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Aria Fiction are simply the best, with the lovely Melanie keeping thing super organised for all the Blog Tours and making sure we all know what we are doing, well in advance. NetGalley also deserve a mention for making my pre-approved titles so easy to download, without them things just wouldn’t run so smoothly.

‘HER GREATEST MISTAKE‘

Do we ever know what goes on behind closed doors?

Eve and Gregg were the perfect couple, with the perfect marriage… which has become the perfect lie.

Gone is the charming, attentive Gregg – instead Eve wakes up each morning beside a manipulative and sinister man who controls his wife’s every move.

So Eve flees her immaculate marital home to keep herself, and young son Jack safe. Yet no matter how careful she has been, she knows Gregg will be relentless in his pursuit of his missing family.

And that one day, when she’s least expecting it, he will find them…

What was Eve’s greatest mistake?

Marrying Gregg? Leaving him? Or leaving him alive…?

Hi! I’m SARAH SIMPSON

I have a first-class honours degree in Psychology and have worked in a neuro-psychology department at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital.

When I first graduated, I formed a mental health consultancy and worked as a psychologist within the family court system of Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

Three years ago I moved to beautiful Cornwall, with my husband and three children, and now run my own practice in Truro.

Her Greatest Mistake is my debut novel, and I am currently working on the second.

Follow me on Twitter

Keep up with my news on facebook

I do enjoy a good author Guest Post, so am thrilled to be able to share this one with you, as my spot on the Blog Tour.

“DO WE EVER KNOW WHAT GOES ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

AND WHAT WAS HER GREATEST MISTAKE?”

BY SARAH SIMPSON

My background, working within mental health, gifted me an invaluable understanding of life and people. So, Her Greatest Mistake is a cocktail of professional and personal experiences stirred vigorously by my imagination.

I am relatively late to the writing scene, despite a love of books and writing from when I was very young, it wasn’t really until 2016 when I sat down to put pen to paper. Her Greatest Mistake was probably twelve months in creation, then a month later I ripped it apart, re-writing several times. In June 2017, I signed with my lovely agent Broo Doherty and was then over the moon to be offered a three book publishing contract with Aria, Head of Zeus, in November of the same year.

To be honest, it still seems a little surreal. I am very honoured and flattered to be here today. Her Greatest Mistake had been sitting in the back of my mind for a number of years.

The novel is split into two interlaced time periods. I wrote the first time period set in the 1990’s in its entirety first, before weaving through the more current story. This was important to me as I really wanted to ensure that I gave proper credence to the plight of Eve. To demonstrate how her past lurked in the back of tattered memory templates in all she did. The story is told through the eyes of Eve, who has found herself trapped, almost quarantined in such a dark life, married to Gregg. Some years ago, I worked as a family consultant for families caught in the divorce process, so it was incredibly  important to me to grasp some the horrors people can endure.

Eve comments within the story that we often think we know what we would do in certain situations, but in reality – we don’t. Context is everything. We never truly understand how we will behave, feel or respond. I really hope that Her Greatest Mistake will help people recognise, it is so easy to judge, so much more difficult to understand.

Hopefully, my readers will not have experienced the troubles of Eve but they will be able to engage with her, relate to her and root for her on her turbulent, emotional journey. Sadly, many of us will know of someone who has trodden similar, delicate paths.

Her Greatest Mistake questions our perspective. Do we really ever see the truth? And perhaps, it is not always about what we think we know, what we think we see, but more about what we don’t know and what we don’t see. We read about incidents of emotional and physical abuse that sadly go on behind closed doors for years. It is all too easy to judge, to wonder, why they didn’t leave? Why didn’t they stand up to the other person? I hope that Eve can demonstrate, this isn’t always as easy as people may believe. Sometimes, people can become ensnared, isolated, with battered self-esteems and seemingly void of an obvious escape route.

I understand one of the questions Her Greatest Mistake may throw up is – why didn’t Eve go to the police? Could she have benefited from some form of witness support protection? Gregg, is a white collar psychopath, he doesn’t fit the stereo-typical role of an abuser, a criminal. He is shrewd, sharp, calculating and a member of the white collar professional club. He chips away at his prey, breaking down any resolve before metaphorically imprisoning them. Eve also perceives Gregg as above the law, capable of manipulating, influencing the authorities. Her trust of the authorities has already been broken, she is almost afraid to ask for help. She also understands that Gregg will somehow, some day find a way to hunt her down no matter what, her only true way to escape is to somehow play his game. Over time she watches, learns and plans but unfortunately, all with many best made plans …

All of us are different, none of us know how we would respond in a given situation, we only think we know. With hindsight, maybe Eve would have done things differently. But hindsight is often futile.

Her Greatest Mistake reflects on the relationship between truth and lies and how really, there is very little absolute truth, only ever perspective. A perspective coloured by life and personal experiences in a moment of time. I wanted to question the role of perception in our lives. Not just the role of, but the power of something so incredibly subjective. During my time working within mental health, I witnessed first-hand how perceptions can devastate, pull apart lives. Both those held personally of the world, of others and those directed inwards from others. Eve was held prisoner in a world of abuse, a marriage drip fed by abuse by a truth only known by her. Her perceptual outlook on the behaviours and judgments of others secured her fate.

Her Greatest Mistake includes some dark scenes but it is also a story about hope, love and sheer determination. Not all stories end happily, as in life, some stories end with a need to learn a level of acceptance, requiring a strength to move forward despite the shackles of a past. To do this Eve used her strongest emotion, the love for her son, to guide her through the bleakest of times.

I now live in beautiful Cornwall, with my husband and three children. Which is also the current home of Eve and her son, Jack. The world of Eve was created walking the coastlines, lost in thought moments gazing out to sea with a mind that always wonders why, how, what if?

 

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My thanks go out once again to ‘Head Of Zeus’ publishing, for the opportunity to take part in this Blog Tour.

Many of you will have already seen my initial feature post for this book, although you may not recognise the new cover image, which came with the lovely complimentary paperback edition, so kindly supplied by Communications Executive, Clare Gordon. I shall therefore feature both covers in this post and you can choose which one you like the most, for yourselves.

‘THE ROOM BY THE LAKE’

We are here for each other, and we are nothing without each other.

Caitlin never meant to stay so long. But it’s strange how this place warps time. Out here, in the middle of nowhere, it’s easy to forget about the world outside.

It all happened so fast. She was lonely, broke, about to give up.

Then she met Jake and he took her to his ‘family’: a close-knit community living by the lake.

Each day she says she’ll leave, but each night she’s back around their campfire. Staring into the flames. Reciting in chorus that she’s nothing without them.

But something inside her won’t let go. A whisper that knows this isn’t right. Knows there is danger lurking in that quiet room down by the lake …

Clicking on the title will link you directly to the book’s dedicated Goodreads page, where you can read the early reviews and ratings.

EMMA DIBDIN

Emma is a lifelong writer and pop culture nerd, and admits to feeling endlessly grateful to have a job that combines both.

Since moving to New York from London two years ago, she has spent a lot of time brewing coffee, writing fiction, and covering the ever-broadening selection of Peak TV – all while fighting a one-woman war against the culinary tyranny of cilantro.

Catch up with all Emma’s latest news on her website

Follow Emma on Twitter

 …

For my stop on the Blog Tour, ‘Head Of Zeus’ have sent through this extract for me to share, offering you a short insight into the story. Other stops on the tour will be featuring alternative copy, so why not stop by some of them and discover the bigger picture.

I’m disappointed to find out the drive will take barely two hours – in my head, driving from anywhere to anywhere else in the US is an epic undertaking, requiring overnight stays at seedy-yet-atmospheric motels along the way. He promises me the scenic route. But after the view from the Washington Bridge recedes, the motorway stretches out blank and bleak ahead of us, suburban houses dotted dutifully at its edges, and I feel dread. This is flat land, no variation, nothing but road for miles in any direction. What on earth am I doing?

‘Is there a way back from where we’re going? Other than by car?’

‘Let me guess – you don’t drive.’

I can’t work out whether he’s mocking me.

‘No. I never had much reason to learn. Nobody drives in London, and in Oxford I just cycled everywhere. Ever since I’ve been old enough to care, there’s been public transport.’

‘I guess there was public transport where I grew up, but nobody really took the time to find out. If you don’t drive you’re basically dead.’

‘Yikes. That’s comforting.’

He grins, reaching over to squeeze my leg.

‘Already planning your escape route?’

‘Have you heard of the final girl?’

‘What?’

‘The final girl. It’s this device in horror movies, where a group of people gets picked off one by one by the serial killer, or the monster or whatever, until there’s just one girl left alive. Everybody else dies but she survives, and gets out, and tells the story.’

‘Like in Alien?’

‘Yeah, Ripley in Alien, and it happens in Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween… there are others I’m forgetting. The girl in Carrie, who has the grave nightmare right at the end.’

‘That movie messed me up.’

‘Me too. She survives because she’s kind to Carrie – the final girl’s usually like that. She’s innocent, in contrast to her hedonistic friends who do drugs and have sex and die for their sins.’

He smiles at me, raises an eyebrow. ‘Well, the closest town to where we’re going is Forestburgh, but I don’t know what the transport’s like. There’s buses back to New York from Monticello for sure.’ I make a mental note of Monticello, though this whole conversation has put me back at ease and the landscape is opening up around us as we drive, the foliage getting denser. The scenery Jake promised. As sun dapples through the narrow gaps in leaves, I wind down my window and extend my arm sideways into the air, fingers splayed against the forward motion.

From the corner of my eye I can see him looking over at me, but I can’t make out his expression without turning. To do that would be to break the moment, so instead I fill in the gaps for myself. He’s looking at me thinking I’m unlike any girl he’s ever met before, and maybe thinking that he doesn’t want to let me go now he’s found me.

I breathe in deep all the way to my diaphragm, and let the city go.

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Once again I can’t believe how much time has passed since I last posted into this meme!

I have been jotting down words as I discover them and probably have enough material for a few posts now!

1. – LIBRIOMANCER

This word I came across at the ‘Always Me‘ blog, hosted by the lovely Lauren.

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped. With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

LIBRIOMANCER –

Those gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects; track down and punish supes who harm humans

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2. – GNOMON

Next up, I discovered this word at ‘Brainfluff‘, the blog of the lovely Sarah Higbee

Gnomon, which took Harkaway more than three years to complete, is set in a world of ubiquitous surveillance. Pitched as “a mind-bending Borgesian puzzle box of identity, meaning and reality in which the solution steps sideways as you approach it”, it features: a detective who finds herself investigating the very society she believes in, urged on by a suspect who may be an assassin or an ally, hunting through the dreams of a torture victim in search of the key to something she does not yet understand; a banker who is pursued by a shark that swallows Fortune 500 companies; Saint Augustine’s jilted mistress who reshapes the world with miracles; a refugee grandfather turned games designer who must remember how to walk through walls or be burned alive by fascists; and a sociopath who falls backwards through time in order to commit a murder.

GNOMON –

One that knows or examines

An early astronomical instrument consisting of a vertical shaft, column, or the like, for determining the altitude of the sun or the latitude of a position by measuring the length of its shadow cast at noon.
The part of a parallelogram that remains after a similar parallelogram has been taken away from one of its corners.
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3. – ANARCHO SYNDICALISM

This phrase I found over at Kelly’s Thoughts & Ramblings and was posted as a very thought provoking response to a book review Kelly had published

Wordpress seems to be having a bit of a glitch in uploading YouTube links, but if you scroll down this post to the comments and watch the clip of ‘Dennis The Constitutional Peasant’ from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you will definitely get the gist.

ANARCHO SYNDICALISM –

Anarcho-syndicalism is a theory of anarchism that views revolutionary industrial unionism or syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of an economy and, with that control, influence broader society.

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4. – MUNIMENT ROOM

Finally this time, I would like to share a phrase I came across, when Bev, owner of ‘My Reader’s Block‘, posted in one of her regular Friday memes..

Warbeck Hall is reputed to be the oldest inhabited house in Markshire. The muniment room in the northeastern angle is probably its oldest part; it is certainly the coldest.

MUNIMENT ROOM –

A storage or display room in a castle, church, university, or the like, where pertinent historical documents and records are kept.

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WONDROUS WORDS WEDNESDAY

… Is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading. It is hosted by Kathy, over at ‘BermudaOnion’s Weblog’. You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well, so that we can visit and share your words of the week!

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Aria Fiction have come through for me again this week, with another thriller duo for my ‘Want To Read’ pile and spots secured on both Blog Tours, planned for mid-April.

‘HER GREATEST MISTAKE’ by SARAH SIMPSON

Do we ever know what goes on behind closed doors?

Eve and Gregg were the perfect couple, with the perfect marriage… which has become the perfect lie.

Gone is the charming, attentive Gregg – instead Eve wakes up each morning beside a manipulative and sinister man who controls his wife’s every move.

So Eve flees her immaculate marital home to keep herself, and young son Jack safe. Yet no matter how careful she has been, she knows Gregg will be relentless in his pursuit of his missing family.

And that one day, when she’s least expecting it, he will find them…

What was Eve’s greatest mistake?

Marrying Gregg? Leaving him? Or leaving him alive…?

‘THE LOST CHILDREN’ by THERESA TALBOT

First in a gripping new thriller series featuring investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil. If you love Broadchurch you’ll be completely hooked.

TV journalist and media darling Oonagh O’Neil can sense a sinister coverup from the moment an elderly priest dies on the altar of his Glasgow church. His death comes as she is about to expose the shocking truth behind the closure of a Magdalene Institution. The Church has already tried to suppress the story. Is someone also covering their tracks?

DI Alec Davies is appointed to investigate the priest’s death. He and Oonagh go way back. Oonagh now faces the biggest decision of her life. But will it be hers to make? What secrets lie behind the derelict Institution’s doors? What sparked the infamous three-day riot that closed it? And what happened to the three Maggies who vowed to stay friends forever? From Ireland to Scotland. From life to death. 

MAILBOX MONDAY

is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … Your Hosts for  ‘Mailbox Monday

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Martha of ‘Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… You never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

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Thanks to ‘Head Of Zeus’ publishing representative, Blake Brooks, for inviting me on this Blog Tour. I have featured a couple of Lesley’s earlier books from this series and have the complete set in my TBR pile for my future reading.

‘THE DEATH CHAMBER’ (The Detective’s Daughter Book #6)

Queen’s Jubilee, 1977: Cassie Baker sees her boyfriend kissing another girl at the village disco.

Upset, she heads home alone and is never seen again.

Millennium Eve, 1999: DCI Paul Mercer finds Cassie’s remains in a field.

Now he must prove the man who led him there is guilty.

When Mercer’s daughter asks Stella Darnell for help solving the murder, Stella see echoes of herself.

Another detective’s daughter.

With her sidekick sleuth, Jack, Stella moves to Winchcombe, where DCI Mercer and his prime suspect have been playing cat and mouse for the past eighteen years..

Clicking on the book title will link you directly with the book’s dedicated Goodreads page, where you can read all the reviews and ratings

LESLEY THOMSON

Lesley was born in 1958 and brought up in Hammersmith, West London. She graduated from Brighton University in 1981 and moved to Sydney, Australia the year after, where in between writing her first attempt at a novel, she sold newspapers in a shop at Wynyard underground station in the heart of the city.

Returning to London, Lesley did several jobs to support writing, including working for one of the first Internet companies in the UK. She completed an MA in English Literature at Sussex University and she is now a guest tutor on the Creative writing and Publishing MA at West Dean, where she also runs a crime-writing short course, leads workshops and takes master classes on writing crime novels.

Lesley currently divides her time between East Sussex and Gloucestershire, living with her partner and a raggedy poodle both of whom are treated to blow by blow accounts of scenes and twists in a plot at any given time. In fact, she doesn’t know how they sleep at night!

Visit Lesley at her website

Check in with Lesley on Facebook

Follow Lesley on Twitter

Independent bookstores are a valuable asset to any city, town or village. They offer us the latest literary releases, a meeting point where authors share their work and meet new readers and fans. They offer us a rich ‘bookish’ environment in which to browse before we buy. I love to sip coffee and leaf through my new purchase. I can be sure that independent booksellers know their stock, they suggest new authors and broaden my reading. Along with public libraries they are key to our communities.

“IMAGINARY FRIENDS”

To fill my spot on this extensive Blog Tour, Lesley would like to share this Guest Post with us.

I go to Winchcombe, a Cotswold village in Gloucestershire to write. In Winchcombe you feel like you’ve travelled back decades. There are fewer cars, the ancient sandstone cottages, half-timbered pub and a set of stocks outside the old town hall lend a timeless feel. There’s a butcher, a bakers, no candle stick makers, but a treasure trove of a hardware shop selling anything you’d ever need.

When I’m in Winchcombe it’s just me and Alfred, my poodle.  After a morning’s work, Alfred and I head into the surrounding countryside, down lanes, across fields, over stiles and along footpaths.  On one of these walks after a climb through dense woodland, I came across Belas Knap.

Belas Knap is an early Neolithic Long Barrow. In other words, a burial chamber. During excavations in the Victorian era, archaeologists unearthed 31 bodies buried within the cavities.

Where others might appreciate the melodic sound of birds tweeting, or the fields and dry-stone walls stretching off into the distance, I was more intrigued by the ancient burial ground. As I stared into the darkness of one of the chambers, I made out the articulated skeleton (technical term) of a young woman. She had been crammed behind a gigantic boulder – what was called a ‘blocking stone’ – so hidden from view of the casual tourist. As I stood alone beside the grassy mound, the story of The Death Chamber began to take shape.

My detectives, Jack and Stella, go to Winchcombe to solve two murders. The body at Belas Knap was Cassie Baker, aged eighteen and found interred there 22 years after leaving a disco in 1977. Everyone thought she’d run away to the ‘bright lights’ of London. In 1999 Bryony Motson, also eighteen, didn’t catch the 606 bus from Cheltenham home to Winchcombe after a night clubbing with friends. Her body was never found.

I wanted to put Jack and Stella, confirmed Londoners, out of their comfort zones. The rural landscape is alien to them both. Stella is adept with a vacuum cleaner, but clumsy as she climbs over stiles and fears getting lost in fields that all look the same. Jack prefers his streets well-lit and with houses he can peer in to. They both like to watch lives being lived, but here in Winchcombe, it seems there are only sheep and cows to observe. They’re confounded by the twisting country lanes and, when the sun goes down, pitch darkness. Only Stanley, nosing in hedges and chasing new smells, (he’s modelled on Alfred) is at home.

Jack and Stella are staying in a remote cottage with no electricity so they head to the hardware shop and stock up on candles and fire-lighters. Adversity can bring people closer. Stuck together in the middle of nowhere Jack and Stella only have each other. Or do they?

Now as I wander through Winchcombe I come across my characters. Across the road there’s Jack and Stella browsing in the baker’s windows. Or they’re silhouetted against the setting sun on a footpath ahead of me. When I get my daily latte from Food Fanatics (the Winchcombe Deli in the book), I spot them both huddled over notebooks at the corner table.

But then wherever I go, they’re always with me…

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I would like to thank the lovely Francesca Poggi, representing publisher Austin Macauley, for sending me a complimentary paperback copy of this thriller for review. With its intense sounding storyline and featuring an interesting and intriguing new fictional Detective, I am certain I shall have some excellent excerpts and extracts to share over the coming weeks, including a Guest Post, which author Zoe Beesley is preparing as we speak.

‘A SINNER’S GIFT’

After a decade of working in the darkened streets of London, Officer Fergus Toop is back in the Highlands of Scotland.

Standing in the dim light, with the clouds threatening to break over the hills, hopes of a fresh start are fast becoming a distant memory.

Death is a part of him. He can’t escape it.

The scene before him is haunting, beautiful somehow. The remnants of the day just gone still linger in the sky, offering a final breath of light before the corpse turns to black shadow and the landscape claims the soul of a broken man.

A textbook suicide.

The evidence is there in front of him. But as Toop digs deeper he finds himself caught in a web of buried truths.

Only one thing remains certain:

Not even the dead can keep their secrets.

ZOE BEESLEY

Zoë Beesley was born and raised in Scotland, and now lives in New Zealand. She has a Master’s degree in International Relations and Arabic and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education. A Sinner’s Gift is her first novel, and a book that has been inspired by her love of the mountains and their secrets.

MAILBOX MONDAY

is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … Your Hosts for  ‘Mailbox Monday

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Martha of ‘Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… You never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

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‘PARIS EVER AFTER’ by K.S.R. BURNS

Sophie places her hand over her mother’s and resumes her monologue.

I listen but as usual comprehend little, which frees my mind to wander. What an unlikely couple they are, Manu and Sophie. He’s measured and calm; she’s jittery. He’s considerate and kind; she’s self-absorbed, from what I can tell.

Not only that, they don’t look alike. Kat subscribed to the theory that we’re attracted to people we physically resemble. Study the wedding photos in any newspaper, she claimed, and you’ll see how often the happy bride and groom share the same smile or brow line or chin. I tried this. It’s true.

Nevertheless, some of us still irrationally insist on falling in love with people who look nothing like us and are probably our antonyms in every other way. Like Manu, who is dark-haired and amiable, and Sophie, who has flaxen locks and thin skin – both literally and metaphorically. The Manu – Sophie couple makes me nauseous, but I have to stop dwelling on something that isn’t any of my business. I need to focus on my own future.

Teaser lines taken from 59% of my Kindle edition.

Clicking on the book’s title will link you directly to its Goodreads page.

Read all about both book and author, here

Check out those all important ‘First Lines

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia @ ‘The Purple Booker

Anyone can take part, by just doing the following:

Grab your current read.

Open to a random page.

  1. Share a couple of  “teaser” sentences, from somewhere on that page.
  2. Be careful not to share “spoiler” sentences.
  3. Remember to share the title and author too.
  4. Head on over to ‘The Purple Booker’ and leave a link to your post, so that others can share it and you can share other people’s.

It would be great if you then decided to leave a comment for Ambrosia, as we all like to receive them and are interested in sharing your thoughts.

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Another big ‘Thank You’ to the lovely Melanie at Aria Fiction, for inviting me on this Blog Tour.

I was pleased to have been included on the tours of Missing and Hunted, the first two books in the ‘Police Commissioner Sensi’ series and it is good to see, from the many positive ratings and reviews, that the storylines have evolved and developed in such a good way.

‘TAKEN’

A gripping thriller full of twists you won’t see coming … The next serial killer read from the author of ‘Missing’ and ‘Hunted’. Perfect for the fans of Angela Marsons and Jeffrey Deaver.

It’s been two years since mass murderer, Giacomo Riondino, disappeared after killing Greta Alfieri.

Dr Claps, devastated and guilt-ridden by Greta’s death has been on a man-hunt for Riondino ever since.

Meanwhile, an American girl disappears on the 382nd step of the Cerro trail in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

No one saw her disappear. Who took her? And how?

When the US authorities contact Claps, he is certain that it must be Riordino. But, unlike Riondino’s other victims, the girl has disappeared into thin air…

Will Claps solve the puzzle, or will he lose his mind in the process, blinded by his own obsession?

MONTY MARSDEN

Monty is a Tuscan by birth, growing up in Milan, where he studied medicine and where he still works.

He began writing just for fun some 16 years ago, although he has had a passion for literature and an admiration for many authors, since he was a child. He has been writing more regularly for about the last seven years.

He currently live in the province of Bergamo, with his wife and four children.

Aria Fiction and Monty Marsden would like me to share this short extract from ‘Taken’, as my contribution to the Blog Tour. These lines are taken from Chapter One of the book … although there are also some very intriguing preface lines which I may share in a separate post!

The Alitalia Boeing 747 had begun its final descent to Hartsfield International in Atlanta a few minutes earlier.

The passenger looked out from the window at the sea of white clouds below obscuring the ground. He had left Milan Malpensa over ten hours earlier after having exchanged a final email with the United States the day before. During the long intercontinental flight he hadn’t slept for a single minute, nor eaten or drunk anything, or looked at a book or a magazine. He had sat motionless, locked inside his thoughts and waiting for the journey to end. When, with a little turbulence, the Boeing began to pass through the clouds and for about fifteen seconds everything disappeared into a thick fog, he began to feel anxious. Or rather, he began to feel the vague fear that came over him with every take off and every landing. He could see the ground beneath him now. Green fields and trees broken up by roads and tracts of houses that became increasingly clear as the plane lost altitude. The sun and the blue sky above the clouds had vanished, replaced by rain, the real intensity of which he couldn’t assess.

The vibration of the undercarriage being lowered increased his anxiety.

The plane banked gently one last time to align itself with the runway, and the passenger closed his eyes and waited for the aircraft to make contact with the ground.

He finally reopened them and breathed a sigh of relief only when the reverse thrust of the jets was already slowing the Boeing’s progress along the tarmac.

As the plane taxied slowly along before eventually coming to a halt, he adjusted his watch to local time. 15:26: two minutes before the scheduled landing time …

Not long now and he would know if the journey had actually been worth making.

*

“He’d always been one step ahead of us. Always, right up until that last damn day.”

After several days of intense cold, it was unusually mild in Milan that evening. Commissioner Sensi and dottoressa Manara, the director of the LABANOF – the Forensic Anthropology and Dentistry Laboratory – sat in a crowded bar in the navigli area, a glass of Lagavulin on the table in front of each of them.

It had been two years and two months since Giacomo Riondino had disappeared, leaving behind him the charred corpses of his accomplice and of Greta Alfieri, and this was the first time since then that Sensi had talked to anyone about the whole atrocious story.

Two years during which Sensi had never forgiven himself for letting the man escape when he thought he’d him in his grip, for not having saved Greta, and above all for not managing, during all that intense manhunt, to underst and. To see what was right in front of his face and would have allowed him to stop Riondino before he’d left that trail of blood behind him.

The commissioner took a deep breath. “He always knew that sooner or later we’d catch up with him, but he had a plan, and every time we took a step forward, he’d already taken one himself.” Sensi hesitated a moment before concluding bitterly, “We’ve only got ourselves to blame. We always gave him enough time to make that step.”

“You did nearly catch him, though,” said Manara.

“Yeah…” said Sensi, lowering his eyes. “But only after he had killed eight more people in the space of a few days.” He took another sip of his whiskey before continuing. “We discovered that he had an accomplice who had been helping him – first to escape from the institution he was transferred to from the high security psychiatric hospital, then to find a safe hiding place in the city. An accomplice we’d had right in front of us from the start but hadn’t managed to pick up in time. Anyway, the long and short of it is that we discovered he was hiding Riondino and that he was holding Greta Alfieri hostage there.”

“Were you and Greta close?” asked Manara.

“Nowhere near as close as she and Claps were…” replied Sensi slowly, emphasising each word. “There’d been a very deep bond between them since the time he’d saved her life.” He took another small sip. “Claps was with me that night when we all went over there. But Riondino had already gone. It was probably only a matter of minutes, but we missed him. The house was empty and the accomplice’s car had disappeared. It was sighted in Como less than an hour later, with Riondino at thewheel and Greta lying on the back seat as though she were sleeping.”

“She was already dead …” remarked Cristina Manara sadly. “When I did the autopsy I didn’t find any trace of smoke in her lungs.”

Sensi just nodded and turned his eyes away before continuing. “The sighting wasn’t coincidental: Riondino wanted to be recognised. He planned it all out. He stopped at a petrol station and only set off again when he was certain that the manager had recognised him and seen Greta apparently sleeping on the back seat. With cars already on his tail, he took a back road that went through the hills to Switzerland. A narrow road, full of bends, and the tarmac was slippery from the rain. It was pouring down that night.” Sensi stopped for a moment to suppress the wave of emotion the memories were evidently causing. “He was carrying the corpse of the accomplice he had killed only a few hours earlier in the boot. He fastened him into the driving seat and pushed the car off a cliff, making it look like they’d gone off the road, and then he set fire to the car. After that, all he had to do was walk across the border.” Another brief pause, another deep breath. “When we arrived, we found the two carbonised bodies, and we had no reason to think that the corpse at the wheel wasn’t Riondino … We only found out thirty-six hours later, thanks to you, when you did the autopsies. By which time it was too late.” Sensi’s voice seemed no longer able to hold back his anger. “Always one step ahead of us …”

Always write with passion; with your mind and with your heart. Never forget who you are writing for, but don’t write just to get your reader’s approval.

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Two new books this week, both from the same publisher, ‘Head Of Zeus’, but managed and promoted by separate communications representatives – Clare Gordon and Blake Brooks respectively.

I have been invited to participate in separate Blog Tours for each book, during April and whilst I hope to secure Guest Posts from both authors, if this is not possible then short extracts will be provided as introductions to the stories.

‘THE ROOM BY THE LAKE’ by EMMA DIBDIN

When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed.

But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.

Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy.

Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.

It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever…

‘THE DEATH CHAMBER’ (The Detective’s Daughter Book #6) by LESLEY THOMSON

Queen’s Jubilee, 1977: Cassie Baker sees her boyfriend kissing another girl at the village disco.

Upset, she heads home alone and is never seen again.

Millennium Eve, 1999: DCI Paul Mercer finds Cassie’s remains in a field.

Now he must prove the man who led him there is guilty.

When Mercer’s daughter asks Stella Darnell for help solving the murder, Stella see echoes of herself.

Another detective’s daughter.

With her sidekick sleuth, Jack, Stella moves to Winchcombe, where DCI Mercer and his prime suspect have been playing cat and mouse for the past eighteen years…

MAILBOX MONDAY

is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … Your Hosts for  ‘Mailbox Monday

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Martha of ‘Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… You never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

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So much has happened, so quickly, in the past couple of years, that with the publishing of this, the fifth episode in the ‘Detective Kay Hunter’ series, I wanted to show my thanks to readers and bloggers, by sharing my whirlwind journey.

‘CALL TO ARMS’ – (Detective Kay Hunter #5)

Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation.

DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But, as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

Hi! I am RACHEL AMPHLETT crime fiction and espionage thriller author

Before turning to writing, I played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

I now wield a pen instead of a plectrum and write crime fiction and spy novels, including the ‘Dan Taylor’ espionage novels and the ‘Detective Kay Hunter’ series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, I proudly cite my writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. I am also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

I am a member of ‘International Thriller Writers’ and the ‘Crime Writers Association’, with the Italian foreign rights for my debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the ‘Dan Taylor’ espionage series contracted to Germany’s, ‘Luzifer Verlag’.

A keen traveller, I hold both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting my next trip two years in advance!

Email me: info@rachelamphlett.com

Catch up with all the latest news at my website

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Instagram

Connect with me on Facebook

“HOW A DETECTIVE CHANGED MY LIFE”

A little under two years ago, a story idea popped into my head that would change my life forever.

I really didn’t imagine that this new character who was haunting my every waking moment would have such a profound effect on everything I do.

Back in April 2016, I was jotting down ideas for a story that I couldn’t get out of my head. I won’t share any spoilers here, but that half a page turned out to be the opening scene of the fourth book in the ‘Detective Kay Hunter’ series, Hell to Pay.

Originally, that was going to be a standalone story. The only thing was, I needed a detective to solve the case. Once the case was solved, that was it – I could move on to other stories.

‘HELL TO PAY‘

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

 

My detective had other ideas.

Something about this resilient detective captured my imagination, and by the time I was halfway through the first draft, I was just along for the ride – the original book idea had morphed into a series with three novels ahead of the one that would become Hell to Pay, and they had taken on a life of their own.

Not only was I enjoying finding out about ‘Kay Hunter’, I was growing to love her team as well as her other half, ‘Adam’, who is a veterinarian.

I’m not one for rash decisions, but by the time I decided I had to organise a blog tour to help me spread the word about the publication of the first book in the series, Scared to Death, I knew I had to give it my all. I walked out of my job. Part of me was exhilarated by the challenge. The other half was terrified …. Scared to death, in fact.

‘SCARED TO DEATH‘

A serial killer murdering for kicks. 

A detective seeking revenge.

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong. 

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…

In October 2016, I returned to work on a part-time basis, the blog tour organised, and the book out of my hands ready for publication on 6 December 2016. I was ready.

It was now down to the readers. Would they like ‘Kay Hunter’?

In order to take my mind off my worries in the lead up to publication day, I got my head down and started writing the second book, Will to Live. I had to do something – I was running out of fingernails to chew.

‘WILL TO LIVE‘

Reputation is everything. 

When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as ‘Suicide Mile’, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder. 

As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realises the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer. 

With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries. 

When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realises the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him… 

The first reviews started coming in from book bloggers one week before Scared to Death was due to hit the shelves. I think I cried.

The past 18 months or so has been a whirlwind for me. Since Scared to Death, there have been three more ‘Kay Hunter’ books published, and I don’t have a job anymore. I’m now a full-time writer – and it’s all thanks to you, the readers and bloggers who have helped to make this series a success. Thank you.

On 11 March, 2018 the fifth book in the series, Call to Arms was published, and I can’t wait to share ‘Kay Hunter’s’ next investigation with you!

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