Review: Rubicon by Ian Patrick

Publisher: Fahrenheit Press (21 Aug. 2017)

There are no spoilers in this review, which does restrict what I can say.

Setting: London 2020

This book is a thriller which dragged me in from the start and pulled me along with the momentum of the action. It wasn’t all high tension, there were moments of rest and insight.

Most of the book is written from the perspective of the protagonist, DS Batford. There are breaks where we see things from the point of view of the secondary character, DCI Klara Winter. I liked the way her off the record log kept up a nice balance between the arrogance of DS Batford and the realities of the case: often Batford thinks he has Winter worked out but she’s understood him and his motives better than he thinks.

Dead is Better – Paperback Cover

The plot is multi-layered, we’re never really sure where Batford’s loyalties lie. He’s certainly complex and like my own character, Salazar, he has a code of morality which does not coincide with the law. The same is true of many fictional detectives, Holmes wouldn’t necessarily turn someone in at the end of a case. Having said that, Batford certainly lies further beyond the system than Holmes ever did, but then Holmes never seems to have had money worries.
The book takes us into the world of crime, its sleaze and its cruelty. People are disposable if they get between the Big H, the gangster being investigated by Winter, and his money. His greed ensures a complete lack of empathy for anyone else around him. The environment is one of casual and often extreme violence. We see the consequences of the violence too but for the most part, during the novel, there isn’t time to brood or mourn.

We are also shown some of the results recent cuts to policing have caused: DCI Winter, the one person doing a straight policing job, sees her budget reduced to the extent that she can’t really compete with the highly-funded crooks she’s dealing with. Winter is underrated and undervalued yet, to me, she was the real hero of the book – the one who keeps on despite all obstacle in her way, the one losing sleep to help keep the streets safe and the one who does it because it’s her job and not because she’s going to make a personal profit from it all. She faces prejudice for being an accelerated graduate recruit yet, from what we see, she has a good idea of what’s going on and what needs to be done to stop it.

Rubicon is a bad boys and girls’ own adventure for the modern age. I’m looking forward to the sequel which is in the publishing pipeline.

Rubicon is available on kindle and paperback from Amazon. You can get the paperback, kindle and ePub directly from the publishers, Fahrenheit Press.

You can follow Ian Patrick on twitter @IPatrick_Author

Fahrenheit Press have a Patreon subscription deal.

  • Pledge for $1 per month and you’ll receive 12 eBooks over 12 months.
  • Pledge for $3 per month and you’ll receive 36 eBooks over 12 months.
  • Pledge for $5 per month and you’ll receive EVERY eBook published in the 12 month period. (approx 50+ books)
  • Pledge for $12 per month and you’ll receive 12 paperbacks over 12 months
  • Pledge for $15 per month and you’ll receive 12 paperbacks over 12 months + EVERY eBook published in that period.

After picking up Rubicon you can then go for my novels, A Citizen of Nowhere, A Dead American in Paris, and The Paris Ripper.

 

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Posted in Crime Fiction, Hard-Bolied, British Crime, Police Procedurals, Review Books, Kindle, Fahrenheit Press, DS Batford, Ian Patrick | Leave a comment

Review: Jukebox by Saira Viola

Publisher: Fahrenheit Press (31 Mar. 2017)

There are no spoilers in this review, which does restrict what I can say.

Setting: Modern day London

 Jukebox – Cover

This book absorbs the reader in to the seedy London underworld or sex drugs crime and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Whilst wallowing in this demimonde we are also aware of the way money and crime corrupt those around it. There’s an allure to easy money which, even when gained through despicable means, can still be tempting – what price your morality? This book explores the magnetic pull of cash and the destructive influence it can have on peoples lives without being in anyway preachy and without breaking stride.

Pick up and eBook or Paperback version of Jukebox from Amazon directly from or Fahrenheit Press

Saira’s next Fahrenheit Book, Crack, Apple and Pop is out later this month (June 2018).

You can follow Saira Viola on twitter @sairaviola

Fahrenheit Press have a Patreon subscription deal:

  • Pledge for $1 per month and you’ll receive 12 eBooks over 12 months.
  • Pledge for $3 per month and you’ll receive 36 eBooks over 12 months.
  • Pledge for $5 per month and you’ll receive EVERY eBook published in the 12 month period. (approx 50+ books)
  • Pledge for $12 per month and you’ll receive 12 paperbacks over 12 months
  • Pledge for $15 per month and you’ll receive 12 paperbacks over 12 months + EVERY eBook published in that period.

After picking up Jukebox you can then go for my novels, A Citizen of Nowhere, A Dead American in Paris, and The Paris Ripper.

Posted in British Crime, Fahrenheit Press, Kindle, Noir, Saira Viola | Leave a comment

Review: Dead is Better Jo Perry

Publisher: Fahrenheit Press (10 Feb. 2016)

There are no spoilers in this review, which does restrict what I can say.

Setting: Modern day L.A.

The book has an original concept for a detective novel, the partnering of a dead man, Charlie Stone, with a dead dog, Rose. With no way to interact with the physical world all they can do is observe, which makes for an interesting take: they can go where other detectives or cops can’t but they can’t do anything or talk to anyone. I used to love the 1960s series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (no, I’m not old enough to have watched it when first broadcast, but I was old enough to watch the re-runs in the 1980s) Hopkirk (Deceased) was able to interact with his former partner, Randall. No such luck for our dead man, Charlie.

Dead is Better – Hardback Cover

The book comes in very short chapters, bite-sized episodes, which compelled me to push on with just one more before sleep. The story itself is compelling, which made it even harder to put down. Like all good mysteries, we are drip fed small amounts of information which come together to resolve the case. I’ve read hundreds of crime novels and written a few plus I’ve watched countless crime films and dramas and most times I know who did it and why very early on. I stopped watching the T.V. series Midsomer Murders as I could work out who did it before the opening credits (they kept to a pretty fixed formula). So for most mysteries it isn’t the mystery as such which holds me but how good the writing is and how the author is going to achieve the reveal – so long as it’s not a perfectly sane person secretly being completely insane then I’m usually satisfied. With this book virtually nothing I predicted happened, which made for a pleasant change. The writing was good and the characters intriguing.

Dead is Better – Paperback Cover

One thing I really liked about this book is that it stands up as a novel in it’s own right. It is crime, it is noir, but it doesn’t revel in the crime and noir. The violence is real in that it is mundane, pointless and cruel. There is no violence purely to spice up the action, no wallowing in blood. This book tells the story of the two lead characters and I cared about them – and I believe it’s hard to care about an animal character if you go beyond just liking dogs or cats etc. We get a genuine sense of the dog, Rose’s personality. She isn’t just any dog she is a particular dog with her own concerns which might not coincide Charlie’s concerns.

This book is the first of three already published, I believe a fourth is in the pipeline. I look forward to reading them all.

Dead Is Better (Charlie & Rose Investigate Book 1) is available on kindle and paperback from Amazon. You can get the paperback, kindle, ePub and (while stocks last) a special edition hardback directly from the publishers, Fahrenheit Press.

You can follow Jo Perry on twitter @JoPerryAuthor

Fahrenheit Press have a Patreon subscription deal:

  • Pledge for $1 per month and you’ll receive 12 eBooks over 12 months.
  • Pledge for $3 per month and you’ll receive 36 eBooks over 12 months.
  • Pledge for $5 per month and you’ll receive EVERY eBook published in the 12 month period. (approx 50+ books)
  • Pledge for $12 per month and you’ll receive 12 paperbacks over 12 months
  • Pledge for $15 per month and you’ll receive 12 paperbacks over 12 months + EVERY eBook published in that period.

After picking up Dead is Better you can then go for my novels, A Citizen of Nowhere, A Dead American in Paris, and The Paris Ripper.

Posted in American Crime, American Literature, Book Review, Charlie Stone, Crime Fiction, Fahrenheit Press, Jo Perry, Kindle, Noir | Leave a comment

Fahrenheit Press

Since my last post I now have all my books with the Fahrenheit Press and I’m really impressed with them. Fahrenheit have a wide range of noir writers and are constantly looking for innovate ways to promote us.

My books with Fahrenheit are:

  • A Citizen of Nowhere (Salazar #1)
  • The Paris Ripper
  • A Dead American in Paris (Salazar #2)
  • I also have a short story in a book called Shotgun Honey Presents: Locked and Loaded: Volume 3 (Both Barrels)

    All books are available in Paperback or eBook format. You can buy them from Amazon or directly from Fahrenheit or you should be able to order them from your local bookshop.

    Fahrenheit Press also have a subscription service where you can subscribe to either eBooks or paperbacks and get a new book each month.

    Posted in Chief Inspector Belmont, Crime Fiction, Fahrenheit Press, Kindle, Paris, Salazar, The Paris Ripper | Leave a comment

    How I Wrote: The Paris Ripper

    How I Wrote: The Paris Ripper

    The Paris Ripper is a crime novel set in the 1930s. It features Chief Inspector Belmont and his squad from the Judiciary Police. Belmont’s milieu is one hardened by the Great War and made desperate by the depression. His Paris is teetering on the edge of civil war while, unknowingly, counting down to the German occupation.

    This book emerged from a completely different novel. After my first book, Salazar, was published in 2103, I got the idea I should storm through the first drafts of future books. Write fast and don’t look back until the edits. After-all, the first draft is not meant for human consumption.

    A draft of Salazar #2 was finished in short measure. Leaving that to dry, I moved straight on to Salazar #3. When that was complete I returned to work on #2. But I didn’t like what I found.

    With Salazar #2 failing muster, Salazar #3 seemed destined to rot on the vine. However, where the previous books had been written from the first person point-of-view, #3 wasn’t. Although centred on Salazar there were large sections focused on Chief Inspector Belmont. Why not, I wondered, give Belmont the lead role?

    Extracting Salazar meant gutting the text. The book which became The Paris Ripper bares only a superficial resemblance to Salazar #3. Sergeants, who’d been loitering around the Quai des Orfevres for dramatic effect, now wanted names and home lives. And I wanted good cops and bad cops and for it to sometimes be hard to tell which were which.

    The Paris Ripper – out now

    I had a main plot line from the original text. Nothing else. The void had been filled by Salazar’s personality. Belmont didn’t have a personality beyond being a foil for Salazar. I needed to flesh him out with a back story and to find a way to bring that story to life. What would it be like, I wondered, if the Chief Inspector had a promiscuous wife? And why would she be that way? So Madame Belmont was born, giving Belmont something to think about outside of the office.

    With a working first draft, I began editing. Instead of looking for poor sentences and badly constructed paragraphs, I decided to edit from the point of view of the main/medium players. Sergeant Gracianette, for example, got his own edit. I concentrated on the scenes where he played a part and skipped the rest. It helped define a consistency to his speech, his actions and his desires. This process revealed one or two characters who served no purpose. I either amalgamated them with an existing character or eliminated them.

    After the character edits I found myself asking: why is Sergeant Jouvin doing this, why is Inspector Tabaraut doing that? It wasn’t that these characters were dictating what they should do, it was that certain actions were out of character. People do behave out of character, it’s why we might overhear someone say: ‘that’s not like him at all, he never normally eats apples for breakfast, I wonder what’s gotten into him?’ However, out of character acts should happen for a reason and not because one character has been poorly amalgamated with another.

    The character edits were single sweeps through the text. The general edits were Sisyphus pushing his rock up the mountain. I’d print out a chapter and go over it again and again until I was happy, then move on to the next. When I reached the end of the book I returned to the beginning.

    I eventually reached the point where I could read the whole novel and not make more than a few changes. (I believe it might be impossible to read your own work without, at least once, reaching for a red pen). At this point, I sent the text out for some feedback. The advice I received was incredibly useful: tighten it up here, lose the Americanisms, if you swap the last two chapters around you’ll get a more dynamic ending.

    Finally, I sent the manuscript out on submission. A new crime-focused publisher, 280 Steps, liked what they saw. As a result, The Paris Ripper will be released on Feb 18th 2016 as an eBook and paperback. Available from Amazon and your local bookshop (if you ask them nicely).

    Salazar will be re-released, by 280 Steps, this autumn. It will be followed by Salazar #2: A Dead American in Paris, later in the year.


    Belmont #1: The Paris Ripper, paperback version

    Belmont #1: The Paris Ripper, eBook version

    Posted in 280 Steps, British Crime, Chief Inspector Belmont, French Crime, French History, Harry Hole, Historical Crime, Kindle, Maigret, Paris, Research, Salazar, The Paris Ripper, Writing, Writing Fiction, Writing targets | Leave a comment

    Perpetual Movement

    Belmont #1, The Paris Ripper, is released tomorrow, Thursday 18th Feb. Currently, I’m nearing the end of the first draft of Belmont #2 (working title: The Beast with a Human Face). That probably won’t see the light of day until this time next year. Writing/publishing is a slow process.

    I’ve never been a slow person, I’m the guy in the waiting room whose leg is twitching up and down. Because of this I’d had a tendency to rush at writing: don’t let it simmer, turn the heat up high and eat it now. Only the flavour comes out when you let it simmer. Actually, what am I talking about?

    I slowed things down when writing The Ripper and I’ve slowed them further for #2. I had a very fixed idea of how I wanted this book to feel, so I went over the first chapter until I got close to that feeling. I don’t need to nail anything yet, I just need to be in the zone. Draft one is the story draft. But, whereas before I went at the first draft hell-for-leather I’m now more of a jogger than a sprinter. The reason for the speed was a) to get it done and b) to stop myself getting distracted by details. Details can be sorted out in draft 2. All I’m looking at now is the feel of the story.

    The Paris Ripper – cover

    The big distraction for me, at the moment, is the next book. I wrote about this before here (Writer’s Block). To get around this I’ve created a few projects (I use scrivener and my books are projects in there). In those projects I’ve got a virtual cork board with index cards. Each card represents a distinct scene. If I can get 20 scenes then I’ll develop that book further. I’m reckoning on about 30 scenes in a book (although I’ve never actually counted and I’ve never defined what a scene is). With a start of 20 I should be able to pick up 10 more on the road. I have two projects in progress at the moment. The first will probably become the next book – it’s not a crime novel – and the second will probably form the basis for Belmont #4. That’s right #4. It’s a nice idea but it wouldn’t follow on nicely from #2.

    I’m planning how I’ll start work on the next book. I really have no idea what sort of world it’ll be. So my plan, vague as it is, will be to write some long scenes, set in various locations, and build up the world. Those scenes won’t be used directly, they’ll form a kind of research layer. I’ll try and do the same for some key people. I’m not interested in how’ll they’ll fit into the text but how they work. For example, I think there’ll be some ice plains and some nomadic warriors of the Genghis Khan ilk. So I’ll write a few pages about the ice dessert then a few on Khan – these will be both general and specific. I’ll look at how vast the dessert is and also how do people sleep there. For the Khan, how does he control his army, how does he sit down to dinner.

    I’ve got to stop now else I’ll begin those writing samples and I currently have a dead body waiting to be discovered in Belmont #2.


    Belmont #1: The Paris Ripper, paperback version

    Belmont #1: The Paris Ripper, eBook version

    Posted in 280 Steps, Belmont, British Crime, Chief Inspector Belmont, Crime Fiction, Eva Dolan, French Crime, Hard-Bolied, Historical Crime, Nick Quantrill, Paris, Paul D. Brazil, Police Procedurals, The Paris Ripper, Writing, Writing Fiction | Leave a comment

    Writer’s Block

    I’d never had a problem with writer’s block. It just didn’t affect me, or so I thought. This weekend I realised I was going through a period of writer’s block. The reason I hadn’t noticed was simple: I’d defined writer’s block in such a way that it didn’t cover what I was going through. Quite a political bit of thinking had been going on in my subconscious: you haven’t got writer’s block, writer’s block is where you sit down to write and no words come out and you’ve never had that problem.

    That’s true, I’ve never had that problem. If I really don’t know what to write I’ll type anything and after a couple of minutes I’ll be drawn back into the story. Then I get going and all is fine.

    At the weekend I realised I’d been going through about a week of writer’s block. How did I find out when my subconscious was convincing me I didn’t suffer from such a thing? The answer is blindingly obvious – I hadn’t written anything. It wasn’t because I couldn’t. As soon as I realised what was happening I started writing again, but I had to overcome a certain resistance in order to do so. I’m a couple of days in and, luckily for me, things are back on track.

    What caused it and what form did it take? I don’t like to say this out loud but I think it was caused by a lack of planning and a reluctance to work (ie to do the actual planning). I’d reached a point about 2/3 of the way in when I needed to start tying up the loose ends or at least thinking about how they would tie. And I just could not be arsed with it. To get started again I worked out how one or two of the threads would tie and that was enough, for now, to get me writing.

    Of course, it wasn’t as straight forward as that. If it was only a case of being lazy I would have kicked myself in to working. Writing had become such a routine that unless I’ve achieved something in the day I can’t relax properly in the evening. (Something usually means 500 written words or, if I’m editing, a chapter edited.) To get around this lack of work I’d stared thinking of the next book. It happens that when I approach the final straight of one, ideas start percolating through for the next. I try not to follow them too much as I want to stay focused. This time, however, the idea that took hold was not for a crime novel. This was an idea for a sci-fi on a distant planet. It opened up a lot of scope and got me reading about early humans and the history of our solar system. I began re-reading the Colin Wilson books that had so interested me in my early twenties. And with this scope of almost infinite research into anything I found interesting, I managed to fill my time with a substitute for working while still letting the puritanical side of my brain believe I was putting in the hours. And of course, a little murder down in the South of France is going to pale when stood next to the infinite.

    I’ve managed to put a lid on it for now – when I’ve finished this draft I can begin research on the next book. Until then I’m having to block it out of my mind. Unsuccessfully, I might add. This morning I got up late because I was reading about Manicheanism. Last night I went to bed late because I was reading about Mongol hordes. Neither of which have anything to do with the Paris Police. But, as I’ve been hitting my writing targets I’m letting that slide.

    Posted in Crime Fiction, Research, Sci-fi, Writing, Writing Fiction, Writing targets | 1 Comment