**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.

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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

 

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**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.