Sunday 19 July 2020

Blog tour - Midtown Huckster - Leopold Borstinski

I'm absolutely loving the Alex Cohen series by Leopold Borstinski and I couldn't wait to dive back in to find out what was next on the cards for this exciting character.

Prohibition is coming to an end and Alex needs to find new ways to earn money. He's a member of the ominously titled Murder Corporation, carrying out hits on whoever the syndicate feels has wronged them, but he also needs a more regular source of income.

At the same time, his private life is in turmoil. His estranged wife Sarah is against any kind of reconciliation and he knows that he isn't spending enough time with his boys who are growing up fast. If that wasn't enough to deal with, there's also someone lurking in the background, determined to take Alex and the whole of the syndicate down, Special Prosecutor, Thomas Dewey. The heat is definitely on for Alex this time!

This is a series that just goes from strength to strength with each book. Alex is a strong protagonist, who, despite wanting to get further up the mobster's ladder, is loyal to those he cares about but he also shows a vulnerable side which I feel adds to the authenticity of the character.

Midtown Huckster is a compelling read that gives a hard hitting and unapologetic glimpse into the dark and disturbing world of gangster life in 1930's New York. Flowing effortlessly from chapter to chapter Leopold Borstinski knows how to write a story that will keep his readers gripped and on their toes for the duration. I'm so pleased to hear that there are several more books to come in this series - my only problem is the wait between each one!

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                                                  About the author

Photo courtesy of Leopold Borstinski

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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 Check out the rest of the blog tour with these fabulous blogs:

You can find out more about Leopold, his books and connect with him using the links below:


With kind thanks to Emma at Damppebbles Blog Tours for my stop on the blog tour and author Leopold Borstinski for the review copy.

Saturday 4 July 2020

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to Tony J Forder

I'm so excited to be handing over to crime and thriller author Tony J Forder today and it looks like he's brought someone along with him, but more about that in a moment. Let's get started by introducing you to the man himself.

Photo courtesy of Tony J Forder

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first six books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, and Endless Silent Scream, will be joined on 10 August 2020 by Slow Slicing, and in December by the DI Bliss prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Scream Blue Murder, an action-adventure thriller, was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, was published in November 2018.

In November, Tony will release a new standalone suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #7, Slow Slicing.

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Welcome to The Hippo Tony! I see you've brought a guest along with you, would you like to introduce them to the readers before we start?

Tony: Hi, and thank you for having us here. Taking a break from his very busy schedule, I'm delighted to have DI Jimmy Bliss with me today. Jimmy runs a team of detectives for the Major Crimes Unit at Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough, UK. This is his second stint in the city, having spent the first part of his career in London, where he was born.

Nice to meet you Jimmy and welcome! Both of you please pull up a chair, make yourselves at home and it's over to you!

Tony: Would you say you are emotionally damaged by your past?
Jimmy: No. Specific events and the job, perhaps. Some of which occurred in the past. But I had a good upbringing, raised by two loving parents. My father was a uniformed sergeant, my mother took care of us and the house, and although we never had a great deal of money we lived comfortably and we lived happily. The more I think about it the more I realise that my life was shaken by a single tragedy, which came as the result of a single bad decision. That choice, made by both myself and my wife, led to her being murdered. Yes, I carry the guilt of that around with me, but it’s not my entire past and it’s not entirely damaging.

Tony: Is it fair to say that the politics of your job are the worst part of it?
Jimmy: Again, no. The politics irritates, it annoys, it even angers – and the justice system sucks. But none of that compares to some of the senseless crimes we see, or the criminals who commit terrible murders or rapes or harm young children, having to look into the eyes of the victims and then comfort their broken families... those are the worst parts of the job.

Tony: And the best part?
Jimmy: Sounds cliché, but nailing criminals and getting justice for the victims. There’s nothing better. The worse the crime the more satisfaction you get. It’s often a double-edged sword, because after the initial euphoria you have the anxious wait for the legal side to kick in, then comes the trial, and it’s only after you get your guilty verdict or an admittance of guilt that you can truly celebrate. That’s when you can look the families in the eye.

Image found on Google

Tony: What do you do away from work?
Jimmy: These days it’s music. Sadly, that’s mainly listening rather than playing. I do have a guitar, but it’s been a while since I practiced and I suspect my fingertips are so soft now I’ll end up bleeding all over the strings if I picked it up again. I do also like losing myself in a film or TV series. I don’t go to games anymore, but I’ve been a Chelsea fan since I was a nipper, and I still follow them as a club. So, yeah, if I do get a chance to relax I put on an album or a CD. I have a decent system so I prefer listening to vinyl. My medical condition means I’m going a bit mutton, and then there’s the tinnitus which can spoil the overall quality of the sound, but music is the best vehicle you can use to transport you to other places and times.

Tony: You mention your health – what is your condition?
Jimmy: It’s called Meniere’s Disease – and no, I’d never heard of it before I was given my diagnosis. Basically, it affects the inner ear and throws your balance out of whack. I mostly manage it, but still get vertigo, I’m losing my hearing, and tinnitus drives me berserk at times. It’s a chronic condition, so no cure as yet, and it tends to get worse if it doesn’t burn itself out. Most of the time I’m on top of it, so I don’t regard it as much of an issue.

Image found on MemoryFoundation

Tony: Your best and worst times professionally?
Jimmy: As a detective I rarely get to prevent something bad from happening. Most of the time I am reacting to events that have already happened. And yes, there are occasions when intervening afterwards prevents further crimes from taking place, but being there at the beginning is a novelty. So, I think I’d say preventing a young girl from throwing herself off a roof was probably my best moment as a cop. There have been many bad times, including being transferred out of Peterborough many years ago, discovering some of my colleagues were bent, and being questioned in connection with my wife’s murder. But hands down, the death of a close colleague is the worst moment of my career – and I hope nothing ever tops that.

Tony: How would you like to be remembered within the job?
Jimmy: As fair-minded, determined, loyal. I know I can be a frustrating boss, given my disinclination to delegate jobs that I think may be too tough or expose my colleagues to danger or criticism. But I hope they know that side of me comes from a good place. In truth, my job is to nail villains and if people remember me for doing that, then I think I will have succeeded.

Tony: What advice would you pass on?
Jimmy: To decide what kind of copper you want to be. If you want to be the kind who does what it takes to get the job done, then stick with it no matter what the circumstances or consequences. In my view, doing the right thing can never be wrong. If you’re the other kind of cop, the type who are content with seeing each day out doing the least amount possible for your daily pay, then rethink your career and get out. The modern service may suit you, but it’s not the kind of coppering society needs.

Tony: And a final word for your long-suffering DS, Penny Chandler?
Jimmy: Absolutely. Pen, put the kettle on – I’m coming back to work.

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Tony's latest book in the DI Jimmy Bliss series is Endless Silent Scream and here's what it's all about.

He saved her life once. Can he do it again?

When DI Bliss prevents fifteen-year-old Molly from jumping off the roof of a tall building, he has no idea how deeply she will impact on his life. After learning that the girl is a drugs courier, Bliss realises she is in great danger. As he struggles to have Molly relocated, a local drug dealer and an enforcer sent by the supplier, have other plans for her.

After the remains of a freelance journalist are discovered, an old flame comes back into Bliss’s life. With the clock ticking down, he realises it’s only a matter of time before reports emerge linking the murdered journalist with the police, putting added pressure on the Major Crimes team to find the killer – even if it’s one of their own.

With Bliss torn between the two investigations, he becomes increasingly desperate to move Molly to safety before she can be silenced. But with his focus on saving the girl for a second time, Bliss is blinded to other dangers…

I think this sounds like a great read and that cover just jumps right out at you don't you think? Don't worry if you haven't read the first five books in the DI Bliss series as the box set of books one through to five is currently (at the time of writing this)  available to download for only 99p / $1.24

                                                       Amazon UK 

                                                       Amazon US

You can find out more about Tony, his books and connect with him using the links below:

Fantastic Fiction

I'd like to thank Tony and Jimmy for taking the time to stop by today. It's been great fun getting to know you both better.