Monthly Archives: December 2012

Bitten the bullet…..

Okay, making the decision to put something out there before the end of the year finally became a reality last week when I did exactly that with seven short stories collected, each featuring my lead novel character Detective Inspector George Haven.

Here’s the cover art and the link, and now it’s back to working on the novel ‘A Long December’ which features Haven and his team.

DEADLINE COVER2 copy

Available on Amazon for kindle here.

Keith

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If Snow Hadn’t Fallen (A Lacey Flint short story) by SJ Bolton

They say that snow covers everything that is mean and sordid and ugly in the world…but beneath the carpet of white, the ugliness remains.

11 November 2012, London. Long-smouldering feelings come to a head in a burst of shocking violence. A young Muslim man is brutally murdered by a masked gang. 

There is just one witness to the horrific crime: DC Lacey Flint. Or at least that’s what she thinks…

5169hhpTlhL._SX35_Looking for another great download for that kindle (or other ereader) that’s about to come your way this Christmas?

Here’s a great one for fans old and new of SJ Bolton’s great crime books.

It features her regular characters but, although regular readers will get an extra kick or two out of that, it reads perfectly as a wintry disturbing crime tale if it’s your first glimpse into her dark world.

Treat yourself this Christmas – download it here.

Keith

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ALL FALL DOWN by Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

Published by Harper (on ebook from 20th December 2012 and in paperback 14th Feb 2013)

UnknownTime to die…
The explosive new thriller featuring Kate Maddox from the writers of Catch Your Death and Killing Cupid.

Two years on from uncovering a terrifying conspiracy of rogue scientists, all Kate Maddox wants is to lead a normal life with her partner Paul and son Jack. But then a face from the past turns up, bringing chilling news.
A devastating new strain of the virus that killed Kate’s parents is loose in L.A. – and when a bomb rips through a hotel killing many top scientists, it becomes clear someone will do anything to stop a cure being found.
While Paul goes on the hunt for answers, Kate finds herself in a secret laboratory in the heart of California, desperately seeking a way to stop the contagion. But time is running out and soon it will be too late to save their loved ones, themselves, and the world…

Any fears I had that the ground-breaking and kindle-smashing writing duo of Voss & Edwards might drop the ball after the tremendous success of Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death were squashed quickly like a virus spreading mosquito within the opening pages of this new novel.

Opening with a powerful prologue which I found akin to Stephen King’s The Stand, the scene is set for a new tale of the heroine from Catch Your Death, Kate Maddox, as she strives to battle a new and horrifying strain of a virus she has faced before. But this is anything but a retread of that previous book. With All Fall Down the writing team have upped the ante on every level with a juggernaut of a thriller, packing action into every page throughout its just over 450 page running time (and I do mean ‘running’ along with jumping, fighting, racing, shooting etc). Imagine that Outbreak movie from a few years back, turned into a road movie, with the action of Die Hard and you’d be about there.

Voss and Edwards manage to juggle multiple scenes of peril, splitting their main character from her partner, Paul, and son, Jack, and placing each one of them in their own adventure in parallel – all facing different dangers, all racing against the same clock.

It’s a timely tale too, with ebook launch on 20th December, just one day before the Mayan prophecy advises we’re all bound for oblivion, as the novel features a cult-like band who are set on a re-start of sorts to the world, believing they will be the only ones immune to the virus and who will do anything to stop anyone with the powers or knowledge to possibly prevent the spread or to find a cure.

With most of the UK currently experiencing symptoms of the annual winter virus at this very moment – it’s also a novel that will have you taking note whenever someone near you on the tube sneezes – will give you that niggling doubt in your mind…

…but don’t doubt for a moment that Voss and Edwards are clearly here to stay and, with such strong writing and stories, they have just unleashed a viral product for which I really hope there is no cure.

Dose yourself up right here.

Keith 

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Christmas is Murder – by Val McDermid

Published by Little Brown

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Available in ebook for the first time ever, this duo of classic Christmas crime short stories by Sunday Times number one bestseller, Val McDermid – A Traditional Christmas and A Wife in a Million – introduces DI Maggie Staniforth.

A perfect pairing of very entertaining crime shorts from an author who has always been top of her game – a perfect pairing to add as a wintery stocking filler to any ebook reader.

In A Traditional Christmas, the peace of a picture perfect Christmas in the Cotswolds is shattered by an unexpected turn of events.

In A Wife in a Million, Maggie Staniforth takes centre stage in a deadly tale of hardship at Christmas.

Keith

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The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

Published by Hodder

imagesIn the past few days I have undertaken quite a surreal experiment.

The last time I can recall reading a book to try and get it under my belt before seeing an adaptation was reading the last pages of Dennis Lehane’s ‘Gone Baby Gone’ whilst in the queue for a preview screening.

When I found out that Erin Kelly’s debut crime novel ‘The Poison Tree’ was about to air in two parts on ITV1 I tried to get it read beforehand, but then work and stuff got in the way so I made sure I was halfway through before watching the first episode, thinking that should put me in about the right place so as not to spoil things.

I watched the first episode, gripped with the knowledge of what I was expecting to happen and, as is often the case with television timings (particularly those which need to cater for advertisement breaks) the pace was changed, the order of events seemed to be swapped around in places and a major scene broke out which I was in no way prepared for with the first half of the novel read.

Then, when the first episode was over, I returned to the book and ploughed through it, finding that although a lot of what I’d just seen on the screen was happening on the page it had been altered to have some characters performing the actions of others and other changes such as where one of the central characters, Rex, worked in prison and what work he was looking for when back in the outside world.

I absolutely loved the book and can only kick myself for not getting around to reading it in its entirety a long time ago, but the television adaptation also seems to be shaping up very nicely with a strong cast and a nice structure to it.

Now, I can’t wait to see the concluding episode this week to see how things tie together in the visual version as, for now, Erin Kelly’s ‘The Poison Tree’ exists in my head like a twisted, haunting dream where the two incarnations share the same themes and major characters and yet each have their own individual lives as though I have walked down two paths of the same dark woodland.

For all those reasons, both the book and the series will remain in my mind for a long long time.

Keith 

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Settled Blood by Mari Hannah

Published by Pan Books

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When a young girl is found dead at the base of Hadrian’s Wall, it’s not long before Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels realises her death was no ordinary homicide. She was thrown from a great height and was probably alive before she hit the ground.

Then a local businessmen reports his daughter missing, has Daniels found the identity of her victim, or is a killer playing a sickening game?

As the murder investigation team delve deeper into the case, half truths are told, secrets exposed, and while Daniels makes her way through a mountain of obstacles time is running out for one terrified girl.

I was so impressed with the impact of Northumberland author Mari Hannah’s crime fiction debut The Murder Wall that it made the unusual leap of being a new author and character, in DCI Kate Daniels, that I wanted to read the second instalment of as soon as it became available.

This is usually a situation I find myself in with much longer established authors and crime series but, in this case, with Settled Blood, Hannah has found her stride very quickly indeed, cementing herself in a much deserved place amongst the best of the best in police procedural crime fiction.

There are a good many great female crime authors out there of course, but I still find it rare to discover a series character, particularly a cop, which really does the business – DCI Kate Daniels does just that, despite the author’s best attempts to drag her through hell in sections of this latest offering.

There are sufficient pointers back to events in the previous novel – which will entice new readers to check out The Murder Wall without detracting from this new case, a dark and deadly tale which serves its victims well – something I’ve always thought many crime writers overlook. In fact it was the victim’s viewpoints in Settled Blood that made me reflect on similar sections of entrapment in Jeffrey Deaver’s superb The Bone Collector – no bad thing at all in that comparison. With a great surrounding cast of supporting characters, specifically her partner Hank Gormley – just the kind of sidekick you’d want in such situations, the mould is set for what I’m sure will be a great and long continuing series of novels – so, grab this and The Murder Wall and get in on the ground floor.

In DCI Kate Daniels, Mari Hannah has given the crime fiction world a Jane Tennison for the next generation. If you’re looking for the best thing in new crime fiction, then Mari Hannah is the Prime Suspect.

Keith

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The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore

Published by Hammer (Arrow) Books.

Unknown

In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life.

 

Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window.

 

Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in.

 

His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec’s life, nor the impact it will have on hers …

As I was working on my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) book during November, which I always kick off just after midnight on Halloween by way of tradition, my movie watching and reading was leaning towards all things supernatural.

And this was the perfect read to accompany my writing time in such a mindset.

Comparisons to The Woman in Black are well founded, this is equally as gripping in places and, as with many a classic ghost story, brings the past crashing into the central character’s present and also reflects on their own past at the same time.

Finely crafted and disturbing, without any reliance on gore or bloodshed, this is a story that will stay in the mind for a long time after reading it and will disturb you if ever you see a coat discarded on your own bed on a cold wintery evening.

Keith

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