Monday, 16 January 2017

Showcase & Giveaway for THE RIVERMAN BY ALEX GRAY (Crime/Police Procedurals)



The Riverman

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 9 - February 15, 2017


Synopsis:

The Riverman by Alex Gray
Fans of atmospheric police procedurals will love watching Glasgow vividly come to life with the shocking twists and turns that have made Alex Gray an international bestseller
When a dead body is fished out of Glasgow’s River Clyde the morning after an office celebration, it looks like a case of accidental death. But an anonymous telephone call and a forensic toxicology test give Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer reason to think otherwise. Probing deeper into the life and business of the deceased accountant, a seemingly upright member of the community, Lorimer finds only more unanswered questions.

What is the secret his widow seems to be concealing? Was the international accounting firm facing financial difficulties? What has become of the dead man’s protégé who has disappeared in New York? And when another employee is found dead in her riverside flat these questions become much more disturbing. Lorimer must cope not only with deceptions from the firm, but also with suspicions from those far closer to home . . .


Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659138 (ISBN13: 9780062659132)
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

April
THE RIVERMAN
The riverman knew all about the Clyde. Its tides and currents were part of his heritage. His father and others before him had launched countless small craft from the banks of the river in response to a cry for help. Nowadays that cry came in the form of a klaxon that could waken him from sleep, the mobile phone ringing with information about where and when. It wouldn’t be the first time that he’d pulled someone from the icy waters with only a hasty oilskin over his pajamas.
This morning, at least, he’d been up and doing when the call came. The body was over by Finnieston, past the weir, so he’d had to drive over the river towing a boat behind him on the trailer. He was always ready. That was what this job was all about: prompt and speedy response in the hope that some poor sod’s life could be saved. And he’d saved hundreds over the years, desperate people who were trying to make up their mind to jump off one of the many bridges that spanned the Clyde or those who had made that leap and been saved before the waters filled their lungs.
George Parsonage had been brought up to respect his river. Once it had been the artery of a great beating heart, traffic thronging its banks, masts thick as brush-wood. The tobacco trade with Virginia had made Glasgow flourish all right, with the preaching of commerce and the praising of a New World that was ripe for plucking. The names of some city streets still recalled those far-off days. Even in his own memory, the Clyde had been a byword for ships. As a wee boy, George had been taken to the launch of some of the finer products of Glasgow’s shipbuilding industry. But even then the river’s grandeur was fading. He’d listened to stories about the grey hulks that grew like monsters from the deep, sliding along the water, destined for battle, and about the cruise liners sporting red funnels that were cheered off their slipways, folk bursting with pride to be part of this city with its great river.
The romance and nostalgia had persisted for decades after the demise of shipbuilding and cross-river ferries. Books written about the Clyde’s heyday still found readers hankering after a time that was long past. The Glasgow Garden Festival in the eighties had prompted some to stage a revival along the river and more recently there had been a flurry of activity as the cranes returned to erect luxury flats and offices on either side of its banks. Still, there was little regular traffic upon its sluggish dark waters: a few oarsmen, a private passenger cruiser and the occasional police launch. Few saw what the river was churning up on a daily basis.
As he pushed the oars against the brown water, the riverman sent up a silent prayer for guidance. He’d seen many victims of despair and violence, and constantly reminded himself that each one was a person like himself with hopes, dreams and duties in different measure. If he could help, he would. That was what the Glasgow Humane Society existed for, after all. The sound of morning traffic roared above him as he made his way downstream. The speed of response was tempered by a need to row slowly and carefully once the body was near. Even the smallest of eddies could tip the body, filling the air pocket with water and sending it down and down to the bottom of the river. So, as George Parsonage approached the spot where the body floated, his oars dipped as lightly as seabirds’ wings, his eyes fixed on the shape that seemed no more than a dirty smudge against the embankment.
The riverman could hear voices above but his eyes never left the half-submerged body as the boat crept nearer and nearer. At last he let the boat drift, oars resting on the rowlocks as he finally drew alongside the river’s latest victim. George stood up slowly and bent over, letting the gunwales of the boat dip towards the water. Resting one foot on the edge, he hauled the body by its shoulders and in one clean movement brought it in. Huge ripples eddied away from the side as the boat rocked upright, its cargo safely aboard.
The victim was a middle-aged man. He’d clearly been in the water for some hours so there was no question of trying to revive him. The riverman turned the head this way and that, but there was no sign of a bullet hole or any wound that might indicate a sudden, violent death. George touched the sodden coat lightly. Its original camel colour was smeared and streaked with the river’s detritus, the velvet collar an oily black. Whoever he had been, his clothes showed signs of wealth. The pale face shone wet against the pearly pink light of morning. For an instant George had the impression that the man would sit up and grasp his hand, expressing his thanks for taking him out of the water, as so many had done before him. But today no words would be spoken.There would be only a silent communion between the two men, one dead and one living, before other hands came to examine the corpse.
George grasped the oars and pulled away from the embankment. Only then did he glance upwards, nodding briefly as he identified the men whose voices had sounded across the water. DCI Lorimer caught his eye and nodded back. Up above the banking a couple of uniformed officers stood looking down. Even as he began rowing away from the shore, the riverman noticed a smaller figure join the others. Dr. Rosie Fergusson had arrived.
‘Meet you at the Finnieston steps, George,’ Lorimer called out.
The riverman nodded briefly, pulling hard on the oars, taking his charge on its final journey down the Clyde.
Excerpt from The Riverman by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins | WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & on Twitter .

 

Tour Participants:

Visit the other tour stops for more great features and reviews!  









Don't Miss Your Chance in this Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) PRINT copy of The Riverman by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on January 9th and runs through February 23rd, 2017.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Book Review & Tour: THE DRY BY JANE HARPER (Mystery)


Published in Hardback by Little, Brown on 12 January 2017

Today, I'm delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for The Dry




I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone things Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.


Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret.



I was absolutely gripped by this story from the first shocking sentence to the book's stunning conclusion. What an amazing debut novel by Jane Harper.

The police from the next town believe it's an open and shut case, husband shoots dead his wife, little boy and then turns the gun on himself - no-one else involved, mystery solved.

Aaron Falk believes so too when he returns to the small town to pay his respects. But Luke's parents don't believe their son could have done this horrendous crime and when Barb, who was like a mother to Aaron when he was younger, asks for his help in clearing her son's name, he can't refuse. and he finds he is dragged back into a community of small minded people that he couldn't leave quick enough twenty years ago. Teaming up with the local police officer, Raco, he comes up against distrust, suspicion and lies. It's not going to be an easy job.

Kiewarra is an unhappy town full of 'townspeople all walking round like zombies, watching each other, trying to work out who'll be next to snap'. Even the young school children seem miserable in the dry and oppressive heat. Here's a scene where Falk and Raco are looking at the children's school paintings while talking to the headteacher, Whitlam:



'Jesus, some of these are depressing', Raco murmured.Falk could see what he meant. There were stick figure families in which every face had a crayon mouth turned downwards. A painting of a cow with angel wings. Toffee my Cow in Heaven, the shaky caption read. In every attempt at landscape, the fields were coloured brown.'You should see the ones we didn't put up' Whitlam said, stopping at the office door. 'The drought. It's going to kill this town'.

The writing is so vivid and imaginative, with such strong and real characters that I could feel the hopelessness and sadness and anger coming alive in every page. Weaving in and out of the present day are flashbacks to the past and another mystery involving the townspeople.

This is such an atmospheric novel that draws you in and I kept changing my mind throughout as to who really killed the Hadler family.


I can't praise this novel highly enough. I am in awe of the talented writing of Jane Harper.



Available to buy from Amazon UK - Amazon US - Book Depository



ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Jane Harper has worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK. She lives in Melbourne and currently writes for the Herald Sun. Jane is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2008. The Dry is her first novel.


Janeharper.com.au
Follower her on twitter @Janeharperautho




A huge thank you to Grace Vincent at Little, Brown Book Group for giving me the opportunity to take part in the virtual blog tour.

Take a look at the other bloggers who are taking part in the blog tour today








Monday, 2 January 2017

Book Review: THE PHANTOM TREE BY NICOLA CORNICK (Historical Fiction/Mystery/ParanormalRomance)


Published 29 Dec 2016
448 Pages

“My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.”
Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child.

The painting is more than just a beautiful object from Alison’s past it holds the key to her future, unlocking the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance, and the enigma of Alison’s son.

But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbours secrets in its shadows.

In The Phantom Tree author Nicola Cornick takes the real life Mary Seymour, who disappeared from the record books in 1550, and weaves a fictional tale of what could have happened to her.
Starting in the present day when Alison sees the portrait that she knows is certainly Mary Seymour, she tries to explain to the person who found it ...... but how does she know it's definitely not Anne Boleyn?  How can Alison explain that she was born in the 16th century and knew Mary and lived with her for a short time at Wolf Hall?
Alison can't find her way back and she is desperate to go home and find out what happened to her son.  When she sees the portrait she believes that Mary has given her some clues to help her find him.
This is so much more than a time travel tale.
The two different time periods are skilfully interwoven to build up a picture of Alison and Mary's lives in the 1500's, how they disliked each other, their jealousies, how poor Mary was unwanted and unloved, all interspersed with the present day and Alison's dilemma and desperation.
It took me a while to get used to the going back and forth in time, but once I did I was absolutely engrossed. I loved the writing, it was beautifully told, I really cared about the characters, about what happened to them, and was always curious as to how it would all end and be resolved.
Nicola Cornick has written an imaginative and unpredictable tale, with twists and turns and surprises aplenty, well-crafted with memorable characters.  This is a book that I'll remember for a long time.  Very enjoyable!
Special thanks to Harlequin UK and Netgalley.com for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Nicola Cornick is a historian and author.  She studied at London University and Ruskin College, Oxford and works for the National Trust as a guide at the 17th century hunting lodge Ashdown House in Oxfordshire.  Her award winning books are international bestsellers and have been translated into 26 languages.
She can be found at her website - and on twitter

The Phantom Tree is available to buy from Amazon UK - Amazon US - Book Depository

Friday, 23 December 2016

Book Review: CHRISTMAS AT THE VICARAGE BY REBECCA BOXALL


It’s been fifteen years since Rosamunde last lived at the vicarage in Potter’s Cove, the pretty coastal village where she grew up, experienced her first true love—and a heartbreak that changed her life forever. But now Potter’s Cove is calling her back: it’s time to make peace with the past and go home.
Rosamunde’s return to the vicarage in the days before Christmas is a whirlwind of festive cheer and heartwarming reunions with friends, family and her loving father, the vicar. And while seeing the old place after all this time stirs painful memories of long-ago grief, it also reminds her of all the love she left behind. Fifteen years ago she vowed never to let herself be vulnerable again—but now that she’s back she’s not so sure. Is it possible that real happiness could strike more than once?

Christmas at the Vicarage spans three decades of memories for Rosamunde on her return to the small coastal town after travelling around the world for fifteen years.  During the build up to Christmas Rosamunde's preparations are intertwined with her memories of the past.  
Starting in 2014 and going back and forth in time from 1978 as Rosamunde remembers living in the Vicarage with her sister and father after her mother died.  She thinks of her first love, of how her life may have been, if circumstances had been different.
The Vicarage sounds a wonderful place to live, everything happens there, from holding the auditions for the grown-ups nativity to lovers meeting.  I really wanted to live there!  It's a kind of cosy, blanket that wrapped around me.  All the goings on are watched over by Rosamunde's lovely father, the vicar, who is the most gentle, patient, funny, kind man.
This is a really enjoyable and unpredictable story, keeping me guessing as to why Rosamunde had come back home now, I kept turning the pages not knowing what to expect next.  A heartwarming read, perfect for the festive season.

Special thanks to the publishers Lake Union Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this via NetGalley.

Available from Amazon UK - Amazon US - Book Depository

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Promo Blitz: THE EMPTY ROOM BY SARAH J CLEMENS (Mystery/Romance)





Mystery / Romance
Date Published: July 23, 2016

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Rain soaked and dreary, it was a 1901 abandoned Victorian that Dean and Elizabeth hoped would fulfill their dreams, even if the town of Eastbrook, Maine was trapped under a blanket of fog. The first neighbor they meet in town dashes those dreams when he raises a bizarre question: what happened to the last person who lived in their house? Under mounting pressure from the residents of Eastbrook to stop questioning the past, Dean and Elizabeth are driven deeper into the history of the house, and the town. When they discover what happened in Eastbrook, keeping the secret could save their lives, but uncovering the truth might be worth the risk.

A gripping psychological mystery, The Empty Room takes readers on a cat-and-mouse game where some secrets are better off hidden.


Excerpt

A knock pounded loudly on the door for a second time and Elizabeth involuntarily let out a small shriek. She frantically put her hand over her mouth, but the sound had already escaped and there was little doubt that Mrs. Jacobs had heard. 

“Well.” Dean sighed, as he stood up from the crouched position he’d been holding beside the window. “Now we answer the door because you apparently have Tourette’s.” 

As Elizabeth slowly stood up beside him, a third round of loud pounding ensued. Elizabeth jumped at the sudden noise and hit her head against Dean’s lower lip. His head jolted back from the force and he winced. 

“Oh my God.” She leapt forward toward him. “Are you OK?”

Dean reached up his hand and clenched his jaw, pulling it from left to right. He pointed toward the door. “Great, first I get physically abused, now I’m going to get emotionally abused. And I still have no underwear.”

He finally came to the door and put his hand on the doorknob. He looked back at Elizabeth. “Just for the record, you are the worst covert ops partner ever.” With a specific intent in mind, he quickly turned the doorknob and ripped open the door as fast as he could. A startled Mrs. Jacobs stumbled backwards.

“You almost scared me to death,” she asserted, quickly brushing her dress to remove the imaginary wrinkles that had not formed from the unexpected greeting.

He stepped outside and grabbed Elizabeth by the wrist to pull her out of the house with him. “Well, follow-through has always been my problem. Look, we were just headed out the door and into town so we’re going to have to finish this later.” He reached for the doorknob and slammed the door behind him. 

But Mrs. Jacobs did not move. Other than the slight falter when he opened the door, she held her stance and stared at the closed door. Dean had a feeling it was not the first or the last time she had ever had a door closed in her face. With their backs to the old woman, the couple took several steps toward the edge of the porch.  

“You live next door, right? We’ll stop by. Oh, the fun we’ll have.” Still holding on to Elizabeth’s wrist, he pulled her past Mrs. Jacobs and down the steps.

“Where are we going?” Elizabeth whispered.

Mrs. Jacobs turned to face them. Her hands clasped in a folded position in front of her. 

“We’re going to see if we can find out what happened in that room, what happened in that house. Someone here knows. Everyone in this town can’t be as bad as Mrs. HaWiggins back there,” he whispered back.


 About the Author

Sarah J. Clemens is the author of the debut mystery novel, The Empty Room. She started writing The Empty Room in 2008 and formed her own imprint in 2016 called Off the Page Publishing. She started out her professional career working as a news assistant for her local newspaper before finding a passion for the law and pursued an education in criminal justice. In addition to writing fiction, she is also a legal assistant with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Human Services. Sarah was born in California and now lives and works in Boise, Idaho. She has the same sarcastic sense of humor as the characters in her books, and she has an unparalleled love for animals.

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Promo Blitz - HARRINGTON MANOR BY RONALD M. JAMES (Historical Fiction)




Historical Fiction

Date Published:  October 8, 2016


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A murderer stalks the orange groves of 1923 Southern California. Detective Sidney Snipes is called to the Harrington Manor when retired Colonel Peter Wescott Harrington is found slumped over his desk by his family. Snipes entrusts the sensational new crime fighting technology—Fingerprint Analysis to find a fierce fiend.
Just when he though he had the murderer cornered, a neighbor discovers a shallow grave in the orange groves; an unsolved missing person's cold case files. A case that has haunted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for three years. The evidence in the missing person's case rumples Snipes proficient sleuthing skills as the leads take him in circles. Then to add to the muddying discord, another Harrington turns up dead, apparently murdered in his sleep.

But when a sinister child’s Jack-in-the-box, seemingly from the grim reaper himself, materializes on the Colonel’s desk, the detective is bedeviled more than he cares to admit. Nevertheless, Snipes had enough moxie to send fingerprints to every city where his suspects had ever lived. The leads take Snipes in a direction he never saw coming. Within days, he's shocked to his eyebrows by the results; the identity of the murderer befuddles his mind. Alas, the oldest Harrington son, Shep, supposed wife, had a mock wedding to him in Manhattan, New York, and their plan was to kill the whole Harrington clan for their wealth.




Praise for Harrington Manor:

"Harrington Manor is James at his very best."-Publisher's Weekly



About the Author





Ronald James was born during the great depression, and as a toddler watched WPA men build a new street, from his home’s big front window. His playmates were a red rider wagon, a small black satchel and rocks. By using his imagination he had conversations with mythical street workers that bloomed into fashioned fantasies by age four. He used cardboard boxes to create fun spaces for his neighborhood playmates to enjoy and he kept telling stories all through high school. In college he abandoned writing and studied architecture. James had a successful architectural career and retired, however he wanted to keep his creative juices fluent, so he returned to his childhood story telling days and joined a writers group. Like architecture, each day he couldn’t wait to create, finish, and start new stories—like, Harrington Manor.




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