Today is my stop on #TheTherapist Audio Blog Tour. To listen to this audiobook sneak preview from the beginning, head over to @baparisauthor and follow the blog tour chain. Have you got your copy of #TheTherapist? smarturl.it/TheTherapistEB @HQStories
I have also added an audio clip of the authored Q&A, along with my review from earlier in the year . Hope you enjoy.
When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…
As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.
Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…
The million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author B A Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in this powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.
Come on in , sit down , get comfy and open the pages of the book that will take you on a journey into the nightmarish life of Alice and Leo. Like a soothing hot black coffee it starts off just perfect , all hot and hopeful and full of wonderful flavour. As you get further in it starts to feel cold and harsh and you wonder if you dare finish it because once its ended there is no going back. It’s like that for Alice , her new life with Leo starts off with so much promise of only good times to come. The shine soon starts to wear off when she knows the truth of the house an the man she is living with . Like a cold cup of coffee her life has turned bitter and seemingly beyond redemption. The author captures with her words the tension that Alice feels as the discomfort seeps its way into her life. Compelled to carry on investigating she is caught up in a free fall of suspicion and distrust of those around her. Building up a picture of a fraught woman not knowing who to trust with carefully plotted scenes that leave you with a growing sense of unease. A feeling of unease I know I’ve felt when an unexpected noise wakes you or you feel the atmosphere of somewhere has changed because someone you cannot see has been there. All that just helps to build up a book that takes you on a journey into a dark twisted world that poor Alice is living in. Full of dark moments , tense and breathtakingly nerve tingling the book is a masterpiece of suspense and horrific mind games. It will leave you checking your doors are locked if you are alone and listening for unexpected sounds at night. Sleep with one ear open you never know who’s watching you sleep.
AUTHOR Q & A
My thanks to Sian Baldwin at HQ Stories for my invite on the tour.
Laura has built a career out of interviewing people about their epic real life love stories.
When she picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport, Laura wonders if this could be the start of something that’s written in the stars.
From piano sheet-music to a battered copy of her favourite book, Laura finds in the bag evidence of everything she could hope for in a partner.
If Laura’s job has taught her anything it’s that when it comes to love, you can’t let opportunity pass you by. Now Laura is determined to track down the owner of the suitcase, and her own happy ending.
But what if fate has other ideas?
Pitching a new article about how people meet their true love Laura finds herself going back to where her parents met and fell in love. Wearing rose tinted glasses when it comes to love she wants the love story her parents had. She hopes that maybe one day she will but for now she is headed to Jersey to do her article. Once there she jumps into the nearest taxi only to be rude to her driver after he makes a comment. Arriving at her hotel she discovers she has the wrong suitcase and ends up back with the same driver headed back to the airport. Unbeknown to Laura the mix up of suitcases and the grumpy driver will both have a significant impact on her life in ways she only dreamed of.
It’s not very often I read books with a feel good, rom-com vibe but sometimes is good to leave your comfortable reading zone. I was certainly glad I took the plunge with this one as it was compelling reading. The book had me totally wrapped in the life of Laura as she searched for her very own happily ever after. The book took me on a fun filled, engaging, romantic hunt for love in the most unlikeliest places. With some very funny juicy parts the book never got too overwhelmingly mushy. It was for a reader like me who wants a touch of romance balanced by reality and fun a wonderful escape however fleeting from real life. The author has brought to life a believable collection of characters who could be your next door neighbour or the driver of your next taxi. So if you want to be whisked away to a small island and find true love then maybe read the book and discover for yourself the magic that the island of Jersey has on Laura and her life.
My thanks to Rachel Kennedy for the tour invite and my copy of the book. As always they are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.
STAR RATING 4
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sophie Cousens started her career in television, where she produced, among other things, The Graham Norton Show, Big Brother, Ant and Dec and Russell Howard’s Good News. Working in TV taught her three things; 1 – Wearing a lanyard makes you look as though you know what you are doing. 2 -The best phrase you can contribute in meetings is “let’s action that!”If you say it often enough, hopefully someone else will do your work for you. 3 – If in doubt, find someone wearing a lanyard – they’ll know what to do.
Sophie currently lives in Jersey where she now writes full time. She lives with her husband Tim and has two small children who keep her occupied with important questions such as ‘but did Cinderella have a toothbrush?’ and ‘do giraffe’s know they have really long necks?’ She yearns for a time when she will be able to add a miniature dachshund to the party.
Today on my blog I am not only hosting an extract for the book but also a review.
The Love-Haight Case Files #1
Thomas Brock and Evelyn Love are attorneys who crusade for the rights of OTs—Other-Than-Humans. Their clients include ghosts, gargoyles, vampires, and things that have not yet been given names. The city’s OT element is sometimes malevolent, sometimes misunderstood, and often discriminated against. Brock and Love represent them, whatever the case, whatever the species. Magic hangs heavy in San Francisco, and danger and intrigue is as thick as the fog around the Golden Gate Bridge.
Love-Haight is a comedy, locked within a mystery, hidden in a horror story… Wonderfully clever, stylish, and ghoulish. Delightfully twisted fun! —William C. Dietz, New York Times bestselling creator of The Legion of the Damned
Making the freakiest burg in the nation ten times freakier is a considerable achievement. —Glen Cook, bestselling author of The Black Company series
Crap.” Evelyn ran faster despite her shoes.
Athletic, she’d often jogged to classes, but running was for pleasure, to feel the welcome burn of exertion crawl through her, the heady adrenalin rush. She always ran to something, hated the thought of running from anything. But a man with glowing red eyes? And in the Tenderloin? She wasn’t stupid. She’d run from that.
The bus stop was in sight, and that was where she headed. But as she got closer she didn’t see anyone under the small, lighted shelter, and the bus wasn’t there yet. Wait for it? No way in hell. The businesses in this block were either closed for the night or closed indefinitely. A homeless man huddled in a doorway, a half-empty bottle of something cradled in his lap. She didn’t slow her pace to take in any more details.
A glimpse over her shoulder confirmed the red-eyed man still pursued her. She could stop and confront him, fight him if necessary; Evelyn was more proactive than reactive. She’d dealt worse than she got in the Thai fight. But Dagger McKenzie had taught her well—avoid fights if possible. It was healthier.
Farther down and across the street she saw the lights of bars and dive restaurants blink invitingly. Evelyn dodged a few cars and cut toward them, accidentally dropping her purse and not pausing to retrieve it. She’d thought she was outdistancing her pursuer, but somehow he’d closed the distance. His iron-strong fingers dug into her arm, pulling her to a stop in the middle of O’Farrell Street. It hurt like hell. It was the arm she’d been shot in during the failed hit on her in December in the Thai restaurant. He pulled her close, grabbing both her arms now and pinning them against her sides, fingers digging in harder when she struggled. Cars passed by on both sides, no one slowing.
Evelyn twisted so she could look up his face. He opened his mouth, revealing fangs.
A damned vampire!
She wasn’t going to be an easy meal. Evelyn brought her heel up, the spike of it driving into his leg. He growled in pain. At the same time she shouted to attract the attention of a passing motorist. She kicked again and thought she saw a few people looking out the window of a bar across the street, one a blue woman with antennae. Shouted once more, hoping someone would hear her or call the cops if nothing else.
The vampire’s voice was deep, but his words were muffled by the rain and by the hammering of her heart.
“Please,” she thought she’d heard him say.
She put all her strength into an attempt to twist out of his grip, then she felt herself dragged roughly back to the sidewalk. The cars were slowing now, the gawk factor taking hold. But not one of them stopped.
“Help!” she hollered. “Call the police!” She knew a smattering of self-defense, was strong, but her efforts were nothing against the unnatural steely grip of the vampire.
She tripped on a raised patch of cement and he caught her, forcing her to walk close to the darkened buildings where the night and the gloom might hide them from passersby.
His breath felt cold against the back of her neck. Despite the deluge she could smell him—oddly sweet, like he’d been dipped in basil, something to cover up the stench of death. Would he kill her here, or in some alley? Would her body be found? People went missing from San Francisco. Why the hell had she let Constantine’s smile bring her to this risky neighborhood?
A siren! She heard a siren. Someone had called the cops.
She shouted again, no words, just a sustained howl meant to attract attention. She paused to take a breath. He was pushing her across an intersection. She saw the sign for the Golden Pumpkin, saw someone coming out.
She sucked in a breath and shouted: “Police! Call the—”
Evelyn briefly felt pressure on her neck, than the blackness smothered her.
The Love-Haight Case Files #1, Seeking Supernatural Justice
Thomas Brock is an attorney trying to keep his business afloat and in doing so starts to take on a select kind of clientele. Clients that are classed as ‘ OTHER THAN HUMAN “ or ‘OT ‘ for short. These include but are not limited to species other than a human , so vampires, werewolves, zombies and gargoyles to name but a few. Helping the struggling Thomas is Evelyn Love a soon to be lawyer who tries to help where she can. Unfortunately one of the early cases turns deadly and Evelyn is left to pick up the pieces of the business. As Evelyn struggles to find funds to protect both herself and the business darker forces come into play and she finds herself up against those who would rid the city of its OT denizens.
A great fun read if you like a light hearted take on the more ghastly side of the horror genre without the gore that some horror books are filled with. In this book we meet various entities all with a story to tell , stories that are in some cases rather touching. I cant say too much about them for fear of spoiling the book , but they definitely add flavour and fullness to the stories the book contain. There is not just one story in the book , there are many different threads that all lead back to the law offices of Brock and Love. Between them the authors have got the right mix of talents to give us a fun , engaging and entertaining read. So if you like to read about vampires and ghosts , with a twist of fun and humour this is great for you.
My thanks to Echo Shea for inviting me on the tour and my copy of the book, as always they are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.
STAR RATING 3.5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S
Jean Rabe: USA Today best-seller, Jean Rabe’s impressive writing career spans decades, starting as a newspaper reporter and bureau chief. From there she went on to become the director of RPGA, a co-editor with Martin H. Greenberg for DAW books, and, most notably, Rabe is an award-winning author of more than forty science fiction/fantasy and murder mystery thrillers. She writes mysteries and fantasies, because life is too short to be limited to one genre–and she does it with dogs tangled at her feet, because life is too short not to be covered in fur. Find out more about her at www.jeanrabe.com
Donald J. Bingle
Donald J. Bingle is the author of eight books and more than sixty shorter works in the horror, thriller, science fiction, mystery, fantasy, steampunk, romance, comedy, and memoir genres, including the Dick Thornby Thriller series (Net Impact; Wet Work; Flash Drive), Frame Shop, a murder mystery set in a suburban writers’ group, Forced Conversion, a near future scifi thriller, GREENSWORD, a darkly comedic eco-thriller and (with Jean Rabe) The Love-Haight Case Files, Books 1 & 2, a paranormal urban fantasy series about two lawyers who represent the legal rights of supernatural creatures in a magic-filled San Francisco. He also edited Familiar Spirits, an anthology of ghost stories. More on Don and his writing can be found at www.donaldjbingle.com.
Today on my blog i have the pleasure of hosting an extract of “ A NUMBERS GAME “ a book by R J Dark. A book that sounds full of thrills, excitement and twists galore so give it a look see.
One dead man and a missing lottery ticket.
Two family members who need that money to get away from the rundown Blades Edge estate.
Three local gangsters who want that money for themselves.
Meet Malachite Jones – the foremost (and only) psychic medium on the gritty Blades Edge estate. All he wants are two things: a name that isn’t ‘Malachite’, and a quiet life. And maybe some real psychic powers, but he’s making a living without them.
Janine Stanbeck wants to find her dead husband Larry’s winning ticket and escape Blades Edge with her son. And she thinks Mal can help her.
But Larry’s dad is the crime lord of the estate, and he wants that ticket for himself, and worse for Mal, he’s not the only criminal with his eyes on it. Add in two coppers desperate to nick Mal’s best, only, and admittedly quite dangerous, friend, Jackie Singh Kattar, and Blades Edge is getting pretty crowded.
Malachite Jones might not really be able to talk to the dead, but if he and his friend Jackie Singh Kattar can’t find that money and a solution that pleases everyone they’re likely to be in need of a psychic medium themselves.
The first Mal Jones and Jackie Singh Kattar adventure: a chaotic rollercoaster ride through a Yorkshire landscape full of double crossing friends, dogged police, psychotic gangster and voices from the other side
The entire floor of the house – not big, not really – had been knocked into an ultra-modern kitchen-diner-living room. It was immaculate, and the air was full of the aroma of expensive scented candles. A massive television almost obscured the front window and the long back wall was papered in dark patterned wallpaper. The other walls painted in a light blue to pick up on the wallpaper’s highlights. No doubt it was very à la mode, but my interest in interior décor ended in about 1890. The kitchen was all sleek lines, gleaming white.
I hated it.
A little boy was playing on the couch, his face filthy like he’d been eating chocolate ice cream. His hair was shaved almost to the scalp.
‘Hello,’ I said to him. He stared at me, sizing me up, and then decided the little plastic dragons he was playing with were far more interesting.
‘That’s Cristophe,’ she said. ‘He misses his father.’ At mention of his father the boy paused, then he tapped the side of his head.
‘My daddy knows where it’s at,’ he said, then he stuck his thumb in his mouth.
‘Sometimes it’s like Lawrence is still here – he parrots his phrases.’ She watched the boy. ‘It’s him you’re working for, Mr Jones. It’s his life you can change.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Spending his youth as an underground musician and occasional club promoter, he then moved on to stints as an advertising copywriter, trainer, playwright, music reviewer, amateur historian, TV cameraman, anarchist, contrarian, engineer and fraud investigator. After a long battle with chronic illness, RJ finally settled on a career in writing. He lives in a crumbling ancient mansion somewhere in Yorkshire and is surrounded by books, music, animals and his family.
Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private- investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself. Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: the mysterious circumstances of a dying woman have led them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has a devastating experience. Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril. Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series.
The Skelf women are back in their third outing, doing what they do best burying the dead and helping the living. Dorothy is out with the family dog Einstein when he finds a foot, one that’s missing the rest of the body and has been embalmed. This starts her on a quest to uncover the rest of the body and into the world of embalmers who use bodies that are not human for their hobby. Not one to let the family down Hannah is helping a soon to be colleague out in the search for the truth about aliens. While Jenny is hired by the children of a gravely ill woman to find out who or what is causing her illness. All three Skelf woman follow their hearts as they negotiate their chosen tasks whilst living living under the same roof. Yet nothing is at it first appears and a disappearance brings terror and chaos back into their lives.
I love catching up with the awesome trio of women that form the nucleus of the Skelf family. Whilst they are held together by blood they have taken into their lives and hearts stray souls along the way. Souls that will enrich their lives in many ways and whose stories are starting to emerge in this addition to the series. The warmth the women radiate to each other pours out of the pages and envelops you into their lives. You could almost be sat at the table with them as they chat over their days. It’s brilliant to be able to read of not just one strong, fearless, feisty main character but three. The fact that there are three such characters , who play well off each other and compliment each other helps to give a richness to the book. A richness that will cocoon you as you follow the ups and downs, the heartache and the love that the women have for those in their circle , be it a pet or a partner or a stray soul. A book that will take you on a pulsating ride, full of thrills and spills. It’s fun , its heartbreaking and its yet another fabulous adventure in the lives of all involved . It will leave you wanting more adventures with the Skelf women and the hope that one day they may brought to life on the small screen.
My thanks to Anne Cater for my invite on the tour and my copy of the book, as always they are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.
STAR RATING 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The Big Chill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh. Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com.
Today on my blog I am happy to be hosting an extract from the book THE GRIFTER by Ali Gunn and Sean Campbell. A teaser from what sounds like an exciting, adrenaline fuelled novel.
He stole billions.
Meet Kent Bancroft: investment guru, rising star of the London social scene, and, keep it quiet, the mastermind behind the biggest fraud in history.
Among his victims is the most unlikely of nemeses: a working-class electrician turned vagrant, a man with no money, no power, and no big ideas. Except one: the burning desire to get even, whatever the cost. Will Kent see him coming before it’s too late?
Or is London’s richest man about to find his comeuppance in London’s most downtrodden?
I’ve never held a man hostage at knifepoint before. Haven’tkilled a man, either.
First time for everything, though, right?
At least he doesn’t know that. As far as he knows, I’m Ronnie Kray reincarnate.
The blade against his neck is small enough to hide, big enough to kill. It’s from the kitchen upstairs.
A man has got to protect himself, doesn’t he? Especially one who’s been through what I’ve been through.
‘Please, just let me go.’
‘I’ll let you go. But answer one question. What’s my name?’
These past months have been sheer hell. I’m exhausted. I can’t cope with it all anymore. Just when I think it’s over, something else happens.
‘I… I don’t know. We’ve never met.’
‘Disappointing. After all we’ve been through.’
People used to respect me. They used to want to be me. Now, I’m the guy who gets chased down the street. The guy running from his own shadow.
But not now. This is where it ends.
‘Whoever you are, I’ll do anything you want.’
‘Anything? Time to test that.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ali Gunn kills people for a living*.
The characters in Ali’s books are the kind of strong, fearless women that every girl dreams of growing up to be.
The first DCI Elsie Mabey novel, The Career Killer, has been downloaded over 75,000 times since its release.
Book two in the series, The Psychopath Within, is due for release in 2022.
Ali is also a co-author of The Grifter, out August 15th 2021.
To find out more, visit GunnCrime.com *fictional people, honest officer!
Today on my blog I have the pleasure of helping to kick of the tour for ‘ LOOKING FOR LULU’. A novel by Carl Granger, read on for my thoughts and views of the book.
You could be sitting next to him in a pub. You’d never notice him. But he would see you.
None of his victims had ever noticed him, sitting there, glancing occasionally at them. Even if they had, they would have seen no cause for alarm.
Bland. Uninteresting. A civil servant going home to his equally bland wife and children at the end of another working day.
Anonymous. Invisible. Faceless.
That’s what they had all thought. But they were all wrong.
Now only the ever-growing spinney of trees bears testimony that they had once existed.
Is hard-bitten ex-Military Police captain, Detective Inspector Oscar Smith up to the task of tracking him down?
And as you turn the pages to meet the killer, will you ever find sleep again?
DI Oscar Smith is having a rough day, he’s caught a case and had his wallet taken by a woman he took home after a night out. The case he thinks is not worthy of his time but it will look good too his bosses if he takes it on. Meanwhile he starts his own investigation into the woman Lulu and tries to track her down to get his wallet back. Unfortunately for him nothing about the case is simple and it takes a twisted turn when yet another person goes missing. A person that does not fit the kidnappers previous victims thereby pushing the case further into the public eye and putting Oscar in the spotlight.
DI Oscar Smith is not a very nice character , he has outdated views on women and people of colour. He is a bully and a mean spirited man who will use his powers to get what he wants. Yet he gets results in his cases so he seems to be able to get away with things others can’t . While he’s not a nice character the plot line fits his personality and the hunt for both Lulu and the kidnapper have an effect on him that makes him become more likeable. The more I read of the book the more the images of John Thaw in his role in The Sweeney came to mind. Yes outdated but effective given the time it was shown just like Oscar in the book. The book was fast paced and kept me entertained for the hours i spent in its company. Once the key components to of the plot were set out it just raced along at a quick pace. My only niggle with it was that it seemed to end too quickly. I would have liked a more padded out finale when Oscar came face to face with the person he was hunting. That being said it I look forward to and hope that there are more crimes for Oscar to solve as I feel he has great potential as a main character.
My thanks to Heather Fitt for my copy of the book, as always they are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.
STAR RATING 3.5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carl Granger is an investigative journalist with a military background. When not working he writes from his small, isolated cottage in the wilds of the East Midlands, where he lives alone with a one- eyed cat called Crippin
Today on my blog I am hosting an extract for the book ‘THE ABDICATION ‘ by JUSTIN NEWLAND .
The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.
Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!
The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
11. The Lights of the Future
… Above her, the moon hung amidst the canopy of stars – thrown like glittering jewels into the great sea of the Milky Way. The panorama was as eternal as it was ephemeral.
Her heart stopped racing and she took in the night-time view. Below lay the town of Topeth and beyond it to the west, the copper workings, full of dark scars across the landscape. To the south, the gate at the Topeth end of the bridge was lit by a flaming torch in a cradle on the flagstones.
Unity appeared quite different at night. The silhouettes of its buildings were hazy in the subtle light of the moon. They seemed to shimmer as if they were lit from within, just as the human is lit from within by the charisma of the spirit.
Her eyes rested on the Cathedral’s twin spires. It had an energy field that stood out from it by a foot or so, vibrant colours with pastel shades – light blues and pinks, yellows and pale greens – like sequins flashing from one side of the building to the other, quivering with lithe astral power. As abruptly as the vision had come, the astral colours disappeared and she was back to seeing the physical colours, flat and bland.
The place tugged at her soul like a lost love. Unity was where she could and would grow and refine. It was akin to her home. Unity was where she belonged and where she would stay forever. She felt a yearning to get there.
Once again, she felt close to the city of angels, yet so far away.
Over by one end of the roof was a stone shed with a wooden latch door. It was slightly ajar, inviting her to look inside. The shed was lit by the dim light of the waxing moon, but it was enough for her to make out a wooden chest engraved with lightning rods.
She was about to shut the door when her inner voice whispered:
“Open the chest.”
But it’s not mine. I don’t like to pry.
There might be some disgruntled jinn inside.
“Trust me, there isn’t!”
She relented, lifted the lid and moved her hand around the inside of the chest. There was a short, curved dagger, a slingshot with a broken elastic strap and an old pistol with the handle missing. Amongst other debris, she found a collection of discarded children’s toys. It was both poignant and unusual, in that all the toys wore the sheen of newness, none were broken, and, without scratches or blemishes, appeared as though they had never been handled or even enjoyed.
She was about to head back to her room when her inner voice whispered:
She delved inside the chest. There, shoved to one side in a cotton cloth, was a box.She ripped off the cloth. It was the box. The one from the bridge. The note was still tucked inside.
Handling the box drew her nearer to the angelic presences of Unity. She rubbed the note between her fingers, certain there was a hidden message in it, waiting for someone to unlock. She stepped outside the shed and into the moonlit night.
Recalling what Vitus had done with her travel pass, she pressed the note to her cheek. Then she touched it to her other cheek. At first, nothing happened.
Her inner voice whispered:
“As usual, you’re trying too hard.”
She breathed deeply and relaxed.
Her mind was filled with natural sounds – the gentle lapping of the waves on the seashore, the awesome power of lightning, the music of the spheres – and images – the gatherings of people living in harmony, the talk of great enterprises and universal plans. This was Unity. This was a glimpse of the town before the exodus.
She put the note back and was about to shut the black lid when, out of the corner of her eye, there came a glimmer of light. That could not have come from a wooden box, so she stared at the lid again. Nothing.
Again, she turned her head to one side and out of the corner of her eye, caught sight of a flash of colour – a peerless incandescent orange, a livid red – a cone of living fire.
That time, she had seen it. She had to peer into the black mirror out of the corner of her eyes. That was the secret. That was the way to see the reflection in the black mirror.
This time, keeping her gaze steady, she looked again until the full image resolveditself in the mirror.
What it revealed took her breath away.
There, hovering above Unity, was a glory of angels. Towering entities of light suffused the dark, tenebrous night with a milky glow. Shaped like a large cockle shell, they were taller than the tallest tree and glided above the gentle township of Unity. Some still had their thinner lower part in the earth and their upper heart-shaped part above the ground. Like lithe, ethereal beings, they arose out of the mountain. One by one, they lifted themselves out of the crags and rocks of the hill and floated effortlessly up into the chill night air.
Her mouth dropped open as she gazed at this ethereal procession until the last one emerged from the hill, shifted itself above the twin Cathedral peaks and slowly drifted off into the heavens above.
When no more came and the air was silent and the night thick with possibility, she put the box back and returned to her room filled with wonder. Where was ‘home’ for an angel? Perhaps they didn’t have a home or need a sanctuary in the same way that humans did. Their birthplace was probably in the depths of the Milky Way, or close to the primaeval origins of the universe, or perhaps in the outer reaches of the most distant galaxies as they expanded into the void. For the moment, they, or at least some of them, lived in Unity. If they were born, could they ‘die’? Was ‘death’ for an angel caused by abuse or misuse or neglect? She imagined that the angels were always unified and always would be, and it was humanity thatwas perpetually short-sighted and bloody-minded. Such was their beauty, the glory of theangels’ natural form, the reflections on the black lid and its mysterious mirror had entranced her.
The note made sense now. The box was a gift from the angels, to enable humans to witness them. It was a facilitation, a HELP.
How a gift was received told a story about the receiver, revealing their attitude andstate of mind. Topeth folk shoved that help, that divine assistance, into a gloomy place hidden from the light, from where it could no longer be seen or found.
Such were the lights of the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.
Today on my blog I am helping to kick off the blog tour for the amazing book by Awais Khan ‘NO HONOUR ‘ . A haunting and devastating view of life for females in Pakistan.
In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves. When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore – only to disappear. Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abida falls in love and offers herself to her boyfriend which results in an unplanned pregnancy. A pregnancy that brings upon her family dishonour. When the pregnancy is revealed Abida is taken to the head of the village who will bring down on her the sentence for her crime death. Yet her father Jamil stands up for her and with the help of the police he saves her from her fate. A fate that many other girls cannot and do not escape. Abida leaves her village with the father of her child and heads to Lahore to start a new life where no one knows her crime. It’s here where her life unravels further and she is sold into a life of hate, anger, and fear. When her father stops hearing from her he leaves home to find her little knowing what nightmares he is about to face in the pursuit of his beloved daughter.
‘ OH MY GOD ‘ . That’s what i thought after closing the book. I sat back and tried to unravel my thoughts and emotions that the book had thrown into chaos. It is a huge book not in the terms of size and words written but in the subject matter it involves. It tells the story of a world where women are nothing but dirt on a shoe, where they are beaten and cowered by the men who purport to love them. Where the act of falling in love, acting out or just being female can bring about a death sentence. Where the honour of the family is held above the law and as such can be used with impunity by those who see fit to use it. Yet it also tells the story of love ,a love that conquers all prejudices and hate. The love of a father for his daughter. A love that is all encompassing and forgiving , a love that will see him go to the darkest of worlds to bring his daughter back into the light. It’s a book of hope too , hope that by talking and writing about such topics that one day women can and will be in charge of their own destinies in countries where they are reviled and murdered for being themselves. An eye opening book that i hope will help keep the rights of such women in the spotlight of hope. A book written with compassion, tenderness and grief that will leave you shaken yet thankful for the time spent in the company of Abida and Jamil.
My thanks to Anne Cater for my invite on the tour and the copy of the book. As always they are my thoughts and opinions on the book.
STAR RATING 5+
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University, and studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim, and he now regularly appears on TV and radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He lives in Lahore and is currently working on his third novel. Follow Awais on Twitter @AwaisKhanAuthor.
Once upon a time there was a red wolf. But this is no fairy tale. He was a killer.
A convicted murderer with a story to tell
Serial killer Michael Reave – known as The Red Wolf – has been locked in Belmarsh Prison for over 20 years for the brutal and ritualistic murders of countless women.
A grieving daughter with a secret to unearth
Ex-journalist Heather Evans returns to her childhood home after her mother’s inexplicable suicide and discovers something chilling – hundreds of letters between her mother and Reave, dating back decades.
A hunt for a killer ready to strike again
When the body of a woman is found decorated with flowers, just like his victims, Reave is the only person alive who could help. After years of silence, he will speak to Heather, and only Heather.
If she wants to unearth the truth and stop further bloodshed, she’ll have to confront a monster.
A grieving daughter returns home to settle her mothers affairs, whilst doing so she uncovers a secret that spans years. A secret that when she starts to investigate will take her on a nightmare journey into the past that will collide with her present in an unexpected way. Will the remnants of the past help Heather with the disturbing events that are unfolding now, if so how can the man who has been locked away for twenty years help her on her quest.
A chilling reworking of a fairy tale that has murder at the heart of it. The big bad wolf in this story is no wild animal its a wild and disturbing man. A man who kills his victims then displays them decorated by flowers. How can this be happening again though because that man was caught and is in prison , is it a copycat, was the man wrongly convicted. These and other questions are answered by the author as the gruesome story unfolds. We learn of Reaves background growing up and the events that led to his conviction. We also discover facts that will take Heather on a journey to the past in order to confront the present. It’s mind chilling, thrilling and heart pounding . A book that will send shivers down your spine and bring gasps off shock as the events unfold and the calculating mind of the author reveals the stupendous climax. A book to be devoured in one or two sittings as it keeps you trapped in the nightmare world of the Red Wolf.
My thanks to Anne Cater for the tour invite and Netgalley for my copy of the book . As always they are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.