BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Hiding in Plain Sight by Eoghan Egan

I CANNOT believe that I didn’t schedule this to post this morning. It does no one any good in my drafts folder. Very sorry to Eoghan Egan and Love Books Tours for this.

Today we are celebrating the release of Hiding in Plain Sight by Eoghan Egan. The official launch is on the 11th of January in Ireland and you are cordially invited. As I don’t think I have any readers who could make it, we’ll just focus on the book itself with some information about the book and the author. You are (I assume) also cordially invited to purchase it anytime.

Book Details:

Book Title: Hiding in Plain Sight by Eoghan Egan
Release date: January 4, 2020
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 347 pages

Book Blurb:

The stunning debut from Ireland’s hottest new crime writer

A vicious serial killer roams the Irish Midlands, with his sights set on the next victim.

A successful businessman has found the perfect recipe for getting away with murder.

No bodies, no evidence.

No evidence, no suspect.

High art and low morals collide when graduate Sharona Waters discovers a multi-million euro art scam in play. She delves in, unwittingly putting herself on a direct trajectory with danger as the killer accelerates his murder spree.

When Sharona gets drawn into the killer’s orbit, she peels away his public persona and exposes the psychopath underneath. Suddenly, the small town has no hiding place…

About Eoghan Egan:

Eoghan Egan

A native of Co. Roscommon, Eoghan studied Computer Programming in college, works in Sales Management & Marketing, but his passion for reading and writing remains.

Eoghan’s work got shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize, and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition. His novel was a contender in literary agent David Headley’s opening chapter Pitch Competition, and during March 2019, Eoghan’s entry won Litopia’s Pop-Up Submission.

A graduate of Maynooth University’s Creative Writing Curriculum, and Curtis Brown’s Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Eoghan’s novel Hiding in Plain Sight – the first in a crime fiction trilogy based around the Irish Midlands – will be available in paperback and audio on January 11th 2020.

Eoghan Egan’s Social Media:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Website

My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this tour.

Love Books Group

46% Better Than Dave by Alastair Puddick: Dave meets a better version of himself

46% Better Than Dave

46% Better Than Dave

by Alastair Puddick

Kindle Edition, 245 pg.
Raven Crest Books, 2019

Read: December 14-17, 2019

No matter which way I looked at it, I was now inexplicably living next door to another version of myself. Another Dave Brookman. A richer Dave Brookman. A more successful Dave Brookman. And though I didn’t like to admit it, he was clearly also a slimmer, fitter, more handsome Dave Brookman. It was as if he was better in just about every single way. And, whether it was his intention or not, he was making the old Dave Brookman look bad. Really bad.

To say that our narrator, Dave Brookman, is surprised to find out his new neighbor shares a name with him. He shortly learns that they grew up near each other and are in the same industry. The coincidences are mindblowing. But as our narrator starts comparing the two, he keeps thinking that the “new” Dave has it better—from a literal ex-model wife to a flashy car, and all points in between.

But just how much better is “new” Dave? “Old” Dave puts together a spreadsheet assigning numerical values to various attributes/possessions and ends up with the titular value:

I sighed loudly. Of course, I’d expected there to be a difference. I knew he would come out on top. But 46%? That was nearly 50%. And 50% was half. So New Dave was nearly a whole half better than me. How could this be? What the hell had I done with my life? Had I wasted the opportunities we apparently both shared, as New Dave took full advantage of them? What could my life have been if I’d made different decisions along the way? Would I have my own company and a flash, expensive car? A house with a new extension and swimming pool? Would I be married to a former model, and have robotically clever children?

Dave spends weeks obsessing over this idea and dives into a (very one-sided) competition to become the “better” Dave. Which is ridiculous, preposterous and unsuccessful. And that’s before his wife finds the spreadsheet. After that things go from bad to worse, and then worse. Until they don’t.

It’s a great concept, it hooks you right away. But it’s what happens after the hook that’s vital—how successful is that? Well, that depends on how you read the book.

If you are looking for any real degree of realism, it’s just too hard to swallow. But if you look at “old” Dave as a character in a comedy—he’s a lot of fun. He’s really a decent, successful guy with a good family. At least until his neighbesis (his word) moves in and he becomes an obsessive, jealous mess. In his less-obsessive moments, he seems like a decent, likable guy and it’s these moments that keep you reading. In his most-obsessive moments, he makes it hard to stick with. It’s quite the balancing act that Puddick tries here, and generally, he succeeds.

Everyone else in the novel—”new” Dave and his family, Dave’s family and co-workers—all seem perfectly normal and well-adjusted. Their reactions to him are perfectly rational and understanding, too. This both highlights his irrational behavior and makes everyone else the “straight man” to “old” Dave. Without that, I think the whole thing would’ve collapsed.

Puddick has given his readers a sweet and funny novel about obsession, jealousy, and what happens to someone when they lose sight of what’s important in life. If you’re looking for a fast and fun read, you’d do well to give this a shot.


3 Stars


My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) they provided.

Love Books Group

EXCERPT from 46% Better Than Dave by Alastair Puddick

A Sample from Chapter 8

“No offence, mate, but when was the last time you ran further then the end of the street?” said Charlie. “Let alone 10k, jumping over electric fences.”

“Screw you,” I said. “I’ll have you know I used to run all the time. I was pretty good. And I’ve run loads of 10k races in the past. This dirty mother don’t sound too bad!”

“Oh, you haven’t run a 10k in years though, love,” said Catherine, changing tack and trying to bargain with me.

Et tu, you traitorous wife, I thought.

“No, but it’s just like riding a bike, isn’t it? I can quickly get back into it.” My words were really slurring now. “Besides, I’ve been looking to get fit again. This could be exactly the motivation I need to get in shape. When did you say, three months? Piece of piss. I’ll be running 10k, dodging mimes and hopping over eclectic fences before you know it! Then I’ll be round for my hundred quid.”

What the hell was I doing? I had the perfect way to get out of this. I could have blamed it on too much drink. I could have played it off as a big joke, without losing face. But I couldn’t help it. I just dug myself deeper and deeper.

“Come on, Dave, don’t be silly,” said Catherine, her eyes imploring.

“Silly?” I said. “Silly? I’ll show you who’s silly. I will sign up for this race. And I’ll raise loads of money for charity. And I’ll probably fucking even win it, too. That’ll bloody show you, won’t it?”

The mood changed instantly. The gentle mocking ceased. An awkward silence hung between us. People sat uncomfortably looking at their shoes, the stars, the drinks in their hands.

“You know… you move in here,” I slurred, pointing at New Dave, my head swimming and my hand wobbling, “and you’re like the best bloody thing since sliced cheese. Er… bread, I mean. The best thing since cheese bread. And I’m sick of it, actually. Because you’re not better than me. Not really.”

The words were coming thick and fast. I’d tapped into a rich vein of resentment.

“You know… you’re a man,” I continued rambling. “And I’m a man. And you’re a man. And… you know, other men can do equally… And it’s not about how much you’ve got… or the size of your… barbecue… or how nice your hair is… or how many fucking beer fridges you’ve got… What I mean is…” And then the words just stopped, my train of thought derailing violently.

Everyone looked on curiously, wondering if I was going to continue my tirade. But my brain had crashed. My mouth was no longer receiving any signal.

Another very awkward silence.

“Well, if you’re up for it, then I think that’s brilliant,” said New Dave, overenthusiastically. “Hey, we could even train together, if you fancy it?”

“There you go. At least someone believes in me. Thank you, David.” I turned to look at Catherine. I thought I was sneering and delivering menace with my eyes. But I probably just looked drunk and squinteyed.

“Anyway,” I said, standing awkwardly onto wobbly legs, “I need a piss.”

I pushed back my chair, accidentally knocking it over as I stepped away from the table. As I walked off towards the back door of the house, I suddenly felt very unstable.

It came over me like a wave. The world went wildly out of focus. I could barely keep my eyes open. My legs felt weak, like they could barely carry my weight. I swayed, my head swimming, and I wobbled this way and that. The more I tried to keep a straight line, the more my body chose to lurch violently in the opposite direction, like I was fighting a powerful magnet. It was hard enough just staying upright, let alone moving forwards.

Aware that everyone was watching me, I pigeon-stepped across the lawn, trying to stay as straight and upright as I could. I could see the swimming pool in my peripheral vision, and I tried to keep as far from it as possible. I locked in on the light from the door in front of me. All I had to do was walk straight. But the harder I tried, the more I felt myself drifting to the left. Towards the pool.

“Careful of the pool,” I heard someone shout out behind me.

“Yes, thank you,” I shouted back, “I’m perfectly capable of not falling in a swimming pool, thank you.”

Did I say thank you twice? I thought, as I continued to walk, stumbling closer and closer to the pool. And did I really just sign up to run a 10k obstacle course, climbing over electric fences?

I straightened myself again. I walked slowly and steadily, like a drunk driver trying to convince a police officer I was sober. One foot in front of the other. Move towards the light. Just walk in a straight line.

But the swimming pool’s magnetic pull grew stronger. And the more I tried to fight it, the more it pulled me closer.

“Dave, seriously,” I heard Catherine call out behind me.

I threw my hand up in the air, the middle digit extended in an act of childish rebellion. And that was all it took to completely unbalance me. I swerved violently to the left, tripping over my own feet, hopping, lurching and dancing until I tumbled over.

I went into the water sideways.


Read the rest in 46% Better Than Dave by Alastair Puddick .


My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) they provided.

Love Books Group

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: 46% Better Than Dave by Alastair Puddick

Today, I’m very happy to welcome the Book Tour for Alastair Puddick’s 46% Better Than Dave. We’ll kick it off with this spotlight post, then I have a small sample from the book, and then I’ll be giving my take on the book here in a bit. But like I said, let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?

Book Details:

Book Title: 46% Better Than Dave by Alastair Puddick
Publisher: Raven Crest Books
Release date: October 12, 2019
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 245 pages

Book Blurb:

A novel of jealousy, muddy shoes and giant barbecues.

Dave Brookman’s new next-door neighbour is ruining his life. Because in a bizarre coincidence, he’s also called Dave Brookman, he’s the same age and he even grew up in the same town. There is one big difference, though. This new Dave is vastly more successful in every way.

As Dave starts questioning everything about himself, suddenly his perfect life seems a lot less than perfect. And what starts as friendly rivalry soon turns into obsessive jealousy and crazy behaviour that could see Dave lose it all. Can he get a grip before it’s too late? Everybody in the kingdom is supporting the brave knight Leo in his battle against his fearsome dragons. They try lots of different things to help him defeat them but eventually Leo realises that the most important thing to do is to believe in himself.

About Alastair Puddick:

William KnightAlastair Puddick is a writer and editor who has spent the past 20 years writing for a variety of magazines and websites. His work has spanned many different paths, from jetting off to exciting cities across the world to writing about dating advice, data centres, facilities management and the exciting world of flooring. He also once wrote an agony advice column posing as Elvis Presley’s ghost.

Alastair still works as a copywriter and lives in Sussex with his wife, Laura, and cat, George. He has written three novels: The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring, Killing Dylan and his newest book, 46% Better Than Dave.

Alastair Puddick’s Social Media:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website



My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) they provided.

Love Books Group

EXCERPT from Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter: “My Eddie is in trouble!”

SHATTERED BONDS by Faith Hunter, copyright Faith Hunter.

My cell chimed. Beast and I followed Eli to my gobag in the mud room, the small bag hanging on the rack with other winter gear. He swiped the screen, tapped in my security code, and started back to the office, saying, “Molly, it’s Eli—”

Angie Baby screamed, “My Eddie is in trouble! My Eddie! No! No!”

Beast growled, showing killing teeth. My/our heart did a fearful, arrhythmic bump-and-pause, and then raced too fast. Again, I searched for the connection to Edmund. Gone. Severed. As if it had been cut out with a knife. It was a strange sensation, as if a part of my own body had been instantly amputated and I kept searching for it, feeling something but … not the missing part. Ed was mine. Ed was gone.

Molly’s voice came over the phone and my attention swept to the cell. “Sorry, Jane. Angie woke up screaming from a bad dream. We’ve been trying to calm her down, but she grabbed my cell and called.” In the background, we heard the sound of Angie Baby’s screams diminish in volume and the crooning of her father’s flute magic, calming her.

“Eli here. Jane’s big-cat at the moment. Angie may not be having a dream.”

“What’s happening with Ed?” Molly asked, a trace of fear in her tone.

“We don’t know, except that Jane heard Ed through the vamp-binding. Alex is searching for him.”

In the background Angie’s screams crescendoed, the pitch so high it hurt Beast’s ears. She turned her ear tabs down against the noise and thought, Kits… Kits in trouble. Ed in trouble.

“Eli, I—. This is … Has Ed been killed? He and Angle have a blood bond. I don’t know what to do if… ?” Molly’s voice trailed away, uncertainly.

I/we nodded Beast’s head up and down, then back and forth, an uncertain yes / no gesture. We stared at Eli, snarling and licking our jaw, hoping he would understand that this was really not right.

“Jane and Beast are upset too,” he said.

“I think we’ll come visit,” Molly said.

“We have the room,” Eli said.

“Yeah. I’ve seen the sales brochures,” she said wryly.

In the background, the screaming stopped. Evan said, “She’s asleep. Pack fast. More snow is coming.”

Into the cell, Molly said, “We’ll probably have to keep her in magically induced sleep but expect us after nine tonight.”

“The county brined the street but the drive is frozen,” Eli said. “Call if you get stuck.”

“Will do.” The call ended.

From the office, I heard the Kid’s voice in quiet conversation with Grégoire, Blondie’s and Alex’s voices barely loud enough to pick out, even with Beast’s ears. Grégoire was in France with Edmund. Good. That meant up-to-date info. I / we trotted to him.

“Send me everything you have,” Alex said.

“Oui. My people do so now. Dieu vous garde en sécurité.”

“You too, dude.”

I heard a connection end and felt a smile tug at my Puma lips. Only Alex would call a royal-born, centuries old, powerful vamp dude.

 

 


Read the rest in Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter—how can you not?.


My thanks to Let’s Talk! Promotions for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book via NetGalley) they provided.

EXCERPT from The Dead of Winter by A. B. Gibson

PROLOGUE

STILL FOLLOWING. SHE KNEW BECAUSE when she stopped to check a moment or two ago, she could still hear him chasing her. She was hardly making any noise as she raced through the cut paths of the maze, but her predator was barreling directly through the corn and his heavy boots made a loud crunching. The snapping and rattling sound following in his wake as he crashed through the dry, brittle corn stalks was terrifying. And, because it was becoming louder, she could tell he was getting closer.

The woman had rushed into the maze too quickly to even notice what direction she was going. She was paying more attention to the gash in her ribs than anything else, and she didn’t care about finding their so-called exit, anyway. She only wanted one thing—out. The first frost came early, and there had been a few more since, and the icy turns made it hard to go fast. The sun, which was just beginning to rise, barely illuminated the paths. But she couldn’t slow down, and she dared not fall.

A treetop loomed over the field straight ahead, and she used it as a reference point, when the only choice was to go left or right. Without breaking stride, she followed her instinct and turned left this time, thinking if she kept changing directions, maybe she could lose him. Her legs wobbled from speed and exhaustion, and she choked on the biting wind that stirred the corn stalks. By now she had lost a lot of blood from her deep wound and she was feeling faint, so she had to dig in mentally to keep running at full speed.

 

 


Read the rest in The Dead of Winter by A. B. Gibson.


My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) they provided.

Love Books Group

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr: Timely and Compelling

Justice Gone

Justice Gone

by N. Lombardi Jr

Kindle Edition, 336 pg.
Roundfire Books, 2019

Read: September 27-30, 2019


I’ve mentioned before here that after I decide to read a book I forget what its about (if I even know) to keep myself coming from being disappointed by preconceived notions. It worked this time, I really had no idea what it was about when I opened it on my Kindle last week.

Which made the opening pages, featuring the killing of an innocent and compliant veteran by the police, as shocking as they could’ve been. But they also led me to believe I was in for a grim, adult version of The Hate U Give. So when that story took a hard turn a few chapters later with the murder of some of those police officers, I was reeling as much as Lombardi could’ve hoped for.

That sensation kept repeating at each new phase of the action in Justice Gone—”Oh, so this is what the book is about.” Until I finally got that the book was about all of these things—not just one or two themes. It was actually pretty effective in that way, more than I might have thought possible in the abstract. It’s difficult to enumerate them without revealing too much, so I’ll be vague here—the central question is about the place of (and possibility of) seeing justice in our current politicized climate given the high level of suspicion of the police (and their suspicion of the general public) coloring everything, and apparent interference by government officials (especially those elected to office) on criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Sadly, in the mix of all those themes and ideas, the incident that set all of the rest in motion is forgotten about when not overshadowed by the events that spiraled from it. I wish Lombardi had been able to keep the focus on it while telling the other story, because that really is something tat needs to be told. Not that the rest doesn’t, don’t misunderstand. It’s just we’ve all seen several variations of the rest of the novel, and haven’t seen nearly enough of that.

One thing I really appreciated was the focus on the jury’s deliberation toward the end of the novel. Lombardi’s not afraid to introduce new characters—twelve of them, in fact—as the book wraps up. Occasionally, a legal thriller will take a peak inside the Jury Room, but never to this extent. Now I wonder why not.

Lombardi does slip into melodrama more than a few times. He gets out of it pretty quickly and easily, but it’s there. His characters could all use a little more work to not be so forced, and be a little more believable—except for the accused, I never had a problem with him. But Lombardi’s a good enough story teller that the problems with the writing and characters are swept under the carpet and ignored as long as you can focus on the story unfolding.

It’s a book that feels timely and important—the kind of thing that will spark reflection on the part of the reader, and hopefully discussion. Justice Gone is the kind of compelling novel we need more of.


My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.