Hot summer reads: A multitude of goodness. Sunday, Jul 28 2013 

Auntie M has read so many good books lately, she wants you to look for a few of these to take on vacation. Or read at the beach. Or just to veg out with at home.

guilty Lisa Ballantyne’s debut, The Guilty One, is a sophisticated and disturbing novel that revolves around London solicitor Daniel Hunter, who’s been hired to defend an eleven-year-old boy, Sebastian, accused of murdering an eight-year-old friend.

Sebastian’s home life is troubled, a factor that comes into play as Daniel struggles to get at the truth of the case and explores just what forgiveness means.

For Daniel, whose own childhood was fraught with turbulence and upheaval, the case brings back his history in foster homes until he settled with the one woman who saved him and allowed him to flourish as an adult. But memories of Minnie Flynn bring their own ghosts and Daniel finds himself disturbed at trial and in his home time.

Told in alternating chapters between the present case with Sebastian, and Daniel’s life with Minnie on a remote Cumbrian farm, Ballantyne ties the subplots together in a resounding ending that manages to be suspenseful and unsettling, yet gives a whiff of hope.

This is an author whose next book Auntie M is anticipating.

 

Emily Winslow takes readers to the world of Cambridge in the complex plot of The Start of Everything.the_start_of_everything

When the decomposed body of a teenager washes up on the flooded fens, the case falls to DI Chloe Frohmann and her partner, Morris Keene. Establishing the victim’s identity is their first order of business and they investigate even tiny clues that might lead them from the hallowed squares of Cambridge to the name of the dead girl.

This search leads them to Deeping House, where several families reside and were snowed in together over Christmas. Three families include two nannies, and a young writer who were all housebound together.

Chloe becomes swept up in the long-buried secrets of old crimes and their more recent counterparts as she seeks the truth. There will be misaddressed letters and hints of affairs buried alongside murder.

Along this road, her loyalty to her partner is severely tested as the tales of the separate lives are examined through their eyes.

As Chloe looks deeply inside the minds of her involved suspects and the story hurtles toward its tangled conclusion, readers will be caught up  in this deft and unusual mystery.

 

More great summer reading:

Steve Hamilton: Die A Stranger and North of Nowhere: Lee Child calls award-winner Hamilton “a proven master of suspense.” North of Nowhere is fourth in his Alex McKnight series, and a superb entry to the series for readers who may have missed the ex-cop turned private detective and his solitary northern world of Paradise, Michigan. When a poker game turns into a robbery, Alex’s search for answers proves much more than a simple robbery. Die A Stranger gives readers a huge window into Alex’s reclusive world and his friendship with Ojibwa Vinnie Leblanc. When a plane is found with five dead bodies aboard, Vinnie’s subsequent disappearance sends Alex into a search across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for his friend, despite the danger to himself.

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva: Art restorer and once-again spy Gabriel Allon returns in an international thriller that starts within the walls of the Vatican, when the body of beautiful antiquities curator is found beneath the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. He’ll face sabotage, looting, and vengeance as he travels Europe to find the culprits, all rendered with Silva’s trademark blend of history and strong settings.

Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French: The second Frieda Klein mystery continues the series with the psychotherapist once again working a case with DCI Karlsson when a mentally disturbed woman is found in her flat with an unknown decomposed body–and she can’t tell them the body’s identity.

The Reviver by Seth Patrick: Reviver Joan Miller works in the forensics department whose talented members revive corpses to find justice. When a terrifying presence enters his mind during a revival, Jonah becomes convinced there is a sinister force at work that may affect all of mankind. Edgy and different, with the addition of the paranormal into the police in a blurring of genre lines. First of a trilogy already optioned for the big screen, it reads big with a large cast and many subplots that intertwine.

Ready to Die by Lisa Jackson: Bringing back detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez, Jackson’s thriller follows their search for a murderer who is killing law enforcement officers in Grizzly Falls, Montana. A twisted ending will involve Pescoli’s son and blow away what she thought was the resolution to a murder’s hit list.

True Colours by Stephen Leather: Spider Shephard returns with an unusual assignment from MI-5–track down the assassin of some of the world’s richest men, including Russian oligarchs. With international settings and Leather’s flare for action, Spider will deal with political and personal intrigue, as well as a Taliban sniper from his past, in this fast-paced thriller.

Heroes and Lovers by Wayne Zurl: This Sam Jenkins mystery with a hint of romance follows the ex-NY detective in his current job as Chief of Prospect, TN Police. When TV reporter Rachel Williamson’s exclusive story on Jenkin’s fraud investigation leads to her kidnapping. Feeling responsible and a whole lot more, Jenkins will need all of his friends, including those from the FBI, to help him track Rachel down.

My Name is Hardly by Martin Crosbie: Following the success of My Temporary Life, Crosbie returned with his second in a planned trilogy featuring his protagonist, the Scottish soldier Hardly whose Irish lost postings are taking their toll as much as the Provo’s he fights. Filled with action and insights into the realities of aa soldier’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

P M Terrell: Dylan’s Song Sunday, Mar 17 2013 

dylans-song With past clients ranging from the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense, it’s no wonder that author P. M. Terrell uses her computer expertise and technical knowledge to highlight the drama in the fourth book in her Black Swamp Mystery series. Dylan’s Song is a romantic suspense novel with just a hint of the paranormal.

The book is a rousing good read. Suspense Magazine calls Terrell’s books “powerfully written and masterfully suspenseful; you have to hang on for the ride of your life.”

Terrell brings the reader to the Irish homeland of Dylan Macquire, whose character was first introduced in Vicki’s Key, a finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 Best Book Awards in mystery/suspense.The charming Irishman is running from secrets in his homeland, secrets which will be laid bare in this latest episode.

Vicki Boyd is a psychic who uses her abilities in conjunction with the CIA. Able to travel to remote locations in her mind, Vicki provides startlingly realistic information for her boss Sam. Rounding out the main characters is Brenda Carnegie, a brilliant computer hacker related to Vicki and the best traveling companion Vicki could have when Sam sends the trio to Ireland on a dangerous retrieval mission.

Vicki and Dylan are a couple, which tangles Dylan’s proposed mission on several levels. She’s withholding important information from him, and the stubborn Dylan doesn’t want to go anywhere near his home town. Then a call from Father Rowan, who had been like a brother to Dylan, draws him back reluctantly to the village. The grandmother who raised him is dying and wants to see him one more time.

Suddenly, retrieving operative Stephen Anders seems more urgent. But a tricky complication exists: Vicki’s images show Anders has been kept in the cells of a former castle, one that now exists under one of Ireland’s famous peat bogs.

Dylan is a charmer and his love for Vicki is a big as it can be exasperating. Brenda proves herself to be a necessary compatriot, and Father Rowan in Ireland comes to the trios aid in several important ways. The spy angle is tinged with the sadness of Dylan’s last visit with his Mam, while the local traditions and customs are winningly described.

There will be local intrigue, too, as Dylan returns to the village he escaped from years ago, after hoping his past and its secrets would never catch up with him. All this raises the tension and the hurdles Dylan and the women will have to conquer: to rescue Anders, and to save their own lives.

Terrell does a fine job of getting inside each character while she transports readers from the small southern town of Lumberton, NC, where Vicki and Dylan have been living, to the rolling, fertile countryside of Ireland and the small village where they stay. The tension mounts as the retrieval operation for Anders goes horribly wrong, and just when it seems there’s time for readers to catch their collective breath, terror and danger strike again.

NC author Terrell has written fifteen books, including the historical suspense novel River Passage, which won the 2012 Best Book Award. Her original manuscript is so accurate it is now housed in the Nashville Metropolitan Government Archives for future use by researchers and historians in Tennessee. She is also the co-founder of The Book’Em Foundation, committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime and illiteracy rates. You can read more about the yearly NC wing of Book’Em North Carolina, held in the town of Lumberton that features in her series, by visiting www.bookemnc.org.

 

 

Joe McCoubrey: Someone Has to Pay Sunday, Jul 8 2012 

While Auntie M has been having stormy electric issues on the East Coast, writer Joe McCoubrey stepped up all the way from Ireland to guest blog this week. Thanks, Joe!

Irish author Joe McCoubrey explains why he chose the subject for his first novel and outlines some of the challenges he faced in mixing fact with fiction

                                      How I came to write my current novel

When you’ve lived in troubled times and you’re a writer, it’s probably inevitable those troubled times will feature heavily in your first novel. In my case, as a young reporter caught up in the midst of the worst of Northern Ireland’s conflict in the seventies and eighties, I had an urge to tell a story that went behind the headlines, a story of hard-hitting fiction that sailed uncomfortably close to the truth.

And so it was that Someone Has To Pay was born. It was more than two decades in the making and became subjected to endless rewrites and updates to keep pace with the frantic events unfolding around it. Fiction it might well be, but it had to be set against the stark realities and historical milestones that would lead eventually to peace in a troubled land.

It’s a story as cruel and uncompromising as the events which drove it. That was the times we lived in. There was no shortage of factual material from which to draw inspiration; indeed there were almost too many real occurrences that could have been used to over-glamorise or over-sensationalise what lies between the covers of my book.

But all conflicts have their victims. Hardly a family in Northern Ireland was untouched by the ‘troubles’ which beset our little corner of the globe, with the result that too many are still living today with the pain and memories of the past. The last thing they need is for some fictional jockey to come riding over the hill with gung-ho recounts of episodes that touch deeply into the hearts and minds of individuals.

I made a conscious decision to avoid these at all costs. My story simply didn’t need them. Instead I stuck with what I knew, and what I believed could have happened, as international pressure to end the conflict gathered an inexorable momentum.

I made sure too that the story was told from a balanced viewpoint, choosing no political or religious ascendancy for any side. That’s how it was, and that’s how it should be.

My bottom line for writing Someone Has To Pay was to produce an exciting and entertaining action thriller. Certainly I wanted its backcloth to be one that I knew and experienced, but it’s just that – a platform for telling what I believe is a cracking good yarn.

It will be for readers to judge whether or not I succeeded.

Joe McCoubrey is a former journalist turned author. His first novel Someone Has To Pay is being released shortly by Tri Destiny Publishing, with number two already in the bag and number three halfway there.

In between he has written a short story which was published last month in an Action Anthology. To find out more about Joe check out the following links:

Blogsite: http://joemccoubrey.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.mccoubrey

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeMcCoubrey1

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