Q&A with @JohnKnockAuthor #Author of, The Wolfman Of Auchtermuchty #Indie #Scottish #Horror #Debut

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The Wolfman Of Auchtermuchty by John Knock

Q&A:

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

A) I’m a new writer. I’m a Scottish writer in the sense that my work is set in Scotland and it has a scots accent, or several of them in fact. Genre wise, its hybrid mixing comedy, horror and crime. I grew up in Fife, hence why I started with this novel but I’ve lived in lots of places across Scotland and I’m drawing on this when I’m writing.

The Wolfman of Auchtermuchty has a whole cast of characters. It slips in time between the present day and twenty years ago, always through the characters’ eyes. Craig Miller is a tabloid journalist, who left Fife after his mother’s disappearance, a still unsolved case in which he and his father were both suspected. He hopes to write a sensational piece about wolf sightings to re-start his career. His return opens up old secrets with his friends and a conspiracy that he helped to start.

Meantime, DS Jimmy Melville has found a finger and this points to a missing planning officer. He starts to investigate the case with the help of PC Shirley Stevenson while trying to keep his IBS under control. However, as the body parts start turning up on the eve of a royal visit, the possibility of a creature, perhaps a rabid dog, could create a panic.

Dr Susannah Martin is trying to write her new work but gets distracted by a handsome student, who has some interesting theories that challenge her own. When Craig Miller turns up the doorstep, she could literally lose her head.

A group of school friends need to decide who they can trust and what secrets to keep as an old curse starts to reap its revenge.

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

A) It has been like a slow-moving boulder that took a long time to get momentum. There’s a difference between the early stages of writing – I wrote the prologue years ago – and put it all together. Re-writing, changing bits and making it all link up. It took me a while to find my voice. Now the boulder is rolling along, ideas and dialogue just keep rushing at me. Ideas for plots and situations I could always get. Getting the characters right took a little longer. Now I have them cueing up and I really want to get on with the next novel.
I would just keep re-writing so having a deadline was essential. It means I have to deliver.
Editing is more difficult. I needed to take time and make sure the formatting is correct, to proof read. Next time, I’m going to hand this over to someone else.
After Wolfman it will get easier because I have a voice, a style to match the characters and ideas.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I like writing that makes you think and I like books that feel that the writer is talking to you or letting the characters talk to you. Irvine Welsh, Christopher Brookmyre and the late Iain Banks all did this in very different ways. I have to rate Welsh’s The Acid House. I love it. His characters talk to you and each have their own voice. If you haven’t read it, do so. I just laughed out loud. Brookmyre’s One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night is when he found his voice. Complicity is really powerful. You could start with Espedair Street if you want to get into Banks.
I would also have to say A History of the World in 101/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes and of course Lanark by Alasdair Gray, probably the most interesting use of the novel as an artefact.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I loved Roger Lancelyn Green’s adaptions of the Greek and Norse myths as a kid. Ian Serraillier’s The Silver Sword and Holms’ I am David were beautifully crafted. Then I got into sci-fi, Clarke and Aznimov. I really enjoyed the scope of possibilities. As an older teen, I read fantasy for a while but I just can’t get into it now. I find them too formulaic. Except for Pratchett, he was really creative. He started off spoofing the genre and ended up really dealing with concerns about our own world. If anyone can suggest a well written fantasy novel that does something different, I’ll give it a go.

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

A) That I’ve done it. The book is out there and now I can start a relationship with my readers. I look forward to their view and feedback. I also look forward to speaking to other authors. I find those who talk about the writing process the most interesting. My test reader said she laughed out loud and believed in the characters, so I’m looking to see what others get from it.

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

A) My wife.
She is the one who nagged me and kept me on task. My friend Jim also helped to kick start it. It’s good to have people with faith in you.
Listening to other authors talk about their work. Lee Child is great, he cares about his audience, his readership. Mark Billington’s A Stab in the Dark, is an excellent podcast. Listening to them really helped as I brought the whole thing together.
My father said to me years ago that he always thought I’d be a writer. It just took me a long time to find my voice. Funny thing is I’m now saying this about my own son and I’m not the only one.

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

author
John Knock
Author links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnKnockAuthor
Facbook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnKnockAuthor
Website : under construction

Q&A with @writinblues Richard Wall #Author of, Fat Man Blues #Debut #Indie #Blues

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Fat Man Blues by Richard Wall

Q&A:

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

A) I grew up in a small market town in rural Herefordshire, England At age 18 I left to join the Royal Navy. After 22 years in the submarine service and having travelled extensively, I now live and write in rural Worcestershire.
My first short story, “Evel Knievel and The Fat Elvis Diner” (available on Kindle), was soon followed by “Five Pairs of Shorts” a collection of ten short stories, and another short story called ‘Hank Williams’ Cadillac’.
My stories reflect my life-long fascination with the dark underbelly of American culture, be it tales of the Wild West, or of the simmering menace of the Deep South, or the poetry of Charles Bukowski, or the writing of Langston Hughes, or the music of Charley Patton, Son House, Johnny Cash, or Tom Waits.

I’m also a self-confessed Delta Blues music anorak. A few years ago I embarked on a pilgrimage to the USA to visit the Deep South, where a bizarre encounter in Clarksdale, Mississippi inspired me to write my début novel, Fat Man Blues.

“Hobo John” is an English blues enthusiast on a pilgrimage to present-day Mississippi. One night in Clarksdale he meets the mysterious Fat Man, who offers him the chance to see the real blues of the 1930s. Unable to refuse, Hobo John embarks on a journey through the afterlife in the company of Travellin’ Man, an old blues guitarist who shows him the sights, sounds and everyday life in the Mississippi Delta. Along the way, the Englishman discovers the harsh realities behind his romantic notion of the music he loves and the true price of the deal that he has made.

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

A) The idea began after the bizarre encounter in a Juke Joint. My friend (who was with me) said later, “That scene in the bar would make a great opening to a story.” I began writing, and with a little embellishment turned the encounter into Chapter One of the novel.
Writing took place during spare time away from my real job and home commitments. I’m not a planner, and so each writing segment would begin by reading the previous chapter and then continuing the story where I left off – when I get in the “writing zone” (my words) I see the action playing out like a hologram just in front of my eyes.
All in all it took about three years from start to finish.

Having completed the eBook version, I uploaded to Kindle and slowly people started buying it. I managed to secure an agent, but so far a traditional publishing deal is proving elusive. After a few more weeks of swearing and frustration I managed to design and create a cover, sort out the formatting and get a paperback version ready to upload to Createspace. Receiving the proof copy, and actually holding in my hand the result of three years work was immensely satisfying.
Marketing Fat Man Blues has proved to be harder work than writing it. As a self-published author, the onus is on you to not only get the book “out there” and noticed, but to keep it there. Social media has been invaluable for this. I began with Twitter and then FaceBook a little later.

I contacted local radio stations and secured interviews, and my agent approached BBC6 Radio Presenter Cerys Matthews, who mentioned the book on her show (and subsequently invited me as her guest to a music festival she organises in N Wales). Along this journey I have connected with and met some amazing people who have unselfishly assisted me with making my book known.
Two years from first publication, sales remain steady but I’m always looking for new ways to market it, even if it’s just slipping the title into conversation every now and then.
It’s all good.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Favourite authors are established writers Andrew Vachss, James Lee Burke, and Langston Hughes. My favourite new writer is Ran Walker – check him out on Amazon.
I can recommend any books from the above authors, but one of my favourite ever novels is “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry. Breathtaking.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) As a child I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Spike Milligan was a favourite author, and at one time I had every one of his novels and poetry collections.
One book which stands out from my childhood (and which I still have) is Wild Trek by Jim Kjelgaard.

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

A) I’ve had several favourite moments: I was extremely proud when the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, offered to stock Fat Man Blues in their gift shop. I was equally proud to receive a photograph of Rita King posing with my book (Rita King is the daughter of blues legend BB King). Meeting, and becoming friends with musicians Tone Tanner and Garrington T Jones, who very generously invited me to read from Fat Man Blues during one of their gigs. Another high-point was giving a talk about my book at Upton Blues Festival in 2017, and being introduced on stage by local blues legend Trevor ‘Babajack’ Steger.

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

A) None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for my wife, Barbara.

author
Richard Wall
Author links:
Twitter @writinblues
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Wall/100012790451828
RWall Website: https://richardwall.org/

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

Q&A with @maxmanningcrime #DebutAuthor of #NewRelease #NowYouSee @Wildfirebks @headlinepg @Sourcebooks

I was lucky enough to win a proof via a Twitter competition and wished to re-pay my gratitude to the author & publisher.
Knowing I could not read the novel by its Ebook release on 1st November 2017. I offered Max Manning the opportunity to tell us more about his debut novel.
So here it is!

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Now You See by Max Manning
Synopsis:

Will you look her in the eyes, just before she dies? A terrifying crime thriller that will set your pulse pounding. Perfect for fans of M. J. Arlidge, Robert Bryndza, and Angela Marsons.

I, Killer has posted two photos of his first victim online – Before Death and After Death. They’ve gone viral before DCI Fenton’s team even discovers the body.

Soon, another victim’s photo is similarly posted…and so begins the killer’s following.

DCI Fenton is determined to discover the identity of I, Killer. Then the murderer makes the hunt personal, and Fenton’s search becomes a matter of life or death for him and his daughter.

But as I, Killer‘s body-count rises, his number of online followers is growing – and he loves to give his fans what they want…

Q&A:

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

A) In my late teens I began thinking about becoming a writer and a career in journalism beckoned. I started as a news reporter on local and regional newspapers. Eventually, I moved to Fleet Street, working for several national newspapers including the Financial Times and the Daily Express. I later joined the staff of The Daily Telegraph, where I was employed as a news sub-editor for sixteen years.

My debut crime novel Now You See starts with a killer posting two photos of his first victim on line – Before Death and After Death. They go viral before the police discover the body. Soon, another victim’s photo is posted…and so begins the killer’s following. DCI Dan Fenton teams up with troubled journalist Adam Blake to uncover the killer’s identity. Things turn personal and Fenton, and his young daughter, discover that if you hunt the hunter, you risk becoming the prey. As the body count rises, the killer’s online following grows­ – and he loves to give his fans what he wants….

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

A) My work as a news reporter involved writing a lot of crime stories, dealing with the police on a daily basis and covering murder trials. I quickly became fascinated by the workings of the criminal, and especially the psychopathic, mind. When I started writing Now You See, I wanted to try to give the reader an insight into the mind of a psychopath. The use of social media is a fantastic communication tool, but it also allows the dark side of human nature to be expressed without the usual social constraints.

After long evenings spent writing in my office/garden shed, I sent the manuscript out to literary agents looking for crime fiction and I was delighted to get an offer of representation from Madeleine Milburn. After working on the manuscript with her, things moved fairly quickly and I was excited to hear that the Headline imprint Wildfire loved Now You See. The next stage involved working on the MS with my editor, Kate Stephenson, and I found it a fascinating process.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) There are so many authors I love it is hard to pick one or two, but I’ll do my best. When it comes to series crime I think Michael Connelly’s creation, Harry Bosch, is hard to beat. Connelly is a former reporter and his writing style is lean, but forceful. Another of my favourite crime writers is Val McDermid. The Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, beginning with The Mermaids Singing, is fantastic. McDermid’s prose is strikingly powerful and a pleasure to read. My recommendations? Read Connelly and McDermid to see how it’s done. I also recommend Susie Steiner and the standalone thrillers of Belinda Bauer. Away from crime, I enjoy reading historical fiction. My all-time favourites include Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Under the age of ten I devoured all of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books and anything that involved adventures in space or pirates. Pirates in space would have been even better. In my early teens I moved on to Tolkien and read The Lord of The Rings during a two-week Easter holiday. I also developed an obsession with science fiction and read everything I could find by Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick.

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

A) From the point of sitting down and starting to write to becoming a published author, there are so many memorable milestones. They range from simply pressing the send button to put your manuscript out there, to getting a literary agent and then a publisher. All of them are a cause for celebration in their own way. The moment that stands out for me, up to now, is getting an email from my agent while sitting with my wife in the sunshine in the garden of a café after a day cycling along the north Kent coast. The email confirmed that Now You See had been sold to publishers in the UK, the US and Germany. It was a brilliant moment.

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

A) Once the first draft of Now You See was finished, I was fortunate to have had great encouragement from my agent and my editor. Getting that first draft down on paper is a rollercoaster process and impossible without the support and understanding of those closest to you. Without doubt my strongest source of support, from the moment I decided to write Now You See, has been my wife, Valerie. From first word to last, she has been an invaluable sounding board and tireless reader.

Max-Manning
Max Manning
Authors links:
Twitter: @maxmanningcrime
Website: maxmanningcrime.com

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

**Now You See, is released in Ebook format tomorrow for just £1.99 on Kindle. The paperback release will be 19th April 2018.**

I am so intrigued and engrossed by this cover & synopsis! The novel is calling to me from the book shelves! I may have to be a #NaughtyBookBlogger. Ignore my own lists and read this one next!!!!!!!

 

 

#BlogTour #Review and Q&A #DeadLands by @LloydOtisWriter 5* Genius @urbanebooks #DebutNovel @urbanepub

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

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Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis
Synopsis:

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape.

*Release date 12th October 2017.

My review:

Very few novels do I contact the publisher directly and ask to read a ‘coming soon’ title as soon as physically possible. This was one of those times! Dead Lands has an eye-catching cover and an intriguing synopsis. I was left dying to know more, little did I know I was in for one hell of a read………..

The location is London and the year is 1977, which makes for atmospheric reading but also an entirely different pace to a contemporary crime novel. Policing in the 1970s isn’t what it is today! A different era with its own approaches to racial profiling. Cransham, Lewisham and New Cross areas still left reeling from the ‘Rivers Of Blood’ speech of 1968 and its impact on London communities.
The backdrop of a right wing march in this novel offers a staggering reminder of that 1970s era.

The novel opens with violently brutal scene, it drew me in from the very first page! Police officers Detective Inspector Arlo Breck and Detective Sargent Patricia Kearns arrive on the scene. They are from the Sensitive Crimes Unit (SCU), basically dealing with cases that involve wealthy and influential people.
Money Talks!

The victim Janet Maskell has suffered a violent death. The scene offers little in the form of evidence except a name written on a magazine and a credit card both stating Alexander Troy. Who is Alex Troy? How does he fit in with the victim? Janet was a dedicated career woman and held a prestigious job with an investment firm. She had a routine life and no time for friends outside of work.
Who would want Janet dead and why?

The papers cite of the upcoming ‘war on our streets’ fuelling the far-right march. The area’s deprivation and hopelessness adds to the racial tension and mistrust. With all this happening Detective Superintendent Anil Bashir wants to override his detectives and run Janet’s case his way. Leaving Breck disillusioned with police work altogether.

Breck is dealing with a distressed girlfriend, who appears to be suffering with mental health issues from the flashbacks of a recent attack. He also faces verbal abuse from fellow copper Riley. Kearns is divorced, lonely and has virtually no interaction with her only child. The role of a female police officer in the 1970s is fully explored. The police officer’s backgrounds adds to the complexity of this novel.
There are revelations, secrets and lies. They read brilliantly as a police duo.

The police finally trace Alex Troy and bring him in for questioning. He works at the same investment firm and was facing a disciplinary hearing that day, which Janet had run against him. Is this his motive? He is completely baffled with their accusations. He pleads his innocence but refuses to give an alibi.
There is confusion, when another Alex Troy is linked to the case.
Then Troy escapes……….

The case of the two Alex Troy’s is fascinating reading. Identify theft in the 1970s, easily done and impossible to unravel. With one a person of interest (POI) and the other, the prime suspect. The prime suspect is desperate and on the run!

Nosey neighbour Wynda Brodie, informs the police that Janet did have one frequent visitor. Her gardener and lover Benjamin Genta. Stating her dislike at the thought of ‘half-caste kids’ running up and down the street! It would appear Wynda, is uncomfortable with the colour of Benjamin’s skin.
But who is Benjamin Genta and how does he tie into the case?

The investigation continues, there are searches for the two Alex Troys, interviews with people connecting to the victim and searches of property. But they throw up more dead ends than leads. Breck decides to approach Benjamin and discover more about the victim Janet. Benjamin has a clean record and a serious distrust of the police. His brother was an innocent victim in a stabbing and he recites cases of police harassment and brutality from an officer named Riley. But he was in love with Janet and they held the same political beliefs with regards to the anti-fascist movement against the far-right march. Was Janet’s death politically motivated? How involved was she?

“We’re in the dead lands, a place where you’re judged solely by the word of others. No one ever gets out. They stay trapped forever” Benjamin Genta
*Still poignant 40 years later.

There are chapters written from ‘the messengers’ perspective that make for harrowing reading. But they add thrills, fear and mystery. Who is the messenger? With a fellow officer proving there is a fine line between police work and police corruption. With his potential involvement in the march. Then one of the Alex Troy’s dead body is discovered the case is blown wide-open. Breck and Kearns must solve this case and fast! Before more dead bodies pile up.

A multifaceted complex novel, with themes of violence, past secrets, lies, police corruption, betrayals, racial tension and civil unrest. 5* Genius

Q&A:

Q) As a duo DI Arlo Breck and DS Patricia Kearns, come alive on the page. They are an unlikely pair and I often thought to myself they are chalk and cheese. But when you dig a little deeper into their pasts, the reader discovers they are both just trying to survive their own personal secrets. Was this intentional, to have two police officers so different but yet so alike?

A)It was, because as we know, opposites attract but when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find that they are both desperate to make amends. It’s the common denominator that secretly binds them together as individuals. Having them be different characters allowed me to provide a few interesting moments between them.

Q) I was very surprised to discover that DS Kearns was a female, due to the era. What made you decide to cast the role of Kearns as a female?

A) I wanted to create a more equal playing field in the story. Career opportunities for women across many industries were sadly extremely limited during the 70s, which is one of the reasons why I put Kearns in a specialist unit. A place where the skillset of an individual surpasses gender. There, the fact she is a woman, wouldn’t be such an obstacle as in other areas. I also felt that Breck and Kearns would bounce off each other better if one was male and the other female.

Q) Breck faces a dominating and bullying relationship with fellow police officer Riley. Which made me utterly despise Riley. Was this also part of the writing process to give an honest portrayal of the police in the 1970s?

A) To some extent, yes. The 70s had a lot of controversies, so there are some things that I just couldn’t underplay when setting its core in London. The stories about people being wrongly arrested, being discriminated against on a regular basis back then, and corruption, have already been well documented. To not have a character like Riley around wouldn’t be true to the decade. Having said that, not all officers were bad and that’s where Breck comes in. He’s Riley’s opposite in a sense.

Q) With themes of corruption and coercion, sometimes it was difficult to take the individual characters at face value. This added to the mystery and suspense feel of the novel and I was desperately trying to figure it out, before I got to the end. Is this sort of layered writing difficult to write, do you have to remind yourself who’s who? Does the direction of a character every change during the writing process?

A) Yes, this sort of layered writing is difficult to write because if there are multiple layers to a story, it can’t be rushed. Those layers have to understood by the author inside out. Once the author has that understanding, then the ultimate direction of the characters won’t change, their responses to situations may fluctuate, but their true direction will remain intact and the author won’t get confused with who’s who.

Q) Writing a novel set in 1977, is very different to the novels that flood the market. what was the inspiration behind this era? What was the research process for understanding policing in 1977?

A) For my debut I wanted create a story that you could say was under represented in the crime fiction market. Readers don’t want all books to be the same and we authors are creative, so we can try new things. I think there needs to be individualism in writing that continues to offer readers as much choice as possible. In terms of research, I underwent a lot for the period. From sifting through newspapers of the time, to speaking to someone who was present at ‘the march’ which serves as the backdrop to the story, and I was able to get on-the-job insights from a retired police sergeant that served during the decade.

Q) Breck identifies with Benjamin in the novel, almost as if he can imagine life thorough his eyes. We the reader also then witness Benjamin appear to let down his guard around Breck. How do you plan how various characters will interact with each another?

A) Good question. I think the keyword here is backgrounds. The background of a character leads me to decide how best that particular character would interact with others, especially in one-to-one scenes.

Q) If I had to sum up your novel in 5 words, I would say it is edgy, tense, unique, intelligent and thought-provoking. What 5 words would you use?

A) Thank you, Abby, that’s very kind. I honestly don’t think I could choose any different, or better, words than those.

Q) Finally, the question I am dying to know the answer to, is this debut novel the start of a Breck & Kearns series? If so are you working on ideas/themes for the next novel?

A) Breck & Kearns deserve their moment. I spent a lot of time considering who they were and what they were supposed to represent. Dead Lands is their story, from the beginning to the end, alongside a piece of real history. Will they return? Never say never.

LO2
Lloyd Otis
Author Bio:
Lloyd was born in London and attained a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication. After gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, he completed a course in journalism. Lloyd has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block. Two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology, and he currently works as an Editor.
Authors Links:
Web: http://www.lloydotis.com/
Via Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/lloyd-otis/
Twitter: @LloydOtisWriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter

 

 

 

 

#Review #TheRoomByTheLake by @emmdib @HoZ_Books #Debut #Novel #NewRelease 4*

Recently I was unable to attend Harrogate due to further problems with my spine. I refunded my hotel room and spent the money on some signed first editions via Goldsboro books! 🙂
After all, these are the readers version of diamonds! lol
So here is one of the novels I bought and I was lucky enough to get #12 in printing!

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The Room By The Lake by Emma Dibdin
Synopsis:

When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.

Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.

It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever…

My review:

There is a wealth of novels available presently with a cult theme. I have read several of them and found each varies its narrative completely.
This one was quite unique itself!

The novel opens with a young British woman, Caitlin fleeing Oxford for New York. She arrives in the big apple and discovers despite meeting a few people and embellishing her own backstory her life is turning out to be just as lonely and isolated. With not much hope or money left, it is at this moment she meets Jake at a party. After knowing Jake only 5 days, he offers her the chance of escape to his parent’s lake house just 2 hrs drive away in the country. But is Jake’s offer what it seems………

When Caitlin arrives at the lake house, her breath is taken with its size and beauty. Jake’s parents are nowhere to be seen and with the arrival of a bunch of young people. we learn Jake’s family is not what he had described, at all! Jake is part of a healing group, everyone has a routine and their individual roles within the group. At first, Caitlin is mortified at Jake’s Lies but with then the charismatic leader Don manages to talk her round to give the group a trial.

The group is made up of a variety of characters, all having their own reasons for residing at the lake house. The group runs like a hippy commune, but you can leave/return at any time. There is a healthy lifestyle focus via exercise and a paleo diet. I could really see the appeal to a young woman in emotional pain. It is in the groups sessions Caitlin, now known as Kate begins to open up about her past and her mother’s struggles with mental health and eventual death and her father’s alcoholism.
The groups motto has huge appeal…..

“We are here for each other, and we are nothing without each other”

Kate begins to warm again to Jake and other members of the group. With leader Don taking a keen interest in her past. The routine of body/yard/soul/mind work takes hold and before Kate knows it she is a new confirmed member. The Friday and Saturday parties with the apfelwein cider and the vision quests, hold little control over the members of the group. So it is with no wonder she begins to feel this sense of a new home and new found love of life. Even worshipping Don as a father figure.
That is until the arguments start and a body is found hanging………..

A strong newly released, debut novel. One that could also appeal to the older YA genre. 4*

ED
Emma Dibdin
Twitter: @emmadib