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

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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 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

CTG Reviews: I LET YOU GO by Clare Mackintosh

 

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What the blurb says: “A rainy day. The deafening squeal of brakes. By the side of the road, a boy, dead from a hit-and-run. A mother bereaved. Jenna flees—her life, her trauma, and her grief—catching a bus to Wales where she starts a solitary life in a seaside village.There, she keeps to herself in a ramshackle cottage, working to heal and hesitantly befriending the neighborly townspeople. Slowly she starts to cope with her grief and—inspired by the sand and waves—begins to explore the art she gave up with her past life, even beginning to consider a better future. But then the shocking twist comes, and the reader no longer knows what to believe. A sensational front-page trial becomes the centerpiece of the second half, and a menacing new character emerges.

Opening with a hit-and-run incident which leaves a five-year-old boy dead, this hard-hitting psychological thriller grabs you by the throat and keeps you pinned until the very last page.

Jenna has left everything behind to make a new life for herself in Wales. At first she stays inside the remote cottage she’s rented, not engaging with the community, and reliving the horror she’s been through, unable to see a way through her grief. But as the months pass, she gradually begins to forge tentative relationships and starts to believe that perhaps it is possible to continue living. That’s the moment the past catches up with her with terrifying consequences.

Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Ray Stevens hasn’t given up on getting justice for the little boy killed in the hit-and-run. Although his superior officers have told him to move onto other cases, and his wife is getting increasingly irritated by his lack of support in helping resolve the problems their son is having at school, he continues to work the case supported by Kate, the newest Detective Constable in his team. As his home life becomes tenser, and the case remains a mystery, Ray and Kate get increasingly closer as they spend more and more time investigating the details in secret.

With brilliantly drawn characters, and a hard-hitting emotional core to the story, this is a truly gripping novel. From the hauntingly atmospheric winter at a Welsh seaside town, to the claustrophobic terror of Jenna’s inner demons, and the tenacious determination of Ray and Kate to bring justice to a case no matter how long it might take, this is a thought-provoking book.

Beautifully written, and with a twist that will have you gasping out loud (it did me!) I Let You Go is an utterly compulsive read, and one that will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page.

Undoubtedly one of my top reads of 2015 when it came out in the UK, I Let You Go is published in the US by Berkley Publishing on May 3rd.

I LET YOU GO is out tomorrow. You can buy it from Barnes & Noble here or from Amazon.com here

Find out more about Clare Macintosh via her website here and follow her on Twitter @claremackint0sh

ILetYouGo_FightClub

#NIGHTBLIND Blog Tour: CTG’s Review plus WIN a signed copy of NIGHTBLIND by Ragnar Jónasson

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For my stop on Ragnar Jónasson’s Blog Tour today I’m reviewing NIGHTBLIND and giving one lucky reader the chance to win a limited edition hardback of NIGHTBLIND signed by both the author, Ragnar Jónasson, and the translator, Quentin Bates.

Firstly, for the review:

What the blurb says: “Siglufjördur – an idyllically quiet fishing village on the northernmost tip of Iceland, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason – a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman – shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik, where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dare not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.”

Ragnar Jónasson conjures up another deeply atmospheric mystery with NIGHTBLIND, the second book in the Dark Iceland series.

Set five years after the events that took place in the first book – SNOWBLIND – we find Ari Thór reunited with his girlfriend, Kristin, and now father to a son. The shooting of a police officer – the first such shooting in the area – puts him firmly into the community’s spotlight, and sees him reunited with his previous boss and mentor – Tómas – who had left Siglufjördur to take a promotion in the city. With the complexities of the investigation increasing as local politics and deep buried family secrets are exposed, Ari Thór struggles to keep the tensions in his personal life at bay as he battles to crack the case.

Using the setting to maximum effect, Jónasson’s NIGHTBLIND plays out against the dramatic backdrop of the approaching Icelandic winter. The small-town community is more open to Ari Thór’s presence, although he is still considered an outsider even after five years of living there, and the history of its residents and the long held secrets kept within the families there are difficult for him to uncover. This adds to the claustrophobic feeling evoked by this isolated village location, and raises the stakes for Ari Thór as he perseveres with lines of enquiry in the face of opposition.

Beautifully written, NIGHTBLIND is Icelandic Noir at its finest – a modern take on a golden age style mystery, with an extra touch of darkness and an Icelandic twist.

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN a beautiful limited edition hardback copy of NIGHTBLIND that’s signed by the author, Ragnar Jónasson, and the translator, Quentin Bates, here what you need to do:

Tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. [You’ll also need to follow me on Twitter, so that I can send you a direct message should you win]. Rules
(1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) I will draw the winner at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 9pm GMT on Thursday 7th January 2016 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck! *** THIS COMPETITION HAS CLOSED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED ***

Find out more about Ragnar Jónasson and the Dark Iceland series by hopping over to the fabulous Orenda Books website. And be sure to follow Ragnar on Twitter @ragnarjo

You can also click this link to head over to Amazon to buy NIGHTBLIND

And don’t forget to check out all the other great stops along the route of the NIGHTBLIND Blog Tour …

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CTG Reviews: SOLOMON CREED by Simon Toyne

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What the blurb says: “A plane crash in the Arizona desert. An explosion that sets the world on fire. A damning pact to hide an appalling secret. And one man bound to expose the truth. He is Solomon Creed. No one knows what he is capable of. Not even him.

When Solomon Creed flees the burning wreckage of a plane in the Arizona desert, seconds before an explosion that sets the world alight, he is acting on instinct alone. He has no memory of his past, and no idea what his future holds. Running towards a nearby town, one name fires in his mind – James Coronado. Somehow, Solomon knows he must save this man. But how do you save a man who is already dead?”

Highly atmospheric, this cinematic literary thriller plunges the reader deep into the Arizona desert and a town seeped in the blood of a violent history that has continued to haunt it into the present day.

The historical storyline telling of the town’s origins weaves between chapters of the present day mystery which poses the questions: why did the plane crash in the desert? Who was on it? Who caused the crash? Why is Solomon Creed there? And just who is he?

Solomon Creed is an intriguing character – a man with no memory of the past but an instinct for survival and escape. The present day storyline follows his journey as he struggles to uncover just who is he and why he’s ended up in this small town in the desert. And as he seeks the truth about himself, he begins to uncover a web of lies, secrets and hidden treasure dating back to the very inception of the town.

Played out against an epic backdrop, SOLOMON CREED is an atmospheric, intense and complex mystery, perfect for fans of both historical and contemporary literary thrillers.

 

To find out more about Simon Toyne pop over to his website at  www.simontoyne.net and follow him on Twitter @simontoyne

And to check out SOLOMON CREED on Amazon click here

[With thanks to Harper Fiction for my copy of SOLOMON CREED]

 

CTG Interviews: Chris Culver about his new book Measureless Night

Measureless Night cover image

Measureless Night cover image

Today I’m delighted to be joined by Chris Culver, author of the New York Time bestselling Ash Rashid crime series. His latest novel MEASURELESS NIGHT is out today (28th May).

And so, to the interview …

Your latest book in the DS Ash Rashid series – MEASURELESS NIGHT – is out on 28th May, can you tell us a bit about it?

MEASURELESS NIGHT is the fourth book in my Ash Rashid mystery series. It’s about a detective from Indianapolis who’s recently discovered someone is murdering men and women who witnessed a murder Ash investigated many years ago. It straddles that fine line between being a mystery and a thriller, but I think it works pretty well.

Where did you get the idea/the inspiration for this story?

I come up with ideas for stories all the time. I live near St. Louis, Missouri, so we’re not short on crime, some of which is fairly interesting. So I get a lot of ideas from the newspaper. I also keep in touch with a lot of lawyers and law enforcement officials, and they give me a lot of ideas. By the time I write a book, I’ve extended that idea and twisted it so that it’s barely recognizable, but most of my ideas come from reality.

MEASURELESS NIGHT is an exception. The concept evolved over time from a very simple kernel of an idea to something much more complicated. This was one of those rare books that didn’t start with an “Aha!” moment. It started with me wondering how Ash Rashid would handle finding out that a witness to an old case of his was murdered. From there, I just started asking the kind of questions Ash would ask. Why would someone kill this witness? Who had something to gain by this victim’s death? The story snowballs from there and, hopefully, takes some interesting twists and turns along the way.

What got you started writing crime fiction?

Like most crime writers, I started writing crime fiction because I loved reading crime fiction. Even as a very young boy, I loved mysteries. When I was in third grade, I read through the entire Hardy Boys series. Before that, I read the Boxcar Children, and the Encyclopedia Brown novels. I couldn’t get enough of them as a kid.

As I got older, my tastes shifted to more serious work, and I fell in love with early hard-boiled mystery novels, especially those by Raymond Chandler and later Mickey Spillane. They were terrific books with great twists and unforgettable characters. When I sat down to write my first novel, I didn’t even consider writing anything else.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process – do you plan first or jump right in?

I’m a big planner. By the time I sit down and type “Chapter 1”, I’ve already written about a hundred pages of notes. I know reasonably well how the book will start and finish, I know all the major twists, and I’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen in the middle. I know the characters equally well.

Of course, things can change rapidly when I start writing. When that happens, I throw my notes out the window and see where the story takes me.

If you had to pick one, what’s your best writing moment so far?

Probably finishing my first novel. At the time, I thought I had written the greatest book the world had ever seen, but looking back, it was a mess. The characters were clichés, the plot meandered, and the writing was stilted at best. Despite being a miserable failure, that first book taught me a lot and gave me the confidence to work on my second book.

For those looking to get published, what advice would you give them?

I’d suggest a writer look at every option he or she has available because there are advantages and disadvantages to every choice. An enormous publisher has market clout and the ability to get books into Walmart, Cosco, and everywhere in between. That’s great if your publisher is willing to put every resource it has at its disposal into your career. Chances are that won’t happen unless your name happens to be James Patterson. In fact, chances are quite high that they will give you excellent editing and a terrific cover but no marketing support whatsoever. Your book will come out, sit on store shelves, and no one will ever hear about it. That’s just how this business works.

At a smaller publisher releasing fewer titles, you’ll probably get more attention from the marketing department. Unfortunately, they will likely have fewer resources than a larger publisher and fewer options to help push your book.

You can also self-publish a book now. This is a hard route, but it’s one worth considering. You keep a larger percentage of the book’s sale price, but you pay for everything—editing, cover design, formatting, etc. In addition, you’ve got to do your own marketing. This route has a steep learning curve, but it’s one worth considering in a market that’s increasingly shifting to digital.

Author Chris Culver

Author Chris Culver

And, finally, what does the rest of 2015 have in store for you?

To be honest, I don’t know. Right now, I’m a stay-at-home dad who occasionally writes books. We’ll see how that goes.

 

Big thanks to Chris Culver for dropping by to see us and talking about his writing.

Chris has also given readers of the CTG blog a lucky peep at MEASURELESS NIGHT …

Measureless Night – what the blurb says: “Detective Sergeant Ash Rashid wants little out of life: a steady job, a quiet place to call home, and a healthy family. Now three hundred days sober, for the first time he can see his happy ending forming on the horizon.

Then patrol officers find the body.

The victim has chemical burns on her arms, two broken legs, and a gash on her throat so deep it exposes the vertebrae of her neck. Then they find a second body and then two more. The killings aren’t random, far from it. Each victim testified in a murder trial ten years ago, one that launched Ash’s career. Each of them helped put a very dangerous man in prison, and now each of them has paid the price.

Ready or not, Ash will soon learn the true cost of his happy ending. Because very dangerous men have a knack for reaching through walls. Ten years ago, Ash helped send a predator to death row. Now someone plans to make him pay. And she’s willing to kill everyone who stands in her way.”

What Chris says about the book: “Measureless Night is the fourth novel in my New York Times bestselling Ash Rashid series. Big picture, it’s the story of a detective who’s trying to solve a grizzly murder and protect others from being murdered as well. At it’s heart, Measureless Night is a mystery, but it has a lot of suspense elements as well.

On a slightly smaller scale, it’s the story of an average man who’s trying to balance the various roles he plays in life. He’s a devoted father, a loving husband, a dogged detective, and a religious man among other things. Those various roles are in constant tension, which is something, I think, most of us can relate to. In my own life, I’m a dad, a husband, a writer, etc. It’s not always easy to balance work and family, especially with a young child.”

EXCERPT:

The picture was a wide-angle shot of Michelle Washington’s body. Someone had ripped off her shirt and bra. A dark liquid glistened against her brown skin, forming a word from her neck to her navel. I felt sick, but I forced my face to remain impassive, a skill I had picked up from several years working homicides.

“The liquid is probably blood, and it says slut,” said Bowers. “Someone cut off her hand—before she died, according to Dr. Rodriguez—and then used her fingertips as a brush.”

I’ve been a police officer for a long time, even spending a couple of very good years as a homicide detective. Rarely did I hear things that took me aback, but this did. You’ve really got to hate somebody to dismember her while she’s alive, to hear her scream as the knife strikes bone, and to keep going until the deed is done.

“How’d you connect her to me?”

Bowers glanced up from his phone, but then glanced back at the screen. “She had your card in her purse.” He slipped the phone back into his pocket. “And you can’t think of any reason why someone would want to hurt her?”

I started to tell him no, but a sick thought hit me. Michelle and I hadn’t met by chance. Ten years ago, she and her brother had witnessed a murder. It was one of the first homicides I ever worked, and their testimony helped send a violent and very well-connected gang leader to prison for murder. I didn’t often keep up with the criminals I put away, but Santino Ramirez had a special place in my heart. He was the first and only man I ever sent to death row. Unless he won a last-minute appeal, he’d get a needle in the arm in a couple of days. The world would be a better place without him.

I swallowed a lump in my throat and hoped I was wrong about what I was about to say.

“She testified against Santino Ramirez ten years ago,” I said. “His old gang might have just called her out.”

 

To find out more about Chris Culver and his books be sure to check out …