#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Twenty Sixteen #TwentySixteen – Lee Bullman #LeeBullman @SpellBoundBks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

TwentySixteen Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Twenty Sixteen’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Lee Bullman Author PhotoLee Bullman has something of a chequered past but he did once meet Michael Caine on a boat.
He is the author of the best-selling crime memoir Blowback, a collector of early 1960s R’n’B blasters and doesn’t really believe in anything.
When not writing he buys and sells antiques and loves a decent nineteenth century tapestry.
He has a son called Tom and lives with the visual artist Siena Barnes in the birthplace of the gothic imagination where they are restoring a nice old house and happily living the dream.

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Synopsis :

Lee Bullman Author PhotoTwo murders, committed over three decades apart, set in motion a modern noir detective story that plays out against the chaos of a Britain at odds with itself.
As Brexit bites and Britain begins to tear itself apart, DI Reider returns from a manhunt in Europe with a bullet hole in his shoulder and decides it’s time to retire from the force. But Reider hasn’t counted on his first case coming back to haunt him. He hasn’t counted on his career going full circle and he definitely hasn’t counted on Sasha Haye.
Angry and heartbroken, Sasha is seeking answers about the death of her boyfriend and Reider might just be the only person who can help her find them.
Against the backdrop of the referendum and its aftermath, the pair embark on a journey that brings them into contact with extremism, celebrity, politics and the world of vintage porn, as they attempt to unravel a murderous knot with threads that lead into the dark heart of the establishment, and a past which has a cold and unrelenting grip on the present.

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Excerpt :

Inna de boomtown

Coventry Central Police Station. Temporary Incident Room.
Sunday August 21st, 1982. 10.22pm

It’s riot night. We’re at the tail end of this long, hot summer and tensions have been rising since Spring, since the TV weathermen went to shirtsleeves and started using words like unprecedented and looking haunted and confused. We should have expected it, we should have seen the signs, read the runes, studied the entrails of dry, smashed birds on these grey city streets but now it’s too late and on the other side of town they’ve tied football scarves around their faces and gone into the homemade bomb business and taken us all by surprise. They’ve set the world on fire and Coventry nick is the first ring of hell.
Cold tea stagnates in the polystyrene cups with jagged half-moon bitten rims on desktops and filing cabinets and I’m the only man in the room not moving. Every other man in here is jacked up on hate and adrenaline, their rictus grimaces emerging here and there from the thick blanket of cigarette smoke hovering at shoulder height and staring at me without registering anything before sinking back into the fog.
The stuttering, percussive radio report emanating from wooden Philips speakers at the far end of the room is playing a running commentary from mobile units on the ground. Two hundred and fifty rioters are currently lighting up cars, tossing bricks through windows and looting shops along the length of the Foleshill Road. The tinny radio signal fights to be heard over the deep bass hum and fury of my esteemed colleagues, the policemen around me. All of them are gearing up for a fight, a ferocious buzz echoes through their demented hive, lit from above by six fizzing fluorescent tubes. Most of the forty-two officers, constables and recruits around me are wearing, carrying, or in the process of putting on matt black, padded riot gear, buckling buckles and tightening straps. The room is moving in slow motion and fast cuts. Some of the men in here are twenty-five years older than me but look like kids at a dressing up box getting ready to play war. A few of the telescopic batons and plexiglass shields are still smeared red with the blood of miners and hippies following recent outings to peace camps and picket lines. I stand amongst them like a ghost and the wall speaker feeds back with this ear-splitting high octave burst of fuzz and static and slices the room in half. The voice that emanates from the speaker belongs to Dave Housman, local copper, young, in the uniform for three months at most. He’s out of control, the fear in his voice is palpable, his training has deserted him and procedure has been replaced by panic.
“Oscar three nine, we’re at… at the corner of the Foleshill Road and Ryton Way, there must be fifty of them, they’re coming from everywhere… we need help, this is just…”
There’s another burst of static until Dave Housman’s hoarse, desperate cries mix with those of the other two officers with him in the car and cause everyone around me to freeze.
“Petrol bombs! they’re lighting fucking petr…”
Then the screams of the policemen fill the car they’re in and the room I’m in as flaming glass bottles smash through the windows of their panda car. The radio falls silent. A palpable, shared hatred for whoever just did that envelops the room and makes whatever happens for the rest of the night personal. The hatred blocks out what little air there was in the room and it chokes me.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : Bonds #Bonds – Marie Anne Cope @MarieAnneCope

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Bonds Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Bonds’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Marie Anne Cope Author PhotoMarie Anne Cope is an author of contemporary and paranormal fiction. She grew up in Manchester, moving to North Wales in 2005, where she lives with her three cats, Jasmine, Texas, and Stoker.
She writes for women who want to read gripping stories that combine strong female leads with powerful, provocative storylines, which take them to the edge of their comfort zone.
Marie has always had an interest in the darker side of fiction—particularly in crime and the supernatural—but it wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she began taking a serious interest in writing. She published the first novel in her dark paranormal BONDS series in 2013 and followed it with the second and third novels in the quartet, BROKEN BONDS in 2015 and BONDS RE-BOUND in 2018. The journey ended with ETERNAL BONDS in November 2021, the Kindle edition reaching number one in both the Vampire Suspense and British Horror Fiction categories, as well as number three in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction.
The BONDS series is set against both contemporary and historical backdrops, following the story of the complicated and unusual relationship between Becca Martin, a reluctant witch forced to face up to who she is and accept her gift of the Craft, and Antony Cardover, a man who traded his soul for the chance of vengeance and paid the ultimate price – eternity bearing a vampire curse.
BONDS was a finalist for the 2020 Golden Stake Literary Award at the International Vampire Film & Arts Festival, as well as a quarter-finalist for the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Marie has published two collections of dark short stories under the series title TALES FROM A SCARYGIRL. The first volume, entitled DARK AND SCARY, moves from the realms of the supernatural into the borderlands where folklore and superstition meet real-world fear, while volume two, entitled DARKLY SINSITER, delves into the darkest vaults of the human psyche, daring the reader to question what lies beneath the surface.
DARKLY SINISTER came out on Hallowe’en 2020, with the Kindle edition reaching number one positions in the Horror Short Stories, British Horror Fiction and British & Irish Short Stories categories, as well as number two in Psychological Thrillers.
Under the pen name M A Cope, she has also published her first children’s book called THE MISFITS. The story follows an unlikely group of supernatural misfits as they embark on an adventure that teaches them it is okay to be different from who they are expected to be; the important thing is to be happy in their own skin.
Marie is working on several other projects at the moment, including a screen adaptation of BONDS and a contemporary romance novel called CHASING RAINBOWS.
At the heart of everything she writes is a simple aim – to tell stories that captivate the reader.

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Synopsis :

Layout 3A four-century-old secret. A vampire curse.
Can she uncover the truth about her family before it destroys her?
Following the death of her grandmother, Becca Martin comes face to face with an ancestor she is unaware of; an ancestor who threatens her very existence.
Antony Cardover bears a vampire curse, and he will stop at nothing to sever his ancient bindings.
As she uncovers the dark truth about her family, can Becca embrace the legacy she now bears?
Or will the mistakes of the dead return to kill her?
If you like A Discovery of Witches and The Vampire Chronicles, you will LOVE Marie Anne Cope’s BONDS series.
Step into a world of magic, mystery and mayhem, buy BONDS today!

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Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
(In addition to my author bio)
As well as being an author, I run my own accountancy business and am also a qualified yoga teacher, although I haven’t gone back to teaching following the pandemic. I care deeply about the plight of the planet and changed my buying and eating habits to reflect this. I have also started growing my own fruit and veg. I only have a small garden, but I am looking to expand what I grow to provide me with some vegetables all year round. It’s definitely a work in progress!
I have been an avid reader since I was a child, ever since my mum brought my twin brother and sister home from the hospital. Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter were my go to authors, but as I grew older, I read through the contents of the children’s section of the library quickly, forcing the librarian to introduce me to more grown-up books. Her selection as my first foray into this area was Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews—I loved it!
I’m a big fan of the theatre, with Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Blood Brothers being shows I will see time and time again. Pre pandemic, I probably went to a concert a month, feeding my wide taste in music. My first concert post Covid was Corinne Bailey Rae, closely followed by my all-time favourite Bryan Adams (17 May). Plus, I’m going to see Anastacia later this year.
This isn’t everything about me, obviously, but I feel I best move on to the writing!
I haven’t always written, which I know is unusual for an author. I did dip my toe in the water at primary school when I penned, and graphically illustrated, my version of Jaws. My teacher was horrified and rapped me on the knuckles with a metal ruler and told me never to write anything so horrid again. And I didn’t, not a word, not for over 15 years. Lucky for me, the voices in my head became too overpowering in my mid-twenties and I put pen to paper once more, penning short stories—some of which were published. But it was my attendance at a wedding and the discovery of a stone sarcophagus at the back of the church that changed my course as the storyline for Bonds revealed itself to me during those nuptials.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up? 
As a child, Enid Blyton was my sanctuary, with the Famous Five and the Ring O’Bells Mystery being particular favourites. I’ve even watched the recent drama series on children’s television based on Malory Towers—I loved it!
As an adult, I err towards thrillers with James Patterson’s Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club series being favourites, along with Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series, John Grisham, Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels, amongst many others.
But I am not faithful to one genre.
I love anything by Kate Morton as she has the ability to draw you into her novels, so it’s as if you are following the main characters around. I’ve recently discovered Veronica Henry, falling instantly in love with her stories and style of writing. I love Nora Roberts, Erica James, and Julia Quinn (of course).
My all-time favourite author is Jeffrey Archer, a true storyteller. His Clifton Chronicles blew me away. His writing makes me feel like I’m curled up on the sofa with a huge mug of tea and a fleecy blanket, and Kane and Abel will always be one of my favourite novels.
My other favourite is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I believe to be the greatest love story ever told.
I could go on for pages about the books and authors I like!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Stephen King, because it was On Writing which gave me the kick in the pants to give it a go.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Oooo, this is a hard question because there are several I would invite, but if I have to pick one, I will go with Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell), but I would ask her to cook dinner, as I am dying to try her Italian cooking. I find her a fascinating character with far more to her than shown in the novels. I would also like to get underneath why she is so hard on herself.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I do! I always write to music, the choice dependent on the book. Whilst writing the Bonds series, it was Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell III that kept me company. For Chasing Rainbows—the novel I’ve just completed—it’s been Natalie Imbruglia’s White Lilies Island.
I also like to burn an incense stick—white sage, Nag Champa, and dragon’s blood being my favourites. Plus a steaming mug of coffee.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
My ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, including the deep dark recesses of my mind. Bonds was inspired by a stone sarcophagus I saw in an old village church, whereas Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay quartet of novels gave me the confidence to write Chasing Rainbows. For short stories, however, the voices in my head always provide the inspiration.
As for whether people in my life should be worried… maybe. 😉

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a plotter. I have a pretty specific process whilst writing a novel, which is why I only produce a book every few years! Plus, I write longhand which slows everything down. I am trying to embrace technology more, but I struggle to create through a keyboard; I find my Mont Blanc fountain pen and notebook much more conducive.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
The best advice I can give is to write your story in its entirety, from start to finish, before you review it. If you stop and review after each chapter, you’ll never finish, as you’ll just keep reviewing it over and over. It’s best to get it all down. Once it’s written, the reviewing and editing can commence.

What are your future plans as an author?
You’ve seen me mention a novel called Chasing Rainbows in my answers above. Well, this is my first foray into the contemporary fiction genre, and it is the first of a series. I’d never thought I’d be able to write in this genre, but it’s the most excited I’ve ever been with any of my writing. I’m taking this as a good omen!
I’m not leaving the darkness behind, though. I’m also writing a spinoff from the Bonds series, called The Headhunter, which centres on the character of Ellie Lawrence and her life after, and before, she met Antony Cardover and Becca Martin.
I’ve also written a screenplay for Bonds, which I want to bring to fruition, as it’s always been a dream to see Bonds on the silver screen.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Here’s a teaser from Chapter 2 of Bonds…

‘B…E…C…C…A…’ A voice carried on the wind, making her jump. She whirled round, expecting to see the priest, but there was no one there. Becca continued to walk across the churchyard, tripping every so often on the uneven ground and upended graves. Her gaze remained fixed on the barren tree ahead of her, her conversation with Father Michael forgotten. Something was drawing her to this place and she felt powerless to stop it.
She stopped not far from the tree. The ground here was black as though recently burned. A small moss-covered stone marker was the only thing to break the harshness of the earth. She felt a slight tremor under her feet and her skin erupted in goosebumps as though someone had brushed past her. She shivered.
‘B…E…C…C…A…’ A warm breath caressed her left ear and she screamed, losing her footing. The crows, roused from their slumber, rose into the air again, circling the tree, their cawing echoing through the air. Becca spun round and stumbled away from the tree and the dead ground around it. Her mind was whirling. Had she really heard her name or was her mind playing tricks on her?

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Marie Anne Cope.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Marriage Unarranged #MarriageUnarranged – Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal @SpellBoundBks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Marriage Unarranged Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Marriage Unarranged’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Ritu Bhathal Author PhotoRitu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but of Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her. From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing! Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards and Best Book Blog in 2019.
Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

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Synopsis :

Ritu Bhathal Author PhotoIt all s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶e̶d ended with that box…
The year 2000 and Aashi’s life was all set.
New Millennium ,exciting beginnings, new life.
Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.
But then Aashi found the empty condom box…
Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.
Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.
And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets?
A stranger who’s hiding something…

Coming Summer 2023, book 2 in The Rishtay Series!

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Excerpt :

Every time she closed her eyes, Aashi saw herself in different bridal outfits, and each time, she felt like a princess.
With those pictures in mind, Aashi drove to Ravi’s place, singing along to one of her Hindi film soundtrack tapes. Excitement fizzed inside her, rendering her incapable of sitting still in her seat. In a few hours, their honeymoon destination would be finalised. Soon I’m going to be Mrs Grewal. Mrs Ravi Grewal!
After parking her car, Aashi grabbed the bulging carrier bag filled with travel brochures from the passenger seat next to her. She quickly checked her reflection in the mirror and smoothed an unruly lock of hair down before getting out. She hummed as she bounced up the garden path and rang the doorbell. A minute passed. No answer. She pressed it again. Where is Ravi? He knows I’m coming. A blurry image through the frosted glass showed someone approaching. That isn’t him…
The door opened to reveal a tall, attractive woman: Nishi, Ravi’s work colleague. She towered over Aashi’s 5’ 5” frame. Flicking her long, wavy hair backwards, she smiled at Aashi, her full lips shining with what looked like freshly applied gloss. “Oh, Aashi! Hi there. Ravi didn’t mention you were coming over. He must’ve forgotten.”
“Nishi? Hi!” What’s she doing here? Haven’t they done enough work at the office all week? Aashi entered what was going to be her own home soon, stepping past Nishi.
As she headed towards the living room, Ravi sauntered down the stairs. Aashi’s heart melted a little, looking at him with his usually groomed hair sticking up in all directions.
“I’m going to have to love you and leave you both. See you around, Aashi, see you later, Ravi.” Nishi walked out the door, shutting it behind her.
“How are you, honey? Did you forget I was coming today?” Aashi gave Ravi a big hug and a quick peck on the cheek.
“Er, no, of course I didn’t forget. How could I? Do you want a cup of tea?” Ravi hurried into the kitchen.
Aashi followed him. “Here, let me make it.” Putting her bag down, she reached over and flicked on the kettle. “What was Nishi doing here so early? And on a Saturday? Surely not work?” As usual, the kitchen was a complete tip. Her nose wrinkled as a variety of stale scents assaulted her nostrils. Grabbing a cloth, she cringed as an unknown substance oozed between her fingers. She felt the need to tidy up whenever she came around. Ravi is so lucky!
“Nothing, I mean, she needed to deliver an important file to me, so I could finish a project this weekend. Anyway, what are we discussing today?”
“You haven’t forgotten already, have you? The honeymoon.” Aashi took the cups of tea to the living room. She carefully placed them on the small coffee table and perched herself on the edge of the sofa. Once comfortable, she proceeded to take the brochures out of her bag. “So, any bright ideas? I thought about Goa, or maybe the Maldives?”
Sitting down near her, Ravi took a sip of his tea. God, he looks a mess. But a cute one. Aashi watched him sink back into the sofa and close his eyes for a moment. She took a minute to savour the profile of her fiancé. Ravi’s black hair, though tousled right now, would usually be neatly gelled back. A straight nose tapered off into a perfect point. His eyelashes were so long, they touched his cheeks when his eyes were closed, and those lips were full and inviting. Oh, I could kiss him now! But I can’t. That would be way too forward of me. Aashi stood up quickly, embarrassed at her thoughts. “I’ll be back in a sec.” She nipped up the stairs.
“Aashi! Where are you going? Aashi?
“I’m only going to the loo. I’ll be down in a sec.”
The bathroom was also a mess. Toilet seat up. Typical. Toothpaste tube uncapped. A towel casually dropped on the floor, as if it belonged there, not on the towel rail. Aashi went into her automatic cleaning mode, hanging up the towel, placing dirty clothes in the clothes basket, picking up random tissues from the floor-
“Noooooo!” Her scream filled the air. It can’t be… OMG! It is! Aashi closed her eyes. Perhaps when she opened them again, she’d see something different.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Framed #Framed – Gail Meath @GailMeathAuthor

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Framed Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Framed’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings.

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Synopsis :

Framed Book CoverIt’s a deadly game of who’s who, and who isn’t.
Things get pretty sticky for PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, when their best friend, a cop, is framed for murder. And not just anyone’s murder. The victim is the fiancée of the most notorious gangster in the city, Orin Marino, Jax’s worst enemy.
Laura Graystone, the budding Broadway Star and Jax’s new squeeze, proves to be an ingenious partner as they sift through clues trying to find the real murderer. But when Jax is pinched for another crime, Laura and Ace are forced to go undercover.
Hang on to your seat as Jax, Laura and Ace take you on another crazy, whodunit ride during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is who they seem, and those who do, aren’t. Anything goes during an era of fun and frolic, song and dance, speakeasies, gangsters, bootlegging, and bribes.

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Excerpt :

Tim counted the money as they drove away from the Thirteenth Precinct. “There’s two grand in here, Jax. I don’t get it. What did you mean by a payoff? A payoff for what?”
Jax groaned. “Take a few deep breaths, Murph, and think about it. I know it’ll come to you.”
Tim’s dark eyes suddenly grew wide and aghast. “For murdering that woman? Aw, Jesus. First, they try to kill me. Now, they’re trying to pin the murder on me?” He threw the envelope on the floor, leaned forward, and held his head in his hands. “This just keeps getting worse. All I wanted was to get some dirt on Marino. I can’t believe it all exploded like this. Why is Marino coming down on me so hard, Jax? He stopped Evie before she had a chance to tell me anything.”
“Maybe he thinks she gave you some information over the phone. Outside of that, he knows you’re not just going to let last night go without digging deeper into it. But look at the bright side. If he’s trying to frame you for Evie Becker’s murder, he’s not out to kill you anymore.”
“Right now, I’m not sure which is worse.” Tim sat upright. “Where are we going?”
“It’s after eleven o’clock, and Rizzo’s is open now. You said there were other customers there last night. I’m hoping we can find someone who knows what really went on in that alley and is willing to back up your story. Give me some of that dough.”
“What? No. I’m giving it all to Captain Ryan when I talk to him.”
“Well, he’s not available right now. Look, Murph, Marino sent that money to you at the police station for the sole purpose of making you look guilty in front of your fellow officers. But that, alone, isn’t enough proof. You can be sure he’s got a few more clever ideas. If we can find a couple of solid witnesses to back up your story, you’ll be in the clear when you talk to Captain Ryan.”
Tim folded his arms in front of him. “I’m not giving you any of the money, Jax. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Ace, get the envelope,” Jax told him.
Ace wiggled his way up front, snatched it off the floor, and dropped it in Jax’s lap.
Tim looked shocked. “How the heck did you train him to do that?”
“I didn’t teach him anything. He’s just smart.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Santa Fe Psychosis #SantaFePsychosis – Max Talley #MaxTalley @darkedgepress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Santa Fe Psychosis Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Santa Fe Psychosis’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Max Talley Author PhotoMax DeVoe Talley is a writer and artist from New York City who lives in Southern California. He began writing in 1997 and contributed entertainment, food, and humor columns to two California weekly newspapers.
His near future thriller, Yesterday We Forget Tomorrow, was published by Damnation Books in 2014. Since then, his crime fiction has appeared in two Hardboiled anthologies from Dead Guns Press and in Dames & Doppelgangers from Borda Books, while his short stories have appeared in fifty journals, including Vol.1 Brooklyn, Atticus Review, Entropy, Bridge Eight, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Litro.
Talley’s curated surreal anthology, Delirium Corridor, debuted in December 2020.

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Synopsis :

Max Talley Author PhotoJackson Bardo, an out-of-work Private Investigator, is summoned to New Mexico by his ex-girlfriend. Her life is being threatened and she needs money. But he doesn’t have enough when he arrives. And days later, she disappears.
Joining forces with his friend, Police Detective Diego Juarez, the pair set out to find her.
During their search, Juarez is given the job of locating a missing teenager. But the discovery of another girl – dead – leads them to uncover a child trafficking operation.

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Excerpt :

Detective Juarez found the outbuilding’s door unlocked, but its warped bottom edge stuck to the ground so he shouldered it open. Nets and more fishing gear within, along with two shotguns. Neither loaded. He sniffed them but neither had been shot recently, and an angry spider crawled out of one barrel. His flashlight started to dim and the darkness inside became overwhelming. A clicking noise came from the second room ahead and Juarez lunged into a windowless, airless gloom. His foot went forward but didn’t connect with floor. Off balance, he plunged into an open trapdoor leading downward. “Ravello!” he shouted to his partner, then tumbled down steps. Juarez landed in a moist, muddy basement and startled to his feet. It smelled dank and like death. His own.
Above, heavy scraping sounds: the trapdoor being closed. Juarez rushed up the rickety set of stairs and fought the human weight trying to seal him below. He climbed back out. Disoriented, with the flashlight lost below, he peered in every direction.
A fishing rod cracked him over the head. Fighting to keep his balance, Juarez pulled his pistol and shot the burly figure in a cloth mask. The man groaned but kept moving and toppled a barrel to slow pursuit. “Hands up, freeze,” Juarez shouted. “Estas bajo arresto.” The assailant scuttled out the door. Juarez staggered after in pursuit, feeling a wet thin line of blood seeping at the back of his head.
For an instant he got blinded by the sunlight, before a fat hand swung a 2 x 4 at his forehead. Juarez went down. He heard Detective Ravello yell, “Stop or I’ll shoot,” followed by gunshots, and then an unmuffled engine ratcheted to life, but its loud, churning hum soon faded. After that, nothing.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : How To Spot A Psychopath #HowToSpotAPsychopath – MQ Webb @marswebb1 #TBRPress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

How to Spot A Psychopath Week 1How to Spot A Psychopath Week 2

Today I’m on the ‘How To Spot A Psychopath’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

MQ Webb Author PhotoMQ Webb has always believed in the transformational nature of words, and a medium to utilize them. How to Spot a Psychopath is the first book in the Oscar de la Nuit Psychological Thriller series.
Born without a Middle name, Q is such an undervalued letter of the alphabet, only appearing with u, so thought they would give it some respect by acknowledging it in their name.
A fascination with human behavior and motivation led them to study psychology. They once worked in a building that was converted from a gaol and is a marketing consultant for NFP’s, universities, and the public sector.

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Synopsis :

MQ Webb Author PhotoCould you tell… Would you?
When four-year-old Mia Edwards goes missing on a play date, everyone suspects Jessica Green knows what happened, especially Mia’s mother, Holly…
But Jess won’t tell anyone.
Psychiatrist, Dr. Oscar de la Nuit, is perceptive and determined to save Jess from the same regret and secrets he lives with.
Oscar thinks he has Jess figured out, but will she lead to Oscar’s redemption, or will she be his downfall?

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Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve always written. When I was about eight years old, I handed in a 28 page story to my teacher at the end of the year, much to her amusement… thinking back she was probably wondering if I really expected her to read the whole thing hehe. I got serious about writing when I went on maternity leave. I was planning on going back to work but my daughter was born with a condition called craniosynostosis, which meant that her skull had prematurely fused together and she required a complete skull reconstruction, so I wanted to be there with her due to risks of the condition, (she’s now four and a half and is doing well) so I kept writing and stayed with her.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I read everything I could get my hands on, but my absolute favorites were spooky stories like RL Stine. Now, I love psychological thrillers, and my long-running inspiration probably comes from Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice—what a concept!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Great question! So many brains I’d like to pick. Anne Rice, for the complexity and humanity she brought to the horror genre. Chuck Palahniuk and Stephen King, for craft, because I’ve read fantastic, actionable writing advice from both. And Liane Moriarty because she is the balance queen of the plot/character scales!

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Will Graham from Thomas Harris’s ‘Red Dragon’ because he seems like he’d have some interesting schemas about the world.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I don’t really have rituals or habits while writing (at least that I’m aware of) except maybe sipping coffee as I write. I always have a stack of notes beside me or on my screen as I’m writing.
Never mind… I’ve just been informed that my HUGE notes board counts as part of a ritual.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)?
A lot of my ideas develop by finding a character with a strong voice or motivation and exploring how they might react in a given situation. Some believe ‘The Silent Patient’ inspired some of the ideas behind ‘How to Spot a Psychopath’ but funnily enough I hadn’t read until after the 3rd or 4th draft, (I’ve since discovered it’s a great book).
It was actually inspired by a Ted Talk I’d heard from Susan Cain, the author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ which got me thinking about the power of choosing not to say anything in a situation where you’d expect someone to be screaming from the rooftops, proclaiming their innocence.

Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Maybe! Though I did give them some tips on the kinds of things to look out for… so maybe not 😉

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter, but in an agile process kind of way. My characters surprise me and force me to shift things around all the time!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’t)?
Write. Get comfortable with uncomfortable feedback, it will make you a stronger writer.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Believe in your work and don’t be embarrassed to get others involved (beta readers, editors, the cat if it likes listening to tricky paragraphs)!
There will be drafts—get the story out and refine it later.

What are your future plans as an author?
Developing more of the Oscar de la Nuit series. I’m also have some stand-alone psychological thriller / suspense novels in the works.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on
my blog, please?
She’d caught Oscar’s attention as soon as he saw her. Jessica Green, fingers laced together under her chin like a locked puzzle. She didn’t fit the typical killer profile. Suburban journalist with a four-year-old and a husband.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, MQ Webb.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Murder In Keswick #MurderInKeswick #SherlockHolmes – William Todd #WilliamTodd @SpellBoundBks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Murder In Keswick Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Murder In Keswick’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

William Todd Author PhotoWilliam Todd has been writing for over 20 years, primarily gothic horror stories in the style of Lovecraft, Poe, and Shelley. Loving all things Victorian, he was inspired to read (and later to write) by Arthur Conan Doyle.
The first book he ever read cover to cover was Hound of the Baskervilles, which also fed his appetite for horror. William Todd has written two short story compilations of gothic horror, Dead of Night and Beyond the Gossamer Veil and one sci-fi/horror hybrid genre Something Wicked This Way Comes.
He has also written multiple Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Murder in Keswick, A Reflection of Evil, Mystery of the Broken Window, and Elementary—a short story compilation. Two of his short stories were part of MX Publishing’s New Sherlock Holmes Stories with proceeds going to a charity for special needs children housed in Undershaw, the very home Conan Doyle penned Hound of the Baskervilles.
Writing for the books was a special privilege because his daughter, Alina, has Down Syndrome. In 2022, he just finished his first YA/historical novel The Fall of the Hermit King, which is under review for publication, and in the meantime has started yet another Sherlock Holmes compilation.

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Synopsis :

William Todd Author PhotoWhile on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite.
As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head!
And that very night, the wealthy widow finds a stranger in her home who, upon seeing her, abandons his plans and quickly leaves. She believes the intruder to be the murderer of her husband who is now after a large sum of cash she keeps in the house safe.
Unsure if the would-be thief is the murderer or an opportunistic burglar, Holmes devises a plan to catch the burglar, all the while investigating the murder of Mr. Darcy.
Follow Holmes, Watson, and the local constable Mr. Wickham as they untangle the mystery surrounding a Murder in Keswick.

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Excerpt :

Sherlock Holmes was never fond of what he called my ‘over-dramatization’ of his methods, or my ‘sensationalising’ of the facts surrounding a particular case when I put it to paper. As best I could, I would relay to the reader only what was relevant to both story and method, to display Holmes’ unique abilities in deduction and logic. If adjectives were ever needed or more descriptive language employed, it was usually done only sparingly, and to make the story more palatable. There are certain cases, however, that manifest from time to time, so wholly unique, that it is a near-impossible feat not to over-dramatize or sensationalise the facts because they are just that—dramatic and sensational. Customarily, it is these cases that are left out of my accounts of the great detective. There are a few, however, that I feel display the quintessential Holmes ability despite their—in his eyes—garish underpinnings. The following account is just such a case, which, after much debate, my friend has acquiesced to it being put before the public.
It was Wednesday, July 20th, 1898. The train clapped along rhythmically, and the sun shone in fits and starts into our compartment as we rushed along the wooded countryside. We were making good time to Cumbria for a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District after a particularly gruelling stretch for Holmes in London. For six weeks he managed a mere three hours of sleep a night and, on a few nights, none whatsoever, which would be the utter undoing of most. He unravelled four separate cases for Scotland Yard and one for the Crown—a particularly nasty affair, having national implications, that I may never get to set before my readers. At first, he resisted the suggestion of rest in the country, not sharing the bucolic allure, but I, at last, broke through my friend’s defences and convinced him that some time away would rejuvenate him for whatever London’s seedy underground had in store for him upon our return.
Agreeing to the rest did not mean, however, that Holmes looked forward to it. He stared morosely out the window at the passing landscape, having previously kept himself busy with a copy of the Times; however, it had run its course an hour into the journey.
He had been quiet for some time, so I tried to break him from his melancholic reverie. ‘You know, Holmes, this will do you good,’ said I. ‘The fresh country air, the bright sunshine…It will be cathartic to both your mind and body to relax for a few days.’
My friend glanced at me from the corner of his eye but kept his sullen vigil of the countryside. ‘Watson, you know as well as I do that my mind never relaxes, and my body does remarkably well at keeping up. Those slaves are surely used to their master by now.’ He turned and looked upon me directly. ‘Sloth is the murderer of many a good intellect, Watson, and I can ill-afford the demise of mine.’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : The Catcher #TheCatcher – Kerry Birds @KerryBWriter @darkedgepress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Catcher Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Catcher’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Kerry Birds Author PhotoKerry Birds lives in Derbyshire with her husband and two boys. She is an Environmental Chemist who started reading fiction in her thirties and took up writing soon after. She now writes prolifically, partly to quieten her anxious mind.
In 2018 she self-published her first novel, Share My Sky, which was brilliantly received. Rainbows in a Storm and its sequel soon followed. She’s had her nose to the grindstone ever since.
In her spare time, Kerry loves to be with her family, preferably walking on mountains or moorlands, where she finds the perfect places to eat cake and drink tea. She likes seeing friends, going to writing group, stalking bumblebees and drinking wine.

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Synopsis :

Kerry Birds Author PhotoThe perfect marriage?
Or the perfect lie?
Alistair tells white lies. It’s easier that way.
Elena loves Alistair. But he’s married to Celia.
Celia likes playing games. And one day soon someone is going to get hurt.
The only question is – who?

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Excerpt :

Elena

What with the salt and John Travolta’s face during the dance-off, I was nearly back in a happy place; and then I felt the crawling inside my lips.
My thoughts spun like the wheels on a runaway bike. Faster and faster, I knew where I was heading though I couldn’t stop. I got to my feet and rushed back into the kitchen, frantically scanning the room for my bag. I yanked open the zip and then the small compartment where I kept the medication to halt the anaphylaxis. But it was empty: the two auto-dispensers were gone. Amidst increasing panic, I rifled the contents of my bag before emptying it out on the tabletop. The balled-up tissues, old receipts, and my purse landed on the floor. Gasping, I grabbed my phone. The screen lit up and then went black again, the battery still dead.
I raced to the bathroom where I clawed the contents of the cabinet into the sink below. Though those two EpiPens were not there either. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t swallow; the world was trapped behind a teary, blurred screen. I fell to my knees. If I made it to the front garden I would be shielded by the wall and, even if I was found, a passer-by would be unlikely to be carrying epinephrine and an ambulance wouldn’t reach me on time. I couldn’t stand and I knew if I exerted myself the heart attack due to my plummeting blood pressure would kill me before the asphyxiation. There were no two ways about it, I was going to die. I was going to die because I did not have an EpiPen.
They were gone.
Somebody had taken my medication.
And I knew it was her.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : The Major Minor Murders #TheMajorMinorMurders #DIBarneyMains – Jim McGhee @bigbarneymains

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Major Minor Murders Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Major Minor Murders’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jim McGhee Author PhotoJim McGhee’s a former award-winning environmental journalist.
Based in East Lothian, near Edinburgh, Scotland, he spends much of each year (in normal times) in the South of France, the main setting for the DI Barney Mains series, with tolerant wife Jean and rampant Irish Terrier, Jack.
After a full-on career as a campaigning newspaper reporter, he and Jean launched their own recruitment company in central Edinburgh and for twelve fun-packed years worked closely together alongside their brilliant team – without spilling a single drop of blood.
The Alpes-Maritimes and Var departments, on the other hand, have provided a host of dramatic locations just perfect as inspiration for the odd spot of fictional gore.
Locals, blessed with scenery ranging from unspoiled mountain villages to the classic palms-and-marinas coast, claim that they can be swimming one moment and skiing a little over an hour later.
Though when not writing or travelling en famille, Jim’s more likely to be off on a hike in the hills with his ever-ready buddy, Jack.

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Synopsis :

The Major Minor Murders Tour PosterThere’s been a murder. And the only suspect has vanished.
Even his own brother, DI Barney Mains, thinks he’s guilty.
But when the missing man’s teenage daughter begs Barney to help, he has no choice.
And before long he starts to question whether the criminal brother he hasn’t seen for ten years could actually be innocent this time.
It’s just that everyone seems to be in an all-fired hurry to pin the killing on him.
Despite there being a pair of highly visible alternative candidates – a tall ex-army type and a sidekick built like a tank.
The trail leads Barney to the South of France and the gated world of the super-rich.
For only there will he discover whether his brother is a killer on the run.
Or the next victim…

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Excerpt :

They checked in then took turns to shower. Barney sensed how natural they were around each other, as if they’d been doing this for years. They jumped into bed without any first-night nonsense then lay there under the satin duvet in their stiff white cotton gowns, giggling like silly kids. ‘What’s this?’ she asked, running a finger down a five-inch scar on his chest.
‘Oh, that? That was when I hiked across the Outback. Ended up on Bondi Beach. Shark attack.’
‘Yeah, right.’
‘OK, it was actually on Portobello Prom when I fell off my roller skates. Lost a very good ice-cream cone that day, too. Changed my life.’
She thumped him on his scar. ‘Come on big boy. I’ll make you forget all about it.’ She opened her gown and slid on top of him, opening his as she went. He felt the silky heat of her skin then grinned like a Cheshire cat as she lowered her wicked, flushed face to his, her fragrant, damp hair coating his throat.
And she did make him forget. The ice-cream, everything. By the time he resurfaced he realised that he’d actually forgotten all about art fraud and murder too. It was around five in the evening. She was purring contentedly, her right arm draped limply across him. He slipped out of bed as carefully as he could. He found his phone and checked messages. There was a text from Abbey. Great news! Dad’s getting out tonight! Picking him up at seven. Be there or else! He smiled then texted back: I always respond to threats!
He crawled back into bed. She stirred. ‘Sorry, did I wake you?’ he said. But he wasn’t sorry at all.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Don’t Play Dead with Vultures #DontPlayDeadWithVultures – Jack Leavers @jackleavers @BookGuild

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Don't Play Dead with Vultures Book Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Don’t Play Dead with Vultures ’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jack Leavers Author PhotoJack Leavers is a former Royal Marine with over thirty-years’ experience spread across the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy, and risk management. His varied career has included numerous deployments to conflict zones around the world such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, trouble spots in Africa, and the Somali pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.
He continues to work in challenging environments and has now begun to pen novels inspired by some of the more enterprising projects that got the green light, and other audacious plans that didn’t.
Jack is normally based in London but finds he’s at his most productive writing-wise when deployed overseas. New projects in Iraq and Africa beckon, which should be good news for his third book.

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Synopsis :

Jack Leavers Author PhotoSummer 2008 sees former Royal Marine John Pierce lured from running convoys in Iraq to a lucrative contract in the steamy jungles of French West Africa. He soon discovers this new theatre is even more dangerous than the war zone he left behind. Corrupt officials, drug cartels, and competing military factions rub shoulder-to-shoulder in a melting pot of greed and intrigue …And a sadistic foe lurks in the shadows.
When old intelligence contacts take an interest, the situation gets complicated fast. Dark forces emerge and events spiral out of control. Pitched into a desperate race against time, can Pierce’s makeshift team of soldiers and civilians fight fire with fire and outwit vicious enemies?
One thing’s for sure, Pierce won’t leave anyone to the mercy of a brutal adversary he knows only too well – no matter what it takes.
Former Royal Marine Jack Leavers has over thirty-years’ experience working in the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy and risk management. His career spans numerous deployments to conflict zones worldwide such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Somali-pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean. Jack’s novels are inspired by some of the more enterprising projects that got the green light, and other audacious plans that didn’t.

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Excerpt :

PART I – CONVOY
CHAPTER 1
JUNE 2008
CAMP TAJI, 15 KM NORTH OF BAGHDAD

‘But Mister John, don’t you have children?’
Kemal’s passionate outburst brought my briefing to a grinding halt. He remained seated, but a series of deep new furrows crisscrossed the veteran fighter’s leathery features. Safe to assume he wasn’t a fan of the proposed convoy route. Across the room, my guys barely stifled their amusement. Ignoring them, I returned to the floor-to-ceiling map of Iraq on the operations room wall.
The 350-kilometre mission trace, marked in red like an angry scar, ran north from the outskirts of Baghdad to US Forward Operating Base Q-West, 70 klicks south of Mosul. Then it branched east and west with arrows and timings showing three separate deliveries.
‘Yes, I do have children. But that doesn’t alter the fact we’ll be driving up Route Tampa to Q-West.’ I tapped the small hand of my wooden backscratcher on the map and swung it north along the thick red line. Some bastard had recently swiped my extendable pointer, so I’d decorated the unusual replacement in a camouflage pattern and embraced it as a nod to good old-fashioned British eccentricity. ‘It’s the approved route for the mission and it would take twenty-four hours to alter it, even if we could go up Highway 2, which we can’t.’
Kemal launched out of his seat and his cracked fingers jabbed at the trace. ‘This way is too dangerous. Through Tuz we have others that can help. Friends. Your way is big trouble.’
To emphasise the point, his fingers caressed the laminated map along his preferred route, a few inches to the right of ‘my way’. His lived-in face and dark, penetrating eyes showed no sign of the smile he’d worn since earlier in the evening.
I shook my head. ‘Highway 2 is out of bounds, so it’s not an option. As I said in the briefing, once we reach Q-West we’ll park the convoy, escort eight of the trucks to unload in Erbil, then recombine and move to the drop off in Mosul. After that it’s on to the RV with your crane in Tal Afar. Okay?’
Kemal matched my head shaking and raised me an emotive appeal to the crowded room. ‘It’s crazy. The other way is much safer.’ He swivelled left and right with widespread arms and an agonised expression.
The ops room fell silent apart from a rattling AC unit struggling to cope with the fug from the pensive, disparate onlookers. I shrugged my shoulders to indicate tough shit, that’s the way things are before placing the decorated backscratcher on the desk to signal the end of the discussion.
When the silence lingered, I tried a more encouraging approach. ‘Listen Kemal, we run convoys up and down Tampa all the time. Yes, it can be dicey, but let’s close this up and get some rest, then punch out on time and get ourselves to Q-West.’
Any hope that would bring him round was misplaced. Kemal glared at me and flounced into a furtive huddle with his men.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds