**Blog Tour, Exclusive Author Post & Review** BLOQ by Alan Jones

Released in the last week, we are pleased to be joining gritty, Scottish crime author Alan Jones (The Cabinetmaker, Blue Wicked) for his latest work of fiction, BLOQ, during his release blog tour! Not only do we have the book info and review for you, but the author has written an exclusive piece for us, whereby a main character from the story is being interviewed by a journalist, also a character from Bloq!

bloqTitle: Bloq

Author: Alan Jones

Genre: Crime drama, thriller

Release date: April 1st, 2016

Released by: Ailsa Publishing

Length: 300 pages

Blurb: A father waits in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train has pulled in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.

This is a gritty crime novel with some sexual content.

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

Bloq is an extremely well-written dark and gritty crime novel, telling the story of a widower whose devoted daughter doesn’t come home for Christmas. The father goes to all lengths in the search for her, with twists and surprises that really do shock and create emotion within the reader.

We start where the reader is succumbed to a fantastic, dark-but-gripping prologue, demonstrating foul play and providing us with the curiosity to find out just who the victim is, and who did it. I love it when books reel you in, straight in at the deep end at the very beginning. In this way, there’s no leaving the story until you get some answers. The author has his claws in you, and you’re hooked!

One cannot help but feel completely devastated for Bill. He is a very likable, gentle character, and not only has he been widowed recently, but now his only daughter, Carol, has gone missing with no explanation. Since she moved down to London for her career as a journalist, Carol always took the time to return to Glasgow, visiting her parents, and now just her father. She would always let him know which train she was ready to catch and he would then meet her at the station. When her train arrives with no sign of Carol, he immediately senses that something is wrong; she hasn’t called or texted him. And so he waits for the next; all the time the reader senses his gut feeling that something is wrong.

As the story begins to unfold, and with little help from the police, Bill tries to follow the only lead he has from one of Carol’s friends. To be able to keep track of his search he spends a great deal of his time in London, whilst still trying to maintain his day job in Glasgow. With luck going completely against him, after a few weeks of working flexi-time, he is encouraged to leave due to the fact that he shuts himself off and thinks only of his daughter’s disappearance.

Many doors close in Bill’s face, leaving very little hope. But, the sheer determination that Bill has is admirable. The reader can truly sense that he will find out what happened if it’s the last thing he does. I found myself tearing up due to the gentle and caring manner the author wrote about Bill’s actions and feelings – as if it was the author himself that had undergone this terrible ordeal. It is delicately and beautifully written in the places it needs to be. A truly outstanding read.

I love how in all of Alan Jones‘ books the main character has a skilful trade that is incorporated somewhere into the story. In this case it is more subtle than his previous work, but as a fan of the author I truly appreciated it.

Alan Jones has gone from strength to strength with each book (The Cabinetmaker, Blue Wicked). And, I can see Bloq being his most popular to date. It will definitely stay with me for a long time to come, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

A copy of Bloq was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

**EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR POST**

To coincide with our blog tour post Alan Jones has kindly provided us with a pastiche of an article written by one of the minor characters in the book, a journalist, about one of the main characters in the book, the owner of the nightclub that gives the book its title – Bloq.

Aleksander Gjebrea – Eastern Bloq Entrepreneur. By Steve Evans The Times, Business section: London Local

I met Aleksander Gjebrea at his up-and-coming nightclub, ‘Bloq‘, a new player in London’s entertainment scene. After hearing good things about the club, bravely located in one of the city’s less fashionable areas, I paid a visit with some friends a week ago. If the evening was anything to go by, the management are pulling out all the stops to attract the cream of London’s clubbers.

While they’re still a way off attracting the A-listers, the club has its fair share of lesser known celebrities and young footballers. And it was busy. Even so, the owner took time to sit down during the evening for a while and chat with our group, and I must say, it would have been hard to imagine a more congenial host. I took advantage of this and asked him if he would be prepared to give me an interview for an article in a series I was writing about young immigrant entrepreneurs who had made their mark on their adopted city, and he kindly agreed.

So, before it opens for the evening’s revelry, we’re sitting in Bloq, drinking coffee and talking about his journey from his first job as a barman after arriving in the UK over ten years ago, to owning a nightclub with multiple zones and a top of the range sound system attracting up and coming DJ’s from all over England.

I asked him first if he’d ever hoped he could have come this far in such a short time. He laughed. “I always knew I would succeed. I would have just kept going until I did. That it happened so soon is just a bonus.” He tells me this in a voice tinted with an accent which is a product of his Albanian origins. I complement him on his English. He smiles and tells me that at first, the accent was detrimental, both in his employment and in social situations, but, the more successful he had become, the more his Albanian tinted speech proved to be an asset, but he stopped short of saying that he deliberately cultivated his accent to appear more charismatic.

He certainly oozed an easy and unaffected charm. A good looking man at 35, he says his single status is largely due to his focus and drive being on the business. He claims to work 18 hour days and, from what I have seen, it would be hard to dispute this.

“When I arrived from Albania, I had three of four jobs in different bars; a day here, a day there, but the owners soon realised that I worked hard and had a good feel for the job. I’d worked in my uncle’s bar back in Vlorë before I left Albania, so I knew the bar trade well. After a few months, I was offered the manager’s job at one of the bars and I increased turnover by £35K in one year. I put the bonus money I’d saved as a deposit on a run-down bar in a not so good area. It was part of a bankruptcy sale and it went very cheap. Within two years I had bought the property next door and expanded out into it. There were lots of students moving into the area and I put in some good audio, hired some decent DJs and did the whole place up as a small club.”

He told me where his first venture was situated, and that his younger brother ran it now. I asked him what had prompted his decision to move on to a new place when he had built up a good business that was doing well for him.

“I knew that I’d taken it as far as it could go. My brother had been over for a few years working for me and I thought of making him the manager, but I decided that he would make a better job of it if he owned it. I know that he’ll pay back the money to me, even though I’ve never asked him for it. It’s in our family make up. So I was happy to hand it over to him. I knew that to achieve my ambition of having a top class club, I needed a bigger venue, in the right location.”

I asked him why he’d chosen Walworth. It wasn’t an obvious place for a top end nightclub.

“It was the building that mattered, and I couldn’t afford one big enough in a more fashionable area. Walworth has good transport connections and is not too far away from central London. This building came up and I knew it was right.”

On the club’s name, he re-told the story I’d heard when I’d visited the club. Originally, he’d intended to call the club Eastern Bloq, a homage to his origins, but the name had been shortened to the more striking Bloq.

We took a break from our interview and he showed me around. The club has four main areas. There’s a sizeable lounge bar with a dance floor; very well decked out with lush seating and a number of tables for diners. The club does a limited menu, but it’s not primarily an eating place. It has a laid back feel to it, and the music is generally smooth, shall we say, and it’s not so loud as to make conversation impossible without shouting. The drinks are priced reasonably for an establishment of this quality, although, for those with too much disposable income, I noticed a few very expensive bottles of wine and some top end spirits on the drinks menu.

A stairway from the main foyer climbs to a terraced seating area overlooking the lounge bar, housing an intimate and quiet corner in the otherwise hectic and noisy venue.

The third area is the main dance zone, and you can tell there’s been a heavy investment in the sound system, and just as importantly, in the sound insulation that allows the music to be as loud as it needs to be without making the rest of the club intolerable. It’s very impressive, as I saw on the night I was there as a clubber, and the lighting was equally attention-grabbing too.

I asked Aleksander how much it had cost him.

Without blinking, he told me the whole place had cost well over three quarters of a million. I’d suspected it might have been more, but he informed me that he could strike a good deal with his contractors! He said that he’d paid off the loans on his previous club within three years and that he’d been able to put a bit of money behind him before he bought the building that he then transformed into Bloq. Despite that, he adds that it will take him a little longer to clear the debt on his latest project.

“I also run an import\export business between the UK and Albania. There’s a demand for British luxury goods because of the more open economy out there, and we bring produce back from Albania that competes very well with its UK equivalents. This, with some property development we’re also involved in, has allowed us to reduce the debt burden significantly, just five years into the life of the club.”

As we returned to the lounge bar, he showed me the VIP room, that is available at an undisclosed fee to those of his clientele who preferred a more private and personal experience, but with access to all the club’s other facilities.

“It’s very popular for birthdays, anniversaries and the like, and we’re finding it increasingly being booked by commercial organisations for corporate entertainment.”

I tackled him about the drug scene, and how it affected the management of the club.

“Being completely honest, it’s nearly impossible to stop it altogether, but our security is second to none, and we pride ourselves on the fact that the club has no serious drug issues.”

Returning to the lounge area, I asked him where he thought he’d be in another five years.

“My ambition is to make Bloq one of the premier late night London Venues by 2017. I would like to think that we can accomplish it at this location, because it’s good for the local area, bringing employment and extra footfall for local businesses. After that, who knows. Paris, Rome, Madrid?”

Having spent a few hours with the man, and being given a glimpse of the small but impressive business empire he has built from nothing in a very short time, it’s hard not to believe him when he says that he can achieve this ambitious target, and it’s even harder to rule out the possibility that it may well happen.

bloq

BLOQ_Tour

*Review Round-Up* Nov & Dec 2015

Hi readers, it has been a while since our last Review Round-Up, and so I do hope that you are all well and had a fantastic Christmas Holiday!

Although I have been reading a great deal, with a house move to the coast over the Christmas period, and having a short time without Wi-Fi it has taken me a little longer to write and publish blog posts. I have, however, been enjoying Scarborough (UK) life with walks along the coast, up the cliffs and around the castle remains, as well as visiting author Anne Brontes grave! Meanwhile, Tina has held up the fort like a true warrior with the amount of reviews she has posted, as well as assisting a local Lit Fest! Thanks, Tina ❤

We have quite a mix of genres from the end of 2015 to share with you, from dystopian sci-fi fantasies, to erotic paranormal romances, historical romances and a mystery chick-lit! Amongst them is also a gritty, Scottish crime thriller, Blue Wicked by Alan Jones, which we are currently running a giveaway on. (For more info on this, please click the title.)

As always, please click on the titles to view our full reviews and more!

Although a little later than usual we wish you all a Happy New Year x

Caroline & Tina 🙂

Peter WellsThe Man Who Missed the Boat by Peter Wells, contemporary drama (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: It should have been an ordinary Saturday morning. A short walk down his street to give a piano lesson at the home of a family he knew well. As it turned out, he knew them rather better than was good for him. How much trouble can a well-intentioned piano teacher land in? Simon Baxter discovers that being “well-meaning” is sometimes not enough to protect you from the chaos in other people’s lives. Even an excessive sense of “good manners” can be disastrous in the wrong circumstances. Under pressure the unorganised desires kept strictly deep inside us can surface and bring chaos to the lives of ourselves and anyone near us. Will our untrained hero make it safely across the river of life or, like so many of us, get swept up by the current of events towards an unplanned adventure? In the sudden change from “Not being loved enough” to “Being loved too much, and by more than one women,” Simon finds out more about himself than he would like. Can he choose wisely, and live with the consequences? In this, his second novel, Peter Wells continues to cast his gentle but penetrating light on those foibles and weaknesses which lie beneath the exterior of the apparently most ordered lives. Those hidden character traits which can, in the right circumstances, surface and toss their owner, and anyone around him or her, most unpleasantly.

Point vmpThe Point of Evil, Point Vamp: Book Four by Victoria Bliss, erotic paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Blood and sex were all he ever wanted until love gave him something worth living an eternity for.

Steve—who had been a womanizer in life and was even more so in death—prowls the Point using his vampiric wiles to get the blood and sex he craves. He’s always looking for his next meal and when he sees a tall, curvy beauty with a red scarf around her neck, he thinks he’s found it.

Eloise is different—she’s shy and needs encouragement, and Steve just can’t get her out of his mind. He has to take his time, get to know her and slowly seduce her. When she disappears, leaving only a note begging him not to pursue her further, he can’t help himself and ends up in the service of George Aquino, a vampire crime boss with a penchant for twisted and cruel torture and a dungeon full of prisoners.

A daring rescue, a difficult choice and love against the odds. Do you dare visit the point of evil?

The Point Vamp series

What is The Point? It is the hottest club in town for both Vampires and humans alike. It has a large dance floor and a bar like any other club but once you disappear behind the VIP only door you find out what makes The Point so unique. Sex, blood and lust all behind closed doors and only accessed by the chosen ones.

Now, you become a chosen one and get to see the sexy world behind that door.

Welcome to The Point.

Dariana30 Days by JA Heron, erotic thriller (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Dariana Walsh is the daughter of a ruthless gangster and heir to his empire. Not only does she feel trapped, but she has many questions about numerous incidents that have happened in her life so far. Particularly, what happened to her mother? Her father sees her as his little girl, but she longs to be treated like an adult. He wants to shape her, to become more like him, but she resists, the only way she knows how…

One of Wilson Walsh’s men – Chas – is not who he seems. He was sent to infiltrate, earn trust and walk away with Wilson’s most treasured possession, his daughter. He has a plan to take down the most unrelenting man to walk the streets of East London.
Over the next thirty days, blood is shed, friendships are formed and amongst all of the pain and suffering, surprisingly, love blossoms.

In a sea of betrayal and violence… time and love know no bounds.

***Contains strong sexual and violent scenes ~ over 18’s only. There are strong, dark scenes in this book if you do not wish to read about violence, sexual violence or child abuse, then please do not buy this book***

Treagar's redemption coverTraegar’s Redemption (Woodland Creek) by Isobelle Cate, sci-fi paranormal time-travel romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Marcus Theodoric Treagar is a sabretooth with a curse that has him traveling through time, leaving a trail of dead bodies. Not only that, but as soon as he falls in love, he is wrenched away from that period and returned to 16th century Venice. To save the last remaining piece of his heart, he refuses to become involved again.

Until Paisley Halleran.

As the daughter of the shifter chronicler, Paisley Halleran knows that magick and the paranormal abound in Woodland Creek. With her adopted brother, Virgil Rowtag, they fight for every shifter’s rights in the area. When Paisley comes face to face with Marcus, who has been arrested for a murder he does not remember committing, she believes he is innocent. Marcus, on the other hand, knows he has finally found the woman truly meant for him.
However, not everything is cut and dried. Paisley unearths tragic secrets and lies that link her to Marcus. Not only will it show her whether Marcus is truly innocent or guilty of the murders in Woodland Creek, it will also spell the difference between staying with Marcus because she wants to, or letting him go because she has no choice. 

NaliniShield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13) by Nalini Singh, sci-fi fantasy paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch – if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake . . .

Having rebuilt her life after medical ‘treatment’ that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption.

But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness . . .

RavenscrestThe Ghosts of Ravencrest (The Ravencrest Saga #1) by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, modern gothic, erotic horror, paranormal (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Darkness Never Dies …
Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …
Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

Welcome to Ravencrest …
Who is the man digging in the garden beyond Belinda’s bedroom window? Who – or what – is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …

Windward Secrets CoverWindward Secrets by K.A. Davis, paranormal horror suspense, mystery, chick-lit (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: At just over 67,700 words Windward Secrets is a fast paced mystery laced  with humour, suspense, and a touch of the paranormal that will make the reader gasp at times, and soften their hearts at other times.

When Claire McPherson booked Windward Cottage, for the annual reunion with three college friends, her biggest concern was whether they would like the weather-beaten, old Victorian on Cape Cod. Claire, Diane, Jill, and Caroline are in for more than a little Right and R. Windward Cottage has its own special powers of seduction. After 35 years of friendship they thought they knew everything about each other, but the old house draws confessions out of each and leads them unwillingly into a 50yearold mystery.

What was planned to be a vacation filled with fun, food, and reminiscing turns into one that will change their lives forever. Who or what is trying to frighten them? Only one woman’s stubborn determination keeps them at Windward Cottage when common sense tells them to leave. Fear, danger, and unexplained events connect the four women to each other and to Windward Cottage. Three of the women find their futures, and one finds her past.

Readers will recognize someone they know in every character as Windward Secrets heightens their awareness of the heinous crime of human trafficking.

Dream AlchemyDream Alchemy (Life and Shadow Series) by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley, dystopian sci-fi fantasy (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A warrior battles hydra.

The Blood Plague liquefies eyes.

A rapper rails against Earth’s ecological ruin.

From the pitch Abyss, Chaos corrupts our dreams. 

On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?

Through the psiqnet, a network of human minds and quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), consumers shop Earth towards ecological ruin. The preachers of Gaia, ecoterrorists woven within the system, seek to bring economic and ecological harmony through Gaia QAI. Yet as Gaia begins to infect other QAIs with compassion, the Blood Plague rises, intent on exterminating humankind.

What force connects Dragonland and Earth?

The Life & Shadow Series explores how genetic engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology will impact humankind and Earth’s ecology. More specifically, themes include the outcome of human minds interfacing with artificial intelligences, the long-term effect of humankind on natural ecosystems, and compassion in society.

goddessGoddess by Kelee Morris, contemporary, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Wife, mother, PTA president… Sex Goddess?

For Julia Nelson, it was only a faded tattoo, almost forgotten, like the sex-charged dreams that inspired it some 20 years ago.

For renowned, rugged-sexy archaeologist Dr. Ashland Stewart, it was his greatest discovery, the sacred emblem of an ancient goddess culture.

Two symbols, eons apart, yet exact duplicates. It must be a coincidence. But when Julia and Ashland meet, their connection is instantaneous, powerful, erotic.

Julia’s suburban life is safe and comfortable. She has everything to lose.

Ashland’s world is remote archaeological digs and flings with younger women. He’s sexually free but emotionally guarded.

Ashland awakens Julia’s long buried inner goddess with breath-taking passion and insatiable desire.

But their sexual adventure becomes increasingly perilous as their emotional barriers crumble. Will Julia risk falling in love and soaring to new heights, or will she return to her earthbound responsibility to her family? 

BlueWicked_Dark_300DPIBlue Wicked by Alan Jones, crime thriller, drama (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: ‘Blue Wicked’ is a gritty thriller set in the south side of Glasgow. Eddie Henderson finds himself as the unlikely investigator with information that there’s a serial killer targeting the substance dependent underclass who inhabit the notorious Glasgow housing estates. The police force ignore his warnings but one young detective believes him and she helps him search for the truth, despite putting her own career at risk. Their desperate search for the truth on their own proves Eddie right and sparks off a massive manhunt, with Eddie and Catherine, the young detective, at the forefront of the investigation. The book contains a fair bit of strong language and Glasgow dialect, and has some very violent passages.

kris tuallaA Discreet Gentleman of Discovery (The Discreet Gentleman Series #1) by Kris Tualla, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Brander Hansen lost his hearing at age seven, his inheritance at twenty-three. Furious at his father’s betrayal, Brander leaves home to make his way as Lord Olsen, a ‘discreet gentleman of discovery’ in 1721 Christiania, Norway. He intends to gain his own estate and begins buying the debt markers on Kildahlshus.

Baroness Regin Kildahl’s husband has gambled away her estate and sunk to more dangerous habits. She writes to Lord Olsen soliciting his help saving both her husband and her home. When her husband dies, Regin offers herself and her title to anyone who will redeem his gambling debts, unaware of Brander’s plan and circumventing his efforts.

The Hansen heir accepts her offer and hires Lord Olsen to deliver his bride. Brander’s choices are clear: give the widow and her estate to his younger brother, or claim them both as his own. But who would accept a deaf husband?

LachlanDiscovered (Forsaken Blood #1) by Em Taylor, sci-fi romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Lachlan Ethelred Mackenzie looks like an ordinary sexy university professor, but for over a millennium, he’s been one of a number of his kind trying to steer humanity towards the heavens. But humans are slow and stubborn.

It’s been a long slow journey since the spaceship from Vampyras experienced technical difficulty near Earth in 1006 and the Vampyrs had to abandon ship, and learn to survive on a planet filled with primitive beings.

It’s now 2061, and humanity is heading to Mars – perhaps now the Vampyrs can research space folding technology away from prying human eyes.

Psychologist, Doctor Kate Maxwell is excited about going to Mars—except for one thing – she’s terrified of the journey. A space accident when she was twelve has left her with PTSD and a fear of space travel. But when the handsome Professor, Lachlan Mackenzie becomes her cabin mate she finds herself falling for him all too easily. But why is he so reticent? He’s cute, single and seems altogether perfect.

Things are getting complicated for Lachlan. He’s falling for the sexy red-headed psychologist, his long-lost daughter is on board the spaceship to Mars and she has no clue what or who he is and it seems that the leader of the Vampyr council is plotting something. Lachlan has too many secrets and too many problems. And Kate is the only thing he wants. Can he keep his hands and his fangs away from her? Does he want to? And what will happen if she discovers his secret?

All hell is about to break loose.

This book contains scenes of an adult nature.

Sex Snow and MistletoeSex, Snow and Mistletoe (short story) by Laura Barnard, contemporary, festive holiday romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Melinda is already having a crappy Christmas. Forced to attend some snotty bitch’s wedding is not the way to start out the holidays. But when a car crash pushes her into the path of a handsome stranger she’s glad to follow his snowy, sexy and seductive path. But is he too good to be true? And will she make it to the wedding before her best friend loses her mind with worry?

Please note this is a short story of 10k words.

MirandaMiranda’s Dilemma (Fashionably Impure #1) by Natasha Blackthorne, erotic, regency, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Poised to become Mayfair’s most expensive and exclusive courtesan, Miss Miranda Jones finds her rise inexplicably blocked by a socially powerful nobleman. Scorned by her ducal father and determined to attain everything that life has denied her due to an accident of birth, she’s not about to let this arrogant earl stop her.

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, saw his father destroyed by a heartless, predatory courtesan. He has no time or patience for such exotic, expensive ladybirds. He’s far too busy restoring his family’s wealth and reputation whilst doing what he can to protect his friends from the clutches of all the scheming courtesans of London.

Then a moment of compassion turns intense dislike to breathless passion, and these two strong-willed, fiercely proud people are compelled to indulge in a brief affair. Each is convinced that they can satisfy their craving for the other without emotional risk.

But neither realizes that a little dalliance can be a dangerous thing.

Reader Advisory: This is an erotic historical romance and it contains frank sexual language and period appropriate sexual slang, frequent sexual scenes and descriptions and general bedchamber naughtiness. The characters discuss abuse issues from their backstories during the course of their developing relationship. For Adults 18 & Over Only.

Men of the BorderlandsThe Men of the Border Lands Collection, Volume 1 (Ménage Everlasting) by Marla Monroe, erotic, futuristic ménage à trois romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: (This collection includes three books from the Men of the Border Lands series, nearly 110k words total). MFM, erotic romance.

In Belonging to Them, while escaping slavery in the Border Lands, Heather hides in a trailer belonging to brothers Brandon and Bolton. They take her to their farm and prove they won’t harm her. Bolton quickly falls in love, but Brandon pulls away. After a wolf attack almost takes her from them, Brandon must realize he could lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

In A Home with Them, fed up with the reluctant men who have cared for her for five years, Jessie takes matters into her own hands. Wyatt and Kent worry that their kind of love isn’t what Jessie needs, but a tough life out in the Border Lands and a kidnapping show the men that Jessie belongs with them.

In Their Border Lands Temptress, after the year of catastrophes, Ronnie jumps at an offer of protection from a lifelong friend. When the safety becomes abuse, she runs. Brice and Garrett know she needs a man to protect her, and they are hell-bent to help her. When danger shows up at their door, Ronnie must decide if she’s ready for them to be more than lovers or if she’s too scared to let them into her heart.

The Border Lands are a dangerous place, but love and passion are often the keys to surviving.

** A Siren Erotic Romance

HMFHold Me Until Forever (Grayson Brothers #3) by Christina Phillips, erotic contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: She’s the only one he wants…and the one he can never have

Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.

Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He’s damaged, and there’s no way he’ll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he’s always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she’ll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.

Except there’s nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he’s ever needed?

**Blog Tour w/Guest Post, Review & Giveaway** Blue Wicked by Alan Jones

It was a year ago when I reviewed Alan Jones‘ first novel, The Cabinetmaker. I was absolutely intrigued by the author’s writing style and the in-depth research that I felt had been undertaken. He certainly knows how to write a great crime thriller/drama! And so, it is with great pleasure that we have the chance to be a part of the blog tour and review for his second novel, Blue Wicked.

Included is an exclusive GUEST POST written by Alan Jones, a four-chapter sampler, and he is kindly offering a GIVEAWAY, where one lucky winner will win a paperback of Blue Wicked, and another will win an e-copy! For further details, please scroll below!

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Blurb:

‘Blue Wicked’ is a gritty thriller set in the south side of Glasgow. Eddie Henderson finds himself as the unlikely investigator with information that there’s a serial killer targeting the substance dependent underclass who inhabit the notorious Glasgow housing estates. The police force ignore his warnings but one young detective believes him and she helps him search for the truth, despite putting her own career at risk. Their desperate search for the truth on their own proves Eddie right and sparks off a massive manhunt, with Eddie and Catherine, the young detective, at the forefront of the investigation. The book contains a fair bit of strong language and Glasgow dialect, and has some very violent passages.

Amazon UK buy link

Amazon US buy link

GUEST POST – ALAN JONES

Writing and me: motivation, inspirations and ideas.

What makes me want to write?

Probably like most book junkies, I read incessantly from an early age. As a child, I was brought up in a very religious household, where television was deemed inappropriate. Oddly, reading was encouraged and even more strangely, not censored, and with plenty spare time not glued to a TV screen, I became a voracious devourer of books of all types. My dad had a reasonable collection of books and we lived close to a good library; when I outgrew children’s books faster than my peers, a perceptive Librarian let me use my junior library ticket to borrow books from the adult section without particularly screening what I was reading. (I was a fount of knowledge for my fellow pupils on sexual matters when we all discovered it existed, though most of them overtook me in turning theory into practice, with my being what you would call a ‘late developer’.)

All that reading improved my writing as well. I always enjoyed and thrived on creative writing at school, the only part of the English curriculum that suited me. When I started secondary school, the dissection of literary classics, poems and plays spoiled some of them for me, although I enjoyed most of the ones I re-visited as an adult, appreciating them for being the good read they were, and not as an academic exercise.

The joy of reading a good book, and the pleasure I got from writing, ignited in me the idea that I should give writing stories a go, but life got in the way, with a career, a wife, four children and a house that I populated with restored and hand-built furniture, all conspiring to leave me little time for writing. And we had a TV! I have to confess that I did a lot of catching up, and even my reading dipped a little while I was watching a backlog of TV series like MASH and Porridge, and all the films that I’d missed over the years.

About fifteen years ago, I had a run of reading what I thought were mediocre books, some from authors that I’d previously liked, that left me disappointed and restless and, in my own mind, I thought that I could do better than that. Only, I never did. Then, one day, I told myself that I should put my money where my mouth was, and actually write something.

I got as far as jotting down a few ideas for books, but none of them grabbed me until I came up with a rough plot for The Cabinetmaker. I wrote in fits and starts for the next ten or twelve years, often doubting that I could finish it, but it reached a critical mass about half way through, and it all fell into place, taking less than six months to complete.

Write what you know is the old adage, so that’s what I did. The first book was about making furniture, playing football and living in Glasgow; subjects that I knew a lot about.

My second book, Blue Wicked had its roots in my job working with animals. Having the confidence that I could write, I self-published it within a year of sitting down to start it. The third book is taking a little longer, but it is almost at the first draft stage and should be going to my lovely freelance editor, Julie Lewthwaite, by Christmas. Part of the reason that it has taken longer is that I have spent more time this last year trying to promote my first two books and, although enjoyable, this has been more involved than I’d anticipated.

I get ideas for stories from a number of areas. The biggest so far have been the things like my job, my pastimes, my passions other than reading and writing, but I also love talking to people, or listening to banter in pubs and at social gatherings of all kinds. I make quick notes whenever I hear something interesting or witty, and some of these jottings eventually make their way into my books, heavily disguised to protect the guilty.

The bottom line is that I love writing and, when I’m in the mood and the words just flow from my imagination on to the screen, and I like what I read, there aren’t many things that can surpass that!

Contact Alan:

email alanjonesbooks@gmail.com

Twitter @alanjonesbooks

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006737580444

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

Blue Wicked is completely engrossing; the grittiness, dialogue and sheer suspense kept me gripped throughout. The reader follows vet, Eddie Henderson, who specialises in animal abuse and poisoning, when he comes across cases where cats have been subjected to antifreeze and been abused under it’s influence. However, when Eddie hears of a murder with similar circumstances he begins to suspect that maybe the animal abuser has turned to harming humans. Is he right? If so, will the police take him seriously?

The story begins with Eddie looking into the death of a cat, and I must warn all animal/cat lovers that there are some graphic and brutal scenes from early on. However, the reason I was so intrigued was because of how well-written the scenes are, the sense of how realistic it felt to read, and the enthusiasm that Eddie has to get to the bottom of just how these poor animals have come to die. Eddie is very thorough in his work, pushing as many boundaries as he has to in order to reach the truth.

When human bodies begin to be found, and victim identities are revealed, it becomes clear that many of them were the victims of drug abuse and/or alcoholism, with many of them being homeless or unemployed; people that not too many would notice have been missing. Their lives were desperate, yet when faced with death they were extremely fearful, which leads to extremely suspenseful and brutal scenes. I couldn’t help but think of Blue Wicked as Val McDermid (Wire in the Blood series) with a twist of Irvin Welsh (Trainspotting). I can very easily picture Blue Wicked as a tv detective drama, due to the dark, intense atmosphere, mixed with the relationships that Eddie has with the police.

Although the police are not very open to Eddie’s theories, this does not prevent Eddie from wanting to look further into each case. And when young officer, Catherine, shares his belief, she takes it on herself to investigate in her own time with Eddie. In Eddie’s otherwise lonely life at home, Catherine brings with her warmth and friendliness, a belief in what he is doing, and a unity whereby they work together, complimenting each other’s work along the way.

The way in which their relationship builds is fascinating in itself. With Eddie concentrating just on the work alone, he finds it a little more awkward to be sociable, coming across as cold even at times. However, just as friendships develop, the more time they spend together the more they expand on varying topics. Catherine begins to see more in him than just the investigative vet; she begins to understand his set ways and mannerisms. Meanwhile, he appreciates her help and eagerness to find more solid leads, at a time when many others are almost ignoring any connections, thus making it a risk for Catherine to go out on a limb to help him in terms of her career.

I am so glad I have had the pleasure to read both Blue Wicked, and The Cabinetmaker; both of which are stand alone novels. Fans of gritty crime thrillers will appreciate the writing that Alan Jones provides in both story-telling and character building. I am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can check out our review of The Cabinetmaker here.

And, here you can enjoy the first four chapters of Blue Wicked, courtesy of Alan Jones.

BLUE WICKED sample

GIVEAWAY

To be in with a chance to win a paperback or an e-copy of Blue Wicked all you need to do is type your name in the comments box below. (You can also enter on our Facebook page.)

Two winners will be picked at random on Tuesday, 2nd February 2016 at 5pm GMT.

The first to be picked will receive a paperback, and the second an e-copy, direct from the author.

The winners will be contacted as soon as they are picked out.

We would like to thank everyone in advance for entering, and wish you all the very best of luck! 🙂

Caroline & Tina

 

BW_Blog_Tour

Review Round-Up November 2014

Hi readers, Tina and myself hope that you enjoyed your Halloween, and here in the UK Bonfire Night. There have been some fantastic fireworks displays this year in and around Tamworth where we reside. We are now concentrating on enjoying the autumn/fall weather, watching the leaves as they fall from the trees and spending most of our time snuggled up on the sofa with a book or our laptops preparing for our best reads of 2014 and of course, Christmas!!

Below you will find our latest reviews over the last month covering the horror genre, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, erotica, fantasy adventure and crime thriller.

As always, we hope that there is something for everybody and that you all enjoy visiting our blog.

Keep on reading!

Caroline & Tina 🙂

(Please click on titles for review)

23358060Distant Love by Layla Merritt, erotic contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Kate Braxton has fallen into the role most women do by putting someone else’s needs above her own. In reality, she lives day to day unable to overcome the scars of her past to allow herself to move on with her life. Her divorce and a new job just might open the door to a brighter future for her.

Brayden Bennett is sexy and successful in the marketing firm he works for, but has been used and discarded by women, leaving him hurt and guarded. The beautiful new hire in Atlanta captures his attention in ways he didn’t think possible and he can’t help but wonder if she holds the key to his caged heart.

Kate is taking care of her ill father in Atlanta and Brayden’s son ties him to Chicago. Can they dare to dream of a future together? Can Kate survive the freak accidents that keep occurring, or will their relationship end in tragedy before they can figure out a way to be together?

Claimed (True Alpha 6)Claimed (True Alpha #6) (short story) by Alisa Woods, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

New Adult Paranormal Romance serial – LAST IN SERIES

Shifters live in the shadows of Seattle, just under the skin of the alpha male, dot-com entrepreneurs who are building a new Silicon Valley in the Emerald City.

Mia has found her way free of the dark wolves, but what price will her friends pay? And will she finally be able to find a place among their packs?

Claimed (True Alpha 6) is 65 pages or 16,000 words. It’s the final of six episodes in the True Alpha serial.

Adult content. Ages 18+.

Amethyst's incredible journeyAmethyst’s Incredible Journey by Lisa Bland, fantasy adventure (reviewed by Caroline)

Fantasy adventure

For ages 11yrs+

Synopsis: Amethyst is a witch with extremely evil and powerful parents. Amethyst is terrified that if she don’t stop her parents soon it will be too late, and they will gain control of Golden Dragon City and the Fountain of Magic. Amethyst knows that she has only got until her next birthday to stop them!.Amethyst has to travel through different realms to collect the blood red rubies that she needs to stop them.

After the HazeAfter the Haze by Gary Richardson, horror (reviewed by Caroline)

Synopsis: The haze ravaged everything. Human life as we know it is over. Those who survived the haze awoke to find themselves in a new nightmare, as the dead returned with the insatiable desire to hunt down and feed on the remaining humans. Yvonne thought she had escaped her nightmare. Safely aboard the HMS Lancaster, Martin, Mike and herself believed they had found salvation with their military saviours. Things change when a devastating realisation is made. Humans no longer control the Earth. With this in mind, Yvonne has no choice but to assist in the operation to take back control of the UK and bring together all the survivors, but she soon learns that there are bigger threats to mankind than the living dead…

22436820Afraid to Hope (Secrets and Seduction #3) by M.J. Nightingale, erotic contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Louisa Sears is ready to start over. Escaping her small town where prejudice, long memories, and old fashioned values haunt her, Louisa embarks on her dream of finding love, and a man who can warm up her bed at night. Pregnant at sixteen, divorced from an abusive husband at twenty, and raising a daughter alone, Louisa is now ready to live. She wants what every woman wants. A rock hard man, who knows how to love. Will Florida be the place where her dreams come true?

Jay Russell is battle scarred. A past filled with horrors from childhood, the war in Iraq, and the most devastating event of his life that occurred when he returned home, he is definitely not looking for love. When he first meets Louisa Sears, the bombshell with the fantastic body, he wants one thing, and one thing only, her body underneath him. The hot little ticket that walks by his t-shirt shop, meets all his requirements for a night of passion.

The scars in them run deep though, and they both have secrets. Can two people so deeply wounded by the past learn to trust each other enough to share those secrets? And if they do, will they be able to get past them and learn to hope again?

That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Zombies (Scary Tales, #1)That Risen Snow: A Tale of Snow White & Zombies (The Scary Tales #1) by Rob E. Boley, horror/humour (reviewed by Caroline)

BLURB: The zombie sequel to Snow White begins where the classic fairy tale ends, with the Prince’s kiss waking Snow from her cursed slumber. Snow wakes up, but she doesn’t wake up right.

Now a deranged zombie, Snow infects both the Prince and the seven dwarfs’ leader. That leaves the young dwarf Grouchy, who is secretly in love with Snow, to find a cure for her malicious curse. So begins an epic journey that pits the lovesick Grouchy against dwarf-hating human soldiers, Snow’s ever-growing zombie horde, and his own bad temper. But when Grouchy and his motley crew of survivors escape Snow’s clutches and seek refuge in a nearby human village, he soon finds that her affliction has spread faster and further then he ever could have imagined. Snow is hell-bent on spreading her horrid curse across the land, and it’s up to Grouchy to stop her before it’s too late.

So begins THE SCARY TALES, a dark fantasy series featuring mash-ups of traditional fairy tale characters and classic horror monsters.

TheNewGovernessLargeFINALThe New Governess/Awakening (The Erotic Adventures of Belinda #1 & 2) by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, gothic erotica (reviewed by Tina)

The New Governess blurb: When Belinda Moorland leaves her old life behind to become the new governess to a wealthy businessman’s children, she finds herself in a dazzling – and allegedly haunted – house called Ravencrest Manor. Her beautiful new home comes with an assortment of unusual staff members, including a handsome English butler surrounded by secrets, an icy power-mad housekeeper with a chip on her shoulder and a whip in her hand, and – most attractive of all to Belinda – her mysterious new employer, Mr. Eric Manning.

After just one night in Ravencrest, Belinda realizes that the staff, as strange they are, have nothing on the other residents of the house – the ones who only come out at night… the ones who enter and dictate her dreams, twisting them into dark, carnal visions of her deepest desires… and her greatest fears.

The erotic adventures of Belinda have begun…

awakeningfinalAwakening blurb: In The New Governess, Belinda Moorland became governess to the children of handsome and mysterious millionaire, Eric Manning. She met several interesting employees at Ravencrest Manor, including the mischievous butler, Grant, and the frightening house administrator, Mrs. Heller. During her first night, Belinda was also greeted – and groped – by other inhabitants of the house; ones who are more phantom than flesh.

Now, in Awakening, we find out more about Grant Phister, the wicked Mrs. Heller, and some of the other inhabitants of the house, both living and dead. There are more secrets than ever waiting within the walls of Ravencrest, but Belinda has one final requirement to meet before she can get down to work: She must pass her physical examination – and it will prove to be far more intimate than anything in her wildest dreams – or her darkest nightmares. Will she get through her first day at Ravencrest intact?

The erotic adventures of Belinda continue…

TheLoveofMarisol_WP2014The Love of Marisol by Christos Toulouras, contemporary emotional romance (reviewed by Caroline)

 Synopsis: When Leo’s marriage ends, he falls into the depths of depression. He decides to escape the loss and the heartbreak with a trip to the other side of the world – Lima, Peru. In some ways, his journey becomes an unexpected salvation as his passions are reignited by the local food and people, the climate and the beautiful and alluring Marisol. The Love of Marisol is a poignant and passionate journey of heartbreak, loss but most of all self-discovery… it reminds us that at the end of one love story, there is always the possibility of a new one…

17562987 (2)Windhaven by Charlotte Boyett-Compo, dark erotic fantasy romance (reviewed by Tina)

Synopsis: “Open your mouth even once, tell anyone about us, give them a name, and we’ll come for you, Sammy. There will be nowhere you can hide that we won’t find you.”Samiel Brell is being held against his will in the WindHaven Mental Hospital. His life there is a brutal nightmare from which he can not wake. The only anchor he has in this dark world is nurse Katelyn Tarnes who sees beyond the psychotic, self-destructive patient to the lost, lonely man desperately needing her help…and pleading for her love.

The CabinetmakerThe Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones, crime drama/thriller (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Synopsis: The Cabinetmaker, Alan Jones’ first novel, tells of one man’s fight for justice when the law fails him. Set in Glasgow from the late nineteen-seventies through to the current day, a cabinetmaker’s only son is brutally murdered by a gang of thugs, who walk free after a bungled prosecution.

It’s young Glasgow detective John McDaid’s first murder case. He forms an unlikely friendship with the cabinetmaker, united by a determination to see the killers punished, their passion for amateur football, and by John’s introduction to a lifelong obsession with fine furniture.

This is the story of their friendship, the cabinetmaker’s quest for justice, and the detective’s search for the truth.

This unusual crime thriller contains some Glasgow slang and a moderate amount of strong language.

 

 

**Promo Post with Prologue and (partial) First Chapter** Blue Wicked by Alan Jones

After reviewing debut author, Alan Jones’ The Cabinetmaker last week, I am excited to be introducing our readers with his second novel, Blue Wicked. Not a sequel to his first novel, albeit still a gritty crime thriller.

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Title: Blue Wicked

Author: Alan Jones

Release Date: October 2014

Genre: Gritty crime thriller

Length: 167 pages

Blurb: The tortured corpses of young alcoholics and drug addicts are turning up in Glasgow and only unlikely investigator Eddie Henderson seems to know why. When he tries to tell the police, his information is ridiculed and he’s told to stop wasting their time.

One officer, junior detective Catherine Douglas, believes him, and together they set out to discover why the dregs of Glasgow’s underbelly are being found, dead and mutilated….

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PROLOGUE

 

Eddie looked around at the crime scene. As usual, it looked nothing like those on the cop shows he’d seen on TV. No photographer, no blue and white police tape or flashing blue lights; just him and his little black case. A small crowd of onlookers surrounded him and to be fair, they gave him a little room to work, but that may have been because of the smell.

This was the third of three similar cases that Eddie had worked in the space of two years, and he briefly wondered if they could be connected. Flies buzzed around his face and he flapped his hand at them ineffectively. The victim had been dead for a couple of days, and there was a sticky pool of blood and faeces on the ground below the body. A length of wood extended from the anus, and another from the mouth; from the position of the body, Eddie surmised that it was the same piece of wood, because it was supporting the corpse in mid-air across two rusty steel barrels, as if it were a spit roast about to be barbecued. Eddie hoped that death had come before the skewering.

He was concentrating hard, so it gave him a bit of a start when a voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Hey mister, who the fuck wid dae that tae a fucken cat?”

 

CHAPTER 1 Eddie

 

Ever since he could remember, Eddie had wanted to be a vet. As one of the few vets in Scotland who specialised in animal abuse and poisoning, he was often called out by the SSPCA when an animal was suspected of having been poisoned or tortured, which is why he found himself in the middle of a patch of waste ground on the outskirts of Glasgow.

He had started out as a fairly ordinary vet, qualifying with a veterinary degree from Glasgow University including distinctions in medicine, pathology, physiology and biochemistry. This was all the more remarkable when you knew his background; one of four children from a one-parent family brought up on one of Glasgow’s toughest housing estates, Castlemilk. University had been a struggle at times, both financially and emotionally, although he had coped better with the academic side of the veterinary degree, being, according to his friend Brian, “a clever cunt”.

Despite his upbringing he had almost fitted in, but he couldn’t quite manage the don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that some of the better-off students had and, although he joined in with many of the social activities normally associated with students, most of his fellow classmates considered him to be somewhat stand-offish, perhaps with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Eddie himself would have told anybody who asked that he enjoyed his time at university, but that he’d had to grow up a lot quicker than his fellow students, helping to bring up his three younger siblings and working from an early age to earn enough to help with the housekeeping and have a little money for himself.

He took some photographs of the unlucky animal in situ, measured the length of the wood impaling it, and then, using the small hacksaw from his case, he cut the wood close to where it emerged from both ends of the cat, which allowed him to place the animal into the thick polythene bag that he’d brought for that purpose. As he did this, he thought of his first few years in practice, when he had soon become bored with much of the daily routine work that he needed to get through. He wasn’t really a people person, so it was often an effort to be “nice” to the clients, although he generally got on a little better with his patients. None of the pet-owners in any of the practices where he’d worked particularly disliked him, but he’d never developed a loyal following of clients like some of the other vets he’d worked with.

He’d also struggled at times to fit in with the other practice staff until, about five years earlier, he’d moved to a small-animal practice in Paisley, just to the South West of Glasgow. The senior partner and the other vets in the practice realised before long that in Eddie, they had a very useful addition to the team. His strong interest in medicine and pathology made him indispensable in handling the kind of lengthy and complex cases that they struggled with, and his solid knowledge of lab work combined with his scientific and ordered approach meant that his work in the background let the other vets get on with keeping the customers happy and doing most of the day-to-day stuff that he found tedious. As a result he was offered a partnership in the practice, which he had accepted two years after joining them.

Encouraged by his position as the practice “expert” in biochemistry and post-mortem work, and his interest in the occasional poisoning case that the practice dealt with, he decided to take the unusual step of studying for a certificate in veterinary forensic pathology. It meant that he had to attend seminars and lectures periodically at Cambridge University, which was a bit of a bitch, but the practice paid for it, and he soon found himself involved in intriguing, though sometimes horrific, animal welfare cases.

Strangely, Eddie had fitted in at Cambridge. The other post-grads he studied with at the veterinary faculty were similar to him in many respects. Their backgrounds varied enormously, but they all had the same drive to learn, and a benign disdain for anyone who didn’t strive to further their knowledge. He even had a brief fling with one of his fellow students, Anna, but bizarrely, their post-coital chat was usually about forensic pathology rather than any plans they might have to carry on the romance away from the university’s rarefied environment.

The crowd had dispersed with the disappearance of the sorry corpse, and Eddie laid it gently in the large plastic box that he kept in his car for the purpose. Putting his case in the car as well, he took one last look around then pulled off the blue overalls that he usually wore for such jobs, more to keep himself clean than for any forensic reasons. He checked the cat for a microchip which, if present, would enable Eddie to identify its owner.

Eddie groaned when the reader pinged and the number appeared on the screen. It meant a particularly unpleasant phone call he’d have to make later, breaking the news to a distraught owner, getting their permission to do a post-mortem examination and send appropriate samples off to the lab. He headed back to the surgery, anxious to get on with it; it would mean a very late finish, as he also wanted to write up his interim findings and send his preliminary report to Mike George at the SSPCA before going home.

 

BlueWicked_300DPIMORE INFO

To read a larger sample about how Eddie’s investigation of a series of animal killings draws him into one of the biggest serial murder enquiries Scotland has ever seen, read four free chapters at www.bluewicked.co.uk, where there is also an online audio dictionary.

You can also check it out on Goodreads.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Previously reviewed was Alan Jones’ The Cabinetmaker. We awarded this an amazing 5* on Goodreads and Amazon!

The CabinetmakerSynopsis: The Cabinetmaker, Alan Jones’ first novel, tells of one man’s fight for justice when the law fails him. Set in Glasgow from the late nineteen-seventies through to the current day, a cabinetmaker’s only son is brutally murdered by a gang of thugs, who walk free after a bungled prosecution.

It’s young Glasgow detective John McDaid’s first murder case. He forms an unlikely friendship with the cabinetmaker, united by a determination to see the killers punished, their passion for amateur football, and by John’s introduction to a lifelong obsession with fine furniture.

This is the story of their friendship, the cabinetmaker’s quest for justice, and the detective’s search for the truth.

This unusual crime thriller contains some Glasgow slang and a moderate amount of strong language.

To check out our 5* review of The Cabinetmaker please click here.

For more info on The Cabinetmaker, check it out on Goodreads.

The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

**REVIEW** The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones

The Cabinetmaker

Title: The Cabinetmaker

Author: Alan Jones

Genre: Crime thriller, crime drama

Length: 292 pages

Synopsis: The Cabinetmaker, Alan Jones’ first novel, tells of one man’s fight for justice when the law fails him. Set in Glasgow from the late nineteen-seventies through to the current day, a cabinetmaker’s only son is brutally murdered by a gang of thugs, who walk free after a bungled prosecution.

It’s young Glasgow detective John McDaid’s first murder case. He forms an unlikely friendship with the cabinetmaker, united by a determination to see the killers punished, their passion for amateur football, and by John’s introduction to a lifelong obsession with fine furniture.

This is the story of their friendship, the cabinetmaker’s quest for justice, and the detective’s search for the truth.

This unusual crime thriller contains some Glasgow slang and a moderate amount of strong language.

REVIEW

The Cabinetmaker is a very well-written narrative focusing on the relationship of a murdered lad’s father and the growing friendship the cabinetmaker, Francis Hare, has with Detective John McDaid, who is working on his son’s case. It is written almost biographically from McDaid’s point of view, starting from the death of Patrick Hare in the late seventies until the present day.

Patrick’s death was violent and Alan Jones has written in a very clear and believable manner, allowing the reader to picture Patrick’s final moments. It is a very dark and pivotal moment of the story that will change Francis and his wife forever. Patrick was their only child, and the impact that his death had on both characters is devastating. To make matters worse, the culprits walk free and although seemingly calm through the best part of the story, deep down Francis longs for justice for those that caused his son’s death.

An interesting part of the story was the reasons behind the attackers walking free from court. Many of the CID officers were ‘dirty’. Their methods of interrogation and gaining evidence was unorthodox, to say the least. There was little back-up for the evidence that was present and many of the suspects were intimidated by the officers, making for poor statements. Again, I have to say the writing is effective. Without being too heavy with the description, Alan Jones writes in such a manner that is so easy and clear to follow, despite the subject matter having the potential to upset the reader. It is written with care, and allows the reader to picture their own images on just how brutal these officers could be. There is very little Scottish dialect, but when it was present I found it to be very easy to follow and added a sense of realism of the place and times that the story is set.

The main focus of the story is the relationship that grows between Francis Hare and Detective John McDaid.  Francis runs his own business as a cabinetmaker, which John finds fascinating. Not only this, but they are both playing for an amateur football side, and so share similar interests besides the case.  John longs for the justice that Francis wants for his son, and throughout the following years still follows the case up. You can probably guess that John is one of the good guys and disagreed with his former colleagues’ tactics, and yet had no say in the matter at the time, being it his first job with the department. And, he couldn’t afford to lose his chance working at that level by getting on the wrong side of them.

Each time John discovered something new about the people responsible he shared his knowledge with Francis, usually at the workshop. During these times John began learning about the furniture, the wood, how to make certain parts, and began to assist Francis in his spare time and become almost an apprentice. These moments of the story are some of my favourite. These two men get to know each other, almost like a father/son relationship. It is quite heart-warming and emotional at times.

I could also relate to the well-descriptive scenes where Francis is making his beautifully finished cabinets. On a personal level, it brought back a sense of nostalgia for me as I used to sit for hours watching my own father, who is a trained carpenter and joiner, DIY. Here are two examples that I thought were written clearly, beautifully and added a real profound feeling between John McDaid as he watched and worked with Francis:

He started to fiddle with the carcase, and I’m sure he very quickly forgot that I was there. I watched him work, as he planed an edge, and even my untrained eye could see that the plane was an extension of his arm, the shavings coming from its mouth so thin as to be almost translucent. I could have watched him for hours…

I called round with Francis the following day, and managed to get a bit more of my bookcase done – Francis was at a point in his furniture order where I couldn’t really help. His skills in finishing his furniture almost seemed better than those he used in making it. He would spend hours applying the various shades of shellac, rubbing the surfaces with a constant, controlled series of sweeps. I lost count of the number of layers he laid down, producing that depth of surface where the grain of wood seemed to float in a clear, utterly smooth layer of varnish.

These examples also provide an insight into Francis’ outlook and personality. He likes to see things through to the end, each element being precise, with nothing left untamed, or cared for. These finer details are quite poignant for the story as it moves on.

I found the pace of the story to be perfect. During times of action it quickens up, but throughout some it is a nice slow-but-steady pace that meets the needs for the emotional element. The pace also provides the reader with the true feel of John McDaid ageing, following John throughout his various police roles, as well as following the lives of the suspects responsible for Patrick’s murder and, most of all, building up the long-lasting friendship he has with Francis.

The ending is wrapped up just right, as everything falls into place. The Cabinetmaker, as a story, grows just like the relationship between Francis and John. It keeps getting better and better, deeper and deeper. It draws you in with a nasty, violent attack on a young lad, but then transforms into a beautiful tale of two best friends, a father/son bond. I LOVED this book and would strongly recommend it to readers who enjoy a good drama, a character-based story, as well as crime fans. It is a superb all-rounder!

The CabinetmakerA copy of The Cabinetmaker was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

The Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker