YOU DIE NEXT: £1.99 Kindle pre-order! #crimefiction

you die next

I’m so excited! My new thriller written under pen name Stephanie Marland hits the shops next month and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world.

Also, if you’re a Kindle reader, you can pre-order it now at the discount price of £1.99 – and that way it’ll be delivered onto your kindle at 12.01am on the 4th of April.

I had so much fun researching this book – finding lots of hidden spots around London to use as locations for scenes – and I’ll be posting about them over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, here’s the blurb:

“YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE… A group of urban explorers stumble into a murderer’s kill room in a derelict film studio. Terrified, they run, thinking they are safe. Then a message appears on their video channel: Who dies next?

As DI Dominic Bell and his team investigate the series of murders in hidden locations across London, they fail to find the connection between the victims. The only person who can help is Clementine Starke, an academic researching adult thrillseekers. However, Clementine is haunted by dark and violent obsessions, including her former relationship with DI Dominic Bell.

As the body count rises, Clementine Starke and DI Dominic Bell form an uneasy alliance to hunt the killer. But as they close in on their prey, and things turn personal, Clementine has to decide which side of the law she’s really on.

A cat-and-mouse thriller for fans of Mark Billingham, Sarah Hilary and Rachel Abbott that unfolds in a number of terrifying hidden locations across London. Readers who enjoyed Thomas Harris’s Hannibal series will be thrilled by the deadly relationship between DI Dominic Bell and Clementine Starke.”

Sound like your sort of book?

Grab it on pre-order at Amazon UK by clicking on the book cover below:

I hope you enjoy it!

Interview: Author David Khara talks to us about The Bleiberg Project

cover image

cover image

Today, I’m pleased to welcome David Khara, author of The Bleiberg Project, a new conspiracy theory action thriller from France.

The Bleiberg Project is an adrenaline-pumping conspiracy thriller and the first in the Consortium Thriller series by the French writer David Khara. Are Hitler’s atrocities really over? This thriller full of humour and humanity was an immediate sensation in France, catapulting the author to the ranks of the country’s top thriller writers. It is now available in English.

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

Author David Khara

Author David Khara

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

The Bleiberg Project is out now and available via Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

You know you need another bookcase when …

many books!

many books!

 

I love books.

It’s a simple fact.

The problem is, even though I’ve got a Kindle, I’m still hopelessly addicted to hardbacks and paperbacks.

And that’s a problem. I’m always running out of shelf-space and so my books begin to take over the floor – I think the photo speaks for itself!

What’s your solution to an ever increasing book collection?

Review: The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook by Josie Brown

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Donna Stone isn’t a regular mom. She might be super efficient at managing her home, and her three kids, but she’s got a deadly job – she’s a trained assassin focused on avenging the death of her husband, Carl.

But things hadn’t always been that way, until Carl’s death five years earlier she’d been unaware of his job as an assassin for the black ops organisation known only as Acme Industries. That all changed the night she gave birth to their third child, and Carl’s car blew up on the way to the hospital.

Since then, Donna trained hard and has become an elite ‘honey trap’ assassin. When Acme Industries discover that the organisation believed to be responsible for Carl’s murder, The Quorum, have planted operatives in Donna’s community, she’s keen to bring them to justice. So they decide to bring Carl back from the dead (in the shape of sexy super-agent, Jack) to act as bait. As they race against time to foil The Quorum’s plans, Donna discovers that everything might not be as she’s been led to believe.

The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook is a hilarious, laugh-out-loud read. Donna is a fantastic character – practical, witty, and kick-ass tough. There’s plenty of action – both in and out of the bedroom – and although there are a few grittier scenes, generally this is a light, humourous caper of a crime novel. I especially love the house-keeping tips at the start of each chapter – each with its own deadly twist!

This book is perfect for relaxing in the bath with after a long day. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Highly Recommended.

[I bought my copy of The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook via Amazon Kindle] 

York Festival of Writing: the book!

cover FoW ebook

cover FoW ebook

In September 2012 I attended the annual York Festival of Writing organised by the fabulous Writers Workshop. It’s a wonderful event, with seminars, panels and workshops for budding authors and a brilliantly friendly atmosphere.

This year, for the first time, festival goers were invited to submit a short piece of writing as a contribution to a book that would capture the essence of the festival.

Edited by the awesome writer Debi Alper, this gorgeous book is now available on Amazon Kindle here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writers-Workshop-FESTIVAL-WRITING-ebook/dp/B00BFXK4T8 

It’s a fun read, with plenty of variety, and even features Crime Thriller Girl’s top five tips for FoW fabulous-ness (and the top tips of my fellow Nomad’s Natalie James and James ‘Mighty Jock’ Law).

Whether you attended the 2012 festival or not, it’s well worth a read.

It’ll certainly make you want to book for 2013.

Indie Spotlight: Kiss and Tell by T J Cooke

book cover: Kiss and Tell

book cover: Kiss and Tell

A legal thriller with a heart

Now, I must admit, legal thrillers aren’t usually my thing. However what I especially liked about this story, and which makes this book stand out, is the main character, and heroine of the story, Jill Shadow.

Jill’s single parent who started in the company as a secretary and worked her way up the career ladder – juggling work, childcare and study – to become a qualified lawyer. Determined and courageous (aside from when dealing with spiders) she tackles the challenges that come her way in a direct and bold fashion, even if she might be trembling inside.

But Jill’s got a secret. When the unthinkable happens, and her life, and that of her child, are put in danger Jill sets out to determine the truth behind the case of drugs-mule Bella Kiss who claims to be an informant to local detectives, and the seemingly unlinked release from prison of Jimmy – her ex-boyfriend and father to her daughter Hannah. She discovers corruption and criminal activities that stretch far further than she had ever imagined.

The story is told in chapters which alternate between real-time (Jill in a police safe-house, desperate to find her missing daughter) and the past (her relationship with her ex – Jimmy – and the Bella Kiss case) that has led to her current predicament. It’s an interesting structure, and one that keeps you trying to piece together the clues and solve the puzzle along with Jill. It starts at a steady pace which rises significantly in the second half.

Kiss and Tell is an innovative, quirky take on the legal thriller sub-genre.

 

Author and screenwriter, Tim Cooke, a former legal executive, was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for me.

Where did you get your inspiration for Kiss and Tell?

Kiss and Tell is an amalgam of two story strands, the journey of Jill Shadow, from a naive teenage secretary to an industrious and committed criminal lawyer… and her involvement in the case of Bella Kiss, which exposes a fresh and disturbing angle to the current ‘drug debate’.

Both character and story are based on research over recent years. I wanted a character who broke the traditional lawyer stereotype… she’s someone who always wants to get to the heart of the matter and has no other agenda than to find out the truth. I always find a character, particularly a professional, more intriguing when they’ve had to struggle to beat the odds.

As for the narrative, I have seen at first hand how our drug laws have failed society, and how they might be exacerbating rather than controlling the problem. Research then threw up the possibility that some of those who argue for the status quo in the current drug debate [ie against decriminalisation] might be doing so not to ‘protect our children’s future’ as they claim, but to further their own continued profit, via a labyrinthine network of laundered money.

 

So now that Kiss and Tell is published, what are your plans for Jill Shadow? I’m hoping there’ll be a follow-up book, am I in luck?

My second novel ‘Defending Elton is out soon. This will introduce us to Jim Harwood, a lawyer who doesn’t share Jill’s strong ethical code, and whose dysfunctional past is exposed after a fateful lapse of judgment… which results in one of the most extraordinary murder trials in the Old Bailey’s history.

This will be followed by a return to Jill Shadow, who gets embroiled in a complex and dangerous ‘cold case’ murder. A case where the victim seems to be providing clues ‘from the grave’.

 

Kiss and Tell is available now on Amazon Kindle.