*REVIEW* ~ The Vodka Trail, by AA Abbott

#crime #thriller

Book Blurb

Orphaned and destitute as a teenager, Kat has made a new life for herself in London. Now she’s determined to reclaim her father’s vodka business in the former Soviet Union.

Birmingham businessman Marty wants to stop her. That alone isn’t why Kat hates him – she blames him for her parents’ deaths. But when she’s taken hostage by freedom fighters, only Marty can help her survive.

My Review

~ Slick and Entertaining  ***** (5 stars) ~

The Vodka Trail is a slick and entertaining crime thriller, with believable characters and plenty of plot twists, taking place in Birmingham, London and the former Soviet Union. It is the second book in the Trail series (the first being the Bride’s Trail), but can easily be read as a standalone, for although it does feature some characters from the first novel, it contains a brand new plot.

Kat travels to the former Soviet Union to reclaim her family’s vodka business. At the same time Marty, a Birmingham businessman,  also finds himself there on what is to turn out to be an ill-fated business trip. The two protaganists have a history going way back, to when Kat was a child, and they are both as stunned as each other when they discover that they are both held captive by freedom fighters. They know that their situation is precarious and that they will be lucky to escape with their lives. Kat in particular finds that she has to rely on Marty to maintain her sanity and recognises that the man she blames for so many past events in her life may be the one man who could save her life.

As Kat and Marty spend time in captivity together they are compelled to confront events which took place in the past, little realising how much of the past and present have collided in their current predicament. Their situation also impacts on family and friends in the UK and it is an anxious time as they await their, fate hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst.

The read is a realistic and harrowing portrayal of kidnapping and of the contrasting lives of those who live in the former Soviet Union and the UK. Not only was I on pins to see if Kat and Marty would survive their ordeal, but also how they would endure their close proximity given their animosity towards each other. Scenes expertly pan from their desperate situation to the lives and motivations of their captors and friends and family (including Kat’s fiancé) in the UK. Their existence is far removed from the shenanigans of some characters and the contrast makes for an entertaining read. I enjoyed both the two main characters as well as the insight into the political situation which has prompted their kidnapping.

The author has a gift for scene setting and I particularly liked her descriptions of Birmingham and London’s business community and those of the former Soviet Union, which I found very insightful. I particularly enjoyed the complex relationship between Kat and Marty and how this develops throughout the novel.

A super crime thriller, which is a thoroughly entertaining read.

PLEASE NOTE: The book is available in e-book and paperback. The author has published this series in a dyslexia free format. See the author’s blog post Fun, Fast Thrillers and Dyslexia Friendly Too

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Twitter as @AAAbbottStories

Facebook

http://aaabbott.co.uk/

*AUTHOR POST* ~ Fun, Fast Thrillers – and Dyslexia Friendly Too, by AA Abbott

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AA Abbott’s Crime Thriller, The Vodka Trail is one of my current reads and I’ll be posting a review of it very soon. I’m THRILLED that the author has taken time out to write a post about how she went about producing a dyslexia-friendly version of the book and the previous one in the series, The Bride’s Trail.

I am also looking forward to meeting the author at the Tamworth Literary Festival Book Blasts on Saturday 4th March and also on Saturday 11th March where she will be discussing her work with author Rob Sinclair in an Author Thriller Panel at 2.00pm. If you want to find out more about the festival and AA Abbott follow the links after reading this post. 🙂 

Author Post – AA Abbott

I write fun, fast thrillers that are easy to read. While I devoured the classics at school, I’ve always loved a rattling good yarn best of all. That’s what I set out to write. My style owes a lot to the old Harold Robbins blockbusters, as well as more modern writers like John Grisham and Kate Atkinson. Read The Gap, the “5 minute crime thriller” on my website to get a feel for my work. 

As it happens, I’ve learned ‎that not everyone picks up a book for fun. Dyslexia runs like a thread through my family, knitting together the generations. Although I dodged it myself, my hand-eye co-ordination is poor – I’m only now learning to touch-type. Having discovered no books were published for dyslexic adults at all, I decided I would fill that gap with dyslexia-friendly editions of my last crime thrillers, The Bride’s Trail and The Vodka Trail

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It isn’t rocket science to produce a dyslexia-friendly book. With guidance from Alistair Sims – himself dyslexic, and the owner of a bookshop in the gracious seaside town of Clevedon – I followed the BDA guidelines. My new editions are printed in a large sans serif font, on cream paper (easier on the eye than bright white). They’re listed on Amazon (just click on either The Bride’s Trail or The Vodka Trail to find them) and available to bookshops (who can order them from their wholesalers if they’re not in stock).

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So far, the response has been positive, with dyslexic readers telling me that the new books are very quick to read and don’t stress them out like more conventional paperbacks. I’m also planning to record audio-books to make my crime thrillers even more accessible. They’re already available as e-books and traditional paperbacks, of course. 

helen-tbt-new-cover-kindle-thumbnailSo what are the books about? The Bride’s Trail follows the fortunes of Amy, who’s just graduated and is struggling in a dead-end job, fed up with her non-existent love life and jealous of Kat, her glamorous flatmate. Everything changes when Kat disappears. It seems she’s been marrying illegal immigrants for money, and if local gangster Shaun can be believed, she’s stolen cash from him too. Amy’s quest to find Kat and warn her about Shaun leads her to the semi-secret tunnels below Birmingham’s old Jewellery Quarter – and a descent into danger. 

The Vodka Trail moves the action a year on, with Kat trying to recover her family’s vodka business in the former helen-tvt-thumbnailSoviet Union. Naturally, that causes some panic for current owner Harry, and Marty, the swashbuckling Birmingham businessman who distributes the premium vodka across the globe.  Despite Kat and Marty’s distaste for each other, they must co-operate to survive when they’re both kidnapped by terrorists.  

Both thrillers are a pacy, quick read (as are my earlier standalone books, Up In Smoke and After The Interview). I’m currently writing The Grass Trail, which focuses on villainous Shaun’s continuing obsession with Kat. This will be out in Summer 2017, and you can receive updates (and a free e-book of short stories) by subscribing for my newsletter at http://aaabbott.co.uk. 

I’m also on Twitter as @AAAbbottStories and on Facebook`, so feel free to connect with me there too.

To find out about Tamworth’s Literary Festival which is taking place 3rd -11 th March 2017 visit:

https://www.facebook.com/TamworthLiteraryFestival/

To find out about the Book Blasts, which include 20+ authors and the Thriller Panel visit:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tamworth-litfest-book-blast-author-signings-thriller-panel-more-tickets-31409986114?aff=es2

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tamworth-litfest-book-blast-author-signings-more-tickets-31221992821?aff=es2

 

 

Tamworth Literary Festival Brings to Life the Written Word

 

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Tamworth LitFest 2017 Celebrates the Written Word

Tamworth’s inaugural Literary Festival (3-11 March 2017), has LOTS to interest fans of all genres and  includes theatre, live stand-up and more!

Opening Night

bookshopme2-carol-wyerCarol E Wyer, who writes both humorous and thriller fiction, will be opening the festival at 7.00pm on Friday 3rd March at Tamworth Central Methodist Church with her signature stand-up routine alongside Birmingham’s Ministry of Improv (tickets £5 per head). Carol’s recent release, Little Girl Lost, a serial killer novel, reached number 2 in Amazon’s digital download charts.

An Evening with Author Mike Gayle

Meet Romantic Fiction author Mike Gayle on Monday 6th March. Mike, the author of twelve novels including Mr mg_colourCommitment, Turning Thirty and Wish You Were Here, will be at Tamworth Town Hall at 7.00pm (£4 per head). Mike  became a full time novelist in 1997 following the publication of his Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend in 1997, which was hailed by The Independent as ‘Full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations,’ and by The Times as ‘A funny, frank account of a hopeless romantic.’

20 Years of Not Being Published…

poultonsmith2_400x400On Tuesday 7th March local Author Anthony Poulton-Smith presents… 20 Years of Not Being Published. The author of 74 published works, Anthony offers tips and advice based on his mistakes and experiences. The event takes place in Tamworth Central Library at 1.00pm (£3 per ticket).

A Case of Mistaken Identity…

Shoebox Theatre’s performance of the medieval ballad/mummers play King Edward IV and a Tannertanner-of-tamworth-image-project-gutenberg of Tamworth, has its own suspected crime scene. Witness how the hapless Tanner mistakes the king for a common thief and has to face the consequences for his error! The performance takes place at 7.00pm on the evening of Wednesday 8th March at the Central Methodist Church in Tamworth. Tickets priced £4 per person.

Author Crime Panel

crime-panel-thursday-march-9th-lf-2017A Crime Panel, chaired by Gary Hyde a former policeman takes place on Thursday 9th March. The panel comprises:

Crime fiction writer Hugh Fraser (Captain Hastings from Poirot);

Chris Collett, whose latest publication A Good Death continues the compulsive series of books based in Birmingham, featuring DI Tom Mariner;

Stephen Booth, who writes the iconic Cooper and Fry series set in the Peak District, and

True crime author Gordon Lowe, whose most recent publication examines the notorious Black Panther.

The panel will examine the similarities and differences of writing crime fiction and true crime. The event, which takes place in The Globe Inn, Tamworth at 7.00 pm, costs £5 per head.

The Origins and Meanings of Local Pub Names

On Friday 10th March local Author Anthony Poulton-Smith looks at the Origins and Meanings of Local Pub Names. The event takes place in Tamworth Castle (£3 per ticket, payable at the door).

Thriller Panel

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A free to attend Thriller Panel takes place at 2.00 pm Saturday 11th March in St Editha’s Church Hall, featuring AA Abbott and Rob rob-sinclairSinclair. AA Abbott writes addictive crime thrillers about murder and mayhem, often set in Birmingham and the City of London. Her latest novel The Vodka Trail is available in e-book and dyslexia-friendly paperback. Rob Sinclair is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan. His latest release is the pulsating psychological thriller Dark Fragments.

Free to Attend Book Blasts and More!

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J A Heron, author of the Erotic Thriller, 30 Days, and Ian Cawley, author of Gnosis, a Techno/Political Thriller, are just some of the 20+ authors at the festival’s two free Book Blasts in St Editha’s Church Hall on Saturday 4th and Saturday 11th March.

Other authors and genres include: Lucy Felthouse (Erotic Romance), Simon Goodwin (Horror), Pat Spence (Young Adult Paranormal and Romance), Sara Read (Women’s History), Vivian Khan (Cookery and poetry), Heide Goody (humour and paranormal), Sharon Rose (Inspirational and Self-Help) and representatives from New Street Authors (true crime, paranormal, horror, Steam Punk and more).

New Street Authors will also be holding a writing and self and indie publishing session, How Indie Authors Took Over the World, covering how you can turn your ideas into books (March 4th) and a DIY guide to Punk Publishing (11 March). Both sessions are free to attend.

Pop into the Book Blasts anytime between 10am-4.pm to meet authors, publishers and poets for advice and chat. Many books will be on offer and there will be FREE refreshments. To help us plan for the day you can register on our Eventbrite pages:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tamworth-litfest-book-blast-author-signings-more-tickets-31221992821?aff=es2

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tamworth-litfest-book-blast-author-signings-thriller-panel-more-tickets-31409986114?aff=es2

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To Book Tickets

To book tickets telephone 07562 653565/07913 686295 or email tamlitfest@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/TamworthLiteraryFestival/

Image of King Edward IV and the Tanner of Tamworth courtesy of Project Gutenberg