Saturday, 27 May 2017

All The Good Things by Clare Fisher #BlogTour @claresitafisher @VikingBooksUK

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?
All the Good Things is a story about redemption and hope for fans of Nathan Filer, Stephen Kelman and Emma Healey

All The Good Things by Clare Fisher is published in hardback on 1 June 2017 by Viking Books, and is the author's first novel. Welcome to my spot on the Blog Tour.

'Write down the good things about life?'
'But what it .... I can't think of any?'
If you've never seen a sad smile, you should've seen hers just then, 'You will.'

All The Good Things is short novel at just under 230 pages, but each page is carefully composed and incredibly compelling. It's sometimes a difficult read, there are issues dealt with that are emotionally wearing, yet the author's compassion and insight shines clearly through her writing.

Beth is in prison, serving her sentence after committing a terrible crime. She knows what she did is unforgivable and is prepared for a lifetime of being hated, and hating herself. Her counsellor Erika, has asked her write down all of the good things in her life. For Beth, this seems an almost impossible task, but she begins to remember, and the novel is made up of Beth's memories.

Clare Fisher has very cleverly structured her novel. Each short chapter relates to one of Beth's experiences, and as Beth remembers, the reader begins to understand her. 

All The Good Things is not just emotionally moving and compassionate, it is also littered with humour and with joy. Beth's life experiences have been shocking, and have certainly contributed to her current situation. Her voice is honest and realistic.

Does having done a bad thing always make one a bad person? Clare Fisher takes this question and carefully and patiently gives the reader many things to consider.

An accomplished debut novel, which I'd recommend.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part in this Blog Tour.

Clare Fisher was born in Tooting, south London, in 1987. After accidentally getting obsessed with writing fiction when she should have been studying for a BA in History at the University of Oxford, Clare completed an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and now works as a bookseller in Leeds.

An avid observer of the diverse area of south London in which she grew up, Clare's writing is inspired by her long-standing interest in social exclusion and the particular ways in which it affects vulnerable women and girls.

All the Good Things is her first novel.

Find out more at
Follow her on Twitter @claresitafisher

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell #BlogTour @LeighRussell @noexitpress #DeadlyAlibi

The ninth novel in the DI Geraldine Steel series 
A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round, lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest. Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .
Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt... Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life.
When her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, her problems threaten to make Geraldine's life turn toxic in more ways than one.

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell, the ninth novel in the DI Geraldine Steel series and published by No Exit Press in paperback on 25 May 2017.

I'm really pleased to welcome the author here to Random Things today, she's talking about the books that are important to her, and have inspired her, in My Life In Books

My Life In Books ~ Leigh Russell

As far back as I can remember, my life has revolved around books. As a shy child, I was always lost in fictional worlds, and after spending four years studying literature at university I went on to teach literature for decades. Then, in my fifties, for no particular reason, I began writing fiction. So to select half a dozen books that have influenced my life is a tough call. There are so many to choose from!

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis is one of the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. I loved the whole series which whisks the reader away into a land of talking animals. Of course C.S. Lewis is really writing about the magical worlds created by our imagination as we read.

This leads on to my next book. Is it cheating to choose the complete works of Shakespeare in this list? In his prologue to Henry V Shakespeare wonders how a few actors on a small stage can represent the 'vasty fields of France', (the vast battlefields where Henry fought), ships sailing across the ocean, and armies on horseback engaged in battle. So he invites his audience to 'suppose' - in other words, to imagine. 'Think when we talk of horses that you see them,' he says, summing up how fiction works its magic.

To Kill a Mockingbird made a lasting impression on me, as the first book I read that dealt with adult themes. It was only later that I appreciated the skilful layering of the narrative, with the reader understanding more than the child who is telling us the story. It remains one of my favourite books.

Wuthering Heights was a huge influence on me when I was young. Rereading the book now, I am surprised by the romantic appeal of Heathcliff who is, in fact, a sadist who torments and kills his dog and beats his wife. But to my young imagination his wild passion seemed heroic and wonderful. I still love the power of this novel, even though my viewpoint has shifted.

As a crime writer, Conan Doyle is one of my icons. Apart from the complex appeal of Sherlock Holmes, the plots in Conan Doyle's stories are ingenious and yet plausible at the same time.

Skipping through my reading history, and coming right up to date, my final book is an evocation of life in America seen through the eyes of a teenager growing up in a culture from which he feels alienated. Dodgers by Bill Beverly is a real tour de force, a crime novel that is also a road trip and coming of age narrative, and an exploration of the complexities of modern day American society. 

Leigh Russell - May 2017

Leigh Russell has sold over a million crime fiction novels, and writes full time. Published in Englishand in translation throughout Europe, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, and reached #1 on kindle. Leigh's work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are in development for television with major television production company Avalon Television.

Leigh writes the Lucy Hall mystery series published by Thomas and Mercer.

Find out more about Leigh at where news, reviews and interviews are posted, with a schedule of Leigh's appearances.


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

My Life In Books ~ talking to author Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @Bookoutre #MyLifeInBooks

My Life in Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've asked authors and people in publishing to share with us a list of the books that are important to them and have made a lasting impression on their life

I'm so pleased to welcome author Barbara Copperthwaite to Random Things today. I recently read and reviewed her latest novel, The Darkest Lies, here's a snippet from my review:

"One of the first things that attracted me to this story was the setting. The wild and sometimes quite desolate Lincolnshire Fens. I live in Lincolnshire and I like nothing better to be able to really see a setting when I read a book. Barbara Copperthwaite has based the village of Fenmere on Friskney, and her great knowledge of the place adds so much to the telling of the story. That damp, silent, mysterious fenland takes centre stage in this book, beautifully and authentically described."

 Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. Her latest book, THE DARKEST LIES, is out on 12 May.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years' experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She's interviewed the real victims of crime - and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That's why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs. 
To find out more about Barbara's novels, go or follow @BCopperthwait on Twitter. To find out more about Barbara go to 

My Life in Books ~ Barbara Copperthwaite

This is the book that made me enjoy reading. I’ve no idea how old I was when I read this, but I do know that prior to this I wasn’t fussed. The children’s adventures ignited not just a lifelong love of reading, but also of nature.

The first moment I really realised I had fallen in love with words, as well as reading. I read out the description of Wiggins to my mum and we laughed at it. I had to share it with someone because it was so wonderfully descriptive of not just his appearance but also his personality. Wonderful!

My first ‘proper’ book, marking the change from children’s books to something heavier and more adult. It’s iconic, unique, and a rite of passage in the world of reading.

When I was 12 I was bought my first Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. I became officially hooked. He looked at the world sideways on, and cleverly manipulated everything, truly holding a mirror up to the world so that the reflection was back to front. It made me see things differently, too; as well as making me laugh out loud.

I was supposed to study this for my GCSE English Literature exam, but spent two years avoiding it because it ‘sounded dull’. I’m really not sure how I managed to pass the exam, but by a miracle I did – and with a good grade! I took English Lit at A-level, and was gutted to discover that, by a strange quirk of exam board curriculum, I was going to spend ANOTHER two years avoiding Great Expectations. I caved, and read it. Suddenly I understood what all the fuss was about. The immense character arc of Pip is stunning; from childhood to snobbish adulthood, to finally coming to his senses through the most tragic of circumstances. It’s a book I often re-read. Which is ironic, really, given how much I avoided it…

I didn’t used to read detective novels until I came across Detective Sergeant Logan McRae, Stuart MacBride’s creation. The crimes he investigates are gritty and gory, but the banter between him and his colleagues is so deliciously dark and realistic that it always makes me laugh. Thanks to him, I started to read other detective series and crime authors, then psychological thrillers…and look at me now, writing my own! So DS Logan McRae will always have a special place in my heart.

I’d had the idea for my first novel, Invisible, for a long time, but after reading Engelby something seemed to click, and suddenly I knew I was going to try to write it. It inspired me because it was a first person story that was so utterly different from anything else I’d read. The character Sebastian Faulks creates is totally absorbing, and never once did I think ‘he wouldn’t do that.’ I lost myself in Engleby’s weird world.

Some writing is so beautiful that I am gripped with an urge to read sections out loud, just so that I can hear the jewel-like words as well as see them, somehow maximizing the pleasure and sharing the joy with others. This is one such book. Vividly described, and wonderfully written, Meadowland gives a unique and intimate account of an English meadow’s life from January to December. This is a book to fall in love with and read again and again and again.

An urbane sociopath who ‘only’ kills when he has to. Patricia Highsmith was an author way ahead of her time, and this was never more obvious than when she created Tom Ripley. Patricia Highsmith managed to create a killer who somehow became a sort of anti-hero that readers loved so much that she wrote five books featuring him. She was an author way ahead of her time.

The story itself is simple that, if it were told in a straightforward manner, this book may not have been the huge hit that it was. But it’s not only beautifully-written, but cunningly structured, with bits of the tale told as if they are random memories drifting through the unconscious mind of the main character, Alice, who is in a coma. Piecing the narrative together is addictive. This novel is stunning, and a total heartbreaker.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Twisted, brilliantly-plotted, and a must-read; this book is one I still recommend to anyone who’ll listen, two years after reading it.

Barbara Copperthwaite ~ May 2017 

Monday, 22 May 2017

He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly @mserinkelly @HodderBooks

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever. 
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly was published in hardback by Hodder on 20 April 2017.

There is no doubt that Erin Kelly is one of the best authors of psychological, twisty, surprising stories out there. She is incredibly talented and He Said/She Said is, in my view, her best book to date.

This is not an easy read, but it is completely and utterly gripping. My weekend flew by whilst reading it, everything that I'd planned to do went out of the window, as I sat and read, and read, and read.

Told by two voices; Laura and Kit, over fifteen years, moving back and forth with ease, the structure is perfect. The reader meets a young couple, madly in love and just starting out on their life journey together. Free and easy, they are educated, bright and wholly believable. Kit has inherited a love of 'eclipse chasing' from his father, and in 1999 they travel to Cornwall, with Kit's twin brother and his partner to witness the eclipse.

It is this trip that changes everything that they'd planned. When they stumble upon a young woman face down in the mud and a man on top of her, Laura has to act. This is not an act of love, this is an act of violence, and Laura is determined that he will not go unpunished. Her choice of words whilst testifying in the witness box ... just a couple of words .... impact on so many, and for so long.

Fifteen years later, Kit and Laura are paranoid and scared. Their lives, their identity and their future is scarred by that act in Cornwall all those years ago. As Kit leaves for the Faroe Islands for yet another eclipse, heavily pregnant Laura is left at home, with her fears and her memories.

What follows is a clever, immersive and ambitious story that pulls the reader right into its heart, and doesn't let go. Characters that are created with such skill, a story that weaves around so quickly that you begin to feel dizzy. Plus an intelligent and well researched insight into the minds and feelings of those people who chase the eclipse all over the world.

I didn't expect the ending! It crept up on me and felt like a blinding punch between the eyes, turning everything that I'd believed in upside down. Clever clever writing, incredible plotting and faultless narrative.

Erin Kelly's writing is razor sharp. He Said/She Said is a story that preys on the mind and raises questions that are very difficult to answer. Shocking and tense, this is a stunner!

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Erin Kelly is the author of the critically acclaimed psychological thrillers The Poison TreeThe Sick Rose and The Burning Air. In 2013, The PoisonTree became a major ITV drama starring MyAnna Buring, Matthew Goode and Ophelia Lovibond. It was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011, and was longlisted for the 2011 CWA John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger Award. The novel has been translated into eleven languages. The Ties That Bind was her fourth novel, and was followed in August by Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the first season of 2013's mega-hit ITV series. 

She was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex, read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998, writing for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and The Mirror, and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire and Elle. She lives in north London with my husband and daughters.

For more information about Erin Kelly and her books, see her website, : she also has a Facebook author page, and you can follow her on Twitter @mserinkelly

Hunting The Hangman by Howard Linskey #BlogTour @HowardLinskey @noexitpress #MyLifeInBooks

Bestselling author Howard Linskey's fifteen year fascination with the assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the holocaust, has produced a meticulously researched, historically accurate thriller with a plot that echoes The Day of the Jackal and The Eagle has Landed.

2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on a man so evil even fellow SS officers referred to him as the "Blond Beast". In Prague he was known as the "Hangman". Hitler, who called him "The Man with the Iron Heart", considered Heydrich to be his heir, and entrusted him with the implementation of the Final Solution to the Jewish question: the systematic murder of eleven million people.

In 1942 two men were trained by the British SOE to parachute back into their native Czech territory to kill the man ruling their homeland. Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik risked everything for their country. Their attempt on Reinhard Heydrich's life was one of the single most dramatic events of the Second World War, with horrific consequences for thousands of innocent people.

Hunting the Hangman is a tale of courage, resilience and betrayal with a devastating finale. Based on true events, the story reads like a classic World War Two thriller and is the subject of two big-budget Hollywood films that coincide with the anniversary of Operation Anthropoid.

Hunting The Hangman by Howard Linskey is published in paperback on 25 May 2017 by No Exit Press.

I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today as part of the Blog Tour. He's talking about the books that have inspired him and are special to him, in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books ~ Howard Linskey

My dad read this to me during a week-long, rain-filled caravan holiday when I was nine years old and I loved it. You’ve got to go a long way to find a scarier character than Blind Pew and Long John Silver was probably the first ‘baddie’ I found myself rooting for while hoping he would escape. The chapter where young Jim Hawkins and his group defend a stockade from pirate attack was the most exciting thing I’d encountered in a book at my young age.

Lesser known than Wyndham’s ‘The Day of The Triffids’ or ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’, ‘The Chrysalids’ had me hooked when I was about twelve. A post-apocalyptic story about a religious community that expels or kills anyone with a physical abnormality, not realising that some of their number, including young David Strorm and his sister, possess the power of telepathy. Keeping their secret from superstitious fellow villagers becomes harder as the children grow up and things begin to seriously unravel. This one had me turning the pages in double quick time so I could find out what happened to the special children.

I was a bit older for this one; fourteen or so and ‘A Kind of Loving’ was the first book I’d encountered about normal life in a northern town. It made me realise you could write about anywhere, as long as you do it well. Vic gets his girlfriend Ingrid pregnant and is forced to marry her, even though they are far from well-suited then they move in with his appalling mother in law. Vic feels trapped in his town, his job and his marriage and dreams of a way out. He’s not the nicest or most sympathetic of characters but Barstow makes him seem very real in his rebellion against provincial small-mindedness and longing for a more meaningful life.

“It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.” We know from the opening sentence that something is very wrong in Winston Smith’s world. Always relevant, it was originally written as a reaction to Stalin’s evil dictatorship but can serve equally well nowadays as a parable for Donald Trump’s post-truth, alternative-fact, lying-through-his teeth era.

I wanted my novel ‘Hunting the Hangman’ to appeal to readers of ‘The Day of the Jackal’ or ‘The Eagle Has Landed’.  In those stories it doesn’t matter that you already know the ending (spoiler alert - they didn’t kill Winston Churchill in this one!). It’s the characters we care about. Their involvement in a seemingly impossible mission and a desire to know their fates will keep you reading to the end.

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” From that wonderful opening line we are transported into Leo’s world. An old man looks back on his childhood and the catastrophic effect on his entire life of a tragedy he was embroiled in. The writing is so good I still love this novel despite being forced to write essays about it for A level; surely the sign of a great book. 

There were always books in our house and my dad had shelves full of Le Carre and Len Deighton novels that I picked up and got into during my late teens and early twenties. This would still be my desert Island book if I could take only one. It has everything. Le Carre writes beautifully and this is a complex, page turning story that deftly illustrates the devastating power of betrayal. I love the book and I probably know most of the lines. It’s worth a read for the character of George Smiley alone.

I was in the world of work by the time I read this one. A man spends the best part of his life in service to another, under the assumption that his employer means well and knows best, only to slowly realise he has been working for a Nazi appeaser. Stevens is a butler for Lord Darlington and his entire life is devoted to service. In later life he begins to question the wisdom of this. It’s a book about regret and missed opportunities, particularly where the former housekeeper is concerned. Stevens drives to meet Miss Kenton to persuade her to return to Darlington Hall after twenty years. As he travels, we jump back and forth from his present to a time when he was a younger man. What mattered most to Stevens then was his dignity, even at the cost of living a real life.

Howard Linskey ~ May 2017

Originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, he now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

His David Blake books have been optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron. They are published in the UK by No Exit Press, in Germany by Droemer Knaur and in the US by Harper Collins. The Times newspaper voted 'The Drop' one of its Top Five Thrillers of the Year and 'The Damage' one of its Top Summer Reads. Both books broke into the top five Amazon Kindle chart. 

‘The Search' is the third book in a crime fiction series written by Howard Linskey for Penguin Random House, featuring journalists Tom Carney & Helen Norton with police detective Ian Bradshaw. The other titles in this series are 'No Name Lane' and ‘Behind Dead Eyes’. He is also the author of ‘Hunting the Hangman’ a historical thriller about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during WW2.

Howard's web site is
Follow him on Twitter at @HowardLinskey

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Lies Within by Jane Isaac #BlogTour @JaneIsaacAuthor @LegendPress #TheLiesWithin

Be under no illusions by her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder.
Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter's body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace's only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss.
DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.
When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before she is convicted of a crime she didn't commit?
A gripping thriller perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson, B A Paris and Sophie Hannah

The Lies Within by Jane Isaac was published in paperback by Legend Press on 2 May 2017 and is the third in the DI Will Jackman series.  I read and reviewed the previous book, Beneath The Ashes, here on Random Things in November last year.

DI Will Jackman is one of my favourite fictional policemen and Jane Isaac is fast becoming a favourite author. Yet again she has delivered a story that is extremely well written, there is a real air or authenticity to it, the police procedural details, the courtroom and the intricacies of the human psyche are all dealt with so very well.

Just as in the last of the series, The Lies Within begins with a prologue that is tense and mysterious, and shapes the whole of the story. A courtroom, a woman accused of murder, is she guilty?

Will Jackman is away from his home base in Stratford, He's working in Leicester and has been tasked with investigating procedural matters relating to old cases. However, when a young girl is murdered and the case has so many similarities to one of the old cases, Jackman has to get involved. Despite his lingering injuries from a previous case, and the tragedy of his beloved wife, laying in hospital in a vegetative state after a serious accident, he is a committed and determined police officer.

Whilst Jackman is certainly the lead character in The Lies Within, Jane Isaac has also created some wonderful female characters to support him. Not least of these is Grace Daniels, the mother of the murdered girl, and the accused woman of the prologue. She's sparky and intelligent, and grieving and angry. She's vulnerable, gullible and hurting, and it is this combination of emotions that lead her to prison, on remand for murder.

I was gripped by The Lies Within, it's twisty, emotional with superb characterisation and excellent psychological insight. I'm looking forward to meeting DI Jackman again soon.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part in this blog tour.

Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the 'eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.' 

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as 'Thriller of the Month - April 2014' by and winner of 'Noveltunity book club selection - May 2014'. 

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It's Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, will be published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, to follow on 2nd May 2017.

Both DI Jackman and DCI Lavery will return again in the near future. Sign up to Jane's newsletter on her website at for details of new releases, events and giveaways.

Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @JaneIsaacAuthor