The Box Blog Tour

Your daughter is missing. You’ve been accused of a terrible crime. How can you save her if everyone believes you’re a murderer? The Box holds the answers … if you live long enough to find them

The Box, Dan Malakin

Of course the minute I read that I knew I needed this book. Thanks to Angana and Viper Books I got my wish along with being part of the blog tour.

Ed Truman is a solicitor who finds his daughter, and subsequently his whole family targeted by an alt right men’s activist group – Men Together. As the smear campaign picks up speed, Ed’s daughter Ally is missing. Now Ed is focused on finding Ally and putting a stop to this war on the family. Which is easier said than done when the whole country thinks you are a sexual predator and murderer and DCI Jackie Rose has a task force on your tail.

As Ed sees hes life and family falling further and further apart, he knows that finding Ally will glue it all back together. Then he meets Phoenix. A friend of Ally, who claims to know where Ally is and why she is missing. It because of The Box.

The characters, the family dynamic, the interaction between awkward teen and father, the spouses frustrations, the mystery of Phoenix. All of this had me feeling for them. I loved them, hated them, wanted them to succeed. Dan Malakin writes fantastically flawed people not just the hero you root for. The story is fast paced without feeling rushed. You get those moments of history and backstory but you don’t lose get off track. Most of all you get drawn in, you stay up late, you run to work because you just had to finish it and now you are, in every sense, running late. Add The Box to your TBR, add Dan Malakin to your list of faves, and get ready to run.

Again, thank you to Viper Books for sending me a copy of The Box to review, and letting me be part of the book tour. The Box is released on Thursday 16th June 2022 which gives you time to book the day off and get you spot in the sunshine.

Dan Malakin can be found at DanMalkin.com, and on twitter and in the bookshop of your choosing.

D.O.G.S

Are you ready to go back to St Aidans?

After the experiences of the last year at St Aidans, Greer is no longer a lonely outsider. She has her best friend Nel (Chanel) and Shafeen, her boyfriend. And this time they are the Medievals. The events of the previous term seem to be behind them until they realise that the Stags of St Aidans are of the Dark Order variety.

Greer should be focused on her Probitiones, particularly as she is directing the drama class in a play she has yet to choose, but she sees Henry everywhere. Distracted by the de Walencourt twins Cassandra and Louis, and the first scholarship student to attend S.T.A.G.S, Ty Morgan, Greer soon finds some focus when the first act of a presumably destroyed play by Ben Jonson is delivered to her room.

When our trio hear that Cass and Loius have invited Ty to the traditional Justitium huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ weekend her they wonder if the sins of the family those of the twins? But the Dark Order of the Great Stag are the only ones with secrets.

D.O.G.S is a fantastic sequel, exploring not just the new relationships of Greer, Nel, and Shafeen. but the ancient traditions of S.T.A.G.S and a secret society. Greer becomes more complex showing her struggle to balance having a relationship, exams and auditions, her guilt for Henry, and for Ty. Nel is a force to be reckoned with embracing her Savage technology in combination with her Medieval title, Shafeen is focused and driven and conflicted as he supports Greer but wants to move forward from the weekend the bonded them all. The depth of the characters against the greater plot and secret society make me eager for more.

M. A. Bennett can be found on twitter and Instagram. Books 1-4 of the S.T.A.G.S series are already available from Hot Key Books, H.A.W.K.S is to be released July 7th 202

The Accomplice

Everyone has the same questions about best friends Owen and Luna: What binds them together so tightly? Why weren’t they ever a couple? And why do people around them keep turning up dead?

Owen Mann is charming, privileged and chronically dissatisfied, Luna grey is secretive, cautious and pragmatic. Despite their differences, they begin forming a bond the moment the meet in college. Their names soon become indivisible – Owen and Luna, Luna and Owen – and stay that way even after an unexplained death rocks their social circle.

Years later, they’re still friends when Luna finds Owen’s wife brutally murdered. The police investigation sheds some light on long-hidden secrets, but it can’t penetrate the wall of mystery that surrounds Owen. to get to the heart of what happened and why, Luna has to dig up the one secret she’s spent her whole life burying.

The Accomplice, Lisa Lutz

Long after college Luna and Owens friendship continues. They even live in the same town. But when Luna finds the body of Owen’s we are thrown into 2 mysterious deaths. Alternating the current day murder with the mystery of the past. As Luna delves into her big secret she uncovers those of the people she knows, after all, everyone has something to hide.

The Accomplice was just what I needed to break the slump. With a sunny Sunday, snacks and a comfy chair I was in. There was no way I could put this down, not when every chapter brought as many questions as it did answers. Grab a copy and get your answers in the end!

The Accomplice is released by Titan Book on Thursday 14th April 2022, if you need a plan for the Easter weekend. Lisa Lutz books, appearances and information can be found here, on twitter, facebook and goodreads.

The Grip Of It

The real estate agent, with his waxy hair and perm-smile, keeps stopping to listen, waving his hand, saying, “That’s just the house settling.”

New house owners Julie and James weren’t electing the move to be an easy one. A relocation from city to countryside prompted by James’ penchant for gambling – his inability to keep his impulses in check – is, in actuality, quick and seamless. Both find themselves relieved to leave behind their old haunts and habits as they settle into a quiet life in their new house between the lake and the woods.

But their new house has other plans.

The architecture becomes unrecognisable, decaying before their eyes. Stains contract and explained, mapping themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mould taints the water that James pours from the sink. As the couple search for the source of their mutual torment, they become mired in the history of their peculiar neighbours and the mysterious previous residents of the house.

The Grip Of It, Jac Jemc

The Grip Of It starts with James and Julie looking for a new home, an escape from the city, and the chance to put their problems behind them.

But like all new homes, there are things to get used to. Strange noises, that could be the house settling. Weird mould in the water, could be from old pipes. Growing damp, maybe the real estate agent want completely honest with them.

Growing bruises, mysterious rooms, old journals, ok maybe that’s not normal.

The stress of James’ gambling and the new house are enough to put strain on any relationship. Add in the oddities and the secrets of this house and it will keep you up all night. As the chapters alternate between both Julie and James, the suspense builds, each discovering new mysteries and eerie events that they hide. Can their marriage survive the haunting of their home, and more importantly, can they?

Jac Jemc and information about books and events can be found here, twitter, Facebook and instagram. The Grip of It is available via Titan Books as of September 3rd.

The Retreat

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those click bait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s to-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends – one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship – Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide, and at the end of the weekend, nay one will live.

The last girl standing.

The Retreat, Sherri Smith

Thrillers are definitely one of my favourite genres, and Sherri Smith gives us not one, but four deeply layered and troubled women, all hiding secrets. The dynamic of Katie and her practically perfect future sister in law Ellie is fraught and dysfunctional, filled with dislike and distrust. Katie’s college friends Ariel and Carmen have an equally complicated relationship with Katie with varying degrees of emotional and financial dependancy. The vastly different lives and upbringings of each of these women create an intriguing mix of personalities.

Once they arrive at the retreat, we meet a fantastic array of characters. A couple who are camp regulars, a video game designer, a recent divorcée, a paramedic with PTSD, the famous Dr Dave, and his wife Naomi.

As the days progress, the therapy and activities intensify from picking vegetable to a ceremony with a special tea to help you find the real you. But that’s not the only thing that comes out in the climax of this tale.

The Retreat doesn’t just look at the consequences of your actions, but also dark pasts, old trauma, and repressed memories. Told by Katie, Ellie, Ariel, and Carmen, each secret that is revealed makes you want more, each new action leaves you hungry for the consequences, and most importantly you just want to know who is the last girl standing.

The Retreat is available to read right now, via Titan Books. Sherri Smith can be found here, on twitter, Facebook, and on instagram, where you can keep up with all the book news and events.

Strange Ink

When washed-up journalist Harry Hendricks wakes up one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past.

One way or another, he has to right the wrongs.

Strange Ink synopsis

I love tattoos. My love of body art is beyond reason. I have been in love with it for as long as I can remember. The first tattoo I ever saw was a scroll with my name under a skull on my dads arm. These days I am fairly tattooed myself. This all leads to me being a sucker for any story that centre on tattoos. Throw in supernatural thriller and I’m all yours. Or in this case all Gary Kemble’s.

Black edged beauty and cover design by Natasha McKenzie

Harry Hendricks is a talented journalist. However that talent lead to the him crossing powerful people before he even graduated, meaning the big papers passed him over. Harry has been working at local weekly Chermside Chronicle ever since. Now with his friends wedding in days, Bec, Harry’s girlfriend of 6 years breaks up with him and Haryy moves into a new place.

Amid the boxes and confusion Harry starts to have nightmares. Each nightmare brings with it pain and a new tattoo. At first he brushes it off as a drunken mistake, but as the dreams get more intense and detailed Harry knows he has to do something. Discovering that they aren’t nightmares but the memories of a missing SAS soldier Rob finds Harry in a world of trouble. Politics, corruption, drug smuggling, biker gangs, and a story with the potential to be bigger and more dangerous than his first big scoop.

This book was a masterpiece. It grabbed me by the throat from the first line and it just didn’t stop. Fast paced action, constant on the edge of your seat tension, perfectly flowing, Strange Ink is a just one more page, up all night type of read. And that’s exactly what happened. There isn’t anywhere you want to stop, you can’t put it down, you have to know what next. And what’s next? Dark Ink on October 8th.

Gary Kemble can be found here, and on twitter. Strange Ink is available to buy now and Dark Ink can be preordered from any bookseller. Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a copy of Dark Ink, as always all opinions are my own.

The Spider Dance – Review and Author Interview with Nick Setchfield

Today is my turn to host The Spider Dance blog tour. Having read The War in the Dark, a gripping supernatural spy thriller, I could not wait to read The Spider Dance. I was lucky enough to not only be sent a review copy by Titan books, but to do an interview with Nick Setchfield.

How did you approach the fusing of so many genres to create The War in the Dark and consequently The Spider Dance?

Like the crazed scientist in The Island of Doctor Moreau, unleashing unholy hybrids upon the world… It’s a question of finding echoes and resonances between different genres. Espionage and sorcery seem to combine quite naturally but also have a wonderfully combustive quality when they come together. With The Spider Dance I was splicing the thriller genre with vampirism, which shaped the kind of vampires I had to create. Hopefully I’ve put a fresh spin on the myth of the undead.

James Bond meets Indiana Jones is one of the most recurring and incredible comparisons, how would you describe your books?

I think that’s pretty spot-on, to be honest. I’m a lifelong fan of Bond and Indy so it’s no surprise I bleed that love on the page. I’d describe the books as globe-trotting occult thrillers: visceral, romantic, a little murderous but with a vein of black humour.

Was it different writing Christopher Winter in The Spider Dance after the reveals to his backstory in The War in the Dark?

Absolutely – and it had to be. The character can’t be in stasis after what he discovered about himself in the first book. It’s his curiosity about that half-remembered past that essentially propels him through The Spider Dance. That and the chance to make some quick money by doing something very dangerous indeed…

The historical backdrops and different locations are incredible. What was it about this era that inspired you?

Thank you – they were fun to research and it’s always an interesting challenge to put the texture and atmosphere of a place on the page. I’ve always loved the 1960s. Such a vivid, propulsive, stylish decade but one with so many faultlines beneath that gleaming surface. It’s the perfect backdrop for a glamorous, fantastical spy story, which is doubtlessly why there was such a craze for espionage adventure back then.

When you write, do you plan the plot and work the setting around that or do you research the events and locations with that influencing and leading the story?

It’s not a terribly straightforward process, to be honest. In fact it can be a rather spooky one. At first the plot comes to me in flashes, like parts of a trailer, or glances at a mood board, and when those flashes begin to coalesce into something that feels solidly intriguing I begin to thread the story between those moments. Sometimes I get glimpses of a location, like there’s a compass inside me, spinning of its own volition. I knew I wanted to go to Naples in The Spider Dance. But only when I began to seriously research Naples did I realise quite how perfect it was for the story I wanted to tell. Uncannily perfect, given what’s beneath the city… It was as if my unconscious mind already knew, and had packed the passport without telling me.

If you could drop Christopher Winter into any other book, what would it be and how do you think he would cope there?

A Year in Provence, just to liven up the herbed cheeses and rural plumbing with brutal fist fights and vampire slaying.

If you could dream cast a Bondesque film franchise, who would you choose?

I interviewed James McAvoy a few years ago. He has charisma for miles – just something magnetic about his presence. On screen he can be vulnerable, funny, sweet or malevolent, whatever a moment demands. At the time he had close-cropped hair that was just growing back after an X-Men movie. In the middle of the interview I suddenly thought “My god, it’s Winter…” If we’re casting The War in the Dark then the brilliant Elizabeth Debicki would be a perfect Karina. As for The Spider Dance, we’d need to time-snatch Twiggy from the 1960s to play Libby Cracknell.

When you’re not writing, are there particular genres that you prefer? What are you currently reading?

All sorts, really. Lately I’ve found myself reading a lot of factual books about film and TV. Just finished The Man Who Invented The Daleks, Alwyn Turner’s biography of Terry Nation (another Cardiff boy, so I felt some connection with the imagination that left Wales behind for planet Skaro). It was a great insight into the life of a jobbing writer with a taste for populist escapism.

What one thing would you say to readers about The Spider Dance?

Never take your shadow for granted.

Thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions. I hope everyone enjoys The Spider Dance, and The War in The Dark, as much as I did!
Thank you, Tracey – really happy you enjoyed them, and thanks for spreading the word.

After the events of The War in The Dark and the reveal of Christopher’s past, he returns to London. An underworld exchange of a sacred heart turns bloody and uncovers a new breed of supernatural.

Between succubus shenanigans and the secret of the Shadowless, Christopher discovers that British Intelligence don’t like letting go of their man. The answers to his current problems can be unlocked by exploring his recently revealed past and embracing his true self.

As with The War in The Dark, The Spider Dance is a fast paced, action packed supernatural spy thriller. You dive straight into the action and it never lets up. Incredible action, stunning descriptions, intriguing characters, and international adventures.

I utterly adore they way Nick Setchfield writes and I could read about Christopher Winter forever – please.

Thank you to Titan and Nick Setchfield for letting me be a part of The Spider Dance blog tour, check out the other amazing hosts and what they are up to on their blogs.

Both The War in The Dark and The Spider Dance are available to buy now.