LA Naylor: The Land of Trees Monday, Sep 30 2019 

Please welcome guest L A Naylor to talk about her debut novel, The Land of Trees:

ABOUT THE BOOK
The Land of Trees is my debut novel and the result of 20 years of rumination and rewriting.

Adoptee Lia has followed her Spanish teacher, Rafael, to Guatemala, for romance and adventure. She doesn’t know much about the country but she’s happy because she’s finally living life on her own terms. On their first night together, Lia decides to declare her feelings, but before she gets the chance, the unimaginable happens and Rafael is brutally killed.

Devastated, Lia travels to Rafael’s family home in the countryside, where she becomes determined to find out why. But not everyone is keen on her investigation. Lia has to decide what is more important: living without answers or taking the deadly consequences that come with the truth.

I’ve carried this story around in my mind, in various versions, ever since I went to Guatemala in 1996. I was young, but it was a hugely important time because it was the year a rebel group would sign a peace treaty with the government, formally ending over three decades of civil war.

At the centre of the story is the tragic death of Rafael, so to a certain extent the theme of loss defines itself and how we come to terms with death. The story is told through the point of view of three characters: feisty, morally principled Lia, who needs to find paid work; Richard, the affluent but ultimate non-traveller; and Macy, who is hiding serious mental health issues. Although it’s ultimately Lia’s story, I think my favourite character is Macy because she’s so strong and brave.

My motivation to write often stems from a sense of injustice. Today in Guatemala, rates of crime remain very high with an average of 101 murders reported per week in 2018, and 97% of homicides remaining unsolved. I wanted to write a book that would buck that trend, because rightly or wrongly, I’m still an optimist!

The book has been described as a gritty, intelligent and evocative coming of age thriller. You can buy the print and Ebook here from 28th September 2019 onwards: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Land-Trees-L-Naylor/dp/0954743717

You can also connect with me here: https://lanaylor.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

L.A. Naylor has been the CEO of a charity, a wreck diver and English teacher. She was awarded a grant from the Campaign for Learning to write a non-fiction book on miscarriages of justice in the UK. She interviewed people convicted of murder and learned a great deal about crime, the law and how elusive justice can be. That book, Judge for Yourself: How Many are Innocent was a best seller and was praised by The Guardian, Michael Mansfield QC and many more.

Agatha Christie: The Last Seance: Tales of the Supernatural Sunday, Sep 29 2019 

The Last Seance is the newest compilation of twenty stories by Agatha Christie and features a story never before published in the USA.

Subtitled Tales of the Supernatural, that theme runs through the stories. There are some old favorites readers might have read before: “The Blue Geranium,” a Miss Marple story that includes science in its deciphering, and several Poirot’s, including “The Dream,” where Poirot debunks the supernatural.

The story never before seen in the US is “The Wife of Kenite,” a revenge tale that echoes the horrors of war and while it has none of Christie’s familiar characters, it’s at once a tale of war and its travesties as much as it is a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time–or is it exactly the right time?

One of Auntie M’s personal favorites has to be “Philomel Cottage,” where a young wife finds out that the husband she’s married is not whom he seems and sets out to rectify her situation.

Devilishly clever, and just in time for the spooky time of the fall. A great addition to any Christie fans collection, or for those who enjoy sinister tales.

Linwood Barclay: Elevator Pitch Friday, Sep 27 2019 

Linwood Barclay’s Elevator Pitch will have readers thinking twice about using an elevator and gravitate toward taking the stairs after this suspenseful read.

New York City finds itself in the grip of a terror-filled nightmare when several elevator accidents cause horrific deaths. People are afraid to get on an elevator in what is essentially a vertical city with its plethora of skyscrapers.

At the same time, a duo of detectives is investigating the death of a man found on the High Line, his face a bloodied pulp and his fingertips cut off to blur his identity. What’s this man’s connection, if at all, to these elevator incidents?

In town, ostensibly to celebrate his wedding anniversary, is the head of an alt-right group called the Flyovers, who are trying to bring attention to their cause.

The terror notches up higher when a taxi explodes, claiming more lives. Are the incidents connected? Is this a way to bring a city that’s a haven for finance, fashion, and entertainment to the verge of collapse?

The mayor does what he can but his own history betrays him. Not known to be the nicest of men at times, his own son ridiculed at every turn, the mayor tries to contain the panic in the city with his eye on his political future. And a hard-talking reporter with a secret of her own takes on the mayor when things start to spiral out of control and involve the one person she loves.

There are plenty of twists and surprises as Barclay keeps upping the suspense until an ending that a reader might begin to anticipate but that will turn on itself with devastating and unforeseen consequences.

Barclay invokes the backstories of many of his characters so that readers become involved in them and their outcome. Addictive and enthralling.

Carol Pouliot: Threshold of Deceit Tuesday, Sep 24 2019 

Carol Pouliot’s Threshold of Deceit is the second in her Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel mysteries.

It’s 1934, and the Depression is still felt, John Dillinger is on the run, and people trying to ignore rumors of Hitler’s strength. A nature-filled picnic soon becomes the site of a murder; readers know the killer of Frankie Russo is a woman, but which of the suspects introduced could it be?

Detective Steven Blackwell has many women in his life in the small NY town of Knightbsbridge who need to be eliminated, some related by marriage. The woman his thoughts linger on, however, is Olivia, the young woman from contemporary times who he’s met through extraordinary circumstances.

Living in the house where he grew up, Steven and Olivia are navigating this unusual facet and it’s Olivia who wants to spend time in 1934. But will she be able to return to her time?

On her first prolonged visit, period details Olivia notices at a smoke-filled pub, while wearing Steven’s mother’s clothing, set the stage for the era, as does the absence of cell phones. Using her research background as cover, Olivia and Steven explain that she’s writing a series of articles on women of the time and their roles, from the famous like Katharine Hepburn and Amelia Earhart, to the local women at the knitting factory.

Frankie Russo was married to Lucy, but was known as a ladies man, working two jobs, alternating weeks away at his second job in Syracuse. As Steven’s investigation widens, detecting in 1934 is vastly different from today’s forensic work and plethora of tools available to the police. Then a second murder occurs, bringing the pressure to bear on Steven and his team.

Meanwhile, Olivia has detecting of her own to do. Her elder friend, Isabel, asks Olivia to use her research skills to find the twin brother she’s never known. Readers see how Olivia manages look for the missing sibling using today’s methods, a nice contrast to the murder investigation.

Pouliot gets the slang of 1934 just right while wrapping up both investigations. Along the way there will be family secrets, blackmail, affairs, and adoptions. And the time-travel continues between these two compelling characters. A satisfying sequel that will leave readers waiting for book three.

Bella Ellis: The Vanished Bride Sunday, Sep 22 2019 

Bella Ellis brings a new series set in the Yorkshire moors, and starring none other than the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, in The Vanished Bride.

Becoming ‘detectors’ after their governess friend at a neighboring house two miles away asks for their help, they are tracking the disappearance of the second wife and young mother who’s missing from her home.

In her bedroom, there’s enough blood to leave little hope that the young woman survived, yet the two sisters try to help their friend, Mattie French, find out the circumstances of her disappearance.

It doesn’t help that her husband’s first wife committed suicide under shady circumstances, not that Elizabeth Chester has left behind not just her young stepson but her own infant boy, Archie.

With the sometimes help of their brother, Branwell, the sisters set out on various journeys to gather evidence and to follow clues left by Elizabeth. One of their first discoveries is that Robert Chester, the missing bride’s husband, is subject to cruel rages and horrible beatings of his wives, and becomes the likely suspect in Elizabeth’s disappearance.

The three women, as different in nature and personality as they are in appearance, must at times flaunt the conventions of the time as they travel to unmask the truth behind the evil at Chester Grange.

A grand start to a new series under a very Bronte-esque name by children’s author and novelist Rowan Coleman,

James Oswald: Nothing to Hide Friday, Sep 20 2019 

James Oswald returns with his second DC Constance Fairchild novel in Nothing to Hide, as strong and compelling an entry as his first in this new series, No Time to Cry. Fans of Oswald’s Inspector acClean series will recognize Oswald’s touch with creative characters and bringing his settings to life, with an added touch of something ‘other.’

On paid leave after her last case ended with several high-profile arrests within the police system, and including one of Britain’s wealthy power men, Con finds herself at loose ends trying to keep a low profile until a big trial, when she returns from time in the Highlands to her London flat, and comes across a mutilated young man who’s barely alive.

This is the first of a string of such mutilations which leave most of its victims dead, and Con is determined to find out who is responsible for these horrific acts, even as she receives the cold shoulder at work from some colleagues and strict instructions from her higher-ups to leave the investigation alone, especially when the National Crime Agency becomes involved.

Worse still, she’s hounded at home by the tabloid press and often can’t sleep in her own bed when her privileged upbringing comes back to haunt her. Oswald brings readers strong women to surround Con, from her neighbor who makes great coffee, Mrs. Feltham, to her Aunt Felicity; from a PC assigned to her, Karen Eve, who just might be a friend, to the fabulous Madame Rose.

But staying out of trouble and not investigating is not Con’s way, and soon she’s embroiled in a case that will take her to the most unlikely places, including Scotland, and even worse, back to her own home, with her title of Lady Constance.

While the evil is there for all to see, taking down the responsible parties is complicated. Con’s mother is involved; her brother is trying to keep the press away from his wedding; and then a friend in Scotland offers her an unlikely refuge to keep her face out of the papers and helps her go undercover.

Oswald doesn’t shirk from today’s issues plaguing young people, but balances them with Con’s sly humor. The Daily Mail calls this “A cracking story beautifully told,” and Auntie M heartily agrees. Highly recommended.

Karin Slaughter: The Last Widow Saturday, Sep 14 2019 

After an absence of three years, Karin Slaughter brings back reader favorites Will Trent and Sara Linton in The Last Widow, both with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation

A young mother who works at the CDC is kidnapped at a shopping mall. A month later, there’s no sign of Michelle Spivey, leaving her wife and young child bewildered and grieving.

Sara, a medical examiner and pediatrician, is getting ready to have lunch with Will, a Georgia agent, at the home of her aunt when emergency sirens fill the air and explosions are heard coming from Emory University.

Running toward the emergency, they come across a horrific car accident with disastrous consequences for them both. Will watches helplessly as Sara is taken away but recognizes that Michelle Spivey was in one of the cars.

The events force Will to go undercover to find the mountain lair of the Invisible Patriot Army, whose leader, Dash, has a diabolical scheme planned. Readers who expect awful things to happen will still be shocked at what does happen.

While Sara fights to treat the children on the compound, Will tries to insinuate himself into the IPA. Neither can imagine just how badly things will go awry. Racing to stop the plan that will affect the nation, the horrific ending is still shocking in its intensity.

A timely and scary plot make this a what Publishers Weekly calls a “…visceral, gratifying entry.”

Elizabeth Duncan: Remembering the Dead Tuesday, Sep 10 2019 

Elizabeth Duncan’s tenth Penny Brannigan mystery, Remembering the Dead, takes readers to north Wales and the lovely rural area where Penny runs a spa with her friend, Victoria the town of Llanelan.

By now everyone in the area is aware of Penny’s propensity for uncovering details that are helpful to police in an investigation, so the amateur sleuth has the ear of the local detective when a tragedy occurs.

Her good friend Emyr is delighted to have custody for a few nights of a special chair given posthumously to the great WWI Welsh poet, Held Wyn, who was awarded the bard’s chair during the 1917 National Eisteddfod. After restoration, the chair is making its way to Wyn’s hometown and his museum with a reception by the Prince of Wales. But this stopover for a few nights means a special dinner party thrown at Emyr’s manor house. The unveiling of the carved chair after the meal is to be the highlight of the evening, but goes at once awry when the black cloth covering it is removed to display one of Emyr’s library chairs.

Penny’s been asked to coordinate the dinner party and is on the premises all evening when tragedy strikes twice. Besides the missing chair, she stumbles in the mist over the rain-soaked body of dying young man outside the scullery, who succumbs to his injuries. He’s the nephew of the spa’s receptionist, which gives Penny even more of a vested interest in uncovering what’s happened.

To unravel the threads, Penny will need to carefully explore a young witness and speak to her friend Jimmy, a former thief now residing at the local nursing home.
This will include bringing Penny on a brief trip to Ireland, with a surprising subplot.

Readers will be fairly certain they know who the culprits are from the outset, but it’s the masterminds behind the events of the evening that need to be outed.
With her books steeped in Welsh history and her lovely descriptions of the countryside, Duncan shows once again that Penny is a force to be reckoned with as she pulls together the disparate pieces that form the whole story.

A charming cozy for a series that continues to delight.

Gilly Macmillan: The Nanny Sunday, Sep 8 2019 

Gilly Macmillan takes the usual ideas related to British mystery and turns them on their unlucky heads in The Nanny.

Alternating between several main points of view while going back and forth between the events of the late 1970s and the current time, we are introduced to Jo, a grieving widow, who has just moved with her young daughter, Ruby, from their California home to Jo’s English home, Lake Hall.

Ruby is immediately smitten with her Granny, Virginia, and wants to learn all things British. Jo is worried about their closeness. She has brought Ruby here only due to the financial hardship she finds herself thrust into, not through any sense of love for her mother.

While the child Jo was fond of her father, she remembers her mother as not being able to stand the sight of her,an absent parent while her parents partied and turned her care over to her nanny, Hannah, This sets up an uncomfortable dynamic as both try to placate Ruby, who is adjusting to a new home and a new school while missing her dead father.

It doesn’t help that Jo never understood why Hannah suddenly disappeared one day when she was seven. Sent to boarding school after that, Jo became distant from the parents she already had a fraught relationship with; her current situation makes her depression deepen and she and Virginia are frequently at odds.

Then human remains are found on the small island in the middle of the lake when Jo takes Ruby kayaking. This leads to suspicions from everyone in their small town, and only increases Jo’s determination to find a job and take Ruby away from the claustrophobic atmosphere and the clutches of her mother.

But Jo’s family have grown adept at keeping secrets, and some of them revolve around the circumstances under which Hannah left. Until——suddenly——she’s back. Jo sees Hannah’s return as a rescue, bringing her the support she craves. But it sets up a struggle between Virginia and Hannah that soon has Jo questioning everything she’s believed about her mother.

It doesn’t help that the detective looking into the identity of the human remains believes the family at Lake Hall belong to a faded aristocracy he loathes.

There will be memories that resurface as the secrets become revealed, but the twists and turns keep coming in this wholly satisfying psychological thriller with an unforgettable ending.

Fred Vargas: This Poison Will Remain Thursday, Sep 5 2019 

Translated from the French, Fred Vargas’s This Poison Will Remain beings Commissaire Adamsberg his most devilish and complicated mystery yet.

The four-time winner of CWA’s International Dagger, Vargas has a creative bent with an imagination that makes the books as whimsical as her protagonist while at the same time detailing a complex plot and storyline.

Adamsberg is called back from a trip to Iceland for a hit-and-run investigation, but his imagination is caught by the deaths of three men killed by brown recluse spider bites.

With the first case ingeniously and quickly solved, the detective must fight some members of his own team while pursuing what some feel is a ridiculous investigation as he follows his hunch.

Yet his own research has assured him that these spiders haven’t mutated or suddenly been transformed. To die the way these men have died would have been a Herculean task of collecting their venom.

Adamsberg is convinced these are murders. He has his team set out to find what the possible link there could be between these three men, and finds more than he expected. Is it possible these are revenge murders for incidents that took place decades ago? And the murders continue.

The members of Adamsberg’s team are an unlikely bunch, from a narcoleptic to a strong female lieutenant, from a childhood friend of Adamsberg’s to a naturalist who’s eel stinks up their offices.

There’s no question that Adamsberg’s thought processes range from quirky to odd, but his brilliance in making connections makes this an imaginative read that Auntie M found captivating.

Next Page »

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

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the care and feeding of our little fish

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JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

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My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

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Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews