No More Lies Blog Tour – Day Six

14th May 2019.

A terrific review and guest post for today.

Mo Mo Book Diary, says, ‘I do enjoy a good mystery and each of the Kent Fisher mysteries are brilliantly written and easy to read.  No More Lies is the fourth in the series and I enjoyed this very much. Kent Fisher is such a character!’

Click here to read the full review.

Linda’s Book Bag, which has been very supportive of my novels, have put out a guest post from me, entitled, A Deadly Combination, explaining how an environmental health officer can solve a murder.

Click here to read the guest post.


In addition, a separate guest post, entitled The Book I Had To Write I produced for Nemesis Book Blog was also published today. My thanks to Kim for indulging me.

Click here to read the guest post.

No More Lies Blog Tour – Day Three

11th May 2019.

Patrycja from The Itinerarian says Kent Fisher ‘fits in with all the “greats” of crime fiction quite perfectly as an interesting sleuth with a clear voice and style’, concluding that No More Lies is ‘a truly well written exploration of how even the smallest lies and omissions can have huge consequences.’

Click here to read the full review.

No More Lies Blog Tour – Day One

9th May 2019.

Sonya at A Lover of Books, said ‘Somehow I don’t think I could ever tire of this series.’

Click here to read her full review.

Donna’s Book Blog thought the characters were really great and worked so well together, bringing the story to life.

Click here to read the full review

Dead Man’s Time by Peter James

25th February 2019 – 5 stars.

I love the Roy Grace series because you can rely on Peter James to deliver a classy crime thriller with an intriguing, well-researched plot, interesting characters and plenty of tension and thrills. Every novel is different, but with the familiar threads of the backstory developing and changing with each entry in the series.

This novel has revenge and greed at its heart as the theft of valuable of antiques leads to a brutal murder that kicks off a chase to recover the most valuable and personal possession of all. The resultant mayhem and murders of those involved in the theft leads to New York for the exciting climax.

Meanwhile, back home in Brighton, a far more sinister threat lurks as a hardened villain seeks revenge on Roy Grace, his girlfriend Cleo and their baby. The tension is relentless and kept me on edge throughout the story.

This is one of many fine threads in another complex, beautifully constructed crime thriller from an author who delivers on every level.

While you can read this as a standalone, to get the maximum benefit of the characters and relationships, you should start with Dead Simple, the first in the series.

Description

Some will wait a lifetime to take their revenge. . .

A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying. Millions of pounds’ worth of valuables have been stolen.

But as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one priceless item of sentimental value that her powerful family cherish above all else. And they are fully prepared to take the law into their own hands, and will do anything – absolutely anything – to get it back.

Within days, Grace is racing against the clock, following a murderous trail that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe, and all the way back to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driven by the force of one man’s greed and another man’s fury.

Dead Man’s Time is the ninth novel in the multi-million copy bestselling Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series, from the number one chart topper, Peter James.

Dead Mans Time

A home from Holmes

Environmental health officer turned sleuth, Kent Fisher, faces his most baffling and challenging mystery to date in No Remorse, due for release next Monday, 7th May 2018. The mystery centres on the picturesque village of East Dean. Kent’s faithful assistant and West Highland Terrier, Columbo, has already sniffed out the first clue.

Sherlock Holmes Cottage

Nestled in a valley of the South Downs, a mile inland from Birling Gap on the coast, East Dean once had a famous resident. If you look closely at the left hand side of the flint cottage in the photograph above, you’ll notice a blue plaque on the wall.

Sherlock Holmes plaque

I wanted to pay tribute to one of my favourite detectives in No Remorse, and set Nightingales, the luxury care home at the centre of the mystery, in East Dean. Its owner is Kieran Sherlock, who runs Sherlock’s Homes, a company providing residential care for the well-heeled. It sounds corny, I know, but the links to the fictional detective continue with receptionist, Louise Watson, who soon catches Kent’s eye.

Nightingales is a fictional home, set above the village on the slopes of the South Downs, close to the house you can see in the photo below.

No visit to East Dean would be complete without a stop at the Tiger Inn on the village green. While Kent interviews Miss Watson inside, Columbo sniffs out yet another clue to solve the baffling mystery surrounding Anthony Trimble’s death at Nightingales.

‘No Remorse echoes more modern crime novels, such as the alphabet mysteries of Sue Grafton and Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks books.’
Will Hatchett, editor of Environmental Health News.

Click here to read the full review.

No Remorse is available for pre-order on Amazon and published on 7th May 2018.

In-credibility

If you ask people what makes a great novel, they’ll probably tell you it’s characters or plot, thrills and suspense, maybe an unexpected twist or surprise, maybe the way the author told the story.

But underneath these responses lie some not so obvious reasons as I realised when I recently finished Looking Good Dead, by Peter James.

Looking Good DeadIt’s the second of his Roy Grace novels. It has strong, believable characters, a clever, somewhat sinister plot with a few unexpected moments, plenty of suspense and he tells the story well.

I thoroughly enjoyed it because it had that realism and believability that enhances your enjoyment of the story. You learn something new and you trust the author. That matters more than you think, I suspect.

It’s called credibility.

Peter James works with the police. He researches in great detail, I imagine, and he’s been to the places he describes. He writes about the police with a confident voice, full of authority. You’re with him at the briefings, smelling the coffee and the stale, half-eaten supermarket sandwiches. You understand the procedures in the incident room and mortuary. And you sense the banter and concerns of the detectives are taken from reality.

That’s why I chose not to write a police procedural. While I’ve been in several police stations as part of my job and worked with officers, I have no real idea what it’s like to be a copper. I can guess, but that’s not the same.

I’ve also read police procedurals where authors seem to have based their detectives and stations on TV shows from the last century. I read one where the wrong caution was used. A quick search on Google would have prevented that.

So, on the few occasions the police appear in my writing, I want to be accurate and credible. I wanted my hero, Kent Fisher, to be interviewed by the police for an alleged assault on a child. (He actually rescued the child by lifting him out an animal pen.)

My interview room with small with no windows, painted brick walls, concrete floor, and a cheap table with two wooden chairs either side. It was in the bowels of the local station and had a stale, unpleasant smell about it.

Imagine my surprise when I was invited to the custody suite used by Sussex Police and found a modern building with a comfortable room, equipped with PC, DVD player and video camera. There were no unpleasant smells, a peaceful atmosphere, and fairly comfortable chairs.

No Bodies coverYou can read the scene in No Bodies, if you’re interested.

The sergeant also told me Kent Fisher would not have been arrested and brought to the custody suite as he posed no threat to others and no previous form. That left me with a problem, as I wanted him to be taken to the custody suite. The sergeant came to the rescue, telling me Kent could voluntarily give a statement, with or without a solicitor, at the custody suite.

Problem solved. Credibility maintained.

That’s why I write about what I know.

Kent Fisher’s an environmental health officer (EHO), who uses his contacts and skills to solve murders. (You can read about the skills that make an EHO a good detective in a previous blog, Being different is always the same or my guest post on Linda’s Book Bag).

To add to the credibility, the murders involve some aspect of his work, such as a dodgy caterer or a work accident where someone died. That makes it simple for him to get involved and investigate. After that, his naturally curious and suspicious nature does the rest.

In a forthcoming story, the police ask for Kent’s help with a cold case that involves a restaurant he once closed down. I wanted to know how much the police would tell him about the murder and spoke to a detective over a cup of tea one afternoon.

The police have strict guidelines and would only tell Kent what was in the public domain, the detective informed me. “Has that ruined your story?”

“Not at all,” I said. It means Kent will have to find out everything himself, which makes for a far more interesting and challenging plot. It also means my story will be accurate, authentic and credible.

Credibility matters. It means you’ve taken care, researched thoroughly, done your best to be as accurate as possible. It means readers can trust you.

And as I’ve discovered, it often leads to a better story.

If you’d like to know more about Kent Fisher and the novels, including exclusive content and new releases, why not sign up to my Reader Group by filling in your details below.

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It’s a dog’s life

It’s late April at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The sun’s beating down on a line of restless children, patiently waiting to meet their heroes. But there’s an adult sandwiched between Scooby Doo and Shaggy, laughing and joking with them, posing for a photograph.

Yep, that was me.

Scooby Doo Shaggy and Robert Crouch

I’ve loved Scooby Doo since he first appeared on British TV in the early 1970s. I was only 11 or 12 at the time, but I loved the adorable Great Dane that unmasked villains and never missed an opportunity for a Scooby snack.

Assisted by Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and Fred, Scooby Doo and the gang reminded me of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, updated and transposed to the USA.

The Famous Five stories were the first time I’d encountered a dog in fiction. Like many children, and adults, I’d sobbed a few tears watching Lassie struggle home, but I’d never read about a dog in a book before, certainly not one that was also a character.

Scooby DooMy love of Scooby Doo stayed with me over the years, prompting work colleagues to occasionally buy me mementos, like a Scooby Doo mug, which is filled with tea in front of me as I write this blog. I’ve also had various soft toys, pens, and a colouring book.

The Scooby with the nodding head travelled on the dashboard of my car for around four years early in the millennium, coming out on the district with me. When I had to change car, the sloping dashboard meant Scooby retired to the house, where he’s remained ever since.

Scooby even got a mention during a management training day I attended. When the tutor asked us to name our heroes and what made them special to us, I had no names to offer.

To me, heroes are the people who selflessly dedicate themselves to help the disadvantaged, out of the glare of publicity, and usually without financial reward or recognition. These are people like young carers who look after disabled parents, people who tirelessly raise funds for charities, those soup kitchens in the bitter cold of winter, or nurse injured animals through the night.

When the tutor insisted there must be someone who inspired me, I thought of Scooby Doo. ‘He’s unique, inventive, entertaining and he makes me laugh,’ I explained, characteristics I aspire to.

Harvey, our West Highland White Terrier, shares Scooby’s love of food. We met Harvey as a 10 week puppy on a farm near Arlington, about 10 miles inland from the South Coast. He was twice the size of his brother and two sisters.

We soon found out why when we got him home. He ate so fast he seemed to finish within seconds of us setting down his bowl. We’re sure he wolfed down his own food and then raided the other pups’ bowls.

harvey and trainer

Back at the farm, mother led her pups out of the barn and left along a path into the garden. Not Harvey. He turned right, exploring under a car, happy to do his own thing, ignoring the owner’s calls to join the others.

Now eleven, he’s still unique, inventive and entertaining. I’ve lost count of the times he’s made me laugh with his antics, especially his love of sleeping on top of the sofa.

harvey sleeping

I had to give him a part in the Kent Fisher mysteries, naming him Columbo after my other fictional favourite.

Columbo started as a rescue dog in No Accident the first Kent Fisher mystery. In the second, No Bodies, he plays a big part in defeating the killer. He’s an attentive listener, which means he’s the only one Kent confides in. They’re best mates, of course, but Columbo always goes where the treats are.

And his namesake, Lieutenant Columbo, had a laconic, but adorable, Bassett hound as his companion.

Why not comment below to tell me about your favourite fictional dog?


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