Hope To Die by David Jackson – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

On a bitterly cold winter’s night, Liverpool is left stunned by a brutal murder in the grounds of the city’s Anglican Cathedral. A killer is on the loose, driven by a chilling rage.

Put on the case, DS Nathan Cody is quickly stumped. Wherever he digs, the victim seems to be almost angelic – no-one has a bad word to say, let alone a motive for such a violent murder.

And Cody has other things on his mind too. The ghosts of his past are coming ever closer, and – still bearing the physical and mental scars – it’s all he can do to hold onto his sanity.

And then the killer strikes again . .

My Review

A follow up to A Tapping At My Door, Hope To Die could be read as a standalone novel but you would get more enjoyment from it if you know and understand why Nathan Cody is hurting emotionally and physically.
The novel starts with a murder in one of my favourite areas of Liverpool, the gardens surrounding the Anglican Cathedral. I’ve always enjoyed reading a novel where I know the area and the Cathedral and the Georgian Quarter of Liverpool is one I know quite well. The footpath where the murder takes place is one where I wouldn’t dream of going when its dark. There is a lot of history and a lot of graves!
All the team are there, my favourite character Blunt, Webley and Ferguson and of course Cody. Cody is still struggling with his demons and doesn’t know to handle Webley. Most of the time it ends up being the wrong way, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Blunt. There is also a new  member of the team. One who I really didn’t know whether I should like her or fear her. This was a person I found a little disturbing and I feel there is plenty to discover in further novels.
The murders take place quickly and there doesn’t appear to be a connection. There are also flashbacks from the person who could be the killer. There is no identification or any clue to when the events took place. They are, however, very convincing and quite upsetting because of how real they felt.
This is a study of different personalities and how the past can affect the present and the future. Both the killer and Cody have suffered but both cope or otherwise in different ways. Cody senses that the persecutors from the past are getting closer but he doesn’t know how to deal with it. The ending of the book showed that there is much more to come with this series.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Lies – T.M Logan Guest Post

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Today, it is my pleasure to welcome to my blog T. M Logan giving his top five writing tips.His novel Lies was recently published by Bonnier Zaffre. You can read about the book at the end of the post.

My top five writing tips for aspiring writers

When I was eight years old, my older brothers dug a hole at the end of our garden. It was about three feet deep and two feet wide, behind a hedge where our parents couldn’t see.
When they were finished digging, they told me to get in it.
Why? Because it was a condition of me joining their gang. The Secret Association Society (none of us realised at the time that the acronym was already taken) was all about traps, and poison-making, and setting stuff on fire, and trying to smoke rhododendron leaves. I wasn’t keen on getting in the hole. But I was desperate to be in their gang – so I climbed in, whereupon my brothers covered the hole up with a board and threw some dirt on top. I crouched there in the pitch darkness, gripping my knees, smelling the dark earth and feeling the trickle of soil down the back of my neck. Eventually, they let me out again and I was duly made a member of the SAS. Anyway, the point of the story is this:

1. At some point as a writer, you’re going to have to do things you don’t immediately want to do.

Agents, editors, publishers, copy editors, trusted friends – they may all suggest changes to your manuscript that you don’t necessarily want to make. Try your hardest to listen to them – most of the time they will be right (as I found with LIES). You may have already been through several drafts yourself, and feel you don’t want to make any more changes. You don’t want to get in the hole. But almost everyone’s work can be improved somehow, in some way, through constructive feedback. Which leads me neatly into:

2. Try to get feedback from people you trust.

Getting feedback is tough. Asking someone to critique your work is a bit like walking stark naked into a room full of strangers and asking them to give you marks out of ten. It’s difficult. I’d be the first to admit that I was not very good at it to start with (for a long time I didn’t even share my writing with my wife). The problem is, finding people who want the best for you but won’t just tell you what you want to hear. It’s a judgement call that you have to make. But it’s absolutely worth doing.

3. Write every day.

If you’re serious about writing, you should do it every day. Particularly if you’re trying to get the first draft of a story down. When I start a new story I get a diary, photocopy the ‘Year at a glance’ page at the back, and stick it on the wall next to my desk. Each day I make a note of my wordcount – the aim is 500 on a weekday, 1500 on a weekend day – but it’s less about the number and more about making links in the chain and keeping that promise to myself. If I’ve written for 30, or 50, or 100 days straight, am I going to take a day off and break the chain? Probably not.

4. Every character is the protagonist of his or her own story.

Imagine a clock with no numbers on it. Turn it in your hands. The time it gives will depend on the way you rotate it – one way up will show you 11.15, but flip it over and the time becomes 4.45. The point is: all of your characters should behave as if they are the protagonist. None of them should act as if they are just in a supporting role – they all have their own point of view and are all the central character in their own story. If you can do this effectively, it will help to bring all of your characters to life. Even those who only have a small part to play in your narrative.

5. Let yourself fall into the page.

I love social media. But if you want to be fully absorbed by what you’re doing, put your mobile in a different room. You can’t be listening to your characters, and seeing them in front of you, if you’re constantly being pulled back to reality by your phone pinging with notifications every five minutes. Stephen King calls the process of becoming absorbed in your fictional world ‘falling into the page’. He wrote a brilliant book called On Writing – read it if you can.
Good luck!
@TMLoganAuthor

About the Book

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and Tom Bale

When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message

Liverpool- David Jackson: A Tapping at My Door

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Today I am pleased to welcome David Jackson to my blog to talk about Liverpool, the city where his new novel is set.

Day Three: Liverpool – A Characterful city

While reading I was struck by the love for Liverpool which seemed to pour out the book. I actually felt that the city was a character in its own right. Was there a purposeful effort to show Liverpool in its best light or does a natural enthusiasm shine through?

I think it happens naturally. Like any city, Liverpool has its rough areas, its pockets of deprivation and decay. But it’s a city with a heart that many others don’t always seem to possess. And if you ever get bored of the culture, the history, the music and the football, then there is always the people. You will never go short of someone to talk to in Liverpool.
Do you have favourite parts of the city where you like to visit or spend time?

The area around Hope Street is my usual haunt. Here you’ll find the city’s two cathedrals, the Everyman theatre, the Philharmonic Hall, lots of restaurants, and numerous great pubs.
What do you think the international perception of Liverpool is? Is it defined by its Favourite Sons, its football, on tragedy or past successes? And to take that a step further – if you think the international perception is perhaps not how you would wish the city to be viewed then how would you ‘sell’ the city?

To be honest, it’s not so much the international perception I worry about as the national one. Tourists flock here in huge numbers because of the Beatles, the waterfront, the music, the football, and so on. But within Britain itself I think there is still a substantial fraction of the population that regards Liverpool as the home of thieves, drug-dealers and various other undesirables – an opinion largely fuelled by the press and other media. It is only when people visit that they discover what a wonderful, welcoming city it is.

Thanks David for taking the time to answer some questions. You can read my review here

A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson

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A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She’s disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes.

DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird – and the victim’s missing eyes.

As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too.

And then the killer strikes again, and Cody realises the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all – it’s to the police.

Following the success and acclaim of the Callum Doyle novels, A Tapping at My Door is the first instalment of David Jackson’s new Nathan Cody series

My Review:

David Jackson’s previous novels were set in New York, I’ve read the first but have them all. And it was very good. This new series featuring Nathan Cody is set much close to home in my favourite UK city, Liverpool. I like to read a novel set somewhere that I am familiar with. When Cody first appeared I could picture exactly where he was and was laughing when he chased his prey through the shopping area. I could also picture another scene very clearly, but this wasn’t one that made me smile. It takes part in one of the more eerie parts of the city.

At times it’s quite intimidating, not just the parts that involved the killings but also when the police had to go into areas where they weren’t welcome, and it was very believable. But there is also some humour at times, especially Cody’s reaction to some that he deals with.
It’s one of the few novels that I have read where I felt some empathy towards the killer and revulsion towards a victim. I can’t really say more, to do so would be too much of a spoiler but if you have read it you will probably know what I mean.
Often when I’m reading I picture which actors should appear in lead roles if is ever televised. This is a novel that would definitely make great TV and I’m absolutely certain on who I would pick to play Stella. She would be perfect for the role.
It’s a fantastic novel, the first in a new series that has huge potential.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received, the e book version also arrived on my kindle this morning.

Time to Die

imageI’ve always felt very uncomfortable with any form of fortune telling so was uneasy straightaway with Time to Die. Tarot Cards worry me more than any of them and they play a huge part in this novel. The Tarot Card reader Bert, is and has always been a loner. Unwanted as a child and also as an adult he is very unlikeable and very convincing in all of his prophecies. Jennifer and Will start to investigate him when a series of suspicious deaths, including that of the future wife of an old schoolfriend appear to be connected to him.
Jennifer is settled in to her position in her unit, apart from Will they all have their own talents within the paranormal. She is however frightened by the number of ravens that seem to be everywhere she goes. The ravens have always been regarded with suspicion in Haven. She is also upset about the unwelcome reappearance of her father.
I didn’t find it as spooky as the first in the series but I did prefer to read it in daylight. The combined detective/ supernatural storyline works very well and I was forever ‘just reading another chapter’. I hope that there will be more books in this series especially if the storyline that was hinted at in the final chapter is the subject of the next book.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via netgalley.