Blogmas #1: December TBR List and Goals (October and November Recap)

 

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Todays the first day of Blogmas! 

I am so excited that December is finally here! If you’re wondering what #blogmas is all about, check out my earlier post (here).

Recap of October and November

My last update, I had a goal that stated:

 PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION There will be hiccups along the way, just keep moving forward.

Well, I hit some hiccups along the way… October and November were a crazy mess!  I am not one to beat around the bush or be subtle so I to just come out and keep it real. For one, I wasn’t feeling well.  For those that don’t know, I struggle with chronic pain and illnesses.  The winter here in Minnesota really does a number on me.  The cold weather adds insult to injury. On top of that my body decided it would be a good time to get a severe infection and need to have an emergency surgery the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING!  So, on top of my regular struggles, I am now healing from that surgery. BUT, I’m the mend.  Needless to say, I am hoping and praying December will be a bit easier.

Life is like a roller coaster.  It has its ups and downs,

but it’s your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.

Reading Recap

Books Read in October

Her Last Move by John Marrs

The Spy Who Was Left Behind by Michael Pullara

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

The Case of the Golden State Killer by Michael Morfor and Michael Ferguson

Painless by Marty Thornley

Books Read in November

Gazelle In The Shadows by Michelle Peach

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Pigeon – Blood Red by Ed Duncan(review coming soon)

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (review coming soon)

Decembers TBR List

I always have so many more books on my list for reading in a month than I know I can get through…but I guess that’s half the fun!  There are SO many good books!

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

The Strange Curse of Breda by Steven Arnett

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

*I really would like to get to The Outsider by Stephen King but it will have to wait January.

Goals for The Bibliovert in December

The meaning of bibliovert

  1. Blogmas: I have 24 planned posts for December and 2 book reviews that I need to prepare. So this will be a good challenge for me.  At the time of prepping this particular post, I actually only have 2 posts completed and scheduled.  I am feeling the crunch. Procrastination at it’s finest!  (Are you a procrastinator?  I try so hard not to be, but it always just seems to work out that way. Maybe that will be a goal for January… less procrastination)
  2. Spend more time on The Bibliovert Instagram account
  3. Relax, listen to music, enjoy the holiday season and be present.
  4. *Reminder* Persistence over Perfection

 

HERE’S TO EACH OF YOU CRUSHING IT IN DECEMBER!

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, I WANT TO SEND A BIG THANK YOU TO THE OTHER BLOGGERS AND READERS THAT HAVE STOPPED BY MY LITTLE CORNER OF THE INTERNET. THE MESSAGES, THE LIKES, AND SHARES HERE ON THE BLOG AND MY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS HAVE MEANT THE WORLD TO ME.

Thank You! ❤

#Blogmas Is Coming To The Bibliovert

#blogmas on The Bibliovert
#Blogmas is a countdown, of sorts, to Christmas.

On December first, #blogmas will begin.  I look forward to participating in this, for the first time, this year.   I feel it will allow me the ability to post some different types of posts than I normally would, as well as place a holiday spin on Decembers posts.  I did leave a few openings for reviews, or other topics that may come up. 

So, we’ll see how it goes.

Here’s the December outline of what you can expect on The Bibliovert.

#BlogMas on The Bibliovert

Will you be participating in

#Blogmas this year?

What are your blogging plans

for December? 

 

Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition Award Image

The rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include their link
  • Give a brief explanation of how your blog began.
  • Give some advice to new bloggers.
  • Name ten nominees and include their links.
  • Tag your nominees on twitter to let them know.

Hey All!  This is my first Blogger Recognition Award and I am so excited to be a part of it!  First, I want to say thank you to  @bibliosmiacDC , and @ForeverLostInT2 for nominating me!

The idea for a blog came about some time ago as I was scrolling through Twitter and looking for book bloggers to follow, as I was always looking for insight on the next book to read.  I had been reading quite a bit and thought as I was scrolling through the book blogger list, that I could do this.  I love books. I would love to share my thoughts and my opinions on the books that I read, and I have a bit of background in computers. So, I thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a try. Now, almost 6 months into blogging, I have found it as a great outlet to connect with others, and to share my love of books with others that appreciate them as much as I do…Oh, and the book community, is absolutely awesome!

As for my advice, work on your blog because you love it. If you don’t love blogging, then it will become a chore.  Starting out, for most, there is a learning curve, and it can take time to generate a following (which can be frustrating at times). However, if you love it, give it time.  Keep at it because you want to keep at it.  Keep blogging for the love of what you’re doing, and what you’re contributing to the community (no matter your niche).  For me, it just so happens to be for the love of books.

For The Love Of Books

On the technical side, my advise would be to make sure you are adding in all the extra data behind your images.  Once you add your image to your post, click on it. then select the pencil and it will bring up the following screen.Technical advise_LI

Add descriptive text to the Title, Alt Text, and Description box. This will help with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Hope this helped. I look forward to reading your advice for new bloggers.

Happy Blogging!!

Happy Blogging

My nominations are:

Mandy at Devouring Books (Website | Twitter)

Colleen at  Colleens Conclusions (Website | Twitter)

Clo at Book Dragons (Website | Twitter)

Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek (Website | Twitter)

Whispering Stories (Website | Twitter)

Jennifer at Jen Chaos Reviews (Website | Twitter)

Anjedah  (Website | Twitter)

Sam at Fictionally Sam (Website | Twitter)

Nick (Website | Twitter)

Hannah at Hannahs Bookshelf (Website | Twitter)

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Blog Tour: Painless by Marty Thornly

PainlessTourBannerPainless by Marty Thornley Cover Image

Author: Marty Thornley 

Print Length: 284 pages

Publication Date: January 12, 2018

ISBN: 97819785120

Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Horror

Buy it here: Amazon

 

Blurb

PAINLESS is a page-turning psychological-horror novel, a front row seat to a clinical trial gone horribly wrong.

For Greg Owens, this was supposed to be a chance to end years of back pain and escape his reliance on pain pills. If it all worked out, he could maybe even get back the life he left behind as the pills took control.

Instead, as the patients are cured of their physical pain, they encounter a different sort of pain building inside them – obsessive thoughts, depression, self-destruction. The side-effects grow worse, and the suspense ratchets tighter. The patients want answers and violent revenge, setting them on a collision course with a crazed doctor, determined to protect his life’s obsession.

Excerpt

Streams of smoke and steam rise into the sky from the burnt underside of a car, wrecked and resting on its roof. The heat of the engine and exhaust distorts the air above, and the metal crackles as it cools in the breeze of early morning.

1965 Cadillac Coupe De Ville. Black. It still has that new-car shine. Even with the wreckage of the crash, it is evident the car was cleaned and cared for. The tires, still spinning, slowly come to a stop.

A small hand reaches from the broken back window. A boy drags himself carefully out of the twisted, broken door. Blood drips from his scalp, down his face and onto his suit—disheveled from the crash but cleaned and ironed just a couple of hours ago.

He stands and, though only seven-years-old, stumbles and braces himself against the car like a drunk who just pulled himself out of his own wreck. For a moment he looks out into the distance.

It is quiet here.

The pine trees lining this lonely stretch of road are swayed by an almost silent wind. Behind the seemingly endless forest, snow-capped mountains stand indifferently.

A woman moans in pain.

The boy moves forward, making his way around the back of the car, bracing himself on the tail light, the license plate, the bumper. He rounds the corner to the driver’s side. A woman’s head and arms hang out of the driver’s window. A pool of blood spreads around her.

“Mama?”

She tries to smile. Blood drips from her lips.

“Does it hurt?”

She reaches for the back of her neck. “I can’t… get it…” Her fingers grasp a shard of metal that has pierced her spine. “Agh!”

The boy moves aside her hair, exposing an angled fragment of chrome window trim—embedded deep in her neck, its bent and twisted length shooting through a ragged and bleeding gash of skin. As his fingers brush against the shiny protrusion, she closes her eyes and clamps her mouth shut—refusing the pain and stifling a scream.

“I… need… you to… pull it…”

The boy tugs. The metal moves.

“AHHHHHHHH!”

The boy hesitates.

“PULL IT!”

He tugs again. The chrome spike slides out of her neck. Blood splashes off the end and splatters his face.

A serene calm washes over Mama’s face.

“Thank you, baby. It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

“It doesn’t?”

Mama smiles. Her hand reaches up, wiping the blood from her son’s face with her thumb.

The boy smiles back.

Mama’s hand goes limp and drops away. Mama’s eyes gloss over.

“Mama?”

Mama is dead.

A drop of crimson pools at the tip of the sharp and twisted chrome, still held tightly in his fingers, finally building the critical mass to drip down into the dirt between his feet.

The boy stares down. Cold and calculating.

My review of Painless can be read here.

About the Author

Marty Thornley, Author of PainlessMarty started writing short stories as a teenager, inspired as much by favorite books and movies as the environment and characters that define the South Shore of Massachusetts. The pull of the movies dragged him first to film school and finally to Los Angeles, where he poked at the outskirts of the industry with screenplays and short films.

As his interest in a film career fizzled, he rebuilt himself bit-by-bit as a programmer. He spent the next decade building websites, finally realizing that something had been lost. His stories were collecting dust in the back of his brain while he sat through conference calls and code reviews.

So he returned to the woods of New England and the calming darkness under the trees. He returned to find the things that crawl in the undergrowth and turn them into words on the page. He dusted off one of his screenplays and turned it into his first novel. In the process, a dormant storyteller was awakened and is now seeking the next blank page to fill.

Website | GoodReads | Twitter

I would like to thank Marty Thornley and Xpresso Tours for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour.

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Blog Tour: The Savage Shore by David Hewson

The Savage Shore CoverAuthor: David Hewson

Category: Crime & Mystery – Police Procedural

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication ed. edition (31 July 2018)

ISBN-10: 0300220413

ISBN-13: 978-0300220414

Buy it here:  Amazon UK | Amazon US

Blurb

Roman police detective Nic Costa has been sent undercover to Italy’s beautiful, remote Calabrian coast to bring in the head of the feared mob, the ‘Ndrangheta, who has offered to turn state witness for reasons of his own.

Hoping to reel in the biggest prize the state police have seen in years, the infamous Butcher of Palermo, Costa and his team are aware the stakes are high. But the constant deception is taking its toll. Out of their depth in a lawless part of Italy where they are the outcasts, not the men in the hills, with their shotguns and rough justice, the detectives find themselves pitched as much against one another as the mob. As the tension rises, it’s clear the operation is not going to plan. Is Nic Costa getting too close to the enemy for comfort – and is there a traitor among them …?

Excerpt

From: Part One

At three o’clock on a sweltering late summer afternoon Emmanuel Akindele sat behind the counter of the Zanzibar feeding Jackson the marmoset his first fierce cocktail of the day.

A thin, nervy thirty-year-old, Emmanuel had been rescued off Lampedusa the previous spring. Two thousand dollars that cost him to the Libyan people smugglers, pretty much all his family back home in a Lagos slum possessed. He’d thought himself dead already by the time the Red Cross boat came along and pulled him from a sea so cold it seemed to freeze his bones.

Now, in a kind of life, he spent hour upon hour with this sad and savage little animal, a miserable bundle of bone and fur, barely the size of a cat. Something trapped and helpless, and probably beyond hope. The creature kept thrusting a skinny arm through the bars of its rusty metal cage, holding out a grubby shot glass. A simian alcoholic and Emmanuel couldn’t think of anything else but to dull its senses in place of his own.

He’d inherited Jackson when the gang boss put him into the Zanzibar nine months earlier, after he’d earned what the mob men called promotion from pushing cheap counterfeit bags to the tourists on the beach at Locri. The creature was part of the furniture in the cramped, windowless bar, like the broken Playboy pin table, the cheap paintings of Marilyn Monroe, the satellite TV system with an illegal card to pick up premium sports channels from around the world.

He’d thought about letting the monkey go. About driving out of the grey and sprawling city to one of the bare back roads that led to the desolate hills rising from the coast. There the sparse tracts of scrappy brown vegetation reminded him of the countryside back home. He could see himself taking the cage out of the boot and watching the scrawny broken animal limp off into the dry, barren lower reaches of Aspromonte, the sprawling mountain that rose behind Italy’s extended toe like the humped back of a slumbering giant.

Jackson would be a corpse in a few hours, a day at most. Nothing foreign lived long in that bleak wasteland. Some things were dead before they even got there. The gang men who employed him, members of the Calabrian mafia, the ’Ndrangheta, saw the place, with its wildernesses full of snakes and spiders and, some said, wolves too, as their natural home. The worst thing that could happen to a man was to be told he was going for a ‘walk in the hills’. You never came back. This was where the mobsters took their victims, where they hid the men and women they kidnapped for money, slicing off a finger or an ear when they needed to raise the temperature a little. Even life in a cage, begging for drinks, getting laughed at by the scum who made up the Zanzibar’s clientele, was better than abandonment in that brutal, inhospitable expanse of desolate rock and thorns. 

 

About the Author

David Hewson ImageDavid Hewson is a former journalist with The Times, The Sunday Times and the Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing. He lives near Canterbury in Kent.

Twitter | Instagram GoodReads | Website

Severn House Publishers | Love Books Group Tours

 

I would like to thank Mr. HewsonSevern House Publishers, and Love Books Group Tours for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour. Please feel free to stop by and check out the other bloggers that are on this tour!  See the list below!

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Blog Tour: Death By The River (Guest Post | Excerpt | Giveaway)

Death By The River Cover Image

Author: Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor 

Print Length: 366 Pages

Published by: Vesuvian Books

Publication date: October 2nd 2018

Genres: Horror, Young Adult

Buy it here:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Guest Post

Topic:  What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

In writing any story, I spend hours doing research. I always strive for accuracy in my portrayals of the characters, places, and events. In Death by the River, my medical background helped tremendously with the telling of Beau Devereaux’s descent into madness. Having medical experience, and a history of seeing people at their best and worst, made me a better writer. Nursing also taught me to research my tail off. And that, too, has carried over to my writing. Research is key to any story. If it is as close to reality as possible, it will draw the reader in and hold them throughout. Many times, I read a book and people have not bothered to get proper medical advice or looked up even the simplest of details related to medicine or the human body. Do your research as a writer. If you don’t, you will lose your audience. Seek out people who know the industry you are writing about, or at least check with Google. I have many writers who contact me to help them with medical questions, and I am happy to give them advice. This need for research also applies to locations.

I live in New Orleans, one of the most written about cities in the world, but checking websites and looking at pictures or webcams of Bourbon Street does not give you the subtle nuances that make up a city. You must immerse yourself in all the senses: the sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences of the people who live there. I do not mean you have to travel, but do your homework on a city or setting. To engage the reader, they need to feel they are there. For example, you can’t stroll through the French Quarter without describing the music coming through open french doors, the essence of cayenne, paprika, or alcohol lingering in the air. How do the people act? What is the weather like? What are their favorite foods, their culture, their heartaches as a community? To place a character in a hometown, know that town and the people in it. A reader who travels through your words to that destination and gets lost in the story will know you have done your research. In the end, being dogmatic about everything you put into a story and checking all the facts twice will benefit you and your audience. And you never know, something you learn might lead to a new plot twist, a new book, or even a great series.

Blurb

A High School “American Psycho”

SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET.
SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

WARNING: Readers of Death by the River will encounter situations of violence and sexual abuse which could be upsetting to the reader.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here …

Excerpt

Leslie clung to him, wishing they were outside. “What is this place?”

“The cells.” Derek kept his voice low.

She squeezed his bicep. “I’ve never been inside The Abbey.” Leslie peered into the dim, cavernous corridor ahead, with only patches of light coming through the thick stone walls. “I wish we hadn’t come.”

“It will be fine, I promise.” He patted her hand. “Nothing will hurt you. I won’t let it.”

They crept along, their feet hitting sticks and fallen pieces of plaster from the crumbling walls around them. Puddles of water dotted the uneven stone floor and dampened Leslie’s tennis shoes. Mounds of dead leaves lay swept to the side. The low ceiling had roots coming through it, and the walls were cold and slimy to the touch. Derek shined his flashlight into the first room on the left. It was a depressingly small space composed of four walls and no windows.

It reminded Leslie of a jail cell rather than a place where a person would choose to live.

Scraps of paper littered the ground of the next cell they came across; another had a rusty metal frame of a bed. Several of the rooms had cracks in their plaster ceilings along with patches of mold. When they stumbled on a few rat skeletons, Leslie turned her head into Derek’s shoulder.

At the end of the passageway, sunlight snuck through a break in the wall. The intrusion of light was a welcome sight and Leslie’s fear abated. The jagged opening allowed green leaves from the plants outside to reach in, and a few creeping vines jutted up toward the ceiling. Along the floor, a thick pile of dead leaves hid the lower part of the opening.

“There was a cave-in along the wall here.” Derek brushed the leaves aside, revealing a fairly large breach able to accommodate one person at a time. “The other cells past this point are too dangerous to explore. We can get out here and avoid going back through The Abbey.”

Derek turned off his flashlight and handed it to her. He pushed the leaves back, pulled the vines down, and kicked the debris at the bottom away, trying to clear the opening.

While he worked, a glimmering light from inside one of the cells farther down the corridor distracted her. She flipped on the flashlight and angled it into the tight quarters beyond the cave-in.

The walls in this portion of the cells had deeper cracks than the rest of the structure. The fissures ran along the entire ceiling and down to the floors. Patches of black mold were everywhere. What struck her as odd was the lack of debris. It appeared as if it had been freshly swept without any leaves or rat skeletons littering the ground.

Derek came up behind her. “What are you doing?”

Leslie headed toward the room where she’d spotted the strange light. “I saw something.”

The smell of rot and mold filled her nose. Her skin brushed against the slimy walls, and she cringed. But something compelled her to keep going into the section Derek had deemed too dangerous to explore.

“Leslie, stop.”

Naturally, she ignored him and pressed on, testing the floor with the toe of her shoe as she carefully progressed. Her heartbeat kicked up a notch, but this time a tingling sensation of excitement went with it. She felt like Indiana Jones exploring a lost tomb and waiting for a booby trap to jump out at her.

Her beam of light filtered into the room, and her heart crept higher in her throat. She rounded the edge of the wall and halted.

The cell was small without any windows, but this room appeared lived in. Along the far wall, below a pair of rusted pipes where a sink had once been, a green cot—army issue—had a pillow and green blanket neatly stacked on top. At the foot of the cot was a blue ice chest; on top of it, an assortment of red and white candles.

Leslie went up to the cot and caressed the blanket and pillows. Her foot tapped something beneath. She bent down and discovered an old CD player.

What’s this?

Footfalls came from behind her. She swerved the flashlight around to Derek, fuming.

“Did you do this?”

“Do what?” He shielded his eyes from the light and stepped inside.

She wanted to believe he had no idea any of this was here, but her suspicions couldn’t be silenced. The whole scenario seemed so well-planned.

“What the hell?” Derek came up to the cot and lifted the pillow.

She stood back, studying his reaction as he browsed the contents of the room. “I thought you said this portion was dangerous.”

“It is.”

About the Author

Lucas Author ImageLucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is:  “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.”  ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

 

 GoodReads

 

Alexandrea Author Image
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

Website | Twitter |GoodReads

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Enter To Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Vesuvian Media Group. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 1, 2018 and runs through December 3, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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I would like to thank Alexandrea Weis, Lucas Astor,  Vesuvian Books and Partners In Crime Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour. If you would like to visit the other blogs on the tour check  click here to view the other participants

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Blog Tour: Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison | Excerpt

Chasing Monsters_chosen.indd

Author: Paul Harrison

Print Length: 389 pages

Publisher: Urbane Publications Limited (October 4, 2018)

Publication Date: October 4, 2018

ASIN: B07H3Y5JGL

Buy it here: Amazon UK | Amazon

Blurb

The first thrilling book in the Will Scott series.

In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.

DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the murderer. In so doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit where no one can be trusted.

The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community, but without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?

About the Author

Author PhotoPaul Harrison has spent much of his professional life working within the UK’s criminal justice system, primarily as a police officer. Working closely with the now-defunct FBI Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico, he gained a unique and remarkable insight into the minds of some of the world s most violent criminals. His conversation portfolio reads like a Who’s Who of murderers. As an author, he s penned thirty-three traditionally published books (mainly true crime) and completed his first novel last year. A seasoned event speaker, Paul is popular across the entire crime genre (fiction and non-fiction). He s in discussion with several TV production companies across the globe for future Crime related television series. Paul currently lives in Leeds.

Twitter  |  Website  |  Urbane Books  |  Love Books Group

Excerpt

CHAPTER TWO

As he turned into Bessingby Gate, Will was confronted by a crowd of people who were standing across the road and effectively blocking it. Most of them were morbid onlookers satiating their sanguinary desires, and hoping to get a snippet of detail, no matter how farfetched, that they could turn into fact.

‘Why the fuck are these people here?’ he muttered to himself, giving his car horn three distinct blasts in an attempt to get people to move. The assembled throng begrudgingly parted, allowing his car to slowly move between them and up to the police cordon. As he parked up and got out of his car, he heard a voice he instantly recognised, ‘Will, Will, DI Scott.’ Looking up, the detective saw Lucien Palmer, local journalist on the Bridlington Free Press. The two men had grown up as friends, both respected each other’s professional position and never pushed the respective boundaries. Lucien wanted a story, whereas Will didn’t yet have a story to give him. He gave a nod of acknowledgement as he ducked and moved through the ribbon of blue and white police cordon tape.

It was a warm humid night which didn’t help with the crowd’s behaviour. Many had been drinking and were full of Dutch courage, shouting obscenities at the officers guarding the property. Jeff Powell, an experienced uniform sergeant, moved forward to greet the detective. ‘Sorry to call you out sir, but we had no option.’

‘No problem Jeff, we need to get this crowd well away from the scene, get the dog handlers down here to help move them.’ Both men moved slowly towards the front garden of the property.

‘Run me through what’s happened, who was first on scene and make sure we have full details of everyone who has been inside the house.’

‘The first officers to arrive were PCs Smith and Gaskell. They’re at the front gate if you need to speak to them. The only people to have entered the house are those two PCs and myself.’

Will approached PC Smith and asked what he knew.

‘Sir, pardon my French, but its fucking grim in there,’ he nodded towards the house.  Will frowned and thanked Smith for his thorough appraisal of the situation.

‘Jeff, can you arrange for a forensic tent to be erected outside the front door. Without seeing the internal layout, is it worth having a second one set up at the rear?’

‘Yes sir, I’ll get forensics to sort that once they get here.’

The detective was deep in thought. ‘I don’t suppose you know who the victim is, it’s probably going to be one of our usual CRO’s isn’t it? So next of kin are bound to be local. Can you get someone to speak with the immediate neighbours on each side of the property, Jeff?  Once they know anything, come directly to me, I

don’t want loose talk so the officer is to tell no one else.’

‘He’s not CRO sir, I’ve never clapped eyes on him before this evening. I’ll get all of that done straight away. Do you want me to take you to the crime scene and show you the body?’

Will was showing some reluctance in entering the house, he wasn’t good with the unique smell of murder nor with dead bodies, yet he knew he had to confront this one as senior investigating officer.

‘Yes please, Jeff, go and get an officer to speak with neighbours and visit those premises I mentioned, and I’ll grab us a couple of Tyvek suits.’

Minutes later, Scott and Powell were donning the high-density polythene forensic suits., They were far from flattering, but they were super-efficient at keeping crime scene areas sterile and free from cross-contamination. As they walked towards the bright red front door, Powell grabbed the detective by the left arm and stopped him in his tracks. ‘Sir, it’s like PC Smith said, it’s fucking gruesome in there, and it stinks to high heaven.’ Will nodded but in his own mind he thought the sergeant meant the house was unclean and smelled dirty.

He followed his colleague into the house, first passing along a tiny front hall and through a door on the left that led to the living room. He was surprised at how clean and smart it was, he couldn’t smell anything and wondered whether the uniform boys were taking the piss out of him. As he moved into the central area of the room, Jeff Powell stepped to one side, and pointed to an area directly in front of Will. ‘Here he is, the poor bastard’s really suffered.’

The detective’s eyes darted around the room, scanning his surroundings until they finally came to rest on the back of a man’s head. The body was seated in a wooden chair facing away from him. ‘Christ, what’s that fucking smell, has he burnt his bacon sarnies under the grill or what?’ Will gagged before stepping closer to the body, edging to a position where he was standing in front of the corpse. The sight caused him to take a deep breath. ‘Fucking hell Jeff, what is this? It’s like a scene from a slasher movie.’ He ran from the room, out into the front garden and doubled over, projectile vomited his spaghetti Bolognese dinner into the manicured green grass.

Jeff Powell emerged from the house soon after, and stood beside the detective, giving him a reassuring pat on the back, ‘I told you it was bad sir, it’s a little bit easier to stomach the second time you see it, you can kind of prepare yourself for the horror. Sir, DS Wright is here, I think you need to stand up.’

Daisy Wright was Will’s sidekick. The pair had worked together for almost two years. She slim with blonde hair neatly tied in a bun on top of her head.  Daisy had transferred on promotion to Eastborough from Northamptonshire Police two years previously. Like Will she was sharp, eagle eyed and intuitive – very little got past her.

‘You okay boss?’ she asked as she approached the doubledup form of her DI. ‘What do you think?’ he replied sarcastically. Jeff Powell walked away and left the detectives to talk between themselves. Daisy was writing down notes on a clipboard.

‘What have we got here, boss? Drug related? Have you heard about the other body in the mortuary? The police surgeon was examining it and discovered it’s got no hands and the tongue has been cut out.’

‘Christ, that sounds extreme,’ exclaimed Will ‘Two in one night. As you say, both probably drug related and territorial.’

Daisy nodded. ‘Yes, the other body was found on the beach, naked and tucked under the sea wall. Some kids found it. Poor buggers.’

Will took a deep gulp of the warm night air. ‘Daisy, this crime scene is anything but normal. Fuck, to be honest, I’ve never seen anything like this before.’ He shook his head in disbelief. ‘Get suited up, we’re going back inside. But be warned, this is the most disgusting sight you’re likely to see – this bloke is a real mess.’

Daisy had never seen her boss so shaken up and couldn’t imagine what the scene must be like to affect him so badly. Within moments, the pair entered the house, this time Will led the way. As they moved through the rooms, Daisy busily took down notes and points of interest that were identified by her boss. These areas would be further examined by forensics when they arrived. Reaching the body Will tentatively moved around the corpse until he was standing directly in front of it. He then gestured to Daisy to join him, warning her to get out of the house if she thought she was going to be sick. The smell was overpowering, it wasn’t bacon as flippantly suggested by Will a few minutes earlier but burning human flesh.

‘Think of it as an object, not a human being,’ he told his sergeant. ‘Try to detach yourself from your emotions.’ He glanced towards her and was surprised to see that she didn’t seem fazed by the horrific state of the body. ‘What do you reckon, what’re your thoughts?’

There was so much to take in. The corpse had been nailed to the chair and the floor, two large nails through the back of each hand and a further two through his feet through the carpet and into the floorboards. The body was naked, the clothes neatly folded on a sofa behind him. Dark red blood covered the groin area and pooled on the seat of the chair before dripping onto the carpet beneath. Moving up the body, Daisy noted the victim’s stomach had rows of symmetrical gouges. Both nipples had been removed, cut away, probably with a knife or scalpel. His face was simply a mess. Protruding from each eyeball was a slim wooden kebab stick, not that the eyeballs were recognisable, they had been burnt like the rest of his face. On a table nearby was a small kitchen blow torch, the obvious cause of the burning. Beside that was a cheese grater with what appeared to be human skin hanging from its rough cutting blades. The remains of the eyelids were open, only because they had been stapled into that position. As Daisy looked more closely, she thought his mouth had an odd shape about it. ‘There’s something in his mouth I think,’ she said as she pointed to a small trickle of blood running down the dead man’s chin.  Both officers knew not to touch anything until the forensics’ team had done their work.

Daisy took countless photographs of the scene and of the body in situ. She knew that forensics would be hours taking the crime scene and surrounding area apart, so it was useful to have something to work with. As she photographed all areas of the room she saw a flicker of light on a table full of papers. A laptop.

The computer lid hadn’t been closed properly, the machine was still on. She called Will. The two officers carefully opened up the screen part of the laptop, gently lifting it away from the keyboard, causing it to spark into life.

‘See if you can see what it is he’s been looking at, it might give us a clue what this bloke was up to.’

They saw a word document that held lists of names, dozens of them, none of them readily recognisable. ‘We need to seize this Daisy. Take plenty of photographs of it as we found it, make sure you record its exact position on the desk. This is so fucking weird, this guy must have been a dealer I reckon, maybe that list is all of his clients?  I can’t think of anything else that might warrant such a bloody awful death.’

Daisy agreed. Jeff Powell walked in.

‘Sir, I think we have a name for the victim,’ he said. ‘He’s not

CRO but he is known to us.’  ‘Who is it?’ enquired Daisy.

‘Allan Roberts.’

‘Will looked bemused. ‘Who the fuck is Allan Roberts when he’s at home?’

‘He’s a local councillor sir, you must know him. He’s the Crime and Disorder portfolio holder, a Conservative I think?’

‘Do we have a wife, a family, any relatives?’ asked Will.

‘Not that I know of sir, the neighbours say he lives here alone, although he does have regular visitors, but they don’t seem to stay long. He was last seen alive at about 3pm yesterday afternoon, carrying shopping from his car into the house.’

Behind Powell, a crowd of forensic officers all suited up arrived at the front door.  A gruff Yorkshire voice enquired, ‘Who is the SIO here? What have you got for us?’

Will stepped forward and ushered everyone outside the house, while he briefed Mark Daniel, the senior crime scene officer. He instructed that the body should remain in situ until he authorised its removal.

‘I want you to give this place a thorough going over please. The offender or offenders must have left their DNA all over that room. The victim has been tortured, suffering serious injuries. There is no way on earth that all of those injuries could be inflicted without leaving some trace behind. I’ve seized a laptop computer from a table in there. It may help us identify the killer or killers. I’ll show you where it was Mark, okay?’

Daisy returned to the police station ahead of Will. The forensics team were left to their scientific processes. The sheer logistics of the crime would create manpower issues for the general policing of the town and the place was packed with tourists. The presence of a second body at the mortuary added to the mayhem.

Acknowledging this, Will again approached Powell. ‘I want uniform to protect this scene until further notice, 24/7. Have we got any PCSO’s on duty or can we call some specials out to cover this Jeff. We can clear away the onlookers, take the road cordon right back in all directions and control entry and exit for the locals. I’d better get back to the nick, make some calls and arrange a press briefing. I’ll get some CID and spare uniforms down here for house to house. They can liaise with you.’  Powell nodded.

In the crowd Will saw his friend Lucien, still waiting to speak to him. He beckoned him through the cordon, away from prying ears. ‘Lucien mate, how are you?’ he said gripping the journalist’s outstretched hand.

‘I’m fine Will, how about you? I take it you’re duty officer this weekend? What’s going on – surely with all this fuss it’s got to be a

murder, another druggie I suppose?’

‘I’ll be honest Lucien, I don’t know. It’s early stages, we are obviously treating it as a suspicious incident, but I can’t say any more. I’m heading back to organise a press conference.  I’ll get the press officer to give you a call when it’s arranged and we have something to say. Please don’t promote any theories about murder or anything else. We don’t want panic, the bloody town’s busy enough already. We don’t want the curious and the morbid swarming in. I promise, once we know anything, you’ll be made aware. I have to go – my superintendent is waiting. Be safe, mate.’

As he made his way back a hundred thoughts were spinning through Will’s mind. Primarily, he needed to let Mel know he wouldn’t be home until tomorrow at the earliest.  As he pulled into one of the police parking bays in Ashville Street, a pale-looking Daisy Wright was waiting for him.

‘Christ boss, I’m shaking like a leaf. What we saw back there has just hit me. Who the hell would do something like that?’

With his arm on her shoulder Will and guided her up to the CID office.

‘Well, what the hell do we do now. Who do we notify first?’ she asked.

‘First things first Daisy. We have a mug of tea, and then we call home. Your fella needs to know that you won’t be home until God knows when, and I’m going to ring Mel. Then we prioritise our calls thereafter. We need a script to report it to the Chief and the

governors. They’ll ask the same questions and want to be absolved of any ownership or responsibility for the investigation, so we make it clear that everything is under control and that we’ll keep them updated. Don’t complicate matters by mentioning the other

body in the mortuary. We’ll deal with that shortly.’

‘I tell you what boss, if it is that Councillor Roberts, there’ll be loads of media enquiries, political interest and without doubt, interference.’

Will agreed and questioned the motive for killing a mere councillor in such a horrific manner.

‘If it is him, then he must have seriously pissed someone off. It’s not like his position is full time or controversial even, he’s an amateur politician living in a little Yorkshire seaside town. He’s hardly likely to be involved in anything of national importance. I always think that people connected to the local authority tend to be a bit wishy washy. Once we’ve notified everyone who needs to know we can start digging into his background. It would be a whole lot easier if he had previous for something.’

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Book Review: Lies by T M Logan

Cover ImageAuthor: T M Logan

Hardcover: 432 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (September 11, 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1250182263

ISBN-13: 978-1250182265

Buy it here: Amazon

Source: I received this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in lieu of a fair and honest review.

Blurb

Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other man in an altercation where he left him for dead, bleeding and unconscious.

Now, Joe’s life is unraveling. His wife has lied to him. Her deception has put their entire family in jeopardy. The man she met at the hotel has vanished. And as the police investigate his disappearance, suspicion falls on Joe.

Unable to trust the woman he loves, Joe finds himself at the mercy of her revelations and deceits, unsure of who or what to believe. All he knows is that her actions have brought someone dangerous into their lives—someone obsessed with her and determined to tear Joe’s world apart.

What if your whole life was based on LIES?

My Thoughts

Captivating, entertaining, and unpredictable thriller.

I couldn’t help but feel bad for Joe. He’s going through life, happy with his marriage, his relationship with his son, and his job as an English teacher. Unknowingly he was going through life on autopilot. Soon his eyes would be opened to see what was really going on in his life.

As Joe and his son, William, were on their way home, William sees his mothers car.  Joe had thought his wife was at work. So, it seemed odd that she would be pulling into a hotel parking garage. It must be business that she was tending too.  Joe and William decide they would go and surprise his wife, Mel.  Little did he know, he’d see something that would set off a set of events and turn his whole world upside down.

I thought the book, Lies, started out a bit slow but it quickly picked up and set a good pace for the rest of the book. Lies, was an entertaining read that kept me guessing what was going to happen next.  Just when you think you have it figured out there’s another twist. The ending will have you rethinking the entire story.

Quote

“Here’s your marriage certificate, a decade of your life. Now light the match, watch it flame.”

Rating

4-stars

About the Author

Author imageTim was born in Berkshire and studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently writes full-time and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. LIES is his first novel – published by Bonnier Zaffre in January 2017. His next thriller, 29 SECONDS, comes out in January 2018 and is currently available to pre-order. 

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Book Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

The Other Woman By Sandie Jones

 

Author: Sandie Jones

Hardcover:304 pages

Publisher: Minotaur Books (August 21, 2018)

ISBN-10:125019198X

ISBN-13:978-1250191984

Buy Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review

Synopsis:

HE LOVES YOU.

Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam is perfect. The man she thought she’d never meet.

BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT.

Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man Emily loves.

AND SHE’LL STOP AT NOTHING.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother, Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

Quote from The Other Woman, by Sandie Jones

My Thoughts:

I couldn’t wait to dive in to this psychological thriller. Upon starting the book, I was drawn to Emily. Within the first few pages, she finds the love of her life, Adam. In her eyes, he’s perfect. However, Emily quickly finds out that his mother, Pammie, isn’t so perfect. I quickly became concerned for Emily, as Pammie’s behavior towards her was less than desirable. It was frustrating to me as a reader that she allowed herself to be treated in such a manner by her future mother-in-law.  There were SO many red flags that she let slide. I guess when you’re planning to marry the perfect man, you also marry his not-so-perfect family. BEWARE OF PAMMIE! I look forward to reading more of Sandie Jones books in the future.

I want to thank St. Martin’s Press for sending me an ARC copy of Sandie Jones’s debut novel, “The Other Woman”.

Rating:

3-stars

About the Author:

Sandie Jones has worked as a freelance journalist for more than twenty years and has written for The Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly and the Daily Mail, among other publications. She lives in London with her husband and three children.  The Other Woman is her debut novel.

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