November 26

The Blood Dimmed Tide – Anthony Quinn

The Blood Dimmed Tide
The Blood Dimmed Tide

London at the dawn of 1918 and Ireland’s most famous literary figure, WB Yeats, is immersed in supernatural investigations at his Bloomsbury rooms.

Haunted by the restless spirit of an Irish girl whose body is mysteriously washed ashore in a coffin, Yeats undertakes a perilous journey back to Ireland with his apprentice ghost-catcher Charles Adams to piece together the killer’s identity.

Surrounded by spies, occultists and Irish rebels, the two are led on a gripping journey along Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast, through the ruins of its abandoned estates, and into its darkest, most haunted corners.

Falling under the spell of dark forces, Yeats and his ghost-catcher come dangerously close to crossing the invisible line that divides the living from the dead.


Thanks to Clare at No Exit Press for my review copy.


I may be showing my age (and cultural reference points) but when I considered The Blood Dimmed Tide and its supernatural forces, an investigative detective, some political conspiracy and a cast that all seem to have a secret to keep I could not help but think: X-Files. I was a big fan so despite The Blood Dimmed Tide being nothing like the X-Files there were all the right elements to keep me entertained.

At the heart of the story we have Charles Adams, an apprentice ghost-catcher who travels from London to Ireland to investigate the death of an Irish girl whose body washed ashore inside a coffin. Before her death the girl had written to a Society of paranormal investigators (to which Adams and poet WB Yeats belong) advising she feared for her life.

We follow Adams on his journey from London and from the outset of his trip he learns of the political turbulence in Ireland and it becomes clear that his loyalty to the King may cause him problems. Indeed once Adams arrives in Ireland the political factions become a key part of the story and we see how Adams, somewhat innocently, takes everyone at face value when there are clearly power games at play.

Anthony Quinn writes beautifully and he really captures the essence of the lonely Irish landscapes which feature heavily throughout the book. The remote setting is what makes much of the book unsettling and mysterious. I had a real empathy with the characters who believed spi

rits were among them and trying to send messages from the other side.

Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn

As the story develops the murder becomes just one of a series of plot threads which Quinn interweaves rather neatly. Not one time do we dwell too long on a single area, the story moves along at a nice pace keeping various elements ticking over and ever-drawing the characters towards the final revelation.

I found plenty of intrigue in The Blood Dimmed Tide and hope that Charles Adams features in another story at some future point. As this was the first book in a trilogy I can but hope.

The Blood Dimmed Tide is available now and is published by No Exit Press.

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November 25

An Evil Mind – Chris Carter

An Evil MInd
An Evil MInd

A freak accident in rural Wyoming leads the Sheriff’s Department to arrest a man for a possible double homicide, but further investigations suggest a much more horrifying discovery – a serial killer who has been kidnapping, torturing and mutilating victims all over the United States for at least twenty-five years. The suspect claims he is a pawn in a huge labyrinth of lies and deception – can he be believed? The case is immediately handed over to the FBI, but this time they’re forced to ask for outside help. Ex-criminal behaviour psychologist and lead Detective with the Ultra Violent Crime Unit of the LAPD, Robert Hunter, is asked to run a series of interviews with the apprehended man. These interviews begin to reveal terrifying secrets that no one could’ve foreseen, including the real identity of a killer so elusive that no one, not even the FBI, had any idea he existed …until now.


I must thank @bookaddictshaun for giving me the chance to read An Evil Mind. Shaun contacted me and asked if I had ever read any Chris Carter books. I had to confess that I had not but I was aware that Shaun was a big fan: as you can see by visiting

Shaun then asked if I wanted to assist with a project he was working on, mysteriously entitled “Task Force Carter”. His mission was to find someone who had yet to read a Chris Carter novel and introduce that person to Carter’s work. To this end Shaun sent me An Evil Mind to read and report back on.

Having ‘inhaled’ An Evil Mind in record time I can honestly say that I am now a fan of Chris Carter and will be looking to catch-up on more of his books. (I have added two to my TBR pile already).

An Evil Mind is the 6th book that features Carter’s recurring central character Robert Hunter. Having not read the preceding 5 books (obviously) I cannot compare how this title sits against the earlier books but I imagine from the way the story unfolded that this book may be a little different to the first five. I say this as the situation Hunter finds himself in during An Evil Mind could only be done in one book, however, I hope that when I read the earlier books that I will find references to events explored in An Evil Mind. If this is the case then I believe the real reward for a reader is to do the titles sequentially.

However, this is to take nothing away from An Evil Mind which reads extremely well as a stand-alone thriller. The intensity of the story is breath-taking at times and the horrors described made this compelling reading, there was almost a morbid fascination that kicked in making me want to keep reading to see just how evil the book’s central criminal could be. (Very is the answer).

This is a must read for crime fans and will appeal to readers that like a fast paced tempo to their stories. Carter writes in short chapters which give rise to many cliff-hangers throughout the book and keeps the tension levels up as the plot unfolds. His pacing is masterly and the way that Hunter had to gradually draw out confessions from his prisoner over a period of hours almost gave me the feeling of living the story in real time.

When I had finished reading the indicators of a great story were all present: I wanted more when the book ended, I want to read more books by this author and I will have no hesitation in recommending An Evil Mind to others. Added Bonus Points for making me angry at characters (shows that I bought in to the story) and a merit for one particularly nasty twist which cannot be disclosed due to SPOILERS.

My only regret is that I hadn’t read the first five books before I picked up An Evil Mind – no fault of the author, that is purely down to me. A great story with twists a-plenty.

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November 24

Doctor Who: Lights Out – Holly Black

Lights Out
Lights Out

Published by Puffin as part of the 50th Anniversary series of Doctor Who short stories this is the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) getting caught up in an adventure while on a trip to get Clara a cup of coffee. Author Holly Black is probably best known as a co-creator of the Spiderwick Chronicles series but she turns in a cracking tale featuring our favourite Time Lord.


Thanks to Puffin and Netgalley for my review copy.


If you were to ask me for a list of my favourite things you would find Doctor Who, Coffee and Murder/Mysteries would feature in the top 10. As Lights Out is a Doctor Who story about a murder in an intergalactic spaceport famed for its coffee you can probably guess that this fan is a happy boy.

Holly Black has done a fantastic job capturing the feel of Capaldi’s Doctor. He quickly drafts in a companion (Clara is absent but name-checked) he explains they just need to make him look brilliant and then he sets about solving the murder which occurred while he was queuing for coffee.

Lights Out ticks along at a good pace, plenty of detail and background of the characters and an emotive ending which caught me off guard when the plot twisted in a way that I had not expected.

While not a fan of short stories (usually) I really enjoyed Lights Out and would love to see Holly Black take on a longer Doctor Who novel at some stage in the future. Short stories get short reviews but this is a great pick up.

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November 18

The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah

The beautiful Monogram Murders
The beautiful Monogram Murders

The new Hercule Poirot novel – another brilliant murder mystery that can only be solved by the eponymous Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

Since the publication of her first book in 1920, Agatha Christie wrote 33 novels, two plays and more than 50 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation.

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

In the hands of internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London – a diabolically clever puzzle that can only be solved by the talented Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’. 


I first read an Agatha Christie novel when I was 13. Before my 18th birthday I had read them all – every novel and short story (even the one set in ancient Egypt). That was over 20 years ago and in the intervening years I have re-read all my favourites many times over and re-visited a few I couldn’t remember very clearly. Never once during those years did I ever believe that I would hold a brand-new Hercule Poirot novel in my hands. Thank you Sophie Hannah for making my impossible wish become a reality.

The Monogram Murders is Poirot on top form (sadly sans Hastings) but working with the police to uncover three mysterious deaths in the luxurious Bloxham Hotel. Naturally everything is not as it seems and there are layers of lies and subterfuge for Poirot to unpick. His confidence in his own ability is undiminished despite his time out of the spotlight and I loved how he bemuses his Scotland Yard colleague (Catchpool) while feeding him just enough information to believe he was helping.

I found Sophie Hannah’s characters larger than life and easy to keep track of throughout what must be one of the longest Poirot tales. I confess to reading many books too quickly to always be able to keep track of bland characters – no problems here as the key players are all very well outlined and display sufficient individuality to allow me to comfortably keep abreast of developments without the need to leaf back a few pages.

I did mention that this was a longer Poirot book than most and if I have one small criticism it would be that I felt the pacing dropped a little around the middle of the book. At this stage in the story a possible explanation to the deaths was mooted which I found a tad too unbelievable. It was subsequently dismissed as a viable answer but, for me, too long was spent on this particularly unbelievable sub-plot. Once the story moved on I felt that normal service had resumed and everything built up very nicely to a climax placing Poirot on top of his game.

At the end of the book I had mixed emotions. I loved reading a brand new Poirot novel and I think Sophie Hannah did a fantastic job of taking on such a well-known character and making it work so well. However (and I cannot quite believe I am saying this) I would have liked The Monogram Murders to be a little shorter as the mid book sub plot would have lost me were it not for the pull of Poirot.

I would give the Monogram Murders 3.5 out of 5. Essential reading for fans of Poirot and a good whodunit. Naturally I had no idea who was guilty!

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November 14

Dead Man Walking – Paul Finch

Dead Man Walking
Dead Man Walking

His worst nightmare is back…

As a brutal winter takes hold of the Lake District, a prolific serial killer stalks the fells. ‘The Stranger’ has returned and for DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, the signs are all too familiar.

Last seen on Dartmoor ten years earlier, The Stranger murdered his victims in vicious, cold-blooded attacks – and when two young women go missing, Heck fears the worst.

As The Stranger lays siege to a remote community, Heck watches helplessly as the killer plays his cruel game, picking off his victims one by one. And with no way to get word out of the valley, Heck must play ball…



I think that my blog may be in danger of becoming a sub branch of the Paul Finch Fan Club. Just after I started blogging I read the first of Paul’s Mark Heckenburg novels, Stalkers. I loved it and reviewed it. I quickly read the second book in the series (loved it and reviewed it). Then I found Paul had written a Doctor Who short story within an anthology I was reading (which also got a review).

Enforced break time…there were only three Heck novels and I didn’t want to rush the last one (The Killing Club).

Some months later my resolve crumbled (mainly due to the imminent release of the 4th Heck novel). I read, and loved, The Killing Club and now sit with the brand new – as yet unpublished – Heckenburg book Dead Man Walking.

Skip forward 48 hours and I am done. Dead Man Walking has been and gone…and I loved it (I rather thought I would).

Dead Man Walking opens some 10 years in the past and we learn of a murderer, dubbed The Stranger, who is attacking then butchering his victims. The police are on the case and a trap is laid and sprung.

Jump to the present and Heck is working in Cumbria – he has fallen out with his boss (Gemma Piper) and been transferred to a small police station where he will be out of everyone’s way. Summer has gone and the Lakes are eerily quiet, particularly when the fog descends.

Two girls get lost in the hills and Heck leads the search. Battling against the fog and the bleak weather he finds one of the girls and, despite the trauma she has experienced, she tells of an attack which sounds remarkably like the work of The Stranger – has he returned?

Heck calls in Gemma. In this fourth outing Piper  takes a much more proactive role in the investigation than in previous stories. I love the Heck/Piper pairing. Given the history the pair share there is great friction between the two and this is heightened by their recent falling out and Heck’s subsequent relocation to the Lake District. For extra spice we have ‘The Other Woman’. Heck has been spending time with the local publican (Hazel), when Gemma and Hazel get together they do not exactly click! There are some great scenes between Gemma and Hazel adding a little light relief to the tale.

Light relief is very welcome as Dead Man Walking is a tense story. The dark foggy nights over a damp, isolated village makes a superb setting – a killer is picking off the villagers one by one and there is a real sense of claustrophobia as Heck, Gemma and Hazel struggle to keep one step ahead of the murderer.

Dead Man Walking was a terrific read, there was a constant feeling of peril hanging over the key characters. Finch introduced a sinister murderer with an almost supernatural ability to hunt down his victims and you couldn’t see how Heck would outfox him. Finally, the author’s use of the weather conditions and the remote locations heightened the tension and make the plight of the characters more vivid. An atmospheric thriller which kept me engrossed right to the last page – full 5/5 awarded to Paul Finch for Dead Man Walking.


Dead Man Walking is published by Avon and is available from 20 November.

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November 11

Crooked Heart – Lissa Evans

Crooked Heart
Crooked Heart

When Noel Bostock – aged ten, no family – is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge – thirty-six and drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.

Noel’s mourning his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette. Brought up to share her disdain for authority and eclectic approach to education, he has little in common with other children and even less with Vee, who hurtles impulsively from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s thrown up new opportunities for making money but what Vee needs (and what she’s never had) is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.

On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.

Together they cook up an idea. Criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life.

But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all…


Thanks to Alison Barrow for bringing Crooked Heart to my attention and providing a copy for review.

Sometimes I get the chance to read books I would not normally have considered or that would not have appeared on my radar. After I began blogging I started seeking out new reading experiences, new genre, new authors and plots that don’t always involve solving a murder.

Take Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans: I finished it this morning on my train journey to work. I really enjoyed it and was disappointed when I found that I had reached the end of the last page. It was an enchanting story about people living during the Second World War. The central characters are likeable and quirkily mis-matched. They live under the constant threat of an attack by Hitler’s soldiers yet their daily struggles are much more relevant and worrying.

We follow Noel through the story, we see him lose his Godmother and then be evacuated from London to the country. He is housed with Vee, a struggling mother with a ‘useless’ son and an eccentric mother – Vee is trying to keep her sanity in a household where she has to do everything and is receiving no help from family or neighbours.

Although Noel and Vee are the stars in Crooked Heart there is a brilliantly established supporting cast. We hiss at Vee’s son who is a workshy layabout, gnash our teeth at Noel’s aunt and uncle who are ‘doing their bit’ but don’t want saddled with a difficult 10 year old. Noel’s teacher and classmates are used to highlight Noel’s non-conformity and we have the one ‘true’ villain – an Air Raid warden that considers looting to be a job perk. Real people living out life during the time of the blitz – totally absorbing reading.

Crooked Heart is a story about friendship, families and love – against the backdrop of the Second World War. It has replaced Carrie’s War as the book I will think of when I imagine life for a child during WW2. I loved the story of Noel and Vee, they came across as two misfits, not quite fitting the expectations of those around them and not really caring they are different.   The last page was heart breaking and poignant and the journey to that point made it so. Crooked Heart is highly recommended.

Crooked Heart is published in Hardback by Doubleday and is available now.  Follow Lissa Evans on Twitter @LissaKEvans

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November 11

The Killing Club – Paul Finch

The Killing Club
The Killing Club

DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is used to bloodbaths. But nothing can prepare him for this.

Heck’s most dangerous case to date is open again. Two years ago, countless victims were found dead – massacred at the hands of Britain’s most terrifying gang.

When brutal murders start happening across the country, it’s clear the gang is at work again. Their victims are killed in cold blood, in broad daylight, and by any means necessary. And Heck knows it won’t be long before they come for him.

Brace yourself as you turn the pages of a living nightmare. Welcome to The Killing Club.



The Killing Club is the third in the Mark Heckenburg series and picks up on the story initially developed in the first book, Stalkers. Although The Killing Club stands well on its own it will add to your enjoyment if you read Stalkers first.

I have become a big fan of Paul Finch’s Heck series, the books have all entertained, I find they bring a great balance of action adventure and police procedural. The relationship between Heck and Gemma Piper, his Boss and former lover, adds an amusing dynamic and an unusual twist to the squad room politics.

Stalkers introduced the Nice Guys a criminal gang working in the shadows meeting the needs of clients who are prepared to pay for a very specialist service they offer. Their operation is blown wide open in Stalkers, mainly thanks to the intervention and dogged determination of Heckenburg. In The Killing Club the Nice Guys are back and they are on a mission to cover any tracks that may expose them further and that involves silencing their clients (permanently).

The action in The Killing Club is cranked up dramatically – like a movie sequel this is bigger and louder, the body count is higher and the set piece showdowns are up to 11 on the dial. All good for a reader that likes an exciting, action-packed adventure.

Heckenburg is a likeable hero – he is driven to track down the Nice Guys and that leads him to push the limits of his authority as a police officer. He clashes with colleagues and does not take kindly to being sidelined when his personal safety is in jeopardy, Heck takes matters into his own hands.

If you have not read Paul Finch then treat yourself to Stalkers, follow it up with Sacrifice and then you will find that you simply have to read The Killing Club. That is what happened to me – the urge to read the next Heck novel just became too much to resist.

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November 7

Dreda Say Mitchell – Heroes To Die For

Vendetta-blogtour-banner-2Heroes To Die For

What makes a great character or hero in a thriller? It goes without saying that if we knew the answer to that question we wouldn’t be writing or reading blogs – we’d be lying by our swimming pool with a banana daiquiri, feeling sorry for all those poor people out there. Of course, all those who write or read thrillers have their own ideas and we’ve got plenty of examples over the years to help answer the question. From Sam Spade and onto Jack Reacher, and on the big screen Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley character in ‘Alien’, heroes are all very different. But is it possible to find a common thread?

For those of us who write thrillers, this is more than a theoretical question, we have to get it right. You can develop the most ingenious plot based on the most original premise but if your characters don’t do it for the reader, it’s going back on the shelf. And there isn’t an easy answer to it; nothing’s more frustrating for a writer than seeing another author breaking all the supposed rules and then coming up trumps anyway (although that in itself should be a pointer). But if we can’t actually spot the ball, we can at least identify the ballpark.

One common feature is that we have to be on our hero’s side and they have to be basically sympathetic even, or especially, when they’re up to no good. It won’t work if we go into the final showdown and the reader’s thinking, “I hope the villain kills the hero, he’s got it coming…” In my new novel ‘Vendetta’, our hero Mac, breaks all the police officer’s rules and I hope the reader understand why. I want the reader whispering, “Yes, I get it; I’d do the same in his position…” Some thrillers take the reader by the arm and make them complicit in the murder and mayhem. There are of course gentle and self effacing investigators in the genre but I tend not to gravitate towards them as a reader.

And heroes can’t simply be heroic; they need their human and vulnerable side if readers are going to buy into them. Yes, of course, we want them to be able to flatten a half dozen bad guys waiting to attack them in a dark alley. But at the same time if they’ve got the perfect family, their pension all sorted out and no vices of any kind, it’s hard to get into them. Many readers are now getting a little fed up with the alcoholic cop ‘on the edge’ but there’s a very good reason why they became so popular in the first place. And there’s a very good reason why our characters tend to suffer a long, dark night of the soul. We want real people not cardboard cut-outs. In ‘Vendetta’, Mac has got his problems but hey who hasn’t? We want exaggerated versions of real life but we want real life in there too.

Dreda Say Mitchell © Joseph KalerWhat goes for heroes is also true of villains. There are still a few evil masterminds who are planning to destroy the planet – in 24 hours of course – but they’re rare now. The charming serial killer, the morally ambiguous criminal, the murderer who did it for understandable reasons, tend to be the rule these days. Indeed the convergence of heroes and villains has become one of the features of 21st century thriller writing.

But ultimately, what’s the test of the real deal when it comes to thriller characters? Well, if you’re sitting next to someone on the bus and they’re reading your book and they look up in horror because they’ve missed their stop, then you’ve got it right. And all the theorising about characters in the world isn’t going to change that.


VENDETTA by Dreda Say Mitchell is out now in paperback and eBook, published by Hodder, £6.99. For more information visit and follow Dreda on twitter @DredaMitchell

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November 7

Vendetta – Dreda Say Mitchell



Two murders. Two different crime scenes. One killer?

Mac wakes in a smashed-up hotel room with no recollection of what has happened. With his lover’s corpse in the bathroom and the evidence suggesting that he killed her, Mac is on a mission to uncover the truth and find the real killer.

But he’s in a race against time with less than a day to unravel the mystery. Still reeling from a personal tragedy Mac isn’t afraid of pain. Hot on his heels is tenacious Detective Inspector Rio Wray. Double-crossed and in the line of fire, Mac has to swim through a sea of lies to get to the truth.

But only Mac knows he’s been living a double life. Can he be sure he doesn’t have the blood of a dead woman on his hands.

Thank you to Hodder and the Bookbridgr team for my review copy.



Before I start my Vendetta review in full there is something that I need to get off my chest…


Thank you – I have been holding that in for a couple of weeks.

No point in my being coy about this review, I loved Vendetta! It is a roller-coaster of adventure with undercover cops, Russian gangsters, nasty murders and has many unsavoury characters popping up all over the place. I have wanted to shout about how much I enjoyed reading it but had been holding off so I could time my review to coincide with Dreda Say Mitchell’s Blog Tour visit.

There is a cover quote from Lee Child ‘Breathless from the first word and thrilling to the last.’ Top author nails a review in one line. That is exactly how I found Vendetta. In the opening scenes our hero, Mac, wakes in a hotel room with a gunshot wound to his head and his girlfriend’s mutilated corpse in the bath. Did Mac kill her? He can’t remember but the police are outside and Mac does not want to stick around to answer awkward questions.

What comes next is a frenetic thriller as we follow Mac through the back streets and dark alleys of London while he tries to keep one step ahead of Detective Inspector Rio Wray and tries to catch up with a killer (assuming that killer is not Mac himself).

Short yet punchy chapters, fast paced narrative and an engaging story make Vendetta very readable and extremely enjoyable. I loved Dreda Say Mitchell’s characterisation of Mac and DI Wray, she puts her cast through the wringer and how they contend with their respective trauma and loss defines their actions through the book. Characters pushed to their limits take reckless chances which, in turn, leads to great entertainment for a reader.

I have read some great books this year but Vendetta stands out as one of the best. I tore through it and grudged any time that I had to tear myself away from Mac’s world. Also, I am glad the book was published this week as my review copy (and I) got soaked in an October downpour so it needs replaced. I want Vendetta sitting pretty on by bookshelf as it has earned its place as a ‘keeper’. Unsurprisingly I have awarded Vendetta a five star review.


VENDETTA by Dreda Say Mitchell is out now in paperback and eBook, published by Hodder, £6.99. For more information visit and follow Dreda on twitter @DredaMitchell


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November 5

Stephen Lloyd Jones Q&A for Written in the Blood

I am thrilled to be part of the Stephen Lloyd Jones WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD Blog Tour. On this leg of the tour Stephen has very kindly taken time to complete a Q&A.

Having loved Stephen’s first novel, THE STRING DIARIES, I was keen to find what lay in store in WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD. I also wanted to find out a little more about life beyond the books and find where the ideas may have come from.


Jakab was the menacing threat throughout The String Diaries, can readers expect a similar foe in Written in the Blood?

They certainly can. THE STRING DIARIES was the story of Hannah Wilde’s struggle to escape Jakab, psychopathic member of Hungary’s secretive hosszú életek. I think of that book as a microcosm – it touched on the hosszú életek mythos but focussed on the intensely personal fight between Hannah and Jakab.

WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD is set fifteen years after the climactic events of THE STRING DIARIES, and occurs over a far broader landscape. This time around, the main protagonist is Leah Wilde, Hannah’s daughter. Early in the novel, Leah falls prey to a danger more formidable than the hosszú életek. I don’t want to reveal too much about the new threat, but it’s not the only danger confronting Leah. Closer to home lurks an even greater menace. And if you thought Jakab was a conflicted character in THE STRING DIARIES, wait until you meet Izsak, his younger brother . . .

Both The String Diaries and Written in the Blood feature strong female lead characters (Hannah and Leah).  Is it hard to write for a central character of the opposite sex?

Thank you! I must admit, I don’t set out to write strong female characters, just strong characters. That’s something that happens long before the writing begins – the better I know a character before I commit them to paper, the easier the job of writing them becomes. If I caught myself considering gender too closely, I’d be worried. We’re all unique creations, after all. Gender is simply one facet.

Your website suggests you live in a house that is filled with too many books – what do you read and where do you seek guidance or inspiration?

The shelves are truly creaking around here. I tried a Kindle once, didn’t like it, so am doomed to mountains of books instead. I read a wide range of genres but I do have a few old favourites in terms of writers – Dean Koontz and Stephen King particularly. Other than that, I enjoy historical fiction, thrillers, fantasy. I tend to pick up and read whichever book is threatening to collapse the most precarious stack.

Inspiration comes in a never-ending drip-feed of thoughts and images. Out of that soup, sometimes a story will emerge.

Written in the Blood (as with The String Diaries) covers a lot of territory while the story unfolds.  Do you travel to research your locations?

The new book contains a wider range of locations than my debut, but I think I’ve travelled to all but one of them. The fun part was investigating their history: during WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD, readers will visit contemporary California, London and the Italian Lakes, as well as nineteenth century Hungary, 1920s New York, and wartime Canada.

Finally, what comes next for Stephen Lloyd Jones?

I’m currently writing my third novel. It’s a standalone book, based on an idea I’ve had for a while. Headline are due to publish it in January 2015.


My thanks again to Stephen for taking time to answer my questions.   WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD is published on 6 November by Headline.

Please also ensure you visit the other stops on the Blog Tour for exclusive content and extracts from WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD.

Written in the Blood blog tour

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