Personal by Lee Child cover image

Personal by Lee Child cover image

What the blurb says: Someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president but failed to kill him. The suspected sniper has serious skills and is a hard man to find. Reacher tracked him down once and put him in jail. Now he’s asked to hunt him again, and put him away permanently.
Tracking the shooter will take Reacher from France to England after a killer with a treacherous vendetta. He’ll need to uncover who did the hiring and what’s behind the assassination attempt before executing his orders.”

As a massive fan of Lee Child’s writing, I must confess that it was a huge thrill and a privilege to get to read an advance copy of PERSONAL.

In PERSONAL – the latest novel and nineteenth in the Jack Reacher series – Reacher spots an advert in the Personals from a military colleague asking him to get in touch. He owes this guy from way back and so Reacher being Reacher, he makes the call and finds himself pulled into a high profile case that threatens international security.

There’s been an attempt to assassinate the French president. The sniper fired from a range of fourteen hundred yards, more than three-quarters of a mile. There are very few people in the world that could have made the shot, and one of them has a bad history with Reacher. Question is, was he the one who pulled the trigger? And, if he was, can Reacher track him down before he tries again at the London G8 summit?

Partnering up with young agent Casey Nice, Reacher follows the trail, taking him from the US to Paris, on to London and back to the US. But with half-truths and bureaucracy at every turn, the inter-agency team remains a step behind their person of interest. With the time ticking away, Reacher takes matters into his own hands – in a way that only he can.

This is a fast paced, action packed story, with all the twists and turns you’d expect from a Reacher novel. Reacher himself is as witty and smart as ever, and a strong mentor for Casey on her first operational mission on overseas soil. And it’s great to see Reacher making a trip across to Europe. I particularly loved the London scenes, and picturing this great anti-hero in locations that I know.

Cinematic and slick, this heart-thumping, page-turning read is a must for all thriller fans.

Highly recommended.

 

PERSONAL is out today in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and on September 2nd in the US and Canada.

[with big thanks to Random House – Bantam Dell for my copy of PERSONAL]

Penguin Journeys Logo

Penguin Journeys Logo

With the last bank holiday of the summer here, there’s still time to get bookish inspiration from the fabulous #PenguinJourneys team.

#PenguinJourneys strives to make boring travel-time a thing of the past by giving holiday reading recommendations from Penguin Random House UK and its wonderful authors.

If you’re looking for a recommended read, simply tweet your bookish question to the team using the hashtags #AskaPenguin and #PenguinJourneys this Friday lunchtime to receive a recommended read in book, eBook, audiobook or even perhaps a podcast format.

You can also check out the fabulous #PenguinJourneys blog pages at http://penguinblog.co.uk/ to see some of the great journeys and reading recommendations they’re talking about including some sneak previews like a fabulous extract of The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion.

If pinning is your thing, #PenguinJourneys has teamed up with authors including Clare Balding and Graeme Simsion to take you on a literary odyssey around the world. Find out more on Pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/penguinukbooks/pack-your-bags-for-a-literary-odyssey-with-penguin/ and explore famous literary journeys, listen to extracts from the audiobooks mapped to each voyage, and be inspired by stories from their holiday destinations.

Let’s make this the best bookish bank holiday of 2014.

Happy Reading!

Dagger in the Library logo

Dagger in the Library logo

The Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) 2014 Dagger in the Library Award gives the chance for us, the readers, to nominate our favourite British crime fiction authors for the prestigious award.

Sponsored by Dead Good Books, the Dagger in the Library is given in honour of the author’s entire collection of work to date rather than one specific book. Previous winners include Belinda Bauer, Steve Mosby and Stuart MacBride.

Nominations close on 1st September 2014, so make sure you hop on over to http://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/index.php/dagger/ and nominate up to three of your favourites.

What’s more, you’ll be automatically entered into a draw and in with a chance of winning £200 worth of crime books!

 

Michael Sears

Michael Sears

Today, Michael Sears, Edgar-nominated and Shamus-winning author of Black Fridays, drops by the CTG blog to talk about storytelling, family and the importance of reading …

I come from a family of storytellers. There were five children and to get any attention in that crowd, you had better have a good tale to tell. My father left me both his sense of humor and his heart, but it was my mother who fed my love of reading and language.

She was a powerful story teller and still is; it is her voice that is most heard at a family gathering. My cousins tell about a time when she was visiting and in the middle of telling a good yarn, a paper napkin, too close to the dinner candle, burst into flame. Without pausing for as much as a deep breath, or missing a beat in her story, my mother poured her water glass over the conflagration, doused the fire, and wrapped up the whole mess in another napkin. They were all in awe of her.

The various adventures of Freddy the Pig, in a series of two dozen or so books by Walter R. Brooks, introduced to me the idea of character, despite the fact that the few humans in the stories barely spoke. Freddy, Jinx the cat, and the cow, Mrs. Wiggins were all sharply drawn, complex characters with points of view, strengths, and weaknesses that made them distinct. They were talking animals, but they were more human to me than the Hardy Boys, who I could never keep straight. Frank was the older one, right?

One of the many benefits of being an avid reader, is that when your nose is deep in a book, parents think you are working and leave you alone. I was not excused from chores or having to do homework, but they couldn’t insist that I play with my little brother while I was reading.

I remember sometime in high school telling my father that I was reading War and Peace and he asked me, “Why?” “Because it is a challenge,” I answered. “It is the longest book I have ever read.” I don’t remember much of the story, but I do remember that it was very long. It was a challenge.

But a few years later, I was a lifeguard for the summer at a private club on a deserted stretch of Fire Island. The only access was by boat, or a mile hike along the beach from the next club, which was much fancier and had a ferry that ran to it (that was my daily commute). The club would get very busy on the weekends, but there were many days during the week when I was the only person there – all day. I couldn’t shut the beach down unless the weather or surf conditions warranted, so I sat there and read. I read all of Shakespeare that summer. Imagine the thrill it was for me to read aloud Henry V, or Lear, or Prospero, seated on a tall lifeguard’s chair, with the constant roar of breaking waves as background. It was a glorious summer.

I don’t understand writers who claim not to read. Not every reader has a book in them, but every writer must know what has gone before, if only to avoid the most common mistakes. Being a writer, now with two books published and a third due out next year, places me on a great timeline that stretches back for millennia. Like Homer, and the various writers of the tales of Gilgamesh or Beowulf, I am also a bard. A storyteller.

Mortal Bonds cover image

Mortal Bonds cover image

A big thank you to Michael for dropping into the CTG blog today. 

Michael Sears’s Mortal Bonds, the follow-up to Black Fridays, marking the return of financial investigator Jason Stafford in a sensational story of fraud, murder and redemption is out now, published  by Duckworth Publishers.

 

cover image

cover image

Last year David Khara, author of The Bleiberg Project, dropped by the CTG blog to talk about the launch of his new conspiracy theory action thriller eBook. As The Bleiberg Project – the first in the Consortium Thriller series – has now come out in paperback we thought we’d re-blog the interview and excerpt. 

But, before we get started with the interview, here’s a little taster of the book (please note contains strong language):

Excerpt:

“Besides work and getting high, what do you do all day?”

No answer. You’re out of luck, pal. I’m pig-headed. “The journey will seem shorter if we talk, don’t you think?”

He sighs. “When I’m not on an assignment, I paint.” I can’t help laughing. “You think that’s funny?”

“I’m picturing you on a stool with your palette and brush, gazing at a green valley or a snowy mountaintop. Sorry, but with your look and build, it’s funny!”

“If you’re just going to make fun of me, the trip is going to seem very, very long.” He clams up.

“There’s no harm in a little fun. OK, I’ll stop,” I snort, laughing even louder. Why do giggling fits always hit at inappropriate times?

“What about you? Besides driving home from clubs dead drunk, what do you do?”

Bastard. That’s below the belt. On second thought, I guess I deserved it. “I try to survive. I thought about blowing my brains out, but I’m too much of a coward. So I drink. I smoke like a chimney. Every day, I destroy myself a little bit more.”

“Suicide isn’t a sign of bravery, but of giving up. We all make mistakes. You don’t judge somebody by the number of blows they can give.”

“What do you judge somebody by, Mr Freud?”

“The number of blows they can take.”

His words hit home. “You’ve taken a lot, right?” I ask. A long, long beat.

“More than you can ever imagine.”

Why am I not surprised? This guy’s been around the block. I’d bet my life on it. “How do you do it?”

“Pardon me?”

“Blowing guys away like that. How do you do it?”

“Who said it was easy?” He sighs heavily. A long awkward silence.

(Excerpted from The Bleiberg Project by David Khara. First published in French as Le Projet Bleiberg, ©2010 Editions Critic. English translation ©2013 Simon John. First published in English in 2013 by Le French Book, a digital-first publisher specializing in best-selling mysteries and thrillers from France.).

And now, for the interview …

So David, your new book, The Bleiberg Project, is a thriller with links to World War II. What was it that inspired you to write a novel along that theme?

The whole idea for The Bleiberg Project idea came while I was driving to my office, listening to the news. A pharmaceutical company was doing research on an orphan disease that touched fewer than 100 kids in Europe. A man said that the study was being ended because the budget was 50,000 euros short. I was stunned. These companies make tons of money, amazing profits, and 50,000 euros is a drop in the ocean. When I got to my office, I started looking into the subject and found articles establishing links between Nazi and Japanese scientists during WWII and pharmaceutical companies. I also found information about how Allied governments were interested in the results of immoral and incredibly cruel human experiments. Through my research, I realized the world we live in rose up from the ashes of war, and was built on the corpses of 60 million victims. I wanted to write about it, through entertainment to make it more bearable.

What research do you do to ensure the atmosphere, locations and characters feel authentic?

The answer is pretty easy: 1000 hours listening to survivors, watching documentaries over and over again, and reading biographies. The point was not for me to merely tell the stories. I needed to get in the minds of both victims and criminals. I wanted to be there with them. This inspired many of the characters of the series, even those set in the present day. And everything that happens in the past is, at one point or another, is based on the truth.

Tell us a little about your writing process, do you plot out the story events before sitting down to write, or do you drive right in and see where the story takes you?

It is a very delicate mix of both. I’ve got a few dots I need to link together to get the whole picture. I do not use notes, nor do I write an outline. I know what I’m going to write, and since the novels are built as puzzles with chapters taking us back in time, I have everything in mind before starting. That means I constantly think about it. There is just no day off when I start working. Still, the absence of a written script gives the characters some space to explore unplanned directions. My job is then to make sure they don’t stray too far from the plot and my goals.

How do you organise your writing day: do you have a favourite time and place to write?

My writing day is a well-established ritual. I write in my garden, a cup of coffee on the left side of my computer, and my cigarettes (bad, I know) on the right side. I put sunglasses on, then headphones because I need music to keep me in the mood of each chapter. With that, I’m ready for 6 to 8 hours of intensive writing. I usually work from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening, with a break for lunch. When I’m not in the mood for writing, I go back to my research.

And what’s next for you, are you planning your next novel, or already well into the writing of it?

The Morgenstern Project, the third book in the Consortium thriller series, was just released in France, so I’m traveling a lot for book signings and interviews. My next novel is planned, and I’ll start writing it pretty soon and it is about time because I’ve had it in mind for three years now and lots of readers ask for it. The Bleiberg Project movie production should move to a new phase soon, which will have a direct impact on my schedule. 2014 will be a very busy year, believe me.

A big thank you to David Khara for dropping by to talk to us. To find out more about David and The Bleiberg Project, you can check out the link below:

Web page: http://www.thebleibergproject.com

Broadchurch novel cover image

Broadchurch novel cover image

What the blurb says: “It’s a hot July morning in the Dorset town of Broadchurch when Beth Latimer realises her eleven-year-old son, Danny, is missing. As Beth searches desperately for her boy, her best friend, local police officer DS Ellie Miller, arrives at work to find the promotion she was promised has been given to disreputable Scottish outsider DI Alec Hardy.

When Danny’s body is found on the beach Ellie must put her feelings aside as she works with DI Hardy to solve the mystery of Danny’s death. As the case becomes a murder investigation, the news hits the press, jolting sleepy Broadchurch into the national spotlight.

As the town’s secrets begin to unravel, members of this tight-knit community begin to consider those in their midst. Right now it’s impossible to know who to trust …”

I was so excited to get my hands on this hotly anticipated novel.

Inspired by the BAFTA award-winning ITV series created by Chris Chibnall, Erin Kelly has done a fabulous job of capturing the atmosphere and tone of the show in this translation from screen to page.

True to the characters and honest to the story, what the reader gets from the novel is the chance to experience events from inside the heads of the main characters. It’s like seeing the whole thing in HD through a lens angled slightly differently, exploring the characters inner thoughts and emotional battles for a deeper insight into what happened that dreadful July when Danny died.

Told in the present tense, the novel feels immediate and dynamic. The tension arising from the different styles of DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller vibrates off the page and, as in the TV series, they make for compulsive watching (reading). As the small seaside town of Broadchurch reels from the loss of one of it’s own, and the police (and the journalists) strive to find Danny’s killer, it becomes clear that beneath their smiley exterior some locals have dark secrets in their past that once revealed will change the small seaside town forever.

So, the big question, does the book feel authentic to the characters and the series? Definitely, yes.

And, does it feel like a story and entity in its own right? Absolutely, yes.

Emotive and suspenseful, this is a must-read for fans of the show and crime fiction readers alike.

Highly recommended.

 

To find out more about the book, hop over to The Crime Vault where you can read an extract: http://www.thecrimevault.com/ebooks/broadchurch/

This post is part of the Broadchurch Beacon Bloggers Tour. Check out the other fabulous tour stops here:

Broadchurch Beacon Blog Tour poster

Broadchurch Beacon Blog Tour poster

The Inside Man cover image

The Inside Man cover image

What the blurb says: “Sam Capra’s friend Steve has been murdered, shot dead in the rain outside of his Miami bar. The only lead: a mysterious, beautiful stranger Steve tried to protect. To avenge his friend, Sam goes undercover into the Varelas, one of Miami’s most prominent and dangerous families.

Now on the inside, playing a part where one wrong move means death, Sam faces a powerful, unstable tycoon intent on dividing his business empire between his three very different children, who each may hold murderous secrets of their own.

Sam is relentlessly drawn into this family’s intense drama, amplifying painful echoes of his own shattered relationships as a son, brother, father, and husband. And just when he thinks he understands why the family is self-destructing, he discovers a lethal secret so shocking that the Varelas cannot let him walk away alive . . .”

As you know, I love a good action thriller and The Inside Man, book three in the Sam Capra series, doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of seat-of-your-pants action in this high energy, high stakes thriller.

When Sam Capra’s old friend Steve Robles is shot and killed outside a bar in Miami as he tries to protect his client – Cordelia Verela – Sam can’t just stand by and let justice go unserved. Risking his own safety and the wrath of his employers, Sam sets out to find out who murdered his friend, and in doing so becomes embroiled in the lives of the hugely wealthy and extremely dangerous Varela family.

But what at first appears to be an old-fashioned family feud soon is revealed to be a whole lot more. Determined to avenge his friend, and get Cordelia to safety, Sam follows the evidence and digs deeper into the smuggling myths about the family’s criminal connections.

As the body count rises, and Sam becomes a target, he discovers a much darker secret hidden inside the core of the family’s history. Question is, will he live long enough to tell the tale?

The story hurtles along with the gas pedal pressed firmly to the floor, following Sam as he seeks out the truth and vows to bring the killer of his friend to justice. There are plenty of twists and turns, and a cast of highly suspious and potentially criminal characters, that combine to keep you guessing over the identity of who it was behind Steve’s murder.

With plenty of slick action sequences, chases, and fight scenes – and a smuggling technique that’s highly unusual and, for a moment, made me think the story was taking a sci-fi turn – this pacey, race-against-time thriller makes for a great summer read.

Highly recommended.

 

[I bought my own copy of The Inside Man]