Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract A Cold Flame by @ConwayRome #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Rome #DetectiveRossi #Series @KillerReads #AColdFlame

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A Cold Flame by Aidan Conway
Review to follow
Synopsis:

Play with fire and you get burned…

A gripping crime thriller, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.

Five men burnt alive.

In the crippling heat of August in Rome, a flat goes up in flames, the doors sealed from the outside. Five illegal immigrants are trapped and burnt alive – their charred bodies barely distinguishable amidst the debris.

One man cut into pieces.

When Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara begin to investigate, a terror organisation shakes the city to its foundations. Then a priest is found murdered and mutilated post-mortem – his injuries almost satanic in their ferocity.

One city on the edge of ruin.

Rome is hurtling towards disaster. A horrifying pattern of violence is beginning to emerge, with a ruthless killer overseeing its design. But can Rossi and Carrara stop him before all those in his path are reduced to ashes?

Extract:

One
The few flowers left in the chipped vase had withered to dry brown stalks in the searing August
sun.
“You’re still sure this falls within our brief?” said Carrara as they stared at the cold,
charred remains of the ground floor flat. All the bodies had now been removed but their
presence lingered.
“It’s another fire, isn’t it?” said Rossi. “Probably arson. Why not?”
It was not the first fire in the city to bear the hallmarks of foul play, but it was the first
fatal one since they had been moved off their normal duties.
They were standing in the welcome shade of the elevated section of the tangenziale
flyover, on a side street off the busy, grimy Via Prenestina. It was hot, cripplingly hot. Thin
rivulets of sweat were meandering down Rossi’s neck despite the shade.
“Even if there’s a file on this one already?” said Carrara. “A file that’s as good as closed.”
Rossi shook his head and continued to gaze into the blackened ruins.
“It’s August. You can get away with murder in August. Who was on it again?”
Carrara leafed through the case notes.
“No one I know. A guy called Lallana. Had a racial homicide’s brief. Seconded to us in
June and then transferred out again, at his own request, now buzzing all over the place with
Europol. I got hold of him by phone but he wasn’t keen on talking. Says it’s all in the reports
and he’s got nothing more to add.”
“Giving you the brush-off?”
Carrara shrugged.
“He had it down as a hate crime – seems the victims were all foreigners – but not a single,
solid lead. No witnesses, just the one guy who survived it.”

“A survivor?” said Rossi.
“Was. Dead now. Had 60 per cent burns. Should have been long gone but somehow hung
on for nearly a week.”
“And all while I was on holiday,” said Rossi.
“You can’t be everywhere, Mick,” said Carrara glancing up from the notes. “I mean a
break was merited, after Marini.”
Rossi’s thoughts turned then to the events of the previous winter but as his shoes crunched
on the ash and scorched timbers he was still struggling to comprehend the present horror.
Shooting, strangling, stabbing – that was one thing – but burning to death. They must have
been locked inside when the fire started. Some might have woken but had been unable to get
to a door or a window, the security grilles put there ostensibly to keep them safe from intruders
thus consigning them to their fates.
“But why wasn’t anyone able to get out?” said Rossi. “Because they locked their room
doors every night?”
“Correct,” said Carrara. “Normal practice in bedsits, but no keys for the security grilles
were found, not even after a fingertip search.”
“What about the front door?” said Rossi. “Couldn’t they have got out with their own keys?
They all had one, right?”
Carrara took out a blown-up scene-of-crime photo.
“The lock. Tampered with, the barrel and mechanism all mangled up. Some debris was
found inside. It could have been someone forcing it – an attempted break-in – or it could have
been sabotage. The occupants might have been able to open it from the inside to escape, if they
had managed to reach the door, but the bolts were still in place. Nobody could get in until the
fire guys arrived and then it was too late.”
“And their forensics?” said Rossi.

“Well,” said Carrara, “significant traces of ethanol – one version of the facts is that there
was a moonshine vodka operation – and they did find the remains of a timer switch next to the
burnt-out fridge. Lallana maintained it could have been foul play, or just as easily some home
brew electrical set-up that shorted. He didn’t exactly go all out for the former theory. In the
absence of a clear motive and witnesses the coroner delivered an open verdict. Have a look for
yourself.”
Carrara handed Rossi the relevant report.
“Open?” said Rossi noting now with near contempt the irony. “Someone locked those
poor bastards inside.”
“Like I said, no keys for the window bars were found but no one lived long enough to tell
any tale.”
Among the scorched masonry and fallen timbers, one of the grilles lay across the small
desert of debris, like the ribcage of a once living and breathing being strewn across a bleak
savannah.
“Any names?” said Rossi.
“Just the one,” said Carrara. “The tough nut. Ivan Yovoshenko. He was found in the
communal bathroom and had dog tags from his conscription days. But for them he would have
been a zero like the rest. It seems he had at least tried to get out, got severely burnt in the
process and maybe finally sought refuge in the bathroom. He could have struck his head and
collapsed. Judging from the amount of alcohol they found in his bloodstream, he had to have
been blind drunk and wouldn’t have realized just how hot the flames were. It was enough for
him to survive as long as he did.”
“And nothing on the others?”
“Nothing,” said Carrara.

“Well, they can forget checking dental records,” said Rossi. “These guys could probably
just about afford toothpaste.”
Carrara pulled out another sheet for Rossi.
“Presumed missing persons in Rome and Lazio for the last six months, but no matches
with this address. The word on the street is that they were five single men, probably illegals,
but anymore than that …”
“Sounds familiar,” said Rossi. “But no friends, no workmates?”
Carrara gestured to the desiccated blooms and a brown, dog-eared farewell note or two.
“Paid their respects then made themselves scarce, I suppose,” said Carrara. “If it’s a racial
hate killing they were probably thinking ‘who’s next’?”
“But a landlord?” said Rossi, sensing an opening. “Tell me we have an owner’s name.”
But Carrara was already quashing that hope with another printout from the case folder.
“Flat sold to a consortium two months ago as part of a portfolio of properties, a sort of
going concern with cash-in-hand rents through an established ‘agent’ who hasn’t been seen
since the fire.”
“That’s convenient,” quipped Rossi.
“Says here they always sent an office bod to pick up the cash in a nearby bar and the go
between got his room cheap as well as his cut. No contracts. No paper trail. No nothing.”
“And no name for the agent?”
“Mohammed. Maybe.”
“That narrows it down. And the bar? Anyone there remember him’?”
“Nada.”
“A description?”
“North African. About fifty.”

“Great,” said Rossi. “Well, it looks like the late Ivan’s our only man, doesn’t it? Let’s see
what the hospital can give us.”
“And then a trip to the morgue?”
“You know, Gigi, I was almost beginning to miss going there.”

AC
Aidan Conway
Website
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour A Known Evil by Aidan Conway #GuestPost @ConwayRome #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @KillerReads #DebutAuthor A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome. . .

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A Known Evil by Aidan Conway
Synopsis:

A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…

A gripping debut crime novel and the first in a groundbreaking series, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.
A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.
A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.
A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?

#GuestPost:

The Not So Dolce Vita

by Aidan Conway

 

I sat down to begin writing A Known Evil on ‘blue Monday’ in January 2014. Setting out on a totally new and uncharted adventure seemed like a perfect way to keep any incipient blues at bay on the, allegedly, most depressing day of the year.
To the best of my recollection, up until then, I had never once considered writing a crime novel. I have always been a writer, in one way or another, on and off. My bottom drawer contains ample evidence of that – first, second and third drafts of short stories which might eventually also see the light of day.
But no crime. Poetry too, with which I had achieved a reasonable amount of success. But no serial killers, no thrillers, no intrigue.
So what inspired me? Around that time, on a friend’s suggestion, I had fallen back on reading some crime novels for pure, escapist pleasure.
Which might beg the question what was I escaping from? Rome has been my home since 2001 and before that for a brief period Sicily was too. Both places are breathtakingly beautiful, dramatic, unique, but problems there are aplenty.
Tourists continue to be drawn to The Eternal City in their droves to gaze at what I too marvelled at when I first came to the place. The mind-blowing museums, the Roman Forum, the Appian Way, the cobbled side-streets and cafes, the Bougainville and Jasmine scented air, warm summer evenings and cold white wine. The chatter and street theatre, the laid-back pace of life.
But then there is the dark side. The politics. The intrigue. The corruption and violence that most visitors will never have any cause to see or experience. The world of work. The problems of bureaucracy, and nepotism, favours, bribes and blackmail.
In Sicily one evening I witnessed a bomb go off, likely the work of extortionists. It never made the papers.
In Rome, when it snowed for a day in 2013, a regional councillor bought himself a 4×4, so he could ‘get around’, and all on party funds. Paid for by the tax payer. Paid for, in part, by me.
And why, for example, does it take two or three times as long to build a motorway in Italy than it does in France? Why does it cost three times as much? Who’s pocketing the spare change?
The Italian Court of Auditors has estimated that corruption costs the Italian economy some 60 billion Euros a year. That’s a lot of coffee and free lunches. I’d say it’s a conservative estimate.

Around the time I began the book, the first big immigration problem had also landed on the national agenda. It quickly became a ragged and soiled political football – scapegoating and blame were the order of the day. Real solutions seemed a secondary consideration. It wasn’t pretty.
I even got the odd dirty look or loaded comment when I walked into a shop and my accent wasn’t quite right. Politicians were exploiting it all and often getting away with murder. The credit crunch crisis too was biting hard. People were getting angry. So much for La Dolce Vita.
Neo-fascism too had got a shot in the arm as simple-minded nostalgia and cynical opportunism drew oxygen from what was happening in Rome and in the country as a whole. The political system was perceived as sclerotic, inefficient, ineffective and the media was in thrall either to the political parties and their cronyism or the megalomaniac ambitions of a small man from Milan who shall remain nameless.
On the positive side? At least the mafia weren’t doing much. Or were they? Cosa Nostra was keeping itself pretty much to itself (but it’s always there) while the Neapolitan Camorra and the Calabrian N’drangheta were the big kids who had burst on to the block as cocaine and gun-crime racking Naples and its suburbs spread northwards from its heartlands, following the money, following the power to Rome.
I realised I had plenty to write about. More than enough. In my work as a language consultant I had also had some access to the corridors of power, state bodies, multinationals. I got to sit down with CEOs, oil executives, undercover policemen, and maybe even some spies. You find people open up to you when you are an outsider and you are chatting one-to-one. And you’re cheaper than a psychiatrist. It can be illuminating.
And then I got my big idea. A short while after that Blue Monday, in a flash, an epiphany, I knew exactly how my book was going to end. I scribbled it all down in a flurry and knew then I had nailed it.
I just had to fill in the rest. I did. It’s been fun. I hope it is for you.

AC
Aidan Conway
Twitter
Author bio:
Aidan Conway was born in Birmingham and has been living in Italy since 2001. He has been a bookseller, a proofreader, a language consultant, as well as a freelance teacher, translator, and editor for the United Nations FAO. He is currently an assistant university lecturer in Rome, where he lives with his family. A Known Evil is his first novel.

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#BookReview 4.5* Rivals Of The Republic by @afreisenbruch @Duckbooks (UK)#TheBloodOfRome #Series @overlookpress (USA)

*I received a paperback copy via Duck books (UK) publishers in return for an honest review*

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Rivals Of The Republic by Annelise Freisenbruch
Synopsis:

Using her supreme knowledge of the period, author Annelise Freisenbruch presents the great new heroine of historical fiction, Hortensia, who must navigate the male-dominated courts of law in her quest to uncover a sinister plot to overthrow the Republic. Drawing from historical accounts of the daughter of famed Roman orator Quintus Hortensius Hortalus, Freisenbruch delivers an atmospheric, meticulously accurate and fast-paced story that will have readers craving more. Rome, 70BC. Roman high society hums with gossip about the suspicious suicide of a prominent Roman senator and the body of a Vestal Virgin is discovered in the river Tiber. As the authorities turn a blind eye, Hortensia is moved to investigate a trail of murders that appear to lead straight to the dark heart of the Eternal City.

My Review:

This novel has is it all, the atmosphere, crime, scandal, life and death of Ancient Roman era. The characters are well written and the plot incredibly appealing to me.
I am a huge fan of historical crime fiction.

Rome 70 BC

The novel opens with Hortensia and her brother Quintus at a gladiator arena. They are saved by a gladiator called Hannibal The Conqueror from a crocodile. When he later loses his fight Hortensia urges her father, a wealthy lawyer to buy him as a slave due to his earlier heroics.
Hannbel’s real name is Lucrio and he will, come to mean so much more to Horetensia than she can ever imagine……..

Hortensia’s father is a prominent wealthy lawyer, in Rome. She is his favoured child and for this reason he agrees to allow her to marry for love. Something unheard of for the era. Hortensia chooses to marry her second cousin, Caepio and they move into their own accommodation. Taking Lucrio with them, but Lucrio has secrets of his own and a deep seated need for vengeance…..

As the novel develops, Hortensia feels compelled to help Drusilla, at court with the case of stolen dowry and her children’s custody. This gives Hortensia a voice for the first time, something virtually unheard of in Roman society! Her father is furious with her, for creating a potential scandal. He forbids her from any future such endeavours.
But then Hortensia is summoned to the temple of vesta.

The chief vestal informs her that a body has recently been found and they believe that the vestal virgin was murdered. Documents have either been removed, or forged and this could have an impact on Roman society as a whole. The victim managed to write the words Pomey M at the scene before her death. We learn more about Lucrio’s background and why he is seeking revenge. But it isn’t until he is backed into a corner that he confesses to Hortensia. At this moment, they realise that despite their positions in society.
They must work together to solve the case of the murdered vestal virgin.
4.5*

***** This novel is perfect for fans of the BBC TV show Rome! I was a huge fan of this series and this novel is very reminiscent.*****

AF

Annelise Freisenbruch
Authors links:
Website: http://www.annelisefreisenbruch.co.uk/
Twitter: @afreisenbruch
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3412996.Annelise_Freisenbruch

*A huge thank you to the author & Duck books for my copy and I look forward to the next in the blood of Rome series!*