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.

Interview with Crime Fiction Author, Matt Hilton.

Matt HiltonToday I’m pleased to welcome crime fiction/thriller author Matt Hilton to the blog. Author of the popular Joe Hunter series and Tess Grey thriller series, Matt’s fiction is all about thrills and action. Taking a break from writing the third in the Tess Grey series Matt has kindly agreed to answering some questions from me. Thanks for taking part today Matt, lets start the interview:

What inspired you to write in the crime action genre?
Back in my youth I read whatever books came into the house via my father. He was a huge fan of the men’s adventure books of the day, so these were the books I was picking up and reading too. I loved stories full of action and pace, and it didn’t matter to me if the protagonist was a spy (Nick Carter), vigilante (Mack Bolan), gunslinger (Edge) or barbarian swordsman (Conan the Cimmerian), as long as the story was fast and furious and full of hair-raising adventure. So, when it came to start penning my own tales, it was obvious that I’d try to emulate my literary heroes, and from all those genres I found the one that suited me best was crime action – which for me can encompass all the other genres mentioned above, as long as it’s in a relatively contemporary setting. These days when I pick up a book, I still reach for crime action (AKA crime thriller) first, so I suppose I haven’t changed much over the years. The other answer is that I write the kind of books I’d love to read.

On your website you say that you listened to your Dad tell stories when you were younger. What was your favourite, and why?
It’s difficult choosing only one, or even recalling any single story. Often the same story was told on different occasions and each time it took on a different slant, or had a twist, so they were ever changing, so kept on entertaining. If the stories featured action, there’d be a lot of play-acting (or role-playing) going on, with play-fights a must to get most enjoyment from the experience. But, I must say, my dad could tell a good ghost story, and from that I have also developed a lifelong love of a good spooky story. Continue reading

Fiction Author Blogging and Social Media

Social-media-graphic1

In the past week I’ve read some informative and entertaining blog posts that I’d like to share with you. The posts include topics such as author blogging and how to deal with annoying people on social media. I hope you find these articles useful.

 

ARA rose One of my favourite author blogs is Anne R Allen’s. This week she looks at how author blogging, especially fiction author blogging, should be done differently to standard blogging. Anne lists things that fiction author bloggers shouldn’t do, and explains why much of the advice out there is out of date and irrelevant. She then lists 9 elements that make up a successful author blog. You can find them, and the whole article here: Blogging Authors, Ignore the Rules! 9 Tips for a Successful Author Blog

profile-of-Jason-Kong-e1351222381642 On Joel Friedlander’s blog, Jason Kong discusses how fiction writers can build a better e-mail list. He explains who to target with e-mails and why, and what the best methods are to attract new subscribers to your e-mail list. Just like with blogging, Jason suggests that the trick is in giving quality content and offering incentives to encourage people to subscribe. You can read the whole article here: Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better E-mail List.  Continue reading

Interview with paranormal suspense author, Shani Struthers

shaniToday I’m really pleased to be able to welcome paranormal suspense author Shani Struthers to the Blog. Shani is a Brighton based author who has set her Psychic Surveys series in the city, and is working on a new series based in the most haunted cities around the world. Thank you for taking part today Shani, lets begin:

 

You set some of your books in and around Brighton. What makes the city such a great location for fiction?
Well first of all I live in Brighton so I know it very well and secondly, it’s just a great city! It’s diverse, it’s cosmopolitan and it’s very tolerant. Seriously, all of life is in Brighton, the normal, the not so normal, the weird and the wonderful. It’s a great place to base a Psychic Surveys high street consultancy. I actually think if there was such a business in real life it’d be embraced by the locals! Now… there’s a thought…

You go into a lot of detail for the paranormal investigations that Ruby and her team conduct in the Psychic Surveys series. Is the paranormal of interest to you outside of writing about it?
Definitely, my mum had a life-long intellectual interest in it and so paranormal matters would often be discussed in out house. I grew up with it and developed an interest myself. Also, I’ve veered towards that genre in film and literature but I’m not into gore or gratuitous stuff, like the less is more angle and stuff that’s been well researched too.

What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about being an author before you started to write?
So many things but certainly that you’ve got to have a thick skin, not everyone will  like what you are doing and not everyone is afraid to say so! Also, that it’s a marathon not a sprint and to take time delivering a quality product that you can be proud of.

Continue reading

Review of Tanners Dell by Sarah England.

My current work in progress is a step away from the Ben Whittle series. It’s a supernatural thriller written in the first person. I’ve been reading more of the same genre recently, and Tanners Dell by Sarah England stands out from the crowd.

Tanner's DellBook Description:
A Darkly Disturbing Occult Horror Novel.
Following the hypnosis of violently disturbed psychiatric patient, Ruby Dean, an unholy dark force was unleashed on the medical staff who tried to help her. Now only one of the original team remains – Ward Sister, Becky.
Despite her fiancé, D.I. Ross, being unconscious and many of her colleagues either dead or critically ill, Becky is determined to rescue Ruby’s twelve year old daughter from a similar fate to her mother. But no one asking questions in the desolate mining village Ruby descends from ever comes to a good end. And as the diabolical history of the area is gradually revealed, it seems the evil invoked is now both real and contagious. Don’t turn the lights out yet!

Extract:
At that moment a cloud floated across the surface of the moon and he looked up. Was there ever such a haunting sight? A breeze sighed into the back of his neck and a flurry of leaves rustled around the porch door.
He frowned, his attention was suddenly drawn to a line of yews at the far end of the graveyard. Was there someone there or was it his imagination? A lit cigarette? A spark of red? He narrowed his eyes, peering harder into the gloom. No, it was just his wild imagination. He blinked and shook his head. He was spooked, that was all – how silly – imagining a dark shape standing there; a man in a long black coat with a black dog on a chain, the dog with red eyes. How silly. How very Rosemary’s Baby. . .Those films – The Exorcist and The Omen – they’d scared him witless as a boy and they scared him witless now. Continue reading