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

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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

Sample Chapter from The Eyes of the Accused

Hi,

Today, I’m really pleased to announced that my second book, The Eyes of the Accused, is to be published on Friday, 8th April. I’d like to share a brief synopsis and a free sample chapter with you. Hope you like it.

1D CoverFresh from the horrors of the Revelation Room, private investigators Ben and Maddie are plunged into a disturbing world of terror as they search for missing pregnant girl, Hannah Heath. Drawn to Frank Crowley, an original suspect in Hannah’s disappearance, Maddie is about to learn the true meaning of evil. But all is not what it seems. Crowley is just a small part of something unimaginable. Something so terrible and deranged it defies reason. After Maddie disappears, Ben is left in a desperate race against time to find her and uncover the truth.

 

 

Chapter one
Hannah Heath knew she was dying. Her head felt strangely detached from her body, as if it might float away at any moment like a helium balloon. A strip light blinked above her. Perhaps a mothership come to take her home. But where was home? Over the hills and far away, for all she knew. Her swollen bladder threatened to burst.
Outside the echoing dome of her skull, she heard a voice. ‘You asked to go to the toilet. Don’t you dare wet yourself. Get up!’
So tired now. Tired enough to die. She closed her eyes and waited for the angels to take her to Heaven. The angels seemed otherwise engaged. Perhaps this terrible place was beyond their jurisdiction.
‘Stand up. I’m not dragging you all the way to the toilet.’
The words sounded as if they’d been fired from a canon. She wanted to say that she couldn’t move. Her body was too tired. Exhausted. But the words refused to form on her lips.
Hands on hers. Pulling her upright. A grunting sound followed by several short sharp pants. ‘Come… on… get… up…’
Hannah opened one eye. Bright light forced it shut again. She tried to speak. To say leave me alone, but the words came out all wrong. ‘Schmalone.’
Something pressed into her right breast. It bore right down into her chest. She reached out. Her hand brushed against something coarse. Hair? She tried to grip it, but her fingers felt swollen and useless.
‘Stand up, you stupid girl.’
This time the words sounded as if the speaker was actually inside her head. More pressure on her chest, and then something digging into her ribs. Something sharp. Claws? Perhaps a giant bird come to take her away. Feed her to a nest of baby giant birds. Was there even such a thing as baby giant birds? This last thought made her giggle.
Switch.
Sitting on a toilet. Naked from the waist down. No idea who she was or how she’d got there. Her stomach clenched and flipped over as she tried to remember her name. Give an identity to this strangely detached being that was part human, part alien.
‘Hurry up. We haven’t got all night.’
Hannah recognised the voice. But where from? Its raspy tone grated against the tip of her mind. Her bladder suddenly let go. Some of the urine splashed against her bare skin. Warm and instantly cold. Maybe her waters had broken.
‘Am I pregnant?’ The last word came out as prennant.
‘Are you finished?’
As finished as a corpse. ‘No.’ An instinctive answer. Somewhere deep in her mind she knew it best not to admit to anything. Continue reading

Cover Reveal – The Eyes of the Accused

Today, I’m really excited to announce that the second book in The Ben Whittle Investigation Series, The Eyes of the Accused, will be published on Friday 8th April. Although this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone novel. Here’s a brief description:

Fresh from the horrors of the Revelation Room, private investigators Ben and Maddie are plunged into a disturbing world of terror as they search for missing pregnant girl, Hannah Heath. Drawn to Frank Crowley, an original suspect in Hannah’s disappearance, Maddie is about to learn the true meaning of evil. As she gets close to Crowley, in an effort to get him to open up, she soon learns all is not what it seems. Crowley is just a small part of something unimaginable. Something so terrible and deranged, it defies reason. After Maddie disappears, Ben is left in a desperate race against time to find her and uncover the truth.

Now to the cover. Having had such a good experience working with The Cover Collection on my first book, The Revelation Room, I asked them to design the cover for The Eyes of the Accused. Huge thanks to Lauren, who listened to my ideas and then mixed them with her own to create the amazing cover below:

1D Cover

If you would like to see more examples of work by The Cover Collection, you can visit their website here. I hope you like the cover as much as I do.

If you’d like to add The Eyes of the Accused to your Goodreads tbr list, you can do so here and if you haven’t got a copy of Ben and Maddie’s first case, The Revelation Room, you can find it here on Amazon.

As always, thanks for reading.

All the best,

Mark.