*BLOG BLITZ* Murder in the Dark – Betsy Reavley ★★★★

Blurb; Without a motive, how do you identify the killer?

Imagine a quaint little bookshop. Outside the snow is falling. Inside the shelves are stacked with books by authors waiting to be discovered. What could be better?

When Tilly Edgely lands a position working at Ashton’s bookshop in Cambridge she thinks she’s found her perfect job. But one winter’s morning, when she arrives to open up, she discovers the body of her boss suspended from the ceiling, hanging by a rope around his neck.

DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called to the scene and quickly find themselves searching for a twisted killer whose identity and motive are nearly impossible to trace.

But just when they think they have the murderer in their sights, another body shows up throwing the case wide open…

Who is behind the killings and why?

The police have their work cut out and key to unlocking the gruesome mystery might be found right under their nose.

But one thing is for certain, this killer will leave you hanging…

My Review; What an opening this book has! Wooooweeee! This book is bound to draw you in. Now I must admit I haven’t got round to reading Murder in the Book Club yet but this reads perfectly fine as a standalone with only a few references to the previous book. Don’t worry I will be going back to read it at some point, I promise.

I throughally enjoyed reading this one. Not your average murder, killing story. Different. Unique. Watch out the book community you’re not safe either. A fast paced, page turner of a read. Brilliantly written. A story you don’t want to put down. I could easily have read this in one sitting if life didn’t get in the way.

I did feel sorry for Tilly having to deal with what she saw, that would be hard for anyone. Highly recommend! A brilliant brilliant. A well deserved four stars.

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*BLOG BLITZ* Murder Undeniable – Anita Waller ★★★★★

Blurb; Katerina Rowe, a Deacon at the church in the sleepy village of Eyam, has a fulfilled life. She is happily married to Leon and her work is rewarding. But everything changes when she discovers the body of a man and a badly beaten woman, Beth, in the alleyway behind her husband’s pharmacy.

Drawn to the young woman she saved, Kat finds herself embroiled in a baffling mystery.

When Beth’s house is set on fire, Kat offers the young woman sanctuary in her home and soon the pair begin investigating the murder, with some help from Beth’s feisty grandmother, Doris. But neither the police, nor Leon, nor the criminals want Kat and Beth looking into their affairs and the sleuths quickly find themselves out of their depth…

Can Kat and Beth solve the mystery and walk away unscathed?

My Review; This is a brilliant start to a new series. Book one in the Kat and Mouse series. Very impressed.

Anita hasn’t let me down yet! I absolutely loved this story and well and truelly devoured it. Already looking forward to book two! Well read, fast paced and contains short chapters. It’s a race against time.

I felt so sorry for mouse (Beth) throughout the story she was a walking target at all times. If that was me I would be petrified but she kept her cool and got on with it thanks to the help of Kat. Another brilliant character I loved! But the best character had to be Beths nan I bloody loved her, not your average old woman.

I look up to these three characters trying to solve the mystery themselves and I must say much better than the police! Gripping. I felt I was beside those three character the whole way through. A real page turner. A well deserved five stars. Highly recommend. Loved it.

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*CONTENT POST* Perfect Bones – A.J. Waines.

About the book; Is the killer on the loose…or standing right beside you?

When art student, Aiden Blake, witnesses a gruesome attack on a London towpath, the police need him to identify the assailant without delay. But there’s a problem: refusing to leave his canal boat and traumatised by the shock, Aiden is rendered mute by the horror of the event and can’t speak to anyone.

In a desperate bid to gain vital information before Aiden’s memories fade, The Met call in Clinical Psychologist and trauma expert, Dr Samantha Willerby, giving her only seven days to get a result. When Aiden finally starts to communicate through his art, however, the images he produces are not what anyone expects and before Sam can make sense of them, another murder takes place.

With her professional skills stretched to the limit and the clock ticking, Sam strives to track down a killer who is as clever as she is – someone who always manages to stay one step ahead.Is the killer on the loose…or standing right beside you?

When art student, Aiden Blake, witnesses a gruesome attack on a London towpath, the police need him to identify the assailant without delay. But there’s a problem: refusing to leave his canal boat and traumatised by the shock, Aiden is rendered mute by the horror of the event and can’t speak to anyone.

In a desperate bid to gain vital information before Aiden’s memories fade, The Met call in Clinical Psychologist and trauma expert, Dr Samantha Willerby, giving her only seven days to get a result. When Aiden finally starts to communicate through his art, however, the images he produces are not what anyone expects and before Sam can make sense of them, another murder takes place.

With her professional skills stretched to the limit and the clock ticking, Sam strives to track down a killer who is as clever as she is – someone who always manages to stay one step ahead.

How working in a Safe-House influenced my Writing;

When I was practising as a psychotherapist in London, (before I became a full-time author), I worked in a safe-house for ex-convicts from high-security institutions. I largely met young women aiming to re-integrate back into society after a period of time in prison. These women had been put away for arson, stabbings, suffocating and all manner of fatal attacks. They’d grown up with stabbings, shootings and muggings; they knew no other kind of life.

They all had mental health problems (hence serving a sentence in a psychiatric hospital as opposed to prison), often stemming from dysfunctional backgrounds. Most had a fragile personality-type, were easily led and got involved with criminal activity because their brothers/sister/mothers lived that life too. Often anti-establishment, they were seeking leadership, gang-culture, excitement, risk-taking. More often than not, however, they were simply looking for a sense of ‘family’ and belonging.

The location and confidentiality was very strict, as you can imagine. I was there to offer a listening ear for personal problems and fears of going back ‘outside’. One woman set fire to her room during the time I was working there and others self-harmed, as cooking knives and personal property was available as part of the rehabilitation process. Most residents were on antipsychotic medication or drugs for anxiety and depression.

Having written a book on self-esteem and run courses for women on that subject, my chief role was to offer support and tips for self-love, self-awareness and as many ways I could think of to help the women feel empowered without crime. Most of them knew the answers, but putting them into practice ‘out there’ was the hard part. Surprisingly, I invariably came away feeling more sad, than disturbed by my encounters.

My writing has certainly been influenced by my experiences with ex-convicts at the safe-house. I’m fascinated by the differences between law-abiding citizens and those who cross the line into serious crime. I write about killers and serial killers, but more often than not they aren’t thugs or callous maniacs. Since my experiences in the safe-house, I’m also inclined to cast women rather than men, as the culprits in my books, but they’re never ‘monsters’. The killers in my psychological thrillers harbour grudges, pain, hurt and suffering from their pasts which drives them towards extreme forms of self-preservation, revenge or retribution.

One of the techniques I used in the safe-house was art therapy. It’s great for people who find words difficult, who can’t express themselves well or for those who find it hard to talk to someone who is eyeballing them head on. When you focus on a drawing in front of you, it takes the pressure off ‘communicating’. It’s also good for people who hide behind words, the ones who can talk themselves out of a paper bag, but rarely let themselves really be seen!

In Perfect Bones, the sole witness to a gruesome attack – an artist living on a narrowboat – is rendered mute by the horror of the event and can’t speak to anyone. My gutsy protagonist, psychologist Samantha Willerby, uses art therapy an in attempt to coax details of the killer from him. She’s been given only seven days by The Met, but time runs out and another murder is committed…

Many years after my visits to the safe-house, I still wonder what happened to the women I met. Perhaps that’s why characters with fragile personalities seeking family, excitement, risk and belonging all feature in my stories, sometimes as the main characters, other times as the perpetrators. Also, readers say there’s an undercurrent of humanity in my stories. There’s very little violence and gore and far more about harrowing mind-games and dark, driven motives for the radical acts involved. I like to pose the question ‘how would you react in this situation?’ to my readers, just as, when I think of those women, I wonder how I would have turned out if I’d had their dysfunctional backgrounds, violent environment and deprivation to cope with.

In my trauma work as a therapist, I found drawing particularly useful for victims. Little did I know, at the time, that I’d be basing a whole mystery-thriller on it, one day!

Perfect Bones by AJ Waines is published by Bloodhound Books and was released on 8 November.