Book Review: Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Need to Know Karen Cleveland

 

 

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?

 

Releases today! Need to Know is available now.

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

I absolutely loved this book! Karen Cleveland comes out swinging in her debut novel with CIA counterintellligence analyst Vivian Miller. She discovers a secret so deep it rattles her to the core of every aspect of her life. She then struggles to solve a dilemma that seeks to rip her apart limb by limb. 

I really enjoyed the deep point of view for this type of thriller. I felt gripped by the protagonist’s anxiety, fear, love, vulnerability and moral dilemma. It made the story that much richer. 

 The tension is palpable with juicy conflict, and the suspense is off the charts.

Don’t miss it! It’ll be one of the best of 2018!

 

 

 

Karen Cleveland photo

 

Karen Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA analyst, the last six in counterterrorism. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and from Harvard University. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young kids.

 

Goodreads | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook

 

Murder in the Meadow Blog Tour with Author Faith Martin

MIM cover jpg

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour BANNER - Murder in the Meadow

 

 

 BOOK DESCRIPTION

MURDER IN THE MEADOW by Faith Martin

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery  with a feisty female detective?

Meet DI HILLARY GREENE, a policewoman struggling to save her career and catch criminals.

Wayne Sutton is found dead by a stream in a beautiful meadow. His head has been bashed in and a red paper heart left on his body. The handsome young artist had a reputation as a ladies’ man.

DI Hillary Greene discovers that there were many wealthy married women buying his paintings and taking ‘private’ art lesson from him.  It appears that several of them might have wanted him dead.

Hillary also has a new detective sergeant, Gemma Fordham. Seemingly efficient and pleasant, she harbours a secret agenda.

Can Hillary get to the bottom of a complex case involving jealousy, love, and cold-blooded murder?

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to finish.

MURDER IN THE MEADOW  is the seventh in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.
Perfect for fans of  Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

If you haven’t started the DI Hillary Green series then you’re missing out. I always find it fascinating to peer into the point of view of protagonist Hillary. She investigates the mysterious death of a young Casanova who’s left by the river with red heart pinned to his chest. Who had the motivation to kill him? A former lover? A jealous one?

Faith Martin is having such great success by re-releasing this series with Joffe books. Her writing is really entertaining, witty, with great characters and well thought out plots. I recommend Murder in the Meadow and the rest of the series to anyone.

 

 

Review image Faith martin

 

 

THE LOCATION
The pretty iron stone village of Deddington.  Not far from the market town of Banbury (noted for its famous Banbury Cross of the nursery rhyme “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross, to see a fine lady upon a white horse, with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes.”)  It has an attractive and unusual church, antique shop and hotel, and several pubs known locally for their cuisine.  Although not a tourist spot as such, it is a picturesque spot.  Water meadows, such as the one where the body is found, are a feature of valleys in the area, and regularly flood in the winter time, adding  nutrients to the soil, making them especially lovely in the spring and summer, when they can flower quite spectacularly.

 

 

 

meadow faith martin

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

Investigation image faith martin

 

 

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “BESIDE A NARROW STREAM.”

DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES
BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
BOOK 4: MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
BOOK 5: MURDER IN THE FAMILY
BOOK 6: MURDER AT HOME
BOOK 7: MURDER IN THE MEADOW
Books 8-11 coming soon!

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

unnamed

 

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. MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY, MURDER OF THE BRIDE, MURDER IN THE VILLAGE, MURDER IN THE FAMILY and MURDER AT HOME are available now. Books 8-11 coming soon!

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.

 

 

 

Check out Jill’s Books n All Book Promotions! Crime books, book reviews, blog tours and more. Booksnall.blog

 

Don’t miss Mystery Thriller Week 2018. The new dates for this year are April 12th-22nd. Don’t miss out!

 

 

 

Blog Tour: The Call by Amanda Fleet

 

Female using her mobile phone outside at night

 

 

 

What if your ex-boyfriend called you desperately asking for life-or-death help?

 
Summer Morris gets a phone call from her ex-lover Patrick begging for help. But he’s cut off before he can give her all the details.

He’s in deep trouble. She would have been happy to never hear from him again, but can she really refuse to help a man whose life is in danger?

Patrick turns out to have many enemies who might want him dead. He’s been working in Malawi and uncovered a scandal. He’s involved with a powerful woman. And he’s borrowed money from the wrong people. And that’s just for starters.

Along with an off-duty policeman, DS Stewart, Summer gets swept into Patrick’s world of lies and deceit, in a desperate race against time to find him alive.

Who is behind Patrick’s disappearance and can Summer find out before it’s too late?

 

 

Amanda fleet blog-tour-banner-the-call

 

 

Eight Things You Might Not Have Known About Amanda Fleet Until Now


1. She spent 20 years lecturing in human physiology at university before a serious health issue made her reassess her life, and leave to focus on writing. Most of those years were at the University of St Andrews, where she also did her undergraduate degree.

2. Naturally ambidextrous, she generally writes with her right hand, but all of her lab books were written left-handed during her PhD after RSI in her right prevented her from being able to hold a pen.

3. She helped to set up a charity in Malawi that works to help homeless children stay in education. The charity buys uniforms and school supplies, pays school fees and helps to support any remaining family to keep the children off the streets.

4. She never drinks coffee, but drinks oceans of tea. Her favourite tea is Fortnum and Mason’s Earl Grey, for its hint of smokiness along with the bergamot.

5. She once did a charity lecture for medical students, dressed as Braveheart, wearing her husband’s kilt. The outfit was completed by blue face paint and a plastic sword, which she used as a pointer during the lecture. Amanda is English, incidentally. The irony was not lost on her.

6. A stationery addict from an early age, the has a cupboard full of notebooks and another full of fountain pen ink. She probably owns more notebooks and ink than she will be able to use in a lifetime.

7. She has ‘O’ levels in Art and Latin. One has been much more useful than the other!

8. She loves a good ceilidh. Strip the Willow (conventional or Orcadian version) is her favourite dance.

 

 
 

amanda-fleet-author-photo

 

 

AUTHOR BIO

Amanda Fleet is a physiologist by training and a writer at heart. She spent 18 years teaching science and medicine undergraduates at St Andrews University, but now uses her knowledge to work out how to kill people (in her books!). She completed her first degree at St Andrews University and her doctorate at University College, London.

She has been an inveterate stationery addict since a child, amassing a considerable stash of fountain pens, ink and notebooks during her lifetime. These have thankfully come in useful, as she tends to write rather than type, at least in the early stages of writing a book.

During her time at St Andrews, she was involved with two Scottish Government funded projects, working with the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. While in Malawi, she learned about the plight of the many street children there and helped to set up a Community Based Organisation that works with homeless Malawian children to support them through education and training – Chimwemwe Children’s Centre. It was this experience that helped to shape the Malawian aspects in her first novel, The Wrong Kind of Clouds.

Amanda lives in Scotland with her husband, where she can be found writing, walking and running. The Wrong Kind of Clouds is her début novel and was published by Matador in early 2016. It will be re-published by Joffe Books.

 

Twitter @amanda_fleet1

 

Blog Tour: Murder in the Village by Faith Martin

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00066]

 

 

 

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

Then meet DI HILLARY GREENE, a policewoman struggling to save her career and catch criminals.

A would-be politician is found battered to death in the kitchenof his expensive home in a lovely Oxfordshire village. His wife’s alibi is full of holes and there’s another woman in the background. And what about his seemingly mild-mannered political rival?

DI Hillary Greene tries to get to the bottom of this perplexing murder. She certainly doesn’t think the prime suspect is as guilty as everyone thinks.

Just as she’s about to make a breakthrough, everything is turned upside down by a fatal development in another case she is working on . . .

Can Hillary find the murderer and will she survive a brush with one of Oxford’s most dangerous criminals? 

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to finish.

MURDER IN THE VILLAGE is the fourth in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.

 

 

“This is the best book in the series so far.” -Barbara 

“Another page-turning book by Faith Martin, I just couldn’t put it down.” -Viv 

 

 

 

 

bestsellers-1656185__340

 

 

 

THE LOCATION

The picturesque village of Lower Heyford, set in North Oxfordshire’s Cherwell Valley, nestles close to the Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Farming country, the village has been in existence in one form or another for over a thousand years, providing a natural ‘ford’ for oxen over the river since medieval times. A mix of thatched and old stone and slate cottages, it is home to local families and rich ‘incomers’ alike. It’s proximity by train to both London and Birmingham make it a very desirable place to live indeed, and both the Oxford canal and the river Cherwell run close to it, making it haven for walkers, boaters and wildlife.

 

 

 

oxford-2368748_960_720

 

 

 

 

“What the Detective story is about is not about murder but the restoration of order.”–P.D. James

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Detective search

 

 

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.

 

Review

I’m not sure how to put this, but Faith Martin writes page turners. Every book in the series is delightful to say the least. Every writer is different in how they tell a story, but what I appreciate about Faith Martin’s books are balance with a touch of humor. They’re the perfect balance of character, dialogue, and narrative. This makes for a very pleasurable experience.

 

Four golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES

BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
BOOK 4: MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
MORE COMING SOON!

 

Faith Martin

 

Author photo

 

 

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.

Amazon | Twitter | Facebook Goodreads

 

Blog Tour: Murder of the Bride by Faith Martin

 

bride cover - png

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

Book description

 

MURDER OF THE BRIDE by Faith Martin

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

Then meet DI HILLARY GREENE, the police woman with a nose for the truth.

DI Hillary Greene is called out to attend a suspicious death at Three Oaks Farm in the picturesque village of Steeple Barton.

The large farmhouse is filled with music and revellers, but when she steps into the farm’s large cowshed, Hillary finds a dead bride. Dressed in a gorgeous and sumptuous white gown, the young, beautiful redhead had clearly been strangled.

But not everything is what it seems, and the victim turns out to be at the centre of a web of jealousy and intrigue in the close-knit village. Many of the villagers have a motive for murdering her but they’re not giving up their secrets easily.

Can Hillary discover the real reason for this brutal crime and cope with the spiralling revelations about her dead ex-husband?

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to finish.

MURDER OF THE BRIDE is the third in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire. 

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

 

 

wedding-2367561_960_720

 

THE LOCATION
North west Oxfordshire is farming country, and parts of it belong to the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty. Here the river Cherwell wanders through buttercup-strewn water meadows, where both sheep, horses and cattle graze. Spotted with woodlands, meandering narrow country lanes, and home to re-introduced soaring red kites, buzzards and other abundant wildlife, its thatched cottages and ancient farmhouses could be featured on any number of chocolate boxes. But don’t be totally fooled — it’s very much a working environment, and farmers are out in all seasons, tending their crops and livestock. And under the bucolic surface, dark secrets lurk.

 

 

Wooden arrow sign pointing destination OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

detective-151275_960_720

 

 

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “NARROW IS THE WAY.”

DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES
BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
MORE COMING SOON!

 

The DI Hillary Greene series is a very interesting series written by Faith Martin. She does a marvelous job of painting the dynamics of the investigators, but I always enjoy the POV of Hillary herself. Faith knows how to weave a well written mystery in style with a touch of humor. From the first book, Murder on the Oxford Canal, the series gets better and better. Read on!

 

Four golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

 

Author photo

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Fatal Secrets by Janice Frost

 

Cover JPG

 

 

 

Book Blurb

 

THE EAGERLY AWAITED NEW MYSTERY FROM BEST-SELLING AUTHOR JANICE FROST

Two students coming home from a drunken night out see something strange in the river. It is a young woman’s body.

Hours later, a second young woman’s body is discovered on another stretch of the same river.

DS Ava Merry and DI Jim Neal are assigned to both investigations. And they’re joined by a new detective, Tom Knight.

Soon a connection is found between the two dead women. A list of “victims” is discovered in one of their flats. Who will be next and what really happened to the women on this sinister list?

In a thrilling conclusion, Jim Neal fights for his life as the two detectives struggle to solve a complex case involving people with secrets that may prove fatal.

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will be gripped by this exciting new crime fiction writer.

 

 

 

THE DETECTIVES

DS Ava Merry is a young policewoman, recently promoted to detective sergeant. She is fitness fanatic with a taste for dangerous relationships. DI Jim Neal is single dad who juggles his devotion to his job with caring for his son.

 

 

 

figure-2527304_960_720

 

 

DS MERRY & DI NEAL SERIES
Book 1: DEAD SECRET
Book 2: DARK SECRET
Book 3: HER HUSBAND’S SECRET
Book 4: THEIR FATAL SECRETS

 

 

My Review:

 

I found this book to be entertaining and well written. A complex plot with the characters interwoven in some way shape or form. I always enjoy stories that have a strong villain because it makes for a better read. The motivations for the protagonists and antagonists and solving of the crime make this a good read.

 

Four golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

Author Bio:  Janice Frost

 

Janice Frost - author photo JPG

 

 

 

Janice was born and grew up in West Lothian, Scotland. After completing an English degree at St Andrew’s University, she moved to London where she lived for ten years doing an assortment of jobs. Her passions are reading, writing and walking in Scotland and the Lake District. She lives in Lincolnshire with her husband and two sons.

 

 

 

Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

 

Fatal Secrets Blog tour

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@MTW_2018

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

Blog Tour: Murder at the University by Faith Martin

cover png

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Author photo

 

 

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.

 

 

 

interview-1714370_960_720

 

 

 

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!)

 

 

 

 

sherlock-holmes-147255_960_720

 

 

 
(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.

 

 

 

man-1675685_960_720

 

 

 
(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.

 

 

 

Inspector removing a white card with Inspector sign from the inn

 

 

 
(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

 

Author photo

 

Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

 

BLOG TOUR BANNER - Murder at the University

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@MTW_2018

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Writing Combat, After Combat by John Mangan

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Writing Combat, After Combat

 

Like many young men I was raised on a steady diet of thrillers and military action novels. After devouring hundreds of books, ranging from Tom Clancy’s techno wizardry, to Robert Ludlum’s classics, and The Outrider series by Richard Harding, I figured that I had combat figured out. After all, I’d read thousands of action scenes that described in excruciating detail every conceivable combat move, gunshot, reload, judo chop, wound and scream. I’d lived through numerous dogfights, firefights, fistfights, bombings and ambushes. I’d sighted down my rifle, pulled the
4.5 lb match grade trigger, felt the recoil, and watched as my 62 grain, boat tailed hollow point bullet impacted a target, center of mass, at 3200 FPS. I was ready.

 
Then I was in combat, and what I realized within the first 30 seconds was that all those books had gotten it wrong. Phenomenally, epically wrong. Contrary to what I’d read, the experience of combat wasn’t just a linear series of physical events; instead, it was an enormously personal, tidal wave of primordial impulses and scalding, mind blanking fear. My  favorite authors hadn’t only missed the mark, they’d been shooting in the wrong damn direction.

 

 

aim

 

 
In retrospect, trying to understand combat by reading a thriller is like trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you will arrive at a detailed understanding of what goes where, and who does what to whom, but ultimately, you won’t see the human side of the game. This is what separates pornography from explicit romance; One depicts a series of discreet physical acts, the other communicates a subjective human experience. Perhaps that’s the crux of the issue; one depicts, the other communicates. Like love, grief, or joy, combat is a complex emotional phenomenon that leaves a deep and wrenching impact upon the people who experience it.

 
So what was combat like? Imagine that you are on a rafting trip with your friends, thoroughly enjoying the adventure as you explore a new stretch of river. Suddenly, you enter whitewater and the raft begins bucking and spinning. You are tossed about and spray drenches you, but you find it exhilarating because your team responds as a well trained unit, working together, guiding the raft successfully through the chaos. You are going to make it. You are in control. Right up to the moment that you aren’t…

 

 

 

combat

 

 
With a heave the raft overturns and you are thrown into the river. You and your team are now being swept along by the power of events far beyond your control, smashing into each other and off of rocks, rolling through rapids and tumbling off of falls. Your actions become base and instinctual, you reach for your comrades, hold your breath, stroke for the surface, and try to guild yourself around obstacles both seen and unseen. But you intuitively know that the best of your efforts are merely token gestures and that you are being carried along by a force more powerful than any single man caught up in it. This force has a will of its own and your attempts to influence it are more illusion than anything else. You will be released at the time of its choosing, not yours. For me, that was combat; being immersed in a force that was terrifyingly intimate, unknowable and beyond any measure of control.

 
So how did that experience guide the creation of Into a Dark Frontier? First and foremost, I think readers have grown numb to elaborate scenes describing combat in excruciating detail. In today’s world of hyper violent entertainment, the firing of a gun has become routine, the spattering of blood trite, the death of a human meaningless. That doesn’t mean that an artist should shy away from depicting violence, for it is part of the human experience. But how do you do it in a way that stirs your audience, leaves a lasting impression and advances the story? Strangely enough, I think that the poets of old did it best.

 

 
While eulogizing World War I in his epic poem, “The Second Coming”, W.B. Yeats didn’t even mention the horrors of trench warfare, instead, he said that a “blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned,” and “what rough beast, its time come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” In one short poem the entire terrible spirit of 1914-1918 is laid bare before you. By omitting physical details, Yeats swept away the clutter and unearthed the soul of the event, not only of the war itself, but what it meant for the future of humanity.

 
But a poet’s verse doesn’t always have to span continents and nations; Tennyson spoke of “men that strove with gods.”

 
Sir Walter Scott described, “The stern joy that warriors feel in foemen worthy of their steel.”

 
And who could forget Henry V’s blood curdling speech to the people of Harfleur?
(Edited for brevity)

 

 
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up
And the fleshed soldier, rough and hard of heart
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell mowing like grass
Your fresh fair virgins and your flow’ring infants
While your pure maidens fall into the hand
Of hot and forcing violation.

 
O’erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
Of heady murder, spoil and villainy.
If not, why, in a moment look to see
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters,
Your fathers taken by their silver beards

 

And their most reverend heads dashed to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted on pikes
While the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herods bloody-hunting slaughtermen

 

 
Just look at those incredible words! Foul hands, slaughtermen, shrill-shrieking, and heady murder. Not only is the poet allowed to paint with a more vivid palette, they are also given the freedom to strip away irrelevant physical details until they find not only the humanity of an event, but its enduring meaning as well. I think that combat, like love, is too complex and forceful to be restrained by the rules of prose. That is why lovers turn to music and poetry to express themselves. Perhaps warriors can as well.

 

 

“I think that combat, like love, is too complex and forceful to be restrained by the rules of prose.”

 

 
So who describes combat best in these modern times? My favorites are Cormac McCarthy, Charles Frazier, Anthony Loyd and James Salter. They are masters of lyrical prose, telling a sharp and detailed story that swerves into poetry at times and then back again before you even have time to hear the rumble strips. The beauty of their words are a counterpoint to the horrors they describe and I find myself drawn to their stories again and again.

 

 

 

excellent

 

 

 
Having said all this, am I satisfied with the action scenes in my novel Into a Dark Frontier? No, I am not. There’s a sentence here and there that I am proud of, maybe even a paragraph or two. I have a long way to go, but I’m confident that I’ll get there someday, and that’s what keeps me writing.

 

 

 

Into a Dark Frontier

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

Have a reply for John? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

John Mangan
Author of Into a Dark Frontier
www.JohnManganBooks.com

 

 

 

 

In the News: Law & Vengeance by Mike Papantonio

words News

 

 

Mike Papantonio is back with his second novel with Law and Vengeance and is sure to be a winner. So don’t miss out on this legal thriller!

 

Law and Vengeance

 

 

From the Author

Mike Papantonio, a leading trial lawyer and the television host of America’s Lawyer, has delivered his new action-packed legal thriller. This time his leading character is a beautiful, determined woman who built her career as a criminal trial lawyer by believing she could play by the rules and still achieve justice for her clients. But the gruesome murder of her law partner and former lover has turned her world upside down―and suddenly she’s on a playing field where there are no rules.

When Gina Romano learns America’s largest weapons manufacturer has her in its crosshairs, she realizes this time the pursuit of justice is not enough.

In her own two-pronged attack against her enemies, her strategy is to win both in the courtroom and, when necessary, outside of it.

Based on a real case, Mike Papantonio delivers the goods in his carefully drawn, likeable characters and a smart, well-told adventure.

 

 

Law and Vengeance: Introducing Gina Romano

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss this Eye opening Television Interview with Mike Papantonio.

 

 

 

Mike Papantonio is a senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the largest plaintiffs’ law firms in America, that has handled thousands of cases throughout the nation involving pharmaceutical drug litigation, Florida tobacco litigation, litigation for asbestos-related health damage, securities fraud actions, and other mass tort cases. “Pap” has received dozens of multimillion dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate corruption.

Papantonio is one of the youngest attorneys to have been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. In 2012 Papantonio became President of the National Trial Lawyers Association, one of the largest trial lawyer organizations in America. For his trial work on behalf of consumers, Papantonio has received some of the most prestigious awards reserved by the Public Justice Foundation, The American Association for Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Papantonio is an author of four motivational books for lawyers. He is also co-author of Air America: The Playbook, a New York Times Political Best Seller.

Papantonio is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show “Ring of Fire” along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder. Papantonio has conducted hundreds of recorded interviews with guests, including Dan Rather, Helen Thomas, Howard Zinn, Arianna Huffington, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bernie Sanders, David Crosby, Merle Haggard, Morgan Spurlock, John Edwards, Bill Moyers, Rickie Lee Jones, Alanis Morissette, Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, Chuck D from Public Enemy, Henry Rollins, Ted Sorensen, and Elizabeth Kucinich. His role on “Ring of Fire” is featured in the movie, “Jesus Camp,” which was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

Papantonio is also a political commentator who frequently appears on MSNBC, Free Speech TV, RT America Network, and Fox News.

Papantonio is married and has one daughter. He is an avid scuba diver and often dives on the Emerald Coast.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook

 

OTHER RESOURCES

 

Book Review: Law and Disorder

 

Law and Disorder

 

 

 

Special Feature from the Crime Division by Robert K. Tanenbaum

So You Want to Write a Legal Thriller

Readers, bloggers, authors, sign up for Mystery Thriller Week:  #MTW_2018

 

 

MTW 2018 Banner 1

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@MTW_2018

The Writing Train

AudioSpy.org