The Abattoir of Dreams: Still Being Discovered Three Years On

On 28th February 2017, The Abattoir of Dreams was published. With the help of some supportive and enthusiastic book bloggers, the book began to gather some fantastic praise and reviews. Although the story does include the subject of institutional child abuse, readers have also said that the friendship, love and trust between the two main protagonists, Michael and Liam, are what has kept the book in their minds a long time after reading it. Here are just a few of the reviewers thoughts on the book:

‘I have to mention briefly Michael’s relationship with his childhood pet Oxo as well as Liam who he befriends in the boys home. These relationships moved me to tears and are ones that will stay with me for a long time to come.’
5* from Sarah Hardy @ By The Letter Book Reviews.

‘The characters in the book grabbed my heart – Michael – seriously my heart was torn out reading his journeys – the wasted opportunities for him to be saved; the adults who let him down and horrors he faced, I wanted to reach into the pages and rescue him! Liam – I loved – he was not willing to stand back and let the bad guys win and I cheered for him throughout, what a strong and determined character!’
5* from Sharon Bairden @ Chapter In My Life.

‘Liam Truman is someone we meet along the way and my heart went out to this kid. Tough on the outside, his loyalty, friendship and desire to protect those he cared about …no matter what the cost….really pulled at my heartstrings!’
5* from Noelle Holten @ Crime Book Junkie

Here’s an extract from the book that shows the friendship and humour that can be shared, even in difficult situations. Michael and Liam have run away from Woodside, a children’s home. They’ve found a way into a run down and empty pub:

‘We’re in luck,’ Liam said.
I could think of better words to describe the place. Shithole, sprang to mind. ‘What?’
He pointed at a small plastic square set in the bottom of the door. ‘It’s got a cat-flap.’
I was about to remind him we weren’t cats, when he unhooked his rucksack, dropped onto his knees, and tugged at the flap. Within a few seconds, it came free. He held up a hand triumphantly, and then pushed his way inside. I wouldn’t say it was a tight squeeze, but it had probably been easier for his mother to give birth to him. He pushed and grunted, shoes scrabbling on the ground for a foothold. Eventually, he
popped through the hole.
A few seconds later, he poked his head back through the hole.
‘Come on, Mikey. Pass your bag and my rucksack through. Then,come in.’
He looked so happy, as if, for the first time in his life, he’d played a game and won. I didn’t fancy my chances of getting through there. I was slightly bulkier than him, and a damn sight less enthusiastic. But, it was better than nothing, and nothing was all we had right now. I passed the rucksack and my small canvas bag through.
‘Careful. You’ll squish the cakes,’ he said, grinning like a clown.
I suppose it was inevitable. I got stuck halfway through. To tell the truth and shame the devil, as my Aunt Jean used to say before she got her loyalties all muddled up, my arse got stuck.
And then one of my shoes fell off.
It’s hard to explain the panic that sets in when you can’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I felt dizzy. Liam grew two grinning heads. He tried to pull me through the flap, but the harder he pulled, the more I flapped (no pun intended). To make matters worse, I caught my knackers on the metal rim of the blasted thing. Searing pain ripped up into my belly.
‘Can’t you push with your feet at the same time as I pull?’
‘I’m trying.’
‘Well try harder.’
‘You pull harder.’
He did. And virtually castrated me. ‘YOW! My nuts. My fucking nuts.’
He stopped pulling. ‘How am I supposed to help you if you keep squealing like a girl about your bollocks?’
‘Girls haven’t got bollocks,’ I shouted.
‘I doubt they’d make as much fuss as you if they did.’
‘Seriously, Liam. They feel as if they’re in my guts.’
He laughed. ‘Watch you don’t get yourself pregnant.’
‘Ha, ha, very—’
Without warning, he yanked again. Harder. Short sharp jerks, like Oxo on his lead when he saw a cat. And then I was through. Lying on a filthy kitchen floor, with my chin resting on a large coconut mat.
‘What a girl.’
I was off that mat and up in an instant. I think Liam thought I was going to hit him. I never told him the real reason for my sudden burst of energy: a spider. More related to a money-spider than a tarantula, but a spider all the same.

Later on the book both Liam (Truman) and Michael (Tate) have been ‘charged’ with criminal offences in a kangaroo court in the boiler room underneath Woodside. DI Carver, and teachers Kraft and Malloy, play judge and jury as Liam maintains his strength and courage:

Carver referred to his notebook. ‘Truman is charged with theft, criminal damage, unauthorised absence, wilful neglect, assault, arson, carrying a weapon with intent to endanger life, resisting arrest, abusing a man of the cloth, blasphemy, and dereliction of duty.’
Kraft nodded, as each of the trumped-up charges was read out. He shouted across the room to Liam. ‘Do you understand the charges, Mr. Truman?’
Liam hung from the railing, like an animal in a butcher’s shop window. ‘Fuck you.’
Kraft shook his head. ‘I see the prisoner has lost none of his appetite for insolence. Have you anything to say in your defence, Mr. Truman?’
Liam didn’t answer. He made a hacking noise in the back of his throat and spat on the floor.
Kraft turned to Malloy. ‘Can defence offer any mitigation for the prisoner?’
Malloy shook his head. ‘Unfortunately not, your honour. Truman has always been an awkward character. He has consistently shown a flagrant disregard for authority. On reflection, he might have benefited from a stricter approach regarding discipline, but,
as I’m sure you’re aware, your honour, hindsight is a wonderful thing.’
‘Indeed. But, it is not the duty of this court to rake over the ashes of a prisoner’s past. What’s done is done. I understand the prisoner’s father committed suicide?’
Malloy preened himself like a strutting peacock. ‘That is the case, your honour.’
Kraft looked at Liam. ‘The apple never falls far from the tree, does it, young man?’
Liam held his head as high as he could and looked Kraft in the eye. ‘No. And sometimes people end up swinging from that same tree.’
Kraft banged his mallet down hard enough to split the wood.
‘I see that tongue of yours makes a very effective noose. I would like to remind you that you’re in a court of law. Everything you say can and will be used as evidence against you.’
Liam turned away, his face crushed by pain.
Kraft addressed Carver again. ‘You say the prisoner resisted arrest?’
‘Yes, your honour. We pleaded with both defendants to see sense, but Truman seemed to take some sort of perverse pleasure in taunting us. He said he’d poured petrol down the cellar steps, and he would set fire to it if anyone came through the door. We didn’t have a key, your honour. The best we could do was try to appeal to their better nature.’
Kraft adjusted his wig and dabbed at his forehead with a handkerchief. ‘It might be fair to surmise characters such as these don’t possess a better nature.’
‘I fear you’re right, your honour,’ Carver said. ‘That has already been made apparent by the prisoners’ behaviour in the church.’
‘As I can unfortunately bear witness to. His language was both foul and abhorrent.’ He turned to me. ‘Why did you go to the church, Tate?’
To rob the place. ‘I don’t know.’
‘If I might offer a suggestion, your honour,’ Carver intervened. ‘They went there to steal.’
‘Steal what, Mr. Carver?’
‘Perhaps the gold candlesticks?’
Kraft wrote something down on a jotter. ‘Is that true, Tate?’
‘No.’
Kraft turned to Carver. ‘I’d be interested to know why they went to the church, Detective Inspector. The vicar is a personal friend of mine. I’m sure he would appreciate an answer. It might be prudent to see if you can elicit one from Truman.’
‘Certainly, your honour.’ He walked over to Liam and stood a few feet in front of him. ‘You heard the judge. He wants to know the real reason why you went to the church.’
Liam tried to straighten his head and look Carver in the eye. His breath rattled in the back of his throat. His glasses were perched precariously on the end of his nose. ‘We… went…there… to… pray…’
‘Pray for what, boy?’ Kraft said. ‘Salvation?’
‘To… pray… you… lot… die… a… slow… and… painful…death…’

If you’d like to see how Michael and Liam became friends and what happens next, then you can find the book using this link. I hope that you enjoy the rest of it.

As always, thank you for your continued support, and special thanks to all those who continue to praise and recommend The Abattoir of Dreams.

Best wishes,

Mark.

Series Review – The Kat and Mouse Murder Mysteries by Anita Waller

I usually prefer to read stand alone novels as it takes something special to keep my attention in a series. This four book series by Anita Waller grabbed my interest in the first book and kept me coming back for more.

Kat (a local community Deacon,) Beth/Mouse (narrowly escapes death when badly beaten,) and Doris (Mouse’s Gran,) all first meet each other in book 1. Their friendships develop through the four books as they have a mixture of personal and criminal issues to tackle between them.

I know that many others who have also read these books will agree with me when I say that Doris regularly steals the show. Kat and Mouse are great personalities  (Kat’s inability to use the internet without breaking it made me laugh,) but 70 year old black belt Doris, has a wicked sense of humour that I really liked.

Anita has done a fantastic job with this series and I’ve heard that there may be more to come from Doris. I recommend reading the books in order as each one does follow on from events in the previous book very closely.

 

Here are the four books in reading order. Click on each cover to read my review of each book:

Murder Undeniable.
Katerina Rowe, a Deacon at the church in the sleepy village of Eyam, has a fulfilled life. She is happily married to Leon and her work is rewarding. But everything changes when she discovers the body of a man and a badly beaten woman, Beth, in the alleyway behind her husband’s pharmacy.

Drawn to the young woman she saved, Kat finds herself embroiled in a baffling mystery.

When Beth’s house is set on fire, Kat offers the young woman sanctuary in her home and soon the pair begin investigating the murder, with some help from Beth’s feisty grandmother, Doris. But neither the police, nor Leon, nor the criminals want Kat and Beth looking into their affairs and the sleuths quickly find themselves out of their depth…

Can Kat and Beth solve the mystery and walk away unscathed?

 

Murder Unexpected
Kat and Mouse are back.

Church Deacon Kat and her friend Beth, known as Mouse, have started a private investigation business in the sleepy village of Eyam.

Kat, whose estranged criminal husband, Leon, is on the run, has a lot on her plate running the new business whilst heavily pregnant.

When a widow asks the sleuths for help, Kat and Mouse find themselves searching for the birth mother of the widow’s husband. But when it becomes clear that the widow isn’t telling the whole truth, Kat and Mouse are drawn into a deadly chase where nothing is what it seems.

Meanwhile, Kat’s husband has come back to Eyam and has Kat in his sights.

Can Kat and Mouse solve the case and escape the dangerous Leon?

This time they might just be out of their depth…

 

Murder Unearthed
When DI Tessa Marsden is called to a road traffic accident, she is disturbed by the crime scene she must investigate. She now has a double murder to contend with; two dead girls from the same village.

Realising the murders aren’t linked, Marsden summons the help of the Connection Investigation Agency, run by Kat, a church Deacon, Beth, (known affectionately as Mouse), a computer expert, and Doris, Beth’s feisty grandmother.

When it is discovered that one of the murdered girls was pregnant the case takes an unexpected turn.

Can DI Marsden, with the input of Kat and Mouse, solve the case before another body appears?

Meanwhile, the agency has been asked to track down the long lost son of Ewan Barker. Will Kat, Mouse and Doris find him and reunite him with his father?

This might just be their toughest investigation yet…

 

Murder Untimely
Early one morning, in the grounds of Chatsworth, a body is discovered by one of the estate groundsmen. DI Marsden and DS Granger battle through snow-covered roads to begin their investigation.

Meanwhile, at the Connection Investigation Agency, Doris, Kat and Mouse are busy juggling their caseloads, while trying to show their new trainee receptionist the ropes.

When the police learn that the body belongs to Nicola Armstrong, a resident of the nearby village of Baslow, it soon transpires that Nicola was the mother of a child who disappeared ten years prior to her murder.

Soon, the Connection investigators are brought in to help but when a second body is found at Chatsworth, the case takes a disturbing turn.

Can the police and the female sleuths get to the truth before more life is lost? Or is the fate of those involved already sealed?

 

You can find all the books in the series, and the box set of all four books, over on Anita’s Amazon author page.
Anita is also active on her Facebook page too.

As always, thank you for your continued support, and as this is my last post of the year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Best wishes,

Mark.

 

Book Review: The Butcher’s Daughter by Jane E James

Book Description:
Looking for a dark and compelling psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming?

Trust no one. Not even yourself.

When Natalie Powers returns home for the first time in thirteen years, she must convince everyone she has fully recovered from the mental illness, which has seen her institutionalised for most of her young life.

But instead of being welcomed back, Natalie enters a baffling world of deception. She must fight her way through the lies in order to discover the truth about her mother’s sudden disappearance sixteen years earlier. To do this, Natalie must also try to make sense of the hazy memories from the past that continue to haunt her.

In the village of Little Downey, everybody appears to harbour a mysterious secret, including her father, Frank, the village butcher, who refuses to discuss the circumstances surrounding Natalie’s mother’s disappearance, but who can Natalie trust if not her own father? Especially when it becomes clear her protector and confidante, Dr Moses, is not all he appears.

Meanwhile, a spate of unexplained clifftop suicides has seen the seaside resort go into decline. Are the villagers somehow involved or is something more sinister at work?

Determined to find out what happened to her mother, Natalie must make sure her own frailty and self-doubt does not catapult her back to the mental institution before she can uncover the truth…

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Torment Blog Blitz Thanks

My 7th novel, Torment, was published on the 5th August, and its release was supported by some fantastic book bloggers.This post is to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped spread the word about the book via their reviews and the sharing of extracts from the book. Special thanks also go to Kerry-Ann Parsons (Chat About Books,) and Lorraine Rugman (The Book Review Cafe,) for helping with the cover reveal.

Heather at Bloodhound Books planned one blog blitz, including the following bloggers:

If you missed any of their reviews, click on the links below:

Bookish Jottings:
https://bookishjottings.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/torment-by-mark-tilbury-blog-tour-review/.

Amanda @ The Ginger Book Geek
https://gingerbookgeek.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/torment-by-mark-tilbury/.

Lou @ Avid Reader’s Retreat
http://avidreadersretreat.blogspot.com/2019/08/blog-tour-review-torment-by-mark-tilbury.html.

Philomena ‘Cheekypee’ Callen @ Cheekypee Reads and Reviews
http://cheekypeereadsandreviews.blogspot.com/2019/08/torment-blog-tour.html.

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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:

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