CTG’s #bookcrush – Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall


My fabulous book crush this week is Three Little Lies by Sunday Times bestselling author Laura Marshall.

I was drawn to this cover because it’s so stand-out striking – the stark white jacket, the wisps of smoke leading to an abstract impression of a woman’s face, the red-as-blood title. I loved Laura Marshall’s debut – Friend Request – and am itching to read this!

Because behind the eye catching cover is a twisty, unsettling thriller.

Here’s the blurb:

“There’s no such thing as a little lie… When Sasha North comes into Ellen’s life, Ellen falls under her spell. As Ellen is welcomed into Sasha’s family, she doesn’t see the darkness that lies beneath their bohemian lifestyle. Not until a brutal attack changes all their lives forever. Ten years later, Ellen and Sasha share a flat in London, still bound together by that night. When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. The police won’t take her seriously, but the events of the past give Ellen good reason to be frightened. What really happened that night? Who is telling the whole truth? These are the questions Ellen must confront when searching for her friend. But someone knows Ellen is looking. And they don’t want the answers coming out…”

I can’t wait to start reading!

If you like the sound of Three Little Lies you can find out more on Amazon HERE.


CTG’s #threewordbookreview – Cold Desert Sky by Rod Reynolds

Des Sky

Today’s three word ‘micro’ book review features the latest in the wonderful Charlie Yates  series – COLD DESERT SKY by Rod Reynolds.

Here’s what the blurb says: “Late 1946 and Charlie Yates and his wife Lizzie have returned to Los Angeles, trying to stay anonymous in the City of Angels. But when Yates, back in his old job at the Pacific Journal, becomes obsessed by the disappearance of two aspiring Hollywood starlets, he finds it leads him right back to his worse fear: legendary mob boss Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, a man he once crossed, and whose shadow he can’t shake.”


This is one of my favourite thriller series and Cold Desert Sky is a fantastic read – perfect for fans of all things crime thriller and American noir.

Cold Desert Sky is out now from Faber. To find out more and buy the book click the cover below and hop over to Amazon:

Sign up to CTG’s Crime Thriller Club for a chance to #win one of these two #crimefiction #bookbundles #giveaway


This month I’m giving away two bundles of books in the CTG Crime Thriller Club member exclusive giveaway!

Book Bundle #1:

Insidious Intent by Val McDermid

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland (me!)

Book Bundle #2:

A Darker State by David Young

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson

The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver

Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb (me again!!)

The giveaway is exclusively for members of the CTG Crime Thriller Club. All members are automatically entered, and the winner will be drawn at 7pm on 31 July 2018.

If you’re not already a member but would like to be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is sign up before 31st July by filling in your name and email HERE

#CrimeWritersInCafesProcrastinating – @Anne_Coates1 reveals her procrastination habits


Today crime writer Anne Coates is joining me for Crime Writers In Cafes Procrastinating. As the title suggests, this feature is all about the lengths writers go to procrastinate when they should be writing, and how they (eventually) manage to win against the temptation of the path of procrastination to finish their books.

Ready for a grilling about her procrastination habits is Anne Coates whose latest crime novel – SONGS OF INNOCENCE – is out now.

Welcome Anne! So tell me all about your latest book – Songs of Innocence?

What a marvelous opportunity to procrastinate by answering your questions, Steph! Songs of Innocence is the third book in the Hannah Weybridge series. Still recovering from the traumatic events of Death’s Silent Judgement (book two), Hannah, a freelance journalist, is asked to help investigate the death of a teenage Asian girl found drowned in Peckham Pond by her family. The police think it’s suicide; her aunt is convinced it is murder. Hannah’s enquiries reveal a trend of Asian girls missing school, or disappearing altogether and someone is determined she will not expose the reason why.

How long did Songs of Innocence take to write?

I started more or less as soon as I’d submitted the second book to my publisher and it took about eight months to write. I remember being on holiday when Matthew Smith, the publishing director of Urbane Publications, contacted me about publishing book three and what was the title? All the books’ titles are linked to a poet or poem I love. I dithered over book three but Blake was my inspiration and so I borrowed part of his own title and a poem I love within it. My deadline was four months away.

What’s your favourite writing/procrastination spot – home, café, bar, other?

People who manage to write in cafés and bars intrigue me. How do they manage to stop people watching and eavesdropping long enough to actually get words onto the screen? Mind you I keep promising myself I’ll go and work in my local with a glass of wine for inspiration! Mainly I work from home although I have been known to write on the bus, especially if I see someone whose characteristics or way of talking I could use for a character. My powers for procrastination are legendary. Unlike some who have to clean the house/rearrange their working space or whatever, I am able to sit and watch the dust accumulate while I look out of a window for inspiration. When I get stuck on something I find changing my writing location helps so I tend to move around the house. However I have three cats who all compete with my laptop for a place to nestle and stroking a feline is very therapeutic.

What’s your writing process – do you jump straight in, or plan and plot first?

Frequently when I get stuck on a plot problem, I wish I were more of a planner. However I “jump straight in” but rarely is the first chapter I write the one which appears at the beginning of the finished novel. For my current WIP, the beginning changed several times before I found my way into the story. In Songs I had a very tight time-frame for the narrative which helped with the plotting as all the action takes place in May 1994 and I used some real events to keep a check on the narrative path. Even so I don’t write chronologically so I have to write loads of notes to remind myself of what is happening and what should go before and after.

When you’re writing, do you find you procrastinate more at the beginning, middle or end of the draft, or equally across all three?

Probably equally across all three. At the beginning I spend a lot of time thinking about the plot and characters – this involves pruning the roses, weeding, filing my nails, making cups of coffee, anything rather that actually putting words onto paper. Cups of cold coffee and uneaten snacks indicate when the writing is going well. Towards the end of the first draft I may slow down to postpone the exquisite agony of knowing that I will have to begin rewriting and sorting out plot holes.

Do you prefer first drafts or edits (and why)?

The relief of a finished first draft is second to none. Then at least I have something to work with and on. I do two or three drafts before I start editing and I print out each time to give myself a physical feeling for the MS. I love the last draft/edit as that’s usually when I change the ending for something more extreme. As I don’t plot and plan, characters lead me on sometimes into unknown territory. The finale is often a shock to me – and, I hope, for the reader.

When you’re procrastinating, what’s the activity you turn to most?

Research – pause to polish halo – can lead a writer up and down all manner of highways and byways. Although I prefer to get a first draft written and worry about fact checking and so on at a later stage, I find looking up something or Googling a location can be all it needs to spur me on. I sometimes read reams about a subject and then only a tiny element makes it into the book. Of course, social media (which is how I happened to read about your new series, Steph in the middle of draft one of book four!) can be a huge distraction as can getting immersed in a novel.

Ah yes, very true – social media is a great distraction!

When you’re writing what’s your drink and snack of choice?

I love coffee but, as an insomniac, I avoid it after lunchtime. Then I drink water until it’s an acceptable time to have a G&T or a glass of wine. I’m a terrible snacker and how immersed in my writing I am dictates how healthily I eat. I try to make sure plenty of fruit and nuts are available but sometimes only chocolate will do.

And how do you celebrate the completion of the book (you winning against procrastination)?

The finished book always takes me by surprise somehow. It’s fabulous to see and touch but often it’s the reaction of my daughter and friends that gives it credence. The official launch party of Songs of Innocence was a few days after publication so on publication day we went to a local pub which features in the book and celebrated with Prosecco.

Huge thanks to Anne for being great fun and letting me quiz her about all things procrastination.

Be sure to check out her latest book – SONGS OF INNOCENCE.

Click on the book cover below to view it on Amazon UK…



I’m super excited to be attending ITW THRILLERFEST in New York for the very first time this week!

Watch out for lots of Thrillerfest related tweets in my twitter feed and, if you’re at Thrillerfest, do come along to the Thriller Award Nominees panel – HARDCOVER, PAPERBACK OR E-BOOK? – at 8am on Friday, where I’ll be answering Panel Master Anthony Franze’s questions alongside Christine Bell, Walt Gregg, Jeff Gunhus, Sheena Kamal, Alan McDermott & Rysa Walker.

I’ll also be at the ITW THRILLER AWARDS on Saturday night as DEEP DOWN DEAD (Lori Anderson book one) is a nominee for the Best First Novel award – so wish me luck!

Thrillerfest runs from 10 – 14 July and the whole schedule looks amazing with 2018 ThrillerMaster George R.R. Martin, 2018 Silver Bullet Award recipient James Rollins, 2017 ThrillerMaster Lee Child, 2017 Silver Bullet Award recipient Lisa Gardner, and 2018 Spotlight Guest Megan Abbott, and MANY more authors

 Hop over to the Thrillerfest website to find out more: http://thrillerfest.com

CTG’s #bookcrush – The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes



My lovely book crush this week is The Murder of Harriet Monckton by award winning, bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes.

I was immediately attracted to this cover – the statue of a young woman, the creeping ivy twisting around her, and the handwriting hinting at secret notes and lives. I picked it up, read the back and I was hooked!

Because behind the gorgeously intriguing cover lies a Victorian crime novel based on the true story of an unsolved murder.

Here’s the blurb:

“On 7th November 1943 a young woman is found poisoned behind the chapel she regularly attended in Bromley, Kent. Drawing on the original coroner’s reports and true witness testimonies, Elizabeth Haynes builds a compelling picture of Harriet Monckton’s final days through the eyes of those closest to her: her fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiancé, her seducer, and her former landlord and lover. All are suspects. Each has a reason to want her dead.”

 I can’t wait to start reading!

If you like the sound of The Murder of Harriet Monckton you can find out more on Amazon HERE.

CTG’s #threewordbookreview – The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham

MB Killing H

Today’s three word ‘micro’ book review features the latest in the brilliant Tom Thorne  series – THE KILLING HABIT – by Mark Billingham.

Here’s what the blurb says: “We all know the signs: cruelty, lack of empathy, the killing of animals. Now pets on suburban London streets are being stalked by a shadow, and it could just be the start. DI Tom Thorne knows the psychological profile of such offenders all too well, so when he is tasked with catching this notorious killer of domestic cats, he sees the chance to stop a series of homicides before they happen. Others are less convinced, so once more, Thorne relies on DI Nicola Tanner to help him solve the case before the culprit starts hunting people. It’s a journey that brings them face to face with a killer who will tear their lives apart.”


This is one of my favourite crime series and this book is another cracker – an essential read for fans of crime fiction and police procedurals.

The Killing Habit is out now from Sphere. To find out more and buy the book click the cover below and hop over to Amazon: