J Paul Henderson’s Road Trip Playlist

Hi guys! Today I’m happy to welcome J Paul Henderson, author of Last Bus to Coffeeville to the blog. Since summer is well under way and this is the time when most of us leave on holiday (or counting down the days like me), I wanted to bring you a blog topic fit for the occasion. And since my iPod and I are inseparable whenever I’m travelling, I thought I’d ask Paul to tell us about what kind of music he listens to when he’s on the road.

Coffeeville blog tour


Paul’s Coffeeville Road Trip Playlist

I’ve selected 20 CDs for a long road trip, and twenty tracks I’d be happy to play over and again on a shorter journey. All our in alphabetical order by artist.

20 CDs

Bad Company: Bad Company; Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band: Gorilla; John Cale: Music for a New Society; Captain Beefheart: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller); Captain Beefheart: Doc at the Radar Station; The Jim Carroll Band: Dry Dreams; Dandy Warhols: Come Down; The Doors: The Doors; Bob Dylan: Street Legal; Eels: Blinking Lights; Grateful Dead: Terrapin Station; Gruppo Sportivo: 10 Mistakes; Leo Kottke: Mudlark; Matching Mole: Matching Mole; Turbines: Last Dance Before Highway; Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes; Tom Waits: Asylum Years; Neil Young: Decade; Frank Zappa: Ship Arriving too Late to Save a Drowning Witch; and Warren Zevon: Transverse City.

20 Tracks
(click on the tracks to listen to them)

1. AC / DC: It’s a Long Way to the Top. One of the best rock songs ever recorded, though still not sure about the bagpipes. I feature this song in my next book: The Last of the Bowmans.

2. Bad Company: Can’t Get Enough. Bad Company was the first album I bought when I moved to Mississippi. Every time I hear this track I’m reminded of living in the Colonial Arms Apartments in Starkville, MS.

3. Beatles: Hey Jude. My favourite Beatles track; unfortunately, it’s written by Paul McCartney.

4. Captain Beefheart: Pachuco Cadaver. Trout Mask Replica was the most difficult album I’d ever listened to: it took me three weeks just to differentiate the tracks. Once I had, though, I listened to the album for a solid year, and exclusively! (This is one of the songs Arnold Skidmore has played at his funeral).

Read more »

No Time For Goodbye Readalong: Week 2

No Time for Goodbye readalong

Hello and welcome to the second discussion of the No Time for Goodbye Readalong! I hope you enjoyed last week’s recap of the first ten chapters and are ready to continue with the story. If you’ve just found us and not sure what this event is all about, you’ll find all the information you need on the No Time for Goodbye sign-up page.

Last week’s chapters came to an end when Cynthia gets a call from the TV company – who’s filming a documentary about her family’s disappearance – saying that someone phoned in and might be able to help her find them. As it turns out, she’s a psychic. Terry is sceptical – as most of us would be in this situation, I think – but not having anything to lose, they decide to give her a shot. When it turns out that all she wanted was their money they leave and head back home.

And that is when it happens.

As Cynthia steps into the kitchen, she notices a well-worn fedora hat on the kitchen table – one that she’s all too familiar with and one that was definitely not there when they left the house that afternoon. All the doors were closed and nothing seems to be missing or broken or indicate that someone’s been inside the house. Apart from the mysterious hat. There doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation and the police can’t really help the Archers either. And that’s when Terry remembers. Just before they left for the TV studio, Cynthia ran back inside to fetch a box full of old family photos and other mementos, but seemed to take a long time to come back to the car. She was the last one to leave the house that day. There’s no sign of forced entry and the lost spare key Terry noticed a few days earlier is found in one of the kitchen drawers. Terry doesn’t say it but you can feel the thought had crossed his mind.

What if Cynthia is making this all up?

Read more »

Showcase Sunday #84 – Signed Goodies!

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello amigos, how are you all? How was your week? Can you believe it’s our last Showcase Sunday in July? I don’t know where the past few weeks went but I’m really looking forward to August. July was busy but August is shaping up to be even busier – and I’m off to Spain at the end of next month! I can’t wait. But, until then, I have lots of bookish goodies to show you.


Showcase Sunday | signed books

Showcase Sunday | signed books

Attachments | Winger | Grasshopper Jungle | Dead Ends

With the exception of Erin Lange’s Dead Ends, this week’s haul turned out to be a ‘signed books’ haul – which is kind of a rare thing, as I don’t usually get so many signed books at the same time. Anyway, first things first. Like so many of you, I was at YALC  two weeks ago, where I got to meet Rainbow Rowell. We were all allowed to get two RR books signed and, although I had Landline with me, I decided to buy a copy of Attachments before the signing because I’ve been meaning to read it for ages.

Read more »

No Time For Goodbye Readalong: Week 1

No Time for Goodbye readalong

Hello and welcome to the very first discussion of the No Time for Goodbye Readalong! I hope you’re all sitting comfortably (with a mug of tea and some snacks nearby) and are ready for today’s book chat. If you’ve just found us and not sure what this event is all about, you’ll find all the information you need on the No Time for Goodbye sign-up page.

Some of you who’ve been reading the blog for a few years might remember that I already read and reviewed NTFG on the blog a while ago. Quite a long time ago, actually. I still remember some details and what the book is about but – luckily for me – I can’t remember how it ends. I was trying to rack my brains when I picked it up to read the first few chapters yesterday, but my memories are quite hazy and I can’t for the life of me remember what happened to Cynthia’s family. So not only is this readalong a great way to prepare for the sequel but it’s almost like reading the book for the first time!

Anyway, this is what happened so far.

The book starts with a flashback scene in 1983, when fourteen-year old Cynthia wakes up one morning to find her house eerily quiet and her family gone. She’s had a row with her parents the night before so she assumes this is how they’re punishing her – and even though she finds it odd that both her parents and her brother disappeared without even leaving a note, she heads off to school, hoping she’s simply overreacting. But when it becomes clear that no one has seen her family since the day before, she panics.

Fast-forward 25 years and Cynthia, feeling apprehensive and terrified, is back at her childhood home for the first time, filming a documentary for a local news show about unsolved crimes. We learn that her family never came back after that day in 1983 – and it has haunted her ever since. Despite the speculations and many different theories (including ones which say it’s odd that Cynthia was the only one their kidnapper or killer left behind, so she must have been the one to kill them all), no one knows what might have happened. The police were baffled and closed the case after about a year, leaving Cynthia with no answers. We see how it has affected her life and her family’s life as well, and how, even after 25 years, she’s hoping they will come back.

We also meet Tess (probably one of my favourite characters from the book), a lady in her sixties and Cynthia’s aunt, who took her in after her family’s disappearance. And this is where the story gets tricky. Since she doesn’t have any children of her own, Tess has always lived alone. She didn’t have a well-paid job but she always managed as she only had herself to support. But with Cynthia and her education to cover, things should have been difficult. And that’s when the letters started to appear. As Tess reveals, someone left her a blank envelope with thousands of dollars in it every month until Cynthia graduated from university, along with an anonymous note which laid down the rules: she wasn’t to tell anyone about where the money came from, not even Cynthia, and wasn’t to try and find out where it came from. Ever.

Read more »

No Time For Goodbye Readalong: Introduction

No Time for Goodbye readalong

Hi guys! I already hinted at a mysterious and oh-so-exciting crime related event on Twitter but now I can finally reveal the big secret I’ve been meaning to tell you. To celebrate Linwood Barclay’s newest novel, No Safe House, hitting the shelves in late September, I teamed up with Orion Books to host an exclusive readalong of No Time for Goodbye, the first book in the series.

The event starts next Wednesday when we will be discussing the first 10 chapters of the book here on the blog – and I’d love you all to join in. Whether you’re new to crime fiction or you live and breathe this genre, whether you have a blog or not, it doesn’t matter – everyone is welcome to join in. The more the merrier!

readalong schedule

16 July: Introduction and sign-ups
23 July: Discussion of chapters 1-10
30 July: Discussion of chapters 11-20
6 August: Discussion of chapters 21-30
13 August: Discussion of chapters 31-40
20 August: Discussion of chapters 41-50, wrap-up, competition

To join the discussion, simply come back to Books, Biscuits and Tea every Wednesday when I’ll be posting a brief summary of the given chapters and talk about the plot in more detail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in and post your thoughts on your own blog as well – I’ll provide a linky each week where you can all link up your posts. :) If you don’t have a blog, fret not – simply come on Twitter and discuss the book by using the #NTFG hashtag.

Read more »

A Q&A with Crime Writer Dan Smith


Dan Smith blog tour

I’m delighted to welcome today’s guest, crime writer Dan Smith, to Books, Biscuits and Tea. To celebrate the publication of his latest novel, The Darkest Heart, Dan stopped by the blog for a chat. I hope you enjoy the interview! :)

Hi Dan, welcome to Books, Biscuits and Tea! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you very much; it’s a pleasure to be here! A little bit about myself? Hmm, well, I want to say that I’m an international man of mystery. Or maybe a shadowy cartel hitman. Or a rugged adventurer. But I’m none of those things. I am in fact a story-loving, film-watching, game-playing, sky-diving, book-writing author. Without the sky-diving. I really must take up some interesting and dangerous hobbies.

You lived in many different places – Sierra Leone, Sumatra and Brazil, to mention a few – why did you decide to settle down in England? Has your experience in these foreign countries influenced your writing?

The reason for all the travelling was that my dad worked for a rubber company and we spent a lot of time living on rubber plantations. I don’t think there was ever any belief that we’d live abroad forever – we always had a home in England, and my brother and I came to boarding school here. Also, I love it here. There’s a lot to moan about and a lot that needs changing but I consider myself lucky to live in such a great country. There’s no doubt, though, that my experiences have influenced and will continue to influence my writing. I love stories that take me somewhere else and hope to do the same for my readers. It’s an amazing world out there, and there are all kinds of exciting places just begging to be used!

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve met a few authors who tell me they always knew they wanted to be writers. Not me. Growing up, I never really knew what I wanted to be – apart from wanting to be Han Solo when I was 7 or 8 years old – but stories were always important to me. I looked for stories wherever I could find them and even made up stories of my own, so it was probably inevitable that I’d start to write them down. I still have some of the short stories I wrote as a teenager, and while they’re pretty awful, they were the beginning for me. That’s when I seriously started to think I might want to be a writer. The only problem was that I had no idea how to go about it.

Read more »

Showcase Sunday #83

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How are you? I hope you all had a nice week. Are you looking forward to YALC? And more importantly, who’s coming? Let me know if you are so that I can say hello if I see you. :) Next week is going to be insanely busy here as I’m FINALLY moving to my new flat on Saturday (technically, my flatmate’s taking all our stuff to the new place while I’m having fun at YALC but… you know :D ). I have to pack all our stuff during the week and go furniture shopping, on top of work and – of course- YALC so it’s gonna be an interesting and exhausting week, that’s for sure. I’m really looking forward to it, though!


An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

I only got one book this week but it’s possibly my most expected novel of the year, one I’ve been waiting for since this time last year. I absolutely love Chris Carter’s work (and he is such a genuinely lovely guy too) so I can’t WAIT to pick this up. If you like thrillers and are looking for a new book to read, check out the Robert Hunter series – I really can’t recommend it enough. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for the review copy!

Read more »