No Deadlier Time is OUT NOW!
I am thrilled to announce that you can now get your hands on the third book in my Darker minds crime and suspense series. No Deadlier Time, on many of the e-book stores. So if you read your dark and suspenseful fiction from Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and a host of other retailers, you’ll find it, sitting there, lurking, waiting… Or maybe that’s just what the ravens do in this story of murder, mystery, and psychological torment, all tinged with Gothic undertones. But is there a darker force controlling this – or is it all in the mind? I can tell you what each of the main characters think – but that would really spoil the book!
Let me introduce you to the most important people in the story, and see what you make of them.
Who’s who at Ravensmead?
Harry loves his wife, and is devoted to his best friend. Harry is susceptible to superstitions and the like, much to the amusement of his wife, Neve. But he has his reasons for owning a four-leaf clover, not walking under ladders and, in particular, being wary of the ravens and the beliefs that surround them. He left home a long time ago, refusing ever to go back there. But now it looks as if he has no choice. And no choice means fate has claimed him… but what is his fate – and will he survive it?
Neve is Harry’s wife of several years, and has known him since he was introduced to her by Mark Taylor years before. She’s happy, pregnant, and just wants one thing – for Harry to heal the rift between himself and his family. She doesn’t know what went on between them, but when the chance to get Harry back to his family home appears, she thinks this will be the perfect opportunity for them to create the perfect family life at Ravensmead. But she has no idea why Harry left in the first place, or what lies in store for them when they get there. Is reuniting Harry with his family going to be a dream come true or a nightmare waiting to happen?
He is Harry’s best friend. Once upon a time he was in a relationship with Neve, but that was a long time ago. But feelings can’t always be buried, can they? His life is currently one of work, takeaways and failed – or more accurately – non-existent relationships. So, when Harry asks him to return to their childhood home of Ravensmead, he can’t think of a single reason why he would want to stay in Oxford on his own – and a number of reasons why going with Harry is the much better option. But is he going so he can help Harry with the business, and give him a shoulder to lean on, or does he have other motives?
He is Harry’s dad and, well, let’s call him a rather unpleasant chap. But he does have his reasons. From childhood, he has been told that his success and his fate lay in the hands – and the ticking – of the watch which has been passed down through his family for generations. We meet him in the prologue as a mesmerised sixteen year old, and in the book ‘proper’ as a 65-year-old man who is determined that his own son will not inherit anything from him (and, in particular, the watch). He is tormented by the darkness he believes comes from the watch, by the ravens which guard (or torment) the house, and by his own dark deeds. And the steps he takes to protect his son… they have consequences.
Clemency is Harry’s mum, but they haven’t seen each other in years. She brought him up in a world of imagination, on the family library full of tales of mythology, folklore and beliefs. How much is fiction, she doesn’t know herself. Her life revolves around this library and her greenhouses, where she grows plants you’d be best not asking about! When she becomes afraid for Jonah, she writes to her estranged son and begs him to return to the family home and live there. But she doesn’t tell him the full story. Just maybe the whole horrific picture hasn’t yet unravelled for her. But it will…
Mrs Haines, sometimes called Rachel, is one half of the Haines couple who see to everything for the Eldritch household. And I really do mean everything. Rachel looked after Jonah after his father’s death and both she and her husband maintain complete loyalty to the family, no matter what happens. She is the eyes and ears of the house, the one to be trusted to do what’s best for the family, no matter what the cost – and she has her own secrets. In a house like Ravensmead, everyone has secrets. Rachel idolises Harry and there is nothing she wouldn’t do to protect him. Nothing at all…
And what about Ravensmead House itself? Why would Harry not want to return?
Ravensmead is a village, sprawling and akin to a small town. But it may as well have been transported into another century because nothing works reliably here – no mobile phones, house phones can be unreliable, and the Internet dial-up connection is appalling to non-existent up at the house. Good luck if you want to find the doctor, or if you think you’re going to get hold of the emergency services (which don’t seem to exist in Ravensmead). In fact, when push comes to shove, there barely seems to be any proper law at all, and all positions of power are open to corruption and bribery. Especially if you’re the owner of all you survey up at Ravensmead House.
The house itself has high black gables to give any gothic horror house a run for its money. Perched up there, on top of the cliff, it’s not easy to get to. And if it’s bad weather, people will struggle to get there at all. So any new arrival could find themselves very isolated. Couldn’t they…?
When I imagined Ravensmead, which is completely fictional, I originally envisaged something that combined a Daphne du Maurier setting with one of Dracula’s Whitby (although there are no vampires in Ravensmead – at least I don’t think there are!). If you look very carefully inside Ravensmead House, you just might find the cracks beginning to show. And they’re getting bigger.
Oh yes, and I can’t leave you without mentioning the ravens. They were driven out once, a long time ago, when the house was first built. But the birds came back to rule the roost – in more ways than anyone could imagine…
How and where can you get your copy of No Deadlier Time?
Right now, and until the end of November 2022, you can nab your e-book copy for just 99p/99c (or your equivalent). Just click the button below which will allow you to buy the e-book from a store of your choosing.
Would you also like a FREE Darker Minds book? Get a copy of Beneath the Flesh as your welcome gift when you sign up (for free!) to my Readers’ Club. You can do that here.