Tag Archives: Crime

Spotlight – Dead Embers by Matt Brolly


Today I am super excited to be spotlighting a fab new Adult Crime Thriller by Matt Brolly, Dead Embers which is the third book in the DCI Michael Lambert series.

Dead Embers was released on the 6th March 2017 published by Canelo and is available in ebook!

“Gripping, chilling to its core and full of twists, the powerful new DCI Michael Lambert from Matt Brolly is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Helen H. Durrant and Michael Hambling.” 

So for my stop on this fab blog tour I am spotlighting this fab author and book!


An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…

When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses – one of whom is a senior police officer. Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out. But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined… Trust no one.

You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Matt Brolly

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

You can find out more about Matt Brolly on his website – www.mattbrolly.co.uk

Or why not follow Matt on Twitter – @MatthewBrolly

Or Facebook here


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Dead Embers?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?   Have you read any of the other DCI Michael Lambert books? I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Fave Five Bookish Inspirations by Richard Davis


I’m super excited to have a brilliant adult crime writer, Richard Davis on Tales today with a fab guest post!

The second in the Saul Marshall series, Never Again was released on the 20th February 2017 published in ebook by Canelo.  This is the follow up to False Prophet that was released in 2016.

Today Richard shares some of his bookish inspirations…


When a rogue cult turns deadly, the FBI call on former conman Agent Saul Marshall. FALSE PROPHET introduces a gripping new series from thriller writer Richard Davis

Marshall is soon drawn into a cat and mouse chase with the leader of the cult, Ivan Drexler. As the scale of Drexler’s terrorist ambition becomes ever clearer, news arrives that he has taken Marshall’s son hostage. Removed from the line of duty, he must work alone, off-grid.

As the attacks intensify, Saul will stop at nothing to defeat Drexler.

But the FBI are questioning Saul’s own part in the carnage. He must work fast to save both his country and his life. Can Saul stop the carnage before it’s too late? And can he save his son?

As wave after wave of attacks break, the clock is ticking for Saul.

As a wave of seemingly random assassinations engulfs California, Marshall finds himself drawn into a situation spiralling out of control.

He soon discovers some of the webs’ most secure protocols have been compromised by a rogue team of former Chinese agents. When Marshall realises what they plan, the stakes are raised…

And that’s before the Secretary of State gets involved. Can Marshall unravel the deceit and tricks before it’s too late? Can he stop the carnage, or will he become part of it? One thing is for certain: either way his enemies will never forget.


Five Fave Bookish Inspirations

Gordon Corera’s Intercept (non-fiction)

The full title of Corera’s recent book is Intercept: The Secret History of Computer and Spies, and that’s exactly what it is. Corera opened my eyes to a whole range of fascinating subjects – the functions of the NSA, the industrial-scale Chinese hacking of the West, the history of cypherpunks – and these are all topics that feature prominently in Never Forget. And if you’re asking yourself, what the hell’s a cypherpunk? Well, don’t worry: we’ve all been there.

Jamie Bartlett’s Dark Net (non-fiction)

Bartlett’s book – which I read after Corera’s – starts with a look at a deeply disturbing website, the Assassination Marketplace, in which anonymous individuals donate money to incentivise the assassination of high-profile individuals. This is how he introduces the reader to the Dark Net, a colloquial term for an area of the internet in which everyone’s anonymous, and there are no rules. And when I say no rules, I mean no rules. Again, this book opened my eyes, and the Dark Net is at the front and centre of Never Forget.

Patricia Highsmith’s Ripliad

Highsmith – perhaps the greatest crime writer of all time – gave the world Tom Ripley, the  archetypal con-artist serial-killer. And though, unlike Ripley, Saul’s one of the good guys, Saul’s back-story as an ex con-artist was definitely inspired by Ripley’s machinations. The utterly uninhibited Ripley appears across five novels, and they’re worth checking out. Also, Anthony Minghella adapted the first in the series, The Talented Mr. Ripley, into one of my favourite films of all time. Again, worth checking out.

Robert Harris’s The Fear Index

The Fear Index is set in a high-tech world of hedge-fund billionaires in which (spoiler alert) artificial intelligence gets wildly out of hand. And it was after reading The Fear Index that I realised that putting technology at the heart of things can makes things really interesting. Never Forget doesn’t involve AI, but it’s definitely far more technologically involved than False Prophet, the first in the Saul Marshall series.

G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday

This incredibly weird novel – a novel Kinglsey Amis once described as “the most thrilling book I’ve ever read” – was the thing that got me interested in spy fiction in the first place. A policeman attempts to infiltrate a group of anarchists and – well, things get very surreal. Although Chesterton has been very much overshadowed by his contemporary, Arthur Conan Doyle, he is in my opinion the more interesting writer of the two. His bizarre plots – both in this novel, and his other works – have been a huge inspiration to me.

You can buy this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Richard Davis

Richard Davis graduated from University College London in 2011 and Cambridge University in 2012. The Saul Marshall series was born from Davis’s extensive travels around the United States and his long-standing obsession with thriller fiction. He lives in North London, UK, with his girlfriend.

Why not follow Richard on Facebook here or on twitter – @DickDavisDavis


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Richard for a fab guest post and to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of the tour!

Have you read any of the Saul Marshall series?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Five Favourite Scenes In The Elisenda Domènech Investigations Series by Chris Lloyd


I’m really excited to have been asked to be part of this fab blog tour to celebrate the release of City Of Drowned Souls by Chris Lloyd.

City Of Drowned Souls is the third book in the Elisenda Domènech Investigation series and is due to be released on the 6th February 2017 published by Canelo.

This series is perfect for fans of crime thrillers who love Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri.

Today I have the wonderful author himself telling us his five favourite scenes in the series…..


An intense and brilliantly realised crime thriller set in the myth-soaked streets of Girona

A killer is targeting hate figures in the Catalan city of Girona – a loan shark, a corrupt priest, four thugs who have blighted the streets of the old quarter – leaving clues about his next victim through mysterious effigies left hung on a statue. Each corpse is posed in a way whose meaning no one can fathom. Which is precisely the point the murderer is trying to make.

Elisenda Domènech, the solitary and haunted head of the city’s newly-formed Serious Crime Unit, is determined to do all she can to stop the attacks. She believes the attacker is drawing on the city’s legends to choose his targets, but her colleagues aren’t convinced and her investigation is blocked at every turn.

Battling against the increasing sympathy towards the killer displayed by the press, the public and even some of the police, she finds herself forced to question her own values. But when the attacks start to include less deserving victims, the pressure is suddenly on Elisenda to stop him. The question is: how?

You can buy this book here

Or why not add to your Goodreads here

Be careful what you dig up… 

Still recovering from the tragedy that hit her team, Elisenda takes on a new case. Except it’s not new. On an archaeological dig by the coast a body is uncovered, seemingly executed with a spike thrust through the base of the skull – an ancient tribal ritual. It soon becomes clear that this body is neither ancient nor modern, but a mysterious corpse from the 1980s.

Assigned to the case along with her team, Elisenda soon uncovers a complex world of star archaeologists, jealousy and missing persons. They find a dark trade in illicit antiquities, riddled with vicious professional rivalries. And even though she’s staying close to the crime scene, Elisenda is also never far from enemies of her own within the police force.

Just as the case seems to become clear it is blown wide-open by another horrific murder. Elisenda must fight her personal demons and office politics, whilst continuing to uncover plots and hatreds that were long buried. How far will she go to solve the crime? Is her place in the force secure? And can she rebuild her life?

You can buy this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here

When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking

Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.

When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.

Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising…

Be careful not to drown.

You can buy this book here

Or why not add to your Goodreads here


Five Favourite Scenes In The Elisenda Domènech Investigations Series

It’s really a lot harder than I thought trying to think of five favourite scenes as it’s impossible not to be critical as I revisit them, so I think I’m going to have name the scenes that I enjoyed writing the most.

1. I’ve made matters even harder for myself by choosing one of the scenes towards the end of City of Good Death. It’s a dénouement, so I’m going to have to say why I like it without giving anything away. The scene takes place amid the stones of a ruined tower outside Girona’s medieval city walls. The tower was destroyed in the fifteenth century at the time the city’s Jewish community was facing increasing persecution, and it partly reflects what’s been happening in the story. The actual setting is extraordinarily tranquil, removed from the noise of traffic and people even though it’s only just on the edge of the old town. That tranquillity made it the ideal location for a dénouement that carries a menace and an act of violence that is so out of place with its surroundings, but so fitting given the nature of the story.

2. Elisenda has an informant called Siset, who’s a petty criminal and a bit of a hopeless case. He isn’t at all a pleasant character and Elisenda tolerates him rather than likes him, even though she does generally tend to side with the people who’ve lost their way in life. Rather like actors relishing playing the baddie, I have great fun writing about Siset and I always enjoy creating the scenes between the two of them as they’re often a respite from the intensity of the investigations. He’s a scrawny little figure with a perpetually runny nose and faded T-shirts that he’s forever tucking into his trousers, and he alternates between whiny and ineffectually aggressive. The first time we meet him, Elisenda’s eating lunch in a fairly sleazy café and asking him for information. He’s uncomfortable at being seen with a police officer, and Elisenda uses that to try and cajole him into telling her what he knows. Her enjoyment of the surprisingly good food is in stark contrast to Siset’s increasingly desperate attempts for her to let him go.

3. In City of Buried Ghosts, Elisenda’s investigation brings her into contact with feuding archaeologists from a present-day dig and an excavation from the 1980s. Looking for answers, she visits the leader of today’s excavations at the site of an Iberian village. The setting is real and stands on the top of a hill overlooking a plain to the Mediterranean –writing about it took me back to the warmth and the wonderful views. It’s also an important scene as the archaeologist takes Elisenda into the museum and shows her two of the ancient skulls that have been discovered there, each one with an iron spike embedded in them, most probably a ritual killing. It’s key because the investigation began when a body dating from the 1980s was found with the same fate. The skulls are actually on display in the museum and were the original seed of the story – it’s always interesting to be able to bring the real inspiration into a tale and blend them into the action.

4. Elisenda is a rocker. She’s a big fan of Catalan rock bands and often uses music to enhance or change her mood. She also finds that the switches in rhythm and pace help her think and send her thoughts off in other directions as she’s working on an investigation. In City of Drowned Souls, she’s attempting to lay a trap for some very violent thieves. Although she has back-up, she feels alone and vulnerable in an isolated house on the seashore. The house belongs to her sister, but Elisenda can’t stand her taste in music, so she puts her own player into the dock and engulfs the house in loud and forceful music by her favourite band. The energy of the music pumps Elisenda up to prepare her for a possible attack. I found that when I was writing it, having played the music Elisenda was listening to, the scene developed quickly and energetically and it ended up being very different and more action-packed than I’d meant it to be.

5. In City of Drowned Souls, Elisenda is forced by her boss, Inspector Puigventós, to undergo counselling as he claims that her grief for her daughter is affecting her work. She goes very reluctantly, as he will only allow her back into the police station once she’s had a number of sessions with the counsellor; Elisenda being Elisenda, she is very resistant at first. Every day in the story begins with her session, and I enjoyed writing the cat-and-mouse relationship she has with the counsellor, Doctora Puyals. Always a private character, Elisenda tries to give little away but Puyals proves to be her equal. The scenes developed as I wrote them, as did the dynamic between the two women, and I was surprised at how they challenged each other. One of the most enjoyable aspects was discovering how the counsellor was able to use Elisenda’s own tactics for dealing with recalcitrant villains to make her open up and begin on the journey to healing herself. Despite Elisenda’s best efforts to confound her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


About Chris Lloyd

Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once and that’s probably what did it. Soon after that, when he was about two months old, he moved with his family to West Africa, which pretty much sealed his expectation that life was one big exotic setting. He later studied Spanish and French at university, and straight after graduating, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-four years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order. Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in Grenoble, the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating. He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a writer and a Catalan and Spanish translator, returning to Catalonia as often as he can.

He writes the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona. The third book in the series, City of Drowned Souls is published on 6 February 2017.

You can find out more about Chris on his website – www.cityofgooddeath.com

Or why not follow Chris on twitter – @chrislloydbcn


Blog Tour

You can follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Chris Lloyd for a fab guest post.  Also a huge thank you to Faye for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for organising this post.

Have you read any of the Elisenda Domènech Investigations Series?  Are you intrigued?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Top Five Things About Jan Pearce by Jacqueline Ward


I was so excited to be asked via Faye Rogers- PR Extraordinaire – to be part of the blog tour for the second book in a new Adult Crime/Thriller book released on Kindle Press called Playlist For A Paper Angel by Jacqueline Ward.

Released on the 27th December 2016, Playlist For A Paper Angel is the second in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels and is the sequel to Random Acts Of Unkindness.

You can find out more about Random Acts Of Unkindness in this spotlight post here

Today we get to find out a little more about the character DS Jan Pearce in this fab guest post!


One child found, one child missing – what’s the connection?

DS Jan Pearce is still searching for her missing son. When she finds a little girl, Elise, alone in a pram in a busy town centre, she must unravel a mystery that takes her to the edge of her emotions. Then another child, Dara Price, goes missing.

Lisa Connelly, Elise’s mother, has been forced into a life of prostitution and has been leaving her little girl alone. Her gangland boss is holding her prisoner but she wants her little girl back.

Jan finds herself balancing her search for her son with finding Dara. Her right hand man, Mike Waring, is on another case so she and her temporary partner, profiler Damien Booth, must solve the puzzle and find Lisa before time runs out for Dara.

Playlist for a Paper Angel is the second in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels and is the sequel to Random Acts of Unkindness.


Top Five Things About Jan Pearce

1. Jan is a mother who loves her son more than anything else in the world

2. She’s a crack police officer who loves her job. She’s developed her skills in surveillance and is in tune with the secret signs and signals in the criminal world.

3. Jan loves to cook. Her favourite dish is Jamie Oliver’s Empire chicken which she used to cook for Sal and Aiden. Now she cooks pasta for one, but always makes the effort

4. Jan has a capsule wardrobe – black jeans, black and white t-shirts and black hoodies. Two grey suits for meetings with two white shirts to go underneath. Two day dresses, two evening gowns. She’s practical and organised and ready to go.

5. She loves rock music. It;s a throwback from her younger days in London when she went to a lot of gigs.

You can buy a copy of Playlist For A Paper Angel here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here

You can find out more about the first book in the series Random Acts Of Unkindness in this spotlight post here

Or check out the cover reveal for Playlist For A Paper Angel here


About Jacqueline Ward

Jacqueline Ward writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016. Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specializes in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.

You can find out more about Jacqueline on her website – www.jacquelineward.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter – @JacquiAnnC

Or Facebook here

You can also check out Jacqueline’s Goodreads page here


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops.

 

 

Monday 23rd January

The Book Moo

Tuesday 24th January

Big Book Little Book

Wednesday 25th January

Tales of Yesterday

Thursday 26th January

The Luna May Blog

Friday 27th January

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Saturday 28th January

Portable Magic

Linda’s Book Bag

Sunday 29th January

Rachel Bustin

Published Moments

 

 

 


Another huge thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and to Jacqueline for a fab guest post!

Have you read Playlist For A Paper Angel?  Are you intrigued? Have you read Random Acts Of UnKindness?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Guest Post – Locations: Why London? by Nick Bryan


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I am a huge fan of Nick Bryan’s Hobson & Choi series and am super excited that there will be an addition of a fourth book to the series very soon!  Yay!

Hobson & Choi is a brilliant crime series that is both serious and fun all at the same time as a gruff, mostly angry man teams up with an energetic and passionate seventeen year old girl to solve the odd crimes that come to the private detective’s office!

You can find my review of the first two books here

So to celebrate I am so excited to welcome the brilliant Nick Bryan back to Tales Of Yesterday with an awesome guest post about location!


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“If we get 400 followers, John Hobson will solve that nasty wolf-murder case for free! Fight the thing himself if he has to! #HobsonVsWolf!”Angelina Choi was only trying to drum up some Twitter followers and make a good impression on her first day interning at John Hobson’s one-man detective agency.

But the campaign went viral and now they have a murder to solve, no money coming in, and an unwilling Hobson faced with battling some enormous beast.

With both follower and body counts rising, can they crack the case without offending everyone or being eaten by a huge dog?

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf is the first case starring Hobson & Choi, a bickering, mismatched detective duo for 21st century London. This book collects the debut storyline of the hit darkly comic crime web serial, extensively rewritten and improved for this definitive edition.

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“Sometimes #crime feels like the Matrix. Or the #patriarchy or #porn. It’s everywhere, even in people you trusted, and there’s so MUCH of it.”

Angelina Choi returns for her second and final week of work experience at John Hobson’s detective agency, ready for anything after their first successful murder solve.

After all that online buzz, they’re in phenomenal demand. Can Hobson & Choi solve a kidnapping, play chicken with corporate crime, beat back gentrification, save a dog from drug dealers and head off violent backlash from their last case?

Or will grim revelations about Hobson’s past leave them floundering in the chaos?

Rush Jobs collects the second major storyline in the Hobson & Choi saga, #1 on Jukepop Serials and #2 in Dark Comedy on Amazon, adding brand new chapters and scenes to the case.

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“You’ve heard of conspiracies within conspiracies? I wish conspiracies WOULD hide inside each other, instead of turning up everywhere I go.”

Angelina Choi returns for her final day of work experience at the Hobson Agency – is there a job waiting afterwards? Should she walk away for her own good?

While she mulls it over, they’re hired by the massive EastVillage shopping centre to investigate a spate of muggings. But do the management know more than they’re letting on?

As Hobson and Choi wrestle with commercialised corruption, will Angelina finally squeeze in her first date with Will the Hot Receptionist? Can anything emerge from the smoking crater of Hobson’s love life?

Trapped In The Bargain Basement plunges grimly comic London crime series Hobson & Choi to new depths, after climbing to #1 in Dark Comedy on Amazon and breaking records on Jukepop Serials.

Also included: Wuff! – The Markus Tail, a book-only bonus short story. Discover the bone-gnawingly tense origin of H&C’s furriest, friendliest character.


Locations: Why London?

The Hobson & Choi series, of course, is a darkly comic detective series that takes place in London, the massive teeming metropolis that I (and millions of other people) live in. The decision to set it there was a fairly quick and easy one, it just slotted immediately into the tone of the story and the circumstances I wanted for it.

But what exactly was that tone, what were those circumstances? Why and how did it happen? What on earth was I thinking? Good question. Let’s try and unpack.

#1 – All Human Life Is Here

A lot of these mismatched detective series (and crime stories in general) end up taking place in big cities, simply because they’re such a good source of unpleasantness and violence. They’re big, full, contain a multitude of anger, provide infinite chances for different groups of people to rub up against each other. Obviously, London provides nothing but opportunity.

Also, as someone whose book relies heavily on secret societies and evil conspiracies, it seems easier to believe they’d pass undetected in London, where we all ignore each other.

#2 – Anti-Social Media

A lot of the fundamental conflict in the first book, and flowing as an undercurrent through later ones, is Choi’s familiarity with the online world, social media and such, played against Hobson’s distrust and annoyance towards it. It’s something I see in London – not the distrust of social media, that’s everywhere, but the two sides constantly rubbing against each other, one winning and the other frustrated by that.

#3 – Ease Of Research

Not gonna lie, guys – I live here. It makes the pressure to make it seem vaguely convincing a lot easier to cope with. Many of the areas I set my scenes in are ones I’m familiar with, and if not, I can just go there.

#4 – The Gallows

I must admit, in order to write my beloved gallows humour into every situation, I need a certain degree of cynical detachment from horrible things happening. Or at least, an ability to nod at the awfulness then go back to glib normality, rather than being traumatised by it for the rest of the week. London folk seem to have mastered the art of getting back to routine after adjacent non-personal traumas.

#5 – I Just Love It, Really

I’m an enormous fan of London. As a late-in-life convert (I am from suburban Essex, do not tell anyone), I’ve really taken to the massive great big mess. Its weird mythology, cultures rubbing up against each other, the way it makes flipping between genres mid-scene seem natural because every type of story has been set here at some stage…. Yeah, I’m a big fan.

Although at some point, I really should write the Hobson & Choi Leave London book, just to see what it’s like.

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You can any of these fab books here


About Nick Bryan

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Nick Bryan is a London-based writer of genre fiction, usually with some blackly comic twist. As well as the ongoing self-published detective saga Hobson & Choi, he is also working on a novel about the real implications of deals with the devil and has stories in several anthologies.

He can primarily be found on his own website at NickBryan.com and on Twitter as @NickMB, both of which are updated with perfect and reasonable regularity.

When not reading or writing books, Nick Bryan enjoys racquet sports, comics and a nice white beer.

You can buy any of the books in this series here

Check out my review of The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf or Rush Jobs here

Or find out which character from Hobson & Choi you are here


A huge thank you to Nick Bryan for a fab guest post!

Also a huge thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me if I would like to invite Nick to Tales!

Have you read any of the Hobson and Choi series?  What did you think?  Are you excited for the fourth book?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading, solving crimes!

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Spotlight – Random Acts of Unkindness by Jacqueline Ward


NEW Random acts of unkindness v6

I was so excited to be asked via Faye Rogers to be part of a release day blitz for a new Adult Crime/Thriller book released on Kindle Press called Random Acts of Unkindness by Jacqueline Ward.

And today is the release day!

Happy Book Birthday Jacqueline!

So today in celebration I am going to shine the spotlight on the book and it’s wonderful author!

I also have a fab extract from the book!


NEW Random acts of unkindness v6

How far would you go to find your child?

DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.

Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers.

Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?

Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.

Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.

You can buy this book here

Or add to your Goodreads here


Extract

CHAPTER ONE

I look a little closer and instinctively back away.

Her eyes are hollow holes where the birds have pecked away at her skull and she’s covered in tiny soft feathers and greying bird shit. Fragments of silvered hair lie on her shoulders, pulled out at the roots and exposing pinprick follicles made bigger by beaks. Her mouth is set in a wry smile showing yellow teeth, as if somehow, despite the torn skin and the deeply painful twist of her body, she’s having the last laugh.

The shock is so deep that it hurts more than it should, and tears threaten as I gaze at her. A human life ending in such a terrible, lonely way. It hits me with sadness so intense that I take a moment to sit with her, to tell her broken shell of a body that someone cares. Then fear oozes through the sadness, pushing it under and reminding me of why I’m here. Where are you, Aiden? Where is my son?

I slump onto a brown box sealed with Sellotape that’s sitting next to a small blue suitcase. It looks like this old woman was going somewhere. Somewhere she never got to.

Bessy Swain, by the looks of post on the doormat. A couple of bills and some takeaway menus. A letter from social services that arrived too late to make any difference.

As well as the boxes there are piles of newspapers and scrapbooks stacked up against ancient peeling sepia wallpaper. From the state of the house this woman has been suffering for a while. Poor Bessy.

Outside, starlings perch on the windowsill, quietly watching, judging me as I put off the inevitable phone call. Through the open kitchen door I can see a couple of blackbirds standing on the shed roof, and I can hear their song of accusation. I know I need to call this in and get Bessy some dignity, but I also need to finish what I came here to do.

The day job kicks in and I pull my scarf around my nose and mouth to protect my senses from the rancid fumes I hadn’t even noticed until now. My phone starts to ring, forcing me into the here and now.

I look at Bessy’s body and then at the flashing screen. Shit. It’s Mike. My partner in crime. Crime solving, that is. Like me, he’s a Detective Sergeant  working on Special Operations.

‘Jan. Where the hell are you?’

I pause. How am I going to explain this? I take a big breath and then pull down my scarf.

‘Right, yeah. I was just . . .’

‘Looking for Aiden. Come on, you’re going to get us both sacked. You’re supposed to be in Lytham Road, attending the Operation Prophesy briefing.’

On the worn kitchen worktop that separates the lounge from the kitchen a dead starling stares at me, its dried eyes condemning me from the pits of death.

A small metal toaster holds the remains of two slices of bread, which have been pecked right down to the toaster elements. The dead bird is lying close to the toaster, its feathers puffed from electrocution.

How many birds are there in here?

In my hurry to get inside I hadn’t registered anything apart from needing to know if Aiden was here. But now, sitting here with my mobile hot against my cheek, I realise I am sitting in a house covered in bird feathers and faeces.

The back door slams shut in a gust of wind. A few stray starlings are flying about in the kitchen, but most of the birds are now outside, my entrance breaking open their jail. What I can’t understand is why the windowsills are covered in them, their wings and curled up feet scratching at the dirty glass.

Then I realise they want to get back in.

‘Jan? Jan? Are you there?’

I nod at my mobile phone.

‘Yep. Look, I’ll just finish off here. I got a tip off about there being a funny smell coming from a house and I thought . . .’

Mike sighs deeply.

‘I know exactly what you thought. But this has to stop. Or you have to do it in your own time. It’s not just your own life you’re fucking up here. I’m your partner and I’ll back you up, but there’s a line. There’s a fucking line. Where are you anyway?’

The secure safety net I have in Mike has started to fracture recently and it shatters a little more now with the pain in his voice. I desperately want to put it right, but I can’t. Not yet. I have to deal with this.

‘57 Ney Street, Ashton.’

‘Connelly’s rented houses, aren’t they? I’m telling you, you’re heading for trouble.’

I end the call there. He’s right. I’m heading for trouble. But put any parent in my position and try telling me they’d do differently. I have a good reason. Mike knows that, but he also knows that everyone else’s lives are moving on and he’s trying to drag me on with him.

I push the phone into my bag and I pull my scarf back up against the smell. It’s invaded my hair, clothes  and skin, but the action gives me a bit of comfort and control.

There’s a sudden noise from upstairs and my heart skips. The memory of Aiden calls me back and overpowers the sensible part of my brain urgently screaming that maybe poor Bessy wasn’t alone after all. Maybe someone killed her. Maybe I shouldn’t be here on my own. Maybe I shouldn’t be here at all. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I tread the worn stair carpet and creep up, nudging open the first door on the right. It’s a boy’s bedroom, all red and white, Manchester United. So she has children. Or grandchildren? But no one is in here now.

Slowly I move on to the next door and there’s a flash of feathers. Two starlings fly past and circle the landing. Another flies at me as I step inside, hitting the side of my head. It’s a dull thud on the temple that causes a slight flash, then turns into a sickening stinging sensation. The shock bursts the tears that have been waiting to be shed since I found Bessy and not Aiden. I slump on an old double bed and touch my forehead, feeling for the dampness of blood, but luckily there is none. I shift my weight onto a pretty pink quilt and pillows for respite.

Suddenly, sitting alone in the empty house, I feel so very small and wish someone would tell me what to do next. Tell me how to find my son.

The thought that he could be captive, suffering, or dead suffocates me, and I feel my body begin to panic. Large hands squeezing my lungs. And then there’s another bird flapping, this time in a large wooden wardrobe. Sounds loosen the squeeze and I can breathe again. I need to finish this.

I open the double wardrobe door and duck out of the way this time as the bird escapes onto the landing, joining the others.

‘How did you get in there, little guy?’

They fly round and round, looking for a way out, some kind of escape, and I know how that feels. This release calms me somehow and I take an enormous breath and find raw comfort from the material of my scarf as it sucks into the crevices of my mouth.

There’s a chest lodged at the bottom of the wardrobe, like a forgotten treasure. It’s against regulations, it’s against everything I thought I stood for, but I open it anyway. I need to find out more about Bessy.

Inside, there’s another box and some papers, on top of a rolled-up baby shawl. Pink. She must have a son and a daughter.

I’m not sure what I’m searching for. A way to avoid it happening to me? What not to do. How to not die alone.

I open the inner box and there are bundles of twenty-pound notes. My fingers trace the smooth paper and lines of thick rubber bands. It isn’t often you see money like this, all rolled up and waiting for something important. My thoughts switch back to Aiden.

I remember his dark hair and angry teenage skin. I remember that I will do anything to get him home. And somehow, at this moment, the realisation of something happening to my son makes me stoop down and contemplate the unknown territory of stealing.

I’ve worked in the police force for almost two decades; I know how criminal minds work. I know that whoever has Aiden could come knocking any second, minute, hour, day now demanding money. I’m surprised they haven’t already. Time I have, but money I don’t and, as I realise the weight of a potential ransom, an intense panic prickles in my fingers. Before I can refuse this primal urge, I push the notes into my deep shoulder bag, along with the papers.

I know it’s wrong, of course; even as I’m doing it I sense my own desperation. I’m a member of the police force. I’m the most honest person I know, committed to catching the scum who do this sort of thing. Yet I can’t help myself. This is different. This is for Aiden. This could be the only way I will ever see my son again.

I’ve been involved in missing person cases before and I’ve looked at the mother, desperate and determined, and wondered how far you would go to find your child. Now I know. All the way Aiden, I’ll go all the way to find you, son.

I unravel the pink shawl, hoping I will, for a moment, lose myself inside someone else’s memories or pain instead of my own. No such luck. My hand touches fragile bone, and a tiny skeletal hand falls into mine.

I almost scream, but aren’t I Detective Sergeant Janet Pearce, Surveillance Specialist? Aren’t I hard? Tough? Impenetrable? I close the lid with shaking fingers and replace the box, hurrying now, fighting back tears. This is all wrong. It’s all too much and I rush downstairs.

My phone rings just as I’m standing in front of poor Bessy. Mike. Again.

‘Jan? Have you left there yet? You need to be here. We’re starting the briefing in half an hour and if you don’t make this one . . .’

The bag is heavy on my shoulder and pinching at the skin under my cotton T-shirt. I need to get it to my car before I ring this in, but now I have no choice. If I don’t say anything to Mike someone will suspect further down the line. I check my watch. I’ve been here ten minutes.

‘OK. I’ll be there. But I need to ring in a suspicious death.’

There’s a silence for a moment. I can hear him breathing. Mike knows what I’m going through. He gets it. He’s probably my best friend in the whole world right now. He speaks again.

‘Not . . . ?’

‘No. An old woman. Looks like natural causes, but a bit gruesome. Anyway. That’s what I found when I got here. I’ll wait until someone arrives, then I’ll be right with you.’

I sound composed, professional, but I’m still shaking. I hang up. He’ll be pleased, because I’ve got a legitimate excuse to miss the briefing. I hurry through the kitchen, out the door, and through the yard. The birds scatter then regroup on the telephone wires above.

My car’s in the back alleyway. I take the money and push it under the front seat. I push the letters into the elasticated pocket on the side of the door and pull my bag back onto my shoulder. Oh my God. What am I doing? I know this is so fucking wrong and I try to tell myself again that it’s necessary. But away from the drama of the house sense creeps in. If there was going to be a ransom from Connelly wouldn’t it have come weeks ago?

No. I can’t do it. I can’t. I pull out the money and push it back into my bag and hurry back to the house. What was I thinking? This isn’t me. The birds just sit there, their heads turning as they watch me rushing around. I try to shoo them away, because they are witnesses to my uncharacteristic misdemeanour, but they won’t go.

I move past Bessy, running now, and toward the narrow stairs, silently apologising for disturbing her secret.

But it’s too late. I see a blue flashing light against the darkness of the room and hear the back door open. Two uniformed police officers appear and someone is banging on the door.

Hugging my bag and shame to my chest, I fumble with the lock and open it. DS Jack Newsome, one of my opposite numbers in the regional police, pushes past me, followed by two uniformed officers.

‘Jesus Christ. That’s awful. How long’s it been here?’

I don’t like Jack. He hasn’t got a compassionate bone in his body. I find myself moving protectively between him and Bessy.

‘She, Jack, she. This is a person. A woman. She deserves a little respect.’

The word sticks on my tongue, heavy with mockery. Respectful, unlike me, who has just stolen her life savings. I’ve never felt guilt like this before, and I wonder how people can live with it. He smirks.

‘Right, Jan. She. How long has she been here?’

I see Bessy with fresh eyes. As Jack does, as any policeman would. Her faded dress is sagging in odd shapes against the decomposition of her body, and brown lace-up shoes sit the wrong way round, her ankles ballooning awkwardly in the crossed position they must have rested in as she died.

‘I don’t know, Jack. But I arrived fifteen minutes ago. Had a tip off about a bad smell and was just passing.’

He’s nodding and grinning. Yet underneath I can see his annoyance as he sighs and wipes his hand through his dark hair, then wipes tiny beads of perspiration away from his forehead. And, of course, the giveaway twitch at the corner of his eye that always tells me when Jack thinks he’s onto something.

‘Just passing, were you? A little bit out of town, isn’t it? Away from your usual place of work? So who was the tip off from?’

I smile now and wonder if it covers up my devastation.

‘Member of the public. In a public place. Just on my way to Ashton Market buying some bacon for the weekend when I heard two women talking about this property and the smell. Simple as that.’

He’s shaking his head.

‘OK, Jan, if that’s how you want it. I suppose all’s well that ends well.’

We look at Bessy. She’s someone’s mother. Like me.

‘Not for her, though. Which is why we’re here, not to find out the ins and outs of my shopping habits. No?’

Jack turns away now. He’s looking toward the kitchen. As he approaches the door, I hear a flutter of wings and beaks tapping on glass.

‘What the bloody hell? Get those birds out of here. And search the house. Get forensics down here, and we need a coroner’s wagon for the old bird here. Cover her up, John. She’s giving me the creeps.’

So the police machine swings into action. I stand there for a moment, wondering if there is a way for me to put the money back, but the two uniformed officers are upstairs now, battling with angry starlings.

I don’t mention that they will need two coroner’s vehicles, one for poor Bessy and one for the tiny baby. God only knows why she’s got a dead baby in her wardrobe. That poor woman must have had a terrible life if the state of this place is anything to go by. Without a word I leave by the front door and walk around to the back alley.

The houses are well maintained and I feel a little easier now the neighbours are out and I have a reason for being here. I get in my car and, with the bag still over my shoulder, drive off. In my rearview mirror the birds still watch, their heads cocking.

Two streets away, I pull up outside an old peoples’ home. I know this is a safe spot away from CCTV. My phone hasn’t even got a signal here. I’m a surveillance expert, latterly of the Communications Department, more lately promoted to DS in Special Operations. It’s my job to know these things.

Even so, guilt overwhelms me, and I remember when I first became a police detective; so full of goodwill and always on the side of the person who had been harmed. I spent hours poring over mind maps and evidence boards, midnight sessions in the operation room and endless visits to witnesses.

Sometimes when I lie awake at night thinking about Aiden, I wonder if I would have shuffled events in a different way this wouldn’t have happened. That always leads to me swearing that from now on I’ll do the right thing, be good, anything, as long as I get him back. Holding myself bolt upright, smiling, being polite, saying thank you; are they all little combinations to finding out what has happened?

In the clarity of daylight it all seems different. No hippy thinking will get me through the day. Action is needed. And, after all, in this game it’s almost impossible to be good all the time. The deeper you get into something, the more complex the relationships, the situations. Everyone’s got something on someone, and they’re going to use it at some point. Until now I’d kept my fingers out of the till, been good as gold. But this is different. This is personal.

I count the money. There’s forty-four thousand pounds. Jesus. I automatically scan the horizon for the signs I know are there, at the root of my suspicions of where my son is. Connelly. I see the scarves and shoes hanging from the telephone wires, silent messages in an unspoken world and my heart turns back to stone.

I push the money under the seat, still distraught that I took it, more distraught that I couldn’t put it back, and seeing no way to return it now. I decide that, in return for it, I’ll do what I can to see Bessy Swain’s case resolved. I’ll do what I can to find out why she had to hide a baby. Someone owes her that, at least.

NEW Random acts of unkindness v6


About Jacqueline Ward

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Jacqueline Ward writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016. Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specializes in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.

You can find out more about Jacqueline on her website here

Or why not follow her on twitter using – @JacquiAnnC

Or Facebook here


You can check out the cover for the 2nd book in the series, Playlist For A Paper Angel here

Another huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Jacqueline!  Random Acts of Unkindness sounds fab!

Happy Reading!

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Tales Q&A with Sally Nicholls


512SH-DoKfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Grab you deerstalker, dig out that magnifying glass and grab a bun break!  Twelve brilliant authors have written twelve brilliant mysteries for us to solve!

Mystery and Mayhem was released on the 5th May 2016 published by Egmont and is packed full of mystery and intrigue to test every super sleuths detective skills!

I am lucky enough to have received a copy of this book from Egmont and I have been loving the stories I have read so far although my deerstalker must wonky as I’ve not managed to crack the mysteries before the reveals!

*embarrassed face*

Today I am super excited to have the lovely Sally Nicholls, one of the twelve authors of the anthology on Tales with a fab Q&A all about her mystery story, writing and more!


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Twelve mysteries.

Twelve authors.

One challenge: can YOU solve the crimes before the heroes of the stories?

These are twelve brand-new short stories from twelve of the best children’s crime writers writing today.

These creepy, hilarious, brain-boggling, heart-pounding mysteries feature daring, brilliant young detectives, and this anthology is a must for fans of crime fiction and detection, especially the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, The Roman Mysteries and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.

The Crime Club are twelve UK-based authors who are mad about crime fiction. Clementine Beauvais, Elen Caldecott, Susie Day, Julia Golding, Frances Hardinge, Caroline Lawrence, Helen Moss, Sally Nicholls, Kate Pankhurst, Robin Stevens, Harriet Whitehorn and Katherine Woodfine can be found anywhere there is a mystery to be solved, a puzzle to be cracked or a bun to be eaten, and they are always ready for the next puzzling case.


Hi Sally!  Welcome to Tale Of Yesterday!  I am so excited to have you here!

Can you tell us a little about your short story in Mystery and Mayhem, Safe-Keeping?

 It’s set in a solicitor’s office in 1921. A necklace is stolen from a safe and one of the solicitors is accused of the crime, because he’s the only person who knows the combination. But Arnold, Stanley and Billy, who are the solicitors’ office boys, are sure he’s innocent and decide to clear his name. To do so, they just have to work out how the thief managed to break into a locked safe …

What inspired you to write a closed-system crime for the anthology?

Well, they’re a lot easier to solve! I remember getting very excited as a child when I actually stumbled across a real crime to solve – a break-in at the Quaker meeting I attended. The problem was, the robbery could have been committed by literally anyone in Middlesborough, which made investigating it rather difficult for a nine year old.

How important was it for you to feature boys who become the detectives?

The office boys were the first thing I started with, because they seemed like such good heroes for a detective story. I was interested to see how many of the other young heroes in the other Mystery and Mayhem stories have jobs, or help their parents in their jobs – workplaces are evidently good places to solve crimes. And I spent last year writing three books set in 1912, 1914-17 and 1935, so it’s an era I know well.

How easy was it for you to get the language right for the story?  Was it important to you? (I loved how I could perfectly speak the way Stanley would have)

One of the characters in the book I’m writing at the moment is a working-class London girl in 1914, so it’s something I’ve been researching. It’s harder to research than you might think, because most novels set in that period have upper or middle-class characters as their heroes, and the working-class characters tend to speak in awful Dick Van Dyke cockney.

One of the best books I read for dialogue is the utterly wonderful Round About A Pound A Week by Maud Pember Reeves, a Fabian study of London families living on a pound a week in 1913, which is well worth reading if you’re interested in the era.

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I loved writing in Stanley’s voice. I know some readers have struggled with it though.

How did you find writing a mystery story? 

Fascinating! Most of my books are full of angst and emotion and relationships, so it was great to write something that was so plot-driven.

How does writing a short story for an anthology differ from writing a whole novel?  Is there a different structure?  A different editing process etc.?

It’s more pared-down – anything that doesn’t absolutely have to be there has to go. But it really depends on the story. Safe-Keeping is very plot-driven, which made it very easy to write, because you just put in everything that has to happen to get the plot from A to B, and you have a story. (Even the ‘flavour’ like all the story paper stuff is really necessary to explain why the boys are so keen to solve the mystery). I’ve written other stories which are more about feelings, and they’re different again.

How do you plot a good mystery or how did you plot the mystery in Safe-Keeping?

I wanted to write a howdunnit rather than a whodunnit. I stole the ‘how’ part of the mystery from a book called Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman!

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Robert Feynman was a nuclear physicist working on the Manhattan Project with a side-interest in safe-cracking. Using the method used by my criminal in Safe-Keeping he managed to break into a third of the highly-expensive, top-secret filing cabinets used by physicists  building the atomic bomb in WW2.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I write all my chapters out of order, and then get very frustrated trying to tie them together with something approximating narrative thread.

Have you read any of the other stories in Mystery & Mayhem?  Do you have a favourite?

Of course – I read them all! I really liked Caroline Lawrence’s, because I could just picture the world she described – it reminded me a lot of my time in Texas. It’s also easy to try and cram too much into a short story, which Caroline didn’t – her story is exactly the right size for her word limit, which is harder than you might think.

And somebody should give Susie Day a contract to write a whole series of Emily books right now please.

Were you a master sleuth – did you solve any of the other mysteries in Mystery & Mayhem?

Yes, but not many! I would be a rubbish detective. I am not very observant at all.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished reading my friend Jo Cotterill’s A Library of Lemons, which is a love story to books and friendship, and made me cry.

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But I’m mostly still stuck in research reading – I’m currently halfway through Kids From Over the Water, which is another account of an Edwardian working-class childhood, and The Victorian Internet, which is a very readable history of the telegraph system. I’m using it to help write up some teacher’s notes for my next Barrington Stoke book.

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Are there any exciting plans for the rest 2016 or 2017?

I have a new book for 5-8-year-olds with dyslexia coming out in July called Billy Button: Telegram Boy about a match-making telegraph boy.

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I’m currently trying to finish edits on a YA novel about three very different girls who get involved with the suffragette movement. It’s called Things A Bright Girl Can Do, and it’s specifically about what happened to the suffragettes when the first world war started. The story we get told is that they all gave up like good girls and helped the war effort, but the reality is quite a lot more complicated than that.

Oh wow!  That sounds fantastic!  I can’t wait to read that already!

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions Sally.  I loved your story in Mystery and Mayhem!

512SH-DoKfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_You can buy Mystery & Mayhem here or why not visit you local bookshop.


About Sally Nicholls

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I was born in Stockton-on-Tees, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. My father died when I was two, and my brother Ian and I were brought up my mother. I always wanted to write – when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say “I’m going to be a writer” – very definite.

I’ve always loved reading, and I spent most of my childhood trying to make real life as much like a book as possible. My friends and I had a secret club like the Secret Seven, and when I was nine I got most of my hair cut off because I wanted to look like George in the Famous Five. I was a real tomboy – I liked riding my bike, climbing trees and building dens in our garden. And I liked making up stories. I used to wander round my school playground at break, making up stories in my head.

You can find out more about Sally on her website – http://www.sallynicholls.com/

Or why not follow Sally on twitter using @Sally_Nicholls


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this brilliant month long blog tour at the following stops!

Blog Tour Calendar Final


A huge big thank you to Sally for answering all my questions and to Maggie at Egmont for organising not only this Q&A but the whole tour.

Have you read Mystery & Mayhem?  Which was your favourite mystery?  Did you solve any of the mysteries?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Detective Work!

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Tales Quiz – Which Hobson & Choi Character Are you?

 


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To celebrate the release of the third Hobson & Choi case which was released on the 5th October 2015 I am so excited to welcome the brilliant Nick Bryan to Tales Of Yesterday!

If you don’t already know I LOVE these books!  I’m even quoted on the back of the new instalment, Trapped In The Bargain Basement!

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The Hobson and Choi series have a great mix of adult crime, but with a crossover appeal to YA…which is just perfect with unforgettable characters and twisting plots.

Check out my review of The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf and Rush Jobs here

Today myself and the author of the brilliant series Nick Bryan have put together a fab quiz where we are asking…

Which Hobson and Choi Character Are you?


About The Books

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“If we get 400 followers, John Hobson will solve that nasty wolf-murder case for free! Fight the thing himself if he has to! #HobsonVsWolf!”Angelina Choi was only trying to drum up some Twitter followers and make a good impression on her first day interning at John Hobson’s one-man detective agency.

But the campaign went viral and now they have a murder to solve, no money coming in, and an unwilling Hobson faced with battling some enormous beast.

With both follower and body counts rising, can they crack the case without offending everyone or being eaten by a huge dog?

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf is the first case starring Hobson & Choi, a bickering, mismatched detective duo for 21st century London. This book collects the debut storyline of the hit darkly comic crime web serial, extensively rewritten and improved for this definitive edition.

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“Sometimes #crime feels like the Matrix. Or the #patriarchy or #porn. It’s everywhere, even in people you trusted, and there’s so MUCH of it.”

Angelina Choi returns for her second and final week of work experience at John Hobson’s detective agency, ready for anything after their first successful murder solve.

After all that online buzz, they’re in phenomenal demand. Can Hobson & Choi solve a kidnapping, play chicken with corporate crime, beat back gentrification, save a dog from drug dealers and head off violent backlash from their last case?

Or will grim revelations about Hobson’s past leave them floundering in the chaos?

Rush Jobs collects the second major storyline in the Hobson & Choi saga, #1 on Jukepop Serials and #2 in Dark Comedy on Amazon, adding brand new chapters and scenes to the case.

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“You’ve heard of conspiracies within conspiracies? I wish conspiracies WOULD hide inside each other, instead of turning up everywhere I go.”

Angelina Choi returns for her final day of work experience at the Hobson Agency – is there a job waiting afterwards? Should she walk away for her own good?

While she mulls it over, they’re hired by the massive EastVillage shopping centre to investigate a spate of muggings. But do the management know more than they’re letting on?

As Hobson and Choi wrestle with commercialised corruption, will Angelina finally squeeze in her first date with Will the Hot Receptionist? Can anything emerge from the smoking crater of Hobson’s love life?

Trapped In The Bargain Basement plunges grimly comic London crime series Hobson & Choi to new depths, after climbing to #1 in Dark Comedy on Amazon and breaking records on Jukepop Serials.

Also included: Wuff! – The Markus Tail, a book-only bonus short story. Discover the bone-gnawingly tense origin of H&C’s furriest, friendliest character.


Which character are you most like? 

Take the quiz to find out and share your results with us on twitter or leave a comment.

If you cannot see the quiz below click here and scroll down


About Nick Bryan

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Nick Bryan is a London-based writer of genre fiction, usually with some blackly comic twist. As well as the ongoing self-published detective saga Hobson & Choi, he is also working on a novel about the real implications of deals with the devil and has stories in several anthologies.

He can primarily be found on his own website at NickBryan.com and on Twitter as @NickMB, both of which are updated with perfect and reasonable regularity.

When not reading or writing books, Nick Bryan enjoys racquet sports, comics and a nice white beer.

You can buy any of the books in this series here

Check out my review of The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf or Rush Jobs here

Also a fab guest post from Nick about Location here


A huge thank you to Nick Bryan for playing along and helping to create this quiz!

Also a huge thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me if I would like to invite Nick to Tales!

Have you read any of the Hobson and Choi series?  What did you think?  Have you taken the quiz?  Which character are you?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading, solving crimes!

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Review – The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf & Rush Jobs by Nick Bryan


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 The 19th January 2015 marked the release day of the second book in the Hobson & Choi Series – Rush Jobs by self published author Nick Bryan. I am very excited to have been sent an ebook copy of both this book and the first in the series The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf for me to read and review.

I am over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this series and for my stop on the tour I am going to share my reviews of both books.  I also have an excerpt from The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf, a little about the amazing Nick Bryan and details of a fab giveaway!

Thank you to both Faye Rogers and Nick Bryan for having me on this wonderful tour.

Ps – I think Choi has broken into Tales Of Yesterday and has made some changes on the site for the day!

You can also find out which Hobson and Choi character you are here


The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf  The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf (Hobson & Choi #1)

“If we get 400 followers, John Hobson will solve that nasty wolf-murder case for free! Fight the thing himself if he has to! #HobsonVsWolf!”Angelina Choi was only trying to drum up some Twitter followers and make a good impression on her first day interning at John Hobson’s one-man detective agency.

But the campaign went viral and now they have a murder to solve, no money coming in, and an unwilling Hobson faced with battling some enormous beast.

With both follower and body counts rising, can they crack the case without offending everyone or being eaten by a huge dog?

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf is the first case starring Hobson & Choi, a bickering, mismatched detective duo for 21st century London. This book collects the debut storyline of the hit darkly comic crime web serial, extensively rewritten and improved for this definitive edition.

Goodreads. Amazon.

Wow!  I LOVED this book with a capital L!  The girl who tweeted wolf is a fab introduction to the world of Hobson and Choi!  I literally could not put this down.  A great mix of adult crime, but with a crossover appeal to YA…just perfect.

The story is told from alternating perspectives by Hobson, the presentable clean shaven punctual detective with a slightly unpredictable fiery side and Choi, 16 year old intern on work experience for two weeks.  On her first day of work experience in an office the size of a rich mans cupboard Hobson asks Choi to set up a twitter account for his detective business and get him followers.  What Hobson doesn’t bank on is Choi’s imagination and marketing skills quickly gaining followers by marketing Hobson as a detective who will solve the current Wolf murders for free if he gets 400 followers and quickly establishing a twitter trend of #hobsonvswolf.  With Hobsons followers going through the roof  the hunt for the murderer begins!

I loved the characters in this book so much.  The determination and willingness yet slightly frightened Choi.  The head strong, twitter hating Hobson who loves a good old munch on a Subway (yummy) and once hit someone off a bike so that the bike kept going and knocked over a suspect. Some dead bodies and a brilliant range of suspects including the best suspect name ever an angry character called Violet Vole – love it!

I also loved the relationship between Hobson & Choi.  As the book progresses Choi very often puts Hobson in his place although Hobson just ignores the advise and ploughs on anyway! It gives a kind of comic feel to the book and story.  The work well together on the page and are both individual. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Choi is gently trying to question a sensitive suspect, but Hobson becomes inpatient and just goes for the jugular and says it as it is without thinking of the consequence.  There are some touching scenes between Choi and her “over protective” mother with Choi often saying she won’t be in danger d her mother disagreeing.

With murders to solve, subways to eat, a full English breakfast description to put you off greasy spoons for life, new buildings like the Inspiration Gestation Station building to explore and a guilty looking workers on the Social Awesome floor this first instalment in the Hobson and Choi series took me on a twisty turny crime adventure which kept me guessing till the very heart stopping end!

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books

1PS – I also had an awesome bonus story with my copy of this book and it was thrilling!


Rush Jobs Rush Jobs (Hobson & Choi #2)

“Sometimes #crime feels like the Matrix. Or the #patriarchy or #porn. It’s everywhere, even in people you trusted, and there’s so MUCH of it.”

Angelina Choi returns for her second and final week of work experience at John Hobson’s detective agency, ready for anything after their first successful murder solve.

After all that online buzz, they’re in phenomenal demand. Can Hobson & Choi solve a kidnapping, play chicken with corporate crime, beat back gentrification, save a dog from drug dealers and head off violent backlash from their last case?

Or will grim revelations about Hobson’s past leave them floundering in the chaos?

Rush Jobs collects the second major storyline in the Hobson & Choi saga, #1 on Jukepop Serials and #2 in Dark Comedy on Amazon, adding brand new chapters and scenes to the case.

Goodreads. Amazon

The second book in the Hobson and Choi series starts off right where the 1st one left off with it being the second week of work experience for intern Choi who wants to prove herself to Hobson and Hobson moving his detective premises and being in popular demand following cracking the wolf case!  I again, like the first, LOVED, this book.  A superb sequel!  I cannot believe I have never read these books before now!  Shame on me!  Again a great mix of adult crime, but with a crossover appeal to YA…just perfect.

This time Hobson and Choi are tasked to solve a number of various crimes including a kidnapping, saving a dog from some dodgy drug dealers and much more all with interesting consequences and a great back story for Hobson is revealed!

The good old Subway stakeout is back in this book in all its glory!  I also loved how Hobson seemed more protective of Choi , but at the same time Choi seems to mature and grow page by page which I loved as a character development for the series.  I loved how whilst still hating twitter it made me laugh when Hobson tells Choi to purposely tweet about a case with Choi becoming quite speechless at Hobson’s change of heart, but deep down Hobson knows its good for business!

As much as I loved the first book I loved how this one had more of a variety of cases and a bad terrifying villain to boot.  As well as the comic element which is still present there were a lot more really tense moments which really hooked me into the book.

I heard on twitter that there will be a 3rd Hobson and Choi book coming which was a relief and caused me much excitement as I get to see what happens now Choi’s works experience ends and …well basically just more Hobson and Choi!  Yay!

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books

1 PS – I also had another awesome bonus story with my copy of this book and it was creepily fantastic!


About the Author

me-squared Nick Bryan is a London-based writer of genre fiction, usually with some blackly comic twist. As well as the detective saga Hobson & Choi, he is also working on a novel about the real implications of deals with the devil and has stories in several anthologies.

More details on his other work and news on future Hobson & Choi releases can be found on his blog at NickBryan.com or on Twitter as @NickMB. Both are updated with perfect and reasonable regularity.

Subscribe to his mailing list using the form in the sidebar of NickBryan.com to get news first and an all-new free Hobson & Choi short story immediately!

When not reading or writing books, Nick Bryan enjoys racquet sports, comics and a nice white beer.

Website. Twitter. Mailing List.


Tour Schedule

There have been some fab posts already on the tour.  Check them out below and also follow the rest of this amazing tour!

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Monday 19th January
Rain On A Summer’s Afternoon

Tuesday 20th January
Claire Rousseau

Wednesday 21st January
Music, Books and Tea

Thursday 22nd January
Ya Yeah Yeah

Friday 23rd January
A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Saturday 24th January
Tales of Yesterday

Sunday 25th January
K-Books

Monday 26th January
Nimbus Space

Tuesday 27th January
The Online Novel

Wednesday 28th January
Nyx Book Reviews

Thursday 29th January
Winged Reviews

Friday 30th January
Kirstyes

Saturday 31st January
The Book Moo

Sunday 1st February
Bookish Outsider

Monday 2nd February
Pewter Wolf


Excerpt

The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf

Not only was there no name stencilled on the window of Hobson’s office door, it didn’t even have a window. Angelina was disappointed — what kind of crappy detective doesn’t have an office name stencil window?

Instead, it was a solid beige fire door. The only thing marking it out from the beige corridor was the change in texture from beige plaster to beige wood. Same old London office in a boring building. Clearly all her effort to dress interesting had been silly. The black floaty layers and purple tights looked ridiculous against all the nothingness.

Too late to change though, she was already five minutes late. She knocked on the hollow, cheap-sounding door, with the firmness of an adult, rather than a nervous sixteen-year-old. Or so she hoped.

“Yeah, come in,” said the hoarse yell from inside.

Angelina pushed the door open. Considering how long she’d spent staring at the tedious thing, it floated away easily.

The office behind was more interesting than the corridor, thankfully. Bright blue, two desks, a few filing cabinets. But no discarded whiskey bottles, nor a mattress round back where the detective slept.

“Good morning, Choi,” said a deep voice. The huge man behind the larger desk leapt up, revealing a pressed black suit and straight tie. Buttoned down to a fault, this guy could be a real veteran police detective, right up to the grey peppering his short dark hair.

And why was he calling her by surname?

“Good to meet you. I’m John Hobson, just Hobson is fine though.” And, when she didn’t immediately reply: “How are you? Good trip over?”

“Um, thanks, I’m fine, you too.” She forgot to punctuate any of that, blushing as soon as it finished.

“Good. Good. Well, welcome to our new work experience internship programme. I hope I’ll be able to show you something about the business in two weeks. As you can see, I’ve cleared a desk for you here.” He gestured at the smaller one in the room, with a wedge of papers recently shoved to one end.

“Looks nice,” she glanced down and nodded. “Lots of room.”

Another silence.

“So,” he was already standing up and hooking his jacket off the back of the chair, “I have to get moving for a lunch meeting, but I do have a job for you to get on with.”

Her ears pricked up, but expectations remained measured. She’d be filing all those papers away, wouldn’t she? Or running out to buy milk?

“I’ve noticed this social Twitter internet media thing seems to be taking off,” he said, gesturing widely at the computer on her desk, as if that explained everything, “could you create an account for me and get me some of those… followers?”

Angelina blinked. “I’m sorry?”

“Well, you know. I’ve just repainted my office, I want to be modern, and your lot seem to be familiar with this kind of thing.”

“My lot? What do you mean my lot?”

“No no no no no,” Hobson spun round, nearly whirling her across the room, “not Asians. Teenage girls.”

“Oh. Right.” Depressingly, she was relieved he’d even noticed she was Asian. “Well, sure. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks, Choi.” He shrugged his massive coat on, composure back in place. “Just a couple of hundred should do. Cheers, running late, back in an hour.”

With that, he waved and dashed out the door. And then popped his head back round. “Oh, could you also go to the shops and get some coffee? Ain’t much left.”

Angelina nodded, and kept her sigh inside until he’d definitely gone. This office was the size of a rich person’s cupboard.

*****

Picking up the coffee took a few minutes. The hardest part was checking out his machine and working out what type to buy. Now she was an intern, Angelina knew she had to do these menial tasks, so swallowed her pride and went to Tesco.

Not long after, guzzling a pack of dirt-cheap cardboard crisps, she plonked herself down in front of her computer. She had a job to do, so resisted the urge to head straight for Facebook and complain about her negligent boss.

Instead she went on Twitter and got to work. She typed, she schmoozed, she strived, she read blog posts about Social Media Success, many of which made her angry. Finally, several tweets and retweets later, something clicked.

Shortly later, so did the door to their office, as Hobson returned. His lunch meeting ended at a reasonable time and left him completely sober; again, both reassuring and disappointing. When did she get to sniff corpses and snort whiskey, delve deep into the underworld?

Instead, she had a presentable, clean shaven, punctual detective without a visible drinking problem. Should’ve been more specific on the form.

“So Choi,” Hobson said, his jacket flopping back over the chair, “am I… trending yet?”

He pronounced trending like it was the name of an alien planet.

“Um, sort of,” she said.

“Sort of?”

“Well, you’ve got 353 followers…” Angelina broke off mid-stream as a rectangular email notification popped up. “Well, 354 now. But I had to say some stuff to get them.”

Hobson fiddled with his own computer, not paying much attention. “Yeah? What kind of stuff?”

“I tried just creating an account and following people, engaging with other detectives, but it wasn’t working much,” she could hear herself talking faster in response to his blank stares, “so I found an interesting murder case and said that if you got enough followers, you’d totally solve it for free.”

And it sounded like a better idea at the time, she added silently, rolling her chair away from Hobson as his face turned red and he stood up, tie flapping wild. It was hard not to be scared when a man bigger than the room he was sitting in started yelling at you.

“You did what?” At least he’d noticed her. “Do you have you any idea how shitty that is? What if the press find out? What if the victim’s family find out? How do you know I even can solve it? How am I meant to pay my rent?”

“I don’t know, I’m sorry, I wanted to get it right and I just…” Angelina inhaled deep and snorted by accident. “I may have said something else too.”

“Oh God.”

“Yeah. If we get up to 400 followers, you have to fight a wolf.”

The email indicator leapt up again. Only forty-five to go.


Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway throughout the tour as well.

The Prizes
One Signed Paperback Set of the Hobson & Choi Series
Three E-Book Sets of the Hobson & Choi Series

a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can also find out which Hobson and Choi character you are here

Also a fab guest post from Nick about Location here

Have you read The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf or Rush Jobs?  What did you think?  If not have these reviews or blog tour persuaded you?  Do you like subway (nom nom)?  What is your favourite?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading, solving crimes and eating Subway – nom nom nom!

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