A MelanieM Review:Love in Every Season by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Four seasons, four stories, one connection – finding love.
Two men who hate Valentine’s Day discover they might have been wrong.
A Paralympic swimmer gets an unusual incentive to win gold.
Love and lust flourish under desert skies, but nature’s cruel.
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night gets a new twist.

When Charlie Cochrane wants to deliver a collection of stories, I listen and am there because I just love this author’s writing no matter what era her characters are visiting or narrative the story thread is taking.  Here in Love in Every Season, the reader is given a true mixture so there is something for everyone.  A little bit of Shakespeare mixed with steampunk!  Love under the desert skies with a archeological dig in the past.  A mere jog back to the 2012 London Olympics and also a story firmly with its foundation in the near  present.

While I enjoyed them all, three were more firmly my favorites. And  while I really didn’t understand why each story was exactly given the season it was located under.  The first was Spring but the men and the story was focused on their anti Valentine (February) sentiments.  So for me Spring was a stretch.  So I pretty much ignored the season, unless Charlie was talking about fresh new starts which then yes indeed, that worked.

Here are the stories in the order they are presented in the book:

Spring:

Horns and Halos:  Rating: 4 stars out of 5

February 14, 2011.  Both  Jame and Alex are attending a Workshop on (as best I could figure out) Human Resources, LGBT, Recruiting, and Rights for their respective schools/or school districts in England.  Not sure how it works over there being from the US, but as I said I was still trying to figure that part out from their conversations.  They end up as workshop partners and the electricity flows while they try to see if each is gay.  The chemistry is cute and the story an adorable HFN as is all the tales here.  Both are anti Valentine and that gets worked into this and resolved as well.

Autumn

Sand: Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

The time frame is nebulous as is the exact location but you can certainly lock it down slightly  by certain references that Charlie Cochrane is so great at.  We’re pre WWI somewhere in a region that used to be part of the Seleucid Empire, loads of sand obviously  Poor Charles Cusiter has been sent along as a companion/babysitter to grown  manchild and heir Bernard Mottram to whom the female sex has proven an magnetic attraction he cannot stay away from.  It’s been the cause of many scandals and his wealthy mother is tired of it.   Bernard (and Charles as his guard dog  against the fairer sex) has traveled to an archaeology dig in Dahmalia run by Dr. Andrew Parks and his male assistant Yaseen, a place void of women.  Something Bernard’s mother made sure of prior to sending her son there.

Of course, there are slight complications.  While Bernard is dispirited about the lack of women, Charlies fears he has to hide his immediate attraction to Andrew,  Charlies’ homosexuality and the manner in which it is handled here is distinct to that era and “certain types” of gentlemen aboard.  It shows in the language the author uses and the references within the story.   That would include mentions of Mrs. Jellyby, a character in the novel Bleak House (1852–53) by Charles Dickens and Daphne Du Maurier who wrote in the early 1900’s.

The relationship proceeds slowly and only a dramatic event lets the men drop their guards fully.  It ends as only it could, a HFN, with a slight bittersweet knowledge from them (and from us) that they will stay there for only as long as the British are still welcome.  Something we know will be ending soon.  So yes, I guess you could say it is the Autumn of the Empire here. That’s my application for Autumn here.

Summer

Tumble Turn:  5 stars out of 5

Yes, this is my favorite story.  It starts out with the childhood friendship of Matty White and Ben Edwards, who has S9 CP, that would be Cerebral Palsy.  The first chapter is titled Nomination July 2005.  That’s when London is nominated as a possible location for the Olympics in 2012.  The boys desperately want London to win (and of course we know it does).    Ben wants to participate in the Olympics, no matter what anyone says…including the bitter somewhat unpleasant Mrs.White, Matty’s divorced mother. As the story moves forward, the boys age, move apart physically into college and apart in friendship. All the while Ben trains as a Paralympic Swimmer, moving closer to achieving his goals.  No Matty is not the romantic interest here sorry.  But there is one.  For a while I thought he was too.  Nope.  But Matty is the connection.

But the romance that does play out is sweet, heartwarming, authentic, and real.  So too is Ben swimming towards his long held goals.

Everything about this story just connected with me.  Ben’s family, the boyfriend, and the Olympics.  Loved it.

Summer was easy to apply to this story. Summer Olympics.  Why of course!

Winter

What You Will (A Shakespeare and Steampunk fusion): Rating 3 stars out of 5

Charlie Cochrane’s version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night given a steampunk twist with airships versus sailing ships that wreck.  A m/m romance with Captain Antonio and the airship-wrecked Roderigo who is also looking for his twin sister (and all the usual twists you find within the story), excerpt that Olivia had to go off and find another love. Somehow I never connected with any of the characters and the romance here.  I did with the original version, mind you.  But here, something, perhaps, the language itself is lacking.  Neat idea though..  Just didn’t work for me.

Cover art is a bit innocuous for a Charlie Cochrane story.  Bland but I’m not sure what you could do for such a wide variety of stories.  But I would never have chosen this..

Sales Links:  Amazon Precorder

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 158 pages
Expected publication: July 22nd 2019 by The Right Chair Press
ASINB07SFYTPZ9

Charlie Cochrane on Her Fav Reads and her new release Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane (author guest post, tour and giveaway)

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Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane back again talking about the latest releases in her Lindenshaw Mysteries, Old Sins.  Welcome, Charlie.

 

🐾

 

 

What Charlie likes to read

Do you have a favourite book? I have many, in all sorts of genres. “The Charioteer” if we’re talking gay fiction, “Death at the President’s Lodging” if it’s mysteries, “Three Men in a Boat” for humour; the list goes on and on through different genre, fictional and non-fiction. Some of these books are a bit of a guilty pleasure, not least because I can see their flaws.

I’m a huge fan of classic age mystery writers; Dorothy, Agatha, Michael, Ngaio and the rest, but they have their feet of clay. Sayers could sometimes overcomplicate plots to the point of obscurity (which reader could really have worked out the sequence of events in Five Red Herrings?) and seems increasingly in love with her detective, Lord Peter Wimsey.  All of these authors shared a falling of their powers in later life – the last few Appleby mysteries are a pale shadow of the early ones – and, of course, all were products of their time, so modern readers might fund things which jar, such as anti-semitic references or the treatment of gay characters in a derogatory way.

Some of these authors reused plot ideas and devices. The classic story of the murderer assuming someone else’s identity, sometimes to benefit from inheritance, occurs again and again with Christie (as do other tried and tested story arcs). Marsh also showed an economy of plot, using the same method of murder both in a short story and again in a full novel. Her “Death and the Dancing Footman” falls into the category of “familiar plot” – the twist is the sort that an avid reader of the genre would soon spot –  but that doesn’t make it any less of a delightful comfort read. A sort of literary equivalent of mulled wine in front of a roaring fire.

The book has several of the staple elements of the archetypal classic age mystery: a country house, a house party cut off by snow, family rivalries, a sealed room death, an outsider who acts as ‘chorus’ and a witty, urbane and aristocratic sleuth, Roderick Alleyn. How I love “Handsome Alleyn” – I wonder if Ngaio loved him, too, like Sayers loved Wimsey. He seems just a bit too perfect at times.

That’s why I’m determined to show that neither of my male leads in the Lindenshaw series are anything less than human. They get angry, they make mistakes, they argue with each other, they make up, they talk about work, they refuse to talk about work…just like any of us. I’m also determined not to fall in love with either of them, although how can I resist falling head over heels for their dog Campbell?

A detective, his boyfriend and their dog. That’s the Lindenshaw mysteries in a nutshell. Old Sins is the fourth instalment in the series, and not only does Robin have a murder to investigate, he and Adam have got the “little” matter of their nuptials to start planning. And, of course, Campbell the Newfoundland gets his cold wet nose into things, as usual.

 

About Old Sins

Past sins have present consequences.

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.

Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.

Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

 

About the Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

Check out the Lindenshaw Mysteries.

 

About Charlie Cochrane

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Old Sins one lucky person will win a swag bag from Charlie! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 16, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Charlie Cochrane on Her Fav Reads and her new release Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane (author guest post, tour and giveaway)

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Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane back again talking about the latest releases in her Lindenshaw Mysteries, Old Sins.  Welcome, Charlie.

 

🐾

 

 

What Charlie likes to read

Do you have a favourite book? I have many, in all sorts of genres. “The Charioteer” if we’re talking gay fiction, “Death at the President’s Lodging” if it’s mysteries, “Three Men in a Boat” for humour; the list goes on and on through different genre, fictional and non-fiction. Some of these books are a bit of a guilty pleasure, not least because I can see their flaws.

I’m a huge fan of classic age mystery writers; Dorothy, Agatha, Michael, Ngaio and the rest, but they have their feet of clay. Sayers could sometimes overcomplicate plots to the point of obscurity (which reader could really have worked out the sequence of events in Five Red Herrings?) and seems increasingly in love with her detective, Lord Peter Wimsey.  All of these authors shared a falling of their powers in later life – the last few Appleby mysteries are a pale shadow of the early ones – and, of course, all were products of their time, so modern readers might fund things which jar, such as anti-semitic references or the treatment of gay characters in a derogatory way.

Some of these authors reused plot ideas and devices. The classic story of the murderer assuming someone else’s identity, sometimes to benefit from inheritance, occurs again and again with Christie (as do other tried and tested story arcs). Marsh also showed an economy of plot, using the same method of murder both in a short story and again in a full novel. Her “Death and the Dancing Footman” falls into the category of “familiar plot” – the twist is the sort that an avid reader of the genre would soon spot –  but that doesn’t make it any less of a delightful comfort read. A sort of literary equivalent of mulled wine in front of a roaring fire.

The book has several of the staple elements of the archetypal classic age mystery: a country house, a house party cut off by snow, family rivalries, a sealed room death, an outsider who acts as ‘chorus’ and a witty, urbane and aristocratic sleuth, Roderick Alleyn. How I love “Handsome Alleyn” – I wonder if Ngaio loved him, too, like Sayers loved Wimsey. He seems just a bit too perfect at times.

That’s why I’m determined to show that neither of my male leads in the Lindenshaw series are anything less than human. They get angry, they make mistakes, they argue with each other, they make up, they talk about work, they refuse to talk about work…just like any of us. I’m also determined not to fall in love with either of them, although how can I resist falling head over heels for their dog Campbell?

A detective, his boyfriend and their dog. That’s the Lindenshaw mysteries in a nutshell. Old Sins is the fourth instalment in the series, and not only does Robin have a murder to investigate, he and Adam have got the “little” matter of their nuptials to start planning. And, of course, Campbell the Newfoundland gets his cold wet nose into things, as usual.

 

About Old Sins

Past sins have present consequences.

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.

Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.

Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

 

About the Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

Check out the Lindenshaw Mysteries.

 

About Charlie Cochrane

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Old Sins one lucky person will win a swag bag from Charlie! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 16, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.

Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.

Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

The books in this series are not meant to stand alone but rather read with the understanding that you already know Robin, Adam, and their wonderful Newfie Campbell and all the events and history that has gone on before.  Trust me, that’s considerable, both in their backgrounds and in the small village in which they live and work. Or did work.  Now the cozy cottage where they live (it was Adam’s) and the village is both a distance from their new jobs and they are planning both a move and wedding when the new story opens.  How I love this series!

 

So yes, a lot has gone before Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane  and quite a lot is beginning to happen.   For things are never dull for long for these two who have just gotten back from a long needed holiday before the school year starts up again for Adam and the criminals start a wave for Robin and his crew.  Plus there is that wedding to be planned, pesky details and all.

For those new to the series, I do recommend heading back to The Best Corpse for the Job, the first story in the series. 

That is where Adan and Robin meet, and it all begins, including our love affair with Campbell, Adam’s Newfoundland.  There are many secondary characters that appear , in varying stages of narrative importance depending upon the plot, book after book.  So meeting them and being able to identify them early is a great thing.  Then seeing them again is like greeting old friends, ornery or otherwise.  In these villages, the personalities swing widely!

Cochrane’s characters are so beautifully crafted that it’s  sometimes hard to tell which way the plot will fall, who will be the villain or the victim?  Sometimes both have the same personality traits!  You can emphasize with both or neither, an element I really love.  It makes them so human.

Here once again Robin’s tortuous childhood is involved, one he is still dealing with and this case brings it back with an immediacy he never expected.  Plus a connection to Adam, as it always happens with these cases.  Throw Campbell into the mix, and things turn frightening, mysterious, and downright murderous.

I will admit to guessing part of the plot (the person partially) but got the motive all wrong!  No, the author kept me guessing on the twists and turns on that until the end.  There was a couple of things I wanted more neatly tied up  but that’s just me.

On the whole, I found this extremely satisfying, it took Adam and Robin’s relationship to a deeper place, and at least moved their wedding plans forward ! lol  Plus i got more Campbell which is always a wonderful thing.

If you love cozies like I do, this is one mystery series for you.  Start at the beginning and make your way here!  i highly recommend them all.

Cover art: L.C. Chase.  I really like the covers for the series.  I wish it had Campbell on the cover, but that was the last one.  Oh well.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 209 pages
Published February 11th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Old Sins
ISBN 139781626498723
Edition Language English

Series Lindenshaw Mysteries :

The Best Corpse for the Job

Jury of One

Two Feet Under

Old Sins

A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code (Cambridge Fellows #12.7) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

St Bride’s College is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of reviving the traditional celebration of the saint’s day. When events get marred by murder it’s natural that Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith will get called in to help the police with their inside knowledge. But why has somebody been crawling about on the chapel roof and who’s obsessed with searching in the library out of hours?

Yes! The mystery is afoot to borrow another sleuth’s phrase in the latest Cambridge Fellows mystery by Charlie Cochrane.  The author is not following along a specific timeline for her stories, happily for us who follow this series, so here some of our favorite characters like Jonty’s parents can still be seen taking part in solving this  quite puzzling affair. What a joy as I love them so.

In Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code, St. Bride’s is looking to reestablish many of its older traditions for Saint’s Day, and it has called upon it faculty and staff for assistance.  That includes the mystery of who killed one of its students, and cause behind his death.  Once again it’s Jonty and  Orlando on the job. Orlando especially who was feeling maybe out of sorts, and needing a mystery to solve, got several handed to him.

Because as we all know, nothing is simple in a Cambridge Fellows mystery.  There are layers, and   complications, and a knotted path to follow to the end. A marvelous journey done in companable conversation, affectionate glances, witty phrases (with the  occasional snark thrown in), hewn through years of partnership and love that the author has crafted so carefully and genuinely.  I know these men because I have been through so much with them with this series that coming into this stories feel like visiting with old friends.

Charlie Cochrane is a master at placing her characters and story into a historic setting with accurate touch that’s so subtle that she makes it look easy.  It’s not.  The time period comes alive in her hands just as Jonty and Orlando do, as they have gone through the years in this series, emerging on the  other end of the war, back in England.  All the changes reflected in each story as it is here.  Along with that you get the deepening romance and love over the years of these two remarkable men and often some very gnarly murders as is the case here.

I adore the mysteries Cochrane concocted for this one, all for a story in 110 pages.  Amazing.

I had a great visit and can’t wait to see where the next mystery takes us.  I’m thrilled that the author is happy to go willy nilly all over this couple’s timeline.  I want their journey never to be over and this is a great way to do it.

I highly recommend this and all the Cambridge Fellow Mysteries, but especially 1 through 10 should be read in the order they were written.

Cover art by Alex Beecroft: I love the soft tone of this illustration.  Great for the era and story.  Love the author’s novels too.

Buy Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 110 pages
Published November 26th 2018 by The Right Chair Press
ASIN B07JM5Q3J6
Series Cambridge Fellows #12.7

A MelanieM Review: Pack Up Your Troubles by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4. 75 stars out of 5

A collection of WWI stories from Charlie Cochrane.

THIS GROUND WHICH WAS SECURED AT GREAT EXPENSE
An officer thinks he finds love in the trenches, but is it really waiting for him on the home front?

HALLOWED GROUND
A doctor and an army chaplain spend the night in a foxhole and discover there’s hope even in the darkest situations

MUSIC IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION
And an old soldier discovers that there are romantic problems to solve even after you’ve cashed in your chips.

If you have ever read any of Charlie Cochrane’s historical novels, you know not only of her intense interest in WWI but her incredible ability to bring it vividly to life. To take not only the years that encompass WWI but those that preceded it as well as the years afterward where the impact on the survivors who came in many forms, and those who remembered shaped the course of many nations and weave it memorably into her stories.

When it comes to WWI and the men who went to battle, whether they were officers or those on the front line, she takes us into their lives in the trenches.  We feel their fear, their hopes, the lives shattered in a split second and get that war is ugly, anonymous, and death has many faces.  We feel both the intimacy of the men and their yearning for home.

And their fear for it as well.

All of that makes THIS GROUND WHICH WAS SECURED AT GREAT EXPENSE my favorite story of the three. Five stars plus as it takes us directly into the battlefield as well as the mens live before and post war.  It’s grim, the men undergo live changing experiences, and loss.  The characters are people we hurt for, believe in, and finally feel relief and happiness there at the end.  It’s an amazing story and so well written you can almost hear the sounds of battle ringing in your ears.

Next up is my second  favorite, also because of the realism and ability of the author to open her character’s up and expose their vulnerabilities…to each other and her readers in such a way that’s touching and authentic given the circumstances.  Such a moving story.  Again 5 stars for HALLOWED GROUND.  The author got the inspiration from visiting a chapel and those details carry over into the story.

The stories go from the most grim and realistic working their way towards an almost supernatural story,  MUSIC IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION, that’s hard to describe.  Here the author plays with the lines between the afterlife and the living and two soldiers from different eras with a mission to accomplish.  It’s lighter in tone with WWI still but for me, there were some missing elements as the end where we didn’t find out what happened to a character or two. So  the addition of this story with the other two just didn’t completely work for me.

Now I know from the author’s guest blog that the three stories titles all came from WWI poems.  If you’re interested, check out more of Charlie Cochrane’s guest post on the subject here.  I myself am a fan of Siegfried Sassoon, another WWI author and poet as well as Wilfred Owen who the author loves so much.

I highly recommend this remarkable collection as well as the other historical novels by Charlie Cochrane.  The author has a way of putting you next to these men, letting you feel their experiences, empathize with their conditions and lives that will leave an impact on you long after the book is over.

Cover art is  perfection with the use of poppies,a symbol of Remembrance from famous poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’.  against the white background.  Blood red.  Haunting indeed.

Sales Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published May 9th 2018 by Williams & Whiting
ASINB07CZKTX6G

Spotlight on Pack Up Your Troubles Series by Charlie Cochrane (special guest post)

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Pack Up Your Troubles

by

Charlie Cochrane

Published May 9th 2018 by Williams & Whiting

Available at Amazon | Goodreads

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host  Charlie Cochrane here today talking about her new collection of stories, Pack Up Your Troubles.  Welcome, Charlie!

♦︎

 

My interest in World War One – and more specifically, the service men and women whose lives and deaths were intertwined with the conflict – goes back to school days. The war poetry of Wilfred Owen was part of the syllabus for English secondary schools (it still is) and it really got to me. The power in the words was stunning and the sad, almost romantic story of a poet who died within weeks of the war ended was enthralling.  I’ll admit that I have almost no interest in the details of the action, which regiment fought where and when; it’s the people and their stories that continue to fascinate me.

That sense of the pity of war (and the ‘poetry in the pity’*) heavily influenced the first of the three stories in this anthology. I suspect This Ground which was Secured at Great Expense is one of the most sombre stories I’ve ever written, although I promise it has a happy ending. You could say that the story arc itself mirrors that of war – a sudden call to action, mistakes made and wrong strategies employed, times of inaction and false dawns, a move made at a venture that brings success. And – this is a really big confession – it’s the only story I’ve ever written that I planned out in advance and then wrote against that plan. (I’ll never do it again. Agony for a pantser like me.)

Hallowed Ground is much less intense in style, if no less serious in subject. It was inspired by the Museum of Army Chaplaincy just outside Amport. I have no idea why I hadn’t come across the place before, because it’s relatively local, to me but as soon as I found out about it I made an appointment to visit (you have to make an appointment because it’s on army land.) I spent a lovely hour there, having a private tour from the curator. Not long afterwards the words for Hallowed Ground just started to flow, as though my sub-conscious had been crafting the tale all the time. The story ends with the promise of a happy ending to come, even if that isn’t outworked in this tale: the two characters reappear as minor players in Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour.

The third story in Pack up Your Troubles is the joker in the pack. I’ve amalgamated my interest in the war poetry of one hundred years ago with my interest in modern war poetry (check out the work of Danny Martin) to create the two leading characters. So how can a WWI soldier and a modern one be thrown together? When they’ve both died in combat and are sent back to earth to be part of terrestrial special opps. It was fun to play with the boundaries between this life and the next, and even more so to explore the tension between obeying orders and being true to one’s heart. True love wins in the end, of course, but the path is a tricky one to tread.

Footnote:  my fascination with poetry appears in the three story titles. They’re all taken from WWI poems. The “pity” quote comes from Wilfred Owen himself.  “”My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.”

About Pack Up Your Troubles

Pack up Your Troubles features three stories of love – won, lost and regained – against a backdrop of war.

THIS GROUND WHICH WAS SECURED AT GREAT EXPENSE

An officer thinks he finds love in the trenches, but is it really waiting for him on the home front?

HALLOWED GROUND

A doctor and an army chaplain spend the night in a foxhole and discover there’s hope even in the darkest situations.

MUSIC IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION

And an old soldier discovers that there are romantic problems to solve even after you’ve cashed in your chips.

Info:

http://williamsandwhiting.com/books/pack-up-your-troubles-by-charlie-cochrane/

About the Author

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

Biog and links:

Website: http://www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Blog http://charliecochrane.livejournal.com/ and https://charliecochrane.wordpress.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliecochrane

GR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2727135.Charlie_Cochrane

A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being handed a mystery to solve. But why would anybody murder a man with no enemies? And was it murder in the first place?

I’m always so thrilled to see another Jonty and Orlando mystery be released from Charlie Cochrane.  It means I get to go back and spend my time with those deeply in love Cambridge Fellows I have come to adore over a series of stories that span 20 years of their lives together in approximately Edwardian England.

While the earlier stories follow a rigid timeline, the later tales are more fluid so I never know where they might fall along the 20 some span of years so far.  Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose sees them in their later years, post WWI,  where the effects of that war is still raw, on them and England.  Both men still bear the scars of service, inside and out.  And as this story is to prove, they are far from the only ones.

There are so many things I admire about Charlie Cochrane’s writing and this series.  For one, its authentic, from the language down to the accoutrements of the people at every level of society you see within the stories.  And not once will it every feel anything but completely natural and easy (as opposed to a knowledge dump).  You become immersed in the times, first pre-war England and then all the horrors of  WWI, the very first war of devastating impact with chemical weaponry and  more.  We see it all through the eyes of Jonty and Orlando, Jonty’s family, and the extended “family” they have gathered together at St. Bride’s College, where they have taught all these years and met.

Then, there are the characters, no people, you have come to love over the series of stories.  Its not just Orland Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart, but everyone that Cochrane has created as foundation characters, including the Stewart family and the St. Bride’s College staff, from the head of the college right down to the men who take in the luggage and keep the grounds proper.  Not to forget the housekeeper at their cottage or the detectives they work with.  Nope, all real.  And when over the course of the years, some die, as the intrepid Mr. and Mrs Steward did, how I wept with loss.

So you can imagine, jumping into a new mystery is like coming home again.

Here Cochrane has come up with a doozy of a murder mystery. A man is hit by a car but his wife is convinced it was murder.  It kept me guessin with layers upon layers, surrounded with the poignancy of the survivors and the ever  deepening ramifications from WWI upon people and place.  Stepping up is Jonty’s sister and brother in law to help with the mysteries (yes, multiple) as well as the crew from St. Bride’s.

But the best?  Being gently swung back into the loving, long-established relationship of Jonty and Orlando.  It now has all the hallmarks of a couple who knows each other so well they answer for each other,  the adoration for each other, for each other’s intellects  to their aging bodies is cellular that it glows off the page.

How I love them and this series.  Its one of my heartstones of fiction and one I always recommend.  Now I have another story to add to my recommendations.  Love historical fiction and romance?  Pick up Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose by Charlie Cochrane.  I hope you are familiar with all of the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, of which this is but one.  Gather them all up and hold them close.  They are true gems!

Cover art: Alex Beecroft.  Love the cover.  Works perfectly for the story and its charming.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 104 pages
Published March 19th 2018 by The Right Chair Press
Original TitleLessons in Chasing the Wild Goose
ASINB0791HH4VB
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Cambridge Fellows

A MelanieM Review: Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Things are looking up for Adam Matthews and Robin Bright—their relationship is blossoming, and they’ve both been promoted. But Robin’s a policeman, and that means murder is never far from the scene.

When a body turns up in a shallow grave at a Roman villa dig site—a body that repeatedly defies identification—Robin finds himself caught up in a world of petty rivalries and deadly threats. The case seems to want to drag Adam in, as well, and their home life takes a turn for the worse when an ex-colleague gets thrown out of his house and ends up outstaying his welcome at theirs.

While Robin has to prove his case against a manipulative and fiendishly clever killer, Adam is trying to find out which police officer is leaking information to the media. And both of them have to work out how to get their home to themselves again, which might need a higher intelligence than either a chief inspector or a deputy headteacher.

Adam has a new job at a new school, Robin’s working to combine  police officers from different locations into one group, and Robin’s former Sergeant is thrown out of his house and needs putting up.  Sounds like a perfect time for a murder or two!

How I love sinking back into Charlie Cochrane’s cozy mystery series, Lindenshaw Mysteries, now on it’s third book, Two Feet Under.  From the first story,The Best Corpse for the Job (Lindenshaw Mysteries, #1), we’ve watched Robin and Adam become a couple, establish a home  ( Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries #2) , and now become happy in their relationship.  As they’ve grown more secure in themselves as partners and in their relationship, it’s been wonderful to watch their dynamics change, not only when at home but during the investigations as well.  Because once a body pops up, somehow all clues or a few unlikely leads will point towards Adam. Or someone he knows.  Or perhaps even something that Campbell has buried in the garden…you can never be sure how Campbell is involved.  But that Newfie will be important somehow!  Ah, the thrill of anticipation.

Here in Two Feet Under, the mysteries were wonderfully challenging!  It wasn’t just Adam, Robin, and his crew muttering to themselves as they tried to figure out whodunnit.   I too was at the crossroads a few times on this one.  How delicious!  Plus we also got the mole in the station, all the great side characters that ramble through the villages around and near Abbotson. We tumble through the local pubs, out into the streets, and across the wild hillsides in pursuit of killers and the truth.  It’s wonderful.

Or sometimes, we just deal with the fact we have an unwelcome guest we need to figure out how to boot out of our house.  There’s that too.  One whose been a staple character in the first two stories. Oh my.

All that, plus not forgetting the love and warmth of the relationship between Robin and Adam.  Charlie Cochrane pulls is all together famously!

Here’s a cozy to spend the night with.  Or day with.  Or both.  I read it right through because I had to know whodunnit.  I was completely satisfied with the ending.  Now I can’t wait for the next mystery to roll out and my next visit with Adam, Robin, and Campbell.

If you love mysteries and romance, a fan of cozies, don’t let this series or book pass you by! The writing is wonderful.  Charlie Cochrane has done it again!  I highly recommend them both.  They’ll charm you into forgetting that maybe you should be looking over your shoulder! Murder’s like that!

Cover art by L.C. Chase is so much fun.  You’ve got to have that wonderful Newfie, Campbell, on the cover, he’s in the middle of everything, so bloody smart!

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published January 6th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ASINB078VW89KR
Series Lindenshaw Mysteries #3

Charlie Cochrane on Inspiration and her story ‘Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3)’ (guest post,tour, and Giveaway)

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Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane back again talking about her wonderful new mystery romance Two Feet Under.  Welcome, Charlie!

✒︎

Two Feet Under began life as a conversation in a car, when my eldest daughter and I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to an author/reader event. It gained a criminal mastermind as a result of another conversation in the car with her younger sister. It got its background thanks to the popular television series “Time Team” and a setting care of the northern part of Hampshire. The plot came from the author’s twisted imagination, via a lot of checking. And at least one character is based on people I know. You have been warned.

About Two Feet Under

Things are looking up for Adam Matthews and Robin Bright—their relationship is blossoming, and they’ve both been promoted. But Robin’s a policeman, and that means murder is never far from the scene.

When a body turns up in a shallow grave at a Roman villa dig site—a body that repeatedly defies identification—Robin finds himself caught up in a world of petty rivalries and deadly threats. The case seems to want to drag Adam in, as well, and their home life takes a turn for the worse when an ex-colleague gets thrown out of his house and ends up outstaying his welcome at theirs.

While Robin has to prove his case against a manipulative and fiendishly clever killer, Adam is trying to find out which police officer is leaking information to the media. And both of them have to work out how to get their home to themselves again, which might need a higher intelligence than either a chief inspector or a deputy headteacher.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

Check out the Lindenshaw Mysteries!

About Charlie Cochrane

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Website:charliecochrane.co.uk/

Blog: charliecochrane.livejournal.com/

Twitter: @charliecochrane

Facebook: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Two Feet Under, one lucky winner will receive a swag bag, including magnet, napkins, bookmark, pencils, hanging decoration, postcards, and a coaster! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!