Blog Tour & Book Review

White Water, Black Death

by Shaun Ebelthite


 

“A cruise ship is the perfect target for a biological attack”. These are the chilling words emailed to the Seaborne Symphony in the mid-Atlantic.

Magazine editor Geneva Jones has been sent on the trans-Atlantic cruise to help secure a major advertising agreement from the CEO of the cruise line Rachel Atkinson, but her efforts to win her over are curtailed by a mysterious crew death. Geneva suspects foul play. Rachel insists its suicide. A former investigative journalist, Geneva can’t resist digging deeper, but what she finds is far more devastating. There’s an Ebola outbreak on the ship, everyone is trapped aboard and Rachel is trying to keep it secret.

Geneva knows enough about Ebola to be terrified, but she’s also onto the biggest story of her career. As panic surges through the ship, she becomes fixated on a single question. How was the virus brought aboard? The answer is worse than she could have imagined, and the greatest exposé she’ll ever get, if she can only prove it.

***

Fascinating or what? Here’s my review:

This story draws you in from the very first page. A virus has been purposely spread throughout the decks of the cruise ship Symphony. Immediately, the reader is intrigued – Who has done this? Why? What will happen to the crew and passengers?

On board, Geneva Jones, a magazine editor invited to give a write-up for CruiseCritique, hopes for a good story. She already has ‘history’ with the Cruise CEO, Rachel Atkinson, and theirs is not a harmonious relationship. If there is a scoop to be had, Geneva will find it.

However, Rachel plays a similar game to discredit Geneva and pours scorn on the headlines that reflect badly on her management. But, it’s clear, Rachel’s handling of the outbreak has been flawed, putting lives at risk even while she purports to be ‘doing her best’ and, towards the end, offering to help the doctor when passengers and crew members are dying at an alarming rate.

A series of spectacularly dramatic events unfold. A member of the ship’s crew ‘falls’ overboard, and searching for her is halted due to a MayDay call from another vessel. Knowing they cannot possibly save the crew member, the Captain forges ahead to rescue the occupants of the smaller boat, only for them to then die within days of being brought to the Symphony.

Panic rises as rumours of the virus spread throughout, and many jump overboard while the ship is waiting instructions to dock in Bermuda. Permission is denied them and those who tried to flee are returned to the ship, which has been instructed to head for Miami: a journey of three more days.

Geneva grows more suspicious with each passing hour, and as passengers succumb to the virus she knows there is more to the story than everybody is being told.

The story explodes further with even more intriguing sub-plots: a crew member suffers persistent sexual attack by one of her superiors; the Captain falls ill and is secretly shipped ashore; the adopted son of the CEO is on board for the first time and Geneva questions Rachel’s reasons for bringing him aboard… These are all tied up by the end and come together to enrich the overall plot.

This book has the potential to be a best-seller. The author clearly knows about the cruising world, yet it is the fear and panic that this Ebola outbreak causes, upon a ship with a captive audience, that drives the story forward at such a pace. Being completely believable as a potential source for terrorism, the threat posed makes for one humdinger of a thriller. It’s so feasible that it’s enough to put people off cruise ships for life.

My reasons for not giving it the full five stars lie not in the story itself – for that is a cracking read – but in aspects of the writing. There are times when it’s not easy to follow the dialogue and I had to flip back to track the conversations, and even then still wasn’t clear who was speaking. This put a dampener on my enjoyment of the book, slowing me down when I really wanted to race ahead.  There were other issues (the child’s name changing from Zack to Riley at one point, and different spellings of the cruise company’s name – Seaborne/Seabourn) Maybe I’m too demanding as a reader, but I want it all – a great story and clear writing.

However, on story alone, this is a five-star read with one heck of a twist at the end. Read it, enjoy it, but be prepared:

***

But if you still need a little more convincing, check out this excerpt:

Ebola. It sounded better suited to a field clinic than a cruise ship. If this was Ebola, she was utterly fucked. Emma knew without any doubt that she was right though. She’d been right before the WHO and CDC contacted them, before Bermuda closed its border, before the FBI launched its investigation.
She’d realised before anyone else what this was, but had been too afraid to accept it.
Little good acceptance would have done anyway. The virus was deadly in more than half of all infections, even with expert supportive care. A person could go from perfectly healthy to dead in a few days. Most of her patients were exposed to the virus more than a week ago, and began showing symptoms three to four days later. They had forty-eight hours left, if that.
According to Rachel, Miami was more than seventy four hours sailing at full speed.
Even if Bermuda had taken them ashore, they’d still die. Once the bleeding started there was very little any hospital could do.
And her patients were bleeding.
It started in the stools and urine, then the nose, ears and eventually the eyes. The young girl she’d examined just two days ago was bleeding from every orifice.
Emma could see the vague shape of her body on a mattress between a white sheet and the windows. She was trying to give the worst-off patients what privacy she could. They had to be stripped down to their underwear and constantly sponged in a futile attempt to control the fever.
Some sort of privacy was all she could give them.
The girl’s mother was with her, sponging her and periodically being sick in a wastepaper basket. There were no more buckets available, even the disposable vomit bags had run out. Emma had just a few boxes of paracetamol left and only one of Imodium, her last remaining Ovartin would be used to save as many as she could when they were within airlift range of the US.
All other medication of any use had run out during the night.
She was using 19th century means to treat the most deadly virus of the 20th century.
“You’re all right my baby,” the woman was telling her daughter, the girl was trembling violently. Emma didn’t need to see her face to know she would be looking at her mother with wide, terrified eyes. Dozens of her patients had given her the same stricken look in the last twenty-four hours.
Emma couldn’t remember their names, but their faces were there like skulls in Ntarama church.
“Fight it Megan, we’ll be home soon,” the woman said.
She hadn’t let her daughter see her cry. Her husband’s body was one of those wrapped in a sheet in a line with four others that had died during the night. They’d been placed next to the doors on the left of the lounge, nearest the bar. Crew in protective gear would come to collect them soon and take them to the hold.
“You’re going to be okay, Megan.”
The girl would be dead within the next two hours.
“Doctor?” Emma felt a hand on her arm, the fingers clutching nervously, almost politely. “Her temperature is getting worse.” The young woman, her sandy blond hair hanging in clumps in her face, was looking at her with a wild optimism that made Emma feel like a fraud. “Could you come and see her?”
And do what?
“Of course,” Emma smiled, following the girl to her friend. She’d been brought in during the night when the ‘clinic’ was being set up. She lay shivering on a bare mattress, dark stains all around her. Emma lifted her chart, little more than a sheet of paper from one of the cruise line’s notepads and pretended to examine it. ‘Lucy’ scrawled just below Seaborne’s elaborate goldleaf logo.
The vitals noted by Ryan showed a clear trajectory. She wasn’t bleeding from any orifices yet, but her temperature was dangerously high, her blood pressure dangerously low and her blood urea nitrogen and creatinine were elevated. Her kidneys were failing and she was haemorrhaging internally.
Emma couldn’t waste resources on her.
“I’ll get her something right away,” she told Lucy’s friend. The girl flashed a relieved smile, slipping her hands into two plastic bags. She put a damp cloth on Lucy’s pink forehead.
All Emma could give her were electrolytes.
“We thought she was just seasick, she’d been feeling iffy since before yesterday, but we thought maybe it was from the sunburn. We made her come to the pool deck party last night.”
Lucy’s friend wasn’t showing symptoms yet, but Emma had let her stay because she didn’t have enough healthy people to look after the sick. The girl was using plastic bags to protect herself.
It was shameful.
Emma made her way across the lounge, trying to muster a smile and a kind, reassuring word as she went. A teenage boy with acute diarrhoea and vomiting would be prioritised for antiemetics and loperamide. It would make his death more comfortable, but his mother thought it was treatment. A wife was told her husband would get diazepam within the hour. The woman was just a wrinkled face to Emma, they were all blurring into one swarming mass of people she couldn’t help. The woman’s husband had a rash over his chest and stomach that looked like a war-torn archipelago. A diffuse erythematous maculopapular rash that was also desquamate.
He wouldn’t survive the next three days. A sedative would ease his suffering.
It was inhuman.
Disaster triage, ‘resource allocation based on potential medical benefit’ was what medical textbooks called it.
She’d have to sedate most of her patients soon, she couldn’t keep this act up indefinitely.
Emma had crossed a line during the night, entering unexplored, ethically gray territory. She would have her medical license revoked for it. She was lying to her patients to keep them calm, giving them placebos because there wasn’t enough of the real thing.
She had to lie. Ebola was terrifying enough. Ebola without anyway for the ship’s doctor to treat it would cause total hysteria, endangering everyone on-board.
“Five more incoming,” Ryan sighed, a walkie-talkie held in a gloved hand that hung loosely by his side. They were probably both infected.
A patient could present with symptoms anywhere between two days and three weeks after exposure to it. A week was the average.
It was only a matter of time before he started experiencing nausea and an elevated temperature. Emma wasn’t throwing up yet, but she knew it would come. Fatigue was the first symptom. Extreme fatigue. The long hours she was working in the clinic masked it for the first day or so, now she could feel the tell-tale achiness in her joints, the oversensitivity of her skin. She wouldn’t be able to control the shivering soon.
“Ryan,” she thudded heavily across what had been the marble dancefloor a few days ago to where her nurse was checking someone’s temperature. “How many have we lost?” she asked in a whisper, tiptoeing around the truth, afraid to wake it.
“Forty-five.”
Emma had forgotten. He’d told her at sunrise. Emma never forgot details like this, but now she couldn’t hold onto to basic information. Couldn’t concentrate.
“Are the opiates still in the clinic?” Emma wasn’t sure why she was asking, she had the key to the medical stores and if she did need the morphine and acetaminophen and other painkillers she would get them herself.
“Yes,” said Ryan, but there was a question in his eyes.
Emma was looking for permission. She wanted to ease the suffering, but Morphine could be lethal to someone already presenting with low blood pressure.
“Doctor, you need to sit down. You need to rest.”
“I’m going to do another round.”
“Miss Atkinson is already…”
Emma tried to turn, but her feet wouldn’t follow her body’s lead. She stumbled awkwardly, almost falling into a row of patients lying on haphazardly arranged mattresses. They’d been in orderly rows last night.
A hand caught her arm, holding her up.
“One hand for the ship, doctor.” Rachel smiled at her like they were waiting for the dinner announcement. “I’ve asked some of the crew to clean things up a bit, I hope you don’t mind? I think the smell is what gets to people most. I know it does me.”
That smile again.
Emma’s opinion of the CEO had been low even before the emergency meeting in the captain’s office two nights ago. Now she was convinced she must be crazy. Worrying about the cleanliness of her lounge with death all around them, closing in like a creeping tide. She’d been going from one passenger to the next, making chit-chat and cracking jokes for the last hour.
“Of course.”
Emma hadn’t given sanitation a thought for hours. Early this morning some of the crew already quarantined in the lounge had volunteered to help, but she needed an army to empty buckets, clean up feces and vomit, hand out water and fresh towels, let alone actually try to treat any of the more than two hundred people now crammed into the room.
Even if she did have the medicine and equipment she needed, she didn’t have enough hands.
“You are going to sit here behind the bar and rest for half an hour,” Emma hadn’t realised Rachel was leading her to the other side of the lounge, through a maze of makeshift screens and mattresses. “We’re going to clean up, then I’m going to have a chat with you about what you need.”
“Medicine,” said Emma. “Need more. We’ve run out of…”
“We can get it airlifted from Bermuda,” said Rachel, handing Emma a bottle of water. “Have something to drink and close your eyes for a few minutes.”
Emma was sitting now. Perched on a footstool, her head below the bar’s countertop so that all she could see were bottles of water on shelves all around her. There were more than two hundred bottles of water stoked behind the bar, she’d noted it down somewhere. Rachel said there were another eleven thousand available in the hold.
“I’m going to have to start sedating patients soon,” said Emma. “As more die, those left are going to get increasingly agitated.”
“That’s not necessary yet.” Rachel was kneeling in front of her. “Doctor,” she waited for Emma to lift her eyes. “Promise me you won’t do that yet.”
Emma nodded, looking down at her gloved hands. The gloves were unnecessary now, serving as part of a costume rather than a purpose.
“Tristan?” Rachel was looking for a member of the cruise staff, her voice carrying over the moaning of a man nearby. “Is there any way for us to discreetly put out a call for volunteers to help here? The doctor’s overwhelmed, we need as many of our first aid people as we can get.”
“I’ll ask security to pass the word.”
“I’ll call Richard,” Rachel lifted the phone behind the bar. “We need to get supplies airlifted from Hamilton.”
Rachel was taking over her clinic, but Emma could only feel relief.
She hadn’t been alone like this since the day before yesterday. Was that the last time she slept? Emma couldn’t remember, but she could remember how many bottles of water there were. How many patients were there in the lounge now? She needed to ask Ryan. Should be keeping a runny tally. Why wasn’t she able to remember these details? Emma flicked through her notebook and found the page.
124
142
156
179
192
203?
Why had she put a question mark next to it? She must have intended to double check with Ryan. She’d do a headcount herself, he was as overworked as her. She made a note to find out the total number of Ebola cases throughout the ship.
Shouldn’t be sitting here doing nothing.
“…almost heaven, West Virginia, blue ridge mountain, Shenandoah river…”
Emma stood up, incredulous. Singing. Her patients were singing. It was just a few people at first, the Philipino staff mainly, who, despite being sick, had also volunteered to help in trying to keep the lounge clean.
“life is old there, older than the trees…”
They were being led by Rachel, standing in front of a group of children all singing along, clapping out of time. There were thirty-five children in the lounge. Emma could remember that. Almost all the children on-board.
“younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze…”
Most of them had been brought in by parents who weren’t sick yet. Emma had intended to enforce a strict quarantine, but couldn’t separate children from their parents.
Everyone was infected anyway. Quarantine was a plan that failed as soon as it started.
The voices grew, spreading through the lounge until everyone who had the energy was singing, joining in on the chorus, some filming on their phones.
“country road, take me home, to a place I belong…”
Rachel had lifted a small boy up, his hands in the air in glee, beaming at his dad like he’d won a prize. Jack, though his mother called him Jackie. She was feverish behind one of the curtains; she would likely die during the night. His father wasn’t showing symptoms yet. He might survive until they reached Miami. His son wouldn’t.
“West Virginia, mountain mamma…”
The doors closest to the bar opened, two security guards with tasers at the ready and ten crewmen in masks and gloves, come to remove the bodies.
“take me home, country road.”
Rachel caught Emma’s eye and launched into the chorus once more.
With most patients in the lounge distracted by Rachel and the children, Emma stumbled forward to help them lift the dead. She’d been focusing so much on what medication and treatments her patients needed, and dwelling on her inability to provide it, that she’d forgotten one of the worst parts about being ill.
Boredom.
She watched the first three bodies carried to one of the elevators on the other side of the lobby and tried to remember how many had died. What had Ryan said? She needed to see what was being done with the bodies, she had to make sure they were being treated respectfully.
She gestured to Rachel and then stumbled over to the lift, catching the alarmed glance of a passenger on a mattress closest to the door. By tomorrow, even Rachel wouldn’t be able to keep the flood gates closed. Panic was going to set in tonight. Several dozen people were unlikely to make it through to the morning and with death on every other mattress in the lounge, Emma and Rachel’s deception would be laid bare.
She wasn’t escaping, she would come back. She wasn’t abandoning them.
By tomorrow, she would be incapacitated anyway, and would be unable to control the diarrhea. She’d end up soiling herself like so many of her patients, whose shame she’d had to ignore as she or one of the crew helped them clean themselves.
It was absurd, but this was what scared her most. Not death.

Now you’re hooked, right? How about you add it to your reading pile in Goodreads? Click here to do so.  Or, maybe you’re ready to buy right now – here’s the Amazon link.

***

Shaun Ebelthite was born in Namibia, raised in South Africa and educated in Dubai in the Middle East where he is a maritime and cruise journalist. He has been covering all aspects of ocean transport for more than five years and runs the Middle East’s foremost online cruise magazine. He has had two children’s books published, and is now branching out into a new genre with his first thriller.

Cruise Arabia (https://cruisearabiaonline.com)

There you have it. A wonderful thriller awaits you. If you do choose to read White Water, Black Death, please leave a review afterwards. Reviews keep authors writing 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

Army of Authors Blog Tour – Stephen Bentley

I’ve got something extra special today. No kidding around. This post features an author with absolute authority on the genre in which he writes. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop

Yep! Pretty cool, or what? Here’s how the author puts it:

Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop’ is roughly how the blurb goes on the Amazon listing for my latest book ‘Who The F*ck Am I?’

The title may be a tad controversial to some, but it is part of the very fabric of an infiltrator. Identity confusion among undercover agents is a medically recognised condition.

It is Book One in a trilogy featuring Steve Regan, a fictional British undercover cop. The action takes place mainly in the United Kingdom but also takes the reader to Miami and Boston in the United States.

The book is available from October 31, 2017 in both Kindle and paperback through Amazon. It will also be available in other eBook formats through Smashwords and at most other online book stores.

The blurb also makes the claim, “This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

From Amazon UK bestselling author, Stephen Bentley, comes a fictional undercover cop, Steve Regan, following on the success of his true crime undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt, police bureaucracy, and help a loved one. He wonders whether he can go ‘rogue’ and cross the line.

Regan gets involved in one deal with a Miami-based drug lord. But is everyone who they say they are?

Short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment, from a bestselling author who knows how to suck you into a story.”

This novella was inspired by two gangsters I met in real life while undercover. I harboured thoughts about them for many years and felt obliged to deal with those thoughts in this fictional work. I believe I can safely say that is a first!

As the author and a former undercover cop, I do not profess to know with certainty if my claim about it being a “first” is fact. I mean the claim: This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop! I could argue, in line with another former profession of mine (lawyer), that it isn’t a claim at all – merely a hypothesis. Pedants may argue there ought to be a question mark following “has to be first.” Possibly, they are correct.

But in any event, whether claim or hypothesis, it intrigues me. So, a challenge to all readers of this blog post – tell me if I am right or wrong about it being the first fictional work about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop. At least I ask you to leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.

There is a reward for the best comment left – one free copy of the book featured here and a free copy of my bestselling memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Please note there can only be one winner and the prizes will be provided in any eBook format of the winner’s choice.

The winner will be judged by the author on the basis of the insight provided by the commentator, the originality of the comment, and any tendency to humour gains extra marks

And to prove Stephen has the credentials – and to help you make your decision as to whether this novel is a ground-breaking, first of a kind – here’s the info you need:

Stephen Bentley: 

Former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop, barrister (trial counsel). Now a writer, author, and blogs at HuffPost UK.

Author of ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ – an Amazon UK bestselling book about his undercover days on one of the world’s largest drug busts.

Are you convinced yet? Okay, why not check out the book in the meantime.

Lives in the Philippines, enjoys the beaches and a cold beer and follows “his team”, Liverpool Football Club from afar.

So, maybe the last bit doesn’t help in proving Stephen’s ‘claim’, but knowing he lives in the Philippines and follows Liverpool FC has to count for something. I mean, you wouldn’t make that up, would you?

Don’t forget to leave a review if you choose to this book. Reviews keep authors writing!

Thanks for reading.

Featured Author – George M. Nagle

In the September spotlight from Mystery Authors International is George M. Nagle and his debut novel – The Life We Lead:Ascending – which is available to purchase now. There’s a trailer on YouTube that will give you an instant feel for the story. You can see it here.

What’s not to love about spies, romance, drug cartels and the like. The young protagonist, James, has been heralded as a mix between Bond & Holmes. It has to be good to receive that kind of accolade.

This is just the first in a series of what should be three books. At 425 pages, it is the shortest of the series and really the introduction to James, the group, Carissa and a whole cast of others.  The Life We Lead follows the life of James, the main character as he battles criminal syndicates while trying to have a normal life.  It is inspired by real life events, however, names, places, timelines and such have all been altered.  This story has been 25 years in the making and certainly won’t disappoint with an incredible ending to the series.  This series is based in reality of spying so the far-fetched gadgets and such like those found in James Bond won’t be appearing. It is a spy novel has lots of twists in turns that can make you laugh, cry, feel the characters outrage and even love.  The subtitle to the book is a clue to why it ends where it does too.

***

It’s a great cover, don’t you agree? Fancy a snippet? Of course you do.

Chapter 03 – [context:  James and Daen capture Nikolias after Petior has been abducted.]

“You are our prisoner, but you are a captive of whatever group you…” Daen began, but Nikolias cut him off.

“What makes you think I want to leave?” growled Nikolias.

“When you help us, your bosses will not be too happy with you. You and your cousin will need to leave to survive,” replied Daen.

“So he says,” Nikolias said curtly, with a head gesture towards James.

“What did he say? Why did he just do that?” asked James.

“Sounds like he doesn’t feel the need for our help. It seems he doesn’t want to, or have a reason to leave,” Daen replied, a puzzled look on his face.

“I am no traitor, and I will die to help our fraternity and country. I am loyal and believe in things, unlike you American dogs,” Nikolias stated in English.

James bowed his head, closed his eyes, and rubbed his left temple for a moment with his left hand. He dragged it down his face before speaking again.

“Okay, tell us what the fraternity’s cause is. What’s so special about it that you’re willing to risk your life, your cousin’s life, because someone felt I disrespected them near a train?” asked James.

Nikolias laughed. “We know you’re looking for drugs. You feel drugs are not disrespectful and destroying. You think we do not know that is why you are here? We see you peoples, and how you treat us. You all deserve death for your exploits on us, and our children.”

Check out the full blurb – I’m sure this will have you one-clicking in no time:

The DEA, FBI, and CIA have failed for years to bring down the Spara family, who control the world’s largest drug cartel. A secret society of spies whose members are under the age of 25 will try to succeed where the government has failed.

At only 21 years old, James is the most skillful member of this society. His new target is the Spara family. Through their relationship with Russia, the Sparas are the largest distributor of heroin in the world.  While beginning his investigation in Russia, James inadvertently saves the life of a former KBG officer who has a connection to the Tan family. This connection leads James farther into the heart of the criminal cartel.  However, the Tans have a dark secret of their own, which could jeopardize James’s perfect record and his tenure as a spy as he struggles to do what is right while protecting his family, friends and the love of his life.

***

George is the 3rd of 6 children and grew up in western Pennsylvania. He earned his BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, his MSc in Biology and his MBA in Marketing and Management from Duquesne University. He is also a Master 5th degree black belt in the art of Taekwondo with Young Brothers in Pittsburgh. He currently in a global marketing and strategy professional in science industries. He also has one son, Matthew.

Follow him and his series at any or all of these sites:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER  

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE

SMASHWORDS AUTHOR PAGE

Don’t forget to leave a review afterwards – reviews keep authors writing – and you’ll want to read the rest of this series, I’m sure.

Good luck with sales, George, and your push for those bestseller lists.

 

Featured Author – Nicole Fitton

Here at Mystery Authors International we always have a great story to tell.

This month is no exception, since our featured author is none other than Nicole Fitton, and we’re going to be looking at her book, Forbidden Colours. 

Before we delve into the details, let me just add that Nicole is having an awesome spell as an author.

Not only has she been nominated for an author of the year award, but the cover of her novel was a front-runner in Cover Wars too.

As this is such a wonderfully imaginative cover, I feel the need to display it in full resolution – as a piece of artwork it merits its own spot of glory.

So, well done, Nicole. This is just the start of a successful writing career and we’re supporting you all the way.

You’re no doubt wanting to know what the novel is all about, so without further ado, Nicole tells me how the story came to be.

Forbidden Colours was the evolution of a question that had been rattling around in my brain. You know, those annoying questions that wake you at 4am and won’t let you rest until you’ve written something. Well, that’s how it was for me. I had read a newspaper article about the complexity of the human brain and well, it all started from there. Forbidden Colours is a gripping love story which contains elements of psychological suspense. It has enough adrenaline fuelled drama to power the national grid! Once I had the protagonist Midori Yates firmly fixed in my mind’s eye she took charge and dictated the direction of travel. I have a passion for science and being able to incorporate that into a book is very exciting. The story centres around a new drug being brought to market that does not quite do what it is supposed to…. I shall leave it at that. As I said earlier I started Forbidden Colours with a question and everything flowed from there. So, I know you want to know, what was the question? It’s a question I often ask myself but seldom has it led me in such an unusual direction…… ‘ What if?’

A thriller that offers suspense and romance must be bound for great things – next stop, Hollywood, Nicole?

Check out the blurb for greater insight into the plot:

What if your memories were not your memories? What if the drug hailed as a cure becomes your curse and ultimately your destruction?

Forbidden Colours is a gripping tale where nothing is quite as it seems. Neurologist Nick Campbell is all set to believe in new drug Centoria, but when his patients start turning up dead he starts to wonder whether his faith has been blind.

Determined to uncover the truth, pharmaceutical employee Midori Yates and Dr Nick Campbell find a conspiracy that is to have devastating consequences for both of them. Forbidden Colours is a clever contemporary thriller that has numerous twists and turns that will make your head spin! A book for bedtime? Maybe but don’t expect to get any sleep!

Powerful stuff, I think you’ll agree, and most definitely unique in its concept and intriguing to boot! Who needs sleep, anyway? 🙂

Fancy a snippet? (Of course you do, and what the reader wants, the reader gets …)

Katzuko Yates eyed her daughter thoughtfully. A sense of apprehension gripped her. Those years in Japan were long ago; she wondered if she could be clear with her explanation. Even though buried, her memories continued to breathe under the mountain of life she’d lived. Dare she even speak of them? Could she speak of them? Their place of residence had become an unmarked grave in her history. Her family had a right to know, after everything that had happened. His world was dark and full of shadows; where would she begin? For over 25 years she had told no one. Now she was being drawn back into his world. It was a time she wanted to forget. The tie that had been bound to her so tightly was about to be broken.

Wow! You must be tempted to one-click this now – so here’s the all-important link you need.

Pardon me, where are my manners? Let me introduce you to Nicole and provide all the links so you may stalk – I mean follow – her 🙂

Author Bio:

Nicole Fitton is an author and freelance writer who has lived in such glamorous locations as London, New York and Croydon! She currently reside in Devon, UK with her family. Forbidden Colours is her second novel. Her career has spanned over 3 decades working in PR and marketing within the music industry. She currently works within healthcare in the UK.

Alongside her novels Nicole has a passion for writing short stories. This year has seen her short ‘Soaring’ featured in an anthology by the Black Pear Press. Her stories always have a happy ending, but, the way in which they get there will keep you guessing right up until the last page! She admits she gets bored easily and can often be found enjoying new adventures!

Links:

Website 

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Before I go, let me share another tidbit – Forbidden Colours is on Kindle Countdown until May 4th – so time to grab your own copy and enjoy the bargain!

No more fingernails left to bite!

Manicures would be wasted on me.

Yes, it’s true – I’m a nail-biter.

This time it’s because my latest WIP is about to leave the nest.

The Untruth Hunters is ready for critiquing and the (un)lucky reviewers are those wonderful authors in my writing group. Whilst they’ve been there for my revenge stories, questioned my evil streak and cheered at my fantasy excerpts, this one is a little different – darker and conspiratorial.

the-untruth-hunters

Travis Hunter is existing, nothing more. Having lost his parents and wife in separate, tragic accidents he is prone to depression and self-harm.

When an invitation to avoid the Christmas hullabaloo comes his way, he grabs it without thinking and embarks upon a strange journey with sinister undertones.

On learning his parents did not die, but were instead kidnapped, he is recruited by a secret organisation to bring them home. 

Government conspiracies, ungodly terrain and a killer sleeping disease force Travis to raise his game – no longer can he be a Hunter in name only. 

I guess I’ll have to resort to caffeine and chocolate to calm my nerves and wait for feedback.

Book Review – The Good Girl

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The Good Girl – Mary Kubica

4/5 stars – Aside from the unusual style of writing, which took some getting used to, this story had me gripped until the end – with an ending that I did not expect in the slightest. Written from a variety of perspectives, it is both a suspenseful mystery and a tender romance.

Definitely an author to follow.

Synopsis (taken from Goodreads):

“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”
Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

 

 

 

 

 

Journey’s end (still on the bus!)

The final journey for today takes us to France. It’s an international bestseller and another fast.paced crime thriller.

The 7th Woman

by Frédérique Molay, translated by Anne Trager

Summa7th womanry: There’s no rest for Paris’s top criminal investigation division, La Crim’. Who is preying on women in the French capital? How can he kill again and again without leaving any clues? A serial killer is taking pleasure in a macabre ritual that leaves the police on tenterhooks. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky—a super cop with a modern-day real life, including an ex-wife, a teenage son and a budding love story—races against the clock to solve the murders as they get closer and closer to his inner circle. Will he resist the pressure?

My thoughts: Nico Sirksy is the kind of cop that gets things done. Sleep is overrated and even the onset of a nasty stomach ulcer does not slow him down. He has a complicated family set-up, but is clearly devoted to his son, sister and mother. A serial killer has come to Paris and is killing women of a certain type – 30ish, brunette, successful and pregnant. Their deaths are gruesome, as the killer engages in a cruel and sickening process of torture, pain and humiliation. When the killers actively seeks out Nico and threatens to hurt the women in his family, Sirsky ups his game in order to catch the murderer before the seventh victim – potentially one of his own family – falls victim.

Unfortunately I worked out who the killer was quite early on, but still had to keep reading to confirm my suspicions. There were even times that I thought I had got it wrong, leaving me more intrigued and keen to read on. Molay creates plenty of tension as the plot builds, the desperation of the officers is clear to see and the emotional pressure they are under is beautifully depicted. As with many books that are not written in English, there is a definite style difference in that there are many long descriptive passages. In this case, the author clearly feels the needs to make sure that the reader understands the procedures and the mindsets of his characters. I particularly enjoy these ‘info dumps’ and want to know as much as I can about the setting, the scenery, the history. I appreciate that many others will find this a little excessive, but this is definitely not a case of style over substance. The plot flows very well, the characters are fully developed and the reader is invited into their world, warts and all!

I’ve read many books by foreign authors and this one, from Le French publications, is by far one of the best so far. I’ve come to realise that I prefer the style of European writers and will actively seek out these authors from now on.