Fair winds and following seas… Launching Tenacity by JS Law

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 12.29.50Bestselling author Patricia Cornwell calls it ‘addictively readable’… and on Thursday evening, despite the trains conspiring against me, I had the great pleasure of attending the launch of James Law’s Tenacity, at The Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

I went on a ferry, caught up with writing friends and met some new ones (there were close to 200 hundred people there!) loads of books were signed, many jugs of Pimms were consumed, two (yes TWO) Lord Mayors attended, James was interviewed by Emlyn Rees, there were readings by John Taylor, and I got to go on a real submarine…

…which was great fun, but the thought of spending up to 2 months at the bottom of the sea cooped up like a sardine, did not really appeal – huge kudos to the submariners who do this for a living!

Well done to James Law and Headline for creating a very unique launch for a very unique book. I also got to stay in a very scary hotel, but luckily I had CrimeThrillerGirl for company 🙂

Pics gallery below…

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Here’s the blurb…

Suicide must be investigated. Especially when a Royal Navy sailor kills himself on a nuclear submarine, only days after his wife’s brutal murder. Now Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, the Navy’s finest Special Branch investigator, must interrogate the tight-knit, male crew of HMS Tenacity to determine if there’s a link. Isolated, and standing alone in the face of extreme hostility, Dan soon realises that she may have to choose between the truth and her own survival. Justice must be served, but with a possible killer on board the pressure is rising and her time is running out…

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Over at Shots Magazine, James told me: 

“I used a lot of anecdotes and real experiences to help form elements of the story and the characters, but if twenty years in the Royal Navy taught me one thing, it’s ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’. So the accuracy is pretty good, though I obviously had to conform to security rules, but in places I changed what I needed to, to make the story entertaining and hopefully gripping. I should say that although there are lots of nasty, evil submariners in Tenacity, my true experience of submariners is worlds away from that. Submariners are a close-knit community of some of the best, most generous and committed men and women I’ve ever met, but that wouldn’t make for much of a crime-thriller.” You can read the rest of this interview, including James’ reaction to Patricia Cornwell’s quote, HERE.

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What did I think of it? 

Dark, tense and claustrophobic – and that’s just the opening chapter. This is a story about Lt Danielle ‘Dan’ Lewis, a flawed, determined female naval officer tasked with the investigation of a suicide that may not be all that it seems. Possibly they best possible setting for a ‘locked room mystery’, this is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. There is a large cast of characters, with perfectly-drawn villains and good guys that you just can’t help but root for. The author has done an excellent job of taking a predominantly male environment, and opening it up to a wider audience. The descriptions are vivid, the prose is tight and fresh – and there are some excellent one-liners and some brilliant naval slang that gives it a entirely realistic feel – which isn’t surprising when you hear that the author was a submariner himself. If you want something a bit different from your usual crime thriller, then this is it. Highly recommended.

And you don’t just have to take my word for it… already some great reviews coming in from Adrian Magson (Shots), CrimeThrillerGirl and Grab This Book… and it’s already hit the nationals, with a write up in The Sun. Nice work, James.

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J. S. Law started in the navy as an apprentice engineer and worked his way up through the ranks. He has worked on helicopters, ships and towards the end of his naval career, submarines. He is a passionate advocate for education and now works providing nuclear training and education to the defence and civil sectors. James lives in Hampshire with his wife and his two children. Tenacity is his debut novel and the first in the Lieutenant Danielle Lewis series.

Find James on facebook and twitter.

Website: http://www.jslawbooks.com

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Thanks to Headline for the proof copy, and to CrimeThrillerGirl and Daniel Pembrey for letting me steal some of their pics.

Introducing… Kati Hiekkapelto

I’m delighted to share a guest post with you from debut crime novelist Kati Hiekkapelto. Kati’s novel, Hummingbird, has been translated into English by David Hackston and published by the fantastic Arcadia Books. The novel will be launched at Bloody Scotland (19-21st September), where Kati will be appearing with Scots authors Craig Robertson and Malcom MacKay. I will also be meeting her there for an exclusive interview for Shots Magazine. I’m reading Hummingbird at the moment, and I’ll tell you now – it’s an absolute cracker!

Over to Kati to tell you a bit more about herself and her writing – enjoy!

Kati Hiekkapelto (Photos: Aki Roukala)

Screaming seagulls. Thousands of wild geese, ducks and cranes gathering on the fields before flying back south. Silent forests full of berries, mushroom and game. Autumn wind. Green is turning to yellow and red, leaves are falling down, nature is getting ready for the winter.

Sea surrounds my island. Calm and stormy sea, different color and mood every day. Mood of my soul.

I am Kati Hiekkapelto, a writer, punk singer and performance artist. I live on an island called Hailuoto in Bothnic Gulf, Nothern Finland in an almost 170 years old farm house.

My first novel, Hummingbird, will soon be coming out in English. It is a crime fiction novel about a young policewoman, Anna Fekete, who lives somewhere in Northern Finland, in an imaginary seaside town without a name. Anna is an immigrant from former Yugoslavia. She escaped to Finland with her mother and older brother during the Yugoslavian civil war at the age of 10. Ethnically she is Hungarian. There is a relatively large Hungarian minority still living in Serbia and Anna´s hometown is Magyarkanizsa, which is a real place.

Anna starts her job as a crime investigator after being in uniform for years. It is not necessarily easy to be a woman in a male dominated workplace, and being an immigrant woman can be even more difficult. Anna has to face lots of prejudices, especially from her partner Esko, who is a middle aged, alcoholic, typical Finnish redneck man.

A jogger is found shot by a shotgun in a remote jogging path near the sea. Police find a necklace in her pocket. It is an amulet of an ancient Aztek god, The God of Death. When another jogger is found with the same amulet in his pocket, police begin to fear that a serial killer is in their midst.

At the same time a young Kurdish girl calls 911. She says her father wants to kill her, but later she denies everything. Anna remains suspicious about the honour related violence and even when the police have to stop the investigation, she keeps her eyes on the family in her free time. Anna starts to have sleeping problems and burn out symptoms, and difficulties at work and in her private life. Too much smoking and drinking, and not doing her regular sports anymore, doesn’t help.

Hummingbird is the beginning of series about Anna Fekete. The second novel came out in Finland in last February. I hope it will be in English too! It is a story about illegal immigrants, drugs, gangs, impossibilities and possibilities to go back home; how these possibilities are so enormously and unfairly different within different people.

My main interests as a writer are in questions of immigration, minorities, being an alien, losing the mother tongue, racism, and human rights. I have written my Master’s Thesis on racist bullying among young immigrants in Finland, I have worked as special education teacher for immigrant pupils. My personal life is full of foreigners. I have lived in Serbia in Anna Fekete´s Hungarian hometown and I speak fluently Hungarian. So, these themes are familiar to me although, I myself belong to the majority and therefore I´m also part of the oppressive machine. But as an artist I feel that my duty is to give voice for those who don´t have it yet in our society. Perhaps that was one of the reasons I started to write crime fiction. In Scandinavia crime fiction has a long history of being position-taking in social problems. My punker background supports this. I have been some kind of an activist since I was 12 years old. I want to give my readers something more to think about than just who is the murderer.

The main reason for me to write, after all, is the passion. Writing is an inner must that I cannot escape. It is my way of thinking, breathing, surviving, creating, suffering, enjoying, living. Writing is my forest, my sea.

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