Anne Bonny #BlogBlitz #GuestPost Heart Swarm by @allanwatson12 @BOTBSPublicity #NewRelease #Mystery #Thriller

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Heart Swarm by Allan Watson
Synopsis:

Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…
It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.

Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.

The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.

Until the killing spree begins.

Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.

The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –

Heart Swarm

Guest Post:

The Loneliness of a Long Distance Writer

Writing is almost as much about ritual as it is about imagination, sweat and sheer willpower. You’ll find most writers have their own personal charms to get them in the zone. For some this can simply be a glass of wine, or a coffee with a chunky Kit-Kat, while others can’t get down to work without whale song piping from their speakers sometimes preceded by ten minutes of meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. Anything goes. It’s all about tricking the brain into opening up and spilling out those precious pearls of perfect prose. Um… alliteration can also be a useful tool.

To get the creative juices flowing, my own ritual revolves around a fusion of music and light. The light provided by four strategically placed Philips Hue globes, tweaked via the supplied app to give a soft focus fairy-grotto ambience. Candles or draped strings of coloured LEDs left over from Xmas work wonders, too. The music is basically whatever iTunes Playlist takes my fancy at the time. Add a glass of gin and a smoke to the mix and I fall into automatic writing mode.

You think this sounds over the top? In that case I’m so glad I never mentioned the glass shelf positioned above my screen where a collection crystals and polished agates are aligned with geometric precision against a phalanx of collectable Zippo lighters, providing me with a focal point to gaze into infinity when considering the merits of the humble colon over the more elaborate semi-colon.

So what happens when the writer gets uprooted from their cosy life-support pods and forced to work in unfamiliar surroundings? For the past six years I’ve been mostly working away from home, living out of a suitcase in a succession of bland and soulless hotel rooms. In theory there’s nothing stopping me getting on with whatever book I’m writing, but getting the magic to seamlessly flow from my fingertips to the screen when away from home isn’t so easy.

Sure, I can stick on my headphones and drip-feed my favourite songs into my bloodstream. I can bring along a string of Xmas lights and drape them over my laptop. I can even keep myself supplied in gin – but there’s always something going on the background to distract and derail my normally dependable train of thought.

Sometimes it’s an inconsiderate clown in the room upstairs Morris-dancing with wooden clogs. Other times it’s the badly hung curtains (six degrees off kilter, I checked with a spirit level app), or weird-shaped stains on the carpet (one definitely resembled a silhouette of Barbara Cartland). After this comes the unpredictable sound of flushing behind the bathroom wall or the hotel air con deciding to impersonate a B52 bomber. And that’s without going into how distracting it can be when the people through the wall decide to have mattress-busting noisy sex without first asking if I mind or not.

Now, instead of slavishly devoting myself to ensuring those pesky sub plots converge properly or trying to subtly drop in a red herring without it stinking up the place like a two-week-old kipper or simply determining a minor character’s fate (pause to check current body count), I find myself looking at Facebook and Twitter. Distractions within distractions, and minor character is getting impatient awaiting his fate as I procrastinate over a picture of a friend’s grilled prawn curry. I quickly decide to kill off minor character to cover up my own ragged attention span. Minor character isn’t happy and says he’ll be talking to his Union Rep. I now realise I’ve been hitting the gin too hard.

I decide to go to bed and sleep. Tomorrow is always another day. I might even buy another Philips Hue globe. And a Zippo. It’s the alignment that’s important.

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Allan Watson
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Author Bio:
Allan Watson is a writer whose work leans towards the dark end of the fiction spectrum. He is the author of seven novels – Dreaming in the Snakepark, Carapace, The Garden of Remembrance, 1-2-3-4, Monochrome, Heart Swarm and Wasp Latitudes.

In between the books, Allan wrote extensively for BBC Radio Scotland, churning out hundreds of comedy sketches, in addition to being a regular contributor for the world famous ‘Herald Diary’.

He occasionally masquerades as a composer/musician, collaborating with crime writer Phil Rickman in a band called Lol Robinson with Hazey Jane II whose albums have sold on four different continents (Antarctica was a hard one to crack)

Allan lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland, but has never worn the kilt or eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. He also once spent three days as a stand-in guitarist for the Bay City Rollers, but he rarely talks much about that…

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H E A R T S W A R M B L O G B L I T Z (1)

Anne Bonny #BlogBlitz #Extract Death On The Coast by @BernieSteadman #CoastalCrime #Crimefiction #Mystery #WestCountry #NewRelease #BeachReads @Bloodhoundbook

death on the coast FINAL
Death On The Coast by Bernie Steadman
Synopsis:

Can DCI Dan Hellier decipher the twisted mind behind the ritualised burning of homeless men on Devon’s beaches before more people are sacrificed?

When images from the burning appear all over social media, Hellier realises that he is dealing with a cult and a mystery that will lead back to the Irish Troubles.

Hellier will battle a bitter man who has plotted revenge for more than twenty years, without a care for the lives he will destroy.

Extract:

Kegan waited outside the rough circle of stones until the moment was right. Faces, made hideous by red and black paint, stared at him through the swirling flames of the fire. He found Tana’s eyes, so black in her white face. It was time. The rock, cold in his hands, scraped at his palms as he lifted it high and smashed it down on the back of the man’s head. The crack of stone on bone was loud enough to make one of them flinch, but they held firm, watching intently as Kegan hauled the unconscious man into his arms, before rising – each taking a limb of the inert body – and throwing it messily into the heart of the fire.

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Bernie Steadman
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B LO G B L I T Z

Anne Bonny #BlogBlitz #BookReview & #GuestPost #TheKillingTime by @WriterMJLee #NewRelease #Historical #Mystery 1930s #Shanghai #InspectorDanilov #Series @canelo_co

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The Killing Time by M J Lee – Inspector Danilov #4
Review copy
Synopsis:

As tensions simmer in Shanghai, children go missing…

Shanghai 1932: Inspector Danilov hasn’t recovered from the death of his child… but across a Shanghai riven with communal tensions, children are going missing.

Missing, and then murdered. Who is responsible? Why have the children’s bodies been exhibited for all to see?

Just as Danilov thinks the stakes couldn’t be higher there is a new dimension, Japan, a rising power flexing its muscles. In fractious Shanghai, an explosion is long overdue. With the clock ticking can Danilov and his assistant Strachan solve the case? The fate of Shanghai may be at stake. So is Danilov’s job… And his sanity.

My Review:

The Killing Time is set in Shanghai 1932, the year of the golden goat. I was instantly drawn to the era and location, as I am a huge fan of historical fiction. The novel opens with DS Strachan and Dr Fang at the autopsy of an unknown 13yr old boy. The child has a mutilated face and his right ear has been removed. He died via manual strangulation and was dumped at a building site. He shows no signs of sexual assault and his only identifiable feature is a strawberry birthmark.
It is a case that throws up more questions than answers. What is the motive? Why was he dumped at the building site? Who is he? Is someone targeting children?

‘This one is extremely personal, Inspector. Our victim, whatever his name is, will have been looking straight into the eyes of his killer as he died’ – Dr Fang

Locally students are protesting the Japanese occupation of Manchurita. Calling for others and shopkeepers to boycott Japanese trade. Thugs hassle shopkeepers and it becomes clear the ‘protest’ may require a police presence.
The novel further explores the political situation and expands to explain about the local gangs that operate.

Inspector Danilov is also experiencing his own personal grief and pain at the loss of his son Ivan; just 2yrs ago. The bereavement seems to be a driving force in his search for justice for the victims of this insane killer.

The novel is a complex murder mystery, with the reveal of the culprit at the end a brilliant piece of writing. Almost Columbo in style. The novel comprises of short, sharp and to the point chapters, which I like. The descriptions of Shanghai as a location are interesting. I think the novel could have benefitted from more female characters. It was comprised of nearly an entire male cast.

A complex mystery with elements of culture. 4*

Guest Post: by M J Lee

Is Shanghai the perfect place to set a crime novel?

Thanks for this opportunity to talk about myself and the Danilov novels. It’s something I love doing almost as much as I love writing the books.

I remember very clearly when the idea for writing a novel set in the Shanghai of the 1920s and 1930s came to me.

I was out strolling one evening in Shanghai (we were living in the city at that time). It was around dusk in October, one of the best times of the year in the city. Perfect walking weather. I reached the crossroads at Jiangxi Middle Road and Fuzhou Road, just opposite the Metropole Hotel. A square where four Art Deco buildings built in the 1930s meet. For a moment, there was no traffic and no people, a strange occurrence in a city of over twenty million people. I closed my eyes and was suddenly transported back to the 1920s, imagining old Dodges, Packards and Chevrolets rolling up to the hotel, discharging carloads of flappers and elegant men wearing tuxedos.
A lovely moment, trapped in time.

The Inspector Danilov books were born. And what a time to write about. Back then, the city of ‘joy, gin and jazz’ was an amazing melting pot of adventurers, spies, triads, opium smugglers, merchants, con-men, communists, criminals, fascists, Japanese miltarists, gamblers and refugees. With such a witches cauldron of deceit and double-dealing, happiness and despair, wealth and poverty, it soon became obvious that only a crime novel, with its strong moral compass, could explore the depths of the abyss that was Shanghai.

The two main characters, Detective Inspector Danilov and Detective Sergeant Strachan, are both outsiders, in a society full of outsiders. They are employed by the Shanghai Municipal Police but distanced and separate from the rest of their colleagues, and from the society of the time. Mavericks are always so much more interesting to read about and to write. The choice of Danilov as the lead in the books actually came from a line in a policeman’s memoir of the time. He mentioned that when they had a problem, both the French and Shanghai police turned to White Russian members of their forces to solve it for them.

So far, four books in the series have been published. The latest The Killing Time is set in Shanghai 1932, in the days before the Japanese invaded the city for the first time. It’s apart of the series but can be read as a standalone novel.

MJL
M J Lee
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The Killing Time Blog Blitz

#BlogBlitz #Review Cargo by @Kneumsi J.C. Macek III 5* @Bloodhoundbook #NewRelease #CrimeFiction by @annebonnybook

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Cargo by J.C. Macek III
Synopsis:

Over the years Anthony Peterson has amassed a fortune, numerous properties, a trophy wife and a reputation for ruthless business dealings. He is a man who is used to getting his own way.

But when Peterson wakes to find himself locked in a metal shipping container, with only a cell phone and twenty-four hours of air left, he begins to unravel.

Desperate to escape Peterson soon learns that there is more to the container than he first realised. And when the kidnappers call and demand ten million dollars, while threatening to murder and rape his beautiful wife if he doesn’t comply, Peterson must fight to meet their impossible terms or face being left to die alone in the darkness.

Why has Peterson been targeted?
Who are those responsible for his kidnap?
And will Peterson make out of the container alive?

Cargo is an edge of your seat thriller about the choices we make.

My review:

This novel has so many twists and turns, for a novel surrounding a man locked in a cargo shipping container! In reminded me of the movie Saw, but with a greater emphasise on the crime fiction angle and the personality of Anthony Peterson.
I can see exactly why, it would make a brilliant film!

The novel opens with Anthony awakening within the box. The chapter is titled: The Box 1am – 24hrs to deadline. He has no recollection of how he ended up in box. The last thing he recalls is a night out drinking. He comes to the conclusion; his drink must have been spiked and this is a prank!
His opinion is formed heavily, on his reputation. No one would dare attempt to kidnap Anthony Peterson!!!
However, things are about to get a lot worse for Anthony in the coming hours…….

The kidnappers provide him with a cheap phone, with no GPS, internet and limited access help. They warn him that they are watching his every move. Any attempt to signal for help, his wife will be gang raped and murdered in a live snuff stream. They demand ten million dollars and Anthony has 24hrs to have it available.

Anthony’s back story is explored, and we learn about his first wife and children Evan and Elena. His second wife Susan is the stereotypical ‘trophy wife’. But it becomes evident that Anthony does care for her deeply. With no real friends, his wife held hostage and his strained relationships with his family. He turns to his employee Tom Pocase. But who can you trust when there’s ten million dollars at stake?
How much loyalty, does money buy?

The kidnappers reference an event, in Anthony’s past. They claim his involvement is the reasoning for this kidnapping. They reel off devious and underhand business tactics that Anthony has devised over the years. It is clear that in his strive to make it to the top in the world of business. Anthony was willing and able to ‘ruin’ anyone and everyone, to win!

“You honestly believe you’re a good man?” – Kidnapper

“I never burned anybody this bad” – Anthony

The ensuing time in the box, does give Anthony much time for reflection. He has for the first time, in a long time. The time to address all the wrongs he has done! He shifts back and forth between acknowledgment and denial. We the reader, are watching Anthony slowly unravel. In an attempt to salvage his relationship with his family. He calls his son Evan, but he is unprepared for Evan’s response.

I found the novel to be very gripping and the secrets that are revealed shocking!
This ultimately is a story of revenge and Anthony is at the mercy of more than just the kidnappers….

There is plenty of action, scheming and background storylines to keep the reader guessing. I love the theme of ‘people must pay for their misdeeds’. It did make me wonder, how much easier life would be, if powerful people feared the karma of their actions. 5*

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J.C Macek III
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