#Novella 5* #Review #ADeathInSarajevo by @AusmaZehanat @MinotaurBooks

So, to follow on from my #TheUnquietDead #Review by Ausma Zehanat Khan. I have also reviewed the #Novella which picks up right at the end of, The Unquiet Dead.
I am super excited to share this review and my love for this series.
From Anne Bonny Book Review #HappyAusmaZehanatKhanDay 🙂

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A Death In Sarajevo by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Synopsis:

Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are asked to help unlock the secrets of a woman killed during the Bosnian war in this captivating story from acclaimed author Ausma Zehanat Khan.

An old friend from Esa’s past has reappeared in his life, reaching out to ask Esa for help solving a mystery about the woman he once loved. But before Esa can travel to Sarajevo to help his friend, he and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, must make it through a government inquiry that will not only affect their futures on the police force, but also test the strength of their partnership. Ausma’s trademark complex characters, atmospheric writing, and intricate plotting will mesmerize fans and new readers alike.

My review:

Having previously read and LOVED The Unquiet Dead by the same author, I was becoming desperate for my next fix, in the series. I was delighted to see it is scheduled for an October 2017 release via publishers No Exit. I was even more delighted to discover a novella that fits between the two novels. It is possibly the fastest I have ever downloaded an Ebook ever!!!!!!

The novella opens, following on from the previous case in The Unquiet Dead. With the crimes of Christopher Drayton looming over the lives of both community police officers. Esa and Rachel are facing a week long enquiry and their personal lives are being dragged out for all to see. In particular, Esa’s personal faith and beliefs. With the court assessing if fair justice was delivered, as Esa is a practising Muslim himself. Rachel is rather angered and dismayed at this and to be completely honest I was with her 100%. Esa has proven he is a fair and just man, yet time and time again he is vilified for his faith.
Is Esa going to suffer a fall from grace?

The enquiry is wrapped up and Esa receives a call from an old friend. The friend reminds Esa of a town called Waverley and a girl named Amira. The pair arrange to meet in SaraJevo. In SaraJevo, Esa is reacquainted with his old friend Skender. He shows Esa a photo which shows Amira months after she is believed to have died, when serb forces brought down her apartment block. Not only does she appear alive and well, she is dressed in the uniform of the ‘Bluebird Brigade’ an all-female army unit. But where is Amira now? Did she survive? Can Esa solve the mystery?

The novella packs on hell of a punch. It is a moving story with a moral message. Ausma Zehanat Khan knows how to blend historical fiction, with personal stories of those involved, to create heart-breaking reading!
5*

“forgiveness is all we have. It’s what makes us whole”

AZK
Ausma Zehanat Khan
Authors Links:
Web: http://www.ausmazehanatkhan.com/
Twitter: @AusmaZehanat

#HappyAusmaZehanatKhanDay 🙂

#Review 4* #TheLastPlaceYouLook by @KMLwrites @MinotaurBooks #DebutNovel

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The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka
Synopsis:

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

My Review:

Sarah Cook disappeared 15 years ago, the same night her parents were savagely murdered. Her boyfriend at the time Bradford (Brad) Stockton, currently sits on death row, awaiting execution. When his devoted sister Danielle believes she sees Sarah on day, at a gas station. Danielle hires local PI Roxane weary to locate the woman and solve the case. But solving a 15-year-old investigation is never easy, made even harder by the fact that Brad currently resides on death row.
Roxane has her work cut out for and the little town of Belmont is about to be shaken to its core!

Roxane is still mourning the loss of her cop father Frank, after his recent murder whilst on the job. She has a habitual whiskey problem and forms dysfunctional relationships with those around her. Roxane is very likeable; she is like the friend we all have who makes consistently the wrong life choices but whom we love regardless. Roxane sets her mind to saving Brad and along the way, she may save herself.

Where is Sarah Cook? After Roxane stumbles across dead end, after dead end. It becomes a search that leads Roxane to her father’s old case files. When she spots a comparison with the murder of Sarah’s parents and another cold case. She is determined to solve the case. But what do a murdered young mum, a missing girl, two dead parents and a possible innocent man on death row have in common? When Roxane faces harassment from the Belmont PD. The crimes of the past, spill over into the present and Brad’s execution date looms.
Roxane better solve this case and fast!

I originally picked this, as I do like crime fiction novels, with a ‘did they?’ or ‘didn’t they?’ to it element. I think it adds to the drama and makes you suspect everyone as the story unfolds. But I was cleverly fooled by this one despite the clue in the books title. This is a crime fiction debut and I think we can safely assume the author has a long successful career ahead of them.
It really is a cracking tale, with a massive, shock, twist ending. 4*

KL
Kristen Lepionka
Author bio:
Kristen Lepionka is the author of The Last Place You Look, forthcoming in Spring 2017 from St. Martin’s/Minotaur Books. She grew up mostly in a public library and could often be found in the adult mystery section well before she was out of middle school. Her writing has been selected for Shotgun Honey, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grift, and Black Elephant. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Author Links:
Web: http://www.kristenlepionka.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15613182.Kristen_Lepionka
Twitter: @KMLwrites

Derbyshire Noir #2: Q&A with the very talented Sarah Ward. Author of In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw

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

Q&A

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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