Tag Archive | Fiction

Review: ‘The Mask of Sanity’, by Jacob M. Appel

Published by: Permanent Press

Publication Date: 31st March 2017

I.S.B.N.: 978-1579624958

Price: $25.91



On the outside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a pillar of the community: the youngest division chief at his hospital, a model son to his elderly parents, fiercely devoted to his wife and two young daughters. On the inside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a high-functioning sociopath–a man who truly believes himself to stand above the ethical norms of society. As long as life treats him well, Balint has no cause to harm others. When life treats him poorly, he reveals the depths of his cold-blooded depravity.

At a cultural moment when the media bombards us with images of so-called sociopaths who strive for good and criminals redeemed by repentance,The Mask of Sanity offers an antidote to implausible tales of evil gone right. In contrast to fictional predecessors like Dostoyevesky’s Raskolnikov and Camus’ Meursault, Dr. Balint is a man who already has it all –and will do everything in his power, no matter how immoral, to keep what he has.

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Ahh! Copies of my book have arrived!

A box of books turned No automatic alt text available.up this afternoon. My books, ten of them. A lot sooner than I expected. I’ve sold four already, so the rest are for the book launch. I’m considering ordering more, but I haven’t got enough money yet.

It’s rather exciting and i like the feel of the books. I’ll probably be making some changes for the next book, smaller text probably.

In other news, I’m working on the short story that goes with this novel. It might become a novella at the rate I’m going 😀

Novel Extract: ‘Porcelain Flesh of Innocents’, by Lee Cockburn

Today I’m going to share with you extracts from the latest novel by today’s featured writer, Lee Cockburn. Hopefully, if you enjoy crime fiction as I do, you’ll like what you read and try the book.

Lee Cockburn Cover 4.2

I like the cover, quite mysterious. And now for the obligatory blurb:

Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents 

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Vivid, dark and deeply unsettling Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is the perfect next read for serious crime and police thriller fans.

Purchase from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Porcelain-Flesh-Innocents-Lee-Cockburn-ebook/dp/B01MR8004F/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486590103&sr=1-1&keywords=porcelain+flesh+of+innocents

Purchase from Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/porcelain-lee-cockburn/1125500067?ean=9781911525318

About Lee Cockburn

Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for sixteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for seven years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devil’s Demise was published by Clink Street Publishing November 2014.

Follow Lee Cockburn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lee_leecockburn

And finally, here are a couple of extracts from the book. I warn you, they deal with quite traumatic subjects, so read at your own discretion.

Extract one-

Nightmares continue to haunt Amy, unable to control her inner demons, she slips back into childhood as she drifts off to sleep and her defenses are weak.


The noise continued, Amy shook in terror, eyes now watering as she grabbed at Nathan to try and wake him up.  She tugged and tugged at him, calling weakly to wake him, but she couldn’t.  The noise was getting louder and louder, which meant whatever it was that was making it was getting closer to her, closing in on her.  She wet the bed, the warm liquid seeping into the bed, crawling down her legs in its own treacherous route of degradation, at her soiling herself with fear.  This wasn’t the time to worry about the punishment she would receive at the hands of her twisted parents, there was something more sinister in the room with her.


Scrabbly nails scraped against the ground, as it clawed its way towards her bed, she felt the covers tugging off of her, as it started to climb up the side of the bed.  She lay there frozen unable to move or call, as she saw the grubby sheet being tugged and pulled away from her face.  She was now staring straight ahead too frightened to close her eyes, waiting to see what was climbing up to meet her.  Her heart raced and pounded as her tiny heart rattled through her visible rib cage.  She stared, never daring to close her eyes, they even started to dry up as she saw it rising up into her line of sight.


Piercing blue eyes came peering over the edge of the bed, round and glassy on the grotesque porcelain face, white and circular, with bright red lips, its hands stiff and made of plastic, but she nearly choked as she watched it climbing up towards her, hands moving and gripping at her.  Her mouth tried to scream, but all there was, was silence, and unbearable fear and she was frozen to the spot.  The doll pulled itself up onto the bed and crawled closer to her and it tilted its head slowly to the side.  The lips on the doll lifted and revealed sharp peg like metal teeth bared demon like as it moved towards her face, Amy twisted round to Nathan, this time she heard herself screaming out loud as she pulled him round.  His eyes too were piercing blue and his face cold and doll like, white and cold, his mouth opened like that of a vampire, fangs sharp and terrifying.


Extract two –

The lead up to victim three, but unaware that they are being watched and it is they that could become the victim.  Revenge does not always work out how it was planned.


They were so busy trying to secret themselves within the garden in order to get the upper hand, to allow them to break in, that they were totally unaware that they were being watched from the moment they had entered the garden. He had been out having a cigar and had watched their slight figure move stealthily over the grass, he had almost laughed out loud at the audacity of their nerve, before he moved off out of sight.  He was a twisted individual with an over rated opinion of himself and he reckoned he could handle this little problem in his garden himself and was always reluctant to invite the police anywhere near to his house with his background and current recreational activity.


As they reached the back door and looked through the window, they tried to see if there was movement inside, silent and professional.


Suddenly their head rocked forward with brute force and then whipped back as it hit off the window in front, the punch had slammed forcefully onto the back of their head, and knocked them straight onto the floor. He reached down and grabbed their hair and dragged them forcefully backwards into the house, their feet barely touching the floor as his strength was enough to practically lift them up. The door was slammed behind them with such force, it sent terror spiraling through them and the roles were now completely reversed, which wasn‘t part of the plan.


The nights events that they’d planned were not panning out quite as they’d had wanted and regret now filled their mind at the stupidity of their spontaneous visit, real fear filling their mind for the first time since their reign of terror had begun, a terror that they believed was their right.


He stared down at what he thought was a pathetic individual and said loudly “what the fuck do you think you’re doing on my fucking property, you thieving little git, did you think I’d let you fucking get away with it, you sorry little freak, you‘re going to fucking regret it!”


He leant over and slammed another punch straight down onto their face and reached his hand down into their top, trying to establish what or who had tried to break into his property, as their gender was unidentifiable with what they were wearing and their stature.


“What the fuck are you, male or female, take that fucking scarf off your face, face before I fucking tear it off”.


His hands groped around and the sickness filled their stomach, the pins and needles in their face pierced violently into them, adrenaline filled every inch of their body, the very real emotions of the terror once endured, lay bare faced in front of them once again, only this time they weren’t a child.  All these emotions and sensations, filled their body with an unbelievable will to survive, attack, and avenge the demons of their childhood.


Review: ‘Let The Dead Speak’, by Jane Casey

Published by: Harper Collins UK

Publication Date: 9th March 2017

Format: Ebook

I.S.B.N.: 9780008149000

Price: £9.99

Available here

When an 18-year-old girl returns home to find her house covered in blood and her mother missing, Detective Maeve Kerrigan and the murder squad must navigate a web of lies to discover the truth… When eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home she finds Kate, her mother, missing and the house covered in blood. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder. Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. In the absence of a body, she and maverick detective Josh Derwent turn their attention to the neighbours. The ultra-religious Norrises are acting suspiciously; their teenage
daughter definitely has something to hide. Then there’s William Turner, once accused of stabbing a schoolmate and the neighbourhood’s favourite criminal. Is he merely a scapegoat or is there more behind the charismatic façade? As the accusations fly, Maeve must piece together a patchwork of conflicting testimonies, none of which quite add up. Who is lying, who is not? The answer could lead them to the truth about Kate Emery, and save the life of someone else.

My Review

I read this novel in one seven-hour sitting. Despite being exhausted I couldn’t put it down, because I had to find out what happened next. This is a tightly written crime thriller, packed with suspense and an unexpected twist. The characters are rounded and well written, although I found the evangelicals a little stereotypical. The relationship between Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent, at once confrontational and affectionate really draws the reader in as they discover the secrets of Kate Emery and her neighbours.


Review: ‘Thin Ice’, by Quentin Bates


If you read my blog post from last week, you’ll know we had the pleasure of a visit from journalist, translator and crime writer Quentin Bates. Quentin has written four novels (in paperback and ebook format) and three novellas (available as ebooks only) featuring the character Officer Gunnhildur. Details are available on his website: http://graskeggur.com/

I have, and recommend the novella Winterlude. Last week Quentin kindly gave out copies of his books, and of books by Ragnar Jonasson that he had translated; I got my hands on a copy of his most recent book, Thin Ice, published by Constable (an imprit of Little, Brown Book Group) in March 2016.

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Review: ‘Victoria’, by Daisy Goodwin

Published By: St. Martins Press

Publication Date: 22nd November 2016

I.S.B.N.: 9781250045461


“They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”

Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”


In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.

My Review

Biography in novel form. Not half bad either. The development of Victoria during her first few years as queen is developed and explored in a sympathetic manner and with skillful storytelling. Occasionally the biography breaks through the novelisation and it becomes very obvious that the author is dumping information rather than telling the story, but it only happens three or four times and barely detracts from the flow at all.

Definitely one for fans of Victorian history and Queen Vicky herself.