Tag-Archive for » Crime «

New release and New pre-order

The Invisible Amateur is out this Friday! If you haven’t pre-ordered the ebook yet you can do so here and make sure that you get yourself a copy as soon as it’s midnight! Only two and a half days to go.

TheFemaleCharmMediumThe fourth book in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series is also now available to pre-order here and will be released on February 13th next year. Less than three months away!

Here’s a blurb:

Politics is Mycroft’s focus for the moment, but it calls him to Scotland, somewhere very much outside of London. When Sherlock refuses to help and instead enlists Amelia, Mycroft has to decide if his personal amateur is up to the task.

Despite all the scrapes and bruises, Amelia is still willing to learn from the Holmes brothers, but these latest lessons are on a whole new level. Does she have the skills she needs to survive? And is she really prepared for being in the Holmes world?

I’ve also almost finished the first drafts of 5 and 6 in the series and can confirm both will be out next year. Hopefully around early May and mid July respectively.

Gone Girl: A Review

I read this book for my bookclub in November. I must admit we only read it because the trailer for the film made us curious.

Gone GirlThe book has a bit of a slow start and isn’t quite missleading enough for you to not know what’s happened, although it makes a good stab at being unobvious. Then strangely a little after 50% of the way through the book they let you know what happened and give you the whodunnit part of the storyline.

After that the book just gets more and more twisted. I kept reading because I had to know if there was justice and exactly how the author was going to end this crazy crazy idea, but it was with a sort of dread that it was going to end the way I feared. But it didn’t. The ending was worse. I won’t have any spoilers here but suffice to say I think I may well hate a character more than I hate Joffrey from Game of Thrones and that’s saying something.

In terms of writing style, it wasn’t anything exceptional, but I definitely can’t complain either. There are a lot of bestsellers that aren’t written this well.

Character wise all of the main characters and side characters have plenty of depth to them. They have quirks and everything that makes them come alive so a lot of respect to the writer for that. Her characterisation is wonderful.

Do I recommend the book? No, not really. It’s just too twisted and there are just a few too many complete sociopaths in here (one is debatably a psychopath) for me to suggest people should read it. The book is interesting in terms of the psychology of it all but otherwise, steer clear! You won’t be satisfied and you’ll feel totally creeped out.

Mycroft and Sherlock: Chapter 1

So I’ve been writing something I totally didn’t plan to write lately. I got bitten by the Sherlock bug but in a new way, so here’s a chapter from some fan fiction, written from Mycroft’s POV.

The rain pattered on the windows as Mycroft was driven through the dreary streets of London. He frowned at the typical English weather. He’d been in his house, working, for ten straight days and it annoyed him to find it raining the minute he needed to leave and see his brother. On top of splotching his tailored suit it made the traffic worse.

As the car pulled up outside Sherlock’s flat he turned his nose up at the familiar sight. The number on the door was loose and it was almost never straight. No matter how many times he neatened it by his next visit it was crooked again. Today was no different.

His driver rushed around to the side of the door with a large black umbrella and Mycroft stepped out into the cold, narrowly missing the puddle at the side of the road. An almost identical umbrella with a silver plated handle dangled from Mycroft’s left hand and he realised he’d never used it to keep the rain off himself. After raising and lowering his eyebrow he strode through the flat door, knowing it wouldn’t be locked. He paused for the briefest second to shuffle his feet on the doormat while his chauffeur shut the door behind him and went back to the shining black vehicle to wait.

Sherlock’s housekeeper and landlady, the widowed Mrs Wintern, peered around the edge of the living room door. When she noticed it was him she retreated back inside. Knowing she’d be scurrying off to make tea, whether he would be there long enough to drink it or not, he climbed the wooden steps up to the familiar flat. None of them creaked but he’d had plenty of years practice at putting his feet in the right places to ensure his arrival was unnoticed.

Three steps from the top Mycroft paused. Mixed in with the usual scent of dust, damp and body odour was the faint traces of perfume. He knew it could only mean Sherlock had a visitor, probably a client. It only took a few seconds for Mycroft to weigh up his options in light of this discovery. He needed Sherlock to begin investigating at once and couldn’t let a client stop him. As he took the last few steps he searched his memory for the name his brother used now. By the time he rapped his knuckles on the door, Sebastian was floating across the back of his mind. Whoever was with his brother would know him as Sebastian Holmes.

Without waiting for an answer he twisted the door knob and strode into the room. Both occupants turned to face him and he scanned the extra person for information. She wore a black corset, styled to look like a waistcoat from the front but laced down the back, over the top of a deep red blouse. The red skirt almost touched the floor but a slit up one side revealed size seven black boots with a small chain running behind the two inch heels. The corset took her waist in from what would have been twenty five inches to twenty three and her mid-brown hair was up in a netted bun on the back of her head. As she turned he also noticed she deftly held a fountain pen in her right hand. Both hands had fingerless gloves that were made of the same material as a jacket over the arm of a nearby chair.

She smiled and the corners of her eyes wrinkled to match the upturn of her lips. Whoever she was she spent a lot of time writing; there were no ink marks on her despite the style of pen, and she was comfortable and relaxed in the odd mix of old fashioned and modern clothing.

“Myron! To what do I owe this pleasure?” Sherlock said in his usual sarcastic manner, although he knew the woman wouldn’t have picked up on the disdain laced in every word. It took him a fraction of a second longer to respond as he took in the pictures of people and places on the board beside them. She had to be a client with all the information presented, although not directly involved, an observer with a vested interest.

“Let me introduce my guest, Amelia Jones.” Sherlock motioned to her. “She’s a writer. Amelia, this is my brother, Myron Holmes.”

She swapped the pen over to her other hand and took a few steps towards him, her right outstretched to shake his. He glanced at her offering but kept his right hand in his trouser pocket and his left gripping the umbrella. Whoever she was, Sherlock had used her first name, something he’d not done since his days with John Watson. Mycroft frowned and the woman returned to her position by the board, giving no indication that she was bothered by the snub.

“I need to talk to you, brother of mine,” Mycroft said when he realised the case on the board still held both their attention.

“In a moment, you’ll be interested in this. This man is an undercover agent, working a case to find a stolen diamond.” Sherlock pointed to the man’s picture and then to the woman’s, “She’s unmarried, no kids, parents are dead and no one else in her life and we’re trying to figure out how she was blackmailed and how he finds out before he has her arrested.”

Mycroft rolled his eyes but took a look at the information anyway. He wanted to know how this Mrs Jones was involved. If the diamond had been hers it wasn’t something she was attached to, perhaps a family heirloom she didn’t care for.

“How was the diamond taken?” he asked.

“I don’t know, I’ve not written that part yet,” she said, fixing her blue eyes on him. “I was thinking she might seduce the security guard or get him drunk. She’s an amateur under pressure so it can’t be too difficult.”

Mycroft raised his eyebrows before he noticed Sherlock grinning at him. He sneered in response. When Mrs Jones went to continue talking he put his hand up, cutting her off.

“This is a fictional scenario?” he asked, his voice dripping with disdain at the very concept.

“Yes. It’s what I do for a living. Sebastian helps me get all the facts straight.”

“He does, does he?”

She nodded and waited for him to continue but he had no desire to make her feel more comfortable. She glanced at his brother.

“So… Why are you here, brother. You don’t visit unless you need something,” Sherlock said, taking the focus back off his guest.

“I think we ought to discuss that in private.” Mycroft looked pointedly at Sherlock’s client, hoping she’d get the hint and hurry from the building but she didn’t move.

“Nonsense, if it’s a case, Amelia can help. She’s been proving most useful in my own work, and besides, she helped with the last case you gave me.”

“She did?” Mycroft’s annoyance grew. Somehow he’d missed Mrs Jones being a regular in Sherlock’s life and he shouldn’t have done.

“I did?” She raised an eyebrow and her own surprise made him feel a little better. Sherlock laughed and nodded.

“Come on, out with it brother. What do we need to investigate?” While Sherlock spoke Mrs Jones lifted the board from the two hooks it hung on, revealing a second blank white board underneath. Mycroft coughed and then pulled the printout of the intercepted email from his inside jacket pocket.

“I received this coded message from a suspected terrorist account.” Before Mycroft could begin reading it Sherlock took the paper out of his hands and wandered off with it, leaving both him and Mrs Jones standing and waiting as Sherlock read it.

“It’s not a skip code…”

“It’s nothing logical, I assure you,” Mycroft said before Sherlock could list everything he already knew it wasn’t.

“Read it aloud.” Mrs Jones said. Mycroft frowned as Sherlock did just that. He would have done one anyway but now he was sure a background check on her would be needed.

Hiya,

Totally failed today – My ringtone went off at the funeral – I’ve got it set to Staying Alive. :AwkwardFace: I suppose I’d already made it hard on myself, the deceased had bought me one of those ugly Christmas jumpers and I wore it to the funeral. My mother told me to take it off and I don’t think she was very impressed when I told her I’d rather cry in a BMW. Then to top my day off I got rick rolled.

Thankfully my kids were cute when I got home – when I asked the eldest what she wanted for dinner she said, ‘I can has cheeseburger?’ and grinned. Later when I was playing a board game with the twins and I lost they came out with, ‘All your counters are belong to us’, their English is getting better each day. When I was a kid my dad used to swear and say ‘pardon my French – I still remember when my school teacher asked if anyone spoke a foreign language and I put my hand up. :SmileyFace:

It might be a while before I communicate again, I’m staying with relatives and they don’t know their own wi-fi password. FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUU. The kids are excited, they said they can get their pink unicorn back, I didn’t even know they had one.

Geoff

By the time Sherlock had finished, Mrs Jones was curled up on the chair, clutching her sides and crying as she tried to stop her almost silent laughter.

What’s so amusing?” Mycroft demanded when she didn’t stop as soon as the letter was over. She wiped her eyes and sat up straight again.

It’s internet memes. For example, all your counters are belong to us, is a miss-quote of all your base are belong to us from a badly translated game. I can has cheeseburger is a phrase on a lolcat, and I think there was a confession kid in there, as well as the mention of being rick rolled.” She picked up the pen and wrote out the entire letter. Once she’d finished she circled phrases in the text and linked them to the names of the internet memes. Mycroft watched and waited, wanting to see where she was going with it. If it solved the email he could get back to his house and away from her.

She stood back and put both her hands on her hips, staring at the letter now in her neat but ornamented hand-writing.

The punctuation is strange, and not right in the slightest,” she said a moment later, when no one else did anything.

Each full stop marks the end of a coded section, that much is easy to work out,” Mycroft said. His brother nodded and stole the pen from Mrs Jones, their fingers brushing past each other as he did. Mycroft sneered again, although both had their backs to him and wouldn’t have noticed. He almost wished they had.

Sherlock put a line in where each sentence ended to break the message up and then she pulled the pen from his hand and wrote in another meme at the end of the letter. After a minute of browsing something on her phone she wrote in two more, completing the final paragraph with:

First World Problems
Rage comic
Invisible Pink Unicorn

Mycroft saw the message and smiled. It pleasantly surprised him that she was on the right track.

The first letters from the first part of Friday,” he said, knowing his brother wasn’t paying attention and should be. He stepped closer so the whole thing was easier for him to read.

It looks like each paragraph is a word,” she said and smiled at him. He ignored her. She was right but that didn’t mean he had to like her or praise her for it.

The second word has an A and C in the middle and has four letters,” Sherlock said.

Four?” She turned to him, a puzzled look on her face.

Yes, there’s a fourth sentence.” Mycroft pointed to the smiley face reference in between two colons. She shrugged.

That’s an emoticon gone wrong, but I suppose it might be part of the message.” She put the word in brackets in the list in the two places the references appeared and then turned to his brother. “Search for I’d rather cry in a BMW online and see what comes up.”

Immediately Sherlock obeyed and grabbed his laptop. Mycroft found himself sneering again. This woman was telling them what to do when she was evidently of inferior intelligence and even worse, his brother wasn’t even slightly put out. He’d thought Sherlock over this sort of sentimentality after losing Watson, but it appeared he was even softer than ever.

Twenty minutes later they had one more letter and Mycroft continued to stand and do nothing but stare at the letter. The entire time he’d been running through five letter words that fit with the E and N they’d already had for the first word. With the I Mrs Jones now wrote in he knew what it said. BEGIN LACE FRI was the full message, but he wasn’t about to say so and be pressed to explain further. Even if Mrs Jones expressed no further interest, his brother would and with his deductive reasoning might work out more than Mycroft wanted either of them to know.

As he was trying to think of some way to get rid of Mrs Jones she pulled a pocket watch out, checked the time and gasped.

I’ve got to go. I’m meant to be signing books in less than half an hour.” She grabbed her jacket and shrugged into it. “Sorry to run before we’re done, but I hate being late for anything.”

I’m sure we can solve this without you,” Mycroft said and gave her a smile which didn’t reach his eyes.

See you tomorrow, Sebastian, and it was a pleasure to meet you, Mr holmes.” She gave him a half smile, meaning it far more than he would have and hurried from the room. As the sound of her rapid footsteps receded down the stairs Mycroft relaxed.

So, you’ve found a new John Watson.” He looked intently at his brother but Sherlock remained impassive.

She’s brighter than John ever was, but she won’t be around for long. She will go write her next book in a few days. Mostly she’s a recluse, like you, especially when in the middle of a book.”

You’re trying to intrigue me by making me think she’s similar to me, but it won’t work. She’s not as intelligent as you even so I have no interest in her.” Mycroft walked towards the door, now wanting to continue this conversation.

She would have been as clever as me had she grown up with you as an elder brother. She’s keen to learn from us and pleasant enough.”

Mrs Jones won’t live long enough to ever get close.”

Miss Jones,” Sherlock said, looking smug. Mycroft shook his head at what his younger brother had overlooked.

There was a wedding ring.”

Yes, but she’s not married, not anymore anyway.”

Widow,” Mycroft nodded. He should have seen it in her manner with Sherlock. No woman in a relationship would spend time coming to London for book signings and spend so much time alone with another man. He walked out, and called back, “Don’t get involved, brother of mine.”

I’ll let you know when I’ve solved this,” Sherlock yelled after him.

No need!” Mycroft pulled the door shut. Miss Jones perfume lingered in the stairwell even stronger than before and Mycroft found himself thinking that as far as perfumes went it could have been a lot worse. At the least it smelt better than Sherlock’s flat usually did.

As he walked back to his car he messaged his assistant.

Project lace will begin on friday. Deploy operation clean-up. Also find all information on the author Amelia Jones.

As soon as the message was delivered he put his phone back in the inside pocket of his jacket and stepped outside. The rain had stopped and Mycroft smiled as he was driven back to his home, his mind already focused on other matters.

Deadly Eyes: A Review

I was given a copy of this book by the author Michael Meyer in exchange for a review.

And I’m so glad I was. This is another of those books that I really loved getting the opportunity to read. The locations were described well and the details given bit by bit to build the picture and suspense up and I struggled to put the book down.

I’ve already recommended it to some friends and family who like the genre and I read both of the endings that were provided. Yup, that’s right. This book has two possible endings to read.

I think I prefered the first one as it was happier but it was a really interesting twist to have two alternatives. Great book and going on my favourites of the year list.

I am so convinced this is one you should all go buy, here’s the buy links – UK & US

The Kindle Murders: A Review

The Kindle Murders is the first Novella in the Global Crime Prevention Unit series by A. D. Vates.

As you’ve probably guessed it’s a crime book.

Normally I find the Crime genre a little too heavy going for me and rather dark but this book was gorgeously not so. I loved the thrill of the team solving the crimes and found it very hard to put down when I had to go to bed one evening.

It’s not got an overly long or complicated plot but I think this actually added to the satisfaction of the ebook. It was something I could dip into and know that it won’t be long before I can dip into their next adventure. I guess I liked it for similar reasons I enjoy the Sherlock stories. I was entertained and can get to know the characters over lots of short bursts.

I will be eagerly awaiting the sequel in just 10 days time.

Here’s the links to it.

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

Author Interview: Aman Anand

My next author is another uk based one and you may well recognise the name as I reviewed one of his books a few months back. Here’s his interview.

Tell us about your latest project.

I am currently working on an ongoing series of short stories called the G.C.P.U. (which stands for Global Crime Prevention Unit). The plan is to release each issue fortnightly and for the length of each issue to be between five to seven thousand words. So far I have released the first three parts of the first story arc, which is called The Kindle Murders. Eventually, I will bundle each story arc into novellas and give the reader two ways of following the series.

I came up with the idea because I think an aspect of the indie publishing revolution that has been overlooked is form. Writers now enjoy a freedom that they have never been afforded in human history. Whether you want to write an 8,000 line epic poem or a short story about the debt ceiling in America, there is now a medium for you to release your work, you are no longer confined to the economies of printed books. And as the e-book audience continues expanding exponentially, many writers will find a market for their work.

So the G.C.P.U. is an attempt at experimenting with form, adapting some of the practices normally associated with comic books and television shows. So far, the feedback has been positive and I am really enjoying working on the project.

You mention being able to experiment because of the Indie publishing revolution, how do you feel about the changes to publishing and ebooks in general?

I think the changes we have seen in the past few years liberate writers from the gruelling submission process and those dreaded slush piles.

Most importantly, it grants the writer complete freedom in terms of both subject matter and the form their work takes.

However, there is a fear that over the next few years there is going to be a flood of self-published work and it may put off readers from going down the indie route. However, as long as we ensure our work is well-edited, I think that this fear will prove unfounded.

How do you make sure that your own work is well-edited?

I have two friends, both of whom are English graduates like myself, proofread my work. But now that I am writing more regularly it feels unfair to continually burden them with my work so I will be looking to hire an editor or a proofreader.

When and why did you start writing?

I began writing when I was fifteen – back then I wanted to be the next great songwriter. I still have the album of lyrics I wrote that particular summer. They are pretty atrocious – hopefully they will never see the light of day!

What lead you on from song writing to story writing?

My primary interest was storytelling and there were limitations to what I could achieve within a pop song. I also did not read as much as I do now and at that point music was a far bigger influence than literature was. I also found that I was a lot better at writing than I was at songwriting, not that that would be difficult given how bad the songwriting was!

What’s your favourite genre to write and what’s your favourite genre to read?

In terms of writing, I am torn between literary fiction and sci-fi. I would argue that the best of both genres fulfill a similar function, but the former delves into the past (and on occasion, the present) while the latter casts light on what our futures could be.

In terms of reading I mostly read literary fiction, but at present I am reading a lot of non-fiction to help me research a few projects I am working on.

What inspires you?

Many, many things. This was a problem for the longest time, but I had a breakthrough with my novel 2032. The novel functioned as a black hole that allowed me to absorb a kaleidoscope of influences; from great writers to football commentators, from inaugural speeches to cooking recipes.

I’m not sure I will ever have that much freedom in a project again, hence the reason I am working on quite a few projects simultaneously.

Working on more than one thing at once can be difficult for some people, how do you juggle them all?

Apart from with 2032, which contains a wide variety of styles and themes, I find that I end up feeling guilty if I am only working on either a science fiction or a literary work. But when I work on them simultaneously my writing is both stronger and more prolific.

What are you planning on doing next/What else are you up to?

Here is a little list of my current projects:

1. I am working on a series of flash fiction collections about each of the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues. There will be seven flash fiction stories in each collection, with the subject matter varying significantly between each flash fiction story. I recently released the first collection Lust and will soon be releasing Pride.

2. I have been working on a big science fiction/fantasy project for the best part of ten years. Earlier this year I finally started writing it and am now 18,000 words into the first draft of the first book. I hope the have the first book out by November.

3. Finally, I am working on a literary fiction project that is partly an offshoot from the final chapter of my novel 2032. It will concern a wealthy American family and will be set in the first decade of the 21st Century.

If you would like to check out some of the books Aman mentions, here are the links:
2032
U.K. Customers – http://amzn.to/oAMvzi
U.S. Customers – http://amzn.to/ot2oeU
The Kindle Murders: Part One
U.K. Customers – http://amzn.to/p7TBNV
U.S. Customers – http://amzn.to/qQKjCY