Tag Archives: Thriller

Book Review: ‘A Solitary Awakening’ by Kevin Cady

Title: A Solitary Awakening

Published: 29th April 2016

Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services

Author: Kevin Cady

Facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Cady-Author

Twitter: @kevincadyauthor

 

Synopsis:

Elijah Warren’s world has always been one haunted by murderers. His personal life is non-existent, though it’s not like he’s noticed. Work consumes him, and he’s buried himself in the FBI’s exhaustive demands. There’s no time for romance with killers to track–that is, until the beautiful and erudite Aurelia Blanc is thrown into his life, along with the so-called “Poetic Murderer.”

The Poetic Murderer makes murder an art form, each crime scene an exhibit. To catch him, Elijah and Aurelia must decipher cryptic poems and study imaginative death scenes. They traverse the United States, into the uncharted past of a killer most twisted, whose brutal violence evokes not only empathy for the victims, but an interest in the killer himself.

In time, what these detectives discover about both themselves and the Poetic Murderer will change their lives forever. First, they must understand him. Then, they must stop him, but will a romantic liaison make the killings more personal? If Elijah and Aurelia don’t stay focused, one could end up dead at the hand of a Poetic Murderer.

 

Review:

Murder mystery at its best that will keep you on your toes till the very last page. FBI detectives Aurelia Blanc and Elijah Warren are trying to catch a serial killer – soon to be called the Poetic Murderer – the man in black. Let’s see how the twisted tale starts.

A very intricate story, one that manages to weave the man in blacks murders through a unique timeline. The moment the detectives start following and connecting the kills its almost too late as they have already be planned months/years in advance. They have been methodically planned to the last detail. Leaving breadcrumbs but only if you are smart enough to follow them. Poems from Keats are always left but its not until Aurelia and Elijah start the case that they begin to connect the dots. Might be involved in a twisted killers world but that doesn’t stop the connection being formed between the two. Romance might not be the priority but it is on the cards. More so when they have to watch each others’ backs as the killer might just start targeting them.

Very twisted kills so be wary if you have a delicate imposition, best not read right before bed or you might have some interesting dreams (which I did). The victims aren’t linked in any way, seemingly randomly picked, and the kill locations are never close enough to each other to suggest a link between them. Making it difficult for the detectives to track but not impossible if you know what you are looking for. Which is all the Poetic Murderer is really wanting. To be tracked by the smartest minds who can follow his way of thinking. Has he found who he has been looking for?

You will be trying to figure out whom the killer could be with clues given but not really have all the pieces fall into place until the detectives do. You are figuring things out at the same time, which is good as you then won’t be able to see what’s coming next. Right to the end you will be kept on your toes, which is what you want in a good thriller. It all comes back to the beginning and how it started someone on their path of a solitary awakening. Opening their mind to a new way of thinking in the most twisted of ways.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Author Interview: ‘Hollywood Hang Ten’ by Eve Goldberg

About the Book:

Los Angeles, 1963. John F. Kennedy is President, and Jan & Dean’s “Surf City” is at the top of the charts.

Ryan Zorn, a 23-year-old Venice Beach surfer working in his uncle’s detective agency, lands his first solo case when a divorced mother with plenty to hide hires him to find her missing son. The investigation turns into a case of blackmail and murder as Ryan is drawn deep into Hollywood’s hidden past — a past that involves the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, and closeted gay stars.

From the decaying piers of Santa Monica bay, to the posh mansions of Beverly Hills, to a mysterious rustic retreat, Ryan navigates a city on the brink of change. The conservative era of blacklisting and conformity is in its dying days, and a new culture of experimentation and openness is just emerging. To solve the case, Ryan must confront his own personal demons, preconceptions, and homophobia as he untangles a deadly web of behind-the-scenes movie secrets.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I grew up in Los Angeles, and currently live in northern California.  I’ve been writing for most of my life.  For many years I was a writer and editor for films and television.  After moving north, I started writing essays, articles, short stories…and eventually a mystery novel, Hollywood Hang Ten, that has just been published.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I am a morning writer.  The earlier the better.  I used to write at home, but recently I’ve begun to go to a local coffee place.  It surprised me, but I find it easy to tune everything out – the music, the chit-chat, the hustle & bustle – and focus on my writing.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I’m a history buff, so many of my ideas come from moments in history that interest me.  In the case of Hollywood Hang Ten, the murder mystery is all tied up with the 1950s McCarthy blacklist era.  My essays are almost always dealing with the intersection of history, culture, politics, and personality.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

What works for me is finding a balance between knowing where my story is going and not knowing.  In writing a mystery, it’s crucial to know the basic outline — who did it, and how the story ends.  But beyond that, I let my imagination flow.  It might be a cliché, but I really enjoy when the characters come alive and do or say things that I haven’t planned out in my head.  I figure I’ll fix whatever doesn’t work in the next draft.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My new book is a detective mystery.  Detective fiction is my favorite genre.  I especially like the classic hard-boiled stuff – Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald. I like a plot that keeps plowing ahead; I like suspense; I like terse writing.  Beyond those basics, what draws me to this genre is how much can be said that is truly meaningful within the constraints of the form.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

The protagonist of Hollywood Hang Ten is a 23-year-old surfer who is working his first case as a private investigator.  He’s Caucasian, hunky, and blonde.  So, I gotta go with Chris Hemsworth.  (His brother Liam wouldn’t be too shabby either!)

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read a lot.  I’m a happy camper when I have a really good book to read.  I don’t have a favorite author; I just cherry pick from all over.  A few of my favorite books from the past few years are: The Orphan Master’s Son, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette.  Eclectic.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Right now, I’m reading an oldie but goodie: Blind Man with a Pistol, by Chester Himes.  Himes, if you haven’t heard of him, was a mid-century African-American author whose books go in and out of print.  His crime novels have been compared to Hammett and Chandler, and some have been made into movies.  This book takes place in Harlem in 1969, on a hot summer night.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Instead of one favorite book, I’ve got to mention two: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, and Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion.  I read both of these when I was a young teenager, and again more recently.  They are the two books that influenced me most to become a writer.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write.  Put your butt in the chair and write.  There’s no other way around it.  All that procrastinating and thinking about writing SOME DAY may be part of the process, but try to keep it to a minimum.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

I’m not big on social media, but I do have my own professional website eve-goldberg.com

 

 

About the Author:

Eve Goldberg is an author and filmmaker based in Sonoma County, California.

She has produced and directed numerous films and videos, including award-winning documentaries, and videos for corporate, non-profit, and community  organizations.

As a writer and editor in Hollywood, her credits include work on Academy Award-winning films and Emmy-nominated television shows.

Eve’s articles and essays have been published in AmericanPopularCulture, The Rumpus, Hippocampus, and the Gay & Lesbian Review.

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Author Interview: ‘The Teenage Spy’ by Nalia

 

About the Book:

Everybody loves to dream. They dream of becoming what they want. One such extraordinary dream was that of William Dunk. A teenager, living in North Bellwood, William Dunk aspires to become a spy. Growing up among spy novels and movies, he consequently loses his interest in his medical studies that his father Richard Dunk, a well Known businessman, had pushed him to do. His obsession for becoming a spy results in his expulsion from high school. His father loses his calm and banishes him from his mansion. William moves to South Bellwood and finds a best friend in his neighbor. The two embark on a mission to fulfill William’s dream. But is it really easy to go through after what one wants they get? After all, Bigger the aims, bigger the risks! 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

 

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I am an engineering student (and I don’t like engineering). Living in Hyderabad, India, I am a simple, fun-loving girl who wants an adventurous life. I love playing games, they are amazing and right now I am going crazy after PokémonGo. I love cartoons and anime. I write more and read less.

What got me in to writing… is…. Nothing. I wasn’t inspired or encouraged by anybody, it’s just that I got interested from a very early age and I don’t know how but I just know it’s natural. I took a great liking for my English textbooks during my school time.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

No particular time but yeah, my bed is my favorite place for writing (I could lie down too).

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Honestly, I don’t get ideas from anywhere. Most of the time I think, think very hard and my mind struggles to build an idea. So, I build my own ideas and I get them from my mind.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I do have the plan in my head. I sometimes add sudden elements to the story only to make it more interesting.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Action, adventure, crime, horror, mystery, comedy, fantasy, science fiction, spy, creating a fictional world – the list goes on.

Action and adventure- these two are my favourite. My published book’s genre is action, adventure and spy. I really want to be adventurous; it’s fun and interesting. (I wish Doraemon were with me…. I would definitely be on adventures).

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Well, for my latest book (it’s a fantasy and magical) I’d want fresh faces. There are so many favorite actors but newcomers could do well too and I’d definitely want myself playing the female protagonist in my latest book 🙂

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

Reading is not my favorite thing, writing is. I read very less but J.K. Rowling is one amazing author.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Arabian Nights, my favorite and it’s the very first book that I had read.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Harry Potter – Name’s enough 🙂

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

No advice. But I’d just tell him/her to get new and interesting plots. Waking up from sleep and shouting “I want to be a Writer” will not turn you in to a writer. There are so many writers and very few are good. To me, the plot is the main thing.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

 I am not much active on social media sites. I am thinking to have my own site. People could just mail me if they want to 🙂

 

About the Author:

Naila was born on 2 March 1997 in Riyadh, KSA. She presently resides in Hyderabad and is pursuing her BE in IT. She mainly read storybooks and the English textbooks in her school as a child, which led her to develop a great interest for writing. She began to write short stories from the age of twelve. In the later years, she got addicted to writing when watching Hollywood movies gave her a lot more ideas. Though she stopped reading books, she dreamt of a life of adventure, action, thrill, fun and more. Knowing that these dreams are hard to be a reality, she began to pour them into each story she wrote. She later realized that writing stories was more than just a passion, hobby or a personal interest; instead she describes it to be something that comes from within her.

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Book Review: ‘The Sweet Oil of Vitriol’ by Daniel Eagleton

Title: The Sweet Oil of Vitriol: A Tom Glaze Hit Book 1

Published: 23rd February 2017

Author: Daniel Eagleton

 

Synopsis:

Ever get the feeling the staff want to kill you?

After a government sanctioned hit goes spectacularly wrong, Mossad agent Thomas is blamed for the mission’s failure by his superiors, ousted before completing his very first job. Desperate to prove himself, Thomas accepts an offer from his former handler, Yakov, to assassinate Jacob Okonjo, the head of the African Union. It seems Jacob is allowing certain parties to control Africa’s lucrative diamond trade, and in doing so has made some powerful enemies. But like that Mossad hit-team caught on camera in Dubai a few years back, how is Thomas supposed to terminate such a prominent figure without being caught on CCTV? The answer: to work undercover as a room-service waiter at a top London hotel, where, in a few months’ time, Jacob Okonjo will be staying. It’s the perfect plan. Jacob is to be administered an untraceable poison, and afterwards, even if there is an investigation, a trusted member of staff like Thomas will be above suspicion. That’s the idea, anyway. In the meantime, he’s to suffer month after month of boring, menial employment, serving rich, famous people dinner, when he should be making a name for himself amongst the intelligence community. Because you can bet this never happened to Bond or Bourne. Never had to work for tips, subjugating themselves like some average, everyday citizen…

Review:

Spy mystery that will keep you on your toes throughout trying to figure out which way everyone is going to go and what agenda they really have.

Things start out simple enough. Thomas and his team, secret agents hired to take out dangerous people, have been sent on a mission to eliminate someone their government wants gone. Thomas has been sent in advance to get a lay of the land and figure out the best plan of action for when the hit will go down. Their target is a tricky person to pin down with locations, times and whether decoys will be in play. So his task is to figure out every possible scenario before the team, and then their target, gets there. Would seem like a walk in the park for Thomas but he seems to have a little problem with the ladies. In that he can’t seem to stay away from them. Its because of this that the team comes in early to check on his focus, or lack there of. Things go from bad to worse when the time comes to take their target out.

Hit gone wrong and it seems and Thomas and his team are going to take the fall. Well mainly Thomas as he’s the only one that gets caught up with what goes down putting him in the hospital. It seems Uri, the tech guy, is the only one really helping Thomas when everything goes tits up. Even his handler Yakov has taken a bit of a back seat while waiting for the dust to settle. He needs to get out of the hospital before the police arrive, even if he isn’t 100%. Side note when you don’t have the right documents to go back to the hospital it seems wire cutters and a meat tenderizer will do.

Out of the company but not the trade Thomas and Uri go to Yakov to get a new job. Thomas might be wanted but he needs to redeem himself. A new target is set, one with a big payout, but he needs to be clever this time so no one suspects him. Poison is the key and to push any suspicion off him he is going to have to actually work as the waiter and not pose. Seven months till the hit gets to London so by then he should be a natural.

Once an agent always an agent seems to be Thomas’ motto. Said motto seems to attract trouble though. Mainly when a woman is involved. This time the hotels front desk clerk Nadine. Seems she’s in deep with some bad men and Thomas wants to help. The fact that he’s spent the last few months mooning over her being a bit of a key reason. Really he should know better by now. She can see him and his friends for who they really are so you just know a HEA isn’t on the cards.

I could never really get a feel for Yakov. Something was off with him from the start. I always got the feeling that no matter what he was going to throw Thomas under the bus so to speak. Just seems to take Thomas a little longer to figure out. For an agent he didn’t seem very focused with his mission but that could be because he was left to his own devices for so long waiting for his target. Seems trouble is brewing from more than one angle and he is just playing catch up to see it through.

Seemed to pick up more near the end when the chaos seemed to grow. Think the everyday life of him working at the hotel and then his on/off again thing with Nadine seemed to drag a bit. Women definitely seem to be his weakness and if he wants to continue what he’s doing then he’s going to need to work on that. Intriguing paced thriller with a bit of a difference.

For a lot of it I found either he, she or they seemed to be missing from sentences. Almost like you just would assume they were there so added them anyway in your mind while reading. A few other spelling mistakes and errors throughout (‘She put his hand on his’ instead of ‘She put her hand on his’) but nothing too major, just enough to stand out through rest of clean edit.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Author Interview: ‘Dark Water’ by Simon Thould

About the Book:

A girl goes missing – but has she been lost, or taken? Her frantic mother begs for help from the one man with the ruthless skills to track her down. Alex Rafter, former sniper, sees Madeleine Finch as a bad, erratic mother, and is reluctant to go back to a life he is trying to forget. But his own nightmares compel him to search, for the girl’s sake.

Rafter embarks on a murderous hunt, aided by Gabriel Montero, another former soldier, that leads through the wilds of the New Forest to the squalid back streets of Southampton. Rebecca Grant, local veterinary, drug addict and would-be lover, offers help, but her own agenda threatens to send Rafter astray. It becomes a race against time to find the girl before she is lost forever to the heartless world of people traffickers.

What people are saying:

“High intensity fight scenes… Thould’s writing style is to the point and sparse, emphasizing action over poetics.” Midwest Book Review

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I have always written since I was a boy, poems to start, then little stories and articles before feeling as I got into my forties, that I had enough life experience to tackle full-length novels. I think I express myself best in words as I am quite an introvert and was raised in a household where discussing stuff never really happened.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

My writing practice has developed now so I write 1,000 words to one chapter every morning, early-ish, taking as long as it takes to do that. Then I make notes for the next chapter, let that work in my brain overnight then do another 1,000 words the next morning and so on.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Ideas come from anything that strikes a chord – can be seeing someone or something, hearing something, and then usually a sentence or two will just pop into my mind and I write it down along the lines of, ‘what if?’ I usually have a theme that interests me, for Dark Water, it was the struggle our ex-military guys have re-integrating back into civvie street after a lifetime of battle service.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I have to know my characters first. I scan and surf looking for pictures of people that fit the image I have in my head of the sort of personality I want for each character. Then I prepare extensive character charts and plan out the basic storyline on large accounting sheets that give me enough space to plot. Then, once I really know my characters as well as I do myself (sometimes even better!), I put the characters into situations and listen, watch and write down what they say and do. The story then just looks after itself using narration rather than too much ‘purple prose’. I plan on writing 80,000 words in 1,000 word chapters. I have a picture in my mind at all times, it’s a very visual process for me.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I would describe my books as an English version of the American hard-boiled, noir genre. I have always liked best writing that is character driven, in spare, direct language, just what really appeals to me. I get easily bored with too much descriptive stuff going on and will skip pages accordingly.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For Dark Water, the main character, Alex Rafter, is based on the physical appearance of the US actor Dylan McDermott. I found some pictures of him where he had exactly the look I wanted to represent the ‘lost soul’ Rafter had become after the army. I suspect that Rafter is in some way the alter ego I would like to have been! The only other famous face I have used is the Chinese actress Zhang Zlyl (Crouching Tiger…) as Gabriel’s partner, while for the next Rafter story, Dark Horizon, (first draft just finished) I have used Dylan’s real life partner, Maggie Q for the co-main character.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read at least one book a week, usually of the thriller/crime genre and almost exclusively American authors. The only British writer I like is Mark Billingham. My all-time favourite is the late, great Elmore Leonard and I try to keep my writing along his ‘Rules for Writing’. I found a publisher, ‘Hard Case Crime’, that deals exclusively in the hard-boiled genre and I read Donald Westlake, James M. Cain, Lawrence Block, et al. I also enjoy Robert B. Parker, Michael Connelly and Robert Crais a lot.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m currently reading Stephen King’s, ‘Mr. Mercedes’, bit of a departure from his usual horror books.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Hard to have one favourite but, if I had to pick, probably Elmore Leonard’s, ‘ Out of Sight’. It was a great movie also with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. It would be closlely followed by his, Raylan’.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

If you are ‘thinking’ about becoming a writer, you probably shouldn’t try it. But, if you feel in your very soul that you have to write then go for it 100%. Read everything you can get your hands on, write as much as you can about anything until your own ‘natural’ style evolves. I write what I like to read, so there’s that too.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

There’s my Facebook and Twitter pages and some stuff available on the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency website too. I am considering creating my own website sometime in the not too distant future.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Simon-Thould

Twitter: @simonthould

Andrew Lownie Literary Agency website: www.andrewlownie.co.uk/authors/simon-thould

 

About the Author:

 

Simon was born in Somerset, England, where he went to public school and played rugby and cricket with more enthusiasm than he studied. He later managed to qualify as a chartered surveyor and practised for over twenty years in both public and private sectors in London and the south of England. Simon completed two Creative Writing night school courses and a Writers’ Bureau correspondence course in his spare time. He also worked as a restaurant and bar manager in Hampshire before moving with his two black cats to a mountain farmhouse in Andalusia, southern Spain for a year and a half. There he wrote his first novel.

He moved back to the UK and worked as a resident housekeeper and groom in Kent and wrote a second novel.

Then he relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, USA for several years and worked in warehouse stock control, sold insurance and then artwork in a downtown gallery. Returning to the UK once more, he worked as a postman and in several retail positions and wrote a third unpublished novel.

Simon moved to the island of Gozo in 2014 and wrote, ‘DarkWater’, a thriller introducing Alex Rafter. After a lifetime of rejections from publishers and agents with only minor success with magazine articles, Simon made a final push to try and get published. He sent the synopsis and three chapters to more than fifty UK agents before being lucky enough to be taken on by David Haviland of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency in London. ‘Dark Water’ is being published in August 2017.

Simon’s passions, other than writing, are reading hard-boiled, noir novels, watching classic movies, travel and following National Hunt horse racing. He has been married twice and has a daughter, Lucy.  He currently lives in Almunecar on the Andalusian coast and has just completed the first draft of a second, ‘Alex Rafter’ novel.

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