BLOG TOUR~BOOK REVIEW~ The golden orphans by Gary raymond

BOOK: The golden orphans

AUTHOR: Gary Raymond

GENRE: thriller, mystery

The golden orphans is a book filled with dark corners, a sense of eerie and a mystery that will take the readers by surprise.

A dark island is visited by an artist whose former friend from art school died in the service of a mysterious Russian benefactor. There, he is offered a job at a funeral which no one attends. After consideration, he accepts the job and thus begins the journey of intensity and stangeness. He paints the dreams and nightmares of his employer. The conclusion, though was anticipated to be a mystery reveal, will manage to take readers by surprise.

The book has an eerie and dark tone to it. As the readers unfold the pages, they are taken to a world that doesn’t belong in their own, yet it’s the most interesting thing. The author has done a great job in weaving a mystery within 155 pages.




Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator


Blog tour~ NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU by NIKKI CRUTCHLEY~book review

BOOK: No One Can Hear You

AUTHOR: Nikki Crutchley

GENRE: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller


NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU is a story of mystery, bravery, larger than life suspense and death threatening scenarios.

Zoe visits her childhood home and town after the death of her mother. She finds clues to a mystery that her mother was on the verge of solving. Meanwhile, her childhood friend who had disappeared as a teenager returns with a tale of abduction of her own. The clues slowly led her to a mystery bigger than what she had anticipated. With people around her at stake, she must solve this labyrinth in order to save many people.

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The author has done a fantastic job on the book. Once you start with the book, you cannot put it down until you have unfolded every single page. The book throws so many curves at the you that you will not be able to find the time to catch your breath. The mystery, the suspense is so well kept that you will not be able to identify the real culprit till the author wants you to know them.


High Res Author photo

Nikki Crutchley lives in Cambridge, New Zealand with her husband and two daughters. No One Can Hear You is Nikki’s second crime novel, set in the small Waikato town of Crawton. Her first book, Nothing Bad Happens Here, a crime/thriller set on the Coromandel Coast of New Zealand was a finalist in the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award for best first novel. Nikki has worked in libraries in New Zealand and the UK and now works as a freelance proofreader. Nikki’s flash fiction has been published online and in the Fresh Ink anthology and the upcoming Bonsai anthology.



BOOK: Mosul legacy
AUTHOR: Christopher Lowery
Here’s an excerpt from MOSUL LEGACY. Enjoy!
‘The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil
is that Good Men Do Nothing.’
Attrib. to Edmund Burke MP, 18th Century.
Mosul, Iraq
June 2014
Allahu Akbar
, Allah is Great!’
The man was known as Karl. His face and limbs were
burned brown from years in the desert and his features
under the spotlight were aquiline and cruel. A livid scar
ran across his right cheek, witness to only one of the
many wars he’d fought for his cause. He had survived so
many battles he’d outlived everyone who had ever borne
arms at his side. He was a living legend, and he was on
the verge of his greatest triumph.
His cry was taken up and repeated by the hundreds
of ISIL jihadists under his command, echoing across the
desert surrounding Qaryat al Ashiq, at the junction of
Route 47 and Highway One, the western entry road into
Mosul, the largest town in northern Iraq. Karl lifted his
AK47 assault rifle and fired into the air. A moment later,
dozens of pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine
guns and spotlights sped off towards the city in deadly
convoys, destroying everything in their path. Each truck
held fighters carrying assault rifles and light machine
guns, mostly captured from previous battles with the
Iraqi army. They blasted their way past the checkpoints
and advanced through the suburbs into the heart of the
city with virtually no opposition from the military or
police contingents.
It was 02:30 in the morning on Wednesday 4th June
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2014 and after the fall of Fallujah, the
City of Mosques
close to Baghdad in central Iraq, it was now Mosul’s turn
to feel the devastating sting of the jihadists’ venom. The
previous night, the ISIL military leader, Abu Abdulrahman
al-Bilawi, had blown himself up to avoid being captured
by the Iraqi police. The police commander, Lieutenant
General Mahdi Gharawi, had hoped this would avert an
attack on the city. He was wrong.
An ancient Assyrian city, Mosul had achieved a brief
moment of fame in July 2003, when Saddam Hussein’s
sons, Qusay and Uday, were killed there in a gun battle
during the allied invasion. The city was the greatest prize
ever targeted by ISIL, with a population of 2.5 million
citizens – ten times that of Raqqa in Syria, which they
captured in 2014 during the civil war against the hated
tyrant, Bashar al-Assad. Raqqa was named as the capital
of the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
by the self-
proclaimed Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Ever since, it
had been a convenient launching pad for incursions into
Iraq by ISIL fighters.
Following Karl’s simple, bold plan, the jihadists came
across Syria’s eastern desert and over the border into the
ancient lands of Nineveh Plains in Iraq’s north-western
territory. Their objective was to secure a couple of
outlying neighbourhoods, but such was their barbaric,
ruthless efficiency and the incompetent and fainthearted
lack of resistance from the Iraqi defence forces, they
reached the Tigris River, which runs through the centre of
Mosul. On the way, they overran several military bases,
strengthening their arsenal with the heavy weapons,
armoured vehicles and ammunition depots they held.
The Iraqis capitulated before their onslaught and the
ISIL fighters captured several key positions in the city.
Karl was astonished at the success of their incursion;
instead of the attack being a hit and run, they had
established a solid base in the heart of Mosul. Despite
having infiltrated hundreds of spies and sleeper cells
amongst the population in the months preceding the
attack, he’d had no inkling of how ill-prepared and
craven their defensive forces were. As the realisation
dawned on him, he had an audacious idea, an idea that
would change the world’s perception of the ISIL jihadist
caliphate. That night, he returned to the desert to meet
other senior militants to prepare a plan of execution and
once again take the Iraqis by surprise.
On June 6th and 7th, ISIL forces attacked the north-
west defences, battering the city with mortar fire, shelling
and missiles. Then, on the morning of June 8th, with four
other commanders, Karl led convoys of four hundred
heavily armed fighters in a hundred trucks into Mosul,
penetrating all areas of the city. They targeted police
stations, the security headquarters and military barracks,
executing all those who failed to escape their wrath. The
sleeper cells that had been waiting for the attack were
activated and carried out selected assassinations of key
political and security officials. The city quickly found
itself leaderless and a state of anarchy took over. For two
more days the ISIL jihadists purged what was left of the
forces of order and captured more strategic objectives.
They seized industrial and government buildings and
infrastructure, including the International Airport
with dozens of fighting helicopters. Large numbers of
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BOOK: Faith
AUTHOR: Chris Parker
Hello everyone! Here’s presenting an excerpt from CHRIS PARKER’S FAITH
Mike Coopland QC hadn’t slept all night. He hadn’t even tried.
Instead he had walked up and down his large, south-facing lounge
rehearsing his opening speech, letting his mind race from one
aspect of the case to another, connecting the dots.
He had made his first cup of coffee half an hour ago. Now he
was on his second. He’d pour the third at 5.30. On trial day the
caffeine barely affected his system; he was too adrenalised for that.
Three strong early morning coffees were simply part of his pre-
trial routine. Just like staying awake all night and prowling the
lounge. Like having a single slice of toast for breakfast instead of
his usual porridge. Like making sure he arrived at court ninety
minutes before the trial was due to start. The pre-trial routine
was an essential part of his success. It meant he was ready before
everyone else. It put him several steps ahead before the race to
battle even started.
Mike stopped pacing, drank a mouthful of coffee, and looked
at the framed photo taken on the day he had been appointed a
Queen’s Counsel; the day he taken silk. His wife, Gemma, was
standing on his right. His two daughters, Sally and Joanne, were
on his left. He was standing there, arms reaching out around them
all, proud as punch, a huge self-satisfied smile on his face.
The photo had been taken twelve years ago. He could remember
it as if it were yesterday. Twelve years of prosecuting and defending
some of the most challenging cases seemed to have gone by in a
flash. But even with twelve year’s experience trial day still made
him tremble with adrenalin, still made his mind race.
Mike found it irresistible. Confidence came with the adrenalin.
Confidence spiced by the memories of his rare defeats – and just
how painful they had been. He was, he knew, part of the best legal
system in the world. Its combative nature brought out the best in
all concerned. No one wanted to lose. For all sorts of reasons.
‘Imagine trying to explain to the world that to be a great silk you
have to be an addict.’ Mike looked at his younger self, still holding
on to the bodybuilder’s physique even though he had stopped
training a few months before the photo was taken. ‘Wouldn’t that
shock and confuse more than a few people?’
He finished his coffee and turned away from the photograph, his
mind switching back to his courtroom narrative. He ran through
the content and the style, the sequencing, the key messages he
needed to share to the jury and the facts he could offer to support
his version of events.
As he taught less experienced barristers, to convince a jury you
not only had to tell the most plausible story, you had to be the
most believable and engaging storyteller. You also had to know
how to turn the jury against your opposition.
When all was said and done, people were influenced by other
people far more than they were by so-called facts.
Mike had known that forever.
Now he was a master at telling a good story whilst making jurors
like him and dislike anyone who tried to tell a different version.
And, no matter how concerned Peter Jones was about Ethan’s
ability to influence or, even, hypnotise people around him, Mike’s
storytelling experience coupled with the way he would ensure
Ethan was presented to the court should make it a slam dunk.
‘And that’s why this particular trial is going to be – ’
‘- Who are you talking to?’
Mike spun round. Joanne was standing in the frame of the
open door. Her long auburn hair was tousled. Sixteen years old.
Precocious. Argumentative. Demanding to be treated as an adult
every time she didn’t get her own way. Still wearing Mickey Mouse
‘I was running through my opening speech, getting myself
ready. What are you doing up so early?’
‘Couldn’t sleep. Came downstairs for a glass of water. Mr
Tomkins says revision and rehearsal the night before a test only
get in the way of a good performance. He says if you’ve prepared
properly the best thing to do is forget about it and make sure you
have a good night’s sleep.’
‘And when, pray, did Mr Tomkins ever try a case in Crown
Joanne shrugged. ‘He’s been in charge of Upper School for
ever, he’s helped thousands of kids do well in their exams. He
must know something. He says last minute revision only affects
the short-term memory, and proper revision means that you get
things fixed in your long-term memory.’
‘Perhaps I should see if I can arrange a lesson with Mr Tomkins?’
‘Don’t see the point.’
‘You’re not the learning type.’ Another shrug. ‘I mean, you must
have been once. You must have been good at it then. But you’re
too fixed now. I think the rut’s too deep for even Mr Tompkins to
get you out of.’
‘Thank you for the vote of confidence.’
‘Just keeping it real.’
‘Real, young lady, is the – ’
‘- Best story, best told. I know. You’ve told us a million times.
That’s my point. I’ve never heard you say anything different.’
‘That’s because it’s true.’
‘You don’t deal only in the truth. You’ve told us that, too. You
said you also have to make people believe you. You’re a good
belief-sharer. And you wouldn’t be so successful at that if the jury
saw you in your dressing gown talking to yourself in the dark.’
‘Once you have created a system that works for you, it makes
sense to keep using it. I’m sure Mr Tompkins must have told you
something about that?’
‘Fair point.’ At least this time he earned the briefest of nods.
‘But a good learner would have worked out how to streamline
their preparation after all these years. They wouldn’t just stick
automatically to the same old thing time after time. That’s more
like superstition than professional practice. Anyway, I’m going
back to bed. Hope you slay ‘em.’
Mike heard her bare feet on the first steps of the staircase. He
realised he was open-mouthed. For the first time ever his pre-
trial routine had been disrupted and demolished. Suddenly, the
adrenalin wasn’t filling him with confidence. He took a large
swallow of his coffee and pulled a face. It was cold.
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BOOK: Raven’s gathering

AUTHOR: Graeme Cumming

Hello everyone! check out the excerpt of RAVEN’S GATHERING by GRAEME CUMMING

In the darkness of his bedroom, he wondered for a moment whether the drums had just been part of a dream. Then he heard something familiar from downstairs. The rhythmic rattle of a latch hitting a strike plate. It was the sound his mother regularly complained about when he came in from playing and didn’t close the door properly. Someone had left a door open, and it was swinging back and forth in the night air.

Sitting up in bed, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. In truth, the sleep was illusory, the pause an unconscious effort to give him a moment to rein in his emotions. And those were wide and varied, covering a range that ran from puzzlement to fear. He realised it must be the middle of the night. The only illumination was the faint glow of a nearby streetlamp through his curtains. So why would his parents leave a door open?

His bed was close to the window, so he pushed the bedclothes back and knelt up, leaning forward to lift a curtain to one side. The street was deserted. Looking to the left, he saw no sign of life. To the right, there was barely enough light to see anything. Just one streetlamp 50 yards away, then nothing.

He had hoped a quick look outside might explain everything, but it didn’t. Now he had to face the prospect of getting out of bed and negotiating the darkness of the house. And the first thing he had to concern himself with was the crocodile under the bed.

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Hello everyone! check out the excerpt of CALCULATED DECEPTION by K.T.LEE

Before the week was over, two FBI agents wearing Indiana Polytechnic sweatshirts and carrying shoulder bags arrived at the mechanical engineering building at 8:55 a.m., just before Dr. Ryland’s first class. If their intel was accurate, her colleague had left for a conference the previous day, and Dr. Ryland’s shared office would be empty inside of five minutes. While Mike and Parker preferred to perform the search at night, when the risk of being caught was lower, Dr. Ryland wouldn’t be careless enough to leave anything important behind in the evenings. Since Enterprise, Indiana, wasn’t usually the epicenter of FBI investigations, this part should be straightforward. Still, Parker had been in the business long enough to know that things often went sideways when you least expected it, and saying anything was “straightforward” was one of the best ways to invite disaster onto your investigation.

Parker and Mike both wore earpieces so they could talk freely without too much notice, even though Dr. Ryland’s office wasn’t on a busy floor. There was no sense in being careless just because there weren’t many people around. Mike edged into the lead position as the two men changed their respective paces to put some distance between them. When Parker caught up to his partner, Mike had positioned his back in a corner. This spot would give him visibility down both hallways that led to the automotive safety lab and his phone would stream the surveillance feed from adjacent hallways. Parker would depend on Mike for defense, and a camera embedded in Parker’s glasses would collect evidence without him needing to extract anything physical during his search. It was as good as it was going to get, considering they were conducting a covert search on a busy campus in broad daylight.

When Parker reached Dr. Ryland’s office, he eased the door shut behind him and began to work. Given the time constraints, he kept his search localized to the office space.

Mike waited a few minutes before giving in to his curiosity; impressive, considering Mike didn’t have a lot of patience and was used to watching a live feed. “Finding anything, buddy?”

“Nothing yet,” Parker said, as he flipped through the files in Dr. Ryland’s desk drawer. Fortunately, the weather was cool, and it looked as if Parker just hadn’t removed his leather gloves upon coming inside, rather than his more calculated motivation of ensuring he wouldn’t leave fingerprints behind. The lab was lined with windows to the hallway, but there was a door separating the lab and the office. He had closed it upon his arrival to minimize exposure, noting the position so he could open it back up again before he left. Parker lifted stacks of papers on her desk and flipped through them. He took a few minutes to read the contents of the papers but didn’t find anything outside of a lot of calculations and diagrams. He carefully arranged them back into the neat, color-coded pile he had found them in. It took a few extra moments, but his attention to detail would ensure he left no evidence of his visit. He pulled out his lock picks and went to work on the only locked desk drawer, briefly glancing at the clock to note the time he had left. The simple lock clicked open and he began to examine the contents of the drawer.

“Shit.” Parker’s body tensed. While he had been reminding his brain that she might be guilty, his gut thought they were chasing the wrong lead. However, he had misjudged the seemingly good-natured Dr. Ryland. “Mikey, she brings the gun to work.” Parker carefully lifted a gun with the muzzle pointing at the floor from Dr. Ryland’s handbag so Mike could see it on video later as adrenaline seeped through his system.

“What is it?”

“Small Glock with a trigger lock.”

“A criminal that locks up her piece out of her possession near the scene of the crime? Too easy, Parker. Keep looking.” Since Mikey was occasionally right, Parker bit his tongue instead of telling his partner that not all criminals were masterminds, and sometimes evidence was easy to find. Parker placed his hand back inside the bag, and his shoulders relaxed a fraction as his mood flipped from angry to amused.

“I just found her concealed carry permit. It matches her purse. Did you know you could buy a purse with a gun pocket and matching concealed carry case?” Parker quipped. Dr. Ryland wasn’t off the hook, but in his years at the Bureau, he hadn’t found a lot of hardened criminals who kept the appropriate paperwork in a stylish case next to a secured weapon. He placed the weapon and paperwork back into the handbag and fiddled with the inexpensive drawer lock until it clicked back into position. Checking his watch, Parker quickly mounted a small surveillance camera in the vent over Dr. Ryland’s desk.

“Class lets out in five minutes, P, and the hallways are about to get busy. You need to get a move on,” Mike’s voice reminded him. Parker opened the door between the lab and the office to precisely the same position he had found it in and took one last look to ensure her office showed no evidence of his visit. It would be nearly impossible to know he’d been there, and while he didn’t have the information he needed, they had a surveillance camera in place. It was a start.

After her class, Ree dropped into her chair, and the air hissed out of the old cushion in response. Teaching could be both exhilarating and exhausting. She swiveled the chair, then placed her feet on the floor to come to a sudden stop. Something was off. Straightening the stack of papers in front of her, she did a quick scan of her lab and made a mental note that she needed to find a lab assistant this semester. Yes, something was definitely off – the lab door usually swung back a bit from full open, no matter how hard she pushed it, but it didn’t seem like it was in the same spot it always settled into. Maybe maintenance had worked on the door or something. Besides, it was just a door, and it wasn’t off by more than a fraction of a degree. Between almost hitting the ceiling when a student came to talk to her several days prior and thinking that same student was trying to hit on her, her internal radar was off in a big way and obviously could not be trusted. Shaking her head to clear it, she opened her laptop and started checking emails when she heard a tap on her door.

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BOOK: The Cold Cold Sea

AUTHOR: Linda Huber

GENRE: Suspense

Hello ladies and gentlemen, I’m hosting the blog tour of THE COLD COLD SEA by LINDA HUBER. Here’s an excerpt from the book that would make you want to read more from it.

The day after Olivia’s disappearance, and the strain is increasing for Maggie and Colin.

Back at the cottage, the helicopter had gone. Howard had told them it would only be searching at low tide today, and the thought that it would be looking for a dead child felt unreal to Maggie. Yesterday’s agony was gone, along with today’s brief hope, and in their place the new heaviness was making every movement so difficult she didn’t know how she was managing to stay upright. She was moving into uncharted waters now. Whatever happened, her life would never be the same again. And with every second that passed, the already miniscule likelihood of getting Livvy back alive was growing smaller, and the dread of what was almost certainly coming was quite unbearable.

Colin strode into the bedroom and yanked the case out from under the bed. He pulled clothes from the wardrobe, squashing t-shirts, jeans, everything in any old way. There was no expression on his face now but Maggie could tell by the set of his jaw that he was at the limit of his endurance.

‘Col, we can’t leave now,’ she said, standing in the doorway. ‘We have to be here in case… when…’

He stared at her, his lips pressed together. He was furious, she could tell, but when he spoke his voice was quiet. Not a gentle kind of quiet, though, but guarded, as if he was afraid of saying too much.

‘Maggie, I just can’t look at you and think of what happened. I have to get away. I’m going to Looe; I promised Joe I’d be back before bedtime. You stay on here if you want, or go back to Carlton Bridge. You know they won’t find her alive now.’

‘No,’ she said, reaching out to him, but he pushed past her to get his things from the bathroom. ‘Colin. Please. We have to get through this together. Joe needs us to be his–’

‘Livvy needed us too,’ he said, and his use of the past tense hurt her even more than the news that it had been a girl called Meredith she’d spent so long staring at today, not Livvy. She watched as he finished packing and then followed him out to the car. He was going to leave again, and this time he wasn’t going to come back.

‘Please, Colin, please don’t go.’

‘No, Maggie. I just– I can’t.’

He flung himself into the driving seat and stabbed the key into the ignition.

This time she didn’t wave as the car bumped away from the cottage.

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