Posted in Blog Tour

The Camaraderie of Crime by Simon Booker #blogtour


‘They got the right matches. But did they get the right person?’

This summer Simon Booker is back. The prime-time TV murder mystery writer, with a voice that reads like ‘Val McDermid meets Stephen King’ (Hadley Freeman), returns withKill Me Twice, and we’d love for you to take part in the blog tour to launch this book.

Kill Me Twice finds investigative journalist Morgan Vine on the rise, her ‘one woman innocence project’ book become a bestseller, and she’s the go-to for everyone trying to overturn a wrongful conviction. But one of these cases catches her eye more than most…

Anjelica Fry is in prison for murdering her ex, Karl Savage, in an arson attack. Multiple forensic experts testified to finding his charred remains. Proving her innocence seems an impossible task. . It doesn’t matter that Karl was abusive. That Anjelica has a baby to care for. That she’s petrified of fire. The whole world knows Karl is dead.

Then he turns up outside Morgan’s window . . . A compulsively gripping thriller with a truly kick-ass female lead in Morgan Vine, Simon Booker turns up the heat in this follow up to his critically acclaimed debut Without Trace.


Sadly due to the sadness that has dominated this summer with both myself and my partner losing a parent in the space of two months, I haven’t managed to read Simon Booker’s second book featuring Morgan Vine yet but I do have a copy of Kill Me Twice sitting patiently on the bookshelf ready to read. This is a book I’m eager to get to after having enjoyed Without Trace so much and so I’m thrilled that Simon Booker has written a lovely post on the camaraderie in the crime writing community. This has just reaffirmed my vow that next summer I will manage to get to Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate!


The camaraderie of crime


Crime pays. Every crime writer knows that (although it’s true for some more than others.) But what every crime writer also knows is that we’re part of a writing community unlike any other. I’m writing this having just returned from the Theakston’s crime writing festival at Harrogate. Four days of panels, writers, readers, publishers, editors, publicists, bloggers and would-be writers, all spilling out of the Old Swan Hotel, onto the lawns, to gossip and chat, talk about books and catch up with old friends, as well as make new ones. I’ve been writing professionally for a bazillion years – TV drama, mainly, prime time murder mysteries for BBC and ITV, but now crime novels too – and I’ve never encountered such a mutually supportive group of creative people, all taking pleasure in each other’s company and sharing the rollercoaster ride of the publishing world. Of course there is a pecking order, and of course there are occasional squabbles and petty rivalries (and jealousy too – we’re only human FFS!) but there’s also a sense of camaraderie unrivalled in the world of books.

The cliché is that crime writers vent our everday frustrations on the page – killing off several people before breakfast – something that allows us to be ‘sunny’ in real life. Romance writers, meanwhile, are said to be filled with disappointment and disillusion, and not the kind of people you want to invite to the pub. As someone who has written rom-coms for US TV (one starring Anna Frield and Rob Lowe, and yes, his eyes really are that blue) I couldn’t possibly comment…

But I remember once attending a posh dinner of very grand Literary Types – more Booker winners than you could shake a stick at – and being painfully aware of how stilted the evening was, and of how everyone seemed to be trying to outfox and out-do each other, rather than enjoy each other’s company.

The same cannot be said of the crime-writing fraternity. Who’s that bloke in the silly hat, laughing with the woman in shorts? Oh, it’s Mark Billingham and Val McDermid. And that man over there, the one in shorts and shades, chatting with Ian Rankin? Oh, it’s Simon Kernick. I asked him if he’d like to read my new Morgan Vine thriller, KILL ME TWICE. He said yes, and a few weeks later offered a quote for the cover. ‘Simon Booker’s fast-paced, twisty thrillers are a must-read for anyone who loves a good page-turner’. Likewise Mark Billingham. ‘A cracking read.’ If that’s not solidarity – and generosity, and camaraderie – I don’t know what is.

 If you’d like to read a FREE 25-page short story, in which Morgan Vine must outwit an escaped prisoner who takes her hostage in her isolated Dungeness shack, please go to


Posted in Blog Tour

Without Trace Blog Tour

Without Trace Blog Tour

After recently reading Without Trace I am delighted to welcome the author, Simon Booker, to give us a bit of background to how this book came about:

After many years writing for TV (Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Holby City etc), penning my debut crime novel was a very different experience. Without Trace is the first in a series of psychological thrillers featuring Morgan Vine, an investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice. A single mother, she lives in a converted railway carriage on the eerie, windswept beach at Dungeness. For four long years, she’s campaigned on behalf of her childhood sweetheart, Danny Kilcannon. He’s in prison, convicted, on dubious evidence, of murdering his teenage stepdaughter. But when Morgan’s own daughter goes missing and the finger of suspicion points firmly in Danny’s direction, she is forced to question all she knows about her old flame. Is he the wronged innocent she believes him to be or a ruthless, manipulative killer?

Morgan isn’t based on any one person but she combines elements of many of the women I most admire: she’s clever, kind, witty, tenacious and tough as old boots when the need arises. She also has a complicated love life. Although she still holds a torch for Danny, she’s had numerous other love affairs, none of them successful: ‘the workaholic lawyer (too neurotic), the would-be poet (too self-absorbed), the wily reporter (too married)’. To date, her relationships have all been with members of the opposite sex, so finding herself unexpectedly drawn to a woman during the investigation into Danny’s innocence (or otherwise…) comes as something of an eye-opener. It took me by surprise too. And that’s one of the pleasures of plunging your leading character into a complex story full of unexpected twists and turns. Although I’d planned much of the plot in advance, there were many occasions during the writing process when Morgan took even me by surprise, and there were several major developments I had no inkling were coming until they arrived ‘out of nowhere’. In the words of great American novelist E.L. Doctorow, writing a novel is ‘like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way’.

I’m currently writing the second book in the Morgan Vine series – another investigation into a shocking miscarriage of justice – and the process is as full of surprises as it was for Without Trace. I hope this bodes well for lovers of thrillers full of twists and turns. If the author doesn’t know what’s around the corner, how can the reader?

You can read my review of Without Trace here

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Without Trace – Simon Booker

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction

Simon Booker seasoned screenwriter of prime time TV drama has turned his hand to writing a new series of crime fiction, Without Trace is the first book which introduces us to Morgan Vine, a journalist and childhood friend of Danny Kilcannon. Danny is in HMP Dungeness after being convicted of killing his teenage step-daughter Zoe four years previously.

Unusually for crime fiction much of this book focusses on the end result for the perpetrator of crime, prison. Danny is in prison, his life has been narrowed down to the confines of his cell, one of the few highlights being the prison book club which his old friend Morgan runs as a volunteer. What most of the other prisoners don’t know is that Danny and Morgan were close friends, went to school together and she has been one of the chief campaigners for his release. Absolutely convinced that he didn’t kill Zoe, likewise she also believes that his wife Rowena committed suicide and that’s why she disappeared without trace. When a key witness withdraws his statement Danny earns his freedom. But, then Morgan’s own teenage daughter goes missing.

This is a tense book, with flashbacks to her teenage years in the late 80s, a time when Danny was one of the closest friends of the girl whose father was headmaster of the school. In these excerpts we understand a little of what makes Morgan tick, why she has been so determined to free her former friend. In the present in the aftermath of her daughter’s disappearance it is only too easy to see why the doubts, never previously voiced or entertained begin to trouble her.

It might be tense but this book is also a fast moving thriller with new evidence, false leads and dodgy characters present on practically every page there was a point where I thought it was inevitable that the book would fall into the mid-section dip, surely unable to keep the frantic pace going while still holding the multiple strands of plot into any semblance of order. I was wrong, this is a book that doesn’t let up so don’t start it late at night if you have to get up early the next morning! With its short chapters a style that any serious bookworm knows just begs for ‘just one more chapter before…’ it was definitely hard to put down! In many ways the style reminded me that this author has been a writer of TV drama as the focus was definitely on the action and the complex plot while most of the characters being drawn with a broader brush, to keep the story moving at a pace.

Although fictional, and obviously so; I simply couldn’t really buy into the fact that any police investigation would sanction a journalist, the missing person’s mother to boot, being told key details along the way, it is also just as obviously well-researched. The scenes in the prison (which although a fictional HMP) felt entirely authentic with the smell and the unpredictability of men locked up while still coming across as human come from the author’s own volunteer work for restorative justice and prison reading groups.

As I stated at the beginning this is the first in a new series featuring Morgan Vine and I will definitely be interested in how her character develops. I know some of her background now, her fierce maternal instinct and her thwarted journalistic ambition which is plenty to build on for a second novel and I can’t wait to see how, following the fantastic resolution to this book, what is in store for her next. Unfortunately the next book isn’t due to be published until 2017.

I’d like to thank Midas PR (again), this is another book published by twenty7 publishers who concentrate on debut authors, and with this being the third delightful book, out of three, from this imprint I’m keen to see who will be next on the list.

Without Trace will be published in e-format on 28 January 2016 with the paperback out on 16 June 2016.

For those of you who want to know more about the book and the author, Midas PR have organised a book tour which starts on 28 January with my blog leading the way!

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 20)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I am reading My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, a story of mothers and daughters.

My Name is Lucy Barton


An exquisite story of mothers and daughters from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her faltering marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. In My Name Is Lucy Barton, one of America’s finest writers shows how a simple hospital visit illuminates the most tender relationship of all-the one between mother and daughter. NetGalley

Having just finished Dead Pretty by David Mark, the fifth in the DI McAvoy series

Dead Pretty


Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days.
One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won’t let either of them go until justice can be done.
But some people have their own ideas of what justice means… NetGalley

And next up is Without Trace by Simon Booker which sounds like it’s got all the makings of an excellent novel

Simon Booker


Her daughter missing, her childhood sweetheart the only suspect: a gripping and suspenseful debut thriller
For four long years, journalist Morgan Vine has campaigned for the release of her childhood sweetheart Danny Kilcannon – convicted, on dubious evidence, of murdering his 14 year-old stepdaughter.
When a key witness recants, Danny is released from prison. With nowhere else to go, he relies on single mum Morgan and her teenage daughter, Lissa.
But then Lissa goes missing.
With her own child now at risk, Morgan must re-think all she knows about her old flame – ‘the one that got away’. As the media storm around the mysterious disappearance intensifies and shocking revelations emerge, she is forced to confront the ultimate question: who can we trust…? Amazon

So that’s my week nicely sorted, what do you all have to read at the moment? Do share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (January 16)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Well I didn’t expect to do another one of these posts quite so soon as it sort of shows that I’m still acquiring too many books.

First up is Dead Before Morning by Geraldine Evans a book I wouldn’t have picked up if it hadn’t been for Margot’s excellent ‘Spotlight’ of this one on her magnificent blog, in fact even after this temptation I was merely adding it to the wishlist, but it was free…

Dead Before Morning


DI Joseph Rafferty had three problems: His boss, his family and a murder. He knows which one he’d choose, if he had a choice. He’d take the murder of the ‘Faceless Lady’, any time, over the other two, even though he loves his family. Well, some of the time, anyway. Only he’s not given a choice. He must find her killer, while keeping his family’s current legal entanglements downwind of his boss. Otherwise, he risks failure, exposure and career crash. Amazon

I was delighted and thrilled to be approved for a copy of The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh; both her previous books Falling and Hidden were huge hits with me last year and this sounds just as good!

The Missing Hours

A woman disappears
One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.
A woman returns
Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.
What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?
‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’ NetGalley

The Missing Hours is going to be published on 21 April 2016

Finally, I have a copy by my new favourite publishers Twenty7; Without Trace by Simon Booker.

Simon Booker


For four long years, journalist Morgan Vine has campaigned for the release of her childhood sweetheart Danny Kilcannon – convicted, on dubious evidence, of murdering his 14 year-old stepdaughter.
When a key witness recants, Danny is released from prison. With nowhere else to go, he relies on single mum Morgan and her teenage daughter, Lissa.
But then Lissa goes missing.
With her own child now at risk, Morgan must re-think all she knows about her old flame – ‘the one that got away’. As the media storm around the mysterious disappearance intensifies and shocking revelations emerge, she is forced to confront the ultimate question: who can we trust…?
Introducing Morgan Vine, Without Trace is Simon Booker’s debut thriller. Amazon

Without Trace will be published in eBook format on 28 January 2016 and in paperback on 16 June 2016

PicMonkey Collage TBR

Since my last count I have read 3 books, and gained 3 so I’m standing still at 174 books!
85 physical books
75 e-books
14 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?