Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @knntom Keith Nixon #Author of, Dig Two Graves @GladiusPress #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Mystery @BOTBSPublicity

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Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon
Synopsis:

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction.

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Q&A:

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

A) Right now home is in the North West of the UK, near Manchester, but I lived in Broadstairs on the Isle of Thanet, where I base all my books, for 17 years. All three of my children were born there and we still go back periodically to see friends so I know the area and its people very well.

I’ve been writing on and off since I was 9 years old, it’s always been a ‘thing’ for me. However, I really put my nose to the grindstone about twelve years ago when I started pulling together some ideas for a historical fiction novel (The Eagle’s Shadow) about the Roman invasion of Britain – the Romans’ landing site was just a few miles away from where I lived.

However, these days I primarily write crime / thriller – all my work has a strong mystery element to it. I moved into crime when I got made redundant during the credit crunch. I’d had a bad experience with my management and writing about killing somebody was the best legal way of ‘getting away with it’ so to speak.

Dig Two Graves is the first book in a major new series with Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray as the protagonist. Again it’s Margate based. Gray’s son, Tom went missing a decade ago and he’s never really got over it (who would?!). He’s no idea what happened to Tom; whether he’s alive or dead. He’s in a bit of an emotional hole, but not ready to give up. When the body of a teenager turns up who’s the same age as Tom, Gray’s life gets turned upside down because although Gray and the seeming suicide have never met why is Gray’s number on the kid’s mobile?

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

A) My writing process is a mixture of development and evolution. As always it starts with one kernel of an idea and grows from there. More often than not that original idea morphs into something else as I work the story.

First I get an idea of who the characters are, where they are in their lives, as all stories emerge through people. Then I’ll start to do some research (for example into County Lines drug sales which was the basis of a recent book) while pulling together a chapter list and the broad ideas that’ll occur at each stage.

Finally, when I feel there’s enough of an outline, I start writing. The story goes on from there, the narrative shifts as more ideas come – that’s the evolution aspect.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Anything by Ian Rankin – he’s the reason I moved into crime, specifically his breakout novel, Black & Blue.

Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May novels are vastly under-rated reads.

M.W. Craven’s Washington Poe series too – starting with The Puppet Show. Gruesomely brilliant.

Tim Baker – his CWA nominated Fever City is superb.

And I think we should be supporting indie authors. If you like hard hitting noir look out Martin Stanley’s Stanton Brother’s novels or anything by Mark Wilson. Both are hard-working writers.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I read a huge amount when I was a kid. Starting with the usual – Enid Blyton’s ‘Five’ mystery stories. Then I moved onto sci-fi – Isaac Asimov and Michael Moorcock in particular, before gravitating onto 1970’s and 1980’s thrillers – Douglas Reeman, Alistair Maclean etc.

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

A) That’s a really, really difficult one. My career as a writer has been a series of ups and downs, thankfully more the former than the latter. Every year and with each book new stuff happens. A major highlight has been with Dig Two Graves, however. I got the chance to work with a brilliant editing team (award winning writer Allan Guthrie and Eleanor Abraham), had an audio book out (read by London’s burning Ben Onwokwe) and a German translation. But fundamentally I learnt a huge amount as a writer. And I still am.

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

A) First & foremost my wife. She was a bit dubious at first until she read my first crime novel. And the aforementioned Mr Guthrie. He’s been an amazing mentor and made me a better writer. He’s the little devil constantly sitting on my shoulder telling me what I’ve just written needs to be better…

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Keith Nixon
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost #Location #Inpiration Black Moss by @Nolanwriter #MancNoir @fahrenheitpress #NewRelease #Mystery

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Black Moss by David Nolan
Synopsis:

In April 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison in Manchester, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss.

And no one cared.

No one except Danny Johnston, an inexperienced radio reporter trying to make a name for himself.

More than a quarter of a century later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that’s always haunted him.

If Danny can find out what really happened to the boy, maybe he can cure the emptiness he’s felt inside since he too was a child.

But finding out the truth might just be the worst idea Danny Johnston has ever had.

Guest Post:

Location/Inspiration

One of the main characters in the book isn’t a person at all – it’s the landscape around Manchester. It dominates. You can even see the hills from the city centre – they cup Manchester like a horseshoe. You can’t get away from them. The moors around Oldham, in particular, are especially bleak and unforgiving. In parts there isn’t even a tree to break up the view. The vista is as intimidating as anything you’d get in Scandinavia and sometimes almost as snowbound. It’s not necessarily what you’d think of when the word ‘Manchester’ is mentioned is it? But it’s true.

We’ve had plenty of ‘Scandi Noir’…Black Moss is ‘Manc Noir’.

The original idea came to me when I was out walking. I came across a reservoir way up in the hills that had a beach. Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses has a famous quote: ‘Manchester’s got everything, apart from a beach.’ It appears he was wrong. Here was a beach. I had a notion: ‘If I was going to dump a body somewhere, this is where I’d do it.’ Then I thought: ‘What a really weird thing to cross my mind.’ I looked at the map to see what the reservoir was called. It was called Black Moss.
Such a great name. Black Moss. Wow.

I couldn’t see another human being as far as I looked in every direction, yet in the distance I could see the skyline on Manchester City Centre. I thought that if anything happened to me here, I’d be done for. Yet I can see Manchester. Help is near, yet so far away. It gave me the chills. It all started from that thought, though there were several years between me seeing the beach and starting the book.

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David Nolan
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Edna’s Death Café by @AngelenaBoden 5* @matadorbooks #NewRelease #Mystery @BOTBSPublicity

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Edna’s Death Café Talking About Death, Celebrating Life by Angelena Boden
Review Copy
Synopsis:

As in life, death is not without its agenda. This is something seventy-nine year old Edna Reid finds out when her partner, Ted, suddenly dies.

To cope with her loss, she sets up a Death Cafe to break down the taboo around death and to encourage other members of the community to discuss it openly. Over tea and cake, the participants hide their fears behind a veil of dark humour.

Religious fanaticism clashes with Victorian spiritualism as Edna’s meetings trigger lively conversations on the fragility of life, anxiety over dying, cost of funerals, and making sure long-lost greedy relatives don’t benefit from inheritances.

Soon, a series of events begin to unfold which threaten to undermine Edna’s livelihood and the Death Cafe meetings. These events just happen to coincide with the arrival of a mysterious stranger into the village.

Who is she and why is she so hostile to Edna?

My Review:

“Doing the right thing is very liberating”

Edna’s Death Café, is a quirky and unique read! Perfect for cosying up with in the long winter nights. It is set in Hope Valley, Derbyshire and focuses on many current modern day themes such as loneliness and isolation in the older community.
The novel opens following the death of Edna’s partner Ted Eyre, with Edna struggling with her new identity as a widow. This leads her to begin a series of ‘death cafe’ evenings at the Happy Oatcake Café.

The novel has lots of quirky characters and I loved getting to know their individual stories. You get a real sense of the small town community and gossiping locals. The Derbyshire humour is present throughout, despite the serious nature of the themes within.

“Promises to the dying were often driven by duty to stop them fretting”

The novel discusses the themes of grief/loss in both the aftermath and prior to death. Yet this is not done in a morbid way at all. It is thought-provoking and moving, making it perfect for book groups and debate.
After all, all cultures have a different outlook and approach towards death and living. Which means individuals in communities hold differing opinions, yet it has become a taboo subject to be openly talked about.
Personally, I found the themes very interesting and wondered myself, if I could have attended a death café after the loss of my mothers at 21ys old. Would it have changed my views and helped with my bereavement?

As we come to know the various characters, we learn that they are all effected by death/loss in some way. Ruth in particular was a character that struck at my heartstrings. Ruth is in a deep state of grief over the loss of her daughter. I rooted for Ruth and her husband Patrick my entire way through the story. It is a sub-plot that really moves the reader.

However, with all great stories not everything is what it seems and someone is keeping an exceptionally close eye on Edna and her death café; waiting for their moment to strike. Edna is a tough 80yr old Derbyshire woman, she makes it clear from the get go, she is nobodies victim. What will happen when Edna and her foe come face to face?
Then the local psychics issue Edna with a stark warning!!!!!

Edan’s Death Café is the perfect read, for someone looking for something a bit different and unusual. I have actually been stuck in a reading slump this month and this title brought back my reading mojo.
After I finished Edna, I read two other novels, in one day! 5* 

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Angelena Boden
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin #Mystery #Thriller @FaberBooks “Silence, solitude and peace were at last to be hers”

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The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Jolted from sleep by the ringing of the telephone, Imogen stumbles through the dark, empty house to answer it. At first, she can’t quite understand the man on the other end of the line. Surely he can’t honestly be accusing her of killing her husband, Ivor, who died in a car crash barely two months ago.

As the nights draw in, Imogen finds her home filling up with unexpected Christmas guests, who may be looking for more than simple festive cheer. Has someone been rifling through Ivor’s papers? Who left the half-drunk whiskey bottle beside his favourite chair? And why won’t that man stop phoning, insisting he can prove Imogen’s guilt?

My Review:

The Long Shadow has an unusual writing style and it was then that I discovered it is being re-published by Faber Books. The writing has a traditional style and the novel is based around an intriguing mystery. Who is targeting a lonely widow? And why?

Imogen is recently widowed and it attempting to get her life back on track. Her friend Myrtle is encouraging her to get out of her house, but Imogen is reluctant. She feels as though being a ‘widow’ is becoming her identity. Her step-children Robin and Dot and nosey neighbour Edith, fuss Imogen much to her dislike.

“Silence, solitude and peace were at last to be hers”

When Imogen reflects upon her relationship with husband Ivor, it is then that we learn that there is more to Ivor than meets the eye. Then the telephone calls begin…

The calls accuse Imogen of being responsible for her husband’s deaths. Is Imogen a lonely old widow or a cold blooded killer?
Christmas mystery with a twist 4*

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Anne Bonny #BookReview Never Saw It Coming by @linwood_barclay 4* #Mystery #Thriller @orion_crime ‘What happens when the scammer, gets scammed?’

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Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
My own copy
Synopsis:

Keisha Ceylon is a psychic. So she says. The truth is, she watches the news for stories of missing family members, gives it a few days, then tells these families she’s had a vision. She may be able to help. And by the way, she charges for this service, and likes to see the money up front.

Keisha’s latest mark is a man whose wife disappeared a week ago. She’s seen him on TV, pleading for his wife to come home, or for whoever took her to let her go. So she pays him a visit.

The trouble is, her vision just happens to be close enough to the truth that it leaves the man rattled. And it may very well leave Keisha dead . . .

NEVER SAW IT COMING is based on the novella CLOUDED VISION, which was published as part of the Quick Reads programme in 2011.

My Review:

I have read several Linwood Barclay novels now and haven’t been let down once! I am a huge fan of his style of writing and my favourite so far is definitely A Noise Downstairs.

Never Saw It Coming, centres around con artist ‘psychic’ Keisha Ceylon. She lives with her dead beat boyfriend Kirk and young son Matthew (10yrs). I think it is quite clear Keisha is motivated by financial means to ‘trick’ the bereaved into hearing what they want to hear. At first I felt uncomfortable reading her scenes thinking ‘how does she sleep at night?’ but then it became evident her tricks were soon to catch up with her. . . .

Keisha has recently pulled off a big con involving a local youth named Justin. When she sees the TV appeal from father and daughter Wendall and Melissa Garfield, pleading for the safe return of Ellie Garfield who is missing. It sparks an idea in Keisha and she begins her usual approach with the family in question. But Keisha isn’t quite prepared for Wendall and his offhand approach towards her. Wendall scares Keisha and for the first time, she begins to feel she may have picked the wrong family to con. . .

What happens when the scammer, gets scammed?

The novel is an intense psychological thriller, packed with shady characters and I really enjoyed the pace and the style. 4*
Next up on my Linwood Barclay TBR pile is Parting Shot.

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Linwood Barclay
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