A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison published 24 January 2017

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2013 Dhaka Bangladesh there is a fire at Millennium clothing factory.  People are jumping from the windows to escape, hundreds die and others are badly injured.  The media focus on one image, a young girl, dirty and broken on the ground with a pair of children pants covering her mouth to protect against smoke inhalation.  The label on those pants is Piccolo an American fashion brand made by the Presto Omnishops Corporation.

Cameron Alexander is a CEO at Presto and a lawyer.  He decides to look into the sourcing and supply change in the aftermath of the fire and media frenzy, but is not prepared for the opening of the Pandoras Box that is the exploitation of workers in the sweatshops where the garments are made.  But America lives in a culture of deniability where all that matters is customer supply and demand.

One year later former Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Josh Griswold receives information from a whistleblower at Presto about the extent of corporate exploitation in the east, in particular the slavery, rape and human trafficking of workers.  Josh uses this information to make a landmark case against Presto to take responsibility and hopefully change sourcing and supply of factories.

A Harvest of Thorns is a thought provoking and engaging read, if a times shocking, that will make you stop and think about the clothes you buy.  The novel takes you from the corporate world of Washington DC to the factories and slums in Bangladesh, Jordan and Malaysia.  The plot is hard hitting and deals with corporate ethics, social responsibility, and the exploitation of workers.

The characters are well developed and very believable.  Cameron is a CEO with a heart.  He has experienced personal loss and wants change in respect to corporate responsibility but his hands a tied by the board at Presto.  Josh is trying to regain his journalist career after being disgraced by an affair that also destroyed his marriage, this story is is chance to make things right.  Alya, Sonia and Jashal are victims of the exploitation in the factories, their stories will pull at your heart strings and open your eyes to a different world.

What makes this book even more shocking is that it is based on fact.  In 2012 there was a fire at Tazareen Fashions Factory in Bangladesh where hundreds of workers were killed and injured whist working late to finish an order for American company Walmart.

This is as beautifully written, erudite and informative book that will stay with you long after you have read the last page.  If you read only one book this year, I urge you to read this.  Absolutely brilliant.

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars my Miranda Emmerson published 12 January 2017

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Actress Iolanthe Green walks out of the theatre one Friday night and then disappears. Anna Treadway, Iolanthe’s dresser at the theatre decides that the police are not doing enough to find her, so she decides to go and look for Iolanthe herself.  Her enquiries  take her into the world of London’s clubs where she meets Aloysius, an accountant, who agrees to help her in her search.  Their investigations take them into the work of back street abortions, racism, homophobia and police brutality.  Anna realises that she really didn’t know Iolanthe as well as she thought she did.

 

This is one of those books that you can’t pigeon-hole into one genre; it is a mixture of mystery, romance and history.  The storyline deals with some serious issues that were prevalent in 1960s Britain, and are quite shocking to us today.  An example is how the police treat Aloysius; just because he is with with two women they presume he is a pimp and during the arrest smash his face into the top of the police car.  The plot also has the undercurrent of the Moors Murders and how shocking this was.  The premise of the plot was very good but I felt it was a bit slow paced for me.

The characters all had interesting backgrounds and have come to London to reinvent themselves.  However, in the case of Anna, her background was not explained until the end of the book.  It was not a crucial reveal the would alter the plot and I think if I had learned more about her I would have engaged more with her character.  There was the recurring theme with all the characters of not letting people know the real them,  all are living behind a facade.

This book took me longer to read than most books because it didn’t grab me and make me eager to read more and find out what happened next.  However, it an nice easy read with a lot of detail of the social history of 1960’s London and a good plot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters One,Two,Three by Nancy Star published 1 January 2017

 

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After a tragic accident whilst on holiday at Marthas Vineyard the Tangle family become embroiled in a web of secrets and lies; no one is allowed to talk about what happened that summer or its effects on the family.  They also do not talk about Cally, the youngest sister who goes away to school and then never comes home or has any contact with the family.  Ginger and Mimi, the remaining sisters carry on as if they are only children of Glory, their mother.

Ginger lives in a state of apprehension as she is forever looking for accidents waiting to happen, which is driving a wedge between her and her daughter.  Mimi keeps busy with her three sons and her husbands very large family; neither ever discussing the past.  After the death of their mother, and the return of their younger sister Cally, Ginger decides to find out the truth about that summer in hope to understand her mother more and maybe herself as well.

 

This is a story of s family in an era when certain things were not talked about, and people did not ask questions, and how this effects those caught in the middle.  It is a very different scenario to society today where feelings and traumatic incidents are discussed a lot more.

The book is divided into alternating chapters that tell the story of the current day lives of Ginger, Mimi and their mother Glory, and the summer at Marthas Vineyard when they were children.  At first I did find this a bit confusing as there was nothing to distinguish between the split timeline, with many starting with the names of Ginger or Mimi, so it maybe took a page to realise which era I was reading about.  Apart from that the plot was easy to follow, it was well paced and slowly reveals the story of that summer.

The characters are well developed, and show how a trauma can effect your life;  Ginger is over cautious, always worried about what can go wrong, to the extent where it drives a wedge between her and her daughter.  Mimi just keeps busy and envelopes herself in her husbands large family.  Both are the way they are because of what happened.  My favourite character was Glory, their mother.  She may not have handled things very well but she did what she had to to survive.  I loved her eccentricities and her mixing up of words, her embellishing her acting abilities and quirky sayings.

Sisters One, Two, Three is a lovely book that is well written and easy to read.  It is emotional at times but there is also a lot of humour.  It gives a real insight into a different era where certain subjects were not discussed and you were just expected to get on with your life no matter what happened.  On the whole a very enjoyable read.

 

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land published 12 January 2017

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Annie is now Millie; a new name, a new family and a new life.  As Annie she was the daughter of a serial killer, her mother.

The trial is looming and Millie is being prepped to give evidence against her mother at court.  But, as the trial gets closer Milly starts to hear her mother’s voice in her head, goading her and making her feel insecure about her new life and reminding her that she is her mother’s daughter and doesn’t deserve a new life.   Millie knows she has two choices, to follow the good in her or the bad;  is she just like her mother or can she be different?

 

Good Me, Bad Me is undoubtedly going to be one of the best selling books of 2017, it has great characters, a sense of foreboding and a serial killer whose crimes are very disturbing.  The book is narrated by Millie, and takes the reader from the start of her new life when she goes to the police to hand her mother in, to the trial at the end.  In between we follow Millie as she tries to forge a new identity and all the difficulties she has to deal with.

Millie is a character who engages the reader and encourages empathy due to her background story and how she is now trying to forge a new existence whilst battling demons.  She has a constant battle within her between good and bad, which is hard to control especially when she is being bullied by Phoebe, the daughter of her foster family, who is jealous of Millie’s relationship with her parents.   I will admit I did find her an unsettling character at times;  she is obviously damaged by her mother’s crimes and the reader is left to consider the whole dilemma of nature versus nature.

There is so much tension and anticipation in this novel to the extent of her mother’s crimes.  Throughout the novel the reader is drip-fed information, each piece more disturbing than the last, but as the human condition dictates you need to keep reading to find out more as twisted as it might be.

This novel is shocking and disturbing in parts and it will stay with you long after you read the final page.  It deserves its five star rating and more for the clever plot line, the stomach turning anticipation and its very dark storyline.

 

The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer published 3 January 2017

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Eve Singer is a crime reporter with iWitness News, but her career is starting to slip away from her.  Viewers want more detail and footage of murders and her boss is considering replacing her with a younger prettier reporter even though Eve is only twenty-nine.  But Eve has a fan, one who is watching her career closely, who wants to help.  After reporting on two gruesome murders the killer, who sees death as an art form and the victim the centre piece, wants Eve to review his ‘Art Exhibitions’.  This is a chance for Eve to revive her flagging career and keep ahead if the pack.  There is just one problem, the killer has his sights on Eve as his ultimate piece of art, can she outwit him and help to stop his killing spree before becoming his victim?

 

I was pleasantly surprised by this thriller, it had more layers to the storyline than most conventional thrillers. The main storyline about Eve and her relationship with the serial killer is taut with tension and disturbing to say the least.  By the end of the book my stomach was turning with fear and anticipation as the last piece of the killer’s plan was executed.  There is a reference in the book to a painting of Danse Macabre, and it is  very apt description of the killer and his ‘Exhibition’; death dancing round and killing unexacting victims.

The surprising element to this book is the sub-plot of Eve’s father and his battle with Dementia.  This is handled with great empathy and erudition.  As part of this storyline loneliness is also tackled through Eve’s neighbour Mr Elias.  He goes days without seeing or speaking to anyone, but there is also the fact that when he was married he was also very lonely in his marriage after the loss of his daughter.  This sub-plot is a a good counter-babalnce to the main storyline of the killings.

The book also looks closely at Social Media and the impact it now has on the world around us.  Eve has to compete with not only rival journalists and media but with the internet as well as everyone has phones now which can take pictures and record videos at an instant.  This puts a lot of pressure on the media to go that bit further to get the story at whatever cost necessary, even if it means crossing a moral line.

As a character, Eve represents a lot of us in everyday life; she is trying to hold down a job, caring for her father, she doesn’t really speak to her neighbour until she has to and tries to do this on her own, not talking to anyone at work about her situation.  She is an example of many people in society today.  She may come across to others as a confident, strong, independent women when actually she is vulnerable and alone.

This is a stomach clenching,  tense thriller that will keep you awake late into he night. It is just brilliant.

 

Wrapped Up In Nothing by Oli Jacobs published 2016

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Mr Blank, his own choice of name, wakes up in the scorching desert covered head to toe in bandages and with his tongue cut out and finger tips cut off. He has no memory of who he is or how he got there.  Obviously someone doesn’t want him identified or dead as there is the money and water and a phone, although there is no wifi in the desert and he can’t speak.  He decides to try and find out who he is and why he was left in the desert.  He ends up in Rattlers Creek, but rather than finds answers he finds himself asking more questions which the residents don’t want to answer.  Mr Blank finds out he has a talent for making people talk, but will he get the answers he is looking for.

 

The genre of Noir/Thriller is not one I have really read before, but I really enjoyed this book.  The book is narrated by Mr Blank and is told in a very matter of fact way of speaking; no extra drama or histrionics.  He becomes the hero of the story; a chain smoking, alcohol drinking, disfigured hero.  The writing is very good, especially  the candid way the narrative is written as if the events  in. the book are everyday occurrences, including a man with covered in bandage just walking into a town where no one acts strangely to how he looks.  This opens the door to plenty of dark humour

The book grabs your attention from the start and keeps it throughout Mr Blank’s  journey which is fairly gruesome at times; you find  yourself just accepting his injuries, which lets be fair he must have got from a bad encounter with the wrong people, and care what happens to him.  There is no conclusion to this book so you will need to buy the next in the series, Night Train which is not out yet.  I for one will definitely be buying it to learn more about Mr Blank.

Hello readers. I am Oli Jacobs, and I am a man of words.
Not literally a man of words, I should say. I’m not literally made up of words. That would be weird, and physically impossible. Then again, it could make a good short story…
(Note to self: do a short story called Man of Words.)
(Second Note to self: make sure Man of Words doesn’t rip off Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes! Hello, I’m Oli Jacobs and… you know what, let’s leave it at “hello”.
I’m mostly known for my Kirk Sandblaster series of Sci-fi Comedy adventures (think Ash from Evil Dead meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with a slash of Flash Gordon) and the Filmic Cuts collections of Short Stories. Aside from that, I’ve just started a Noir Mystery series following the adventures of one Mr Blank, who wakes up in a desert with a thirst for vengeance.
As you can tell, I like my Genre Fiction. Especially the pulpy kind.
Like most writers, I’ve been writing for a long time. There is a legend that I was born with a pen in my hand and a 1000-word synopsis in the other. This is, of course, nonsense, as I was part of a natural, bearded birth.
In terms of actually being a writer though, I’ve only seriously taken my literary ambitions since 2012, when Sunshine & Lollipops (Filmic Cuts volume 1) was published on Amazon Kindle. Since then, I’ve tapped out over a dozen books including the aforementioned Kirk Sandblaster and Mr Blank, and plan to continue assaulting the reading world with more in the future.
Why? Because I’m like most writers: mad and slightly driven by a faint need for praise…
Which brings me to the writers I like the most. Give me an HP Lovecraft or Stephen King, and I’ll probably wonder who you are and how you got into my bathroom. But after that, I’d thank you for the book, and dive into a world of Horror, both cosmic and based in Maine (or both!). I am a film snob as well, so a lot of my stories have that hint of the cinematic, with filmmakers like Kubrick and Fincher taking high spots in my favoured visual tastes.
Now, people ask me how they can become an author, and I usually say a strong thirst for alcohol, and the ability to hide yourself in a dark room with only a typewriter for company. Aside from that, the simple answer is to just write. The old cliché of everyone having a story inside of them is, some would say, just plain ol’ nonsense. But, everyone has a voice, and if you can figure out how to apply that voice to page, then you can probably bash out a quick tale or two. Hell, look at internet comment sections for example. If they can do it, anyone can!
Most of all, though, one writes because of the passion. I love telling stories and sharing them with the world, whether they like them or not. As long as one person has got something out of the words that have spilt from my head, then I’ve done my job. Not that writing is a job, of course, because if it were I’d definitely be asking for a pay rise right about now. The wolves are at ol’ Oli J’s door…
So yes, that’s me, Oli Jacobs. Writer, rambler, and questionable human being. If you want to read more of my words, check me out on Amazon and Lulu.com, or simply go to your local bookstore, demand a copy of my book, get kicked out, and then go onto Amazon or Lulu.com.
Just don’t turn up outside my shower. My paperbacks get wet inside there, and it’s weird. So very weird.

Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis published 10 January 2017


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The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now.

Thomas Huston, a beloved professor and bestselling author, is something of a local hero in the small Pennsylvania college town where he lives and teaches. So when Huston’s wife and children are found brutally murdered in their home, the community reacts with shock and anger. Huston has also mysteriously disappeared, and suddenly, the town celebrity is suspect number one.

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco has secrets of his own, but he can’t believe that a man he admired, a man he had considered a friend, could be capable of such a crime. Hoping to glean clues about Huston’s mind-set, DeMarco delves into the professor’s notes on his novel-in-progress. Soon, DeMarco doesn’t know who to trust—and the more he uncovers about Huston’s secret life, the more treacherous his search becomes.

Two Days Gone is the first a new series of books featuring Sergeant Ryan DeMarco, and  shows great promise for further books.  As a character, like most good detectives, he is troubled by a tragic event in his past, has a failed marriage and drinks too much.  He is very tenacious in his investigations, with a tendency to break the rules, but he is also an amiable character who grows on the reader as the story unfolds.  His antithesis in this novel is the prime suspect in the murder of his family, Thomas Huston.  Huston seems to have it all;  he has perfect marriage and three beautiful children, he is a popular professor and head of the department of English at a local college and is a celebrated author.  At first glance their lives couldn’t be more different, but as the plot develops we see that in fact they do have a lot in common.

I really enjoyed the narrative of the book, it had a good balance of crime and investigation and personal insight in to the main protagonists.  With the main suspect being an English Professor the author includes a lot of literary references in the form of quotes and passages from famous novels and poems.  Particular attention is given to the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Luc Besson’s Nikita, which is an influence on Huston’s latest work  in progress.  In the past I have found that some authors do this  just to try and make a book more intellectual, without adding much to the plot, but here it is used to help the reader understand Huston’s frame of mind and the research behind his new novel.

The plot flows with a steady pace, with the investigation having many different leads, keeping the reader guessing until the final conclusion with an added twist.  I really enjoyed this book, it was written with erudition, kept the tension throughout and had a good cast of characters.  If you like a intellectual detective novel I highly recommend this and I look forward to the next book in the series.

TWO DAYS GONE SPOTLIGHT!

Title: Two Days Gone
Author: Randall Silvis
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: Trade Paper
ISBN: 9781492639732

Praise for Two Days Gone

A January Indie Next Great Read

“…a suspenseful, literary thriller that will resonate with readers long after the book is finished. A terrific choice for Dennis Lehane fans.”—Library Journal, STARRED review

“Beneath the momentum of the investigation lies a pervasive sadness that will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page.”—Kirkus Reviews

“…skillfully written thriller.”—Publishers Weekly

“…impressive novel…an intriguing thriller.”—Booklist

“…this novel [will] linger in readers’ minds well after Two Days Gone.”—Shelf Awareness

“Two Days Gone is a quiet, intense, suspenseful mystery about a man who has lost everything. Rich with descriptions and atmosphere….Two Days Gone is relentless in its suspense, and the final twists in the novel are sure to not disappoint.”— Foreword Review

“An absolute gem of literary suspense, pitting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and told in a smooth, assured, and often haunting voice, TWO DAYS GONE is a terrific read.”
—Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

Goodreads Link:
http://ow.ly/Lbgn306TTEn

Buy Links:

Amazon:
http://ow.ly/dr1j306TTQ3

Barnes & Noble:
http://ow.ly/eveI306TU15

IndieBound:
http://ow.ly/hupQ306TU93

About the Author:
Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. His essays, articles, poems, and short stories have appeared in various online and print magazines. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Pennsylvania.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/randallsilvis

First Chapter Excerpt
The waters of Lake Wilhelm are dark and chilled. In some places, the lake is deep enough to swallow a house. In others, a body could lie just beneath the surface, tangled in the morass of weeds and water plants, and remain unseen, just another shadowy form, a captive feast for the catfish and crappie and the monster bass that will nibble away at it until the bones fall asunder and bury themselves in the silty floor.
In late October, the Arctic Express begins to whisper south- eastward across the Canadian plains, driving the surface of Lake Erie into white-tipped breakers that pound the first cold breaths of winter into northwestern Pennsylvania. From now until April, sunny days are few and the spume-strewn beaches of Presque Isle empty but for misanthropic stragglers, summer shops boarded shut, golf courses as still as cemeteries, marinas stripped to their bonework of bare, splintered boards. For the next six months, the air will be gray and pricked with rain or blasted with wind-driven snow. A season of surliness prevails.
Sergeant Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop D, Mercer County headquarters, has seen this season come and go too many times. He has seen the surliness descend into despair, the despair to acts of desperation, or, worse yet, to deliberately malicious acts, to behavior that shows no regard for the fragility of flesh, a contempt for all consequences.

He knows that on the dozen or so campuses between Erie and Pittsburgh, college students still young enough to envision a happy future will bundle up against the biting chill, but even their youth- ful souls will suffer the effects of this season of gray. By November, they will have grown annoyed with their roommates, exasperated with professors, and will miss home for the first time since September. Home is warm and bright and where the holidays are waiting. But here in Pennsylvania’s farthest northern reach, Lake Wilhelm stretches like a bony finger down a glacier-scoured valley, its waters dark with pine resin, its shores thick on all sides with two thousand acres of trees and brush and hanging vines, dense with damp shadows and nocturnal things, with bear and wildcat and coyote, with hawks that scream in the night.
In these woods too, or near them, a murderer now hides, a man gone mad in the blink of an eye.
The college students are anxious to go home now, home to Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukah, to warmth and love and light. Home to where men so respected and adored do not suddenly butcher their families and escape into the woods.
The knowledge that there is a murderer in one’s midst will stagger any community, large or small. But when that murderer is one of your own, when you have trusted the education of your sons and daughters to him, when you have seen his smiling face in every bookstore in town, watched him chatting with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, felt both pride and envy in his sudden acclaim, now your chest is always heavy and you cannot seem to catch your breath. Maybe you claimed, last spring, that you played high school football with Tom Huston. Maybe you dated him half a lifetime ago, tasted his kiss, felt the heave and tremor of your bodies as you lay in the lush green of the end zone one steamy August night when love was raw and new. Last spring, you were quick to claim an old intimacy with him, so eager to catch some of his sudden, shimmering light. Now you want only to huddle indoors. You sit and stare at the window, confused by your own pale reflection.
Now Claire O’Patchen Huston, one of the prettiest women in town, quietly elegant in a way no local woman could ever hope to be, lies on a table in a room at the Pennsylvania State Police forensics lab in Erie. There is the wide gape of a slash across her throat, an obscene slit that runs from the edge of her jawline to the opposite clavicle.
Thomas Jr., twelve years old, he with the quickest smile and the fastest feet in sixth grade, the boy who made all the high school coaches wet their lips in anticipation, shares the chilly room with his mother. The knife that took him in his sleep laid its path low across his throat, a quick, silencing sweep with an upward turn.
As for his sister, Alyssa, there are a few fourth grade girls who, a week ago, would have described her as a snob, but her best friends knew her as shy, uncertain yet of how to wear and carry and contain her burgeoning beauty. She appears to have sat up at the last instant, for the blood that spurted from her throat sprayed not only across the pillow, but also well below it, spilled down over her chest before she fell back onto her side. Did she understand the message of that gurgling gush of breath in her final moments of consciousness? Did she, as blood soaked into the faded pink flannel of her pajama shirt, lift her gaze to her father’s eyes as he leaned away from her bed?
And little David Ryan Huston, asleep on his back in his crib— what dreams danced through his toddler’s brain in its last quivers of sentience? Did his father first pause to listen to the susurrus breath? Did he calm himself with its sibilance? The blade on its initial thrust missed the toddler’s heart and slid along the still-soft sternum. The second thrust found the pulsing muscle and nearly sliced it in half.
The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now. Snap your fingers five times, that’s how long it took. Five soft taps on the door. Five steel-edged scrapes across the tender flesh of night.

Kingmaker by Adrian Hyde published 27 September 2016

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1940 and Norway is under occupation from Germany.  British troops are there to help keep the German army at bay.  Lieutenant Harry King of the British Army is in trouble for getting into a fight whilst drunk.  His commanding officer wants him court martialed but he is given a second chance to work under Colonel Munro, where what starts off a simple recconnaisance mission to collect transport to help the Norwegians transport artillery, quickly changes and puts Harry King in the middle of a battle and conspiracy that could change the outcome of the war for Norway.  King finds himself involved in murder, deception and betrayal and needs to keep his wits about him as he  is in a race across Norway’s mountains, and fjords to keep one step ahead of the enemy and uncover a traitor in their midst.

 

This is the first novel by Adrian Hyde and the first in the Harry King thrillers, and an brilliant read.  The plot and characters are like a Grand Master Chess Game; all the pieces are on the board waiting to move and see where others will move and all are controlled by those in charge.  It is a fast moving plot with plenty of twists and thrills that will engage and entertain the reader; it has power, greed, deception, romance and lots of historical detail.  The historical detail and research is impeccable and is blended seamlessly with the fiction of the plot.

Harry King is a troubled and flawed hero with an alcohol  problem.  He blames himself for his father’s death in a fire with is what drives his anger and drinking.  He also has a lack of respect and lack of trust for those in command.  We do see a more vulnerable side his character when he is interacting with his interpreter  Anje.  The injection of romance brings out a softer side of King’s character and brings a different element to the storyline.

I highly recommend this to those readers who love a good historical thriller that is full of twists and turns and you are never sure who is double crossing who and just who is the enemy.  A fantastic first novel and I’m really looking forward to the next instalment of Harry King’s story.

 

GUEST BLOG
When I started to write my book, Kingmaker: A Harry King Thriller, I wanted to write a mainstream thriller but as a new author I knew that I needed something different to stand out in a crowded market. With this in mind, I decided to set the story in Norway at the start of World War 2 as I was keen to try to show that this fascinating era of history could be a suitable background for a mainstream thriller. This meant that I had to make sure that the background of the war supported the main plot, rather than the other way around. Many readers have already said how much they enjoyed reading Kingmaker and were surprised at how unlike a traditional “war story” it is, as well as enjoying the rich background that the unusual era and location provided. My writing was inspired by early memories of Charles Dickens, Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkien, but now I particularly love to read Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers, so my style now mixes fast action sequences with a rich background setting.
I chose Nazi-controlled Norway in 1940 because I have always been fascinated by the war (as were most boys of my age, growing up surrounded by war movies on the television at Christmas, when toy soldiers were still the X-box of their day), and this was increased by tales of my father’s own military experience in the fifties. As a result of this, history has always been a passion of mine, so over the years I tried to read more about both World Wars in order to better understand what happened. I was particularly drawn to those events that didn’t go as planned and were consequently swept under the carpet by history and establishment alike. The British failure to stop Hitler’s invasion of Norway was largely ignored and overlooked by Britain at the time, desperate to focus instead on the miracle of Dunkirk and the success of the Battle of Britain. Despite this, I felt it was a fascinating story of bravery and plucky resistance against overwhelming odds, and I decided to use this reflection of my similarly confused, misunderstood and underestimated protagonist. My anti-hero – Harry King – is a British Lieutenant with a haunted past and a drinking problem despite his responsibility. He is falling to pieces but nobody wants to listen, mainly because the world was far less understanding of mental health issues at that time and King’s torment is lost in a sea of old-school authority and the British stiff upper lip. As part of the joy of discovering and developing King, I wanted to see how he coped under pressure by placing him out of his depth in a foreign country, and then throwing him in at the deep-end by dragging him into a world of conspiracy, murder and treason. Despite his many problems and imperfections, King is surprisingly resilient and heroic, and wins through in the end by forgiving himself and gaining redemption. The frozen landscape helped cleanse him of his past and give him a clearer vista of his future. There was also a timeless purity of the frozen Norwegian landscape that remained somehow pure despite the horrors of war, and I found that King had much in common with this as he initially seems as hard as the mountains themselves, but then he shows a hidden warmth and humanity that is only unlocked as his feisty local companion Anja helps him to face his demons and find love again. I felt that it was important to include a strong female character, as too many books set in this period tend to forget that the vital role that women played in winning the war.
The biggest problem with setting Kingmaker in WW2 Norway was the huge amount of research required to support the story and remain faithful to the facts whilst also interweaving a complicated plot-line. To be honest, when I started I don’t think I truly understood how much work it would take! I spent two years just working my way through all of the many available histories and personal accounts of the period, trying to find out every detail that could help bring the history life. It isn’t a military novel but I still had to check every military detail including period disciplinary procedures, vehicles, equipment and weapons as I didn’t want anybody to question the authenticity. I also made sure that the weather and lunar cycle were correct using the historical records, and I had to ensure that King’s story fitted perfectly within the background story’s historical timeline, so that at one point whole sections of my original plan had to be discarded as they didn’t fit any more. I also needed to ensure that every time that a character walked or drove somewhere, the distance was correct – in one section Anja rides a horse (spoiler alert!) so I even had to calculate how long it would have taken her if she had taken a particular route and what the terrain would have been like. I originally planned to visit the locations so that I could see them myself but I soon realised that there was little point as most have changed beyond all recognition since the events happened (several of the towns were flattened by bombing) so I had to recreate them in my mind using history books, period photographs and even Google Street View. I also had to stitch into this Norway’s rich cultural and mythological history as well as their unique culinary delights – it became a labour of love, but by the time that I had finished writing the book I had started to question my own sanity in choosing the setting in the first place!
Despite this herculean task, I have fallen in love with the country and the history, and I hope I have created something worthy of those unlucky few who were there during the world’s darkest hours. I hope that people will enjoy reading Kingmaker as much as I enjoyed writing it.
BLURB
KINGMAKER: A HARRY KING THRILLER

WEALTH. POWER. GLORY. REVENGE.
When the world is against you, who do you trust?
April 1940. Norway has fallen under the Nazi Blitzkrieg. Only a small British force now stands between Hitler’s SS and the ultimate prize… Lieutenant Harry King is in trouble again. Haunted by his past and consumed by alcohol, he is saved from his fate by a mysterious senior officer. When he is sent on a seemingly simple errand, he stumbles into a conspiracy that could change the course of the war. Dragged into a hair-raising world of murder, mystery and betrayal, King must choose between his duty, love and revenge. In a heart-pounding race across the frozen tundra, mountains and fjords, can he survive against the odds and uncover the traitor at the heart of his world?

BIOGRAPHY
Adrian Hyde is a thriller writer, history nut and citizen of the world. He was born in the city of Derby, England in 1975, the son of an ex-soldier. He grew up on the doorstep of the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District, and his father’s military service and an interest in local history inspired him to write from an early age.
Educated in Derby and Heanor, he studied Politics at the University of Reading, Berkshire (after changing from History). Adrian then had a successful career in sales, marketing and product management, mainly in heavy engineering and construction equipment companies, where he travelled extensively throughout the world.
All this was to change when his wife was diagnosed with dementia, and Adrian became a full-time single parent and carer, however the experience spurred him on to return to writing full-time. He still loves Derbyshire but now lives in Burbage in neighbouring Leicestershire with his two children and Ben the Labrador. His first novel – Kingmaker: A Harry King Thriller – is published by Three Assassins Press and sold via Amazon (e-book and paperback). He is currently working on the sequel, planned for completion in late 2017.