Freya 800AD: Viking era by Jean Mead @jeanmeadauthor #review #blogger #historical #mystery

I am so excited to be featuring a book I absolutely love. Not only is the cover one of the best I’ve seen in this genre, but the deep layers of research and the history of the time make it a must-read for all historical mystery lovers.  If you enjoy Viking war heroes, this book will provide a window into the harsh Nordic winters and a remarkable woman called Freya. Be sure to check out More Exciting News after my review.

Book description

Freya 800AD: Viking era by [Mead, Jean]Viking Era Fiction – Freya Sigvat lived more than a thousand years ago at the beginning of the Viking raids on Britain. When her husband, and the men of the settlement, sail across the Norse Sea to wreak havoc on Britain, Freya is left to manage the almost deserted settlement. Knut, a man of the mountains with a warped and cruel mind crosses the threshold of her family longhouse with devastating consequences. In a cruel twist of fate, Freya is forced to desert those she loves to live in isolation. Surviving through a long dark winter with wolves and bears roaming the frozen wilderness. This is the story of a remarkable woman, her heroism and terrifying adventure. The drama of a family feud, romance, secrets and eventual betrayal.

Book Links: US flag US here  British flag UK here

Print Length: 267 pages

Publisher: Novel Publishing (October 6, 2014)

Publication Date: October 6, 2014

ASIN: B00O8VCKQO

Thriller & Suspense Action Fiction

Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction

Action Thriller Fiction

Review

Freya Sigvat lies awake in the longhouse dreading the coming day. The thought of her husband leaving for the wide open sea in his precious longboat is breaking her heart. Perhaps the next time she hears his voice will be in her head. Mead takes her readers back to the time of the Vikings, a time of hardship and restrained emotions, a time of war and heroes, where tenderness doesn’t belong. It’s easy to conjure scenes of ‘dark crests rising out of thin mists’ – slopes a myriad of greys, lilacs and blues and a dark peppering of oak and pine trees. You can even smell the smoldering moss of the fire and the honeyed mead.

Old Unnur has the ears of the gods and she can see into the future. With a good cup of mead she’s a hearty companion with a sharp mind full of memories. But Freya’s mind is hardly on the mead or the warmth of the fire. She thinks of Olaf, feels the pull of his spirit, whilst Olaf’s mind is on battle, his sword high over his head in the excitement of it all. My senses warn me his return will be anything but ordinary. Will these men conquer those far off lands? What plunder will they bring back?

Each chapter is laced with intrigue and when one danger is past, another slams full force into the community. There is no doubt this book has been well researched. It is poetically written, movie-worthy and one that will take you on an exciting journey providing a marvelous window into Norske society.

What people are saying:

Beautifully mastered historical fiction. I definitely recommend this book to all those who like historical fiction or can’t seem to get enough of Vikings!  – J.M. Northrup

A step back in time. Another compelling book by Jean Mead as she takes us back in time to life in a bygone age.  – Rosalie Marsh

If you want to know how life was in those times, look no further than this story of Freya. – Gunnardottir

A viking heroine! When I finished reading, I found the characters still inhabiting my imagination.  – Mary Rose

The characters are rich and complex, especially Freya. I was drawn into their lives and hungry for more. – Andrew Ternay

Jean Mead has researched thoroughly to create a novel that takes its reader to Ninth Century Norway – to a world of longhouses, sleeping benches, and Pictish hordes. – Amazon Reviewer

A gritty drama. With the ships movements I could easily have been onboard. – Amazon Reviewer

More exciting news!

Jean Mead has a new book coming out on 8th December with pre-order available mid November. You’ll find the blurb below on the back of this beautiful book jacket. Mark your calendars and reserve space on your book shelves, coffee tables and kindles. You won’t want to miss this one!

About the Author:

Jean MeadJean Mead was born in Warwickshire in England. Moved to Staffordshire at the age of seven and attended the Howard school in Elford. Later moved to a school in Tamworth. The family moved back to Warwickshire and at the age of thirteen Jean attended Sharmans Cross High for Girls.

Writing was always a favourite occupation. Many dozen of short stories were published in magazines in the UK, America, Ireland and Australia.

The Other Famous Five, a novel for children was her first book to be published. A contemporary novel written under another name followed. Eventually The Widow Makers and The Widow Makers:Strife were published.

Freya 800 AD is the latest book. This is the story of a woman living more than a thousand years ago at the beginning of the Viking raids on Britain.

A contemporary novel No Goodbye will be in bookshops early 2013.

Jean is now completing the 3rd book in the historical trilogy, The Widow Makers:Road’s End.

More books by Jean Mead:

jean meads books

 

Top Six Books I’ve Read This Year

Due to a transfer in career from New Mexico to Utah, I decided to take a brief hiatus from writing. Having completed a stand-alone thriller and nearing the end of the Detective Temeke series, there’s no better escape than reading books. Here are six of my favorites this year written by brilliant, talented writers.

AAA Oliver

Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press, (Simon and Schuster) Pages: 273. Rating 4.3. Reviews 315. Genre: Family Life, Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Thriller and Suspense.

Brief Description: Oliver Ryan has the perfect life. Elegant and seductive, he wants for nothing, sharing a lovely home with his steadfast wife, Alice, who illustrates the award-winning children’s books that have brought him wealth and fame. Until one evening, after eating the dinner Alice has carefully prepared, Oliver savagely assaults her and leaves her for dead.

Described as a whydunnit rather than a whodunnit, Unraveling Oliver is an intricately woven story of a man who apparently has everything. Or does he? Highly suspenseful and told from the perspectives of the injured parties, it is the tragic story of a fractured mind. Some of the reviews indicate that readers found the alternating points of view hard to get to grips with, but I love this style. If a book doesn’t have that extra layer it can fall flat for me and I end up distracted and looking for food. This story intrigued me and after the last page, the plot was thick enough to stick for at least a week. Highly recommended.

The wife between us

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press. Pages: 342. Rating 4.2. Reviews 1,739. Genre: Women’s Fiction, Psychological, Detective, Suspense.

Brief Description: When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

I found this story intriguing although a little slow to begin with. A twisty plot of love and betrayal written from two points of view, Nellie (the bride) and Vanessa (the disturbed ex). You you get the impression fairly early on that we are not getting the whole story and I had to go back and reread sections to make sure I had it down correctly. It’s well-read territory, twists and turns are a little contrived but around the half-way mark the reveal took me by surprise. The book is described as a clever suspense novel and compared to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. I’m not sure it’s quite up there, but it’s well worth the read.

Silent Girls

Publisher: Witness Impulse/Harper Collins. Pages: 411. Rating 4.0. Reviews: 1,406. Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense. Heist. Supernatural. United States.

Brief Description: Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective’s badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an ’89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

I had heard of Eric Rickstad but not read any of his novels. Needless to say, I was hooked at the first few pages. He has a rhythmic writing style I love, although I could have done with less of the short sentences. They were a little choppy and when more than one character (narrative voice) attempted the same style, it can get confusing. This was another book I thought I had figured out, but nope. The ending, for me, was a serious twist. Not everyone likes cliffhangers, so I hope he comes up with a second book. Recommended.

I let you go

Publisher: Berkley, Penguin Group. Pages: 377. Rating: 4.3. Reviews: 1,275. Genre: Women’s Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense. Detective. Psychological.

Brief Description: On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street… I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

The blurb for I Let You Go enticed me to buy it and I was glad I did. The book tells the story of a mother who loses her child in an accident (not a spoiler since this is in the blurb) during those one of those dangerous split seconds of inattention. Its the hit-and-run the reader focuses on and Jenna’s way of coping with this terrible tragedy.  Unputdownable and disturbing, and brought home by brilliant, atmospheric writing. Just too many layers of this particular onion that I enjoyed, a truly emotional journey that made me feel no matter what Jenna did, she was going to pay the price at some point. Highly recommended.

all the light

Publisher: Scribner, Simon and Schuster. Pages: 545. Rating: 4.6. Reviews: 28,078. Genre: Historical Fiction, French, German, Military.

Brief Description: Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

Probably one of my favorite books of all time, All The Light We Cannot See takes you through the lives of Marie-Laure, her father and the gadget-obsessed German orphan Werner, tied together by a dangerous and priceless gem. It’s an intricate masterpiece that draws you in so you can’t fail to become personally connected. With alternating character chapters, the atrocities and the lasting scars on each will very likely create an image of war some of us have never imagined. I think this book will haunt me for some time. Highly recommended.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing. Pages: 526. Rating: 4.8. Reviews: 19,097. Genre: Literary Fiction, Biographical, Women’s Fiction. 

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

With phenomenal ratings—4.8—it’s no surprise that this cinematic and literary work was chosen by Pascal Pictures to be made into a movie. Based on a true story and set against the backdrop of Nazi-occupied Milan during World War II, this book carries an intense pace and leaves you feeling like one of the characters and not just the reader. Pino becomes a driver for Major General Leyer, and through his eyes we ‘see’ all the harrowing Nazi atrocities and the allied advances to liberate northern Italy. Full of action and suspense, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. The writing is poetic and impeccable and as quoted within the opening chapters, nothing will ever be the same. Highly recommended.

There’s nothing like reading a book with that extra special magic, the type of book you can’t bear to finish. If you’re searching for a compulsively readable novel, these must-read books, complete with publisher information, ratings, genre and descriptions, are impossible to put down. 

Next, I will be reading a book by Tess Gerritson, Paula Hawkins and K.L. Slater.

 

 

 

Review Tour – Song Hereafter: 1153: Hispania and the Isles of Albion (The Troubadours Quartet Book 4) Published by @The 13th Sign #BookReview

I am thrilled to note that award winning author Jean Gill has published the fourth book in her much loved Troubadours series. Song Hereafter has already garnered five star reviews from bestselling authors and publishers alike and promises to entice readers further with a great book description. The Wishing Shelf calls this book  ‘Evocative and thoroughly riveting. A vividly-written, historical saga.’

Amazon reviews:

Exquisitely Written Historical Fiction Readers of historical fiction will appreciate Gill’s attention to detail, romance readers will be captivated by the relationship between the lovers, adventurers will appreciate the thrills of battles, and all readers can celebrate a tale well told. Author Elizabeth Horton-Newton.

It’s easy to see why this author has won so many … A blast of medieval air and irresistible storytelling you can’t put down…. It’s easy to see why this author has won so many awards and readers and fans across the globe. She gets her historical facts right when it really matters because her research and her dedication to the finer details of the period is impeccable. Bookpreneur

Historical Fiction at its Best For me, this book has it all; love, adventure, and politics in the twelfth century make for another stunning read from the uber talented Jean Gill.
I can see why the Troubadours Quartet has won many awards and highly recommend the whole series. You won’t be disappointed. Deb McEwan

 

Jean Gill

Buy links:  US http://amzn.to/2yP6lIQ   UK http://amzn.to/2AsLOX8

Book Description:

Formats: Paperback, Kindle Edition, eBook

Print Length: 328 pages

Publisher: The 13th Sign

Thrilling conclusion to an award-winning series. Global Ebooks Award for Best Historical Fiction. FINALIST in The Wishing Shelf and the Chaucer Awards. The Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choice.

Dragonetz and Estela: the troubadours. They thought they knew each other but they didn’t even know themselves. 

Dragonetz has failed Eleanor of Aquitaine once. Now that she plans to be Queen of England he could make amends. Although prepared to risk his own life on an impossible quest, a knight should protect his lady, or so say the troubadour songs.

His lady, however, plays to a different tune and she wants partnership, not protection. Estela and Dragonetz fight their enemies, both on the battlefield and in the courts of Christendom, from the sophistication of Zaragossa to the wilds of Wales. Can they win through to song hereafter, together? Or have they broken one rule too many?

Mystery, intrigue, romance and adventure fill the pages of this magnificent conclusion to an epic series sure to delight fans of Elizabeth Chadwick and Bernard Cornwell. Jean Gill captures the soul of the age and the characters who lived in it.

‘Evocative and thoroughly riveting. A vividly-written, historical saga.’ The Wishing Shelf
‘Historical Fiction at its best.’ Karen Charlton, the Detective Lavender Mysteries
jeangill.com

About the Author:

Jean GillJean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named ‘Endeavour, a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.

Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.

Book-Review

Brief Review:

A blast of medieval air and irresistible storytelling you can’t put down. The fourth and final book in the Troubadours Series which continues with Dragonetz los Pros and Estela de Matin, two characters I have been rooting for since the very beginning. Without giving a précis of the book, I would rather give interested readers a ‘feel’ for what they are about to read.

Song Hereafter is brought to life in ways that only Jean Gill fans will appreciate. It’s easy to see why this author has won so many awards, readers and fans across the globe. She gets her historical facts right when it really matters because her research and her dedication to the finer details of the period is impeccable. With courtly intrigue and power struggles, you can’t help but feel the beauty and live the fear. Swept along by the unique flavor and mood of the story, I particular enjoyed the accounts of medicine and healing, wills and hunting deer, architecture, singing and the wise traveler. Fascinating aspects of the time and had me pinned to my reader.

I’m very sad, however, to see the last of these captivating and enchanting historical novels. Although the books could be stand-alones, I recommend reading all four from the beginning to gain a thorough insight of the period and a deeper sense of these well-rounded and richly developed characters.

Other Books in the Series By Jean Gill

Jean series

You can find out more about the author at:

Amazon     Goodreads       Facebook       Blogspot     Twitter

Sign up for Jean’s newsletter at www.jeangill.com for exclusive news, offers and a free book. If you review one of Jean’s books you can add a dog to Jean’s Readers Dogs Hall of Fame on her website.

Contact Jean at jean.gill@wanadoo.fr with comments or questions. She loves to hear from readers.

 

Review Tour – The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton @Thomas&Mercer #BookReview

I’m pleased to welcome author Karen Charlton, writer of historical mysteries set in Regency England.

Her Detective Lavender Mysteries, published by Thomas & Mercer, are the fictional adventures of Stephen Lavender, who was a real-life Principal Officer with the Bow Street Police Office in London.

By the early 19th century, Principal officers had a variety of different and important roles although they were still nicknamed ‘Bow Street Runners’ as if they were messenger boys. Apart from supporting their colleagues solve crime in the capital, they were often sent out to help magistrates in the provinces with difficult cases. They also took part in undercover work in periods of insurrection, for example, during the Luddite riots in the Midlands and were available to hire by wealthy landowners.

They were Britain’s earliest private detectives and were famous throughout London. They were the only policemen allowed into Buckingham House (the forerunner of the palace) and did security work for the Bank of England. On some occasions, they were even sent abroad to help with crimes and criminals who had spilled out over our borders onto the continent.

Through Karen’s research, she has come across dozens of their cases reported in the newspapers of the time. She frequently uses them as the basis for the plots of her novels.

Karen Charlton 2

Buy Links    Amazon UK 🇬🇧     Amazon US 🇺🇸

Book Description

Formats: Paperback, Kindle Edition, eBook

Print Length: 318 pages

Publisher: THOMAS & MERCER

Book Review

The Sculthorpe Murder is the third book in the Detective Lavender Mysteries, although each book can easily be read as a standalone. Giving a nod to the Bow Street Police Office in London, Charlton’s writing is strong, bringing Regency London to life. Lavender and Woods are not just Bow Street detectives, they have become unique and appealing characters we know and love. I can’t help but champ at the bit for another book in the series.

Captain Rushperry of Market Harborough has written to Magistrate Read in London to send his best assistance in the brutal attack on old man William Sculthorpe. By the time Lavender and Woods arrive on the scene, the mystery has quickly turned into a murder investigation. Since there are known gangs terrorizing a nearby area and who have already robbed a local couple, it is generally assumed this gang is responsible for Sculthorpe’s death.

Already motivated by this eerie crime, my nose was twitching at the roasting meat and coal fires in the square at Market Harborough. Woods with his insatiable appetite for good food and Lavender’s cynical thoughts, not to mention his remarkable powers of detection, which ultimately lead me through a sea of local characters I thoroughly enjoyed meeting. Charlton is excellent at crafting well-paced, exciting action sequences, all laced with the accents of the Regency period. I always get a kick out of the relationship between Woods and Lavender, these are just one of the many aspects of this outstanding novel.

There are several fascinating threads of history throughout the book, as well as a beautiful descriptions. Never a dull moment as I tried to solve the crime together with Lavender and Woods. Every time I thought I’d clinched it, along came another surprise and the dramatic conclusion had me on the edge of my seat. Maintaining the flavor of the period throughout, Charlton has crafted a wonderful series that any lover of historical fiction will delight in reading. Thank you Netgalley and TBC for the ARC. (Claire Stibbe)

About the Author

Karen says:

Karen Charlton

An English graduate and a former teacher, I now write full-time and live in a remote fishing village on the North East coast of England. I am a stalwart of the village pub quiz and my team once won the BBC quiz show ‘Eggheads.’ My other claim to fame is that I won a Yorkshire Tourist Board award for writing Murder Mystery Weekends.

Other publications

The first in the Detective Lavender Books is The Heiress of Linn Hagh and the second in the series is The Sans Pareil Mystery. There are also two Detective Lavender Short Stories to compliment the series: The Mystery of the Skelton Diamonds and The Piccadilly Pickpocket.

Catching the Eagle, Karen’s first novel, is the true story of her notorious ancestor, Jamie Charlton, who was convicted back in 1810 of Northumberland’s biggest robbery. She says:

To explain how my late husband and I discovered this gaol-bird in our family tree, I wrote my nonfiction genealogy book, ‘Seeking Our Eagle.’ It’s a ‘How -we-did-it’ rather than a ‘whodunit?’ and is probably the closest I’ll ever come to an autobiography.

We are excited to announce that Karen has currently completed the fourth book in the series: Plague Pits & River Bones. COMING SOON!

For a complete list of Karen’s books on Amazon take a look here

Please vote for The 9th Hour!

Thank you so much for all those who have voted on The 9th Hour and Chasing Pharaohs, both longlisted for the Summer Indie Book Awards 2016, in Crime Fiction, Thriller Fiction and Historical Fiction.

indie-award-voting

For those who would like to vote, click on the links below to find The 9th Hour, scroll down to the categories. Crime and Thriller are available and The 9th Hour is listed under both. Check the box next to the Book, scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit the VOTE button. It will take you to another screen which shows a list of all the books chosen this year.

Voting is open until Saturday.

The 9th Hour in Crime ~ eepurl.com/cdnpEj

The 9th Hour in Thriller ~eepurl.com/cdnpEj

Tight Plot, Great Characters, Great Writing.

Thank you to Elizabeth Horton-Newton, Author for her amazing review of The 9th Hour.

Set in colorful New Mexico, The 9th Hour successfully combines the intense investigation to find a serial killer before he strikes again with the inner workings of the killer’s mind. Into this mix comes a British born detective of African descent and a killer obsessed with Nordic mythology. Stibbe’s ability to bring these diverse elements together shows skilled writing. Her ability to do this effectively, holding the attention of the reader shows real talent.
Detective David Temeke brings a passion to his investigation that is softened by his sense of humor. Teamed with Malin Santiago whose mother was Norwegian and who speaks the language, Temeke has personal issues that crop up during the investigation. Malin has a somewhat dark past herself and struggles with demons of her own. While giving the characters an added dimension, Stibbe manages to keep these side stories from interfering with the plot; finding the serial killer before he claims another victim.
Providing insight into the workings of the police department investigating the crimes, Stibbe builds a tight story with characters that evoke emotions from sympathy to downright disgust.
The character that elicits the most sympathy is Darryl Williams, a distraught father dealing with the worst tragedy a parent can face, the murder of a child. As Williams deals with his loss and the difficulty of raising his remaining daughter’s, the reader is drawn along, sharing his pain.
The story moves forward smoothly, the tension grows, and just when you think everything is about to be resolved, bang; along comes another dark surprise. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a fast paced and dark detective story. I also look forward to more investigations with Detective Temeke and hopefully his partner Malin Santiago.

Consider also voting for Chasing Pharaohs: A Novel of Ancient Egypt for Best Historical Fiction: eepurl.com/cdnpEj – Scroll down to Historical Category and find Chasing Pharaohs in the listings.

chasing-award-indie

Thank you for voting. You ROCK!

The Challenges of Writing

Author Margaret K. Johnson invited me to her blog this week and asked these great questions. I wanted to share them with those of you who have expressed an interest in writing books for the first time.  Writing isn’t easy and the challenges of being criticized, blown to the curb or worse, are very real.

What challenges have you had to overcome or deal with in order to write?

claire's deskWorking full time has always been a challenge since there are so few hours left in the day to sit down in a dedicated space and write. Now that I’m a full time writer, my main challenge is social media, updating webpages, editing, blogs, proofreading, reviews, formatting and Facebook. Each tiny distraction takes away precious minutes and hours from getting back into my writing zone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself not to be sidetracked by the onslaught of bestselling workshops that promise essential writing tips, marketing and promotion. All are excellent by the way, but there’s only so many you can take.

How do you think this challenge has impact on your writing?

I love doing it all. That’s the problem. But these commitments need to be managed. Having succumbed to an egg-timer and doing only one hour a day for twitter and Facebook, I have found a large chunk of time to write. My contemporary crime books don’t really fit the blueprint of thriller & suspense. They tend to fall somewhere between literary and mystery rather than being branded to one or the other. So I call them Myst-Lit (or Mis-Fit). I love doing pottery (a first-time potter, you understand) and gardening, and during these times a tape recorder is handy to record inspired chapters and plots.

What was your greatest fear when you first started to write?

Criticism. There are so many writers out there who have folded under that big giant, lost all their drive, passion and nerve. It’s awful to watch. I fell victim to the thought that making a book public would attract a queue of literary critics and I’d be buried under a morass of one star reviews. I remember going to a dinner party in London several years ago and sitting next to a man who kept referring to my writing as ‘a little project’ and ‘did I understand that writers must have a PhD to be considered for publication.’ I decided to load my sling and be a David to that Goliath. Any advice and/or reviews can be harsh, but we need them all the same.

Here’s my review puppy. I trot him out when reviews are scarce. Who can resist those little boot-button eyes…Doggone 9th

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write but is feeling held back by circumstances and/or challenges?

All books are subjective and reviewers are only doing what comes naturally― evaluating the story. Take constructive criticism on the chin and learn from it and take no notice of the one star bandits. All the best authors have them so why shouldn’t we? Trust your gut, change what you feel you need to change and leave the rest. Write until you croak.

Tell us about something you’ve written that you’re really proud of, and something you’re writing now.

The 9th Hour, is a contemporary mystery/thriller set in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first book in a seven-part series introduces Temeke as the MC, an English detective who couldn’t be further from his native stamping ground. He is not much liked by his peers and due to a barrage of poorly chosen words finds himself ousted from Homicide and sent to Northwest Area Command. The conflicts in his own background means he will never fit in any more than his partner, Malin Santiago, will. She must deal with her own insecurities in a hostile working atmosphere, especially where gallows humor and tough talk is prevalent.

billboard subway

When the ninth young girl falls into the clutches of a serial killer, maverick detective, David Temeke, faces a race against time to save her life.

The Duke City Police Department in Albuquerque, New Mexico is no stranger to gruesome murders, but this new serial killer on their block keeps the body parts of his eight young victims as trophies and has a worrying obsession with the number 9. The suspect is incarcerated in the state’s high security penitentiary but Unit Commander Hackett is faced with a dilemma when another teenage girl goes missing.

Detective Temeke and his new partner, Malin Santiago, are sent to solve a baffling crime in the dense forests of New Mexico’s Cimarron State Park. But time is running out. Can they unravel the mysteries of Norse legends and thwart the 9th Hour killer before he dismembers his next victim? This is the first in the Detective Temeke Crime series.

Night Eyes is the second in the series and was released on March 25, 2016 –  last week. I think this is my favorite book so far.

Night Eyes bus stop

When the young son of Albuquerque’s Mayor is kidnapped, Detective David Temeke and his partner Malin Santiago are called to investigate.

Meanwhile, a ten year enquiry into the murders of several young boys has gone cold. No witnesses, no suspect. Or so the police believe. But a mysterious phone call leads Temeke and Santiago to the remains of a young boy found near the ancient ruins of an Anasazi settlement. Is this a random act or the work of the serial killer?

Drawn deeper into the wilderness by a man waging a war with his past, twelve year old boy-scout, Adam, must use everything he has learned to stay alive. Temeke and Santiago are pushed to the limit in the second book of this thrilling, fast-paced series set in New Mexico.

As author Jean Gill says:

…We are equally drawn into the limited understanding of a boy scout; limited because he’s too young to comprehend the adult scenes he’s witnessed and limited because he has no idea why he’s been kidnapped. Neither has the reader although we pick up on little clues and wonder… as do the detctives when they find the paper trail this ingenious youngster is laying for them.

An electrifying new edition to the Stibbe arsenal, Night Eyes confronts the relationship between husband and wife, father and son, detective and villain. Temeke comes to understand that he is dealing with a perpetrator who will put him to the test, both professionally and personally and, at the same time, battle the darkest demons in himself. Not since Marklund’s Annika Bengtzon series, has there been a novel with as much insight into spiritual warfare. Fast-moving, riveting reading which ranks with the best thrillers out there. ~ Noble Lizard Publishing.

All eBooks and Kindle formats are now priced at only $2.99. Regular price $3.99.

To find out more about Claire’s books, visit her website here

Also by Claire Stibbe

For updates on new books, book signings and regular blog features, why not sign up for her occasional newsletter here

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Claire is also a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, New Mexico Book Co-op and the Southwest Writers Association.

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A Warm Welcome to Author John Holt

John HoltI’m extremely excited to welcome John Holt, author of The Thackery Journal.

John was born in 1943 in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, England. He currently lives in Essex with his wife, Margaret, and his daughter Elizabeth. For many years he was a Chartered Surveyor, until he retired in 2008. John had always wanted to write a novel but could never think of a good enough plot. He started to write his first novel, The Kammersee Affair, in September 2005, and it was published in December 2006.

John has very kindly provided us with a scene from The Thackery Journal, a “What If” novel regarding the assassination of Lincoln.

Background –

“The Thackery Journal” set during and just after the end of the American Civil War, is the story of two lifelong friends – Jake Thackery and Miles Drew – who join on opposite sides of the conflict. As the story progresses both men become involved in the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Jake becomes a fugitive. Wounded, he takes shelter. Soon his pursuers close in.

There they are he whispered. He could hear them on the stairs. Their boots echoing loudly on the timber treads. He could hear the timbers creaking. They were shouting excitedly to each other, knowing that their quarry was near, knowing that soon they would have him. Their search would soon be over.

He could hear doors slamming as rooms on the lower floors were searched. Somebody was screaming as they were being dragged down the stairs. Douglas, he thought, the man who had sheltered him. He will certainly talk, Thackery knew that. Under torture who could blame him? Maybe that would save his life. He would tell them everything. Then they would come for him. They would be here quite soon now.

He dipped the pen into the ink and started to write once more. His hands were shaking, and the sweat ran down his forehead into his eyes.

“I can hear them coming for me. They are coming up the staircase.”

Suddenly he heard somebody call out. “Here.”

“In there,” said another.

Then there was a loud crash against the door.

“We have him now,” called a third voice.

“He cannot get away. Not this time,” from a fourth. Another heavy blow struck the door. “Open up,” one shouted. They were trying to break the door down.

“They are outside now, banging on the door, they are coming for me.”

Jake Thackery1

Jake Thackery (a likeness)

Thackery stood up and walked to the door. He checked the lock. It was secured. He pushed the iron bolt firmly into the keep at the top of the door. He then did the same to the one at the bottom. Satisfied, he then walked over to the cabinet at the side of the room. His arm hurt badly but he started to push the cabinet towards the door, to form a barricade. He knew that it would not stop them, but it would delay them just long enough for his purpose. He pushed the cabinet in front of the door. There was a third crash. The door shuddered, but held firm.

 

He hurried back to the table and took up his pen once more. He glanced at what he had written, then continued writing.

“It will not be much longer.”

He was startled by another heavy blow hitting the door. Then there was a sudden noise as one of the door panels split. He looked towards the door for a moment, and then turned away. He took a deep breath. He slowly closed the case and placed the watch back onto the table. Time was running out. He carefully picked up the revolver. Taking into his hand he checked that it was loaded. He then carefully cocked the hammer. Next he placed the barrel at his right temple. He could feel the cold steel against his skin. It was cooling, soothing somehow. His hand stopped shaking. There was another crash against the door. The cabinet shuddered and moved a short distance. Then another crash and then another. The doorframe started to splinter. The bolt keep snapped, and fell away.

They would be inside in a very short time now. He felt the cold trigger against his finger. He looked towards the door. He hesitated for a moment or two longer. His breathing became shallow. He felt very hot. Sweat ran down his face. He started to cry. He closed his eyes tightly. “Mother,” he called out loudly. “Mother, please forgive me.”

Emily, Jake's Mother

Emily, Jake’s Mother (a likeness)

 

Suddenly there was another heavy thud against the door. The frame shattered and the door burst open, hanging down as the top hinge split. The cabinet slid across the floor. The door hung precariously for a few seconds, and then fell loudly to the floor, tearing off the lower hinge. Jacob opened his eyes wide, and turned his face towards the doorway.

 

Standing at the opening was his friend Miles. Just like their childhood games of hide and seek, Miles had found him once again, as usual.

Jacob quickly looked away. Then slowly, gently, he started to squeeze the trigger.

 

John Holt has published well over sixteen books, all of which and can be found on Amazon.com.

Click on the Links below for the The Thackery Journal, available in Kindle and Paperback formats.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Barnes & Noble

To find out more about John and for a complete list of his books, why not visit his Amazon Author Page

Authors Note: The Thackery Journal is, basically a fiction story. Although it mentions some real events, the story never happened. Apart from Lincoln, Grant, and John Wilkes Booth, all other characters are imaginary and never existed. The two main characters – Jake Thackery and Miles Drew – are fictional and have no relationship with any one living or not.

Nonetheless, I did want to give the impression that maybe, just perhaps, the story could have been true. I decided, by way of an experiment, to include some images to give a feel for the period and the events depicted. Hence there are images of the real battles of the war; there are real images of Lincoln and the assassination; there are real images of General Grant; and then there are also the pretend images of “Jake’s parents”; “Miles”; “Miles cousin”; “The fob watch that belonged to Jake’s mother”; and, of course “Captain Jake Thackery – C.S.A.”

Thackery Journal

A Warm Welcome to Author Karen Charlton

 

 

71utPfsQ6UL__UX250_I’m very excited to welcome bestselling author, Karen Charlton to my blog today.

Karen writes historical crime fiction, set in Regency England. Her Detective Lavender Mysteries, published by Thomas & Mercer, are based on the fictional adventures of Stephen Lavender, a real-life Principal Officer with the Bow Street Police Office in London. She has just finished writing the third book in the series: ‘The Sculthorpe Murder.’

To compliment these novels, she has written two Detective Lavender Short Stories (available on Amazon): ‘The Mystery of the Skelton Diamonds’ and ‘The Piccadilly Pickpocket.’

Below, Karen gives us an overview of how London would have looked like during the time of her crime fighting duo, Detective Lavender and Constable Woods.

Bow Street Police Office at the turn of the nineteenth century

Imagine taking a trip back to London in the mid-eighteenth century. Be prepared to be shocked – and robbed. Pickpockets, gangs of thieves and prostitutes roamed the filth-strewn streets. Every fourth shop in London was a ‘gin house.’ A vast sex trade sprawled across hundreds of brothels and gangs of highwaymen and cut-throats terrorised the roads on the outskirts of London. Whole areas of the capital were no-go areas for anyone who valued their purse, their virtue or their life – especially the notorious ‘Seven Dials’ and the area known as the Rookery around St Giles Church.

Bow street Magistrates court (2)In response to the growing call to find an effective means to tackle the increasing crime and disorder in the capital, Sir Henry Fielding, novelist and magistrate, persuaded the British government to establish a small police force in 1747. Fielding brought together eight reliable constables at the magistrates’ court on Bow Street in Covent Garden. They soon gained a reputation for honesty and efficiency in their pursuit of criminals and became known as ‘the Bow Street Runners.’ But Fielding faced an uphill struggle against both organised crime in London, and the mistrust of the politicians who paid for his policemen.

There was huge resistance to the notion of a centralised police force because of the brutal excesses of the French police system across the Channel, under the revolutionary fanatic, Joseph Fouché.   Nevertheless, the crime fighting force started by Sir Henry Fielding expanded and gained national recognition.

Bow Street 4 (2)By 1809, the year of my novels, the number of police personnel had dramatically increased and a horse patrol had been established to bring some law and order to the crime-infested outlying areas. Principal officers were restyled ‘detectives’ and had various roles. Apart from supporting their colleagues in the capital, they were often sent out to help magistrates in the provinces with difficult cases. Wealthy landowning citizens could request the help of a principal officer. Bow Street would charge them a hefty fee and the detectives could claim lucrative expenses on top of their salary. Many principal officers became very rich. According to the records I unearthed, Stephen Lavender spent a lot of his time working on difficult cases out in the provinces. The detectives also took part in undercover work in periods of insurrection, for example, during the Luddite riots in the Midlands.

The principal officers were a policing elite and were famous throughout London. The aristocracy loved them. They did security work for the Bank of England and acted as bodyguards for Royalty, especially the Prince Regent. They were the only policemen allowed into Buckingham House, the forerunner of the palace. On occasions they were even sent abroad to help with crimes and criminals who had spilled out over our borders onto the continent.

Bow Street 2 (2)However, the Bow Street officers were still regarded with mistrust by the general population and there were many allegations of police corruption. In 1829, the government charged Sir Robert Peel with the task of creating a new national police force; a force which was properly funded and more accountable. Following this transition, the real-life hero of my novels, Stephen Lavender, became the highly-respected Deputy Chief Constable of Manchester.

My Detective Lavender Mysteries show how I imagine these early detectives worked. In a world with no Forensic science, motive and opportunity were everything. In my novels, Stephen Lavender follows a trail of clues and uses his intelligence, logic and common sense to piece together the sequence of events leading up to a crime and explain the mysterious circumstances that surround it.

 

The Sans Pareil Mystery

By

Karen Charlton

On a cold February night in Regency London, a dark curtain falls on the Sans Pareil Theatre following the death of April Clare, a promising young actress, whose body is found in mysterious circumstances.

The Sans Pareil Mystery book cover (2)Detective Stephen Lavender and his dependable deputy, Constable Woods, quickly discover that nothing is quite as it seems. As successive mysteries unfold, they soon realise that it is not only the actors from the Sans Pareil who are playing a part.

With the Napoleonic War looming dangerously across the Channel, this is a time of suspicion and treachery. Following the clues from the seedy back streets of Covent Garden up through the echelons of society, Lavender and Woods begin to fear that the case is much bigger than they’d dared imagine—and worse, that they are at risk of becoming mere players in a master criminal’s shadowy drama.

It will take all of Lavender’s skill and wit, and help from the beautiful Magdalena, to bring the mystery of the Sans Pareil Theatre to a dramatic conclusion in the final act.

For a complete list of Karen’s books, why not visit her on Amazon

Please see Karen’s links below:

Website where you can sign up for her newsletter

Facebook where you can read about book news, upcoming promotions and awards

A Warm Welcome to author Jennifer Wilson

Taken with Lumia Selfie

I’m really excited to welcome Jennifer Wilson on my blog today. Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Jennifer is here to tell us about her favorite scene from her book Kindred Spirits which is available on Amazon and currently reduced to 99p/c as part of Crooked Cat Publishing’s paranormal themed week.

The Tower of London. Funny how one building can, even after centuries, manage to instil fear in the heart of a nation. All those infamous imprisonments, intrigues and executions – plenty of history to get your teeth into.

TowerPolarBear (2)But it’s not all blood and gore – the Tower was also home to the first London Zoo, of sorts… There were lions in the palace as early as the thirteenth century, and one of the most famous creatures has to be the polar bear, a gift to our king from the King of Norway. It used to fish in the Thames, tethered to the bank – not something we’re likely to see again (perhaps for the best). There is though, an interpretation of the magnificent beast, still in the Tower today.

Other animals, also created from wire and mesh, still inhabit the Tower, but there is also the tale of a slightly less ‘material’ animal in residence. The story of the ghost bear is a curious one, and one I had to include in Kindred Spirits: Tower of London. How could I resist?

The grizzly ghoul was apparently sighted near the Martin Tower, and scared a guard so much he died of shock. Happily, nobody gets that frightened in my tales of the Tower’s ghosts. I’m such a coward, I could never write anything genuinely scary. But I enjoyed thinking of the Tower’s ghosts, and the things they could get up to, and if you take a look, then I hope you do too.

Kindred Spirits: Tower of London:

KS-ToL-HighResCover (2)A King, three Queens, a handful of nobles and a host of former courtiers… In the Tower of London, the dead outnumber the living, with the likes of Tudor Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard rubbing shoulders with one man who has made his way back from his place of death at Bosworth Field to discover the truth about the disappearance of his famous nephews. Amidst the chaos of daily life, with political and personal tensions running high, Richard III takes control, as each ghostly resident looks for their own peace in the former palace – where privacy was always a limited luxury. With so many characters haunting the Tower of London, will they all find the calm they crave? But foremost – will the young Plantagenet Princes join them?

About Jennifer:

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her debut novel Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Publishing in October 2015.

Kindred Spirits: Tower of London is currently reduced to 99p/c as part of Crooked Cat Publishing’s paranormal themed week.

Why not visit Jennifer at her links below.

Key Links:

Blog: https://jennifercwilsonwriter.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/inkjunkie1984

International Amazon link: http://authl.it/B016TRKU2A

Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/586365