Friday 31 July 2020

When's Daddy Coming Home by Peter Margetts with John Cookson @petermargetts_ BLOG TOUR @RandomTTours #WhensDaddyComingHome

Peter Margetts was a successful property developer in Dubai when the city-state's economy collapsed sending his company into bankruptcy. Post-dated cheques he'd written to investors were worthless. Along with hundreds of other businessmen he was arrested under Dubai's draconian cheque laws and thrown into Central Jail with a life sentence. Locked up with hardened criminals from all over the world he struggled to survive in a world of drug warlords and mafia bosses. But Peter was no quitter and whilst making friends with gangsters, witnessing a murder and a firing-squad execution, he went on hunger strike to bring his plight to world attention. Peter's case was even raised in the British Parliament. Gripping and powerful, 'When's Daddy Coming Home?' is also brutally funny and a painful insight into the Dubai few know... or talk about.

When's Daddy Coming Home by Peter Margetts with John Cookson was published in March this year by The Conrad Press.

As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today

I will never forget that rotten day.

Monday lunchtime, late January 2009; I’d just wrapped up a meeting with my attorney Ludmilla at Dubai’s luxury Shangri-La-Hotel, when my cellphone rang.

‘Peter, you’d better get your arse back to the office, something very urgents come-up.’
It was my straight-talking business partner Kieran Beeson. ‘What’s the problem?’
I sensed someone was breathing down Kieran’s neck. ‘Look, Peter, please get yourself back, now,’ pleaded Kieran, a ‘street-wise’, twenty-something.

Minutes later I was in my white Range Rover, foot down, barrelling along the Sheikh Zayed Highway to my office in Al Barsha where two men in white dishdashas were waiting.

The smiley, older one raised a hand: ‘Come on in Mr. Peter, yes, do come in,’ he beckoned.
They were cops from Dubai’s Department of Criminal Investigation, an elite force reporting directly to the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed. They investigated everything, from serious white-collar crime, to terrorism and Dubai’s underworld.
The two officers weren’t the only members of the reception committee.
I hadn’t noticed him at first, but one of my clients, a Dane in his mid-thirties, sat grim-faced and arms-crossed, in a corner. He glared at me, but, said nothing. He didn’t need to.
I’d a fair idea why police had dropped in for a little chat.
I was the boss of a Dubai-based property development company and the Dane was a member of a syndicate of forty- two Emirates airline pilots who’d invested US$7 million in my firm. The money was a loan, to build a luxury apartment complex.
But the entire Dubai economy had recently collapsed. As a result, the apartment construction project went to hell in a handcart and the pilots lost their life savings. I didn’t escape the carnage. My firm had gone bust and I was effectively bankrupt.
The meeting earlier with my lawyer had been about cobbling together a financial rescue package for the Emirates flyers.
‘OK chaps, how can I help?’ I inquired with a smile.
‘Mr. Peter, we’re taking you for questioning to Bur Dubai police station,’ said the older officer.
Now, as any old Dubai hand knew, in a potentially dodgy situation with Emirati cops, it paid to remain smiling and polite and normally any problem; or mushkela in Arabic; was smoothed over, especially for a Western expat.
As far as I knew I’d committed no crime, so I assumed we’d trot along to Bur Dubai, have a chin-wag over a glass of sweet tea, clear up any mushkela and I’d be back home in time for dinner with my lovely wife Susan, and a cuddle with our two-year-old daughter, Olivia, our little princess.
I followed the police in my own car, as they’d asked me to, for the fifteen-mile drive to Bur Dubai where I was ushered into an interrogation room and invited to sit down.
One of the CID officers immediately dived into a file and waved a post-dated security cheque in front of my nose. It was one of forty-two cheques I’d signed and handed to the pilots, as per my agreement with them.
‘Did you sign this cheque, Mr. Peter? It’s bounced. There’s no money in your account.’
I am a straight-batting sort of guy and there was no point denying it: ‘Yes, of course that’s my signature, definitely. My company collapsed, that’s why there’s no money, the pilots know that,’ I replied.
Looking back, I wished I’d taken a moment, at that point to call to my attorney Ludmilla, because events took a life-altering twist.
Immediately I nodded I’d signed the bounced cheque, the two cops ended the interview, told me I’d been arrested, and then escorted me to another interrogation room deeper inside the Bur Dubai police complex, where they locked me in.
The clunking sound of the lock made me feel chill. Everyone in Dubai was aware of Bur Dubai’s sinister reputation for violence among prisoners and for police brutality.
A few years before fourteen prisoners were killed when another inmate set fire to a cell.

Peter Margetts is a self-made millionaire who rose from humble, working-class roots to establish a property development company in Dubai. 

After almost nine years' incarceration in Dubai Central Jail he is now free. 

John Cookson is an award-winning journalist who began his career in Fleet Street and afterwards spent 30 years as a senior correspondent at Sky News, Fox News, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg Television, Euronews and African start-up Arise News. 

He is also a qualified lawyer.

Thursday 30 July 2020

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn #TheSevenDoors @OrendaBooks Translated by Rosie Hedger @rosie_hedger #NordicNoir

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.
When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit.
With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.
Exquisitely dark and immensely powerful, The Seven Doors is a sophisticated and deeply disturbing psychological thriller from one of Norway’s most distinguished voices.

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn was published in ebook by Orenda Books on 17 July 2020, the paperback will be released on 17 September. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

The Seven Doors is translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger.

It's almost four years since I read Agnes Ravatn's The Bird Tribunal. That's a book that has stayed with me over those years, and one that I regularly recommend. It was with much anticipation, and a little trepidation that I began to read The Seven Doors.

Oh my goodness, this is one incredibly talented author. Once more, she delves into the deepest recesses of a modern family, and slowly but surely unpicks the hidden, and tightly woven secrets that are beginning to emerge.

Nina and her husband have been married for many years, they live in Nina's childhood home. They are both professional people; Nina is a Professor of Literature at the University whilst her husband Mads works in medicine, as well as having a place on the local Council. It is this Council that is causing distress for Nina as the story starts. Their home; her childhood home; a place filled with memories of family life is to be destroyed, to make way for a new development. Whilst Nina is very sad, she is resigned to the fact that they must find a new place to live; it feels like a massive task.

Mads inherited a house in Birkeveien from his aunt, and whilst Nina doesn't want to live there, her daughter Ingeborg and her small family really do want the house. Currently rented out to a young single mother, Ingeborg has no hesitation in visiting and informing the tenant that she must leave.

A few days later, the tenant, Mari Nilson, disappears. After Ingeborg's visit, Mari packed her things and returned to her parents, along with her four year old son. Within a couple of days, she was gone.

Ravatn tells her story with care and precision. Not one word is wasted, from her cleverly created characters, to the wild and harsh Norwegian landscape, everything is beautifully presented. Her characters are incredibly flawed, especially daughter Ingeborg, and whilst the reader doesn't actually hear from Mari, she becomes a larger than life character who is expertly and colourfully presented, through her parents memories and through snippets told in newspapers and by people who did know her.

Whilst The Seven Doors is undoubtedly a psychological thriller, with a lingering air of menace and mystery, it is also a tender and quite compulsive study of a family who appear, on the face of it, to be highly respectable, yet have layers of hidden secrets. The effects of those hidden truths are incredibly powerful, turning both the story and the family upside down.

Ravatn increases the tension, chapter by chapter and the backdrop of the bleak, harsh Norway countryside adds so much depth to the story; Nina battles against the weather almost as much as she battles with the truths that she begins to expose. The writing is skilled and the plotting seems effortless, yet is so dramatic, leading the reader to the final, shocking reveal.

Rosie Hedger's translation is expertly done, allowing the author to retain her unique style and voice. This is another first class Nordic Noir story from one of the finest story tellers out there. I only hope that I don't have to wait another four years for the next one.

Highly recommended.

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is an author and columnist. 
She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. 
Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular Reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014. 
In these works Ravatn shows her unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Ravatn received the Norwegian radio channel radio NRK P2 Listener’s Novel Prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to the Youth Critic’s Award for The Bird Tribunal which also made into a successful play, and premiered in Oslo in 2015.

Rosie Hedger was born in Scotland and completed her MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. 

She has lived and worked in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and now lives in York where she works as a freelance translator. 
Rosie was a candidate in the British Center for Literary Translation’s mentoring scheme for Norwegian in 2012, mentored by Don Bartlett.

Visit her website: and follow her on Twitter @rosie_hedger 

Monday 27 July 2020

The Resident by David Jackson @Author_Dave BLOG TOUR @ViperBooks #FearTheResident

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. With a trail of bodies in his wake and the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that he can drop down into all the other houses through the shared attic space.

That's when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing is playing games with his victims - the lonely old woman, the bickering couple, the tempting young newlyweds. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet...

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you'll be dying to meet him.

The Resident by David Jackson was published by Viper in hardback on 16 July 2020.

As part of the Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today.

MONDAY 10 JUNE , 9.16 AM

He woke up hungry but excited. This was going to be a great day.
He hadn’t visited Elsie last night, and a part of him wondered
whether she would be upset.
Stop caring about her. She’s not important.
He hadn’t visited the Fairbrights either. He didn’t want to see
them all lovey-dovey. He wanted to see how they coped when it
all started going wrong.
He crunched on an apple while sitting cross-legged at the
kitchen door, the wooden board pulled away to allow in some
fresh air. He had become so used to living in darkness that the
bright sunlight hurt his eyes.
Hot day ahead. It’s going to get pretty toasty up in those attic spaces.
Yeah, I know.
Maybe you should go up there naked.
Yeah. And then you should drop in on them. Just appear naked
in their house. Imagine their surprise. You could put the willies up
That joke’s still funny if you’re about nine years old.
When Brogan had eaten, he put the board back in place, bolted
the door and headed upstairs. At Elsie’s place he paused for a while
and listened to the conversation from below.
‘Elsie, did Tammy bring food with her yesterday?’
‘I don’t like Tammy. If I must have someone, I’d prefer you.’
‘Yes, well sometimes I need a day off like everybody else. And
you haven’t answered my question. Did she bring you some food?’
‘She never brings me anything. You don’t, either.’
‘Not my job. So why is there cake in the fridge?’
‘I made one.’
‘And very nice it looks too. What I’m asking is why it’s there.
You’ve got diabetes. You’re not supposed to be eating sugary stuff.’
‘I only had a sliver.’
‘There’s more than a sliver gone, Elsie. There’s barely half of it
left. And there’s a candle in it.’
‘It was a special occasion.’
‘What was?’
‘Yesterday. It was a special day.’
‘What kind of special day?’
‘A birthday.’
‘It wasn’t your birthday. Your birthday is in September.’
‘I didn’t say it was my birthday, did I? It was someone else’s.’
Stupid old cow. I told you. She can’t be trusted.
‘Al— Oh, I see.’
‘Do you?’
‘Yes, I . . . Look, Elsie, you need to start being sensible.’
‘Sensible? What are you talking about?’
‘I’m talking about looking after yourself. You need to get out
more. Meet some new people.’
‘I don’t want to meet new people,’ she snapped. ‘I like it here.
With Alex.’
‘Yes, all right. Don’t get all hot and bothered. I’m just saying
that having so much cake isn’t good for you.’
‘And I told you that I didn’t eat it.’
‘No. All right, Elsie. If you say so.’
There came an awkward silence best left unfilled by either party.
And then Elsie said, ‘I made him a present too.’
‘A present? For Alex?’
‘Yes. I was going to give it to him last night, but he didn’t come.’
‘No, well—’
Brogan got the feeling the carer was about to say ‘well, he
wouldn’t, would he?’ and that she then thought better of it.
‘I hope he’s all right,’ Elsie said.
‘I don’t think you need to worry. Right then, what shall we have
for breakfast?’
Brogan smiled at the carer’s diversionary tactic. The woman
clearly wasn’t comfortable talking about the dead. Little did she
know how close her charge had come to being in that state.
Brogan abandoned his listening post, but knew he would have
to visit Elsie again soon. She had a present for him. He couldn’t
recall the last time someone had given him a present. Gifts were
something he gave to himself now, usually involving great sacrifices
of others.
He moved on. He wasted no time at Jack and Pam’s house –
their demon hound had convinced him to delete it from his list
of local attractions – and continued on to the Fairbrights’ attic.
It’s different.
What do you mean, different?
Look at it. Things have been moved around. They’ve been up here.
Well, they’re entitled, aren’t they? It’s their house.
I don’t like it. This is our domain. They should stay down there
where they belong.
Brogan tried to dismiss the fact as being unworthy of further
contemplation, but it drove home to him how precarious his situation
was – how, at any time, someone else could easily explore
the route he had come to regard as his private footway.
Slightly unnerved, he spent a few minutes listening to satisfy
himself that the property was empty before he made his way down
the ladder.
In the bedroom, the smell of Colette washed away his anxiety.
He closed his eyes while he inhaled her scents. He pictured her on
the bed, asleep and unaware of his presence. His excitement grew.
He headed downstairs. In the kitchen cupboard he discovered
a fresh loaf of bread. He took great care in unpeeling the dated
sticker holding it closed, then he extracted a slice and resealed
the tab. He toasted the bread lightly, then scraped a thin layer
of peanut butter onto it. As he ate with his back to the sink, he
scanned the kitchen, his mind toying with the possibilities this
house might offer him when he finally confronted the Fairbrights
in person.
His eyes alighted on a small music system on the counter opposite.
He went across and switched it on. It started to play ‘I’m a
Believer’ by The Monkees.
A great song.
Absolutely. A classic.
The opening bars pulled him in. He found himself nodding
along, and then singing. The lyrics seemed so fitting to his situation.
They could almost be about Colette. He became lost in the
song, his voice growing louder.
And then he noticed the shadow.
It passed across the wall in front of him, and at first he thought
he was imagining it. But then he heard the noises too.
He dropped to the floor.
A fucking window cleaner!
Has he seen you?
I don’t think so. I don’t know.
Get out of there, man.
I can’t move. He’ll see me.
Well, at least turn off the fucking music.
I can’t! I can’t reach it without him seeing me.
Brogan stayed where he was, flat on the tiled floor. He listened to
the heavy footsteps outside, the splashing of water onto the ground.
He’ll do the upstairs first, right?
I think so. That would make sense.
Because if he starts on this window, he’ll definitely see you.
I know. Stay cool.
You’ll have to kill him.
If he sees you, you’ll have to kill him.
Shut up. It won’t come to that.
Brogan lifted his head slightly – enough to see out the window.
A dark shape passed in front of it, and Brogan pressed his cheek
against the tiles again.
He heard a heavy slap against a window, then a steady waterfall
hitting the yard just outside the door. The cleaner was definitely
tackling the upper storey first.
Cut the music!
I’m doing it.
Brogan crawled towards the counter. He couldn’t risk standing
up, as the window cleaner was working from ground level using a
telescopic brush attached to a pressure hose.
Brogan stretched up an arm. During the several seconds it took
him to locate the off switch, he hoped that the cleaner wasn’t staring
at his floundering hand in amusement.
Commando-style, Brogan snaked his way out of the kitchen
and into the hall. The only glass there was in the front door, and
it was frosted. Breathing a sigh of relief, he sat up and pressed his
back against a wall.
You got cocky.
What do you mean?
You were complacent. Careless. Stupid. How many more adjectives
would you like?
All right. Don’t go on about it. It’s over.
Is it?
Brogan waited for some time, listening to the cleaner work
his way around the house. When the light coming through the
kitchen doorway was suddenly eclipsed, he found himself drawing
in his legs and holding his breath. He didn’t feel frightened; it was
more that he was overcompensating for his earlier recklessness.
He listened to the soft slide of a soapy pad across the glass, and
then a bright squeal as a squeegee dragged away the dirt-laden
The cleaner moved on to the other windows. In a few minutes
it was all over. Brogan heard the yard door being latched shut. He
could relax again. He stood up.
See? Nothing to worry about.
But then, as if knowing it had just been challenged, the shadow
returned. It loomed outside the front door. As it neared the
frosted glass, it crystallised into colours and the more precisely
defined shape of a heavy-set man.
The doorbell rang.
Brogan stayed perfectly still, staring at the distorted figure,
waiting for it to give up and come back for the money another
You need to answer. Get him in here.
What are you talking about? He’ll go away in a second. He
doesn’t know I’m here.
No? Then listen.
Brogan listened. The window cleaner was whistling softly. It
was the melody of ‘I’m a Believer’.
He heard you!
What do you mean? He knows you’re there. When he comes back
for the money, he’ll tell them. They’ll know you were here.
He won’t do that. He won’t even remember.
He will. Open the door. Drag him in.
Don’t be ridiculous. He has equipment. A van. What am I supposed
to do with that?
But then it was too late. The cleaner moved away, his shadow
thinning, his whistle fading.
You’re an imbecile. You need to think about your actions.
Brogan couldn’t help himself. He began laughing.
What the hell are you laughing about?
You. You’re such a worrier. We’re fine. We’ll always be fine.
Yeah? Well, keep thinking that way. See where it gets you.
Brogan got to his feet and returned to the kitchen. He retrieved
his half-eaten toast from the floor, then ate it because he didn’t
know what else to do with it. He cleaned the butter knife and
put it away, then brushed up any crumbs he could see and flushed
them down the sink. Lastly, he switched the toaster off at the wall
– exactly as it had been when he arrived.
When he was done in the kitchen, he went back upstairs to the
bedroom. There was something he needed to do.

I was a latecomer to fiction writing, having spent most of my adult life producing academic papers and reports. 
After some limited success entering short story competitions, I submitted  the first few chapters of a novel to the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Awards. 
To my great surprise, the book was not only short-listed but given the Highly Commended accolade, which stimulated the interest of agents and publishers and eventually led to the publication of PARIAH. 
Since then, I have written several more crime thrillers, including two series set in New York and my birth city of Liverpool. 
I still have a day job in Liverpool as a university academic, but now live on the Wirral with my wife, two daughters and a British Shorthair cat called Mr Tumnus.

Twitter @Author_Dave