blog tour, books

Cover Reveal: Zodiac – Anamaria Ionescu

When investigator Sergiu Manta is handed the investigation into a series of bizarre murders, he can’t sure what he’s getting involved in as he has to work with regular detective Marius Stanescu, who has his own suspicions about the biker he has been told to work with, and wants to get to the truth. The twists and turns of their investigation takes them from the city of Bucharest to the mountains of rural Romania, and back.

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Corylus Books

Corylus Book is a new venture aiming to publish fiction translated into English. The people behind the company have very different backgrounds, but what brings us together is a deep appreciation of crime fiction and a strong interest in books from countries that so have been under-represented in English.

It took a while before it turned out that everyone’s thoughts had been on similar lines – that we wanted to take a chance on presenting some of the great European crime fiction that wouldn’t normally make its way into English. With a mixture of language, translation and other skills between the four of us, it seemed the logical next step to take.

The first Corylus books are a pair of Romanian crime novellas, Living Candles by Teodora Matei and Zodiac by Anamaria Ionescu.

There’s more to come in 2020 – starting with Romanian novelist’s Bogdan Teodorescu’s Sword, a powerful political thriller that has already been a bestseller in Romania and in its French translation. Sword will be available in May and will be followed later in the year by the first of two books by Icelandic crime writer Sólveig Pálsdóttir. The Fox will be available in the second half of this year, followed by Shackles in 2021.

And there’s more to come, with a novel by Bogdan Hrib set partly in Romania and partly in the north-east of England, a second novel from Teodora Matei, and we’re talking to more exciting writers from across Europe about what we can do together…

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Death Deserved – Jorn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger*

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV. Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing… Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flair for the dramatic, and thirst for attention. Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger’s first co-written thriller.

My thoughts:

This was very clever, both authors are at the top of their game and it shows in this twisty, fast paced novel.

I liked the contrast between Emma and Blix, she the hot shot young reporter, he the dogged career detective.

As they attempt to track down the mysterious counting killer and unravel his obsession with celebrities, their own secrets are revealed.

I could definitely see a series of cases investigated by the combined skills of the protagonists and even see it as the latest Scandi Noir TV must see. That’s how good the plot and writing are.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Spotlight: The Saracen Storm – J.M. Nunez

Hispania, 704 AD. When young Pelayo, the rebellious illegitimate son of the Duke of Asturias, is tasked with hunting down a party of Saracens raiders, he seizes on the chance to escape the city and the scandals that have swirled around him for years. As he follows the trail of devastation left by the raiders, he learns that Valentina, the headstrong daughter of his father’s closest ally and his hated half-brother’s betrothed has been taken captive.

As Pelayo leads his cohort toward the eastern coast, the sudden death of the king in Toledo unravels old alliances and sparks a fierce competition for the throne. As the kingdom descends into civil war, the ambitious Saracen governor, Musa Ibn Nosseyr, sees the Iberian nation’s troubles as the perfect opportunity to expand the reach of the caliphate into the underbelly of Europe.

Based on historical figures and events, The Saracen Storm is the sweeping saga of one of Spain’s best-loved heroes and the role he played during the nation’s darkest period: the Moorish invasion of its lands in 711 AD.

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Jose Nunez resides in Montreal, Canada, with his wife and two daughters. After running a small, software development company for a few years, he turned his hand to freelance writing. A chance sighting of a bronze statue of an ancient warrior called Pelayo in the town of Cangas de Onis, Spain, gave rise to his first novel, The Saracen Storm.


blog tour, books

Blog Tour: The Great Devil War Book Three – The Wrongful Death – Kenneth B. Andersen


An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.

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I WAS BORN IN DENMARK ON A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT IN NOVEMBER 1976 …

… and I began writing when I was a teenager. My first book was a really awful horror novel titled Nidhug’s Slaves. It didn’t get published. Luckily.

During the next 7 years, I wrote nearly 20 novels–all of which were rejected–while working as a school teacher. The rest of the time I spent writing.

In 2000 I published my debut fantasy book, The Battle of Caïssa, and that’s when things really took off. Since then I’ve published more than thirty-five books for children and young adults in genres ranging from fantasy to horror and science fiction.

My books have been translated into more than 15 languages and my series about the superhero Antboy has been adapted for film, which is available on Netflix. An animated tv series is currently in development.

A musical of The Devil’s Apprentice opened in the fall 2018 and the movie rights for the series have also been optioned.

I live in Copenhagen with my wife, two boys, a dog named Milo and spiders in the basement.

About THE GREAT DEVIL WAR: The Great Devil War was published in Denmark from 2005-2016, beginning with The Devil’s Apprentice.

Even though the story (mostly) takes place in Hell and deals with themes like evil, death and free will, it is also a humoristic tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective. A tale that hopefully will make the reader – young or old, boy or girl – laugh and think.

Welcome to the other side!

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The Garden of Eden

The darkness of night turned into the light of morning, and although Philip did what Lucifer recommended and pulled his hood over his eyes, he was momentarily dazzled by the light. Slowly his eyes grew accustomed to the change, and out of the blinding whiteness, the Garden of Eden emerged in all its splendor.

Philip felt something pulling at his soul, even though all he saw was an ordinary forest. That’s because it wasn’t just an ordinary forest.

Not at all.

First of all there were the colors. The green moss that lay like a thick carpet on the floor. The blooming flowers. The luscious tree canopy overhead and fruits hanging in bunches. The sky that was more blue than Philip had ever seen. The sunlight that fell between the leaves in warm streams of gold.

Secondly there were the smells. So many, and so clear, that Philip became dizzy and had to hold onto Satina so he didn’t stumble.

Then there were the sounds. A storm of bird songs, monkey cries, and distant, thundering waterfalls, and yet… quiet, so quiet.

Then, to top it off, the atmosphere—the feeling of the place… It carried him off his feet. The forest, the air, it inspired a feeling of pure joy that Philip had never known before. It made the hair on his arms rise with delight and made his heart, yes, his very soul, feel like laughing. It felt like… Well, like he was in Heaven.

“Horrible place, right?” Lucifer said, closing the door to the rock wall. “Too cold and much too bright in my opinion. Come on, it’s this way.”

Philip and Satina followed the Devil, who with long, decisive steps led them through the summer forest.

“We’re in Heaven,” Philip whispered as he heard the mild breeze softly stirring the leaves in the canopies overhead. “I can’t believe it. We’re in Heaven!”

“Not quite,” Lucifer corrected. “It’s merely the earthly Paradise that lies between Earth and Heaven. This is where the saved souls go after they die. They help tend the garden.”

Between Earth and Heaven?” Philip said, confused. “I thought you went to Heaven when you died. If you’re good, that is.”

“No. You get this far and no farther. I realize a lot of people think that, Philip. There are even more who think Paradise is about lying in a hammock all day and letting God’s angels attend to your every need. But it’s never been like that. It would quickly lead to many of the seven deadly sins—laziness, gluttony, and greed, just to name a few—and that doesn’t exactly harmonize well with this place. No, living in Paradise means hard work. Of course, it’s nothing compared to working conditions down where we are.”

“What is Heaven, then?”

“Heaven is home to Jehovah and the angels. The angels come to Paradise, but they don’t live there. They live in Empyrean, the city of light. It’s even worse than this place. It makes my eyes itch and my nose starts running like a faucet. I’m definitely more comfortable here.” Lucifer plucked a flame-red rose, and it immediately lost its color and shriveled up. He smelled it and tossed it aside, the now metallic-gray flower disintegrating to ash as it hit the ground. “I have some good memories from this place.”

There was a subtle snap on their right as something in the forest stepped on a branch.

Philip turned his head and froze in his tracks.

It was a tiger. It ran toward them, its giant paws soundlessly bounding through the forest, and its amber eyes locked on Satina, who hadn’t noticed the wild animal.

Watch out!” Philip shouted and pulled her toward him as the animal came bursting out of the brush, a cascade of yellow and black and teeth and claws.

“Philip, take it easy!” Beyond the rush of blood roaring in his ears, he heard Lucifer laughing. “It wouldn’t harm a fly.”

Fear turned into confusion and then amazement when he saw the tiger had stopped and just stood there, curiously watching them. Curious and…friendly?

“It won’t?” he muttered and let go of Satina. “Sorry, but I thought… Are you okay?”

She nodded.

“That’s what I’m saying, Philip. Paradise is a gruesome place. So sad and boring. Just look at this guy.” Lucifer walked over to the tiger and patted him on the back. “Tame as a lamb. Wild animals aren’t even wild here. In the afterlife they peacefully coexist.” The Devil sadly shook his head. “I get nauseous just thinking about it.”

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Bury Them Deep – James Oswald*

Bury Them Deep Cover

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.

Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?

McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…

JAMES OSWALD is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series.

James’s first two books, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award.

BURY THEM DEEP is the tenth book in the Inspector Mclean Series.

James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

In celebration of BURY THEM DEEP being the tenth book in the McLean series here’s ten quickfire questions with James:

Favourite Inspector McLean book to write; The next one, I’m sure. I hope.

Favourite crime book you’ve read; Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, and I’ll fight anyone who says it’s not crime fiction.

Favourite Inspector McLean character to write; It’s a toss up between Grumpy Bob and Madame Rose, but Rose seems to be the fan favourite.

Favourite part of the writing process; Typing ‘The End’. I think it’s Dorothy Parker who said ‘I hate writing, I love having written’. I reckon that’s spot on.

Favourite way to take a break from writing; I had no idea such a thing was possible.

Favourite cow; I try to discourage favouritism in my fold, but probably Gertrude.

Favourite audiobook; The Rivers of London books, written by Ben Aaronovitch and narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Probably. Ask me again and I’ll come up with something different.

Favourite recipe to cook; Chilli con carne, heavy on the chilli.

Favourite movie; I don’t think I have one. I’m not the sort of person who re-reads or re-watches much.

Favourite gig you’ve been to; The last Frightened Rabbits gig I went to was brilliant. They were supported by Canadian indie rockers Wintersleep, who I’d never heard of before but have become a dedicated fan of ever since.

My thoughts:

This started out as a simple police procedural and then veered off in another direction entirely, blending folklore and ancient religious practices with modern policing.

It’s all quite sinister and adds to the Scotland of popular imagination, full of witches and murderers (thanks Will S!), the legend of Sawney Bean, a cannibal, in particular, is crucial to the story and is explained in an opening coda.

Oswald is celebrating 10 Inspector McLean novels with Bury Them Deep and the twisty, turny plot and confident writing style show an author at the height of their powers.

The red herrings and sudden changes in direction keep you firmly engaged with the narrative and Inspector McLean is a likeable everyman protagonist.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Coronation – Justin Newland*


It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.
In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.
Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…

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Justin Newland writes history with a supernatural bent. His novels are The Genes of Isis, an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies, and The Old Dragon’s Head, a historical fantasy played out in the shadows of the Great Wall of China. He lives with his partner in Somerset, England.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting read, following Fermor’s mysterious quest, and the adventures of several other characters, against a backdrop of war in the 18th Century.

It reminded me of Russian novels with its large cast and various incidents along the way.

Well written and with a strong narrative voice, this book encourages you to ask questions about the nature of things.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Will to Succeed – Christine Raafat*

Retain your loyalty, preserve your rights.”
Such was the motto of Lady Anne Clifford, the woman who defied King James I and risked everything by opposing her family, friends, and the law in a battle to reclaim her inheritance. Anne’s father, the Earl of Cumberland, died in 1605 and bequeathed his great northern estates not to his sole surviving child but to his brother, believing that a prophecy by his great-grandfather would eventually come true and return the estates to Anne. Only fifteen years old at the time, she and her mother vowed to contest the will, and Anne spent the next three decades battling for what she believed was rightfully hers.
Lady Anne Clifford steadfastly (and treasonably) refused to accept the king’s decision, whatever the consequences, but was defeated and left with the prophecy as her only hope. Widowed at the age of thirty-four, she survived an anxious period alone with her two young daughters before surprising everyone with an ill-judged second marriage that gave her access to the highest in the land. But the Civil War destroyed that power and confined the fifty-two-year-old Anne to a grand palace in London for six years. Would she ever attain “ye landes of mine inheritance”? The Will to Succeed, the first novel to tell the story of Lady Anne Clifford, chronicles her brave attempt to take back what she was owed and gives readers a glimpse into some of the issues that women faced in the seventeenth century.

My Thoughts:

I love a bit of historical fiction revisiting women whose lives might otherwise have been buried and forgotten.

Lady Anne Clifford is one of those women.

The lives of noble women tend to be known about a bit more because their births, marriages, children, deaths would all be recorded, especially if they’re close to the throne. But in Lady Anne’s case it is also because of the extraordinary battle for her inheritance.

Drawing on Lady Anne’s own detailed diary, Raafat has recreated the court of James I & VI, replete with gossip and scandal, a place Anne came to know through both her marriages.

This is vividly drawn, well written and Lady Anne comes across an empathetic and resourceful as she fights the court for her inheritance.

I really enjoyed this book, with its attention to detail at the turbulent 17th Century.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.