Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Review of After She's Gone by Sheryl Browne - Five **



Blurb:

He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do? 

There’s evil and then there’s Patrick Sullivan. A drug dealer, pimp and murderer, there are no depths to which Patrick would not sink, and Detective Inspector Matthew Adams has found this out in the most devastating way imaginable.


When Patrick’s brother is shot dead in a drug bust gone wrong, the bitter battle between the two men intensifies, and Matthew finds it increasingly difficult to hold the moral high ground. All he wants is to make the pimping scum suffer the way he did … the way Lily did.

But being at war with such a depraved individual means that it’s not just Matthew who’s in danger. Patrick has taken a lot from Matthew, but he hasn’t taken everything – and now he wants everything.








Review:

Oh boy!! I'm exhausted - stayed awake until 2am so I could finish this book - what a ride!

You are thrust into the action from the first paragraph and it just gets faster and faster! Its the story of a cop versus a criminal and the action follows their war or words and actions. 

What makes it different is that you read the story from the aspect of different characters at different times. Which makes for a fascinating insight into the human psyche.

The ending is so tense, I was glad I was in bed - I was exhausted!

Absolutely loved it as I do all books by Sheryl.

I received an ARC from Choc Lit & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



Friday, 10 February 2017

My turn for the blog tour for Clare Chase's new book A Stranger's House today! 

And you, my lovely readers, have an added bonus - a guest post from Clare herself!!


Review and guest post of A Stranger's House by Clare Chase - Five **


Blurb:

What if you were powerless to protect the person you cared about most? 

When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution. 

But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious…

But Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play? 

From Death by Choc Lit - gripping edge of your seat reads.






Review:

Loved this book! It's not my usual genre but I trust Choc Lit implicitly so gave it a go.

I loved the characters - Ruby and Nate - and the chemistry between them. Damien made a wonderful villain....until he was murdered and then, of course Nate, as a PI and Roby as a nosy person have to look into his death.

The setting in Cambridge is lovely - and makes a nice change from a remote coastal town or a US city! It is a complicated plot, with several loose ends by the final chapter. I hope they are tied up in the next book!

Thoroughly enjoyed it - more please Clare!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



And now let's meet Clare - welcome!



Cambridge and Crime – the perfect match

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Ann!

A Stranger’s House is just out in paperback, and as it’s my first mystery set in Cambridge, and the second,One Dark Lie, has just been released as an eBook, I thought I’d write about why I think the city is such a great setting for crime fiction.

Distinct boundaries and plenty of connectivity
I’d categorise my books as classic (albeit contemporary) mysteries,and for this type of crime novel a relatively close-knit, interwoven community works well. Cambridge is perfect in this way: it makes for a lively, colourful backdrop, as you’d expect from a city, but it’s also quite a small place, so establishing unexpected connections between characters is believable. And it has certain structures that reinforce this.
Cambridge’s University is just one example. It employs a large number of residents and so there are all sorts of links between people that you might not anticipate. Jobs range from college gardeners and housekeeping staff to media-friendly professors in charge of multi-million pound research grants. These networks mean secrets and gossip can travel fast and in unexpected directions!
Cambridge’s housing stock contributes to this interconnectedness too. The vast majority of the city’s streets are compact, with lots of Victorian terraces, which means you’re very close to your neighbours.It’s not uncommon for you to know each other’s business, whether you want to or not! The older houses’ walls are only one brick thick, so raised voices travel, and people often have a right of way through neighbouring gardens too, so they can wheel their bins and bikes onto the street. If I want one of my characters to witness something untoward, it’s easy to work that in.

Plenty to write about
It’s hard to overlook the fact that Cambridge is full of contrasts in terms of wealth and circumstance, and that’s just one dynamic that can lead to conflict and drive a plot.
The city is home to what’s become known as Silicon Fen, a hotspot of hugely successful high-tech businesses. And the University is also wealthy. According to Wikipedia it had an endowment of £5.89 billion in 2014, and given that it’s over 800 years old, you can imagine how ingrained its presence is here, and how unbreakable some of its traditions seem to be. It makes a massive and valuable contribution to the economy and people’s wellbeing through its research and spin-out companies, but there’s no doubt it engenders jealousy and resentment in some quarters too.
At the other end of the scale, it’s common to see down and outs and drug dealers on the city’s commons and you become very conscious of the vastly different outcomes people can have in life for all sorts of reasons, frequently beyond their control. Because Cambridge is only the size of a market town, these inequalities can be quite striking, and you get people rubbing shoulders who wouldn’t normally cross paths.
The city is also a place where the stakes are often high. (We’re back to those multi-million pound businesses and high-flying professors again.) And where people have a lot to lose, there’s potential to develop a crime plot. What might someone do to protect their standing or their fortune?

An interesting backdrop
I find Cambridge very beautiful – from the architecture of its colleges to the River Cam with its weeping willows. There’s also something charming about the cattle that graze the city’s commons, right in the centre of town. It’s the sort of environment that provides a stark contrast to an unforgivable act in a crime novel.
I find it a nostalgic place too. Around a fifth of the term-time population is made up of students, which means there’s a higher than average proportion of young people here. I’m constantly reminded of the old days and time passing, since I’m quite a lot more grown-up than they are!
And then there’s the local colour. Cambridge’s streets are packed full of galleries, restaurants and coffee shops, which are fun to depict, and,from a plotting point of view, make chance encounters believable. It’s also very international. You get scholars and tourists travelling to the city from all over the world, with the added interest and variety that brings.
But when I want to introduce a creepy note, there are plenty of isolated spaces! The commons bordering the river can feel very lonely after dark, as do the meadows going out of town – all useful for mystery fiction.
Personal knowledge
I’ve lived in Cambridge for over twenty years and used to work at the University, which has definitely helped me with the content of my books. I’ve also lodged everywhere from a palatial house in upmarket Newnham to impressively grotty student digs, with mildew on the walls. At the time I didn’t manage to feel kindly towards the slugs that shared my living space, but now I can see it was all grist to the mill!
So that’s a flavour of the sort of things I pick up on in my Cambridge mysteries. I really hope readers get as much out of the setting as I do.

A Stranger’s House by Clare Chase is now available to purchase in paperback. Click here for buying options: http://www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/a-strangers-house/


About the author:

Clare Chase writes women sleuth mysteries set in London and Cambridge. She fell in love with the capital as a student, living in the rather cushy surroundings of Hampstead in what was then a campus college of London University.
After graduating in English Literature, she moved to Cambridge and has lived there ever since. She’s fascinated by the city’s contrasts and contradictions, which feed into her writing. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.
As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.
She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.