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Perfect Prey Book Tour – Extract

Perfect PreyOn the book tour for Helen Fields’ gruesome new book, “Perfect Prey’, read an extract from the unsettling tale.

Tripp looked like he didn’t know which way to run.

‘In you come, Tripp,’ Callanach instructed. ‘And you should shut your door, Bunny. It’s late.’

Safely inside, Tripp was a shade of beetroot.

‘New neighbour then, sir? She seems very, um, enthusiastic.’ Tripp raised his eyebrows and seemed to be struggling to control a grin.

‘Was there something important, detective constable? Only I was hoping to get some sleep for the first time in several days.’

‘Of course, yes. Couldn’t send the files over the internet. No time to securely encode them. Here you go.’ Tripp opened a laptop, and clicked on a folder in which two items sat. As the first played, Callanach could hear the now familiar song that the band had been playing when Sim Thorburn had hit the floor. The footage was taken from a few rows in front of the victim, on a mobile phone whose owner was obviously taking a selfie of herself singing along. For a split second, in the background, a shadow passed across Sim’s face. As the shadow cleared the screen, Sim could be seen slightly out of focus, looking down towards his stomach, his face registering confusion. Then he lurched to one side, out of shot.
‘Is that all?’ Callanach asked. ‘It doesn’t tell us any more about the attacker.’

‘One more piece of footage,’ Tripp said. ‘Top right-hand corner of the screen.’

Tripp pressed play. More mobile footage, this time obviously designed to show the scale of the audience, mobile held high in the air, turning around in a three-sixty loop. After a few seconds, Tripp pressed pause and pointed.

‘There,’ he said. ‘Only in shot for a second, but it’s clearer than in the previous footage.’

Callanach looked more closely. Sim Thorburn was hidden from view, but he could see Merel and Niek De Vries. To the left of them, walking in profile, was an adult with dark brown hair flopping over their face. The attacker was wearing large, dark sunglasses. Tripp let the video play to show the person’s sudden change of direction away from the camera and into the crowd.

‘Male or female?’ Callanach asked.

‘Can’t be sure,’ Tripp replied, closing the lid of the laptop. ‘But not that tall, slim and therefore able to move about relatively unnoticed. Caucasian. Hair could be natural or dyed.

Might even be a wig. Clothes didn’t stand out to anyone, so no help there.’

‘Perfect camouflage,’ Callanach said, leaning back on the couch and closing his eyes.

‘Could it be someone from one of the homeless shelters, do you think?’ Tripp asked. ‘Sim would have come into contact with plenty of people suffering mental health problems. No one keeping tabs on them, no one to recognise them.’

Callanach shook his head.

‘I wish I believed that, Max,’ he said. ‘Because sooner or later the person you’re describing would get arrested for something else, have a breakdown and confess, get drunk and show someone the knife. This took planning. It needed care and consideration. More than that, it needed nerves of fucking steel. Can you imagine the psyche of a person who can walk through a crowd of thousands, take out a weapon, cut hard and deep and precisely, then not rush away? To walk on slowly through the crowd, certain you’ve done such a good job that you have the time to get out of there, whilst putting the knife out of sight, making sure you don’t emerge from the crowd covered in blood. This person knew how to cut. They may be a psychopath but they’re not mentally ill, not in the way we think of it. This is someone who feels nothing at all. No panic, no fear, no sense of danger. Nothing at all.’

‘How do we catch them then, sir, if they’re that good?’ Tripp asked.

‘You know what, Tripp? I don’t have a fucking clue.’

Fancy finding out what happens next? You can buy Perfect Prey from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Country Girl Book Tour – Extract

A Country Girl‘On the book tour for Nancy Carson’s new book called ‘A Country Girl’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the historical tale.

The sinking sun cast a long, animated shadow of Algie Stokes as he ambled that evening along the rutted road known as Moor Lane on his way to see Harriet Meese. To his right lay a rambling Georgian mansion, an island of prosperity set in a sea of stubble fields. The grand, symmetrical house seemed entirely at odds with the tile works, the slag heaps and the worked-out mines which it overlooked. No doubt it had existed long before its sooty neighbours had been dreamed of; a rural haven, set in bowers of peace and tranquillity. But no more. Yet it never occurred to Algie what the well-to-do occupants might think of the black, encroaching gloom of industry. He never noticed any of it, taking for granted these immovable, and probably eternal, man-made elements of the unromantic landscape.

The crimson glow from the sun at his back was augmenting the ruddiness of the red-brick terraced houses he was passing. He bid a polite good evening to a passer-by, and his thoughts returned to the golden sunshine of Marigold Bingham’s natural loveliness. Yet, strangely, he was finding that he could not ponder Marigold without Harriet Meese also trespassing unwanted into his thoughts. Mental comparison was therefore becoming inevitable. Maybe it was a guilty conscience playing tricks.

Harriet was twenty years old, the second of seven daughters belonging to Mary and Eli Meese. Eli was a respectable trader who described his business as ‘a drapery, mourning and mantles shop’, situated in Brierley Hill’s High Street, where the family also lived above the shop. Four of the seven daughters were sixteen or over – of marriageable age – but Harriet was blessed with the most beguiling figure of them all, wondrously endowed with feminine curves. She was slender and long-legged, her curves and bulges were in the appropriate places, and as delightful in proportion as Algie had ever had the pleasure to behold in or around Brierley Hill. However, to his eternal frustration he had never been privileged to know Harriet’s sublime body intimately. Nor was such a privilege likely as long as they remained unmarried. Chastity had been instilled into Harriet from an early age, both at home and at church. So, despite Algie’s most earnest endeavours, he had never so much as managed to unfasten one button of her blouse, nor lifted her skirt more than eight inches above her ankle without a vehement protest and an indignant thump. It was, of course, her figure which was the sole attraction, since her face was her least alluring feature.

After a twenty minute walk, Algie strolled up the entry that lay between Eli Meese’s drapery shop and his neighbour, and tapped on the door. Priscilla, Harriet’s older sister, a school teacher who was manifestly destined for eternal spinsterdom, answered it. Facially, she was unfortunate enough to resemble Harriet but, even more regrettably, not in figure. Her crooked lips stretched into a thin smile, yet her eyes, the most attractive feature in her face, creased into a welcoming warmth as she led him into the parlour.

You can buy A Country Girl from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Adele Parks Reveals New Book – The Image Of You

The Image Of YouExciting news as Adele Parks has already revealed the name and cover to her new book called ‘The Image Of You’.

What the back cover says:

When all you can see is what they want you to see… Can you ever trust someone you meet online?

Anna and Zoe are twins. Identical in appearance, utterly different in personality, they share a bond so close that nothing – or no one – can rip them apart.

Until Anna meets charismatic Nick.
Anna is trusting, romantic and hopeful; she thinks Nick is perfect.

Zoe is daring, dangerous and extreme; she thinks Nick is a liar.

Zoe has seen Anna betrayed by men before. She’ll stop at nothing to discover if Nick is as good as he seems.

The problem is, lies may hurt. But honesty can kill.

I absolutely adored Adele’s previous book, ‘The Stranger In My Home’ so I can’t wait to read this one!

You can pre-order The Image of You from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

The Arrangement Book Tour – Short Story

The ArrangementTo kick off the book tour for Sonya Lalli’s new book ‘The Arrangement’, the lovely author has written a short story that will continue across the other websites of the tour.

Serena’s Story
In The Arrangement, thirty-year-old, fun-living Serena is on the sidelines. She shares a mutual friend with the novel’s heroine Raina, and for a while dates one of Raina’s relatives. Even though Serena’s story doesn’t make it into my novel, I wanted to share a bit more about her own dating misadventures – and give you a few clues about what’s to come in ‘The Arrangement’!

“I’m done with dating.”

“You don’t mean that,” says Shaylee.

“This time, I mean it.” Serena takes a sip of her lukewarm pinot grigio and thinks about every lousy boyfriend she’s ever had – from first-kiss-worst-kiss Luke in the eleventh grade, to her most recent ex, Kris, who had the emotional intelligence of a granola bar.

Meanwhile, Serena had – for lack of better words – her shit entirely together. She was a successful marketing manager, had great friends and nearly enough in her savings account to finally buy that dream flat. She drove out to the suburbs every Sunday to spend the afternoon with her parents, attended yoga class every Tuesday and Friday morning, and – she thinks modestly – isn’t entirely unattractive.

Wasn’t she a catch? In the words of her spirit animal Charlotte on Sex and the City, “I’ve been dating since I was fifteen. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” If Mr. Right wasn’t here by now, Serena thinks decidedly, he wasn’t showing up at all.

As Shaylee orders them a plate of nachos, Serena tucks her phone back into her purse to avoid checking it obsessively. Just hours ago, James had texted her a picture of his new kitten poking out of a tea cosy with the caption Garfield is looking forward to our date, too!

And now?

Now, her new coworker James – who’d she been crushing on for weeks –had stood her up. He’d disappeared without so much as a “wait, actually, I’m just not that into you” text, and let her sit by herself at a bar waiting for him. Now, she was still just regular Serena – crushed and crush-less – still on the mend from her breakup with Kris.

“Oh, snap!” Shaylee slides her phone across the table. “The cinema down the road is doing a midnight screening of Mean Girls. Should we go?”

Serena shrugs.

“It’ll cheer you up…”

“OK. I guess.” She smiles, thankful Shaylee had nothing better to do tonight than keep her company. “Doesn’t Raina live nearby? Should we invite her? ”

“She’s on a date tonight.”

“Another one?”

“Her Nani’s fixing her up, remember?”

“Maybe her Nani should set me up.”

“Be careful what you wish for, Serena,” Shaylee says, as she buys the cinema tickets on her phone. “She’s driving Raina crazy right now.”

“Well, I guess I’d rather be alone than crazy.” Serena sets her hands on the table with purpose. “And in fact, I will be. I am never going to date again.”

“You still don’t mean that.”

“Watch me.”

Shaylee leans forward on her elbow, like she’s trying to read Serena’s face.

“I’m serious. This is bullshit. I’m done with dating.”

She reaches across the table and grab’s Serena’s wrist, rotating the watch face upwards. 9:04 pm.

“We have three hours until the movie starts,” Shaylee says. “Three whole hours to kill…”

“Your point is?”

“I’ll make you a deal. In the next three hours, I’ll introduce you to three men. Three men of my choosing.”

“Tonight?”

“Yeah,” Shaylee says. “Tonight. And if you don’t like any of them, I’ll leave you alone. I won’t say all the things friends are supposed to say about ‘taking time for yourself’ or ‘letting yourself heal’ – or anything like that. I’ll let you give up.”

“You’ll let me give up.”

“Not just let you, Serena, I’ll enforce it.”

Three men? Three hours? Would Shaylee pick them out in this very bar? Serena glances around the room, a few strangers already catching her eye. Or, would Shaylee go through Serena’s phone? Message men she’s met up with in the past but has already written off. Connect her with new ones on her dating apps?

“So are you in?”

Tapping her fingers on the table, she shrugs. It’s not like she had anything better to do, or at this point, anything to lose.

Three hours. Three mini-dates. This would be a walk in the park, and then she could sit down and embrace spinsterhood in peace.

“I’m in.”

If you enjoyed this short introduction to the characters, you can buy the book The Arrangement from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Chasing The Sun Book Tour – How To Survive A Girly Holiday

Katy CollinsOn the book tour for Katy Collins’ new book, ‘Chasing The Sun’, Katy gives us top tips to help us survive a girly holiday without the drama!

Your gal pals know you better than you know yourself so can make the perfect partner-in-crime travel buddies. As much as I enjoy travelling solo I also love that when you jet off with someone else you get to share all stories and the memories. Here are my top tips for making the most of your precious time away to maximise that incredible girl power:

#Sharingiscaring – If you’re travelling in a big group then take it in turns to be the leader, don’t just lump it all on one poor sod to be in charge of booking the accommodation, finding nice places to eat, managing the finances and sorting out cheap flights. No-one should be forced to play mum.

#Waterbabies – No doubt your liver will take a beating whilst you’re away, whenever I hang out with my friends I can guarantee that a bottle of vino won’t be far away. From a swift drink at the airport, a miniature vodka and coke on your early flight, to tracking down the nearest bar before you’ve had time to unpack will probably be how you start and mean to go on. However, don’t be the party pooper that peaks too soon, stay hydrated, try to alternate water with every round and remember stamina is the key here.

#Gowiththeflow – It’s good to have an idea of the places you’d like to visit and the things you’d like to see but don’t follow some ridiculous to-the-minute itinerary that leaves you stressed, knackered and rushing about like a blue-arsed fly in order to tick them off your over-organised list.

#Moneytalks – It might be wise to organise a kitty when going on a night out and being upfront about how much everyone has budgeted for the trip so you don’t blow it all on some fancy bar on the first night and leave those with less cash feeling inferior and stretched to the max.

Chasing The Sun

#Independentladies – Is there something you really fancy doing whilst you’re away but have received an overwhelming not a chance from your mates? Remember that you don’t need to do the same thing together every single moment of every day. Obviously it’s nice when you all have similar interests but it doesn’t often work like that. Why not look at each planning an activity so everyone gets to try new things?

#Whatgoesontourstaysontour – Don’t tag your mates in embarrassing photos that could come back to haunt them and don’t bring up that incident once you’re back on home ground in front of their mum or boyfriend. Look after each other, stay safe and remain as thick as thieves.

#Getitoffyourchest – Following on from the last tip; don’t bottle up any bad feelings. If others are doing your head in then either distance yourself a little or have a chat about why them not pulling their weight is irritating you. You’re here to enjoy yourself not slag each other off.

#R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Rowdy stag do’s get a bad reputation but gangs of loud mouthed girls-on-tour or hen do’s can be just as annoying to everyone else apart from you. Don’t be a dick on the flight, don’t ruin other people’s holidays by insisting you’re the next Beyonce on karaoke and don’t trash your hotel leaving the poor cleaners to wipe up your lurid fishbowl coloured vomit. It ain’t big and certainly ain’t pretty.

#Avoidburnout – Eat well, drink plenty of water, slather yourself in sun cream and try to get enough kip. You may think you can follow the mantra ‘go big or go home’, however your home may be calling faster than you realise if you do go all out and collapse with fatigue or liver failure.

#BFF – Gossip away, take millions of selfies (duck pouts and all), perfect your tan and make memories that will have you chuckling to yourself months later. The most important thing is to enjoy all this time you’ve got together, it’ll be over before you know it so make every ruddy fun second count.

You can buy Chasing the Sun from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.