Working as a junior school librarian has given me the opportunity to see first-hand, how my books affect their readers. Young readers don’t get an opportunity to write book reviews for titles they’ve enjoyed unless it is in-house, that is, in their classroom or school library. I like to encourage my students to share their views with each other by offering up a suggestion box in our library which is filled with book titles chosen by my young readers. I’m happy to add Spoilt Miranda and Cecil the Bully have made the cut!
When discussing books, I get a lot of feedback from my younger readers that Spoilt Miranda is strange and takes the younger reviewer on a confusing journey of dreams before she resolves her situation. My older customers get it though and enjoy the ride. Sometimes scary, sometimes thrilling, the idea of Spoilt Miranda is controversial and encourages discussion on how her silly behaviour could have been dealt with in a better manner. I like this because it makes the reader think further than just the story.
Cecil, on the other hand, encourages my readers of any age to think of what steps they would take to sort out a bully. From standing up to him or joining his ranks, there are always amusing points of view. The slapstick comedy goes down a treat and adds to the entertainment factor of the book, according to the young reviewers. This is something to consider when I write the next sequel to the Arden White Primary School students.
Give or take the marmite reflections on my books by the young students at my school, I’m pleased to share the news that they are mostly enjoyed and well read. It gives me great pleasure to see this and I do hope more children are enjoying my books around the world.
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It’s high octane, fast paced, well plotted and definitely a worthy challenge for those eager to figure a novel out before the debouement. A treat for crime fiction fans.
My editor, Lance Mitchell, wrote a lovely review for The Iron Pendulum.
Here is what he had to say:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Declaration of interest: I am the editor of this book.
The author is already well known for her superb children’s stories and for a previous thriller, Deception. I was delighted to be invited to beta-read and edit her latest book.
It captured me from the first paragraph. I warn you that it is a fairly gruesome tale with lots of blood and flesh [literally] hanging around. The main story is interwoven with a lot of intrigue and a share of puzzles for the detectives and the reader to work out. I am sure that you, like me, will go off down several wrong tracks as you try to solve the mysteries.
What I particularly liked was the way that the characters of the rather strange family members and the detectives are built into the main story…
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Crystal quivered as another sob escaped her swollen lips. How could such a simple plan go so wrong? She had followed her sister’s commands to the letter. Yet, somehow, somewhere along the line, what was supposed to be a silly prank had become real. Her sister was dead. Tangled, wild hair fell unchecked across her face as she turned to watch the paramedics load Harold’s unconscious body into the back of an awaiting ambulance.
She sighed. All this for revenge. Had she had the nerve, she would have stopped her sister in time; hindsight was a beautiful thing. After giving her statement to the police, she would be free to go, whereas poor Harold would be arrested for Melanie’s murder. Crystal gulped down a nervous giggle. Well, from another perspective, Melanie plan had worked!
With the body of her sister wrapped in black and tucked away in the back of another ambulance, the sirens wailed their despair as they pulled away from the crime scene.
The body of Melanie Kent wrapped in black, most becoming for any beautiful corpse, mused Crystal. The heavy footfall of a very large man dressed in a heavy trenchcoat caught her attention. His determined walk in her direction wiped the lingering smile off her pretty face.
“Detective Bob Jones, miss. I’d like to ask you a few questions about what occurred tonight.” Heavy brows and the hooded, focused stare scared her. She wrapped the patchwork blanket tighter around her body.
“I already answered the officer’s questions detective. What more do you want from me?”
Jones watched her. She was as slinky as a cat’s tail, curling her feline body into a protective stance at his scrutiny.
“Do you know the woman who was found in the bathtub?”
“N-no detective. As I told Officer Campbell, Harold and I were in the bedroom. I got up to go freshen up and found her there. I tried to pull her out but…” A lonely tear wet her cheek. “The blood. It was too much and my mind snapped. I screamed. Harold, he tried to help me but I knocked him aside and ran.” Her hand quivered as she cleared stray strands of hair from her eyes. “The next thing I remember is being wrapped up in this blanket and the police arriving.”
The detective watched Crystal picking at the blanket, as though trying to remove the lies woven within. He sighed. Life would be so simple if people told the truth the first time round.
That beautiful moment when your serial killer finds a reason for being! I’ve been pandering with the idea of poison, but due to the common occurrence of poisons as a medium for murder, I’ve decided to change things up a bit.
Given the nature of my killer and realising the catalyst needed to activate his natural instincts, I have a clearer direction as to why he creates mayhem in Bagley town. My two detectives have their work cut out for them once he goes on a rampage and what could have been a clean cut case of suicide turns into a bigger mess.
Looking at the behavioural patterns of certain individuals and the stimulus pushing them to violence gives a model for my character to morph into and perform the dastardly tasks that normal functioning humans could never achieve.
Perspective can be frightening when it comes to cold blooded killers. I do hope I can capture the essence whilst throwing breadcrumbs through the story for my detectives to find.
Catch up with Detectives Perkins and Jones in The Iron Pendulum. Click on the pic to download your copy.
For today’s book review, I am taking a look at Stephen King’s Thinner. This is an exciting book for me because it harks back to my childhood when my older brother and I used to voraciously read anything my dad put in front of us. From westerns to love stories, adventure to mystery and suspense, we were exposed to worlds away from our mundane home in Zimbabwe.
Thinner was one of the first books I read by Stephen King. I’m not sure how old I was at the time, but after reading Pet Sematary, I was looking for my next horror fix. My father had banned me from reading Cujo, he thought it was too frightening and violent for me at such a young age. I don’t think he knew that I had already read Pet Sematary!
My brother handed me a copy of Thinner and I was struck by its plot: Billy Halleck, an arrogant lawyer who runs over an old gypsy woman whilst driving, due to his wife distracting him, escapes murder charges thanks to his ties with the judge and police involved. Angered by the lack of justice, an old gypsy relative of the murdered woman curses the lawyer and those involved. Billy curse is one word…”Thinner!”. His disbelief at first and then his ineffectual attempts to stop the process leads him back to the gypsies and finding a cure.
The old gypsy man tells Billy that he should bear his own punishment but, if he wanted to be rid of it, he would have to give a slice of a special pie baked with his blood to the next victim of his choice. Choosing to give it to his wife, whom he blames for distracting him whilst driving, he awakes to find that his daughter and wife have eaten slices from the pie. In the end, Billy takes his slice and eats it, joining his family in their doom, thanks to him.
The story, written under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman and inspired by his own weight loss, leaves no sympathy for the main character, Billy Halleck. He is the epitome of our population; overweight, unapologetic and greedy for a quick fix. Though published in 1984, this book is just as relevant now as it was in the 80’s. With the politics and popular opinions flying this way and that in this world, we should be careful in case we become Billy Halleck. Who knows, there might be a gypsy out there ready to teach us a lesson on not facing up to consequences!
If you would like to read Thinner by Stephen King, please click on the pic below.
I do hope you have enjoyed this week’s Book Tuesday. Join me again next week for more of the same.
Have a great week.
Hello, welcome to Book Tuesday.
This week I have read a rather interesting crime thriller called Before He Sees (A Mackenzie White Mystery – book 2) by Blake Pierce.
Mackenzie White is young police detective pulled from the backwaters of Nebraska and recruited to Quantico as an FBI rookie agent. Already a promising student, she is chosen to assist in a series of murders that have the FBI chasing their tales. The pressure to prove just how good she is mounts as another body is found and the powers that be who have given her the opportunity have set a deadline for her to solve the case or lose her job and career as an agent. Flashbacks of Mackenzie’s own troubled past mixed with previous experience from solving the Scarecrow Killer murders, which bear a similarity to the case she is helping solve, puts her in a precarious position. With no-one to turn to or share the burden of responsibility, she is pushed beyond her limits, testing her capabilities as a true detective and agent.
When she is pulled off the case and returned to the status of rookie agent, her own perseverance in cracking the case pushes the powers that be to give her a second chance, but their own stubborn arrogance forces her to take drastic measures which put her in danger.
This was a great thriller and I enjoyed the momentum of riding along with the main character as she pushed her way through a world of dominant characters bent on proving they are right! Though the end was predictable, I still enjoyed the thrill of the story unfolding and would recommend this book to readers who want a light crime thriller.
There are two more books in the Mackenzie White series and I look forward to reading them. If you would like to read Before He Sees, click on the pic below to order your copy.
As always, please leave a review for the author. It’s a great way for other readers to gauge the books. Thanks.
If you would like to read one of my crime thrillers, please click on the pics below to download your copy.
Whilst surfing the net, searching for interesting ways to kill people for the next book in my crime series, I stopped to wonder at what the new laws covering people’s search history would throw up for those writers who dabble in murder.
Today, I was investigating the merits of using a muscular relaxant to mix in with insulin for terminal effects.
NIMBEX (cisatracurium besylate) is a nondepolarizing skeletal muscle relaxant for intravenous administration.
Of course, my character would have to be a doctor to administer such medicines and the research required for said profession with access to the required meds was quite interesting. It drew my attention to the many cases of murder using insulin. As a person who has friends and family with diabetes, it was an interesting subject to investigate, whereas from my writer’s point of view, it gave me very poor traction as a murder weapon. Not many adults die from insulin overdoses given to them by murderers, mainly because the side effects show up pretty fast and can be actioned by the victim before it’s too late. The long term side effects of brain damage opened up options on killing the victims in a different setting, adding tension to the story. So, to restrain said victim in the first place after administering the insulin,a muscular sedative seemed like a good option and something different to throw into the mix.
Oh, the things we think of as writers. Makes my real life seem rather mundane in comparison!