Blog Tour Review: Stitched by Cheryl Elaine

Today I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for Stitched, by Cheryl Elaine. Thanks go to Shell Baker for inviting me. Before my review, here’s the book cover and description:

A patchwork of lies and threads of abuse…Stitched is a gruesome tale of control, fear and brutality.
To the outside world, Andrew Brooke is a cop who’s obsessively committed to his job. But behind closed doors, he enforces his dominance and disciplines his wife, Emily, in the most inhumane ways. When his life begins to fall apart and his reputation becomes tarnished, he unleashes his anger and seeks revenge on those who dare to encounter him.
Emily Brooke is left broken by her husband’s hand, with no means of escape. Eventually, though weak and confused, she manages to flee. But is the life she escapes to a better one?
Detective Donavan has his own demons to battle following his wife’s death. Assigned a missing person’s case that leads to a series of brutal attacks, he follows the trail of a serial killer dubbed ‘The Stitcher’ – but will his own dark secrets get in the way of justice being served?
Stitched perfectly demonstrates how cruel life – and people – can be.

Continue reading

Can Two Wrongs Ever Make a Right?

The title question is the tag line for my most recent publication, You Belong To Me.
It’s got me thinking about cases in which people have tried to seek their own kind of justice for crimes committed against them, or someone they know. Trying to seek your own justice could be seen as trying to get revenge or to punish a wrong instead of using traditional forms of justice, such as the police.

There have many real life cases were people have planned and carried out their own form of justice. Consultant forensic psychologist, Dr Ruth Tully, explains…‘Many people who feel wronged in some way have thoughts of revenge, but most people don’t act these out. For those who cause serious harm, the need to “get back” at someone can be a powerful and personal motivator. The perceived need for revenge can magnify emotions so that the violence becomes gratuitous or sadistic, with the perpetrator more easily able to overlook victim distress. Revenge violence can be an act of emotional expression, or the perpetrator seeking to restore balance or justice to the world.’
Read more at https://www.lifedeathprizes.com/real-life-crime/shocking-revenge-crimes-from-around-the-world-40611#Lw6BGqI0tQrh1kag.99.

I also wondered what people’s opinion on the question was? Can two wrongs ever make a right? Yes or no? I asked members of some Facebook groups what they thought. Here are a few of their opinions:

‘I think they can. If the first wrong is perpetrated in an evil way, revenge or a serving of perhaps vigilante justice or removing a very bad person, can balance the books. If both acts are borne from pure evil, like a mafia type hit/ revenge then the answer is no.’
Patricia Dixon, author.

Another group member, author Lee Sherred, states that it’s only natural that people people take the law into their own hands with the Police struggling to provide the service that is expected of them. He then says:  ‘The trouble with that is, to do so you need to know without doubt that the person is guilty. Unfortunately, most responses are something along the lines of “well, it said he was a paedo on Facebook innit” and some poor bloke ends up in intensive care fighting for his life simply because he told some kids to stop breaking into a car and, to get back at him, they spread malicious rumours (true story and sadly not an uncommon one).’

Author Barry Faulkner remembers a serious crime that occurred in London and comments: ‘When Ben Kinsella was murdered in East London the police met a wall of silence. Then the Adam’s crime family who’s turf it was on said publicly that the killers would be dealt with by the ‘family’ if they didn’t hand themselves in. They handed themselves in within 48 hours. The power of the threat of revenge depends on who is making it. Personally if anyone really hurt one of my family I would go after them.’

 

Here’s an extract from You Belong To Me where the 4 main characters discuss getting their revenge and if two wrongs can ever make a right:

‘I feel so sorry for her,’ Rob said. ‘Poor woman’s been through so much.’

‘Ignorance is bliss, so they say,’ Kieran said. ‘At least she doesn’t know what an evil bastard her son is.’

‘Maybe it’s about time she did,’ Josh said. ‘Maybe it’s about time the whole world knew  exactly what Calum Sheppard is.’

Danny had mixed feelings about that. He wanted Calum exposed and punished for his crimes more than anything else in the world, but he didn’t want his mother subjected to anymore heartache. She’d suffered enough already. Anything else could tip her completely over the edge.

He also wanted to make Calum pay for the way he’d made him suffer from the moment he was out of nappies. Tripping him up. Pouring bleach on his foot and telling their mother he’d caught Danny about to drink it. Holding him out the bedroom window by his ankles when he was six. Stealing his puppy. No proof of that, just a series of cruel hints. Calum making whining noises. Rolling onto his back and playing dead. Saying stuff like, ‘You never know what might be buried in the woods’.

Danny, forever five years younger than Calum and a good foot smaller, had wanted to rip out Calum’s tongue and make him eat his words. Ram them back down his throat. Watch him choke on them. But Danny had just held it all inside. Didn’t say a word to his mother. She wouldn’t have believed him, anyway. As far as she was concerned, Calum could do no wrong. He did chores around the house, helped prepare the dinner, mowed the grass, got logs in for the fire and even had a part-time job in a local butcher’s shop.

Calum had loved his job, taking great delight in telling Danny all about the different cuts of meat and how to chop up a carcass.

‘Who knows, Danny? That mutt of yours might be in one of the steak and kidney pies.’

Danny had legged it to the bathroom and thrown up. Sat locked in the loo for a whole hour sobbing and swearing to God he would get Calum back for this. Just as soon as he was old enough and big enough to fight him.

‘I wish I could just kill him,’ Danny said. ‘Put the bastard six feet under and forget about him.’

Kieran raised an eyebrow. ‘Do you really think killing him would solve anything? It’s wrong, no matter what the provocation is. He needs to be caught and put in jail.’

Danny shrugged. ‘In an ideal world.’

‘That’s what God would want,’ Kieran said. ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right.’

‘How do you know what God wants?’ Josh asked. ‘You got His private number or something?’

‘Thou shalt not kill,’ Kieran said. ‘It’s simple enough for someone to understand. Even you.’

‘I don’t believe in God.’

Kieran smiled. A worn out smile that barely lifted the corners of his mouth. ‘It’s always those who need Him the most who have little or no faith.’

‘I think we have to do whatever it takes,’ Rob says. ‘Play it by ear.’

Josh agreed. ‘Makes sense.’

‘We’ve all got to stick together,’ Danny said. ‘We haven’t got time for arguments.’

 

What do you think? Can two wrongs ever make a right?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

If you’d like to find out more about You Belong To Me please click on the above image. It’s just 99p or 99c until the evening of Friday 22nd March.

Thank you for your continued support,

Best wishes,

Mark.

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, the first novel I had published by Bloodhound Books was released. The Abattoir of Dreams was met with a pretty favourable response and has since continued to receive positive reviews. When I first had the idea for the story I knew I wanted to say something about a topic that I feel very strongly about – institutional child abuse, and it’s cover up by those in authority.

Although some people are of the opinion that this sort of thing went on in the seventies, research told me that’s it’s very much alive and kicking now. The level of abuse and the status of the people who commit some of these vile acts is unbelievable. Let’s just say that it’s a huge mistake to trust some of those who purport to defend the rights of children. I could go on forever about how deeply ingrained paedophilia is in the highest echelons of power, but it’s up to people to do their own research and make their own minds up. I’m just trying to lift a rock and shine a light on it. Now, after two years, I’m very happy and grateful that Bloodhound Books saw the potential in the story and published it.

It was a difficult book to write because of the subject matter, but I wanted the book to highlight such an important issue. In an earlier blog post, ‘Giving Abused Children a Voice – The Abattoir of Dreams,’ I look at the cases I’d seen in the news that led to me want to say something on the subject, and writing the book.

There has also been a lot of discussion about the book in Facebook groups. Some readers have felt that due to the subject matter, the book description should include a trigger warning. The book description does say the story includes abuse and murder, but for some, that isn’t enough. I watched these discussions with interest as group members shared their opinions, and then I started my own discussion. In ‘Warning! This Blog Post Contains Discussions about Trigger Warnings,’ Peter James and Betsy Reavley, amongst others, share their thoughts on the pros and cons of trigger warnings.

One of the two young male protagonists, Liam, lets readers know his feelings about the children’s home he and his friend Michael are in through poetry. In ‘Poetry in Fiction,‘ I discuss how a poem was used to convey the character’s feelings, and how poetry has been used in a variety of other writer’s fiction.

The systematic abuse of children is appalling. The homes where the abuse takes place are like abattoirs; slaughterhouses for kid’s dreams. The fictional setting in the story, Woodside Children’s Home, is, sadly, for many children a stark and horrifying reality.

As always, I welcome comments.

If you’d like to find out more about the book, you can find it here on Amazon.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Mark.

 

You Belong To Me Blog Blitz Thanks!

Over the last few days, the blog blitz that accompanied the publication of You Belong To Me, has been taking place – and what a blitz it was! I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to every blogger who helped spread the word about the book via your reviews, shares, RTs etc.

Below are links to each blogger’s review. I hope you enjoy reading what they had to say about the book:

JenMedsBookReviews
https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/2019/02/04/you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury-mtilburyauthor-bloodhoundbook-review-blogtour/

Books from Dusk till Dawn
https://booksfromdusktilldawn.blog/2019/02/04/you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury-mtilburyauthor-bloodhoundbook-blogtour-blogreview-youbelongtome-psychologicalthriller-suspense/?

The Book Review Cafe
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2019/02/04/you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury-blogblitz-bookreview-mtilburyauthor-bloodhoundbook/

Nemesis Book Blog
https://nemesisbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/blogtour-review-you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury-mtilburyauthor-bloodhoundbook-youbelongtome/

Novel Deelights
https://noveldeelights.com/2019/02/05/you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury-mtilburyauthor-bloodhoundbook

Linda’s Book Bag
https://lindasbookbag.com/2019/02/05/you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury

Cheekypee Reads and Reviews
https://cheekypeereadsandreviews.blogspot.com/2019/02/you-belong-to-me-blog-tour.html

Jan’s Book Buzz
https://jansbookbuzz.com/2019/02/05/blog-tour-review-you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury/ 

By The Letter Book Reviews
https://bytheletterbookreviews.com/2019/02/06/you-belong-to-me-by-mark-tilbury-bloodhoundbook-mtilburyauthor/. Continue reading

Extract from You Belong To Me – part two

 

Today I’d like to continue sharing an extract from You Belong To Me. It continues on from part one. Again, I hope you enjoy it.

 

She trudged towards the door. She bent down and picked up the keys. Maybe if she did as he wanted, he might let her go. She’d read a case in a magazine once about a girl who’d been taken captive by a man in an underground bunker in the woods. Over time, she’d convinced him she was his friend. That she had feelings for him. He’d eventually trusted her enough to allow her certain freedoms. One day she’d escaped by persuading him to let her pick wild mushrooms for breakfast. The terrible level of abuse he’d subjected her to read like something out of a horror movie, but she’d outsmarted him in the end and lived to tell the tale.

She fumbled with the lock, hands shaking.

‘What the fuck are you playing at?’

Cassie wanted to turn around and throw the keys at him. Tell him to open his own door and let her go home. ‘I can’t get the key in.’

‘Don’t make me have to come over there and do it for you,’ he warned.

She finally pushed the key home and twisted it in the lock. The bar popped up. She removed it from the latch.

‘Go inside and wait by the bar.’

The place reeked of piss. She walked across broken glass, discarded wrappers and cigarette packets. She stood at the bar holding onto it for support. The mirrored glass behind the bar was smashed, displaying the optics in dozens of tiny reflections.

He took a torch from his combat trousers and shone the beam at her. ‘Don’t look so worried. Everything will be fine as long as you do as you’re told.’

Cassie wanted to tell him that her boyfriend would come looking for her if she wasn’t home soon. And her dad. Her brother. The whole town. But her tongue was glued to the roof of her mouth.

‘What’s your name?’

She shook her head, trying to stop her thoughts setting fire to her brain. He would rape her. Torture her. Kill her. This was all the worst stories she’d ever read about coming to life. The ones that scared the crap out of her on cold winter nights and made her feel grateful she had people around her who loved her.

‘What’s your name?’ He asked again, waving the torch as if trying to coax an answer with it. ‘I think we ought to get on first-name terms considering we’re going to be spending a long time together.’

‘I… want… to… go… home.’

‘And I want to be a millionaire, but you might as well want a mile as want an inch.’

Cassie forced herself to tell him her name.

He was silent for a short while as if savouring it. ‘That’s a strange name.’

‘It’s short for Cassandra.’

‘Makes you sound like a film star.’

She shrugged.

‘Mind if I call you Cass?’

You can call me what you like as long as you don’t hurt me. ‘I don’t care. I just want to go home.’

‘You are home. I know it needs fixing up a bit, and it’s a pain in the arse the electric’s off, but it’s all about making the most of what you’ve got, don’t you think?’

‘My mum will be worried about me.’

‘So you said. Now, put your bag on the floor and empty your pockets. I know how attached you girls can be to your mobile phones.’

Cassie dropped her bag on the floor. ‘I haven’t got anything in my pockets.’

‘Take your shorts off and put them on top of your bag.’

‘But—’

‘Now!’

Cassie peeled off her soaking wet shorts and kicked them towards the bag. The humiliation of standing almost naked in front of this vile man made her feel as if she was already dead.

‘I’ve got new clothes for you down in your room.’

‘I don’t want new clothes. I want to go home.’

He ignored her. ‘It’s only charity shop gear, but I ain’t exactly flush at the moment. Maybe when I’m better fixed I’ll get you something a bit more upmarket.’

Cassie stifled a sob. Coughed. Wiped her nose with the back of her hand.

He retrieved the padlock from the outside catch, closed the door and slid two bolts across the inside. ‘All safe and sound,’ he said, putting the lock in his hoodie pocket.

Cassie felt as if she’d just been locked inside a condemned cell. She clasped her hands in front of her crotch. ‘Why are you doing this?’

‘Because I can.’ He pointed the torch at a door to the left of the bar. ‘Off you go. Mind the steps on the way down, they’re a bit rickety.’

‘I’m claustrophobic,’ Cassie said. ‘Especially in the dark.’

‘It’s not dark. There’s some battery operated lights down there. Make sure you use them sparingly though. I’m not going into town for fresh batteries every five minutes. Your clothes are on top of the mattress.’

Cassie gawped at the door as if were the gateway to hell.

‘Get going. I’ve got things to do.’

Cassie trudged towards the door. She looked over her shoulder. Thought about making one last plea for him to let her go, but knew it was pointless. She would die in this stinking pub. And it was all Darren Clarke’s fault. If he hadn’t kissed that slag, they would be curled up on the sofa watching a film right now. Or making plans for what they would do after they’d finished college.

She didn’t know who she hated most–Darren or this vile man. She opened the door and walked down the cellar steps. Halfway down, the door slammed behind her and a key turned in the lock.

She reached the bottom of the steps. Only one light was on. It cast a dim glow across the cellar. Metal beer kegs lined one wall like a pub’s version of tombstones. A wine rack took up most of another wall. The floor was littered with debris. Broken bottles. Upturned crates. A mattress with a small pile of clothes scattered on top. Something scurried behind the beer kegs. Cassie didn’t need an overactive imagination to conjure up an image of rats. And spiders. And cockroaches.

She fell onto the filthy mattress and buried her head in the clothes. No one knew she was here. He could do exactly as he pleased. Her parents would probably call the cops as soon as it became clear she was missing. Ping a million questions at Darren. Go frantic with worry. And there was nothing they could do to help her.

Welcome to hell.

 

 

I hope that you’ve enjoyed these extracts and will enjoy reading the rest of the book.

You can also see what early ARC reviewers have thought of the book, and add it to your TBR over on Goodreads.

You can now pre-order your copy of You Belong To Me from Amazon for 99p or 99c.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Mark.