Friday 30 March 2018

End Game
Matt Johnson

Today, it's my turn to host the Blog Tour for End Game by Matt Johnson with thanks also to Anne Cater for asking Boon's Bookcase to host. I have an extract for you, so enjoy......


An hour later, with the arrest paperwork complete, we had handed Costas over to the local CID and were heading back to our office at New Scotland Yard. We’d wanted to talk to him about his alleged involvement with prostitution, but the evidence of his dealing in stolen goods had now taken priority. Our questions would have to wait.

I had the result of an important interview to think about, although Nina and Matt seemed more interested in talking about their discovery in Costas’s upstairs bedroom. We’d been travelling for several miles before Nina noticed I wasn’t joining in the conversation.

‘Have you absolutely no idea if you passed the selection board, Finlay?’ she asked as she swung the car into the offside lane and raced towards the junction. The traffic signal was just changing to amber and, as was typical of her style of driving, Nina was determined to beat the lights. We made it, just.
‘None at all,’ I said, as I started to breathe again. ‘I even had a sneaky look through the boss’s correspondence tray yesterday. There was nothing; no clue.’

Matt leaned over my shoulder from the back seat. ‘It went well though, I heard. And it can’t have done you any harm that you just completed the Hostage Negotiator course. Most people who do that training are earmarked for promotion.’

‘True enough, but there aren’t many spots for Chief Inspectors this year, and my time at Combat Stress won’t have helped. So, to be honest, I’m not too hopeful.’

‘It was a shame they held the board so close to you coming back to work,’ said Nina. ‘If there’d been a decent gap…’
‘What’s done is done,’ I snapped, instantly regretting my lack of patience.
Nina was being sympathetic, and I wasn’t showing much appreciation.
‘So, will they let you stay in the department as a DCI, or will you have to go back to being a wooden-top?’ she asked calmly, having either not noticed or politely chosen to ignore my rudeness.
‘I don’t know that, either.’
‘Jenny will be pleased … if you pass, I mean. Especially now you’ve an extra mouth to feed.’

I shrugged. Nina was right. The extra pay would help, especially as there was no chance Jenny would be going back to work any time soon.
She was enjoying being a new mother again, and our daughter Becky loved having a little sister.

Nina interrupted my thoughts. ‘Well, you’ve done your courses now.
So, technically speaking you’re a proper DI. And, if you don’t mind me saying, you’re not a bad one, either. I’ve worked with a lot worse, believe me.’ She jabbed a thumb towards the rear seat and laughed.
‘Bugger off, Nina,’ said Matt, feigning anger. ‘Fancy a job writing parking tickets do you?’

I didn’t respond, but I appreciated Nina’s words. It had been a tough year; one that I was glad was behind me. For now, all my thoughts were concerned with the result of the promotion board and what the implications would be if I had managed to scrape through.

I was certainly the oldest and, possibly, the least apprehensive of the applicants who assembled in the foyer of the interview rooms on the day of the selection board. The thought even crossed my mind that I’d been nominated so the Met couldn’t be accused of excluding older officers. I saw a lot of female candidates, at least as many as the men, which didn’t come as too much of a surprise given the effort the Met
was making to put right its poor record on equal opportunities. We were all in best bib ‘n’ tucker – smart suits or full uniform, depending upon our current role. I’d felt quietly confident at that point, even as I’d walked through the door to the final interview room.

But now that I was due to see our new Superintendent to hear the result, I didn’t really share Matt and Nina’s faith in me. My lack of operational experience as an Inspector had generated quite a few questions from the three senior officers on the selection board. And I was asked the inevitable question – a tough one to answer: Did I think that spending several years guarding the Royal Family and just one year as a Detective Inspector was sufficient to prepare me for the demanding role of a Chief Inspector?

I had given as good an answer as I could, but it was clear to me that the question was posed to expose my Achilles heel. I’d done well on my CID courses, but I knew as well as the board did that I’d only been fast tracked onto them due to my unusual situation. My interviewers didn’t mention the six-week absence I’d taken to be treated for stress. But they knew about it – it was on my file – and I wasn’t so naive as to think it wouldn’t figure in their deliberations.
Our new Superintendent, Ron Cutts, was waiting as we arrived back at the office. He waved me over and, as I stepped into his office, he shut the door behind me and invited me to sit. My stomach felt hollow. Long in the tooth and with a long history of selection systems and examinations behind me, yet I still felt nervous.

He got straight to the point. ‘How do you think the board went?’
I shrugged and screwed up my face a little. I was about to speak when he raised a hand to silence me.
‘Sorry … not a lot of point in beating about the bush. That was a pointless question.’
‘Not good news, then?’ I asked.
‘Not for you, no. I’ll admit to some relief you’ll be staying with us for a while longer, though.’

‘Can’t say I’m too surprised. I was the oldest by far and my CV kind of let me down.’

Cutts flicked through a file on his desk, appearing to re-read what had been said about me. ‘Feedback was good: says if there had been more places you’d have been in with a shout. It suggests a posting where you can act up in the rank and then have another go.’
‘I bet they say that to everyone who dips out. What do you think?’
He took a deep breath. ‘If I’m honest, I think it’s not just your age and length of service that work against you.’
‘Something else?’
‘Your history. Before I took command of this team, Mr Grahamslaw filled me in on what happened to you last year and how you ended up here.’
‘You think that influenced the board?’

He closed the file and placed it in a drawer. ‘I think you’re a damn good cop, Finlay, and it’s clear our Commander has your back. But, let’s just say there are people in the job who thought you should have been prosecuted.’

There was little more to be said. I extended my thanks and headed back to the main office.
Nina and Matt were in the corridor grabbing coffee and a cake from the tea-lady’s trolley.
Nina looked at me, expectantly. I guess my face told it all. ‘No good, eh?’ she asked.
‘Better luck next time, I guess.’ I did my best to look upbeat.
‘Not a chance. I had to sleep with all three of the board to get them to turn you down!’
I laughed. Matt laughed. Even the tea-lady laughed.
‘Well, at least you can enjoy the weekend,’ said Matt. ‘I’ve just had the DCI from Kilburn on the phone. They’ve been trying to catch up with Costas Ioannidis for months. Well pleased, he was, and he’s agreed to take over the enquiry. We’ve got a weekend off to enjoy some down time.’

About the Author

Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty-five years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent's Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People's Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result. Deadly Game and now End Game, the final book in the Robert Finlay series, once again draw on Matt's experiences and drips with the same raw authenticity of its predecessor.

To order from Amazon click here

Wednesday 28 March 2018

The Allotment Girls
Kate Thompson

I'd like to say a huge welcome to Kate Thompson to Boon's Bookcase and I am so pleased to be a part of this Blog Tour. I do love a family/wartime saga and I find the covers of these books just gorgeous. Today I am delighted to have a Q&A with the author herself! Thank you for answering my questions!


Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?

Hi Julie! Thank you for having me on your blog. Well, I'm a 43-year-old mum of two very loud, boisterous boys.I live in Sunbury Upon Thames with them, a very elderly Jack Russell called Twinkle and my husband Ben.
I like to exercise; Crossfit, yoga and running, but mainly because I have a serious mint Matchmaker habit! 

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

It sounds like a cliche but I can't remember a time when I wanted to be anything else. Creative writing was my passionate at school, perhaps to the detriment of everything else as when I came out of school, it was with one GCSE in English. From there I became a journalist, I'm still not sure to this day how I got on the National Council Training Journalists (NCTJ) course as it was only open to graduates, and I definitely did not have a degree, but they accepted me and I never looked back. Journalism gave me the chance to indulge my love of stories, writing, interviewing and trying to understand what drives human nature. I have sat in hundreds of front rooms, often in very difficult, heartbreaking and emotional circumstances and listened as people's stories unfolded. It's very humbling.

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?

I have never really done anything else but work as a writer, apart from a Saturday job delivering cakes, which it turns out I wasn't very good at. I managed to get a huge birthday pavlova stuck in some revolving doors and it got smashed to pieces. I was also a waitress but got fired for spending too long talking to people. 

How do you carry out the research for your novels?

It’s a bit of a scattergun approach. I draw up a huge list of places to go and people to speak with, which includes libraries, community groups, Facebook groups and calling round the wartime East Enders I know. I met a lovely 82-year-old lady called Anne who told me all about how she worked at Bryant & May. When she told me this:
“‘There was such camaraderie and friendliness amongst the girls. It taught me to be strong, work hard and to appreciate the value of friendship.” I knew these same values had to be instilled in my characters. Working away in the archives is great but nothing beats speaking to someone who was actually there. That's when history bursts into life.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

Some people say they struggle to sit down and just write, I don't have that as much, working as a journalist gave me a good work ethic and a fear of missing the deadline. What I struggle more with is characterisation, I know some writers whose characters are so well drawn and fully fleshed out you feel they must have been living with them inside their heads for years, but that's something I'm continually working on to try and improve.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I have an office at the top of the house which is a quiet spot with a lovely view over the river. I try to see it as much as a job, every day once I`ve dropped the boys to school and possibly done an exercise class, I brew up a large coffee, I plonk my bum on the seat and I write, even if inspiration isn't flowing and I'm inwardly thinking, "this is a load of rubbish" I write because I know how important psychologically the first draft is. Once it's there you can and will revisit it dozens of time, editing, cutting, polishing. I'm afraid I've never been able to work in cafes etc, as it's too noisy for me, that said, I do carry a notebook everywhere and if I overhear something interesting, funny or juicy on the Tube or bus I jot it down. You never know when an idea will strike you after all.

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?

Anything, everything and every day. In order to switch off, I try to read outside the genre in which I write. 
I'm currently reading The Stranger by Kate Riordan, a tense, dark Agatha Christie style mystery set in wartime Cornwall. Before that I read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, which absolutely blew my mind and before that, it was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
 by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. Actually reading that list back it would appear I am obsessed with the First and Second World War! Next to read is the Rosie Project which a friend has been telling me for ages I have to read.

How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?

I think you ignore it at your peril. Look at people's reading habits and where they go to to interact and get their news. It's not from traditional newspapers and magazines any longer. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay and authors really need to connect with it and use it to their advantage. I treat my author Facebook page like a community. Post regularly, interact, be curious, ask questions, and post giveaways, news, events, links to videos, favourite photos or anniversaries. The other day, I came across a wonderful photo of a group of apron-clad matriarchs gossiping on the doorstep. ‘What are they talking about?’ I asked. The feedback to that question was amazing, with people laughing and imagining the most creative and witty stories. Facebook especially gives you access to the mind of your reader and an insight to what makes them tick, as well as their hopes, fears and loves. Market researchers used to pay thousands for those kinds of insights. 

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?

It’s the story of a group of women working in the notorious Bryant & May match factory in Bow in wartime. My characters set up a Dig for Victory allotment in the grounds of the factory in a scheme inspired by a real-life group of intrepid gardeners who transformed bombsites into allotments. As the garden grows, it becomes a place of intrigue and deceit. An allotment is such a wonderful stage for drama. Serene and beautiful on the face of it, but dig deeper, and it can conceal all manner of secrets.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?

Ha, there's a good question! I would rather like to be like ravishingly beautiful, headstrong and ambitious 21-year-old seamstress, Daisy in Secrets of the Singer Girls, though in reality I am probably more like her downtrodden, grumpy, cynical mother, Vera.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Paradise Girl
Phil Featherstone

Genre: Nominally YA/NA, general fiction
Release Date: 27 January 2017
Publisher: Matador

Kerryl Shaw has always kept a diary, but this one is different because she knows she is going to die.
A highly infectious and incurable virus spreads worldwide. Seventeen-year-old Kerryl lives with her family on a remote farm. They think they will be safe, but the danger advances. One day a stranger arrives, and it soon becomes apparent that he has brought the plague to their door.
Kerryl is sure it’s only a matter of time before she catches the infection and dies, and decides to record what she thinks will be her final days. She realises that her diary will never be read, so she imagines a reader and calls him Adam. Loneliness and isolation affect the balance of her mind. Little by little Adam comes alive to her, and she sets off across the moor to meet him.


Introductions are boring, but unless I take time to explain things it will be confusing for you. Me first. Not very polite, I know, but it’s probably the best place to start.
My name is Kerryl – or that’s what my family and friends call me. My proper name is Cheryl. Cheryl Alison Shaw. They call me the Paradise Girl. Don’t get excited – it sounds sexy but it’s not. I’m seventeen years old and still a virgin. I’m not a nun, I’ve been out with loads of boys – Tim, Mark (two of them), Nathan, Jake, Tristram, Steve – but I wasn’t that keen on any of them and they didn’t last. The exception was Mark II. He was older than me, fearsomely good looking and he had a nice car. I thought he was really hot. When I wasn’t with him I was thinking about him. But it seems he wasn’t as keen as me, and one day my best friend, Josie, told me that he was going out with Monica Woodbridge and saying I was a frigid cow. It seems everybody knew I’d been dumped and I was the last to find out.
The worst thing was the shock. I thought Monica Woodbridge was my friend. As well as that, all the girls in our group had been going out with the same boys for a long time, but I seemed to keep a boyfriend for only a few weeks. Was there something wrong with me? To be honest, I’m not a great beauty. I don’t mean I’m a train wreck or anything. I’m not bad looking, but I’m not like Charlene Brooker or Suzy Simmonds. They’re electric, both of them. Charlene could be a model, and Suzy’s always surrounded by a gang of drooling boys.
They’re gone now: Charlene, Suzy, Josie, Monica, all of them.
Sorry for the break there. I had to stop to have a little weep. I’ll try not to do too much of that. I suppose I can console myself with one thing: with everyone else dead, I must be the most beautiful girl in the world!




Phill Featherstone was born and brought up in the north of England. He trained as a teacher and taught English in comprehensive schools. In the late 1990s he and his wife, Sally, founded a publishing company specialising in education books for the early years. In 2008 the business was acquired by Bloomsbury, after which they moved to Yorkshire. He now spends his time writing, travelling, on the arts and on conservation work. Phill has degrees from Cambridge and Leicester Universities, and is a member of the Society of Authors. Paradise Girl is his third novel, although the first to be published.
Paradise Girl recently won a CHILL WITH A BOOK AWARD!

Twitter: @PhillFeathers
Goodreads Author Page: Blog: Website:

Thursday 15 March 2018

Your Move
Silvia Forrester

Author name: Silvia Forrester
Genre: romantic comedy
How many Pages? 370
Release Date: 2 August 2017
Publisher: Endeavour Press

Two women. Two dreams. One big lesson in love.

With a passion for people and property, nothing gives newbie estate agent Gemma Cole more pleasure than matching buyers with their ideal homes. After a nomadic childhood with her ditzy mum, Gemma longs for nothing more than a place she can call her own. But with one modest income and meagre savings, will she ever be able to make her own home-owning dream come true?
When Marcus, the new photographer, arrives at the estate agency, he’s the epitome of laidback, festival chic. Sexy, laidback, festival chic. But Gemma dismisses him as another commitment-phobic, eternal student, just like her ex. However, looks can be deceptive. Marcus is reeling from a shocking family tragedy, one that’s left him as sole carer for an eight-year-old boy, as well as his scruffy dog. Will Gemma revise her opinion of Marcus, and will he trust her enough to reveal his family’s painful past?

Pandora works at Perfect 10, a premier beauty and cosmetic clinic. Always effortlessly glamorous – with model-looks, bucket loads of confidence and bulging designer wardrobes – she appears to have it all. But Pan also has a spiralling spending addiction, a string of failed relationships, and still lives at home with her mum. Aged thirty-three.
When her numerous credit cards are refused, Pan takes drastic action, and joins dating website Will a super-wealthy guy be the answer to all Pan’s woes? And can she find one who’s sane, honest and not old enough to be her grandfather?

Your Move is a lively romantic comedy, charting the blossoming friendship between modern heroines Gemma and Pandora, as well as the amorous entanglements that crisscross both their lives.


Silvia was brought up in a seaside town on the south coast of England by her mother and grandmother; she now lives in Kent. Silvia has two daughters, two stepdaughters and three granddaughters. With an abundance of women and girls in her life, it’s not surprising that female relationships, love, family and friendship are frequently the focus of Silvia’s writing. 

Facebook: Twitter: @SilviaForrester 


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Tuesday 13 March 2018

The Woman Before Me
Ruth Dugdall
Author Q&A
Today, I am delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall. I have a Q&A for you from the author and I must say, this is getting great reviews and sounds a fab read! I think it may be worthy of adding to the ever growing TBR pile!

They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days.  

Rose Wilks' life is shattered when her newborn baby Joel is admitted to intensive care. Emma Hatcher has all that Rose lacks. Beauty. A loving husband. A healthy son. Until tragedy strikes and Rose is the only suspect. 

Now, having spent nearly five years behind bars, Rose is just weeks away from freedom. Her probation officer Cate must decide whether Rose is remorseful for Luke's death, or whether she remains a threat to society. As Cate is drawn in, she begins to doubt her own judgement.  

Where is the line between love and obsession, can justice be served and, if so... by what means? 

Author Q&A
Ruth Dugdall

Hi. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.

You are welcome – thank for having me!

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
Well, I’m a crime writer and in April my 7th novel, The Things You Didn’t See, will be published. Also, my debut novel The Woman Before Me, has just been re-published in a new edition, so that’s exciting.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
One of my friends says she recalls me telling her I wanted to be a writer on the first day of secondary school. I do remember going to a funeral when I was very young – maybe about twelve – and when my mum asked if I was sure I wanted to go I said that I did because I might write about it one day. The memory surprises me, as I sound precocious which I don’t think I was, but it also shows how young I was when I developed an interest in dark material.

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
I was a probation officer, which was a job I loved, and I only gave it up when I realised I was simply spreading myself too thin with that, the writing and two kids.
The probation world is vastly misunderstood profession, but they are the unsung heroes of the Criminal Justice system – for example, probation officers have more face-to-face contact with criminals than any other profession but they are never featured in crime films or novels. I have four books with a probation officer, Cate Austin, at the centre so I’m trying to do my bit to remedy that! Also, write what you know is the old maxim, so it was natural for me to write from that point of view.

How do you carry out the research for your novels?
I often draw on cases or crimes I have some knowledge of, or have come into contact with, and will reach out to anyone who can help. For example, The Things You Didn’t See introduces my new protagonist Holly Redwood and she has mirror-touch synaesthesia. I spoke to someone with the condition, and a researcher who specialises in the topic, but I also read everything I could find on it.
Research has taken me to some weird and wonderful places – a gun club, a wolf sanctuary, The Humber Bridge… I love to walk in the steps of my characters and very much enjoy learning about new things.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
I’m very motivated, so sitting and getting words on the page is usually okay for me. Because I am quite a high-energy person I am less good at slowing down and plotting, so I often write a draft and then discover I have to delete thousands of words to make the story work. But that’s okay too – it’s part of my process, and I prefer to write organically and let the plot develop that way. It’s just more time consuming.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
When I’m drafting a novel I set myself a daily target of 1000 words, for me that is realistic and achievable. I’ll then be doing research on top of that, which is likely to include reading or watching relevant films, talking to people, or visiting places. I always have a notebook on me and will jot down anything that might be useful.

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I read widely, and several books at any one time. Right now I’m reading books on Silicon Valley (for research), some Nordic Noir (for a night class I’m taking) and an American self-help book (for book club).

How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
Hugely. It’s a way to reach out to people, to have conversations with readers and other authors. Personally, I like that it makes me accessible to people if they have any comments or feedback – I love hearing from someone who has just read one of books and it resonated with them. That’s what it’s all about really.

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
The Things You Didn’t See is set in a farmhouse on Innocence Lane, Suffolk. Cassandra wakes to the sound of gunshot, and discovers her mother, Maya, at the bottom of the stairs, the gun nearby. As Maya fights for her life in hospital, police and family all assume she shot herself. But Cassandra isn’t so sure.
Her only ally in discovering the truth is student paramedic Holly Redwood. But Holly has a secret of her own – she has mirror touch synaesthesia. And her senses are telling her something is very wrong at Innocence Lane.
Both women will come to see that discovering the truth is dangerous and will come to question just how much they want to know.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
Well, my probation officer Cate Austin has the most in common with me, givekl her job, but there are plenty of differences too – thank goodness! Her love life is very erratic, and her mother is an alcoholic….
I write about dysfunctional people in strange and unusual situations, so I can’t say I’d want to be any of them.

Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
About what I’m working on now. I’ve just moved to Silicon Valley in California, so I’m going to set my next book on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto. I like to explore the underbelly of places, the hidden secrets. I’ve found plenty and I’ve only been here 6 months!

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

My pleasure.
Any further questions, please get in touch!
Also, for readers, I’m on Twitter: @ruthdugdall
#and Facebook: Ruth Dugdall author
I also have a website,, which has a `contact Ruth` option.