The Abattoir of Dreams cover reveal and sample chapter.

Today, I’m delighted to be able to show you the cover for my latest novel, The Abattoir of Dreams. This harrowing thriller will be published by Bloodhound Books on 28th February.

Book Description:

The past is never far away.

Michael Tate has not had an easy life. With his
father in prison, and his mother dead, Michael
was sent to Woodside Children’s Home.

Now an adult, Michael wakes up from a coma in
hospital suffering from amnesia and paralysis.
Confused and terrified, he is charged with the
fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Becky. He also
learns he attempted to end his own life.

 

Detective Inspector John Carver is determined
that Michael is sent to prison.

With no way of defending himself, Michael is
left in his hospital bed awaiting transfer to remand.

But then strange things begin to happen and his
childhood comes back to haunt him.

Can Michael ever escape the past?

Will he ever discover the truth about Becky’s
murder?

And why is DI Carver so eager to make him suffer?

The Abattoir of Dreams is a bitter sweet story of murder, innocence and abuse.

 

I’d also like to share the first chapter of the book with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter One

Nurse Emily Dixon fussed with my bedsheet and fixed me with a smile that seemed more professional than friendly. ‘There’s someone here to see you, Michael.’

‘Who?’

‘Detective Inspector Carver. Thames Valley police.’

‘Has he found my memory?’

‘I think it’s more serious than that.’ She left, replaced by a tall, slim man in a charcoal suit.

‘Hello, Mr. Tate.’

There was something about his lopsided grin I didn’t like. Half-sincere, perhaps? ‘Hello.’

‘I see they’ve given you your own room.’

Wasn’t I the lucky one.

He sat on a chair next to the bed. ‘Do you know why I’m here?’

‘No.’ I wiped sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand. There was a fan on top of a five-drawer unit by the window; its blades didn’t so much as spin but lurch, like a buckled wheel. Next to the unit, a wheelchair, my only mode of transport in this brave, new, paralysed world. If anyone ever bothered to hoist me out of the bed, that was.

‘Look at me when I’m speaking to you, Michael. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?’ Continue reading

Book Review of Paradise Prison by Faith Mortimer.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing an ARC copy of the recently published Paradise Prison by Faith Mortimer. It’s an excellent read, and Faith has been kind enough to offer a signed paperback copy (UK only) or a kindle copy (outside UK) to one lucky winner of this week’s competition. You can find out more after the book description and my 5* review.

Book Description
During a huge row, Gillian stands up to her abusive boyfriend. The consequences are horrendous and far-reaching.
Terrified, she flees her home, seeking anonymity abroad while coming to terms with the outcome of her actions.
In Portugal, Gillian meets Harry, a yachtsman, needing crew for his Atlantic Ocean-crossing. She applies for the job. Half-way into the journey, after confessing to her crime, Harry offers her refuge on an uninhabited island in the Caribbean which he says he owns.
Confused and depressed, Gillian imagines this is the answer to her problems. She needs time to lie low and consider her options; confront the authorities or live in obscurity? Harry is offering the perfect hiding place…or is he?
When things start going horribly wrong, she asks herself if she is alone on the island. But maybe the biggest question of all is why she gets the gut feeling Harry wants to keep her there at all costs?
What happens when she says … no?  Continue reading

My Favourite Book of 2016

At the time of writing this post, Goodreads informs me I’ve read 87 books (so far) this year. I’ve decided that the final post of 2016 should celebrate the book which I’ve enjoyed the most. I’ve read lots of excellent novels this year, but there has been one which really stands out, by an outstanding author… Continue reading

Self-Publishing Myths

Today, I thought I’d talk about some of the common myths I’ve come across in the self-publishing world.

typewriterYou can write a book by yourself.
Selling platforms such as Amazon and Smashwords have given a large number of people the opportunity to publish their books. This has allowed many more writers the chance to showcase their abilities, but as the old saying goes, ‘no man is an island.’ A writer needs to have a team of beta readers and an editor to point out what needs improving or changing. Extra pairs of eyes may see things you have missed, and they can give an impartial opinion on the plot, flow and character development.

Then there’s making your book look as appealing as possible. The general consensus regarding book covers is unless you are a talented graphic artist, then you should seek help with designing a ‘look’ for your book. The interior appearance of a book is also important. Formatting a book for Kindle can be a complicated and frustrating process. Unless you want your readers getting annoyed with chapters starting half way down the Kindle screen, or too many spaces between words, find some help. JJ Marsh and Jane Davis discuss this myth in their blog post ‘Self Publishing Myths – Busted.’

 

partner_logosYou can upload your book and people will find it.
The majority of indie authors upload their books to Amazon, along with other platforms such as Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. Just uploading your finished book doesn’t mean it will sell. Yes, the occasional reader may come across it and download it, but that won’t lead to many sales. As I found out, you have to do A LOT of research about book publicity and marketing.

Just because someone, or a company, say they are book publicists, doesn’t mean they do the job well. Unfortunately, there are many ‘publicists’ who receive payment from authors for their marketing services, and then deliver very little in return. Again, research is needed. Drill down into what a potential publicist can provide in terms of visits to your Amazon page and book sales before paying for anything. Ask for recommendations from other authors who have had successful promotions. Who did they use and why? You can find some excellent advice about finding a publicist and working with them in Jane Friedman’s blog post ‘How to Find and Work With a Book Publicist – Successfully.’ Continue reading

Book review of Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl

PortraitsBook Description:
Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game… How far would you go to save your life?

 

Extract:
When she first awoke from her enforced slumber, Emma thought for one glorious, but all too fleeting moment, that the events of the previous night were just a nightmare. But the invasive throbbing pain seemingly erupting from every inch of her face and the congealed blood around her nose and mouth bought reality into sharp unrelenting focus, as she realised that one swollen eye wouldn’t open and reluctantly recalled events prior to the assault. Oh God, it was real. It was all too real! Life had taken a dark and unexpected turn.

 

4.5* book review:
This is another excellent novel from John Nicholl. Although a stand alone, this novel continues the author’s exploration of how the criminal mind and it’s actions have an impact on their victims minds and personalities. In this case a university student is kidnapped and kept in a windowless room, and tormented by the kidnapper.

I thought that the portrayal of the working relationships between the police team investigating the missing girl came across well. I also like how there were references made back to the arrest of Dr Galbraith (from White is the Coldest Colour.) I did think however, that there were some parts of the story that didn’t feature the missing girl that perhaps would have benefited from a chapter here and there with her in – just to let readers know more about her situation.

The best parts of the book were those that featured the antagonist. John writes a really good bad guy, and this one is sick and twisted. There are a few scenes that shock, but they are not over done and fit in with what is happening in the plot.

I also liked how the story kept taking me in directions I wasn’t expecting, and I didn’t see that ending coming either! This is a dark, twisted psychological thriller written by a brilliant imagination.

I received an ARC copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.

 

Portraits of the Dead is now available on Amazon for £1.99
You can find John across social media on Facebook, Twitter and his website.

As always, thank you for reading,

All the best,

Mark.