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.
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
Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…
When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.
Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he’s determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.
Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.
When more bodies turn up, the killer’s trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.
On nearby streets, people left their offices and entered parked cars or waited at the bus stop. If any glance up at the peculiar form crouched on the church parapet, they’d betray no curiosity. That would be impolite – a violation of the keep-to-yourself code that held the country of radically diverse ancestries and cultures together. He’d be written off as trick of the light of maybe an extra gargoyle. The stone monsters sat atop the old facades in Budapest any way. Being mistaken for a monster was nothing new. Rurik was used to it.
The police presence and general alarm would be greater if they knew it was actually four children missing, not just one.
A little girl taken from a park in Northern Italy. A boy taken from a playground in Slovenia. A girl taken from an abandoned Slovenian train station a week later. And now a girl from Budapest. Continue reading
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.
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. 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.
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.
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
‘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.
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.