Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @OConnellauthor #Author of The Last Night Out #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @blackthornbks

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The Last Night Out by Catherine O’Connell
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Six friends. Three secrets. One murder.

Maggie is set to marry the man of her dreams. Desperate for one wild last night out on the town before her big day, she gathers her closest girlfriends to hit the bars and party until dawn.

Only things go wrong – horribly wrong.

When Angie’s body is found in the park the following morning, their night to remember quickly becomes a nightmare they all wish they could forget. Under police scrutiny, how far will Maggie and her friends go to keep their secrets? Far enough to protect a killer?

Q&A ~

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

A) I’m a writer and I’ve been a writer since I was a kid. I’ve always had an overactive imagination, and would take that imagination to the page while I was in grammar school, writing short stories that the teacher would read to the class. I continued writing throughout my youth, writing sketches and more short stories, keeping journals that to this day can take me back to the inner workings of a teenager.

Having the goal of being a writer, I majored in Journalism at the University of Colorado. But by the time I graduated, I felt like journalistic writing was far too dry and restrictive for my goals. I really wanted to recognize my dream of being a novelist and the creativity of fiction versus reality. So I embarked on all kinds of adventures thinking that the more experiences I collected the more fodder I’d have for novels. I backpacked Europe and then lived for a couple of years as a ski bum in Aspen, working as a hotel maid and receptionist. Then I returned to my hometown of Chicago and worked as a waitress and a bar manager on Rush Street, floor runner at the Chicago Board of Trade, and a sales rep for a fine wine company. All through that time period I had countless ideas for books and started dozens of novels that never got much farther than ten or twenty pages.

It wasn’t until I the 90s that I finally committed myself to the work required to take it a step further. Doing what all authors need to do, I put my bottom down on a chair and started writing. I finished one novel, sent it out to an agent, but it never sold. I finished writing another book shortly thereafter and that one did sell, becoming Skins (Donald I Fine) in 1993. After that, I published a pair of high society mysteries, Well Bred and Dead and Well Read and Dead, inspired by questionable circumstances and multiple birth certificates surrounding the death of a friend.

My current book, The Last Night Out draws upon my life experiences as well. I worked as a bartender in Rush Street Chicago in the late 1980s. The scene was pretty wild back then and just when I thought I’d seen everything, someone would take things a step further. Then, in the late 90s, my husband and I started a nightclub tour business called The Party Bus. As things turned out, our primary customers were young women having bachelorette parties. If I thought I saw some crazy things as a bartender, well, those bachelorettes took it up a notch.

Coincidentally, the first novel I’d written and never gotten published was about a women getting drunk at her bachelorette party and one of her friends ending up dead. Inspired by the bachelorettes on The Party Bus, I decided to pull out that manuscript and rework it and, voila, The Last Night Out was born.

I want to add that getting published isn’t a direct line to literary success. I have more than a few dusty unpublished manuscripts occupying a safe place in the closet under my stairs. But if you’re a writer, you just keep on writing. It’s kind of like being an alcoholic—either you’re practicing or your not.

The Last Night Out is the story of six high school friends who come together in Chicago’s northern suburbs to celebrate Maggie Trueheart’s upcoming wedding. The party moves downtown to Rush Street where the girls drink into the wee hours of the night. The next morning Maggie awakes to find a stranger in her bed. If that’s not bad enough, a phone call brings the horrifying news that her friend Angie, one of the party-goers, has been murdered.

Afraid her fiancé might learn about her infidelity, Maggie lies to the detectives assigned to Angie’s case, trapping herself into a series of lies that become more and more convoluted as the search for Angie’s killer continues. And while Maggie is caught in her own fabric of lies, little does she know the rest of the girls have lies of their own, all of the lies in some way connected to Angie’s murder. Unbeknownst to them, one of the lies has put another one of them in the killer’s sights.

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

A) It’s my belief that the writing process is different for every writer. There’s no template for creating a book. Some writers make extensive outlines, some just start blind, some know where they’re going, some have no idea. I’m telling you this because I think that readers often think that there is something orderly in creating a book, and I’m the first person to tell you, there is not. The only thing all writers have in common is that they have to sit down and put that story on the page by somehow pulling it out of their head and putting it on paper. Which, I might add, can often be quite painful.

When I start writing a new book, I’m pretty much set on the beginning and the end. What’s left is to fill in everything in between and hope it matches up. I do write a rough synopsis as a sort of map, but I usually veer from that synopsis fairly quickly as my brain leads me in a different directions once I get into the story.

The bottom line for me is to just start writing. Rule #1 for me. Right after coffee in the morning. Otherwise I might get sidetracked into doing something important like cleaning the bathroom. The rough draft is the hardest. It’s kind of like pulling your brain out your ear with a tweezers. I try for five pages, around 1000 words, a day, but sometimes only come up with one. When I get really stuck I grab a yellow pad and paper and sit in a corner or go outside. The goal is to push the story forward. And though I have a pretty good idea who my characters are, guess what? They change along the way. But rather than go back and make everything consistent, I plod towards the end of the book. The idea is to get the story down. I know I can always go back and fix things later. The old writer’s axiom is, you can fix a blank page, but you can’t fix an empty one.

Once the story is finished, for me the heavy lifting is over. It’s like going through the pain of building a house, and now it’s time to decorate. Early in my writing career, I discovered if I kept going back to make the first ten pages perfect, I’d never get to the other 290. Rewrite’s the time to do that, to fix uneven plot points, to embellish descriptions, to sharpen dialogue. My first rewrite is pretty substantial, fixing up sloppy language and getting times and places match up. And my character’s appearances! You can’t believe how many time I’ve changed a character’s appearance or background or even their name in the rough draft and have to make it all jibe. Then there’s a second rewrite and then a third, each time with less needing polish. It’s during the fourth rewrite when I start to feel it’s all matching up and it’s time to say ‘enough’ before I ruin anything!

My agent is the first person to read my manuscript. I’ve already run the story idea past her, but after that I don’t send her anything until I’m basically finished. That’s because my first draft is such a mess no one would ever believe it could be a book. Once I send my agent the completed and polished manuscript, she gives it a careful read, does some editing, and points out things that might need to be clarified. I’m proud to say there usually isn’t much that needs changing at that point, and when she OKs it I breathe a sigh of relief.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I love Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna being one of my favourite books. Geraldine Brooks is another favourite, both March and The Year of Wonders high up on my list. I’ve been reading a lot of fiction about World War I and II and Kate Atchinson’s Life After Life and A God in Ruins were amazing. Ian Mc Kewen’s Atonement blew me away, and if you want to get a good understanding of the horror of World War I, Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks is required reading.

I love Nelson DeMille’s edgy tough guy characters, The Gold Coast another one of my all time favorites.
Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose.

I tend not to read in my genre when I’m working on a book because it influences my writing, but when I’m not writing I love falling into mysteries by P.D. James, Dick Francis, Dennis Lehane, Thomas Cook, and Donna Leon. One of my favourites early on was Raymond Chandler for his great plots and sharp dialogue.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

Q) I guess I have to start with the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew, books for young American readers. They inspired in me this amazing desire to read which then morphed into me wanting to tell stories of my own. As I grew older and my thirst for reading grew, I branched out into historical fiction. My favourite books were Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Hawaii by James Michener, Exodus by Leon Uris and the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I used to feel that if a book wasn’t at least 800 pages, it wasn’t worth picking up.

Q) What are you currently reading?

A) Just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine by Gail Honeyman and loved it. Next up is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’ve heard so many good things about it I have to read it.

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

A) Seeing my book in print. There’s a sense of validation in having your work published that can not be described.

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

A) My husband has always been a source of invaluable support and encouragement. Every time I’ve felt like quitting, he says, “You got this far. Why quit now?”
And my friends. They have always told me I could make it. Especially my friend, Luky, who kept me going by saying, “If you throw enough of you know what against the wall, some of it’s going to stick.” It’s crazy stuff like that that keeps you going.

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Catherine O’Connell
Website
Twitter

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Under The Harrow by @flynnberry_ 4* #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @wnbooks ‘A very clever ending’

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Under The Harrow by Flynn Berry
My Own Copy ~ Hardback Book

Synopsis ~

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.
Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.
A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.

My Review ~

Under The harrow is the tale of two sisters and the lengths one will go to, to get justice for the other. It reads as a psychological thriller, but I was also emotionally pulled due to the relationship between the sisters and the savage nature of the murder.

Nora is travelling to Oxford from London to spend some time with her sister Rachel. She is full of the excitement of her future, having just received news of an art residency in France for 12wks. She is also filed with happy memories of the time the had a Cornish let for Christmas. When Rachel is not at Winshaw train station to collect her, she is not alarmed. But nothing could have prepared her for what she is about to stumble across.

Nora discovers the violent scene of Rachel’s murder. It is a scene that will come to haunt her every waking moment and compel her to solve the murder. With DI Moretti, Nora works over Rachel’s past. Her ex Stephen Bailey who lives in Dorset, her occupation as a nurse. And the attack that Rachel endured at just 17yrs, with Yorkshire police refusing to believe an assault took place. But before Nora can settle on a theory, she is about to uncover Rachel was exhibiting some odd behaviour of her own.

Nora remains at Oxford and attempts to mix in amongst the locals. But Nora is becoming more and more obsessed…

‘I might have just met her murderer’ – Nora

A very clever ending 4*

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Flynn Berry
Twitter

***I also snapped up the others second novel on Kindle Ebook deal (currently £1.99) in the UK. I shall add the details below***

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A Double Life by Flynn Berry
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Some wounds need more than time. They crave revenge.

Claire’s father is a privileged man: handsome, brilliant, the product of an aristocratic lineage and an expensive education, surrounded by a group of devoted friends who would do anything for him.

But when he becomes the prime suspect in a horrific attack on Claire’s mother – an outsider who married into the elite ranks of society and dared escape her gilded cage – fate and privilege collide, and a scandal erupts.

Claire’s father disappears overnight, his car abandoned, blood on the front seat.

Thirty years after that hellish night, Claire is obsessed with uncovering the truth, and she knows that the answer is held behind the closed doors of beautiful townhouses and country estates, safeguarded by the same friends who all those years before had answered the call to protect one of their own.

Because they know where Claire’s father is.

They helped him escape.

And it’s time their pristine lives met her fury.

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Twisted by @SSCav Steve Cavanagh 4* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #ThisBookIsTwisted @orionbooks @orion_crime

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Twisted by Steve Cavanagh
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted

My Review ~

With the novel Twisted we see ‘king of the legal thriller’ Steve Cavanagh move into a more psychological thriller narrative. This title surrounds a mysterious author known only my his author name J.T Lebeau. Very few people know exactly who this author is and that is the way the author intends to keep it.

‘Don’t believe a single word you read’

The novel opens with a character known only as Paul Cooper planning a murder. He is attending the memorial service for J.T Lebeau and I began to wonder, if not JT who does he plan on killing? But all will final be revealed…

‘Dead writers can’t do signings’

The novel then jumps backwards to four months previously and shows the reader exactly what took place in the months leading to the attempted murder. And my god, does it make for one hell of a twisted ride!

The novel details a toxic marriage where both spouses are hiding secrets from one another. But with a large amount of money at stake, things are about to get deadly…

‘Twenty million dollars was more than just money’

By the end of chapter 21, I was completely hooked! The lengths people will go to with secrets and lies, makes for fascinating reading. The reasons for the secrecy and the authors past are slowly revealed. With the pace and the consistent twists in the tale, I was completely gripped the entire read! 4*

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Steve Cavanagh
Website
Twitter

***Don’t Miss the other bloggers on the blog tour, especially my blogger buddy for the day Steph, Over at Steph’s Book Blog***
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @mredwards #Author of #NewRelease In Her Shadow #Suspense #Psychological #Thriller @AmazonPub #InHerShadow

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In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards
Review To Follow
Synopsis:

Isabel’s life seemed perfect. Successful business, beautiful house, adoring husband. And then she was dead.

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

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

A) I come from Hastings on the Sussex coast, famous for its battle. I’m not sure if that has any relevance but it’s possible that the salty air combined with constantly hearing stories about a man getting an arrow in his eye may have done something to my brain and imagination.

My new novel, In Her Shadow, is about a woman, Jessica, who lost her more glamorous older sister, Isabel, a few years ago. Isabel was found dead beneath the balcony of her beautiful home and the death was ruled accidental. But now Jessica’s four-year-old daughter seems to be communicating with Isabel. She knows things she can’t possibly know. She is acting up at school. And as Jessica is forced to question everything she believes, she starts to investigate what really happened to Isabel.

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

A) This is my eighth solo novel; fourteenth if you include the books I co-wrote with Louise Voss. I came up with the idea for In Her Shadow when I was halfway through my previous book, The Retreat. I thought of it as Big Little Lies – with its focus on female relationships and school gate drama – crossed with The Sixth Sense, with its child who sees dead people. My regular readers will know that there is always, in the end, a rational explanation for everything that happens in my books, and the big challenge was figuring out what was really going on with Olivia. Once I worked that out, it was relatively easy to write. It was also influenced by a big story that was happening in the news at the time I was writing it, a story about sex and power, but it would be too spoilery to reveal what it was.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I read loads and I’m always worried about missing people out when I start listing my favourites, but a few books I’ve read recently that I loved are Skin Deep by Liz Nugent, Take Me In by Sabine Durrant and A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne. All beautifully written and, most importantly, utterly gripping.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I used to read lots of Doctor Who books when I was about 11 or 12. I collected them and read one or two a week. I was obsessed with Doctor Who! Then I moved on to Stephen King and James Herbert. The scarier, the better…Herbert’s The Fog had a profound and disturbing effect on me. Also, his books were pretty rude and we used to read the most outrageous scenes out in the playground. Ah, the good old days!

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

A) I could mention my seven No.1 bestsellers or receiving an award from my publisher for selling two million books but don’t like to show off. The best moments are usually spent at festivals with my writer friends, especially at Harrogate, which I attend every year. The crime writing community is filled with funny, clever, irreverent people and I love hanging out with them, drinking too much and, occasionally, doing karaoke!

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

A) My wife, Sara, is incredibly supportive and helpful. She has to put up with me rambling on about my writing, talks to me about my plots and helps me untangle the knots I’ve created. She listens to me and, most importantly, locks me in my office until I’ve written my daily 2000 words.
I’m joking about that last bit. Kind of.

ME
Mark Edwards
Website ~ where you can sign up to get a free box set of scary short stories
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

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

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @LittleBrownUK ‘The Good Son is eerie, dark and creepy’

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The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong
My own copy
Synopsis:

YOU WAKE UP COVERED IN BLOOD
THERE’S A BODY DOWNSTAIRS
YOUR MOTHER’S BODY

YOU DIDN’T DO IT. DID YOU?
HOW COULD YOU, YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN THE GOOD SON

When Yu-jin wakes up covered in blood, and finds the body of his mother downstairs, he decides to hide the evidence and pursue the killer himself.

Then young women start disappearing in his South Korean town. Who is he hunting? And why does the answer take him back to his brother and father who lost their lives many years ago.

The Good Son is inspired by a true story.

My Review:

The Good Son is a creepy and engaging read. It slowly draws you in to the plot and you HAVE to know more. The central character Yu-Jin is brilliantly written. I cannot wait to read the authors other novels when they are translated into English.

The novel opens with Yu-Jin aka the good son. He is 25yrs old, a model student and athlete. He is also off his meds. . .
He awakens one morning early due to a phone call. But upon awaking quickly notices he is covered in blood. He follows the trail of bloody footprints and find his mother with her throat cut.

He immediately calls the police but realises the situation and what will be interpreted from it. At times his memory is fragmented, and he is struggling to remember what has occurred. This is when we begin to learn more and more about Yu-Jin and what kind of man he really is.

‘After all, being true to life wasn’t the only way to tell a story’

Yu-Jin had recently gotten into law school. He is educated and intelligent but suffers from some form of mental health condition. He has had a troubled childhood and his father and brother’s whereabouts is unknown. He describes his mother as both protective and controlling, yet he maintains an emotional bond. Yu-Jin is a fascinating character, because he is an unreliable narrator of the story. Also because we the reader desperately seek the truth.
Who killed Yu-Jin’s mother? Can Yu-Jin identify the killer?

The Good Son is eerie, dark and creepy.
It’s perfect for fans of the horror/psychological genre. 4*