Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Indie author for May: Rachel Amphlett

Scared to Death: A Detective Kay Hunter mystery (Kay Hunter British detective crime thriller series Book 1) by [Amphlett, Rachel]

"If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully."

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun...

Back to crime for this author, and anyone who thinks that indie books are all stuffed with every mistake an editor loves would do well to take a look at this clean production. And beyond that, this is an excellent first novel that grips from the very first page. It’s a police procedural with a refreshingly happily married female lead, who nevertheless doesn’t have her troubles to seek, as they say. The characters, both victims and perpetrators, are far from black and white (with one possible exception), and all are interesting. The plot whizzes along at a cracking pace and some parts are pretty disturbing, but on the whole it registers about a 3 on the Conyngham scale – not gory, but with a couple of grim bits.

And I'm over halfway now on Tomb for an Eagle - relief, as it now feels as if it might be a book one day! The cover illustrator is already beavering away with some new-look covers for this new series, so the pressure is on, and I'm still enjoying it!

As for Murray and Hippolyta, the plan is still to have another Hippolyta ready for Christmas and another Murray by Easter 2019. That seems like years away, but I know time is going to fly. I'm considering cloning myself, but the trouble is I want to be all of the resulting personalities - except maybe the one that has to do the laundry.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Crime Tour of Scotland - Inverness

Shadow Man by [Kirk, Margaret]

Shadow Man, by Margaret Kirk
A gripping Scottish crime thriller from the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Writing competition 2016.
Two sisters
Just before her wedding day, Morven Murray, queen of daytime TV, is found murdered. All eyes are on her sister Anna, who was heard arguing with her hours before she was killed.
Two murders
On the other side of Inverness, police informant Kevin Ramsay is killed in a gangland-style execution. But what exactly did he know?
One killer?
As ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler digs deeper into both cases, he discovers that Morven's life was closer to the Inverness underworld than anyone imagined. Caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, is Lukas hunting one killer, or two?

 I hadn't been going to Inverness on this tour until Margaret Kirk came to my attention, so I snatched up the book to see if it was worth a visit (silly me, of course Inverness is worth a visit! It's lovely). Shadow Man is written in the present tense, which rarely appeals to me, but despite that I liked the book, and particularly liked the main character, Lukas Mahler, from the start, with his rather less conventional family issues. I immediately wanted to know more about the woman he saw on the flight to Inverness. Not a particularly strong sense of place, but a good sense of community, both the police (some of whom are fully paid up members of the Awkward Squad) and the locals. 2.5 to 3 on the Conyngham Scale, but don't let it put you off staying at the hotel where the murder takes place! I'm looking forward to the next Margaret Kirk with enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, I'm back from beautiful Orkney and happy book events at Orkney Library and Stromness Writers Group, knitting some of the wool I bought, reading the pile of books acquired (good thing we had an extra bag for the flight!) and 11 1/2 chapters into Tomb for an Eagle. I swerve between loving it and being sure it'll be a disaster!

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Blog tour - Frozen, by Christine Amsden

Today it's a paranormal fantasy that I enjoyed -

Frozen (Cassie Scot Book Seven)

Apparently, life doesn’t end when you get married.
When a couple freezes to death on a fifty degree day, Cassie is called in to investigate. The couple ran a daycare out of their home, making preschoolers the key witnesses and even the prime suspects.
Two of those preschoolers are Cassie’s youngest siblings, suggesting conditions at home are worse than she feared. As Cassie struggles to care for her family, she must face the truth about her mother’s slide into depression, which seems to be taking the entire town with it.
Then Cassie, too, is attacked by the supernatural cold. She has to think fast to survive, and her actions cause a rift between her and her husband.
No, life doesn’t end after marriage. All hell can break loose at any time.

 My review:

Stupidly, I hadn't realised this was part of a series (you'd think I'd check that kind of thing by now) and though I thought there was quite a bit of backstory cropping up, it's still perfectly readable as a standalone, even with its 'and now we'll go and do this next thing' ending. The plot is interesting and pleasantly complicated, and exciting, too, in lots of places. I can't say I liked Evan much, but the narrator is sympathetic and I galloped through this - really ought to go back  now and find the first one to read!

Buy Links

·Barnes and Noble

Print Release: July 15, 2018
Audiobook Release: TBA

The Cassie Scot Series

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot Book One)
Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot Book Two)
Mind Games (Cassie Scot Book 3)
Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot Book 4)
Madison's Song (Cassie Scot Book 5)
Kaitlin’s Tale (Cassie Scot Book 6)

About the Author 

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, which scars the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. 
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. In addition to being a writer, she's a mom and freelance editor.

Social Media Links:
· Blog

And here's an extract - don't have nightmares!

That’s when I saw it – the thing that had scared Evan. It was … a dog, maybe? But massive. As black as night. And with red, glowing eyes. If it weren’t for the eyes, I might have mistaken it for a werewolf. Well, that, and the fact that the moon hadn’t risen. Wolves didn’t turn when the sun went down, only when the moon rose. It wasn’t even the full moon; I would never have left Ana with Scott if it were.
            The monstrous thing lunged for Jim, a thirty-something man in very good shape who couldn’t seem to outrun it. It tore at the backs of his legs, drawing blood and sending Jim sprawling to the ground on hands and knees.
            I couldn’t move, and not because Evan’s power still held me. That thing was about two seconds from eating Jim, a man I happened to like and who I knew had a wife and two kids at home.
            A strangled yell emerged from Jim’s throat. Guns blazed – I hadn’t even noticed Frank and Sheriff Adams drawing their weapons. The beast growled, momentarily losing interest in Jim as it fixed those demon eyes on the two men trying to fill it with lead.
            Then, suddenly, it was in the air, flying backwards through the trees and out of sight.
            The guns went quiet but the sheriff and his deputy continued to run toward their fallen comrade. Evan stood stock still, staring into the woods, arms raised and waiting. Listening.
            Suddenly, the sound of a canine howling filled the air.
            “Move!” Evan shouted. “It’s coming back!”

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Book tour: Fate's Design, by Subhashish Dey

Hosting a book tour today!

When a kidnapper redeems his lost conscience and finds himself unable to murder the girl he has kidnapped, what does he do? Fate is cruel to him, and good intentions are never enough. 

At the same time, a woman dissatisfied with her existence flees from her home, not knowing what lies ahead of her. But all things come at a price, and she has a hard path ahead through storms and fire.   

Watch how fate has entwined these lives together, into a song through struggles of conscience and identity, through the deepest lows and greatest highs, and through the flame of madness and the stings of survival.     

Book Links:

Feedback for the Book:

5 Stars “An extremely well written thriller by an amazing fourteen-year-old. Written at an age when most teenagers find their boats floundering in the sea of words, Subhashish had not only managed to keep a grip on the plot, taking the reader along the journey of his well-drawn out characters, he had also shown a rare maturity in his choice of words. His insights are at times startling, coming from someone of his age.” ~ Supratim Kar on Amazon

5 Stars – “An impressive first novel. The author is still in his teens, but the narrative voice is one of maturity and experience. The story unfolds like a Russian romance novel, in a modern setting. The plot is complex and suspenseful and keeps one turning the pages until the climax.” ~ T.N.Badri on Amazon

“A thoroughly interesting read, Fate’s Design, plays out as a struggle to live, survive and not merely exist. There are flaws, which in any case, are there in every piece of writing, but, the author’s abilities to weave a story, which does not make you, cringe or question its validity, make it an interesting work worth going over more than once.” ~ Soumyabrata Gupta

About the Author:

Subhashish is a 14-year-old student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya Anna Nagar. He has been regularly contributing short stories to his school magazine. An avid reader, Subhashish believes that books open the doors to some wonderful insights in life. A brilliant student, Subhashish loves to explore different places and spends time trying to understand the culture of the people there. 
Subhashish lives in Chennai along with his parents and grandmother. This is his first attempt at writing a novel. Subhashish is passionate about music and loves singing and playing his piano. Incidentally, music forms the backbone of the story of his novel.