Blog Tour – November 2021 – The Quiet People – Paul Cleave

“The Quiet People” – ominous sounding title for a crime fiction novel! Who are these ‘Quiet People’?

Well, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the Quiet People are those who murder people, and are then described on the news by neighbours/workmates/people wanting to get their face on the news as, “Really quiet. We never really got to know them, but they were always pleasant. They didn’t stand out. We didn’t imagine they were capable of something like this…” etc, etc. We’ve all heard it, and it’s a term conjured up by Mr What If. He lives in the imagination of our main character, a crime writer called Cameron Murdoch. We all have Mr What Ifs – that part of us that imagines the worst case scenario. Cameron and his wife, Lisa Cross, write books as a duo, and they have a seven-year-old son, Zach, whose behaviour can sometimes be described as challenging – that is, more challenging than your average seven-year-old. When, after a disastrous day out at a fair, Zach threatens at bedtime to run away, Cameron plays along, telling him to go ahead, but to think of all the things he’ll need to take, plus how he’ll manage to finance his new life of independence. It’s the sort of conversation lots of parents have probably had when their children hit out with the, “running away” threat. Except, in the morning, it looks like he has taken Dad at his word – he’s gone, along with his backpack, and his favourite soft toy, a ghost called Willy.

Why am I getting a bad feeling about all this? Probably because there wouldn’t be a novel if Zach was found in the next street?

Exactly! Now, the problem for Cameron and Lisa is that, over the years, in TV and print interviews, and at festivals, they’ve joked about, “being the best people to get away with murder,” and, “able to commit the perfect crime.” So, as the hours tick by and Zach is nowhere to be seen, the police inevitably focus on those closest to Zach – that difficult child – and wonder whether Cameron and Lisa are responsible for trying to commit the perfect crime. And, of course, all those jokes said in interviews, etc, now don’t suddenly seem so funny…

I’m guessing you won’t be telling us if Cameron and Lisa are responsible for Zach’s disappearance…

No, of course not! But I will say there’s a great deal more to this book than Zach’s disappearance – and it all occurs at a very fast pace. You’ll be kept guessing, and you’ll be kept reading long past your bedtime. It’s superbly plotted, with one part seen from Cameron’s viewpoint, then a part written in the third person. Paul Cleave is a very skilled writer, and has inserted a prologue which gives you the impression that you know exactly where this story is going. He’s definitely a crime writer whose work I’d be keen to read more of. Also, it’s set in New Zealand, for a change – shockingly, I couldn’t think of one crime fiction book I’d read set in New Zealand, but with the proliferation of great crime fiction coming from Down Under at the moment, it surely won’t be long before we see more from there, too.

And it’s from Orenda Books – one of your favourite imprints, yes?

It is – not content with searching all over the northern hemisphere, particularly Scandinavia and Iceland, for new writers for us Brits to devour (as well as publishing lots of great British writers!), it seems Karen Sullivan has headed round the globe to look for new talent – and she’s certainly found it with Paul Cleave. If you’re looking for a book that moves at breakneck speed and keeps you guessing, here’s the perfect candidate!

Don’t miss it!

My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour, and to Orenda Books for the eARC. My review is completely unbiased.

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Author Paul Cleave

BLURB: Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time… 

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.

Blog Tour – November 2021 – Redemption – Troy Deeney

So, crimeworm reviewing a footballer’s memoir – this is new territory!

It is! I’m a bit of a football fan (Glasgow Celtic FC) but I live with a really obsessive one, and it was with his encouragement I chose to read this. (I suspect he also plans to read it himself now I’ve finished it!)

Full disclosure – I hadn’t heard of Troy Deeney when the Blog Tour invitation popped into my inbox, but when I asked Mr Crimeworm who he was, he immediately replied, “Course! Played for Watford, mainly. Very good player…great striker. Think he had a few demons, remember some scrapes being in the papers. But he’s a pundit now, so must be doing better…comes across as a nice guy. Like him as a pundit, actually. And he’s big in the Black Lives Matter movement.”

And I suspect that’s what the average football fan would say about Troy. But what does Troy have to say about himself in his book?

Well, he doesn’t sugar the pill – he takes full responsibility for all his actions, as the title of the book suggests, and that theme runs through all areas of his life. He grew up with a brother and a sister in the biggest council estate in Europe, with a mum who worked three jobs and held the family together. She comes across as a real heroine, as she’s frequently heading a one parent family, Troy’s father being “on holiday” – common code for dads in jail. She was a victim of domestic violence, but Troy never once saw her cry.

But Troy found success in football – that was his ticket away from all the bad things…

He did – he’s played in all four leagues, and in the top years of his career was English Premier League Watford’s captain and one of the country’s highest scoring striker, with the massive wage that goes with that.

So he had everything he’d ever wanted – what went wrong…?

Well, you’ll have to read the book for the full details of his fall from grace, but, unbelievably, he ended up in the same place his father spent so many years – prison.

The book details his rebuilding of his life and reputation, and I admired the way he takes ownership of everything that went wrong. He’s had a lot of therapy – that’s clear from the beginning of the book, and it’s been hugely helpful with dealing with his own children and not repeating the problems of the past.

Is it a good read, though?

Definitely, and not just for football fans. His personality and voice is clear. And it’s a likeable voice, a knowledgeable one – he has, unbelievably, become the sort of guy you might go to for advice! His involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement is really inspiring, too.

A guy you’d like to go for a coffee with, then.

100%. But no doubt Mr Crimeworm would have to gatecrash and talk football all day long!

Highly recommended.

My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blog tour, and Octopus Books for the ARC. My review is unbiased.

Troy Deeney
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BLURB: Troy Deeney is best known as Watford FC’s former captain and a thorn in Arsenal’s side. But behind the successful and gritty football persona is a remarkable story of resilience.

In this brutally honest and inspirational memoir, Troy shares what it was like to grow up on Europe’s largest council estate, where his mum worked three jobs and his father, a notorious drug dealer, was frequently in and out of prison.

He shares stories of self-sabotage, from simply not turning up to Aston Villa’s football trials as a teenager, playing while drunk to being imprisoned for affray at the height of his career.

But Troy never gave up, even when it meant playing professional football with an ankle tag. He went on to score 20+ goals in three successive seasons and became the Club Captain, an FA Cup finalist, promotion winner and Watford’s record scorer. He also became an outspoken player advocate and – in an age of bland footballer interviews – is a sought after voice on football and footballers today.

Engaging, endearing and insightful, this book is where Troy comes to terms with his turbulent past.