Recently Read – Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Genre; Non-Fiction, Autobiographical (Audio)

When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn’t kept some of it. She had kept all of it – every bus ticket, postcard, school report – from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say ‘Why is our house full of this shit?’

Sadly, a recycling ‘incident’ destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it’s left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.

This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as ‘Is Mary Berry real?’, ‘Is it true you wear a surgical truss?’ and ‘Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?’

Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me.

Thank you for reading.

My thoughts:

I downloaded this book as an audiobook because I’d heard the sample and listening to Sue Perkins read her own book had me sniggering – from just the sample. I couldn’t wait to hear the whole book.

And it didn’t let me down.

I know I need to read more non-fiction and this was a great start. Sue is brutally honest. I don’t think there’s much point in writing these things if you’re not going to be. But, the way she tells you the stories, either has you reaching for a tissue to wipe your eyes, or reaching for a tissue to wipe your eyes!

The book travels all the way from childhood to present day, sometimes jumping about between the two when a moment reminds her of another. But, you never feel lost and she always brings you right back to where you were originally going. The detour always felt worth doing.

You find out how hard she worked to be where she is now. No, she didn’t just turn up on British Bake Off, already made, like instant cuppa soup, she worked hard beforehand. If you don’t know her work history there are some funny moments that get you through from start to finish.

There are also some seriously personal moments in the book. Very personal and having Sue read it to you in the audio format, makes it feel even more intimate. A sharing of your life, verbally this way must be strange. Writing it down, you’re somewhat detached from it once you press send to the editor and then the publisher, but standing there in the audio booth, reading the work you’ve already sent off, must have been a very strange experience indeed.

Though, the simplicity with which she approached everything, factually, and with good humour, must have helped.

There are, of course, very many funny moments. Moments that had me doing this.

Snoopy

And, it wasn’t always appropriate or seemly for me to be doing that. Not with where I was sitting listening to it!

I’d recommend Spectacles and I’d listen to another autobiography on audiobook if it was read by the author as it definitely adds to the experience. They know how they want it to sound, how the tone of the paragraph is supposed to be. It’s their life, they lived it, there is emotion and meaning in there.

If you enjoy seeing Sue, wherever you have come across her, then I really do think you will enjoy this book, in whichever format you read it, but the audiobook is a real treat.

Do you read many autobiographies? Whose have you found to be really interesting? I’d love to know.

The End Of The Road For First Drafters…

Yes, I’m sorry to say that we are about at the end of the road for our fabulous First Drafters. It must be close to two years that this series has been running and I have had a multitude of authors talking to me about their First Draft processes, but I am slowly running out of authors to harass. And, to be honest, it does feel as though I am harassing them now, rather than them actually wanting to take part!

So, what I’m going to do is finish up with the ones that I still have to do (there are a few more to come) and then I have a new series up my sleeve which I think you might enjoy! It’s along similar lines – What’s Your Revision Process Like? (So, how does the first draft turn into something that resembles a novel?)

 

And, if an author comes along who wants to do a blog tour and maybe hasn’t done the first draft Q&A at any point, they can be slotted in on any day, once the new series takes on the Friday slot.

It feels like a sad day, saying goodbye to the First Draft process series – even though there are still a couple more to come, but, it is the start of another great series. A step forward from the first draft. Moving on and seeing where the authors go next after they have those first words on paper (or screen).

I’m looking forward to it, I hope you will too!

Who do you hope to see come back and talk about their revision process?

BritCrime – The FREE Festival For Readers!

Last year I was part of a group of crime authors who came together to host a FREE online festival for readers, to make it possible to attend, whatever their financial or geographical circumstances. BritCrime. We held the festival on Facebook and it was a huge success. Everyone had a ball.

Well, this year we’re back and we’re bigger and better than before!

This year, you get to see us in person, on panels… but still not move from the comfort of your home or have to send a penny payment.

Because the bulk of the festival is to be held on Twitter’s video app, Blab. <- Click the link to find out more about Blab if you don’t yet know it. It’s a great app which BritCrime authors have already utilised this year to do random chats for readers. It’s easy to use. Just make sure you’ve signed up before the events start.

There will also be some written posts from authors who are not available this coming weekend.

Yes, you heard it right, this coming weekend!

You can find out more about the festival and the line-up on the official BritCrime website, HERE. My panel is at 2pm on Sunday afternoon and I’ll be with Caroline Mitchell, Tammy Cohen, Susi Holliday, Lucy Atkins, Jenny Blackhurst and Tim Lebbon. Yes, the Blab can only hold 4 authors at a time, but I’m hosting the Blab, so, while all the fabulousnesses will swap in and out, you get to see my mug for the entire panel time – scary thought I know, I’m sorry about that one…

sorry

And to make it a little bit more special, because we love our readers, we have created (or rather the wonderful, genius Helen Smith who organises us all, has created) a treasure hunt where you can win a bundle of books, including the audiobooks of Shallow Waters AND Made to be Broken.

This is the important bit. If you want to attend. You need to be HERE!

I look forward to seeing you. Click on the one of the BritCrime links in the post to be taken to the page and THIS is the Facebook page where you can leave advanced questions for any of the authors taking part.

 

Recently Read – The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by Marnie Riches

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by Marnie Riches

Genre; Crime

HE’S WATCHING HER. SHE DOESN’T KNOW IT…YET

When a bomb explodes at the University of Amsterdam, aspiring criminologist Georgina McKenzie is asked by the police to help flush out the killer.

But the bomb is part of a much bigger, more sinister plot that will have the entire city quaking in fear.

And the killer has a very special part for George to play…

A thrilling race against time with a heroine you’ll be rooting for, this book will keep you up all night!

My thoughts:

This book has been in my field of vision for the past year as it was published in April 2015, to a huge amount of chatter on social media and in that period of time, two other books in the series have been released. Marnie has been very busy indeed!

But, as with all books, my TBR pile and my own work has had the better of me and it has taken me this long to get around to reading it.

But, really, what were my excuses for taking so long?!

Someone should have taken my arm and forced it with a great deal of enthusiasm, up my back, until I agreed to read it sooner because I can now understand why there was so much social network chatter about the book.

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(I really do need to get on top of my books so that I can read books as they’re coming out!)

The book focuses on Georgina McKenzie, or as she likes to be known to her friends, George. She’s an English student living in Amsterdam and is settled very happily there. She’s settled into student life, she has a place to live and friends. She’s a great character, strong and willful, but also kind, thoughtful and with a deep sensitive side to those she cares about. I loved how well drawn the locale was. The flat, coffee shop and

I also loved how well drawn the locale was. The flat, coffee shop and neighbours. You could easily picture it all.

But, suddenly, life changes for the students as a bomb goes off and George meets Inspector Paul van de Bergen.

Now, I adored van de Bergen. Absolutely loved him. He’s so real. Not some superheroic jumping through hoops cop. He is older, he has a dodgy hip and everything else seems to hurt him at some point or other. Also, his feet look ginormous in wellies! He’s a down to earth, brilliant guy who I really can’t wait to meet again.

The tension in the book is tight. It only took me the three days it took me because I wasn’t feeling well and it’s hard to continue reading with a pounding head. But it is definitely one of those books you want to keep reading.

I loved the European feel, I loved the characterisations, I loved the pace and atmosphere. I can’t wait to read the next two and if you haven’t yet read Marnie Riches, I’d recommend you give her a try.

(Disclaimer – I’m friends with Marnie, but I think you can tell from the passion in this post, that how I feel about the book is real. And the book itself was bought and paid for by me.)

 

Cover Reveal – Truth Will Out by A. D. Garrett

Today I’m excited to be able to share the cover for the new A. D. Garrett, Simms and Fennimore book, Truth Will Out,

A.D. Garrett is the pseudonym for prize-winning novelist Margaret Murphy working in consultation with policing and forensics expert, Helen Pepper.

margaret-murphy-200pxMargaret Murphy has published  nine  internationally acclaimed psychological thrillers under her own name. She is an RLF Writing Fellow and Reading Round Lector, a past Chair of the Crime Writers Association (CWA), and founder of Murder Squad. A CWA Short Story Dagger winner, she has been shortlisted for the First Blood award as well as the CWA Dagger in the Library.

In 2013, writing as A.D. Garrett, Margaret began a new forensic series, featuring Professor Nick Fennimore and DCI Kate Simms. Everyone Lies, which Ann Cleeves rated ‘thriller writing at its best’, was a bestseller, and both that and the sequel, Believe No One, garnered starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly. Truth Will Out, the third in the series, will be published in November 2016.

 

Helen Pepper

Helen Pepper is a Senior Lecturer in Policing at Teesside University. In her earlier career as a CSI she examined over 3000 crime scenes, ranging from thefts and fires to rapes and murders. Later, as Crime Scene Manager for Durham Police, she supervised CSIs in over 50 major incidents. Her expertise is in great demand with crime writers: she is a judge for the CWA’s Non-Fiction Dagger award, and is also a consultant for TV dramas Vera and Shetland. She is a member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, and has a wealth of experience in the investigation of all crime types, from simple thefts to murders and terrorism.

So, now we know who they are, let’s get on with the big reveal…

Truth Will Out

TruthWillOutGIF-64colours

A mother and daughter are snatched on their drive home from a cinema. The crime has a number of chilling similarities to a cold case Professor Nick Fennimore had been lecturing on. Then Fennimore begins receiving taunting messages – is he being targeted by the kidnapper? Meanwhile, a photograph emailed from Paris could bring Fennimore closer to discovering the fate of Suzie, his own daughter, now missing for six years. He seeks help from his old friend, DCI Kate Simms, recently returned from the US. But Kate is soon blocked from the investigation… A mother and child’s lives hang in the balance as Fennimore and Simms try to break through police bureaucracy to identify their abductor.

You can find A. D. Garrett on their Website and Twitter.

Writing Crime – Using Dental Records For Identification

 

Making Your Crime Fiction Realistic (5)

 

This post follows on from last week’s Writing Crime post about Identifying the Victim as Cleopatralovesbooks asked in the comments for further information on the process involved in the dental ID.

 

I have a question about the dental records – we are often told in the media these are used but how do you know where to find them – I understand that a child living with an adult will know who their dentist is but I’m fairly sure my OH has no idea. Are all local dentists checked out?

If you have a person who is generally intact, like in my debut, Shallow Waters for instance – a teenager – but there was no clothing present and from the description, age, height, weight, hair colour, it could have been more than one girl reported missing, because missing teenage girls are common and I’m not just talking abducted sinister missing kids here. Children run away all the time. There are multiple missing persons on the go at any one time that are likely to turn up – though of course, they have to be searched for because though they’ve gone of their own accord, you never know what they are going to get themselves into because of their vulnerable state.

Anyway, you have a regular body in front of you and several possibilities. Your odontologist does an examination, makes notes, takes dental impressions, the same ones you have taken when you’re in the dentist having braces, they made a mould so they can see the teeth. They take X-rays to see cavities and it’s all logged. Then they go to the missing person list and obtain the dental records of all the people who it could possibly be. Because what happens when a police officer attends a report of a missing person is that one of the questions on the list of questions, is, ‘who is the person’s dentist?’ Then they compare the person on the table against the records of the people with dental records to see if they have a match. Now obviously if the person isn’t registered at a dentist, then this isn’t going to help a great deal. But, if they do, then the job is done and you can make contact with the family.

Though –

There are other ways an odontologist can help narrow things down if this isn’t your scenario.

If your body is not so identifiable and it’s just a skeleton or been burned (and teeth can withstand heat) then they can examine the teeth and give you a great deal of useful information from them. Age, DNA from the pulp if there is any to retrieve, plus some things about the biters lifestyle, for instance, if they were a pipe smoker, because of where the pipe would rest within the teeth. Lifestyle can really help police when trying to identify a victim and teeth talk!

Though, sometimes you just can’t identify a body and this is a difficult one for all concerned. For some people and their circumstances, they just aren’t reported missing, they have no one, their murdered life was awful and the sadness of being left unidentified sadly sums up everything about them.


Let me know if you want anything specific covering in this Writing Crime series. You can go back and find all previous topics Here.

Made To Be Broken Launch Day

After a stressful year, it’s finally here. Made to be Broken is released into the wilds and people can read it at will.

I found it an incredibly difficult book to write and wanted to give up on it so many times, but I believed in the story I was trying to tell so I persevered. It was like trying to untangle a bag of necklaces that had been left in knots for a long time. But, finally they started to give themselves up and the story straightened out and Made to be Broken had a chance at life.

I’ve spent so many hours, days, weeks and months stressing over it, but today I let it go and readers decide whether it worked or not. It’s out of my hands.

Thank you for bearing with me through the process.

Now, today we…

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And if you want to help me celebrate, you can join me at the launch party on Facebook where there will be fun and games and lots of prizes, between 3-7 p.m. GMT. I’d love to see you THERE!

Made to be Broken

dfw-rb-mtbb-cover-midA rising death toll. A city in panic.

A young mother is found dead in her home with no obvious cause of death. As DI Hannah Robbins and her team investigate, it soon becomes clear that the woman is the first in a long line of murders by poison.

With the body count climbing, and the city of Nottingham in social meltdown, the team finds themselves in a deadly race against a serial killer determined to prove a point.

And Hannah finds herself targeting an individual with whom she has more in common than she could possibly know.

Amazon UK  Amazon US

And all other Amazon stores. Also available in Audio format!

And The Winner is…

Last Monday I posted an opportunity for three lucky readers to win a hardback copy of Mary Kubica’s new book, Don’t You Cry.

Unsurprisingly there was a great response to the post, with 30 people commenting!

I have done the online random number generator and created three random numbers. They are as follows;

RANDOM.ORG - True Random Number Service.clipular

Bibliophilebookclub! Congratulations!

RANDOM.ORG - True Random Number Service.clipular (1)

WriterDNelson! Congratulations!

RANDOM.ORG - True Random Number Service.clipular (2)

Blondieaka! Congratulations!

If all winners can email me their email addresses to rebecca.bradley2010@gmail.com, I shall forward them on to the publisher who will make contact and send you the fabulous hardback books. Congratulations again! I’m looking forward to reading my copy in a few weeks and discussing it with you.


On another note, Made to be Broken is released tomorrow.

afraid

Not that I feel like that, no, not at all…

But, to settle my nerves and to celebrate the pre-launch of book two in the Hannah Robbins series, everyone who shares this post on Facebook and tags me in it or on Twitter and tags me in it @RebeccaJBradley (to make sure I see it) will be in with a chance to win a signed paperback of the book. If you share on both Facebook and Twitter you will be entered twice.

And because there’s no straight line on social networks as there is in this comment system, I can’t use the random number generator, so I’ll pop your name on however many scraps of paper are needed and draw them out of a hat. (bowl) And, because of that, you will be entered for every time you share.

This is only running today.

There is a Facebook party tomorrow where you can be in with a chance to win lots of other prizes. Please join us THERE!

Made to be Broken

dfw-rb-mtbb-cover-midA rising death toll. A city in panic.

A young mother is found dead in her home with no obvious cause of death. As DI Hannah Robbins and her team investigate, it soon becomes clear that the woman is the first in a long line of murders by poison.

With the body count climbing, and the city of Nottingham in social meltdown, the team finds themselves in a deadly race against a serial killer determined to prove a point.

And Hannah finds herself targeting an individual with whom she has more in common than she could possibly know.

Available for preorder on Amazon UK, Amazon US and all other Amazon stores.

Sneak Peek First Chapter of Made To Be Broken

dfw-rb-mtbb-cover-midThe second book in the DI Hannah Robbins series is released in Thursday. I have huge book two nerves, but regardless, I’m letting it go, out into the world. And today, I’m providing you with a sneak peek, with chapter one on the blog. It’s currently available for preorder on Amazon but the “look inside” feature isn’t accessible until it’s actually for sale proper.

So, here you go;

 

Chapter 1

 2 Months Earlier

It was a Tuesday when she died.

They say the weather reflects these events; rain coming down in droves, slamming into windows like hell unleashed. That’s what he thought when he looked out into the weak afternoon sun. Where was hell? Where was the fury? The relentless beating of nature’s wrath at one given back too soon?

Instead the sun leaked silently into their desolate world, bleaching the room in swathes of harsh light, lifting the howling sound that came from his wife as she cradled their daughter in her arms. The nurse closed the door behind her as she left them to their grief. A world they would soon become intimate with. There was a sharp but barely perceptible click as the handle lifted back into place, the only evidence the nurse had even been there.

The animal sounds that came from his wife hurt Isaac. It hurt him that their daughter, Em should be subjected, in death, to anything more than the peace she deserved. She’d suffered enough. She hadn’t been ready to die. She’d had a life to live. A life filled with promise. Promises of a future career, husband, even children.

Children.

Isaac felt the swell of pain inside him grow. A slow steady uprising from the pit of his stomach. The keening of Connie as she rocked with their baby, intensifying the momentum of his own grief. It rose up and stopped his heart.

He couldn’t breathe.

The sun-bleached room gathered its own storm that Tuesday as Isaac’s grief and anger overwhelmed him. He dropped to his knees and clutched himself, wracking out great heaving sobs for all he had just lost.


dfw-rb-sw-cover-mid

You can preorder Made to be Broken on Amazon UK, Amazon US, and all other Amazon stores. If you haven’t read the first in the series, Shallow Waters, it is currently only 99p UK and $1.40 in the US store.

Writing Crime – Identifying The Victim

Making Your Crime Fiction Realistic (3)Back in February, after the crime scene, (discussed HERE, HERE and HERE) where we had found our murdered victim, we had a post-mortem, (discussed HERE) but we hadn’t yet identified our victim. So, we’re going to look at identifying the victim, where this isn’t a straight-forward thing to do.

You may go into a situation where you know straight away who the deceased is. It may be the spouse in their own home or another family member after a domestic situation. It may be an incident in a pub and there are plenty of witnesses there to tell you who the victim is. But, what if it isn’t a situation like this and your body is slightly different?

Your body could have massive trauma to their face, or have been submerged in water, they could have been injured by fire (not completely), another disfigurement, or be completely headless! Or, they could be fully intact and you have found them in an isolated spot and simply need to find out who they are. What do you do?

You will initially start with your local Missing Persons Database, going on the information you have before you, the height, build, hair colour/length, ethnicity, estimated age and any identifying marks you can see. (If you have this information from the body.) Then as you see from the post-mortem post, tests are conducted there that will provide you with more help; DNA, fingerprints, body mapping for further identifying marks which include surgical scars and tattoos. Surgical implants of any description will be found during a PM as well and these can help with their own ID on them, and an odontologist will take impressions of their teeth (if they have them). All this will help you with the Missing persons database.

fingerprint-255900_1280But, what if the attending officer at the original missing person report didn’t take a toothbrush or hairbrush so you have no DNA to match against and your body is facially disfigured, the fingerprints aren’t on the police system, what then, are you stuck?

No. Then you go to facial reconstruction and artists impressions.

If you still get no match when using these methods by searching the missing person database both locally and nationally then you put your images out on the media to see if anyone recognises your victim because the identity of your victim is the first and most important place to start in your murder investigation.

I hope this was helpful and interesting.

Let me know if you want anything specific covering in this Writing Crime series. You can go back and find all previous topics Here.