THE LAST RESORT – A LORI ANDERSON SHORT STORY – IS OUT NOW! #CrimeFiction

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If you’re looking for a Lori and JT fix before the next book in the Lori Anderson thriller series – DEEP BLUE TROUBLE – comes out later this year don’t fear!

You can download a Lori short story – THE LAST RESORT – that goes back in time to when Lori was training with JT and learning the bounty hunting business.

Here’s what the blurb says:

“Done with a life of exploitation and violence, Lori Anderson is training to be a bounty hunter. Holed up in the Georgia Mountains with her reclusive mentor, JT, Lori is determined to put her new skills into practice. Behind JT’s back, she breaks his rules and grabs the chance she’s looking for. Will her gamble pay off, or will she have to learn the hard way?

The Last Resort is the first in the Rookie Bounty Hunter series of short stories, marking the nail-biting start to a high-octane series of thrillers featuring one of the most unforgettable and fearless female protagonists in crime fiction.”

It also includes a free extract of DEEP DOWN DEAD, book one in the Lori Anderson Series.

I’ve been totally blown away by the fabulous crime fiction bloggers and reviewers who’ve read and shared their thoughts on THE LAST RESORT – here’s what they’re saying:

“Raw, edgy and a real page turner – the short story will satisfy your urges” Noelle @nholten40 – read full review on CrimeBookJunkie here

“What a start to the day! We all need a bit of Lori Anderson’s courage and determination” Christine @northernlass73 – read full review on Northern Crime here

“Broadribb has a tough vulnerability that really draws you in. I think she’s a superstar on the rise” Craig @craigsisterson – read full review on Kiwi Crime blog here

“A punchy, fast paced short story and I absolutely loved it. More please!” Emma @damppebbles – read full review on damppebbles.com here

“Ooh Lawdy, how it all began (think I need a nap). Great prequel to Deep Down Dead.” Sandy @rowingwabbit – read full review on Goodreads here

Fancy a Lori and JT fix?

CLICK HERE to hop on over to Amazon.com to buy and download THE LAST RESORT 

 

CTG Interviews KJ Howe about The Freedom Broker

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While I was at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate I met up with fellow debut novelist KJ Howe to chat about her fabulous thriller THE FREEDOM BROKER. Over coffee, we talked research, writing process, and how she created the kick-ass action heroine Thea Paris…

Thea Paris is such an authentic all-action female lead – what inspired you to create her as a character?

I always wanted to write a strong female protagonist. As part of my research I went out to the Phoenix desert and trained in hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting and more. I’m a big believer of if you’re going to write about it you should have experienced it. I’ve got this rolodex of Special Forces guys I can call on – they read the book – and wanted to bring an authenticity to the page. I would have loved to have been a spy! I’ve been zip lining, cage diving with sharks, but I’m also feminine and enjoy dressing up – I wanted to show a woman can be a real woman but also really strong too, but not in a comic book way. Thea Paris has very human baggage and with her diabetes there’s a ticking clock – she has to have her insulin [which can be tricky given some of the situations she gets into during the course of The Freedom Broker]. I wanted to show that if you have a chronic illness it shouldn’t stop you, and if you’re a woman it shouldn’t stop you doing your dream job.

Thea’s job as a Response Consultant [kidnap negotiator/rescuer] is an unusual one – what research did you do?

I’ve spent the last four years immersed in that world and found out first-hand about what it’s like. As well as speaking with people who’ve been in real life hostage situations – like Peter Moore who was the longest held hostage in Iraq – I’ve found out about the world of kidnap and ransom. I attended the Kidnap and Ransom Conference – I didn’t know anyone, and it’s a dark, closed world – but I needed to learn about it so I could write authentically. Now I’ve got contacts all over the world – including special ops people, response consultants, a psychologist who specialises in hostage mentality, and security guys who protect journalists in war zones.

I wanted to do something fresh and unique, and I didn’t want to do FBI or Police as I’m not a rule follower – I wanted the freedom to go wild! Private industry doesn’t have the same restrictions, and it’s interesting how the whole system works – from big companies, to kidnap insurance, through to response consultants [interestingly, Lloyds of London are the people who first started selling kidnap and ransom insurance]. People can be insured for as much as fifty million dollars, and negotiators will often haggle down from the ransom demand – usually 10% or so. In the US and the UK the penalty for kidnap is high, and there’s also a 95% chance of getting caught. But in Mexico there are no laws on kidnap and a 95% chance of not getting caught – so it’s more worth the risk to kidnappers. Plus there’s no lack of potential victims – everyone has loved ones – it’s scary. With every book in the series I’m hoping to explore a different aspect of kidnap.

THE FREEDOM BROKER is super twisty-turny – what was your writing process?

I’m an organic writer. I do plan ahead, but mostly the story is held in my head. I do go back and plant things later though. You can’t fight who you are – if you need to plot to feel in control then do that. I find there’s a freshness from organically writing – the characters come alive. So listen to your heart and write how you want to – my style is ‘pants on fire’ writing. You can sometimes get into trouble writing organically, but for me it’s well worth the risk. If I get into a corner I think ‘what’s the theme of the book?’ – it’s often family – and can work out what next from there.

What got you into writing thrillers?

When you look at the book you’re reading and the books you chose to read there’s always an emotion attached to them. With thrillers it’s energy and adrenaline, with mysteries it’s puzzle solving, with romance it’s hope, and with sci-fi it’s wonder. I’m into adrenaline and energy – I’m a very action orientated person. I read David Morrell’s Brotherhood of the Rose – a spy thriller – and thought I’d love to be an author and be able to do what he did to me to another reader, to take them to another place – like Athens – and fascinate them. The Eye of the Needle and Day of the Jackal are great books. I grew up in different places around the world and wanted a character that can go anywhere – each book will go to different countries.

KJ HOWE

What words of advice do you have for those aspiring to be published?

Embrace criticism from credible sources. I worked on my book for two years and had to go on the journey – it’s 10% about talent and 90% about perspiration – and you have to be in it for the long haul. Everyone I know has been at it for a while. Write every day or as often as you can – get out the junk words and keep going! David Morrell is my mentor and he has a saying ‘Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else’ – only you can write your book. It’s like with me having had a very international life – I’ve lived in lots of places where the shadow of threat is always there – I can bring to the page what I’ve learnt. Be fresh. Unless there’s great writing and a unique voice don’t do something that’s already been done. Stay the course and get help – never bring your ego to the table. Although I’m published I feel like I’m at the beginning of the journey. I want to stay at it, keep getting better, and then getting word out about my books and reaching readers. Learn everything you can about this business. Do your own social media, and get involved and be part of the writing community (events like the Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival held at Harrogate every July are a great place to start). I try to help as many writers as I can – playing it forward as I’ve had a lot of help from authors. You can contact me through my website and the ThrillerFest website [she’s the Executive Director of the fantastic crime writing festival] – I’m always happy to hear from people.

And with that the coffee was drunk and the interview was over. KJ Howe was a brilliantly fun interviewee and it was great to meet her and talk about all the fascinating research she’s done – she really is an action woman herself!

To find out more about KJ Howe visit her website HERE and be sure to follow her on Twitter @KJHoweAuthor

You can read my review of THE FREEDOM BROKER HERE and then hop over to Amazon to buy it by clicking the link HERE

And check out the ThrillerFest website HERE for all the details on this amazing crime writing festival held in New York every summer.

CTG Reviews: The Freedom Broker by KJ Howe

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What the blurb says: “Thea Paris is one of the world’s one elite kidnapping negotiators and the only woman in her field. Undercover operations and high-risk extractions are a part of daily life for Thea. Her only objective: getting her hostages out alive, at any cost.

But Thea is about to face her toughest challenge yet to free a very special client: her father. An oil tycoon on the verge of a world-altering deal, Thea’s father is snatched off his yacht in Greece from right under Thea’s nose. With no ransom demands and only cryptic messages left in Latin, Thea knows it will take all her experience and resolve to bring her father home alive. But with traumatic memories of her brother’s kidnapping 20 years earlier still haunting her and trying to hide her diabetes from her colleagues, Thea Paris could have finally met her match.”

First up, I have to say this is one hell of a story. Plunging straight into the action right from the get-go, we meet Thea Paris – kidnap negotiator – in the jungles of Kwale, Nigeria, leading a mission by stealth to bring back a man held captive for ransom. She’s tough, determined, and focused on the job in hand. And from those very first pages I was hooked.

The Freedom Broker is about a lot more than pure action though (although there’s plenty of that too) it’s about family dynamics and difficult relationships, about how it feels to be a woman operating in a very male dominated profession, it’s about secrets and revenge and how our past informs our present.

And although Thea Paris might be the ultimate action woman – she knows her guns and her helicopters just as well as any man – she’s also feminine and romantic, she’s a loving daughter and caring sister, and she manages a disability that she keeps hidden from almost everyone around her. She’s a character you want to succeed, that you root for, trust in and, after all the action has gone down, the kind of person it’d be great fun to go out for a few drinks with.

The Freedom Broker is a thrilling read, it’ll have you high on adrenaline and heart-wrenched with anxiety, and you’ll love every single minute of it.

Buy it now!

I’m counting the days until the second in the series comes out – for me it can’t be quickly enough!

Find out more about KJ Howe on her website here

And buy THE FREEDOM BROKER on Amazon here

 

Check back in later in the week to read my interview with KJ Howe.

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

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CTG shameless plug: #VoteLori #FearlessFemale @DeadGoodBooks Reader Awards 2017 – thank you!

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Please excuse the shameless plug but…

I’m totally thrilled that DEEP DOWN DEAD is on the shortlists for two awards – Fearless Female Character and Most Exceptional Debut – at the Dead Good Readers Awards that are presented at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate this July.

These awards are nominated and voted for by readers – so if you enjoyed DEEP DOWN DEAD I’d be real grateful if you could throw a vote in Lori Anderson and DEEP DOWN DEAD’s direction!

The voting is open now over at the fab Dead Good Books website here: http://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/dead-good-reader-awards-2017/

#VoteLori
THANK YOU!!!!

CTG Exclusive: Chris Ewan talks rebooting the Good Thief’s Guide series

Today the fabulous Chris Ewan – a great crime writer and all-round good guy – is reissuing the first few books in his awesome Good Thief’s Guide… series.  

To celebrate, Chris is taking the controls for the day at CTG HQ to tell us more about the series and how it came about.

Over to Chris…

Just lately, I’ve been in the process of reissuing the first five titles in my Good Thief’s Guide To … series of mystery novels as ebooks in the UK. (I’ve priced them very reasonably! You should totally check them out!) The novels are fun, fast-paced capers about globetrotting crime writer and thief-for-hire Charlie Howard, with each book set in a different international city, ranging from Amsterdam to Paris, Las Vegas, Venice and Berlin.

One of the most interesting parts for me in reissuing the books has been the opportunity to read them again and remember all of the experiences and ideas that went into each one – from the research trips I made to the cities I was writing about, to learning how to pick locks and crack safes, to figuring out (usually after a LOT of swearing) whodunnit and why. As I thought about some of those experiences, it occurred to me that it might be a nice idea to include a letter to readers in the back of each of the reissued books sharing a few of my memories.

Which brings us to the letter below. It’s a slightly amended version of the letter I’ve included in the back of my first Good Thief’s Guide novel, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam, and it tells the story of how I got published for the first time. It took me a while to get there – a little under a decade – but the story has a pretty neat ending, I think. I hope you enjoy reading about it. And hey, if you fancy checking out one of my Good Thief’s Guides while you’re at it, I’d be doubly thrilled.

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Dear Reader

In 2006, when I was twenty-nine years old, I made my wife a promise. I had spent most of my twenties pursuing my dream of becoming a published author. I had written in the early mornings before work, in the evenings and nights after work, and all day every weekend. In that time, I had written and endlessly rewritten three novels. I’d been taken on by a literary agent but I hadn’t got my break. Eventually, my wife pointed out that I was spending more time in my makeshift study with the imaginary people in my head than I was with her. She was right, and I felt bad about it, and so I promised her that if I wasn’t published by the time I was thirty, I would take a breather for a few years. (I still wasn’t prepared to give up on the dream quite yet).

That year, I happened to be working on a book about a burglar set in Amsterdam. I chose Amsterdam because I had lived there for six months when I was training to be a lawyer and I had fallen in love with the city. I chose a burglar because I’ve always enjoyed crime novels about crooks. And I made my lead character a writer of mystery novels because I wanted to write about my love of the genre. I called the book The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam.

One day, some time around April, I think, when I had just completed yet another draft of the book, a colleague at my law firm on the Isle of Man came into my office and asked me if I had seen that the author Susan Hill was running a competition for unpublished writers. Anyone could submit their work and the winner would have their book published by Susan’s small publishing company, Long Barn Books. I emailed my novel to the competition in the secret hope that if I was very lucky I might get a small word of feedback from Susan, perhaps even a gem of advice.

Many months went by. Then, on a day in September, the same colleague stuck their head into my office to say that I should look at Susan’s website because my book was on the shortlist for the award. A week later, my phone went at work. I picked it up and a voice on the other end said, “Hello, this is Susan Hill. You’ve won my competition. You’re going to be a published author.”

That phone call changed my life. It remains the single best phone call I’ve ever received. And it reached me one week before I turned thirty.

Since then, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam has gone on to be published in thirteen countries around the world. It has led to four more Good Thief’s Guides, set in Paris, Las Vegas, Venice and Berlin. The books have been optioned for television three times and they set me on my way to realizing an even bigger dream of becoming a full-time writer. I am itching to write more books in the series, and with your support, I hope there may be many more Good Thief’s Guides to come.

But none of this would be possible, or worthwhile, without you. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this book and for becoming such a crucial part of the Good Thief’s Guides story.

These books are brilliant. I recommend you read them right now! As a fabulous bonus the Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is only 99p on Kindle right now, and the Good Thief’s Guides Box Set just £6.99.

Here are the links…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Thiefs-Guide-Amsterdam-Guides-ebook/dp/B071F6PBQM/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Thiefs-Guides-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B072LXDRWB/

And be sure to pop by Chris Ewan’s website and follow him on all the social media sites to stay up to date with his news

www.chrisewan.com

www.facebook.com/chrisewanauthor

Twitter: @chrisewan

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CTG REVIEWS: SILENT RAIN by KARIN SALVALAGGIO

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What the blurb says: “Grace Adams has spent three years trying to move on – mentally, physically, emotionally – from the traumatizing events of her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her. The bestselling novelist Peter Granger wants to use Grace’s story in his next book, regardless of how desperate Grace is to keep the details to herself. And then, on Halloween night, Peter Granger’s house burns to the ground and his and his wife’s bodies are found inside.

Montana state detective Macy Greeley is sent to Bolton to handle the investigation into the fire and deaths… which soon appear to be arson and murder. It doesn’t take Macy long to realise Grace isn’t the only one whom Peter Granger has betrayed, and there are no shortage of others in town who took issue with him and his wife. What at first looked like a straightforward investigation is poised to expose some of Bolton’s darkest secrets, and the fallout may put more than one life in danger.”

SILENT RAIN is the fourth book in the Detective Macy Greeley series that started with Karin Salvalaggio’s acclaimed debut novel BONE DUST WHITE.

First off, I have to say that I loved this book. Karen Salvalaggio creates such wonderful textured characters that it’s impossible to resist being pulled into the story from the very first page. The sense of place surrounds you, transporting you to Bolton, Montana, on Halloween night and the aftermath that follows.

Grace Adams is a fascinating character, she’s a combination of tough and vulnerable – determined to get beyond the shadow of her past, yet haunted by the events that happened in her childhood and even in a new town with a new identity, unable to escape entirely. She’s making a new life for herself though – going to college, hanging out with new friends, and focusing on her art. But things aren’t easy, and a man – Peter Granger, a literary novelist – who she trusted with her story now wants to use the details in his latest book. When he ends up dead in a house fire, and Grace is unable to provide an alibi for the time the fire started, it looks like trouble might have found her again.

And that’s just the start of it.

Enter Detective Macy Greeley. She’s tough, smart and juggles her job alongside parenting her young son Luke. She also has a history with Grace Adams – she investigated the awful events that happened in Grace’s past. As Macy starts investigating the death of Peter Granger she uncovers increasingly disturbing things about him and how he has been using young women. It seems a lot of women in Bolton could have had motive to kill him. The question is, who did?

With themes of the search for self-identity, abuse, betrayal, guilt and infidelity, this is a fast paced, gripping story which will also grab you by the heart and make you ponder for a long while after the last page has been devoured.

SILENT RAIN is an fabulously engrossing mystery delivered with one hell of an emotional punch. Read it now!

 

You can buy SILENT RAIN from Amazon here

Find out more about Karin Salvalaggio at www.karinsalvalaggio.com and be sure to follow her on Twitter @KarinSalvala

WATCHING THE BODIES BLOG TOUR: @GrahamSmith1972 – CREATING A NEW LEAD

Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on Graham Smith’s WATCHING THE BODIES blog tour. 

First, here’s a little bit about the book – what the blurb says: “When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.”

Graham is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, WATCHING THE BODIES in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder. On the tour today, Graham’s talking about the process of creating a new lead. Over to Graham…

Forgive me for starting with back story, but it is rather relevant.

A few years ago I had a near miss with an American publisher and after being accepted by the commissioning editor, her readers and the proprietors, I found myself being rejected because the marketing bods for the publisher didn’t feel they could sell a UK set novel by a UK based writer to the US market.

Now, as anyone who knows me will testify, I’m rather stubborn, so after I found another publisher for that novel and I’d finished writing its sequel, I found myself with a window in which I could write another novel.

Being the stubborn Oedipus that I am, I decided to set a story in the US so I could present it all wrapped up in a neat bow to the publisher, and the marketing bods if I’m honest, who’d previously turned me down. The problem was, I had to create a new lead.

Enter Jake Boulder.

I knew which market I wanted and I’m very familiar with the genre of thriller I was planning to write. Namely that of the all action hero who fights for justice and is as handy with his fists as he is with his brain. This kind of character is your usual ex-forces type who is often very much a loner.

That’s right, I was planning to enter the world inhabited by the likes of Jack Reacher, Joe Hunter, Sam Carver, Victor and Charlie Fox.

The problem was, all these guys were so established, I would find it hard to break through writing about yet another ex-forces guy or gal who righted wrongs.

To solve the problem I decided my as yet unnamed hero wouldn’t have any military or police background and would be more of a back street brawler. I wanted him to be different and by not giving him any of this training, it’d be easier for me to pit him against enemies who were ostensibly better equipped than he was.

I was also adamant that I didn’t want my hero to start out as someone who could, and would, kill anyone who crossed him. Rather, I wanted him to be an everyman, who can look after himself and those around him. Jake Boulder may one day take the life of another human being, but on page one of Watching the Bodies, he has never killed a man.

After a few conversations with a writing buddy and a lot of thought, I had a name and Jake Boulder was officially christened. I feel it’s a good name and that Boulder suggests toughness and durability, while the Christian name of Jake is short and therefore emphasises his surname.

By now Boulder was growing in my mind. He’d moved to the US as a fifteen year-old when his mother remarried. Before he left Glasgow, his grandfather took him out into the garden and passed on a few of the fighting techniques he’d learned working in the shipyards on the Clyde.

I now had a hero with a credible back story to explain some basic, if underhand, fighting skills. Next I needed to give him a position in life. Lee Child’s Reacher has the drifter covered and both Zoe Sharp and Matt Hilton have their characters act as bodyguards on occasion so I needed to find a new hook as I didn’t want Boulder to be an assassin.

Instead I made him a bouncer / doorman in small town Utah. It’s the kind of place we’ve all seen in one movie or another where the police department is largely incompetent and every member has been hired due to nepotism.

I gave him a best friend who has his own private detective business which thrives due to the uselessness of the police and this in turn allows me to embroil Boulder in mysteries.

To round out the character, I gave him a few hang-ups from his past, a specific fear and a trait or two to hopefully endear him to my readers.

As with all lead characters, he didn’t appear fully formed in my mind, rather he grew stage by stage until he was fully developed into a person I was comfortable I could spend many hours with.

Yes, there’s a little bit of who I want to be in there along with a lot of what I find interesting. I plan to hang with Boulder for a good few more years, I’d love it if anyone who reads this would join me.

A big thank you to Graham Smith for dropping by the CTG blog today and telling us about the origins of his new lead character Jake Boulder.

You can buy WATCHING THE BODIES here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491159376&sr=8-1

And find out more about Graham Smith and his books:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor/?fref=ts

Website https://www.grahamsmithauthor.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972?lang=en-gb

And be sure to check out all the other great stops along the tour:

#unleashboulder