Review: Liar Liar – Sarah Flint

9781786690715.jpgAbout the book

From the bestselling author of Mummy’s Favourite and The Trophy Taker.

DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford returns with a superb new, brutally gripping serial killer thriller, where the hunter becomes the hunted. Perfect for the fans of Angela Marsons.

A faithful dog lies wounded beside the mutilated body of its owner.

A woman is discovered bound and gagged, dead in her own bed.

Both are police officers.

Both have a red rose at their side… worryingly more will follow…

Lies and accusations abound but who is behind the murders and why are the victims being targeted?

Charlie, Hunter and the team must find the killer targeting their own before another body is found.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love a good police thriller and this is a great example. Sarah’s 35 year long career with the Met Police is evident here: the details are perfect and really draw you in to the action.  I have to admit I have a ghoulish fascination with serial killers, so the thought of a serial killer targeting the police won me over before I even started to read and Sarah really does justice to the premise.  I was gripped from the first page and the little twists and red herrings along the way kept me hooked.

This is the third in the series and though I hadn’t read the other two, I didn’t feel like I had missed out too much. Obviously, the book refers to events that had gone before, but not enough to be truly off-putting.  Not that that will stop me from rushing out to buy the first two books (or wait anxiously for book four).

 

Buy your copy here:

Sarah FlintFind out more about Sarah:

  • Facebook: @SarahFlintBooks
  • Twitter: @SarahFlint19

 

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NaNo Update: Week 3

Well … what to say about Week 3!  I haven’t managed the recommended 1667 daily word-count in the whole week.  Work and life commitments meant I expected this week to be tricky, but throw in my being hit by the lurgy and my writing efforts have been well and truly scuppered.  For the past few days I’ve literally stumbled home in a flu induced haze and gone to bed. Staying up to write has not been an option.

With one week to go and two week’s worth of words to get through, things are looking pretty bleak. But you know what they say – it ain’t over ’til it’s over …

 

NaNo Update: Week (1 &) 2

Can you believe its the end of Week 2 of NaNoWriMo? We’re now half way through and I’ve just passed the 25k wordcount mark. Ta-dah!

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So, how has it been? Erm, okay.  I hoped to fill these updates with words of wisdom or tales from the trenches of speedy novel writing, but there’s not really much to say. The process has been relatively pain-free. Yes, really.  And I think I’ve uncovered the secret:

Planning.

Yes, I know – wash my mouth out with soap.

Its weird, because Work Emma, Mum Emma and Wife Emma are very much planners. These versions of me live for to do lists and Excel spreadsheets and plans. So many plans.  Writer Emma, by contrast flies by the seat of her pants. She doesn’t need a plan – oh no, siree! She’s a writer, an artiste; she writes from the heart; she is a free spirit. Plans and sensible things play no part in her life.  Except … they kind of work.

I knew November would be a busy month for me, with work and real life events plus impending Christmas festivities getting in the way.  The last couple of attempts at NaNo failed miserably and I was determined to succeed this year, so I approached NaNo like I would approach a work project.  With a detailed plan.

I created a lovely table, colour coded to reflect different strands of the story. I made a spreadsheet to keep track of my word count and I made plans in my calendar. When November 1st rolled around, everything felt very much under control.  Obviously, things have changed as I’ve written but I’ve just made a few notes in the corresponding table cell and off we go. I’m reluctant to admit that this seems to be working for me. Of course, there’s still two weeks to go and I’m away this weekend, but so far it’s looking good!

Are you NaNo-ing this year?  How’s it going? Any tips or motivation to share?

Author Interview: Linda Smolkin

linda-smolknToday, I’m thrilled to be hosting an interview with Linda Smolkin, author of one of my favourite reads of the summer, Among the Branded.

First of all, I absolutely loved Among the Branded; how did you come up with the idea for the novel?
I usually think up book ideas by doing the ‘what if’ scenario. With “Among the Branded”, I started thinking, “What if my main character found out something about her newest client? What would she do, especially if she didn’t own the company?” The story took off from there and the moral dilemma became a focal point, along with themes that included family and friendship.

There are quite a few historical elements in the novel; how did you approach researching the novel?
I approached it in various ways. Even though my book is contemporary fiction, it has some historical elements. For example, there are scenes where my characters attend a World War II living-history event, so it was important to get details right about the uniforms and other information. I checked out books from the library and read a lot on a variety of history-type websites. For the scenes where my characters are at the office, I used some of my own knowledge because I’ve worked in advertising/marketing industry for a long time, so I didn’t really need to do much research for that. They’re not my own experiences, but those parts were easier to write. And, believe it or not, my very patient son let me read some of the teenager dialogue to him to make sure it sounded right.

What inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing forever, in some form or another. After getting my journalism degree, I began working as a copywriter, and I still work full time as a writer. I work on my novels in my spare time, so I’m basically writing, editing, or researching when I’m not sleeping!

How do you combat writer’s block?
What’s writer’s block?! What I do get fairly often is the inability to figure out how to take a good idea (one of those ‘what ifs’) and turn it into a novel. I have those what-if ideas floating around in my head all the time, but most of them don’t go anywhere for one reason or another. I’m in awe of authors who come up with ideas and are able to make great stories out of them year after year. For someone who’s dealing with writer’s block, I’d recommend a few things: take a break; go somewhere new to write; or read the part you’ve already written out loud to help continue with the next scene or section.

What is your favourite novel of all time? Is there a novel you wish you’d written?
My favourite novel of all time is The Book Thief, and I wish I’d written it. It’s a great novel that’s beautifully written.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m really excited about my next book, which I hope to release in Spring 2018. It’s not contemporary fiction but also involves a dilemma that my main character faces. It follows three generations of women, their relationships with one another, and a secret that only two of them know. The story takes place mostly in the 1990s and in a few locations, including Russia.

Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
I spend most of my time on Twitter @lindasmolkin so please connect with me there. Also, you can find out more about me at lindasmolkin.com, and I’m also on Goodreads.

A huge thank you to Linda for agreeing to the interview. Among the Branded can be bought online – trust me, you’re in for a real treat! 

My full review of Among the Branded  will follow.

It’s NaNo Time!

NaNo-2017-Participant-BadgeYep, it’s that time of year again. The time where writers worldwide abandon any sense they might have had and attempt to write 50k words in 30 days.

After taking a break over the last couple of years (while I was messing around finishing my dissertation and getting married) I’m back.  Every week, I’ll share the highs and lows of the wonderfully insane world that is NaNoWriMo.

For now, I’ll leave you with this which is very happily going around in my head since I typed the title. You’re welcome!

Are you taking part?  Any tips/hints/moral support welcome!

Review: The Last Day of Emily Lindsey by Nic Joseph

33160789Detective Steven Paul has had the same nightmare for as long as he can remember, a strange symbol figuring prominently into his terror. He decided long ago that the recurring dreams are nothing more than an unfortunate side effect of his often traumatic profession. Until, that is, he’s assigned to the case of Emily Lindsey, the beautiful, elusive, and controversial blogger found alone, who can’t possibly know the symbol from his nightmares… unless she does.

This book is a captivating, addictive read – the kind of book that grabs hold of you and refuses to let go.  ‘One more page’ at 11pm turned into a 3am reading binge as I frantically turned the pages desperate to read what happened next.

The chapters alternate between the investigation in the present and a group of five children who are appear to be involved in some type of cult (another huge plus for me as I have a somewhat morbid fascination with cults).

In the present, Steve is a cop who struggles with nightmares he puts down to the pressures of his job. When Steve and his partner start to investigate a strange attack on infamous gossip blogger Emily Lindsey, things start to get weird. Emily is found at her home, nearly catatonic and covered in blood that isn’t hers. When she doesn’t respond to questioning, Steve is left to figure out what happened. In the other timeline, a group of kids in a strange communal living situation hatch a plan to escape their rooms one night to uncover the truth about the odd place where they live. Eventually, these two off-the-wall storylines come together, but not in the way you might expect.

I highly recommend this book to: everyone. Buy here!

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Top Ten Hallowe’en Reads

It’s almost Hallowe’en which can only mean one thing: eating your body weight in sweets while curling up with a terrifying book. Here are my Top Ten books to get you through.

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  1. Dracula, by Bram Stoker – This is a no-brainer.  I love, love, love this book.  Analysis of this novel formed part of my final dissertation for my degree so I know it inside and out. My love for this book might have even influenced the choice of Whitby as the destination for my hen weekend last year. The iconic vampire is everywhere with countless film and TV adaptations, but this is the place to really start.
  2. American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis – Oh, I do love a good psychopathic serial killer. I know people complain that Bateman is misogynistic – which is true, but he’s a serial killer so I think that’s the least of his problems. This book is disturbingly brilliant, plus there’s that certain scene with rats …
  3. Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley JacksonThis is – quite rightly – regarded as one of the greatest ghost stories of the 20th century. Jackson generates fear through the psychological breakdown of the central character, Eleanor Vance.
  4. Rebecca, byDaphne du Maurier – “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again…” – one of the (in my humble opinion) best opening lines in literature. Rebecca, the quintessential gothic novel, is one of my favourites of all time and is perfect for reading all year round. But, if you’re looking for an excuse, this is it.
  5. The Fall of the House of Usher, by Edgar Allen Poe – If there’s no Poe is it even Hallowe’en? This story is Poe at his best – claustrophobic, mysterious and dark.The ending is by far the scariest I have ever read.
  6. The Changeling, by Victor LaVelle – There is nothing not to love here. The horror here is in the subtle foreboding; the constant sense that something is about to happen. It is intelligently well-written and terrifying. Let’s just say, I’m glad I didn’t read this when my son was newborn …
  7. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski – This book is unlike anything else I have ever read. It is complex and utterly disturbing. The way the book is set out draws you in, making you actively experience the book rather than passively read.  Nothing I can write can possibly do this book justice.
  8. Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist – This translation of the novel by  Låt Den Rätte Komma is magnificent.  It is truly terrifying in places yet at the same time touching.  There are not nearly enough good vampire novels but this is definitely one of them.
  9. Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger – Who says Hallowe’en has to be terrifying?  This is an utterly original, outrageous, and thoroughly enjoyable ghost story. This story is haunting and was one of those books that stayed with me long after it ended.
  10. Anything by Stephen King – I love Stephen King and picking just one novel for this list was too hard.  I really tried, but life’s too short and I’d rather be reading, so… Any book you pick by the undisputed master of horror is not going to disappoint.

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What are your favourite Hallowe’en reads? What will you be delving into this weekend?