Anne Bonny #BookReview The Retreat by @mredwards Mark Edwards #CrimeFiction meets #Horror #NewRelease @midaspr A missing child. A desperate mother. And a house full of secrets #TheRetreat

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The Retreat by Mark Edwards
Review Copy
Synopsis:

A missing child. A desperate mother. And a house full of secrets.

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

My Review:

The Retreat is without a doubt a psychological thriller. It has elements of folklore and mythology scattered throughout. But ultimately it is the ‘whodunit’ or ‘whatdunit’ that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The synopsis is perfect and gives just enough information to gather a reader’s interest. A missing girl, a mother in grief, a tormented author and local legends. A recipe for success.

The prologue opens from the perspective of Lily on the fateful day she disappeared. It is eerie, and you know from the onset that the author has many more eerie scenes waiting to be unleashed upon the reader. . .

‘Mum’s cries faded into the distance as those strong arms carried her away’

Lucas Radcliffe arrives in his hometown of Beddmawr, Wales. He is headed to Nyth Bran, a writer’s retreat. He is looking forward to the quiet pace of life, seclusion and scenery. He is also hoping to find some inspiration for his next novel. His debut novel Sweetmeat was a breakout success and he has developed a case of writer’s block.
It would appear LJ Radcliffe has come to just the right place. . . .

Upon arriving at the retreat, he is quickly introduced to Julia. The other guests are at the local pub and so Lucas doesn’t meet them until much later. He states he would like at least a month stay, possibly more. He marvels at what a beautiful setting the retreat is and tells Julia of his background. Julia appears disinterested, yet Lucas is quite taken with her nonchalant approach to him.

Later on, the other guests arrive. They are quite the bunch of characters. There is Max lake, literary author and booky snob. Suzi Hastings, an aspiring debut novelist. Karen Holden, a mature lady, who is self-published. Over drinks they inform Lucas of the retreats do’s and don’ts. Whilst also telling him the wi-fi is next to useless and mobile signal non-existent.

Lucas is still itching to know more about Julia herself and through various acquaintances during his stay, he begins to understand her traumatic past. How her husband died trying to save their only child. How her daughter is still missing and how Julia is convinced she is still alive. What he learns via gossip, he keeps to himself. Not sharing with Julia what he has come to know.

We also learn that Lucas himself has known his own share of heartbreak, pain and grief. His backstory is detailed, and I found it actually made him much more believable and likable. From that moment on, I knew his interest in Julia was genuine and trustful,
or is it?

‘You’re not welcome here’

There are several incidents in the night hours, that lead the group to believe that the retreat maybe haunted. They all admit they are rational and logical people. Yet, quickly the succumb to believing in ghost stories and ancient myths.
Lucas remains level headed throughout.

Julia’s daughter’s disappearance disturbs Lucas so much, he asks a PI to investigate the case. To see if there are potentially any leads on Lily’s whereabouts. But with 2yrs having passed, it has little chance of coming to fruition.
But Lucas simply can’t get the case out of his head!

As the plot unravels more and more details are revealed. All of the town’s secrets shall be unearthed and many have secrets they would rather take to the grave. It did occur to be throughout that, everything and everyone Lucas comes into contact with mysterious circumstances occur. Had I been too quick to trust Lucas?
What do we the reader, really know about Lucas?

There are lots of twists and no one you can really trust. I became quite obsessed with Lucas myself, he just attracts trouble and problems wherever he goes. But for all intents and purposes, he makes an amazing protagonist for this very reason.

Folklore, urban legends and myths are huge right now in the psychological and thriller genre and this is definitely not one to be missed. 4*

ME
Mark Edwards
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The Retreat is released on 10th May in Ebook & paperback and it is available for pre-order!

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Woman In The Woods by @jconnollybooks 5* #CrimeFiction #Horror #NewRelease @HodderPublicity #CharlieParker I absolutely adored this subtlety sinister crime fiction novel. . .

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The Woman In The Woods by John Connolly
My Own copy from my tbr Pile
Synopsis:

The new thrilling instalment of John Connolly’s popular Charlie Parker series.

It is spring, and the semi-preserved body of a young Jewish woman is discovered buried in the Maine woods. It is clear that she gave birth shortly before her death.

But there is no sign of a baby.

Private detective Charlie Parker is engaged by the lawyer Moxie Castin to shadow the police investigation and find the infant, but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone with an interest in more than a missing child, someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake.

And in a house by the woods, a toy telephone begins to ring.

For a young boy is about to receive a call from a dead woman . . .

My review:

I absolutely adored this subtlety sinister crime fiction novel. I particularly enjoy the supernatural themes, that run throughout the series and are utterly menacing. For me, it is the perfect blend of crime fiction and horror and Charlie Parker is the perfect protagonist to guide you through the pages.

The novel opens with Angel recovering from surgery for stage 2 colon cancer. So, Parker is one wingman down. This doesn’t impact the plot unravelling and throughout we receive regular updates on Angel. Although ironically given his name, he seems to fear death or the impact his death may have upon others.

The novel then jumps to the perspective of a little boy. Daniel Weaver is just 5yrs old and lives with his mother Holly and grandfather. His mother reads him Grimm’s fairy tales, in particular Woman In The Woods. We become aware that he has a violent and horrific father, but this is not elaborated on, until much further in the novel.
Needless to say, you become protective of Daniel.

We then meet Leila Patton a waitress at a local diner in Cadillac, Indiana. She has been working at Dobey’s diner for some time. She loves her job and the staff. But hates the town itself and if it wasn’t for her terminally ill mother, she’d be long gone! She dreams of the day she can finally escape.

Late one night, after closing time at Dobey’s two strange characters enter. They seek a young woman named Karis Lamb. A woman Dobey hasn’t seen for 5yrs. Over the course of the evening we become more aware of Karis’s background.

‘What some men do to women makes me ashamed of my sex’ – Dobey

We learn that Dobey first met Karis when she was 8 months pregnant and fleeing a crazed man, with a violent streak named Vernay. Dobey’s over time has become a sanctuary for women in need and runs on a discreet basis. Vernay controlled Karis with making threats against her mother and sister but that after their death in a car accident; Karis finally had the strength to flee. . .

‘She was running from the devil himself’

The strange characters Quayle and Pallida Mors seek to find Karis and something she holds dear. But is it the child they seek?

Meanwhile, Daniel hears a toy phone (with no batteries) ring. He answers the call to a mysterious lady named Karis. . . .

#SoScary

In Maine a body has been discovered, female remains that had give birth recently. But there are no signs of a baby. The grave site is marked with the star of David and it is this that urges Mozie (Parker’s lawyer) to have Parker shadow the case.

‘This was not alone woman
This was a mother’

As Holly becomes more concerned for her son Daniel. The remains of the female are exhumed and analysed. Parker gets to work! One thing is for certain Parker fears nothing and no one. No matter what it takes he will unravel the case.

There is a background story of Bobby and Billy Ocean, a pair of redneck racists/homophobes with too much time and money on their hands. Which distracts from the creepy elements of the case.
But when the creepy elements strike they really are eerie!

For the most part of the novel Parker has to gain the trust of females who have been repeatedly victimised and brutalised by men.
Can he do it? Can he free the dead woman from the shackles of an unjust death?

The ending leaves you desperate for the next Charlie parker novel 5*

JC
John Connolly
Website
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My Review for A Game Of Ghosts by John Connolly

Anne Bonny #BookReview Snow Blind by @ChristophGolden 5* #Snow #Horror #SnowReads @headlinepg #SnowBlind

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Snow Blind by Christopher Golden
Synopsis:

Twelve years ago the small town of Coventry, Massachusetts was in the grasp of a particularly brutal winter. And then came the Great Storm.

It hit hard. Not everyone saw the spring. Today the families, friends and lovers of the victims are still haunted by the ghosts of those they lost so suddenly. If only they could see them one more time, hold them close, tell them they love them.

It was the deadliest winter in living memory.

Until now.

When a new storm strikes, it doesn’t just bring snow and ice, it brings the people of Coventry exactly what they’ve been wishing for.
And the realisation their nightmare is only beginning.

My Review:

I had previously read the authors novel Ararat, which absolutely blew me away and has recently won a book an award! When we had the snow (March 2018 UK), I decided to read a novel with a theme of a storm/blizzard and picked up Snow Blind from my tbr pile. The novel has an eerie horror/mystery feel and has received praise from Stephen King! So, here’s my thoughts on Snow Blind.

The snow is set in the small town of Coventry, Massachusetts during a brutal winter. My favourite thing about the novel is the character depth. The characters are detailed, but not overly so. Just enough to get you invested in their stories and intrigued on their journey within the novel.

‘Snowstorms provided the most beautiful and haunting images of all’

The novel opens with restaurant opener Ella having a cigarette break alone as the snow falls. Ella is lonely and vulnerable as the blizzard moves in.

Allie is a young widow, a mum to two young boys and currently dating handsome doctor Niko. They gather as a family to watch movies and eat popcorn, whilst the storm hits Coventry. Allie’s husband died in combat and she is apprehensive about her new relationship with Niko. How her sons Isaac and Jake will adapt to the new situation, and also Niko’s daughter Miri. They read incredibly well as a family just trying to survive what life throws at them. But their pain is far from over!

Joe Keenan is a rookie cop for the Coventry PD. He is on patrol during the blizzard, dealing with the typical complaints and thinking back to the last aggressive storm of 1978. When Joe hits something in his patrol car, something he can’t see. . .

Doug Manning is a local mechanic on route to an evening with his workmates to watch the game. His wife Cherie remains at home awaiting his return. When some ‘jokes’ get out of hand, Doug finds himself fired and cast out from his workplace.

TJ Farrelly is a local singer at Ella’s restaurant, he harbours romantic feelings towards her but has previously held back. He is supposed to be spending the evening of the storm with his elderly mother Martha. But when there’s a power cut in Ella’s restaurant he can’t resist the urge to bring her comfort.

Cherie (Doug’s Wife) is alone at home on the telephone with her best friend Angela. When her dog begins howling she must venture into the yard during the storm to bring him in. She hears strange whisperings of ‘Let’s get in’ and her dog bites her hand.

The night is full of strange occurrences for the townsfolk of Coventry.

‘The city of Coventry had given itself over to the storm’

The evening continues to get more and more creepy.

Joe is dealing with the 13 power lines that are down, when he is summoned to the Wexler’s residence The Wexler son and his two friends have gone missing. Joe must find the teens as the snow continues to fall down around him.

Allie and Niko discuss their future, trying their best to consider everyone in the family’s feelings and where they go from here. Down the hall in the boy’s room, Isaac has become terrified of a presence outside of the window ‘There are monsters in the yard’. Despite the comforting words of his brother Jake, he opens the window.
A mistake that will scar them all, one way or another.

At this point the novel has a huge twist and it is not one I am willing to give away. What I have described above is actually, only a short part of the opening of the novel.
The beauty of this novel is within the first twist!

This novel has a subtle eerie feeling and is perfect to read when the snow is falling. As stated above the descriptions of the characters are brilliant. They draw you into their individual stories and they are all unique. The novel maybe of the horror genre, but it does have a strong emotional edge also. The theme of personal grief and emotional longing for a lost relative, is beautifully written. When you add in the eerie feeling and the flash horror scenes, you have the recipe for a 5* novel.

CG
Christopher Golden
Website
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My Review of Ararat
My Q&A with Christopher Golden
Enjoy the snow. . . . . 

 

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 @AydinGuner66 #Author of The Devil In I #Thriller #GoodVsEvil #Indie

The Devil In I
The Devil In I by Aydin Guner
Synopsis:

Damon West is a twenty-eight-year old living in New York City. His life appears to be perfect. He has a loving girlfriend, good friends, lots of money and a job on Wall Street, everything a young man could ask for.

However, Damon has a secret. Damon is the Devil. For centuries, Damon has roamed the Earth enjoying everything the human world has to offer. Sex, entertainment, travel and new discoveries. Damon’s life appears to be perfect but takes an unexpected turn when he meets a co-worker, Latasha.

Damon is suddenly submerged in a spiraling obsession with Latasha he can’t control. She plays him for the fool. For all his charms, Damon is unable to deal with those emotions. Is it love? Whilst Damon’s world starts to spiral out of control, we start to question who Latasha really is. Is she who she appears to be? Was this all part of a higher plan? Has she been conspiring with the suspicious new boss, Jason Godfrey?

In The Devil In I, Damon faces the ultimate battle to hold on to everything he has: his job, his reputation, his girlfriend, and his life. This is a fast paced, sexy, violent modern day thriller. It is the ultimate story of Good vs Evil. Based in New York City, The Devil In I is not for the faint of heart.

Q&A:

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

A) Hi Anne, I live in the North West of England and come from a big family with 3 sisters! Growing up, being the only boy, I was isolated a lot and developed an over active imagination. I always used to read and watch movies and loved story telling, even at a young age. Over the years, I’ve done freelance articles and reviews for websites, but started writing my novel The Devil In I. It took 4 years to write because it was incredibly challenging to get into the mind-set of the lead character.

The story is about a young Wall Street worker called Damon West who is secretly the Devil. He walks on Earth as a charming, witty, intelligent man and no one suspects he is the Devil, in fact, he appears as something completely the opposite. Which was key to the thesis of the story, the Devil is the ultimate deceptor.

Damon’s life starts to fall apart when he meets a co-worker, he is infatuated with her but is unsure why. As the story unfolds, the wheels start coming off the track for Damon and the story develops into a whirlwind murder, sex and deception filled web, with multiple twists and surprises.

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

A) I think writing the first novel is challenging, because it’s all new, but it’s also the easiest. There is no expectation. I’m currently working on the second novel and some of the things I’m exploring early on is, “What do I want this book to achieve?” and “What is the overarching message to this story”?

It’s important to be passionate about those two questions. Writing a book is a long road and if you’re not 100% into the story you’re telling, it will show.

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching the topics in the book, so I can write about them and discuss and explore those themes. Research is very important.

Patience is key to writing, once you have your story, there’s several ways you can get it published. You can self publish on sites like Amazon, or you can reach out to publishers yourself with a press pack or you can scout out a literary agent to represent you. There’s several avenues, several ways to skin a cat, so to speak.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Brett Easton Ellis is one of my favourite authors and also Stephen King.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) As a kid, I loved Roald Dahl. Got all of his books. I also loved the Goosebumps series! They were so entertaining. Very cool reads.

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

A) It’s a very strange journey, because when you first release the book there’s fear, the fear that no one will like your book. Which is probably something every writer feels. Then when the reviews come in, it’s a really humbling feeling to read the reviews and how people have connected with it.

I’d say my favourite part of being an author is discussing the characters with people who have read it. It’s like we’re bringing them to life. I love hearing other peoples perspective on the characters and analysing why they did and said certain things. I also love it when people I know ask if a character is based on a real person. The whole point of the lead character is to blur the lines between reality and fiction and if that can happen to someone whilst they’re reading this, then that’s a great thing.

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

A) Good question, I didn’t have a mentor as such, but a good friend of mine, Amy, was is also writing her first novel and we used to talk about ideas and techniques and see how we were getting on. Having that writing buddy was really helpful. Someone you can discuss things with.

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Aydin Guner
Authors Links:
www.aydinguner.com
www.twitter.com/aydinguner66
www.twitter.com/narcsupport101
www.facebook.com/aydinguner66
www.youtube.com/AydinRD

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

**The Devil And I, is also available Free to kindle unlimited members**