Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Shrouded Path by @sarahrward1 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Mystery #DerbyshireNoir @FaberBooks #DCConnieChilds #Series

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The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward
Review Copy
Synopsis:

The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Sarah Ward’s Derbyshire noir series. I love how each title jumps between the past and the present. Something I imagine is not easy to execute. Nevertheless, the author manages to weave November 1957 and October 2015 brilliantly. The case in 1957 does surround six teenage girls, which keeps you on your toes, remembering the various names!

The novel opens in November 1957, Bampton.
Six teenage girls enter a tunnel but only five leave. . .

In October 2017 Mina is visiting her mother on the oncology ward. Her mother is terminally ill and receiving end of life care. Then her mother claims to have seen a woman named Valerie. She urges Mina to find Valerie and makes the confession…..
‘We Killed her’
Mina is rattled by this statement but is unsure if this is an admission of guilt or merely a vision due to the end of life medication such as Morphine etc. She brushes off her concerns, but can’t ignore the conversation.
The she starts receiving warning notes……..

DC Connie Childs is back, but with Sadler away is paired up with DC Peter Dahl. Peter is new to the area and seeking a quieter pace of life.
Only in Bampton it is never quiet for long.
Despite the atmospheric descriptions of Derbyshire, we become aware a there is a prowler in the mist.

Connie and Peter’s most recent case is two potentially suspicious deaths. As the victims are elderly it is unclear if they are simply natural causes or something more sinister. In this post Harold Shipman world, Connie is reluctant to let them go without any further digging and in doing so she unearths many secrets about Bampton of yesteryear.

‘This isn’t the journey’s end, it’s the beginning’

As we jump back to 1957, we meet Valerie and we learn about the purity and punishment ‘friendship’ circle.
As Mina Discovers a photo from the past with the image of five teenage girls. One of which has clear links back to the central characters.
A secret memoir will eventually reveal the truth. But what are the secrets that lurk in the past? Why have the girls gone to such lengths to keep them secret all these years?

The secrets of the past, catch up with the elderly residents of Bampton and bring death with them. 5*

SW
Sarah Ward
Twitter
Website/Book review blog
My Q&A with Sarah ward
My Review for, A Patient Fury

***Don’t miss the other blogger on the blog tour***
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Derbyshire Noir #2: Q&A with the very talented Sarah Ward. Author of In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw

As stated in Derbyshire noir blog post #1, I am a huge fan of Derbyshire as a setting. Sarah Ward’s novels are set in the fictional town of Brampton in the very beautiful and very real Peak District. I am a huge fan of Sarah’s writing style, the mix of era’s and time frames, keeps the reader constantly guessing. As much as I am an avid reader, I am unable to guess the endings and at the end of A deadly Thaw I was practically shaking the kindle in my hand, ssshhhhh-ing the kids and just stuck my hand in my husbands face, rather than say “I’m near the end, leave me alone!” So yes, they are very very intense reading!
I had so many questions and Sarah was kind enough to agree to a Q&A on my very new blog.

Q&A

Q) When I review books, I have my own little system for rating books. 5* genius, is a term I use for those absolutely amazing books where every page is great! I don’t get to use it as often as I’d like but such as life. A Deadly Thaw was absolutely brilliant. The writing was so clever & I couldn’t figure out where the story was going to end up. The mini cliff hangers featured throughout the novel meant I couldn’t put it down at all. What is your process of writing? How do you keep up with all the twists & turns?

A) This is an interesting question for me at the moment as I’m writing the (as yet untitled) book four in my Bampton series. With each book, at the start I tend to panic about how I managed to do it the previous time but, as I get going, the process comes back to me.

In terms of plotting, I spend my first draft getting the story down. It can often mean quite a short first draft (around 60k words) but I’m used to this now. Then, for the second draft I fill in details – mainly setting and character- and I also look at how my chapter’s end and think, ‘will my readers want to keep going’.

I belong to a book club and one of the members told me that she prefers not to read books where you’re deliberately encouraged to keep reading so she hates cliff hanger endings on chapters. So I’m trying to pull in the reader a lot more subtly.

 

Q) Derbyshire is the setting for your novels. As someone who went to secondary school in Derby & college in Buxton, I think it works brilliantly. I think the scenery & various locations make a perfect location. What made you chose Derbyshire for the setting? Is your next book set in Derbyshire?

A) I live in the middle of the Peak District and there’s so much here to inspire. That said, I’ve created the fictional town of Bampton that is very vivid in my head and I just try to incorporate elements of Derbyshire into it. For example, like real-life Bakewell, it has a strong tourist industry and lots of nice shops. Like Cromford it has a canal and remnants of the industrial revolution heritage.

The hills and landscape are real though as is the awful weather!

Q) As someone who is signed up to your newsletter, I often get a snapshot of what you are reading. What have been your 5* genius reads? Or favourites of 2016, 2017 so far?

A) Great question. I enjoyed Ali Land’s ‘Good Me Bad Me’ possibly because it was something I wouldn’t normally read. I also enjoyed Icelandic writer, Arnaldur Indridason’s latest book, ‘The Shadow District’. It’s the start of a new series for him and excellent.

I’m quite harsh with my marking. I’ve come off Goodreads and tend to score books in my head. Very few make 5 stars. Thanks for including mine in yours!

 

Q) Have any of your favourite authors influenced your writing/reading?

A) I think we’re subtly influenced by everyone we read. In terms of crime fiction, I was a huge P D James fan and I loved her descriptive prose so I suspect she is an influence on my writing. I love the tension and slight strangeness of Ruth Rendell’s world too. Other than that, I guess it’s obvious but I’ve loved Agatha Christie and read and reread her all the time.

Q) Aside from writing, what are your favourite things about being a published author?

A) Without doubt, doing events and meeting people. I love going to libraries and bookshops and meeting readers and not only talking about my own books but those of others too. It’s by far, apart from writing, the best thing about being published.

I also like interacting online with people I’ve not met in real life (like yourself) especially as I live in my own little world up here in Derbyshire.

Q) The crime fiction genre now, more than ever has seen a huge rise in female writers. In turn seeing some female writers doing phenomenally well in terms of book sales, awards & recognition for their work. I think this is brilliant & inspiring. How does it impact the genre from both internally as a writer and externally as a reader?

A) I don’t think this is a new phenomena. The great writers from the Golden Age of crime fiction (Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers) were all women. Crime fiction is a genre that we own and unlike other jobs I’ve done, I’ve never felt disadvantaged because I’m a woman.

I do, however, meet male readers who say they don’t read novels by women and so there is still a way to go. I tend to track my own reading to see if I’m covering both genders but this is for personal reasons. I’m interested in monitoring the trends in my own reading.

 

In bitter chill coverdeadly thaw cover

In Bitter Chill & A Deadly Thaw are both available via Amazon and Kindle:

In Bitter Chill- Synopsis:
Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide.

Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.

This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.*Just£3.79 on Kindle UK- 5*

A Deadly Thaw – Synopsis:
‘Gives the Scandi authors a run for their money.’ Yrsa Sigur�ard�ttir
Every secret has consequences.
Autumn 2004
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.
Spring 2016
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . .

A Deadly Thaw confirms Sarah Ward’s place as one of the most exciting new crime writers. *Just £4.74 on Kindle Uk- 5* Genus

Contact/Follow Sarah at:
Web: https://crimepieces.com/
Twitter: @sarahward1
Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/SarahWardCrime/

*Huge Thanks to Sarah for agreeing to do a Q&A on my Blog, can’t wait for the next book! I wish you much success with your future writing.

Derbyshire Noir #1: Q&A with Tony R Cox, author of A Fatal Drug 5*

I was born in Lancashire but I went to secondary school in Derby and residential college in Buxton. So Derbyshire is a setting I know and love in novels. Derbyshire varies, from the beautiful peak district to the urban inner city that I know and love!
I have met very few authors in person. But one I have met and certainly won’t forget is Tony R Cox aka Richard Cox.
I met Richard just over a year ago at the signing of All Through The Night by M.P Wright in London. He is such a fantastic bloke and what Richard don’t know about Derby, ain’t worth knowing! I knew as soon as I started my blog, He would be brilliant for a Q&A. Very intelligent, a cracking sense of humour and rather dashing in ‘that shirt’ pic above. here is Richard’s Q&A………..

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A Fatal Drug by Tony R Cox 5*

The synopsis:

England. 1971. Reporter Simon Jardine is on the hunt for the story that will kick start his career and when a tortured, mutilated body turns up on his patch he can’t help thinking his luck is finally in. At first glance the provincial town of Derby is about as far away from the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll of London and California as it’s possible to imagine but as Jardine begins to scratch below the surface he finds that all is not well in England’s green and pleasant land. Along with fellow reporter Dave Green and local DJ Tom Freeman, Jardine is soon drawn into a spiral of gangland drug dealing and violence that stretches from the north of England to the south of Spain.

Q&A:

Q) Please can you give the readers a summary of your background, main character Simon Jardine & novel A Fatal Drug?

A) My father was a railway signalling engineer and mother a nurse. I was born in Barking, London, and lived in Glasgow, Lancaster, Crewe, Lahore in Pakistan, and then back to Cheshire before secondary school in Buxton, Derbyshire. I have a long family history in Derby, going back to the early 1800s. My great, grandfather worked alongside Sir Robert Peel, MP for Tamworth; my great grandfather and his brother were in the wine and beer business in Derby. My maternal grandmother was the last private nurse to Richard, the last of the Arkwright family – ‘Father of the Industrial Revolution’ and creator of the factory system.

My first proper job was as a cub reporter at the Derby Evening Telegraph in 1970 where my love of rock music and jazz was allowed full rein as a reviewer, as well as learning the ropes of regional journalism. It is from this era I chose my central characters. Simon Jardine is an amalgam of some great young journalists, with the naivety we all showed in our early 20s; Dave Green and Tom Freeman are loosely based on major influencers – both of whom have died.

For A Fatal Drug local reporter Simon Jardine’s romantic hotel room assignation is rudely interrupted by a grey, lifeless body staring through the skylight.

Simon, with crime reporter Dave Green and DJ-cum part time private investigator Tom Freeman, become enmeshed in the mystery of who the dead man was and how he ended up on the hotel roof.

The story travels to Spain and North Africa as the search for answers and a front page lead draws the three friends deeper into a growing drugs trade. Murder and prostitution are rife, but they’re no nearer getting the answers to their questions.

What links the hotel body to the drugs trade? Why does a would-be music reviewer go missing? Who is a bigger ‘godfather’ than Derby’s Mr Big? Is the threat of violence and death really worth it for a front page lead?

Q) I went to secondary school in Derby in the 1990’s. I absolutely loved the setting of Derby, I think Derby is such an intriguing City and its demographic changes street to street. It is also home to some of the most beautiful countryside. A Fatal Drug is set in 1971 Derby, what made you pick this era & this city?

A) The early 1970s were a time of sexual freedom, the drugs trade reached deeply and openly into the music scene, and society was undergoing some big changes society. For newspaper reporters, there were no mobile phones or the internet, and there was a culture, accepted by editors, that they could drink as much as they liked as long as they got the story.

Derby was transitioning slowly from being a heavily engineering-based employer to a more diverse economy. At the same time it was preserving some great architecture; building a new series of bridges over the River Derwent and a new ring road; and feeling the effects of some disastrous planning approvals, like any large urban area trying to build a strong future.

I like to think of Derby as ‘manageable’. It is possible to segment it historically and a short walk will take the visitor into wildly differing, architecturally emotional sectors: the new shopping centre; the Cathedral Quarter (Britain’s Best High Street); the riverside; the railway cottages conservation area; the miles of redbrick terraces, built to house workers at Rolls-Royce and the other engineering companies; and the wonderful parks.

Q) How much change have you seen in Derby from the 1970’s to 2017? Do you think it still makes for a brilliant location in 2017?

A) The city is a great ‘town’. It was given city status in 1997, but cannot shake off the ‘town’ tag. This, I believe is brilliant. I occasionally take people to Derby (200+ real ale pubs is a pretty good ‘draw’) and delight in showing them history that is still happening!

I am very surprised that some Derby locations have not been used for filmed period dramas, and by ‘period’ that could be Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and right through to the 70s. In a literary sense, an author I much admire, Steven Dunne, has set his enthralling Reaper series in 21st century Derby to great effect.

 

Q) I love that in your novel you are not afraid to shy away from themes of drug dealing, brothels & organised crime. It’s also hard to imagine such goings on in Derby. Did you base the novel on any real crimes? Or did they influence the writing in any way?

A) I don’t remember the town being so violent, but drug dealing was rife. I interviewed prostitutes and worked with an Irish newspaper to gain affidavits in a legal case, which meant entering a pub in the area of terraced housing by one door, meeting a prostitute at the bar, and running out of the other door – followed by a horde of irate men! Scratch the surface of any urban area and I think the criminal element will float up.

Q) The novel is set between two locations Derby & southern Spain, which is very good in terms of reflective locations. What drove the story this way?

A) There were two key drivers: the first is that I know Derby and its history well; secondly, drug smuggling involved people tapping into the burgeoning holiday destinations of southern Spain. While development in the Costas has covered vast areas in concrete, the geography remains largely the same.

 

Q) What are your favourite novels from childhood, teenage years to adulthood?

A) There were four phases I remember, apart from the early years of comics and Billy Bunter. My first ‘big’ author was W. E Johns and the Biggles series; then came Dennis Wheatley and Rider Haggard; later secondary school was the time of JRR Tolkien, James Joyce (and I was one of the only kids to actually enjoy Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Dubliners), and the First World War poets.

Now, depending on what I’m doing, I immerse myself in the works redolent of ‘my era’, such as Alan Sillitoe and John Braine. For pure enjoyment I read the latest novels by such luminaries as Steven Dunne, Stephen Booth, Sarah Ward (all set in Derbyshire), and, of course, my much acclaimed friend, M. P Wright. I also try and read as many of the books published by Fahrenheit Press, my publisher, as possible.

Q) What is next for Tony R Cox and will there be another Simon Jardine thriller?

A) The next Simon Jardine thriller is currently with my ‘editor’ who has found faults (don’t they all), but has called it well-crafted. From such an incisive and critical reader, that takes on the role of an Oscar in my estimation!

Jardine, Dave Green and Tom Freeman are again on the trail of news headlines. This time the story starts with a rock band’s homecoming gig in Wolverhampton, moves quickly into a possible expose of corrupt record sales in the music industry, and thence to drugs and murder. Police corruption lies at the heart of a novel that casts a spotlight on the finances of the IRA.

I’m also writing short stories and a more difficult work that has two main characters who speak in different dialects. It’s tough, but it exercises the writing brain.

 

Q) Aside from meeting me, What has been your favourite thing about being a published author?

A) Meeting your husband! No, not really, but he’s a great bloke.
There are so many positives about being a recognised writer. My first self-published Simon Jardine thriller, First Dead Body, was a personal achievement and the ‘launch’ party at Scarthin Books in Cromford, Derbyshire, was fantastic; being accepted by Fahrenheit Press for my second, A Fatal Drug, was hugely thrilling. I think the biggest change is the chance to mix with so many writers and readers whom I have admired for years, and the undimmed support they give me.

Contact for Tony R Cox
Web: http://www.tonyrcox.co.uk/
Twitter @TonyRCox

*Huge Thanks to Tony for taking part in the Q&A on by blog and I wish you much success with your further writing 🙂