#BlogTour ~ Running in Circles by Claire Gray @ClaireESnail @SapereBooks

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Running in Circles by Claire Gray.

Running in Circles was published on 27th December 2018 by Sapere Books.

Running in Cirles

You can’t outrun murder…

When Lucy Lewis landed herself a reporting job on an idyllic Thai island, she thought she’d found paradise.

But one day her dream turns into a nightmare…

A bomb goes off outside her hostel and there is more than one fatality.

Although the local paper she works for is mainly a tourist guide, the phone is soon ringing off the hook with people desperate to hear news of their loved ones.

Together with her editor, Steve Boyd, Lucy finds herself drawn into the investigation.

And things become more complicated when the dead body of someone connected to the paper washes up on the shore.

Was the bomb planted by terrorists? Are the two incidents connected?

Lucy finds herself running in circles as she desperately searches for the key to the mystery…

* * * * * * * * 

Thank you to Caoimhe at Sapere Books for issuing me with my review copy of the book and for inviting me to take part on the blog tour.

Running in Circles is a well written book, set in Thailand with some engaging if slightly secretive characters. We see the other side to Thailand though and it shows us that it isn’t all idyllic as Lucy and Steve are coping with a recent bomb blast that has left them shell shocked and stunned. As reporters, they feel a sense of duty and the need in getting to the bottom of things and begin investigating what and why this happened and hoping to find some closure for all involved.

The claustrophobia that Lucy and Steve feel is apparent and described so well that you begin to feel anxious with her as you read further along in the story. The more she investigates, the more people are trying to put her off track. I have to say, that I really didn’t see much of the plot coming as the author managed to confuse me with her twists and red herrings!

From finishing this book, I think the author has the perfect title. Running in Circles is exactly what Lucy is doing whilst trying to investigate. You can also take this that she is running in circles from her life back home in England, which we learn more about throughout the book.

I’m looking forward to reading more about Lucy!

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About the Author

Claire Gray picture

Claire Gray lives in the South Lakes with her husband and two small children. She studied Creative Writing at the Cumbria Institute of the Arts, which no longer exists, having been absorbed by the University of Cumbria. She graduated in 2006 and then went on to complete a journalism course at Darlington College.

That same year, she won a Northern Promise Award from New Writing North, and her work was featured in their anthology, entitled Ten Years On. Claire now works as a freelance copywriter and continues to write short stories, some of which have been published in magazines and online.

Recently, she has been guest editor for the prose section of SpeakEasy Magazine, which showcases Cumbrian writing. In 2015, she received editing advice from The Literary Consultancy through their Free Read scheme. They felt that her manuscript, Running in Circles, showed potential, and began approaching literary professionals on Claire’s behalf. Sapere Books published Running in Circles in 2019 and Claire is really excited to have published her first novel!  

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#BlogTour #Extract ~ The Hunter by Andrew Reid @mygoditsraining @wildfirebks @AnneCater

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Hunter, the debut novel by Andrew Reid.

The Hunter was published in eBook on 12 July 2018 and follows in paperback on 7 February 2019.

the hunter cover

A troubled genius who vanishes in a mysterious car crash.

A disillusioned cop sensing conspiracy in the corridors of power.

A ruthless team of mercenaries operating in the shadows.

A billion-dollar business that wants the world in its grip.

One link connects them all.

A champion fighter. Betrayed and searching for the truth.

CAMERON KING IS THE HUNTER.

* * * * * * * * *

Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting to take part on the blog tour. Although I haven’t read this book, it is exactly the type of book I love to read and I have it waiting on my kindle already!

I am lucky to be hosting an extract of the first chapter, which sounds brilliant. I can’t wait to get stuck in!

*Chapter 1*

On the highway, the snow is already thick enough that Cameron can’t make out the center line. There are tracks where other cars have been – trucks, maybe, from the width of them – but they’re fading fast into the static fuzz of the blizzard. About a mile back, they’d passed two cars pulled over, the syncopated orange blink of their hazard lights soaked up by the falling snow. The barrier is still there, the white- crested strip of silver just visible on the right-hand side of the car, and Cameron can’t help but think about what happens when a car hits it. They’re built to break, to take an impact, bolts popping free and a few hundred feet of steel bending like a weighted rope as it soaks up the force needed to decelerate two tons and change without killing everyone inside. Even in the best-case scenario, if you had no choice but to hit it, you want to hit it as slow as you can. Right now, the speedometer reads eighty-two miles per hour.

The whole car lurches forward as Nate puts his foot down, and for a dizzy instant the back of the car feels as though it is sliding free of the road. According to the radio, the worst of the weather was supposed to be hitting over to the east. Either the forecast was lying or everyone due east is digging in right now to welcome in the end times. Cameron’s gut goes cold, and she glances across at her brother. Not for the first time tonight, she wonders what the hell his problem is. There’s no emergency that she knows of. Just some business opportunity he pitched her a couple of days ago that turned into a dinner meeting. He’s always had a good head for that kind of thing. He left a high-paying position with a multinational biotech firm to join her team, taking the computer systems he’d built to track epidemics and using them to predict how brands go viral instead. Ever since, he’s been a key player in landing some of her best endorsement deals – but it’s late in the year to be thinking about signing something new. She only agreed to go with him because she trusted his instincts. Now, though, she’s starting to wonder if there’s something else going on.

‘You sure you should be going this fast?’ she asks. Nate doesn’t answer. He’s got a hard-jawed look that doesn’t suit his face, and he glances up at the mirror quickly before hunching back over the wheel. He’s gripping it in both hands, like a learner driver, his chin thrust forward. He’s wearing a big jacket that hides his skinny frame, and even though the aircon in the car is blasting them with heat, he’s got a scarf jammed up tight around his neck like any second now he expects to be out in the cold. Cameron clears her throat.

‘Nate. Slow the car down. Now.’ She can hear her mom in her voice. Something about it always goes south when she tries to sound like a hard-ass. Normally she hates the sound of it, but then maybe it’s the kind of push that Nate needs right now.

He swallows hard before he answers. Nervous. Guilty. ‘You ever get into trouble, Cam?’ He doesn’t look at her.

Oh Nate, she thinks, what have you got into? ‘Enough.’ Fighters get into nothing but trouble. Even with a good manager, a really good lawyer, and as clean a promoter as she could find, there had still been a few close moments that she’d rather not have to remember. One time she’d got back from a weigh-in to find a picture tucked inside her kit bag, next to her wraps. It was a picture of her parents’ home: cheap paper, a little blurred from the printer, but unmistakable for what it was. There had been a phone number on the back. Cameron had been so angry that she had sidestepped every- one – her lawyer, her manager, even Nate – to get it dealt with quickly. That decision had been a whole other kind of trouble, and it had taught her one thing. ‘Enough to know you can’t outrun it,’ she says.

Nate nods, swallows again. Worries at his lip like he’s trying to work something out. Cameron has seen that look before. More brains than sense, their dad always said, but then Nate over thinking every damn detail has saved her career more than once. Clauses in contracts that her manager had missed; a guy in the crowd he’d seen in another fighter’s entourage weeks before, waiting to spray oil of wintergreen in her face during the walk-in. His face is blue in the light from the low-beams reflected back through the windshield by the falling snow. ‘I’m not trying to outrun it, Cam.’

‘Trying to get us killed?’ She tries to say it lightly, make it a joke, but it catches in her throat and comes out high and scared.

When he answers, his voice is far away. Like he’s forgotten that they’re pushing ninety along a skating rink disguised as a highway. ‘You ever wonder if it’s possible to just . . . disappear?’

Don’t let him do this. Cameron checks that her seat belt is fastened. She’s already running through the options, her brain switching on to automatic. Can’t pull the handbrake. Can’t fight over the wheel. Both of those would crash the car. She could hit him, catch the angle of his jaw with just the right amount of force to cold-cock him, and get a hold of the wheel. The only thing that stays her hand is that it’s Nate. Geeky, dumb, dependable, big brother Nate. In her whole life, he has never once let her down. Not one time.

‘Whatever’s happening, Nate, you can talk to me.’ Nate turns and looks at her, the long angles of his face softening. It’s not fondness. It’s like he’s relieved. ‘You know, I really can’t.’

The way he looks at her snaps something inside of Cameron. It’s like the last time he’ll see her. Do something. She reaches down past the handbrake and pops his seat belt, the buckle whipping across his chest and catching under his left armpit. There’s a sour twist of triumph, an echo of the feeling she gets when she outmaneuvers someone on the mat. He has to slow down now. The crash would kill him.

Nate nods at her like they’ve just shook hands on a deal, like this was what he was waiting for, then wrenches the wheel two-handed, a quick swing to the right that takes them on to the verge and then back again, hard over to the left.

The Lexus fishtails in answer, and as their forward momentum suddenly becomes sideways the car flips, driver- side wheels peeling reluctantly off the tarmac then springing skywards as it turns up and over.

It’s like a hip throw. Cameron feels the jolt, the sudden violent motion, and in its wake the drawn-out moment of almost weightlessness as the whole car goes over.

Time goes slower when you’re upside down. 

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About the Author

andrew reid author picture

Born in Scotland, Andrew Reid worked as a research scientist for almost a decade, on projects including DNA synthesis, forensics, and drug development. He now lives in Stockholm.

His short fiction has featured in several anthologies and his fantasy novel serial has amassed almost 200,000 reads.

THE HUNTER is his debut novel.

#BlogTour ~ Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman @VictoriaSelman @ed_pr @sianbelizabeth

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman.

Blood for Blood was published in eBook and paperback on 1st February 2019 by Thomas & Mercer.

Selman-BloodForBlood-27487-CV-FT

Rush hour, London.

A packed commuter train is torn apart in a collision. Picking through the carnage, ex-special forces profiler Ziba MacKenzie helps a dying woman who passes on a cryptic message: He did it. You have to tell someone.

When a corpse is found bearing the gruesome signature of a serial killer dormant for twenty-five years, Ziba is pulled into the hunt for the perpetrator. As the body count rises it becomes clear he’s on a new spree. But what’s brought the London Lacerator back after such a long hiatus? And does his sudden return have anything to do with the woman on the train?

Ziba scrambles to profile the killer in the hope of predicting his next move. But time is running out. And the closer she gets to uncovering his identity, the closer he gets to destroying hers.

* * * * * * * * *

Thank you to Sian and Annabelle at Ed PR for my review copy of the book and for inviting me to participate on the blog tour.

Blood for Blood is the start of a new series featuring Ziba MacKenzie, who I really loved. She has previously a special forces profiler, currently on a slight hiatus from work following the sudden death of her husband. I really enjoy books about profilers and find their skills absolutely fascinating, so this was the perfect book for me to read.

We are thrown completely into the thick of things with Ziba as the train she is travelling on is in a collision and whilst trying to help one of the victims, a woman whispers with her last dying breath “He did it. You have to tell someone….” This mysterious line, sets up the plot perfectly and I found myself hooked as Ziba tries to understand the woman’s last words, with barely any other information to go on. Whilst also looking into this, her skills are also required when a body is found, barely the uncanny signature of a serial killer not heard of for 25 years…

Ziba is an intriguing main character and I enjoyed learning about her background in profiling and how she came to be a consultant for Scotland Yard. We learn more about her family life and her husband who was a policeman, from the alternative chapters which also focus on the serial killer and the voices he appears to hear guiding him to commit these attrocities. 

Throughout the book, the author throws several twists and red herrings at us and more often than not I thought I had maybe figured things out….. I really hadn’t and then proceeded to change my mind and opinion several times, still none the wiser! I finished the book pleasantly surprised that I didn’t really have a clue which shows how well the author had reeled me in hook, line and sinker!

A very well written debut novel from Victoria Selman. I’m delighted to learn the next book in the series is due to be released shortly!

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About the Author

Victoria-2 (2)

After graduating from Oxford University, Victoria Selman studied Creative Writing at the City Lit and wrote for the Ham & High and Daily Express newspapers.

In 2013 she won the Full Stop Short Story Prize and her first novel, Blood for Blood, was shortlisted for the 2017 Debut Dagger Award.

Victoria lives in London with her husband and two sons.