New general fiction titles

An Unholy Mess by Joyce Cato9780719815430

In the small Cotswold village of Heyford Bassett, vicar’s wife Monica Noble throws a party for the village’s new residents. The guests include Margaret Franklyn and her philandering husband Sean, a celebrity chef and her cartoonist beau, a retired Oxford Don with a secret, a forty-something divorcee, and the owner of a chain of gyms. A shotgun blast heralds the discovery of the body of Margaret Franklyn and suspicion falls on a community already terrified at the thought of a murderer in their ranks. Who to blame? The husband? Monica’s daughter who had been accused of stealing from the deceased? Monica swings into action with the local DI to save her daughter and solve the crime.

Joyce Cato was born in Oxford and worked as a secretary before becoming a full-time writer.

Buy your copy of An Unholy Mess here.

Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey by Nicholas Rhea9780719815751

When a woman confesses to Father Will, one of the monk-constables at Maddleskirk Abbey, that she has committed murder, he can do nothing but absolve her from her sin. The Seal of Confession is absolute. He cannot discuss her crime, ask the identity of her victim, or share the responsibility of this information with anyone. His hands are tied. When a body is found in the nearby woodland, his moral dilemma grows. Detective Chief Superintendent “Nabber” Napier and his team have a murder to solve, but monks sworn by oath to silence are hardly the ideal candidates for questioning… When the murder weapon is discovered, concealed in the Abbey, and the detectives learn of the mysterious disappearance – and violent past – of one of the Abbey’s monks, the race is on to find the culprit before anybody else gets hurt. Questions need to be answered and confessions must be made.

Nicholas Rhea is the pen name for Peter N. Walker, formerly an inspector with the North Yorkshire Police and the creator of the Constable series of novels, the inspiration for the long-running and critically acclaimed ITV drama series Heartbeat. As Peter N. Walker he is the author of Portrait of the North York Moors. He lives in North Yorkshire.

Buy your copy of Confession at Maddleskirk Abbey here.

Dead and Gone by Bill Kitson

9780719815829Dean Wilson knows any relationship with Naomi Macaulay is doomed. Her family are Wilson Macaulay Industries, founders of Bishopton Investment Group. His sister, Linda, was the Group’s financial director until she vanished four years ago, around the same time as millions of pounds of investors’ money disappeared, and the Group collapsed amidst claims of fraud and embezzlement. When Dean is charged with assault, DI Mike Nash’s enquiries cause him to reopen the fraud case, and soon Nash has several murder investigations on his hands. Meanwhile, when complaints are made about email scams, computer analyst, Tina Silver, is brought in to help examine the software. Connections to executives of Wilson Macaulay Industries begin to emerge. After an independent auditor vanishes, Nash and his colleagues must determine who is guilty, who is innocent, who is dead and who is gone.

Bill Kitson, a retired finance executive, was born in West Yorkshire. He is an avid fan of cricket and cryptic crosswords and is also the former chairman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle. Dead and Gone is the eight outing for DI Mike Nash, following Kitson’s gripping thrillers Depth of Despair, Chosen, Minds That Hate, Altered Egos, Back-Slash, Identity Crisis and Buried in the Past.

Buy your copy of Dead and Gone here.

The Prosecco Fortune by Stella Whitelaw9780719815386

Emma Chandler has a comfortable life as junior partner of a firm of chartered accountants in London. When she is sent to Venice to investigate the disappearance of their client Signor Marco dell’Orto’s fortune, her safe lifestyle is capsized and she is thrown into a disorientating and fast-paced world of deceit and crime. She begins to fall for Marco while staying in his palazzo, and her arrival does not remain unnoticed in the Venetian backstreets for long. Marco’s computers are hacked and his phone is bugged. Emma is being watched. The body of a young woman wearing Emma’s raincoat is found, floating in a lagoon. Should Emma take these ominous signs as a cue to leave? Or should she stay to complete the job she was sent to do? Emma must figure out, with the help of the Venetian police and the computer expert Professor Windsor, who is behind the stolen fortune.

Stella Whitelaw began her writing career as a cub reporter and rose to become the first female chief reporter in London. She writes short stories for national women’s magazines and has won many competitions. Her previous novels Portrait of a Murder and Money Never Sleeps were also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of The Prosecco Fortune here.

Ebook Spring Sale Titles

Spring has arrived and with it some great new books for your e-reader, currently on sale for under a pound!

EVT saleHead to the country with two of our most beloved authors. Three titles from the great E.V. Thomspon are available: God’s Highlander, Blue Dress Girl and The Bonds of Earth. Alternatively, head further north to Yorkshire and try two reads from Nicholas Rhea, the author of the Constable… books: Constable Across and the Moors and Murder at Maddleskirk Abbey.

kitsonIf crime fiction is more your style, two of Bill Kitson’s Mike Nash crime stories are part of the sale: Depth of Despair and Chosen.

Author Wendy Perriam heads to Broken Places for her story but if you prefer things a little more regal then don’t despair – A Crown of Despair by Jenny Mandeville is also part of the sale.

Sh! A Vow of Silence by Veronica Black is available, or you could enjoy a Star-Crossed Summer with Sarah Stanley.

Nicholas RheaIf the spring has made you want to travel the world, you can head to Berlin with The Boy from Berlin by Michael Parker or see for yourself what living in Venice is really like with Polly Coles’s The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice.

If you like your stories dark then try The Pershore Poisoners by Kerry Tombs or wartime fiction The Lambs by Peter James Cottrell.

For those with a Nook, there are also two great Maggie Lane titles available on Jane Austen.

Jane AustenHappy reading and here’s to more great weather and reading outdoors!

OUT NOW: Buried in the Past by Bill Kitson

Buried in the Past by Bill KitsonBill Kitson, a retired finance executive, was born in West Yorkshire. He is an avid fan of cricket and cryptic crosswords and is also the former chairman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle. Buried in the Past is the seventh instalment in the Mike Nash series, following Kitson’s gripping thrillers Depth of Despair, Chosen, Minds That Hate, Altered Egos, Back-Slash and Identity Crisis.

Buried in the Past by Bill Kitson

When a consignment of illicit diamonds en route to London vanishes, together with the couriers, it isn’t long before East End gangster Max Perry is found dead, having suffered horrific torture. Accused of killing a rival, Max’s nephew, Ray, is sentenced to life in prison.

He is released twenty-five years later and heading for Helmsdale when Ray is the victim of a hit and run, and D.I. Mike Nash is convinced it was no accident. Following the murder of a garage mechanic, Nash discovers a link to an unidentified skeleton found years ago in Helmsdale woodland.

How do crimes committed long ago in London connect to the current wave of violence in Helmsdale? As the body count rises, the detectives struggle to keep pace with those who would prefer the truth to remain dead and buried.

Praise for the Mike Nash series

‘Intelligent and complex enough to satisfy the most ardent of whodunit fan’ – milorambles.com

‘It’s all here, taking place in Yorkshire, and will please crime aficionados’ – Gazette & Herald

‘Mike Nash is a great creation’ – Shotsmag, Ron Ellis

‘An author who has expertly carved himself a niche in the crime thriller marketplace…he knows how to twist the corkscrew’ – Scarborough Evening News

Buried in the Past by Bill Kitson is available to buy now with a limited time only discount of 30%

Buried in the Past by Bill Kitson

Eurocrime Reviews ‘Identity Crisis’ by Bill Kitson

Identity Crisis by Bill KitsonEurocrime have reviewed Bill Kitson’s Identity Crisis, calling it a “thrilling, well-plotted story”. The latest in a long line of Mike Nash crime thrillers, Identity Crisis follows the Helmsdale police force as they try to track down The Cremator, a sadistic serial killer.

Eurocrime had the following to say about Kitson’s books:

“His books are always very carefully researched and have irresistible gripping plots, that seamlessly weave themes of multi-dimensional crime, with excellent character back stories. Very well recommended.”

Identity Crisis by Bill Kitson is available to buy now.

For the full review, check out Eurocrime’s website.

OUT TODAY: Identity Crisis by Bill Kitson

Identity Crisis by Bill KitsonBill Kitson, a retired finance executive, was born in West Yorkshire. He is an avid fan of cricket and cryptic crosswords and is also the former chairman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle. Identity Crisis is the sixth instalment in the Mike Nash series, following Kitson’s gripping thrillers Depth of Despair, Chosen, Minds That Hate, Altered Egos and Back-Slash.

IDENTITY CRISIS BY BILL KITSON – OFFICIAL BLURB

Alone in an isolated cottage, a young housewife awaits the arrival of her sister, Jo. Outside, as storms lash the country, Dr Johana Grey struggles to reach the house, finding it deserted, and in darkness, when she eventually arrives.

With Mike Nash on leave, DS Miranova leads the investigation, which is complicated by the husband of the missing woman being unaccounted for. Is he responsible, or has she been abducted by the sadistic serial killer nicknamed The Cremator?

Before Nash’s return, a security van disappears along with its two-man crew. Further violent crimes are reported and, as the detectives try to make sense of the confusion, it becomes apparent that nothing is as it seems and no one is quite who they appear to be.

This is the sixth title in the intricately drawn series featuring Mike Nash and the Helmsdale police force.

Praise for the author:

‘Intelligent and complex enough to satisfy the most ardent of whodunit fan’ – milorambles.com

‘An author who has expertly carved himself a niche in the crime thriller marketplace…he knows how to twist the corkscrew’ – Scarborough Evening News

Identity Crisis by Bill Kitson is available to buy now with a limited time only 30% discount.

Crime Writer Bill Kitson, Author of the Mike Nash Series, on Becoming a Serial Killer

Credit: J. Brian Beadle

Bill Kitson, a retired finance executive, was born in West Yorkshire. He is an avid fan of cricket and cryptic crosswords and is also the former chairman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle. Identity Crisis is the sixth instalment in the Mike Nash series, following Kitson’s gripping thrillers Depth of Despair, Chosen, Minds That Hate, Altered Egos and Back-Slash. Here, Kitson talks about creating a serial killer and keeping up interest for a book series.

With the sixth book in the Mike Nash series, Identity Crisis, due for release at the end of May, I’ve had time to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages that surround writing a series. There has always been a great demand for detective series, from Conan Doyle, Dorothy L Sayers, Agatha Christie and John Creasey to Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. Nor is it solely a British trait. American, Italian and, most recently, Scandinavian crime writers have all been highly successful. They also transfer well to film and TV – increasing their popularity.

I joked once that my advantage was in not having to invent as many characters, but I found there are risks attached to maintaining the same ones. An obvious one is to make the regular characters mere observers. Unless the characters’ life experience is reflected in the books, they become two-dimensional, caricatures, and ultimately, unsatisfying. I have a life outside the books, why shouldn’t my detective? Events should touch them just as they touch the writer. They should age, get married – or divorced, have children, lose family and friends. Anything less, and the books become little more than an extremely wordy cryptic crossword. A well-known novelist once told me, ‘Your characters should be so believable you would recognize them if they knocked at your door’. However, if they did – I’d have a problem!

Identity Crisis by Bill Kitson

Naming characters is very important, in several ways. The name should ‘fit’ the part. I’ve changed several names, usually in my first draft, because they didn’t feel right. They should also be right for their origin. To help with that, I use http://www.behindthename.com/ which gives origin and meaning of first names from anywhere in the world, and from different religions and ethnic groups. This has to be correct, or the author loses credibility. I once heard a TV detective asking a Muslim what his Christian name was. Woops!

I also avoid similar sounding or looking first or last names. If a reader has to stop every time they see the names Michael Roberts or Martin Robins to decide which character I’m referring to they will eventually lose patience. This is particularly so with thrillers, where I’m striving for pace. If a reader has to stop, it takes several pages for them to pick up speed again. A chart is probably the safest way to prevent this happening, especially the longer the series goes on. When I get a minute I WILL do one!

Along with reflecting changes in the characters’ lives, fashions dictate the subject matter of books set in any particular era. Unless the story is set before the war – the days when the detective gathered all the suspects together in the library to unmask the killer are long gone. Many small towns are without libraries nowadays, let alone most houses! Writing present day crime books and striving for realism can be uncomfortable, particularly when real life imitates fiction. Only three days before I wrote this article, a tragic event locally mirrored something I wrote a few months ago. This is by no means the first time I’ve written about crimes that later became headline news.

Having the same detectives throughout enables me to indulge in a little office banter, humour that lightens what are sometimes fairly grim scenes. The humour, sometimes black, is a natural reaction to some of the horrors that police and forensic officers, plus pathologists encounter. Once more, it reflects real-life reaction along with realism and accuracy from my research into the subject matter of the plot.

The setting for a series is almost like having an extra character in the books. I borrow scenes from real locations adapting them to my fiction world, amending them to fit the plot. In Depth of Despair, the template for Desolation Tarn is in fact two lakes that are fifty miles apart. Similarly, in Minds That Hate, one of the characters walks out of a house (in Northallerton), down a ginnel (in Thirsk) and fifteen minutes later is in woods alongside a river (near Ilkley). In real life that is about a seventy mile journey.

Using real places can have disadvantages. At a speaking engagement last year I let slip the true location of the alley where the victim was abducted in Chosen. One member of the audience reacted with horror. ‘I’m never going to walk down there again,’ she told me. Fact and fiction had collided.

The beautiful and diverse scenery of North Yorkshire is the greatest inspiration for me, and I hope it provides scope to describe settings that the reader will enjoy. Sadly, I know I will never be able to do them complete justice. But then, I doubt if there are many authors who could.

Above all, with both the challenges and disadvantages, I’m pleased I decided on a series. It’s been a lot of fun – and it isn’t over yet, by a long chalk.

Identity Crisis by Bill Kitson is scheduled for publication on 31 May 2012 and is available to pre-order now.