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

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

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.

M J Lee

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The Killing Time Blog Blitz

#BlogTour Chapter 3 #Extract Unconvicted by @OllyJarviso @canelo_co

Unconvicted by Olly Jarvis

In a razor-sharp legal thriller, Jack Kowalski must win two challenging trials to save his reputation and his career

Junior barrister Jack Kowalski is crushed. His client Timothy Smart appears to have committed a monstrous crime while on bail – a bail application Jack fought hard to win.

When a high-profile Polish footballer is charged with rape and demands a fellow countryman represent him, Jack must overcome his guilt and get back to work. Before long he takes on a second case, a GBH for instructing solicitor Lara Panassai, who Jack remains desperate to impress. But neither case is what it seems, and Jack will face an extraordinary uphill battle to see that justice is done…

The second Jack Kowalski novel, Unconvicted is a gripping courtroom drama written with the expert insight of a practicing criminal barrister, perfect for fans of William L. Myers, Deborah Hawkins, and Scott Turow.

Chapter 3 #Extract:

Oblivious to the biting Mancunian wind, Jack walked down Quay Street with a spring in his step. He stopped outside chambers, touched his name on the list of members and smiled to himself. Jack Kowalski was finally a tenant at Century Buildings. He ran up the steps, two at a time, then turned left into the clerks’ room.
‘Ah, Mr Kowalski. How are we today?’ asked Bob as he watched chambers newest tenant take off his coat.
‘Fine, thanks. Speeches at half ten in my burglary trial.’ He reached into his pigeonhole. ‘What’s this?’
‘It’s a bail application in a rape, sir. On the missus. A favour for your old pupil-master – Mr Huntsman’s part heard in Liverpool. You’ll look after it, won’t you?’
Bob’s politeness didn’t fool Jack. Nobody refused the senior clerk.
‘A rape?’
‘You’ll be all right, sir. The solicitor is Ken Dobkin. He knows you haven’t got a prayer. It’s just to keep the punter ’appy. You’re on at ten.’
‘But I need to be done for my trial at half ten.’
‘It won’t take long, sir, client won’t be there, banged up in Strangeways.’
Jack looked at his watch. ‘That’s in twenty minutes! When am I supposed to read it?’
‘Walking to court, of course.’
Jack registered his disapproval with a glare.
‘Well, get a move on, sir!’
‘Just this once, then, and only because it’s for Mr Huntsman,’ said Jack as he left the clerks’ room.
‘Oh, of course, sir,’ replied Bob, winking at the junior clerks. ‘Anyway, you should be thanking me. If you’d had the brief yesterday you’d have spent all night on it.’ Bob got out of his chair and followed Jack as he hurried out onto the street. ‘Carry on the way you are, sir, and you’ll be doing your own rape trial before you know it!’
Turning the corner, Jack raised an arm in triumph.
Walking back into the clerks’ room, Bob announced: ‘I do like that boy.’

Olly Jarvis

Author bio:
Olly Jarvis is a writer and criminal defence barrister, originally from London but now working in Manchester. Drawing on his experiences, he writes both fiction and non-fiction with a particular understanding of the pressures and excitement of life in the courtroom. He wrote the highly acclaimed Radio 4 drama Judgement, and wrote and presented the BBC documentary Mum Knows Best. He is also the author of Death by Dangerous. Olly has two children and lives in Cheshire.

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Unconvicted Blog Tour (5)

#BlogTour #Giveaway #TheSecretsYouKeep by @katemwhite @canelo_co *UK only*

Super excited to host the #BlogTour ***Giveaway*** for this fantastic novel!
Read below to find out, how to be in with a chance of winning! I have one E-Book copy available *UK only*

The Secrets You Keep by Kate White

You’ve lost your memory. A woman has been murdered. Your husband is keeping secrets. How do you know who to trust?

Months after a being involved in a terrible car crash, Bryn Harper is physically healed but her emotional scars remain raw. She has no memory of the accident and is plagued with bad dreams.

When Bryn and her husband, Guy, host a dinner party Bryn swears money has been stolen while Guy seems unfazed. Bryn confronts the caterer that night and is horrified to discover the woman’s brutally slain body the next day.

As the case is investigated, Bryn is dragged into a fresh nightmare and learns that Guy is keeping things from her. Another murder occurs and Bryn realises the danger is getting ever closer to home. How well does Bryn really know the man she loves?

Kate White
Author bio:

Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve works of fiction: seven Bailey Weggins mysteries, including the upcoming Even If It Kills Her (October 31, ’17), and five stand-alone psychological thrillers, including most recently, The Secrets You Keep (March ’17).  For fourteen years she was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate full time on being an author and speaker.

Her books have received starred reviews from many publications and she has been covered everywhere from The Today Show to The New York Times. Her debut Bailey Weggins mystery, If Looks Could Kill, was selected as the first “Reading with Kelly Ripa” pick and soon shot to number one on Amazon. She is published in 13 countries around the world. Her next Bailey Weggins mystery, Even If It Kills Her, will debut in October 2017.

Kate is also the editor of the acclaimed Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, a selection of recipes from the field’s top-selling authors.

Like many female mystery writers, Kate fell in love with the genre after reading her first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of Redgate Farm, and she still admires the cliffhanger chapter endings the series is known for.

In addition to writing mysteries and thrillers, Kate is the author of several very popular and best selling career books, including I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve and Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do.

Authors Links:
Twitter: @katemwhite

The secrets you keep FINAL.jpg
All you have to do, to be in with a chance of winning the E-book. Is comment on either
A) This blog post
B) The pinned Twitter post
C) The Facebook post on Anne Bonny Book reviews
What I am intrigued to know is, do you keep secrets? Answer either #Yes or #No to be in with a chance of winning!

Do you keep secrets?

#BlogTour #IKnowWhereSheIs by @SB_Caves #GuestPost #TheStartOfAMystery @canelo_co

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I Know Where She Is by S.B Caves

On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn’s abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS

When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.

But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.

It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.

She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.

But will Francine get her daughter back – or is it too late?


The Start of a Mystery – S.B. Caves

The genesis of the novel started as a single, simple scene, which came to me as I was daydreaming on my walk home from work. An image jumped in my mind of a woman noticing that a letter had been pushed through her letterbox late one night. That’s all I had to begin with, but as I considered it some more, muttering to myself as I walked down the road, I came up with the opening line:

Francine didn’t notice the letter until she was on her way to the kitchen for another glass of vodka.

That opening line felt good to me, and by that evening, I’d hammered out the first 2,000 words of I Know Where She Is. All I knew about the story was that Francine’s daughter had been kidnapped about ten years before, and as far as that letter went, she might still be alive out there somewhere. I thought it was spooky and contained enough mystery to keep me wanting to write it. My logic was that if I didn’t know where I was going with it, then a reader might not either, and that way it could still retain a sense of unpredictability.

I worked obsessively on the story every night for about five months. I was worried that if I didn’t chip away at it consistently, that I’d start to lose the momentum and my enthusiasm would wane. As a result, I think there is a frantic feel to the novel, which sort of reflects the aggressiveness in which it was written.

There are portions of the book that many people will find difficult to stomach, and believe me, they weren’t very pleasant to write either. I struggled through some passages with a strange conflict of conscience, wondering if the novel was too distressing, but knowing that it was a necessary element of the story I was trying to tell. Of course, I wanted the reader to be hooked by the story, but at the same time I didn’t want them to stop reading in disgust. The one thing that really propelled me through those vulgar scenes was the knowledge that it would make the reader root for the main character even more: you want Francine to find the people who have wronged her, and you want her to get revenge.

I Know Where She Is started as a mystery, became a psychological thriller, which kind of morphed into a revenge/action thriller, and by the end, it’s something else entirely. Now, long after the manuscript has been written and edited, I still think about Francine, a woman I concocted in my imagination on a walk home, and who I spent every night over the next five months getting to know.

I hope she’s alright, wherever she is.




#BlogTour #MarkedForDeath by @MHiltonauthor #GuestPost @canelo_co

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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: website @MHiltonauthor Twitter   Facebook official author page at Facebook