Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan. Exclusive Excerpt.

Her Name Was Rose, by Irish author Claire Allan, is published tomorrow and - in true Bleach House Library style - I have a little teaser for you. The extract below gives a little glimpse into the world of Rose. You can also read my review from The Sunday Independent HERE. Hope you enjoy the world of Rose, Cian and Emily as much as I did...


Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.


Rose Maguire: is in a relationship with Cian Grahame

    There’s a freckle about two inches under my left breast that Cian loves. I’m not sure I even paid attention to it before he told me how cute he thought it was. Before he circled his finger around it as we lay in bed together before leaning across to kiss it, so tenderly that I could only hold my breath.

    ‘Even your imperfections make you more perfect,’ he had whispered, and my heart had soared. I was falling in love with him. Properly in love. Not just lust, or desire or those feelings that aren’t real that just rush in at the start of something to make people obsessed with each other. This was something more. Love that I’d read about, where you feel invincible; as if you have met the other half of yourself that you didn’t quite know was missing.

    I knew that I ached when we weren’t together – although he sent me flowers to work, called me at lunchtime, sent romantic text messages telling me he couldn’t wait to be with me again. When I went home he would come and make me dinner – and he finally let me start reading what he had been working on.

    It was so different to what I normally read – but it was good. He was good. He had talent to burn. I wanted to tell everyone about him – about his writing – but God, he was so shy about it. So secretive. It had to be just right he said. I felt so privileged that he let me read it.

    But more than that, Cian wanted me to keep him company while he wrote round the clock. I was his muse, he said. Imagine that. Me? A muse! It made me feel unique and special, even if sometimes it seemed that a muse’s role was not to talk much but supply cups of coffee and Custard Creams when needed.

    Of course I got to be there when the doubt started to creep in too – doubt, it seems, having a habit of creeping in with writers quite frequently at 3am when I was trying to sleep. But I loved him enough not to mind waking to soothe him, to calm him with a kiss. To tell him how good he was. It made me feel special, and he would hold me tighter and tell me he didn’t know how he ever wrote without me, how he felt as if he was on the cusp of his life finally coming together, both personally and professionally. He was getting all he ever wanted – and taking me with him.

    There was a hotshot agent interested in representing Cian and this book so the stakes were high on him getting this just right. It was incredible pressure to work under. Not like my job where I went in, sorted out people’s teeth, and went home again. I didn’t have to think about my job morning, noon and night. Cian said the book was always with him. Always. I’d laughed, asked him if it was with him even when we were, you know …

    He looked at me very intently and I felt that familiar curl in the pit of the stomach – the one that made me want to forget the run of myself and have noisy, messy sex with him right there and then.

    ‘It’s always with me,’ he had said and then he’d kissed me so passionately, with such an intensity it almost took my breath away.

    If he became a little distracted from time to time I reminded myself it was, as he called it, just part of the creative process. I remembered how it came and went – how when things were going well for him he became almost euphoric with the joy from it and I encouraged those good times and was suitably sympathetic when he had a bad day.

Chosen as LMFM's #LateLunchBookclub you can hear myself and Gerry Kelly chatting all about Her Name Was Rose HERE (at 31.54m).


Claire Allan is from Northern Ireland and is the bestselling author of eight books. A mother of two, she spent 18 years as a journalist with the Derry Journal working on high profile cases. She has previously sold over 100,000 copies of her women’s fiction and lives in Derry with her family. You can follow Claire on twitter @ClaireAllan and facebook Claire Allan Author

Her Name Was Rose is published on 28th June 2018 by Avon and is available in PB from all good booksellers.  Also available in ebook fomat.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Book Review: Deadly Blind by Siobháin Bunni.

Karin Bolger is a determined woman who has fought her way to the top of her game, despite her gender. Gaining enemies on her rise to success, the business woman does not suffer fools gladly. When Karin and best friend Sive are kidnapped from a remote house is Co. Galway, DI Naomi Fox is called to investigate the case. Karin is a wealthy woman and a ransom note is the inevitable next step. But will her husband pay heed to the Gardaí's advice or give into a ransom demand?  Who has upset Karin so much, or is Sive the real target? Two very different women, both fallen foul of a sinister scheme. DI Fox needs to side-step office politics to gain traction on the difficult case...

While Irish crime fiction is awash with fiesty female detectives, Bunni has introduced a character that needs no mention of stunning good looks or sexual chemistry with her co-workers. DI Fox is the lead investigating officer, that is true, but there is no need to describe what she is wearing, what brand of phone she carries or whether her shoes hurt or not. She is simply a Garda, doing her job. This is a case focused on two female victims and they are polar opposites. Bunni allows for a brief nod to designer clothes and a designer lifestyle, but allows for the fact that this is irrelevant to the thrilling narrative. Readers are not expecting to know (or care) what labels male detectives are wearing so, thankfully, Bunni does not pepper her novel with such irrelevant fashion details. Instead, we are treated to a good old-fashioned who-dunnit with page-turning deftness and a thoroughly likable protagonist.

Dublin's streets are balanced with the wilds of Galway, allowing for an understanding of the limited geography of our small island. You can travel from one side of the county, to the other, in less than 2.5 hours and poor DI Fox has to make this journey frequently. A new position in Galway may have seemed ideal, but Garda HQ is based in Dublin and she finds herself more on the the road, than not. The case unfolds with many unexpected turns and Fox is constantly questioning what appears to be obvious. Karin and Sive have been friends since college and their bond has withstood the different paths their lives have travelled. So, why have they both been taken? Fox is not prepared to presume anything and takes the time to know the victims of the crime, rather than rushing to close off another case.

This is one of those novels that keeps you guessing until the end. Just when you think you have it figured out, another twist arrives to surprise you. DI Naomi Fox is smart, intuitive and endearing but without over-kill backstory or emotion. The final chapter seemed an unnecessary one, which actually has echoes of another crime-fiction series but - aside from this - was pretty flawless. Deadly Blind is an ideal read for holidays, waiting rooms or those moments where you want to escape and switch-off. Definitely worth throwing in the suitcase/handbag/glove compartment/man-bag.

Deadly Blind is published by Poolbeg Crimson and is available in PB and ebook format. You can order your copy with FREE Worldwide Postage here.  At time of posting, Deadly Blind is reduced to €6.99 on poolbeg.com.  Also available from amazon link below:

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