Category Archives: books

The Cormoran Strike Novels by Robert Galbraith

I’m not usually into crime fiction but I thought I’d give these a try as I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling (who isn’t?). In case you didn’t know, after the release of the first Cormoron Strike novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Galbraith’s real identity of J.K. Rowling was leaked.

J.K. Rowling was awarded substantial damages for the breach from the solicitors that revealed her true identity. Rowling donated the damages, along with the royalties from The Cuckoo’s Calling to The Soldiers’ Charity, a cause that would be close to the main character, Cormoran Strike’s heart.

The Cormoran Strike novels are made up of three crime fiction stories following a private detective and his assistant Robin Ellacott.

The Main Characters

Cormoran Strike

Strike is a private detective and a war veteran. He was an SIB investigator but was discharged after he lost the bottom half of a leg in an explosion in Afghanistan. His mother, who died of a heroin overdose, was a ‘super groupie’ of Jonny Rokeby, Strike’s father. Strike has little to do with his dad though.  As a former boxer in the army, he has a large physical presence and what is described as ‘pube like’ hair. He likes his tea the colour of creosote and is partial to a pint of Doom Bar.

Robin Ellacott

Robin is originally from Yorkshire but now lives in London with her accountant Fiancé, Matthew Cunliffe. Robin dropped out of university, for reasons that become clear in the third book, and at the start of the series is working for a temp agency. She was delighted to be placed at Strike’s private detective office and proved herself to be clever, resourceful and pleasant to be around. She is attractive with strawberry blond hair. Her Yorkshire accent becomes more pronounced in times of tension.

Book #1 – The Cuckoo’s Calling

Strike is living in his office after breaking up with his attractive fiancé. He owes money and doesn’t have enough clients to pay the bills or find somewhere to live.

Robin is euphoric after accepting Matthew’s proposal to get married and even more so when the temp agency send her to work at a detective agency, something she’s always longed to do.

The adopted brother of renowned model Luna Landry hires Strike to investigate her supposed suicide. Strike is reluctant to take it on and is sceptical about the brother’s claims but he needs the money—to pay the agency for Robin’s time if nothing else.

Robin proves herself to be invaluable around the office and Strike continues her employment after the week is up, paying her what he can afford. Her fiancé Matthew wants her to stop working for Strike and get a better paid job.

The more Strike looks into Lula Landry’s death the more suspicious the circumstances seem. With Robin’s help he gets his life back into some order while tracking down the killer.

Book #2 – The Silkworm

After solving the Landry case, business has picked up and Strike is hired to find a missing writer Owen Quine. The manuscript Quine was apparently most recently working on ends with him being killed in the same gruesome way in which the writer is eventually found to have been murdered. The novel also attacks Quine’s editor, agent, wife and many others giving us lots of people with motives to kill.

Strike and his assistant Robin’s relationship becomes strained as she feels undervalued in her role. Robin’s fiancé Matthew dislikes Strike (a feeling that is mutual) and this doesn’t help. Strike wants to give Robin more responsibility but is concerned that Matthew won’t like it and he doesn’t want to ruin her relationship.

Together they identify the killer and Strike enrols Robin on an investigative training course as a gift.

Book #3 – Career of Evil

Robin is now working with Strike as an investigator. As Strike had foreseen, this puts strain on her relationship with Matthew, who she is due to marry soon.

Robin receives a woman’s severed leg through the post. The clues lead Strike to believe it was from someone holding a grudge against him.

As Strike and Robin investigate the four main suspects, we find out more about both of their pasts. Robin also finds out Matthew cheated on her whilst at university.

While the pair are tracking down the suspects, the killer strikes twice more and has his eyes on Robin.

The police warn the private investigators to keep away from the suspects and out of the case but Robin takes matters into her own hands to expose a child molester. Strike has no option but to fire Robin. He knows who the killer is now but has to prove it alone.

My verdict

These books are hard to put down with gripping plots and characters you just want to find out more about. Five stars from me.

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Happy Book Release Day To Me

Mind Games (The Code of Minds Book 2) is out now!

Cover of Mind Games by Jojo Debrazza
Cover of Mind Games by Jojo Debrazza

What’s it about?

Luca can control minds, a talent known as the charm. Like most charmers, he uses his talent for good and only ever with the person’s permission. However, there’s one charmer – Brain Lord – who chooses to use his gift for something altogether different: for his own personal gain.

Now, Brain Lord has charmed his way out of prison and goes on the attack against the Restorative government, who are decidedly anti-charming. When Luca’s best friend, Kane, gets in the middle of Brain Lord’s latest escapade, Luca finds himself face-to-face in a battle of minds with the rogue charmer. After witnessing Luca’s abilities, Brain Lord sets another plan in motion: recruit the charmer to join his crusade against the government.

The Restorative government, however, has its own idea of how to take control. They’re forcing innocent charmers to influence the nation and take up their cause. Caught in between a corrupt government, a rogue charmer, and the drive for power, Luca must take the most important actions of his life without inadvertently furthering a cause he doesn’t believe in.

Can Luca stop one without helping the other?

Buy Mind Games on Amazon here: http://hyperurl.co/oplexx

Interview with Clarissa Johal – Author of The Island

The Island cover art
The Island cover art

The Island by Clarissa Johal is on tour now and I’m delighted to be part of it with this author interview.

Interview with Clarissa Johal

Q: Are you superstitious and if so what are you superstitious about?

Clarissa Johal
Clarissa Johal

A: I toss a pinch of salt over my left shoulder if it’s spilled, won’t walk under a ladder, and cringe at broken mirrors. So no…I’m not superstitious at all! My logical self *rolls her eyes* but I do it anyways. As far as my writing goes, nobody is allowed to read a word of my books until they’re completely finished. I don’t post “fifth lines of the fifth page,” I don’t do previews in my blog or on my website, and I’m driven to distraction if someone glances in my general direction while I’m writing. My characters don’t like it. (You may roll your eyes now.)

Q: Have you had any paranormal experiences?

A: Paranormal experiences run in my family. My mother turned a blind eye because it scared her, and my grandmother never talked about her experiences because it didn’t fit in with her religion. I didn’t have either of those issues. Ghosts are part of the landscape and I’ve learned to co-exist. The only experience that rattled me was something that happened when I was ten-years-old. It was the middle of the night and I was sitting on the couch (lifelong insomniac). I heard singing in my ear as if a woman were sitting right next to me. I went back to bed and had the worst nightmare. I dreamt there was a naked woman wrapped in a shower curtain in our bathtub. She was blonde, had a bullet hole in her head and was quite dead. It was a graphic nightmare for a kid, I never watched television and rarely had nightmares. I had it for weeks until we finally moved. Each time, it became more intense—it had gotten to the point where she was clawing her way from the tub and trying to speak to me through the shower curtain. Needless to say, I was a bit of a wreck by the time we moved! Years later, I found out from my parents there was a murder in that house. They didn’t elaborate, but I always wondered of the details. I’ve written of other paranormal experiences in my blog but that one will always stick with me.

Q: What inspired you to write The Island?

A: The Island was inspired by another experience that happened when I was a kid. Funny how childhood experiences stick with you! My parents sent me to camp for the summer. The camp was located on a small island off the mainland and kept solely for campers only. In addition to standard camp activities, the kids were allowed to explore on their own in groups. Unfortunately, because I was a new kid, my group was just me. There were designated paths on the island but you know how that goes—kids explore. I forged my own path into the woods and literally fell into a small cave. The cave was empty…but not empty. Have you ever had that feeling? It felt like whatever resided inside suddenly fixated on me. The hairs on the back of my neck stood, I felt icy cold, and the prick of tears was close, though I didn’t know why. It was almost as if I had stumbled into someplace sacred. I managed to climb out, but it felt like I was being watched. I tossed and turned that night, unsettled. The feeling persisted into the next day, so I returned to the area—wanting to make peace with it. I looked and looked, but the cave was nowhere to be found.

Q: Do you have a writing routine and if so what is it like?

A: My characters and story inspirations usually come to me in a dream. I keep a pen beside the bed for when I wake in the middle of the night and write on my arms and legs (I never seem to have paper). I probably look a bit demented by morning, but it works! Once I have the idea and characters, I’ll write the story from beginning to end until the first draft is finished. Then, I do my research and gazillion edits. A book will take me about a year to complete.

Q: Who is your favourite author and why do you like them?

A: I have two; Gerald Brom and Robert Holdstock. Gerald Brom writes wonderful sympathetic antagonists. The character of Krampus from his novel, Krampus: The Yule Lord is one of my favorites. Robert Holdstock was excellent at incorporating mythology into his stories. Mythago Wood is steeped in ancient mythology and gets into my head every time I read it.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A: The road to publication is trial and error and different for everyone. Self-publishing is huge right now. If you go that route, you need to understand and be comfortable with promotion and social media (this goes for traditional publishers too). There are many, many books out there and it’s easy to become lost in the shuffle. Don’t be the book that’s been poorly edited or formatted, because it gives people an excuse to pass over your awesome story. As far as going the traditional route—get used to rejection and don’t take it personally. A lot of it is timing and finding a publisher who “gets” your vision. That said, if you’re getting the same rejection feedback, take another look at what they’re saying and approach your writing with that in mind.

Thanks to Clarissa Johal Booksfor answering these questions.
The Island is currently on sale for $0.99 for the duration of this book tour. See the full tour schedule here: http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2016/03/virtual-book-tour-schedule-island-by.html

Book Details:

Title: THE ISLAND
Genre: Paranormal Horror
Author: Clarissa Johal
Editor: Marisa Chenery
Booktrope, Forsaken Imprint (2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1-5137-0161-5
ASIN: B010TE7W1G
Number of Pages: 210

About THE ISLAND:

Exploring a remote island can sometimes get you into trouble.
Especially when you stumble upon a cave and awaken two demons.

Rumors and superstition.

That’s what Emma thinks about local gossip concerning her grandmother’s “cursed” private island. Emma journeys to the island to ready it for sale. While out exploring, she unearths a hidden cave–a cave which holds answers to the island’s dark past.
There may be more to the rumors than she thought.

Excerpt from THE ISLAND:

She was jarred awake by a cry. The vestiges of her nightmare dissipated as she orientated herself. Nightmare. Emma let out a sigh of relief. The cry sounded again. A distant sound, high and wailing. A baby’s cry. Her heart quickened. Good god, surely that can’t be a baby?
The fire in the stove had burned down, its embers lending a glow to the living room. Emma looked out the front window. The yard was still. She unlocked the door and opened it a crack. The cry drifted in with the breeze, faint but unmistakable. She ran through her mind what possible bird or animal could make the sound and came up with nothing. Characteristically, the island was blanketed with silence, almost like a vacuum. She stood, uncertain. After several minutes, the sound started again—the unmistakable high wail of a baby. She slipped on her boots and parka.
Fog trailed like cobwebs in her wake. The mournful cry threaded through the trees and came from the direction of the house ruins. In spite of a growing anxiety at what she’d find, she quickened her pace. If that is a baby, it’s still alive, and I need to get to it. If it’s not a baby… She blocked out the possibilities of what else it could be.
She approached the ruins and the sound stopped. Her heart raced. I know it was coming from here. The area held an unnatural heaviness. A branch cracked behind her and she turned with a start. Something dark darted through the trees.
“Hello?” Her voice sounded muffled in the fog. Emma’s attention snapped to the left. The dark figure ducked out of sight. She took one step backward, and fled.
Heavy footsteps echoed from behind as she plunged through the trees. They were catching up with her. Emma pushed herself to run faster, terrified she’d lose her footing on the uneven ground. The cabin loomed large, a haven in the thick fog. Stumbling across the cabin’s porch, she hurdled through the door and slammed it shut, locking it.
Emma rooted her feet to keep from running around in circles. Straining to hear, she was greeted with eerie silence. Several moments passed before the baby’s cry started again. And this time, it sounded from right outside the door.
***

THE ISLAND Buy Links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/pxq99em
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/nwbq3oz
Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/q36rel8
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/zhe7cej


About the Author:

Clarissa Johal is the author of paranormal novels, THE ISLAND, VOICES, STRUCK, and BETWEEN. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing, taking pictures of gargoyles, or swinging from a trapeze. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters, and every stray animal that darkens their doorstep.

Find Clarissa Online:

Author Website: http://www.clarissajohal.com/
Blog: http://clarissajohal.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarissa.johal.9
Twitter: @ClarissaJohal
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4502113.Clarissa_Johal
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Clarissa-Johal/e/B003KVTMPK/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/clarissajohal/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/101586327494596967316/posts

WIN an ecopy of THE ISLAND by Clarissa Johal

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