CTG REVIEWS: FEVER CITY by Tim Baker

fever-city-pb

What the blurb says: “Nick Alston, a Los Angeles private investigator, is hired to find the kidnapped son of America’s richest and most hated man. Hastings, a mob hitman in search of redemption, is also on the trail. But both men soon become ensnared by a sinister cabal that spreads from the White House all the way to Dealey Plaza. Decades later in Dallas, Alston’s son stumbles across evidence from JFK conspiracy buffs that just might link his father to the shot heard round the world.”

 

This is one hell of a read.

I’m a total sucker for anything to do with JFK and Marilyn Monroe, so FEVER CITY with its thriller and conspiracy plotlines had me totally hooked.

The story is told through multiple narrators, and across three timelines – two in the 1960s and one in present time. As the storylines of investigation, redemption, obsession and the search for personal truth intertwine, they give the reader tantalising glimpses of the full picture, and raise the stakes and the tension ever-higher towards the shocking climax.

It’s as gritty and violent as the most ruthless hitman, and as glamorous and captivating as the most beautiful femme fatale. And the writing is simply stunning.

FEVER CITY is a cinematic, mystery-filled thrill of a read. If you like your thrillers super twisty with an extra loading of suspense, you won’t be disappointed – buy it now!

 

FEVER CITY is out in paperback now. You can buy it from Amazon here and from Waterstones here

To find out more about Tim Baker and stay up to date with news on his books follow him on Twitter @TimBakerWrites

CTG REVIEWS: BLACK NIGHT FALLING by ROD REYNOLDS

c5vqtnuwqaa64dl

To celebrate Rod Reynolds’s BLACK NIGHT FALLING being published in paperback today I’m re-running my review of this fabulous book…

What the blurb says: “Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late …”

The second book in the Charlie Yates series is another noir-drenched belter of a thriller.

When Charlie gets a call from Jimmy Robinson, a shady reporter from Texarkana – a place Charlie just wants to forget – asking for help, his gut instinct is to hang up. But when Jimmy hints that the trouble that chased Charlie from Texarkana could be connected to murders in Hot Springs, Charlie finds himself agreeing to make the trip. But when he lands at Hot Springs things aren’t at all what he’d expected, and a bad situation turns dire fast. Charlie feels driven to discover the truth of what’s going on and starts to investigate. He soon finds out that beneath it’s party town exterior, Hot Springs has a darker, and much more dangerous side.

Picking up a few months after Rod Reynolds stunning debut The Dark Inside ended, Black Night Falling oozes authenticity and a whole lot of deeply dark menace. The prose is a delight, and I adored the rhythmic cadence.

Reporter Charlie Yates is a great character, and in this second book of the series he’s doing his damnedest to move on from his past – his exile from New York, his failed marriage, and the brutal events in Texarkana that nearly claimed his life – by making a new life for himself in California. But it seems no matter how hard he tries, trouble always finds him! He’s still rather brooding and a bit mysterious, but he’s got a little more hope about him – or at least he’s trying to have!

I think that if Raymond Chandler and John D. MacDonald had co-written a book it might have been rather like BLACK NIGHT FALLING. Darkly gritty and authentically compelling, this is a flawless treat of a novel.

A must-read for all thriller fans. I recommend that you get it right now!

(And if you’ve not read The Dark Inside – get that too!)

BLACK NIGHT FALLING is published today! You can buy the book here from Amazon or from Waterstones by clicking on the store name.

To find out more about Rod Reynolds and his books go to his Amazon author page here and be sure to follow him on Twitter @Rod_RW

CTG Reviews: BONE DUST WHITE by Karin Salvalaggio

c3skzniumagvs6o-jpg-large

What the blurb says: “Someone is knocking at the door to Grace Adams’s house and won’t stop. Grace thinks she knows who it is, but when she looks out her bedroom window, she sees a woman she doesn’t recognize walking on the trails behind her home. The woman isn’t alone for long before a man emerges from the dark of the surrounding woods and stabs her, then retreats into the shadows, leaving her to die in the snow. Frantic, Grace calls the police, but knows they’ll never arrive in time, so she herself goes to the woman and is surprised to find she’s not a stranger – and that only raises more questions.

Badly shocked, Grace is taken to the hospital, and Detective Macy Greeley is called back to the small town of Collier, Montana, where she worked a case once before. She needs to track down the killer and find out what the murder has to do with Grace, a troubled young woman whose harrowing past may have finally come in from the cold. But the town of Collier is just as hard-bitten now as it was years ago, and Macy will have to reopen old wounds as she investigates a murder that looks like it took eleven years to come to pass.”

This is one of those books that pulls you into its world and holds you captive throughout the story until the very last word. And be warned, the world of BONE DUST WHITE is a claustrophobic place; a small town bursting with lies and deceit, a harsh winter environment that is as much of a killer as the humans who stab and shoot within it, a place where you can never escape from your past or the interference of others in your future. In short, the perfect setting for a crime thriller!

Detective Macy Greeley is a strong female lead. She’s pregnant, and heading towards single motherhood due to a rather complicated set of circumstances, but focused on solving the fresh case of the shooting outside Grace Adams’s house, and finding answers to solve the cold case of four young women’s deaths and the disappearance of another, many years previously. It’s not easy though. Aside from the dead ends, and difficulty in getting straight answers about either case from anyone in Collier, she’s also forced to reconnect with her own past in the small town, and the unfinished business she left behind.

As Macy digs deeper into the present and the past she starts to unravel the intricate web of secrets, lies and messy relationships that bind friends and enemies to the town. I especially loved the dark, brooding atmosphere of Collier and the quirky, unique characters that populate it. With gorgeous writing, a suspenseful storyline, and cast of characters where no one is telling the whole truth, this is thriller writing at its finest.

Chillingly creepy and hauntingly atmospheric BONE DUST WHITE is an absolute must read for crime fiction fans.

You can buy BONE DUST WHITE from Amazon here

And find out all about Karin Salvalaggio and her books here and follow her on Twitter @KarinSalvala

CTG EXCLUSIVE: STASI WOLF AND THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE MURDER

Today I’m super excited to have award winning crime writer (and good pal of mine) David Young guest posting on the CTG blog as part of his STASI WOLF Blog Tour. STASI WOLF is the second book in the Oberleutnant Karin Müller series following up from the smash hit STASI CHILD. Today, David Young is talking about the real life case that inspired the story in STASI WOLF.

Over to David …

Twenty-six years ago this month communist East Germany’s most well-known murder hunt began when the torso of a young boy was found stuffed in a suitcase by the side of the Halle to Leipzig rail line.

The body was soon identified as that of seven-year-old Lars Bense, who’d gone missing on a cinema trip two weeks earlier in the supposedly ideal socialist new city of Halle-Neustadt. A city where every apartment was near-identical, where streets didn’t have names, and where addresses were simply a strange six-digit code.

It’s the city that is the setting for Stasi Wolf, and although my fictional story is set six years earlier than the real-life murder, I’ve ‘borrowed’ some aspects of the murder investigation for the novel.

In the actual murder case, the only clue detectives had to the identity of the killer was found in a newspaper the body was wrapped in. A crossword puzzle was partially completed – the idiosyncratic handwriting, so experts said, was that of a middle-aged woman.

So began what still ranks as the biggest-ever handwriting sampling exercise in world history as part of the Kreuzworträtselmord – the Crossword Puzzle Murder. More than half-a-million samples of writing were collected, sometimes by ingenious methods such as staged competitions.

Die grossen Kriminalfaelle

At the heart of the hunt were the GDR’s reviled secret police, the Stasi – only this time they were doing some good, providing the manpower to help the overworked CID section of the People’s Police. I have them playing the same role in the novel – but also have them constantly overseeing my fictional detective Karin Müller’s work, because they don’t want news of her investigation to alarm the model city’s residents. And that has some basis in truth too. The successful end of the actual investigation was – in East German times – only mentioned in one small local newspaper report.

Today Halle-Neustadt is battered and worn, with many of its apartment blocks empty and condemned. A once-thriving population of 100,000 – mostly workers at the giant chemical works at nearby Merseburg – has shrunk to less than 40,000. But memories of the Crossword Puzzle Murder live on.

The team that eventually cracked the case – after several months – was led by Halle murder squad head Hauptmann Siegfried Schwarz. ‘Sigi’ – as he’s known – is still a hunter – but now it’s his hobby, and animals and birds are the quarry, rather than murderers, in the fields north-east of Halle where he now lives.

He agreed to meet me in Halle-Neustadt as part of his research and talked me through some of his cases, as well as his most famous one.

Although generally a jovial man, his face clouded over with sadness and his voice cracked with emotion when he spoke of another case that is perhaps closer to the central plot of Stasi Wolf – the killing of a baby whose body was found stuffed in a drawer in Halle city itself.

But it’s the Crossword Puzzle that he’s most well-known for. Some nine months after the hunt began the culprit was arrested. The handwriting had been matched to a resident of Block 398 – a middle-aged woman working as a seasonal worker on the Baltic Coast.

A male friend of the woman’s daughter fitted the profile of the killer, and eventually confessed to murder and sexual abuse of the boy, and was jailed for life – although after reunification this sentence was reduced because as he was eighteen at the time, he qualified as a juvenile.

He was released in 1999 and died in 2013 – on the day of the 32nd anniversary of his crime.

But – just as in the fictional Stasi Wolf – the real-life case has a final twist. His then girlfriend published what was supposedly a German-language ‘novel’ based on the murder that same year. Prosecutors opened a new case against her, on the grounds of alleged complicity to murder, because her statements in the novel differed from her accounts at the time.

However, she and her publishers insisted her book was fiction – and the case against her was subsequently dropped for lack of evidence.

A huge thank you to David Young for guest posting on the CTG blog today.

STASI WOLF is out now. Here’s the blurb: East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing. But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town – the pride of the communist state – and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town’s flawless image. Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .”

You can buy STASI WOLF from Amazon HERE

And be sure to check out all the fantastic stops on the STASI WOLF Blog Tour and follow David Young on Twitter @djy_writer

 

stasi-wolf-tour-banner

CTG’s CRIME THRILLER CLUB: #DEEPDOWNDEAD VALENTINE #COMP #WIN

img_4447

 

This week valentine’s day happens, and that sounds like a good excuse for a competition to me …

… so everyone who subscribes to my new Crime Thriller Club will be automatically entered into a prize draw with the chance to win this valentine’s prize (pictured) including:

  • A signed copy of DEEP DOWN DEAD
  • A box of valentine’s chocolates from Hotel Chocolat
  • A mini bottle of rose champagne (only to UK entrants, sorry!)
  • A pair of handcuffs (cos nothing says ‘be my valentine’ like a pair of handcuffs right?)

By signing up to the CTG Crime Thriller Club you’ll get access to my eNewsletters with exclusive subscriber competitions, content and will be the first to hear about my book news and events.

It only takes a moment, so CLICK HERE to sign up now to be in with a chance to win!

** This competition closes at 9pm on Sunday 19th February 2017 **

Rules
(1) One entry per subscriber (2) Open worldwide, but champagne will only be posted to UK addresses – sorry! (3) All entrants must be 18 years or over (4) The winner will be drawn at random (5) No cash alternative (6)  The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into

CTG HITS THE ROAD: STEPH BROADRIBB TALKS DEEP DOWN DEAD (AND MORE!)

 

I’m thrilled to have been invited to speak on panels at a whole bunch of fabulous crime writing events and festivals this year. While some of the details are still being finalised, I thought I’d give you a heads up on where I’ll be heading between now and May.

Hopefully see you there …

 

6 FEBRUARY at 6.30pm – FIRST MONDAY CRIME at BROWNS, THE JUDGE’S COURT, LONDON

Panel with M.R. Hall, David Young, Sheena Kamal and Steph Broadribb, chaired by Barry Forshaw

Details: https://www.goldsborobooks.com/event/february-first-monday/

 

28 FEBRUARY at 6.30pm – INTERNATIONAL CRIME FICTION EVENT at WATERSTONES LIVERPOOL 1

Orenda Books Roadshow with Kati Hiekkapelto, Michael J. Malone, Antti Tuomainen, Louise Beech, Steph Broadribb, Matt Johnson and Matt Wesolowski

Details: https://www.waterstones.com/events/join-us-for-an-evening-of-international-crime-fiction-writing-with-the-orenda-roadshow/liverpool

 

11 MARCH at 8.15pm – AYE WRITE, GLASGOW

3 Slices of Crime panel with SJI Holliday, Russel McLean and Steph Broadribb chaired by Gordon Brown

Details: http://www.ayewrite.com/Pages/default.aspx

 

25 MARCH – DEAL NOIR, KENT

Panel details tbc

Details: https://dealnoir.wordpress.com/

 

29/30 APRIL – NEWCASTLE NOIR FESTIVAL

Panel details tbc

Details: http://newcastlenoir.blogspot.co.uk/

 

18-21 MAY – CRIMEFEST, BRISTOL

Panel details tbc

Details: http://www.crimefest.com/

 

 

CTG REVIEWS: THE DAMSELFLY by SJI HOLLIDAY

the-damselfly

What the blurb says: “Katie Taylor is the perfect student. She’s bright and funny, she has a boyfriend who adores her and there are only a few months left of school before she can swap Banktoun for the bright lights of London. Life gets even better when she has an unexpected win on a scratch card. But then Katie’s luck runs out.

Her tragic death instead becomes the latest in a series of dark mysteries blighting the small town. The new school counsellor Polly McAllister, who has recently returned to Banktoun to make amends in her own personal life, is thrown in at the deep end as the pupils and staff come to terms with Katie’s death. And it’s not long before she uncovers a multitude of murky secrets. Did Katie have enemies? Is her boyfriend really so squeaky clean? And who is her brother’s mysterious friend?

With Banktoun’s insular community inflamed by gossip and a baying mob stirring itself into a frenzy on social media, DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings must work out who really murdered Katie before someone takes matters into their own hands…”

THE DAMSELFLY is the third book in the Banktoun series, and a real firecracker of a read.

Series favourite, DS Davie Gray is back, joined by DC Louise Jennings to try and work out who killed local teenager Katie Taylor, a resident of the rather ill-fated Banktoun in Scotland.

As always with this series, I found myself hooked fast and pulled deep into the small town whisperings and curtain-twitching claustrophobia of the small Scottish town. Katie is a compelling character, and although she is only alive for a short time on the page, she is a constant presence within the book, one that has you willing DS Gray and DC Jennings on in their search for her killer.

But they don’t have an easy task. Banktoun is a place of many secrets, and getting them uncovered is a difficult job. With the police no closer to an arrest, and the outrage in the town growing by the hour, it isn’t long before social media is used to incite townsfolk to take matters into their own hands. Someone is playing an evil game. Question is, who?

As DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings are soon to find out, in a town plagued by lies and resentments, danger can be far closer than you think.

I loved this book. It’s a brilliant page turner of a read with and a twisting, turning story that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s also gut-wrenchingly emotive, with vivid characters, and a creepy and stiflingly intense location.

An outstanding police procedural that had me captivated from the very first page to the jaw-dropingly shocking finale, THE DAMSELFLY is a must read for all crime fiction fans.

THE DAMSELFLY is out today. You can buy it from Amazon here

And be sure to pop over to SJI Holliday’s blog here and follow her on Twitter @SJIHolliday