Kickback by Steven Jacob

Kickback copy

Hey Action/ Adventure fans! This week we’re celebrating the release of Steven Jacob’s exciting novella, Kickback!

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kickback

Kickback (Chris Hunter #1)

Publication Date: January 27th, 2020

Genre: Adventure/ Novella

Excerpt

The apartment was shrouded in darkness, he could see vague shapes, outlines that could be anything from a sofa to a table to a refrigerator and all the other sundry that populate an urban apartment. There was something else, too, that struck him immediately. There was a sickly-sweet smell, as of something rotting, like someone left a slab of steak on the counter for a week.

Chris felt along the wall until he found a switch and flipped on the lights. He closed his eyes against the sudden onslaught of light and only opened them a few seconds later, slowly blinking to adjust to the illumination. What he saw when he opened them fully knocked him back a step.

There was a dead body sitting in a chair in the middle of the kitchen.

Now Available!

Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Kobo

About the Author

Steven Jacob is an international attorney who has lived and worked in Southeast Asia for over ten years. He speaks Vietnamese and is familiar with the history, norms, and cultures of the region. He grew up in the United States and lived in several places in the West. He went to school in Utah and California. He has been writing since the second grade when he discovered epic fantasy and science fiction, though he doesn’t write in those genres now. He has published several books independently.

Steven Jacob | Twitter | Facebook

 

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Button
R&R Book Tours

Watch Over Me by Jane Renshaw

4 Stars from me

Well if this isn’t the sweariest book I’ll read this year then I’ll eat my f***ing hat hen.

Packed full of F-words, heavy Scottish dialect, casual violence (and good old fashioned hardcore violence and murder), Watch Over Me is humdinger of a story.

It is a book that needs you to suspend belief a little and just go with it – I think if you can successfully do that then you will love Watch Over Me.

There are some superb characters in here – Lorraine, Saskia, Caroline, Beckie, Aylish to name but a few (most of the Johnson clan deserve a mention to be fair although I did get a little lost at times are there are a few of them!). I do wish that Flora and Neil had had a bit more about them though, I couldn’t really find myself bonding with Flora unfortunately – Jeez what does it say about me that I preferred Lorraine to Flora?! Don’t answer that…

There are so many layers to this book and lots of twists, turns and surprises – if you like a psychological thriller that will keep you on your toes then this is the book for you!

My thanks to Damp Pebbles and Jane Renshaw for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Flora always dreamed of the day she’d become a mother. But some dreams turn into nightmares.

Flora and Neil are happily married, but they can’t have children so decide to adopt. And when Flora  meets little Beckie it’s love at first sight. Deep in her heart, she knows they’re meant for each other, destined to be mother and daughter.

When Flora officially becomes Beckie’s mum, it’s like a part of her that’s always been missing is finally in place. She is complete, every day filled with purpose and joy.

There’s only one problem. Beckie was taken from her birth family, the Johnsons, because they have a history of violence and criminal behaviour and so are judged to be unfit to care for a child.

But the Johnsons don’t agree. As far as they’re concerned, Flora has stolen their little girl and they are determined to get her back. They’re very smart, utterly ruthless – and they have a plan. One that will turn Flora’s life into a living hell and push her to the very edge of insanity. 

Operation Large Scotch by William Flockhart

3 Stars from me

This is an astounding debut novel from an author in his seventies – the storyline is deep and engaging and you are quickly pulled into the life of a young man sent away to South Africa (for his own safety), alongside that of the terror and tensions of military life in Northern Ireland at the time.

For me, the writing style had hallmarks of a seasoned male and I know my father in law would love all of the nuances and the tone of the dialogue!

My thanks to Emma from Damp Pebbles for letting me take part in this blog tour.

 

Synopsis: A dissident IRA terrorist cell, in opposition to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, plan to attack the Scotch Whisky Industry unless the British Government pay a ransom.

Armitage Brown, the assistant controller of M15, is given the task of preventing the threat which is planned to coincide with the Millenium Celebrations. Brown co-ordinates all the emergency services under his command in an effort to minimise casualties, using the code name ‘O.L.S.’ an abbreviation for Operation Large Scotch.

Both the terrorists and the security forces have carried out murderous deeds in the past which now come back to haunt them. John Jonhston, a young Northern Irishman, living thousands of miles away in South Africa releases information to Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service, in his effort to seek revenge for the killing of his father in Belfast.

The Introvert Confounds Innoncence by Michael Paul Michaud

4 Stars from me

Bit of an odd one… literally! This is one of the most unusual books I have read in a long while, featuring one of the most unusual lead characters.

I shall have to call him ‘the introvert’ for we do not learn his name, and he is SO introverted it really is a bit of a mystery to me that he managed to ensnare the long suffering Donna! Let alone that she helps him ‘achieve it’.

I liked the reference to the ‘Columbo’ sells technique, swiftly followed by the Columboesque detective, in fact there were several clever little references throughout this engaging tale and I liked it more and more as I read it.

For such a simple style, there are a lot of ‘hot’ topics covered in the story – discrimination and domestic violence to name but two. However, this very much slips under the radar of a good – but quirky – story and the Introvert’s desire to see people ‘red and open’ is all too relatable!

He is a dark but delightful character and his antics are somewhat of a guilty pleasure! I look forward to seeing what he gets up to in future books.

My thanks to Anne from Random Things Tours for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Synopsis: THE INTROVERT CONFOUNDS INNOCENCE continues the story of the eponymous anti-hero introduced in THE INTROVERT.

With his life disrupted by an unscrupulous work colleague and a bully at his son Toby’s school, things go from bad to worse when his neighbor’s abusive boyfriend goes missing, plunging the introvert into the center of a murder investigation.

Increasingly hounded by a meddlesome detective, and with his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.

Keeper by Jessica Moor

4 Stars from me

This is a sad yet captivating psychological thriller which will (and should) get under your skin.

Split into ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ we follow (mostly) Katie and how she falls prey to a calculating abuser and becomes trapped in a spiral of subtle and steady abuse. I think anyone reading this book needs to think about their own family members and their own circle of friends – a hugely sad part of this story for me was that Katie’s friends and family essentially let her down and pretty much helped Jamie build his prison of coercive control around her. Her mum was taken in by his charm and ignored the red flags and her friends just let go…

‘Now’ focuses on the police who are initially investigating Katie’s death, and is told primarily from the point of view of Detective Sergeant Whitworth, although also by some of the women living in the Widringham women’s refuge.

DS Whitworth is old school and seemed a little of out his depth at times. I felt he was lacking in awareness and quite possibly this is real issue for victims. His younger side kick, DC Brookes seems more able to relate and there are hints at some darkness from his past which suggest a reason for him being able to connect with the women and children at the refuge.

Val who runs the refuge is a great character and I like to think that there are plenty of Vals in the world striving and pushing in order to provide a little bit of sanctuary and safety for people in this situation.

There is a great pace to the plot of this book and the alternating between ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ added a measure of urgency – particularly so in the ‘Then’ parts as it almost felt like Katie could be saved.

Knowing the writer has experience of working in the sector adds a layer of credibility.

I didn’t enjoy the ending.

Just BTW, I found Keeper hard to find on Good Reads, it seems to be listed on there are The Keeper but I could only find it by searing the authors name.

 

Synopsis: He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes.
Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside.

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

An addictive literary page-turner about a crime as shocking as it is commonplace, Keeper will leave you reeling long after the final page is turned.

The One Who Got Away by L A Detwiler

3 Stars from me

I wish I could give it more, I’m a bit torn here for in places (pretty much the middle chunk) it deserves more but there are a few reasons why I am going to stick with a 3:

a) It depicts a dreadful state of affairs and abuse which is not addressed

b) There are so many loose ends

c) The beginning and end really let the book down

The biggie there is a), this book paints a dreadful and frankly terrifying picture of life in a residential care home – the residents of the home or subject to appalling behaviour from the staff and it is portrayed in a ‘oh you will get used to it’ kind of a way. Anyone who was at that point in their life (either as a parent or a child) would be devastated to read this. It would have been better if there had been ‘a couple of bad apples’ among the staff, Jones for example but the rest were good and the system was good.

Overlooking that for a moment, there were some great elements of suspense and drama – and the main thrust of the storyline was good. However the chances of her ending up in a home with two people from the past were, I thought, a stretch too far.

 

Synopsis: “Get out while you can. You’ll die here…”

Adeline Evans has recently moved into a home for the elderly. A safe space, where she can be cared for.

When she begins to receive cryptic and threatening notes, she is certain that someone is out to get her.

But the residents are warned against listening to a woman who is losing her memory. It would seem Adeline is tormented by the secrets in her past, and that the menace is all in her mind.

Until danger comes down the corridor and starts knocking in the night

A compelling serial killer thriller from the bestselling author of THE WIDOW NEXT DOOR, perfect for fans of A.J Finn, K.L. Slater and Teresa Driscoll.

Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham

4 Stars from me

Worth adding that is a really solid 4 stars too, this is crime thriller well worth a read.

This is actually the second in a series and, although it does work as a standalone, I would personally recommend that you go back and read The Tattoo Thief first so that you have a greater understanding of the key characters.

Her Last Breath has an intriguing and unusual storyline and there are some fab high drama scenes as DI Sullivan and his team struggle to catch the murderer before he strikes again.

A bit like with The Tattoo Thief, I felt quite sorry for Detective Francis Sullivan as he seems to perpetually take a bit of a kicking from all sides and I hope he has more luck in future books. Even his family seem to let him down in this one.

I loved it being set in Brighton, there are some great references in the background scenery and it is easy to imagine where the events are unfolding.

Synopsis: The body count is rising…and the clock is ticking.

When a young woman is attacked and left fighting to survive in hospital, the police are pulled into a race against time to save her life. But just 24 hours later, she dies and a deadly tattoo is discovered on her body.

And when another young woman disappears, Detective Francis Sullivan and his team fear a serial killer walks the streets of Brighton.

His team identify a suspect, Alex Mullins, son of Francis’s lover, Marni. Can Francis forget their shared past and save the next victim before it is too late?

A gripping crime thriller from the author of The Tattoo Thief.

Blood Family by Graeme Hampton

4 Stars from me

I love meeting new police characters and I enjoyed following DI Matt Denning and DS Molly Fisher of the East London MIT in this second book of the series.

The books starts with a brutal and gruesome crime as a family home is set on fire and it doesn’t take long for fire investigators to discover the five bodies, three generations of the Galloway family, inside. I couldn’t hep but feel relieved that they had been shot first.

Denning and Fisher are a bit of an odd pairing and I plan to go back and read the first book in the series so that I can get to know them better. However, you learn a lot about them and their own dysfunctional families in Blood Family, with Matt Denning jugging his dedication to his career along with caring for his autistic son and Molly Fisher struggling with brother.

There seemed to be a different dynamic here than in other police procedurals that I have read recently and it made the book all the more engaging as Molly is actively encouraged to take risks and more cautious Denning plods doggedly onwards to solve the crime and catch the murderer.

The aspect of dysfunction and no such thing as a normal family is a strong message and not a bad one to promote.

Blood Family is a enjoyable read and I will look out for more in the series. My thanks to Graeme Hampton and BOTBSPublicity for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Synopsis: When D.I. Matthew Denning is called in to investigate a house fire in a North London street, he never anticipated the horrors that awaited him. As Denning and D.S. Molly Fisher search the wreckage, the bodies of the Galloway family – Brian and Ellie, son Simon, daughter Amber and 9-year-old grandson Caleb – are discovered in the smouldering house.

All evidence points to a tragic accident… until Matthew and Molly discover that the family was dead before the fire, murdered in their home by a faceless psychopath. What started as a routine investigation swiftly turns into a murder investigation, with Denning and Fisher hunting a killer who has wiped out three generations with a shotgun.

But as the case deepens, Denning and Fisher discover that the Galloways were no ordinary family. Like all families, they harbour secrets – but unlike others, their secrets were so deadly, someone is willing to spill blood to keep them hidden…

An utterly gripping detective novel set in London, Blood Family will thrill fans of Angela Marsons, Mark Billingham and Robert Bryndza.

Hold Your Tongue by Deborah Masson

4 Stars from me

I love stumbling across the beginning of a new series and so was delighted to read Hold Your Tongue featuring DI Eve Hunter. Set in Aberdeen, this is a gruesome crime thriller and it very literally made me cringe in a few places. It’s so hard not to imagine the awfulness of someone sawing away at your tongue with a breadknife!

DI Hunter was an interesting character with a boot-load of baggage, making her a perfect police lead for this style of book.

Her team were a mix of deeply loyal and deeply suspicious – again perfect for the genre. There is a history behind the suspicion and the resentment from some members of her team and this is revealed throughout the story.

Overall, this is a satisfying crime thriller with nice mix of human interest and gore and enough intrigue to hold your attention while you work out ‘whodunnit’.

I look forward to reading more by Deborah Masson and I am hopefully that future books will delve deeper into the Cold Granite of Aberdeen and immerse us in even darker and more uncomfortable crimes.

Synopsis:

A brutal murder.
A young woman’s body is discovered with horrifying injuries, a recent newspaper cutting pinned to her clothing.
A detective with everything to prove.
This is her only chance to redeem herself.
A serial killer with nothing to lose.
He’s waited years, and his reign of terror has only just begun…

Introducing DI Eve Hunter, HOLD YOUR TONGUE is your new obsession.

Help the Witch by Tom Cox

4 Stars from me

An odd little collection of short stories, most of which had me crying ‘Where’s the ending, that wasn’t an ending!’

A few favourites stood out:

Help The Witch
Speed Awareness
The Robot
Just Good Friends
Steve
Little Goth Twat
and the old lady hare one, I can’t remember it’s name

I would recommend dipping in and out of this book rather than reading them all in one go. I think they would be best enjoyed as standalone passages, leaving your mind free to indulge them.

What stood out most for me was that Tom Cox is a superb wordsmith and I think he should turn his hand to some new ‘fairy stories’ – I’m thinking Grimm not Disney. Tom Cox could bring new life to creepy little tales for children.

I loved the illustrations too, it is a beautiful looking book.

About: Inspired by our native landscapes, saturated by the shadows beneath trees and behind doors, listening to the run of water and half-heard voices, Tom Cox’s first collection of short stories is a series of evocative and unsettling trips into worlds previously visited by the likes of M. R. James and E. F. Benson.

Railway tunnels, the lanes and hills of the Peak District, family homes, old stones, shreds fluttering on barbed wire, night drawing in, something that might be an animal shifting on the other side of a hedge: Tom has drawn on his life-long love of weird fiction, folklore and nature s unregarded corners to write a collection of stories that will delight fans old and new, and leave them very uneasy about turning the reading lamp off.