Mistletoe – Blog tour 10 October

Delighted to be involved in my first Blog tour 🙂 It is for a gothic ghost story, right up my reading street.

Jo Fletcher Books | Hardback | 10th October | £14.99

The farmhouse looks perfect to Leah: a place to start afresh, to put tragedy behind her – but she’s not the only person to lose a husband and son, and soon tendrils of the past are pushing into Leah’s future in this spine-tingling new ghost story from Alison Littlewood.

Perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Joanne Harris, Angela Carter, Graham Joyce and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Leah thought Maitland Farm could give her a new life – but now old ghosts are dragging her into the past.

Following the tragic deaths of her husband and son, Leah is looking for a new life. Determined to bury her grief in hard work and desperate to escape Christmas and the reminders of what she has lost, she rushes through the purchase of a run-down Yorkshire farmhouse, arriving just as the snow shrouds her new home.

It might look like the loveliest Christmas card, but it’s soon clear it’s not just the house that needs renovation: the land is in bad heart, too. As Leah sets to work, she begins to see visions of the farm’s former occupants – and of the dark secrets that lie at the heart of Maitland Farm.

If Leah is to have a future, she must find a way to lay both her own past and theirs to rest – but the visions are becoming disturbingly real . . .

‘Alison Littlewood has a real talent for building atmosphere, loaded with the promise of things to come – hints of dread with the possibility of hope’ – The Guardian

‘Littlewood is excellent on the horrors of Victorian mental-health treatment and the vulnerability of the women caught in the system…. she creates a chilling atmosphere of skulls, seances, secrets and hysteria’ – The Times, Antonia Senior

‘The atmosphere and tension that Littlewood creates, as well as truly fascinating figure in Victoria Harleston, ensures that this is a great seasonal treat’ – SciFiNow ****

‘Alison Littlewood is one of the brightest stars in the horror genre’ – This is Horror

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alison Littlewood is the author of A Cold Season, published by Jo Fletcher Books. The novel was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, where it was described as “perfect reading for a dark winter’s night.” Her most recent novel, The Hidden People, has recently been published to critical acclaim. Alison’s short stories have been picked for Best British Horror 2015, The Best Horror of the Year and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy 2013 and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10. She also won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Fiction with her story The Dog’s Home, published in The Spectral Book of Horror Stories.

Alison lives with her partner Fergus in Yorkshire, England, in a house of creaking doors and crooked walls. You can talk to her on twitter @Ali__L, see her on Facebook and visit her at http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk

Mistletoe

Book review – Ice Cold Heart by PJ Tracy

Michael Joseph [Publication date 22.08.19]

A violent murder. An ice-cold killer . . .

On a bitterly cold winter night, Kelly Ramage leaves her suburban home, telling her husband she’s going to meet a friend.

But she never comes back.

When her body is discovered, murdered in what seems to be a sex game gone horribly wrong, Detectives Gino and Magozzi take the case, expecting to find a flirtatious trail leading straight to the killer.

However, Kelly’s sinister lover has done a disturbingly good job of hiding his identity.

This isn’t his first victim.

And she won’t be the last . . .

I always look forward to a new book in the Monkeerench series and this latest book in the series doesn’t disappoint. Set in a wintry backdrop, the plot covers the hunt for war criminals, a perverted killer and organised crime based around cryptocurrency. Detectives Gino and Magozzi , along with Roadrunner from Monkeewrench gain a major role in this book.

Another highly readable novel in the series and as soon as you finish reading it you are eager to read another instalment in the Monkeewrench series. Always a good sign in a long running series.

Book review – This Little Dark Place by AS Hatch

Serpent’s tail/Profile Books [Publication date 10.10.19]

How well do you know your girlfriend?

How well do you know your lover?

How well do you know yourself?

Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner. But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires. And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.

A proper ‘page turner’ as you are keen to find out what happens next in the story related by the main character Dan in a series of letters to Lucy. I like the author’s style of flitting between past and present, as well as creating a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere in the cottage where much of the novel is based.

The ending I must admit did not come as a total surprise, but then this is not a crime novel where you are kept guessing until the end. It is more a psychological thriller that does involve everyday characters.

AS Hatch is a name to watch out for and ‘This Little Dark Place’ should be added to your reading pile forthwith.

Book review: JOE COUNTRY by Mick Herron

John Murray [Publication date 20.06.19]

‘We’re spies,’ said Lamb. ‘All kinds of outlandish shit goes on.’

Like the ringing of a dead man’s phone, or an unwelcome guest at a funeral…

In Slough House memories are stirring, all of them bad. Catherine Standish is buying booze again, Louisa Guy is raking over the ashes of lost love, and new recruit Lech Wicinski, whose sins make him outcast even among the slow horses, is determined to discover who destroyed his career, even if he tears his life apart in the process.

And with winter taking its grip Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.

This time, they’re heading into joe country.

And they’re not all coming home.

The sixth book in the Jackson Lamb series and Mick Herron keeps the high quality of his plotting and writing going. This time the majority of the team become involved in unfolding events in snow covered Pembrokeshire and the action comes thick and fast. I do like the author’s knack of stopping action on a cliff-hanger before switching to another part of the plot, which again often ends in a cliffhanging moment. Although Slough House is for the secret service outcasts where they are meant to be given menial tasks, they often seem to find a way into a hot piece of political action.

If you are a fan already then this will already be on your reading list, and new readers would be best advised to read the series in order just because you get references to characters/events earlier in the series. Either way, ‘Joe Country’ proves that Mick Herron is top of the spy thriller tree.

Book review – The Body In The Library by Simon Brett

Black Thorn [Publication date 16.06.19]

In the sleepy, English village of Fethering, an author event at the local library ends in murder and it’s up to amateur sleuths Carole and Jude to solve the case.

Fethering has everything a sleepy coastal town should: snug English pubs, cosy cottages, a little local library – and the occasional murder

A bestselling author with a soaring ego and wandering hands has come to town, but he won’t be leaving. Jude is the prime suspect; she was, after all, the last person to slap Burton St Clair alive. If she is to prove her innocence she will have to dust off her detective skills, recruit her prim and proper friend (and partner-in-sleuthing) Carole, and together they must find the real culprit.

Simon Brett I first came across in my teens via the Mystery & Thriller Guild, one of the many book clubs run by Book Club Associates (anyone remember them?!). I enjoyed the Charles Paris mysteries, a series of books (in striking yellow covers) based on an actor and how he always seemed to be involved in theatrical based murders.

Fast forward a fair few years and Simon Brett is still writing witty and enjoyable crime novels. ‘The Body In The Library’ is the first of the Jude and Carole amateur sleuth books I have read (this is number 18, as Simon Brett is a tad prolific!). It is a gentle send up of the Golden Age of Crime writers and books, what publishers now refer to as ‘cosy crime’. However, Simon Brett cunningly adds in plenty of plot twists and a whole host of possible murderers. He also finds time to promote the cause of libraries (although the victim is bumped off outside a library, perhaps not the greatest advert for them) and gives insight of an author’s life, both from a successful one and at the other end, the self-published author who is bitter about any other writers success.

An enjoyable read. Perfect escapism into an updated Golden Age of Crime writing.

Book review – Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham

Little, Brown [Publication date 02.05.19]

Description

She says she’s an ordinary mother.
He knows a liar when he sees one.

Sarah thinks of herself as a normal single mum. It’s what she wants others to think of her. But the truth is, she needs something new, something thrilling.

Meanwhile, DI Tom Thorne is investigating a woman’s suicide, convinced she was driven to do it by a man who preys on vulnerable women.

A man who is about to change Sarah’s life.

This the sixteenth book to feature detective Tom Thorne and some authors of a long running series like this may see the series start to run out of ideas, not so for Mark Billingham. In ‘Their Little Secret’ Billingham gives the reader a roller coaster ride of a psychological thriller.

Like his previous book Billingham taps into a topical headline, that of people being conned out of money by very deceptive con artists. In this book it is Conrad, who makes a living out of deceiving others. Running parallel to his character is Sarah, who is quite possibly one of the most disturbing characters Billingham has created in his books. Needless to say Thorne and Tanner have their work cut out with these two.

One of his best books to date, a classic page turner.