#BookReview “Coldharbour” by John Mead

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5/5 Stars!

Matthew Merry is not a man to be envied. There are never enough hours in a day for a law enforcement officer to investigate crimes and bring in those responsible for a date with justice.

However, Merry’s life is not that simple.

As Chief Inspector of the Met Police’s Major Investigation Team, an uptick in crime has Merry buried in victims and bodies and very few answers. Only a few months in his new position, his pragmatic style does little to advance investigations into gang-related stabbings and a murdered housewife.

It also does little to comfort his wife, Kathy. The school administrator was drugged and raped by a coworker. Her trauma is exacerbated by the ensuing investigation and trial as another of her attacker’s victims severs all ties with the trial.

As with his job, Matthew’s efforts to support his wife fall short, and at times, seem halfhearted.

This is not to say Matthew Merry is cold, detached, or even a bad person.

He’s simply a deeply flawed man in over his head while fighting his demons and guilt.

Matthew does have flashes of clarity—and brilliance—as crimes become linked by victims and perpetrators. Those links will take the investigation outside the UK and find international connections to crimes Merry and his team never saw coming.

The strong writing of this slow build read kept me engaged and turning pages, and I appreciated how well-developed the characters were throughout the story. For me, it was as much a character analysis of Merry as it was excellent crime fiction. Though unexpected, the ending is satisfying… or is it a new beginning?

Enjoy!

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Synopsis

The Met Police’s Major Investigation Team East has its hands full: a rash of tit for tat gang related stabbings, a strangled housewife, the decomposed remains of a woman found in a ditch and more to come. Adding to their woes is their boss, Chief Inspector Matthew Merry, being distracted by his problems at home.

For Matthew’s wife, Kathy, her only concern is dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and raped by a co-worker. Will the trial of the man responsible be enough to give her the justice she demands. Or, as her therapist states, is it revenge she really desires. She doesn’t know. As her emotions see-saw from elation to depression, her only certainty is that her husband seems more concerned about his work than her.

And Matthew is only too aware of his failings both at home and work. But the police machine grinds on, seeking information and sifting evidence — justice is not their concern.

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#5DayMiniBlogBlitz “Coldharbour” by John Mead

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The Met Police’s Major Investigation Team East has its hands full: a rash of tit for tat gang related stabbings, a strangled housewife, the decomposed remains of a woman found in a ditch and more to come. Adding to their woes is their boss, Chief Inspector Matthew Merry, being distracted by his problems at home.

For Matthew’s wife, Kathy, her only concern is dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and raped by a co-worker. Will the trial of the man responsible be enough to give her the justice she demands. Or, as her therapist states, is it revenge she really desires. She doesn’t know. As her emotions see-saw from elation to depression, her only certainty is that her husband seems more concerned about his work than her.

And Matthew is only too aware of his failings both at home and work. But the police machine grinds on, seeking information and sifting evidence — justice is not their concern.

Purchase Links  

Amazon UK   

Amazon US  

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About John Mead

Author Photo

John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city

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#FREE “Innocence Taken: Pray He Kills You Quickly – A Damien Kaine Thriller (Damien Kaine Series Book 1)” by Victoria M. Patton

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Two dead girls, another one missing, and a secret that will rip a tight-knit community apart…

When a missing teen’s body shows up dismembered on the side of the road, Lt. Damien Kaine must crush her parent’s hopes of her safe return. The parents are pushing for details and answers. Two things he can’t give. The abduction of a second girl brings only one clue. The girls look like.

As Damien searches for a sadistic killer, a disturbing pattern emerges. The more he digs into the community’s history, the more missing girls he finds.

With the lack of evidence or movement forward on the case, a quirky FBI profiler is pulled in to assist with the investigation. Damien wrestles with disdain for the agent and an equally strong sexual attraction to her, as he deals with mounting frustrations.

Tensions rise with the abduction of another girl. Damien and his team are in a race against time to save her. But the case is about to take a frightful turn. What they uncover will not only rock them to their core, it will haunt them forever.

Innocence Taken is the first crime fiction novel in the Damien Kaine Thriller series.

If you are a fan of CSI or Criminal Minds, believable characters, and sarcastic humor, then this book and series is for you.

Buy Innocence Taken and get sucked into Damien Kaine’s world.

Other books in this series:

Confession of Sin

Fatal Dominion

Web of Malice

Blind Vengeance

*Each book is a standalone story and can be read out of order. However, you will get more character insight reading from book 1. This book has cursing, sex, and graphic descriptions of crimes and crime scenes.*

Victoria M. Patton combines forensics and police work with just enough humor and sizzling romance in her books. Her unique way of writing will have you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and keep you turning pages well past your bedtime.

FREE at time of posting!

Amazon

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#BookReview “The Web They Wove (Tangled Web, Book 2)” by Catherine Yaffe


5/5 Stars!

Book two of the Tangled Web Series focuses not only on the brutal kidnappings and murders of young women but also on DI Andrew “Ziggy” Thorne and his Major Investigations team.

The team is barely finished with one case when they start the next one… the body of a murdered young woman found in the park. Evidence proves the woman was killed in the park and her body left in a spot where it would be found quickly.

Progress is slow as leads are few. Ziggy is frustrated. Though his team is held in high regard in the department, it doesn’t stop his micromanaging boss from breathing down his neck, threatening to bring in another homicide team.

However, the stakes rise when another woman goes missing and she’s the best friend of the first victim.

Ziggy’s personal life isn’t ideal and his commitment to his job often gets in the way of spending time with his seven-year-old son. His ex-wife, Rachel, has no problem telling him what an awful father he is.

Deftly written, this read is written in multiple POVs, including the killer’s, who could not only be the poster child for mental illness but is just plain evil.

I enjoyed the satisfying ending until I was gobsmacked by the lead-in to book three. Are you kidding me? I need that book now! HA!

Great addition to the series! I’m definitely Team Ziggy!

Enjoy!

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Not all killers are who they first seem…

The mutilated body of a young female is found in a popular recreation ground in Leeds city centre. DI Ziggy Thornes and his team are at once assigned to close the case.

With little to no forensic evidence left at the scene at first Ziggy struggles to put the pieces together. When a second body turns up in the same place, Ziggy starts to feel the pressure from his bosses and the media as fear spreads through the city.

Realising that victims have been held captive prior to their deaths, Ziggy delves deeper and relentlessly chases down every lead, taking him close to breaking point.

When the investigation leads him dangerously close to home, will time run out before the tangled web of evil he’s uncovered destroys everything he holds dear?

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#FREE “Book Of Secrets (Vital Secrets 1)” by D.F. Hart

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The gripping first installment of the Vital Secrets Series.

They survive a nightmare – but they don’t escape unscathed.

A harrowing ordeal puts FBI profiler Nathan Thomas and girlfriend Bella Amsel face to face with pure evil.

Little do they know – it’s only the beginning.

The psychopath obsessed with Bella isn’t giving up that easily.

Will Nathan sacrifice everything he stands for to keep Bella safe?

FREE for a limited time!

Amazon

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#BookTour “Death Opens a Window (Mourning Dove Mysteries, Book 2)” by Mikel J. Wilson

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Mourning Dove Mysteries, Book 2

Mystery, Crime Fiction, LGBTQ

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Date Published: Oct 19, 2019

 

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BEST eBOOK SUSPENSE/THRILLER – New Apple Book Awards

BEST COVER OVERALL – New Apple Book Awards

 

The Mourning Dove Mysteries series includes:

1. MURDER ON THE LAKE OF FIRE

2. DEATH OPENS A WINDOW

3. A LIGHT TO KILL BY (coming August 3)

 

Emory Rome is back in DEATH OPENS A WINDOW, Book 2 of the Mourning Dove Mysteries and the follow-up to the international bestseller MURDER ON THE LAKE OF FIRE.

As he struggles with the consequences of his last case, Emory must unravel the inexplicable death of a federal employee in a Knoxville high-rise. But while the reticent investigator is mired in a deep pool of suspects – from an old mountain witch to the powerful Tennessee Valley Authority – he misses a greater danger creeping from the shadows. The man in the ski mask returns to reveal himself, and the shocking crime of someone close is unearthed.

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EXCERPT

At thirty-two stories, the Godfrey Tower jutted from the Knoxville skyline like a shark fin in the Tennessee River. Unseen through the frameless exterior walls of silvery, reflective glass, a young woman on the twenty-ninth floor sat with a phone held to her ear, pretending to be on a business call as she stared out the floor-to-ceiling window behind her desk. While her colleagues busied themselves on phones or computers at the dozens of cubicles throughout the large, open office space, Angie was not contributing to the organization’s productivity.

If she had looked down and across the street, the attractive brunette would’ve seen the unremarkable roof of the area’s next-tallest building fourteen floors below her. Instead she focused on the unobstructed view of downtown and the hazy, snow-peaked mountains beyond. She imagined herself hiking below the snowline with her new lumbersexual boyfriend and lying with him on a blanket before a tantric campfire. Angie could almost hear the crackling wood, until she realized the sound was coming from behind her.

She turned her chair around to see her boss tapping her desk with his pen. The hoary goat of a man stared her down, his pinched eyes straining to scold her through spotted glasses. “You’re having a rather one-sided conversation.”

Angie held up a silencing finger to her boss and made up something to say to her imaginary caller. “Thank you so much for your feedback, Mr. Watkins. We always appreciate hearing about good customer service, and I’ll be sure to pass along your kudos. Okay. Take care now.” She hung up the phone and greeted her boss with a smile. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t hear what you said.” She mimed a talking mouth with her hand. “He was talking my ear off.”

Mr. Ramsey, however, did not return her smile. In fact, a look of horror sprinted across his face as something behind her snatched his attention. Before Angie could turn around to see what it was, she heard a great shattering, followed by the pelting of glass on her back and right cheek.

A dark-haired man in a brown suit flew through the window headfirst and thudded faceup onto the floor beside her. The impact against the man’s back shoved the air from his lungs. He gurgled as he struggled to regain his breath – although no one could hear it over the screams of Angie and several of her co-workers. Shards of glass protruded from his head and neck, one at the base of an erratic fountain of blood that sprang from his carotid artery.

Angie, now shocked into silence, tore her eyes from the dying man and toward the broken window through which she had daydreamed just a moment earlier. Oblivious to the blood trickling from the small cuts on her own face, she took a step toward the large hole the man’s body had punched into the glass wall. She poked her head outside and looked all around.

Her boss grabbed her and pulled her away from the precarious opening. “Angie, what are you doing? It’s not safe!”

The young woman turned a confused face to him. “Where did he come from?”

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About the Author

Award-winning mystery author Mikel J. Wilson draws on his Southern roots for the international bestselling Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee.

Wilson adheres to a “no guns or knives” policy for the instigating murders in the series.

 

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#NewRelease “Games People Play: The start of a fast-paced crime thriller series for 2021 (PI Charlie Cameron Book 1)” by Owen Mullen

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When a baby is stolen from a Scottish beach, private investigator Charlie Cameron reluctantly agrees to take the case.

While her parents are just yards away, thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland. Three days later, her distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has taken his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment, Charlie takes the case—and when bodies are discovered, he suspects this may not be an isolated crime. Is there a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades? Is baby Lily his latest victim? Charlie won’t be able to give up on this case. Memories and guilt from his childhood won’t let him…

Owen Mullen is a best-selling author of psychological and gangland thrillers. His fast-paced, twist-aplenty stories are perfect for all fans of Robert Galbraith, Ian Rankin and Ann Cleeves.

What readers say about Owen Mullen:

‘Owen Mullen knows how to ramp up the action just when it’s needed… he never fails to give you hard-hitting thrillers that have moments that will stay with you forever…’

‘One of the very best thriller writers I have ever read.’

‘Owen Mullen writes a good story, he really brings his characters to life and the endings are hard to guess and never what you expected.’

1.38 USD

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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#BookSale “Betrayed” by Joseph Lewis

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“To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do a disservice.” –Midwest Book Review

“A stirring and unusual tale of teenage love, adventure and murder.” –Best Thrillers

“Action and adventure are the words of the day in this thrilling, well-written, page-turner from Joseph Lewis.” –Sublime Book Review

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight mystery-thriller.

99c at time of posting

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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#BookBlitz “Weasel Words (Bernard and Melody Capers Book 1)” by Dale E. Lehman

WeaselWords

Today we’re celebrating the release of crime caper, Weasel Words by Dale E. Lehman, with an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a print copy of the book!

Weasel 2Weasel Words (Bernard and Melody Capers Book 1)

Expected Publication Date: February 15th, 2021

Genre: Humor/ Crime Fiction

Between them, Bernard and Melody Earls have looks, charm, brains . . . everything but money. That’s why they steal from the rich and give to themselves. So when Alexander Hamilton Plaskett hires them to nick a silver statuette of a pine marten from his brother Paul Revere Plaskett, they’re happy to oblige. But it won’t be as easy as it looks. For one thing, the little beast is guarded by Fitzroy Fortresses, the best security system money can buy. For another, the five Plaskett siblings are obnoxious buffoons. Still, a job is a job, and this one may offer more than it appears.

At least, that’s Bernard’s theory. The pine marten isn’t particularly valuable, so why do the Plasketts contest its ownership so fiercely? To find out, he and Melody insinuate themselves into the Plasketts’ world and enlist a college geek to hack the unhackable Fitzroy system. Failure means poverty. Discovery means prison. And the biggest obstacle to Bernard’s brilliant schemes? Melody’s penchant for running off-script!

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Excerpt

Bernard had to admit to some fascination at the floorplan being revealed in shaky lines by Ruggles’ quaking hand. If it proved at all accurate, he could use it to plot his movements almost to the second. “Pretty good for having seldom been there,” he commented.

Ruggles tapped his temple. “Muskrat trap.”

“Not much gets away from one of those, huh?”

“Not much the size of a muskrat. Bears would be another matter.” The butler set the pen down and pushed it and the napkin back to Bernard. “And you are walking into a den full of bears, Mr. Earls. If you ask me, Bear Trap Falls is aptly named.”

“Bears and one weasel. Got it.” Bernard tucked the napkin and pen into an inside pocket.

“Do you take this matter at all seriously?”

“Very seriously, Mr. Ruggles. Seven thousand dollars plus expenses seriously.”

Ruggles gave Bernard’s suit careful scrutiny. Admittedly it wasn’t a Christian Dior, but surely it didn’t warrant that dismissive smirk. “Do you consider that a large sum?”

“For a few hours’ work, sure.” Bernard performed a quick burst of mental math. “It equates to an annual salary of over four and a half million, you know.”

Had he been standing, that revelation would have rocked Ruggles back on his heels. Sitting on the bar stool, it nearly dumped him backwards onto the floor. He grabbed the edge of the bar just in time and righted himself. “I didn’t realize that.”

“Oh yes, there’s good money in my business.” If only, he didn’t add, we could actually work something approaching full time. As it was, they were lucky to pay the rent some months.

The bartender returned and slid a plate of cheese fries in front of Bernard. “Hot,” she said. He thought she probably had been, a decade or so back, but she couldn’t hold a candle to Melody, not then and not now, so he didn’t give her a second thought.

“Just relax,” he told the butler, who didn’t seem capable. “Here. Drink your drink and eat some of these. They say the bacon is real good.”

Ruggles watched the bartender move down the bar to another customer. “No doubt you wish to inspire confidence.” He pulled a fry from underneath the mass of gooey yellow, then held it as though it were poison while it dribbled cheese all over the bar. “So why am I more terrified now than when I came in?”

Bernard shook his head and shoveled a few fries into his mouth.

The bacon, it turned out, was nothing to write home about.

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About the Author

me

Dale E. Lehman is a writer, veteran software developer, amateur astronomer, and bonsai artist in training. He principally writes mysteries, science fiction, and humor. In addition to his novels, his writing has appeared in Sky & Telescope and on Medium.com. With his wife Kathleen he owns and operates the imprint Red Tales. They have five children, six grandchildren, and two feisty cats. At any given time, Dale is at work on several novels and short stories. Visit Dale at https://www.DaleELehman.com for information on his books, activities, and more.

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International Giveaway: Win 1 of 10 Print Copies of Weasel Words! Enter below!

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#WeekBlitz “JC’s Cure for Cancer (Amelia Hartliss Mysteries Series, Book 17)” by Mike Scantlebury

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Amelia Hartliss Mysteries” series, Book 17

Crime Fiction Mystery Thriller (with some Romance)

Date Published: April 11th 2018

What would you want the world to give you if you discovered the cure for cancer? Jeremy Ceremony thinks he’s done just that, and he wants cash. Some people are calling him ‘Jermy Cer-money’ because of it. Strangely, Melia has never heard of the man, but several people she does know, love, and care about are afflicted by the disease and she would really like it if none of them died. Well, some do and some don’t. Why that should be is a mystery. It’s also a mystery that Salford seems overrun by people with grudges, eager to settle scores and balance the books, maybe quickly, while they are still alive. If only Mickey was here to help her, but Melia is alone – not for the first time – facing a terrifying old adversary, someone whose feelings for her have only just been realised. What is she going to do, now and in the future? Some people say she needs to move on, and apply for that top job at the Unit. But for the life of her, Melia can’t seem to make up her mind about anything. Maybe Deputy Director Caulfield will have to do the thinking for her. (If only he would stop finding bombs in bags, life would be so much simpler – and last longer.)

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Excerpt

The Vicar had been talking to Melia in her office, a small room near the front door. She was about to lead the younger girl out when the phone rang.

She had to pick it up. It could be an Emergency, she was thinking.

It was. Someone was dying.

Melia was still sitting in the chair across the desk from her interviewer. She didn’t know whether to stand, or wait. She had secured her first objective – getting accepted in the church – and was happy to move on, doing whatever was needed to feed and provide bed places for a dozen homeless people. It was a good cause. She was happy to help.

The Reverend Karney was growing increasingly agitated. Her voice was rising, in pitch and mood.

“No, he is NOT here,” she snapped. “I don’t know where he is. He should never have given you this number! It’s completely unacceptable. Yes, I know what you would have read online. Jeremy does that. He works online. No, he doesn’t work here. He comes to our Monday morning group, that’s all. I can’t tell you any more. Really.”

Melia found herself becoming concerned. She had only just met this older woman, but she felt confidence in her. She seemed to know what was right, what was needed. Why was she being harassed? It sounded awful.

“No, do NOT get on a plane!” the priest insisted. “He can’t help you. It’s not real. Yes, that is my opinion.”

She was shaking when she put down the phone. There seemed to be tears in her eyes.

Melia did the only thing she knew how to do – she walked round the desk and put her arms around the other’s shoulders. She held her tight, as she had held her colleagues when things went wrong and there was nothing else to do.

The priest, on the verge of tears, didn’t actually cry. If anything, she seemed to be getting angry.

“Irresponsible!” she snapped. “Completely irresponsible. He has no right to be saying these things.”

Melia guessed it had nothing to do with the Homelessness Project. This was something completely different.

Perhaps that was why the Vicar was so upset. She needed to be focussing on the homeless and was being distracted.

“Maybe tonight,” the priest said unsteadily. “In the coldness and dark of the early hours, I’ll tell you the whole story. A parishioner, a member of the congregation, is a trained engineer. He believes he has found a device, a concoction of wires and probes, that has miraculous properties. It can do all sorts of magical things. It can heal and repair.”

Melia looked interested. Something new? An invention?

The Vicar explained: “Jeremy says it can cure cancer.”

They both looked at each other, weighing that up, thinking through the ramifications.

But the priest really was annoyed. “That call was from a man in Texas,” she stormed. “He said he had read Jeremy’s web page. He wanted to know if I could ‘verify’ the claims – if I could ‘guarantee’ a cure! I said I couldn’t. He said he was ‘prepared to get on the next plane’. I can’t have that. I can’t have invaders from all around the world – “

She was lost for words. Horror and concern flooded her face and she looked about to explode.

It was a poignant moment for Melia.

She could have told her new ’employer’, if they had known each other well enough, that yes, most people called her Melia, but her given name was Amelia Hartliss, and her friends, as well as a few enemies, liked to call her ‘Heartless’. It was a good joke, and mostly, quite appropriate. When she was busy, doing her job, Melia had no time for unnecessary emotions. She was a consummate professional, able to concentrate on the job in hand, doing what needed to be done.

But here, now, in this struggling, small church, in a suburb that was deprived and in need of regeneration, Melia felt herself overwhelmed by surges of unexpected doubt, fear and despair. People with cancer, facing death, were willing to fly half way across the planet in search of treatment? What a horrible position to be in.

Melia, ‘Heartless’ to the world, found herself strangely moved.

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About The Author

What can you say about Mike Scantlebury – that isn’t taught in schools already?

Well, he says he was born in absentia (the small town on the Bay of Biscay), beside the dock of the bay, but moved to England when young, and not yet able to navigate astutely. His family settled in the West Country of England, near a cross culture called Temp Chelney, where his father became a map maker and mushroom farmer.

When the borders were changed in the 1980s, Mike packed a service record and moved to an apartment in the nearby city of Bristol. This is where he first got involved in folking, flaking and faking. Later, he became disenchanted.

You can find Mike Scantlebury on the internet.

It’s @MikeScantlebury on Twitter and ‘mikescantlebury99’ on Facebook. And, surprise, ‘mikescantlebury’ on Linked In.

If all else fails, try him at home (he may not be in): http://www.Salford.me/

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GIVEAWAY

Anyone who buys the e-book in February at the specially reduced price of 99c will be entered into the Prize Draw to win a voucher for a free audiobook. 5 Available

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