Today is my first blog birthday!!!!!
I would love to thank the awesome bloggers, publishers, publicists & authors etc. That have supported me and my little blog!
Especially Sarah Hardy, Noelle Holton and my awesome boss Joe Ide.
*Special thanks to Roz Watkins for this fabulous Q&A and giveaway!
Here’s to many, many more years of booky love, Twitter gifs and 5* GENIUS reads!
Today on my blog, I have a super duper special #Giveaway, for a proof copy of The Devil’s Dice. The first in the DI Meg Dalton series and a cracking read by debut author Roz Watkins. So let me tell you a little bit more about the novel…….
The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins
A white-knuckle crime debut introducing DI Meg Dalton, perfect for fans of Broadchurch and Happy Valley.
The devil is coming…
A SHOCKING DEATH
A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.
A SINISTER MESSAGE
Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.
A DEADLY GAME
As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…
The Devil’s Dice is a Derbyshire noir, debut novel. It is incredibly well written and expertly plotted out, to keep you guessing the entire way through! There are themes of curses, ghouls, myths and legends. Which are well known in Derbyshire, two I grew up knowing of were hermits cave and the drummer boy! But essentially the novel is about the characters and their relationships with each other.
Their development and pasts make for intriguing reading.
Every character has a past and that includes DI Meg Dalton……….
The novel opens with a violent scene and I wondered if this would be the pace of the entire novel. But it was much more of a whodunit and the intensity developed as the characters unravelled. The author has only used violence or graphic scenes when necessary with the plot.
DI Meg Dalton is called to a crime scene at Devil’s Dice, a local known suicide spot. A male victim has been found, whilst it first appears as a suicide, there are hints of murderous intent. There is an almond aroma in the air and the body is found lying under his carvings of his own initials on the cave wall. But how are the ancient cave markings related to this murder?
Devils Dice as a cave site in the peak district, conjures up images and makes for an atmospheric crime scene……
“The rumour is – if you can’t find the noose, it’s your sign you should leave”
We learn more about the history of the cave from the 1800s and its links to witches. Inside the cave is a large chain, still hanging. It is thought that back in the day, suspected witches were hung from this chain! There has been a recent young teenage girl, that chose to end her life from the chain. DI Dalton and partner DS Jai Sanghera have a tough case to solve. There are cupcakes at the scene that appear to have been laced with cyanide.
But who poisons a man in a cave by cupcakes and why?
The victim is Peter Hamilton, a patent lawyer. He is married to local GP Dr Kate Webster. He has a complex family history, with some believing the family is cursed. His business partners Felix Carstairs and Edward Swift, are a huge part of his day to day lives and become early suspects. They report that Peter had become distracted, the last six months and this had caused him to put their firm at risk! Felix even accusing Peter of alcoholism and marital affairs. But is this enough to kill your business partner? The wives of the partners are also involved in the case. Grace Swift, Edwards wife, is the picture perfect stepford wife. But what secrets does she hold? Olivia Carstairs, Felix’s wife seems meek and timid, as she panders to her child’s every need.
At this point I began to struggle with the characters. I am not a fan of novels, that follow the ‘poor’ struggles/tragedies of the wealthy middle class! But this is where I got this novel so wrong! The masks the character’s wear, begin to slip and we discover none are as perfect, as they’d like to portray………..
The novels delves deeper into the character’s backgrounds. We learn of Peters odd relationship with a known tramp. There are hints of Greek mythology and in particular Tithonus; but how does this tie into the case? We learn of Felix’s past and his rather savage bullying style, he inflicts on others.
The characterisation keeps you guessing. Whilst they seem perfect and innocent on the outside, they are a bunch of oddballs and weirdos, once you scratch the surface. We also learn small clues into Meg’s background and how Jai has a crazy ex-wife. With no-one whom they seem and so many suspicions, it was clear to me don’t trust the wives……….
The plot is so cleverly written that every time I felt I had it figured, the author would through in another huge curve ball! It has twists/turns galore. The novel also deals with some incredibly complex issues such as suicide and euthanasia. It is sensitively done and opens up so much room for debate. I think this novel would make an excellent choice for book groups. There are brief themes of mental illness and trust. But ultimately the core themes are of secrets/lies and the bonds of family and what they demand of us! I think DI Meg Dalton is a fantastic protagonist and I look forward to more novels in the series!
What makes Derbyshire Noir so special………
The Derbyshire countryside is truly beautiful, it makes for an atmospheric setting!
Black rock mist
Black rock crevasse
Black rock trees
Q&A with #DebutAuthor Roz Watkins
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face covered with scratches. As DI Meg Dalton investigates, she makes a chilling discovery. Chiselled into the cave wall above the body, hidden by foliage, is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century. Although the locals blame a curse dating from the times of the witch trials, Meg is convinced there’s a rational explanation.
But as she battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, her own family secrets refuse to stay buried.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) I hadn’t written any fiction since school, but had always had a vague idea that I’d like to write a book one day. I never took it very seriously, and I’d always been too busy with my job as a patent attorney. After I gave that up and started running holiday cottages, I became a lot more creative. One day when I was out walking the dog, I had an idea for a short story in which a farmer is killed by his own cows. It looked like an accident but the cows were actually trained by his wife. I was very much into clicker-training, and my mind must have been exploring all the possibilities!
I got home and wrote my story, with no idea what I was doing, and something prompted me to enter it for an online competition. To my astonishment, it was shortlisted, and this encouraged me to keep going.
I joined a local writing group and wrote more short stories, but I started getting ideas about a novel. With astonishing naivety, I bought ‘The Complete Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel’ and just got cracking!
I was soon completely hooked, and read every book I could get my hands on about how to write, as well as analysing favourite books to try and work out how the author had done it. I befriended police and CSIs, got them drunk and tried to get all their secrets.
Luckily, my mum was doctor and was very happy (possibly a little too happy!) to share all her ideas on how to kill people.
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) Strangely, most of my absolute favourites are not crime. I love Lionel Shriver, especially ‘So Much for That’ and ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’. I think ‘Falling’ by Colin Thubron is a perfect little book, and touches on some of the ideas in my first book. I also love ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) I read a lot of Enid Blyton as a young child, and Dick Francis as a teenager – classy stuff! A book called ‘Dream of Fair Horses’ was one of my favourites – a lovely book about love and loss pretending to be a kids’ pony book.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) I’m not quite published yet (and I suspect this is the best bit now!) I’ve really enjoyed going to festivals and meeting readers and other authors. The HarperCollins summer party is a bit of a highlight too!
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) I’ve made some fantastic friends through attending local writing courses and groups, and also and online through Twitter and by exchanging critiques on Scribophile. The community of writers is lovely and so supportive.
***To be in with a chance of winning a proof copy of The Devils Dice.
Simply RT The pinned post at @annebonnybook making sure to follow Roz & myself.
Or leave a comment on this blog post.
Or comment on the original Facebook post at Anne Bonny Book Reviews
UK & IRL only & Good luck!***
*Winner will be drawn by my son Lil Ste on Sunday evening! The #Giveaway will remain open ALL weekend!
Have a fabulous weekend reading book worms!