Thursday 31 October 2019

A Window Breaks by C M Ewan @chrisewan @panmacmillan @rosiewilsreads #PublicationDay

If your family was targeted in the middle of the night, what would you do?
You are asleep. A noise wakes you.
You stir, unsure why, and turn to your wife.
Then you hear it.
Glass. Crunching underfoot.
Your worst fears are about to be realized.
Someone is inside your home.
Your choices are limited.
You can run. Or stay and fight.
What would you do?

A Window Breaks by CM Ewan is published as an ebook today; 31 October 2019. The paperback will be published in February next year. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

It has to be everyone's worst nightmare. That unexpected noise in the middle of the night. The one that wakes you and means that you lie there in your bed, frightened out of your wits, wondering what it was. Is someone in the house?  What do they want? Are they going to hurt me?
Usually, it's the cat, or just the house settling; totally explained and nothing to fear ... but what if it wasn't?

Tom, his wife Rachel and their teenage daughter Holly are a fractured family. Still trying to come to terms with the tragic death of their son Micheal, they've each gone their separate ways. When Tom's boss Lionel offers them the use of his luxury lodge in the remote highlands of Scotland they seize the chance. Surely time together can only heal them? They can work through their pain and try to repair themselves.

It doesn't work out like that. Oh no. This author doesn't let his readers off for even one second and the family have hardly settled into their holiday home before the nightmare begins. And, what a fast paced, unrelenting nightmare this is. The reader is swept up in this explosive and heart-stopping story right from the very beginning. There's no time to catch your breath, the author throws out more and more as each page is turned. It made my heart race so fast, and I was turning the pages like a woman possessed at one point, yet holding my breath at the same time.

This is a game of cat-and-mouse to end them all. As the family try to out-wit the intruders in the house, the tension increases and the terror is unrelenting. It's pretty clear that the men that have broken into the house mean business; they are not just here to scare anything; they are here to kill. There are scenes that made me screw up my face, and curl my toes; there's violence and it's often gruesome, but it's never gratuitous; it fits so well into the plot.

A Window Breaks is not just the story of a break-in; the author cleverly reveals the inner turmoil experienced by Tom and his family, and it becomes clear that their situation is not just a an unfortunate event. As the reader learns more about past events, and how young Michael's death could be connected, the story becomes complex, but oh so clever.

Over four hundred pages of pure pleasure for me. A book that is addictive, thrilling and utterly tense. If you like a heart-pounding thriller, this is the book for you.

I'm delighted to welcome the author CM Ewan to Random Things today, he's talking about the books that are special to him in My Life in Book.

My Life in Books -  CM Ewan

I was obsessed with this book as a child. So much so that my dad used to try and hide it from me so he wouldn’t have to read it AGAIN at bedtime. But, like all the best stories, I always had a knack for finding where the book was hidden. Recently, I got to read the book to my own children and I was shocked by how dark it is. Not just that Chicken Licken (and soon everyone else) believes the sky is falling down, but that (spoiler alert!) in my edition Foxy Loxy eats everyone at the end. I guess my love of noir came early. 

Every summer, my parents would take me to Taunton Library and I’d be told to take out some books to read during the school holidays. This is how I burned through a bunch of Famous Five and Secret Seven adventures that later got me on to The Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. I’m still pretty gutted I never got to hang out with my friends in a secret den so we could solve real-life mysteries together.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a visceral reaction to a book as I did reading The Silver Sword as a kid. The images of Jan and his three homeless friends escaping the horrors of World War Two stay with me even today – I can still picture them fleeing over war-torn rooftops. A wonder of a book.

I studied American and Canadian literature at university in the UK and Canada, and this slim novel amazed me. There is so much story wrapped up in 100 odd pages – a harrowing tale of a deeply dysfunctional family – but what got me most was that the author was only twenty when the book was published. It’s probably no coincidence I started writing my first (still very unpublished) novel the same year.

Another university read, and the one that made me really dream of being a writer. And not just because Kerouac bummed around America leading a totally hedonistic lifestyle. Well … Actually, that was pretty much why. 

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
In my early twenties, I travelled around the US (see Kerouac above …) and wound up in New Orleans in the height of August. It was too hot and humid to do much except read, so one day I went into a second hand book shop and asked the guy behind the counter for a recommendation. He sold me The Long Goodbye for $3.50 and by the time I’d read the opening paragraphs on a shady bench in Jackson Square, I’d found my writing hero. I turned to crime because of Chandler and I reread The Long Goodbye most years.

I’ve always loved books about books and writing, and this is one is terrific. Sidney Orr buys a magical blue notebook from a stationery shop in Brooklyn and finds
himself drawn into a strange, parallel world. It’s a short, beautifully told novel that has an odd kind of hypnotic pull.

Since stumbling across Chandler, I’ve read a lot of crime, mystery and thriller fiction. I have loads of favourite authors. But in the past couple of years, I’ve been blown away by Jane Harper’s novels. I find it hard to think of a modern crime author who has started off with three such brilliant books as The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man, so honestly, I could have picked any one of them, but I think my favourite – because of its nimble structural conceit – is Force of Nature. Besides, what’s not to love about a mystery about a team-building exercise gone horribly wrong?

Dr David Beck receives a message that may or may not be from his wife Elizabeth – eight years after her death. Tell No One combines a killer hook with heartfelt romance, endless twists and reveals, and a huge emotional pay-off. This is probably my favourite thriller.

I thought I’d finish by mentioning how special a book can be as a physical object. Twenty years or so ago, when I was bingeing on James Lee Burke’s brilliant and evocative Dave Robicheaux novels, I saw mention somewhere of a non-Robicheaux novel that was out of print. Or so it seemed. My wife tracked down a copy of The Lost Get-Back Boogie for me from the Louisiana State University Press and it’s one of my most prized possessions.

 C M Ewan  - October 2019

CM Ewan is a pseudonym for Chris Ewan, the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of many mystery and thriller novels.
Chris's first standalone thriller, Safe House, was a number one bestseller in the UK and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.
He is also the author of the thrillers Dead Line and Dark Tides and the Kindle short story, Scarlett Point.
He is the author of the Good Thief's Guide series of mystery novels.  The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam won the Long Barn Books First Novel Award and is published in thirteen countries.

Website :
Twitter : @chrisewan

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