Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost Bad Turn #13 Charlie Fox #Series by @authorzoesharp #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

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Bad Turn by Zoe Sharp ~ #13 Charlie Fox

Synopsis ~

Ex-Special Forces trainee turned bodyguard Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox is back in this, her 13th adventure.

One bad turn…deserves another.

Charlie Fox has quit her job in close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently out of options.

House-sitting in rural New Jersey has to be the pits—TV and TV dinners. A far cry from Iraq… Bulgaria… Afghanistan. Unlucky or not, she happens to be around at the right time to foil a violent kidnap attempt on Helena, wife of billionaire arms dealer, Eric Kincaid.

Kincaid offers her a job looking after Helena. The rumours about Kincaid’s business empire say he’s gone over to the dark side, but Charlie is in no position to be fussy. And protecting people against those who want to do them harm is what she’s good at. But when the threats against the Kincaids escalate, and then follow the couple over to Europe, Charlie’s really going to have to up her game. It’s time to take the fight to the enemy.

Charlie’s at her best putting an end to trouble. Now she must learn to strike first. And hope that the Kincaids don’t discover the secret she’s been keeping from them, right from the start.

Guest Post ~ Real People Into Fictional Characters ~

Real People into Fictional Characters
BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13

by Zoë Sharp

Inevitably, when you write, you ‘borrow’ characteristics or mannerisms you’ve noted in friends, relations, enemies, or complete strangers. This is one of the reasons writers love to sit somewhere crowded and people-watch like crazy. A twitch, a tic, a nervous gesture, the way some people look down at their shoes and pace very deliberately when they’re taking a phone call. It’s all grist to the writer’s ever-hungry mill.

I freely admit there were aspects of different real people in the early Charlie Fox books, although I refuse to comment on which characteristics those were and what use I made of them! It wasn’t until I did an event at my local library while I was plotting book four in the series that I realised people might actually want to appear in my work.

My local library in Lancaster were hugely supportive of my first steps into the world of being a published author. So, when one of the librarians mentioned that another member of staff, Andrew Till, would really, really like to be a character in a book, how could I refuse?

When FIRST DROP came out, Andrew Till was an FBI Special Agent-in-Charge who plays a vital role in helping Charlie defeat the bad guys—even if he does try to arrest her the first time they meet.

Since then, I’ve used numerous real people as characters in the books. Over the course of the series they’ve taken on the roles of PIs, LAPD detectives and CIA agents, as well as billionaire philanthropists, Charlie’s principal, main suspect, and even the outright bad guy.

I usually try, if someone has made a bid at one of the charity auctions held at events like Bouchercon, to include quirks that the donor would recognise. When I included BG Ritts in FOURTH DAY, for instance, she particularly asked me to do so in such a way that only she would recognise herself! (Well, I like a challenge.)

I’m not sure, though, that I’ve ever included quite as many real people in a single book as I have in the latest Charlie Fox outing, BAD TURN.

I ran a competition among my subscribers for two character slots in the book—one female and one male. The female part was of the woman Charlie is hired to protect. She is the wife of an extremely wealthy international arms dealer living in New Jersey and, by common consent among others in the industry, supposed to be off-limits as far as threats are concerned.

Needless to say, things don’t quite work out that way.

The male part was of a very laid-back bodyguard of the arms dealer himself. I initially made him rather too laid back, and I had to trim back some of his idiosyncrasies after my Advance Reader Team had given the book a trial run.

I made random selections from the entries and in the final book Charlie’s principal became Helena Kincaid (née Hoare). Helena admitted that her last name was not perhaps the easiest one to work with, although she also pointed out that it meant ‘white-haired’ from the same roots as hoar-frost.

The bodyguard became Hermann Schade. Because he is a character whose motivation remains clouded for much of the book, having someone whose last name might conceivably be pronounced “Shade” was perfect. I’m not sure his first name gets mentioned, though. Not in this book, anyway…

The reason Helena has the married name of Kincaid in BAD TURN is because I had already decided that the arms dealer himself was going to be named in honour of Eric Kincaid, who I think of as My Absent Host.

I call him this because on several occasions now when I’ve visited New York, he has generously allowed me to stay in his apartment up in Washington Heights, but we’ve never actually met. Eric was away for an extended period looking after his parents, hence having room to spare. Repaying his hospitality by writing him in to BAD TURN seemed the least I could do to say thank you.

And finally, one of my favourite characters is Kincaid’s Personal Assistant, Mo Heedles, who is as good at treating gunshot wounds in the book as she is at arranging her boss’s schedule. Somehow, though, I always thought of the character as Mrs Heedles. I hope Mo doesn’t mind being referred to so formally!

BAD TURN was published in ebook, mass-market paperback, hardcover and Large Print editions on September 27 2019. For more information visit www.ZoeSharp.com

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Zoe Sharp
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Link to first 3 chapters of Bad Turn

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*Apologies to Zoe & Ayo, for the post being a day late.*

Anne Bonny #BookReview Cemetery Road by Greg Iles 5* #CrimeFiction #AmericanNoir #LegalThriller

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Cemetery Road by Greg Iles
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

Two murders. One Town. And a lifetime of secrets.

‘Pure reading pleasure’ Stephen King

The No.1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying standalone. A tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.

Some things should never be uncovered…

When successful journalist Marshall McEwan discovers that his father is terminally ill, he returns to his childhood home in Bienville, Mississippi – a place he vowed to leave behind forever.

His family’s newspaper is failing; and Jet Turner, the love of his youth, has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of the powerful patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Poker Club.

Bienville is on the brink of economic salvation, in the form of a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill. But as the deal nears completion, two murders rock the town to its core, threatening far more than the city’s economic future.

Marshall and Jet soon discover a minefield of explosive secrets beneath the soil of Mississippi. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth about his own history – and the woman he loves – he would give almost anything not to face it.

My Review ~

I am a huge fan of Greg Iles and was very much looking forward to reading this mammoth book beast! I had heard from some early reviewers that Cemetery Road was very similar to the Penn Cage series and in particular the Natchez trilogy. Greg Iles is know for his deeply layered and complex stories and this one did not disappoint!

The title opens with Bienville (Mississippi) local archaeologist Buck Ferris. We are aware he is digging on private property and that he has discovered Native American bones. When he is subsequently attacked and left for dead due to his discovery, we become aware there that Bienville Is much more than the sleepy forgotten American town.

Marshall McEwan is a successful journalist that ran away from Mississippi many years ago, when he was just 18yrs old. He returns 28yrs later due to the health needs of his elderly father Duncan. Duncan McEwan is a legendary newspaper editor of the Bienville watchman. His health is in rapid decline due to his alcoholism, anger and depression. Both men are haunted by the death of Marchall’s brother Adam over 20yrs ago.

‘To understand this story, you must swim between two tides like a person moving from wakefulness to sleep and then back again’

Over the first few pages of the title we become acquainted with several of Bienville’s residents, whom all hold close ties to Marshall. From Quinn Ferris (Buck’s wife), to Denny Allman a 14yr old home-schooled loveable delinquent and Bryon Ellis a county coroner concerned with the crime rates in the African American community. We learn how each character fits into Marshall’s life and why the death of Buck Ferris wounds him so greatly.

 Marshall is a Pulitzer prize winner, a veteran of the Afghan and Iraq wars. Yet there is so much more emotional depth to his character than initially thought. We learn more about the death of his brother Adam and the impact this had on Marshall’s relationship with his parents, friends/locals and most importantly himself. Marshall has Never truly recovered from Adam’s death.

‘A fourteen-year old boy doesn’t need to know grief can last that long’

In the town of Bienville there is a massive wealth divide in the community. Between those that live rich and affluent lives and those who live in near poverty. Inequality in America is a HUGE issue and I have also seen the economic and political consequencesof it within my own country too. I felt that Greg Iles does a brilliant portrayal of this in a fictional form. The struggles of Bienville, feel very real!

‘Not caring is the same as begging for fascism’

As Marshall Looks into the case of Buck’s death, at the request of his wife. He learns something sinister is afoot in Bienville. Something very sinister, that leads all the way to his first love Jet Matheson…
The Matheson family pretty much own Bienville and if Marshall wishes to uncover their secrets, he will have to tread very carefully indeed.

‘A town like Bienville is like the river it was founded on, filled with deep and conflicting currents’

Marshall becomes convinced Buck was murdered and promises Quinn he will unmask the killer in their midst. But who would want to murder an elderly archaeologist? And why?

The book deals with two compelling main themes, that of corporate greed and the fundamental need for a free press. The last 1/4 of the title is very gritty and much more like the Penn Cage trilogy on level of shock value and twists.
American Noir at its finest. 5*

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Greg Iles
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Boy Who Fell by Jo Spain 4* #CrimeFiction #Irish #TomReynolds #series @QuercusBooks

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The Boy Who Fell by Jo Spain
Review Copy ~ Amazon Vine Product

Synopsis ~

FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE CONFESSION AND CO-WRITER OF RTE ONE’S TAKEN DOWN

Kids can be so cruel.
They’ll call you names.
Hurt your feelings.
Push you to your death.

In the garden of an abandoned house, Luke Connolly lies broken, dead. The night before, he and his friends partied inside. Nobody fought, everybody else went home safely. And yet, Luke was raped and pushed to his death. His alleged attacker is now in custody.

DCI Tom Reynolds is receiving the biggest promotion of his career when a colleague asks him to look at the Connolly case, believing it’s not as cut and dried as local investigators have made out. And as Tom begins to examine the world Connolly and his upper class friends inhabited, the privilege and protection afforded to them, he too realises something.

In this place, people cover up for each other.
Even when it comes to murder.

My Review ~

‘Her body showed all the hallmarks of resistance when the first responders came’

The title opens in Dublin, Ireland in 2015 at the scene of a violent murder/suicide. The crime scene is at the home of an affluent couple, who reside in a 1.2 mansion. The abandoned property will become something of local legend amongst the teens and eventually another crime will occur there…

We are quickly re-introduced to DCI Tom Reynolds and made aware of his new promotion. Tom is a highly likeable detective and has aided the series to go from strength to strength. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but he reminds me of the character Jack Frost (previously played by Sir David Jason in A Touch Of Frost) But an Irish younger version.

‘A man who doesn’t want power but is willing to take it for the greater good’

When Natasha McCarthy (head of sex crimes) brings a case to Tom, we are immediately aware, it is going to be one of much complexity. The case revolves around the potential rape/murder of 17yr old Luke Connolly. The teenager accused is 18yr old Daniel Konate.
This will be a case that will tackle various themes of consent, class divide, racial barriers and homophobia.

The case deals with many themes also amongst the bunch of teenagers that decided to party at the abandoned murder house. With Daniel being the only teen who is black, from a modest background and gay. Tom is going to have his work cut out. Is Daniel guilty? Why are the other teens so quick to pin the blame on Daniel?

‘They were a toxic little mix of money and meanness and boredom’ 

There is added heartbreak and emotional complexity, when we learn Luke had a brother. A twin brother in fact and he is currently in hospital with terminal leukaemia. Luke’s twin Ethan only has weeks left to live.
With this scenario, you really begin to feel for the Connolly parents. How do you grieve for one son, when the other has just weeks left in your life? How do you go from having two sons, to no living children?

‘Since Luke’s death, the world was on its axis’

Privileged posh kids, secrets and betrayal. 4*  

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Jo Spain
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Forget Me Not by Claire Allan 4* #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @AvonBooksUK

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Forget Me Not by Claire Allan
My Own Copy ~ Paperback

Synopsis ~

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

My Review ~

‘Someone had wanted this woman very much dead’

The title deals with the aftermath of a violent and sadistic murder. Elizabeth O’Loughlin stumbles upon the victim in the throes of bleeding out, whilst walking her dog. She is left emotionally and mentally disturbed by what she saw… And what the victim said…
“Warn them”

When the woman in later identified we follow not only the witness statements and local police officer DI Bradley. But we follow the lives of her two closest friends, one of them Rachel, is grieving particularly heavy and her friends death leads her to question those closest to her.

We also begin to learn of Elizabeth’s past life and the story of her family. When she begins to receive threatening notes, we know that someone close to Elizabeth, means her harm.

‘Laura sends her love’

The title deals with the impact of violent murder on those left behind in its wake. The past collides with the present in this gripping Irish crime fiction title. 4*

‘Every action has consequences. Every inaction, too.’

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Claire Allan
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost Trust Me, I’m Dead by Sherryl Clark #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Thriller #DebutNovel #DebutAuthor @Verve_Books @sherrylwriter

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Trust Me, I’m Dead by Sherryl Clark
Synopsis ~

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 CWA DEBUT DAGGER FOR UNPUBLISHED FIRST NOVEL

She hasn’t seen her brother in years. Now, he’s dead.

When Judi Westerholme finds out her estranged brother has been murdered, she assumes it’s connected to his long term drug addiction. Returning home, she is shocked to discover he had been clean for years, had a wife – now missing – a child and led a respectable life. But if he had turned his life around, why was he killed in a drug deal shooting? And where is his wife?

Desperate to know what really happened, Judi sets out to uncover the truth, even though it means confronting her own traumatic past.
But she’s not the only one looking for answers…

With a gutsy, unapologetic protagonist, Trust Me, I’m Dead is a gritty and bold crime thriller that explores the sacrifices people will make for their families.

Guest Post ~

Writing about families and siblings

Our family is like any other – full of ups and downs, slights and offences, great memories and lots of fun. I’ve discovered over the years that my sisters, brother and I seem to have the same sense of humour – I’m not sure how that happened or if it’s usual! I’ve written poems about my family, but I haven’t put them in a novel.

But other people’s families? They’re loaded with story ideas! I still remember years ago being told by a friend that they refused to spend Christmas Day with their family because ‘we all hate each other’. At the time, it stunned me. Now I know this is not unusual at all. While there are a lot of novels about parents and children, abuse and estrangement, and long-held hatreds, I was more interested in siblings. I was especially interested in the saying, You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.

Sibling relationships seem to fall into two camps in the stories I hear. One camp is where everyone is friends. The other camp is full of envy, jealousy, comparing achievements and failures, and stewing on old grievances. I wondered about families where the parents were unloving, and how siblings might band together, support and strengthen each other and, if that failed, how the guilt and remorse might echo down the years.

We put such demands on each other. And where one sibling absolves the other of responsibility and simply asks for help, what might make the answer No? If you’ve been madly trying to pretend there is nothing wrong with you, while you push people away and refuse to commit, you might even push your own brother away when he needs you.

Thus was born Trust Me, I’m Dead. I initially read an article about someone who died and left behind an audio cassette of secrets that changed everything his family thought they knew. In my novel, I have a sister and brother, Judi and Andy, and a family history that both binds them and pulls them apart. The background to the story is Melbourne’s gangland wars, where families were murdered in revenge – even small children saw their parents killed. It was a horrific period in the city’s recent history that continues to echo, and became the perfect setting and plot stirrer for my characters and my novel.

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Sherryl Clark
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