Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival launches BIG READ 2016: PD James’ AN UNSUITABLE JOB FOR A WOMAN

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This year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival BIG READ has launched and is celebrating the life and work of the ‘Queen of Crime Fiction’ PD James. In partnership with Faber & Faber and libraries and reading groups in the North of England, the book chosen to be 2016’s Big Read is James’ An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. This iconic book introduces Cordelia Gray, the first modern female detective in crime fiction.  When she created Cordelia Gray, P.D. James was working as a civil servant in the crime department of the Home Office. About the novel, she wrote: ‘I wanted to have a young heroine of courage and intelligence who faces the problems of life with a determination to be successful in a job which everyone else thinks she won’t be able to do.’

P.D. James began writing aged 40 and went on to write over 18 novels and collected numerous awards and honours. Aged 91, she received the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award in 2011. She died in 2014, aged 94.

The Big Read initiative aims to encourage as many people as possible to celebrate great crime writing by reading the same novel at the same time and then getting together to talk about it. Literature Festivals Manager Gemma Rowland said: “We are enormously proud of the Festival’s outreach and literacy initiatives … Thanks to the generous support of publisher Faber, the Festival has been able to distribute 1500 copies of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman to local reading groups through our partner library services across Yorkshire, Middlesbrough and Tyneside for free.”

Crime writer Mari Hannah

Crime writer Mari Hannah

The Big Read begins on Monday May 9 and runs until Friday May 13, with free events in libraries across the North. This year, Festival Reader in Residence and bestselling crime author, Mari Hannah, will be talking about the book and leading the conversation. Mari Hannah is the award-winning author of the fabulous Kate Daniels crime fiction series. Her latest crime novel, a standalone book, The Silent Room, is available now.

Mari said. “It’s a particular honour to be taking PD James on the Big Read, not just because of her brilliance and legendary status but because of the novel itself. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman is a classic crime novel introducing a lead character ahead of her time. PD James was a true pioneer who gave the rest of us something to chase.”

The BIG READ events will be fantastic, great for crime fiction fans and those new to the genre – so get along to one if you can and chat about An Unsuitable Job for a Woman with Mari Hannah. This is when/where you’ll find her:

Acklam Library – Monday 11am 9th May

Killingworth Library – Monday 2pm 9th May

South Shields Library – Monday 6.30pm 9th May

Rowntree Park Reading Café Tuesday 11am 10th May

Ripon Library – Tuesday 2pm 10th May

Skipton Library – Tuesday 7.30pm 10th May

South Elmsall Library –   Wednesday 11am 11th May

Keighley Library – Wednesday 2pm 11th May

Holmfirth Library – Wednesday 7pm 11th May

Newcastle Library – Thursday 11am 12th May

Hartlepool Library – Thursday 2pm 12th May

Billingham Library – Thursday 7pm 12th May

Sheffield Library – Friday 10am 13th May

Rotherham Library – Friday 1pm 13th May

Barnsley Library – Friday 4pm 13th May

 

To find out more about Mari Hannah pop over to her website at http://www.marihannah.com/ and follow her on Twitter @mariwriter

To find out more about the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (and the BIG READ) – Europe’s largest event dedicated to the celebration of crime fiction – that’s taking place from 21st – 24th July 2016 check out their website here www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com and follow them on Twitter @TheakstonsCrime

#TheMissing Blog Tour: Get a peep at Chapter 1 of C.L. Taylor’s The Missing

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Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on the lovely C.L. Taylor’s THE MISSING Blog Tour and letting you get a read of the first chapter of her latest thriller.

Firstly, here’s the blurb: “When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface. Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with is disappearance. A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it? Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide …”

THE MISSING

Chapter 1

Wednesday 5th August 2015

What do you wear when you peer into the barrel of a camera and plead for someone, anyone, to please, please tell you where your child is? A blouse? A jumper? Armour?

Today is the day of the second television appeal. It’s been six months since my son disappeared. Six months? How can it be that long? The counsellor I started seeing four weeks after he was taken from us told me the pain would lessen, that I would never feel his loss as keenly as I did that first day.

She lied.

It takes me the best part of an hour before I can look at myself in the bedroom mirror without crying. My hair, cut in a short elfin style last week, doesn’t suit my wide, angular face and my eyes look dark and deep-set beneath the new fringe. The blouse I’d deemed sensible and presentable last night suddenly looks thin and cheap, the knee-length pencil skirt too tight on my hips. I select a pair of navy trousers and a soft grey jumper instead. Smart, but not too smart, serious but not sombre.

Mark is not in the bedroom with me. He got up at 5.37 a.m. and slipped silently out of the room without acknowledging my soft grunt as I peered at the time on the alarm clock. When we went to bed last night we lay in silence side by side, not touching, too tense to talk. It took a long time for sleep to come.

I didn’t say anything when Mark got up. He’s always been an early riser and enjoys a solitary hour or so, pottering around the house, before everyone else wakes up.

Our house was always so noisy in the morning, with Billy and Jake fighting over who got to use the bathroom first and then turning up their stereos full volume when they returned to their rooms to get changed. I’d pound on their bedroom doors and shout at them to turn the music down. Mark’s never been very good with noise. He spends hours each week driving from city to city as part of his job as a pharmaceutical sales rep but always in silence – no music, audiobooks or radio for him.

‘Mark?’ It’s 7.30 a.m. when I pad into the kitchen, taking care to step over the cracked tile by the fridge so I don’t snag my pop socks. Three years ago Billy opened the fridge and a bottle of wine fell out, cracking the tiles that Mark had only finished laying the day before. I told him it was my fault.

‘Mark?’

The kettle is still warm but there’s no sign of my husband. I poke my head around the living-room door but he’s not there either. I return to the kitchen, and open the back door that leads to the driveway at the side of the house. The garage door is open. The rrr-rrr-rrr splutter of the lawnmower being started drifts towards me.

‘Mark?’ I slip my feet into a pair of Jake’s size ten trainers that have been abandoned next to the mat and slip-slide across the driveway towards the garage. It’s August and the sun is already high in the sky, the park on the other side of the street is a riot of colour and our lawn is damp with dew. ‘You’re not planning on cutting the grass now, surel—’

I stop short at the garage door. My tall, fair-haired husband is bent over the lawnmower in his best navy suit, a greasy black oil stain just above the knee of his left trouser leg.

‘Mark! What the hell are you doing?’

He doesn’t look up.

‘Servicing the lawnmower.’ He gives the starting cord another yank and the machine growls in protest.

‘Now?’

‘I haven’t used it for a month. It’ll rust up if it’s not serviced.’

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

‘But Mark, it’s Billy’s appeal.’

‘I know what day it is.’ This time he does look up. His cheeks are flushed and there’s a sheen of sweat that stretches from his thick, unkempt eyebrows all the way up to his receding hairline. He passes a hand over his brow, then wipes it on his trouser leg, rubbing sweat into the greasy oil stain. I want to scream at him that he’s ruined his best suit and he can’t go to Billy’s appeal like that, but today isn’t the day for an argument, so I take a deep breath instead.

‘It’s seven-thirty,’ I say. ‘We need to get going in half an hour. DS Forbes said he’d meet us at eight-thirty to go through a few things.’

Mark rubs a clenched fist against his lower back as he straightens up. ‘Is Jake ready?’

‘I don’t think so. His door was shut as I came downstairs and I couldn’t hear voices.’

Jake shares his bedroom with his girlfriend Kira. They started dating at school when they were sixteen and they’ve been together three years now, sharing a room in our house for the last eighteen months. Jake begged me to let her stay. Her mum’s drinking had got worse and she’d started lashing out at Kira, phys­ically and verbally. He told me that if I didn’t let her live with us she’d have to move up to Edinburgh to live with her grandfather and they’d never get to see each other.

‘Well, if Jake can’t be bothered to get up, then let’s go without him,’ Mark says. ‘I haven’t got the energy to deal with him. Not today.’

It was Billy who used to disappoint Mark. Billy with his ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude about school and his belief that life owed him fame and fortune. Jake was always Mark’s golden boy in comparison. He worked hard at school, gained six A- to C-grade GCSEs and passed his electrician course at college with flying colours. These days it’s phone calls about Jake’s poor attendance at work that we’re dealing with, not Billy’s.

I haven’t got the energy to deal with Jake either but I can’t just shrug my shoulders like Mark. We need to present a united front to the media. We all need to be there, sitting side by side behind the desk. A strong family, in appearance if nothing else.

‘I’m going back to the house. I’ll get your other suit out of the wardrobe,’ I say but Mark has already turned his attention to the lawnmower.

I shuffle back to the path, Jake’s oversized shoes leaving a trail in the gravel, and reach for the handle of the back door.

I hear the scream the second I push it open.

THE MISSING is out now. You can buy it from Waterstones here, or Amazon here

To find out more about C.L. Taylor hop over to her website here and follow her on Twitter @callytaylor

And don’t forget to check out all the other great stops along THE MISSING Blog Tour:

The Blog Tour

The ‘ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT’ Blog Tour: Read an extract of All Through The Night by M.P. Wright

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Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on M.P. Wright’s All Through The Night Blog Tour and letting you in on a sneaky peep at the book by sharing the Prologue with you.

But, firstly, here’s what the blurb says: “Bristol, Summer 1966 … Struggling to make ends meet, private detective JT Ellington sees a way to make some easy cash when approached by Ida Stephens, the administrator of a local orphanage. She offers him £500 to locate a disgraced Jamaican GP, Dr Ronald Fowler. Fowler has in his possession a number of potentially damaging files regarding deceased young children who have been living at the orphanage. Ida tells Ellington to track him down by any means necessary, retrieve the files and ask an important question: Where is the truth to be found? But Ellington has underestimated his assignment. He quickly finds himself up to his neck and running for his life, in a world where nothing is as it appears and the truth is beyond his imagination …”

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT by M.P. WRIGHT

PROLOGUE

Thursday, 12 May 1966

The Douglas C-124 aircraft rose and fell in the air as it butted and fought its way through heavy rain, strong winds and gut-churning turbulence. Its four Pratt & Whitney engines roared in unison as it flew out some two hundred miles off the coast of mainland Scotland towards Keflavík airfield, on the western tip of Iceland. The plane had been in the air for just over two hours since taking off from the United States Strategic Air Command base at RAF Fairford, in the heart of Gloucestershire. In the cockpit, Captain Gene Westlake glanced quickly at his wristwatch, which read 5.45 a.m. He smiled to himself, pleased that they were still making good time despite the appalling weather conditions. He looked out of the small window on his left-hand side and saw below him the angry, swelling white tips of the North Atlantic beating against the craggy outcrop of the final edges of the Faroe Islands’ rugged coastline. There were five other crew members on board the “Old Shaky”, as the C-124 was fondly known by all those who flew in or worked on her. This was strictly an all-American crew of the Military Air Transport Service and had made the same long journey back to Dover airfield in Delaware State, USA, more times than they cared to remember.

Sat next to Westlake in the cockpit was his co-pilot, First Lieutenant Dan Knudson and, to their rear, Navigator Ed Barry. Below them in the vastness of the transport hold were loadmasters Carl Brett, Bobby Romaire and Mac Kepner. Once a week they flew the huge aircraft with its cargo of military freight. On a flight out to Britain it could be anything from confidential documentation, armaments and uniforms to newly spruced-up Willys jeeps and troop-carrying lorries. On a run to the US, the cargo could be servicemen and women, tours of duty complete, all cheerfully homeward bound after months away and packed in like sardines alongside countless sacks of mail bound for armed forces and to news-anxious parents and sweethearts back in the States. Same crew, normal trip, thought Gene Westlake, only today, what was in the cargo hold of his craft made him nervous.

It wasn’t unusual to have military police officers on board an aircraft bound for the US. You would normally find them in pairs escorting a soldier, sailor or airman who had committed a serious crime abroad and who would more often than not be tried in the UK before being returned back to a martial penitentiary to serve out their custodial sentence. But military police officers sergeants Paxton and Jardine were not taking the four-thousand-mile flight simply to guard over a criminal miscreant. This was a more personal, delicate enterprise. They sat expressionless beyond the closed door of the cockpit on the upper level of the Douglas aircraft, neither of them perturbed by the way the plane shook as it was buffeted by the squally storm. The seasoned, battle- hardened soldiers, white and in their mid forties, were both originally from different armpit, backwater, shithole towns in the Deep South, Mississippians and staunchly proud of it. Both men were confident that their latest mission would run smoothly, like the previous nine other operations had; a little bad weather wouldn’t change the task at hand. There was no going back. Such was the serious nature of their undertaking.

Under their supervision was a consignment that was both precious and unique and of considerable monetary value, not only to the two policemen but also to the five other crew members on board. With nine ‘special’ deliveries complete, they knew the stakes, the risks involved. They had all been keen to go, enjoyed the pay-offs, but one man had got cold feet and asked for this to be his last illicit exercise.

Twenty-four hours previously Bobby Romaire had sat in the mess room after evening chow down and told his fellow crew he wanted no further part in their business, that he’d had his fill and was looking to get transferred to a different unit. He assured the other guys that he wasn’t a squealer, that their secret was safe with him. But Romaire’s colleagues got spooked and couldn’t allow him to walk away that easily. Gene Westlake knew what had to be done and told the rest of his crew to be cool, to leave it to him.

On Wednesday evening Westlake made a couple of telephone calls and informed the military police officers Paxton and Jardine of Romaire’s decision to walk.

“Just fly the damn package back stateside, like we done all those times before, you understand? Now, you leave Airman Romaire to me,” Paxton had said icily before the line went dead. Gene Westlake put down the phone at his desk, then told himself that the conversation had never happened.

Loadmaster Bobby Romaire stood on the bottom deck at the rear of the cargo hold, staring blankly down at a five- foot-square wooden crate. The crate was held securely by thick black webbing straps that looped through into large metal D-rings that were riveted into the walls and floor of the aircraft. Drilled into the panels of the crate were eight silver-dollar-sized holes, and printed on each side of the large box in big black capital letters were the words “MILITARY POLICE DOG IN TRANSIT TO BE LOADED AND UNLOADED BY MPC STAFF ONLY”.

Inside, sleeping after being sedated, was a large three- year-old male German Shepherd. Romaire knelt on one knee at the side of the crate and put his ear to the wooden panel, then covered his other in an attempt to muffle out the thunderous hum of the engines. He thought he could pick out the steady, heavy breathing of the big, drugged-up dog as it slept.

The airman put his face flat against the panel of the crate and called out. The side of his mouth grazed the wood as he spoke.

“Hey . . . you hear me in there? Now you just hold tight, don’t you be scared none. It’s gonna be all right, I’m gonna have you outta there as soon as this here Old Shaky hits the ground. You’ll be safe, I promise you that.” Bobby Romaire again pushed his ear as hard as he could against the crate and as he did felt his scalp being grabbed tightly. His head was snatched back and violently slammed into the side of the wooden container. Struggling to remain conscious and unable to cry out, he felt only the briefest touch of cold metal on the nape of his neck as the flat hilt of a stiletto knife made contact with his clammy skin. The needle-like blade rapidly shot up and injected itself underneath the occipital bone and into the soft tissue of his brain. Bobby Romaire felt nothing else as he fell back onto the deck of the cargo hold. He thought he heard the faint voice of a child in his head softly speak the word “Truth” as his life spiralled uncontrollably away from him. Gold shards of light flickered briefly in front of his eyes as a cold darkness took hold of him and pulled a last sharp breath away from his now limp body.

Sergeant Paxton stood over Bobby Romaire’s corpse, the dead man’s lifeless eyes staring back up at him. The thin stiletto blade in Paxton’s right hand made a sweeping sound as it swiftly returned itself into the black lacquered handle. Paxton opened his olive-green tunic and carefully clipped the knife back into a small leather cradle on his belt, then turned around and watched as his colleague walked slowly along the length of the vast hold to join him. As Nathan Jardine grew closer he threw his thumb back over his shoulder towards the front of the plane, then bellowed out to Paxton over the deafening sound of the engines.

“Westlake’s starting to take this heap down a couple of thousand feet, says he’ll flash the droplight that’s over the floor chute, then we can lug this fucker’s carcass into the drink.”

Paxton smiled back at Jardine. The two men bent down, took hold of Bobby Romaine’s body and heaved it over towards the emergency exit situated in the hull of the plane, then waited until the red overhead light began to glow on and off. Jardine bent down and turned the first of three metal handles, then used all his strength to pull back the chute door to reveal the dark emptiness below them. The inside of the plane was filled with the piercing scream of the wind from outside mixed with the growling rumble of the four giant propellers.

Paxton lifted Romaire’s body up by the scruff of his lapels, pulling it towards the edge of the door chute, then stood with his legs over either side of it, dropped the cadaver’s head and shoulders out of the hatch, and let the dead man’s weight drag the rest of his bulk out. Both men watched as it tumbled out into the blackness over the North Atlantic. Paxton stood away from the gaping hole in the floor and brushed the palms of his hands across the other as if to congratulate himself on a job well done before helping Sergeant Jardine to close the door and secure it once again. Neither man spoke as they stood staring at each other. They took a moment to smooth down their tunics with the backs of their hands and straighten the knots on their ties before returning back to their seats behind the cockpit.

As both men strode away from the hold, Jack Paxton stopped in his tracks and quickly turned on his polished boot heels, staring suspiciously at the crate. He tapped at the bronze braid strip on the trouser leg of his dress uniform, his glare burning into the inside of the container. He took a step towards it, then halted again, realising that there really was no need to return to it. After all the contents were still safe and he knew that what was inside had no way of escaping. He’d come back to the caged creature and feed it later. Paxton flashed a fleeting grin at the wooden chest, shaking his head at it knowingly before rejoining his colleague.

From inside the crate, secretly partitioned off from the doped police dog, the watery eyes of a small child stared out. A little girl, no more than seven, peered through one of the drilled air holes at the two men as they walked away. The girl timidly expelled a slow rasp of air from her lungs. She had been holding her breath for what seemed like forever and had stifled her sobs by biting into the back of her hand as, petrified, she had watched the slaughter of the “good” man who had promised her that things would be all right. He’d told her that he would make sure she was safe, that no harm would come to her. But that promise was now broken, snatched away by the monster with the pointed knife. The little girl remembered the piercing, cruel gaze of the killer: he was the same person who had come to her room in the middle of the night and taken her away from the only family she’d ever known. She’d been placed on the back seat of a car, given sweets and told to eat them. She had done as she was told, then fallen asleep. She’d woken inside the crate. The man with the pointed knife had told her not to make a sound, that if she cried out he would release the big dog from behind the partition and the animal would tear her to pieces. She’d done as he said and not uttered a sound. Terrified and still dressed in her flannelette pyjamas, a series of coarse wool blankets had been wrapped around her for warmth. She’d remained silent and sat in a pool of her own cold urine for what seemed like forever. The girl began to cry again as she watched the two men disappear from her view. Then, rubbing away the wetness of the tears from her cheeks with her tiny hands, she slowly sank back into the shadowy, bleak recess of her captivity, curling up into a ball and closing her eyes tightly in the hope that it would shut out the horrific images now etched so deeply into her memory.

 

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT is published by Black & White Publishing on April 14th. Pre-order a copy from Amazon here

You can find out more about M.P. Wright by following him on Twitter @EllingtonWright

And don’t forget to check out all these other great stops along the All Through The Night Blog Tour:

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CTG Reviews: The Girl Who Walked In The Shadows by Marnie Riches

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Today, I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the fabulous Marnie Riches blog tour.

Marnie’s latest book – The Girl Who Walked In The Shadows – is the third book in her George McKenzie series. Here’s what the blurb says: “Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Roma gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?”

Dr George McKenzie is a real kick-ass character. She’s tough in a street-smart, non-nonsense kind of a way, as well as clever and inquisitive. Her rather fiery brand of investigating complements the calmer Dutch detective Van den Bergen, and together they make for a formidable team. But the team is under pressure, both to connect the strange and gruesome Jack Frost murders that are taking place with seemingly unconnected victims, and to work out what the link might be to the disappearance of two children abducted from their own garden two years previously. The situation isn’t made any easier for George by her and Van den Bergen’s on-off love affair hovering in a tricky no mans land between on and off.

The sense of place, as ever in the series, is captured brilliantly. Set in the grip of a bitter snow covered winter, the story has an ice-cold atmosphere that will have you turning up the heating and wrapping yourself in an extra blanket as you read.

The Girl Who Walked In The Shadows is a fast paced thrill of a read, with a bucket-load of twists and turns, and some emotive and thought provoking issues at its core.

It’s an excellent addition to this very popular series and, although written as the third instalment, I think it would work well as a standalone for those new to the George McKenzie books.

Perfect for thriller fans.

To find out more about Marnie Riches pop over to her website and follow her on Twitter @Marnie_Riches

THE GIRL WHO WALKED IN THE SHADOWS is out now. You can buy it from Amazon here

And be sure to check out all the other fabulous stops on the tour …

BLOG TOUR

#GIVEAWAY: RT for your chance to #WIN a book bundle of #ATappingAtMyDoor #TheDarkInside #SpareMeTheTruth

 

A Tapping at my Door

It’s friday, so I reckon that’s a good excuse for a competition! And you’re in for a treat as the giveaway today is for a book bundle of three of this weeks awesome new crime thriller releases – David Jackson’s A Tapping At My Door, Rod Reynolds’ The Dark Inside, and CJ Carver’s Spare Me The Truth.

 

HERE’S MORE ABOUT THE BOOKS …

A TAPPING AT MY DOOR by David Jackson: “Home alone one evening, Terri Latham is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She’s relieved to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. What she doesn’t know is that it is the prelude to a terrifying attack – Terri’s body is found in her garden the next day with her eyes gone and a dead raven placed across her face. DS Nathan Cody, just back to work after an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case to determine the significance of the raven left at the crime scene. As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too. And then the killer strikes again, and it becomes all too apparent that the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all – it’s only to the police. As more police officers are killed, Cody finds himself in a race against time to catch the killer.” A gripping and gritty police procedural, this is the first in a fab new series. You can find out more about David Jackson and his books at http://www.davidjacksonbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @Author_Dave

 

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THE DARK INSIDE by Rod Reynolds: “Disgraced New York reported Charlie Yates is sent to Texarkana to cover a spate of brutal murders – young couples slaughtered at a local dating spot. He is drawn into the case by the beautiful and fiery Lizzie, sister to one of the victims, Alice – the only person to have survived the attacks and seen the killer up close. But Charlie has his own demons to fight, and as he starts to dig into the murders he discovers that the people of Texarkana have secrets that they want kept hidden at all costs …” This debut thriller is a perfect slice of American Noir. You can follow Rod Reynolds on Twitter @Rod_RW

SPARE ME THE TRUTH by CJ Carver: “Dan Forrester, piecing his life back together after the tragic death of his son, is approached in the supermarket by a woman who tells him everything he remembers about his life – and his son – is a lie. Grace Reavey, stricken by grief, is accosted at her mother’s funeral. The threat is simple: pay the staggering sum her mother allegedly owed, or lose everything. Lucy Davies has been forced from the Met by her own maverick behaviour. Desperate to prove herself in her new rural post, she’s on the hunt for a killer – but this is no small town criminal. Plunged into a conspiracy that will test each of them to their limits, these three strangers are brought together in their hunt for the truth, whatever it costs. And as their respective investigations become further and further entwined, it becomes clear that at the centre of this tangled web is a threat more explosive than any of them could have imagined.” Fast paced with plenty of twists and turns, this is a great conspiracy thriller. Find out more about CJ Carver and her books at http://www.cjcarver.com and follow her on Twitter @C_J_Carver

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*** THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED ***

 

HOW TO ENTER …

For a chance to win, all you need to do is tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. You’ll also need to follow us @crimethrillgirl on Twitter so we can send you a direct message should you win.

Rules: (1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) We will draw the winner at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 11pm GMT on Friday 8th April 2016 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck!

CTG Reviews: #TheDarkInside by Rod Reynolds

 

UnknownToday is paperback publication day of the brilliant THE DARK INSIDE by the uber talented Rod Reynolds. To celebrate, I’m re-running my review of this truly fantastic book …

What the blurb says: “In this town, no one is innocent. 1946, Texarkana: a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Disgraced New York reporter Charlie Yates has been sent to cover the story of a spate of brutal murders – young couples who’ve been slaughtered at a local date spot. Charlie finds himself drawn into the case by the beautiful and fiery Lizzie, sister to one of the victims, Alice – the only person to have survived the attacks and seen the killer up close.

But Charlie has his own demons to fight, and as he starts to dig into the murders he discovers that the people of Texarkana have secrets that they want kept hidden at all costs. Before long, Charlie discovers that powerful forces might be protecting the killer, and as he investigates further his pursuit of the truth could cost him more than his job …”

This debut novel serves up a perfect slice of American noir.

New York reporter Charlie Yates is a damaged man. Haunted by career problems and a failing marriage, he’s alienated many of the people close to him. With his employers desperate to be free of him for a while, he’s sent to cover a spate of double murders in Texarkana. He’s angry and isolated in an unfamiliar and unwelcoming place, but as he starts to make acquaintances with the locals and gets up to speed with the facts of the murders, he realises that the town, and the people in it, are hiding many more secrets than they’re willing to share.

Charlie digs deeper, but as he gets closer to the truth, he’s also getting closer to Lizzie – the charismatic sister of one of the victims – making them both a target. As the story hurtles towards its high-stakes, adrenalin-fuelled climax, Charlie will have to risk everything he holds dear if he is to succeed in bringing the murderer to justice.

Like a lovechild of Raymond Chandler and John D. MacDonald, with a smidgeon of Jim Thompson on the side, this is a relentless, dark and gritty tale about a man who cannot let go until he’s uncovered the truth of what is really going on inside the close knit community of Texarkana.

Inspired by the true story of the unsolved Texarkana Moonlight Murders, with deeply drawn characters and a vividly claustrophobic atmosphere, THE DARK INSIDE is an utterly engrossing debut and was one of my top reads of 2015 and one of my all time favourite books – it’s an absolute must-read for all thriller fans.

Do yourself a favour and go buy this book – believe me, you’re not going to want to miss it!

THE DARK INSIDE is out in paperback today. You can buy it here from Waterstones and here from Amazon.

To find out more about Rod Reynolds, follow him on Twitter @Rod_WR

When CTG Went To … the Fabulous First @1stMondayCrime – the new must-attend monthly #crimefiction night

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This week I went along to the first in a fabulous new series of crime fiction/thriller events: First Monday.

Held on the first Monday of each month, this new monthly crime fiction/thriller night is held in Central London at City University. It’s a mix between a social evening and a festival-style panel, offering readers, writers and industry professionals a place to meet, enjoy each other’s company and hear about the latest and most interesting crime fiction around.

At the first event, chair Barry Forshaw (author of Brit Noir) questioned crime writers Elly Griffiths (The Woman In Blue), Amanda Jennings (In Her Wake), Mary Paulson-Ellis (The Other Mrs Walker) and Leye Adenle (Easy Motion Tourist). It was a great evening with a lively and entertaining panel, accompanied by wine and cupcakes (compliments of Goldsboro Books and Orenda Books) and some fantastic goodie bags (from Orenda Books). There was a signing afterwards with all the author’s books available to be purchased from Goldsboro Books.

The First Monday events begin at 6.30pm and are held in the College Building of City University on St John Street (close to Angel Tube station). Each event includes a panel discussion chaired by, amongst others, Barry Forshaw (Brit Noir etc), Jake Kerridge (Telegraph) and James Kidd (Independent). Upcoming authors include, Christopher Fowler (May 9th), Peter James (June 6th), Sophie Hannah and Belinda Bauer, as well as a host of established and debut authors from all over the world. After the panels, the conversation spills over to a local bar.

Organised brilliantly by David Headley and Harry Illingworth (Goldsboro books), Katherine Armstrong (Little, Brown) and William Ryan (author of The Holy Thief and lecturer on the City University Crime Thriller MA course), First Monday is also supported by The Crime Writers Association, City University’s Crime Thriller MA Programme, The International Thriller Writers and Goldsboro Books. It’s a friendly, fun and informative evening and one that I really recommend you try to get along to if you’re a fan of crime fiction and thrillers.

There’s a small entry charge (£5), which includes a glass of wine.

The next First Monday is on May 9th: Christopher Fowler, William Shaw and Jack Grimwood, chaired by Jake Kerridge. It’s going to be fantastic, so book your ticket soon – the April event sold out in no time!

For more information and to book tickets: www/goldsborobooks.com/events

And be sure to follow First Monday on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FirstMondayCrime/ and Twitter @1stMondayCrime