#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*

J.C. Macek III - Cargo_cover_high res_preview
Cargo by J.C. Macek III

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*

J.C Macek III
Authors Links:

***Don’t miss the other blogs on the #BlogBlitz***

#Review Degrees Of Darkness by @TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook #CrimeFiction

Degrees Of Darkness by Tony J Forder
A gripping serial killer thriller

Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank unravel the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

My review:

Author Tony J Forder has previously appeared on my blog for a guest post spot, and I knew his novels were very dark in theme! But just how dark, was quite terrifying!
The novel has some dark and disturbing characters, which makes this an exceptional serial killer thriller!

The novel opens as Janet Rogers checks on her children Gary (8yrs) and Laura (12yrs) before bed! Within three hours the family will be dead, and Laura abducted into the cold dark night!
The depiction of the abduction sets the pace/tone of this novel. If you can’t hack that, then don’t read any further……….

“I am the dark, Laura”

Frank Rogers is an ex-MET detective, turned debt collector. He separated from his wife Janet a year ago. A marriage broken by Frank’s dedication to his career. When DCI Nicky Loizou, best mate and upstanding copper, arrives at Frank’s workplace. Frank knows this must mean bad news! Nicky offers Frank access to evidence and official findings. So that Frank may work the case incognito.

It soon becomes clear the murders/abduction, aren’t a single crime but the work of a serial offender. The killer has destroyed seven families previously and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon! He won’t stop, until the police catch him!

“What I don’t understand right now is why he takes them. What does he want with them?” – Frank

Franks appears emotionless and I put this down to him being in shock and having the experience of a seasoned detective. Frank knows how these cases play out, he can predict the next move of the police. He is desperate to have his daughter back to safety. But he is also aware, hasty actions lead to mistakes!
Frank is a difficult character to debate. Did I warm to him, no. but did I think he was fascinating and intelligent, yes.
Frank’s experience and knowledge of killers, plays a significant role in making this plot work. Listening to Frank’s thoughts summarising the case, is haunting and yet compelling!
Frank knows that as you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares right back at you!

“Sometimes you had to bend the rules. Perhaps soon would come the time to break them”

One thing is for certain, the killer that lurks amongst the pages of this novel is a monster in a human guise.
There are chapters written from the killers thoughts and they make your skin crawl; terrifying and disturbing, yet I must read on………..

As the bodies begin to pile up. The detectives become aware, they are facing one of the sickest killers in their entire careers. Then the killer (using an alias of Oscar) calls in and begins to taunt Frank of his daughter’s dire situation.
Can Frank catch a killer? Or will Frank become a monster too?

Read, Degrees Of Darkness and decide for yourself…………

Tony J Forder
Author links:
Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/
Twitter: @TonyJForder

#BlogTour #GuestPost The Puppet Master by @Abigail_Author @Bloodhoundbook #WritingAsTherapy #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

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The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne

Looking for your next unputdownable psychological thriller? Then try Abigail Osborne’s unmissable The Puppet Master, a stunning thriller full of twists and turns.

Billie is hiding from the world in fear of a man who nearly destroyed her. But a chance meeting with budding journalist, Adam, sparks a relationship that could free her from her life of isolation and fear.
Unbeknownst to Billie, Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives he believes she has ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him. As an unwanted attraction blossoms between them, Adam comes to realise that all is not as it seems.
Who is really pulling the strings? And are Adam and Billie both being played?

One thing is for sure, The Master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.



Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy

I imagine that every author has a different reason for choosing to write the books that they write. But we probably all have the same deep-seated desire to analyse the world that we live in. In my opinion, the best books make you think about the world in which we live, in a different way than we normally do. The author has accomplished this feat because their passion and insight leaps off the page. For me, I feel that writing is a way of taking the significant feelings we have in our minds and working them out on the page, getting to the bottom of how we really feel and why.

I started to write my book out of loneliness. I was in a job that meant I had a silly amount of time on my hands and no one to spend it with. I love to talk to people but everyone I knew worked during the day and it was driving me crazy not being able to communicate with anyone. To have a proper meaningful discussion. At the end of the day, my husband was so tired from work, he could only handle the simplest of conversations but I needed more than that. So, when I started writing my book it gave me the opportunity to talk. What I didn’t realise was that it would open up an avenue of my mind previously unexplored.

It gave me the ability to take the things I had experienced in life and analyse them. Through my characters, I was able to explore the darker shades of life. I’d tried to have deeper and darker conversations with friends but that’s not what you really do with friends. When you see them, you want to have fun and catch up on each other’s lives. Not get into the nitty gritty of personality, experience and bad things in life. I feel the British way is to get on with things. Don’t dwell on the negative. But sometimes, it is good to dissect these things. To talk about them and explore them and the effect that they have on us. One of the themes in my book is what is often considered a ‘taboo’ subject. It isn’t something I could start a conversation about with just anyone. Even with my closest friends, I wouldn’t be able to discuss it the way I do in the book. Writing the book was so liberating because I could take topics and experiences close to my heart and using this fictional world I could examine them in any way I chose.

Writing this book has changed me. It has given me a better sense of self as I was able to take events from my life and weave them into this tale of fiction. I probed important issues to me and resolved them in my head through my writing. For instance, Adam’s loneliness mirrored my own at the time. Saving him from that loneliness alleviated that feeling within me and I began to appreciate how lucky I was to have my husband and that you don’t always need to talk to be close. You just need to know that person will always be there.

The overarching message of my book that I wanted to get across, became more of a message to myself. You can go through horrific things but there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t let what happened in the past define your future. Love can be a powerful antidote for those who have experienced evil. The closure and insight into my life and myself has been incredible and I would really encourage people to give it ago. You never know what you might find out about yourself.

Abigail Osborne
Authors links:
Website: http://abigailosborne.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abigailosborneauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Abigail_Author

#BlogTour #Review #LockedUP by @GailBWilliams @BloodhoundBook

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

Locked Up by GB Williams

An unmissable crime thriller

A prison officer and a convicted killer must work together to solve a brutal murder and expose conspiracy inside a prison.

Ariadne Teddington is surrounded by people who lie but that is to be expected when you work in prison where every man claims to be innocent.

Charlie Bell, an ex Detective, now finds himself in that prison serving time for murder after having taken the law into his own hands.

When a fellow inmate is killed Charlie is asked to investigate the case from the inside. Soon Charlie finds himself working with Ariande but she is a guard, he is an inmate and some lines should never be crossed…

Can two people on different sides of the law come together to solve the case?

And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?

My review:

Wow! What a rollercoaster of a read! A thoroughly in-depth prison set, crime fiction read! I was gripped and read the majority of the book in ¾ hours!
It firmly had me hooked!

The novel centres around two main protagonists. Prison officer Ariadne Teddington and inmate Charlie Bell. Charlie is an ex-detective serving time for a murder. Teddington is a seasoned prison officer, with great experience of being surrounded, by what some may call savage like men. Initially the relationship that plays out between the two, I felt was bizarre and I was keen on the whole idea. But I think that is the beauty of this read, their reactions to the situations around them and how it impacts their relationship etc.

When inmate Tommy Walters is found dead, it is officially ruled as a suicide. However, Teddington has her suspicions. She reluctantly asks for Charlie’s help. Firstly, via a series of cryptic notes and later they work closer together. It all starts with a note…. “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark. Need your help”

As the plot develops we learn more about Charlie’s background. The son he has that he never sees and the crime he committed that landed him in jail. We also learn more about Teddington, how she came to be divorced and a serving prison officer. I love the way the author drip fed their pasts into the story line. It was very cleverly done and kept my interest the entire journey of the novel.

Teddington trusts Charlie and he regards her as one of the only officers, who treats him as a human. Some of the other officers such as Robbins and Sanchez are not so kind. The power struggle between inmate/officer or screw/con is fully explored. Life at HMP Blackmarch is far from easy for all involved.

The top dogs of the prison are Keen and Winehouse. Both of who swear they had no involvement in the ‘suicide’ of Tommy and want Charlie to uncover the truth. Tommy was a low end drug supplier. In prison for possession with intent to supply. Keen is the source of the main prison drug supply, but does that give him motive for murder? Why has it been hushed up so quickly, is it a corrupt officer? Keen refers to himself as the prison ‘offical channels’ stating how he controls the work details of inmates etc.

Detective chief inspector Piper and Detective sergeant Carlise are brought into to investigate as protocol requires. The wing where Tommy lived is C wing it hold 163 male inmates in for a variety of crimes, mostly violent crimes. When the police show little interest in the case and prefer to go down the route of suicide. Teddington and Charlie know they must do more to investigate and solve the case.
But who is the killer? Why did they target Tommy?

There are a wide-range of characters amongst both the prisoners and the officers. Which I felt made for intriguing reading! I was fascinated by the inmate nicknames and crimes. I have real many real-life prison memoirs, such as Charles Bronson’s book and books about the Kray twins etc. I have also known someone who spent his entire career in the prison service and retired from the local prison here, what was HMP Parkhurst.
I think this was very accurate of its portrayal of the prison system and the lives prisoners lead.

When inmate Jack Perkins takes a new officer Dyer hostage and demands the rape of Teddington and Dyer. Charlie manages to save the her and get Dyer the medical help he needs. But how will the inmates react to this? When he has put screw before con. Prison life is day in and day out boredom. Which leads to accusations, gossip and speculation. What else to do when you have nothing else to do but observe each other all day………..

Teddington delves into Charlie’s private life further. Even visiting the home of his son. What she finds there will shock most readers to the core! This plot twist has huge repercussions for Charlie and his mental state. With new inmates arriving probation officer Rebecca Fry is keen to push for Charlie’s early release due to good behaviour. But why is she so keen for Charlie to leave? Why is she so pally with prison guvnor Peter James? When rumours leads Charlie and Teddington to a clue a name. Teddington searches the prison database and there is no known inmate/officer. So who is the mysterious and elusive Leo? Just as the pair get close to unmasking the killer, a riot breaks out. A prison riot means it is every man and woman for themselves.
Can Charlie and Teddington survive the riot……..

This novel is extremely complex and grows darker and darker as you turn each and every page. There are wide-range of themes, mostly related to prison life and the struggles that brings. But also themes of personal struggles and the demons we all battle. I think the author has done a phenomenal job of covering so many aspect of prison life in the plot. I also think she has handled several sensitive issues very well.
A cracking read 4.5*

Gail Wiliams
GB Williams
Authors links:
Twitter: @GailBWilliams
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/GB-Williams-261748000603425/
via publisher: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/gb-williams

Author Bio:

After being made redundant in 2012, GB started taking her life-long passion for writing more seriously and looking to sell her work. Specialising in complex, fast-paced crime novels, she started writing the Locked Series in 2014, and has been working to polish and perfect since – not to mention – sell.

GB was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition with the story Last Shakes, now available in Last Cut Casebook. She is also a feature writer and comic book reviewer on http://www.warpedfactor.com. Crime novels are her stock in trade, but she has had success with short stories in various genres including steampunk, horror, erotica and general fiction.

With bills to pay, she’s back working as a systems architect by day, a freelance fiction editor and keen writer of an evening and weekend. GB really needs to learn to sleep.

Originally from Kent, GB moved to South Wales as a supposed first step on a year around the world.  Then she met a guy.  Kept the guy, kissed the travel goodbye. Knowing that the best way to travel is by book anyway, she has always read, always written. GB now has two grown-up children, the world’s most imperious cat, a house full of books and a hard drive full of manuscripts (though some will never be allowed out of a locked basement).

#BlogTour Q&A with @LizCrimeWarp #Author of #UntaintedBlood @BloodhoundBook

Untainted Blood by Liz Mistry

An unmissable new crime thriller

In a city that is already volatile, tensions mount  after a Tory MP in Bradford Central is discredited leaving the door open for the extreme right-wing candidate, Graeme Weston, to stand in the resultant by-election. 

However, Graeme Weston is not what he appears to be and with secrets jeopardising his political career, he must tread very carefully.

Meanwhile, a serial killer targets Asian men who lead alternatives lifestyles and delivers his own form of torture.

As DI Gus McGuire’s team close in, the deranged killer begins to unravel and in an unexpected twist the stakes are raised for Gus.

Are the murders linked to the political scandals or is there another motive behind them?

DI Gus McGuire and his team are back and this might be their toughest case yet.


Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I moved to Bradford from Scotland when I was in my twenties, met my husband and stayed. I taught in inner city Bradford Primary schools for a long time and absolutely loved it … until the government decided they knew more about teaching than the teachers did. I’ve got three children, the youngest is learning to drive … how scary is that? I still don’t know where the time went.

Untainted Blood, in some ways, is my creative response to recent political events; the General election, Brexit, the Scottish Indie Referendum, and Trumps presidency in the USA. The world isn’t in a good place at the minute and regardless of your politics, I think most people feel uneasy.

Untainted Blood is the third in my Gus McGuire series and is set against the backdrop outlined above. A forced by-election in the fictional Bradford Central ward sees a far-right candidate, Graeme Weston, from Albion First stand. He is charismatic and surrounds himself with a mixture of respectable business men and thugs. However, all is not as it seems in the Weston household.

Throw into the mix a serial killer who targets young Asian and black men and tattoos swastikas on their groins and DI Gus McGuire has his work cut out. That’s unfortunate for Gus because he is at the lowest point he’s ever been. His temper is frayed, his team are decimated and he can’t seem to find his equilibrium.   I like to think Untainted Blood shows the good and the bad sides of Bradford.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I’m one of those writers who does a lot of thinking (my husband, Nilesh and the kids call it ‘doing nothing’, but I beg to differ). I got my first tattoo when I turned fifty (four years ago) and, although after childbirth, it was a walk in the park, I got to thinking about how skilled the tattoo artist was and how horribly painful it would to have an amateur do it (think Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo … you know the scene I mean!)

I left the idea festering in my subconscious until late last year when I started to pad it out a bit more. I already had the idea of Graeme Weston’s wife and her storyline in my head from years previously, so I pulled it out and dusted it off … I love that story line.

I also loved that I was able to bring some of the non-police characters from Uncoiled Lies back for Untainted Blood. They just slotted in so well and it was nice to become reacquainted with them and see how the intervening months had treated them.

I have to say I don’t do very much plotting. I have a few ideas in and an ending in mind but what happens along the way depends on how the characters pan out. I delivered a sucker punch to Gus and his family near the end and I must admit, that was a very last-minute idea

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) This one could take a while … I’ve just finished Rob Ashman’s Mechanic trilogy and I loved it and I hear he’s working on a new one so I’m happy about that.

I adore Stuart MacBride. I think I’m a prime candidate to play Roberta Steel if his novels get televised (hint, hint Mr MacBride) – I’m up for bacon rolls, crotch groping, bra fiddling and generally disgusting behaviour.

I love a good Faye Kellerman with her Lazarus/Decker series and Val McDermid’s Hill/Jordan series is great … I’ve got her knew one, Insidious Intent, ready to read for review on The Crime Warp

However, at this precise minute, there are two books I’m gagging to get my hands on … the first is Graham Smith’s The Kindred killers which is due out in September … his character Jake Boulder is HOT! The second is Stuart MacBride’s Now We Are Dead which is out in November and is a standalone spinoff featuring Roberta Steel (did I mention that I’m first in the casting queue when the McCrae/Steel series gets televised?)

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr Pinkwhistle books as a young child (I’ve heard they’ve been banned…. No idea why). He was a little disapparating gnome who could become invisible. Loved those stories. I progressed to the Famous Five and the Secret Seven before moving on to Nancy Drew. Then, of course, Agatha Christie. I inherited a lovely picture book of Heidi from my sister. Heidi was chubby with curly black hair and I loved that book. I also inherited all the Little Women and What Katy did books from my sister.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) There’s been loads. When Betsy from Bloodhound Books gave me my first two book deal, I was over the moon. I was in my fifties and had almost given up hope of ever being published so that was brilliant. Holding the first copy of Unquiet Souls in my hands was amazing … I cried … (I do a lot of that). Meeting the Bloodhound Books family was fantastic. We are so supportive of each other and Betsy Fred and the team are fab!

My most recent highlight was being asked to do a panel at Bradford Literature Festival this year. Bradford is my adoptive home city and I was so proud of that. It was amazing to have people come up and tell me I’d done a good job and that they’d enjoyed reading about their city through my eyes. Very emotional… (I cried then too)

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My family are amazing. My husband is so supportive of me and is by my side all the time. I suffer from depression and about five or six years ago I had a particularly bad spell which lasted for years and really incapacitated me Nilesh was there the whole time and now that I’ve been published and am basically living my dream he couldn’t be prouder of me. My kids keep me grounded and are quite liberal with their hugs …

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Liz Mistry
Authors Links:
Website : Liz Mistry website
Twitter @LizCrimeWarp
FB @LizMistrybooks
Blog The Crime Warp
Email: lizmistryauthor@yahoo.com

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

*Untainted Blood is available free to members of Kindle unlimited and currently at the Ebook #Bargain price of just 99p*