Monday, 27 March 2017

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen **Blog Tour Guest Post **

It's my turn on the Blog Tour to celebrate the publication on March 23rd of Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen.  I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Mary to Books, Life and Everything to tell us her thoughts on the setting for her novel, in the Wirral in North-west England. Before that, however, let's find out a little about the book:

No one ever disappears completely... 

You leave for work one morning.

Another day in your normal life.

Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone. His belongings have disappeared. He hasn't been at work for weeks. It's as if he never existed.

But that's not possible, is it?

And there is worse to come.

Because just as you are searching for him someone is also watching you.  

 Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Mary - and over to you!

Writing the Wirral

When I first moved up from London to Liverpool, I lived in a flat at the top of a house that overlooked the River Mersey, right at the tip of the Wirral peninsula. It was the year of the Toxteth riots and the Liverpool I grew to love then was physically very different from the Liverpool we see now. Over the years I’ve seen it change from being a post-war, scruffy city to a place that’s known for designer shops and hen parties. The Wirral, just across the river, which is where I still live, however, is just the same as it always was.

    The first thing I found when I moved here was that the Wirral was not classed as part of Liverpool. It was seen as separate, a different world, by both parties. Where I slowly grew to love Liverpool, I felt an infinity with the Wirral from the moment I moved here. I love living so close to the river, love watching Liverpool’s waterfront skyline with its majestic buildings and cathedrals. You can walk along the river for miles, until you’re looking out onto the Irish sea. The sky is fabulous there, whether it’s at sunrise or sunset. There’s so much space to think and to dream. 

    When I started to write Gone Without a Trace it was inevitable I’d set it here. I wanted to feel I knew the places Hannah would go to, to search for Matt. I wanted her to live near the small towns I knew, to run by the river and to look for Matt in pubs I’d been to. I knew she would have moved away for a while, though. I saw her as ambitious and unhappy in her childhood home, so I knew she would go to university away from home. The North has a pull, though, and I knew she’d follow the path of so many graduates and return to work in her home town. 

    When my daughter moved into a flat last year, she lived across the road from the one I moved to all those years ago. On the day I helped her move, I looked out of her window and saw my old flat and could almost see my old self, the same age as she is now, walking down the road towards me. I’d taken little notice of the building she was moving into, yet it had a view of mine that meant someone there had witnessed all those key events of my life. 

    It struck me then how little the landscape had changed and how little we change, too. And, as I was writing Gone Without a Trace at that time, I thought of how little Hannah would have changed throughout her life, and that then made me think more about the girl she’d been and the woman she’d become.

Thank you Mary! Coming from the North-west myself, I've had cause to go pretty near to the Wirral and it's so refreshing to see it as the setting for a novel. 

My Thoughts

Gone Without a Trace turned out to be one of those reads that you can't put down until you've come to the end and untied all those strands of the story. I read it virtually all in one go over a weekend and found it to be a cleverly thought out read. I had to applaud how the reader's view of the main character, Hannah, developed as the novel unfolded and I have to admit that I was wrong footed a couple of times.

    I particularly admired the way Mary Torjussen manipulates the reader, keeping you on edge throughout just as Hannah must be. You are never really sure as to who can be trusted, with so many characters lining up for the title of 'unreliable' . The ending was slick and skilfully written. You are drip fed information about Hannah's family life and slowly come to realise its relevance. In Hannah, we have a character with plenty of back story which adds depth to the characterisation.

In short: a thriller which chills and intrigues. 

About the Author

Mary Torjussen grew up in Stoke- on- Trent. There was no television in her family home so books have always been her escape- she spent hours reading and writing stories as a child.  Mary has a MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and worked as a teacher in Liverpool before becoming a full-time writer. She has two adult children and lives on the Wirral, where her debut novel, Gone Without a Trace, is set.

You can connect with Mary on Twitter and follow her on Goodreads

Thanks to Millie Seaward of Headline Publishing Group for a copy of the book and a place on the Tour!

Check out the rest of the Tour! 


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Deadly Game by Matt Johnson **Blog Tour Review**

    I am delighted to be the next stop on Orenda's Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of Deadly Game by Matt Johnson. 


Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered, Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all … Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy … and a shocking fate.  

 Deadly Game is a stunning, terrifying and eye-opening thriller from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts 

Deadly Game is packed full of action and intrigue and it certainly kept me on my toes. Who to trust? It follows on from the first book, Wicked Game and although I haven't read that, I was soon able to pick up on the pace. Robert Finlay returns to police duty and is caught up in a maelstrom of international crime, sex trafficking, political intrigue and espionage. Never a dull moment! Matt Johnson controls the action with a masterful touch. 

    In Robert Finlay, we have a vulnerable central character who is suffering from the effects of terrorism. I was able to absolutely believe in the character as it rang out with authenticity, reflecting Matt's own experiences. His years in the Police Force and his experience in dealing with terrorism and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome feed into the portrayal of Robert and give real depth to the character. 

    I particularly enjoyed some of the women characters, notably, his partner, Nina and the MI5 liaison officer, Toni. There is a real spark about them. My favourite though has to be Robert's wife Jenny, so aware of her situation and so concerned for Robert. She sees the effects of PTSD on her husband and in a way, becomes our eyes. Never dull and full of tension, I'm looking forward to the next instalment of Robert's story. 

In short: a nail-biting thriller and some great characters and serious issues.

About the Author

Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for 25 years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result. Deadly Game once again draws on Matt’s experiences and drips with the same raw authenticity of its predecessor.

You can connect with Matt on his Website    |   Twitter  |  and on Facebook. 

Thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

Check out the rest of the Tour!


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Blood Tide by Claire McGowan **Blog Tour Author interview**

One of the great pleasures of having a book blog is the opportunity to ask current authors a few questions. As part of the Blog Tour for Blood Tide, which is published on March 23rd, Claire McGowan has stopped by and kindly given me some insights into writing her latest book. This will be the 5th in her Paula Maguire series. 

First, a little about the book:


Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren't welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.

With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in...


Hello Claire and welcome to Books, Life and Everything!

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?

I'd always wanted to be a writer, and I grew up in a small Irish village with not much else to do, so I spent my whole childhood reading and then trying to write books. For many years I never finished anything, until in my mid-twenties I started taking it seriously. I managed to get my second book published when I was thirty. I think if you can finish your book, your chances of getting published will go up astronomically! 

I believe you also publish under the name, Eva Woods. Could you tell us how you came to have these two literary identities and why?

It's actually quite common for authors to write under two or more names, and it's usually because they're writing very different books. My Eva Woods books are more women's fiction, so more romantic and uplifting, less disturbing than the crime. 

Which is your preferred genre- to read and write?

That's a tough one - I really love both, but I probably find more crime that I enjoy, simply because there is so much of it being published all the time! 

Blood Tide is the 5th in the series about the Forensic Psychologist, Paula Maguire. Did you always intend to write a series when you started out and do you plan more in the series?

I definitely knew it was a series but not exactly how many books. There will be one more, tentatively titled THE KILLING HOUSE, and then probably no more at least for now. 

Have you based the fictional town of Ballyterrin on anywhere you know?

It's very much based on my home town in Ireland, Newry, but with some differences, e.g. the religious balance is different. Like Ballyterrin, Newry is a border town, with all that brings with it. 

Blood Tide is out on March 23rd. How will you celebrate publication day?
It will probably be much like any other day, as I'm teaching in my university job in the afternoon, but I am going on holiday the following week, so I can celebrate then. 

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Easiest is definitely coming up with ideas, which I do all the time. For me the hardest part is getting the plot to all line up at the end, because I'm not much of a planner and often have no idea what did really happen! 

If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Blood Tide should be their next read, what would you say?

A weird island, a storm, strange behaviour, a missing couple, and danger for Paula! 

About the Author 

Claire McGowan grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland and now lives in London, where she runs an MA in creative writing at City University. BLOOD TIDE is Claire's sixth crime novel, and the fifth in the highly-acclaimed Paula Maguire series. She also writes women's fiction as Eva Woods.

 You can find out more about Claire on her Website or follow her on Twitter

Thanks to Millie Seaward and the publishers at Headline Press for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour via Bookbridgr.

Follow the rest of the Tour!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey **Blog Tour Excerpt and Giveaway**

     I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour to celebrate the digital publication of those who lie by Diane Jeffrey. Today, I have a taster from the book for you and also a Giveaway to enter -  just follow the link at the end of this post.  I am scheduled to post a review later in the tour on March 31st but first, a little about the book.

Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral.

At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death – events which led to her own memory loss – she begins to suspect that her husband’s death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate…

But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily’s physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can’t possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband.

And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous question of all.
Can she really trust herself?

 The snippet I have for you is from Chapter 13 and very intriguing it sounds too!

She feels as if two entities are fighting inside her head to take control: one of them wants her to get to the truth; the other is trying to protect her from the truth, and maybe even from herself. 

About the Author 

Diane Jeffrey grew up in North Devon. She lives in Lyon, France with her husband and their three children, black Labrador and kitten. THOSE WHO LIE is her debut psychological thriller.
Diane is an English teacher. She hates marking and Mondays. When she's not working or writing, she likes swimming, running and reading. She loves chocolate, beer and holidays. Above all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 

Readers can follow Diane on Twitter @dianefjeffrey or on

  Amazon UK  |   Amazon US   |   Goodreads


 Enter the Giveaway and have the chance to win one of these prizes:
1st prize: eBook of Those Who Lie
2nd prize: Teddy and chocolates
3rd prize: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland notebook & chocolates
Just follow the link below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Diane Jeffrey, the publishers  HQ Digital and Jenny at Neverland Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the Tour.

See you back on the 31st March for my next stop!


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Dead Embers by Matt Brolly

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything! I am so pleased to be part of the Blog Tour to celebrate the digital publication of Dead Embers by Matt Brolly on March 6th. It is the 3rd DCI Michael Lambert novel. 

An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…

When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses - one of whom is a senior police officer.

Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out.

But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…

Trust no one.

My Thoughts 

    This book may be the third in the series featuring DCI Michael Lambert but it stands up as a standalone read. I found the main character of Lambert to be such a strong one, with a complicated backstory. The book appears to have a simple plot at the beginning with a fire leading to the discovery of two bodies but it grows and grows in complexity as the story evolves, in an ingenious way. The central mystery is full of twists and turns, with it seeming that absolutely no one can be trusted. 

    The plot is well paced with plenty of surprises and explosions along the way. Even though police procedurals are not my favourite genre, it kept me hooked right up to the end, although some aspects were very disturbing. The author persuades us to suspend belief and takes the reader along with him through his skilful writing style and rounded central characterisation. 

In short: pacy, surprising reading with chilling moments.
About the Author

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in
criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

You can connect with Matt on   Twitter    Facebook and on his Website. 

Also visit his Goodreads site. 

Thanks to Faye Rogers and the publishers, Canelo, for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

Catch up with the rest of the Tour!

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