Complete Darkness: A Darkmatters Novel by Matt Adcock For centuries many have pondered the prospect of an afterlife and feared what came to be known as ‘hell’. In the near future, we map the elusive ‘dark matter’ around us, only to find out that it is hell itself, and it is very real… As the satanic […]Complete Darkness: A Darkmatters Novel by Matt Adcock @Cleric20
I have the pleasure of welcoming Richard T. Burke to Chat About Books today 🙂
Many thanks to Caroline Vincent for arranging the following interview….
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
After following a career in engineering, I turned my hand to writing eight years ago. I published my first book, The Rage, in late 2015. Like most first-time writers, I naively assumed a long line of publishers would come knocking at my door, desperate to offer me a lucrative contract. I soon learned that the publishing industry is far more demanding than I first supposed.
Since that initial foray, I have published another three books with a further two due out this year. My second book, Decimation: The Girl Who Survived, seems to have caught readers’ imaginations. The theme of the book, a deadly virus, is particularly apposite in these strange times of Covid-19. As it happens, I started the sequel, Termination: The Boy Who Died, in 2019 before the pandemic began. I am now nearing completion of the third in series, Annihilation: Origins and Endings.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I know Dan Brown is bit like Marmite with readers, but I’m one of the many who enjoy his work. I was discussing the plot of Inferno with my wife (terrorists plan to release a plague that will sterilise the human race) when I had a flash of inspiration. I asked her what would happen if, instead of simply making women infertile, a virus killed mothers immediately after giving birth. Rather than the main character trying to prevent the disease from spreading (as in Inferno), what if the virus had already been around for fifteen years? And what if the main character was pregnant herself?
That’s how the concept of Decimation originated.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
The main character of Decimation, Antimone Lessing, is a teenage wheelchair athlete who, through no fault of her own, discovers she is pregnant. At the time of writing Decimation, my daughter was a teenager, so I guess much of the inspiration for Antimone’s character comes from her. I hasten to add that my daughter has neither been pregnant, nor does she need a wheelchair!
How do you pick your characters’ names?
The name Antimone (AN-TIM-OH-NEE) just came into my head. I suspect my subconscious mind was influenced by the Harry Potter books (which my daughter loved as a child) and the character of Hermione (HER-MY-OH-NEE) Granger.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I’m somewhere between a plotter and a pantser. After developing the main theme, I plan the major events of my books and sketch out the contents of each chapter. I then go back and fill in the details. As I suspect most writers discover, the final novel will often change significantly from the initial concept. I’ve also concluded that sequels are far harder to write than standalones; everything has to stay consistent between books, and I can’t just go back to edit those inconvenient plot points that cropped up in earlier parts of the series.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I read widely, so narrowing down to five is hard, but here goes.
I love the work of Blake Crouch. Dark Matter and Recursion were both hugely imaginative books that left my head spinning by the end.
John Marrs is a writer I initially discovered through recommendations on The Book Club (TBC) on Facebook. His mix of thriller with a hint of near future Sci-Fi (for example, The One) is something I aspire to in my own writing.
Arian Tchaikovsky is another Sci-Fi author I really enjoy, particularly his Children of Time novels.
Gregg Dunnett knows how to write an excellent thriller. I discovered him by reading The Wave at Hanging Rock and have since read all his books.
Last but by no means least is Ross Greenwood. Ross and I started writing at around the same time. We critique each other’s work and offer each other advice. I frequently tell him his books are a bit gloomy (particularly the prison-based ones), but they are certainly well written!
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d like to meet Ross Greenwood and ask him for that warm shandy he owes me for beta reading his books. On a more serious note, it would have to be Blake Crouch. I’d like to ask him how he got the ideas for his recent novels.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Absolutely. I can’t remember much of what I enjoyed as a child, but I do remember reading some Biggles books (that shows my age a little).
When did you start to write?
It must have been around 2014. The daughter of one of my friends, who was thirteen at the time, mentioned that she had started writing a book. I had been meaning to write myself, but life always seemed to get in the way. At the time I remember thinking to myself, if a thirteen-year-old can do it, so can I.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I’m not going to be specific, but I hate books where the story is left unresolved. Cliff-hangers are a particular pet hate. Even in a series, I think an author owes it to the reader to resolve the major plot points.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I’m going to go with Recursion by Blake Crouch. When you find your dreams are affected by a book, the author has done a good job!
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Made in Blackburn: the tale of an engineer and author
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I’m fascinated by new technology, so I’d invite Marty McFly (Back to the Future). I’d take him to a coffee shop a hundred years in the future (if they still drink coffee).
Tell us a random fact about yourself
I was a Sax maniac in my twenties and once played in a band at Wigan Rugby League Club.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on Annihilation: Origins and Endings, the third part of the Decimation series. The story will answer some questions about the origins of the virus and will bring all the remaining threads to a close (see previous answer about book endings!).
Tell us about your last release?
My last release was Assassin’s Web, the story of a schoolteacher who goes for a walk and discovers a note containing a link to the dark web together with a username and password. The site is for hiring hitmen. The dark web is supposed to be anonymous, but somebody knows what he has seen. Soon, he is the target.
Do you have a new release due?
Yes, Annihilation is out on September 12th 2021.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Publication day is both satisfying and scary. It’s like watching a child leave home and set off into the big wide world (although my daughter hasn’t left yet). You hope they’re going to be okay, but there’s not much more you can do. I normally have a quiet beer or two to celebrate.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’m on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RichardTBurkeAuthor/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/RTBurkeAuthor), and I also have my own website at https://www.rjne.uk. I’m always delighted to hear from readers and try to respond to any direct contact.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
In 1939, Adolf Hitler was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Richard!
Antimone Lessing returns in book two of the ground-breaking Decimation trilogy.
Nearly twenty years after the Orestes virus swept across the earth, finally there is hope. Women are no longer dying within seconds of giving birth. For the first time in two decades, the global population is on an upward trend.
As the world returns to normal, Antimone is back on the athletics track and a single race away from achieving her lifetime goal of winning the Olympic 1500-metre Wheelchair gold medal.
But a deadly new threat has emerged, one that could reverse the fragile recovery and spell the end of humanity’s time on the planet. Could Antimone’s unique biology once again provide the vital clue to develop a cure?
When the details of her past become exposed, ruthless forces prepare an audacious plan to kidnap the first woman in a generation to survive childbirth. Now, the only hope for her survival and that of her young family may rest with the one person she trusts least in the world.
buy your copy now!
If you’re new to the series, Book 1 is currently FREE on kindle (for a limited time only!)
Richard T. Burke is the author of crime thrillers with a twist. To date he has written six novels, The Rage, The Colour of the Soul, Assassin’s Web and the Decimation trilogy: Decimation – Termination – Annihilation (out 12 Sept 2021, now available for pre-order).
Richard also contributed short stories to anthologies by Bloodhound Books and Corona Books.
Richard lives with his wife, Judith, and daughter, Emily, in the village of Rotherwick in north-east Hampshire, UK.
Richard T. Burke on Social Media –
Author Website: www.rjne.uk
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/RichardTBurkeBooks
Amazon Author Page: author.to/RichardTBurke
The End of Men
WOW! Considering this book was written in 2018 it is scarily familiar to the world we are living in right now.
In 2025 a mysterious illness sweeps through a Glasgow hospital with frightening speed. The victims present with a mild fever initially but are dead within hours. It has Doctor Amanda Maclean baffled and terrified. And why does it only seem to kill men?
Before long, the ‘plague’ is affecting pretty much the whole world. Women everywhere are losing previously healthy husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons to this deadly disease. It is just heart-breaking. I mean, imagine being happily married with beautiful sons then you suddenly find yourself alone in the world. How does anyone begin to move on from that? How will the world recover without any men?
This story is told from the points of view of multiple characters which do take a bit of keeping up with to be honest. These characters offer many differing perspectives, throughout the years of the plague, which make up a compelling, thought-provoking, and emotional read which kept me glued to my kindle.
There are so many similarities throughout this story to the life we have been leading for more than a year since Covid_19 hit. (I think the author might be a bit psychic.) What fascinated me the most was the science behind why women were immune, and the roles women suddenly had to play in a world previously often dominated by men. An excellent concept and such brilliant writing! I’m amazed this is a debut novel.
I highly recommend and I look forward to reading future books by Christina Sweeney-Baird.
**Many thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy via NetGalley**
buy your copy….
Hi, and welcome to my Flashback Friday feature 🙂
On the first Friday of each month I like to have a look back at the books I was reading during the same month in previous years, since starting my blog.
Please do join in if you have the time. I’d love to see your posts!
Here are my reviews from May 2020 + a link to previous May FBF’s….
#FlashbackFriday May 2020 with @colettemcauthor @KathrynFreeman1 @katmezzacappa @MerrynCorcoran @morgenwriteruk & @MishaHerwin #BookReviews – Chat About Books
Have you read any of the above?
The Path to the Sea
By Liz Fenwick
I won a signed paperback copy of The Path to the Sea a while ago now and it has been waiting patiently on my bookshelf. I am so glad I finally got to reading it.
This story takes place between the 3rd and 6th August and flits between 2018 and 1962. Set in the family home of Boskenna, on the Cornish coast, it is told from the perspectives of the three main characters, three generations of women. Joan is the eldest, mother to Diana and Grandmother to Lottie.
Diana and Lottie have returned to Boskenna as Joan is seriously ill and is not expected to live for much longer.
I found this an emotional and tense read from the beginning. I knew there were secrets to be discovered and I was as eager as Diana and Lottie to find out the truth. It was heart-wrenching seeing how Joan was spending her last days in turmoil though. There was obviously something serious weighing on her mind. No-one should have to die in so much pain, physical or emotional.
I had no clue as to where the story might lead and found myself swept along in the mystery.
I really enjoyed Joan’s chapters back in 1962. I could easily imagine the glamour of the parties she regularly hosted. The elegant gowns, the well thought out menus, the flowing alcohol, the music…. I never would have imagined how much of a deeper role she played at that time though and how that role would change her life forever.
Diana was a difficult character to like as an adult, although I did understand her. I empathised with her need for answers at the same time as facing the grief of losing her mother. A mother she feels like she hasn’t really known for so long.
Lottie is a likeable character. I warmed to her straight away and loved the relationship she shares with her grandmother and gramps. I enjoyed the relationships between the mothers and daughters which have been far from easy. They are fractured relationships which need mending, which will never be easy when secrets have been kept for so many years.
I loved the mystery, suspense, and the palpable emotion throughout this book. I felt completely invested in the story and the characters telling it. I very much recommend.
buy your copy….
Flesh and Blood (A DI Amy Winter Thriller Book 4)
Flesh and Blood is another excellent book in the DI Amy Winter series. It is book 4 but it can easily be read as a standalone, although I do recommend the entire series.
In Flesh and Blood, the death of a colleague takes Amy, and her team, to Clacton. The apparent suicide sends shock waves of grief throughout the team and questions are raised. This soon sparks an investigation into other suicides in seaside towns. Nothing seems to connect the victims, but something doesn’t sit right with them. It’s soon obvious that there is much more to these incidents than meets the eye and nothing could prepare them for what they find out as their investigation progresses.
This is a hard-hitting storyline which is even more horrifying as these things do happen in the real world. There are some brilliant characters throughout this book who really bring this story to life. They really made me think about the awful things some people go through and how lucky we are to live in a safe, secure, and happy environment.
Amy is an excellent character. I love how real she is. I always like that we get to know a little more about the ‘main’ characters, who feature throughout a series, as their stories progress. I’m excited to find out what happens next in her life, especially given that ending!
I always enjoy a police procedural and Caroline Mitchell knows exactly what she’s talking about being a former police detective.
This is a fast-paced, suspenseful, and emotional read which kept me glued to my kindle. I loved it and will highly recommend to anyone who will listen.
**Many thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy via Netgalley**
Her Almost Perfect Husband by Mary Rensten The author of the No. 1 bestseller Letters from Malta. Emma Raven thought she knew everything there was to know about Andrew, her clever, ambitious, good-looking husband. They had been happily married for twenty-six years; they had even been at school together: Bernie Silver ‒ Andrew’s friend from university […]Her Almost Perfect Husband by Mary Rensten @MaryRensten — Bowen’s Book Publicity
The Mystery of the Squashed Self
By Trisha Lewis
The Mystery of the Squashed Self is nothing like the books I usually read. I read very little non-fiction to be honest, although I really should read more, and I have never read a ‘self-help’ book. I have enjoyed this one though.
This book’s target audience is female business owners who might be struggling with self-doubt, but I think a lot of people would relate to at least one of the cases featured in this book, business owner or not.
Trisha Lewis writes in such a humorous and light-hearted way, but with serious and sound advice. I found it a pleasure to read and often amusing. It is a thought-provoking read also, and one which I think will be helpful to many.
This book could easily be read in one sitting or dipped in and out of. It is an excellent book to keep for future reference also, for when you might need that little bit of reassurance again.
**Many thanks to the author and to Kelly @ LoveBooksTours for my review copy of The Mystery of the Squashed Self**
Follow, like, and share the book love with these awesome book bloggers….
happy reading 🙂
The Frequency of Us
by Keith Stuart
The Frequency of Us is another amazing story by Keith Stuart. It is going to be a difficult one to review though as I could happily talk about it for ages, but I don’t want to give too much away.
Having read, and loved, A Boy Made of Blocks and Days of Wonder I was very much looking forward to reading this book. All three books are completely unique, but they all have at least one thing in common; they are so beautifully written and completely captivating.
When we first meet Laura, she isn’t in a good place, but we don’t really know why. She starts a job as a community carer and is given the task of assessing 87-year-old, Will. Will isn’t particularly welcoming, but Laura sticks with him all the same, despite not feeling overly confident in her own abilities. There is something about him she can’t quite put her finger on, and he seems to find something familiar about her too, but they had never met until now. It soon becomes apparent that there is more to Will’s story than meets the eye. Laura makes it her mission to find out the truth in the hope of bringing him some peace. His sadness, confusion, and frustration are heart-wrenching but are his memories even real or just a symptom of dementia. Laura has only days to decide on, and write, her report before social services take over his case.
What seems like a simple, but heartfelt and emotional story of an old man and his carer, who is trying her best to prove he is capable of living alone in his own home, soon becomes much, much more.
I was totally swept up in their story and their fight to find the truth before it was too late, and I was as desperate as Laura to connect all the dots and to try to understand how everything and everyone was connected. This is so intelligently written, and such a genius idea for a novel. It’s like nothing I have ever read before and I am sure it will stay with me for a long time to come.
This book is full of complex characters who all add depth to the story. There is a powerful love story at the core of this novel, but it is so much more than that. So much more than I could have ever imagined. I absolutely loved it from the first page to the last. I highly recommend!
**Many thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy via Netgalley**
happy reading 🙂
Cuthbert’s Way: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 17)
by LJ Ross
Cuthbert’s Way has been on my TBR list for far too long, for one reason and another, but it was well worth the wait! It’s no secret that I am a massive fan of LJ Ross and her DCI Ryan books, and I have absolutely loved book 17 of this awesome series.
I know I’ve probably said this in previous reviews, but I love that I feel like I personally know some of the characters throughout this series. Each new book is like catching up with old friends. I find these books such a comfort to read, and always difficult to put down. I’ve had a few late nights recently!
In Cuthbert’s Way Ryan, and the team, find themselves investigating mysterious thefts. When the investigation leads them down a dangerous path, putting those closest to Ryan at risk, he faces his most terrifying race against time yet. His distress was palpable, and I could feel his panic rising. My heart was beating so fast, and I don’t think I took a breath for pages! Brilliant writing as always.
Character led but with an excellent plot there is nothing not to like about this book.
As well as the action and the police procedural side of things, which is so skilfully written, I love the personal aspect of these stories. I have loved seeing the relationships which have developed. I do talk to my husband about these characters as if I know them. He is used to me now and knows exactly who I mean even though he hasn’t read the books himself.
Each of these books could be read as a standalone, but I have read them in order from the start as I prefer to do so.
I highly recommend this book, and all of the series! I am very much looking forward to book 18.