on me like a pack of dogs.
I’ve had requests, since it was over, to appear again on televi- sion. It was a sensational case, after all. I always decline. Once bitten, twice shy.
It doesn’t stop me imagining how the interview might go though. I envisage a comfortable TV studio, and a kindly look- ing interviewer, a man who says, ‘Tell us a little about yourself, Rachel.’ He leans back in his chair, which is set at a friendly angle to mine, as if we’d met for a chat in the pub.The expres- sion on his face is the sort that someone might make if they were watching a cocktail being made for them, or an ice-cream sundae if that’s your preference. We chat and he takes time to draw me out, and lets me tell my side of the story. I sound OK.
I’m in control. I conform to an acceptable view of a mother. My answers are well considered. They don’t challenge. At no point do I spin a web of suspicion around myself by blurting out things that sounded fine in my head. I don’t flounder, and then sink.
This is a fantasy that can occupy long minutes of my time. The outcome is always the same: the imaginary interview goes really well, brilliantly, in fact, and the best thing about it is that the interviewer doesn’t ask me the question that I hate most of all. It’s a question that a surprising number of people ask me. This is how they might phrase it: ‘Before you discovered that Ben had disappeared, did you have any intuition that something bad would happen to him?’
I hate the question because it implies some kind of dereliction of duty on my part. It implies that if I were a more instinctive mother, a better mother, then I would have had a sense that my child was in danger, or should have done. How do I respond? I just say ‘No.’
It’s a simple enough answer, but people often look at me quizzically, brows furrowed in that particular expression where a desire to mine someone for gossip overwhelms sympathy for their plight. Softly crinkled foreheads and inquisitive eyes ask me, Really? Are you sure? How can that be?
I never justify my answer. ‘No’ is all they need to know.
I limit my answer because my trust in others has been eroded by what happened, of course it has. Within many of my relationships doubt remains like slivers of broken glass, impossible to see and liable to draw blood even after you thought you’d swept them all away.
There are only a very few people that I know I can trust now, and they anchor me to my existence.They know the whole of my story.
A part of me thinks that I would be willing to talk to others about what happened, but only if I could be sure that they’d listen to me. They’d have to let me get to the end of my tale without interrupting, or judging me, and they’d have to under- stand that everything I did, I did for Ben. Some of my actions were rash, some dangerous, but they were all for my son, because my feelings for him were the only truth I knew.
If someone could bear to be the wedding guest to my ancient mariner, then in return for the gift of their time and their patience and their understanding, I would supply every detail. I think that’s a good bargain. We all love to be thrilled by the vicarious experience of other people’s ghastly lives after all.
Really, I’ve never understood why we haven’t thought of an English word for Schadenfreude. Perhaps we’re embarrassed to admit that we feel it. Better to maintain the illusion that butter wouldn’t melt in our collective mouths.
My generous listener would no doubt be surprised by my story, because much of what happened went unreported. It would be just like having their very own exclusive. When I imagine telling this fictional listener my story, I think that I would start it by answering that hated question properly, for the first time, because it’s relevant. I would start the story like this: When Ben went missing I didn’t have any intuition. None whatsoever. I had something else on my mind. It was a pre-occupation with my ex-husband’s new wife.



Author Bio:

authorGilly Macmillan grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and also lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied History of Art at Bristol University and then at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked as a part-time lecturer in A Level Photography and a full-time mum.

Catch Up: author's website author's twitter author's facebook


Tour Participants:



Don't Miss Your Chance to Win a Copy of What She Knew:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gilly Macmillan & William Morrow Books. There will be 5 US winners of 1 copy of What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan. The giveaway begins on December 1st, 2015 and runs through January 3rd, 2016. For US residents only.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


 

 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Book Showcase & Competition - A Country Practice by Judith Colquhoun - Win an Amazon Fire TV stick and books!



TITLE - A Country Practice

AUTHOR - Judith Colquhoun

TO BUY - Click here for UK readers/here for US readers/ or here for Australian readers

SYNOPSIS
A heart-warming, poignant and engaging tale about the doctors, nurses and patients of the Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital, and their friends and neighbours. 

A Country Practice follows the dramas, loves, secrets and dilemmas of the people in an Australian small country town. There is romance, humour and tragedy for the medical staff of the local hospital, and the rural community it serves. 

A desperate woman arrives at the Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital in the final stages of labour. Can Dr Terence Elliott overcome his demons to save both mother and baby? 

Simon Bowen, the newest doctor in town, is frustrated at being seen as an outsider by the tight knit country people. Will he succeed in winning them around ‒ especially young vet Vicky Dean? 

Vicky’s mum, Sister Shirley Dean, is courted by widowed police sergeant Frank Gilroy. But is he the man for her? 

Young married couple, Brendan and Molly Jones arrive in Wandin Valley. Are they prepared for the realities of country life? 

Meanwhile, a teenager in love clashes with her father and a serious car accident reveals a surprising secret about two of the town’s residents. 





EXCERPT


The sun rose, bringing new hope to several of Wandin Valley’s residents and continuing despair to others. Away to the west, on the banks of the Murray just upstream from Swan Hill, Brendan and Molly Jones embraced hope after a short struggle. They had booked into a camping ground for the night and had stayed in a grandly named ‘chalet’, a one-room bunkhouse whose mod cons included a bathroom of sorts, a two-burner stove and quite the most hideous lino either had ever encountered. They sat outside now on two plastic chairs which constituted the ‘barbecue area’, drinking tea, listening to the dawn chorus and feeling pretty much at peace with the world. Well, Brendan was.
‘Didn’t the agent say there was lino in the kitchen, Brendan?’ Molly was thinking forward to their new house.
‘I think he might have.’
‘Well whatever the pattern, it couldn’t be worse than that one, could it?’ She nodded towards the chalet. ‘I’m taking comfort from that.’
Brendan grinned but Molly went on in more serious vein than he’d expected. ‘I suppose we were totally mad, weren’t we? Buying the place sight unseen.’
‘Not exactly sight unseen. We got a brochure, remember? And two maps. And half a dozen extra photos.’
‘Not the same as walking through it though, is it? Getting a real feel for it. I mean, what if it’s a terrible dump?’
Brendan leant forward, took her cup out of her hands and held them tightly. ‘Molly, we know it’s a terrible dump. That’s why we could afford it. Surely you’re not getting cold feet? Now that we’re only a day away?’
‘No! No, I’m not. Honestly.’
‘Darling, it’s going to be fine –’
‘Of course it is. I just had a moment of panic, that’s all. Lying in bed last night, with the moonlight on that awful lino, I got to wondering how bad the house really is. You know how your mind plays games at three o’clock in the morning …’
Brendan, who’d had a few moments of panic himself, pulled her close.
‘Even if it’s a pigsty, we’ll turn it into a palace, Molly Jones. I promise you.’
But Molly shook her head. ‘No, you’ve got to earn a living. I’ll turn it into a palace.’ She smiled at him. ‘We do actually have a pigsty, remember. Not to mention a pig.’
‘Ah yes, what’s her name? Dorothy?’
‘Doris.’
‘Can’t wait to meet her. I’ve been reading up on how to make salami.’ He ducked out of Molly’s clutches and backed quickly away.

And a couple of chapters later...

For Molly and Brendan Jones, it was all just beginning: a new life in a new place a long way from the City of Churches. And they were wondering if perhaps they hadn’t made a terrible mistake. They hadn’t yet unpacked the station wagon. They hadn’t dared. Their tour of inspection had left them momentarily wanting to climb back into it. The trouble was that the farm had become too much for old Fred Davidson years before he finally gave in and moved to live with his daughter on the central coast of New South Wales. Now it looked rundown, worn-out and totally unloved. Fences sagged, paint peeled, windows gaped open and weeds ran riot. The outdoor dunny was clearly attempting to rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
‘Character. That’s what that cop said. I think I could find a different word.’ Molly sounded close to tears and Brendan felt he should make an effort before they both fell apart.
‘The house isn’t that bad. At least it’s clean.’ And it was. The agent must have attended to that. Barely liveable, but clean. ‘And whatshername, Doris, she seemed friendly enough.’
‘She barely blinked when I said hello.’
‘Moll? We’re tired. Let’s get the stuff inside and put the kettle on. We’re here in one piece, it’s going to be good, I know it is.’
‘I’m sorry. I’m being silly. It’s not that bad really. I mean – we knew it was rundown and everything … we’ll fix it up.’
‘Of course we will.’
‘And at least the lino isn’t so bad.’
‘Almost tasteful.’
Just as well the two of them had vast stores of optimism, they would find it useful in the days ahead. A couple of hours later, the car was unpacked and the house was full of boxes. A van would arrive with the rest of their stuff the next day.
‘Where on earth is it all going to go?’ Molly wondered.
Brendan had been opening Caroline’s farewell present. ‘More to the point – where on earth is this going to go?’ From dozens of layers of packaging, he finally extracted a large chandelier. Molly stared in amazement. Brendan handed her the card that came with it and she read aloud: ‘To Melissa and Brendan Just remember, even in the boondocks, style’s the thing! Love, Caroline.’
‘I worry about your mother,’ said Brendan.
‘I’ve got just the spot for it,’ said Molly. ‘Didn’t you notice how dull Doris’s sty is?’

Based on the award-winning, international hit television serial A Country Practice, this new series of novels follows the lives and loves of the rural community of Wandin Valley, South-Eastern Australia. Set in the early 1980s it is a nostalgic look at country life, yet with all the same joys and problems we face today.






Competition

The "A Country Practice" series of novels set in sunny Australia are perfect for curling up with on a cold winter's day or evening! And to celebrate the release of the first two books in the series, Corazon Books is offering you the chance to win something else to keep you entertained on a cosy night in! One lucky UK-based winner will receive an Amazon Fire TV stick* - which lets you stream loads of TV programmes, films, games and music through your TV. To be in with a chance to win simply answer the following question, and send your answer to acp@greatstorieswithheart.com by midday UK time on December 11th 2015. The winner will be announced on December 14th at www.acountrypractice.info.

Q. What is the name of the young married couple who have just moved to Wandin Valley?

PLUS Please state the name of the blog where you read about the competition - all visitors' names from each blog on the tour will be put into a hat and the first name pulled out for each blog will win paperback copies of the first two A Country Practice novels!

*This competition is organised and run by Wyndham Media Ltd. Judges decision is final. Amazon Fire TV Stick only available for UK residents. If the overall winner resides outside of the UK they will receive instead a bundle of Corazon Books paperbacks to the same value as the UK prize. Entrants details won't be kept or shared with third parties. Good luck!

BOOK REVIEW TO FOLLOW 
Audio  

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

SHOWCASE - Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt ~~ Small Town Mystery

Stillwater

Melissa Lenhardt

on Tour October 5 - November 7, 2015

SYNOPSIS



cover
Former FBI agent Jack McBride took the job as Chief of Police for Stillwater, Texas, to start a new life with his teenage son, Ethan, away from the suspicions that surrounded his wife’s disappearance a year earlier.
With a low crime rate and a five-man police force, he expected it to be a nice, easy gig; hot checks, traffic violations, some drugs, occasional domestic disturbances, and petty theft. Instead, within a week he is investigating a staged murder-suicide, uncovering a decades’ old skeleton buried in the woods, and managing the first crime wave in thirty years.
For help navigating his unfamiliar, small-town surroundings, Jack turns to Ellie Martin, one of the most respected women in town—her scandal-filled past notwithstanding. Despite Jack's murky marriage status and the disapproval of Ethan and the town, they are immediately drawn to each other.
As Jack and Ellie struggle with their budding relationship, they unearth shattering secrets long buried and discover the two cases Jack is working, though fifty years apart, share a surprising connection that will rattle the town to its core.



Book Details:


Genre: Mystery, Crime, Small Town Mystery
Published by: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 1634502264 (ISBN13: 9781634502269)
Series: Jack McBride Mysteries
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads




Read an excerpt:

From Chapter One...
"Helluva case to get on your first day, eh?" the doctor said.
Jack nodded and gave a brief smile. He pulled gloves and more paper booties from his coat pocket and handed them to Jesson and the doctor. Jack walked down the hall and entered the room. Jesson stopped at the door.
"Gilberto and Rosa Ramos," Jesson said. "Found dead this morning by Juan Vasquez." He jerked his thumb in the direction of the man sitting on the couch. "Says he's Rosa's brother. He don't speak much English but from what I gathered, he came to pick Gilberto up for work and heard the baby screaming. When no one answered, he let himself in. Door was open. Found them just like that."
They were both nude. The woman lay facedown, covering half of man's body. The right side of the man's head was blown across the pillow. Blood and brain matter were sprayed across the bed, under the woman and onto the floor. A clump of long dark hair was stuck to the window with blood. Her right arm was extended across the man's chest, a gun held lightly in her grip.
Jack walked around the bed.
Doc Poole stood next to Officer Jesson. "It takes a special kind of anger to kill someone you are in the middle of fucking, doncha think?" Doc Poole said. "Ever see that in the F-B-I?" Derision dripped from every letter.
Jack ignored him. "Where's the baby?"
Jack hoped the revulsion on Jesson's face meant scenes like this were rare in Stillwater. If he wanted to deal with shit like this on a regular basis, he would have taken a better paying job in a larger town.
"Officer Jesson?" Jack said. "Where's the baby?"
"Oh. It's with a neighbor."
"Has anyone called CPS?"
"Why?"
"To take care of the baby."
"The neighbor offered."
"And, what do we know about this neighbor?"
He shrugged. "She didn't speak much English."
"So, she could be in the next county by now?"
"Oh, I doubt that," Jesson said. "She seemed like a nice sort. Very motherly."
Jack cocked his head and puzzled over whether his most senior officer was ignorant, naive or an amazing judge of character.
He turned his attention to Doc Poole. "What's the time of death?"
"Sometime last night."
"Can you be more specific?"
"Didn't see the need. Seems pretty obvious what happened."
"Oh, are you a detective?"
"No. I'm a general practitioner."
"You're the JP, aren't you?"
"No. I used to be." He chuckled. "Too old for this now."
"Yet, here you are."
"JP is on the way, Chief," Jesson said.
Jack kept his focus on Doctor Poole. "So you heard this over the radio and decided to come? Or did someone call you?"
"Well, I —"
"Do you have the instruments necessary to establish a time of death?"
"Not with me, but —"
"Then get off my crime scene."
The little man straightened his shoulders and lifted his chin. "I can see why Jane Maxwell liked you." He started to leave but turned back. "We do things different here in Stillwater."
"Not anymore we don't," Jack said.




Author Bio:

author
Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women's fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers' MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a board member of the DFW Writers' Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.

Catch Up with Ms. Lenhardt:
author's website author's twitter author's facebook



Tour Participants:




Giveaway: Sorry US Residents only

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Melissa Lenhardt. There will be one winner of 1 AMAZON US gift card and 1 copy of Stillwater (For US residents only.). The giveaway runs through November 14th, 2015.
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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

BOOK REVIEW ~~ Anything For Her by Jack Jordan ~ Crime Thriller



TITLE - Anything For Her 

AUTHOR - Jack Jordan

FORMAT - Paperback or Kindle

PAGES - 340


GENRE - Thriller/Crime/Mystery

PURCHASE - Kindle click here; Paperback click here

SYNOPSIS (From Goodreads)
Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you.


Louise Leighton’s life has fallen apart, all because of one fateful night. Her husband is an adulterer, her sister is his mistress, and soon, Louise will lose everything she owns. But she never imagined she would lose her daughter. 

Eighteen-year-old Brooke Leighton is missing. It’s up to Louise and the Metropolitan Police to find her. Has Brooke run away? Or has she been taken against her will? And can Louise aid the investigation without mentioning the night where all of her troubles began? 

If she mentions that night, she will incriminate her daughter for heinous crimes. But if she doesn’t, she may never find Brooke; and if she has been abducted, the person who took her may come for Louise, too. 

Sometimes the past comes back to kill you.


MY REVIEW 

This book was unputdownable! It wasn't a book where you had to read a few chapters before you were hooked, I was hooked from the start. I was really intrigued as to what this terrible family secret was that could split a family apart completely, affecting all members of the family in different ways. The author had made the characters really personable and very real.

The storyline was fantastic and utterly believable. There were so many factors to it and the author pulled them together with ease.

It was emotional and upsetting as it was tearing a very close family apart with the son Dominic having to go through things no young boy should have to go through. It was also gripping at the same time with some amazing twists and turns, usually Louise being at the end of something terrifying. Without adding any spoilers it was utterly intriguing and I couldn't put the book down as I wanted to keep reading to see who was behind all the bad things that was happening.

If you want a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat then you have to read this. I also think it would make a great screenplay. 


An amazing debut novel!! I am going to be watching out for Jack Jordans next book and hoping it's every bit as good as this one.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack Jordan lives in East Anglia, England. He is an introvert disguised as an extrovert, an intelligent person who can say very unintelligent things, and a self-confessed bibliomaniac with more books than sense. 'Anything for Her' is Jack Jordan's debut novel. 

Goodreads Author Page https://www.goodreads.com/jackjordan

Author Web page - 

Check out the authors goodreads page for a giveaway! 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Book Review & Author Interview ~~ Angels Sing to Rest by Chrinda Jones



TITLE - Angels Sing To Rest

AUTHOR - Chrinda Jones


GENRE - Crime Thriller

Purchase click here for Amazon; Click here for Smashwords


PAGES - 206


SYNOPSIS
'Angels Sing to Rest' begins where 'Darkness Knows Me' left off: after the investigation into the death of the Deep Ellum Killer, Levi Devereux. 

Detective Sergeant Olivia Gates returns from a two month suspension, to find her team has gained a new member, her ex-husband has been released from prison, and a 10 year old street kid has been murdered on her patch of South Dallas. 

Her ex she thinks she can deal with, even when he drags their young son into the mix. The murdered boy with the crushed chest, isn't so easily handled and weighs heavily on her as more street kids are killed with an unimaginable sadistic flare and no discernible motive. 

If the continuing body count wasn't stressful enough, Olivia's falling out with long time friend and colleague, Doctor Will Green, threatens any hope Olivia had for more than a friendship with the good doctor. 

Drugs, gaming, prostitution and sadistic murders lead Gates and her team on a trek through the seamy underbelly of living rough on the streets of downtown Dallas. 


MY REVIEW 


Angels Sing To Rest is book 2 in the Will Green and Olivia Gates crime series. You could read it as a standalone however the background to the main two characters and their relationship wouldn't make as much sense as if you'd read the first one. I prefer to read a book series from the start but it wouldn't detract from your enjoyment if you hadn't read book one. 

I really enjoyed the storyline to this book, albeit a bit gruesome in places. There are numerous characters in the book and if I hadn't picked it up for a couple of days, I had to go back and re-read a few pages to remind myself who was who. Having said that as I got into the book more, I really immersed myself into the story.
I got really frustrated with the relationship between the two main characters, Will and Olivia. Their on-off friendship had cooled and I wanted to shake them and tell them to work together to solve these horrific crimes. That is when I knew I was engrossed in the book.

The author brought the story together really well, and although I found it a little slow to start with, I enjoyed the book more and more as it went on. I look forward to book 3. 



Book 1 - Darkness Knows Me

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

Q: When did you realise you wanted to become an author?


A: There was this one particular book, several years back. It was one of many in a long line of  “not so good” mysteries and thrillers I read over a period of a year. This particular book, the straw that broke the camel's back mystery, made me say aloud, “I could write something better than this.” I won't reveal the name of this particular book, because that would be bad form and no one wants to be a bad formy kind of person. Let's just suffice it to say that I still have the book around to remind me of what not to do when writing a mystery/thriller.

Q:Who are your writing inspirations?

A: I have always been interested in crime and mystery, something my mother said I inherited from my great-grandmother, who was a hoarder of dime store mysteries and crime novels. If I were made to choose a few of my favorite authors, I would have to say Martha Grimes (an American author who writes the British Inspector Jury series) and Val McDermid (the Scottish author of the Jordan/Hill crime series). Both of these authors write strong stories and well developed characters, something I strive for each time I sit down to write.


Q: Is there a reason why you chose to be a thriller writer and not a writer of  say romantic fiction?

A: As I mentioned before, I think the mystery/crime thing might be in my blood. I believe if my great-grandmother hadn't been such a prolific songwriter, she would have turned her talents to writing her beloved mysteries. For me, the science of solving a mystery or crime has always been behind my love for the genres. I don't read romances, but I do enjoy a budding love story, which, by-the-way, my Olivia Gates and Will Green series has in and amongst murders.


Q:  Have you secretly based any of you characters on family or friends?

A: No, I haven't based any of my characters on friends or family. I have modeled Olivia Gates, the female protagonist, a bit after myself, mainly my wavy, dark hair and my height.

Q: Where do you prefer to do your writing?

A: I have a home office, which at the moment, is filled with boxes of reference books and the like. The space is more of a place where I “store” the things of my writing, rather than where I actually “do” my writing. I have a wee bit of a neck problem, so sitting in front of a computer can be painful after awhile. So where do I do my actual write? Don't laugh, but I do a great  hunk of my writing on my laptop, prone on my bed.

Q: When you were writing book one, were you, in the back of your mind, planning book two?

A: Yes, from the very beginning I planned for Darkness Knows Me, to become a series. Angels Sing to Rest is book two and, Only the Dead Know, is the third of the series, which is a work in progress. Depending on how Only the Dead Know ends, will determine whether or not there will be a fourth instalment to the series.


Q: Have you ever started reading a book yourself and given up on it a few chapters in, or do you persevere to the end?

A: I'm usually one for persevering to at least the halfway mark, but there have been books where getting to that halfway mark was a bit like being flogged with a wet sock for 150 pages. Not one of my more enjoyable experiences.

Q: Tell us one fact about Chrinda Jones that readers don't know.


A: One fact readers wouldn't know about me. Hmm . . . well . . . there was the time, from age four to about age six, when I lived in a one room cabin on a mountain with my parents and sister. When I say one room cabin, I mean one large room, no walls, wood fired cooking stove and an outhouse. Showers were taken at the national park down the mountain from our cabin. Remind me sometime to tell you about the night when an angry female grizzly bear pushed over our outhouse after chasing our dogs back up the mountain to our cabin.





Guest Post and Book Review ~ Letters From Malta - A secret kept for 50 years by Mary Rensten


TITLE - Letters From Malta

AUTHOR - Mary Rensten

PAGES - 234

FORMAT - Kindle or Paperback 

Click here to Purchase

SYNOPSIS
"When Jane Thornfield finds an envelope hidden in her mother's bedroom drawer it heralds the beginning of a journey of discovery. Long buried family secrets are unearthed and Jane is forced to question her very identity.

Jane's search for the truth takes her to Malta, where she learns about the harsh realities of life during the Siege of Malta in the Second World War. But her attempts to unlock a fifty-year-old secret are met with suspicion and a wall of silence.

Letters from Malta is about a woman's quest to make sense of her present and her past. The setting of Malta is brought vividly to life in this moving, perceptive tale of love and loss."


MY REVIEW 


Having been to Malta myself, several times as a child then again as an adult; and with a Husband who grew up in Malta with an RAF Father, I was most intrigued to read this book.

It was a well researched book both based on Malta of today and during WWII. My Uncle actually

helped with the set up of the War Museum in Valletta so I was used to it as a child as Malta's history was drummed into me. Having driven the roads of Malta many times, before and after they had tarmac, I could picture the routes the author was describing that Jane had travelled along. When she was speaking of the car garage in the book, it brought back fond memories of a friend we made in Malta called Charlie (they're all called Charlie) who owned a garage, and it really warmed me. 

I enjoyed the flow of the book and the descriptive natures of each character she met along the way. I found she brought the people alive and vivid images of what they looked like came into my head.

It was a good storyline, with twists and turns and disappointments along the way. There were lots of questions that had to be answered and it made me want to keep on reading it.

It was a nice light-hearted read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 




MEET THE AUTHOR

Mary Rensten is the vice-President of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Her novel "Letters from Malta" has just been published by Corazon Books.

Mary's novel was inspired by trips she made to Malta, and facts she learned about the harsh life for the islanders during WWII.


How a Holiday in Malta inspired my novel.

‘Malta? Never been there,’ I said.

 ‘So let’s go.’

A fortnight of sunshine and swimming, with unhurried drives in a hire car around an island only 16 miles long. How relaxing that would be!  Except that my husband had a plan. ‘We‘ll visit the silent city of Mdina, the ancient temple ruins at Hagar Qim, maybe the Buskett Gardens where the Knights of Malta flew their falcons, some of the cemeteries …’

‘Cemeteries? No!’

‘Military cemeteries. There’s one near an old airfield, Ta’ Qali ; remember what a strategic place Malta was in the Second World War?’

‘Oh, all right then, just one.’

A small rusty sign on the road to Rabat led us into a narrow lane, to a high wall and cypress trees. We parked the car, opened the creaky iron gate, walked respectfully, not speaking, along the path, looking at the incised stone slabs on either side, many of them - too many - marking the graves of young men who had died on this island in the 1940s. What sort of lives had they led here, these soldiers and airmen? Did they have Maltese wives, girlfriends? What if one of them were to fall in love with a girl in England, then come out here and …

‘I have to come here again,’ I said.

‘Oh no, it’s not giving you ideas, is it?’

Suddenly I wanted to see all the places on my husband’s list. As the story in my head took shape, I would see them, not just as a tourist, but as someone who had been here during a very dark time in Malta’s history, a time of constant air raids and the threat of invasion.  Had my ‘hero’ - I called him Peter and he was in the Royal Artillery - worked at Ta’ Qali perhaps? Had he walked around Mdina? luzzu fishing boats. Had Peter seen these, too?  So much to see, so much to imagine!  
Was he here when a bomb dropped on Mosta Cathedral, but did not explode; when the convoys with desperately needed supplies limped into Valletta Harbour?  I had my own list now: the prehistoric cart tracks, the Blue Grotto, its luminous water shading from ultramarine to turquoise,  villages like Marsaxlokk, with a harbour full of colourful

‘Enough,’ my husband said. We went for healthy walks along the Marfa Ridge, the wild headland at the northern end of the island; we swam and sunned ourselves.

Two years later, when we had our second holiday in Malta, it was no longer just Peter’s story; I had a ‘heroine’, writer Jane Thornfield, coming here and uncovering the past.  I was now seeing Malta through the eyes of both Jane and Peter, whose stories are linked, and when I met Maltese people, all so helpful, so willing to talk to me, even taking me to their homes, I was able to ask the questions that Jane would have asked.

My fiction had become a reality, and when I went back to Imtarfa cemetery to check a few final  details before we went home, I found it hard to believe that Peter was not buried there.

‘Is that it then? Are we done with Malta?’


‘No. I want to come back. There could be another story here.’

Reviews for Mary's book. 

Letters from Malta is about a woman's quest to make sense of her present and her past. The setting of Malta is brought vividly to life in this moving, perceptive tale of love and loss.

"The story sweeps you along and the characters are so real." Suzannah Dunn, best-selling historical novelist (The Sixth Wife, The May Bride)

"I couldn't put this down. I couldn't wait to find out what had happened in Malta 60 years ago." Meg Alexander, romantic novelist

"It has just the right combination of drama, humour, romance and intrigue to make it perfect reading at home or on holiday." TAR Entertainment