Anne Bonny #News from @ObliteratiPress #GuestPost by @daveocelot #DebutNovel The Baggage Carousel – Why I Travel. . . . .

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The Baggage Carousel by David Olner
Synopsis:

Dan Roberts has a troubled past, anger management issues and a backpack named after an abducted heiress. A chance encounter with Amber, a free-spirited Australian girl, seems to give his solitary, nomadic life a new sense of direction. But when she doesn’t respond to his emails, the only direction he’s heading is down…

Guest Post:

Why I Travel

It was Dumaguete, The Philippines. It was a Sunday morning and felt like it, hot and hardly worth bothering with. I was hanging out of my arse like a prolapse. Staring morbidly at a breakfast burrito in the outdoor seating area of a faux-Mexican cantina, poking it periodically with a fork in the hope it might deflate. Across the road, the snuffed-out neon signage of the “Why Not?” nightclub served as a dulled reminder of my most recent fall from grace. It takes a lot to get thrown out of a nightclub in the Philippines, but I had somehow managed it just a few hours earlier, for reasons I did not, or chose not to, recall.
The looped mariachi music scraping against my brain was punctuated by a beeping horn. I registered it dully at first, thinking the track was segueing into a mash-up. But when I looked up from my plate a Geordie bloke I vaguely remembered doing shots with the night before had pulled up on his scooter. He was wearing one of those striped blue and white t shirts that people always seem to wear when they ride scooters abroad. He looked entirely too healthy and well-adjusted to fit into my vista and I wanted to wave him off to one side, so I could better take a mental photograph of my latest, self-imposed hell.
“Howay, man,” he declared stereotypically. “I’m off to buy some pork. Landlady’s gonna make lechon. Wanna come?”
I looked at him, looked at the burrito and looked at the sign across the road.
“Why not?” I replied.
We got lost on the way, nearly hit some churchgoers who got to practice their genuflections early, only made it to the fabled pork district of the city when most of the carcasses had already been ravaged. Out of all the roadside stalls, the only thing left was a single pig’s head that smiled up at us beatifically, as though we had come to deliver it from the flies.
“This is the very best part of the pig for making lechon,” the stallholder insisted.
“How come it’s still here, then?” asked the Geordie.
The man shrugged and plucked a stray hair from the pig’s face, blew it from his finger and wished us away.
We paid for the head, like a lot of men do in the Philippines. Got lost again on the way back, ended up blocked in by a crowd of local blokes heading to the cockfight arena.
“Wanna go?” the Geordie, whose name I couldn’t and still can’t remember, asked.
“Why not?” I said.
We sat in the arena, pretending to savour warm, wet beers that made us dry heave, the men looking over at us and winking as they washed their cocks. Then we watched magnificent birds set against each other like gladiators in a manky coliseum, biting and scratching each other to near death to appease the bloodlust of these men. Between us, on the rough wooden bleachers, was a smiling pig’s face in a plastic bag. Throughout the slaughter I would set my hand upon it occasionally, to steady myself. As though I were a pensive Hamlet, regarding Yorick’s skull.
“How’s the head?” asked the Geordie.
“Fine,” I replied, not knowing if he was enquiring after the pig’s welfare or mine.
Whenever people ask me why I travel, this is the first thing I think of. But I don’t tell them about it. I think of something prettier. Angkor Wat at dawn, maybe, or that herd of elephants crossing the Luangwa river at sunset in Zambia. The young calf falling back, lost in the new joy of swinging its trunk in the shallow water, until an elder doubled back and hurried it along. That Sunday morning in the Philippines wasn’t the most edifying experience of my life. Looking back on it now, it was actually fairly horrendous. But it was about doing something different, something ludicrous, even. It was about inhabiting a particular moment in a particular place, a moment that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. A moment you wouldn’t find if you stayed at home, binge-watching box-sets on Netflix and waiting for the Ocado driver to finally get out of his fucking van that’s been parked at the end of your driveway for ten minutes and is making your UPVC windows rattle to deliver the salted caramel lamb cutlets that Jan from work posted pictures of on Instagram and buying more and more things to better pad your beautiful cell. Saving all your money to upgrade that thousand-inch flat screen into a two thousand-inch curved screen and covertly praying they never invent a 360 screen. Money that could be much better spent pissed up a wall in a skanky nightclub in the Philippines, or on fly-blown pig’s heads or cockfights.
It was about saying, “Why not?”

DaveOlnerjPeg
David Olner
Obliterati Press website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BlogTour A Known Evil by Aidan Conway #GuestPost @ConwayRome #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @KillerReads #DebutAuthor A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome. . .

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A Known Evil by Aidan Conway
Synopsis:

A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…

A gripping debut crime novel and the first in a groundbreaking series, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.
A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.
A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.
A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?

#GuestPost:

The Not So Dolce Vita

by Aidan Conway

 

I sat down to begin writing A Known Evil on ‘blue Monday’ in January 2014. Setting out on a totally new and uncharted adventure seemed like a perfect way to keep any incipient blues at bay on the, allegedly, most depressing day of the year.
To the best of my recollection, up until then, I had never once considered writing a crime novel. I have always been a writer, in one way or another, on and off. My bottom drawer contains ample evidence of that – first, second and third drafts of short stories which might eventually also see the light of day.
But no crime. Poetry too, with which I had achieved a reasonable amount of success. But no serial killers, no thrillers, no intrigue.
So what inspired me? Around that time, on a friend’s suggestion, I had fallen back on reading some crime novels for pure, escapist pleasure.
Which might beg the question what was I escaping from? Rome has been my home since 2001 and before that for a brief period Sicily was too. Both places are breathtakingly beautiful, dramatic, unique, but problems there are aplenty.
Tourists continue to be drawn to The Eternal City in their droves to gaze at what I too marvelled at when I first came to the place. The mind-blowing museums, the Roman Forum, the Appian Way, the cobbled side-streets and cafes, the Bougainville and Jasmine scented air, warm summer evenings and cold white wine. The chatter and street theatre, the laid-back pace of life.
But then there is the dark side. The politics. The intrigue. The corruption and violence that most visitors will never have any cause to see or experience. The world of work. The problems of bureaucracy, and nepotism, favours, bribes and blackmail.
In Sicily one evening I witnessed a bomb go off, likely the work of extortionists. It never made the papers.
In Rome, when it snowed for a day in 2013, a regional councillor bought himself a 4×4, so he could ‘get around’, and all on party funds. Paid for by the tax payer. Paid for, in part, by me.
And why, for example, does it take two or three times as long to build a motorway in Italy than it does in France? Why does it cost three times as much? Who’s pocketing the spare change?
The Italian Court of Auditors has estimated that corruption costs the Italian economy some 60 billion Euros a year. That’s a lot of coffee and free lunches. I’d say it’s a conservative estimate.

Around the time I began the book, the first big immigration problem had also landed on the national agenda. It quickly became a ragged and soiled political football – scapegoating and blame were the order of the day. Real solutions seemed a secondary consideration. It wasn’t pretty.
I even got the odd dirty look or loaded comment when I walked into a shop and my accent wasn’t quite right. Politicians were exploiting it all and often getting away with murder. The credit crunch crisis too was biting hard. People were getting angry. So much for La Dolce Vita.
Neo-fascism too had got a shot in the arm as simple-minded nostalgia and cynical opportunism drew oxygen from what was happening in Rome and in the country as a whole. The political system was perceived as sclerotic, inefficient, ineffective and the media was in thrall either to the political parties and their cronyism or the megalomaniac ambitions of a small man from Milan who shall remain nameless.
On the positive side? At least the mafia weren’t doing much. Or were they? Cosa Nostra was keeping itself pretty much to itself (but it’s always there) while the Neapolitan Camorra and the Calabrian N’drangheta were the big kids who had burst on to the block as cocaine and gun-crime racking Naples and its suburbs spread northwards from its heartlands, following the money, following the power to Rome.
I realised I had plenty to write about. More than enough. In my work as a language consultant I had also had some access to the corridors of power, state bodies, multinationals. I got to sit down with CEOs, oil executives, undercover policemen, and maybe even some spies. You find people open up to you when you are an outsider and you are chatting one-to-one. And you’re cheaper than a psychiatrist. It can be illuminating.
And then I got my big idea. A short while after that Blue Monday, in a flash, an epiphany, I knew exactly how my book was going to end. I scribbled it all down in a flurry and knew then I had nailed it.
I just had to fill in the rest. I did. It’s been fun. I hope it is for you.

AC
Aidan Conway
Twitter
Author bio:
Aidan Conway was born in Birmingham and has been living in Italy since 2001. He has been a bookseller, a proofreader, a language consultant, as well as a freelance teacher, translator, and editor for the United Nations FAO. He is currently an assistant university lecturer in Rome, where he lives with his family. A Known Evil is his first novel.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour***
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#Review The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by @stu_turton 5* #NewRelease #DebutAuthor #CrimeFiction @BloomsburyRaven @BloomsburyBooks #EPIC #DebutNovel

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The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Synopsis:

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

My review:

When I finished this novel, I did casually comment on social media that the novel was ‘like playing Cluedo on acid’. Now, whilst I still stand by this short peculiar assessment. It is simply because, there is so much to process, and I read this in 24hrs. My brain was exhausted from the constant twists and turns. I still cannot even begin to fathom, just how, the writer put it all together. The flow of the novel and pace of the plot fits perfectly. I am AMAZED this is a debut novel. I will be pre-ordering ANYTHING the author produces next.
Purely to see what he concocts next, as this novel was original and epic on every level!

The novel itself, is beautiful and the artwork on the inside covers, makes be glad I own a physical copy. There is an invitation to the ball and a list of guests and household staff.
A who’s who of Blackheath is very important, as you’ll need to keep up!

We are made aware from the invite that guests must refrain from discussions of Thomas Hardcastle and Charlie Culver, of tragic events in the past. This instantly grabbed my interest.
What are the tragic events of the past?
What significance do they have to the ball?

‘How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home’

The novel opens on day one. Our protagonist awakes smelling of cigarettes, alcohol and body odour. He is aware of a woman fleeing and in need of help, with a killer on her heels. The killer hands him a compass and tells him to ‘head east’. When he arrives at the house, we will come to know as Blackheath. He is disorientated and dishevelled. He enquires of the woman, who he vaguely remembers as Anna. But no one is aware of such a guest. Who is Anna? Is she still in danger? Or dead?

‘The dead cannot expect a debt from the living’

Once the man is brought into Blackheath he uncovers his identity. His name is Dr Sebastian Bell, yet he has not recollection of this man. Even his own reflection is alien to him. It is a puzzle within a puzzle. Struggling with the effects of amnesia, he urges the guests to find the missing woman alive or dead. Whilst Dr Richard ‘Dickie’ Acker is summoned to attend the nasty bang to the head he has received. They also find defensive knife wounds on his arms.
What happened out there? Why is Dr Bell here? What does it all mean?

‘I’m a man in purgatory’

It isn’t long until Dr Bell is startled by a masked man, who we later come to know as the ‘plague doctor’. He warns him to be wary of the footman. Then he finds a note from Anna, arranging a meeting and offering to explain everything. Despite the two personalities inside Dr Bell, he decides to stay and solve the mystery…..

‘That’s the beauty of corrupt men, you can always rely on them to be corrupt’

Eventually we learn who Dr Bell is, his role at the ball. We also learn of the mystery surrounding Thomas Hardcastle and Charlie Culver and the lake where it all took place. The ball is being held on the 19th anniversary of the loss of Thomas Hardcastle. But it is so much more than meets the eye. With such a bizarre bunch of guests, this is going to be one hell of a party!

‘Wealth is poisonous to the soul and my parents have been wealthy a very long time’ Evelyn Hardcastle

The plague doctor returns and explains the situation of Blackheath to Dr Bell, only this time he is Donald Davies. He offers him a proposition……
‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out’
Through the plague doctor’s proposition, we come to understand just how Blackheath operates…..

‘I won’t return willingly to a madman’s game’

Our protagonist Aidan Bishop, must solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. He will be able to enter various hosts, during his time at Blackheath. But never on the same day. He doesn’t have an unlimited number of hosts, he only has one per day. He isn’t aware of which host he will enter next and will have to fight their primal urges to behave in their own way. Every time he falls asleep, he enters a new host. There is no stopping or escape.
The game is well and truly afoot!

‘I know this isn’t the afterlife. Hell would have fewer servants and better furnishings’

Whilst attempting to solve the murder of Evelyn, Aidan warms to her personality. He then becomes focused on the dangerous task, of trying to prevent the murder ever happening at all….

‘Evelyn’s kind and gentle, and she’s been away nineteen years, who’d want to harm her now?’

Aidan will have to navigate other hosts trapped in the game, the violent and psychopathic footman and the illusive Anna. If he has any hope of solving the mystery and freeing himself from this eternal game of murder mystery.

‘Nobody has friends in Blackheath’ – Plague doctor

The various hosts Aidan finds himself within, are brilliantly written. They are (as said above) a unique bunch of characters. From the alcoholics, the drug users and the grabby handed perverts. Aidan must adapt to their attributes and friendship circles, to find clues.

‘You won’t get far in this house with sentiment’ – Stanwin

‘What kind of mind makes theatre of murder?’

As much as I was drawn to the mystery and scheming surrounding the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. I was also still desperate to find out the mystery of the past. Early on, I was quite convinced there must be a link between the two and the writer did not disappoint!

‘Something evil happened here and it haunts the lake still’

The plague doctor, pops up every now and then. Usually to add a new twist into the plot and steer Aidan onto further clues he had previously missed or overlooked. You never truly know who’s side he’s on. Is he working to help Aidan uncover the mystery? Or leading him to mere distractions?

‘Too little information and you’re blind, too much and you’re blinded’

As you read you are desperately trying to unravel the plot. I loved the old-fashioned style era, the time hopping and the various spin off mysteries. The scheming, plotting and betrayal are brilliantly woven amongst all the guests. You never know if Aidan can trust anyone or if he can even trust himself……

A fantastic debut novel and an incredible novel to speed read! I would recommend to all bookworms, from those who read hundreds, to those who read just a few novels a year. The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle is a cracking novel, not to be missed! 5*

‘He means to kill us, though not before he’s had his fun’

ST
Stuart Turton
Website
Twitter

 

My #BlogTour #Review The Chalk Man by @cjtudor #NewRelease #BestSeller @MichaelJBooks @CrownPublishing @JennyPlatt90 #CrimeFiction reviews by @annebonnybook

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*
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The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor 
Synopsis:

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.
It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

My review:

I have followed the hype for this novel via social media and I was very intrigued. The synopsis is rather vague, which I quite liked. It immediately draws your attention and you want to learn more. I thought this was going to be a standard crime fiction novel, but I was wrong. Not only was I wrong, but I was in for a real treat!
The chalk man grips hold of you and won’t let go!
I read the entire novel in one sitting, staying well up past my bed time and feeling increasingly freaked out at 2am.

There are parts of the novel that reminded me of IT.
The story of a bunch of childhood friends, into the modern day.
The story that haunts them and the secrets of their shared past!
The novel isn’t a horror novel and the chalk man isn’t pennywise. But it held this eerie feeling from 80 pages in and I couldn’t get the plot out of my head. There was NO way I was putting this novel down, until I had some answers.

The novel opens with a dark prologue detailing the discovery of a body with a missing head! So, you are made well aware from the onset, that this novel has some very dark scenes. The novel has alternate chapters between 1986 and 2016. The 1986 era, is very well written. The terminology, the childhood games and friendship circle are all, spot on! The author has done a fantastic job of bringing the era alive.
Then it begins to tell the story of our protagonist Eddie/Ed…….

In 1986 Eddie aka Eddie Munster, had a gang of friends. Fat Gav, Hoppo, metal Mickey and the only girl Nicky. They meet every Saturday, to hang around the local park and build dens etc. This particular Saturday is special because the fair is in town and we all remember that feeling when the fair comes to town!!!
There is a freak accident at the fair and this brings in the introduction of waltzer girl Elisa. Elisa is the victim of the accident that leaves her horrifically disfigured. It also introduces her saviour and the new mysterious teacher Mr Halloran.

“They were wrong. Mr Halloran was many things, but normal was never one of them” – Eddie

Mr Halloran is the gang’s new teacher, at the start of term in September. He is new to the town and noticeable, as Mr Halloran is an albino. But at the opening of the novel he is portrayed as the hero that saves Elisa’s life. But there is always a shadowy, mysterious element when he enters a scene. For me personally, he became a character that evoked feelings of mistrust and a slight dislike. Why is he so creepy? What is his fascination with befriending the children? I HAD to know more about Mr Halloran!

In 2016, Eddie is now known as Ed, he is a 42yr old English teacher. Ed has stayed local and still lives in his childhood home in Anderbury. Slowly, over the course of the chapters we catch up with the rest of the gang and where they are now!
The characterisation of the gang, is brilliant and an example of some very skilled writing. It brings back childhood memories.
Even in the 2016 scenes, there is an element of mystery in the build-up. Ed starts receiving weird letters of chalk drawings. He has a young lodger Chloe, who intrudes herself into the story. He also has a dinner guest due, an old friend.
*What went through my head was, ‘he is having an old friend for dinner’. There were some subtle hints and nods to famous scary scenes.
That really added to the eerie feel of the novel.

At this point in my reading, I had hit 1am. The whole house was asleep and as I crept downstairs to the bathroom. I managed to freak myself out, which resulted in a scream and nearly waking the whole house up!
*So, a word to the wise, probably best to not read this in the dark at 1am!
The novel continues to jump between 1986 and 2016. We learn more about the elusive chalk man. How he haunts the gang and ultimately why!
Each chapter is cleverly written to drip feed information, that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
There is a real depth to the novel, details added so that the author can build upon the growing guessing game within the readers mind! Mr Halloran appears every so often with his creepy one liners, which made me even more distrustful of his intentions.

“Better to be a fool than an angel” Mr Halloran
In the modern day, someone or something is haunting the gang. When adult Mickey ends up dead, the novel really picks up its pace. There are some disturbing scenes of bullying from the past and we learn this gang is as complex as it is fascinating!
When the past and the present finally collide, it is a rollercoaster of an ending, that is in my opinion, completely unpredictable.

Huge respect to the author on this amazing debut novel.
I predict a bright future ahead of her and some sleepless nights ahead of me! 4.5*

CJ
C.J. Tudor
Authors links:
Facebook
Twitter

 

Anne Bonny Book Reviews 1st birthday! #Review Q&A & #GIVEAWAY The Devil’s Dice by @RozWatkins @HQstories @HarperCollinsUK UK & IRL only #DerbyshireNoir #DebutAuthor

Today is my first blog birthday!!!!!
I would love to thank the awesome bloggers, publishers, publicists & authors etc. That have supported me and my little blog!
Especially Sarah Hardy, Noelle Holton and my awesome boss Joe Ide.
*Special thanks to Roz Watkins for this fabulous Q&A and giveaway! 
Here’s to many, many more years of booky love, Twitter gifs and 5* GENIUS reads!

 Today on my blog, I have a super duper special #Giveaway, for a proof copy of The Devil’s Dice. The first in the DI Meg Dalton series and a cracking read by debut author Roz Watkins. So let me tell you a little bit more about the novel…….

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The Devil’s Dice by Roz Watkins
Synopsis:

A white-knuckle crime debut introducing DI Meg Dalton, perfect for fans of Broadchurch and Happy Valley.
The devil is coming…

A SHOCKING DEATH

A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.

A SINISTER MESSAGE

Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch – chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.

A DEADLY GAME

As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg – and the dice are loaded…

My review:

The Devil’s Dice is a Derbyshire noir, debut novel. It is incredibly well written and expertly plotted out, to keep you guessing the entire way through! There are themes of curses, ghouls, myths and legends. Which are well known in Derbyshire, two I grew up knowing of were hermits cave and the drummer boy! But essentially the novel is about the characters and their relationships with each other.
Their development and pasts make for intriguing reading.
Every character has a past and that includes DI Meg Dalton……….

The novel opens with a violent scene and I wondered if this would be the pace of the entire novel. But it was much more of a whodunit and the intensity developed as the characters unravelled. The author has only used violence or graphic scenes when necessary with the plot.
DI Meg Dalton is called to a crime scene at Devil’s Dice, a local known suicide spot. A male victim has been found, whilst it first appears as a suicide, there are hints of murderous intent. There is an almond aroma in the air and the body is found lying under his carvings of his own initials on the cave wall. But how are the ancient cave markings related to this murder?
Devils Dice as a cave site in the peak district, conjures up images and makes for an atmospheric crime scene……

“The rumour is – if you can’t find the noose, it’s your sign you should leave”

We learn more about the history of the cave from the 1800s and its links to witches. Inside the cave is a large chain, still hanging. It is thought that back in the day, suspected witches were hung from this chain! There has been a recent young teenage girl, that chose to end her life from the chain. DI Dalton and partner DS Jai Sanghera have a tough case to solve. There are cupcakes at the scene that appear to have been laced with cyanide.
But who poisons a man in a cave by cupcakes and why?

The victim is Peter Hamilton, a patent lawyer. He is married to local GP Dr Kate Webster. He has a complex family history, with some believing the family is cursed. His business partners Felix Carstairs and Edward Swift, are a huge part of his day to day lives and become early suspects. They report that Peter had become distracted, the last six months and this had caused him to put their firm at risk! Felix even accusing Peter of alcoholism and marital affairs. But is this enough to kill your business partner? The wives of the partners are also involved in the case. Grace Swift, Edwards wife, is the picture perfect stepford wife. But what secrets does she hold? Olivia Carstairs, Felix’s wife seems meek and timid, as she panders to her child’s every need.
At this point I began to struggle with the characters. I am not a fan of novels, that follow the ‘poor’ struggles/tragedies of the wealthy middle class! But this is where I got this novel so wrong! The masks the character’s wear, begin to slip and we discover none are as perfect, as they’d like to portray………..

The novels delves deeper into the character’s backgrounds. We learn of Peters odd relationship with a known tramp. There are hints of Greek mythology and in particular Tithonus; but how does this tie into the case? We learn of Felix’s past and his rather savage bullying style, he inflicts on others.
The characterisation keeps you guessing. Whilst they seem perfect and innocent on the outside, they are a bunch of oddballs and weirdos, once you scratch the surface. We also learn small clues into Meg’s background and how Jai has a crazy ex-wife. With no-one whom they seem and so many suspicions, it was clear to me don’t trust the wives……….

The plot is so cleverly written that every time I felt I had it figured, the author would through in another huge curve ball! It has twists/turns galore. The novel also deals with some incredibly complex issues such as suicide and euthanasia. It is sensitively done and opens up so much room for debate. I think this novel would make an excellent choice for book groups. There are brief themes of mental illness and trust. But ultimately the core themes are of secrets/lies and the bonds of family and what they demand of us! I think DI Meg Dalton is a fantastic protagonist and I look forward to more novels in the series!

What makes Derbyshire Noir so special………
IMAG2010 IMAG2005 IMAG2019
The Derbyshire countryside is truly beautiful, it makes for an atmospheric setting!
BlackRockMist
Black rock mist

BlackRockCrevasse
Black rock crevasse

BlackRockTrees
Black rock trees

Q&A with #DebutAuthor Roz Watkins

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

A) A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face covered with scratches. As DI Meg Dalton investigates, she makes a chilling discovery. Chiselled into the cave wall above the body, hidden by foliage, is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century. Although the locals blame a curse dating from the times of the witch trials, Meg is convinced there’s a rational explanation.
But as she battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, her own family secrets refuse to stay buried.

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

A) I hadn’t written any fiction since school, but had always had a vague idea that I’d like to write a book one day. I never took it very seriously, and I’d always been too busy with my job as a patent attorney. After I gave that up and started running holiday cottages, I became a lot more creative. One day when I was out walking the dog, I had an idea for a short story in which a farmer is killed by his own cows. It looked like an accident but the cows were actually trained by his wife. I was very much into clicker-training, and my mind must have been exploring all the possibilities!

I got home and wrote my story, with no idea what I was doing, and something prompted me to enter it for an online competition. To my astonishment, it was shortlisted, and this encouraged me to keep going.

I joined a local writing group and wrote more short stories, but I started getting ideas about a novel. With astonishing naivety, I bought ‘The Complete Idiots Guide to Writing a Novel’ and just got cracking!

I was soon completely hooked, and read every book I could get my hands on about how to write, as well as analysing favourite books to try and work out how the author had done it. I befriended police and CSIs, got them drunk and tried to get all their secrets.
Luckily, my mum was doctor and was very happy (possibly a little too happy!) to share all her ideas on how to kill people.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Strangely, most of my absolute favourites are not crime. I love Lionel Shriver, especially ‘So Much for That’ and ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’. I think ‘Falling’ by Colin Thubron is a perfect little book, and touches on some of the ideas in my first book. I also love ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I read a lot of Enid Blyton as a young child, and Dick Francis as a teenager – classy stuff! A book called ‘Dream of Fair Horses’ was one of my favourites – a lovely book about love and loss pretending to be a kids’ pony book.

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

A) I’m not quite published yet (and I suspect this is the best bit now!) I’ve really enjoyed going to festivals and meeting readers and other authors. The HarperCollins summer party is a bit of a highlight too!

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

A) I’ve made some fantastic friends through attending local writing courses and groups, and also and online through Twitter and by exchanging critiques on Scribophile. The community of writers is lovely and so supportive.

Roz Watkins
Roz Watkins
Authors Links:
Website
Twitter

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