CTG Reviews: CUT TO THE BONE by Alex Caan

Cut to the Bone

What the blurb says: Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she’s missing. She’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video’s uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.

Who better to head up the investigation than the Met’s rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She’s leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It’s time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris – poster boy for multiracial policing and the team’s newest member – has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he’s around, can she trust herself?

Ruby’s millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares.

And the videos keep coming . . .”

CUT TO THE BONE is the latest debut coming out of Bonnier’s Twenty7 Books imprint, and it’s an outstanding edition to their line-up. Utterly contemporary, with a rapid pace and nail-biting tension from the get-go, it’s a super-twisty police procedural that kept me guessing right until the end.

The story starts with the disappearance of superstar vlogger, Ruby Day. This is a novel hot on technology – it’s bang up to date – but the human element is strong too, and Ruby’s story is heartbreakingly compelling. Bullied at school, Ruby turned to vlogging as a way to overcome her demons and help others. When her subscribers grew, she was catapulted into the spotlight, and with that came loyal fans, but also hangers on, and those looking to exploit her for profit. When she goes missing, DI Riley and DS Harris have a number of possible suspects who each has a stake in Ruby, but who would profit most from her disappearance? As the investigation cranks up, and more videos of Ruby in distress are released, it becomes clear that beneath the surface of Ruby’s business relationships and personal relationships there are darker, and seedier, motives than any of them could have possibly imagined.

The two main characters – DI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris – make for an interesting pairing. Both damaged by the events in their past, they’re equally suspicious of others and find it difficult to trust people. They’re also both exceptional at what they do, and determined to get to the truth, and for justice to prevail (even if Zain’s version of justice may be a little more ‘hands on’ at times). Their origins – finding out why Kate Riley had to leave America and start over in the UK, and why Zain Harris is struggling to fit into his new role as a DS in Riley’s team – are fresh and original, and really made me want to spend time with them.

CUT TO THE BONE is perfect for readers who like their police procedurals fast paced, twisty-turny, and served with a side order of grit. I loved it, and can’t wait to read the next in the series.

CUT TO THE BONE is out in eBook now. You can buy it from Amazon here

Check out my interview with Alex Caan here and be sure to follow him on Twitter @alexcaanwriter

CTG in conversation with Alex Caan: author of CUT TO THE BONE

Cut to the Bone

Today I’m super excited to be hosting a stop on the CUT TO THE BONE Blog Tour. The lovely Alex Caan has joined me on the CTG blog to chat about all things writing, reading and to tell me what it’s really like being a debut author.

Welcome, Alex!

I always read about writers knowing from a young age they wanted write. What do you think? And when did you decide to do it professionally?

For me I think it was about 8 I remember starting to write stories and wanting to be a writer. I think I saw Roald Dahl in his shed on Blue Peter (I know the glamour of my youth!) sharpening his pencils and writing his stories, and that made me realise it could actually be a career. Like so many though I didn’t have the confidence to pursue it, until I hit thirty and decided if I wanted to pursue my dreams it was now or never. So I joined writing groups, did short courses and eventually an MA. But from trying to make this my profession to the publication of ‘Cut to the Bone’ I think it’s taken me a decade of hard graft.

CTG pauses a moment, adds up years: thirty plus a decade … then says [in shock] there is no way you’re fourty!!!!

But, seriously, I’ve talked to quite a lot of authors who’ve said it’s taken them about ten years of ‘apprenticeship’ before getting published. So, you did an MA (like me). How did you find it?

Ha, thank you I think! Mine was a general MA and I spent most of it trying to write the next great Booker winner style novel. Only towards the end, when I had to submit a novel for my dissertation did I have the confidence to write something I really wanted to. I think I learnt a lot about how to cope with criticism, and constructive criticism. And I knew nothing about the business of publishing, how to approach agents and how the process works. The MA helped greatly with that.

Yes, that’s a really great point – I found it gave me a much better understanding of the world of publishing too. And the ‘writing what you want’ thing you mention is key, I think, it’s easier to find your own voice that way perhaps.

America. Why?

My reality especially as a teenager was dire. I think it’s why I connected with the character of Ruby so much, that sense of alienation and being an outsider, which I think both Kate Riley and Zain Harris also share. And when you’re growing up in a deprived inner-city area, and having a tough time, the American Dream is just so big and brash and seductive. The TV, films and especially the novels. Everything just seemed so exciting, even the grittiest thrillers had a touch of glamour. Plus the country was always so different depending where you were, so New York was different from LA, and both different from Texas and Boston. However, I’ve never been and I thought my novel would read as a poor pastiche if I tried to fake it. Instead-I transported Kate Riley from her New England/Washington past to London. That will give me I hope the vehicle to tell stories about America as her past comes back more strongly in future novels. And once I’ve been!

Oh yes, you absolutely must go! I can’t wait to discover more about Kate Riley’s past. And I get what you mean about the gritty but glamorous US-set films and TV shows. I’ve spent a lot of time in the States, and have family out there, so I’m more confident writing about the locations and such, although I do spend a lot of time checking my facts are correct – and getting my Step Mom to say things ‘in Amercian’ for me to ensure I’m getting the phrasing right!

What’s the weirdest research you did?

I ended up wandering around the South Downs late at night while on a work trip to Winchester once. And I think I spent about four days watching YouTube vlogs non-stop. I was by the end of it an honorary teenager, and my world-view was all over the place. But none of this is as exciting as your stint as a bounty hunter!!

An ‘honorary teenager’ – brilliant! But from what you’ve said, you wanted to experience some of what your characters do in order to write about it, and I guess that’s the same with me and the bounty hunting!

Who would you use your taser on?

So far everyone’s been lovely…so far…but I might borrow it if I start meeting writers who act like erm not very nice people (am determined not to swear).

Ha ha! Yes, you’re very welcome to borrow it, so long as you promise to give it back! In return, what advice can you give me as someone approaching publication as a debut?

So advice for you as a debut. I think you’re already leagues ahead of so many writers, the most difficult part for me was breaking into the crime world. Everyone seems to know everyone, and I was terrified. Thank you for your advice by the way, it really helped. So I think you’ve done all of that, and people have so much respect for you already, and I really feel like your novel has a buzz around it. It will really hit the ground running. What I would say, and what I’m failing to do fully, is enjoy it. The nerves make it difficult, the idea that people you have no control over will review it, how much it sells, Tv deals etc etc. Try and ignore all that if you can. And practice your ‘I didn’t win the oscar face’ if you get a questionable review. I have to remember how subjective reading is, and not to take it personally. If someone’s bought the novel and spent the time to read it, they are entitled to feel any way they want to about it.

*blushes* *goes off to practice I didn’t win the oscar face* *returns* – thank you, that’s great advice. I do hope you get to enjoy the experience. Your debut, CUT TO THE BONE, is a fantastic novel.

Speaking of which, can you summarise your novel for readers in a paragraph?

Cut to the Bone is about Ruby Day, a vlogger with millions of fans who goes missing. An elite new unit of the Met are called in under questionable circumstances to investigate, led by Kate Riley, Zain Harris and the rest if her team. What starts of as a misisng person’s case soon escalates into a creepy hunt for a kidnapper, as videos are anonymously uploaded of Ruby pleading for her life. And the kinapper has issued a threat that she won’t be the only one.

It’s a great read, folks. Be sure to watch out for my review next week.

And finally, I don’t believe I swear more than you. Are you sure you counted all bad words? Anyway, my next novel I am determined to swear less. What’s your resolution?

Ha! I think you swear more on the page and less in real life perhaps. I’m the other way around – I edit my sweariness on the page, but in real life I am a pottymouth. Perhaps my resolution should be to even the two out a little more!

And, sadly, that’s all we have time for.

A huge thank you to the wonderfully talented Alex Caan. To keep up with all his news, follow him on Twitter @alexcaanwriter

A bigger thank you to you though for letting me part of the iconic CTG blog, and I can’t wait to read Deep Down Dead (not that this is a MASSIVE hint to get me a proof copy or anything…)

CUT TO THE BONE is out now. You can buy it from Amazon here

And be sure to check out the rest of the fabulous CUT TO THE BONE Blog Tour stops …

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LITTLE BONES Blog Tour: Guest post by author Sam Blake – The Trouble with Titles

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Today I’m handing over the reins at CTG HQ to author Sam Blake who is going to talk about the trouble with titles. Over to Sam …

Book titles and with that covers, are strange things – you spend months, often years, writing a book –  ideas forming, sentences taking shape, then reshaping, then reshaping again through the editorial process, but it’s not until you see your title on a cover, that it feels like a real thing. To get to this stage there are far more people involved than just the writer, and it can take months for everyone to be happy that what is on the outside of a book reflects what is on the inside.

For many years this book was called The Dressmaker, and this is why:

Stephen King talks about story being the collision of two unrelated ideas – the ideas behind Little Bones weren’t entirely unrelated but they collided one sunny Sunday afternoon as I was driving back from a Readers Day that author Sarah Webb and I had programmed at a hotel in Dublin Airport. It was about five o’clock in the afternoon and pre M50 so a LONG drive home (I once counted 35 sets of traffic lights) but as I put on the radio and pulled out of the carpark a documentary was starting on RTÉ about Kerry born playwright George Fitzmaurice. Fitzmaurice is best remembered for his play The Country Dressmaker that he submitted to the Abbey Theatre in 1907. It was such a success that it rescued the theatre after all the problems of John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World that same year. Fitzmaurice enlisted in the British army in 1916 and returned from the front with neurasthenia, rendering him fearful of crowds. He became more introverted and isolated as he grew older and eventually died in 1963, in a rented upstairs room in No.3 Harcourt Street, Dublin. He was aged 86 years and left no will and few personal belongings – apart from a copy of every play he had ever published and a few in draft form, which were in a suitcase under his bed.

For me, it was Fitzmaurice’s suitcase that caused the collision of ideas.

Several years previously I’d watched an RTÉ TV documentary about a twenty-three year old girl from Boyle, Belinda Agnes Regan who in 1947 was living in lodgings in Manchester. She had left Ireland knowing she was pregnant, but terrified of the disgrace of the pregnancy, had concealed it. She went into labour in the middle of the night and delivered the baby herself, incredibly, in a room she shared with a younger girl who apparently slept through her ordeal. Covering the baby with a blanket “so Shirley would not see it,” she crept to the bathroom. When she returned, the baby wasn’t breathing.  Wrapping the body in brown paper and a ‘blue frock’ she hid it in her suitcase, which she concealed under her bed, leaving it there when she returned home for Christmas. While she was in Ireland the body was discovered, and on her return she was arrested for infanticide.

These two stories, heard many years apart, came together in my head, and on the drive home I started wondering about suitcases and dresses and dress makers and what would happen if the bones of the baby had ended up in a dress – a wedding dress – the crucial thing that Belinda Regan had perhaps yearned for, for nine long months. At that point I had no idea who owned the dress, or how the bones got there or WHY…but I knew the story was called The Dressmaker.

When my agent, Simon Trewin mentioned my book to Bonnier’s Mark Smith over lunch, it was The Dressmaker, when Twenty7 Books snapped it up the next day, it was still The Dressmaker. All through the edits it was The Dressmaker.

Then ‘The Dressmaker’ movie came out.

Much discussion was had – the book and the movie would get confused, if you Googled ‘The Dressmaker’ how many hundreds of pages would it take to get to my book? My agent was almost mown down by a bus on Tottenham Court Road that had an ad for ‘The Dressmaker’ plastered down the side. Someone was telling us that this WASN’T the title of the book.

But coming up with a title for a book isn’t easy. Here are just some of the ideas I came up with (suitably in the bar at Waterford Writers Weekend when you’d think the atmosphere would be conducive to creativity), with Alex Barclay who was one of the few people who had read the book at that stage. It took us almost three hours and we still didn’t have it.

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I brainstormed it with Simon, my agent, and the team at Bonnier sweated at it too. Then a very lovely lady called Kate Parkin, Executive Director of Adult Publishing at Bonnier had a flash of inspiration. Joel Richardson, my editor at Twenty7 Books emailed me to say, “What do you think of Little Bones? We like it.

And so did I.  A lot.

 

© Sam Blake

Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the national writing resources website Writing.ie. She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication. Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book.

Little Bones is the first in the Cat Connolly Dublin based detective thriller trilogy. When a baby’s bones are discovered in the hem of a wedding dress, Detective Garda Cathy Connolly is face with a challenge that is personal as well as professional – a challenge that has explosive consequences.

Follow Sam Blake on Twitter @writersamblake or Vanessa @inkwellhq – be warned, they get tetchy with each other!

 

 

The #BreakingDead Blog Tour: Corrie Jackson talks about her London – the places that inspired the book

Breaking Dead

Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the fabulous Breaking Dead Blog Tour and have Corrie Jackson take over the reins here at CTG HQ and talk about her London: the places that inspired Breaking Dead. Over to Corrie …

When it came to choosing a setting for my debut thriller, there was only one contender. Noel Coward famously remarked: ‘I don’t know what London’s coming to – the higher the buildings, the lower the morals’. From leafy squares and supercars to concrete jungles and crack-dens, London is a city bursting at the seams. Here are five of the capital’s gems that guest-star in the book.

The Covent Garden Hotel
In my novel, a grisly murder occurs on the third floor of fictional hotel, The Rose. My inspiration was this discreet establishment in the heart of the West-End. It’s a stone’s throw from where I used to work at Grazia magazine and I spent many a lunch meeting celeb-spotting at Brasserie Max (whilst hard at work, ahem). However, the sleek hotel lobby that appears in the book is based on another London institution: Claridge’s. Why the mish-mash? I have no idea; it just felt right.

Bywater Street
I wanted my protagonist, Sophie Kent, to live somewhere classy but charming. This Chelsea cul-de-sac, complete with pastel houses and shiny black railings, hits the spot. Sophie lives at number seven (my old house number in Fulham). London trivia: John Le Carre’s fictional MI6 intelligence officer, George Smiley, lived at number nine. Sophie is in good company!

Corrie Jackson
Wild Honey
The tense dinner between Sophie and her dad takes place at this Mayfair hotspot (although I renamed it L’Ondine in the book). The restaurant is within spitting distance of Conde Nast (the publisher of VOGUE, GLAMOUR and GQ) and it became our unofficial HQ when it first opened in 2007. I’m happy to say every meal I’ve eaten at Wild Honey has ended better than the one in the book.

Berkeley Square
Historians know it as the residence of two former Prime Ministers: Winston Churchill and George Canning. I know it as the setting for the annual GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards (a celeb-packed, debauched affair). I set my fictional fashion show here but combined it with another memory. In 2011, designer Erdem held his spring/summer show in a giant white tent in the middle of Bedford Square. I reported on the backstage antics for GLAMOUR and the essence of the show appears in Breaking Dead.

Albert Bridge
Built in 1873, the bridge is nicknamed ‘The Trembling Lady’ because it vibrates when large numbers of people walk across it. I used to live in Pimlico and my running route took me along Embankment towards Albert Bridge (the same route Sophie walks in the book). My heart lifted the moment I spotted this candy-floss pink bridge dotted with twinkling fairy lights. Sophie, on the other hand, associates it with her brother’s death. Mainly because I liked the idea of her tragedy being entangled with such a beautiful landmark.

A big thank you to Corrie for making the CTG Blog a stop on her tour and talking to us about the places that inspired BREAKING DEAD. 

Intrigued to find out more about BREAKING DEAD? Here’s the blurb: “Newspaper journalist Sophie Kent is hanging by a thread following her brother’s suicide, her personal life in chaos. When the mutilated body of a Russian model turns up in an upmarket hotel on the eve of London Fashion Week, Sophie recognises her from a recent interview and knows she could have saved her. Eaten away by guilt, she throws herself headfirst into the edgy, fast-paced world of fashion with one goal in mind: to catch the killer. Only then can she piece her grief-stricken self back together. As she chips away at the industry’s glittery surface, she uncovers a toxic underworld rife with drugs, secrets, prostitution and blackmail. Battling her demons and her wealthy, dysfunctional family along the way, Sophie pushes her personal problems to one side as she goes head to head with a crazed killer; a killer who is only just getting started…”

BREAKING DEAD is out today in eBook (and will be released in paperback in September). To buy the eBook from Amazon click here

To find out more about Corrie Jackson pop over to her website here and follow her on Twitter @CorrieJackson

And be sure to check out all the other fantastic stops along the BREAKING DEAD Blog Tour …

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CTG Interviews: David Young debut author of Stasi Child

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In celebration of STASI CHILD being published in paperback by Twenty7 Books today, I’m re-running my interview with author David Young. STASI CHILD is David’s debut novel and the winner of the PFD 2014 Crime Prize. Here’s what he told us when he popped along to CTG Towers to chat about the book, his writing process, and his route to publication …

Your debut, STASI CHILD, is out this month. Can you tell us a bit about it?

It’s a crime thriller – part historical crime, part police procedural, part thriller, and I guess a dash of Cold War politics to boot. What it’s not is a traditional Cold War spy thriller – although it’s set in the era of the Cold War. It tells two parallel stories: one in third person past through the eyes of a female detective in the state police, Oberleutnant Karin Müller, who’s trying to solve a gruesome murder but has to battle obstacles put in her way by the secret police, the Stasi. The other, in first person present, follows the life of a 15-year-old female inmate of a communist Jugendwerkhof – which loosely translates into ‘youth workhouse’ or reform school. The two stories eventually collide in a climax on the snowy slopes of northern Germany’s highest mountain, the Brocken, near the border with the west. I think fans of Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 would enjoy it, and also those who read Anna Funder’s non-fiction account of the Stasi’s methods, Stasiland.

STASI CHILD is set in East Germany in 1975. What drew you to writing about this moment in history?

No-one had yet written a crime series set in East Germany – at least not in English as the original language. So I thought it filled a gap in the market, was something a bit different and – given the success of books like Child 44 and AD Miller’s Snowdrops – could prove popular. The idea originally came from reading Stasiland while on a self-booked (and at times chaotic) mini-tour of eastern Germany with my indiepop band about seven years ago. I was fascinated that you could still feel the ghost of the communist east even though the Berlin Wall had been torn down, at that time, twenty years earlier. Müller’s office is underneath Hackescher Markt S-bahn station – where we played our Berlin gig. So I wanted to choose a time when East Germany was perhaps at its most confident, and yet with enough years to fit a series in, if the first book sold well.

Given the modern historical setting, how did you go about researching the book?

A mixture of things, really. Watching films like The Lives of Others and Barbara, episodes of the original East German detective show, Polizeiruf 110, and the current German TV series set in the period, Weissensee – which is a great watch but inexplicably, and annoyingly, only has English subtitles on the second of its three series so far. I also read a lot of memoirs of inmates of Jugendwerkhöfe, that sort of thing, and true crime books by former GDR detectives. I don’t speak German – so it was a case of tearing out pages, feeding them into an OCR programme via a scanner, and then putting it all through Google Translate! What came out was barely intelligible, but you could pick out the facts even if the actual storytelling was mangled beyond repair. I also had great fun visiting all my locations, and interviewing former East German detectives (with the help of translators). So I loved the research, and I’m itching to get back out to Germany again. I also keep telling myself I must learn German!

You recently completed the City University MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction), how do you think this helped you on your journey to publication?

I think it was the key to it, really. We had some great tutors who were all published crime writers: Claire MacGowan, Laura Wilson and Roger Morris were mine – although William Ryan, who writes in a similar genre to me, has now joined. Roger introduced me to Peter May’s Lewis trilogy, and the structure of Stasi Child – with its twin narrative – is quite similar to May’s The Lewis Man. Claire nurtured the original idea, Laura worked on the nuts and bolts as my main novel tutor, and then both of them read and fed back on the full draft. The result was that Stasi Child won the course prize sponsored by the literary agents, PFD, and by the shortlisting stage a young PFD agent, Adam Gauntlett, had already declared his hand in wanting to represent me.

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So, what’s it like having your debut novel published? What’s your best moment so far?

Because my publishers Twenty7 (part of the Bonnier group) are e-book first, the biggest thrill was getting a physical copy of the proof. It’s got a slightly different cover, very minimalist, which I love. I’ve only got one copy, though, and the publishers have run out now so I guard it with my life. And then in the last few days [after the eBook publication], Stasi Child became the fourth bestselling Kindle book in the UK, and the number one bestseller in Historical Fiction – for ebooks and paperbacks. It’s fallen back since, but that was a champagne moment, figuratively sitting on top of luminaries such as Robert Harris, Hilary Mantel …well, everyone who’s anyone in historical fiction. Ha! It’ll probably never happen to me again. We made sure we kept the screenshots of the charts!

STASI CHILD is the first in the Karin Müller crime series, can you tell us anything about the next book?

Yes Karin returns, but this time in the model East German new town of Halle-Neustadt, where underneath the ideal communist city gloss, dark things are happening a few months after the closure of the Stasi Child case. The Stasi are heavily involved again, and we also learn more about Karin’s past – with several surprises in store for her. It follows the same twin narrative format, but the second narration this time is darker, more disturbed, and unreliable. In fact the whole thing is darker and more disturbed, which is slightly worrying as most people seem to think Stasi Child’s about as dark as you can get.

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

Initially, I’ll be concentrating on promoting the Stasi Child. Then it will be a combination of reshaping book two with my editor at Bonnier, and researching book three with a trip to Germany. Oh, and I might finally get around to starting to learn German … but no promises!

 

You can find out more about David by checking out his website at www.stasichild.com and follow him on Twitter @djy_writer

Stasi Child is a great read, perfect for fans of historical crime fiction. Here’s the blurb: “East Berlin, 1975: Questions are dangerous. Answers can kill. When murder squad head Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body found riddled with bullets at the foot of the Berlin Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: it seems the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Müller is a member of the People’s Police, but in East Germany her power only stretches so far. The Stasi want her to discover the identity of the girl, but assure her the case is otherwise closed – and strongly discourage her asking questions. The evidence doesn’t add up, and it soon becomes clear that the crime scene has been staged, the girl’s features mutilated. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Müller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home.

The previous summer, on Rügen Island off the Baltic Coast, two desperate teenage girls conspire to escape the physical and sexual abuse of the youth workhouse they call home. Forced to assemble furniture packs for the West, the girls live out a monotonous, painful and hopeless life. Stowing away in the very furniture they are forced to make, the girls arrived in Hamburg. But their celebrations are short-lived as they discover there is a price on freedom in the DDR…”

STASI CHILD is out now. To buy a copy via Amazon click here

When CTG went to … David Young’s Stasi Child book launch

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Last week I went along to Waterstones Richmond to the book launch of debut crime writer, and fellow City University Crime Writing alumni, David Young. David’s fantastic historical crime thriller, Stasi Child, is published by Twenty7 Books next week. The launch was a packed event, with lots of food, drink and even a fabulous book-shaped cake.

As part of the event, David read an extract from Stasi Child, and was then kept busy at the signing table for much of the evening.

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Stasi Child is out on the 11th February.

You can read my review of it here and be sure to drop back on Thursday when I’ll be posting my interview with David.

To pre-order Stasi Child from Waterstones click here

To pre-order Stasi Child from Amazon (or buy the eBook) click here

 

 

CTG Reviews: STASI CHILD by David Young

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The fabulous STASI CHILD, written by debut author David Young, is published in paperback next week on the 11th February.

To celebrate, I’m re-running my review …

What the blurb says: “East Berlin, 1975: Questions are dangerous. Answers can kill. When murder squad head Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body found riddled with bullets at the foot of the Berlin Wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: it seems the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Müller is a member of the People’s Police, but in East Germany her power only stretches so far. The Stasi want her to discover the identity of the girl, but assure her the case is otherwise closed – and strongly discourage her asking questions. The evidence doesn’t add up, and it soon becomes clear that the crime scene has been staged, the girl’s features mutilated. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Müller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home.

The previous summer, on Rügen Island off the Baltic Coast, two desperate teenage girls conspire to escape the physical and sexual abuse of the young workhouse they call home. Forced to assemble furniture packs for the West, the girls live out a monotonous, painful and hopeless life. Stowing away in the very furniture they are forced to make, the girls arrived in Hamburg. But their celebrations are short-lived as they discover there is a price on freedom in the DDR …”

STASI CHILD is David Young’s debut novel and the first in the Oberleutnant Karin Müller series.

Striving for justice whatever the cost is second nature to Müller. She’s a determined, strong and courageous detective, following the evidence and questioning anomalies even when warned off by some very powerful and threatening people. Defying instructions, she leads her team to find the truth hidden beneath the propaganda and cover-ups. But despite her hard-line stance in her job, in her personal life her relationships are imploding and as she juggles the conflict at home with an increasingly tense situation at work, it’s not long before Müller herself could be in danger.

Chillingly authentic and set in our recent-past, this pacey page-turner of a police procedural is filled with fear, power struggles and intrigue making it one hell of a debut novel.

To find out more about David Young follow him on Twitter @djy_writer

To pre-order the paperback (or buy the kindle edition) of STASI CHILD from Amazon click here

To pre-order STASI CHILD from Waterstones click here