#Exclusive #Giveaway Dead Lands by @LloydOtisWriter #SignedCopy #BookyPen @urbanepub @urbanebooks

cover
Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis
Synopsis:

The stunning debut from thriller writer Lloyd Otis. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge – and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Lloyd Otis brings a startling account of the past back to life over a burgeoning ’70s landscape, and delivers a thrilling piece of crime fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

#Giveaway: 

To be in with a chance of winning the signed copy of Dead Lands (& the booky pen! love a booky pen). Just comment ONE answer of the following questions. Comment on either the blog post, pinned Tweet or original Facebbook post at Anne Bonny Book Reviews.
What I want to know is…………
What decade is Dead Lands set in?
What UK city?
What is the protagonist police officers name?
You only have to answer one question correctly to be in with a chance of winning!
Dead Lands fans are free to answer all 3, if they like!
Each entry will receive a number and one of my kids shall pick at random!
Good luck! 

LO2
Lloyd Otis
Author bio:
Lloyd was born in London and attained a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication. After gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, he completed a course in journalism. Lloyd has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block. Two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology, and he currently works as an Editor.
Authors links:
Web: http://www.lloydotis.com/
Via Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/lloyd-otis/
Twitter: @LloydOtisWriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter

#BlogTour #Review 5* and Q&A #BloodRites by @DStuartDavies @urbanepub @urbanebooks #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #DISnow

*I received an arc via the publisher, in return for an honest review. I read/reviewed the novel, before I agreed to organise the blog tour*

Cover
Blood Rites by David Stuart Davies
Synopsis:

Blood Rites is a Northern thriller set in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in the 1980s featuring Detective Inspector Paul Snow. DI Paul Snow has a personal secret  He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police   of the time. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, Snow is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?

My review:

This novel opens with a very thought-provoking quote:

“Homosexuals then had three choices.
One. To conform to society’s expectations.
To marry and have children.
Two. To be celibate
Three. To live a double life, fraught with danger – of violence or blackmail – and to live it alone”
John Fraser in his autobiography close up

As stated numerous times on my blog. I have a deep love for diverse novels. This one, and namely Detective Inspector Paul Snow immediately caught my eye. The idea of a protagonist being a senior police officer, a secret homosexual in an era, when there was little freedom to be gay.
I had to know more…….

The novel is set in 1980’s, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. In the months leading up to Christmas 1985. The novel opens with a killer having returned from a murder. The killer appears perfectly nonchalant about his crimes and although the chapter is short, it sets the sinister tone.

Three months earlier, DI Snow is courting local headmistress of the all-girls Catholic school, Matilda. Having invited her to a police function, he feels self-conscious and uptight. It would appear DI Snow has threes persona’s public, private and secret. I really warmed to Snow, despite his complexities. I found him to be a straight-laced, career copper with justice on his mind. The eternal struggles to deal with his homosexuality, show he has an inner depth. Knowing that marriage, would be to don a marital straight jacket, but also wanting to advance his career in the police force and desperate not to be considered a ‘nancy boy’ within the ranks. He entertains the idea of a long-term relationship with Matilda.

Across town, on the same night. Local delinquent and trouble maker Barry ‘Bazzer’ Donovan assaults a man and leaves him unconscious in the street. Unfortunately for Bazzer it would be his last criminal endeavour, as he is mown down by a drink driver and killed instantly. The victim upon learning of Bazzer’s death via the local newspaper, feels elated in the news and it sets of a series of sinister murders to follow.

The first domino has fallen

The murders all have a vigilante theme, amongst them. With no victim, truly being an innocent soul. The first murder, is of known wife-beater Sammy Tindall, found stabbed in the stomach multiple times. The police are bemused as to who would kill Sammy? And why? The following story of Maureen ‘Mandy’ Sullivan a teenage abuse victim, on the cusp of suicide, makes for heart-breaking and vivid reading. I had tears in my eyes, as her personal pain seeped from the pages. With news of this suicide, the killer wants vengeance and he knows exactly from whom to extract it.

Snow continues to act as a straight man, which is all new territory for him. He battles on investigating his case. With seemingly no leads and little in the way of evidence. He knows the murders are linked. But how? How is the killer choosing the victims? Chief Constable Clayborough applies added pressure, demanding progress. Then Matilda brushes Snow off, after the return of her out and proud gay brother Roger and everything suddenly becomes far more multifaceted.
One thing is for certain, someone is cleaning up the streets of Yorkshire, one scumbag at a time……….

This is a novel, with a case as complex as the characters it features. It is very cleverly put together and the ending left me astounded! It is at times very dark, but the characters really get into you head and you become desperate for the case to unravel.
DI Paul Snow is an incredible protagonist and won me over entirely! 5*

Yorkshire man’s mantra: see all, hear all and say nowt.

Q&A:

Q) The novel opens with a very poignant quote. What was the inspiration behind including this quote?

A) The quote is:

‘Homosexuals then had three choices.

One. To conform to society’s expectations. To marry and have children.

Two. To be celibate.

Three. To live a double life, fraught with danger – of violence or blackmail – and to live it alone.’

It comes from Close Up, the autobiography of the actor John Fraser, who, incidentally, played Lord Alfred Douglas in the 1960 movie of Oscar Wilde’s life, opposite Peter Finch as the great man himself. Although we now live in somewhat more enlightened times, even as recently as the 1980s there was so much prejudice and suspicion, which caused great pain and hardship for people, as the recent Gay Britannia programming on BBC TV has shown so brilliantly. I feel a great affinity with the gay community who, in my experience, comprise some of kindest and most creative and cultured individuals I know. I felt that the quote reflected something of the situation my lead character Paul Snow experiences.

Q) DI Paul Snow is quite a captivating character; he is so unique and multifaceted. My brother is gay and therefore I often read novels with a gay protagonist or a gay theme. A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale being one of my all-time favourite novels. How did you create DI Paul Snow and what was the motivation behind his hidden sexuality?

A) With Paul Snow I wanted to reveal how difficult it was for him to deal with his own innate emotions and tendencies in a responsible job which he loved. At this time, exposure would destroy his career.

I spoke to two people who had been in the CID in the 1980s about the extreme prejudice faced by officers then, and felt there was something I could say about it. Even in these liberated times, away from the glitz of show business, gay people can still feel the harsh wind of prejudice and censure.

Q) I am a huge fan of diverse novels; I think they represent society in a realistic light. I read a wide range of novels with a BAME & LGBTQ theme. As writer, how important is diversity to you in the various genres of literature?

A) I don’t think of it consciously as I’m a very instinctive writer. I also write in a cinematic fashion – in other words I see my characters and scenes unfolding before me as though they were in a movie. I do actually just pick up a pen or hit my key board, start writing and see where I’m led. There must be some subconscious distillation of influences and selection going on in my poor brain but I just try to write the best story I can and luckily some amazing characters have arrived to help me. I don’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write a novel about’, or ‘I see such and such an anniversary is coming up in three years, I’ll pitch a novel about that theme’ – I’m not that clever. I don’t plan – I begin with a concept, an idea, just an opening sentence or scene or a theme and see where it leads me. The characters and events just tend to pop up.

With the Blood trilogy, I thought there was a story to be told about prejudice in the 1980s and, as a crime writer, a policeman was the obvious choice to tell that story.

In The Scarlet Coven, my crime and black magic novel set in New York in 1936, my lead character Simon Finch was in a tricky situation and the black private eye Patrick Murphy just popped up out of my imagination fully formed to help him. He was to be only a subsidiary character but he took over and actually became the third member of the detective trio.

My World War II series features Johnny Hawke, a disabled former policeman who had turned private eye after an accident in the army in which he loses an eye meant that he couldn’t continue active service.

I guess I like to write about rounded human beings in extremis, and some of them are individuals who could be seen by the mainstream as outsiders. We can all identify with feeling ‘other’ – certainly they face challenges and some form of discrimination, though I wasn’t really aware that was what I was doing when I wrote the books – this Q&A is making me see things I didn’t realise were there!

Q) 1980s Yorkshire provides the period and location. What made you decide this was the perfect era and setting for your novels?

A) I chose the 1980s because this was a time before so much technical policing really came into its own – the use of DNA profiling and really serious forensics. I’m not particularly fond of such detail – I’m a broad brush person – and would struggle to research and write about that kind of investigation. I like the dramatic interaction between individuals. Policing then involved much more face to face detective work rather than relying on science to provide the clues and lead them to the culprit.

I chose Yorkshire because that is where I live. I hope something of the essence of the place seeps through without it being spelled out. I hadn’t written about the area before and I liked the idea of placing a detective in my home town. Morse has his Oxford; Rebus has his Edinburgh; and Snow has his Huddersfield!

Q) The plot is set in the build up to Christmas 1985, as this is due for release on 9th November, it is the perfect Christmas purchase, for the crime fiction fan. Do you write in the season that the novel reflects? Does this help you to feel inside the plot?

A) Thank you for suggesting that people might like something nasty in their Christmas stocking. I hope some of you may follow up that suggestion!

I can write any time about anything – I use my imagination, dredge my memory or watch films which I feel might inspire me. I don’t necessarily have to be in a place or have experienced something in order to write about it. The contrast between the so called jolly season and the grim events in the novel appealed to me. It’s a kind of blood on my shiny Christmas tree baubles sort of thing. And I wanted snow to be on the ground at the climax which I believe will shock most readers.

Q) The sinister murders in the novel, have a theme of the victim being deserving of death. How did you come up with this motive? Was it inspired by a real life murder?

A) Here was another serial killer, but I didn’t want your cliché crazy man. I wanted him to have a reason to kill and the victims to be in one sense diverse and yet having a tenuous connection. The challenge is to keep that connection hidden for as long as possible from the detective and, indeed, the reader. I pondered how this could come about and the idea came to me. Without giving the game away, I liked the irony involved in creating this killer!

Q) Finally, what is next for you and what are you working on currently? Can we the readers have any sneaky snippets of news?

A) My next book with Urbane is The Mystery of Throate Manor, which features a grown up Oliver Twist (now a solicitor) and the Artful Dodger, Jack Dawkins, investigating a murder mystery. In this novel I have attempted to tread the same path as Dickens by blending dark tragedy with scenes of comedy, romance and the grimness of the times. I don’t seek to emulate Dickens’s style; that would be doomed to failure, rather to echo the spirit of the great man. That is what I have always done with my Sherlock Holmes novels, which, I hope, remain true to the spirit of Conan Doyle but not necessarily the letter – I try to bring something fresh to it.

I have just finished another Sherlock Holmes novel: The Instrument of Death and am thinking about returning to my wartime detective Johnny Hawke (Johnny One Eye) moving him into the post-war austerity of the 1950s for a suitably grim tale!

DSD: Thank you so much for the opportunity to chat. I really enjoyed it and love your blog and what you do to support books.

*Huge thanks to David Stuart Davies for taking the time to complete a Q&A for my blog! I wish you every success with the release of your novel Blood Rites.

DSD
David Stuart Davies
Author Bio:

David Stuart Davies is an author, playwright and editor. His fiction includes six novels featuring his wartime detective Johnny Hawke, Victorian puzzle solver artist Luther Darke, and seven Sherlock Holmes novels – the latest being Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper Legacy (2016). His non-fiction work includes Starring Sherlock Holmes, detailing the film career of the Baker Street sleuth. David has also penned a Northern Noir trilogy of gritty crime novels set in Yorkshire in the 1980s: Brothers in Blood, Innocent Blood and Blood Rites.

David is regarded as an authority on Sherlock Holmes and is the author of two Holmes plays, Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act and Sherlock Holmes: The Death and Life, which are available on audio CD. He has written the Afterwords for all the Collector’s Library Holmes volumes, as well as those for many of their other titles.

He is a committee member of the Crime Writers’ Association and edits their monthly publication Red Herrings. His collection of ghost and horror stories appeared in 2015, championed by Mark Gatiss who said they were ‘pleasingly nasty.’

David is General Editor of Wordsworth’s Mystery & Supernatural series and a past Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. He has appeared at many literary festivals and the Edinburgh Fringe performing his one man presentation The Game’s Afoot – an evening with Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle. He was recently made a member of The Detection Club. Moved this higher up the piece as it is the trilogy we are promoting.

Authors links:
Web: http://www.davidstuartdavies.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DStuartDavies @DStuartDavies
Via Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/david-stuart-davies/

 

 

#BlogTour #GuestReview by @zinca The Future Can’t Wait by @AngelenaBoden @urbanepub #NewRelease @urbanebooks

banner2
The Future Can’t Wait by Angelena Boden
Synopsis:

The Future Can’t Wait is a contemporary novel set in multicultural Birmingham against a background of growing radicalisation of young people sympathetic to Islamic State.   Kendra Blackmore’s half Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her cutting off all contact with her family. Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to bring her estranged daughter home….

#GuestReview:

Review by Kerensa Jennings, bestselling author of SEAS OF SNOW

 

The terrifying unravelling of a mother’s life. The fragility of the human psyche. Brilliantly drawn.

My overwhelming feeling after finishing this book was that I could see it being used in the classroom and in other educational applications to help vulnerable young people. It’s a fascinating read that forces you to evaluate complex issues of identity and cultural heritage from different perspectives and in a variety of lights.

It’s a challenging book because of the highly charged content, infused as it is with an undercurrent of disaffection and anger. Highly relevant to the world we live in, I am impressed both by the author’s courage and the publisher’s commitment to seeing a difficult topic published.

The heart and emotion of the story sing through the pages.

image 1

The unravelling of the protagonist’s mental state as she is caught in the grip of grief, bewilderment and paranoia, is expertly crafted. The dialogue feels authentic and the characters particularly of Kendra – our valiant, yet emotionally fragile lead, her husband David and son Adam are written with integrity. It’s a contemporary novel set in contemporary times. Social media and the digital connectedness of the world are described in technicolour.

The beating pulse of the story is a mother’s relationship with her daughter. It is a painful and upsetting read in many ways, so clunk-click, get ready for the ride. You’ll need to strap yourself in for this one. Anyone wanting a cosy fireside Autumn read…. my advice would be, this is not for you. But anyone intrigued by issues of identity, and the issues and behaviours it might provoke both in the parents and offspring of mixed race children, will find this revealing, difficult and thought provoking.

image 2

I had no preconceptions about this book. I was invited to read it by the publisher, with a view to potentially reviewing it. I have since learned a lot more about the wonderful author behind The Future Can’t Wait – Angelena Boden – her academic rigour, her own personal journey, and her experiences having married an Iranian man earlier in her life. The acknowledgements page at the back of this book is the first time an acknowledgements page has brought tears to my eyes.

There are elements of the story I personally struggled with – particularly an aspect of Kendra’s behaviour involving psychics which I shall let you discover for yourself. It didn’t ring true to me that someone of Kendra’s groundedness would resort to seek comfort in the weasel words of confidence tricksters. But I know from my own journalism background that it is worryingly common for smart, well-rounded people to descend into a spiral of decline. So behaviours can become both unpredictable and unexpected.

image 3

On a personal level, I wish Angelena Boden the very best of luck as her work is gradually discovered across the bookosphere. I know from personal experience writing – and seeing published – my own psychological thriller, SEAS OF SNOW, how overwhelming and frightening it is. My book covers extremely difficult topics, too – from child abuse and domestic abuse to psychopathy. I was incredibly excited about seeing my work out there, but also petrified about the response. I think Angelena Boden has been immensely brave bringing such an important topic to life through such an extraordinary story. It can’t have been easy, I don’t think, but I and many other readers will be very glad that she did.

AB2
Angelena Boden
Author Bio:

Angelena Boden (M.Soc.Sc PGDE) has spent thirty five years as an international training consultant, specialising in interpersonal skills and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching.

Since retiring from training, she runs a coaching practice in Malvern for people who are going through transition periods in their life; divorce, empty nesting, redundancy or coping with difficult situations at work, home and within the wider family.

Angelena has two half Iranian daughters and has extensive experience of helping mixed nationality couples navigate problems in their marriages.

She is the author of The Cruelty of Lambs, a novel about psychological domestic abuse. Her new book, The Future Can’t Wait tackles the breakdown of a mother and daughter relationship within a cross cultural context. It is published by Urbane Publications and is out in November 2017.

Author Links:
Web: http://www.angelenaboden.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelenaBoden @AngelenaBoden
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bodenangelena/

#GuestReviewer:
imgae 4
Kerensa Jennings author of, Seas Of Snow
Website: http://www.seasofsnow.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15253227.Kerensa_Jennings
Twitter: @zinca

*Huge Thanks to Guest reviewer Kerensa Jennings for her review of, The Future can’t Wait.
Which was released 2nd November and is available via kindle or just 99p*

#BlogTour #Review Q&A The Future Can’t Wait by @AngelenaBoden @urbanepub #NewRelease 99p #BookGroupQuestions

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review. I read/review and write Q&As, before I agree to organise a blog tour*

banner2
The Future Can’t Wait by Angelena Boden
Synopsis:

The Future Can’t Wait is a contemporary novel set in multicultural Birmingham against a background of growing radicalisation of young people sympathetic to Islamic State.   Kendra Blackmore’s half Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her cutting off all contact with her family. Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to bring her estranged daughter home….

My review:

The novel opens in contemporary, multicultural Birmingham. With its mix of cultures and heritage, the location provides the perfect backdrop. Kendra Blackmore a lecturer at the Darwin Academy; is delivering a guest speech, in a lecture regarding psychology. She is widely respected in her field. The crowd are in awe of her ability to relate sympathies to the Islamic State with neuroscience and an individual’s susceptibility to make certain choices.

Kendra returns home to her husband David. He is quite an oddball in his nature but a loving stepfather to her two children. Eldest son Adam is a respected Dr himself, currently living in Boston, USA. Daughter Ariana (Rani), is quite complex young madam! She is currently in the final months of her Astrophysics degree and facing huge exam pressure/stress. She is cleverly a very bright and talented young woman, at the beginning of her adult life. However, she is often moody, immature and prone to outburst towards her mother. I found the mother and daughter relationship, very intriguing!
The way Kendra smothers her daughter, whilst allowing her to be so verbally abusive towards her.
But we have all known such relationships exist.

The background of Kendra’s first marriage is fully explored. With Kendra wondering if this is why, Rani is so distant. Does rani blame her mother for the divorce and having an absent father? Rani continues to push her mother away and Kendra’s desperate attempts to bring her closer only lead to further rows. With Rani becoming suffocated, until the day she leaves. Rani sends her mother a note, cutting off all contact.
It is quite spitefully done and has the reader, questioning Rani’s motives for such a malicious act.

The note and abandonment dominate Kendra’s life. She becomes obsessed and her life slowly unravels. It was at this point I questioned the dynamics, they have the appearance of the perfect middle class family but under the surface, there’s a lot going on! No-one truly knows what goes on in another person’s family. Their inner secrets and shared pain. From the viewpoint of family relationships, this novel offers up, much food for thought!

“The past can be dangerous territory”

Kendra’s obsessions about her daughter build and build. Upon finding some leaflets, in her daughter’s bedroom. She becomes convinced her daughter has been at risk of radicalisation. Messages in Arabic and friendship with a Persian student, add fuel to Kendra’s fire!
She becomes a woman on a mission to find her daughter at all costs………..

As Rani is an adult, she cannot consult the police or authorities until she learns more and gathers more proof. This leads her to an almost breakdown and the devastation of her family.

There are themes of fascism, vulnerability, miseducation, isolation, risk, unity, innocence and maturity within this novel. They are tactfully and sensitively explored. I felt the young adults ‘coming of age’ in this novel are really struggling. With the dark side of the disenfranchised youth of today, fully demonstrated. Kendra struggles to assess how she missed or failed to notice her own daughter’s unhappiness.
But how well do we ever know, those whom we profess to love the most, our children!

What sort of mother does that make me then?”

This novel follows the story of an intelligent woman, whom appears to have it all. We watch her lose something so precious to her, her daughters love and understanding. The aftermath proving so traumatic, it sets off a chain of events. Kendra won’t always make the choices, you think she will or have the thoughts you think she should and that is what makes this novel perfect for book groups. There are a wealth of issues/themes up for debate. The characters are relatable and believable. I would urge book groups to focus on the responses of those in the family and what they themselves would do.

“Ego is the only requirement to destroy any relationship”

Q&A:

Q) The novel opens in contemporary multicultural Birmingham. What made you decide on this location and era, to tell this story?

A) I lived in different areas of Birmingham for almost thirty years and raised my dual heritage children there – I prefer that term to mixed race. I have seen the changes over the years and am saddened to witness today’s tensions in a city which has prided itself on fostering harmonious relationships between the many communities. I wanted to show that things are not always what the media like to make them out to be and that Birmingham is a decent city in which to live and raise a family. I chose a well-to-do suburb of the city as the setting for the book for reasons that hopefully will become clear to the readers.

Q) The mother and daughter relationship is extremely authentic. As I regard in my review, we have all known such relationships take place. What was the inspiration behind this?

A) Many mother-daughter relationships become fraught as the daughter moves into adulthood. This often coincides with major changes for the mother – physical and emotional. The empty nest can be viewed with anticipation and excitement by some but with fear and trepidation by others. I know of many mothers who have really struggled with this. Me included.

Q) The novel deals with the theme of parental abandonment and Kendra’s response to such abandonment. Was this emotionally draining to write? Did it you see the situation through the eyes of the characters themselves?

A) Very draining as I was actually writing from a degree of personal experience. I plan to write about this in more detail in a blog. It took seven drafts to get the balance of the story right for the readers. I could really feel Kendra’s shock and pain and was writing for her. I was in tears many times and had to put the book aside. David’s character was a pleasure to create as my husband is just like him J As far as Rani is concerned I could relate to being her age, many moons ago but more importantly I wrote the book when I was experiencing the tidal waves of my own daughter’s estrangement in 2012 -15.

Q) The novel also depicts family secrets and what goes on behind closed doors. This would be tricky to research, yet is the basis for many novels in this genre. I think your novel is exceptionally unique. From your point of view, as a writer, why are secrets/lies themes so intriguing to the reader?

A) I really didn’t do any research because there were so many secrets in my own immediate family surrounding both my daughters at the time but particularly the younger one that I often felt I was writing more of a memoir. Many families have the proverbial skeleton in the wardrobe and I think we, as readers, are gripped by the intrigue. However not all secrets are revealed in real life or fiction!

Q) The novel depicts Rani’s coming of age and also the disenfranchised youth of today in general, very well. What was the inspiration behind this theme?

A) Young people in the 18-25 age group have never had things so difficult in many respects despite the technology and material stuff many of them have. Parents generally want to see their children do better than they have done – jobs, homes, quality of life but for many this isn’t happening. Frustration and anger has been building up for a while, especially in cities where there has been a target for this – often a minority group gets blamed. In addition we have a generational clash, greater than ever, as my generation had free university education, career progression and the chance to own our own houses from an early age. As a specialist in behaviour I have been tracking these sociological changes for a number of years. More young people present with depression and anxiety at a time they are starting out in life. The pressure to succeed and compete is greater than ever.

Q) One thing that fascinated me, was that Kendra never responded to a situation as I would have predicted. She often made irrational and confusing choices. Was this intentional, to show how we react when emotions are involved?

A) We are really looking at a grief reaction and as you know it is different for everyone. Some cope by blocking it out and getting on with their lives. Others feel the pain more deeply and become paralysed by it. All of us need support when tragedy strikes.

We are all capable of descending into a sort of madness or obsession when we lose something very precious. To answer the last part of your question – yes it was intentional. I hope to encourage more empathy and understanding from those who might say – “I would not have reacted in that way.” There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

It’s a good topic for discussion!

Q) Finally, what are you working on next? Will we see more of Kendra and Rani’s story?

A) Edna’s Death Café is finished and is resting on my desk for the second edit. The main character is an 80 year old woman who goes to university in her seventies and studies Philosophy and Death. She runs a café in a village in my own county of Derbyshire and sets up meetings to talk about death and dying. It’s a light take on a serious, still taboo, subject. The Death Café movement is growing around the UK.

I do have Rani’s story in mind if readers are keen to find out what has happened to her. It wasn’t planned as a sequel but I would feel very privileged to write it if readers requested it.  

AB: Thank you so much Abby for this opportunity to talk about The Future Can’t Wait and for the blog tour.

Book club discussion Questions:

1) How well did you engage with the book?
2) What were your feelings about the main characters? Kendra, David, Rani, Adam, Marco. How authentic were they?

3) The key theme is the mother-daughter relationship. Why is this so fraught? If you don’t have a daughter, think about the relationship with your mother/mother-figure.

4) Did Kendra act/react to her daughter’s disappearance in the way you expected? Why/Why not? How would you have handled it?

5) Where did Kendra’s main sources of support come from? How did they help?

6) What are your impressions of David? Is he just a grumpy old man in his shed or is there something else about him?

7) Another theme is the struggle of young people into adult hood. Why is this such a problem these days? Think back to when you were young. Compare the challenges.

8) What are your thoughts on turning to psychics and mediums for help during difficult times? Have you ever done this?

9) We often jump to conclusions when faced with a shock as our emotions are heightened. What did you conclude about Rani’s disappearance?

10) Were you disappointed that the author didn’t reveal Rani’s story in this book? Would you be interested in a sequel?

AB2
Angelena Boden

Author Bio:
Angelena Boden (M.Soc.Sc PGDE) has spent thirty five years as an international training consultant, specialising in interpersonal skills and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching.

Since retiring from training, she runs a coaching practice in Malvern for people who are going through transition periods in their life; divorce, empty nesting, redundancy or coping with difficult situations at work, home and within the wider family.

Angelena has two half Iranian daughters and has extensive experience of helping mixed nationality couples navigate problems in their marriages.

She is the author of The Cruelty of Lambs, a novel about psychological domestic abuse. Her new book, The Future Can’t Wait tackles the breakdown of a mother and daughter relationship within a cross cultural context. It is published by Urbane Publications and is out in November 2017.

Author Links:
Web: http://www.angelenaboden.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelenaBoden @AngelenaBoden
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bodenangelena/

*The Future Can’t Wait, is available for just 99p on Kindle Ebook and is free to members of Kindle Unlimited*

 

#BlogTour #Review and Q&A #DeadLands by @LloydOtisWriter 5* Genius @urbanebooks #DebutNovel @urbanepub

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

cover
Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis
Synopsis:

Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape.

*Release date 12th October 2017.

My review:

Very few novels do I contact the publisher directly and ask to read a ‘coming soon’ title as soon as physically possible. This was one of those times! Dead Lands has an eye-catching cover and an intriguing synopsis. I was left dying to know more, little did I know I was in for one hell of a read………..

The location is London and the year is 1977, which makes for atmospheric reading but also an entirely different pace to a contemporary crime novel. Policing in the 1970s isn’t what it is today! A different era with its own approaches to racial profiling. Cransham, Lewisham and New Cross areas still left reeling from the ‘Rivers Of Blood’ speech of 1968 and its impact on London communities.
The backdrop of a right wing march in this novel offers a staggering reminder of that 1970s era.

The novel opens with violently brutal scene, it drew me in from the very first page! Police officers Detective Inspector Arlo Breck and Detective Sargent Patricia Kearns arrive on the scene. They are from the Sensitive Crimes Unit (SCU), basically dealing with cases that involve wealthy and influential people.
Money Talks!

The victim Janet Maskell has suffered a violent death. The scene offers little in the form of evidence except a name written on a magazine and a credit card both stating Alexander Troy. Who is Alex Troy? How does he fit in with the victim? Janet was a dedicated career woman and held a prestigious job with an investment firm. She had a routine life and no time for friends outside of work.
Who would want Janet dead and why?

The papers cite of the upcoming ‘war on our streets’ fuelling the far-right march. The area’s deprivation and hopelessness adds to the racial tension and mistrust. With all this happening Detective Superintendent Anil Bashir wants to override his detectives and run Janet’s case his way. Leaving Breck disillusioned with police work altogether.

Breck is dealing with a distressed girlfriend, who appears to be suffering with mental health issues from the flashbacks of a recent attack. He also faces verbal abuse from fellow copper Riley. Kearns is divorced, lonely and has virtually no interaction with her only child. The role of a female police officer in the 1970s is fully explored. The police officer’s backgrounds adds to the complexity of this novel.
There are revelations, secrets and lies. They read brilliantly as a police duo.

The police finally trace Alex Troy and bring him in for questioning. He works at the same investment firm and was facing a disciplinary hearing that day, which Janet had run against him. Is this his motive? He is completely baffled with their accusations. He pleads his innocence but refuses to give an alibi.
There is confusion, when another Alex Troy is linked to the case.
Then Troy escapes……….

The case of the two Alex Troy’s is fascinating reading. Identify theft in the 1970s, easily done and impossible to unravel. With one a person of interest (POI) and the other, the prime suspect. The prime suspect is desperate and on the run!

Nosey neighbour Wynda Brodie, informs the police that Janet did have one frequent visitor. Her gardener and lover Benjamin Genta. Stating her dislike at the thought of ‘half-caste kids’ running up and down the street! It would appear Wynda, is uncomfortable with the colour of Benjamin’s skin.
But who is Benjamin Genta and how does he tie into the case?

The investigation continues, there are searches for the two Alex Troys, interviews with people connecting to the victim and searches of property. But they throw up more dead ends than leads. Breck decides to approach Benjamin and discover more about the victim Janet. Benjamin has a clean record and a serious distrust of the police. His brother was an innocent victim in a stabbing and he recites cases of police harassment and brutality from an officer named Riley. But he was in love with Janet and they held the same political beliefs with regards to the anti-fascist movement against the far-right march. Was Janet’s death politically motivated? How involved was she?

“We’re in the dead lands, a place where you’re judged solely by the word of others. No one ever gets out. They stay trapped forever” Benjamin Genta
*Still poignant 40 years later.

There are chapters written from ‘the messengers’ perspective that make for harrowing reading. But they add thrills, fear and mystery. Who is the messenger? With a fellow officer proving there is a fine line between police work and police corruption. With his potential involvement in the march. Then one of the Alex Troy’s dead body is discovered the case is blown wide-open. Breck and Kearns must solve this case and fast! Before more dead bodies pile up.

A multifaceted complex novel, with themes of violence, past secrets, lies, police corruption, betrayals, racial tension and civil unrest. 5* Genius

Q&A:

Q) As a duo DI Arlo Breck and DS Patricia Kearns, come alive on the page. They are an unlikely pair and I often thought to myself they are chalk and cheese. But when you dig a little deeper into their pasts, the reader discovers they are both just trying to survive their own personal secrets. Was this intentional, to have two police officers so different but yet so alike?

A)It was, because as we know, opposites attract but when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find that they are both desperate to make amends. It’s the common denominator that secretly binds them together as individuals. Having them be different characters allowed me to provide a few interesting moments between them.

Q) I was very surprised to discover that DS Kearns was a female, due to the era. What made you decide to cast the role of Kearns as a female?

A) I wanted to create a more equal playing field in the story. Career opportunities for women across many industries were sadly extremely limited during the 70s, which is one of the reasons why I put Kearns in a specialist unit. A place where the skillset of an individual surpasses gender. There, the fact she is a woman, wouldn’t be such an obstacle as in other areas. I also felt that Breck and Kearns would bounce off each other better if one was male and the other female.

Q) Breck faces a dominating and bullying relationship with fellow police officer Riley. Which made me utterly despise Riley. Was this also part of the writing process to give an honest portrayal of the police in the 1970s?

A) To some extent, yes. The 70s had a lot of controversies, so there are some things that I just couldn’t underplay when setting its core in London. The stories about people being wrongly arrested, being discriminated against on a regular basis back then, and corruption, have already been well documented. To not have a character like Riley around wouldn’t be true to the decade. Having said that, not all officers were bad and that’s where Breck comes in. He’s Riley’s opposite in a sense.

Q) With themes of corruption and coercion, sometimes it was difficult to take the individual characters at face value. This added to the mystery and suspense feel of the novel and I was desperately trying to figure it out, before I got to the end. Is this sort of layered writing difficult to write, do you have to remind yourself who’s who? Does the direction of a character every change during the writing process?

A) Yes, this sort of layered writing is difficult to write because if there are multiple layers to a story, it can’t be rushed. Those layers have to understood by the author inside out. Once the author has that understanding, then the ultimate direction of the characters won’t change, their responses to situations may fluctuate, but their true direction will remain intact and the author won’t get confused with who’s who.

Q) Writing a novel set in 1977, is very different to the novels that flood the market. what was the inspiration behind this era? What was the research process for understanding policing in 1977?

A) For my debut I wanted create a story that you could say was under represented in the crime fiction market. Readers don’t want all books to be the same and we authors are creative, so we can try new things. I think there needs to be individualism in writing that continues to offer readers as much choice as possible. In terms of research, I underwent a lot for the period. From sifting through newspapers of the time, to speaking to someone who was present at ‘the march’ which serves as the backdrop to the story, and I was able to get on-the-job insights from a retired police sergeant that served during the decade.

Q) Breck identifies with Benjamin in the novel, almost as if he can imagine life thorough his eyes. We the reader also then witness Benjamin appear to let down his guard around Breck. How do you plan how various characters will interact with each another?

A) Good question. I think the keyword here is backgrounds. The background of a character leads me to decide how best that particular character would interact with others, especially in one-to-one scenes.

Q) If I had to sum up your novel in 5 words, I would say it is edgy, tense, unique, intelligent and thought-provoking. What 5 words would you use?

A) Thank you, Abby, that’s very kind. I honestly don’t think I could choose any different, or better, words than those.

Q) Finally, the question I am dying to know the answer to, is this debut novel the start of a Breck & Kearns series? If so are you working on ideas/themes for the next novel?

A) Breck & Kearns deserve their moment. I spent a lot of time considering who they were and what they were supposed to represent. Dead Lands is their story, from the beginning to the end, alongside a piece of real history. Will they return? Never say never.

LO2
Lloyd Otis
Author Bio:
Lloyd was born in London and attained a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication. After gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, he completed a course in journalism. Lloyd has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block. Two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology, and he currently works as an Editor.
Authors Links:
Web: http://www.lloydotis.com/
Via Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/lloyd-otis/
Twitter: @LloydOtisWriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter