Tuesday 30 November 2021

The Hapless Husband and his Curious Wife by Helen E Field BLOG TOUR #BookExtract #HelenEField @RandomTTours #TheHaplessHusband


Essex girl Brooke secretly works for Lady Townsend, who’s attempting to transform her into a lady, by offering her an eye-opening education. She exposes Brooke to some mind-boggling experiences and a class of people a million miles away from her own, resulting in some seriously funny social faux pas along the way. Brooke’s outlook changes as she takes advantage of these opportunities to better herself, with often comic results! Meanwhile her husband Dean is clueless as to why his normally ditsy wife appears to be acting so weird.

Meanwhile, Dean has been set a challenge by his boss. He’s been tasked with making their workforce the most diverse in the industry, but Dean’s unorthodox approach to recruiting, reveals that he struggles with the very concept of what he considers a ‘woke’ request. In addition, he’s still keeping his mystery shopping side hustle a secret from his demanding wife, ensuring he gets some ‘me time’ away from her and their boisterous toddler Paige.

The farcical situations they find themselves in as a result of their lies, cause off the scale stress for them both. How much longer can they withstand the deceit? Will Brooke’s transformation make her long-suffering husband feel left behind? Or will it improve all their lives? It’s that or even more chaos…

The story pokes fun at a myriad of people and institutions and is a wonderfully eclectic mix of Gavin & Stacey, Pygmalion and Legally Blonde!

The Hapless Husband and His Curious Wife by Helen E Field was published in paperback on 18 November 2021. As part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour, I'm delighted to share an extract from the book here with you today. 

Extract from The Hapless Husband and his Curious Wife
by Helen E Field 

Brooke bobbed about amongst the bubbles, frowning and fidgeting wildly, before peering down inside Tuesday’s bikini. Her discomfort eventually compelled her to thrust her hand down inside the left cup and underneath her breast, lifting it up and around, before locating and removing a small piece of Lego. She tutted and threw it on the grass. Continuing to hold her left breast in her right hand for a minute, she inspected it at close quarters, screwing up her face. ‘Ugh! Where did you come from? Pesky little buggers!’ With the speed and precision of an assassin, she pincered two fingernails together and whipped out three or four hairs that had made an unwelcome appearance on her otherwise hairless body.

‘Are you doing what I think you’re doing?’ Dean shouted from inside the conservatory, clearly disgusted.

‘Well there ain’t no nipple fairy coming to get rid of ’em during the night, you know! Someone’s gotta do it!’ she said, calmly finishing off the right breast.

‘You’ll end up like a prune if you’re not careful,’ Dean warned as he strolled out onto the patio and perched on the edge of the hot tub in his suit. He could not help but recall the hideous, torturous birth of Paige almost two years ago and the high blood pressure situation that arose for Brooke as a result never mind the unmentionable minor damage to her lady parts. ‘How long have you been in there?’

Here he goes again!

Ever since that memorable birthday last September when the hot tub had been delivered, she’d pampered herself in it almost daily; she’d already had her money’s worth. Brooke went on the defensive and pulled a face, mocking Dean’s nagging. ‘Only about half an hour; since I put Paige to bed.’

‘You know you shouldn’t stay in there much longer. It’s not just your blood pressure I’m worried about. Did you know you can get Legionnaire’s disease and something called hot tub rash? Apparently, “the average bather’s got around one gram of faeces in their gluteal fold which then ends up in the water”. He poured a bag of crisps into his mouth until it overflowed. ‘Saw that on LADbible the other day.’

Brooke’s mind wandered back to earlier in the week when Dull Dave and Porno Gazza had been over for a ‘mates’ session. They’d been competing to see whose farts most resembled the water bubbles created by the jets. She grimaced at the mere thought of what they might’ve left behind.

Better check the chemicals tomorrow.

‘You’re such a bloody hypochondriac, Dean. I’m fine. I’m getting out now anyway.’ As she stepped out and her stunning athletic figure towered over him, she rested her hands on his shoulders so she didn’t slip.

‘Mind those plates of meat!’ Dean joked. Brooke gave him a playful slap on his head. He grabbed the towelling dressing gown off the chair. She’d bought it from The White Company at great expense, specifically for using when she got out the hot tub, along with seven new bikinis – Primark, of course – one for every day of the week. Tuesday was leopard print’s turn. Dean helped her on with the gown and wrapped her tightly from behind, around her waist, affectionately rubbing her dry and nuzzling his nose into her damp ringlets.

Helen Field is a business woman, writer, publisher of greetings cards, funny poet, speaker, traveller
and author of The Hapless Husband & His Curious Wife and also The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub – both books in the De’Ath Family Antics Series.

She was born and brought up in Waltham Abbey in Essex and currently lives in a small village in North West Essex, so it would be fair to say she has earned her ‘Essex girl’ badge!

Helen has had a varied and interesting career in retail and hospitality in UK, Europe and the USA, including setting up and running her own restaurant and she ran her own training consultancy to the hospitality industry. One element of her business was designing and implementing mystery shopper programmes all over the UK for some of the most well-known organisations. With inside knowledge of the industry and armed with thousands of funny mystery shopping incidents, she was inspired to write her debut novel, The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub.

After more than twenty years, Helen has changed direction and is now focussed on her writing. She is fortunate enough to be able to do this while travelling around the world with her husband.

She is married to Nic, has three amazing grown-up children and an African Grey Parrot.

Monday 29 November 2021

Heatwave by Victor Jestin t. Sam Taylor #Heatwave #VictorJestin @ScribnerUK @SamTayl66360996 #TranslatedFiction

Leonard is an outsider, a seventeen-year-old uncomfortable in his own skin who is forced to endure a family camping holiday in the South of France. Tired of awkwardly creeping out of beach parties after only a couple of beers, he chooses to spend the final Friday night of the trip in bed. However, when he cannot sleep due to the sound of wild carousing outside his tent, he gets up and goes for a walk.

As he wanders among the dunes, he sees Oscar, one of the cooler kids, drunk in a playground, hanging by his neck from the ropes of a swing. Frozen into inaction, he watches Oscar struggle to breathe until finally his body comes loose and falls lifeless to the ground. Unable to think straight, he buries Oscar in the sand and returns to the campsite where, oppressed by the ferocious heat and the weight of what he did and did not do, he will try to spend the remaining hours of the holiday as if nothing had happened.
Told over the space of a long weekend, this intense and brilliant novel is the story of an adolescent struggling to fit in. Heatwave is a gripping psychological thriller that poses the existential question:

Is doing nothing sometimes the very worst thing you can do?

Heatwave by Victor Jestin was published in hardback by Scribner UK on 22 July 2021 and is translated from the French by Sam Taylor. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I've been intrigued by this book for a while now. It is the debut novel by this young French author and has already won several literary prizes. I'm a huge fan of Sam Taylor as a translator too, he's translated some of my favourite novels recently, including all of those by Leila Slimani. 

It's just over 100 pages long and begins with such a powerful paragraph; the opening line is
'Oscar is dead because I watched him die and did nothing.'

These words are spoken by Leonard, the lead character, and it is his voice that narrates the whole story. Leonard is seventeen years old, something of a loner, the odd one out. He's currently staying on a campsite on the French coast, with his parents and two younger siblings. Leonard does not want to be on vacation, he doesn't enjoy the teenage parties held on the beach every night and creeps away from them every time.

It's the final Friday of the holiday and he cannot even be bothered to put on a front. He decides to miss the beach party altogether, and stay in his tent this evening. However,  the sound of the party goers disturb him and he goes for a walk. This is when he finds Oscar. 

The reminder of the story deals with Leonard's feelings about what he saw, and what he did, or increasingly, what he didn't do. Combined with his tortured feelings, he also has to deal with his own sexual awakening and the temptations thrown his way by Luce - a girl who is confident in herself and who he cannot help but be physically attracted to. Coupled with the constant narrative from his friend Louis, who is determined to get laid, Leonard begins to find each second of each hour a little more unbearable. 

The writing is sparse and concise, almost as oppressive and stifling as the heatwave that takes place during the book. It's a clever author who can create such an air of tension whilst detailing the almost dreary monotonous days that Leonard endures. 

This is superb writing, showing skill and an understanding of a young man's mind, combined with the guilt and worry about what he has done and what may become of him.  Certainly an author to watch. 

Victor Jestin is a twenty-six-year-old writer and screenwriter.

He grew up in northwestern France and now lies in Paris.

Heatwave is his debut novel. Originally published by Flammarion under the title La Chaleur, it won the Prix Femina des Lycéens and was nominated for the Prix Medicis and Prix Renaudot.

Sam Taylor grew up in England, spent a decade in France and now lives in the United States.

He is the author of four novels and the award winning translator of more than sixty books from the French, including Laurent Binet's HHrH, Leila Slimani's The Perfect Nanny and Maylis de Kerangual's The Heart. 

Twitter @SamTayl66360996

Friday 26 November 2021

No Way To Die by Tony Kent BLOG TOUR #NoWayToDie @TonyKent_Writes @eandtbooks @RandomTTours #MyLifeInBooks


A deadly threat. A ghost from the past. And time is running out...

When traces of a radioactive material are found alongside a body in Key West, multiple federal agencies suddenly descend on the crime scene. This is not just an isolated murder: a domestic terrorist group is ready to bring the US government to its knees.

The threat hits close to home for Agent Joe Dempsey when he discovers a personal connection to the group. With his new team member, former Secret Service agent Eden Grace, Dempsey joins the race to track down the terrorists’ bomb before it’s too late. But when their mission falls apart, he is forced to turn to the most unlikely of allies: an old enemy he thought he had buried in his past.

Now, with time running out, they must find a way to work together to stop a madman from unleashing horrifying destruction across the country.

No Way To Die by Tony Kent was published in hardback on 18 November 2021 by Elliott and Thompson. I'm delighted to welcome the author here today, he's talking about the books that are special to him in My Life in Books, for the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

My Life in Books - Tony Kent

Anyone who has ever seen or heard me interviewed knew that this one would be first. It is not going too far to suggest that, but for this incredible 1990’s thriller, I would not be a writer today.

I read The Winner was I was 18 years old, shortly before heading off to University. Before laying my hands on this book I had no idea that there even was a thriller genre, let alone that the best of it could paint movies in my mind. As far as novels were concerned, I read what I was told to read by my English literature tutors. And I’m not going to lie, I just could not see what all the fuss was about. Wuthering Heights? Emma? Brave New World? Not for me, I’m afraid. And so I stuck to history and to religion and to mythology and I let the TV screen and the cinema do my entertaining,

Until, that is, I was given The Winner. I began it with a sneer. An expectation that I would not enjoy it and a determination to tell my uncle so (it was my uncle who had insisted I use it to broaden my horizons). Five pages in and I was sold. Ten more and I was hooked. I ended it within two days. Four more and I’d read everything Baldacci had written to that point.

And the rest, as they say, is history, because here I am today, doing my damnedest to be ‘The British Baldacci’. Living proof that if you find the right books, the love affair never ends.

(By the way, I don’t intend to say a single word about the plot of The Winner. Nor should you read the summary on the back. Just buy it and read it, spoiler free. You will not be disappointed.)

The book that could have started my reading habit eight years early, if only I had not found myself down a different rabbit-hole altogether.

Published in 1988, I was a ten year-old with a Superman obsession when - on our first primary school sleep away trip - I borrowed what looked almost like a book-sized comic book from a classmate. I was quickly entranced. The stories of Odysseus, of Achilles, of Agamemnon, of Helen and Paris and Hector. It was all there, told with a brilliant sense of humour and in a language a ten-year old who lived in his own head could intimately understand. It was as if I was discovering a new Universe to rival DC’s (and one which immediately overtook Marvel’s; like I said…Superman!).

Even now I look back on the hours I spent with that book, learning everything I could about the Trojan War and the stories from Homer and Tryphiodorus and Virgil. I of course had no idea that was what I was doing; I thought I was reading funny stories in funny books about ancient superheroes and their adventures. But it began a lifelong fascination - at one point, dare I say, an obsession - with mythology from around the world. And it was this obsession, I know realise, which took my attention away from the thrillers I could have been reading.

Still, everything happens for a reason. Maybe if I’d started too young, I would have fallen out of love too soon.

Tales of the Greek Heroes. Myths of the Norsemen. The Tale of Troy. Tales of Ancient Egypt. The Adventures of Robin Hood. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

The complete works of Roger Lancelyn-Green make up over 40 books, all of them on the subject of myths and legends arising from European and in once case African culture, and it would not be putting it too highly to say that - from age 10 to 16 - they were basically all of the ‘fiction’ I chose to read.

Written in a style that never once patronised, they were immediately accessible to a young mind while being utterly respectful of that mind’s capability. I shamefully know little of the author’s life, save to say that he was an all-time loss to education; with the ability to communicate such deeply complex and emotional tales to children, he would have made the greatest teacher who ever lived.

And to me he probably was that, because it is hard to know what I did not learn from his stories. The tales themselves, sure. But so much more besides. These were, after all, the bible tales of various cultures. The lessons by which whole races of ancient men and women lived their lives. And here the author was, recounting those same lessons to any young man lucky enough to pick up his books. That’s not to say they were not edited, of course. The sex was glossed over. The sodomy erased entirely. And the blood and the murder and the suffering…no, that was still there; it’s funny what the world thinks a kid should and should not see!

The writer I am today - let’s be honest, the man I am - owes more to these books than even I will ever realise. And I cannot recommend them enough.

Finally, I hear you cry. Some literature!!

It’s not crime, it’s not a thriller, and yet it is probably my favourite novel of all time. I first read Catch-22 when I was at Bar School, aged 21. Almost ironic, but not quite! By this time I was fully immersed in the likes of John Grisham and James Patterson and Lee Child, but occasionally the old feeling of shame would kick in and I’d endure a classic.

They were experiments which usually ended badly, and never with the few minutes of fun you get in between trying a new drink and then discovering your stomach doesn’t agree with your taste buds. Time and again I tried. Time and again I failed.

And then I met John Yossarian. Never have I read a book that so effortlessly mixes death, suffering, fear, madness and laugh out loud humour. Honestly, the times I found myself bursting into laughter on a packed Central Line tube. They must have thought a lunatic was on their carriage.

I recommend Catch 22 to anyone with time to immerse themselves in a flat-out reading experience. Every character is so alive (until the point that they are not). Every chapter is a masterpiece. Every image is expertly - even visually - rendered. Now why can’t they make a decent film out of it!?

The grandaddy of all political action thrillers. The true masterpiece of on the page tension. The very best of the best. And all of that from a b***dy debut!? Just how are the rest of us supposed to live up to that?

As with The Winner, I flat out refuse to even touch upon the plot of this novel. And that’s despite the fact that even those who have not read the book or seen the truly wonderful film adaption (Fox, not Willis!) will probably still know it anyway. If you don’t know what happens, go read the book. If you do know what happens, go read the book. And if you’ve already read the book - be that once or one hundred times - go read the book. Only good things can ever come from reading this book.

And besides, who cares about the plot anyway!? At the risk of ex-communication, there is literally nothing exceptional about the plot of the greatest thriller ever written. There is almost nothing in the story that we had not seen before. And that does not matter one iota, because delivery is everything and no one has ever delivered as Frederick Forsyth did when he wrote his first book.

Do I really need to say anything more!?

This one is a cheat, I’m afraid, because I’m choosing the complete set of ‘The Flashman Papers’ rather than just a single book. Although even as I type this I realise that I already did the same with The Complete Works of Roger Lancelyn-Green, so I guess I’ve already set a precedent. And besides, no one told me the rules!

This is not, of course, to say that each of the books is as good as the next. The series starts incredibly well - ‘like watching a new star appear in the night sky’ was what one critic said about the stunning debut, entitled simply ‘Flashman’ - and somehow it gets better, with ‘Flashman at the Charge’ and ‘Flashman and the Great Game’ particular high points (I would add ‘Flashman and the Redskins’, but unfortunately both the title and the subject matter are problematic to those who no longer seek to understand nuance or context, which in 2021 is A LOT of people…). It also ends with rather a whimper, with both ‘Flashman’s Tiger' and ‘Flashman on the March’ showing signs of genius on the wane. But the series as a whole is a thing of beauty and that is how it should be read.

In my humble opinion ‘The Flashman Papers’ has a claim to be the best historical fiction series ever written. It has its challengers, of course. Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series kept its quality for far longer. Cornwall’s Sharpe series was more accessible, although I think his Warlord Trilogy was his best work. And of course these days we have brilliant contenders such as Abir Mukherjee’s Wyndham and Banerjee series and Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s ‘Blood and Sugar' and ‘Daughters of Night’. All brilliant. All books I would love to have the talent to write. 

But for me, for now and in spite of teeming with politically incorrect moments that would see him cancelled in a heartbeat if he were writing today, MacDonald-Fraser stays at the top. The very idea of taking a hated fictional character from a recognised classic and building a history around him that encompasses practically all of the great events of the 19th Century? Exceptional. But to then do it as well as George MacDonald Fraser did? That’s just genius.
And on that note - with six established authors and/or series called out - I am going to depart from the exercise just a little and take this opportunity to recommend what I think are respectively the best new book and the best new series of the past year. Because when all is said and done, reading is  as much about discovering and enjoying something new as it is about celebrating what has already been done so well. And these, I believe, will one day be looked at as true classics of the genre.

The best book I have read in a long time - certainly since pre-lockdown - and that’s not just because Imran is a fellow barrister. Personally I would love to lay claim to the title of ‘most talented writer with a wig’, but with I Know What I Saw I am confident that Imran has it sewn up.

A truly stunning achievement, I Know What I Saw follows the former uber-high achiever Xander Shute, an ex-banker fallen on hard times and now living on the streets. Shute witnesses a violent crime in a home he has crept into for the night, only to then discover that what he saw seemingly could not have occurred. What follows is a treatise on memory, on perception and on mental health, expertly - dare I even say poetically? - written, brilliantly constructed and just utterly unique.

I wish I could write that this man. I’ll just have to settle for being taller. 

Earlier this year I received a proof copy of a book by Neil Lancaster, author of the Tom Novak series. I knew upon arrival that it was not a fourth Novak; Neil is a good friend of mine and he had told me he was writing something new. And so I suspected when I picked up my proof that I was in for a treat.

I was right. Oh boy was I right.

I have long been a fan of the Novak books. A brilliant creation, Novak called back to Neil’s time as an undercover police surveillance specialist and the military experience shared throughout his family, to deliver fast-paced, complex thrillers that were hard to put down. But with Dead Man’s Grave, Neil took his writing and his storytelling to the next level. The jump in quality from his excellent first series to his truly exceptional second was nothing short of tremendous.

As ever, I will not spoil the story by going into the plot. Do yourself a favour and do the same; ignore the longer reviews, ignore the blurbs, ignore the summaries. Read it cold and prepare to be blown away as you meet Max Cragie and his team, in what Ian Rankin has described as ‘Jack Reacher fronting Line of Duty.’

Ever an over-achiever, Neil has already delivered books two and three in the series and I started the second - ‘The Blood Tide’ - literally today. I am forty pages in and I can already say with complete confidence that this really is the best new series on sale today.

Buy Dead Man’s Grave and read it, safe in the knowledge that the next one is coming your way very, very soon.

Tony Kent - November 2021

Tony Kent is a practising criminal barrister who draws on his legal experience to bring a striking
authenticity to his thrillers: Killer Intent, Marked for Death, Power Play and now No Way To Die.

Ranked as a ‘leader in his field’ Tony has prosecuted and defended in the most serious trials during his twenty years at the Criminal Bar - specialising in murder, terrorism, corruption, kidnap and organised crime. 
His case history is filled with nationally reported trials and his practice has brought him into close professional contact with GCHQ, the Security Service and the Ministry of Defence. 
He has also defended in matters with an international element, involving agencies such as the FBI.

Tony also appears as a criminal justice expert on a number of TV shows, including Meet, Marry, Murder (coming soon to Netflix), My Lover, My Killer and Kill Thy Neighbour (both Channel 5).

Prior to his legal career Tony represented England as a heavyweight boxer and won a host of national amateur titles.

He lives just outside of London with his wife, young son and dog. 

NB Tony Kent is a pseudonym for Tony Wyatt.

Newport Writers - An Anthology of Poetry & Prose BLOG TOUR @NewportWriters @RandomTTours #NewportWriters #PoetryandProse #BookReview


Welcome to our first anthology.

Since the group started, it has always been Tony’s vision to put together a collection of stories and poems penned by our members.

Please proceed with caution – these short stories and poems will introduce you to the alternative side of Newport: ghostly grandparents, a displaced porpoise, a little bit of Welshness, two philosophical security guards, a child whose food plays music, the awesome side of autism, a woman who made teddy bears in a concentration camp, and much more.

Take a whirlwind tour through bereavement, love, regret and parenthood. Laugh and defy fate as you run the gamut of life’s experiences – seen through the eyes of a bunch of writers who celebrate their individuality.

You will meet a diverse group of people who enjoy what they do and want to share it with you.

We invite you to sit back with a cuppa or maybe something stronger, relax and enjoy what promises to be a whirlwind ride.

Newport Writers : An Anthology of Poetry and Prose was published in February 2020.  During lockdown I was honoured to take part in a Zoom call with members of the Newport Writers. I was struck by their enormous passion for their writing, and their sense of fun.
I'm delighted to join the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour today, with my thoughts on the collection. 

So often, during the long long months of the pandemic, I've heard people say that they've just their reading mojo. They can't concentrate on fiction as life itself has been far stranger than anything that we've been reading about. 

I honestly think that this anthology will cure anyone's loss of reading mojo. It's an absolute joy to pick up and dip into. There's a wide selection of prose and poetry, something to suit all tastes and unlike most anthologies that I've read, there wasn't one author whose style I didn't like. 

Put together by eighteen writers from the Newport Writers group with an introductory paragraph about each one, this is a mix of contemporary and historical prose. Whilst I am not an expert on poetry by any means, I really appreciated the poems included here.  I have to admit that I have never read any Flash Fiction before, but the examples included in this collection really impressed me. It really cannot be easy to get across such solid imagery in just a few lines. 

The love of words and the passion of the authors shines through in this little book. There's certainly a lot of talent in there and this has been proved by many of the authors having some work published elsewhere. 

This is a book that I've dipped in and out from for a few weeks now, and have never been disappointed by anything that I've read in it. All praise to the group for their dedication to their art, I hope to see more from them very soon. 

We are a diverse group from south Wales with over 20 members, covering a broad age range and a
variety of styles within the sphere of writing. 
We include poets, novelists, writers of flash fiction and short stories, plays and film scripts. 

We published an anthology in February 2020 entitled Newport Writers – An anthology of poetry and prose. Available from Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

We met on Zoom during the pandemic, but have now found a venue in central Newport where we can get together with plenty of space for social distancing. 

We hold an Open Mic night once a month at popular Newport coffee shop Horton’s, and in the summer of 2021 we participated in several spoken word events.

Some members of our group are available to read and offer critique, and we have a proofreader among our membership.

Email us at newportwritersgroup@gmail.com

Thursday 25 November 2021

Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver BLOG TOUR @will_carver @OrendaBooks #PsychopathsAnonymous #Welcometotheclub #BookReview


Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men. 

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve. 

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. 

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. 

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

A scathing, violent and darkly funny book about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide – Psychopaths Anonymous is also an electrifyingly original, unpredictable thriller that challenges virtually everything.

Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver is published in paperback today, 25 November 2021 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour. 

I have to admit this; I find it so so difficult to review Will Carver's books. I don't find them in the least bit difficult to read. He is incredibly talented, his writing is fresh and unique. His books are different, and funny, and sweary and often cringy, but God, it's so hard to write about them. 

Readers of Carver's previous novel; Good Samaritans, will have met Maeve before. In Psychopaths Anonymous we discover far more about her, we come to realise what makes her tick, and although you don't have to read Good Samaritans, you'll understand so much more about this character by doing so. 

We really really shouldn't like Maeve. She's a functioning alcoholic who loves dirty sex, preferably with someone she hardly knows. Oh, and she also likes to kill people. She's also articulate, intelligent, with a great job, and maybe, just maybe some readers may envy her .... a little bit ... maybe?

Maeve has a habit of visiting self-help groups. She knows them all, with their multiple steps, their mantras and their increasing dependence on a God who Maeve dismisses. She's not satisfied with any of them, in fact she's going to create her own group: Friends of Maeve, or Psychopaths Anonymous. 

There are people who worry about what goes on in Will Carver's head. They wonder how this bloke can create these characters who do these things? Some people even think he's a bit of a psychopath himself. I don't think he is. I think he's one of the most perceptive and brutally honest writers out there. 

What he does, and probably more in this book than any of his others, is look at humans. He takes the most mundane and everyday behaviours and he breaks them down, piece by piece until the reader can see just how shallow and how hypocritical we are as a race. Reality TV? Check. That 'nice' bit at the end of the news? Check. Self help groups, memes, inspirational messages, mentors and spiritual guides? Check. 

It's brutally done, but oh my goodness, it is eye-opening, and I think I actually squirmed in places. 

Please don't think that this is a preachy, shouty novel though. It's not. It's a fabulously entertaining romp with a lead character who is so grotesque that she's adorable. It's hilarious, it's blunt and yes, sometimes, it's even a little bit subtle. 

If this is your first outing with Carver, then welcome to our world. Return reader? You know what to expect ... but it's even better than usual. What a genius this guy is. I have no more to say here. 

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. 

He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. 
He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. 
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. 

Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford was published in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

Twitter @will_carver
Instagram @will_carver

Wednesday 24 November 2021

The Chair by G B Williams BLOG TOUR #TheChair @GailBWilliams @RandomTTours #TenThingsAboutMe


On a snowbound Cader Idris, death comes stalking.

Cobb retreated to Cader Idris for a solitary life of peace and quiet, and to escape his dangerous past. Though that illusion starts to crumble after he and Branwen Jones, the local vet, find a mysterious RTA victim and shelter him in Cobb’s home.

When elements of London’s criminal underbelly reach Wales, and their presence throws the close-knit community into stark relief, the chance to settle old scores could prove too tempting.

With no choice but to try and hide the RTA victim from people who want to kill him, Cobb’s not sure he’s ready to rejoin the world he’s running from, when that means putting another woman in the firing line. Meanwhile, Branwen’s not sure she can face the revelation of her darkest secret.

But as they face the final showdown, a race over the snowed-in mountain, will anyone survive unscathed?

The Chair by G B Williams was published in paperback in November 2020. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here today. She's talking about 'Ten Things About Me'.

Author G B Williams - Ten Things About Me 

I started and ended my degree pregnant
No, I didn’t have the longest gestation in history, but I was 8 months pregnant with my eldest when I started the course, and I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter when I finished. I should probably add that these were nearly five years apart as I studied part time while working full time. In case you were wondering, I have a BSc (Hons) Business Administration.

I write anywhere and anyhow
I might write on a laptop, or tablet, or my phone or in a notebook with pen/pencil. One time I even wrote on a paper napkin with an eyeliner to get the idea down. Location and length of time is irrelevant, I still write. I even wrote in a meeting once, and zoned out completely, which wasn’t so great as I got called out on it. These days I do a fair amount of writing sitting in, or outside of, the campervan, which is great because I get to enjoy plenty of new panaramas as I work.

I’m an expert user of Excel
The nature of the work I’ve done (systems development) means that I’ve had to do a lot of calculations. That in turns means that I can run very complex spreadsheets. To me these functions are simply logical and provide the quickest way to get to an answer. People think I’m being funny when I say I’m efficient because I’m lazy, but it’s true, why would I work anything out manually, if I can program a machine to do it?

I pack better than anyone I know
The thing here is that I can see how things will best fit together, not sure why, but I can always get more packed into spaces than my family think possible. It makes me very good at Tetris. 

I am a cat slave
We’ve always had cats, used to have three, the two boys have now passed and we only have the girl left, Pearly. She’s 14 now and has become the Queen of the house. She absolutely rules the roost, shouts at me for all and any reason. 

I haven’t been to a hairdresser in five years
The last time I went to a hairdresser was because the time before that, they messed up, the resolution wasn’t great either. Since I have long curly hair that I pin back, there’s not much need for styling, so these days if I just cut it myself.

I have over £600 worth of nail varnishes
I am a sucker for nail varnishes, I love colour. I use one particular brand that charges around £15-£20 per pot, but I tend to buy them from a well-known shopping channel, so I spend a lot less than that per pot. So, trust me, I have a LOT of nail varnishes. You know the real kicker to all this? I bite my nails so badly I can’t paint them.

I enjoy gardening, but I’m not very good at it
Gardening has never been my strong point, frankly, I never had time before, but this last year I’ve put a lot of effort into improving the front garden. I love plants in pots so I can rearrange them as plants bloom and fade. Not every planting survives, but I’m learning what works and I enjoy pottering about.

I write in other genres, but not as me
Crime fiction is my main focus, I love a good murder, but I also like to stretch my imagination, and write steampunk fantasies. They are fun to write and, I hope, enjoyable to read. They still have crime elements, but the setting is very different. If you’re interested, see Aether Chronicles by Abi Barden.

I am a freelance structural editor
Last year I was made redundant – no it’s okay I couldn’t be happier about it. So now, I work as a freelance structural editor, it’s my job to help the work become the best it can be. And I’ve getting some great testimonials doing it. See, https://gailbwilliams.co.uk/testimonials/

G B Williams specialises in complex, fast-paced crime novels.

GB was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition with the story Last Shakes, now available in “Last Cut Casebook”. 

Crime novels are her stock in trade, but she has had success with short stories in other genres including steampunk, horror, and erotica.  

And she hates every photo ever taken of her.

Find out more at www.gailbwilliams.co.uk