book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

The Penny Black by Rob Parker (Review)

Happy weekend! Today, it’s my pleasure to bring you a review of The Penny Black by Rob Parker. This is the third installment in his Ben Bracken thriller series and is available now on Kindle and as part of Kindle Unlimited. Rob very kindly sent me an ARC of his book. Thanks, Rob!

The Penny Black is the third installment in the Ben Bracken thriller series, and while you can read it alone, I feel it may feel a little lacking if you’ve not read the previous books as it makes reference to past events without spending a whole lot of time going back over them. (I was actually on the tour for his previous book – Morte Point and hosted a fab guest post if you fancy a peek after you’re done here!)

Bracken is on the run and has bunkered down in the small town of Horning, with an unsavoury job at a boatyard and living a fairly minimalist lifestyle, under a new identity, going by the name of James, keeping his head down and cracking after his escape from prison during the riot and after the events of the previous book. All in all, he seems pretty contented – that is, until his past catches up to him.

Ben is a good guy whose done bad things, in my view. His ego gets him in to quite a few pickles, he could fill an entire jar. What seems like just deterring some youth’s from breaking in to someones boat, turns in to being a part of a much bigger situation – one Bracken hadn’t accounted for. Big things are happening in that little town, and Bracken just can’t help himself.

The Penny Black is the name of Bracken’s new local. It’s also the title of this well written, fast paced thriller, that just keeps you guessing. I figured his past would come back, but I had no idea what was in store. I was unable to put it down as the action unfolded. Bracken isn’t a clear cut “good guy” or “hero” or whatever you call him, he’s a murky sort and to date, is one of my favourite characters in a thriller.

The book ends in action and pretty abruptly. There’s no frilly ending, just a resolution to the conflict/obstacle and it’s over. Some people might not like that sort of ending, but for me, it just feels like it’s an invitation to read the next installment (Til morning is nigh) coming later this year. I’m very much looking forward to it. I am a fan of series where one book runs in to the next and I find myself most invested in their protaganists. Rob has me as a fan for life.

About the Book

I’m dead, for all intents and purposes. Nobody knows I’m alive…

Ben Bracken is on the run for his life. Keeping a low profile from the agencies seeking to silence him, he finds refuge in the quiet town of Horning. Working in a boat yard and lodging with an older couple, Eric and Dot, Ben uses this time to plan. He needs to escape, and realising his only chance will reveal his whereabouts to some unsavoury characters, he plans every detail. Little does he know, even that won’t be enough…

Just before he walks away, murder strikes the quiet town. Ben cannot leave until he is sure that he has not brought any further trouble to the townsfolk. Will he be able to exact revenge? One thing is certain, there is a lot more going on in the town of Horning than meets the eye…

The Penny Black is action packed from beginning to end, keeping you guessing right the way through.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Hidden by Roger A. Price (Review)

Happy weekend! Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Hidden by Roger A. Price which is out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. It’s also available as part of kindle unlimited. I was sent a copy of this book as part of the tour.

Vinnie is on holiday with his journalist girlfriend, Christine, when they witness an assault and are advised by local police to return home. As soon as they do, Vinnie is thrown in to a new case and has to deal with some questionable people – on both sides of the law and a blurry line between morality and legality.

Hidden is the third book in Roger’s The Badge and the Pen series, but can be read perfectly fine as a standalone and I didn’t feel like I got caught out by not knowing events from previous books.

The author starts off with action right off the bat, so I was immediately interested. From there on out, it just dives right in, no fluff. I was really tense throughout and when I thought I knew what the situation was, it went in a different direction. I had to know what would happen next – to use the cliche, it was a real page-turner for me and right up my alley. The author talks about human-trafficking and exploitation, not an easy subject and it all felt well researched and had the right level of shock-factor without over-dramatising so it felt pretty authentic. I felt strongly about getting justice and having the culprits of these horrible crimes get punished.

Hidden is a fantastic, well paced and tense crime thriller. If you like police procedurals that won’t let you put the book down, this one may be for you!

About the Book

Vinnie’s romantic holiday did not go as planned. There was an assault, his companion was threatened and the police asked them to leave.

And when Vinnie returns to his police job in Manchester, things don’t get much better, as he finds himself at the heart of an investigation that stretches from Manchester to all corners of Europe. Women are being trafficked into the UK and forced into prostitution, and while the police are diligent in their enquiries, they seem to have a rogue in their midst.

As events unravel, the lines between good and bad, police and criminals, seem to become more and more blurred… and the stakes for all involved are getting higher.

Hidden is Book 3 in Roger Price’s the badge and the pen series, but it can equally be read as a novel in its own right. Existing fans of Vinnie and Christine are bound to love it, but Hidden is also perfect for crime and police fiction lovers, and anybody who loves a fast-paced, gripping story.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Gone by Leona Deakin (Review)

Happy Wednesday! Today I am on the blog tour for Gone by Leona Deakin which is out on the 9th of August in eBook format and will be available as a paperback at the start of October. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour. If you would like to find out more about the book, check out the other tour spots on the poster below!

Four people receive a birthday card, then seemingly disappear from the face of the earth. Dr Augusta Bloom is pulled in by her investigative, former MI6 partner, who knows one of the missing people. Bloom is hesitant to take the case at first, but can’t help but be pulled in by the lure of the mystery and so down the rabbit hole she goes and discovers things are not at all as they seem. In the meanwhile, she sees an interesting patient, a young teenager named Seraphine, who attacked her schools caretaker…

Gone is an interesting psychological thriller which is well written with an excellent protagonist and her relationship with Marcus, the former MI6 guy was a fantastic dynamic. The book has a pretty slow-burn pace, which builds up the tension and intrigue nicely, though it does start off with a WOAH moment that grabs your attention.

There’s a lot of psychological elements, but they are explained simply enough that you don’t feel you need a degree to understand them. I was concerned early on that it would feel like it portrays people with mental health issues as dangerous but I didn’t feel as though it did that as I read on. I feel the authors expertise really shone through here as Leona has experience in psychology and working as a police psychologist.

I felt a little confused at times, though I’m not sure if that was just myself being tired but wanting to find out what happens next – but all in all, a really interesting thriller that has a stand-out premise, different from your typical psych-thriller and it’ll be interesting to see Dr Bloom’s next case.

About the Book

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

book reviews · Bookish

Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen and I am bringing you a review! This book is out now and available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Varg Veum is a private detective, operating out of Bergen, Norway. Previously accused of pedophilia, after images were planted on his computer, Varg has been trying to pick up the pieces after he was proven innocent, but his name still tainted.

One day, someone attempts to run Varg down. Around the same time, he has discovered that two people in the aforementioned pedophile case had died, but he senses something is amiss. Nobody has commissioned him to do so, but he decides to investigate their deaths and discovers the dark truth about the people involved in the case.

The books main theme is a case about the deaths of two pedophiles and mentions child abuse including that which occurs in a family setting. Some readers may find this triggering.

The book is translated from Norweigan, but it is well written and immersive. I found it to be suspenseful and really easy to settle in to and I guess that’s thanks to the author also being from Bergen. The nouns threw me off because I spent a while contemplating how they’d be pronounced, but that was all the more interesting to me and I was glad they didn’t anglicize the names. As an English reader, I really enjoyed the foreign setting.

The ending was punchy, hard hitting and satisfying and I was really pleased with the outcome and how the author wrapped the book up. It’s part of a series, but it read just fine as a standalone and I don’t feel overly baited to the next installment – although, I’d be interested to reading it, for sure!

About the Book

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for crime fiction. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Bookish · Life

My Publishing Journey – J.S Ellis (Guest Post)

Happy Humpday everyone! Today I am bringing you a guest post from J.S Ellis! This was meant to be part of a tour to promote her fab new book – In Her Words (out now); but I messed up and wrote July instead of June, missing my spot. Oops. I decided to wait until now as I didn’t want to steal someone else’s day. I didn’t want to waste the fantastic content she so kindly wrote for us! I’m including the tour poster anyway if you want to check out the other stops!

My Publishing Journey

My publishing journey has been a long one. I started writing at the age of sixteen and been writing ever since. I used to write by hand, until I got a computer. I had written several unpublished manuscripts one of them took me five years to write. When I finished it, I got in touch with an editor to look at it and she told me it wasn’t ready. I was crushed but she recommended a few craft books that I should read. At the time, I didn’t know about the show vs tell, info dumps etc. Thanks to her, I learnt a lot more about writing. I also learnt the hard way that when you finish the first draft, don’t show it to anyone not even to your dog, let alone to a professional editor. We live and learn. I also took a creative writing course, studied English Literature, and attended workshops.  

At the time, self-publishing hadn’t started yet and because of that, I took the time to learn about the craft, find my voice and writing style. If self-publishing was around at the time, I would have rushed to publishing and that book would have hurt me. So, I took my time, I believe publishing isn’t something to be rushed but to take time, be patient and get better at writing.

One Christmas of 2014, I got an idea of a woman who’s an accountant but has a drinking problem and writes in diary. She hides her drinking from her husband.  She hears the music of sax near her apartment and is always wondering who’s playing it. Meanwhile, one night she goes out with her friend and wakes up the next day by her husband with no memory of what happened to her and has bruises all over her body.

It took me five years to get the manuscript to what it is today. I wrote the book within four months but it took me a year to revise and self-edit. I had to put it on hold for personal reasons. Then, I was on the lookout for an editor. So, I asked around in Facebook groups and found my editor and I learned more about writing through editing.  

I’m currently working on one of the old manuscripts I had written, I recycled the characters but the story is completely re-written. Writing is hard it takes time and persistence. Now, after eighteen years “In Her Words” is going to published on May 7th and will available in all major online retailers.

About the Book

One night. One woman. One Man. One Mystery. 

When Sophie Knight wakes up and sees bruises on her body, she has no recollection of what happened to her, but she knows she has more to hide. Her alcoholism, something she tries to conceal from her husband, and resulting haze, has once again muddied the details of a night out.

Even though Sophie seems to have it all—she’s beautiful, lives in a swanky apartment, has a thriving career and a devoted husband—she’s looking for something more. When gorgeous and fun-loving Michael Frisk walks into her life, she can’t resist.

Then strange things start to happen—unsettling notes in her mailbox, mysterious phone calls, and she suspects that someone is following her. Is Michael the cause of her trouble? Or is he the only one she should trust?

About the Author

J.S Ellis is a thriller author. She’s currently working on an adult Dystopian series called the Chaperone. She’s also working on another thriller novel for now it’s called Opium, as it’s still a wip.

J.S always liked to scribble from a young age, but started writing by the age of sixteen. She spent all this time, enhancing and learning about the craft. Writing is her passion books are her obsession.

She has a degree in Creative Writing, English literature, and digital marketing. She works in an accountancy firm. She lives in Malta with her fiancé.

When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either cooking, eating cheese, and chocolate, or listening to good music and enjoying a glass of wine or two.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch (Review)

Today I am on the tour for Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch and bringing you a review. The book is available now on Kindle. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Nova has upped and left her husband, fleeing domestic violence, with her daughter Lily in tow. She moves to the middle of nowhere but is still anxious he will find her and Lily. When she wakes up and goes to check on her daughter one morning, it appears that may be exactly what had happened. Lily is gone. Naturally, she calls the police in hysterics.

Officer Ellie James is on the case upon investigating, it appears that Lily doesn’t even exist and Nova is the one with the criminal record, but to officer James, things don’t feel right and she’s determined to get to the truth. However, her job is made more difficult by uncooperative work colleagues who seem generally incompetent, but are also prejudiced against Ellie for a previous incident.

Clara is Nova’s new neighbour and landlady. She lives on a farm and owns the land and the building that Nova is renting. Things aren’t all they seem on the farm, and Clara is clearly hiding something.

Without a Trace is a fast-paced, psychological thriller which had me glued to its pages. The drama didn’t let up, and just when I thought I knew what was going on, the author would throw a curveball. I hate to use the common “twists and turns” trope but this book was it. So many twists. The outcome was not what I was expecting at all. I really really enjoyed this book. The only thing was the ending felt a little rushed and I found it a little unsatisfying, though I was pleased to get to the end of the case and find out the truth! This book really build up the tension and I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it.

About the Book

Lily’s gone.
Someone took her.
Unless she was she never there…

A little girl has gone missing.

Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit.

Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn…

Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

About the Author

Carissa Ann Lynch is a USA Today bestselling author. She resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with her husband, children, and collection of books. She’s always loved to read and never considered herself a “writer” until a few years ago when she couldn’t find a book to read and decided to try writing her own story. With a background in psychology, she’s always been a little obsessed with the darker areas of the mind and social problems.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Setting – Val Penny (Guest Post)

Hey all, today, I am delighted to be on the tour for Hunters Force by Val Penny and I have a guest post for you! I’ve been on previous tours for the books prior to this if you want to check those posts out too and so I am chuffed to be hosting another guest post from the author. Thanks, Val!

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I am very excited because my third crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Force’ has been published by Crooked Cats Books and is easily available from Amazon.

The story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I think setting is very important to a novel and did consider creating an imaginary town for my story. However, I lived in Edinburgh for many years and know the city well. I definitely saw my main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, as a city policeman. Also, Edinburgh is a beautiful city and it is lovely to ‘research’ by walking around my favourite places!

Edinburgh has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is a fabulous city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals, what more could I or my characters want?

When I chose Edinburgh as the setting for my first novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’, I thought about it carefully. it is a beautiful city of around half a million people. I wanted the place to be big enough to support the series of books the form The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, and I have no doubt that it fits the bill.

Hunter Wilson is divorced. He lives in a flat in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar and plays darts there.

The delegated parliament of Scotland, is where Hunter’s nemesis, Sir Peter Myerscough served as Justice Secretary. The Scottish Parliament has wide powers over how the people of Scotland are governed and meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city.

Sir Peter Myerscough, has a fine home to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house he has fine views across the Pentland Hills. The Pentland hills are situated just outside of Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can visit the top of all of the hills in one day.
Another main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough is Sir Peter Myerscough’s son. He jogs through the unique park at The hermitage of Braid and his favourite pub is the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links where, it is claimed, the oldest golf course in the world is situated.

Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city home to the National Art Galleries, beautiful parks and all kinds of people. It is the perfect place to situate my new novel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ and all the cases DI Hunter Wilson has to solve.

About The Book

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature:

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

DI Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son, Cameron. Who has murdered the young student who shares Cameron’s flat? Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?

Now that the united police force, Police Scotland exists, Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation. Hunter’s ability to investigate anything further is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks? 

Hunter’s team must work closely with MIT, with or without him, to solve the murder in this taught crime thriller. 

About The Author

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, follows shortly.

book reviews · Bookish

A Patient Man by S. Lynn Scott (Review)

It’s almost the weekend! How about something to cosy up with? (Darn you, sunshine, come back!) A Patient Man by S. Lynn Scott is out now in Kindle and Paperback editions. I’m pleased to be on the Random Things tour, bring you a review! I received a copy of this book as part of the tour.

Mikey is 8 years old and lives on Canvey Island, which isn’t really an island, according to him. What was meant to be just another summer was quite eventful for little Mikey when he decided to be nosey and stumbled across something entirely unexpected. The book is written from the perspective of Mikey in the future, looking back on the events of that summer.

The local neighbours won the lottery. Mikey was sure he saw them leave in the early hours of the morning and went to their house with his friend to see if they had left anything good behind. Instead of an empty house, they discovered their neighbour, Mr Freeman, tied up and his wife, Peggy had been kidnapped. Keen to play junior detective, Mikey had taken items from the crime scene and pocketed them.

From a problematic family and an area full of nosey curtain-twitchers, typical toerag Mikey enjoys all the attention that came from his discovery, until his mums friend, Vi decides to try and squeeze information out of him. He knows she’s bad news and he avoids her; even his mum has started to avoid her, so what is Vi’s agenda? Who kidnapped Peggy and tied up Mr Freeman? Eyes are all on Mikey’s father and troublesome brother, Gary but are they to blame?

It’s a well paced, tense and suspenseful coming of age story, knitted with a crime and a “whodunnit” with engaging writing and brilliantly written characters. I would definitely recommend “A Patient Man”.

About the Book

It is 1976 and Mikey, eight-years-old and street-wise beyond his years, is looking forward to a summer of freedom, roaming the creeks and the mud-flats of Canvey Island. But violent emotions are rumbling beneath the surface, about to destroy all that he thought he knew.

When Mikey’s neighbours, the Freemans, win a great deal of money, the old couple become the targets of a criminal act that leaves Peggy Freeman dead and her husband, Bert thirsting for revenge. Believing that young Mikey’s family is responsible, Bert devises a highly unusual but devastatingly effective form of reprisal. But where does the guilt really lie, and will there be punishment or redemption?

Told from Mikey’s viewpoint with light touches of humour, A Patient Man is a gripping crime novel peopled with believable characters who are drawn inexorably in to a story that explores the effects of greed, money and the human need for retribution.

Told from Mikey’s viewpoint with light touches of humour, A Patient Man is a gripping crime novel peopled with believable characters who are drawn inexorably in to a story that explores the effects of greed, money and the human need for retribution.

About the Author

S. Lynn Scott is the author of Elizabeth, William… and Me, described by reviewers as `hugely entertaining’ (Books Monthly). A Patient Man is her second novel and she is now working on her third, a modern-day fantasy. She has been involved in theatre all her life and lives in Leicestershire.

book reviews · Bookish

The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (Review)

Hi! Today I am on the Love Books Group blog tour for The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith, out now! Read on for my review, more info about the book and the author, and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour.

The Fourth Courier is an espionage thriller based in 1992 Poland that follows Porter – an FBI agent whom is in Poland to assist with investigations, Crawford – who is there from the CIA for similar reasons and Mladic – a sadist and a masochist who hopes to establish and preside over the new Serbia now that the borders to Poland have been opened.

There have been four murders. All of the bodies have turned up in the same area, on the same river, seemingly on display and with similar methods to murder and mutilation. Jay Porter has been assigned to the case, working from the Embassy with Kurt Crawford alongside the Polish investigating team.

Mladic enlists the aid of an isolated nuclear scientist and corrupt cop to assist him with smuggling uranium in to Poland in the hopes of creating a suitcase bomb. But will he succeed?

The book has quite the atmosphere and sets you firmly in Warsaw, after the fall of communism, where food is short, money is short, smuggling is common and drugs are easy. I really enjoy the way the author managed to really create such an atmosphere and convey the emotions of the people through the difficulties during this time.

I really enjoyed the way the characters were written. I was unsure why sexuality and skin colour mattered and why they were certainly noted upon in the bio. I questioned if it was to earn diversity-points. I was incredibly pleased to discover that was not the case at all and that there was a reason for it which we discover in the second half of the book which has a lot more going on as we really get in to things.

The book is incredibly steadily paced and has a good balance between the characters, environment and plot and I found this incredibly enjoyable, albeit a little predictable at times; I want to get to the end and see how it concluded from the multiple perspectives. I’d definitely recommend it.

About the Book

For International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland.

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.  

About the Author

Tim has traveled the world collecting stories and characters for his novels and screenplays which have received high praise. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his first book, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, “Stolen Memories.” His screenplays have won numerous international competitions. Tim is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. He lives in France.

book reviews · Bookish

The Grass Trail by AA Abbott (Excerpt)

Today I am on the tour for The Grass Trail by AA Abbott, the third book in the Trail Series. It’s out now both in Paperback and Kindle Formats and is available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

The kettle hissed, rocked, and jolted to a halt. “Want a brew?” Shaun offered.

“Please. Milk, one sugar.” Jenner held out his plastic mug. “Thanks. Hot and wet; that’s how I like it. Are you married, by the way?”

“No,” Shaun replied. “My wife died a few years back.” He added brusquely, “Of natural causes. And don’t get any ideas. I’m strictly hetero.” He didn’t suppose Jenner had the nerve to make a pass at him, but it wasn’t impossible for the MP to feel some attraction. Shaun’s Irish heritage had blessed him with good looks; even pushing fifty, his now-grey hair was thick, his blue eyes large, his body trim and well-muscled. The paunch he’d developed on the outside was gone; he was back in shape at last, his muscles honed by the gym and judicious use of smuggled steroids.

“Of course,” Jenner said soothingly. He pointed to the gallery of photographs on the wall. Torn from magazines and haphazardly fixed with blobs of toothpaste, their ragged edges were curling. “Who’s that? Your girlfriend?”

Shaun sipped his tea. The sweetened breakfast cereal was beginning to boost his blood sugar. He felt less groggy. “No,” he said, unwilling to be drawn any further. He would never admit to Jenner how he’d been charmed by Kat’s looks and posh accent, had offered her a job in his unlicensed casino in the hope of knowing her better. It had all gone horribly wrong. She’d disappeared, and so had twenty thousand pounds from the gambling den. It had taken a wild goose chase to weird Cold War tunnels in Birmingham to establish the truth: Kat wasn’t a thief. She’d seen Shaun kill the culprit, though, and had held a gun to his head in the tussle that followed. No one, least of all a woman, should have had that power over him. As if that wasn’t enough, it had been her evidence that had sent him down. His lips tightened.

Jenner wouldn’t stop. “Who is she?” he persisted. “A model? I’m sure I’ve seen her in the news. You know, you must have one, two, three – my goodness, ten pictures, all of the same woman.”

“Forget it, okay?” Shaun snapped. “She used to work for me. I’m looking forward to seeing her again.” His eyes lingered on the picture showing the most cleavage. There was no doubt he’d enjoy a reunion with Kat. Finally, she’d see who was boss. The pleasure would be his alone, and all the sweeter for it.

About the Book

Shaun knows who put him inside – and he wants to make her pay…

Shaun Halloran wouldn’t be in prison if glamorous Kat White hadn’t taken his gun. Pictures of the stunning blonde are plastered all over his cell. As soon as he can escape, she’s dead. But with his criminal empire crumbling, he can’t trust anyone.

Kat, panicked by poison pen letters, has nowhere to turn. Her parents are dead and her brother’s ill. Even her sexy new business partner may not be what he seems. When she receives life-changing news, vodka is the only answer…

A tense crime thriller with plenty of twists, “The Grass Trail” races through Birmingham, London and the former Soviet Union – tempting you to turn each page.