**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

 

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**REVIEW** Cold Call by Colin Llewelyn Chapman

COLD CALL BOOK COVER - with blood SAFE COPYTitle: Cold Call

Author: Colin Llewelyn Chapman

Release Date: October 2014

Publisher: Percy Publishing

Genre: Dark crime/thriller

Length: 300 pages

Synopsis: Wealthy entrepreneur Robin Bradford had it all – the house, the cars, the fine dining – and he lost it all. All except Lizzie, his perfect, loving girlfriend. Down on his luck and with no immediate prospects in business, Robin’s energies found another outlet, Just a little something spicy to bide his time until his financial world recovered, leading him down a very seedy path, onto a very rocky road. Time however was all he had, and all he was going to get.

Due to violence, drug references and sexual content, readers are recommended to be of 18yrs+.

REVIEW

Cold Call reeled me in from the very beginning, opening up with the discovery of a body within the first few pages, the emergency services being called, and then introducing the reader to the main character, Robin Bradford. In the very first chapter the pace is set for the rest of the book and the writing style is direct, easy to follow but with a dark, gritty and full storyline.

After losing his wealthy lifestyle due to recession and having to downsize his home, lose his cars, etc, Robin now works as a cold call salesman from his own kitchen, meeting clients when necessary. His loving girlfriend, Lizzie, has stayed with him throughout the hard times and keeps a part time job for herself. But with more time on his hands, and his physical relationship with Lizzie not always being quite as he’d like, Robin begins to spice things up a bit for himself, which leads to terrifying consequences for some.

The first victim, Katja, is discovered by her neighbour, Adam, who finds her mutilated body after noticing her front door ajar. He goes in to warn her of the dangers of leaving her door open when he realises a warning is too late. This scene is gritty and gory. The description and dialogue feels very real, making the reader easily imagine that they are there with Adam and experiencing it all firsthand.

The reader is given glimpses into what could have happened but not enough to know the full details. This allows the flexibility for twists and the reader to guess the motive, the culprit and how exactly the murder was carried out. This does become more apparent as the story moves on with the police investigation and forensics.

The story switches easily from the police officers involved, the forensic team and the crime scenes to Robin’s life, making it easy for the reader to keep up with all involved and you really sense that the author has left nothing out. I can understand Cold Call being likened to Martina Cole and Luther (BBC TV series), as it does read like a crime drama for tv.

I particularly loved reading how the investigation grew, from the very first murder scene, right the way through to the very end. The development is gradual, with DNA tests results being waited on, new crime scenes to record and compare notes with and even flaws within the characters that can slow down the investigation. This again makes it very realistic.

As the story continues so does the tension and suspense. Robin’s hunger for more spice, more control and more dominance drives the story even more, making for a more seedier read that becomes increasingly more dangerous. It also becomes clear that there is more to Robin’s actions than meets the eye. The recession and loss of his high class lifestyle has a deep impact on his dignity and pride. His extra ‘marital’ activities are psychologically allowing him to feel powerful and in control once again. But just how far will he go?

Cold Call is written well and clearly, easy to read and follow, at the same time as having a well-planned and detailed storyline with likeable and realistic characters. The pace is perfect, with dialogue and storyline flowing nicely at a rate that allows the reader to take in the information but never allowing the reader to switch off. And, as the story comes to an end, there are unexpected events which will surprise the reader. I would certainly like to read more from Colin Llewelyn Chapman as Cold Call is a fantastic debut.

A copy of Cold Call was provided by Percy Publishing in return for an honest and fair review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

To read an excerpt of Cold Call please click here: EXCERPT

AUTHOR BIO

ColinColin, 45, has worked in Construction throughout his career. He has three children aged from 12 to 18, and two step-children. Son of a former gamekeeper, he is still a country boy at heart! He described his childhood as “brilliant”, benefiting as he did from fantastic loving parents, and the joy of growing up in the beautiful Essex countryside.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Twitter: @ColinLChapman

Facebook: Colin Llewelyn Chapman-Author

Cold Call book actualPURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

*PROMO POST with Author Bio & Excerpt* Cold Call by Colin Llewelyn Chapman

DARK CRIME THRILLER (Adult 18yrs+)

For those readers who love a dark, gritty crime thriller, we are excited to introduce you to COLD CALL by Colin Llewelyn Chapman. Described as being ‘a cross between Broadchurch and Luther… Martina Cole and Fifty Shades‘, I cannot wait to review this one very soon! Not a book to read alone or in the dead of night, or so I am told, but that is when I do most of my reading and I’m sure the atmosphere will lead to more tension and suspense! The reader’s discretion is advised and an 18yr+ reader is strongly recommended due to some of the content.

Cold Call book actualTitle: Cold Call

Author: Colin Llewelyn Chapman

Release Date: October 2014

Publisher: Percy Publishing

Genre: Dark crime/thriller

Length: 300 pages

Synopsis: Wealthy entrepreneur Robin Bradford had it all – the house, the cars, the fine dining – and he lost it all. All except Lizzie, his perfect, loving girlfriend. Down on his luck and with no immediate prospects in business, Robin’s energies found another outlet, Just a little something spicy to bide his time until his financial world recovered, leading him down a very seedy path, onto a very rocky road. Time however was all he had, and all he was going to get.

“A FANTASTIC FAST PACED PAGE TURNER”

COLD CALL BOOK COVER - with blood SAFE COPY

EXCERPT

About an hour later Robin reached his destination, a busy car park a stone’s throw from the Sea Front. Riffling through his pockets, he counted his change as he stood in front of the parking meter. “Bollocks!” He didn’t have enough coins to meet the two hour charge, but then glancing around the parking lot he decided to chance his luck. He beat a path through the hordes of shoppers, tourists, loafers and vagrants that congregated around the town centre, eventually arriving at the Tango Top-Up Sun Bed Salon. This was the facade behind which Tamsin and Marina’s knocking shop plied its trade. On the face of it the place was a reputable tanning salon, doing a roaring trade among Southend’s innumerable wannabe WAGS. Young women seeking that healthy orange glow to impress the local bar-brawling men, fixated on having trophy wives and glamorous girlfriends to show off down the Seafront. The crafty tanning shop owner let out the upstairs room to the two harlots for a nice handful of cash, which they palmed his way once a week. No invoices, no questions, and a discount on services if and when he needed relief. As instructed, Robin approached the receptionist and asked where the Therapies Room could be found. She obligingly led him through the shop and into a back room which housed a long staircase, leading up and out of view.

Up there, Sir. Ring the bell at the top.”

Thank you, Darling!” he replied, smiling. His charms were wasted on her, though. She knew exactly who he was and what he was: a punter.

The staircase turned halfway up to reveal a large, royal blue door. Covered in an array of different locks, it was obviously designed to prevent the Old Bill, disgruntled clients and irate wives from getting at the working girls. Robin pressed the buzzer on the small intercom and waited somewhat impatiently for a reply. As he stood shuffling from foot to foot, wringing his hands in anticipation, he felt a twinge of fear. Stories of mugged punters and blackmail victims started to play out in his mind.

What if I get inside and some big beefcake robs me?

What if the police raid the place while I’m ankles deep in a tom?

What if they try and blackmail me?

But the ever present ‘what if’s’ were quickly beaten back down by a much more pressing matter: Robin’s rampant desire to satisfy the lustful urges seething in his loins.

The silver, pepper-pot fronted intercom speaker crackled into life and brought Robin’s mind back into line instantly.

Hello! Who is it, please?”

Despite having already passed the first line of defence, namely the drone working the ‘Front of House’, Robin was subjected to several encrypted verbal trials from the intercom. While it was gabbling away at him, asking him all sorts of trivial questions, he started to become distracted by an idea that the voice coming from the silver box of buttons seemed vaguely familiar. No matter how hard he thought, he couldn’t place it; the sexy overtones disguised her natural voice.

At last the door opened. Robin surveyed his potential purchase, beginning at her black high-heeled shoes and sheer hold-ups. Moving on up, he paused briefly at her lacy red knickers, a matching brassiere barely restraining her ample breasts. When he reached her dark tousled hair, his mouth fell open.

Fuck me! …You?”

It would have been hard to say at that point who was the more alarmed, Robin or his lacy lady.

AUTHOR BIO

ColinColin, 45, has worked in Construction throughout his career. He has three children aged from 12 to 18, and two step-children. Son of a former gamekeeper, he is still a country boy at heart! He described his childhood as “brilliant”, benefiting as he did from fantastic loving parents, and the joy of growing up in the beautiful Essex countryside.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Twitter: @ColinLChapman

Facebook: Colin Llewelyn Chapman-Author

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

**REVIEW & GIVEAWAY x 2** After the Haze (full length novel) by Gary Richardson

After the Haze

Blood curdling, bones breaking and boisterous biting!

We are excited to post zombie horror, After the Haze, for a gritty, scary and suspenseful Halloween treat. Not only that but we have 2 SIGNED copies to giveaway to some lucky winners! All you need to do is add your name in the comments below or on our Facebook Page, and we will randomly select the winners on Friday 7th November 2014! Tina & 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…

REVIEW

The Purple HazeAfter reading the first book, The Purple Haze, I couldn’t wait to read After the Haze. Whereas the first book takes the reader from a bank robbery scene (put me in the mind of tv series, The Sweeney) to an escape scene, where the living had to constantly duck and dive from the undead and begin to leave loved ones behind and use violence to survive, the sequel begins once the initial haze has started to diminish and many are dead or undead!

The opening chapter is fantastic. The reader is introduced to Alan who is spending quality time with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter at his home. Everything appears normal, until the Purple Haze hits. Once Alan comes round it isn’t long until he realises he needs to protect his granddaughter. The journey that he has is so heart-breaking. This opening is easy to relate to and yet builds up for the horror to come – if you have already read The Purple Haze you will prepare yourselves a little easier. This is certainly not for the faint-hearted with some shocking moments and great horror. Fans of The Walking Dead will definitely love this series.

If you haven’t read The Purple Haze – no problem – as Gary Richardson has written the introduction to the main characters, Mike, Martin and Yvonne, from where they left off in the last story. Richardson also delves into some scenes from the first story which either recaps the reader, or informs the new reader just where these characters have come from and what they have been through. In this manner, After the Haze could be read as a stand alone. However, I would STRONGLY recommend that The Purple Haze be read first for the reader to feel the full effect of the beginning of the horror!

The story follows Yvonne’s character mostly, as she is faced with venturing back to the mainland where she had left the mayhem and horror behind. Seeing the undead brings the fear, tension and panic back. Albeit, at least this time she has trained marines to help protect her. The reader can really understand Yvonne’s reluctance to face these monsters again – she’s been through it once and survived. This must truly be a psychological challenge for her. And, although the marines accompanying her are equipped and trained they have not faced the zombies themselves. You can imagine the shock and surprise that they feel when they do.

The mission is to check three villages and ascertain any survivors in order to create some areas human zones, if possible. The idea is that these human zones could be set up to help keep the survivors and human race alive, with the hope to repopulate the area, country and possibly the world, depending on the situation. There are moments of quiet, eeriness and some action during the initial searches and these help build up suspense for what is to come a little later on!

When the team come face to face with the zombies there is plenty of action, violence and gore. Some scenes are quite horrific physically and painful emotionally as some of the undead are familiar to their killer. It is gritty, dark and the reader will be quite tense and stunned at times with some of the surprises that are waiting!

Another side to After the Haze explores how some survivors can become cruel, evil and wickedly selfish. They want to take what they want, at the same time as try to instil control and fear over the remaining survivors. The readers will certainly have a level of threat and violence to deal with, aside from the undead themselves! This makes some characters those that you love to hate and you long for them to receive a little of what they are dishing out. There is the need for justice and maybe revenge, which makes for a deeper storyline.

The ending is wrapped up beautifully, providing the reader (or at least myself) with an obvious hero and favourite character of the story. If you love zombie stories, horror, violence, survival stories, and even emotional ties, then After the Haze will prove to be a favourite!

After the HazeAfter the Haze by Gary Richardson is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US. But don’t forget to enter our GIVEAWAY for the chance to win one of two signed copies! Add your name in the comments box below or on our Facebook page. CLOSING DATE: FRIDAY 7TH NOVEMBER 2014!

Good luck, guys!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker