The Exiled – Kati Hiekkapelto

The Exiled - Kati Hiekkapelto

Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal?

Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes?

The Exiled is the third of Kati Hiekkapelto’s books featuring detective Anna Fekete. This time she’s headed home to a little Balkan village to visit her family when her bag is snatched whilst on an evening out with her friends. She finds herself ensnared in a mystery which goes much further than a simple robbery.

It feels strange to be part of a blog tour for a Finnish author, but to be reading about the stifling heat of summertime in Kanizsa, a town in northern Serbia.

Anna herself is a fascinating character, adrift in her home town in the summer heat, a long way from Finland. The exiled is a very topical tale as the influx of refugees on their way to Europe makes its mark on the little town, bringing murder and corruption and even on holiday, Anna can’t escape her instincts to find out what’s really going on.

Kati Hiekkapelto has a great knack with characterisation, and the story  flows at a gentle pace, much like the river which plays such a central part of the story. Anna’s investigations take their toll on friendships and family, but you’re always on her side, willing her to uncover the truth, no matter how hard it might be to hear.

You can find Kati Hiekkapelto on twitter @HiekkapeltoKati or at her website,

Many thanks, as always, to Karen from Orenda Books for the review copy. Opinions are, of course, my own.


First Monday Crime – spotlight on Belinda Bauer

Next Monday (November 7th), Goldsboro Books First Monday Crime is taking place at the Library Club in London from 6.30 to 7.30pm. The lineup includes Belinda Bauer, Cathi Unsworth, Jenny Blackhurst, Adam Hamdy and event chair, Barry Forshaw.

Tickets for the event are a bargain at only a fiver. I wish I lived a bit nearer as this sounds like a great night. You can get your tickets here. Sponsored by Headline, it promises to be a brilliant event!

I’ve read and loved Belinda’s previous book, The Facts of Life and Death and her new book The Beautiful Dead is out on 17th November.


There’s no safety in numbers…

Eve Singer needs death. With her career as a TV crime reporter flagging, she’ll do anything to satisfy her ghoulish audience.

The killer needs death too. He even advertises his macabre public performances, where he hopes to show the whole world the beauty of dying.

When he contacts Eve, she welcomes the chance to be first with the news from every gory scene. Until she realizes that the killer has two obsessions.

One is public murder.

And the other one is her…

First Monday Crime is on November 7th from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
LIBRARY, 112 St. Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4BD

You can follow First Monday Crime twitter @1stMondayCrime

Deep Down Dead – Steph Broadribb

Deep down dead - steph broadribb

I saw it then. The way he looked at me, it was stone cold. Whatever he might have felt for me before was now gone. I knew the problem wasn’t that I’d shot Tommy, or even that I’d taken away JT’s chance to collect on the bond percentage. It was because I’d broken his rules, every damn one of them. And it seemed he couldn’t forgive me for that.
I pulled away from him, blinking away tears. Whispered, ‘Okay, sure.’
His sigh was barely audible.
I’d never felt more alone.

So, so excited for this book. I’ve been hearing about it for *so* long on Twitter!

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb (@crimethrillgirl) is published on 15th October by Orenda Books. You can find out more on Steph’s website,

Not long now…


Things I’ve found this week.


Odd signs in the wood

If you go down to the woods today…

A photo posted by dave graham (@dakegra) on Sep 12, 2016 at 9:21am PDT


Things I’ve watched:

Possibly the worst hacking scene, ever. Castle (much as I adore it) does have form (check out the geordie episode)

Fantastic analysis on why the Joker is so awesome in The Dark Knight. Apart from being played by Heath Ledger.

Things I’ve been reading:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
Red Right Hand, by Chris Holm

Both splendid, in entirely different ways. I’d wanted to read Miss Peregrine before seeing the movie, and thought it was a fabulous book. Must read the sequels.

Red Right Hand was a cracking thriller which kept me up entirely too late. Highly recommended.

Other wonderful things:

The Picture-Perfect Pencil Shop That Makes Writing Cool Again

Pen names – a Question of Flexibility – guest post by Hanna Winter

I’d like to welcome Hanna Winter, the author of Sacrifice, to the blog today to talk about the fascinating subject of pen names.

Over to Hanna…

One of the more common questions about me and my writing career, is why I publish my work using different pseudonyms, Hanna Winter and Eva Sternberg. The answer is quite simple: I don’t want to limit myself to a single genre.

The dark depravities of the human mind have always held a deep fascination for me, and writing my sinister murder mysteries will always be my passion. That’s what Hanna Winter stands for, dark and morbid thrill rides. But I don’t want to miss out on the chance to stretch my literary wings into other genres, and I enjoy every minute I spend as my alter ego Eva Sternberg, writing upbeat, fast-paced “chicklits”, putting a smile on “her” readers’ faces. It’s a conscious decision, too. Alternating between my literary personas not only puts me in the right “frame of mind” for the type of story I am creating, it also provides a most welcome emotional counterpoint. Devoting myself to a more “sunny” genre as Eva Sternberg after finishing one of my thriller manuscripts, helps to cleanse the months of gloom and darkness that Hanna Winter had to wade through in order to put the expected fright into “her” readers’.

But to be honest, my different pen names are probably more of a service to the readers, both first timers and longtime fans alike. As flexible as the author may be, his or her readers want to know what to expect when they pick up one of their books. In the minds of the audience, an author’s name often becomes synonymous with a certain genre. Just imagine you’re a fan of cleverly insidious crime fiction, looking for your next fix of John Grisham or Ian Rankin from the shelves of your favorite bookstore, only to discover that your author of choice this time chose to try himself at a deeply romantic love story. Similarly, a Nicholas Sparks devotee might even feel “robbed”, if he was unexpectedly forced to go through chapter after chapter of blood, guts, murder and violence – no matter the quality, there’s bound to be some disappointment.

In the early stages of my rather bifurcated writing career, I was determined to keep my author’s “double life” a secret. I will admit, I was a bit worried how my readers might react, the genres and their respective fan bases as different as they are. So I always appeared for interviews or readings using the “appropriate” pseudonym, and made a note of only ever being addressed accordingly, keeping both of my personas strictly separate. I even went as far as having them included on my passports, one for each. These days, I don’t mind that much, anymore. I’ve grown to embrace it, rather than shy away from it. But I will continue to use my different pen names for my work, of course. No sense in creating unnecessary confusion.



Hanna Winter

Hanna Winter is (as we’ve just found out!) the pseudonym for Eva Rehberger who is a hugely successful catwalk and fashion model in her native Germany. Hanna Winter’s first thriller, THE CHILDREN’S TRAIL (2010), became an instant bestseller and Sacrifice has sold over 30,000 copies in Germany since first publication in 2012 – this is the first time it’s been available in English. We have just published the eBook of Sacrifice and the paperback is due to be published on the 17th November 2016. The former German model has since published six novels under several pen names. Sacrifice has been received with critical acclaim.

sacrifice | Hanna Winter

He must kill her. Hunt her down. Destroy her . . .

In her very first case, criminal psychologist Lena Peters is confronted with a killer on a murderous vendetta. And though she is unaware, Lena will play a prominent role in his deadly mission. Lena knows what makes killers tick and all about obsession, for she has been close to the edge herself. But soon she will become the hunted…

Thanks to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre Books (find them on twitter at @BonnierZaffre) for organising the blog tour.

Sacrifice Blog Tour

Tips for aspiring writers – guest post by Angela Marsons

Silent Scream

Today I’m delighted to welcome Angela Marsons, author of A Silent Scream, to my blog with some tips for aspiring writers. Over to Angela!

My Tips for Aspiring Writers

When I was first asked this question I had no idea how to respond. I felt woefully inadequate in being able to answer this question. After all, my own journey had taken over 25 years to reach publication. Who was I to offer advice to people beginning their journey? What if I steered someone the wrong way? What if I said something to mislead or guide someone down the wrong path? So, the only way I can answer this question is to offer advice that has worked for me.
1. Don’t give up
If you only follow one piece of advice from any writer it should be this. My own journey to publication took many, many years and gifted me enough rejection slips to decorate a housing estate – twice. It would be dishonest of me to say that there weren’t times that I wanted to throw everything I’d ever written into the bin and never see a notebook again. There were definitely dark times but eventually I always returned to the motivation behind wanting to write and that was to tell a story. Once you board the ‘road to publication’ train it can be soul destroying and rejection always feels personal. But the key is in returning to the passion that led you to begin writing in the first place.

2. Don’t edit your first draft.
To quote a recent Disney film – ‘Let it go’. Just write the story. However you do it, either pen, pencils and paper or on to the computer. Just get the story down. Let your imagination go and write whatever you want. No-one is watching. Don’t pause and don’t edit. Just write.

3. Write about what you’d like to know
The ‘how to’ books all quoted that same advice of ‘write what you know’. Well, I wanted to write about murder and mayhem so that was a little tricky. My advice is to write about what you’d like to know. In Silent Scream I included subjects that interest me so that I would enjoy the research and learning. If the facts included in your work interest you then they are likely to interest a reader as well.

4. Research – everything!
Even the small things matter. There will always be someone who knows if you didn’t. My main character restores old motorbikes in her spare time and although factually correct in what I had written in Silent Scream I was still corrected on the correct terminology for ‘bikers’.

5. Have a break before submitting.
Once you’ve finished the drafting process and you feel you can improve your work no more – take some time away from it – at least a week or two and then take another look. It’s hard not to begin the submission process the minute you’ve typed THE END but be patient. No matter how many times you’ve been over the text, have a break and take one more look. It is amazing what jumps out and can be improved.

Thanks Angela!

A Silent Scream by Angela Marsons is published by Bonnier Zaffre and is published on 14th July. More on the blog tour tomorrow at Jaffa Reads Too

Silent Scream

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

Marsons, Angela

Silent Scream Blog Tour Banner

Peter Robinson week: A musical interlude

When the music's over - Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson’s 23rd DCI Banks novel When The Music’s Over is published on 14th July 2016 so myself and a few fellow book bloggers are celebrating all week. On Monday we were at Northern Crime for a Q&A with Peter, Tuesday we had another Q&A on the history of DCI Banks over at Grab This Book and today, we have a brief musical interlude.

Over to Peter…

Music always features heavily. Do you share the same taste in music as Alan Banks?
Yes. I think it would be hard to write enthusiastically about music I don’t like. We have our differences, of course. For example, I like country and western much more than Banks does, but he’s coming around to it bit by bit.

Was it always the intention to have musical influences feature so prominently down the years or has is evolved and grown over time with readers expecting it?
It has evolved over time because I found I enjoyed doing it so much. I started out wanting Banks to have very eclectic tastes, rather than being stuck on one thing, like jazz, or Wagner, and soon found there are no limits to eclecticism.

Which concert/performance would you (and Alan) place at the top of their “Wish I’d been there” list?
I would like to have seen Elvis Presley, preferably in his earlier days, but even the seventies Elvis would have done. I was a fan from a very early age. In fact, ‘Hound Dog’ was the first song I remember hearing, when I was about five or six. I kick myself now for not taking the one opportunity I had to see him. Shortly after I had moved to Canada and was living in Windsor, Elvis played Pontiac Stadium, just over the border in Detroit. I went to Detroit often enough for concerts, but in the mid seventies, I was far more likely to go and see the Grateful Dead than Elvis. But I wish I’d gone.
I could also kick myself for not going to see The Beatles when they came on tour to Leeds Odeon in 1963. I went into town with my father that day, and he took lots of photos of the fans crowding outside, and even of The Beatles themselves when they appeared on a balcony to wave. The photos themselves became famous, first published in the Yorkshire Evening and then as part of a Leeds in the Sixties exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery. But I should have gone. I saw lots of my favourite performers there—Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, Helen Shapiro, Dusty Springfield, The Beach Boys, The Hollies, The Tremolos, The Spencer Davis Group and so on–but not The Beatles.
And finally, out of curiosity, I would love to have been present in January, 1841, at Franz Liszt’s recital at the King’s Head in Richmond, North Yorkshire, where I spend a good part of my time now. (Not the pub itself, just the general the area!) I haven’t been able to track down any reviews, but he was definitely there on one of his tours. Apparently he was quite the rock star in his day, and the women went wild for him. I was especially honoured when I did a music & story event with Eliza Carthy in the same room just a few years ago.

Thanks Peter!

Tomorrow we’ll be over at Steph’s Book Blog.

When the music's over - Peter Robinson

In a remote countryside lane in North Yorkshire, the body of a young girl is found, bruised and beaten, having apparently been thrown from a moving vehicle.

While DI Annie Cabbot investigates the circumstances in which a 14-year-old could possibly fall victim to such a crime, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is faced with a similar task – but the case Banks must investigate is as cold as they come.

Fifty years ago Linda Palmer was attacked by celebrity entertainer Danny Caxton, yet no investigation ever took place. Now Caxton stands accused at the centre of a historical abuse investigation and it’s Banks’s first task as superintendent to find out the truth.

While Annie struggles with a controversial case threatening to cause uproar in the local community, Banks must piece together decades-old evidence, and as each steps closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll unearth secrets much darker than they ever could have guessed . . .