Blog Tour: Murder at the University by Faith Martin

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MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY by Faith Martin

Looking for a brilliant murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

MEET DI HILLARY GREENE, A POLICE WOMAN WITH A THIRST FOR JUSTICE AND A COMPLICATED CAREER

A pretty French student is found dead in her room at an exclusive Oxford college. Everyone thinks it is another tragic case of accidental drug overdose.

But Detective Hillary Greene has a nose for the truth. She quickly discovers that the student had been up to some very unusual activities.

With a shocking cause of death found, the case becomes a high-profile murder investigation.

Adding to the pressure, Hillary’s nemesis is transferred to work with her at the station.

Can Hillary keep her cool and get justice for the unfortunate student?

MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY is the second in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.

Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

 

THE LOCATION
The Oxford Canal meanders through the beautiful county of Oxfordshire, sometimes joining up with the rivers Cherwell and Thames, and flows past the world-famous university city of Oxford. Unlike many canals which are practically ruler-straight commercial waterways, built to help transport goods and heavy traffic before the advent of the railways, the Oxford Canal is a more winding and natural-looking body of water, and is a haven for wildlife and wildflowers. It has several romantically-named locks on its length (such as the Three Pigeons Lock, and Dashwood Lock) and boasts the ominously-sounding Somerton Deep Lock, which often terrifies first-time boating holiday-makers.

 

THE DETECTIVES

DI Hillary Greene
An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. She is a long-standing friend of her immediate superior officer, ‘Mellow’ Mallow and enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the steely Superintendent Marcus Donleavy. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence, she is currently under investigation on account of her recently deceased, and definitely corrupt husband (Ronnie Greene). But adversity has never stopped her from doing her job.

DCI Philip ‘Mellow’ Mallow
Mel appreciates Hillary’s first-rate ability to solve her cases, and isn’t happy about her harassment by the officers from York. Known for his sartorial elegance and laid-back manners, he has a sharp mind, and an eye for the ladies. A good friend and ally for Hillary in her recent tribulations, he’s determined to keep his best investigator focused on the problems at hand.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW.”
 
DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES

BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
MORE COMING SOON!

 

 

 

 

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Author Bio

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the first eleven of the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! And the first of these, MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL is available now, with the others to very quickly follow.

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing ‘spooky’ crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired ‘proper’ whodunits. So if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.

 

 

 

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Blog Tour Interview with Ben Thomas

(1) Which genre do you enjoy writing most? 

I love writing the Hillary Greene novels, as I’ve written more with her as my
main character than any other kind. I think, of all my fictional creations, I probably know her the best. However, I grew up reading Agatha Christie, and through her, the other great writers of the golden age – Crispin, Sayers, Allingham, et al. And so I love the ‘proper’ classic whodunit genre, with the larger-than- life amateur sleuth, the well-hidden clues, and the classic locked-door or other baffling mystery to solve. Not to mention the red-herrings! Which is why I wrote the Joyce Cato mysteries. But they’re very hard to plot, and they’re very nerve-wracking to write, because you’re always aware that you might disappoint a reader if they figure out the puzzle. With Hillary Greene and police procedural novels, it’s more about characterisation, setting, and the weaving of a story line around a team, doing a job of work. Both are very satisfying to write (and read, I hope!), but in different ways. (Having said all that, I started out writing romance, when I was young and dewy-eyed, and writing about handsome sexy men, in exotic settings wasn’t exactly a hardship!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(2) What’s the most challenging thing about writing?

I think there are several challenging things about writing. And being your own boss is definitely one of them. If you get up in the morning, and you don’t feel like writing, it’s very easy to just take the dog for a walk, or play some music and mooch around the house doing nothing in particular. Alas, that doesn’t get chapter six written! And if you don’t write that, you can’t finish the book. No finished book means no royalties, and then the electricity gets cut off! And you can’t even blame the boss…… On the other hand, there is a definite creativity involved in writing (you’re not producing bootlaces on a machine, after all) and sometimes if you’re not in the mood to write, forcing yourself to do so produces work that isn’t of the quality that makes you happy. So you have to learn the difference between just being lazy, and not having the attention of the muse! Also, you’re very much alone when you’re writing a book (I know that may sound a cliché, but it is also true.) When you type in the words ‘Chapter One’ on a blank computer screen it’s just you, your imagination and the blank screen. And nobody but you can fill it. So you have to develop a certain amount of self- belief that has to carry you through. And sometimes – especially if things aren’t going well, or you hit a rough patch, or are flirting with writer’s block, then you can feel that you’re the only person on the planet daft enough to be doing this writing thing!

 

 

 

The 3d guy got over the challenge

 

 

 

 
(3) Name your top three crime shows or movies.

I love Midsomer Murders, Poirot and Rebus.

 
(4) Who are your top detectives?

I love the golden-age sleuths – both in the UK and USA. I’m currently reading
Nero Wolfe, for instance (Rex Stout’s marvellous creation.) But in my to-be read pile I also have Patricia Wentworth’s Maud Silver books, Lee Child’s latest, and some Kate Ellis and Elly Griffiths novels. I read widely (mostly crime) but can’t hack horror (too chicken!)

 

 

 

 

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(5) What inspired you to write crime novels?

I trained as a secretary, and when I left college, worked for 5 years at Somerville College in Oxford. But my parents had a very bad car accident, which mean they needed a carer, so I left work and stayed at home. But I needed to do something creative, and decided, since I devoured crime and romance fiction as a reader, I might as well write my own novels (as you do!) After practising for 3 years or so, I plucked up the courage to send one to a literary agent who snapped it up! My first novel was published in 1993, and I’ll soon hit the 50 published novel target.

 

 

 

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(6) What’s the difference between a DI and a DCI?

Ah – what is the difference between a DI and a DCI! That’s something Inspector Morse often ruminated upon! I think DI Hillary Greene would say the difference was in the pay packet! But I think a DCI has to be more of a pen-pusher and administrator than a detective, which is why I think Hillary isn’t all that fussed that she’d doesn’t get promoted.

 

 

 

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(7) Who is Hillary Greene?

Hillary Greene is a local girl who grew up in Oxfordshire and got a degree in
Literature, but who joined the force and went up through the ranks. I think she is fiercely loyal to her colleagues, but doesn’t wear rose-tinted glasses and can be somewhat cynical about her job at times. She’s had a lot of experience, and taken a lot of knocks, but won’t let it get her down. She enjoys removing bad people from society and will put up with all kinds of excrement in order to carry on doing so. She has to have a sense of humour (so she does) and she has to look out for number one sometimes (so she does) but she’s a good friend to have in your corner when things get rough. She makes mistakes, but can move on from them, and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She has a somewhat odd relationship with Commander Marcus Donleavy, so is trusted by both the rank and file and –to some extent – her superiors, who she views with a somewhat jaundiced eye.

 

 
(8) Would you like to be in her shoes solving crime?

No – I wouldn’t like to be in her shoes, solving crime. I’d be scared witless! And totally incompetent. Hillary Greene is all the things I’m not!

 
(9) What’s the relationship like between Hillary and DCI Phillip Mallow?

Hillary and DCI Phillip Mallow are good friends. They’ve known each other for years and like each other (most of the time.) They’ve never had romantic feeling for each other. Hillary sees him as her boss, too, and can sometimes keep him at arm’s length, when she needs to. For his part, Mellow Mallow knows that she’s his best investigator, and uses her as such, but also cares about her as a friend, and will do his best to protect her, when necessary. But her perspicacity can sometimes get on his wick, as he can’t pool the wool over her eyes, when he’d sometimes like to.

 
(10) What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on a Joyce Cato novel, whereby my sleuth, travelling cook Jenny Starling, is staying at an Inn in a Cotswold town, and solving the murder of how an actress was drowned and murdered in a local pond, in front of over 50 witnesses – with nobody having seen how it could be done!

 

 

Connect with Faith Martin

Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

 

BLOG TOUR BANNER - Murder at the University

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@MTW_2018

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Into the Dark Frontier with Author John Mangan

Into a Dark Frontier

 

 

Only 0.99 on Amazon!

 

 

Editorial Reviews

 

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is cut from same cloth as the best of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, a story written with authority and military authenticity. It’s a harsh look at a continent-wide battlefield, waged not only for land but also for the heart of freedom. Timely and exciting.” ―James RollinsNew York Times best-selling author

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is a powerful, realistic, and daringly unique international thriller. Its near-future plotline is as brilliantly crafted as it is dark and foreboding, and the action scenes are visceral and utterly thrilling. Tormented but able Slade Crawford is a perfect anti-hero to root for, and Into a Dark Frontier is a surefire winner of a debut.” ―Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“A riveting imagined what-if so real you wonder if it might even be possible. Tense, intelligent, harsh, and surprising, this thrill ride is drum tight in its execution.” ―Steve BerryNew York Times best-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is an international thriller of rare depth and complexity that would make the likes of John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum proud. But John Mangan goes both of them one better by injecting into the mix a loner hero with a gunfighter mentality fit for taming continents as well as frontiers, with Africa subbing for the Old West. A vision splendidly realized and tale wondrously executed.” ―Jon LandUSA Today bestselling author

“Mangan’s debut reads like he couldn’t get the words out and onto the page fast enough, which translates into a…blazingly fast and fun action thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier plunges the reader into the chaos of an African continent where anarchy reigns. A near-futuristic scenario, one that could really emerge. Expect an overdose of action and danger that careens off the scales.” ―Robert K. TanenbaumNew York Times best-selling author

“Its relentless opening chase sets the tone for Into a Dark Frontier, a winner for fans of techno-action novels. After eight deployments as a combat rescue pilot, its author knows what he’s writing about and does so with speed and insider details.” ―David MorrellNew York Timesbest-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is a hell of a debut novel with a terrifying plot and relentless action that made sure the only time I wasn’t turning pages was when I was looking over my shoulder.” ―Joshua Hood, author of Clear by Fire and Warning Order

 

 

 

LET THE GAMES BEGIN…

 

 

What made you venture into writing?

Initially, it was simply a love of story telling, but as my novel
developed it was the feeling that came from creating complex
characters and the environment that drives them. I think that the only
way to create an authentic story is to study yourself, your
relationships, and the human condition in general. People are what
drive a good story, and so you have to become an observer of
people. The pleasure of writing doesn’t just occur while sitting behind
a keyboard, it also comes from watching the world around you,
grabbing little tidbits of dialogue, vignettes, or interesting human
interactions.

 

 

 

 

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Do you have any favorite books or authors that influenced you
early on?

As a boy I loved the Jack London stories where life has been
distilled down to its most base, uncivilized components, where a
man’s fate is decided by fire, food and fang. In Jack’s world, that’s
where you find out who you are.
My novel starts off with our protagonist living squarely in the
modern world, surrounded by gadgets, technology and civilized
mores. But by the ending he has descended into a world that has
more in common with the bronze age than any other, a place where
the day is won by the strength of a man’s will and his willingness to
harness medieval savagery. Perhaps Mr. London would approve…

 

 

How long did it take you to finish Into the Dark Frontier?

The creation of the story wasn’t linear, with a precise beginning
and ending. Imagine dozens of seeds scattered across a garden, and
over several years the sprouting seedlings are gradually bound
together, trimmed away, uprooted and replanted until 6 years later
they have been woven into some semblance of a story. Then spend 4
more years pitching that mess to agents, re-writing, editing and
eventually hacking out 60K words. So to answer your question, it was
about 10 years.

 

 

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Describe some challenges writing your first book.

One of the biggest problems was settling on a point-of- view.
Initially, I chose Third Person Omniscient and the narrator rotated
between the intertwined, converging stories of the Hero, the Sidekick,
and the Villain. This seems to be the most popular format in modern
thrillers but I couldn’t get it to work. The story always kept collapsing
back down to Slade and the peripheral stories always became
lackluster and fell apart. Eventually I realized that this was because
the story belonged to Slade and Slade alone, it was about his
journey. I started over and confined the narrator to Slade’s head and
his immediate surroundings, so the reader lives the story entirely
through his eyes. The advantage of this technique is that it makes it
very easy to generate a sense of mystery and spring surprises on the reader.

The downside of this technique is that it leaves a lot of unfilled
space in the story line, and readers will begin to fill that blank space
with their own preconceived ideas. Overcoming those preconceived
ideas can be extremely difficult, and if not overcome, can lead a
reader to misinterpret what the author is trying to communicate.
For example, IADF devotes only a few paragraphs of backstory
to illustrate Slade’s time in prison and subsequent decision to jump
parole. Recently, a professional review of IADF came out and they
mentioned how Slade had busted out of a “black-site” prison.
It sounds interesting, but unfortunately there was no black-site
and no thrilling jailbreak. The reviewer had filled in details that didn’t
actually exist. It’s only after you have feedback from a broad
audience that you can begin to see where you left holes for readers
to fall through. Actually, feedback like that is priceless, it shows how
much I have to learning about crafting a story.

 

 

 

The 3d guy got over the challenge

 

 

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most?

When the characters began to say and do things that surprised
me, or they took the story in an unexpected direction. Once that
happened I began to feel like it was their world and I was just a visitor
to it. After that I wasn’t creating the characters or their story, I was
just a novice painter struggling to draw them properly and my
greatest responsibility was to make sure they weren’t
misrepresented.

 

 

What motivates Slade Crawford?

Slade is a tragic character torn by competing and irreconcilable
instincts. First and foremost he is a wolf, with a wolf’s passion for the
kill. But he also has a sense of duty to his country, family and those
that depend upon him. Unfortunately, his killer instincts compel him to
return to the fight again and again, leading him to forsake the very
people that he claims he is protecting. Fighting is what he does best,
but a wife and child don’t need a fighter, they need a husband and
dad. So, he fails them, bigly.
Slade is also entering the autumn of his life and has begun to
look back on, and examine his failures. His doubts concerning his
own morality, and his need for atonement become central to the
story. In order to explore this side of his character I surrounded Slade
with a supporting cast chosen for their varying moral codes, ranging
from devoutly moral, to ambivalent, to amoral and then downright evil.
Watching Slade interact with these different people was one of the
most rewarding aspects of writing the book. I painted this facet of the
story with a very light brush as I did not want to come off as preachy.
If I was successful then I think that an attentive reader will experience
something a bit deeper than a straight action novel.

 

 

What was it like crafting a character like Slade?

It became extremely personal, as Slade is an amalgamation of
myself and several people that I know. Slade’s internal struggles are
not fiction, they come from the life stories of people that I care about.
The central tragedy that haunts Slade was taken from the real

experience of a soldier that I befriended a few years ago. I asked him
if I could use his story and he eventually gave me permission. I was
hesitant to use it, but in the end I was hoping that if my buddy could
externalize the tragedy, see it happen to somebody else, then
perhaps he could gain a healthier perspective on it.
So to answer your question, it was not easy, I felt like Slade’s
actions and responses had to be true to the real people that he
represents.

 

 

Lead us into your decision to choose Africa as a setting. 

I wanted to create a modern story in the tradition of the classic
Westerns, and a Western requires two things: #1, a lawless land that
nobody controls, and #2, a place that settlers (pioneers) would
actually want to emigrate to.
There’s lots of places in the Middle East that fit the bill for
characteristic #1, but I can’t picture anybody packing up and
emigrating to Yemen. Conversely, Africa has the right combination of
political volatility, simmering violence, fertile lands and untapped
resources in which I could create a believable story.

 

 

 

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Have you ever been there?

No, it’s one of the few places I haven’t been yet. For research I
read extensively about the Victorian explorers of the 1800’s and their
exploits in Africa. Much of the story’s sense of wilderness is based

upon what they experienced. I also spent a good bit of time doing the
ol’ Google Earth research expedition.

Describe your experience writing about action scenes versus
being out in the field.

I found that actual combat is far different from how it is depicted in
most thriller novels. Modern combat scenes are typically very detailed
and they portray combat as a series of discreet, separate events that
the subject is aware of and in control of; “He turned 45 degrees to his
left, raised the glock 9mm, aligned the sights on his targets center of
mass then squeezed trigger until…”
This technique builds a picture of what is happening, but it’s like
trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you’ll
end up understanding what goes where, but you will be completely
clueless as to the human side of the experience.
The authors that I tried to emulate, and who best describe the
fear, confusion and altered-state reality of combat are James Salter,
Cormac McCarthy, James Frazier and Anthony Loyd.

 

 

Will this be a standalone or part of a series?

It’s set up to be a series. I’ve got the second book plotted out
but I am waiting on reader reactions to the first book before I make
some big decisions. I can reveal that Book 2 will focus on the
character Elizabeth and her response to what happened in Book 1,
but how I will tell her story is still in doubt. I don’t know if I’ll keep my

narrator confined to Slade’s head, share time inside Elizabeth’s head,
or shift over to her entirely. To be honest I’m terrified of trying to
represent what’s going on in her head, I’m pretty sure I’ll make a hash
of it and end up getting loads of female hate mail. We’ll see…

 

 

 

 

 

Into a Dark Frontier

 

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Mystery Thriller Week begins Feb. 12-22, 2018. Sign up HERE.

 

Don’t miss the 3rd MTW 2018 Brainstorming session this Saturday 9/9/17 11am-12pm EST. Click HERE  to attend.

 

 

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About the author:

Lt. Col. John Mangan is a decorated combat rescue pilot, novelist and coffeehouse poet. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, was an instructor at the Survival Escape Resistance & Evasion (SERE) school, and is currently an HH-60G, Pave Hawk instructor pilot. He has deployed to the Middle East eight times and has commanded the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His actions in combat have been documented in the books Not a Good Day to DieNone Braver, and Zero Six Bravo. He has flown combat missions with PJs, SEALs, Delta, Rangers, and the SAS. John has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor twice, The Air Medal twelve times, and the 2009 Cheney Award.

 

 

 

 

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