Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost Bad Turn #13 Charlie Fox #Series by @authorzoesharp #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

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Bad Turn by Zoe Sharp ~ #13 Charlie Fox

Synopsis ~

Ex-Special Forces trainee turned bodyguard Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox is back in this, her 13th adventure.

One bad turn…deserves another.

Charlie Fox has quit her job in close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently out of options.

House-sitting in rural New Jersey has to be the pits—TV and TV dinners. A far cry from Iraq… Bulgaria… Afghanistan. Unlucky or not, she happens to be around at the right time to foil a violent kidnap attempt on Helena, wife of billionaire arms dealer, Eric Kincaid.

Kincaid offers her a job looking after Helena. The rumours about Kincaid’s business empire say he’s gone over to the dark side, but Charlie is in no position to be fussy. And protecting people against those who want to do them harm is what she’s good at. But when the threats against the Kincaids escalate, and then follow the couple over to Europe, Charlie’s really going to have to up her game. It’s time to take the fight to the enemy.

Charlie’s at her best putting an end to trouble. Now she must learn to strike first. And hope that the Kincaids don’t discover the secret she’s been keeping from them, right from the start.

Guest Post ~ Real People Into Fictional Characters ~

Real People into Fictional Characters
BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13

by Zoë Sharp

Inevitably, when you write, you ‘borrow’ characteristics or mannerisms you’ve noted in friends, relations, enemies, or complete strangers. This is one of the reasons writers love to sit somewhere crowded and people-watch like crazy. A twitch, a tic, a nervous gesture, the way some people look down at their shoes and pace very deliberately when they’re taking a phone call. It’s all grist to the writer’s ever-hungry mill.

I freely admit there were aspects of different real people in the early Charlie Fox books, although I refuse to comment on which characteristics those were and what use I made of them! It wasn’t until I did an event at my local library while I was plotting book four in the series that I realised people might actually want to appear in my work.

My local library in Lancaster were hugely supportive of my first steps into the world of being a published author. So, when one of the librarians mentioned that another member of staff, Andrew Till, would really, really like to be a character in a book, how could I refuse?

When FIRST DROP came out, Andrew Till was an FBI Special Agent-in-Charge who plays a vital role in helping Charlie defeat the bad guys—even if he does try to arrest her the first time they meet.

Since then, I’ve used numerous real people as characters in the books. Over the course of the series they’ve taken on the roles of PIs, LAPD detectives and CIA agents, as well as billionaire philanthropists, Charlie’s principal, main suspect, and even the outright bad guy.

I usually try, if someone has made a bid at one of the charity auctions held at events like Bouchercon, to include quirks that the donor would recognise. When I included BG Ritts in FOURTH DAY, for instance, she particularly asked me to do so in such a way that only she would recognise herself! (Well, I like a challenge.)

I’m not sure, though, that I’ve ever included quite as many real people in a single book as I have in the latest Charlie Fox outing, BAD TURN.

I ran a competition among my subscribers for two character slots in the book—one female and one male. The female part was of the woman Charlie is hired to protect. She is the wife of an extremely wealthy international arms dealer living in New Jersey and, by common consent among others in the industry, supposed to be off-limits as far as threats are concerned.

Needless to say, things don’t quite work out that way.

The male part was of a very laid-back bodyguard of the arms dealer himself. I initially made him rather too laid back, and I had to trim back some of his idiosyncrasies after my Advance Reader Team had given the book a trial run.

I made random selections from the entries and in the final book Charlie’s principal became Helena Kincaid (née Hoare). Helena admitted that her last name was not perhaps the easiest one to work with, although she also pointed out that it meant ‘white-haired’ from the same roots as hoar-frost.

The bodyguard became Hermann Schade. Because he is a character whose motivation remains clouded for much of the book, having someone whose last name might conceivably be pronounced “Shade” was perfect. I’m not sure his first name gets mentioned, though. Not in this book, anyway…

The reason Helena has the married name of Kincaid in BAD TURN is because I had already decided that the arms dealer himself was going to be named in honour of Eric Kincaid, who I think of as My Absent Host.

I call him this because on several occasions now when I’ve visited New York, he has generously allowed me to stay in his apartment up in Washington Heights, but we’ve never actually met. Eric was away for an extended period looking after his parents, hence having room to spare. Repaying his hospitality by writing him in to BAD TURN seemed the least I could do to say thank you.

And finally, one of my favourite characters is Kincaid’s Personal Assistant, Mo Heedles, who is as good at treating gunshot wounds in the book as she is at arranging her boss’s schedule. Somehow, though, I always thought of the character as Mrs Heedles. I hope Mo doesn’t mind being referred to so formally!

BAD TURN was published in ebook, mass-market paperback, hardcover and Large Print editions on September 27 2019. For more information visit www.ZoeSharp.com

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Zoe Sharp
Website
Twitter
Link to first 3 chapters of Bad Turn

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*Apologies to Zoe & Ayo, for the post being a day late.*

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Boy Who Fell by Jo Spain 4* #CrimeFiction #Irish #TomReynolds #series @QuercusBooks

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The Boy Who Fell by Jo Spain
Review Copy ~ Amazon Vine Product

Synopsis ~

FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE CONFESSION AND CO-WRITER OF RTE ONE’S TAKEN DOWN

Kids can be so cruel.
They’ll call you names.
Hurt your feelings.
Push you to your death.

In the garden of an abandoned house, Luke Connolly lies broken, dead. The night before, he and his friends partied inside. Nobody fought, everybody else went home safely. And yet, Luke was raped and pushed to his death. His alleged attacker is now in custody.

DCI Tom Reynolds is receiving the biggest promotion of his career when a colleague asks him to look at the Connolly case, believing it’s not as cut and dried as local investigators have made out. And as Tom begins to examine the world Connolly and his upper class friends inhabited, the privilege and protection afforded to them, he too realises something.

In this place, people cover up for each other.
Even when it comes to murder.

My Review ~

‘Her body showed all the hallmarks of resistance when the first responders came’

The title opens in Dublin, Ireland in 2015 at the scene of a violent murder/suicide. The crime scene is at the home of an affluent couple, who reside in a 1.2 mansion. The abandoned property will become something of local legend amongst the teens and eventually another crime will occur there…

We are quickly re-introduced to DCI Tom Reynolds and made aware of his new promotion. Tom is a highly likeable detective and has aided the series to go from strength to strength. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but he reminds me of the character Jack Frost (previously played by Sir David Jason in A Touch Of Frost) But an Irish younger version.

‘A man who doesn’t want power but is willing to take it for the greater good’

When Natasha McCarthy (head of sex crimes) brings a case to Tom, we are immediately aware, it is going to be one of much complexity. The case revolves around the potential rape/murder of 17yr old Luke Connolly. The teenager accused is 18yr old Daniel Konate.
This will be a case that will tackle various themes of consent, class divide, racial barriers and homophobia.

The case deals with many themes also amongst the bunch of teenagers that decided to party at the abandoned murder house. With Daniel being the only teen who is black, from a modest background and gay. Tom is going to have his work cut out. Is Daniel guilty? Why are the other teens so quick to pin the blame on Daniel?

‘They were a toxic little mix of money and meanness and boredom’ 

There is added heartbreak and emotional complexity, when we learn Luke had a brother. A twin brother in fact and he is currently in hospital with terminal leukaemia. Luke’s twin Ethan only has weeks left to live.
With this scenario, you really begin to feel for the Connolly parents. How do you grieve for one son, when the other has just weeks left in your life? How do you go from having two sons, to no living children?

‘Since Luke’s death, the world was on its axis’

Privileged posh kids, secrets and betrayal. 4*  

JS
Jo Spain
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview A Sinner’s Prayer by @EllingtonWright M.P Wright 5*Genius #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Series #JTEllington @bwpublishing #Bristol #ASinnersPrayer

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A Sinner’s Prayer by M.P. Wright
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Saying farewell to the dark side doesn’t mean the dark side wants rid of you. And I was about to be reminded of that fact.

1970, St Pauls, Bristol. A new decade, and JT Ellington is determined it will be a quiet one. He’s stepped away from the private-eye game to scratch a living, respectable at last, as a school caretaker.

Still his nights are full of torment – guilt and ghosts that no prayers will banish but it’s not until the past comes calling in the unwelcome form of Superintendent Fletcher that JT’s resolve is truly tested.

Fletcher has a job for JT – and the hard-nosed cop can’t be refused. A young man, Nikhil Suresh, has disappeared hours before his wedding; rumours abound and his family is distraught. JT is to investigate.

With what feels like blood money in his pocket, JT is plunged deep into a demi-monde of vice, violence and forbidden passion. An extraordinary, malevolent enemy is intent on destroying him. Now – seeking survival and redemption – JT must play as dirty and dangerous as those who want him dead.

My Review ~

‘Sooner or later, everyone round you dies JT. They are in hell, everyone you ever loved, all either burnt up or here rotting with me’

The title opens with JT confronted by the ghostly apparition of Carnell Harris. We become quickly aware of the past characters that have featured in the series. Their links to other returning characters and the toll their pain and losses takes on JT’s psyche. JT Ellington is a haunted man, haunted by his past, haunted by the present and haunted by the future!

‘Carnell Harris was dead because of me’

 The title opens on Friday 13th August 1971 in Bristol. JT is now 48yrs old and we learn that 1970’s Britain is no more kinder to JT than the previous swinging 1960’s. JT faces an avalanche of daily racism, discrimination and prejudice. A fictionalised version of the windrush experience. JT is currently a caretaker at a local primary school, having abandoned the life of a PI for a secure lifestyle for his 6yr old niece Chloe.
But as usual… Trouble lurks closely behind every corner of Jt’s life…

JT is accosted by Detective Inspector Fletcher again, (now Superintendent) He encourages or more likely coerces JT into dealing with the case of a missing shopkeepers son Nikhil Suresh. However, to unravel the mystery of Nikhil’s disappearing act, JT must navigate the world of arranged marriage.

‘I decided to take the Superintendent’s thirty pieces of silver’

We are reintroduced to a wide-range or reoccurring characters such as Aunt Pearl, Uncle Gabe and my favourite Loretta Harris.
But JT’s main focus remains the case of the missing bridegroom. The case becomes even more entangled when we learn of the men living in secret due to their sexuality. Can JT uncover the most precious secrets of those close to Nikhil? Or will Nikhil’s death remain unsolved?

‘The man you search for is with the Jinn’

The LGBT theme in 1970’s England, enables the reader to explore the underground gay scene, drag queens and others society has rejected. The era is one of oppression and it is shocking to think this is not that long ago. Needlessly, the author deals with such matters with tact, delicacy and lets the emotion lead the narrative.

‘The dead man had been associating with monsters, and he’d clearly gone on to pay a very high price for it’

When a local white child’s body is discovered at a local golf course. JT begins to question a link. But why would anyone strangle and beat an 11yr old boy? Is there a definitive link to Nikhil’s disappearance?
One thing is for certain, if the murder of a local white boy is reported in connection with Nikhil, it could unleash all manner of racial tensions, violence and possible riots on the streets. JT must act fast!

When the case is potentially linked to organised crime and gangsters of The Firm. JT calls in the big guns and by big guns, he means Vic!
‘Vic was proof that a black man could live by his own rules in Britain’

Vic is without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite male characters in the series (aside from JT). I would love to see the series developed into a TV series and think Idris Elba would make an exceptional Vic we would all fall in love with!

‘White folk were as happy here to let a black man or woman take the fall for them as they were back on Bim, whether they had committed the damn crime or not’

The novel deals with not only tough issues, but complex issues. The racial tensions of the decade are fully explored, as are the potential various motivations. Fear, ignorance and lack of self awareness all play a part in the up rise of white British racism. The plague it holds over its victims is fully explored….
‘I was perhaps descending down into hell and the devil himself would be waiting for me’ 

There are passages of beautiful prose from M.P. Wright and he has excelled himself once again with A Sinner’s Prayer.
‘I imagined prehistoric wolves making the same gesture before they howled at men, women and children sat shivering in their caves’…
‘A trio of deadly executioners, who lived in the knowledge that certain death always followed in their wake’

Dark crime fiction to mix with your dark rum on the sunny summer evenings!
*Raises glass to JT Ellington*
A series finale and a character that will live on in the hearts of his readers.
5* Genius

MPW
M.P. Wright
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My Q&A with M.P. Wright
My Review of, The Restless Coffins

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Our Little Secrets by @PRitchieAuthor 4* #CrimeFiction #GraceMacallan #Series #Scotland @bwpublishing #OurLittleSecrets

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Our Little Secrets by Peter Ritchie ~ Grace Macallan #5
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

At a dark place in Edinburgh’s heart, secrets refuse to lie dormant.

At Police Scotland HQ, Grace Macallan has pitched up in Counter Corruption. But the demons of her past are never far behind.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s gangland is in turmoil. As a new breed of upstarts challenges the old criminal order, their battle for territory causes serious havoc.

Into the war steps DI Janet Hadden. Ambitious, hardbitten and addicted to risk-taking, she knows how to throw opponents off balance. But when she’s thwarted, Hadden seeks help from a notorious underworld fixer, a man who keeps secrets but always extracts a price.

Beset by violence and double-crossing, Grace is soon embroiled in a savage game of cat and mouse with colleagues and criminals alike. With all sides driven by dark desires, theirs is an endgame that will take Grace down unless she holds her nerve.

My Review ~

The title opens with the usual introduction to the various characters and their backstories. The characterisation in Peter Ritchie’s novels is always intense. Think along the lines of Martina Cole or Stuart MacBride.
This time we are introduced to Davy ‘Tonto’ McGill, as he is being chased by an angry ‘Pete the Pole’ with an axe, an average day for Police Scotland. We are also introduced to Detective Inspector Janet Hadden, whom I took an instant dislike to. For she is no Grace Macallan. The novel follows the story of Detective Hadden as she pursues Scotland’s finest criminal using a variety of strategies, some of them not being legit…

‘Dominic Grainger was her real target’ 

Dominic Grainger is the type of baddie, that leaps from the pages. He is struggling to navigate the criminal underworld, whilst staying top of the pecking order with his two brothers Paul and Sean, and keeping father-in-law gangster Arthur Hamilton at arms length. It isn’t long until Dominic finds himself on Hadden’s radar…

‘Time and time again she was surprised by the frailty of men, and she was equipped to exploit those failings wherever she needed to’

The novel then explores the past of Dominic’s wife Jude Hamilton. The tensions that lead to a deadly rivalry between Dominic and Arthur. This is a title packed to the brim with gang wars, confidential informants, dirty cops and gritty violence!

‘A rat was a rat, even when you put a little sheriff’s badge on it and told it you cared’ 

Gangland adultery with deadly consequences! 4*

PR
Peter Ritchie
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My Review of Cause Of Death ~ Grace Macallan #1
My Review of Evidence Of Death ~ Grace Macallan #2
My Review of Shores Of Death ~ Grace Macallan #3
My Review of Where No Shadows Fall ~ Grace Macallan #4

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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Absolution by @YrsaSig Yrsa Sigurdardottir 5* #Psychological #Thriller #ChildrensHouse #Series #FreyaAndHuldar @HodderBooks @HodderFiction

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The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Children’s House #3
Translated by Victoria Cribb
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

The new novel from the internationally bestselling, prizewinning, queen of Icelandic crime.

All he wants is for them to say sorry.

The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows the terrified victim begging for forgiveness.
When her body is found, it is marked with a number 2…

Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager’s friends. Soon, they uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim – but even so, who could have hated her enough to kill?

Then another teenager goes missing, and more clips are sent. Freyja and Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. And the killer is not done yet.

A brilliantly suspenseful story about the dark side of social media, The Absolution will make you wonder what you should have said sorry for…

My Review ~

‘Say You’re sorry’

The Absolution is a thoroughly modern novel, dealing with the themes of online bullying, stalking and revenge! It is action-packed and a neat edition to the Children’s House series. I am a huge fan of this series and have read The Legacy #1 and The Reckoning #2. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest.

The novel opens with a vicious attack on a young teenage girl. It is a scene that plays out perfectly as if it was in a teen horror movie. The victim alone, late at night in an empty cinema theatre. Huldar arrives and finds plenty of blood, but a missing body. The CCTV footage later reveals just what took place…

‘What can she have done to the man to deserve that?’

Freyja is brought in to help interview the teenage friends and potential enemies of the victim (Stella). She is moved (and so was I) when she interviews Adalheidur, a female student and victim of Stella’s relentless bullying. The social media bullying narrative is fully explained and the cruel harsh reality of the abuse is laid bare.
There is a narrative from another bullying victim David’s perspective. Hearing the vile threats/abuse and knowing he is at the edges of suicidal ideation, is absolutely heart-breaking! As a parent, my heart was ripped out for these kids. Scary to admit that the perpetrator’s are often just kids themselves also.

There are chapters from the killers point of view, where the killer attempts to justify their actions of murder as revenge. After reading of the harsh venom thrown towards the victim’s, you do begin to understand the killer’s psychology. After all, wouldn’t most of us snap under this kind of daily rigorous abuse?

The novel has dark theme’s as listed above, but in this modern era it is a story we see played out multiple times in the local and national media. Kids bullying kids, to the point of vicious and graphic assaults.
A dark and scary theme, very well done! 5*

YS
Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Twitter
My Review of The Legacy – Children’s House #1
My Review of The Reckoning – Children’s House #2
My Review of Someone To Watch Over Me
My Review of The Undesired
My Review of Why Did You Lie?