Blog Tour – July 2022 – More Than You’ll Ever Know – Katie Gutierrez

This is a debut novel by a new Mexican-American author – how did crimeworm get on with her writing?

Well – wow! This was such a difficult book to put down, so the heatwave gave me a perfect excuse to read all night to finish it off – I could probably have slept, now I have a fan, but hell! Why sleep when you have a book like this you can pick up?

Now, the last book I read with a Mexican setting would have been one of Don Winslow’s Cartel trilogyi, which I absolutely adore, but I must say, it’s refreshing to read about another side of Mexico. Although crime does feature in this book, it’s a very different kind of crime…

Tell us more about the characters…

The book is narrated by two characters: first of all, there’s Cassie Bowman, who’s scunnered churning out true crime stories for a blog of trashy stories, mostly featuring dead women. But needs must, and Cassie and her partner Duke are living on a shoestring in expensive Austin, Texas. One news story catches her eye: that of Lore Rivera, who bigamously married a second husband in Mexico City, despite having a first husband and twins in Laredo, Texas. Murder ensues when Lore’s two worlds collide: Andres, her Mexico City husband, goes to Laredo, where Fabian, husband no.1, shoots and kills him in his motel room. But can Cassie possibly persuade Lore, who has never spoken to any reporters, to talk to her? Cassie is desperate to find a different kind of story – one exactly like this – to lift her out of her day-to-day shock-and-horror blogging job, and into the classier kind of crime writing – that of long form journalism, like ‘In Cold Blood’ once was.

The other narrator is, of course, Lore, and we learn what really happened back then…and of course there are a few surprises in store.

So you enjoyed this book?

I did, very much. It’s not a straight crime story – it’s definitely more literary than that. But both women are compelling characters, and both have secrets. It’s fairly lengthy, but definitely doesn’t drag, as Gutierrez is a very talented, lyrical writer, who spins a fascinating tale with great raw material. The people, and the places, really come alive. It’s a fantastic debut, spun out a superb idea, and will probably be one of my favourite books of the year – and this has been an exceptional year so far!

A wonderful read that’s oh-so-hard to put down!

With thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph Books for the blog tour invitation and the ARC. This has not affected my review, and this is my honest opinion.

BLURB: It was a story that Cassie Bowman couldn’t resist.
Lore Rivera loved two men…
Until one of them shot the other…

Lore Rivera was married to two men at once, until on a baking hot day in 1986, one of them found out and shot the other. A secret double life, a tragic murder. That’s the story the world knows.

It’s not the story that fascinates Cassie Bowman.

Carrying the weight of her own family tragedy, true-crime writer Cassie wants to know more about the mysterious woman at the heart of it all, Lore. How did one woman fall in love with two different men? How did she balance the love and the lies?

To her surprise, Cassie finds that Lore is willing to talk. To finally tell her heartbreaking story – about how a dance became an affair; how a marriage became a murder.

As the two women grow closer, Cassie finds she can’t help but confess her own darkest secrets. But when she slowly starts to realise that there might be more to the night of the murder than anyone has realised, can either woman face up to the thing they’ve been hiding from: the truth?

Blog Tour – July 2022 – The Daves Next Door – Will Carver

The new Will Carver! He’s gathering quite an army of fans, isn’t he?

He most certainly is! And I can totally see that continuing to go stratospheric. Now, if you’re not like me – nothing offends me; I believe it’s really important to be able to laugh at bloody everything as that’s what keeps us sane – and you’re one of those snowflake-type people, then it’s probably not a good idea to invest in this book without reading the back, or maybe downloading one of those lethal Kindle samples – but be warned, with this book I suspect you’ll definitely end up purchasing it…

The fact is, our narrator is a suicide bomber, but now we’ve got that wee bit of a warning out of the way let’s get on with the recommendation!

Will Carver is the most hilarious, unusual writers out there!

It’s almost like a stream-of-conscious riff by a comedian, this book. It’s funny, thought-provoking, ridiculously clever, with a host of supporting characters, all of whom have parts of varying size and influence. Even God has a bit part – or is it really him…? Could be someone who’s got psychosis, after all – it’s that’s sort of book. And it gets you thinking about that, “for want of a nail…” thing about how much influence the tiniest of events have. I was really thinking about it, for ages, but I’m a horrendous over-thinker at the best of times anyway.

If you’ve read other Will Carver books, some things will resonate, like a comedian referencing an earlier joke. I wish it wasn’t so hard to review! It’s funny. It’s sardonic. It’s clever. If you have a physical copy, don’t lend it out, as chances are your friends will pass it on too, or get it “borrowed” from them, and you’ll end up chasing it round the town!

I hate being so vague, but it’s horribly hard to review without ruining it. When you’re reading it, expect to find lots of snorts and laughs emanating from your mouth…hell, just read it. Read it immediately. I’ll let you go and buy a copy….

With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation, and also to Anne and Orenda Books for the ARC. This is an unbiased review and reflects my true opinion.

Author Will Carver

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The lives of five strangers collide on a London train carriage, as they become involved in an incident that will change them all forever. A shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original new thriller from Will Carver…

A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care.

An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.

A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.

Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.

Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.

Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?

Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.

Blog Tour – July 2022 – The Retreat – Sarah Pearse

Oh my goodness! Hold on to your hats, people, clear your diaries…and check your doors and windows are locked, too…

An over-the-top heading but wow, this is another peach so if you’re heading anywhere, I’d pack this and Hostage for starters…

This is one of these books I’m reticent about revealing too much about, plot-wise – simply because you want all other readers to enjoy the unfolding of events as much as possible!

So what can you tell us about The Retreat without taking us into spoiler territory?

Pearse brings back her detective, Elin, who appeared in The Sanatorium, and who has technically been put on less serious cases after the events of that book. But the fact that she’s close by, coupled with a shortage of staff, means she’s sent to the island to investigate a death which initially looks like an accident – so it’s looking like a box-ticking exercise. Note I said initially there…

I can sense a but coming…

Well, let me change tack here. The family who are featured most in the book consists of three sisters, a cousin, and two of the sisters’ partners. However, one of the sister has cancelled at short notice, citing a work trip – although her partner still comes. It’s a freebie, as one of the sisters is an “influencer,” and is meant as a chance for the family to reconnect. But the holiday starts to collapse as petty resentments from the past are brought up, and secrets revealed that add to the poisonous atmosphere. And meanwhile, around them the island’s malevolent past is revealing itself, both to it’s new occupiers, and to us readers…

I’ve got to say, I’m struggling to write more about the plot. But I’ve got to say, read this book! It’s phenomenal!

Give us some reasons to read it! (Apart from the rollocking plot, obviously…)

Pearse has a way of unveiling information, in a steady and satisfying drip, drip, drip that is guaranteed to keep you turning pages. And I don’t think I’ve ever changed my mind about who’s good and who is not so good so many times in one book – because her characters, like most people, are a mixture of good and bad. The past of the island also keeps rearing it’s head in a highly satisfying way, and the supernatural elements are wound through the book like the ivy in the forest that still covers much of the island. It all works in a splendidly atmospheric way that leaves you feeling like looking over your shoulder as you’re reading…if that isn’t enough reasons, I don’t know what else I can say! Suffice to say, I loved it…but you’ve figured that out, I think!

Absolutely dynamite! A five-star read!

With thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation, and Bantam Press for the ARC. This is my honest opinion and is an unbiased review.

Author Sarah Pearse

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BLURB: Most are here to recharge and refresh. But someone’s here for revenge. . .

An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumored to be cursed.

Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself . . .

Blog Tour – July 2022 – Hostage – Clare Mackintosh

So – the latest Clare Mackintosh! An author whose first couple of books you read and loved; you’ve got all the others in your TBR pile. How did Hostage measure up?

Oh my goodness! I’ve been looking at a lot of the books I own and have read, and – to paraphrase Crocodile Dundee – thinking, “That’s not a book! This is a book!” (meaning, of course, Hostage!) I’ve got to admit – embarrassingly – I’d sort of forgotten how damn good Clare Mackintosh is at the little details that build up into a great book. She’s quite brilliant at the minutiae that builds up to make everyday lives, and fill her books, and their characters, with such a strong sense of authenticity.

Hostage is about an air stewardess who’s on the inaugural non-stop London to Sydney 20-hour flight, and is threatened by an anonymous hijacker who wants her help bringing down the plane – or they’ll kill her daughter. Is that the plot, in a nutshell?

Absolutely – and what a fabulous premise, in one sentence, that is, isn’t it? It makes for a tense as hell situation; one which has you pondering exactly what you would do in her position at many points in the novel. And the fact that the vast majority of the book is set on the flight makes it as claustrophobic as hell too! Occasionally books set mainly in one space can get a little bit dull, or same-y, but not this one – Mackintosh manages to keep you turning the pages long past your bedtime! Not that that should be a surprise to the army of fans she’s built up over the last few years.

Tell us a little bit about Mina, the stewardess and central character…

Obsessed about aeroplanes from an early age, Mina has her dream job. Her family is police officer Alan – who comes across as shifty from the very start; my instant thought was, “affair,” and it seems like that’s what Mina thought too as they’ve recently taken to sleeping in separate rooms. The only reason they haven’t actually separated is because adopted daughter Sophia has “separation anxiety,” amongst a host of other psychological difficulties. These two are pretty much Mina’s world, as obviously her job takes up most of the rest of her life. It also keeps her sane, as Sophia is a pretty demanding child – and so takes up most of the rest of it. But she utterly loves her daughter, that’s clear.

What would be your selling line to readers thinking of picking up Hostage be?

Buckle up for take off! And hold on tight – you’re in for a hell of a trip! (And clear your diary before you begin reading…) Actually, that’s three lines – here’s a fourth: Hostage is all killer, no filler.

Go and buy or borrow this book now! It’s the perfect summer read!

I’d like to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and Compulsive Readers for the invitation to participate in this blog tour, and Sphere Books for the ARC. That has in no in way affected my opinion of the book, and this is an honest review.

Author Clare Mackintosh

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BLURB: You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most.

A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of Room, Hostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.

Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.

It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.

Blog Tour – July 2022 – A Killing Rain – Faye Snowden

Another day, another new author and blog tour! – what’s the story here?

First of all, we’re in one of my favourite settings – Louisiana, in the Deep South – and one of these small Southern towns: this one’s called Byrd’s Landing. Our main character, Raven Burns, has returned here, as it’s the one place that truly feels like home. She had worked as a cop before retiring, and is now wanting a quiet life, working in a coffee shop.

And she – and the town – have quite a creepy past, am I right?

Yep – the town’s known as a bit of a breeding ground for serial killers…amongst them Raven’s father, who was also a cop. And there’s a new serial killer around, focusing on young boys – so when Raven’s nephew Noe and his friend Clyde go missing, she finds her skills as an investigator being requested. And how can she say no, when it’s the nephew with whom she’s only recently been reunited?

This is one of those fabulous Southern towns populated with all sorts of quirky characters, which adds to the atmosphere. I do sort of wish I’d read the first in the series, to have more background on Raven and her past, as well as Byrd’s Landing, but as soon as I have time, I’ll remedy that!

You found it more of an atmospheric build-up of a crime novel, rather than an action packed one, didn’t you?

I did, but to be honest, that’s the way I like books to be – it gives you more of an opportunity to get to know the characters – and there are some great characters, make no mistake! We meet her ex-partner Billy-Ray; her brother – and Noe’s father – Cameron; a friend from school, Edmee; and locals like crime scene cleaner Willie Lee. They all add colour and flesh out the story. And as I said before, I love these rural Southern settings, with gumbo on the menu in local eateries, and bait shops – it reminds me of the genius that is James Lee Burke, amongst others!

This is a hugely promising series, with a delightfully snippy central character, who definitely doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and really just wants a peaceful life – if only it wasn’t for these damned serial killers! But she is dragged back into criminal investigation reluctantly, simply because she fears for her nephew’s – and his friend’s – safety. And all the while, time is tick, tick, ticking away – and we crime readers all know that’s definitely not a good sign…

A hugely promising second book in what looks like building into a great series!

I would like to thank Anne Cater at Random Things TTours for inviting me on this blog tour, and Flame Tree Press for providing me, through Anne, with an eARC of this novel. This has not affected my opinion of this book, and this is an honest review.

Author Faye Snowden

Check out the previous dates on this Blog Tour!

BLURB: After former homicide Raven Burns returns to Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana to begin a new life, she soon finds herself trapped by the old one when her nephew is kidnapped by a ruthless serial killer, and her foster brother becomes the main suspect. To make matters worse, she is being pursued by two men— one who wants to redeem her soul for the murder Raven felt she had no choice but to commit, and another who wants to lock her away forever.