CTG’s #bookcrush – The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham


My fabulous book crush this week is The Tattoo Thief by debut crime writer Alison Belsham.

I was drawn to this cover because it’s so very intriguing – the blood red fish against a black background, the bold blocked title, and what a brilliant title it is! I heard Alison Belsham pitch this book in the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival a couple of years back and have be dying to read it ever since!

Here’s the blurb:

“A policeman on his first murder case. A tattoo artist with a deadly secret. And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again… When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?”

 I can’t wait to start reading!

If you like the sound of The Tattoo Thief you can find out more on Amazon HERE.


CTG’s #bookcrush – Murder at the Grand Raj Palace by Vaseem Khan



My fabulous book crush this week is Murder at the Grand Raj by brilliant crime writer Vaseem Khan.

This cover is such a lot of fun it can’t help but entice you in! The green and gold colouring, the pink palace with fireworks going off around it, and the cute baby elephant – series regular character baby Ganesha – it’s calling out for me to start reading!

This is the fourth book in Vaseem Khan’s super moreish investigation series featuring Inspector Ashwin Chopra and chocolate-loving young elephant, Ganesha.

Here’s the blurb:

“For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world’s elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj. The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder… When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead – the day after buying India’s most expensive painting – the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Chopra is called in – and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead. Accompanied by his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, Chopra navigates his way through the palatial building, a journey that leads him steadily to a killer, and into the heart of darkness…”

If you like the sound of Murder at the Grand Raj Palace you can find out more on Amazon HERE.


CTG’s #threewordbookreview – Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Blood S

Today’s three word ‘micro’ book review features the stunningly brilliant debut historical crime novel BLOOD & SUGAR by Laura Shepherd-Robinson.

Here’s what the blurb says: “June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark. Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . . To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend’s investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him. And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford…”


This is an incredible debut novel – beautifully written, fast-paced and suspenseful, with one hell of an emotional punch. Quite simply a must-read for any crime fiction fan.

Blood & Sugar will be out in January 2019 from Mantle. To find out more and pre-order the book click the cover below and hop over to Amazon (note: this is the actual cover, mine pictured above is an early proof):

#CrimeWritersInCafesProcrastinating – debut author Margaret Kirk reveals her procrastination habits! @HighlandWriter


Today debut crime writer Margaret Kirk 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 Margaret Kirk whose debut crime novel – SHADOW MAN – is out now.

Welcome Margaret! Tell me a bit about SHADOW MAN…

Shadow Man, my debut novel, is a police procedural set in Inverness and the Highlands. The winner of the Good Housekeeping First Novel competition in 2016, it introduces Lukas Mahler, a half-Scots, half-German ex-Met DI, and is the first in a planned series.

How long did it take to write?

Well, when I won the competition (June 2016) I really only had about 25,000 decent words written. I then had a bit of a scramble to get it finished and sent off to Orion, which took another six months. Not too bad, considering I was in a state of shock for at least a month after finding out I’d won!

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

I have a lovely writing shed (dubbed ‘The Murder Room’) in our garden, where I should theoretically be able to shut out the world and get writing. But I’ve also got two demanding cats who wander in and out, and a really comfy day bed in there, so…

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

I plan quite carefully. I set up a word document called ‘Chapter Plan’ and do a one or two-sentence synopsis for each chapter, which I then add to/amend as I go. And I always write the synopsis for the book first – it really concentrates the mind and shows me where the book is going. And it alerts me to any potential plot holes I need to look out for.

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 in the middle. There’s a lot of momentum that carries me through the first third, then as the plot becomes more complex, I start fretting about whether I’m going in the right direction etc. I gradually feel my way through and start gathering speed again for the finale!

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

I think edits, really, because there’s that sense that you’re working with what you have to make something better, and that’s always easier than pulling words out of thin air and sticking them down on a page. The shape of what the book should be starts to feel a little closer at the edits stage.

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

Cat-cuddling. Finding a new must-read series and absolutely bingeing on it, telling myself it’s all in the name of research. Sort of…and afternoon tea is a huge favourite!

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

Coffee and chocolate – basically, I run on caffeine. But in an attempt to combat the onset of writers’ posterior, I try to severely limit the chocolate, and make sure I get at least 30 minutes’ exercise every day. Honest…

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

…is celebrated either with Prosecco or a nice Scottish gin (Shetland Reel or Rock Rose) and Fevertree tonic. Cheers!

Huge thanks to Margaret for letting me quiz her about all things procrastination.

Be sure to check out her debut novel – SHADOW MAN. And keep up to date with all her news via social media at: 

Facebook: Margaret Kirk Author    Twitter:     https://twitter.com/HighlandWriter

Click on the book cover below to view SHADOW MAN on Amazon UK…

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