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Thursday, 31 March 2016

How Not To Come To Blows When You're Both Writing the Same Book.

Thursday 19 May 2016
14.40 - 15.30

Hot foot from moderating
Debut Authors: An Infusion of Fresh Blood

Jake Kerridge is moderating
Writing Duos:
How Not To Come To Blows When You're Both Writing the Same Book.

Karen Perry
is the pen name of Dublin-based authors Karen Gillece & Paul Perry)





Michael Stanley
(is the pen name of
Michael Sears & Stanley Trollip)



Or if you cannot clone yourself 
ALSO at 14.40 - 15.30

Tense? Nervous? How Do You Keep Up the Pace?

Jessie Keane

Ben McPhearson

Simon Toyne

Timothy Williams

Partcipating moderator: Helen Cadbury


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

‘A Masterpiece of Corruption’ by L C Tyler

Published by Constable,
14 January 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-1496-9

It is the winter of 1657. Lawyer John Grey receives a rather mysterious letter at his lodgings in Lincoln’s inn. He is perplexed because the letter is not addressed to him but signed by Mr S K and begs his presence at Gray’s Inn, in the spirit of friendship.  John Grey suspects who Mr S K maybe, and that the letter is the result of his meddling mother. He decides to visit Mr S K and nip any relationship in the bud.

And so John Gray ventures out into the cold snowy December night, but all does not go as planned, as the letter was intended for someone else entirely, and John Gray finds himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate the Lord Protector.  That John Grey is not a royalist is something he needs to keep to himself, and so unwittingly he finds
himself in the role of double agent. Discretion is therefore of the essence, and if he can keep his head, prevent a murder and keep both camps happy, he may actually keep his head.

However the arrival of Aminta Clifford posing as his cousin does nothing to allay his fears. She announces that she will be staying for some weeks and has placed herself under his protection.  She is not known for her discretion.

Meanwhile, with both the Sealed Knot and Cromwell's Secretary of State, John Thurloe, believing he is on their side, he is treading a fine line, and becomes very inventive when challenged as to his progress with the assassination. 

Assuming many aliases’s and trying to keep himself alive, Gray finds himself in many unsought locations, and not all to his liking.  Several persons come to his aid but all have a little job he can do for them, and every little job  lands him deeper in the do do.

A masterpiece of penmanship. Entertaining,  enjoyable and quite brilliant. Be you a Royalist or a Cromwellian , you will find this a riveting read. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

L. C. Tyler  L C Tyler was born in Southend, Essex, and educated at Southend High School for Boys, Jesus College Oxford and City University London. After university he joined the Civil Service and worked at the Department of the Environment in London and Hong Kong. He then moved to the British Council, where his postings included Malaysia, Thailand, Sudan and Denmark.

Since returning to the UK he has lived in Sussex and London, and was Chief Executive of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health for eleven years. He is now a full time writer. His first novel, The Herring Seller's Apprentice, was published by Macmillan in 2007, followed by A Very Persistent Illusion, Ten Little Herrings, The Herring in the Library and Herring on the Nile. The first book in a new historical series, A Cruel Necessity, was published by Constable and Robinson in November 2014. The follow up is A Masterpiece of Corruption and was published in January 2016.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

‘If She Did It’ by Jessica Treadway

Published by Sphere,
3 December 2015.
ISBN: 978 0 7515 5526 4 (PB)

The boomerang kids syndrome, when grown-up sons or daughters leave home then come back to the family nest, isn’t uncommon, but usually it’s based around a desire for independence without the means to support it.

In Dawn Schutt’s case, it’s less straightforward. Maxed-out credit cards and an apparent lack of gainful employment certainly seem to be what brings her back; but the reason she left in the first place is altogether more sinister.

Jessica Treadway’s dark psychological thriller explores the catastrophic damage done to a suburban family when one partner is murdered, in this case allegedly by the boyfriend of Dawn, the younger daughter. Slowly and inexorably she weaves together the scattered threads of memory which form a real picture of what happened that night.

Hanna, Dawn’s mother, was beaten and left for dead in the same incident, leaving both her memory and her self-confidence shot to pieces. When the culprit is given leave to appeal his conviction, the prosecutor pressures Hanna to try to remember, so that she can testify at the new trial – then Dawn, who has fled to the other end of the country after being cleared of any involvement in the attack, asks if she can come home.

Treadway builds a powerful picture of a family which has been damaged possibly beyond repair, as Hanna tries desperately to rebuild a relationship with Dawn and maintain one with her other daughter, (who has also been damaged by the attack, albeit not physically), all the time struggling to remember what really did happen on that fateful night. Multiple timelines are deftly handled, moving back and forth as tiny details serve as triggers for memories stretching as far back as Hanna’s childhood as she strives to make sense of everything that has happened.

The novel shows that however ordinary people appear, everyone is an individual, with vulnerabilities as well as quirks and flaws which can be misinterpreted and rub other people the wrong way. Friends and neighbours don’t always react to tragedy as they might be expected to; appearances can deceive and affect relationships; and sometimes help and support comes from an unexpected direction.

Through Hanna’s struggle to make sense of everything that has happened, Treadway threads a taut line of suspense: was the attacker really Dawn’s sociopathic boyfriend, or was someone else entirely? involved? Was Dawn herself involved, or was she hundreds of miles away as she has always claimed? Is somebody trying to silence Hanna, or is her hair-trigger imagination playing tricks?

The result is a rich family drama with a dark underbelly, well written and neatly plotted.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Jessica Treadway is a native of Albany, New York, currently living in Boston. She received her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany before working as a news and feature reporter for United Press International. After studying for her master’s degree in the creative writing program at Boston University, she held a fellowship at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College and taught at Tufts University before joining the faculty at Emerson College, where she is a professor in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

Her story collection Please Come Back to Me received the Flannery O'Connor Award For Short Fiction and was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2010. Her other books are Absent Without Leave, a collection of stories (Delphinium Books/​Simon & Schuster, 1992), and And Give You Peace, a novel (Graywolf Press, 2001). Her fiction has been published in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Glimmer Train, AGNI, Five Points, and other journals, and has been cited multiple times in The Best American Short Stories annual anthology.
In addition to her fiction, Jessica has published essays and book reviews for publications including The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Glamour, and The Huffington Post. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. A former member of the Board of Directors of PEN-New England, where she served as co-chair of the Freedom to Write Committee, she lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with her husband, Philip Holland.
Photograph courtesy of Levine photography

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

'The Coldest Winter' by James Morley

Published by Benham Sea Mysteries,
September 2015.  
ISBN 0-9548880-X

It is a good title since a bitterly cold winter has a part to play in the story.  However we start in a hot  sunny New Zealand at a wedding.  This occasion gives us an introduction to the various characters around which the story is crafted.  Though the majority of the action is in the UK, a further visit to New Zealand provides more startling activities.

The interception of a prison van and the deaths of some on board starts an investigation.  Dave Manning, a sports journalist, is one of those attempting to find out the reasons behind these actions.   More serious crimes follow and he becomes frightened for the wellbeing of his pregnant wife.  The outlines of a monstrous conspiracy begin to appear.  The solutions to the various happenings are found but not until a climactic scene.

The dramatis personae of this book have appeared in previous books by James Morley and they provide expert information, clever interpretations and the background of a happy well linked set of friends.   I would recommend the reading of the earlier books which feature these characters. Indeed to read the previous 4 adventures in order would seem to be an enjoyable process.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
James Morley has written other stories about the characters in this book but he has also written several stand alones.

James Morley sis a local author, writing books under the name Benham's Sea Mysteries. Retired from an agricultural background Jim has been writing books since 2005. He is well known in the local area for his novels, short stories and publicity writing. He is chairman of Petersfield Writers’ Circle and an active members of his local book club. Jim lives in Liss in Hampshire, a widower, in an untidy house filled with books and computers. Jim is a members of the UK Society of Authors.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

‘Journey to Death’ by Leigh Russell

Published by Thomas & Mercer,
3 March 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-50395-191-1

The book opens with a chapter long prologue describing events in June 1977 when George Hall, an accountant at the Garden of Eden Hotel, is living and working in the Seychelles. At first unsettled and home-sick, he is contemplating returning to England, until he falls under the spell of the beautiful and mysterious Veronique. When a political coup destroys the peace of the Seychelles, George is forced to leave Veronique and return home.

Thirty years later, George returns to the Seychelles for the holiday of a lifetime, accompanied by his wife, Angela, and their twenty-two-year-old daughter, Lucy. George and Angela are worried about Lucy, who has been devastated by the discovery that her fiancé, Darren, was being unfaithful to her and the consequent breakdown of their relationship. Darren had made all the decisions for both of them and Lucy feels alone and vulnerable, but she is determined not to let her own grief spoil her parents' holiday. On the first evening of their holiday, George is delighted to meet Adrian, a native of the Seychelles, who now has George's old job as the hotel accountant. George and Angela hope that Adrian will befriend Lucy and help her to enjoy her holiday.

At first all is well but then Lucy begins to notice sinister things that happen, which might be accidents but she thinks not: a close-call when she is out swimming and a sudden fall of rocks near where she is walking. She realises that Adrian thinks she is imagining things and that she is an emotionally and mentally fragile young woman. Lucy is unsure of herself and desperate not to worry her parents, so she accepts that she is mistaken, although the uneasiness lingers. Lucy and her father go out for the day, leaving her mother at the hotel, but when they return they find something has happened that plunges them into a nightmare and threatens to destroy their family. Lucy has to muster all her newly discovered independence and courage to save them all.

This is the first in a series of romantic suspense books by Leigh Russell, who is best known for her Police Procedural series. Lucy is an attractive and likeable protagonist and it is a pleasure to watch her grow in confidence and maturity. The suspense builds up nicely and the reader really wants things to turn out well for the Hall family. The Seychelles setting is beautifully described and the island with its exotic loveliness and lurking menace plays a crucial part in the story. Journey to Death makes the subtle point that those who appear fragile and vulnerable often have unexpected resources of strength and resilience. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Reviewer:  Carol Westron

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent gaining a Masters degree in English and American literature. Formerly a secondary school English teacher, with the success of her Geraldine Steel series, Leigh now writes full-time. Her debut novel, Cut Short, was published in 2009 by No Exit Press in the UK, followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act and Killer Plan, all featuring detective Geraldine Steel, and Murder Ring will be published in 2016. Leigh also writes a spinoff series for Geraldine's sergeant, Ian Peterson. Cold Sacrifice and Race to Death are already published, to be followed by Blood Axe in late 2015. Leigh recently signed a three book deal with Thomas and Mercer for a new series featuring Lucy Hall. The first two titles in this series will be published in 2016. Leigh Russell is married with two daughters and lives in Middlesex.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.