Apr 182017
 

Pitch Black

by Alex Gray

on Tour: March 20 – April 20, 2017

Synopsis:

Pitch Black by Alex Gray

DCI Lorimer is back in the next gripping atmospheric police procedural by international bestselling author Alex Gray.

When Chief Inspector Lorimer returns from holiday on the island of Mull, he feels a welcome sense of calm. But that doesn’t last long. Kelvin Football Club’s new star midfielder is found brutally stabbed to death in his own home, and with his wife apprehended trying to leave the country, a seemingly straightforward new case begins. But the grisly murder of a referee after a Kelvin match throws light on some dark secrets. And when the newest player who signed to the club becomes the latest victim in a string of killings, Lorimer knows there’s a serial killer on the loose—one that’s only beginning to show his true colors. As lies emerge and tensions build, Lorimer must discover the truth before one of the players or managers become the next Kelvin fatality.

MY REVIEW

5 stars

I recently read THE RIVERMAN by Alex Gray and loved it giving it a 5 star review. So when I had the opportunity to read the next book in this series, I jumped at it. However, I was a bit leery, as I always am when I read a 2nd book by the same author, will it be as good or better? The answer….YES…bring on the next book!!!

Even though this is the 5th book in the series, it reads easily as a stand alone.

DCI Bill Lorimer is back and this time is investigating the murders of Kelvin Football (soccer) Organization. Two players and a referee are killed and another player is missing. And a journalist investigating the case has been shot in broad daylight. Who is the Kelvin Killer?

Alex Gray has a very descriptive writing style, which allows the reader to vividly create images, and in this book, even dialect.

Once again, the suspense had me turning the pages trying to guess who the suspect was. And once again, the ending was surprising.

Another great read by AlexGray!!! Highly recommend!

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Detective
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659149
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 3

The dust motes swirled round, captured in the one beam of light that filtered through a gap in the blinds. Behind him an insect buzzed drowsily against the window, seeking to escape from the confines of the room. Listening to its feeble struggles, Lorimer felt some empathy for the tiny creature. At that moment he would have given a great deal to walk out into the warm air of the city streets. Before him on the videoscreen were pictures of the deceased, not happy snaps at all. The scene-of-crime photographer had managed to convey each and every aspect of the man’s death, from the bread knife sticking out of his chest cavity to the open-mouthed grimace portraying that final scream of agony. Close-ups of blood spatters surrounded the main pictures, adding graphically to the image.

‘It was hot,’ Mitchison commented, somewhat unnecessarily, releasing the stills and letting the film pan in on the body. The black patches around the wound showed a moving mass of flies. Lorimer could almost smell the scent of corruption and was glad for once that he had not been first on the scene. But now Mitchison’s peremptory call had stolen the final day of Lorimer’s break and he had to be brought up to speed if he were to take charge of this case.

‘We’ve got the woman in custody and she’ll appear in court in the morning,’ the superintendent began, ‘but there are some problems.’

Lorimer raised his eyebrows.

‘She says she didn’t do it, of course, despite the fact she drove all the way up to the Hebrides…’ Mitchison’s drawl tailed off.

‘So, the problems are . . . ?’

‘We need to have some forensic evidence to connect her to the crime. There’s been nothing on her person and we couldn’t find anything else in the house. Either she was extremely forensically aware and managed to remove any traces of blood from the scene, or she’s telling us the truth.’

Lorimer, fixing his gaze on the images of a man who had bled to death, wondered what had provoked the attack. ‘What’s your own opinion, sir?’

Mitchison frowned. ‘She certainly had the means to do it. There was a huge rack of knives on one of those magnetic strips. It was one of these that was the murder weapon. No prints, I’m afraid. No residual traces, either. And the door was locked. There was no sign of a forced entry.’

‘Just circumstantial evidence, then?’

Mitchison nodded and screwed up his eyes in the half-light, then blinked. He’d probably been working through the night, Lorimer realised.

Method, means and opportunity, a familiar voice intoned in Lorimer’s head. It had been old George’s mantra. A wave of nostalgia for his former boss washed over him just then. Weary or not, George would never have delegated a case like this. He’d have ferreted away at it, looking for something more than the obvious. Though a runaway wife was a fairly obvious place to begin, Lorimer had to admit to himself. The method was straightforward enough and, despite his level of athleticism, the victim might have been taken by complete surprise. His expression alone was testament to that theory. She’d had the means easily to hand. And the opportunity? Who could say? Knife attacks were usually random affairs undertaken in a moment of frenzy.

‘What d’you reckon, then? A domestic gone wrong?’

The super made a face. ‘Janis Faulkner’s saying nothing. No plea for mitigating circumstances. Just a persistent refusal to admit she’d had anything to do with her husband’s death.’

‘Anything else suspicious?’

Mitchison paused for a moment then looked past Lorimer. ‘What would I call it? A strange absence of grief, I suppose.’

Lorimer gave a non-committal shrug. You couldn’t charge the woman for failing to mourn her dead husband, but still . . . His thoughts wandered for a moment to the sight of Janis Faulkner’s face as she’d glanced up at him on Fishnish pier. Had she been showing remorse? That haunted look had stayed with him since he’d seen her yesterday.

‘What do we know about her own movements before she scarpered?’

‘Says she was down at the gym. We’ve checked and her signing in and out times tally with her story. But as for simply setting off afterwards and not returning home first, well that was fairly unlikely, don’t you think? A few rounds on an exercise bike then she suddenly decides to leave her husband. It doesn’t make sense.’

‘So she’ll be charged?’

‘Yes, first thing tomorrow. There’s not another shred of evidence to show anyone else was in the house. I don’t care what Janis Faulkner claims; she did it, all right.’

Lorimer looked at his boss. The vehemence in Mitchison’s tone surprised him. Or was it simply that he was afraid Lorimer would see things in a different light, take away his prime suspect and cause problems? There was a past between these two senior officers that had never been adequately resolved. Mitchison had been promoted to superintendent when everyone’s expectations had been on Lorimer stepping into his old boss’s shoes, but it was their different attitudes to police work that had been the real cause of friction between them. Mitchison did everything by the rule book, creating masses of paperwork for everyone, while his DCI preferred a more handson approach. Lorimer remained silent. He was being officially designated as SIO and unless something new emerged, Janis Faulkner’s guilt or otherwise remained a matter for the jury.

‘Her solicitor is bound to ask for bail to be granted, pending a full investigation. We’ll see what happens in court tomorrow, but I have my doubts.’ Mitchison passed over the case file. ‘Don’t expect you’ll have too much bother with this one.’

Famous last words, Lorimer told himself as Mitchison left the room. Whether it was that quirk of fate placing him at the scene of her arrest on Mull or the victim’s high profile, the DCI had a strong feeling that this case was going to be anything but straightforward.

The woman had been brought back from Mull and placed in the police cells for one more night until she could be brought to court and officially charged with Nicko Faulkner’s murder. Lorimer waited outside as the duty officer unlocked the cell and stood aside. The first thing he noticed was the smell. It wafted towards him, a mixture of stale sweat and something more pungent that he recognised as menstrual blood. He’d smelt it before from women banged up over long weekends without any facilities to shower or change their clothes. Janis Faulkner was sitting in a corner of the bunk, feet together, head down and clutching her stomach. A movement as the cell door was opening made him realise she had looked up for a split second but now her expression was hidden under that curtain of damp hair.

‘Anyone thought to give her some paracetamol?’ he asked the uniformed officer.

‘Hasn’t asked for it,’ the man shrugged. ‘What’s she want it for anyway?’

‘Just go and get some,’ Lorimer told him, ‘and a drink of cold water.’ He let the man close the cell door behind them and stood waiting for the woman to look his way.

‘Feeling bad?’ he asked, as if she were an old acquaintance and not a stranger who was also his prisoner. He heard the sigh first, then Janis raised her head and looked at him. There was a brightness in her eyes that spoke of unshed tears. Her little nod and a flicker of recognition were all Lorimer needed to know he’d begun to win her confidence.

The door clanged open and the uniform strode in, proffering a tumbler of water and a strip of foil containing two painkillers. Both men watched as she unwrapped them, her fingers shaking as she clutched the glass and tilted back her head, then swallowed.

‘Thanks,’ she said, her voice hoarse. But it was to Lorimer that she spoke, to Lorimer that she handed back the empty tumbler.

‘You’ll have been told that we have to keep you here till tomorrow?’ he asked quietly, a hint of apology in his voice. She nodded again, but her head had drooped once more and Lorimer sensed she was withdrawing into herself, just as Mitchison had described. ‘You can talk to me if you want to,’ he told her. There was no response at all this time and as the minutes ticked past he realised that there was little point in trying any longer.

As he turned to leave, the silence inside that cell was redolent of misery.

Excerpt from Pitch Black by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Q&A with Alex Gray

Welcome!

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw from both personal experience and current events. I think all writers use their own experience of life to a greater or lesser extent.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I start from the beginning and see where it takes me.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Most of my characters are imaginary but Maggie Lorimer is rather like my best friend and she also has some of my own personality. George parsonage, the Riverman of the same title, is however, a real person.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I begin early in the morning and sometimes get up during the night to make notes if an idea strikes me. No real idiosyncracies except sometimes don’t get dressed for hours! The neighbours are used to seeing me in my PJs and dressing gown!

Tell us why we should read this book.
Read this book as it is a real page turner and (I am told) well written. I refuse to write rubbish and edit like crazy just to get the right word or phrase. My own standards are pretty high.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love loads of writers but current favourites include Louise Penny and Christopher Brookmyre.

What are you reading now?
Right now I am reading “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Scottish debut author, Les Wood. It is utterly hilarious.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am working on book 15 in the Lorimer series and am about three quarters way through. It is set in Glasgow and involves people trafficking and a disputed murder.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
My novel a movie? Hm, Is Gerard Butler available to play Lorimer? He is a local boy, you know, and came from Paisley, near to where I live.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Favourite leisure? Reading of course but also gardening and cooking. I enjoy watching crime dramas on TV during the winter months and birding all year round.

Favorite meal?
Favourite meal? Lobster with a nice glass of (very) chilled Chablis.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website 🔗 & on Twitter 🔗.

Tour Participants:



Check Out This Awesome Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Harper Collins. There will be 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Pitch Black by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on March 20th and runs through April 21st 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Apr 152017
 

Giacomo Giammatteo

Favorite Characters

I’ve often been asked which character of a particular book or series is my favorite. I can usually respond quickly with not only a choice, but a reason. But when asked that question about this book, I was caught off guard.

It’s tough to list your favorite character when the story is true and the characters are real, even if they are animals.

You’d think being real would make choosing a favorite character easier, after all, you like certain people, one more than the other. Why not dogs?

I gave that some thought, and I came to the conclusion that after twenty-four years of running an animal sanctuary, I can say, without hesitation, that these dogs were a cut above the rest—truly amazing. That’s what makes it so difficult to decide.

Like all living creatures (and others), they were unique. Each had their own personality and their own quirks.

What Was Different?

Bear all but refused to sleep inside at night, but he was happy to oblige during the day. He seldom ate dog food, preferring to catch his own meals in the woods. And while he wouldn’t let an adult stranger come near him, he allowed children to do almost anything.

Whiskers wasn’t the opposite of Bear, but she was different. She also refused to sleep inside, but her refusal was not restricted to night; during the day, she curled up in a hole she had dug or a pile of hay. It’s wrong to say she was bashful when it came to cameras; she took off as soon as you pulled one out. Unlike Bear, she would eat dog food, but not with the other dogs, preferring to go solo and to eat it outside. Lastly, while Bear would attack anyone who trespassed on his territory, Whiskers wouldn’t bite anyone if you begged her.

Despite the differences, she was the best lieutenant Bear could have wished for. She was the true right-hand man we’ve all read about.

Together, they were Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello and, at times, the Lone Ranger & Tonto. They were inseparable.

That’s why it’s so difficult to pick just one; they were both special. I guess you’ll have to decide. Read the book and see who you like best.

The Real Deal

This picture of Bear shows the repercussions of one of his nightly excursions (a run in with a raccoon CM).

Below is a picture of Whiskers (one of the few pictures we have) after one of her adventures.

So pick up the book and read it, or read it to your kids, or give it to a friend. No matter what you do, it’s for a good cause. The animals will thank you for it.

Giacomo

Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo

Book Details

Genre: Non-Fiction, Animals

Published by: Inferno Publishing Company

Publication Date: April 2017

Number of Pages: 150

ISBN:

Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Whiskers and Bear were two of the best dogs in the world. They didn’t always listen or even try to listen, but they were loyal to a fault, and they were the best of friends. They hunted all of their food, and they protected our animal sanctuary with no regard for their own safety.

Read an excerpt:

Another Grave

I climbed up onto the tractor, a Kubota 4630, with a six-foot bucket on the front. It was a powerful machine, and we’d put it through the hoops more than a few times. What I mean is that my wife Mikki and I had dug a lot of graves.

I tied an old cloth diaper around my forehead and draped the end of it over the top of my bald head. There wasn’t much better than a cotton cloth for keeping sweat out of your eyes, or the sun from burning your head. I turned the key and revved the engine. After letting it idle a moment, I lifted the bucket and drove toward the south side of the property where Mikki was waiting for me. She’d already gotten a few blankets and a clean sheet. For this one, she’d brought a pillow, too.

I reached up and wiped my eyes. I was getting damn tired of burying things.

An old white pickup crept down the gravel driveway, coming to a stop near the fence.

A neighbor leaned out and hollered. “What’s goin’ on?”

I wished he’d have kept going.

“Nothin’,” I said, but not loud enough for him to hear.

The door opened, and he stepped out and walked over to the fence, using his right hand to shield his eyes from the sun as he peered over the top rail.

“What are you doin’?”

I could see there was no getting away from it. I muttered my answer a few times so my voice wouldn’t crack when I yelled.

“Diggin’ a grave,” I hollered back.

“A grave? Which one died?”

Which one? That’s what it had come to for most of the neighbors and relatives and friends. Which one died. As if it didn’t matter. As if having forty-five animals made it easier to deal with when one of them died.

He came in through the side gate and headed in my direction. He walked slowly, which gave me time to compose myself. It’s never easy to bury a friend, but this one…this one was special.

Mikki walked over to me. “He’s just trying to help.”

I nodded.

I don’t need his help, I thought, but the fact of the matter was I could probably use it.

It hadn’t rained in weeks, and the damn Texas ground was as hard as concrete. Even if the tractor did cut through, it could only go so deep; we’d have hand work to do at the bottom.

Our neighbor was about twenty feet away. He took off his hat and swiped at his forehead. It was a scorcher today and had been for a month or so.

“Who was it?” he asked.

I couldn’t say, but I managed to gesture toward Mikki. She lifted the corner of the blanket so he could see.

“Oh shit!” he said. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” I said.

He unbuttoned his shirt and grabbed a shovel I had leaning against a small oak tree. “Might as well get this done.”

I nodded again. He was right, of course, but I was in no hurry to put another friend in the ground. I cranked the engine up a little higher, shoved the tractor into low gear, and positioned the bucket for the first scoop of dirt. The bucket hit the ground with a metallic thud. It didn’t do much more than break the surface.

“Whew!” the neighbor said. “Going to be a long day.”

“That’s for sure.”

“How long have they been with you?” he asked.

They. I thought about what he said. I would have laughed if not for the circumstances. Everyone referred to the two of them as one. They or them. Bear and Whiskers. Whiskers and Bear. It was a cold day in July if anyone mentioned one without the other.

I handed him my bottle of water; he looked thirsty.

“They’ve been with us a long time. A damn long time.”

***

Excerpt from Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo. Copyright © 2017 by Giacomo Giammatteo. Reproduced with permission from Giacomo Giammatteo. All rights reserved.

Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads

A Plea For Help


I don’t often ask for help, but this is important. We have run this sanctuary for twenty-four years using our own money—no donations to speak of. The feed bill alone was more than a thousand dollars per month. And there are plenty of other bills, vets, fencing, shelter, medical supplies, and more.
In early 2015, I had two heart attacks followed by two strokes. The result was that it left me disabled. Now it is difficult to continue paying for everything.
I wrote this book in the hopes that it would sell enough to help with the funds, as all sales go to the animals. And I mean that—every penny goes to help support them—nothing for anyone else.

Check out my review HERE.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Click on WHISKERS & BEAR (in the sidebar) for a chance to win.

I am offering a $20. GC, either Amazon or B&N, whichever the winner prefers. Just a suggestion….if you enter the giveaway, please consider purchasing WHISKERS & BEAR. Thank you.

Giacomo will be back on April 22nd….Don’t miss the 4th installment for Author Of The Month

Apr 092017
 

Secrets of Death

by Stephen Booth

on Tour April 3 – 30, 2017

Synopsis:

Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth

Residents of the Peak District are used to tourists descending on its soaring hills and brooding valleys. However, this summer brings a different kind of visitor to the idyllic landscape, leaving behind bodies and secrets.

A series of suicides throughout the Peaks throws Detective Inspector Ben Cooper and his team in Derbyshire’s E Division into a race against time to find a connection to these seemingly random acts — with no way of predicting where the next body will turn up. Meanwhile, in Nottingham Detective Sergeant Diane Fry finds a key witness has vanished…

But what are the mysterious Secrets of Death?

And is there one victim whose fate wasn’t suicide at all?

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Fiction
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062690353 (ISBN13: 9780062690357)
Series: Cooper & Fry #16 (Each is a Stand Alone Novel)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

And this is the first secret of death. There’s always a right time and place to die.

It was important to remember. So important that Roger Farrell was repeating it to himself over and over in his head by the time he drew into the car park. When he pulled up and switched off the engine, he found he was moving his lips to the words and even saying it out loud – though only someone in the car with him would have heard it.

And he was alone, of course. Just him, and the package on the back seat.

There’s always a right time and place to die.

As instructed, Farrell had come properly equipped. He’d practised at home to make sure he got everything just right. It was vital to do this thing precisely. A mistake meant disaster. So getting it wrong was inconceivable. Who knew what would come afterwards? It didn’t bear thinking about.
Last night, he’d experienced a horrible dream, a nightmare about weeds growing from his own body. He’d been pulling clumps of ragwort and thistles out of his chest, ripping roots from his crumbling skin as if he’d turned to earth in the night. He could still feel the tendrils scraping against his ribs as they dragged through his flesh.

He knew what it meant. He was already in the ground. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Wasn’t that what they said at your graveside as they shovelled soil on to your coffin? The dream meant his body was recycling back into the earth. In his soul, he’d already died.

Farrell looked around the car park. There were plenty of vehicles here. Although it was the middle of the week, a burst of sunny weather had brought people out into the Peak District in their droves. They’d come to enjoy the special peace and beauty of Heeley Bank, just as he had.

Of course, in many other ways, they weren’t like him at all.

He let out a sigh of contentment. That was the feeling this scenery gave him. The green of the foliage down by the river was startling in its brightness. The farmland he could see stretching up the sides of the hills was a glowing patchwork between a tracery of dry-stone walls. Cattle munched on the new grass in the fields. Further up, a scattering of white blobs covered the rougher grazing where the moors began.

The sight of those sheep made Farrell smile. He’d always associated them with the Peaks. This landscape wouldn’t be the same without sheep. They’d been here for centuries, helping to shape the countryside. And they’d still be here long after he’d gone.

It really was so green out there. So very green.

But there’s always a right time and place.

A silver SUV had pulled into a parking space nearby. Farrell watched a young couple get out and unload two bikes from a rack attached to their vehicle. One of the bikes had a carrier on the back for the small girl sitting in a child seat in the car. She was pre-school, about two years old, wearing a bright yellow dress and an orange sun hat. Her father lifted her out, her toes wiggling with pleasure as she felt the warm air on her skin. The family all laughed together, for no apparent reason.

Farrell had observed people doing that before, laughing at nothing in particular. He’d never understood it. He often didn’t get jokes that others found hilarious. And laughing when there wasn’t even a joke, when no one had actually said anything? That seemed very strange. It was as if they were laughing simply because they were, well . . . happy.

For Roger Farrell, happy was just a word, the appearance of happiness an illusion. He was convinced people put on a façade and acted that way because it was expected of them. It was all just an artificial front. Deep down, no one could be happy in this world. It just wasn’t possible. Happiness was a sham – and a cruel one at that, since no one could attain it. All these people would realise it in the end.

With a surge of pity, Farrell looked away. He’d watched the family too long. Across the car park, an elderly man hobbled on two sticks, accompanied by a woman with a small pug dog on a lead. She had to walk deliberately slowly, so that she didn’t leave the man behind. The pug tugged half-heartedly at its lead, but the woman yanked it back.

These two had probably been married for years and were no doubt suffering from various illnesses that came with age. Did they look happy? Farrell looked more closely at their faces. Definitely not. Not even the dog.

He nodded to himself and closed his eyes as he leaned back in his seat. His breathing settled down to a steady rhythm as he listened to the birds singing in the woods, the tinkle of a stream nearby, the quiet whispering of a gentle breeze through the trees.

As the afternoon drew to a close, he watched the vehicles leave one by one. People were taking off their boots, climbing into cars and heading for home. All of them were complete strangers, absorbed in their own lives. They could see him, of course. An overweight middle-aged man with a receding hairline and a distant stare. But they would never remember him.

A few minutes later, a young man jogged past on to the woodland path, checking his watch as he ran, as if he knew the time was approaching. A black Land Rover eased into a spot opposite Farrell’s BMW, but no one emerged.

And finally, the lights went off in the information centre. A woman came out and locked the front doors. She took a glance round the car park, seemed to see nothing of any interest to her, and climbed into a Ford Focus parked in a bay reserved for staff. Farrell watched as she drove away.

When it was quiet and there were only a few cars left, he leaned over into the back seat and unzipped the holdall. Carefully, Farrell lifted out the gas canisters, uncoiling the plastic tubing as it writhed on to the seat. He placed the canisters in the footwell. They looked incongruous sitting there, painted in fluorescent orange with their pictures of party balloons on the side.

It had taken him a while to find the right brand of gas. Some manufacturers had started putting a percentage of air into the canisters, which made them quite useless for his purpose. That was when things went wrong, if you didn’t check and double-check, and make sure you got exactly the right equipment.

Still, you could find anything on the internet, as he well knew. Information, advice, someone to talk to who actually understood how you were feeling. And the inspiration. He would be nothing without that. He wouldn’t be here at Heeley Bank right now.

And this is the first secret of death. There’s always a right time and place to die.

Farrell said it again. You could never say it too often. It was so important. The most important thing in the world. Or in his world, at least.

He reached back into the holdall and lifted out the bag itself. He held it almost reverently, like a delicate surgical instrument. And it was, in a way. It could achieve every bit as much as any complicated heart operation or brain surgery. It could change someone’s life for the better. And instead of hours and hours of complicated medical procedures on the operating table, it took just a few minutes. It was so simple.

With black tape from a roll, he attached the tubing to the place he’d marked on the edge of the bag, tugging at it to make sure it was perfectly secure. Everything fine so far.

Farrell had spent days choosing a piece of music to play. The CD was waiting now in its case and he slid it out, catching a glimpse of his own reflection in the gleaming surface. He wondered what expression would be in his eyes in the last seconds.

Despite his reluctance to see himself now, he couldn’t resist a glance in his rearview mirror. Only his eyes were visible, pale grey irises and a spider’s web of red lines. His pupils appeared tiny, as if he were on drugs or staring into a bright light. And maybe he was looking at the light. Perhaps it had already started.

The CD player whirred quietly and the music began to play. He’d selected a piece of Bach. It wasn’t his normal choice of music, but nothing was normal now. It hadn’t been for quite a while. The sounds of the Bach just seemed to suit the mood he was trying to achieve. Peace, certainly. And a sort of quiet, steady progression towards the inevitable conclusion.

As the sun set in the west over Bradwell Moor, a shaft of orange light burst over the landscape, transforming the colours into a kaleidoscope of unfamiliar shades, as if the Peak District had just become a tropical island.

Farrell held his breath, awed by the magic of the light. It was one of the amazing things he loved about this area, the way it changed from one minute to the next, from one month to another. Those hillsides he was looking at now would be ablaze with purple heather later in the summer. It was always a glorious sight.

For a moment, Farrell hesitated, wondering whether he should have left it until August or the beginning of September.

And then it hit him. That momentary twinge of doubt exploded inside him, filling his lungs and stopping the breath in his throat until he gathered all his strength to battle against it. His hands trembled with the effort as he forced the doubt back down into the darkness. As the tension collapsed, his shoulders sagged and his forehead prickled with a sheen of sweat.

Farrell felt as though he’d just experienced the pain and shock of a heart attack without the fatal consequences. His lips twitched in an ironic smile. That meant he was still in control. He remained capable of making his own mind up, deciding where and when to end his life. He was able to choose his own moment, his own perfect location.

There’s always a right time and place to die.

Roger Farrell took one last glance out of the window as the light began to fade over the Peak District hills.

The place was here.

And the time was now.

***

Excerpt from Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth. Copyright © 2017 by Stephen Booth. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Stephen BoothA newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine mill town of Burnley. He was brought up on the Lancashire coast at Blackpool, where he attended Arnold School. He began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine, and wrote his first novel at the age of 12. The Cooper & Fry series is now published by Little, Brown in the UK and by the Witness Impulse imprint of HarperCollins in the USA. In addition to publication in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, translation rights in the series have so far been sold in sixteen languages – French, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian, Japanese and Hebrew.Stephen left journalism in 2001 to write novels full time. He and his wife Lesley live in a village in rural Nottinghamshire, England (home of Robin Hood and the Pilgrim Fathers). They have three cats.

In recent years, Stephen Booth has become a Library Champion in support of the UK’s ‘Love Libraries’ campaign, and a Reading Champion to support the National Year of Reading. He has also represented British literature at the Helsinki Book Fair in Finland, filmed a documentary for 20th Century Fox on the French detective Vidocq, taken part in online chats for World Book Day, and given talks at many conferences, conventions, libraries, bookshops and festivals around the world.

Q&A with Stephen Booth

Welcome!

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Both, I think. Everything is material for a writer. I spent 25 years as a newspaper journalist covering all kinds of stories – and meeting a lot of police officers. But I also want to make my books as contemporary as possible and deal with current issues.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Definitely the latter. When I start a new book, I don’t know how it will end, or even much of what’s going to happen in the plot. I start with the characters (and a place the belong to, since the locations are very important). Then I devise a situation which puts them under pressure, with a murder happening or a body being found, and I watch how they behave. So the characters create the story, and what subsequently happens might surprise even me. For me, that’s a much more interesting and exciting way of writing than knowing what’s going to happen all the time. Of course, I rely heavily on Cooper and Fry and their police colleagues to do their part of the job and find out what happened. After all, they’re the detectives and I’m just the writer!

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
I think there’s a bit of me in every character. And of course everyone I meet is likely to influence me too. When we create a character, we use aspects of several people, including ourselves, to produce something new and hopefully unique.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I’m sure everyone is different, but this process works for me. I write a book a year, and in the early stages I might not be putting many words on the page because I’m developing the characters and locations, and the themes of the book. The actual writing can happen quite quickly later on. Although I may be at my desk during the day, there are lots of other things involved in being a writer other than the actual writing. My most creative time is in the evening and late at night, when there are fewer distractions. I work from home, but I’ve converted part of a stable block into an office. So I do physically leave the house to go to work, though I only have to cross the yard!

Tell us why we should read this book.
I think it explores series issues we might not have thought about too much, but in a gripping story that involves mystery, intrigue and some fascinating characters, all set in a beautiful and atmospheric location.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are so many. One of my great crime writing heroes was Ruth Rendell, who we lost a couple of years ago. She had the ability to come up with someone fresh and exciting, no matter how long she’d been doing it. I like series with a strong central character, so I’d include on my list Peter Robinson, John Harvey, Michael Connelly, Ann Cleeves, and Laurie King. There are lots of wonderful new authors coming through too.

What are you reading now?
Deborah Crombie’s ‘No Mark Upon Her’. I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind a bit on her Kincaid and James series!

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
There’s a new Cooper and Fry novel already written, called ‘Dead in the Dark’. I like to keep the dynamic between the characters moving forward, and there are changes ahead for both Ben and Diane. A lot of readers have been hoping for good news for Ben, and I think he’s finding some happiness now. Diane is always living on the edge, and with the return of her sister Angie into her life I’m afraid she has a crisis coming! Meanwhile, I’m starting work on number 18 in the series, so I’m anxious to see how Diane deals with that crisis

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
We’re in development for a Cooper and Fry TV series at the moment, so I’m often asked about casting. I thought Aidan Turner might make a good Ben Cooper. Diane Fry is much more complex and difficult…

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Walking in the Peak District national park (where my books are set)
And I’m just learning to play the guitar!

Favorite meal?
Chinese Probably a nice Dim Sum.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Thank you for inviting me! It’s been a pleasure.

Catch Up With Stephen Booth On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Tour Participants:

Stop by these blogs to follow the tour and learn more about this awesome thriller!


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Stephen Booth and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth. The giveaway begins on March 30 and runs through May 1, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Apr 082017
 

Giacomo Giammatteo

Whiskers and Bear Book Launch

Out of all the books I’ve written (almost thirty), this one is closest to my heart. For twenty-four years, my wife and I have run an animal sanctuary, providing homes for dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and even a wild boar. I don’t know how many animals we’ve had through the years in total, but at one time, we had as many as fifty-five.

A Plea For Help


I don’t often ask for help, but this is important. We have run this sanctuary for twenty-four years using our own money—no donations to speak of. The feed bill alone was more than a thousand dollars per month. And there are plenty of other bills, vets, fencing, shelter, medical supplies, and more.
In early 2015, I had two heart attacks followed by two strokes. The result was that it left me disabled. Now it is difficult to continue paying for everything.
I wrote this book in the hopes that it would sell enough to help with the funds, as all sales go to the animals. And I mean that—every penny goes to help support them—nothing for anyone else.

Q&A with Giacomo

Welcome!

Writing:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Mostly personal experiences. Not everything, obviously. The murders in my mystery books are not based on personal experience. But a lot is.

What was the inspiration for this book?
This book was easy. It was true.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Again, this book was different, as it was true, so the outcome was predetermined. For my mystery books, I start with a theme, determine what will make a good story, then plan an ending. Once I know how it will end, then I start at the beginning.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
None

If you could co-author a book, who would that writer be?
John Sanford. I’ve been reading his books for almost thirty years.

Characters:
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
All of my primary characters are based on real people. I think it’s the best way to ensure deep character development.

Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Depending on which novel there would be many choices. But if we speak of my Friendship & Honor series, then Johnny Depp.

What’s next:
Are you working on your next novel?
I’m always working on numerous novels simultaneously. Right now, I’m working on a fantasy series, a mystery with a SF twist, a series of kids books based on the sanctuary, and a series of grammar books for kids.

Can you tell us a bit about it? Title?
Fantasy: A Promise of Vengeance, Rules of Vengeance Book I
Mystery/SF: Memories For Sale
No Mistakes Grammar for Kids (Volumes I, II, III, IV)
Life on the Farm series (for kids)
The Good Words: Blood Flows South Series, Book IV

When can we look for it? Approximate publication date?
Memories For Sale should go out on preorder in late April and be delivered in August.
A Promise of Vengeance will go on preorder in June, and the No Mistakes Grammar for Kids, Volume I and II in June also.
Life on the Farm, probably in late summer.

Reading:
Tell us why we should read this book.
Because it’s entertaining, it’s true, and it will help a lot of animals.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
John Sanford, Michael Connelly, Russell Blake, C.N. Lesley.

What are you reading now?
A novel from Lesley. It’s a continuation of her series.

Fun Questions:
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Playing video games.

Favorite meal?
It sounds dull, but spaghetti and meatballs.

Thank you for stopping by and visiting us!

Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo

Book Details

Genre: Non-Fiction, Animals

Published by: Inferno Publishing Company

Publication Date: April 2017

Number of Pages: 150

ISBN:

Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Whiskers and Bear were two of the best dogs in the world. They didn’t always listen or even try to listen, but they were loyal to a fault, and they were the best of friends. They hunted all of their food, and they protected our animal sanctuary with no regard for their own safety.

Check out my review HERE.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Click on WHISKERS & BEAR (in the sidebar) for a chance to win.

I am offering a $20. GC, either Amazon or B&N, whichever the winner prefers. Just a suggestion….if you enter the giveaway, please consider purchasing WHISKERS & BEAR. Thank you.

Giacomo will be back on April 15th….Don’t miss the 3rd installment for Author Of The Month

Apr 052017
 

Grimm Woods

by D. Melhoff

on Tour April 1 – May 31, 2017

Synopsis:

Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff

A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counsellors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.

Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woods is a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew.

MY REVIEW

4 stars

Scott Mamer has taken a summer job, along with 13 other counselors at a remote summer camp for troubled kids with a theme of fairy tales. However, this camp turns into a nightmare as one by one the counselors are turning up dead. Who is the murderer and what is the motive?

Scott soon learns that his past has caught up with him and he is the reason for these heinous deaths.

Grisly deaths that resemble the original Grimm stories that are far from fairy tales.

A chilling read!

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Bellwoods Publishing
Publication Date: December 2016
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0992133130 (ISBN13: 9780992133139)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

July 7th, 5:44 a.m.

One hacksaw. One hammer, six boxes of nails. Twelve Mason jars, four hunting knives, two pairs of handcuffs. Fifteen gallons of gasoline divided evenly among three dented jerry cans.

It’s time.

A work glove hovered over the table where the objects were laid out side by side and began ticking the air as though marking off an invisible checklist. The chamber reeked of mildew, and the walls had no windows or electrical sockets—no lamps, no wires, no switch covers. A single red candle provided the only light, its crimson wax dripping down its shaft like blood.

The hand picked up a piece of paper from the table and slipped it into a blank envelope. Below, a beetle scuttled across the floorboards. The insect—its gangly antennae tuned to some foul frequency in the gloom—raced past the sole of a giant boot just as a drop of liquid fell through the air and struck it dead center, engulfing its body in a hot, gelatinous blob that filled its orifices and burned it from the inside out. Another droplet tumbled from the candle, plopping onto the envelope this time, and then a brass stamp came down and pressed the wax into a hardened seal.

Drawing in heavier, raspier breaths, the figure held the envelope up to a corkboard that was bolted to the wall. More than a dozen pictures of young men and women were tacked to the panel by their throats and foreheads, smiling in the shadows.

The figure pinned the envelope to the board and stepped back to take in the room again.

The table and the switchblade.

The book of matches.

The iron rods, the hatchet, the .22 Smith & Wesson.

The smiling faces.

Now, the figure mused, watching the photographs flicker in the bloodred light. Who’s the nicest, Who’s the worst, who wants to hear a story first?

Author Bio:

D. MelhoffD. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second-grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.

Interview

What is the truth about Grimm stories and what they have offered as a source of inspiration for your thriller story?
First off, let me say that I am by no means a Brothers Grimm scholar. When I started this book, I only knew that there’s more to fairy tales than the Disney versions I’d heard as a child. If you want a comprehensive look at the original stories, I suggest checking out the works of professor Jack Zipes. He’s the real expert on the subject.

That said, I did learn a lot throughout my research. While I may have known that fairy tales weren’t originally intended for children, I didn’t know how gory many of them were. A lot of people are familiar with the dark details from the famous tales — Cinderella’s eyes pecked out by birds, the evil queen in Snow White getting burned to death by hot-iron shoes, Sleeping Beauty getting impregnated while she’s asleep — but when you dig into the lesser-known stories, you’ll find even more gruesome plot lines, many of them resulting in unhappy endings.

The more I read, the more I realized I’d hit the horror jackpot. I decided that the novel would take place at a modern-day summer camp, but the villain would use the gory endings of original fairy tales to punish people for immoral behavior. I still think it’s one of the most high-concept ideas I’ve had to date, if I don’t say so myself.

Despite of what is commonly known, the real Grimm stories are heavily loaded with gore. How did you build Grimm Woods and what is more important for the story: the thrill and unexpected or the gore?
The thrill is more important than the gore. In fact, many of the murders are implied or alluded to and not described in detail. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of blood, guts, and shock value, but suspense is more crucial.

Which are the features of a reader of thrillers?
Thriller readers want the same things as other readers: suspense, humor, tension, surprise, intrigue, etc. While a few of these are more prominent in thrillers, I think a dose of all of them makes a story more real and believable.

Which senses of your reader do you want to exploit most?
I think it’s important to give readers a sense of helplessness. If you’ve put your characters in situations that readers themselves wouldn’t know how to get out of, you’re on the right track.

What terrifies a thriller writer and how can he/she protect against it?
I once heard a writer say the thing they were most afraid of was losing their mind, which always stuck with me. I’ll steal that answer.

Catch Up with Mr. Melhoff on his Website 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗.

Tour Participants:

Stop by all of the blogs that are hosting Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff for great features, reviews, & giveaways!

Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for D. Melhoff. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon Giftcard and 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff. The giveaway begins on April 1st and runs through June 2nd, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.