Category Archives: Blog Tour

Book Blast: Pleasing Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

Pleasing Mr. Pepys
by Deborah Swift

Publication Date: September 28, 2017
Accent Press
eBook & Paperback; 407 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

London 1667.

Set in a London rising from the ruins of the Great Fire, Pleasing Mr Pepys is a vivid re-imagining of the events in Samuel Pepys’s Diary.

Desperate to escape her domineering aunt, Deb Willet thinks the post of companion to well-respected Elisabeth Pepys is the answer to her prayers. But Samuel Pepys’s house is not as safe as it seems. An intelligent girl in Deb’s position has access to his government papers, and soon she becomes a target of flamboyant actress Abigail Williams, a spy for England’s enemies, the Dutch.

Abigail is getting old and needs a younger accomplice. She blackmails Deb into stealing Pepys’s documents. Soon, the respectable life Deb longs for slides out of her grasp. Mr Pepys’s obsessive lust for his new maid increases precisely as Abigail and her sinister Dutch spymaster become more demanding. When Deb falls for handsome Jem Wells, a curate-in-training, she thinks things cannot possibly get worse.

Until – not content with a few stolen papers – the Dutch want Mr Pepys’s Diary.

Swift brought Deborah Willet, the Pepyses, and the London of the 1660s to life in an exciting and sometimes touching way…I didn’t want to put it down, and found myself thinking about the story when I went about my day.” – Andrea Zuvich, Author of His Last Mistress

Deb Willet, Elizabeth Pepys’s maid and the object of Samuel Pepys’s attentions, is finally given centre-stage after 350 years, and her tale was worth waiting for. This is exceptional story-telling.” – L. C. Tyler

Laced with emotional intensity and drama, Pleasing Mr Pepys… (has) an intricate plot that features red herrings, unexpected twists, and surprises that will take readers on a very delightful ride.” – Arya Fomonyuy, Readers’ Favorite

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Chapters

About the Author

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists.

She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District – a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

For more information, please visit Deborah Swift’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, September 28
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Books of All Kinds

Friday, September 29
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Review at The Lit Bitch
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, October 4
Feature at A Holland Reads

Thursday, October 5
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, October 6
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 9
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, October 10
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, October 11
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, October 13
Review at Poppy Coburn

Monday, October 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Tuesday, October 17
Review at Laura’s Interests
Interview at Suzy Approved Books

Wednesday, October 18
Book Blast at Jo’s Book Blog

Thursday, October 19
Feature at T’s Stuff

Friday, October 20
Review at A Literary Vacation
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed copy of Pleasing Mr. Pepys to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Pleasing Mr. Pepys

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Blog Tour: Death in the Stars by Frances Brody

Death in the Stars - Cover

Today I’m delighted to share with you my review of Death in the Stars, the ninth outing for private investigator Kate Shackleton.

Yorkshire, 1927. Eclipse fever grips the nation, and when beloved theatre star Selina Fellini approaches trusted sleuth Kate Shackleton to accompany her to a viewing party at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kate suspects an ulterior motive.

During the eclipse, Selina’s friend and co-star Billy Moffatt disappears and is later found dead in the chapel grounds. Kate can’t help but dig deeper and soon learns that two other members of the theatre troupe died in similarly mysterious circumstances in the past year. With the help of Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden, Kate sets about investigating the deaths – and whether there is a murderer in the company.

When Selina’s elusive husband Jarrod, injured in the war and subject to violent mood swings, comes back on the scene, Kate begins to imagine something far deadlier at play, and wonders just who will be next to pay the ultimate price for fame…

As I’ve mentioned, Death in the Stars is the ninth book in the Kate Shackleton Mysteries, featuring the wonderful Kate and her small team comprised of Mrs Sugden and former police officer Jim Sykes, but you don’t need to have read the whole series to appreciate this one.  I’ve only read the previous novel, Death at the Seaside, and I don’t feel that this puts the reader at a disadvantage at all.

I have to admit that I did prefer this novel to the previous one.  In Death at the Seaside, I felt that Kate, who was on holiday at the time, wasn’t fully invested in the case, which she (almost literally) stumbled across.  Here, Kate and her team are involved from the beginning, and I felt that this novel had more investigative work involved in order to solve the mystery which made it a more interesting tale.

I really like Kate as a character, and I’m sure that her chosen profession would have been somewhat frowned upon in the 1920s.  Interestingly, Brody chooses not to explore this element in the novel (it may be covered in earlier novels in the series), which was something I was quite grateful for.  Whilst this might have given the novel a more real setting, not everything has to comment upon the social standards of the time, and this allows the reader to focus on the crime and spotting the clues before the big reveal at the end.

Death in the Stars depicts a fascinating mystery with multiple clues, suspects and red herrings thrown in along the way.  I did work out the “whodunnit”, but I of course kept reading to make sure that I was correct!  A wonderful “cosy crime” novel with an excellent main character.

Death in the Stars is published today by Piatkus – many thanks to Clara Diaz at Little, Brown Book Group for providing a copy for review, and for inviting me to join the blog tour.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour!

Blog Tour Poster

About the Author:Frances Brody Oct17

Frances Brody is the author of the Kate Shackleton mysteries, as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and four sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award.

The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans

the fourteenth letter

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Fourteenth Letter today.  The Fourteenth Letter was published in hardback and digital formats in April, and will be published in paperback on 21 September.

A mysterious keepsake, a murdered bride, a legacy of secrets…

One balmy June evening in 1881, Phoebe Stanbury stands before the guests at her engagement party: this is her moment, when she will join the renowned Raycraft family and ascend to polite society.

As she takes her fiancé’s hand, a stranger holding a knife steps forward and ends the poor girl’s life. Amid the chaos, he turns to her aristocratic groom and mouths: ‘I promised I would save you.’

The following morning, just a few miles away, timid young legal clerk William Lamb meets a reclusive client. He finds the old man terrified and in desperate need of aid: William must keep safe a small casket of yellowing papers, and deliver an enigmatic message: The Finder knows.

I was immediately taken with the premise of The Fourteenth Letter, and jumped at the chance to read and review this title on my blog.  Straddling both the historical fiction and police procedural genres, perhaps with the smallest hint of science fiction thrown in, this is a novel that defies easy categorisation, but if it sounds like an odd mix, don’t let that put you off, because this is an interesting mystery, and if I guessed a few of the plot twists (of which there were many), there were others that took me by surprise.

I’m not going to go into the plot in any detail, as this is a novel that moves along at a fast pace – there’s always something happening, and I think that this novel’s secrets are best discovered as you’re reading it.  Needless to say, a young woman murdered at her engagement party, cryptic messages – it’s all very intriguing, and delivers upon its promise of strange and secretive goings-on, and if there were a couple of aspects that didn’t appeal to me personally, it was still a great deal of fun to read.

The novel is told from multiple points of view. This helps to keep the pace high, as there is always something going on, some new clue being revealed, and the reader gets an insight into both sides of the story.  And there is a good side and a bad side in this novel, although they aren’t particularly clear cut, with a few characters on both sides muddying the waters between right and wrong.  Whilst the multiple perspectives did help to keep the pace up, it did also mean that I didn’t feel particularly attached to any of the characters.  This does sometimes happen when there are a large cast of characters, and whilst this isn’t always an issue, I think that I would have liked someone to root for here.

The characters are a bit of a strange bunch, and I have to admit that I didn’t like William – who is as close to a central character as we get – at all.  His character does (gradually) develop as the novel progresses, but he didn’t redeem himself enough for me to change my opinion of him.  My favourite characters were Harry, the detective investigating Phoebe’s murder, and Savannah, who becomes unwillingly caught up in William’s troubles.  Harry is perceived by his colleagues as being a little slow and easily distracted, and yet to me it seemed that he had extraordinary attention to detail, and what was considered inattention was rather him mulling over the facts and seeking out those missing details to solve the crime.  In contrast, Savannah is a gun-toting American on the run, and stands out like a sore thumb in late nineteenth century London.  She’s all feisty attitude, and she adds a lot of the excitement into the novel.  That said, I did feel that there were elements to Savannah’s past that were hinted at, but never fully revealed, which was a little frustrating.

My main issue with the novel was that some elements of the plot just didn’t work for me personally.  Whilst it moves quickly, there were a few things that happened that didn’t really make sense, and seemed all too convenient when I think that a more plausible option was available.  That’s just my personal opinion, however, and overall, this is still a fun read.

Many thanks to Ella Bowman for providing a copy for review, and for inviting me to join the blog tour.  The Fourteenth Letter will be published in paperback on 21 September by Sphere.

Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour:

The Fourteenth Letter - Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Ask No Questions by Lisa Hartley

ask no questions

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Ask No Questions by Lisa Hartley.  Ask No Questions is the first novel in a new series featuring Detective Caelan Small.

Some secrets were meant to stay hidden… Trust no-one

After an operation goes badly wrong, undercover specialist Detective Caelan Small leaves the Metropolitan Police for good. Or so she thinks. Then the criminal responsible is seen back in the UK.

Soon Caelan is drawn back into a dangerous investigation. But when the main lead is suddenly murdered, all bets are off. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is a suspect – even close colleagues.

Someone in the Met is involved and Caelan is being told to Ask No Questions.

This isn’t an option: Caelan needs answers… whatever the cost.

I thought that Ask No Questions was a very well-plotted story.  There are two interlinked cases, both of them targeting the same villain, Seb Lambourne.  The original case, that caused Caelan to retire, still poses multiple questions as no one is really sure how it could have gone so badly wrong.  In particular, some people are asking whether Caelan is capable and / or trustworthy, speculating that she may have been in cahoots with Lambourne all along.  This makes Caelan’s current case all the more difficult, as she has to deal with sceptical colleagues whilst still doing her job, which is no straightforward matter.  Whilst it sounds like a relatively straightforward plot, it very quickly becomes more complicated (although never to the point that the reader can’t follow it), and I enjoyed seeing it all unravel by the end.

In terms of the characters, I found Caelan to be a little difficult at first, although I did warm to her as I came to understand her more.  As someone who works undercover a lot of the time, she is used to keeping to herself, and I found the initial lack of detail a little frustrating at first.  I soon gained more insight into her character, however, and this did help to clarify her actions and motivations, and I was cheering for her by the end.  I thought that the secondary characters were lacking in detail, however – there was some background on Ewan, who becomes Caelan’s pseudo-partner, but I didn’t get much of a sense for what the other characters were really like.  The focus is Caelan, however, so I don’t consider this to be a significant issue, it’s more that I’d have liked some additional detail in order to understand those around her more.

There are a few twists in the novel, but I have to admit that I saw some of them coming.  There were a couple of surprises, but I had worked out a few elements ahead of the big reveal.  This is still an entertaining read however, and I think that it will be interesting to see where Hartley takes Caelan next.

Ask No Questions was published on 10 July by Canelo.  Many thanks to Faye Rogers for inviting me to join the blog tour, and to Faye and Canelo for the advance proof.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the Author

Lisa Hartley

Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. In addition to this new series with Canelo she is also working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel.

Website: http://www.lisahartley.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rainedonparade


Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour:

Ask No Questions Blog Tour Graphic (6)

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Lighterman by Simon Michael

the lighterman

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first two novels in the Charles Holborne series, The Brief and An Honest Man, and I was delighted to be invited to join the blog tour for the release of the third instalment, The Lighterman.  I’m also offering one lucky reader to opportunity to win a paperback copy of The Lighterman – see the end of this post for details of how to enter.

Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne. The Lighterman provides more of Charles’s personal history, dating back to the war years when he worked on the River Thames with his cousin Izzy. Gangland leader Ronnie Kray is not a man to forgive or forget. Holborne has ‘taken liberties’ and revenge will follow. But how to get at a tough and resourceful Brief with his own history of criminality and a penchant for violence? The answer: find a man who can’t be hanged twice. Now Holborne must dig up the secrets of the past to save two lives… one of them his own. Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

In the first two novels in the series, the reader is able to pick up little snippets about Holborne’s background, particularly his East End upbringing and the disagreements with his family when he anglicised his name thereby rejecting, in their eyes, his Jewish heritage.  One of the things I loved about The Lighterman was finding out more about his past, particularly his time in London during the Blitz when he worked on the river with his uncle and his cousin, Izzy.  I thought that this allowed the reader to get a more complete picture of Holborne as a character, and helps to show how he got to where he is today.

Both The Brief and An Honest Man have made reference to the infamous Kray twins, and Michael has been building up to clash between Holborne and the two brothers, whose paths he crossed in his last outing.  It was no surprise that they formed a much more significant part of this novel, as the Kray twins, and Ronnie in particular, seek to avenge themselves.   Thus, Holborne finds himself in a great deal of trouble, and I found this to be an incredibly exciting storyline as things come to a head.

I’ve always found Holborne to be something of a loveable rogue, and this book brings out more of this side of his character as he is forced into some misdemeanours of his own in order to save not just his cousin’s life, but his own as well.  It’s sometimes hard to know if a good man doing bad things is meant to garner sympathy from the reader – in Holborne’s case, his motivations are understandable, even if this doesn’t allow the reader to fully condone his actions.  I was completely on board with Holborne, however – it seems that almost everyone in the 1960s was corrupt in some way, and I think that you sometimes have to play the bad guys at their own game in order to resolve a situation.  As Green Day said “Nice guys finish last”.

I love a good courtroom scene, and Michael once again delivers a fantastically tense case against seemingly insurmountable odds.  I love those moments – the questioning of the witnesses, and trying to bring the jury round to a particular way of thinking.  Scenes like these, when done badly, can come across as dull and repetitive, but Michael has this down pat, which I’m sure stems at least partly from his own experiences in legal profession.

I think that The Lighterman is the best in the series yet, and I found it to be darker and grittier than the first two novels in the series, although still in keeping with the style and tone set in the preceding novels.  I do recommend reading the first two novels in the series before this one – there are references to the previous stories in The Lighterman, and I think it helps to understand what Holborne has been through in the last two novels in order to get the most out of this one.

The Lighterman was published on 8 June.  Many thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications for the review copy, and to Michelle Ryles for inviting me to join the blog tour.

Rating: ★★★★★

Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour:

thelighterman_tourposter


Giveaway

As part of the blog tour, Matthew at Urbane Publications is very kindly offering a paperback copy of The Lighterman to one lucky reader.  To be in with a chance of winning, either leave a comment on this blog post or retweet my pinned tweet by midnight on 14 June.  UK entrants only please!

Blog Tour: Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Today I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Anna Belfrage’s new novel, Under the Approaching Dark, and I have an excerpt to share with you all!

It had been decided that the former king was to be buried at St Peter’s Abbey in Gloucester. Some days into December, the court was slowly making its way across a sodden and gloomy England, the king preferring to ride apart with his young companions.

They arrived in Worcester in a squall of rain and sleet. Kit had never entered Worcester from the east before, having always approached from the west and over the bridge spanning the Severn, but once through the gate, the town was very much as she remembered it—albeit surprisingly empty of people, which she took to be due to the freezing weather. They made their way towards the river and the huge whitewashed church of the priory of St Mary’s, stark against the grey skies beyond. By the time they were ushered inside the priory’s guest hall, they were muddy and cold to the bone.

Kit settled herself in a corner, waiting for the bustle to settle. The queen insisted on private accommodation, and the little prior bowed and scraped, hands twisting nervously as he assured his lady queen he would do everything to fulfil her wishes.

Kit pulled her damp cloak closer and suppressed a shiver.

“Cold?” King Edward sat down beside her.

“And wet.”

So was he, his hair plastered to his head. A day of constant wind and rain had left him with windburn, he had a streak of mud under his right eye, and his boots squelched when he moved. And yet it wasn’t that which moved her to place a hand on his face—it was the shadows under his eyes, the uncertain set to his mouth.

“It will be over soon, my lord.”

“Will it?” He pulled off his gloves, rubbing his hands. “I am not so sure, Lady Kit.” He scraped at a scab on his hand, studying the little beads of blood intently.

“Once he is laid at rest, things will be easier.” She used her sleeve to wipe his hand clean of blood.

Edward grunted, no more, sinking into a heavy silence. Kit cast about for a somewhat cheerier subject.

 “Looking forward to your wedding, my lord?”

The king blinked. “My wedding?” His mouth curved into a soft smile, and he nodded. “She will be on her way soon.” He gnawed his lip, throwing Kit a look from under long, fair lashes. “I hope she is as pleased as I am.”

“Oh, I am sure she is.”

“Truly?” He smiled again, briefly. He made as if to say something, broke off. Kit waited. “I…” He turned troubled eyes on Kit. “I have never…er…deflowered a maid.”

“I am glad to hear that,” Kit said, laughing silently at his discomfited expression.

“Will I hurt her? I don’t want to, but Montagu says it always hurts the first time for a woman.” He leaned back against the wall, long legs extended before him.

“It doesn’t have to.” Kit recalled her own wedding night. It had been uncomfortable as Adam had been convinced she was no virgin. But he had made amends, loving her with far more tenderness the second time around.

“Lady Philippa will have been told two things: that it may hurt, and that she must lay back and bear it—as any good wife must.” She rubbed at her belly. In response, the child within kicked. “If you want a happy marriage, you don’t want her to lay back and bear it, my lord. You want her to enjoy it.” From the amused look in the king’s eyes and the heat in her cheeks, Kit suspected she was presently the bright red of rowan berries, but she pushed on. “You must…well, I suppose you have to…” She glared at him. “Why don’t you ask Adam instead?”

“He’s not a woman.” The king studied his hands. “I have to touch her, don’t I?” He cleared his throat. “Everywhere.”

“Yes.” Kit fiddled with the clasps of her cloak. “Touch her and kiss her until she strains towards you.”

“What if she doesn’t?”

“Then you’re not touching her boldly enough.”

The king grinned. “Can I hope for some demonstrations, Lady Kit?”

“Most certainly not!” She stood. “If you want further guidance, I suggest you ask someone else.”

“Like Adam.” Yet again that broad grin. “He must do everything right, to judge from your bright face, my lady.”

Kit grinned back, patting her belly. “As a matter of fact, my lord, he does.”


Under the Approaching Dark
by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: April 28, 2017
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 424 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.

After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.

In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much.

When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.

“The writing is impeccable. The story has everything. Under the Approaching Dark is just perfect in every sense” – Sharon Bennett Connolly, History The Interesting Bits

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

About the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, May 2
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, May 3
Review at A Book Drunkard

Thursday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads

Friday, May 5
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, May 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, May 9
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, May 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, May 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, May 12
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Tuesday, May 16
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Wednesday, May 17
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, May 19
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Monday, May 22
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, May 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at The Muse in the Fog Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 24
Excerpt at Jo’s Book Blog
Spotlight at The Paperback Princess

Thursday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, May 26
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests

Sunday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Books and Benches

Monday, May 29
Guest Post at Yelena Casale’s Blog

Tuesday, May 30
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Giveaway

To win a copy of Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules:

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Giveaway is open internationally.
  • Only one entry per household.
  • All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
  • Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Under the Appraoching Dark

Blog Tour: Two O’Clock Boy by Mark Hill

High res TTOCB

I reviewed Two O’Clock Boy in September 2016 prior to the eBook launch, and I’m reposting my review as part of the blog tour for the paperback release this month.


In the 1980s, Longacre Children’s Home gave the outward appearance of being a place for homeless children to grow up in relative comfort and safety.  But beneath the façade, the children lived in fear of the manager, Gordon Tallis.

Thirty years later, and the investigation into the brutal murder of Kenny Overton and his family causes newly promoted DS Felicity (Flick) Crowley to investigate a potential link to the home where Kenny was a resident as a child.

Despite DI Ray Drake’s insistence that she focus on Kenny’s somewhat unwholesome past as a petty criminal, she can’t help but dig deeper.  Is there a connection between Kenny’s recent demise and a string of supposed accidents and suicides that have plagued the former residents of Longacre?  And if so, are there more to come?

Two O’Clock Boy comes with quite a hook:

Two childhood friends

One became a detective

One became a killer…

Given the two very different outcomes – the detective versus the killer – I think that it’s easy to assume that Two O’Clock Boy is a good vs. evil tale, and that wasn’t the case at all.  Drake is an incredibly murky character who is in a horrible position.  I won’t say too much as I’d hate to spoil the novel for other readers, but whilst Drake is desperate to stop the murderer, he is also willing to sacrifice the investigation to suit his own purposes.

This is made increasingly more difficult by the tenacious “Flick” Crowley.  Newly promoted to Detective Sergeant, Flick feels the need to prove her worth, and so it’s a little surprising (and thoroughly pleasing) when she continues to follow her instincts and investigates the possible link to the children’s home, despite Drake’s increasingly disturbing behaviour.

The story is told in the present day with flashbacks to the 80s, and the experience of the children in Longacre.  Whilst some of what goes on there is stated, there is more implied.  I was quite pleased that Hill chose to draw the line that he did, however.  I’ve never shied away from gruesome / unpleasant reading material, but I think that too many authors try to shock their audience when it isn’t necessary, and I liked that Hill didn’t succumb to that.

This is a novel with plenty of twists, although I did work out who the killer was and much of what was going quite early on.  I still enjoyed the novel, however, and I kept reading this fast-paced thriller to see how all the loose ends would be tied up.  I can see this becoming a bestseller, and I would recommend it to all crime / thriller fans – it’s a fantastic, gritty debut with some of the murkiest characters you’ll come across.

Two O’Clock Boy is available now in digital and paperback.  Many thanks to Ella Bowman for inviting me to take part in the blog tour!

Rating: ★★★★☆


Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour:

Rearview man in coat walking along urban subway from above