Music to Write Books By – Suzanna Williams

suzanna-williamsToday on Crimepieces, I have Suzanna Williams. Originally from the gritty Northern ex-steel town of Warrington, Suz now live amongst the wild, wet Welsh mountains. She has published two YA fiction books, ShockWaves and Ninetyfive percent Human and also several picture books for young children under the name of Suzie W.

Musically, she plays/teaches the piano, used to play cornet in a Brass Band and spent suzanna-williams-on-stageseveral years playing keyboard on the club circuits. She loves many styles of music, from Meatloaf to Carrie Underwood, Chopin to Blondie … but they need to be turned up loud.

Suzanna, do you have particular pieces of music you write to?

I don’t usually write to any music with lyrics, as I get distracted and start singing along but I love writing to movie soundtracks. My absolute favourite is the Transformers soundtrack which was composed by Steve Jablonsky. It’s really atmospheric and magically seems to fit to whatever I’m writing.

Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?

When I was writing Ninetyfive percent Human I had Fear by Sarah McLachlan on repeat. It’s perfect for how you would feel if you were abandoned on a strange planet.

I also thought that, if the book ever got made into a film or series, Taking Chances by Celine Dion would be an excellent choice for the title music.

Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood?

How about listening to Hans Zimmer’s Chevalier de Sangreal for those moments when your hero or heroine must pick themselves up, dust themselves off and come out fighting?

Are there any longer pieces you can recommend? If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose?

Movie soundtracks are pretty long anyhow but if I want something a bit different without having to think about it I go to http://www.cinemix.us/ Cinemix is an online radio station which only plays film music. It’s great if you haven’t got anything in particular in mind to write to and I’ve discovered some great music there.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m still working on the sequel to Ninetyfive percent Human. It’s turned into a rather problem book and I’m considering splitting it into two. I’ve also published some picture books for children under the pen name of SuzieW so that’s been keeping me busy too.

Thanks, Suz for coming on the blog. All the pieces chosen for this series can by found on the YouTube channel here. Suz’s links on social media are below.

Website: www.suzannawilliams.com and www.suziew.com

Twitter: @suzannawriter

Review: Stefan Anhem – Victim Without a Face

This week I have a post from guest reviewer Tom Priestly who has been a long time reader of Crimepieces. Tom is a big Nordic Noir fan and has sent a very useful list of his favourite Scandi crime writers in order of preference. I’ll be reading the latest book by Stefan Ahnem as part of my Petrona judging but Tom has beaten me to it and has kindly agreed to review it here on Crimepieces.

saStefan Ahnem’s Victim Without a Face is his first novel, but his previous writing experience (e.g., some of the Wallander TV scripts) has borne fruit: it is well-plotted and grabbed my attention from very early on. It has what may be called rave blurbs on the cover by the outstanding writers Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt (the Sebastian Bergman series) and Ake Edwardson (the Erik Winter series); so, although almost every new mystery book has seemingly pretentious blurbs, the reader may have high expectations from this one. All such expectations were in my case fulfilled: I consider this an outstanding mystery — but I have serious reservations too.

Investigator Fabian Risk has been re-assigned from Stockholm after some dubious event there, and travels down with his children and wife to Helsingborg, his home town, to start afresh and also to try to bring his family life into order. Nothing at all new yet, plot-wise. Still officially on leave, he is called in to assist with a case of a very brutal murder of one of his former classmates, with a telling memento left at the scene: a class photo with the victim’s face crossed out. Soon a second equally brutal one — of a second classmate — is called in, and the photo is there again, with the second face covered in a large black X. Among the twenty-plus children on the photo is Risk; his girl-friend of the time; and the boy whom the two current victims used to bully mercilessly. It looks as if the murderer is obvious, but only if he can be traced: he seems to have vanished from Sweden without leaving the country.

Two hundred pages down, another four hundred to go! Fortunately, the pace heats up. We often read the killer’s thoughts; the scene shifts over the water to Denmark and back; dead bodies begin to accumulate in numbing quantities, each killed in an ingenious and hideous manner; and the plot takes many unexpected but ultimately logical twists. As long as one can stand many very unpleasant forensic details, this may indeed be regarded as ‘brilliant’ and ‘fabulous’ (to quote a third blurb from the cover.) Moreover, the location was new to me, and was made an interesting one. Why then do I have reservations?

First, the length: 588 pages. Edwardson’s blurb includes the sentence “I read it at one sitting”. If we take this literally, it is highly unlikely. If he managed one page a minute, he will have spent nearly three days-and-nights on this task, without sleep, without bathroom breaks, and having to be spoon-fed. I found it so good that I did read it more quickly than the average two mysteries, but it was still a huge effort, as well as being heavy and unwieldy. Yes, the chosen plot requires a lot of detail, and yes, it is not difficult to read, but still I think careful editing would have pared it down to below 500 pages (!) — even with what I think are necessary additions, as now explained.

Second, it stops too abruptly. I wanted to know what happened to Risk and his fractured family, how the rest of the detective team worked out the intricacies of the crimes, and the fate of the two Danish characters — the lazy and manipulative chief inspector and his rebellious (but crucial to the plot!) female subordinate. Frustratingly, none of this information is provided: the reader is left in mid-air.

Third, there are some very annoying “Dick Bartons”. This is my own name for “cliffhangers” in detective stories, when the reader is presented with a crucial point in the narrative and then has to wait for some (short or long) while for its resolution. I base the term on the radio show which I, and millions of other young Britons, listened to – every evening when possible! – between 1946 and 1951 (when I was 9 to 14 years old), see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Barton). In this series, Dick and his side-kicks Jock and/or Snowy would be at the mercy of a maniac with a large knife, or in a locked room slowly filling with water, or hanging five storeys up from a fraying rope, or in a some other equally perilous plight — at the end (as I now remember) of every single episode (or, as is written nowadays on Facebook: Every. Single. Episode.) I find that in a mystery story Dick Bartons are acceptable and enjoyable, but they must (a) not be too obvious, (b) not be too numerous, and especially (c) not have resolutions for which readers wait too long. There are not too many Dick Bartons in Ahnhem’s book, but they are obvious, and one — where a member of Fabian Risk’s family sees the murderer in a reflection in his bedroom on page 301 and we find out his fate on page 502 — is, in my view, more than just excessive: on top of the great length and the too-sudden ending, it is, for me, unacceptable. — Given the real qualities of the book, this is a great, great pity: were it not for these reservations, I would rate this among the dozen best Scandinavian mysteries that I have ever read. Readers without those reservations will enjoy it immensely and unreservedly (!).

Tom Priestly

 

This mammoth piece of translating was by Rachel Wilson-Broyles; it is in good contemporary English, but loses none of the Swedish-ness. (As a translator myself, I refrain from writing “well-translated”: only fluent readers of Swedish may judge this aspect.) And one other plus: there is no prominent “International Bestseller” blurb on the cover (these annoy me: if it is a bestseller from a Scandinavian country, it will be necessarily “international”).

 

 

Music to Write Books By – Melanie McGrath

melaniemcgrath_c_patriciagreyToday on Crimepieces I have  Melanie McGrath talking about the music that she writes to. Melanie is an award-winning, bestselling writer of crime fiction and nonfiction. As MJ McGrath she writes the Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries, which have been translated into 18 languages and are currently being developed for American TV. She has twice been long-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger and her Arctic series have featured in the Times and Financial Times thrillers of the year.  Her first psychological thriller Give Me The Child is out in 2017. She is the cofounder of Killer Women, a group of female crime writers. The first Killer Women festival of crime writing is taking place on 15 October at Shoreditch Town Hall in London.

Melanie, do you have particular pieces of music you write to?

I write fiction and nonfiction and find that I will usually work in silence when I’m writing fiction but with music playing when i’m writing nonfiction. There are exceptions to this, though. When I need to conjure a particular atmosphere or a scene in fiction I’ll use mood music. When For the Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries I listen to a lot of Sibelius and Sigur Ros from, respectively, Finland and Iceland but I also have a recording of an Arctic blizzard which I often play to remind myself of the violence of the setting.

When I want a reminder of just how beautiful and eerie the Arctic can be I listen to katajjaq or Inuit throat singing.

I’ve just finished a psychological thriller, Give Me The Child, set in London. For that I went out in Hackney, where I live, and recorded street sounds, nothing specific, just the thickness of the atmosphere with its rush of traffic, sirens, snatches of conversation and music, helicopters and people singing.

Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?

Sibelius’ tone poem The Swan of Tuonela, which I first heard many years ago, sparked off in me a love of the  far North. There’s something about it which conjures the fierceness and delicacy of the landscape along with its melancholy beauty.

Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood?

Kronos Quartet’s cover of the Sigur Ros track Flugufrelsarinn conjures a sinister and anticipatory mood for  listening to when you’re about to write a pivotal scene after which everything in the story changes. For some reason it also really freaks out my little cat Minou.

Are there any longer pieces you can recommend? If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose?

I will listen to the same piece of music on a loop so it really gets inside me. It’s almost as though I can’t hear it  any more because it’s coming from some internal place.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just finished the final edits on Give Me The Child, then I’m about to write something completely different, a biography of an old East End pie and mash shop, which is more like narrative history. After that, I’m planning another psychological thriller.

Thanks for taking part, Melanie and good luck with the writing. Melanie’s social media links are below. If you haven’t read any of her books, I’d highly recommend them.

@mcgrathmj
@killerwomenorg
The music chosen by the authors appearing in this series of posts can be found on YouTube here.

British Crime Fiction – Four new novels

I’ve started reading in earnest for this year’s Petrona Award so a lot of my reading has been from the Nordic countries. I’m not neglecting home-grown authors, though. Below are reviews of four crime novels by British writers that I’ve read recently.

the-cellarMinette Walters is a favourite writer of mine. Her debut novel, The Ice House, would probably make it into my top ten crime books. Unlike other writers, her books have got shorter over time but retain the focus on the darkness that’s often hidden behind closed doors. The Cellar is the story of Muna who is kept as a slave by the Songoli. Unable to remember her early childhood, Muna beneath her calm exterior plots her revenge. It’s more a horror tale than crime novel but an excellent and compelling read.

a-suitable-lieI’m a fan of Michael J Malone’s novels and poetry and his new book, A Suitable Lie, marks a change in direction from him. He tackles the difficult and emotive subject of domestic violence in a realistic way and the book was a very moving read. It’s difficult to say more without giving away spoilers but its my favourite of Malone’s works so far as he grapples with a subject shrouded by innuendo and shame.

51fsbbswvxlRebecca Bradley is a former CID detective and her wealth of experience comes across in her books. Made to be Broken is set in Nottingham where a poisoner is wreaking havoc on the city. It’s good to see a police team where the reverberations of a previous case are still being felt and you know you’re in safe hands with Bradley’s writing. The city of Nottingham is well depicted and I loved the clever murder plot.

51yzlijmaqlI read For Reasons Unknown  by Michael Wood as the author was appearing at a festival I was having at my local village. It’s a top-notch police procedural that draws on the authors experiences as a journalist in Sheffield. The writing is superb and the book certainly didn’t read like a debut. Wood is a writer to watch.

Music to Write Books By – Shelley Wilson

Next up on the Crimepieces feature where authors reveal the music that they write their books to is Shelley Wilson. Shelley divides her writing time between motivational non-fiction for adults and the fantasy worlds of her young adult fiction. Her non-fiction books combine lifestyle, motivation, and self-help with a healthy dose of humour, and her approach to writing is to provide an uplifting insight into personal development and being the best you can be.

Shelley writes her Young Adult Fiction under ‘S.L Wilson’ and combines myth, legend and fairy tales with a side order of demonic chaos. She was born in Leeds but raised in Solihull, UK, where she lives with her three children, a crazy kitten, and a fat fish. She is an obsessive list maker, social media addict, and fan of all things vampire related!

Check out Shelley’s Amaxon page here. All the music chosen for this feature can by found on the dedicated YouTube panel.

 Shelley. Thanks for appearing on Crimepieces. Do you have particular pieces of music you write to?

When I read your feature with Nick Triplow, I realised I’m a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to music. If I’m working on my YA books, I tend to listen to the music I enjoyed when I was a teenager – Prince, Spandau Ballet, Bowie. I was a child of the 80s and can happily rewind the clock in my brain and recall the emotions of being fifteen again – always helpful when writing a teenage protagonist. Times (and technology) may have changed, but emotions haven’t.

However, if I’m working on my non-fiction titles – about personal development and self-help – I will listen to the music I played when I ran my holistic health spa. My favourite is Piano by the Sea by Global Journey which is also perfect to meditate to.

I love their Nature Sounds tracks which include songbirds, waterfalls, and rainfall.

Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?

I’m not sure this counts as I never actually wrote it, but I still vividly remember what I wanted to write. When I was growing up, my parents would always play the Beatles. I was hugely influenced by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. Whenever my dad played this album, an entire world would unfold in my head, and the characters story would follow each track. Maybe I need to re-listen to that album!

Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood?

I would imagine that the Global Journey music is perfect for writing calmer scenes, or perhaps romantic chapters, Orithyia by Moonlight is a lovely track from Piano by the Sea. I only really deal with PG snogging so Wham’s Careless Whisper does the trick!

When I need to focus on the darker energies of my YA fantasy fiction I will turn to Guns and Roses or Aerosmith – the beat also gets me typing much faster.

Are there any longer pieces you can recommend? If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose?

I love listening to movie soundtracks as they can be quite inspirational for writing. The Fault in our Stars soundtrack is great if you need to rip out your reader’s heart for example.

My absolute favourite movie soundtrack of all time is The Lost Boys – if I put this on, then I can write for hours.

What are you working on at the moment?

The final book in my YA Guardians trilogy, Guardians of the Lost Lands, will be released on 11th November 2016, so I’m getting ready for the launch. I’m also about to start the edits on a standalone YA novel called Oath Breaker which is a werewolf novel. I’ve released an Oracle book for the Mind, Body, Spirit genre so I’m busy promoting this as well as working on a second non-fiction memoir.

That should keep me out of mischief for a while.

Thank you for sharing your music choices with us, Shelley. Good luck with the writing.

 

Four translated crime novels: Fred Vargas, Steinar Bragi, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Agnes Ravatn

With the launch of A Deadly Thaw, I’m falling a little behind with my reviews and I’ve read some great books recently. So for my next few reviews, I’ll cluster the books into groups  – translated crime novels, British crime fiction and some more ghostly tales.

51dWXz1LAoL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_First up, is A Climate of Fear by one of my favourite crime writers, Fred Vargas. I absolutely love her detective Adamsberg and also the way in which Vargas looks at the world. I find her output variable but still always look forward to her latest offering. A Climate of Fear  is set both in France and Iceland and, if not her best, it’s an excellent read and a well-plotted mystery. There’s less emphasis on Adamsberg’s personal life and more on the series of gruesome murders centred around a modern day cult devoted to Robespierre. In both style and subject matter this is classic Vargas. The translation is by Sian Reynolds.

41wQKF6SYYL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_On contrast to Vargas, Steinar Bragi is a completely new writer to me. The Ice Lands isn’t out until the 20th October but I was sent a very early review copy in July. Set in the wilds of Iceland, it narrates the disorientation of four friends on a camping trip whose car breaks down and who are forced to seek shelter in a nearby farmhouse. Butchered animals, shadows seen at night and merciless weather combine to make a dark horror-style read. Perfect for fans of Stephen King. The translation is by Lorenza Garcia.

9781473605053Yrsa Sigurdardottir is a consistently good writer whose books have a tinge of the supernatural about them. Why Did You Lie has three storylines, revolving around punishment for a lie that different characters have committed in the past. A journalist investigating an old case attempts suicide, a couple returning from a house swap discover that their guests are missing and four strangers are trapped on windswept rocks. You can’t go wrong in Yrsa’s hands and it’s a compelling tale.The translation is by Victoria Cribb.

9781910633359The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn is set on an isolated fjord where a former TV person presenter, Allis, seeks refuge with a recently widowed man. Isolated from other villagers the book explores the dynamic of the relationship as secrets are gradually revealed. The writing reminds me of that of Karen Fossum and it’s a joy to read. The translation is by Rosie Hedger.

Music to Write Books By – Catherine Hokin

CHThis week, I have Catherine Hokin on my blog talking about the music she listens to as she writes.

Catherine is a Glasgow-based author whose fascination with the medieval period began during a History degree which included studies into witchcraft, women and the role of political propaganda. CRDg-oxW8AAKMmDThis sparked an interest in hidden female voices resulting in her debut novel, Blood and Roses which brings a feminist perspective to the story of Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482, wife of Henry VI) and her pivotal role in the Wars of the Roses. Catherine also writes short stories – she was a finalist in the Scottish Arts Club 2015 Short Story Competition and has been published by iScot magazine – and regularly blogs as Heroine Chic.

The complete series of music chosen by authors can be found on my Youtube playlist.

Do you have particular pieces of music you write to?

 I have a soundtrack to everything (working in silence terrifies me, uncontrollable brain-wandering) which changes with the time of day. I tend to do admin, articles and research in the morning and am addicted to Lauren Laverne’s morning show on BBC Radio 6. It’s a wonderful mix of old and new music and has introduced me to so many new songs, including my latest favourite The Kings of the Back of the Bus by Steven James Adams which will get anyone’s day off to a lyrical start.

The afternoon is for writing and needs different moods and albums rather than short songs. I am currently obsessed with The Bride by Bat for Lashes which is actually a story in musical form about a woman left at the altar when her husband dies on the way to the wedding. It’s theatrical, over the top and musically stunning.

It’s also a relatively quiet album which is unusual for me, my other default would be anything by Biffy Clyro so I am currently playing their new one Ellipsis to death.

Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?

 There is a wonderful song by The Waterboys called Stolen Child which includes the poem by the same name by WB Yeats: come away, O human child!/To the Waters and the wild/With a faerie hand in hand/For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand. It’s a favourite poem as well as a favourite song: changelings, malevolence and unexplained disappearances are fascinating themes that I played with in my short story Stolen Moments which was a finalist in last year’s Scottish Arts Club short story competition.

Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood?

 For anything conflict or battle-related that needs a kick I have a few favourites: the Pixies, usually the Death to the Pixies album, and The Offspring’s Americana and, if things are getting really nasty, it will be Green Day and Blink 182. When I had to write a bedroom scene in my latest novel I found myself drawn to Bruce Springsteen’s track The River – I have no idea why, perhaps because it is so filled with hope and melancholy.

I played it on a loop until my family threatened murder. Fisherman’s Blues, again by The Waterboys, is a good backdrop for lyrical, descriptive writing. I am usually hopeless with anything that hasn’t got lyrics but the soundtrack for Buena Vista Social Club is a very good thinking-time album.

 

Are there any longer pieces you can recommend. If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose.

 I switch to Spotify in the afternoon and have it loaded up with albums, everyone mentioned above and many others! Someone I really like when I’m playing with words, particularly for short stories when each word counts and you have to get really crafty, is Frank Turner – he is a great wordsmith and his album Poetry of the Dead is full of little gems. To be an honest, an hour with one artist is about my limit – I’m a musical pick and mixer!

 

What are you working on at the moment?

Like a lot of writers, I have more than one book in process. Blood and Roses came out in January and there is still a lot of marketing going on around that. My second novel has just been signed by an agent – it centres on Katherine Swynford and her long-standing affair with the twice-married John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and son of Edward III. She was the sister-in-law of Chaucer who features prominently, along with plague, mad monks and a tyrannical Richard II. While I’m waiting for next steps on that, I’m researching book 3 which has taken me into the twelfth century and more fascinating women.

Thanks for taking part in this, Catherine and good luck with the writing. Catherine’s social media links are below:

Social media links:

https://www.catherinehokin.com/

http://catherinehokin.blogspot.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/cathokin/

Twitter @cathokin

 

Publication Day!

Its finally here. The hardback of A Deadly Thaw came out today and the ebook a few days ago. I had a great launch party last night at Waterstones in Tottenham Court Road, London attended by readers, writers, reviewers and friends from the book world.

I’ve attached a couple of pictures below. You can see the selection of Scandi cakes and, with her back to us, fellow blogger Mrs Peabody.

There’s lots more info in my newsletter on events which you can sign up to here. I’m also updating my Facebook page with reviews and other news.

To celebrate, I’m giving away three copies of the hardback of  A Deadly Thaw to UK readers. To win one, simply write in the contact form below the title of my first book.

If you’re not in the UK, head over to my newsletter as I’m giving away a HB and three ebooks there to anywhere in the world. All competitions close today.

Good luck and thanks for all the support!!

Sarah

** The competition is closed. The winners are Gemma Blake, Dave Hardy and Lisa Hall**

 

 

 

Music to Write Books By – Rachel Dove

Today on Crimepieces, Rachel Dove, selects the music that she writes to. This is Rachel in her own words:

4bebfac6fbea36bb616912f605df16fbI am a wife, mother of two boys, perpetual student, avid reader and writer of words. I sometimes sleep, always have eye bags and dream of retiring to a big white house in Cornwall, with 2 shaggy dogs, drinking wine on my seafront balcony whilst creating works of romantic fiction. All done with immaculate make up and floaty dresses. 

In the meantime I nearly always remember to brush my hair, seldom have time to look in a mirror and write many, many to-do lists. 

51AWPvSAqALRachel’s debut novel, The Chic Boutique on Baker Street was the  winner of The Prima Flirty Fiction Competition. Set in an idyllic Yorkshire village, Amanda who is recently single and tired of the London rat race is determined to make her dreams of setting up a countryside boutique come true.

The music chosen by the authors appearing in this series of posts can be found on YouTube here.

Rachel, do you have particular pieces of music you write to?

I like all kinds of music, but I have a playlist for each project on Spotify. I love that app on my laptop, I plug my earphones in, ignore the sounds in the house, and write. I like pop music, indie, but I must admit to having a love for heavy rock too. My current male character, Thomas, is a bit of a rock enthusiast I think, and channels it through me!

Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?

Ever seen Grey’s Anatomy? How to Save a Life is used perfectly on there, to punctuate parts of a man’s life, including his death.

That spoke to me. The Cranberries – Linger – I have loved that song since my teens and wrote The House of Sugar Blood on that album.

Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood?

War Pigs by Black Sabbath – unusual I know, but it’s a long piece of genius – excellent to thrash the words out to. I listen to Classical radio stations in the car, but I find I can’t write well to them.

Are there any longer pieces you can recommend. If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose.

I love my playlists, but artists like Pink, Bowie, Paramore – all excellent artists with a good back catalogue to trance out to.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a book set in modern times, in Yorkshire but the story of the two characters starts overseas, in conflict. Thomas is a Captain in the army, Kate is a doctor on a stint over there, and it starts when they meet, on the worst day of their lives. The story is about their journey, not just about love, but about rolling with the punches that life throws you, adapting and learning to stride out into the world again.

Thanks, Rachel, for taking part and good luck with the writing. Rachel can be found on the social media links below.

https://www.facebook.com/RachelDoveauthor/

Twitter: @WriterDove

https://racheldoveauthor.wordpress.com/

 

More Ghostly Tales: Susan Hill, Joanna Briscoe and Caroline Mitchell

After handing in the manuscript for book three, I treated myself to a few ghostly tales to read late at night. They were a diverse bunch of books with shows how alive the genre still is. Most came recommended via a Facebook group for authors and bloggers called Book Connectors. It is one of the friendliest groups I’ve joined online and never fails to come up with great suggestions.

First up was Susan Hill. Famous for her Simon Serailler detective series and, of course, The 9781846685743-2Woman in Black, I had high expectations of Dolly. It’s a split narrative covering an incident in the childhood of Edward Cayley involving his cousin Leonora’s explosive reaction to a doll. When Edward inherits his aunt’s house, the repercussions of the act of violence begin to be felt. We’re in safe hands with Susan Hill and it’s a seriously creepy book with a slight but powerful storyline.

JoannaBriscoe_jaldenJoanna Briscoe’s Touched is published by the famous Hammer imprint and I found it to be very much rooted in the house-based supernatural genre. It’s clear upfront that a man, Pollard, has had a profound impact on the narrator. As we’re taken back into the past we discover his interaction with the Crale family. It’s a compelling read, well written although more mystery than supernatural. It had a Young Adult feel to it, which isn’t a criticism but a sense of how accessible Briscoe’s writing is.

14567325._SY540_Caroline Mitchell is a writer that I’d been dying to try for ages. I love the idea of combining a police procedural with elements of the supernatural and Mitchell excels at this. I wanted to read Don’t Turn Around so much that I purchased a kindle Paperwhite. Both my e-reader and the novel were great finds and I’d recommend Mitchell to anyone who likes a well-written police procedural. The supernatural element is understated and very realistic and this is a series that I’ll definitely be reading more of.