#BlogTour #Review & #GuestPost #AshesOfBerlin by @mccallinluke @noexitpress

Ashes of Berlin Blog Tour Poster
The Ashes Of Berlin by Luke McCallin

Shortlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger 2017

1947 and Gregor Reinhardt has been hired back onto Berlin’s civilian police force. The city is divided among the victorious allied powers, tensions are growing, and the police are riven by internal rivalries as factions within it jockey for power and influence with Berlin’s new masters.

When a man is found slain in a broken-down tenement, Reinhardt embarks on a gruesome investigation. It seems a serial killer is on the loose, and matters only escalate when it’s discovered that one of the victims was the brother of a Nazi scientist.

Reinhardt’s search for the truth takes him across the divided city and soon embroils him in a plot involving the Western Allies and the Soviets. And as he comes under the scrutiny of a group of Germans who want to continue the war – and faces an unwanted reminder from his own past – Reinhardt realizes that this investigation could cost him everything as he pursues a killer who believes that all wrongs must be avenged…

My review:

I am a huge nerd for fiction in the WW2 era. I have a whole fascination for the era and the impact it had on people’s lives etc.

Former German intelligence Officer Gregor Reinhardt is working the night shift on a mundane Monday night in 1947. When a call comes in of a body found in a stairwell, in an apartment building in the American sector of Berlin. Inspector Reinhardt is now with the Schoneberg kripo division. The victim appears to have a fallen from the flight of stairs laying at the bottom with a broken neck. When other officers smell alcohol, they are hasty to mark this as a drunken accident.
But Reinhardt has his suspicions……

“sometimes death is better than defeat”

It appears prior to the fall the man had sustained a brutal beating. The police enquire with neighbours to learn of the man’s identity. This leads them to an apartment in the complex and another dead body! This victim is easily identified as Mr Noell and shows clear sign of asphyxiation! But how are the two men linked? Why do they both lay dead? Reinhardt searches the flat and finds a document that states RITTERFELD ASSOCIATION is this a clue to what links the men?

The harshness of post-war Germany is fully explored.
The poverty, defeat and presence of death seeps from the pages, with each character’s story!

Upon further investigation Reinhardt learns that Mr Noell was a quiet, courteous and mystery man. He is a veteran of the air force, seemingly living out a lifeless existence. Reinhardt spots some homeless orphan kids and through talking to Leena learns of mysterious men coming and going. Reinhardt is clutching at theories to link the two men. The surrounding officers mock him, calling him Captain Crow. He continues to investigate whilst being plagued with flashback scenes that show what he has lived through in the war.

“Defeat is an orphan. An unloved only child”.

We learn more of Reinhardt his background, personal history and essentially what shaped the man he is now. There are times with the novel where Reinhardt shows a humanity that is has inner depth and is not always displayed by his fellow police officers. This was an era of great shame for German citizens. The women who suffered the savagery of the Red Armies victory. The children now without fathers. The displaced persons, surviving the experience of a new found freedom in a country that reminds them of their great shame. The rubble women scraping by a meagre life, with a harsh job, in harsh times. The various areas are explained the Soviet zone and American/British sectors.

When more bodies begin to pile up, all with a distinct link in their veteran status. It is clear Reinhardt has a serial killer on his hands! Not just any serial killer a methodical and premeditated murderer, with vengeance fuelling his urge to kill! 4*

“All wrongs must be avenged”


‘Closure through character’

When the idea for the character of Gregor Reinhardt—a man on the edge of despair at what his life had become—first came to me it was not so much a question of could I do this—I had a degree of confidence in myself as a storyteller and a writer—but should I do this. What I was trying to write could so easily have been misunderstood as an apology. The time, the place, a character such as Reinhardt—a German, a soldier, a servant, however unwilling of a regime such as the Nazis…


I was born in Oxford to parents that had a humanitarian vocation. We moved to Africa when I was five. My father worked for UNHCR—the UN High Commissioner for Refugees—and my mother did work with child soldiers. That upbringing was inspirational, and engendered in me a desire to something similar. I’ve worked for a range of UN organisations around the world, and now work for UNHCR in Geneva.

Somewhere along the way, my work and my vocation to write began to merge. All the places I worked and lived in—in Africa, in Russia, in Haiti, in Pakistan, in the Balkans—taught me something, or I saw something, or felt something. About what happens to people—ordinary people—put in extraordinary situations. Watching the news from Ukraine, for example, I get awful flashbacks to my time in Bosnia, to when neighbours turned on each other. What makes friends of decades suddenly believe the worst of each other? What makes a deliveryman become a gunman? What makes a woman arm her husband or son and send him out to fight the sons and husbands of other women? What happens to people like that when the guns fall silent? When people come home? When the people they tried to expel come home, too? When an occupation force comes in, and when words like ‘justice’ and ‘restitution’ begin to be whispered…?

I’ve found that no amount of work we, as humanitarian workers, can do will suffice to overcome those impulses. You are always going to be frustrated in what you achieve, to only get halfway to where you want to be, and often—far too often—the guilty get away with it. I think with my writing I’m trying to find some way of coming to terms with that. I don’t write about white knights on white horses—Gregor Reinhardt is certainly not one of those—but I try to ask those questions that seem to haunt me, and I try to find answers, and a sense of closure.

McCallin portrait
Luke McCallin
Authors Links:
Web site: http://lukemccallin.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lukemccallinauthor/
Twitter: @mccallinluke
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6519002.Luke_McCallin

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#BlogTour #GuestPost #WritersBlock #PayThePenance by @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

Pay The Penance by Rob Ashman

A stunning serial killer thriller from The Mechanic Trilogy

Murder. Corruption. Revenge. 

Lucas has been tracking a killer, known as Mechanic, when his world is shattered. Unable to continue his hunt for the murderer he is forced to rely on his friend and colleague Dick Harper. But Harper has a knack for not playing by the rules. And he doesn’t disappoint.

Meanwhile Detective Moran is trying to piece her life back together. The police stumble upon new evidence without grasping its significance and she must divert the investigation if she is to survive.

The police are closer to Mechanic than they realise which puts Moran right in the firing line.


Writer’s block … take a bath

It is every writer’s worst nightmare when your story line dries up. I tend to be able to keep it at bay by employing a few simple strategies. Before I became a full-time writer I had jobs which were extremely varied, it was one of the things that kept me interested. I try and replicate that environment when I’m writing, so I write in every room in the house, with the exception of the downstairs loo!

I also write in two coffee shops and the public library. I enjoy the variety that brings and how it keeps my thinking fresh. However, there are times when I get a little stumped and cannot see how the next set of chapters will unfold. It is then I use my more unusual strategy – that is to take a bath.

I always think that an issue is easier to overcome if you can visualise the problem. The trouble with writer’s block is, what does that look like?

For me I picture a cinema showing the chapters from my book. I am sat on the front row while the events play across the screen. I can hear the dialogue and see the characters acting out what I’ve written. This is an old cinema house where the movie is played on giant reels of film and in my head I can see the man operating the projector. He comes to the end of one reel but he can’t find the next in the sequence. He knows it’s there but he can’t find it. That for me is what writer’s block is all about. The story is there, I just can’t lay my hands on what comes next.

I lie in the bath and run the scenes over and over until the man finds the next reel of film. He feeds it into the projector and off we go again. Sometimes I might only be in the bath for a matter of minutes before the plotline becomes clear. Having baths in the middle of the day might not be for everyone but it works for me.

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Rob Aahman
Authors bio:

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Rob will be publishing all three books in the Mechanic Trilogy with Bloodhound Books – the second novel is titled In Your Name and the third is called Pay The Penance.

Authors Links:
Web site: http://www.robashman.com/
Twitter: @RobAshmanAuthor
via Bloodhound Books: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/rob-ashman/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rob-Ashman-Author-1428800800468097/




#BlogTour 5* #Review #IKnowASecret by @tessgerritsen @TransworldBooks #NewRelease

I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen

I have a secret.
And someone wants to make sure I never tell . . .

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.

Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?

One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.

But she has a secret that she has to keep . . .

My review:

This is Rizzoli & Isles #12 but can easily be read as a standalone novel. Detective Jane Rizzoli and forensic pathologist Maura Isles, are a crime solving due in Boston, USA. With a young woman found dead, with links to high-profile solved case from years ago.
This is no easy case to solve by any measure…..

The novel starts quite slow in the beginning and I longed for the usual, complete and utter engrossment, I get with novels by this author. However, at 50% in, things took a monumental turn and I realised this was the work of a very clever author and writing style. It felt as though the first half of the novel, the author is leaving tiny, tiny breadcrumbs and clues to the plot. Which at the halfway mark, blew me away!

The novel opens with unreliable narrator Holly, attending the funeral of childhood friend Sarah. Sarah having been victim to a fatal house fire. I didn’t like Holly from the onset but the way she delivered little riddle like clues, that had me hooked!
Five rode the school bus that afternoon, only 4 remain alive…….

Maura Isles is visiting a terminally ill, cancer patient, who also turns out to be a psychopathic serial killer. Nothing new there, due to her role as a forensic pathologist would often mean engaging with such killers, after they have been caught. Except this killer Amalthea Lank, is Isles birth mother…….
They have a fraught discussion and you can see Lank’s attempts to draw Isle’s into some form of emotional blackmail with mind games. The relationship between the two in the novel, makes for eerie reading and displays the psychology of familial bonds.
The crosses we all bear due to DNA.

Detective Jane Rizzoli and detective Barry Frost are attempting to analyse the crime scene, where the young victim lays sprawled across the bed, with empty eye sockets and an eye in each hand. The crime scene is grotesque and this is not a novel for the faint hearted. The victim Cassandra Coyle, a young wannabe film maker positioning resembles a similar case in Dallas. A case where 3 young college girls were murdered but the perpetrator was caught.
Is someone trying to send a message to the police?
Does this mean there will be more bodies?

Someone is watching Rizzoli and Isles

The investigation continues with much speculation and theories, but theories don’t catch killers! The autopsy turns up more mystery than hard evidence and the CCTV displays nothing more than a silhouette of a tall man. Not to mention the warring parents at the funeral of the victim. Rizzoli and Isles have little more than some sketchy theories and links to a previous new age cult. When the body of a dead man shows up, with similar findings. The duo know they have the work of a crazed killer on their hands.

“oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive” Holly

There appears no obvious link to the victims, other than a ‘mechanism of death’ used in the murders. *See I told you this was not for the faint hearted!*
The mechanism of death and theories that surround the case, make for fascinating reading. They force the duo to investigate painful cold cases and contact victims, who would rather forget the past.

I can’t give away anymore, with regards to the plot, because to do so would leave spoilers. I do look forward to hearing other readers shock and awe, when they hit the halfway mark! Because this novel has an insanely epic turn!
There are themes of revenge, abuse, family dynamics, religion and the pain of the past.
It is one hell of a good read! 5*    

Tess Gerritsen
Authors Links:
Web page: http://www.tessgerritsen.com/
Twitter: @tessgerritsen

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#BlogTour #DistrictNurseOnCall @DonnaAuthor #Giveaway UK & IRL @arrowpublishing

District Nurse on Call
District Nurse On Call by Donna Douglas

West Yorkshire, 1926

After completing her training in Steeple Street, Agnes Sheridan is looking forward to making her mark as Bowden’s first district nurse, confident she can make a difference in the locals’ lives.

But when Agnes arrives, she’s treated with suspicion, labelled just another servant of the wealthy mine owners. The locals would much rather place their trust in the resident healer – Hannah Arkwright.

And when the General Strike throws the village into turmoil, the miners and their families face hunger and hardship, and Agnes finds her loyalties tested.

Now it’s time to prove whose side she is really on and to fight for her place in the village…..

*** #Giveaway ***
Today I have five copies to giveaway, all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave the comment #DistrictNurseOnCall
on either 1) This blog post
2) The pinned Tweet via @annebonnybook
3) The Facebook page District Nurse On Call post.
This #Giveaway is only open to UK & Ireland residents.
Good luck and I shall draw the winners on Tuesday 1st August 🙂

Donna Douglas
Donna Douglas
Authors links:
web: http://donnadouglas.co.uk/
Twitter: @DonnaAuthor

#BlogTour #MarkedForDeath by @MHiltonauthor #GuestPost @canelo_co

Marked for Death Blog Tour Final (1) banner
Marked For Death by Matt Hilton

Joe Hunter has been Marked for Death in his most explosive outing to date

It should be a routine job. Joe Hunter and his associates are hired to provide security for an elite event in Miami. Wear a tux, stay professional, job done.

But things go wrong.

Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…

Before long this chance encounter has serious repercussions for Hunter and his friends. Good people are being killed. On the run, in the line of fire, the clock is ticking.

Guest Post:

Researching the Hilton way.

 My Joe Hunter thrillers are set in the USA. It surprises some readers, because I’m a Brit, living in northern England, and before publication of the first in the series – Dead Men’s Dust – had never set foot in America. Everything that went into that first book was written from a vivid imagination, some misconception, and what I’d learned about America from reading countless books, and watching as many movies. I guess it was an idealized version of what I thought the USA was like. Obviously since then I have visited the US on a number of occasions, but to be fair, not all the places I’ve written about in the subsequent books in the series. There’s nothing like having your feet on the ground when it comes to the locations you write about. You can use Google Earth to get an idea of the location, the topography, and jump to Wikipedia for some insider knowledge, but there’s nothing that can replace being where you intend to set your story and taste, and smell, and feel the environment. That isn’t to say you have to visit. And as I said, I haven’t been where I set the stories most of the time. I’ve written fantasy and supernatural tales where I didn’t have to visit some mythical land or haunted house (although I have done that) for the sake of research.

            My research process usually consists of sitting down and writing unfettered by preconception, and when something comes up that I need to check out, I use the Internet to find the answer I’m looking for. But I also check for underlying information, the more nuanced or unique stuff that adds a sense of realism to the tale. Often, when perusing a web page or map I’ll spot something I was totally unaware of and just have to include it in the story. There was one time when I was researching a location in Florida and came across a really cool lighthouse, and decided I must write a scene in which the lighthouse featured.

            In my latest Joe Hunter book – Marked For Death – the majority of the story is set in and around Miami Beach, Florida. I’ve been to Florida a half dozen times or more now, but always further north around Orlando and Tampa, never to the south. I dug deep in my research for that one, to get a very real sense of locale, but also with a view to adapting things to suit my story telling-style. As I researched, more and more interesting places began popping up, and I made an effort to use those locations to shape the action that Hunter finds himself in. If I hadn’t had access to modern research tools I might just have struggled to make the locations sound realistic to the reader, and in fact would most likely have relied on that age-old trick of making things up to suit the narrative, with the excuse that it’s a fictional story after all.

            These days – through the marvels of modern technology unavailable to me when I first set off writing the series – I have friends in the US, who I can call on at the press of a button or two and ask questions of them. Often I’ll punt an open question to my readers via my Facebook feed and get the information I need direct from the horse’s mouth. Sometimes dry information found on the Internet just doesn’t cut it, and you need some local knowledge to keep you right. I asked a simple question once about how an artists’ supply shop would be referred to in the US and the answers were as varied as the number of people who replied. I chose the one that got the largest consensus, but I’m still betting a reader somewhere will have a different view when they actually read the book.

            Something I’ve grown very conscious of is that if you are going to write about weapons, then you’d better get it correct, or someone is going to tell you how wrong you are. There are tropes used by writers, usually absorbed from reading other authors’ works, which are plain wrong. I think we’ve all fallen foul of following what we’ve read before and writing the same thing because we ‘think’ it’s correct. For heaven’s sake, don’t write about someone “flicking off the safety on their Glock”, or be prepared for the backlash. Even though I know that a Glock (a type of pistol) doesn’t have a safety switch (the safety is integrated into the trigger action), but does have a decocking lever, even I made the mistake of flicking off its safety – a slip – and was berated for it. Also, there was one time when I described a helicopter ‘looping around’. I only meant that it followed an a roundabout path and came back again. I received an email from a chap explaining to me all about aerodynamics, and that unless it is ‘Air Wolf’ helicopters are incapable of performing a loop-the-loop.

            Recently I was writing a scene where I could have glossed over the detail but wanted to add a little realism. It concerned a child who had been flash-blinded by a super bright detonation and I wanted to know what kind of initial care paramedics would give en route to hospital. I asked the question of my readers, and the response I got from paramedics in the know was terrific. Happily what I’d written was almost correct, so I needed only do a little bit of re-writing to sort things. Social media is often derided, but it has its good points too, not least as a valuable research tool.

            Looking back at my recent research subjects, it surprises even me how varied a list it is: how to shuck an oyster, where is Mar-a-Lago, how are asteroid names designated, discrete versus discreet, how fast can a Gulfstream G650 fly, how fast in MPH is Mach 0.85, and other weird and wonderful facts. Largely though, I bet my web searches would make very interesting reading to MI5. I genuinely hope I haven’t been flagged to some watch list because of my interest in modern and historical terrorism, weapons and bombs. Honest, I’m an action thriller author.

Matt Hilton

Matt Hilton quit his career as a police officer to pursue his love of writing tight, cinematic American-style thrillers. He is the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, including his most recent novels ‘The Devil’s Anvil’ – Joe Hunter 10 – published in June 2015 by Hodder and Stoughton and Blood Tracks, the first in anew series from Severn House publishers in November 2015. His first book, ‘Dead Men’s Dust’, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Book of 2009 Award, and was a Sunday Times bestseller, also being named as a ‘thriller of the year 2009’ by The Daily Telegraph. Dead Men’s Dust was also a top ten Kindle bestseller in 2013. The Joe Hunter series is widely published by Hodder and Stoughton in UK territories, and by William Morrow and Company and Down and Out Books in the USA, and have been translated into German, Italian, Romanian and Bulgarian. As well as the Joe Hunter series, Matt has been published in a number of anthologies and collections, and has published novels in the supernatural/horror genre, namely ‘Preternatural’, ‘Dominion’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘The Shadows Call’. He is currently working on indie publishing the next Joe Hunter novel, No Safe Place, in May 2016, as well as gearing up for the release of his next Tess Grey novel, Painted Skins, in August 2016.

Authors Links:
www.matthiltonbooks.com website
https://twitter.com/MHiltonauthor @MHiltonauthor Twitter
www.facebook.com/MattHiltonAuthor   Facebook
www.facebook.com/MattHiltonBooks official author page at Facebook