December 31

My Favourite Audiobooks – 2017

Earlier this year my day job changed and my daily commute suddenly involved 5 hours of driving. This ate into my reading time but a subscription to Audible meant I could listen to all the books I wasn’t getting a chance to read.

So after six months and many, many miles I thought I would share the books I enjoyed the most.

It should be noted that three audiobooks made it into the list of My Ten Favourite Books of 2017 it should come as no surprise that they are also included here (the first three).

 

 

Whiteout – Ragnar Jonasson

Whiteout sees the return of Jonasson’s popular Icelandic cop Ari Thor What made Whiteout special for me was the way the author took the smallest cast of possible suspects and made a brilliant “whodunnit” murder mystery. I have compared Ragnar Jonasson’s works to that of Agatha Christie in the past…Whiteout only reaffirms my assertion.

 

 

 

The Beauty of Murder – AK Benedict

The audiobook of The Beauty of Murder was recommended to me by JS Law (author of The Dark Beneath). Boy did he call that right! The Beauty of Murder is a serial killer story in which the killer has the ability to travel through time. Loved that twist and it gave The Beauty of Murder an edge which most books simply didn’t have. The time travel is not just a clever gimmick though, this is a wonderfully compassionate and clever story. With much of the action taking place in and around Cambridge University (with a Philosophy Lecturer as a lead character) it throws up some interesting discussion points too. Hugely enjoyable but with one of the saddest moments of my reading year too…

 

Block 46 – Johana Gustawsson

I was captivated by this tale which takes the reader from WW2 concentration camps to present day and shows how a serial killer was able to stay hidden for decades.

Two narrators on the audiobook really highlighted the “then” and “now” side to Block 46 and the story was outstanding.

 

 

 

 

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

I generally don’t read non-fiction, however, both my parents worked for the NHS and I grew up hearing about life in and around hospitals. When I learned of Adam Kay’s “secret diaries of a junior Doctor” I knew I had to read this book.

It was magnificent. I laughed, winced and shed a tear over his tales. Dr Adam narrates his own book and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Funny, graphic, sweary and over all too soon – I loved this!

 

 

Dark Suits and Sad Songs – Denzil Meyrick

My first DCI Daley thriller and I have already bought more in the series.

An explosive opening throws Daily into a political thriller which will have him facing unknown foes both from home and from far overseas.

With his home life in a shambles, his oldest friend and colleague battling a drink problem and an international hitman loose in his home town Daley is going to have a busy few days.

All with added UFO sightings too!

 

 

From The Cradle – Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

A chilling kidnap tale which kept me hooked.

The heart of the story is the investigation into the missing children and it was great following the ebb and flow of their enquries.

Louise Voss and Mark Edwards kept the twists and surprises coming throughout the story and it had an ending I would never have seen coming.

 

 

Storm Front – John Sandford

I love John Sandford’s books and the Virgil Flowers series (of which Storm Front is one) are well worth seeking out.  They are consistently great crime thrillers yet Flowers brings the humour to his investigations which made Storm Front great listening.

 

 

Quieter Than Killing – Sarah Hilary

I am a huge fan of the Marnie Rome series but this was the first time I had “met” Marnie in audiobook.  The narration by Imogen Church was fantastic, bringing much loved characters to life.

Quieter Than Killing is a great read but then I have never been disappointed in a Sarah Hilary novel – she writes stories with an edge.

Marnie is investigating a series of vicious beatings across London but she cannot tell if she is hunting a single person or a vigilante group. It is not long before the stakes are raised and danger will lie ahead.

 

The Girl in the Ice – Robert Bryndza

The first Erika Foster thriller and a dark and murderous tale from a frozen London. This was one of the first books I listened to (two more in the series soon followed) and I became a firm fan of Robert Bryndza’s wonderful thrillers.

 

Chase – Shaun Hutson

My last pick was the chilling Chase. I love a horror tale and Mr Hutson writes some of the best. An English couple are on a driving holiday in remote USA but the trip will bring them face to face with forces they could not have ever envisaged. Their dream holiday, tinged with tragedy even before they set off, becomes a nightmare roadtrip.

After rescuing a young girl from two killers the couple flee to keep the girl safe – the killers are in pursuit and they know the area far better than the holidaymakers.

Chilling and as nasty as I had anticipated – great listening.

 

 

 

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December 10

From The Cradle – Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

When Helen and Sean Philips go out for the evening, leaving their teenage daughter babysitting little Frankie, they have no idea that they are about to face every parent’s greatest fear.

Detective Inspector Patrick Lennon is hopeful that the three children who have been abducted in this patch of south-west London will be returned safe and well. But when a body is found in a local park, Lennon realizes that time is running out—and that nothing in this case is as it seems…

Blending police procedural with psychological thriller, From the Cradle will have every parent checking that their children are safe in their beds…then checking again.

 

From The Cradle is published by Thomas & Mercer – you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cradle-Detective-Lennon-Thriller-Book-ebook/dp/B00K8EM27C/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

This book has been on my TBR pile for far too long, so when the chance to listen to the audiobook arose I was delighted.

This is a kidnap tale – three toddlers have been stolen away from their families by person or persons unknown.  DI Patrick Lennon is leading the investigation and he has his own family problems bubbling in the background – his wife is (shockingly) out of the picture and he is reliant upon his retired parents to help look after his young daughter.

A quick look at these lines from the description of the book:

The first child was taken from her house.
The second from his mother’s car.
The third from her own bedroom…

The third kidnap is the point where the reader joins the story. Helen and Sean Phillips are enjoying a comfortable life but everything is about to come crashing down around them, returning home from a romantic dinner they find their young daughter’s bed empty. Her big sister is sleeping on the couch but she is unusually drowsy and the backdoor (which was to be kept locked) is very much unlocked.

Most of the narrative will follow either the kidnap investigation or events in the Phillips house where tensions are as high as you may expect.  There are some additional players who will play key roles in the hunt for the missing children – but their involvement represent spoilers so you will have to find out about the delightful extra details for yourself.

For the audiobook – James Clamp narrates brilliantly and his skills at presenting multiple characters gives From The Cradle a boost above other books I have listened to – easier to enjoy a listen when the narrator is so good.

 

 

 

 

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September 23

Killer Women: Rachel Abbott & Louise Voss

killer-women

In this article Rachel Abbott and Louise Voss talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

Voss is whats known as a ‘hybrid author, with a publisher for some of her books whilst others are self-published. All of Abbotts novels are self-published in the UK. In 2015 she was named as the No.1 self-published author on Amazon Kindle UK and the fourteenth best-selling author overall.

 

LV:  Hi Rachel!  Many writers these days are asking themselves whether they should self-publish or try to get a traditional deal. So, lets kick off with why you chose to self-publish.

RA: Some people believe that writers only self-publish because they cant get a publishing deal. But thats not always true. I self-publish out of choice. I like being my own boss and making the decisions, and for now I am prepared to put in the extremely long hours I have to work.

the-venus-trapLV: Self-publishing is definitely work heavy! With a traditional deal, the publisher takes responsibility for the editing, the cover design, and all the tasks essential to make a book available online. They also organise the printed version for bookshops and, in theory, do the marketing – although lots of authors find they still need to devote energy to that. How do you manage your time?

RA: Its hard – I want to write more than anything, but I have to split my time between managing a business – because its not just the marketing, theres a mountain of admin too – and writing. I employ two part time assistants and I also have an agent and publicist.

LV:  I like the sense of control you get over everything when you self-publish. I can update books, change the pricing and covers, and if I want to I can pay for additional marketing. You dont get that with a traditional publisher. So what do you think are the positives about a traditional deal?

RA: You would normally expect to receive an advance on royalties, and for some people thats crucial. But the main advantage is that your publisher organises the whole process and takes the decisions, so you have less to worry about. They are experienced and knowledgeable and they give their authors support. But the big thing for me is that with a traditional deal, you get printed copies of your books in shops. Thats my one regret – I do get some in shops, but Im never going to be on Waterstones’ front table.

LV: And the negatives?

kill-me-againRA: You basically get a smaller share of the income from sales. If you self-publish successfully, the financial rewards can be higher than with a traditional deal in the longer term.

LV: Theres another publishing option that weve not discussed, and that is to sign with a small independent publisher.  There are several around at the moment having big successes for their authors.   

RA: They certainly seem to have their marketing nailed, and thats the key. For me, though, I also think a good agent is important too. Many people find it strange that I have an agent, but its the best decision I ever made.

LV:  Yes, and ideally one who will give editorial input so your novel is as good as it can be. 

RA: They dont all do that, apparently, so its really worth doing the research before signing up with an agency. A good agent will also sell translation rights, and my books are now in over twenty languages.

LV: In the end, the decision on the type of publishing for each writer comes down to their appetite for risk, their desire/ability to work their socks off to make their books a success, and their attitude to control, or lack thereof. Theres definitely no right or wrong answer that works for everybody.

RA: Were just scratching the surface here, though. Hopefully well be able to go into more detail and help the decision making process at our workshop at the Killer Woman Festival in October. 

 LV: Heres a link for anyone interested in coming along to meet us: http://www.killerwomen.org/festival2016 Shoreditch Town Hall in London on October 15th . Its going to be a fantastic day!  Look forward to seeing you then.

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All of Rachel’s books can be ordered by clicking through this link:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachel-Abbott/e/B0068FBVCW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1474670804&sr=1-2-ent

Louise’s books can be ordered via this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Louise-Voss/e/B001HPFHJQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1474671021&sr=1-2-ent

 

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