CTG does THRILLERFEST!

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I’m super excited to be attending ITW THRILLERFEST in New York for the very first time this week!

Watch out for lots of Thrillerfest related tweets in my twitter feed and, if you’re at Thrillerfest, do come along to the Thriller Award Nominees panel – HARDCOVER, PAPERBACK OR E-BOOK? – at 8am on Friday, where I’ll be answering Panel Master Anthony Franze’s questions alongside Christine Bell, Walt Gregg, Jeff Gunhus, Sheena Kamal, Alan McDermott & Rysa Walker.

I’ll also be at the ITW THRILLER AWARDS on Saturday night as DEEP DOWN DEAD (Lori Anderson book one) is a nominee for the Best First Novel award – so wish me luck!

Thrillerfest runs from 10 – 14 July and the whole schedule looks amazing with 2018 ThrillerMaster George R.R. Martin, 2018 Silver Bullet Award recipient James Rollins, 2017 ThrillerMaster Lee Child, 2017 Silver Bullet Award recipient Lisa Gardner, and 2018 Spotlight Guest Megan Abbott, and MANY more authors

 Hop over to the Thrillerfest website to find out more: http://thrillerfest.com

CTG Reviews: THE PLEA by Steve Cavanagh

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Here’s what the blurb says: “When David Child, a major client of a corrupt New York law firm, is arrested for murder, the FBI ask con-artist-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn to secure Child as his client and force him to testify against the firm. Eddie’s not a man to be coerced into representing a guilty client, but the FBI have incriminating files on Eddie’s wife, and if Eddie won’t play ball, she’ll pay the price. When Eddie meets Child he’s convinced the man is innocent, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. With the FBI putting pressure on him to secure the plea, Eddie must find a way to prove Child’s innocence while keeping his wife out of danger – not just from the FBI, but from the firm itself.”

Steve Cavanagh’s debut novel – THE DEFENCE – was one of my top reads of 2015 so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second book in the Eddie Flynn series – THE PLEA – and was delighted to get my hands on an early copy.

Picking up a little while after the end of THE DEFENCE, THE PLEA sees con-man-turned-criminal-defence-lawyer Eddie Flynn facing another terrifying situation: persuade social media genius David Child to become his client and get him to plead guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, or the FBI will make sure Eddie’s wife goes to prison for involvement in an illegal scheme operated by her law firm that she had no direct knowledge of. But Eddie suspects that David Child is innocent, and he won’t send an innocent man to jail. He doesn’t want his wife in jail either, especially given the ordeal their young daughter, Amy, had during the THE DEFENCE, and the fact that he’s only just beginning to get his family back together. Eddie sets out to prove David Child’s innocence, and to protect his own family. Problem is, there is more than one bunch of bad guys after David Child, and some are closer to home than even Eddie might think.

To me, Eddie Flynn is a bit like the Jack Bauer (of 24 fame) of the the legal world. He’s smart, fast and always under pressure. In fact that’s another thing I admire about Steve Cavanagh’s writing – he gets an urgent, time pressured feel to his novels right from the get-go, and still manages to turn up the tension chapter-by-chapter. The ticking clock is heard on every page.

THE PLEA is a great second outing for Eddie Flynn. We learn a bit more about him, and we get to meet some of his shadier friends (both from the criminal and legal worlds) again – including one of my favourites, The Lizard (who only talks about himself in the third person). There’s a strong investigative side to this novel too – with Eddie needing to reassess the prosecution’s evidence in order to try and get the case thrown out – which gives a great balance with the action sequences. Set against the dramatic backdrop of New York City, with a high-concept storyline and twisty-turny plot, this is a fantastic follow-up to THE DEFENCE.

Electric courtroom scenes, stunning set-piece action sequences and the brilliantly witty and unique character of Eddie Flynn, makes THE PLEA a tremendous read and an absolute must for all thriller fans.

THE PLEA is out today in Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio. Buy it here from Waterstones or from Amazon here

To find out more about crime writer Steve Cavanagh hop over to his website at www.stevecavanagh.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @SSCav

Guest Post: Hester Young on the inspiration behind THE GATES OF EVANGELINE

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Today I’m handing over the reins of the CTG blog to Hester Young, author of THE GATES OF EVANGELINE – the first book in a fantastic new crime series featuring journalist Charlie Cates, and set in Louisiana.

Over to Hester …

Louisiana is the kind of place that almost writes a mystery for you.

From the moment you first turn down an old, unpaved driveway and see that curtain of Spanish moss hanging from the trees, you’ll feel secrets. Stroll past the mossy crypts of a New Orleans cemetery, and you’ll wonder what walks there at night. When you take a swamp ride and suddenly find yourself facing the green-gold gaze of an alligator, it’s almost impossible not to imagine what else those dark waters might be hiding.

This is the world of my novel, and I often feel that I did not really choose it as my setting at all. It chose me.

Louisiana came to me the same way that it appears to my protagonist: in a dream.

I was sitting in a rowboat across from a young boy, surrounded by forbidding swampland. The child told me his name and age. Let me tell you how I died, he said, and when I awoke, I could not shake his horrible story from my mind.

I didn’t know then that I had stumbled upon the opening of a novel. In the thin, early morning light when all is quiet and everything seems possible, I began to wonder if perhaps this boy might be real, if he might be waiting for me somewhere in the Louisiana swamps.

The dream stayed with me for days, weeks, months. When the boy in the boat’s tale began to blend seamlessly with a tragic premonition my grandmother once had—then I knew I had the elements of a story. A boy, long missing. A grieving mother with premonitory dreams. A beautiful and sprawling Southern estate. A swamp that holds a terrible secret.

The only way to exorcise a story is to tell it.

I made three research trips in total. Husband in tow, I toured a trio of Louisiana plantation homes, cruised through the murky swamps, explored a handful of towns in Cajun country, and even experienced the joyful celebration that is Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Mostly, I ate an appalling amount of food. Though each trip gave me new material, it was my first that most shaped the book.

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That April, I was newly pregnant. As the trip began, I was practically dancing at the thought of my impending motherhood—in stark contrast with the main character of my book, Charlotte, whose frightening dreams begin after the death of her young son.

Sometimes the stories we create echo faintly in our own lives.

Days later, I found myself in a New Orleans hospital, weeping as a gentle nurse informed me that I had miscarried. In the rawness of that moment, grieving what was really only the idea of motherhood, I came to understand my protagonist in a new way.

For me, Louisiana will always be a place of ghosts, of lost children. But it is also a hopeful reminder of the good that lies ahead. I haven’t forgotten that hospital and the baby that never was, but now I have another image of Louisiana to carry with me: my one-year-old son perched high upon his father’s shoulders, wide-eyed and joyful as he clutches a string of Mardi Gras beads.

That, I hope, is the Louisiana that I have captured in The Gates of Evangeline, a place of light and darkness and all the strange shadows in between.

A massive thank you to Hester for dropping by to talk about Louisiana and the inspiration behind her novel THE GATES OF EVANGELINE.

THE GATES OF EVANGELINE is published today (13th August). Here’s the blurb: “When grieving mother and New York journalist Charlie Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children after her only son passes away, she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet she soon realizes these are not the hallucinations of a bereaved mother. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees – if she can make sense of them.

The disturbing images lead her from her home in suburban New York City to small-town Louisiana, where she takes a commission to write a true-crime book based on the case of Gabriel Deveau, the young heir to a wealthy and infamous Southern family, whose kidnapping thirty years ago has never been solved. There she meets the Deveau family, none of whom are telling the full truth about the night Gabriel disappeared. And as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust – and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could have imagined.”

To find out more about Hester Young pop on over to her website at www.hesteryoung.com/books/ and follow her on Twitter @HesterAuthor

And to check out THE GATES OF EVANGELINE on Amazon click here.

 

CTG Reviews: Dead Man’s Time by Peter James

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What the blurb says: “A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying. Millions of pounds’ worth of valuables have been stolen.

But as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one priceless item of sentimental value that her powerful family cherish above all else. And they are fully prepared to take the law into their own hands, and will do anything – absolutely anything – to get it back.

Within days, Grace is racing against the clock, following a murderous trail that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe, and all the way back to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driver by the force of one man’s greed and another man’s fury.”

The ninth novel in Peter James’ award-winning Roy Grace series finds Detective Superintendent Grace juggling his job with the challenges of being a new parent. Sleep deprived and wishing that he could spend more time at home with Cleo and their baby son, Noah, instead Grace finds himself heading up the investigation into the robbery and violent assault of an elderly widow.

This story has all the hallmarks of a classic Peter James novel – tight plotting, lots of twists and turns, great attention to detail. It also combines the present-day crime with a past mystery which begins in Brooklyn, 1922, when a young boy witnesses the murder of his mother and the abduction of his father.

As Grace and his team investigate the present day crime, the two stories begin to intertwine through factors common to both – Gavin Daly, an elderly multi-millionaire with an unfulfilled promise, and a stolen broken pocketwatch.

As Grace pieces the evidence together it becomes clear that his team are not the only people hunting for the killer. With several leads eliminated, he follows the trail of stolen goods first to Spain and then to New York. The only problem is, his dedication to the case may well have blinded him to a threat much closer to home.

The theme of family is strong in this book. Peter James artfully interweaves the past and present crime stories, making the powerful and, at times ruthless, Gavin Daly a compelling and empathetic character. It’s also a fascinating glimpse into the world of New York gangs in the 1920s and the darker side of the UK antiques trade.

With fast-paced action, great characters and a pair of intriguing and emotive crimes to solve, Dead Man’s Time is a real page-turner.

Highly Recommended.

[With thanks to Pan MacMillan and Midas PR for my copy of Dead Man’s Time]

Norwegian by Night, by Derek B. Miller

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book cover

What the blurb says: “Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, ex-Marine Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo with his granddaughter and her Norwegian husband. When Sheldon witnesses the murder of a neighbour in his apartment complex, he rescues the woman’s six-year-old son and decides to run. Pursued by the Balkan gang responsible for the murder and the Norwegian police, he has to rely on training from over half a century before to try and keep the boy safe. Against a strange and foreign landscape, this unlikely couple, who can’t speak the same language, start to form a bond that may just save them both.”

Beautifully crafted, this novel is a real treat.

Sheldon is a man haunted by his past, by the people he has loved (and lost) and, having uprooted from New York to Oslo, is more than a little baffled by the world he now inhabits. He’s cynical, stubborn, begrudges the aging process and (according to his grand-daughter) is experiencing dementia. He’s also very funny.

But his uneasy routine is upended when he witnesses the murder of his neighbour. Fearing that the man responsible will harm the woman’s young son, Sheldon takes the boy on the run. Together they cross the city and make their way towards the only other place Sheldon is familiar with, his grand-daughter’s woodland cabin.

Divided from his young charge by age and by language, Sheldon draws on his memories to sustain him in this dangerous quest. He recalls his previous training as a Marine, and the advice of those who’ve been important players in his life, to help communicate with the young boy, win his trust and keep him safe. In doing so, Sheldon confronts much of the regret and guilt that he has carried with him for years.

Unconventional methods of transport (and clothing) make their journey into an adventure. But danger is always close behind in the shape of the Balkan gang led by the boy’s criminal father, and one question hangs over the unlikely pair as an ever-present menace: how long can an elderly man and a child evade capture? Sheldon knows that he needs to prepare himself for one final battle.

Norwegian by Night is highly atmospheric, showing Oslo through the eyes of a stranger to both the culture and the modern world. The characters are wonderfully vivid and real. This is a story that can make you laugh and cry on alternant pages.

Both funny and tragic, poignant and pulse-thumpingly suspenseful, Derek B. Miller’s debut novel is hugely compelling and will stay with you long after you have finished reading.

Highly recommended.

 

[I bought my copy of Norwegian by Night, in fact I read it on Kindle and then bought the hardback version too!]

Just finished reading: High Heat by Lee Child

High Heat cover image

High Heat cover image

What the blurb says: “July 1977. Jack Reacher is almost seventeen, and he stops in New York on his way from South Korea to visit his brother at West Point. The summer heat is suffocating, fires are raging in the Bronx, the city is bankrupt, and the mad gunman known as Son of Sam is still on the loose. Reacher meets a woman with a problem, and agrees to help her . . . and then the power grid fails and the lights go out, plunging the lawless city that never sleeps into chaos. What does a visiting teenager do in the dark? If that visiting teenager is Jack Reacher, the answer is: plenty.”

High Heat is a Jack Reacher Novella (Kindle Single). It’s 79 pages of fabulous Reacher action, and things get hot in more ways than one!

Reacher is younger, but just as tough (and tall) as readers of the series have come to expect. It’s his first visit to New York and he’s only in town for a short while, but he manages to make the most of it: helping a woman with a problem, identifying a killer on the loose, and even having time for a bit of romance.

If you’re looking for a sizzling summer read to tide you over until the next full Reacher novel comes out at the end of August, you should check it out.

A must for Reacher fans and all those who love a great action thriller.

Highly Recommended.

Guest Review on the Mean Streets Crime blog: Dark Eyes by William Richter

Dark Eyes book cover

Dark Eyes book cover

Today I’m guest blogging over on the fabulous Mean Streets Crime Fiction blog, and reviewing the debut thriller of Hollywood screenwriter and Emmy Award Nominee William Richter. Here’s a taster …

A gritty, action paced YA thriller

What the blurb says: “Danger is both her past and her destiny. Born in Russia but adopted by a wealthy American family, Wallis Stoneman has lived a life of glamorous luxury. But, aged sixteen, she rejects the world that doesn’t feel like her own to live on the streets of New York.

Now life is tougher than Wallis imagined – and it’s about to take a deadly twist. When Wallis discovers her real father’s identity, a fight to stay alive begins. Because Wallis’s real father is a terrifying Russian gangster on the hunt for her mother.

And he’ll stop at nothing and no one – even his own blood – to find her.”

Wallis Simpson, Wally, is determined to find her Russian birth mother. After leaving the home she shared with her adoptive mother, Wally has built a life, and band of loyal friends, on the streets. When a chance meeting leads her to discover a clue to her true identity, she throws herself into her search with renewed vigour. But, as she uncovers more clues, danger mounts and those around her begin to die. The race for Wally to be reunited with her mother and discover the truth about her Russian history is on. The challenge is for them both to stay alive long enough.

To read the rest of my post hop over to the Mean Streets Crime Fiction site here: http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/crimefiction/2013/01/dark-eyes-by-william-richter/