#BlogTour #Extract #TheFeed by @nickhdclark @headlinepg @WmMorrowBooks #NewRelease @annecater

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
THE FEED by Nick Clark Windo is a startling and timely debut which presents a world as unique and vividly imagined as STATION ELEVEN and THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.

Tom and Kate’s daughter turns six tomorrow, and they have to tell her about sleep.
If you sleep unwatched, you could be Taken. If you are Taken, then watching won’t save you.
Nothing saves you.

Your knowledge. Your memories. Your dreams.
If all you are is on the Feed, what will you become when the Feed goes down?

For Tom and Kate, in the six years since the world collapsed, every day has been a fight for survival. And when their daughter, Bea, goes missing, they will question whether they can even trust each other anymore.

The threat is closer than they realise…



What Would You Sacrifice?

Is this what you realise when you turn off the Feed? The restaurant’s other diners hustle around me, yet I am absolutely alone. I should be nestling in amid the raucous chatter of this busy place, but instead I’m embalmed in real silence, and it’s as that weird ringing thing happens
in my ears that it hits me: Tom is right. I really must remember this. Even though this unconnected stillness feels deeply unnatural, it is good to be slow – if I can just ignore the itch in my brain. I was spraying non-stop between classes earlier and I’m still buzzed from it now, even though I took Rafa for a big walk in the park after school. Marooning myself on a bench with my Feed off and my do-not-disturb on, I threw his ball and watched the children play. That was it. That was all I did. No chats, no news streams. I had homework to mark (Class 9K filleting The Tempest with trowels in a filtered-thinking test I’d set them) and I should have messaged JasonStark27 to release him from detention, but I didn’t. I didn’t even check my pool. I simply sat and winced at the repetitive torture of the rusty swings and

forced my thoughts to slow. And gradually the buzz subsided. My heart calmed and I felt the baby inside me relax: her agitations eased as my mind unknotted. Action: reaction – nice and clear. Tom would have been proud; I slip my Feed on now, here in the restaurant, just our PrivateStream, and nudge him to tell him he’s right. The connection makes my heart race, and without thinking I dip into the chatter of the restaurant’s hectic PublicStream, I plunge with ease into the— ‘No!’ Tom’s thick eyebrows go up and his eyes widen, whether in surprise or irritation I can’t tell, as his Feed stays off and his emotis are therefore unknown to me. I turn my Feed off again, like one of my troublesome pupils, and we sit in silence some more. He smiles at me but I don’t return it. I can’t, for a while, while I concentrate. I can do this, I can go slow. Why does Tom have to make
it look so damn easy, though? My eyes rove, hungry for information. The cutlery of the thirty-three other diners scrapes, the occasional, unintended real laugh rasps around the room. Someone coughs. No words, though, no talking in the real, and I hear birdsong over the superroad’s growl. I realise I haven’t heard a bird consciously for so long, and it’s a really lovely thing. But the problem with being off is – it’s – so – slow! ‘How long will this take?’ ‘Could take forever,’ Tom agrees, nodding his broad forehead patiently before swivelling towards the kitchens. ‘How long have we been waiting?’ ‘I’ll check.’ ‘Kate,’ Tom warns gently. ‘We are being slow tonight.’ And there it is: the psychotherapist’s tone. It implies far more authority than the length of Tom’s experience deserves; in fact, I think I first noticed it right when he

started practising last year, but I can’t check my mundles to see without going on. If it riles me, though, why wouldn’t it rile his clients? And that wouldn’t be good; he has to make this work. It’s taken him a while to find himself, and he loves the work. He’s really good at it. It’s his. So I disengage my eyes again and look around the real, past the diners and outside. It’s not yet dark, though the super-road brings an early murk to these older parts of the city. We moved in round the corner two years ago, just before we got married. A beautiful old house (new-builds lack soul – I like a home to have a past) and way more expensive than we could dream of affording, but Tom’s parents helped us out. I’m still mixed about that. So’s Tom. But we’re on the hilltop up here. The super-road arches close above us and the city is an urban growth, laid out below. So many people down there before me, the millions of lights sparking like so many vibrant lives, and I could be chatting with any of them, my thoughts prismed out from the lit-up tower over towards the river, the main Hub of the Feed. Tom’s father’s place. Watching over us all: the eye of a needle through which everyone threads. Just seeing it, I’m tempted to dive into my pool; I’m itching to check the new poll I set. Two hundred million followers I have now! (If I accepted endorsements, and I wanted to, I’d be able to give up teaching – but no.) I’m tempted to do a GPS trawl to see how near I am to any of my followers, but I smother it back and try to ignore
the itching in my brain. I gulped in some pool the other day that it’s not actually the implant itself that itches. The Feed doesn’t create any physical sensation at all. It’s just an urge that, to make sense of it, we attribute to something physical, and so our brain tells us that it’s itching. I resprayed that fact. One hundred and thirty-seven million

people ‘liked’ it, though I doubt they actually did. I close my eyes and my memories of the Feed’s phantom images score the darkness like neon and starlight, an internal global cityscape where everyone lives close by. So beautiful. So inevitable. So comfortable. I can’t believe I’ve become hooked. Tom’s right about that, too, damn it and love him at once. Eyes back open and, off as I am, the billboards across the street display nothing but giant square quickcodes on their pristine expanses. The world is quiet. The social hubbub of the restaurant’s PublicStream is silenced. I have no idea what the menu is and we can’t get the waiter’s attention. It’s like we don’t exist. We’re here, cocooned in slow-moving silence as everyone around us communicates, eats and laughs, and it’s like— The waiter’s boots echo off the wooden floor as he leaves the kitchen, tattoos strangling his arms. He dumps plates before two young women whose lips twitch, swollen into semi-smiles, while their eyes roll and judder. He grinds pepper on the blonde girl’s food but not on her friend’s; the communication was silent but clear. Though the waiter stares up into a cobwebbed corner, I know that’s not what he’s seeing. This is a strange repose, to be asleep with eyes wide open! as Class 9K would effortlessly reference, fresh from their filtered-thinking test (they wouldn’t). Rather, he’s accessing an infinite multitude, streaming with his friends, internalising a soundtrack, messaging his girlfriend . . . or not, I guess, as the trio’s mouths twitch into synchronised smiles, because it looks like he’s flirting with them, and I’m left itching to go on even more than I had been before, a dry urge, the interface of the Feed teasing my brain like
a catch in the back of my throat. Tom strides over and grabs the waiter, who jerks at the

contact and gapes when he realises Tom is talking to
him – actually speaking words. He disengages his eyes as Tom forces him to really look at the world and see the
real. Tom drags him back to our table and the young waiter rocks nervously. He has a tiny quickcode tattooed above his eyebrow, shaped like an eagle, instantly scannable and ready to enhance my world, and I wonder: what would I see if I turned on my Feed? What skin does he have set? He’s pale, so maybe those girls just saw him with a tan. His teeth aren’t even, but maybe to them he has a perfect smile. Or maybe he’s set himself to look like someone famous. Turning off the Feed is like drawing back a veil.
It might not be as pretty, but it’s real, and Tom is right, I know he is, of course I do, it’s not just because he hates his father: it is a healthy thing to do. ‘No, no, no.’ Tom clicks his fingers and the startled waiter’s gaze jerks back to him. ‘We aren’t on,’ he articulates exaggeratedly, and mimes a mouth with his hands. ‘It’s just talk-ing.’ ‘You’re . . . off?’ the waiter asks, his voice croaky through disuse. His eyes glaze for a moment. Who did he just message? His manager, for help? Those girls? Probably not; they don’t turn to look. Has he sprayed a grab of us? Doubtful – Tom’s security settings are so high he’s virtually impossible to grab; his father has seen to that. ‘Do – you – have – a – menu?’ Tom asks, glancing at me. He’s having fun with this. ‘Not real.’ The waiter points at his temple like we’re the idiots. ‘Just Feed.’ Tom smiles up at him in a way I know means trouble, and it’s been a long day, so . . . ‘Pasta?’ I interrupt, and
the waiter nods. Real words feel strange in my mouth, but I speak quickly. ‘Bolognese for me, then, and carbonara

for him. And a side salad, please. Just green.’ Once the waiter flees, Tom’s expression makes me laugh despite my mood. This in turn makes him smile, which
is nice, his grin still soft, still young around his cheeks, beneath his drooping hair. It’s a touch longer than it was when we got married. I lean back and clasp my hands
over my baby-filling tummy. Mummy and Daddy happy
again, little girl, just like we used to be. Enjoying being off together. We can still do it, you know. We’re good together, it’s just the other things that get in the way. The distractions. This life. Tom leans towards me and marks each word on the tabletop: ‘Kate, it’s so fucked up!’ He means it, very genuinely, but as it’s our routine to come to public places and bemoan the state of the world, his angst is rounded and warm. I take his finger before he breaks it, though. ‘It is. We’re the only ones who’re sane.’ ‘Seriously, look at these people. No one’s living in the real world any more!’ Something turns fierce despite his speaking in a whisper. And of course, as we’re off, I have no idea what he’s thinking as his face folds into a scowl and something dies in his eyes. He pulls his hand away and there he goes, his thoughts most likely rolling down that rut to do with
his father, his family, the Feed, but I have no way of knowing for sure. Him isolating his thoughts like this is almost rude. What is he thinking about? His alternative life, maybe, the one he chose never to live, where he stayed involved with the Feed rather than running away. We discussed that one loads while he was training to be a psychotherapist. Chasing that career – the talking cure – when his father had set up the Feed. Well, you don’t have

to be Freud, do you? I remember Tom’s glee before he told him, and I remember his father’s reported silent rage. We talk, Tom and I. We talk a lot. It’s one of our strengths. When we find the time. Like tonight, when we’re going slow. But I wish he’d give himself some peace. He chews his lower lip and stares out of the window, his eyes darting around for all the world as if he was on and spraying away, but I check and he isn’t; his Feed is still off. As is mine. The blonde and the brunette work through their food silently, mechanically, lost in conversation with each other, or others, or many people at once. From the outside, who knows? Their eyes are moving even quicker than Tom’s but what they’re seeing is not the tables and old prints on the walls but the pulsing, strobing colours of their Feeds. My brain-itch, I’m suddenly aware, is now unbearable. It’s making my fingers flex and clench. My mouth is super-dry. I could be checking my poll. I could be surfing newspools for developments about Energen. Everyone was surprised by the company’s announcement, but no one seems to be asking why it’s made the Arctic drilling stop, why it’s made this decision now, Anthony Levin, its CEO, smiling sincerely at the world. I don’t trust him. Something is building. The world is disturbed and people are doing strange things: businesses are unpredictable, politicians perverse. It’s all very odd, and my brain (my actual brain, working really hard here without my Feed) is starting to hurt now. I could, if I was on, be relaxing it, catching up on some ents. Mum and Martha wanted to message tonight because Martha has mundles of her new house to share; I could leave my own world and experience her memory bundles of a place so many miles away in a time now past as if I

was actually there. I could be checking my pool: ‘What Would You Sacrifice?’ has been getting tens of millions of resprays a day. Everyone loves a poll. But I need to keep it fresh. People’s attention needs constant feeding, and if I want to influence them to think about the world, I need to be smart. I need to be heard above the chatter. That’s what Tom doesn’t get: I’m using the Feed as a tool for good. I’m not addicted! One of the first polls on ‘What Would You Sacrifice?’ had been ‘. . . for the Arctic?’. Fitting, given Energen’s news today, but barely anyone had taken part back then and I learned from that that it’s not stupidity or care lessness, it’s just distraction. It’s the enticing noise that surrounds us. So now I slip the political ones between things like ‘. . . to look good?’ and ‘. . . to get the man of your dreams?’. I got over sixty million sprays with that particular poll and then hit them with ‘. . . to be kinder to the planet?’. Eighty million sprays for that one. Smashed it. Newspools scraped my stats. (Politicians ‘won’, naturally – who wouldn’t sacrifice them?) What matters is making people focus for a moment on what we’re doing to our world. If we can get a toehold, just crack open people’s brains a bit, then greater changes might follow. I don’t know yet what the next poll will be, but from where I’m sitting I’m thinking something like ‘What Would You Sacrifice . . . for the good of your brain?’ because – and there is no way I could tell Tom this, though I’d like to scream it in his face – I don’t think I’d sacrifice the Feed! I don’t think I could! I can’t! I want to go on, right now, I’m screaming for it inside! But . . . I breathe . . . come on now, Kate, come on . . . I breathe and soften my voice, because this was supposed to be a nice evening and I’m just being distracted. Like everyone else. I need to focus here.

‘Why don’t we do some anagrams, hey, Tom? Get the old brains working . . .’ He grimaces and shifts in his chair. ‘So what have you done today, Kate?’ And then – I can’t help it; it’s because I was thinking about it and I’ve been spraying about it all day, so all those links are fresh, and I’m so desperate to check my pool,
it’s like a slip of the tongue, a habit that lives by itself – I go on, and—
—where the hell have you been? Martha messages, & Mum’s rightbehind her, her emotis making it veryclear that she’s about to unleash at me, but I blockher & interrupt. We’re being off tonight, I chat, Tom reckons it’s good for the brain to be slow, to keep it workingproperly. Don’t be ridiculous, Mum chat­snaps, have a look at yoursister’s mundle, & before I can blockher again she sends me one that bursts like a newlyformedbraincell in mymind, the senses & emotis of Martha’s bundledmemory expanding into existence like a polyp in mybrain, so I’m her not me for a while: —I’m on the lawn looking up at the new house, white frontage (the new [cloudbreath] shade from [PerfectPaint], an ident links me), peakedwindows, cloudysky above. I step onto the path (that lawn looks weedy, use new [Weedaway], an ident links me) & myheartrate increases as I reach out towards the door; myheart is thumping 42% faster & a 2.3% endorphin rush flows in. It’s soexciting! The BioLock – mine – recognises me, because it’s mylock in myhouse! & the door opens automatically & I hear the kids 6.72m behind me running up the path, but I’m in the hallway now, the coolshadows & the freshsmell of polish & it’s—

—I freeze the mundle & explain I’ll message them later because I’ve been on for 4millisecs already & Tom’ll notice if I’m on much longer & I still haven’t surfed any pools for Energen news or looked at the [WhatWouldYouSacrifice?] pool & I can see my boards are flashing with 57,603 messages, so the poll must be doingwell. A message from someone called ChloeKarlson437 comes in as I watch – Keep up the good work, Kate! – but there’s no time to reply because— Oh come on, Kate, Martha messages me & I flash her an adrenalspike & at the same time quickly search for [Energen] & news streams out of all the pools, but there’s nothing new so I spray at my friendgroup to see if they know anything new & send a quickapology to Martha & a wobblyface to Mum & tell them I’ll message later & I go off & it’s only been 11millisecs—
—but Tom noticed. ‘You’re addicted, Kate,’ he hisses. ‘Come on,’ I scoff, and gesture at everyone around us, though I know he’s right. ‘You’re just like the rest of them!’ ‘You’re such a snob! No, I know,’ I say, clicking my fingers, thinking as fast as I can without the Feed. ‘You have a transgendered intrasexual abandonment-induced Oedipus complex.’ We played this game just before he completed his psychotherapy training: how overly complicated can you make simple psychological syndromes sound? This one actually makes him laugh. ‘It’s a daddy complex,’ I explain, pleased with myself, proud of my brain, riding his good humour, ‘but more deeply complex.’ But his laughter stops. He glances at me. Shakes his head. No emotis needed. ‘You Feed too much, Kate. Come on. You’re . . . you

didn’t do this before. I’m sorry I annoy you, but it’s because I care. You’ll be freaking out the baby . . .’ We fall into silence again, but the silence isn’t like it was. There’s more to it now. We both agree the Feed is out of control. It’s what we bonded over when we first met at
his brother’s wedding. We’re both worried about the state of the world, too, and Tom agrees it’s got so much worse
in the five years since then. My parents don’t believe
that Tom is a good person, because of his family – he’s a Hatfield – but he is; I know he is with all my heart. He’s not like his brother or his father. But it feels like he has their absolutist streak, like he’s making me choose here. Between him and the Feed. Like I can’t have both. I turn away from him and pat my bump again, one of the many kids that I regularly tell my two hundred million followers we’re consigning to death because of the way we live. She’s a Hatfield, too. ‘Do you want to go on again then, Kate? We can be slow tomorrow night instead.’ But before I can reply, it happens like a wave. Clatters of cutlery and chairs thrown back. Gasps and a gabble of confused words actually vocalised out in the real, and then silence again, like everyone has taken a breath, but what has happened is everyone’s eyes have started to flicker even more rapidly. Someone sobs; the blonde girl’s hands are clasped over her mouth. The waiter runs for the door. ‘Tom?’ ‘Get back on!’ he says, and he’s on a snap second before I am and—
—I’m deluged with mysister. Martha is hystericallyshouting so I blockher & gland testosterone to counter the adrenalspike I feel, her panic contagious, & Mum is

desperatelymessaging, Where are you, where are you? I’ve been messaging you for seconds, Kate, what’s the matter with you? I blockher too & notice myboards have thousands of newmesssages & I’ve never felt anything like it: theFeed warps with a coalescingweight that nearly makes me fall off my chair in the real. I try to slow myendocrinesystem down because Mum’s now chat­screeching at me that Martha’s shouting at her & whydidIblockmysister? Then a silence falls on theFeed as billions of FeedIDs pause, like a wave drawing out, before breakingnews gushes like a tsunami. Memes flood & rumours ripple like a swelling contagion. Newspools burst into form in a swollentide. Clusters grow around them as people swarm to look, & Mum’s panicbursting me, What’s happening? My adrenal medulla pumps mysystem with epinephrine as I rush to look at one of the pools, but something slams down in front of it. But nothing’s dammed: theFeed is free & people swarmflow to other pools, which are dammed & dammed again, blocked by . . . the company? The government? Within 3nanosecs 127734pools are created & dammed & I tell Mum I don’t know what’s happening & I panic­nudge Tom but he flashmessages me he’s trying to message hisbrother Ben & then something filters out from the seething Feedchatter & there is a vid, a vid is going viral, it’s spreading faster than anything before & they’re trying to stop it & [dariancharles] the news is that PresidentTaylor1 has been killed. Everything goes quiet. All FeedIDs are stilled. PresidentTaylor1 has been killed. It fractals across theFeed, then mutates to say assassinated. Already there’s chaos in the US, contagious panic, the economy has flatlined & weapons have been mobilised towards the east. My cortisol levels are up 18.2%, my heartrate beating 2.93times too fast, & there are now 100000s of thisvid & as fast as 1pool is

dammed, 2000others appear, & I’m looking up what’s the difference between murder & assassination & Mum is still shouting but she’s drowned out by the roar & it’s something to do with the word hash which is an archaic term for C21H30O2 & I access one of the newspools & what’s there, the thing that everyone’s absorbing, that’s at the centre of all of these newspools coming repeatedly & unstoppably into existence is a vid tagged [RichardDrake62Senior SecurityAnalystWH.USA.StaffFID#22886284912] & timestamped 7.23secs ago. I go into his memory bundle. I have no idea where this room is because the GPS­loc is blocked, but it looks like every special­ops room from any ent I’ve ever gulped. A lacquered table reflects cold­buzzing neons. Thinscreens & decks adorn the soundproofed walls. Then PresidentTaylor1 walks in with a creamjumper (the new range from [Muitton], an ident links me) slung across his shoulders, a big mug of dark & fragrant coffee (the [arabeanica] blend from [Nesspro], an ident links me) in one hand, & this is the WhiteHouseUSA, this was the WhiteHouseUSA 7.34secs ago, & this mundle getting out is an insane security breach, no wonder pools are being dammed &— —Good morning all, PresidentTaylor1 says in thereal with that warm­gruff tone, & sits. I understand, he says, given Energen’s surprising news, that the race is now on for the ArcticSouth. We will not let it fall into the wrong hands. Folks, we have war in a cold climate. But before the President’s smile can fully form, RichardDrake62’s view is obscured as a silhouetted figure – PatrickVaughn59, it’s tagged – stands & raises a gun. The President’s head becomes a cloud of red. The room upturns as Richard Drake62 dives for cover & RichardDrake62’s mundle crashes to black & there’re the sounds of upheaval &

someone screams something that sounds like ‘DarianCharles!’ & right away [dariancharles] is spurting off into thousands of pools saying [whoisdariancharles?] & then the vid repeats – repeats – repeats. Whoever’s sprayed it zooms in each time on the President’s face as his head bursts apart & the mundle slows to split­frame grabs – the President’s head splits open in slow­mo & this vid is streaming into 47196255FeedIDs from this pool alone & in a stomachdropping cascade all pools are suddenly dammed. Everything stops— It’s like going over the edge of the world. There is nothing; just the samemessage appearing everywhere on theFeed, wherever I look. It’s from the government, telling me to go home quietly, to go home now. All other content is dammed, & in thereal, in the restaurant, we all stand like a herd & flood into the street. Everywhere people stumble, stunned in the hilltop dusk by the absence of anything on theFeed. All communications are culled. The tower, the Hub of theFeed, is still lit in the distance, but it’s broadcasting nothing now but the government. On as I am, the quickcodes now make the billboards alive with the samemessage endlessly reproducing itself in spooling neonbrights, expanding off the boards, filling the air, choking the eveningsky with gaudycolours telling us to gohome, there is a curfew, gohome, there is a curfew, gohome, there is a curfew, gohome.

Nick Windo Clark

***Don’t miss the other fabulous blogs on the #BlogTour***
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My #Review of, Blood Tide by Claire McGowan @inkstainsclaire @headlinepg by @annebonnybook #CrimeFiction

I received this novel via the Bookbridgr website, in return for an honest review.
Blood Tide by Claire McGowan
Forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returns in BLOOD TIDE, the fifth novel in Claire McGowan’s acclaimed series. If you enjoyed Sharon Bolton’s LITTLE BLACK LIES or Elly Griffiths’ THE WOMAN IN BLUE, you will love this new novel from the author of THE SILENT DEAD and A SAVAGE HUNGER.

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in…

My review:

Set on the remote Bone Island, this crime fiction novel has an atmospheric location. The author has done a fantastic job, of portraying an island, cut off from the mainland, in the winter months due to the tides/storms. The feeling of isolation grows from the onset. The added scenery of the Lighthouse on the cliff edge, makes you feel as though you walk amongst the island, as the case unfolds.

The prologue opens in 1993 with a scene from Ballyterrin, Northern Ireland. We quickly become aware this is a glimpse into protagonist Paula Maguire’s, mother’s life, before she disappeared for good!
The troubles of Northern Ireland are cleverly intertwined into the backstory of Paula. As a protagonist she is incredibly strong! A forensic psychologist, mother to Maggie and daughter to PJ. The disappearance of her mother, weighs heavily upon her shoulders and we the reader, urge her to solve the case and bring herself some closure.

The police team, arrive on Bone Island to investigate the disappearance of a professional young couple. The couple are GP Dr Fiona Watts and her partner Matthew Andrews. The moved to the island 3/4 months previously when Matt took up a post with Envriacorp. Matt is an ecologist and his work involves research on the activity of the Island’s puffins. Kate worked three mornings a week, as the Island’s only doctor.
There are no real clues to their disappearance. Their home, a lighthouse was found, locked from the inside and the light smashed. The locals believe that they simply must have fallen into the ocean or somehow ended up in the stormy seas, they continue to push that opinion into the investigation. Offering little or no help to the police team.

“Idle hands are the devil’s playground” Irish proverb

Bone Island or Eilean Ban, means white Island. It has a population of just 276 and is just three miles long. The locals appear hostile and defensive. It is only when Paula digs a little deeper, she uncovers some of the Islanders secrets. In the recent months before the couple’s disappearance. There has been a murder and an attempted child killing! But what links these events? Who can Paula trust?

There is a wealth of characters, at times it makes it tricky to keep up with. Especially when it jumps between narratives and era’s. I usually write notes, for my reviews and I found this helped me keep track of the individual characters and where they fit into the story. But they are all extremely well written and each bring a different element to the case or Paula’s back story.

There are themes of whistle-blowing, Northern Ireland’s troubles and secrets from the past. That all add up to make this an intriguing crime thriller.
Perfect for fans of coastal crime fiction or crime fiction located on the bleak Channel Islands.

The sea is full of blood

Claire McGowan
Claire McGowan
Twitter: @inkstainsclaire
Website: https://www.ink-stains.co.uk/

My favourite novels of 2017! Best 26 out of 230 books, read this year! by @annebonnybook

In no particular order, a list of my absolute favourite novels of 2017!
This only includes novels I read within 2017.

seas of snow
Seas Of Snow by Kerensa Jennings
1950s England. Five-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy. An only child, she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behaviour begins.

As Gracie grows older, she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry and her enduring friendship with Billy. Together they escape into the poetic fairy-tale worlds of their imaginations.

But will fairy tales be enough to save Gracie from Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behaviour – and how far will it go?

Seas of Snow is a haunting, psychological domestic drama that probes the nature and the origins of evil.
#LiteraryFiction Beautifully written & an AMAZING debut novel! 
See review here
Q&A with Kerensa Jennings here

Ararat by Christopher Golden
Meryam and Adam take risks for a living. But neither is prepared for what lies in the legendary heights of Mount Ararat, Turkey.

First to reach a massive cave revealed by an avalanche, they discover the hole in the mountain’s heart is really an ancient ship, buried in time. A relic that some fervently believe is Noah’s Ark.

Deep in its recesses stands a coffin inscribed with mysterious symbols that no one in their team of scholars, archaeologists and filmmakers can identify. Inside is a twisted, horned cadaver. Outside a storm threatens to break.

As terror begins to infiltrate their every thought, is it the raging blizzard that chases them down the mountain – or something far worse?
#Thriller set in the mountains! Couldn’t read it alone, in the dark!
See review here

Q&A with Christopher Golden Here

devils peak
Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer
Soldiers never find it easy returning from war. So it is with Thobela Mpayipheli, former freedom fighter, trying to settle back into the new South Africa. But at least he has his boy, an adored companion who is a link to a happier past. Then the boy is taken from Thobela, one of a staggering number of children murdered or abused in South Africa, and Thobela knows only despair…and a cold desire for revenge. Thus is born the vigilante killer known as ‘Artemis’. The police respond by putting on the case a man who can’t afford to fail. Benny Griessel is on the brink of losing everything — his job, his family, his self-respect — and this could be his last chance to drag his life back out of the gutter. And then Benny meets Christine, a young mother working as a prostitute in Cape Town. And something happens that is so frightening, the world can never be the same again, for Benny, for Christine, or for Thobela.
#SouthAfricanNoir at its finest!
See review here

why did you lie
Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide.
An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing.
Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea.
They have one thing in common: they all lied.
And someone is determined to punish them…
WHY DID YOU LIE is a terrifying tale of long-delayed retribution from Iceland’s Queen of Suspense.
#ScandiNoir A deep layered crime fiction feast!
See review here

maria in the moon
Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges… and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defenses we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
My Favourite #BlogTour of the year! It was great to read the other reviews for this emotional novel. I loved the united team work of bloggers on this tour. As we all wanted to read how the novel impacted each and everyone of us!
*Credit to Anne Cater for such a fantastic, well run #BlogTour

See review here

A rising man
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee


India, 1919. Desperate for a fresh start, Captain Sam Wyndham arrives to take up an important post in Calcutta’s police force.

He is soon called to the scene of a horrifying murder. The victim was a senior official, and a note in his mouth warns the British to leave India – or else.

With the stability of the Empire under threat, Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee must solve the case quickly. But there are some who will do anything to stop them…
#Calcutta #India Historical crime fiction! This novel is an amazing debut novel!
I read it before it won the Dagger and was very pleased when it won. I immediately ordered the next in the series…….
See review and Q&A here

a necessary evil
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
India, 1920. Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son.

The fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore is home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun. But when the heir to the throne is assassinated in the presence of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee, they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict. Prince Adhir was a moderniser whose attitudes – and romantic relationship – may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.

As Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination, they become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules and those who cross their paths pay with their lives. They must find a murderer, before the murderer finds them…
Perfect follow up to the award winning debut novel! Abir Mukherjee is getting better and better. I can not wait, to read the third novel in this phenomenal NOVEL!
See review and Q&A here

The Three by Sarah Lotz

*****Coming soon to your screen as a major BBC adaptation by Golden Globe winner Peter Straughan*****

They’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to­­–
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning
Another novel that sits outside my usual comfort zone! But I completely and utterly LOVED every page!
see review here

my mothers shadow
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott

Hartland House has always been a faithful keeper of secrets…

1958. Sent to beautiful Hartland to be sheltered from her mother’s illness, Liz spends the summer with the wealthy Shaw family. They treat Liz as one of their own, but their influence could be dangerous…

Now. Addie believes she knows everything about her mother Elizabeth and their difficult relationship until her recent death. When a stranger appears claiming to be Addie’s sister, she is stunned. Is everything she’s been told about her early life a lie?

How can you find the truth about the past if the one person who could tell you is gone? Addie must go back to that golden summer her mother never spoke of…and the one night that changed a young girl’s life for ever.
I cried buckets during reading this novel and it remains one of my favourite novels EVER! An outstanding debut novel!
See review and Q&A here

Th1rtt3en by Steve Cavanagh

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.
Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.
This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.
But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.
Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.
*Review scheduled for 25th January 2018* Sneak peak, it is pure GENIUS!

bluebird bluebird
Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke
Southern fables usually go the other way around. A white woman is killed or harmed in some way, real or imagined, and then, like the moon follows the sun, a black man ends up dead.

But when it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark, where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman, and it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.
#AmericanNoir The novel deals with some tough issues in society. In the past and current political climate. It is an OUTSTANDING read!
See review and Q&A here

a patient fury
A Patient Fury by Sarah ward
When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.
#DerbyshireNoir Brilliant crime fiction, with a cracking ending!
See review here
Q&A with Sarah ward here

IQ by Joe Ide

East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, the elderly are being mugged, children go missing. But word has spread: if you’ve got a case the police can’t – or won’t – touch, Isaiah Quintabe will help you out.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. His clients pay him whatever they can afford, a new set of tyres or some homemade muffins. But now he needs a client who can pay. And the only way to that client is through a jive-talking, low-life drug dealer he thought he’d left behind. Then there’s the case itself. A drug-addled rap star surrounded by a crew of flunkies who believes his life is in danger; and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. If he solves this case, IQ can put right a mistake he made long ago. If not it won’t just be the hit man coming after him …
I think the WHOLE WORLD must know how much I LOVE this series!
IQ has won multiple awards and truly is deserving of all its praise and accolades!
Here is my review from 12th February 2017 here
Q&A with Joe Ide here

Righteous by Joe Ide
In a way, the hate felt good. You were righteous, godlike, the dispenser of justice . .
Super-smart sleuth Isaiah Quintabe – IQ to his friends – has built a mostly respectable life for himself, helping out friends and neighbours when he can and taking the occasional case to make ends meet. But there is one mystery that still haunts him almost ten years later – did his brother really die in a hit-and-run or was there more to the story behind his death?

IQ has been approached by his brother’s former girlfriend Sarita, whose younger sister, an erratic DJ and gambling addict, has gone missing in Las Vegas – with a frightening loan shark, Chinese Triad gangsters, and her own deadbeat boyfriend hot on her tail. Accompanied once more by his fast-talking, don’t-call-me-a-sidekick partner Dodson, IQ heads off for the casinos and massage parlours of Las Vegas. His quest takes an unexpected turn when he meets a criminal mastermind who knows something about the murky circumstances that surrounded his brother’s death. But when Isaiah learns the truth, what will he do with it?
For me, this novel made IQ one of my ALL TIME favourite protagonists! A great follow-up to debut novel IQ and I look forward to the release of IQ 3!
See review here

the mountain between us
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Now a film starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet

What if your life depended on a stranger?

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled because of a storm, Ben charters a small plane that can fly around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more passenger, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness. Ben, who has broken ribs, and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with a battle to survive. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, will they ever be the same again?
Originally picked this novel, as it had Idris Elba on the cover (won’t even lie!).
The novel has exceptional emotional depth!
*Review scheduled for 4th January 2018*

The Last Time We Spoke
The Last Time We Spoke by Fiona Sussman

Winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel

‘A gripping story about grief and redemption’ Sunday Mirror

Carla and Kevin Reid are celebrating their wedding anniversary with their son Jack. The family together, some good food, a perfect night.

On a murderous collision course with this joyous yet fragile gathering, is Ben Toroa, an unexpected and unwanted visitor.

As Carla struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of the appalling events of the night, and Ben faces the consequences in prison, their stories will be for ever entwined.
*Review scheduled for 3rd January 2018*

The Unquiet Dead
The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
One man is dead.

But thousands were his victims.

Can a single murder avenge that of many?

Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel
An incredibly thought provoking novel. A brutally honest depiction of the Bosnian war, with a narrative that reflects deep into the past and the modern day.
See review and Q&A here

the year of the gun lottie armstrong
The Year Of The Gun by Chris Nickson

1944: Twenty years after WPC Lottie Armstrong was dismissed from the Leeds police force, she’s back, now a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps.

Detective Chief Superintendent McMillan is now head of CID, trying to keep order with a depleted force as many of the male officers have enlisted. This hasn’t stopped the criminals, however, and as the Second World War rages around them, can they stop a blackout killer with a taste for murder?
HUGE fan of ALL this author’s various series! Especially Tom Harper and Lottie Armstrong! Chris Nickson writes female characters incredibly well and I look forward to his next release in March 2018!
See review and Q&A here

little boy lost
Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford
An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A broken city, a missing young man, and a lawyer searching for truth when nobody else cares.

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.
This novel takes you on a journey across the US, its legal systems and modern racial tensions. OUTSTANDING!
See review and Q&A here 

vaseem khan #1
The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovers that he has inherited an elephant: an unlikely gift that could not be more inconvenient. For Chopra has one last case to solve…
But as his murder investigation leads him across Mumbai – from its richest mansions to its murky underworld – he quickly discovers that a baby elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs.
So begins the start of a quite unexpected partnership, and an utterly delightful new series.
#Mumbai #India Modern day crime fiction, with a baby elephant! LOVE this series!
Rich in culture, diversity and very well written!
See review and Q&A here

vaseem khan #2
The Perplexing Theft Of The Jewel In The Crown by Vaseem Khan
The second book in the heartwarming and charming Baby Ganesh series.

For centuries the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king.

Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem is a prize that many have killed to possess.

So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.

The heist was daring and seemingly impossible. The hunt is on for the culprits. But it soon becomes clear that only one man – and his elephant – can possibly crack this case…
Rather embarrassingly this is the only one of my favourite reads; that I do not have a review for, or a pending blog post.
So let me explain, I read this novel whilst in hospital in October 2017. I was admitted with severe DVT from the heart to the right knee. I was in complete AGONY! Then I noticed my husband had packed Vaseem Khan’s second novel into my hospital bag.
For a few hours in a noisy hospital ward. I was able to escape to Mumbai India and it was pure HEAVEN! I can not thank the author enough for that small piece of respite from the pain. It is without a doubt, a novel I will not forget!

dead lands
Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis

The stunning debut from thriller writer Lloyd Otis.

When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex 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 – and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy.
A multifaceted complex novel, with themes of violence, past secrets, lies, police corruption, betrayals, racial tension and civil unrest. 5* Genius
See review here

streets of darkness
Streets Of Darkness by A.A. Dhand
The sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be – this morning a body has been found. And it’s not just any body.

Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about but he’s been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can’t keep himself away.

Determined to restore his reputation, Harry is obliged to take to the shadows in search of notorious ex-convict and prime suspect, Lucas Dwight. But as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head as he discovers what it’s like to be on the other side of the law…
This novel has themes of corruption, politics, racial tension, Bradford villains, grudges, BNP politics, dirty cops, revenge and redemption. All rolled into one hell of a read! It is most definitely one not to be missed.
See review and Q&A here

dear martin
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League–but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up–way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
A compelling read by a very talented writer, who has a bright future ahead of her!
See review here
Q&A with Nic Stone here

you don't know me
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
In London a young man stands accused of murder. All the evidence points to him; the police see an open and shut case.

But at his trial, this man, who has tried to stay out of trouble all his life, tells an extraordinary story. It is about a young woman who tried to protect her brother and got into terrible trouble. It’s about a young man who, in order to save her, entered a dark, violent world he’d avoided for so long.

He now stands in the dock and wants to tell you the truth. He needs you to believe him. Will you?
I absolutely loved this novel. I found it to be raw, urban and edgy! Like nothing on the UK book market currently. It depicts life lessons and a different perspective. Essentially you can engage with a novel where people may not look like you or live like you, yet you fully embrace their character.
See review and Q&A here

lightening men
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

Lightning Men follows the multi-award-nominated, highly acclaimed crime debut Darktown into a city on the brink of huge and violent change – and full of secrets.

Atlanta, 1950. In a divided city, crime comes home.

White officer Denny Rakestraw joins Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith from Atlanta’s Negro Officer precinct to face the Klan, gangs and family warfare in their rapidly changing city.

Black families – including Smith’s sister and brother-in-law – are moving into Rake’s formerly all-white neighbourhood, leading Rake’s brother-in-law, a proud Klansman, to launch a scheme to ‘save’ their streets. When those efforts leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family or the law.

Meanwhile, Boggs has outraged his preacher father by courting a domestic, whose dangerous ex-boyfriend is then released from prison. As Boggs, Smith, and their all-black precinct contend with violent drug dealers fighting for turf in new territory, their personal dramas draw them closer to the fires that threaten to consume Atlanta once again.
Boggs and Smith make for perfect reading and their bond is firmly cemented in this case. Fantastic historical crime fiction!
See review here

That’s it folks! Time to get started on a list for 2018!
As January is my blogs first anniversary. I will be running various #Giveaways in relation to the novel’s on this list throughout the month!
So keep your eyes peeled for chances to WIN copies!

Thank you for reading & happy new year!



12 Most Anticipated Books Of 2018! by @annebonnybook #CrimeFiction #YA #HistoricalFiction

Here is my list of my 12 most anticipated novels of 2018. The list includes crime fiction, historical fiction and YA etc. A little something for everyone!
In no particular order…..

 Cross her heart
Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
The explosive follow-up to number one bestseller Behind Her Eyes.
‘Cross my heart and hope to die…’
Promises only last if you trust each other, but what if one of you is hiding something?
A secret no one could ever guess.
Someone is living a lie.
Is it Lisa?
Maybe it’s her daughter, Ava.
Or could it be her best friend, Marilyn?
Cross Her Heart publishes 17th May 2018. You’ll just have to wait to find out…
*Available in Ebook & Hardback from 17th May 2018* 

the long way down
Long way Down by Jason Reynolds
hid, tucked
themselves tight.

Pressed our lips to the
pavement and prayed
the boom, followed by
the buzz of a bullet,
didn’t meet us.

After Will’s brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn’s gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will’s friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he’s doing.
This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.
*Released 2nd January 2018 Ebook & 4th January in hardback in the UK*

the lost
The Lost by Mari Hannah
‘He was her child. The only one she’d ever have. It would kill her to learn that he was missing.’

Alex arrives home from holiday to find that her ten-year-old son Daniel has disappeared.
It’s the first case together for Northumbria CID officers David Stone and Frankie Oliver.
Stone has returned to his roots with fifteen years’ experience in the Met, whereas Oliver is local, a third generation copper with a lot to prove, and a secret that’s holding her back.
But as the investigation unfolds, they realise the family’s betrayal goes deeper than anyone suspected. This isn’t just a missing persons case. Stone and Oliver are hunting a killer.
*Released 22nd March 2018 Ebook & paperback in the UK*

down the river into the sea
Down The River Unto The Sea by Walter Mosley
Down the River Unto the Sea centres on a former New York City police detective, now working as a Brooklyn PI, who is investigating the case of a Black civil rights activist convicted of murdering two city policemen. At the same time, he’s still trying to piece together the conspiracy that caused his own downfall at the hands of the police.
*Available in Ebook edition 22nd febuary 2018 & Paperback 8th March 2018*

restless coffins
Restless Coffins by M.P. Wright
1969, Bristol. Bajan ex-cop and reluctant private detective, Joseph ‘JT’ Tremaine Ellington is still trading in cash and favours, lending a helping hand to those too scared to go to the police or anyone trying to stay one step ahead of them.

Life is tough for JT, who is broke. It is about to get a lot tougher when he receives a telegram informing him of a tragedy that has unfolded thousands of miles away. Ellington’s sister, Bernice has been murdered. Ellington wants to make the long journey back to his home on the island of Barbados to pay his final respects and to settle his late sister’s affairs. To do so, he must accept a ticket from his shady cousin, Vic, on condition he travels to New York first, where Vic is building himself a criminal empire in Harlem.

Vic appoints the beguiling Evagelina Laveau to mind his cousin, along with his henchmen, Clefus Horton and a hot-headed Bajun, Pigfoot, a man always quick with his knife. JT soon discovers that Vic is the American end of an operation that stretches back to Barbados, and that Vic’s business partner is Conrad Monroe, the man responsible for the death of JT’s wife and daughter. And as JT finds himself embroiled in the world of drugs, bent law, voodoo and the bitter legacy of slavery, he must return to the island of his birth and face the demons of his past.
*Available 25th January 2018 in paperback*

a darker state
A Darker State by David Young

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?
*Available in Ebook & paperback 8th February 2018*

hell bay
Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After ten years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of sixteen year old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time.
*Available in Ebook & Hardback 25th January 2018*

smoke and ashes
Smoke And Ashes by Abir Mukherjee
**From the winner of the 2017 CWA Historical Dagger Award**
India, 1921. Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surrender-not Banerjee investigate a series of suspiciously similar murders taking place against the backdrop of Gandhi’s non-co-operation movement and the fervent fight for Indian independence.
*Available in Ebook & Hardback 7th June 2018*

the bone keeper
The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste
What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?

He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.

Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.

Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper. Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood. But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.

The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.
*Available in Ebook & paperback 8th March 2018*

blue night
Blue Night by Simone Buchholz
Translated by Rachel Ward
After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived… Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.
*Available in Ebook NOW and paperback 28th February 2018*

come and find me
Come And Find Me by Sarah Hilary
On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.

DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.

As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price.
*Available in Ebook & Hardback 22nd March 2018*

The Tin God
The Tin God by Chris Nickson
When Superintendent Tom Harper’s wife is threatened during an election campaign, the hunt for the attacker turns personal.
Leeds, England. October, 1897. Superintendent Harper is proud of his wife Annabelle. She’s one of seven women selected to stand for election as a Poor Law Guardian. But even as the campaign begins, Annabelle and the other female candidates start to receive anonymous letters from someone who believes a woman’s place lies firmly in the home.

The threats escalate into outright violence when an explosion rips through the church hall where Annabelle is due to hold a meeting – with fatal consequences. The only piece of evidence Harper has is a scrap of paper left at the scene containing a fragment from an old folk song. But what is its significance?

As polling day approaches and the attacks increase in menace and intensity, Harper knows he’s in a race against time to uncover the culprit before more deaths follow. With the lives of his wife and daughter at risk, the political becomes cruelly personal …
*Available 29th March 2018*


#Review 4* #NewRelease Now You See by @maxmanningcrime @Wildfirebks @headlinepg #CrimeFiction 99p #Ebook

Now You See by Max Manning

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…

My Review:

This is a debut novel featuring DCI Dan Fenton. The plot follows a series of brutal and ritualistic murders. That are then depicted online.
Which creates a nightmare for the police officers trying to track down the killer!
The novel opens with an image of a dead woman, but with no body! The Police must wait until the body is discovered to see if there is any viable forensic evidence. All attempts at tracing the internet account leads to dead ends!

There are alternative chapters with the killer’s narrative running alongside the police who are desperate to track him down. When the victims begin to pile up and they have absolutely no connection whatsoever! The team are baffled! Who is the killers target? What message is he trying to send?
The killer comes out with some chilling thoughts, written almost as one liners or quotes! They make your blood run cold!

“That’s the beauty of the relationship between predator and prey. It’s not personal”

The killer seems determined to use the murders as a form of entertainment. Draw an audience and saviour the attention.

The first victim is 27-year-old nurse, Lauren Bishop. Who had her throat slashed on her way to a night shift. Her ex-boyfriend immediately becomes the prime suspect! But he is quite the interesting character himself. Adam Blake, was a journalist and has some hidden trauma in his past.
Did this tip him over the edge into murder? Did he finally snap?

The protagonist police officer, also has a complicated past and it becomes apparent that, there is so much more to Dan Fenton than meets the eye. When someone close to him is targeted personal, he is removed from the case.
So in a bizarre twist of fate Blake and Fenton end up working together under the radar…….

This is a clever debut novel and I would definitely read more in the series! My only wish is that the novel had been slightly darker in its theme! It bordered upon it, but I never felt terrified of the killer! But I am left in no doubt that this will come in time as the foundations of a dark edgy thriller are all clearly there! 4*

Max Manning
To view my Q&A with Max and access his social media links see here: