The Lingering – Susi J Holliday @SJIHolliday @orendabooks

The-Lingering cover
Another Mark Swan (aka Kid Ethic) masterpiece. Orenda Books consistently show everyone else how covers should be done. 👌

 

It’s not the first time that you’ve heard it; the sound of running water that appears to come from the bathroom opposite. For the last couple of nights you’ve heard it and at first you thought that it might have been coming from the room upstairs. In this old house the walls are thin and you figure that the woman upstairs just likes to take her bath late at night. But then she left and the sound kept coming; the sound of running water filling a bath tub. Then comes the frantic splashing. Then comes the silence. This particular night you’ve had enough. If someone is playing a practical joke on you it had better end now, tonight. You cross the corridor and sneak up to the bathroom door, listening as the water splashes about and then you throw open the door hoping to catch them in the act (or in the nude, but that’s a chance you’re willing to take). There is nothing there. The bath is bone dry. No water anywhere to be seen. Then a drip hits the top of your head. So it is from upstairs. But there is no one living up there. Thinking it must be a burst pipe you begin to worry that the water will cascade through into your room, so you leap up the stairs two at a time and enter the bathroom, grateful that no one here locks their doors. The sight that greets you takes you by surprise. The bath is full of water, but it isn’t still; it sloshes about, spilling over and onto the floor as if someone is in there thrashing, desperate to get out. What the hell…? You stand and watch horrified when suddenly it calms and stills. It is then that you notice the freezing temperature in the room, but despite this it is full of steam. It fills the room and covers the mirror above the sink. Then as you shiver and wonder what the hell is going on you hear a wet slapping sound. Looking down you see footprints appearing in the water on the bare wooden floorboards, they’re coming towards you. With your mouth going dry, despite the humidity in the room, you see that they turn away from you and move towards the mirror. With mounting terror you hear a wet squeaking noise as a clear path is drawn into the condensed steam with an unseen finger. As the steam starts to clear, and before your unbelieving, terrified eyes, you see the words that are slowly forming as someone, or something, is writing a….blurb:

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

 

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Attend – West Camel @west_camel @orendabooks

 

attend selfie
Orenda really know how to do covers. This is another stunning design, utterly ruined by my beardy mug, by Mark Swan, aka Kid Ethic. Bravo, Mark.

 

The little old lady looks up at you in astonishment: you can see me? she says. You look around for an escape route as, frankly, she has a slightly rheumy, crazy look in her eye and you are beginning to get worried. She shuffles closer, peering up at you, a questioning almost disbelieving look on her face. You mumble an almost imperceptible “yes” and begin to edge away. But she is a stubborn little woman, and she suddenly holds up a tattered old Tesco bag-for-life in your face. The bag looks like it has come to the end of its life and there’s a slightly musty, damp, muddy smell emanating from it, but the little shrunken woman waves it enthusiastically about in front of you. Do you want to see, she asks. No, you really don’t want to see what you strongly suspect are her unwashed undergarments, but she now has you backed up against a wall and your escape routes are becoming more and more limited. Reluctantly you agree and with a huge, toothless grin the walking, talking walnut in an overcoat grabs your hand and suddenly starts to pull you down the street toward a little used, darkened alleyway. “Woah, woah, wait a minute…”, you start to protest, but this old lady has surprising strength and her grip is like iron. She drags you into the alleyway saying that her house is just at the end, round the corner and next to the creek. The creek? That’s where the bodies always get washed up, and you start to sweat with worry, and no little embarrassment, that you have been apprehended maybe to be murdered by a desiccated old woman. Oh, the ignominy of it all. You wish you’d worn clean underwear. Suddenly the sweat oozing from your palms enables you to pull you hand free and the two of you fall apart; the momentum causing the old lady to fly off into the wall ahead and her bag is thrown into the air. The contents spill out over you as you fall with a thump to the ground. Its contents revealed you discover that it is not her unwashed smalls that you have spread across your face, but pieces of fabric embroidered with something neat and intricate. The old woman curses a little under her breath as you stare in amazement at the detail woven into the cloth. You are mesmerised and jump as the old woman appears next to you out of nowhere. She smiles, offering a helping hand as you stand. She lays the cloth out on the floor of the alley, all thoughts of abduction, murder and the smell of fresh piss – your own as it turns out, adding to the ignominy – forgotten as she begins to explain what the tiny stitching means.

What is revealed is something truly magical.

Something you will never forget and will live to tell your children and grandchildren about.

You thank the fates that you met this old woman as she reveals to you her….blurb.

 

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.

Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

 

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Good Samaritans – Will Carver @will_carver @orendabooks @annecater #GoodSamaritans #BlogTour

GOOD SAMARITANS AW PR1.indd

 

You’ve been watching the house across the road from your little Skoda for a while now; what the hell is going on over there? The man that you presume lives there has been acting very oddly for a few weeks now. Yesterday he came home with several bags filled with what looked like bottles of bleach. Maybe he’s just a germaphobe about to give the house a damn good scrubbing? Whilst you eat the last chunk of your chocolate bar his car appears out of nowhere, pulling up abruptly in his drive. Wiping a chocolatey dribble from your chin, you watch as the man sits there in the driver’s seat for a few minutes before getting out and popping the boot open. It’s dark now and you struggle to see what he is getting out of the boot, but it looks like a large roll of…carpet? It’s definitely cylindrical and about the size of…a human? No, don’t be silly, that stuff only happens in movies or in badly written book reviews. Still, you watch as the man struggles to keep a grip of the object, taking photos on your phone’s camera. Suddenly the man’s feet give way from underneath him and he falls to the ground, dropping the object onto the floor. He swears loudly as it rolls away from him. He manages to grab one end, but that only causes the object to unravel  towards your car. You watch in horror as the object unfurls before you, but instead of a body inside you see, writing? Surely you are mistaken, but what appears to be inside the object is far more disturbing than a body.

It is…. a blurb.

 

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

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The Doll Collector – Joanna Stephen-Ward @operalover12 @damppebbles @bloodhoundbook #blogtour

The-Doll-Collector-Kindle

You are starting to become a tad worried. The new neighbour in the flat next door is beginning to creep you out. At first you thought that you may have been overreacting; she was just being over friendly, a little too confident, nervous about meeting new people maybe? But then you noticed things going missing at home: the ring you were given by your mother has gone; the little yellow duck that you’ve had since you were two and won in a Hook-The-Duck game at the fair; the conker you had pickled after it won fifteen, yes fifteen games in a row and made you into a playground sensation for the whole of the half term; and, most upsetting of all, the little pendant containing the small, dark, curly hair that you found in the urinal after you followed Brian May into the toilets in Selfridges one Christmas. You wonder whether they got lost in the move, but you’re sure that they were there before. Then there are the other things: the TV being left on a different channel to the one you know you left it on; the coffee spoon being clean and put back into the drainer; the letters on the side table all being straightened up and neatly aligned in size order. You start to think you’re being haunted by a ghost with OCD, but the rational part of your mind suspects the new neighbour. And then there is the letter addressed to you personally, in a childish writing. You found it on your door mat when you came home. You open it and pull out the piece of paper inside. You stare in disbelief at what is written on it. You can’t believe anyone would stoop so low as to write this.

In your trembling hands, sweat pouring from your brow, scarcely able to believe it, is written…..a blurb.

 

Murders that look like accidents. An accident that looks like murder.

A couple and their young son burn to death in a house fire.
A girl dies from a nut allergy.
A woman falls under a train during the rush hour.
An accountant falls down the steps to his basement.
Their deaths appear to be accidents but Gloria knows they were murdered because she murdered them. And every time Gloria kills she buys a doll.
But how many dolls will she need to keep her satisfied?
When Gloria takes a room as a lodger her behaviour starts to spin out of control. Gloria wants love and happiness and friendship and she will do anything she can to get what she wants..

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Her Last Move – John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @amazonpub @emmafinnegan #blogtour #HerLastMove

Her Last Move cover

 

It’s not easy being the baddie: erasing evidence; disposing of bodies in ever increasingly different and hard-to-find ways; watching out for CCTV cameras; researching into the intended victim’s routine and every move; thinking of an imaginatively appropriate method of killing them… seriously, it is exhausting. This last one was particularly tricky – getting the tube of Pringles inserted into their fundement, and getting Sniffles the gerbil to actually go inside, was way harder than he imagined it would be –  but that makes it all the more satisfying in the end. Now he gets to settle back and bask in a job well done. After all, they had it coming to them and no one is going to cry after them once he tells everyone what they were really like. As always, he uncorks a bottle of his favourite red wine, opens a new packet of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes (for some reason Pringles no longer appeal), and settles down to celebrate in his own little way. The tea cakes are sticky and delicious as always, and as he takes a sip of wine – raising a small toast to the forever traumatised, reluctant, and now sweetcorn averse, accomplice Sniffles, who hasn’t even touched his celebratory teacake – he mentally goes back through the moments immediately after the kill, and, in a moment of clarity – or Clarety, if you will – he spits out the wine in a spray covering the packet of Tunnock’s and the the table in front of him.

He’s forgotten something.

He’s left something behind at the scene of the crime. Something he was not supposed to.

He left behind….a blurb.

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

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Don’t Open The Door – A Cautionary Halloween Tale.

Hello and a very warm welcome to a special Halloween edition of the Beardy Book Blogger.

Why is it special, I hear you cry?

Well, you see, as it is Halloween I decided on the spur of the moment to write a short story.

I know right? I was sitting there last night quietly minding my own business when my brain piped up and said, “Hey, why not write a short story for your blog? That would be fun, right? Right?”

Stupid brain. Anyway, several hours later (No, it was not rattled off in 5 minutes, but it doesn’t show 😉 ), I had a finished story.

quite like it.

This is the first piece of fiction that I have written since I left school. Ok, I know my reviews have the element of fiction about them, but this is the first time that I have committed pixel to screen in a purely original and fictional format and put it out there for EVERYONE TO READ!

WHAT AM I DOING THAT FOR? ARGHHHHHHH!

Well, I guess it is Halloween and it supposed to be the scariest time of the year, right? So why not scare both myself and you with my terrible writing skills?

Exactly, that’s what I thought too.

So, without further ado, or adon’t, your choice, please sit back, dim all the lights and enjoy (?) “Don’t Open The Door – A Cautionary Halloween Tale”.

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Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen @antti_tuomainen @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour

PALM BEACH PROOF COVER AW

 

It’s a beautiful day down at the beach; the sun is shining, the wind is practically non-existent, and the temperature is a balmy 25ºC – just how you like it. There are several other people around, but not too many to spoil the perfect day you have been looking forward to all week. You take a sip of the cocktail you bought earlier at the little bar facing the sea, nearly taking your eye out with the little plastic pink flamingo that the barman put in despite your protestations; all part of the experience, you guess. There are flamingo images everywhere: on the beach signs, on the sunbeds, even the toilets are differentiated by a flamingo with a top hat on and one with a tiara on. The only thing missing are actual, real flamingos. All at once the peace is shattered by an explosion behind the dunes. you spill your cocktail, sending the little flamingo flying, where it lands beak first in the sand. As you wonder what the hell has happened, and as the other people all cry out in alarm, a piece of burning paper lands on top of you. Panicking you swat it away, throwing the rest of your cocktail onto it to douse the flames (which are extinguished with a weak fizzle; you suspected there was little actual alcohol in there). Once the flames are out you cautiously pick it up and realise that there is writing on it, untouched by the flames. You haven’t got your glasses on – they flew off with the flamingo – but as you squint you realise that in your hands you hold….a blurb!

“Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.

With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.”

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