a blank slate

a blank slate

Tag: blog tour

Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer (Nightmares, #1) by Demelza Carlton

This review is a part of a reviews only book tour hosted by Irresistible Reads Book Tours. Visit the Tour Page for more reviews!

This is not my usual kind of read: but it was a good getaway from the routine. Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer is an odd story, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s very unique. I would probably have liked it a lot more at thirteen, but I’m glad I read the book anyway.

About the book:  There are real monsters out there. The worst part is that
they’re human.
“Name?”
“Nathan Miller.”
“What happened?
“I was shot.”
“Her name?”
“Caitlin Lockyer.”
“What happened to her?”
“Looks like someone tried to kill her.”
Nathan found a girl lying on a beach covered in blood.
Saving her life was just the start. Now he’s the prime suspect and he has to
find out who’s really responsible. Both of their lives depend on it.
Who hurt her?
Why was he shot?
 What did he promise?
Why doesn’t his story add up?
 Who was the dead man
on the beach?
What will she remember when she wakes up?

My thoughts: The first page throws you right into the very middle of the action. A man wakes up in a hospital asking after a girl, Caitlin. The story unravels slowly and you learn in the first fifth of the book that Nathan Miller has rescued the girl, after she had been repeatedly raped and dumped on a beach, where he happened to be. Even as you discover this, you know there are things Nathan isn’t telling. There are references to conversations about protecting Caitlin and finding the bad guys. For the longest while, it is difficult to judge Nathan, to guess if he actually is a good guy. Meanwhile, Caitlin Lockyer has been through too much, has dropped into unconsciousness and is riddled by vivid nightmares; which we get glimpses of in alternating chapters.

I don’t want to say how the story progresses after Caitlin wakes, far be it from me to spoil the book for you. But there’s one thing that I really love: the story keeps you guessing and it turns out that your guesses are invariably wrong. It’s intriguing and the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat. The characters are fully fleshed out, hardly black and white; though the dialogue sometimes lacks ease. One thing which wholly lacks credibility is the slack hospital they’re in, but you just have to go with it. While not the perfect book, it is a lovely, emotional, even romantic break from reality. It certainly makes you appreciate your reality a lot more than you usually tend to. Mostly, Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer deals with a not-so-delicate, kind-of-disturbing topic with surprising subtlety.

The book does leave you with questions, which I have to admit is an annoying tactic to get people to read the sequel: The Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller. However, in spite of myself, I do want to read it! I am very curious to know the story from Caitlin’s point of view and I have a feeling I will enjoy it. Why don’t you to see for yourself? You can buy Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer by Demelza Carlon here on Amazon.

Rating: 3/5

About the author: Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first
snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.

She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers
and stood on spray drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre
cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? Hardly. She takes a camera with her to
photograph such things to share later. She asserts that sharks are camera shy.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark
attack capital of the world.
The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction,
followed by her Nightmares trilogy.

An Interview with author Hy Conrad of Rally ‘Round the Corpse



About the author: Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk.  He worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer, and received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of America for “Best TV Episode.” In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old.  His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.
Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages.  Hy’s first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West in May 2012.  He recently authored a humor book called Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know. Visit the author’s website right here

You can read my review of Rally ‘Round the Corpse. It’s a pretty great book, you can buy it here.
And, I hope you read and enjoy this interview as much as I did!
Thank you, Hy, for this great interview.


1. What inspired you to write Rally ‘Round the Corpse? What led you to the idea of the Abel
Adventures Mystery series? (Also, how long can we expect the series to be?)
Hy: A lot of my early mysteries were created for platforms and
electronic devices that no longer exist, including Clue VCR, a popular game
back in the mid-80s.
When the Internet came around, no one knew what kind of
content would be successful.  I was asked
by Prodigy (an early version of AOL) to write a mystery serial with a different
chapter every day and a different mystery every month.  The result was “Abel Adventures”, with Tom
Abel, a character similar to Amy Abel, who led adventure tours around the world.  This idea always stayed with me, even though
the original stories have been lost to time – and a few computer crashes.
I’m on my way to finishing book two in the series, “If I Die Before the Wake”.  I would love to continue the
concept.  But of course it all depends on
the popularity of the first two.
2. Which are your most memorable writing experiences? On the
other hand, what is your worst experience as a writer?
Hy: One of my favorite experiences, writing or not, was my time
spent on “Monk”.  To be with great, funny writers every day and
churning out a hit TV show…  There’s
nothing better.
My least favorite was when a network, which shall remain
nameless, hired me to turn one of their teenage sitcoms into a TV movie.  Their style was to ignore all my sincere requests
for feedback and then suddenly micromanage. 
“No, that’s not what we wanted. 
What made you think that?”  I
quit, the only time I quit a job, and went to work for “White Collar” instead.
Later I heard from the writer who took my place.  He was put through hell for over a year
before it finally got filmed.
3. Do you have any advice for budding writers, any “five things
to remember” when writing a mystery? What is the biggest mistake, according to
you, that a mystery writer could make?
Hy: Okay.  Five quick
rules.
  1. Pay attention to
    logic.  Mystery fans want it to all
    make sense.
  2. Action isn’t as important
    in a book as it is in a movie, e.g. don’t spend ten pages describing a
    fight or a car chase.
  3. Don’t be afraid of atmosphere.  There’s a reason why Swedish mysteries
    are popular.
  4. Give your characters
    different voices.  They shouldn’t
    all talk like you.
  5. As Elmore Leonard said,
    “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”  How did Cary Grant get off Mount
    Rushmore at the end of “North by Northwest”?  We don’t know and we don’t care.
The biggest mistake of new writers is to create a detailed
outline before starting.  If your story
has good bones to begin with, it will tell you where to go next.
4. Having written mysteries for a long time, how do you think the
genre has evolved over the years?
Hy: I think the best mysteries are a lot better than they used
to be, with great characters and great atmosphere.  The detectives are darker and the crimes more
imaginative and gruesome.  With the
exception of cozies, it takes itself much more seriously than it used to.
On the other hand, the worst mysteries are a lot worse.  With the advent of self-publishing and e-publishing,
anyone with a murderous thought has a book out there, competing for the same
eyeballs and wallets.  Remember, a free
e-book is not free.  You pay for it with
wasted hours and annoyance.

__

Check out the blog tour page for more reviews and interviews.

Rally ‘Round the Corpse by Hy Conrad


I received this book in exchange for an honest review. You can view the Rally ‘Round the Corpse blog tour schedule right here.

Summary: In the series debut, “Rally ‘Round the Corpse,” we meet Amy Abel, two years after the death of her fiancé.
Amy needs a fresh start.  And what better way for a shy, risk-averse woman to start over than to sink her savings into a travel agency specializing in adventure.  Her first project?  A mystery road rally through the European countryside.
At the starting line in Monte Carlo, Amy finds herself attracted to Marcus Alvarez, the most mysterious of her two dozen game-loving clients.  But the rally gets off to a rocky start when an eccentric writer, the only person who knows the game’s solution, is himself murdered back in New York.
Weird accidents begin happening along the route and Amy discovers that this fictional mystery was based on a real, unsolved case, one that Marcus knows too much about.  Now she has no choice but to join forces with Fanny, her domineering mother, before the killer strikes again.
My thoughts: The idea of the mystery road rally is as charming as it sounds. Well, until all the murdering, of course. But that’s what made me love this book so much. The characters were interesting and the dialogue had me chuckling every two seconds. You hear mysteries described as thrilling, intense, gruesome. Even words like blood curdling are thrown in. But I’ve never enjoyed reading a suspense novel so much before. This book was pure fun, and that is a word I would rarely pair with the word mystery.
Not to mention, the very mystery is great, the plot is brilliantly crafted. It may be because I don’t read mysteries very often, but I doubt that was the reason I just couldn’t guess what was coming, however hard I tried. The plot twists and red herrings just keep coming. I was on the edge of my seat till the very end, which, by the way, did NOT disappoint. Very few writers could reveal the suspense the way the author has: surprising you so utterly, while still managing to be convincing.
A classic mystery fan is sure to love this book. But I do think that people who don’t usually read / enjoy reading mysteries should give this one a try – it might just change your opinion of the genre. It is a quick, engaging read, and I can’t think of a reason not to read it – grab your copies right here, while I wait for the next book in the series!

About the author: Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the
original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk.  He
worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive
Producer, and received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of
America for “Best TV Episode.” In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer
and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring
Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old.  His latest TV work was as writer and
Consulting Producer for White Collar.

Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten
books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen
languages.  Hy’s first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home
Exchange
, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West in May
2012.  He recently authored a humor book called Things
Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know. 
Visit the author’s website right here