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The Watcher By Ross Armstrong

The Watcher‘The Watcher’ is the latest book by Ross Armstrong.

Lily Gullick lives with her husband Aiden in a new-build flat opposite an estate which has been marked for demolition. A keen birdwatcher, she can’t help spying on her neighbours. Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars and soon her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead. Lily, intrigued by the social divide in her local area as it becomes increasingly gentrified, knows that she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat. But can Lily really trust everything she sees?

‘The Watcher’ is a peculiar book, with an intriguing plot line and an even stranger lead.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Lily Anna, a quiet, reclusive character who spends most of her days, watching her neighbours and imagining their lives. She lives in the well to do part of the estate, whilst other people live in poverty. She’s unintentionally snobby and keeps her distance from the poorer residents. But when an old friend called Jean is found dead, she begins her own investigation and finds herself beginning to question her own sanity.

The story is quite fast paced and with even though it flows solely through Lily’s narrative, there’s rarely a dull moment as she constantly speculating and investigating.

She regularly has a conversation with someone called ‘you’ and I found this to really keep me on my toes, as I guessed my way through the story wondering who ‘you’ was.

The story is eerily atmospheric and creepy from the beginning and is very much reminiscent of Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ as Lily watches everything from the sanctuary of her window with only her husband, Aidan for company. The pair of them create stories about their neighbours but Lily invests most of her time and imagination in it. As she looks into death of her neighbour, she finds herself in danger, but she’s fearless and is determined to prove that her friend was murdered despite the circumstances.

Cleverly written with quite an unreliable and unstable lead character, ‘The Watcher’ is an intense story that made for unsettling reading. Filled with questionable characters and situations that made gripping reading, this book makes you wonder what really goes on behind closed doors.

You can pre-order The Watcher from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 21st September.

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

If you’re a fan of the crime genre, whether you enjoy reading the books or aspire to be an author, then Belfast’s debut crime festival is a must attendance.

Noireland (great name by the way) will be running from 27-29th October and taking place in the Europa Hotel.

Organised by the people behind the amazing bookshop ‘No Alibis’ which is situated in Botanic in Belfast, this festival celebrates the island’s love of crime fiction.

The 3-day event will be showcasing the amazing talent emerging from Ireland currently as well as some of the popular authors from all over the world, such as Sophie Hannah, Arne Dahl and Benjamin Black, to name just a few.

Noireland International Crime was organised to provide a platform for the wealth of crime writing talent emerging from Ireland, showcasing it alongside some of the biggest international names in crime and thriller writing.

With a jam-packed programme of great authors plus a selection of entertaining events, this debut festival is an exciting introduction to Northern Ireland’s love of all things crime and suspense.

As a very new and independent organisation they rely on partnerships, sponsors, donations, ticket sales and volunteers to support their work.

If you are interested in partnering with Noireland or sponsoring them you can contact them at info@noireland.com

For more information and updates about the events plus tickets, go to Noireland.com

Jaime Raven

'The Husband's ConfessionJaime is a former newspaper and television journalist who lives in Southampton, the city where ‘The Madam’ is set. ‘The Mother’ is her latest book.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I’m married with three children and live in Southampton, UK. I used to be a journalist and worked in newspapers and television for a number of years. I was always very keen to cover crime stories and I draw on that experience now when writing my books. ‘The Mother’ is the third Jaime Raven novel for Avon/Harper Collins. The others are ‘The Madam’ and ‘The Alibi’. All three feature a strong female protagonist and a collection of ruthless villains.

    I got into writing thanks to my mother who was a big Agatha Christie fan and she encouraged me to read from an early age. I then started writing short stories for magazines before completing my first novel at fifteen. But it wasn’t anywhere near good enough to submit to a publisher.

  2. What is your new book ‘The Mother’ about?
    ‘The Mother’ is about single mum Sarah Mason whose little girl is abducted. The kidnapper claims he’s done it in order to punish Sarah, who also happens to be a detective with the Metropolitan Police. Her suffering is made worse when she’s sent upsetting video clips of her baby. We follow the hunt for the child and focus on how the nightmare impacts on Sarah and her estranged husband.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    It would have to be Martina Cole, Jessie Keane, Kimberley Chambers and Roberta Kray. My books are in the same genre as those authors – gritty urban crime novels. I’m also an avid reader of all their books. They’re wonderful authors who know how to tell a good story.
  4. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Without doubt it’s Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. He is such a complex and compelling character. He’s also totally original – the ex-military cop turned drifter who gets into lots of dangerous scrapes in his relentless pursuit of justice. He’s likeable as well as enigmatic. It doesn’t surprise me that the books are international best sellers and have been turned into movies.
  5. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    ‘The Girl on the Train’. I read it because of all the reviews and hype but I struggled to get to the end. I didn’t like any of the characters and at times I found it quite confusing. I also didn’t think there was much of a story to it and it was a huge disappointment. The film was not much better.
  6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    When I finish the first draft and write THE END. It’s always such a relief. But I also experience a strong sense of accomplishment because it usually takes six or seven months to get to that point. During that time I find I can’t concentrate on anything else and it has a big impact on family life.
  7. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    This is an easy one. It’s the first line of ‘Peter Pan’ by JM Barrie, which begins: All children, except one, grow up.

    This is such a dramatic and memorable sentence. And although it’s years since I read the book I’ve never forgotten it.

  8. What do you think makes a good book?
    It’s very simple as far as I’m concerned. A good book needs a story that has pace and characters that you either love or hate. It shouldn’t be over-complicated or over-written. And the ending must be satisfying.

    Structure is also important and I’m not keen on books that keep going back and forth in time because I find them confusing and distracting.

  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Well if they’re books I’ve already read then I would take the following because I’d be more than happy to read them again.
    ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo. This is one of my all-time favourites. Such a great book with a marvellous cast of crooked characters.
    ‘Red Dragon’ by Thomas Harris. To me this is one of the best and scariest thrillers ever written. It blew me away and introduced me to a character named Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic serial killer. Wow! Since I’ve not read it for years I’m sure I’d enjoy it again.
    ‘I Am Pilgrim’ by Terry Hayes. An epic novel that was a huge success around the world and deservedly so. It’s very long so would keep me busy for days on a desert island.
  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I always advise budding writers to read as many books as they can in their chosen genres. And while reading make notes. Study the different styles of writers, especially structure and descriptive prose. And they should keep telling themselves that they will eventually write much better books than any of those they’ve read.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A cup of hot coffee. Despite what many of my friends think writing is hard, tiring work and I need coffee to keep me going.
  12. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website.
    I’ve just finished the first draft of a new book for Avon/Harper Collins. The working title is ’The Threat’ and is due to be published early next year. That’s assuming, of course, that Avon are happy with it. I don’t want to give anything away but I can say that it’s the longest book I’ve written and has already been described by one of the few people who’ve read it as my most ambitious yet.

Check out her Jaime Raven’s website at Jaime Raven for updates

You can buy The Mother from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Miranda Dickinson Reveals New Book – Christmas In St Ives

Christmas In St IvesMiranda Dickinson has revealed exciting news about her new Christmas novella called ‘Christmas In St Ives’

What the back cover says

Heartbroken Cerrie Austin is doing her best to hold it together in the run up to Christmas. Not easy when her cheating ex works in the same school and everyone’s eyes are on her. The last thing she needs is a new teacher meddling in her beloved nativity play, even if he is charming, handsome and a talented musician. The Christmas performance is her pride and joy, and she won’t be undermined.

Seren McArthur has recently returned to her Cornish hometown and is enjoying being close to her family and her oldest friends again. St Ives is at its most magical at Christmas, with fairy lights and tinsel in every shop window, tempting locals and holidaymakers alike as they pick up gifts. But an exciting opportunity is just around the corner: will she stay or will she go?

Meanwhile, the St Ives Christmas celebrations are in crisis: plans for a giant lantern parade through the starlit streets have ground to a halt. As the snow starts to fall, can Cerrie, Seren and their friends Kieran and Aggie rally around in time to save the big day?

‘Christmas in St Ives’ is a charming novella that introduces you to the characters from Miranda Dickinson’s upcoming novel, ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’.

You can pre-order Christmas in St Ives from Amazon and is available to buy from 19th October 2017.

Cover Reveal – The Hygge Holiday By Rosie Blake

The Hygge HolidayRosie Blake is back with a fabulous new book called ‘The Hygge Holiday’

What the back cover says –

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

You can pre-orderThe Hygge Holiday from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 21st September 2017.