CTG’s 10 COOL THINGS THAT HAPPENED AT BOUCHERCON

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THE SLICE GIRLS at the HOUSE OF BLUES [L-R: Alexandra Sokoloff, CTG, AK Benedict, Louise Voss, SJI Holliday, Harley Jane Kozak]

It was my first time at Bouchercon and OMG it was amazing!

Firstly, Bouchercon is a massive festival – almost 2000 writers, readers, bloggers and industry folks all poured in from across the world for the mystery convention that ran from Thursday September 15th to Sunday September 18th. The atmosphere was electric!

Plus, it was held in New Orleans this year – a city unlike any other that I’ve visited – loud, bright, dirty, magical, shiny. A place of many contradictions!

It’s super hard to pick just ten cool things as in truth it was a whole week of cool, but I’ve had a go at picking out just a few highlights in words and pictures …

  1. Watching the hilarious IT ONLY TAKES A MINUTE panel with the brilliantly funny Mark Billingham, Laura Lippman, Martyn Waites and Alex Marwood and chaired by John Connolly
  2. Hanging out on Bourbon Street with the most wonderful group of UK crime writers
  3. Drinking a ‘Hand Grenade’ cocktail – like rocket fuel, but with more bang!!
  4. Music, music everywhere!
  5. Seeing Darth Vader dancing in the street
  6. Being on the Continuous Conversations panel chaired by the lovey Austin Lugar
  7. Seeing Jeff Abbott (one of my thriller writing heroes) on the YOU ALWAYS HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE panel
  8. Singing with THE SLICE GIRLS (SJI Holliday, AK Benedict, Alexandra Sokoloff, Louise Voss, Harley Jane Kozak) at the legendary HOUSE OF BLUES
  9. Playing up to the fabulous (and masterfully stern) Heather Graham on stage at HOUSE OF BLUES as she sang When You’re Good To Mama
  10. Seeing the genius that is Mark Billingham, Stuart Neville and Doug Johnston performing live at the HOUSE OF BLUES

Next year Bouchercon is being held in TORONTO. I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to be there!

Visit the website to find out more www.bouchercon2017.com/registration/

And check out the fantastic article written in The Independent by Andy Martin on the Bouchercon experience here

CTG Reviews: The Inside Man by Jeff Abbott

The Inside Man cover image

The Inside Man cover image

What the blurb says: “Sam Capra’s friend Steve has been murdered, shot dead in the rain outside of his Miami bar. The only lead: a mysterious, beautiful stranger Steve tried to protect. To avenge his friend, Sam goes undercover into the Varelas, one of Miami’s most prominent and dangerous families.

Now on the inside, playing a part where one wrong move means death, Sam faces a powerful, unstable tycoon intent on dividing his business empire between his three very different children, who each may hold murderous secrets of their own.

Sam is relentlessly drawn into this family’s intense drama, amplifying painful echoes of his own shattered relationships as a son, brother, father, and husband. And just when he thinks he understands why the family is self-destructing, he discovers a lethal secret so shocking that the Varelas cannot let him walk away alive . . .”

As you know, I love a good action thriller and The Inside Man, book three in the Sam Capra series, doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of seat-of-your-pants action in this high energy, high stakes thriller.

When Sam Capra’s old friend Steve Robles is shot and killed outside a bar in Miami as he tries to protect his client – Cordelia Verela – Sam can’t just stand by and let justice go unserved. Risking his own safety and the wrath of his employers, Sam sets out to find out who murdered his friend, and in doing so becomes embroiled in the lives of the hugely wealthy and extremely dangerous Varela family.

But what at first appears to be an old-fashioned family feud soon is revealed to be a whole lot more. Determined to avenge his friend, and get Cordelia to safety, Sam follows the evidence and digs deeper into the smuggling myths about the family’s criminal connections.

As the body count rises, and Sam becomes a target, he discovers a much darker secret hidden inside the core of the family’s history. Question is, will he live long enough to tell the tale?

The story hurtles along with the gas pedal pressed firmly to the floor, following Sam as he seeks out the truth and vows to bring the killer of his friend to justice. There are plenty of twists and turns, and a cast of highly suspious and potentially criminal characters, that combine to keep you guessing over the identity of who it was behind Steve’s murder.

With plenty of slick action sequences, chases, and fight scenes – and a smuggling technique that’s highly unusual and, for a moment, made me think the story was taking a sci-fi turn – this pacey, race-against-time thriller makes for a great summer read.

Highly recommended.

 

[I bought my own copy of The Inside Man]

CTG’s Xmas Gift Ideas (part 2): Action Thrillers

The holiday season is fast approaching, and along with it the search for the perfect gift. But there’s no need to panic. Hardback, paperback, audiobook or eBook, whatever your preferred format, books make a fabulous gift.

So, if you’re looking for a few ideas for the crime thriller lovers in your life (or you’re dropping a few hints about what you’d like in your Christmas stocking) here’s a recap of some of my favourite reads from 2013 …

Today’s picks: Action Thrillers

Action thrillers top my list of the many sub-genres within crime fiction. 2013 has been a great year for them, and some of my top picks are:

GHOSTMAN cover image

GHOSTMAN cover image

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs

From the opening page this story hurtles along at a breathless pace. Jack is a mysterious character. Able to change his appearance, his voice and his persona in a moment, he is a true master of disguise.

At the start of the novel Jack reluctantly agrees to sort out the aftermath of a bungled casino heist as repayment of an old favour to the criminal mastermind Marcus. His brief is simple – find Marcus’ missing man and find the stolen cash.

This rapid paced, nail bitingly tense action thriller has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. This is a distinctive debut by 24-year-old novelist Roger Hobbs.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/02/10/review-ghostman-by-roger-hobbs/ 

The Blood Whisperer cover image

The Blood Whisperer cover image

The Blood Whisperer by Zoë Sharp

CSI Kelly Jacks has the skill and instinct to read a crime scene to rival that of Dexter Morgan (of the series, DEXTER) but without any of his serial killer tendencies. Having served her time for a crime that she still has no memory of committing, she’s picked up her life and has a job as a specialist crime scene cleaner, cleaning up the crime scenes that she once used to be working. Slowly she’s getting her life back.

But when Kelly and her work partner, Tyrone, are called in to clean a bathroom where a suicide has taken place, Kelly finds evidence to suggest foul play was involved. She questions whether the police should re-look at the scene. They don’t. But from then on bad things start to happen.

High on suspense and tightly plotted, the pace moves ever more rapidly as Kelly unravels a tangled web of lies, greed and deception that will take her from the streets of London to the world of horse racing via seedy warehouses, end-high escorts, plush offices and swanky apartments. I love this book for the pulse pounding action, the artfully woven conspiracy, and the fabulous characters.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/12/06/ctg-reviews-the-blood-whisperer-by-zoe-sharp/

NEVER GO BACK cover image

NEVER GO BACK cover image

Never Go Back by Lee Child

When I was halfway through this book I started to slow down, I was so enjoying the story that I wanted to make it last longer. Now that, to me, is a great book. In fact, I think this might just be my new favourite of the series – and that’s a tough call to make because they are all so good.

Anyway, this book sees Reacher finally getting to Virginia. Only Major Susan Turner isn’t there and Reacher is recalled back into the army to face an old homicide charge (and another, more personal relationship-based, legal situation). But does Reacher quit? Of course not, he’s going to find out why both he and Susan Turner are being held on trumped-up charges, and ensure that justice is served.

Classic Reacher. Unputdownable.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/11/01/ctg-reviews-never-go-back-by-lee-child/

UK cover image

UK cover image

DOWNFALL by Jeff Abbott

DOWNFALL is the third book in the Sam Capra series and begins with ex-CIA agent, Sam, living in relative peace, working for The Round Table and enjoying his cover life as owner of a chain of bars across the States. He wants a normal life, and this is as close to it as he’s had in a long while. But his peace is shattered when a young woman fleeing two male attackers rushes into the bar and begs for his help. Sam leaps to her aid, and in the process kills one of the men. As well as bringing him unwanted attention from the police and the media, this brings Sam to the attention of Balias – a master criminal who can make a person’s dreams come true, for a price.

As readers of the series will have come to expect, the story charges along at a breakneck pace. The stakes are high and the constant raising of the tension makes the story compulsive reading. A real page-turner of a story.

You can check out my full review here https://crimethrillergirl.com/2013/08/01/downfall-by-jeff-abbott/

[Watch out for the next installment of CTG’s Xmas Gift Ideas: Crime in Colder Climates]

DOWNFALL by Jeff Abbott

UK cover image

UK cover image

What the blurb says: “’Help me.’ When a young woman rushes into Sam Capra’s San Francisco bar and whispers these desperate words, Sam feels compelled to help. A moment later she is attacked by two killers. With Sam’s aid she manages to overpower the men, saving his life in the process before vanishing into the night. On discovering that one of the attackers is no mere thug, but, shockingly, one of the most powerful investors in America, Sam searches for the beguiling young woman who asked for help and unearths a deadly network run by some of the most powerful and influential people in the world …”

DOWNFALL is the third book in the Sam Capra series and begins with ex-CIA agent, Sam, living in relative peace, working for The Round Table and enjoying his cover life as owner of a chain of bars across the States. He wants a normal life, and this is as close to it as he’s had in a long while. But his peace is shattered when a young woman fleeing two male attackers rushes into the bar and begs for his help. Sam leaps to her aid, and in the process kills one of the men. As well as bringing him unwanted attention from the police and the media, this brings Sam to the attention of Balias – a master criminal who can make a person’s dreams come true, for a price.

As readers of the series will have come to expect, the story charges along at a breakneck pace. Using first person narration for main character, Sam Capra, as he sets out to discover who this mysterious network is and why they are after the young woman, and third person narration for the other main point-of-view characters, Abbott weaves the stories of Diana – a young woman who has discovered a terrible secret about her mother, Janice – a mother who will protect her daughter at any cost, Holly – a woman enchained by the choice of her ex-husband, and Belias – a man who thirsts for power and control at the highest level – between Sam’s. The stakes are high for all of the principle characters; the question is who will succeed and who will fail.

This constant raising of the tension made the story compulsive reading. DOWNFALL is an action thriller and so as you’d expect there are a lot of action sequences and fight scenes. Abbott is a master at the fight scene – they’re dynamic and tense with a real cinematic quality, making the reader feel like they’re in the scene ducking the punches along with the characters. What I especially like about his books, and this one doesn’t disappoint, is the locations these scenes often take place in – for example a child’s bedroom in a suburban house (the child is at school) – creating a great juxtaposition and additional conflict between Sam’s desire for domestic normality and the nature of his job.

Tight plotting, high stakes and high action make this page-turner of story a must for fans of action thrillers.

Highly Recommended [As are books one and two – ADRENALINE and THE LAST MINUTE].

[I bought my copy of DOWNFALL]

On Pre-Order: DOWNFALL by Jeff Abbott

Jeff Abbott at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, A...

Jeff Abbott at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so hands-up, I’m a huge Jeff Abbott fan.

I love both his standalone thrillers like FEAR, TRUST ME, and RUN along with his Whit Mosley series and now his newest series featuring Sam Capra.

The first two novels in the Sam Capra series – ADRENALIN and THE LAST MINUTE – are just the type of breathlessly paced, page-turning action thrillers that got me hooked on the genre in the first place. So, I’m really excited to have discovered that the third book in the Sam Capra series – DOWNFALL – is scheduled for release on July 16th 2013.

I really can’t wait.