Cuttin’ Heads by D.A. Watson #BookReview & #Giveaway ~ Supernatural Horror @davewatsonbooks @rararesources #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Cuttin’ Heads by D. A. Watson, with a review and giveaway. 

Aldo Evans, Ross McArthur and Luce Figura, otherwise known as Public Alibi, are a rock trio gigging in their spare time. They’re good and over the past year they’ve been getting some decent engagements considering they’re an unsigned band. After being fired from yet another mind numbing call centre job, Aldo has no idea how he’s going to pay for his expensive new guitar. Not to mention child support and paying the rent. 

Ross plays bass guitar and works as a hotel porter. He grows his own cannabis, loves Countdown and Blockbusters and isn’t opposed to using his special skills to subdue the more vocal, overbearing people who find their way into A&E.

Luce teaches music students, and at the moment her unrewarding task is ensemble lecturer. She is the drummer in Public Alibi and takes her music very seriously. Her students have been bribed into attending their gig at a small bar in Glasgow, so they were at the least assured of some sort of audience. When they’re approached by the smooth talking Gappa Bale of Easy Rollin Records after their set, it seems their luck might just have changed. Bale makes them an offer they can’t refuse.

“How many tickets do we need to sell?” Ross says. Aldo was about to ask the same thing. That was how you made the money.

“This will not be that kind of arrangement, Ross,” Bale answers. “Easy Rollin Records value and pay you for your musicianship, not for your abilities as sales people. As such, your remuneration will not depend on ticket sales. In point of fact, the event is already sold out. Your band will be paid a fee of three thousand pounds for the show.”

Aldo can’t contain a burst of laughter. “Aye, right you are, pal! Three grand for one show?”

Right from the start there’s a feeling of strangeness about Bale—the way he almost hypnotises when he talks. He’s far too smooth and has an answer for everything. But this offer is everything Aldo, Ross and Luce have ever wanted. A chance for success and fame. Music is everything to them, especially Aldo. But even so, Luce has doubts about Bale. Perhaps Aldo and Ross shouldn’t have been so quick to dismiss her concerns.

Extremely well defined characters and great writing drew me in straight away. Aldo, Ross and Luce are immediately likeable and sympathetic. All are dealing with events which have shaped who they’ve become. Luce and Ross with events from their childhoods and Aldo is struggling with juggling his responsibilities as a father with his desire for a career in music. As the storyline progresses and gets ever more creepy, the horror aspect becomes all too apparent. That, combined with details of the music industry, make for a riveting read. You can’t help but worry and wonder what our three heroes have let themselves in for. And more to the point, how are they going to get out of it, as it becomes obvious they’re in deep trouble.

Aldo Evans is a desperate man. Fired from his job and deeply in debt, he struggles to balance a broken family life with his passion for music.

Luce Figura is a troubled woman. A rhythmic perfectionist, she is haunted by childhood trauma and scorned by her religiously devout mother.

Ross McArthur is a wiseass. Orphaned as an infant and raised by the state, his interests include game shows, home-grown weed, occasional violence and the bass guitar.

They are Public Alibi. A rock n’ roll band going nowhere fast.

When the sharp-suited, smooth talking producer Gappa Bale offers them a once in a lifetime chance to make their dreams come true, they are caught up in a maelstrom of fame, obsession, music and murder.

Soon, Aldo, Luce and Ross must ask themselves: is it really better to burn out than to fade away?

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Goodreads

To enter the Giveaway for a signed copy of Cuttin’ Heads please click the Rafflecopter link.

Prizewinning author D.A. Watson spent several years working in bars, restaurants and call centres before going back to university with the half-arsed plan of becoming a music teacher. Halfway through his degree at the University of Glasgow, he discovered he was actually better at writing, and unleashed his debut novel, In the Devil’s Name, on an unsuspecting public in the summer of 2012. Plans of a career in education left firmly in the dust, he later gained his masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling.

He has since published two more novels, The Wolves of Langabhat and Cuttin’ Heads, a handful of non-fiction pieces, several short stories including Durty Diana, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016, and the Burns parody Tam O’ Shatner, which in 2017 came runner up in the Dunedin Robert Burns Poetry Competition, and was a competition winner at the Falkirk Storytelling Festival. 

He lives with his family in Western Scotland.

“The Christoper Brookmyre of horror. Readers will be very very afraid.”
– Louise Welsh, bestselling author of the Plague Times trilogy

Social Media Links – Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

I chose to read and review Cuttin’ Heads based on a copy of the book supplied by Rachel’s Random Resources and the author/publisher. 

Brand New Friend by Kate Vane #BookReview for #RBRT ~ Character Driven Dual Time Line @k8vane #FridayReads

Author: Kate Vane

Kindle Edition

Category: Dual Time Line, Contemporary Fiction, Book Review

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same. 

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

BBC journalist/reporter Paolo Bennet was recording a report when his phone rang. The caller was Mark, an old friend from his student days, with an urgent appeal for him to come to Leeds. Scenting a story and curious, Paolo agrees. On the train journey north Paolo scours the internet for anything he can find out about Mark. He wants to find out the truth—about Mark, his handler and about who caused a fire and unexplained death on campus back in the 80s. Paolo knew Mark Benson as an animal rights activist but he has now been exposed as undercover policeman Mark Swift. Paolo is conflicted after learning the truth about Mark and is unsure about his one time friend’s motives. Nevertheless, he travels to Leeds and meets Mark, only to learn Mark’s former police handler, Sid, has been murdered. 

Paolo had so many questions he didn’t know where to start. On the train he had started to make notes, like he was preparing for an interview, structuring questions to establish a narrative arc — the political context, how Mark got involved, why he didn’t go back.

What it felt like to betray his friends.

The narrative alternates between Paolo’s time at university and the present and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. That threw me a bit. I’d assumed it would be primarily a murder mystery, but that aspect was very much in the background. The story’s main focus is the characters, their pasts and present and how everything connects. That made it quite a slow starter for me and I found some of the passages were a little too dialogue heavy. Once I’d changed mindset from a murder mystery to a character driven story I was able to get into it more.

Paolo has obvious doubts about someone who had influenced him so much as a young man but the promise of a story spurs him on to chase leads and look up his old university friends. Could Mark have killed Sid? If so, why? Paolo knows now Mark is a liar but does he really believe Mark could be a killer. And what, if anything, has any of this to do with what happened on campus.

It was interesting to witness the perceptively described and played out dynamics between the diverse group of students. How the characters and their attitudes and principles, seemingly all but Mark’s, had changed in the years between university and present day. And as it happens, Mark wasn’t the only one who was sparing with the truth. Paolo started life as the more ordinary Paul Bennett. Some serious issues were tackled in the story, including animal testing and fracking, without being prejudicial either way. I would have enjoyed a little more exploration into the murder case but that’s just my personal preference. What makes this stand out are the extremely good character studies.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Goodreads 

I chose to read and review Brand New Friendfor Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.

Kate Vane writes (mostly) crime fiction. Brand New Friend is her fourth novel. She has written for BBC drama Doctors and has had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on SundayShe lived in Leeds for a number of years where she worked as a probation officer. She now lives on the Devon coast.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook  

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Elvis Has Not Left The Building by J.R. Rain #Mystery #Fantasy

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week’s choice is a book I couldn’t resist. It was first published in digital format in 2010 and proved to be a light, enjoyable read.

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Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts ~ Powerful & Convincing #ContemporaryFiction #Romance #TuesdayBookBlog @NoraRobertsFans

Author: Nora Roberts

Performed by January LaVoy

Released by Brilliance Audio in May 2018

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Romance, Book Review

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

With a storyline that is unfortunately all too relevant, Shelter in Place opens with powerful, harrowing and convincingly described scenes of a mass shooting in a mall.

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The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald ~ Engaging Contemporary #WomensFiction @DMacDonaldAuth @Bookouture

Author: Dee MacDonald

Published: April 2018 by Bookouture

Category: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Book Review

One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie McColl is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

Sixty six year old Connie McColl loves her children and grandchildren but is tired of being taken for granted.

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Seven Bridges (DCI Ryan #8) by @LJRoss_author #Crime in Northumberland #BookReview #FridayReads

Author: LJ Ross

Kindle Edition

Category: Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Book Review

It’s been five months since a killer walked free and DCI Ryan is preparing to leave Newcastle to hunt him down – this time, for good. 

But Ryan’s plans are scuppered when events take a dramatic turn and he is forced to stay and face his past one last time, or watch a friend suffer the consequences. 

The prologue works well, going back ten years and giving the background to DCI Ryan’s toxic relationship with the woman who is now his boss.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Great Law of Peace (The Peacemaker Series #3) by @ZoeSaadia #NativeAmerican #HistFic

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week I’m revisiting the third book in the Great Peacemaker series, the story of the founding of the Great League of the Iroquois.

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Runaway by @authorpetermay ~ Dual TimeLine #HistoricalFiction #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Peter May

Performed by Peter Forbes

Released: December 2014 on Audible by Quercus

Category: Mystery, Murder, Crime, Historical, Audiobook, Book Review

In 1965, five teenage friends fled Glasgow for London to pursue their dream of musical stardom. Yet before year’s end three returned, and returned damaged. In 2015, a brutal murder forces those three men, now in their sixties, to journey back to London and finally confront the dark truth they have run from for five decades. 

Beginning with a murder in 2015, both murderer and victim’s identities initially unknown, it forces three friends to face the events that determined the path their lives would take fifty years ago.

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