CTG’s #bookcrush – Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall

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My fabulous book crush this week is Three Little Lies by Sunday Times bestselling author Laura Marshall.

I was drawn to this cover because it’s so stand-out striking – the stark white jacket, the wisps of smoke leading to an abstract impression of a woman’s face, the red-as-blood title. I loved Laura Marshall’s debut – Friend Request – and am itching to read this!

Because behind the eye catching cover is a twisty, unsettling thriller.

Here’s the blurb:

“There’s no such thing as a little lie… When Sasha North comes into Ellen’s life, Ellen falls under her spell. As Ellen is welcomed into Sasha’s family, she doesn’t see the darkness that lies beneath their bohemian lifestyle. Not until a brutal attack changes all their lives forever. Ten years later, Ellen and Sasha share a flat in London, still bound together by that night. When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. The police won’t take her seriously, but the events of the past give Ellen good reason to be frightened. What really happened that night? Who is telling the whole truth? These are the questions Ellen must confront when searching for her friend. But someone knows Ellen is looking. And they don’t want the answers coming out…”

I can’t wait to start reading!

If you like the sound of Three Little Lies you can find out more on Amazon HERE.

 

CTG’s #threewordbookreview – The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham

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Today’s three word ‘micro’ book review features the latest in the brilliant Tom Thorne  series – THE KILLING HABIT – by Mark Billingham.

Here’s what the blurb says: “We all know the signs: cruelty, lack of empathy, the killing of animals. Now pets on suburban London streets are being stalked by a shadow, and it could just be the start. DI Tom Thorne knows the psychological profile of such offenders all too well, so when he is tasked with catching this notorious killer of domestic cats, he sees the chance to stop a series of homicides before they happen. Others are less convinced, so once more, Thorne relies on DI Nicola Tanner to help him solve the case before the culprit starts hunting people. It’s a journey that brings them face to face with a killer who will tear their lives apart.”

My verdict: TENSE. GRITTY. PROCEDURAL.

This is one of my favourite crime series and this book is another cracker – an essential read for fans of crime fiction and police procedurals.

The Killing Habit is out now from Sphere. To find out more and buy the book click the cover below and hop over to Amazon:

CTG REVIEWS: TWO O’CLOCK BOY by MARK HILL

 

Today I’m delighted to be a part of Mark Hill’s blog tour for the debut that’s taking the UK by storm – Two O’Clock Boy.

What the blurb says:

“TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS… ONE BECAME A DETECTIVE… ONE BECAME A KILLER…

Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children’s Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home’s manager.

Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis’ favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.

Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O’Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders – but he will go even further to cover up the truth.”

From the chilling prologue to the nail-bitingly intense final pages this London-set police procedural had me hooked.

Longacre Children’s Home burnt to the ground thirty years ago, but the horrors that occurred during the time it was open still haunt those that grew up there and the adults that had dealings with the place. Most of them just want to forget, but someone won’t leave the past behind – they are picking off the people who grew up at Longacre – and dragging back up all the secrets that have been burried for thirty years.

Enter newly promoted DS Flick Crowley and her mentor and boss DI Raymond Drake. Two dynamic detectives determined to get to the truth behind the murders – and also two people with connections to the Longacre themselves. As their professional and personal lives colide, and they try to piece together the evidence as the body count rises, can they work together to find the killer or will the memories and questions the investigation raises force them apart?

I loved this story with its strong procedural detail and gritty, authentic feel to the narrative. Flick and Ray are two great new police characters and, as the investigation puts increasing pressure on their relationship, I was fascinated to find out how things would play out.

The story twists and turns, ratcheting up the tension with every chapter as one-by-one the past residents of the Longacre are singled out by the mysterious Two O’Clock Boy. As more secrets get exposed, and Flick and Ray get ever closer to the killer, the pace accelerates to full throttle, propelling you into the edge-of-the-seat show down and shocking revelations at the climax.

The Two O’Clock Boy is a masterful debut and a real must-read for lovers of police procedurals and detective stories – I recommend you add it to your ‘to read’ stack immediately!!

 

You can find out more about Mark Hill by popping over to his website at www.markhillauthor.com and following him on Twitter @markhillwriter

The Two O’Clock Boy is out in paperback and eBook now – you can buy it here from Amazon and here from Waterstones

And don’t forget to check out all the stops on the Two O’Clock Boy One Hot Blog Tour…

 

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#CTG FRIDAY #GIVEAWAY: #WIN A #CRIMEFICTION BOOK BUNDLE

 

Hurrah it’s Friday! That’s as good an excuse for a give way as any I reckon!

Today I’m giving you the chance to win a bundle of four fabulous paperbacks – perfect for crime fiction lovers.

The Prize:

AFTER YOU DIE by Eva Dolan is the third book in the fantastic Peterborough Hate Crime Unit series. Here’s what the blurb says: “DS Ferreira is back on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty. The first case to land on her desk takes her and DI Zigic to a brutal crime scene where a woman has been stabbed to death and her disabled daughter left to starve to upstairs. The murdered woman is Dawn Prentice – a woman who had come to Ferreira for help when she and her daughter were being subjected to harassment. As Ferreira battles her demons and Zigic clashes with another officer, the detectives realise that the Prentice case rests on one crucial question – who was the real target of the killer: mother or daughter?”

TIME OF DEATH by Mark Billingham is the latest book in the fabulous Tom Thorne series. Here’s what the blurb says: “Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up. But this is a place where dangerous truths lie buried. When family man Stephen Bates is arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates’ wife – an old school friend of Helen’s – who is living under siege and convinced of her husband’s innocence. As residents and media bay for Bates’ blood, a decomposing body is found. The police believe they have their murderer, but one man believes otherwise. With a girl still missing, Thorne sets himself on a collision course with local police townsfolk – and a merciless killer.”

SILENT SCREAM by Angela Marsons was an ebook phenomenon, now out in paperback. Here’s what the blurb says: “Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever. Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken the the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood. Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country. But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. DI Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades. As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?”

THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND by Stuart Neville is the first book in the brilliant DCI Serena Flanagan series. Here’s what the blurb says: “DCI Serena Flanagan is forced to confront a disturbing case form her past: the murder conviction of a 12-year-old boy who has just been released from prison. DCI Serena Flanagan hasn’t heard  the boy’s name in years. Not since the blood on the wall and the body in the bathroom. Not since she listened as he confessed to brutally murdering his foster father. But now Ciaran Devine is out of prison and back in her life. And so is his brother, Thomas – the brother that Flanagan always suspected of hiding something. When Ciaran’s probation officer comes to Flanagan with crest fears about the Devines, the years of lies begin to unravel, setting a deadly chain of events in motion.”

How to enter:

For a chance to win this book bundle all you need to do is tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below and including the #CTG hashtag) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. [You’ll also need to follow CTG on Twitter, so that we 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) We will draw the winners at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 10pm GMT on Friday 9th December 2016 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck!

CTG REVIEWS: A TIME TO DIE by TOM WOOD

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Here’s the blurb: “A killer can be a hero. If the assassin known only as ‘Victor’ once had a moral compass, it is long since buried, along with his many victims. But some men are so evil they must die for reasons other than just money. Like Milan Rados, a former war criminal who has escaped trial to become a formidable power. Tracking down and killing this brutal man will win Victor a reprieve for his own recent crimes on British soil. But Victor isn’t the only one who wants Rados dead. One woman will do anything to see Rados’ blood spilled on the snow of Eastern Europe. Now Victor has an unlikely ally – but an army stands between them and justice.”

I’m a big fan of the Victor the Assassin books and A TIME TO DIE is another great addition to the series.

Victor is the ultimate ‘lone wolf’ – he’s known as Victor but has many aliases, he changes his appearance regularly to put anyone on his tail off track, and he has no family or friends. He doesn’t trust anyone, and regards all he meets as a potential threat. He’s cold, calculating and by rights should be very difficult to like. Yet as a reader I find him strangely likable. Perhaps it’s because he’s so up front about how he is – there’s no pretence, he says what he thinks even when it’s not what someone wants to hear (for example, if they ask if he’s going to kill them and the answer is yes!). That said, he does some dreadful things, so I don’t think I’d actually want to meet him!

But reading about him is fantastic.

Tom Wood’s writing has a fabulously cinematic quality to it and in A TIME TO DIE Victor is both hunter and prey. His assignment is more dangerous than is usual even for him. He has to gain the trust of the elusive war criminal Milan Rados – a man with no conscious and a sickening love of the brutal and macabre – in order to get close enough to kill him.

But hard as that is, it’s complicated even further when Victor learns he has a price on his head – a throw back from a previous job – and he becomes the target of other professional assassins.

With some stunning action-packed set pieces, and a pace that whips along from beginning to end leaving you breathless, A TIME TO DIE is a must-read for thriller fans.

You can buy A TIME TO DIE from Amazon here

To find out more about Tom Wood pop over to his website https://tomwoodbooks.com/books/ and be sure to follow him on Twitter @TheTomWood

CTG PRESENTS: @MarkHillWriter spills some Online Secrets #TwoOClockBoy

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Today I’m thrilled (if a little worried for you) that the lovely Mark Hill is taking the reins at CTG HQ to scare the crap out of you talk about his stunningly good debut crime thriller THE TWO O’CLOCK BOY.

Over to Mark …

Tell me a secret. Write it on a piece of paper.

I’m sure there’s something about yourself – something that happened, something you did – that you’ve never told anyone. It’s probably a small thing, you can live with it.

But what if that secret was a terrible, dangerous thing, and it came back to haunt you? Just what would you do to make it go away? Secrets drive you to desperation. Before you know it, you’re crossing a line – doing things you never imagined you were capable of.

Just how far would you go?

Secrets – of the deadly variety – are catnip for crime writers.

When I began to write about DI Ray Drake and DS Flick Crowley and the other characters in my crime thriller The Two O’Clock Boy, I wanted to discover how the sins of the past can crash catastrophically into the present. I wanted a terrible secret to emerge which would pitch my characters into the molten heat of an emotional firestorm. I wanted to body slam them with those big, nasty emotions: guilt and rage and terror. I wanted to make bad things happen – very bad things – and watch them fall apart.

At the eye of this terrible conspiracy, trying to make sense of it, are my coppers – Drake and Crowley. They’re the ones who have to get to the truth of a series of murders, to bring to an end a deadly slaughter. And Ray Drake knows better than most about secrets, and about guilt and rage and terror…

Because Ray’s got a secret. And if anyone found out what it was… well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

I liked Ray Drake when I started to get to know him, he flew off the page. I discovered Ray’s a family man. He’s a bit tense, perhaps – troubled – but a good copper, a great copper. He’s the kind of guy you’d want in your corner.

But now, knowing what I know about Ray, do I understand him?

No.

Do I trust him?

Absolutely not.

You see, Ray’s a lot like his city. You think you know him, but you don’t, not really. London is 2,000 years old. Secrets multiply within its boundaries like germs in a petri dish. Some of them are frankly macabre, unsettling. Bolt as much glass and steel to the city as you like, build it ever higher or wider, but its streets will always pulse with dangerous mysteries – and it absolutely will not give them up without a fight.

But sometimes secrets do emerge from its tangled, teeming streets. And one of them its on his way to give Drake and Crowley the fight of their lives.

You see, after several decades, The Two O’Clock Boy is back.

So, that secret I asked you to write down. Burn it, shred it, get rid of it how you see fit. But don’t ever kid yourself that you’ll ever be free of it.

Wow. So that should tempt you (and terrify you) to read Mark Hill’s brilliantly gritty crime thriller The Two O’Clock Boy.

THE TWO O’CLOCK BOY is out now in eBook. You can buy it from Amazon here

Find out more about Mark Hill by hopping over to his website at www.markhillauthor.com and follow him on Twitter @MarkHillWriter

And be sure to check out all the great stops along the path of The Two O’Clock Boy blog tour:

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CTG Reviews: OUT OF BOUNDS by Val McDermid

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I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the OUT OF BOUNDS blog tour today and reviewing the fantastic new book by Val McDermid.

What the blurb says: “A teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. Finding the answer to the cold case should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself. Meanwhile, Karen Pirie finds herself irresistibly drawn to another mystery that she has no business investigating, a mystery that has its roots in a terrorist bombing two decades ago. And again, she finds that nothing is as it seems.”

Still grieving over the death of her partner, DCI Karen Pirie, head of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit, finds throwing herself into work is the only way to cope. By day she hunts down leads and looks for evidence to find justice for those victims whose murderers have gone unfound, and by night she walks the streets of Edinburgh hoping to exhaust herself physically so that she will finally sleep. She’s a compelling lead character – damaged yet determined to get justice for those who can’t get it for themselves, and principled yet willing to flex the rules in order to do the right thing or find the truth. Brave and dynamic, she’s exactly the kind of person you want in your corner, and also the kind of person you could have a laugh with in the pub or over a meal.

In OUT OF BOUNDS she’s working two cold cases. Both involve complicated, fractured family situations. Both have gone unsolved for many years. To succeed in finding the truth, they require a tenacious and creative approach, and that’s what Karen has in spades.

Her sidekick, DC Jason Murray aka “The Mint”, isn’t overly bright but he makes up for that with his easy going nature and willingness to do whatever Karen says. And it’s good she’s got an ally, because her boss, Assistant Chief Constable Simon Lees aka “The Macaroon”, isn’t a fan of Karen and is always looking for a reason to give her a bollocking or, if he can, get rid of her. Karen isn’t fazed though. She follows the evidence, using her honed investigation skills and her ability to get people to trust and confide in her, in order to find leads that others have missed.

OUT OF BOUNDS has all the twisty-turny suspense that you’d expect from a writer at the top of her game. And it has all the procedural complexity – criminal and family law – combined with the forensic details that give a real authenticity to the story. But it also delivers more than this. It engages the reader in some of the big social questions of our time, not in a preachy way, but in a way that makes you stop and consider how life is changing (or not) and how we are all part of that – either through our action or in-action. It’s a compelling, page turner of a read, and one that stays with you long after the final page has been turned.

OUT OF BOUNDS is out now. You can buy it here from Waterstones or from Amazon here

To find out more about Val McDermid and her books visit her website here and follow her on Twitter @valmcdermid

And be sure to check out all the stops on the OUT OF BOUNDS blog tour …

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