Dark Hearts and Trauma

‘Gordon Square’ by Tracey Martin-Summers

On a cold blustery November night, Detective Sergeant Mike Brugge and his partner Detective Constable Mel Bailey come across a girl, age unknown, in the parkland in Gordon Square. She was frail, malnourished, dirty and covered in excrement.

What had happened to this girl?  Why was she covering down, shielding her eyes from the light, with a look of horror on her face? She appeared to be non-coherent, totally unengaged and would not speak to anyone. Nothing could penetrate the world where her soul had taken solace.

Mike and Mel set out to find out where she had come from and what had been per plight.  Revealing hypnosis sessions allow them to glimpse some of her pain suffering.  Follow their story deep into the horrors that unfold, causing chaos and turmoil among their own lives.

The detectives are about to discover a horrific, gut-wrenching story, that spanned over four decades. But will it end?

Secrets, lies and the dark side of humanity abound in Tracey Martin-Summers’ debut crime novel, ‘Gordon Square’.

The location of Gordon Square is never explicitly geographically placed, but Martin-Summers’ plot driven, atmospheric writing allows the reader to be swept along into the dark lands of the worst of human nature.

This is a dark and terrifying world where traumatised people are often at the mercy of their own worst instincts and misery is handed on, generation to generation. It has the unhappy ring of verisimilitude to it as well, which is sad.

Martin-Summers’ style is one of dialogue-driven plot propulsion using the characters to examine the impact of cruelty and prolonged suffering on people and the evil that we do to each other.

A punchy, well-crafted crime story heavy on atmospherics and the dark heart of human nature at its worst, alleviated by the power of love – especially between friends – which raises a potentially grim milieu to be a satisfying read.

Debut author Tracey Martin-Summers

Author Bio – Tracy was born in Harrow Weald, Middlesex in 1964, growing up in a loving family home. She married her first husband in 1990, has two grown up children and a granddaughter.

She studied a variety of topics via module learning, embarking on City and Guilds and NVQ courses, ranging from a brief spell in hairdressing to administration and now works for a utility company in North West London.

Tracy has numerous hobbies consisting of landscape painting to landscape gardening and always likes to paint the scene, even if it’s changing the colour scheme, yet again, within her home.

Tracy has always enjoyed writing and used to write short stories for her own children’s amusement but it has only been in the last few years that she has taken this more seriously and has gone on to write her debut crime detective novel, ‘Gordon Square’.

Tracy Married her second husband in 2014 and now lives in Bedfordshire in a sleepy hamlet where she writes whenever she gets a spare moment.

www.tracymartinsummers.co.uk

www.tracymartinsummers.com

Purchase Linkhttp://getbook.at/GSQ 

Aunty (and niece) on the Case

The cover of ‘The Invisible Case’ by Isabella Muir

‘The Invisible Case’ by Isabella Muir

Narrator: Bridget Eaton

Heartbreaking tragedy or cold-blooded murder…?

An Italian stranger arrives in Tamarisk Bay and brings with him mystery and intrigue….

It’s Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and some quality time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.

As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family?

As Luigi’s story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.

If you love Agatha Christie style twists and turns, or are a fan of Call the Midwife, Endeavour, Inspector George Gently and all those great 60s characters, then you will love this Sussex Crime series.

The third of Isabella Muir’s Janie Juke mysteries is ‘The Invisible Case’. Set in the fictional Sussex seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, this novel begins with the return from Italy of Janie’s aunt, Jessica, with her young Italian travelling companion, Luigi.

Janie Juke is a charming protagonist. A part time librarian and full time busy body, Janie is building up a reputation in Tamarisk Bay as the go-to person when people need a little help.

Ably supported by her lovely young husban1d, her blind father and, this time, her aunt, Janie has a supportive home environment for sniffing out clues and plenty of time to indulge her hero worship of Hercule Poirot.

So far so good. For me, however, the biggest plus of the novel is Jessica. The free spirited aunty who helped raise Janie, her return from nearly a decade travelling offers another element to the story and is a live wire character who Janie can investigate alongside and spark off.

The biggest negative of the novel is Luigi. Whilst it is always interesting to have an unsympathetic character, Luigi is such a whiny, despicable man/child that you not only don’t care if Janie clears his name, you absolutely long for her to have him go to the gallows – abolition of hanging not withstanding.

‘The Invisible Case’ is a quick read, cheerful in aspect and faithful to its cosy crime heritage and wearing its love for Agatha Christie and Golden Age of crime fiction lightly.  

Purchase Link –

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Invisible-Case-Heartbreaking-Tragedy-Coldblooded/dp/B08NXYBLTF

US – https://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Case-Heartbreaking-Tragedy-Coldblooded/dp/B08NY2JNHR

Author Isabella Muir

Author Bio –

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then has gone to publish five novels, two novellas and a short story collection.

The Invisible Case is the third book in her Sussex Crime Mystery series, featuring young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot – using all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. All three novels are now available as audiobooks.

As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Her latest novel, Crossing the Line, is the first of a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who arrives in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to find a dead body on the beach and so the story begins…

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor

Sealing the Deal

‘A Deadly Deal’ by Simon Fairfax

Moneymakers are king, no matter their methods. When an honest man stumbles into their world of deceit, will they drag him down to destruction?

London, 1986. Rupert Brett is eager to make his mark. But even though he’s newly qualified to tackle jobs within the cutthroat property brokering industry, his ambitions are blunted when he must face off against ruthless competitors. And with his career on the line, he finds himself adrift in the murky waters of insider trading where knowledge is the real currency.

Clinging to his ideals but beginning to realize how deep the corruption goes, Rupert’s unprepared when a group of hard-nosed developers frame him for murder. With few friends and the law on his tail, his only way out may be a bargain with the devil.

Can the young surveyor thwart his enemies’ plans in time to save his reputation and his life?

‘A Deadly Deal’ is the immersive first book in the Deal Series of historical crime thrillers. If you like conflicted characters, rich period details, and complex plotting, then you’ll love Simon Fairfax’s gritty page-turner.

The cover of ‘A Deadly Deal’ The first novel in the Rupert Brett series from Simon Fairfax

A Deadly Deal’ is quite a high wire act by Simon Fairfax. Selling Chartered Surveying as a potentially exciting, high octane route for an international man of mystery sounds like a tougher sell than a “cosy” cupboard in Zone 5 with subsidence.

Add in a setting in the 80s, complete with all the chrome, coke and boisterous sexism inherent to our memories of the decade, the brash barrow boys getting rich quick and the crass fixation on money for money’s sake and that’s going to repel some readers and finally, select a hero called “Rupert” with his public school vowels.

There are going to be readers who don’t want to give this a chance.

And yet, they are wrong. Fairfax writes well. The novel opens with a sudden twist of violence in a Bristolian night and he does manage to keep the pace up.

Those City Boy clichés of their setting don’t detract from the novel and it was refreshing to revisit a time when property in the capital was not solely owned by money laundering kleptocrats.

For anyone looking for a commercially minded, rip roaring read of a man forced to use his skills in a high octane race against time, Simon Fairfax may just have the goods to seal the deal.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Deals-Done-til-done-ebook/dp/B071KCCSYN

US – https://www.amazon.com/No-Deals-Done-til-done-ebook/dp/B071KCCSYN

D2D: https://www.draft2digital.com/book/582996

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/no-deals-done-til-it-s-done-1

Author Simon Fairfax

Author Bio – As a lover of crime thrillers and mystery, I turned what is seen by others as a dull 9 – 5 job into something that is exciting, as close to real life as possible, with Rupert Brett, my international man of mystery whose day job is that of a Chartered Surveyor.

Rupert is an ordinary man thrown into extraordinary circumstances who uses his wit, guile and training to survive.

Each book is written from my own experiences, as close to the truth as possible, set against world events that really happened. I go out and experience all the weapons, visit the places Rupert travels to, speak to the technical experts and ensure that it as realistic, as possible allowing you to delve deep in to the mystery, losing yourself in it for a few hours.

Social Media Links –  www.simonfairfax.com

https://www.facebook.com/simonfairfaxauthor

https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-fairfax-205913149/

Death A La Carte And Served with Aplomb

‘Murder on the Menu’ by Fiona Leitch

The first book in a NEW cosy mystery series!

Still spinning from the hustle and bustle of city life, Jodie NoseyParker is glad to be back in the Cornish village she calls home. Having quit the Met Police in search of something less dangerous, the change of pace means she can finally start her dream catering company and raise her daughter, Daisy, somewhere safer.

But theres nothing like having your first job back at home to be catering an ex-boyfriends wedding to remind you of just how small your village is. And when the bride, Cheryl, vanishes Jodie is drawn into the investigation, realising that life in the countryside might not be as quaint as she remembers…

With a missing bride on their hands, there is murder and mayhem around every corner but surely saving the day will be a piece of cake for this not-so-amateur sleuth?

The first book in the Murder on the Menu cosy mystery series. Can be read as a standalone. A humorous cosy mystery with a British female sleuth in a small village. Includes one of Jodie’s Tried and Tested Recipes! Written in British English. Mild profanity and peril.

The cover of Fiona Leitch’s first book in the new Nosey Parker series, ‘Murder on the Menu’

I do have a soft spot for a cosy crime. I know that the beauty of the crime genre lies in its ability to hold such fundamentally different writers as, for recent examples from this blog, Liz Mistry and her gritty crime dramas straight out of Bradford, the latter day Enid Blyton represented by Tessa Buckley  and the, frankly bonkers, charm of Syl Waters and her guina pig detective together under one banner, with something for everyoizlne.

Here Fiona Leitch has managed to create another version of a frightfully nice world – except for the corpses, naturally.

Moving back down to Cornwall after having left the Met, Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker is greeted by a place which has not changed much since she grew up there. Ex-boyfriends are still there, mothers hover with tea on offer and people’s the ex-wives of characters’ drive HGVs up and down the country “with just [a] dog – a Pomeranian called Germaine – for company”. It’s adorable.

It doesn’t take long for the bodies to begin piling up, a man who Jodie used to care about is accused and this catering investigator is putting her skills to good use clearing his name.

If you are looking for an enjoyable romp, this is a nippy, zippy tale with a talented writer with a nose (geddit?) for characters in search of some TLC.

Come back next week for a review of Nosey Parker Book 2: A Brush with Death

Purchase Links

amzn.to/389aWWW  

http://mybook.to/murderonthemenureveal

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brush-Death-Nosey-Parker-Mystery-ebook/dp/B08CTX44K5

US – https://www.amazon.com/Brush-Death-Nosey-Parker-Mystery-ebook/dp/B08CTX44K5

Author Fiona Leitch

Author Bio –  Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. Her debut novel ‘Dead in Venice’ was published by Audible in 2018 as one of their Crime Grant finalists. After living in London, Hastings and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/fiona.leitch.1/

https://www.instagram.com/leitchfiona/

Exclusive extract from SR Wilsher’s novel, ‘Mint’

August 15th 1976

The daylight is ending as I return to the shop, the dregs of the sun in the top windows of the taller building opposite. I let myself in with the key handed back to me with my personal belongings yesterday. A brown-box time capsule, too big for my belongings. My watch, the keys, and a couple of pounds in loose change. I have the clothes I’m standing in, and my life in my pocket.

I’m surprised the key fits. My life had changed so little in prison, it left me imagining the rest of the world spinning away from me. In reality, not much has altered here either.

I expect an empty shop; the rolls of cloth sold, the buttons lost, the shop fittings looted. Brace myself for dust and dirt and the death of this place an equivalence of my mother. Instead, it manages to rescue what little light is hanging around at this hour to shine with the electric rainbow of brilliant material stacked with clashing disregard. From floor to ceiling, the shelves hold the history of her life here. She floated around the rest of the building like she didn’t quite fit, yet her feet anchored themselves here. She had lifted the rolls deftly without concern for their bulk, rolled and worked on the cutting table with swift confidence. When I was small, I liked to come here and sit on the stool behind the counter while the shop lived its life. Or I had until the teenage world called and I ceded the seat to Sam.

The wooden till drawer under the counter is empty.

The kitchen in the ground floor wing on the back of the building is small and basic. It exists behind the curtain of the shop theatre, and has therefore been accorded less attention. It had once been my favourite space, so much had gone on here. Long talks and raucous laughter. The cold, damp bathroom beyond the kitchen remains my least favourite place.

The cream enamel oven is a freestanding unit she bought on tick, cheerfully tripping to the Gas office once a month to make the hire purchase payment and get her book stamped. A rectangle of fifteen red quarry tiles is set on the floor in front of it. I’m better able to imagine the glass dish she once dropped and smashed than to picture her kneeling on the floor with her head inside trying to bring her life to an end. Any image of her refuses to form.

I fill the steel kettle from the cold tap hanging from the wall above the square sink and plug it in. The cutlery, crockery, and the coffee are in their place. There’s little in the fridge, and what’s there has turned. I empty the milk into the sink and the food into the bin.

I go upstairs to the other place we congregated, the small corner on the first-floor landing with the ragged sofa in front of the spindly-legged television. I recall her watching the old black and white whilst sitting amongst a mound of sewing. A newer colour television sits outside of her room in front of the now more-ragged sofa.

We had come and gone from here as a family, while the layout prevented us living as such.

Her bedroom is shadowed yellow from a sun at dusk sky, and I turn on the weak ceiling bulb. The room is unchanged. The familiar big flowered wallpaper, and the vaguely complementary pulled taut orange candlewick bedspread. The faded-lime carpet had been old when I was a child. A dress and a coat on hangars are hooked over the wardrobe door, open because it’s overfull. An emerald green dress lies across the foot of the bed, as if she selected it for her own laying out. The dressing table is as cluttered as I remembered. The room as if she stepped out moments ago.

The suitcase on top of her wardrobe contains the clothes I left behind. Only clothes. I told her to get rid of everything else. Fresh starts demand such decisions, and she promised. She understood my life hadn’t been one of sentiment.

Lara’s bedroom on the back of the house overlooks the neighbours’ shadowed rear yards. What’s left of the daylight helps make out the neat flower borders of the wool shop, and the stacked marble and granite of the Stonemason’s. Beyond, is an enclosed wasteland of tufted grass, mounded mud, and broken concrete. A dangerous playground, or potential money-spinner? The reason Freeman wants the shop.

On her bedside table an open book lies face down. Crossing the Water. On the plain white wall above the bed is pinned a film poster of The Exorcist. On the adjacent inner wall an Aladdin Sane poster partially covers a Bay City Rollers one. The shift from unembarrassed child to self-conscious teen. The single wardrobe holds some clothes. This room is less occupied than the other.

Her record player is on the floor beneath the window. Half a dozen albums lean against the wall, kept in place by a small tower of 45’s. On the turntable is a warped and dusty Chi-Lites single. I close the lid to prevent more dust spoiling the machine.

I don’t go into the windowless attic room, taking it all in from the doorway. I try not to see the small access door to the eaves, but I can’t not. It’s occupied my mind for too many years.

It’s Sam’s room now. With the ceiling too steeply pitched for a wardrobe, the furniture is a chest of drawers poorly painted in purple, and an unmade mattress on the floor. Above the dresser are a few ragged images badly torn from magazines; A Clockwork Orange, Slade, Roxy Music. The walls are time-spoiled white, the inner wall half painted in a deep red gloss. The manic brushstrokes peter out halfway to the door, as if whoever has ill-preparedly run out of paint, or grown bored with the effort. Either likely with Sam.

I choose Lara’s bed. The least poor choice. I like the block of darkness of the huge furniture store in the street beyond the open land. A high plain wall not unlike the outer bulwark of a prison. I appreciate the absence of noise. Freedom has vanquished the night shouts and the background hysterics of incensed men.

I leave the curtains, allowing the poor light from a small-town to channel across the backyards and into the room. I open the window onto the sultry night. The heady build of heat through a long dry summer has made rain a stranger, and I long for its return, ache for a refreshing downpour.

The empty drawers in Sam’s room, and the missing clothes from this one, suggests they’ve moved out. I presume the absence of life means they’re with their father.

I’d spent nine years among the vilest of men. Yet I’d never experienced the level of terror in prison that had been generated by the man I’d grown up with. A man worse than any of them. Coming home means facing him. I’ll go in the morning.

You can read a review of SR Wilsher’s novel ‘Mint’ here

Mint Condition

Thanks so much to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for her help as ever with this blog tour and please check out the sterling efforts of WhatCathyReadNext and Lisa at Coffee, Dogs & Books

MINT’ by SR Wilsher

This may change with so far to go!

It’s the summer of 1976, and after nine years in prison, James Minter is home to bury his mother.

A history of depression and a series of personal issues has seen her death ruled as suicide.

His refusal to accept that conclusion means he must confront his violent stepfather, deal with the gangster who wants his mother’s shop and, of course, face the family of the boy he killed.

But will his search for the truth in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small seaside town, and the unpicking of the peculiar relationship his mother had with the Stonemason next door, put his own life in danger.

SR Wilsher launces ‘Mint’ onto an unsuspecting public. It is interesting to me that Wilsher talks about how he will “never see any of his books on the shelves of bookshops” but, with writing of this quality, I’m surprised at his lack of optimism.

From the blurb and synopsis, you might be tempted to think that this is going to be a rough and tumble gangster epic. However, it is a much more subtle piece than that.

This is a tale of toxic masculinity and its consequences. It’s a tale of broken families and the impact that one punch can have on a life no matter how well meaning.

It is a very well put together tale with a narrative which skips between decades and narrators. This works very well and each character has a clearly differentiated voice of their own. However, this may be the factor which turns some readers off – you can’t relax with this spiralling story as old enmities bubble up and we learn what motives even the most unpleasant of people.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mint-S-R-Wilsher-ebook/dp/B08RZ5V3P8/ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Mint-S-R-Wilsher-ebook/dp/B08RZ5V3P8/

Author Bio

I tend to divide my life in two. Prior to 2009, I did the long hours and the commitment to paying the mortgage, studying, and finishing the house, whilst trying to write in a way that didn’t impact too much on family and career. The reality was work affected my writing, and my writing prevented me ever committing to my job wholeheartedly.

In 2009, I had a kidney transplant. It took a while to undo the way I had lived before, my life still involved work, children, coffee and chocolate. But slowly I’ve stepped back from work and now spend much more of my time pleasing myself; writing, making furniture and creating art. I’m no better off financially, but I have been much more productive with my writing.

There was a time when I was rewriting the same book over and over in some attempt to second guess the rejections I received. Self-publishing has freed me to move on. Now I usually have two books on the go, one in development and one on its way to completion. 2020, however, being the year that it was, means I’ve been working on three.

I continue to be disappointed that I’ll never see any of my books on the shelves of any bookshop. But I console myself with the fact I’ll never see any of them in a charity shop either.

Dasher, Dancer, Donner and Dachshunds

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay’ by Nicola May

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

The cover of Nicola May’s latest novel, ‘Christmas in Cockleberry Bay’

I am new to the world of Cockleberry Bay. To be entirely honest, I was enticed in by dachshund. And the murder mystery. Always like a bit of cosy crime.

This is the fourth novel in the series and I can see why Nicola May has proved so popular. Honestly, I was expecting the glow of small, English country life. 

I was expecting characters who are mainly well intentioned and who struggle through their various travails with fortitude and the support of their friends and family. 

What I wasn’t expecting was how funny the novel was going to be.

May really has a nice line in coarse humour. I especially enjoyed Rosa dealing with Davina in the shop: “’There are some sparklers for Fireworks Night too, if you’re interested,’ she added, wishing she could light one and stick it up the rude cow’s arse.”

Additionally, Titch falling asleep on the toilet, heavily pregnant with her head on her bump, knickers around her ankles, is a delight of light touch comedy.

However, this is not the only form of comedy May extracts from her cast of characters. There’s an absurd, black comedy present too. Especially around the undertakers. I especially enjoyed the man mountain, former rugby player bawling like a baby and riling against his mother’s death atop her gardener. “’A tradesman! Young enough to be her grandson! The shame!’ He hugged himself in torment.”

What ‘Christmas in Cockleberry Bay’ really does best, however, is leave you warmed right through like a hot chocolate with marshmallows on a December day.

If you enjoy festive movies with dustings of romance, humour and dachshunds, then this is the Christmas novel for you.

#CICB 

Purchase Links

Kindle – UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Kindle – .com – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Paperback  – http://eye-books.com/books/christmas-in-cocklberry-bay

Author Bio – 

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year. 

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

Follow Nicola May

Website – www.nicolamay.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMayAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nicolamay1 

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

Blood on the Streets of Scotland – Blood of Brothers

Blood Brothers by Heather Atkinson

When you’re running the streets, loyalty is everything…

Gangs rule the streets of the rough Gallowburn Estate in Glasgow, but the deepest rivalry of all is between Jamie Gray and his friends, known as the Blood Brothers, and their enemies, the Lawsons.

The two gangs clash frequently, but when a phone containing incriminating evidence disappears after a particularly brutal run-in, the stakes are higher than ever.

Jamie’s mother Jackie is as hard as nails and is not going to let anyone hurt her boy – even if she has to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in. What she wants more than anything though, is to see Jamie turn his back on the street life. And when he meets spoilt rich-girl Allegra, who has a penchant for shoplifting, Jackie thinks she could be Jamie’s way out.

But with the Lawsons closing in, and everyone taking sides, there is only one way out for Jamie, and to triumph he must take out his biggest enemy…

If you love Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers, and Jessie Keane, you’ll love Heather Atkinson. Discover the bestselling author Heather Atkinson, her crackling plots, unforgettable characters and page-turning pace and you’ll never look back…

I’ve lived in Scotland over 20 years now. It is a country which has changed immensely in the near quarter of a century since I first arrived.

Additionally, I have lived in isolated rural splendour of tourist trap mountains and charming wee fishing villages as well as in crowded, post-industrial towns where men are hard and drugs rife.

It is a country of contrasts.

The area Heather Atkinson is writing about here – Gallowburn – is fictional. Except, it isn’t. it’s an amalgamation of a whole bunch of places most Scottish readers can piece together without too much difficulty.

Atkinson clearly has an unpatronising affection for her street level protagonists. The characters are rendered as fully rounded humans with clear motivations and driving ambitions.

She also is an accomplished writer of dialogue. Having published over 50 novels, it would appear that she is well attuned to her surroundings, picking up the language of the Scheme and playing it back to readers to create an atmosphere of intense verisimilitude.

Even as her protagonists are sucked further into their worlds of violence and chaos, Heather Atkinson keeps them grounded as the plot runs away outwith their control to the natural end of violence. It is a climax moving, horrifying, engaging and entertaining.

Boldwood Books are an interesting independent publisher who have selected some exciting authors to work with (Alex Coombs, who I enjoyed immeasurably for one) https://pajnewman.com/2020/09/24/missing-for-good-by-alex-coombs/

With authors of the quality of coombs and Atkinson, they will be well worth following in future.

Purchase Link –  https://amzn.to/32GYs5H

Author Bio –

Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre. Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Her new gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with Blood Brothers which will be published in December 2020.

Social Media Links –

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/booksofheatheratkinson/

Website https://www.heatheratkinsonbooks.com/

Twitter @ https://twitter.com/HeatherAtkinso1

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heathercrimeauthor/

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-atkinson

Only a Glimmer of Hope amongst the lives of these economic units

‘Glimmer of Hope’ by JA Andrews

Sometimes chasing a dream can become a nightmare…

Alecia Preen is living in poverty and desperate to make a better life for herself. Having moved to a new area for new beginnings after being disowned by her family, money was fast running out. She is struggling to make ends meet.

With the intention of charging lonely men online for her services, Alecia realises she can supplement her income by being unscrupulous. In meeting Jake Parker he requests that she role-plays as a psychiatrist, but he makes her aware of an underground millionaires playground called Sordida. He warns her to stay away.

As Alecia’s curiosity gets the better of her, she is amazed by the wealth and decadence on offer. Sordida is not the club she had anticipated because behind the legendary name lurks a very dark secret. A secret that could cost her everything.

He pays by the hour and Alecia pays in ways she had never imagined.

The cover of JA Andrew’s novella, ‘Glimmer of Hope’

JA Andrews has written a novella which is interesting in tone and style. In an author’s note post-script, Andrews explains that this is an expanded and enhanced version of a shorter, earlier work.

Sometimes this shows in the text, other times it is well hidden. Andrews cites it as a cross between ‘50 Shades of Gray’ and ‘Hostel’ and the mix of erotica and mild horror are certainly visible in the DNA of the text.

The story of a young girl sucked into the world of prostitution and, eventually, the sordid but supposedly “glamorous” world of the aptly named Sordida is as depressing as one might expect.

Little play is made of the fact that this is a northern girl, transported to the south with no friends or family for emotional support.

Conversely, great play is made of her desperation for money and people are used and seen as currency in this world of flashy lingerie and limos. The people are economic units to be played with, discarded and used.

However, what Andrews really manages is to draw his readers into a spiralling world of desperation and horror as the plot plays out at breathtaking speed and the nail-biting conclusion, the reversals of fortune and the ever mounting tension make it a very handy afternoon read.

Just don’t read it alone at night if you’re of a squeamish disposition.

Author JA Andrews

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08L9JR183/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L9JR183/

Author Bio –

JA Andrews is the author of gripping twisty psychological thrillers. Mummy’s Boy, and You Let Him In, are his full length novels, while Glimmer of Hope is a shorter story as a Kindle exclusive.  As well as writing fiction, JA Andrews enjoys reading a mix of genres, watching various reality TV and spending time with family and friends.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @JasonA1980

Beverley Learns to Type

EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT FROM MINE by Alison Knight

You can read a review of ‘Mine’ by Alison Knight here: https://pajnewman.com/?p=497

In this scene, Jack comes home from work to find his teenage daughter, Beverley, teaching herself to type. She’s an unmarried mother to baby Kerry and is already finding full-time parenting difficult. She decides to look for a job. After all, her mother goes out at work, so why can’t she?

On Friday afternoon, Jack let himself into the house and whistled. The only response was a soft tap-tapping from the kitchen. 

            He walked down the passage and opened the door. Bev was sitting at the kitchen table with Lily’s old typewriter, a book open beside her. She was looking at the book and typing, a frown of concentration on her face.

            “Hallo, love.”

            She jumped a mile.

            “Shit!” she yelped. “Don’t do that!”

            “What? Walk into me own kitchen? What you doing?”

            “Baking a cake, what does it look like?”

            “Then you’re a lousy cook,” he grinned.

            Bev giggled. Jack knew she could never resist her old dad’s jokes.

            “Any danger of a cuppa?”

            She rolled her eyes and got up to put the kettle on.

            “Where’s the baby?”

            “Upstairs in her cot. She finally decided she was tired.”

            He walked round the table and looked at the paper in the machine.

            The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick btrim

            “What’s a b-t-r-i-m?”

            “It’s an old man what sneaks up on you.”

            “Ah, I thought so.” He sat down. “So, you’re learning to type?”

            “Yeah. I’m using Mum’s old book. It’s easy. Or it was till you scared the living daylights out of me.”

            He held up his hands. “Sorry, love. So, how long’s this been going on?”

            She shrugged. “Not long. I got bored, so thought I might as well do something useful.”

            “Something useful, eh? Like doing some housework to help your mum out?”

            She leant against the sink and gave him a look, just like Lily. What was it about his girls and those stroppy looks?

“Something useful for me,” she said. “So I can get a job.”

            He frowned. “There’s plenty of time for that. You’ve got Kerry to think of first.”

            Bev huffed and turned away, spooning tea into the pot, muttering to herself.