Monday, 26 May 2014

Exciting times for Bad Moon Rising

On Wednesday evening I’ll be attending a black tie dinner at the Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspapers Makers, a fabulous guild building near St Paul’s Cathedral. The reason for being there is the fact that Bad Moon Rising, the first in the series to feature D.I. Paolo Storey, has made the final of the People’s Book Prize.

Voting is underway at the moment to decide on the top three places and I would (naturally) love Bad Moon Rising to take one of those coveted three spots.

If you would like to vote for Bad Moon Rising as your choice for the award, you can do so by clicking here, or by clicking on the People’s Book Prize icon situated on the left of this post.

Voting closes at 10 am on Wednesday morning, so please don’t leave it too long to head over there.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Review of Crimson Shore

I am an avid fan of Gillian Hamer’s cross-genre novels, so was a little concerned that I might not enjoy a standard police procedural as much as her earlier books. I needn’t have worried – Crimson Shore couldn’t be described as standard in any sense of the word. The storyline is intriguing and the characters come to life to such an extent that I wanted to slap one of them (Dara) on more than one occasion. The fact that I was so annoyed shows the power of Ms Hamer’s writing.

Crimson Shore is the first in The Gold Detectives series. Detective Inspector Amanda Gold being the eponymous Gold in the series’ title. She is pushed by her unpleasant superior, DCI Idris Parry, into allowing Detective Sergeant Dara Brennan to take over a murder investigation, with her providing back up.

We know from the outset that the killer is linked to a children’s home which closed under mysterious circumstances many years earlier. What we don’t know is who the killer might be, or why the murders are taking place now.

Dara is not emotionally equipped to deal with his new-found responsibility. His marriage is on the rocks, he’s drinking to excess and he is powerfully attracted to a colleague, all of which impact on his judgement. However, for all that, he is a very likeable character. My reasons for wanting to slap him were kindly ones. I wanted him to succeed and stop sabotaging his own efforts.

The story is set on the island of Anglesey and so well-crafted are the descriptions, it was easy to picture the scene. At times I could almost feel the wind coming off the sea.

Ms Hamer clearly knows her way around the forensic department, as she allows her characters to reveal key clues through dialogue over the dead bodies. As both bodies and clues mount, and Dara goes into meltdown, the story races to its fabulous conclusion. This is another winner from the pen of Gillian Hamer.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

What fits a Crime shelf?

When a reader goes to the Crime section of a bookstore, they might have very specific aims that they’re seeking for within the genre. They may be looking for detective fiction as in your own stories of D.I. Paolo Storey (Frances di Plino), or some of the other Crooked Cat Publishing hard-boiled police oriented novels like those about D.C.I. Marc Craig by Catriona King. However, they may prefer something with lighter undertones in a cosy armchair ‘whodunit’ – perhaps like David Robinson’s Crooked Cat STAC Mysteries. Some readers will only veer towards the dark thriller type of novel where the psychological and motivation aspects are prime elements of the crime plot. It may be the courtroom drama type they’re looking for in the post crime phase, or perhaps an international political thriller like Crooked Cat’s Deep Deception by James North, which has pivotal elements of conspiracy and assassination.

If a crime story only needs a crime to be committed then there are so many possibilities for the author. That means there are other stories out there which include criminal offences - but do they grace the crime shelves?

In Topaz Eyes - my dynasty based mystery/ thriller - the plot centres on a very complex mystery, but the unravelling of the story also involves a number of different criminal acts. Based on a family tree structure to many levels beyond the original matriarch, there’s a huge amount of distrust amongst third generation cousins. Under dubious conditions, the cousins are brought together to solve the mystery of a missing family jewellery collection, and another priceless mystery item - the mystery within the mystery. The incredible set of emerald jewels, once owned by a Mughal emperor, was last seen in 1910 and is believed to have been dished out to family members under shady circumstances. Like all deep mysteries, there are very few clues to begin with and initial deduction powers are brought into serious play. So is Topaz Eyes then a detective mystery?  It is, though the unearthing isn’t done by a team of police detectives. However, there is a lovely Amsterdam police detective involved in the later stages of the novel when international crimes are investigated.
There are some grand thefts involved in the story; there’s a mystery stalker on the loose harassing the protagonists. Murder is not crossed off the list as the main characters move from city to city during their world-wide hunt. So, is it an international crime thriller based on grand theft? That could be a matter of debate, since there are fabulous city locations and lots of thrills along the way.

In addition, there’s also a romantic plot underpinning the story as Keira Drummond and Teun Zeger pair up during the hunt. Does that mean that Topaz Eyes should be on the romance shelves? No, because the relationship develops as part of the plot but it isn’t the central element.

So where does Topaz Eyes fit on the crime shelves? I wonder if you could tell me. I don’t think it matters though, if what you’re looking for is a fast-paced crime-laced mystery with thrills and spills along the way. An Amazon reviewer has this to say: “…This is a skilfully paced and plotted novel, in which the various story-lines only come together at the very end.” Topaz Eyes is a finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014.

Nancy Jardine’s Amazon UK author page: ; and on

Topaz Eyes is available in paperback and ebook formats from: Amazon UK  Amazon US
Crooked Cat Bookstore

Nancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, a great part of Scotland, where fantastic sites to visit -ancient and modern -are just a step away. She loves her extended family to be around her, though that can often be chaotic and noisy when get-togethers are arranged.

Her writing time is squeezed in between messy garden jobs to tidy up unruly foliage; child minding her fabulous grandchildren on a regular basis; reading for leisure and to review for other authors. She only occasionally cooks and almost never uses the iron so it’s just as well that her husband is sometimes a great cook. She regularly posts on her two blogs - for her own purposes; and to help with the promotions of other authors. Presently she’s trying to wean herself from too much Facebooking, but is not sure she’s successful.

You can find Nancy Jardine at her -Blog: ;  -Website: Facebook:

Thank you for the opportunity to visit today, and I look forward to any questions or advice. J

Monday, 19 May 2014

Review of Rope Enough

Oliver Tidy’s books appear on the first page of the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” lists of all three of my D.I. Paolo Storey novels, so I thought I’d take a look at one of his books, which I suppose shows that form of Amazon advertising works! Anyway, I like to start with the first in a series, so downloaded Rope Enough, which is the first of the Romney and Marsh Files.

I’ve read a fair amount of self-published fiction recently – most of it really dire and deleted from my kindle long before the end. In many of the novels, not only do I not care who dunnit, but I don’t care who they dunnit to or why. The writing is often turgid, the plots transparent and the characters so wooden they should be broken down into pulp for paper.

What a pleasure it was, therefore, to start reading Rope Enough and find I wanted to read on. The plot is sufficiently intriguing. The characters are true enough to life that you can care about them and the overall effect was to make me want to read the next in the series.

This is not to say the book was perfect in every respect – Mr Tidy makes the point at the end that he is constantly learning. Given how much I enjoyed this offering, I can only say that he is going to be a name to reckon with if he improves on what is already a considerable talent.

Give his books a try. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Ten facts about ... Gunnar Angel Lawrence

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school and wanted to be a writer from junior high on. I enjoyed writing science fiction, mystery and fantasy type books. I’ve been reading since I was 18 months old, yeah, not exaggerating there. I read everything I could get my hands on and when I was out of stuff to read, I wrote stories. I used it as an escape from a rather tragic, dull existence and still prefer my world of make believe.

How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on the book; it took a year and a half to write Fair Play and two years to write The Perfect Day. There was a lot more research to that one as it is based in a lot of fact. The follow up book is entitled The Consortium and I haven’t even begun a tenth of the research I need to do on that one.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I spend 8 to 12 hours a day when in full blown writing mode. My day job allows me a few hours here and there and I do what I can when I can. But in getting ready for a deadline, I’ll write like a madman.

How many crime novels have you written?
I spent a few years as a ghost-writer. So the only crime novels I can claim are the ones I did with my own name on them. That would be two. Fair Play and The Perfect Day. There are other books with my name on them in a variety of genres, but I am trying to focus more on the crime-thriller genre books.

Which is your favourite and why?
My favourite is always the latest one. I am especially proud of the work that went into The Perfect Day  as it is more than double the word count and size as Fair Play and there is action from page one to the end. The Perfect Day is about a terrorist attack-plan that was discovered during the invasion of Iraq. It is an actual plot where embedded terrorist cells in America rise up on one day and perform horrendous attacks on soft targets. One of the thoughts that drove this book is what would happen if ONE of those targets was my home city of Orlando, Florida.

Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from current events, the news. Fair Play was born out of the whole Casey Anthony trial and asks the question: How does an attorney live with themselves when their job is to free a guilty person. How is justice served when criminals are allowed to be released on to the general population to kill or rape again?

Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
I love all my characters, even the villains. My favourite character though has to be Monica Quinn who is a Certified Fraud Examiner. She gets into the picture by tracing the accounting that financed the terrorist attacks. She is a single mom of an autistic son and has the same struggles that a lot of single parents do.

Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
I’d have to say Hannibal Lecter, but only because that series of books is one of my favourites. He is a perfect villain, and I would have loved to hear the inner voices that were speaking when he was created.

If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
I would have liked to have been the first person to ever use a computer to hack into a bank and steal all the money without ever needing to ‘rob’ anyone. Move to a country with no extradition treaty and spend all my remaining years on a beach sipping bright fruity drinks.

What are you working on now?
The Consortium is the follow up to The Perfect Day and addresses the very serious and real issue of human trafficking in the United States. As it turns out, Central Florida is a major hub of human trafficking crimes worldwide. I am hoping to have it released in 2015. 

After years of ghost-writing thrillers, conspiracy novels and mystery books, Gunnar Angel Lawrence has published his second thriller. He is the author of Fair Play and the sequel The Perfect Day. He is a native Floridian with a love for writing thrillers, mysteries and action stories with fast pacing and a unique twist. He lives in Saint Cloud, Florida with his dogs and is currently single. Most of his time is spent working on the sequel to The Perfect Day which is entitled, The Consortium.