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

Interview with Tracy Fenton, the founder of THE Book Club.

TBC Header

You might be asking ‘who is Tracy Fenton?’ Well she is founder of THE Book Club on Facebook. This is a secret group that can’t be found via searching. The only way you can gain access is to be invited by an existing member. Tracy set the group up after becoming tired of the spamming and bad atmosphere of other groups that were too big to be moderated properly. After almost two years the group has become influential for authors and publishers – who often offer exclusive ARC copies of books to club members! The group is made up of a combination of authors and readers and has a really positive, supportive atmosphere.

So, I have asked Tracy (with no ‘e’ –  it’s important to remember that if you’re invited to join the group!) some questions so we can find out more about her, her reading preferences and how she reacts to meeting her favourite authors. Here’s what she said:

Tracy book What was the first book you read that made an impact on you?
Too many books to mention – however Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes was probably the first psychological thriller I had read and experienced some intense emotions including fear, dread and terror that it changed my entire reading tastes as prior to that book I was more of a chick-lit/rom-com type of girl. The Wronged Sons by John Marrs also had a profound effect on me. It was the first time I had ever been compelled to contact an author and tell him how much I loved his book. I messaged him via Goodreads and didn’t actually expect a reply and when he replied almost instantly telling me how important it was to hear from readers, my entire attitude to reading changed and I realised that authors were “human” too and needed love and support and encouragement.

Since setting up TBC, what has been your proudest ‘book’ achievement?
Again too many to mention. My first acknowledgement in a book, being a named character in a book, raising £10k for Cancer Research through our Charity Book Auction. Being contacted by authors asking for “my” opinion… really? Why me? Being contacted by members who tell me how much TBC has changed their reading habits and sometimes their lives.

Tracy with Peter James In a previous interview with #CrimeBookJunkie Noelle Holten, you say that you were a very shy child. Which author have you been the most shy or nervous about meeting?
I would have to say either Peter James (pictured with Tracy, right) or Lee Childs. I am a huge fan of both authors and meeting them at Harrogate last year was almost like an “out of body experience”. However, both Peter and Lee were absolutely wonderful and it was a pleasure and an honour to be able to meet them, have a chat and take some photos. Continue reading

Book review of Exclusion Zone by J. M Hewitt

Exclusion ZoneBook Description:

On 26th April 1986, reactor four exploded at the factory in Pripyat, Chernobyl.

At the same time teenager Afia Bello vanished from her home without a trace. The damage from the nuclear fallout is examined over the following weeks, months and years by Afia’s younger sister Sissy, as she unwittingly uncovers clues relating to her sister’s disappearance, and the secret life that Afia kept hidden from her family. In the summer of 2015 Private Detective Alex Harvey is hired to investigate the disappearances that have been occurring within the exclusion zone. He can think of only one person to bring along with him to help; Ukrainian national Elian Gould. Elian – who was adopted at birth – has her own reasons for accepting the job; namely to search for her own family history which has always been a mystery to her. But the remaining citizens of Chernobyl are hiding their own secrets and with a darker force at work, the missing person’s case suddenly turns into something much more serious.

Exclusion Zone is a gripping thriller that will keep readers hooked to the last page.

Extract:
A man clutching a shirt to his face rushes past and I reach out and grab him.
“What has happened?” I ask
He slows to a stop and sags against me. I push him upright and he teeters for a moment before dropping to his knees. The shirt falls to the ground and I stare at his blooded face. I pick up his shirt and press it into his hands, silently willing him to cover up the macabre mask that used to be his face. He flaps the material at me and I lurch away from the drops of blood. He tries to get up, stumbles back to the ground and crawls away from me.
As I walk onwards I see more men like him. They line the road, dazed and bleeding. The closer I get to the building the worse off they seem. At the gate to the factory there is a man sitting in the road. He claws at his face, his mouth stretched in a silent scream. He does not see me approach as he is too busy trying to hold the skin onto his face. Muscle, skin and bloody tissue slips through his fingers.
I am aware that my balance has gone, I am light headed and I drop to my knees and pull myself backwards away from the gate. Now I am too dazed, just like the men who litter the road around me.
Last year, I thought what I witnessed between Afia and Niko was the worst thing I could ever see. Now I know I was wrong. That carnal act, although brutal and violating was life. This, what I see before now, this is death. Continue reading

Interview with Crime Book Junkie, Noelle Holten

Noelle with BusterToday I’m delighted to welcome Crime Book Junkie, Noelle Holten (and her chocolate lab, Buster) to the blog. When I asked Noelle if I could ask her some questions, she asked why I’d want to. Noelle is one of the biggest book bloggers around, with a huge audience of review readers that I’m sure would like to get to know her better. I rest my case! So Noelle, I’d best start the interview.

 

You have traveled the world quite a bit (Ireland, Canada and now the UK.) Which part of the world is your favourite and why?
I wish I could say I was well traveled, but those are places where I have lived or where my family are! My favourite? Well, I absolutely love Canada ~ my home ~ as nothing beats a Canadian winter. Snow up to your knees, snowflakes falling on your face or the glistening sight from a fresh snowfall under the streetlights, a proper snowball fight, tobogganing. *Sigh* -Good times! But I recently had the chance to visit Scotland and absolutely fell in love. In fact, the scenery and atmosphere reminded me a lot of Canada and I would not be surprised if one day, Buster and I just picked up sticks and ended up moving there! Never say never!

narniaWhat was the first book of your childhood that made you realise that from that point on you’d never be without one?
My dad bought me The Chronicles Of Narnia box set. I fell in love. I have been reading ever since. Though my taste in books have changed, Narnia is still one of my favourites. It was the first time I ever felt a story come alive. I must have been about 6 or 7. And I was always checking wardrobes in the hopes that I might find my Narnia too!

Do you think your love of crime books influenced your career choice, or does working in the probation service reinforce what books you choose to read?
Good question! Honest answer…I don’t know…though if my choice of books influenced my career, I would have ended up a serial killer as I started reading horror and true crime when I was 12 years old and moved on to crime fiction probably around my early 20’s!

I try to separate my work head from my reading head as I think I would be too overly critical of plot lines or characters otherwise. You know, like how some Police Officers get hung up on incorrect use of procedure or protocol or how a Doctor might think a surgical scene is all wrong. Literary licence is a wonderful tool and I don’t ever want to become too hung up on what would or would not happen…so I try to leave work…at work!

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Book Review of Guilt by Joan Ellis

Guilt‘You died a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before Mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.’

In the 60s, seven-year-old Susan is left alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose. The guilt informs the rest of her life. When it threatens to destroy not only her but also her relationship with her new baby, she sets out to discover the truth. What she uncovers is as disturbing as it is hopeful.

 

 

Extract:

From that day, I loved school. Well I wasn’t much good at maths, but I loved English. Writing was a great way of getting rid of all the words and feelings that upset me. Dumping down my thoughts was my way of dealing with them and moving on. I could write whatever I wanted, lie if it made me feel better. Only it’s not called lying when you write, it’s called using your imagination. I did a lot of that. Made up all sorts. I was very good at it. Sometimes I’d re-read the story and even I couldn’t tell which bits were true and which parts were imaginary. Y’see, Mark, the trouble with writing is it doesn’t help you forget, it forces you to remember every last detail. But writing does allow you to forgive yourself absolutely anything.

At first writing was hard work, going over and over stuff, deciding what to put in and what to leave out but before long, my essays were the best in the class. They were so good the teacher read them out in the lesson. All the other kids couldn’t believe I had turned into a brainbox overnight. Even Paul Brown developed a grudging respect for me and found someone else to bully. Like I said I loved school. I would’ve slept there if I could. Home was too big cold and big without you. Dad was in his own world, a crazy place that I couldn’t and didn’t want to enter. I remember showing him my English book once. Obviously, I didn’t let him read any of my essays but he saw all the ticks, stars and full marks. I thought he’d be pleased, proud even but all he said was ‘Is that it?’ I never showed him anything after that.

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