26 January 2023

Dead Reckoning by Lea O’Harra Guest Review and Guest Post!



 Publisher: Sharpe Books-UK (Sept 29, 2022)

Category: Crime Fiction, Family Life, Kidnapping

Tour dates: January 5-31, 2023

ISBN: 979-8361831937

ASIN: B0BGYG3HGX

Available in Print and ebook, 289 pages

  Dead Reckoning

Description Dead Reckoning by Lea O'Harra

Indiana, January 2010.

It’s a hot summer’s day in 1984 when twelve-year-old Gilly and her friend Sally find a dead new-born in a shoebox in the cemetery of their tiny town. Deciding to keep their discovery a secret, they bury the body in Gilly’s yard.

The results are disastrous. Flowers are mysteriously left on strollers. Two local children disappear and end up dead. A suspect is arrested and confesses, blaming the deaths on the girls’ having taken the dead baby.

Gilly grows up but is haunted by what’s happened. As a young woman, she flees the town and its memories, going all the way to Japan.
Returning with her Japanese husband Toshi to attend her mother’s funeral, Gilly finds the past is not past. She’s threatened, and someone is putting flowers on strollers again.

When another child is abducted, Gilly knows she must discover the truth about what happened all those years ago before more lives are lost.

Guest Review by Laura Lee

As children, we all make mistakes, but not all of us make mistakes as big as Gillian Blackstone. As a 12-year-old girl, Gillian discovered a deceased newborn baby that had been placed in a shoebox and left in her town's cemetery. The events that transpired after left her still mentally scarred over 20 years later, and caused her to move across the world to start a life there.

It isn't until she returns home after her mother's death that she begins to understand the full extent of the mistake that she made as a child, and what she must do to rectify it. Instead of calling the police, Gillian and her best friend, Sally decided to take the baby home and bury it under the elm tree in Gillian's yard.

Both Gillian and Sally begin using their amateur detective skills to try and determine who left the baby in the cemetery. It's the kind of mystery that many 12-year-olds would find irresistible, and the two girls are no exception, working down a list of local women until they hit on three possibilities. But when their secret is discovered, it is because of the murder of another local child that causes the police to look closely at Gillian, herself. And what happens next changes the town forever.

Even many years later, Gillian is still terrified of the man that she believes committed the murders in her town. Soon, she begins receiving threats telling her to leave town.

I really enjoyed this novel, and I really appreciated the character of Gillian. Lea O'Harra has a great talent for writing relatable heroines and truly scary villains.

'Dead Reckoning,' is a hit out of the park if you enjoy crime novels, thrillers, or any novel told through dual story lines. Personally, this was a five-star read for me!
I can hardly wait to read more by Lea O’Harra!

Guest Post by Lea O'Harra

Why do you like crime fiction and writing it yourself?

Given the wide variety of subgenres included in what we call ‘crime fiction’ it would be too simplistic to say that I like crime fiction per se. I like some types of crime fiction and not others. Crime fiction includes ‘cozy’ crime, legal and medical thrillers, locked-room, private eye, and spy mysteries, hard-boiled or historical crime fiction, courtroom dramas, police procedurals, the ‘whodunit,’ and so on.  I enjoy reading most of these, but I find books that feature lots of explicit violence and gory scenes can inspire a distaste bordering on horror. They may be ‘realistic’ – but that’s not a realism I care to engage with.

            As reading Sherlock Holmes stories and Agatha Christie’s novels represented my initial foray into the crime fiction genre when I was thirteen or fourteen, it isn’t surprising that my first – and an abiding – preference is for the ‘Golden Age’ classics: Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of course, but also Margery Allingham, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and many others. They are mostly English writers, reflective of my longstanding love of all things English. Although I’m American – from the Midwest state of Indiana – I’ve always preferred English to American literature. As a child and a teenager, I eagerly perused the English classics – Robert Louis Stevenson, the Brontë sisters, Dickens, Thackeray, and many others. I loved novels set in the British Isles: the settings of misty streets and moors and mountains and windswept coasts; the rainy, foggy weather, the charming pubs, stone cottages, and Victorian terraces, and well-spoken characters who seemed to have mastered the art of living life with grace and wisdom.

            I majored in English literature at Indiana University and went on to do an MA in 18th-century English literature at Lancaster (in England) and then a doctorate at Edinburgh University on the letters of the 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope. For diversion, I enjoyed dipping into crime fiction, favoring the works of such authors as PD James, Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill, and Colin Dexter. I have long had a special fondness for the Maigret series by Georges Simenon. Latterly I’ve also enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s books and those by Ian Rankin.

            Why do I like crime fiction so much? I think it boils down to the fact that what I consider the best of that genre focuses on an examination of the human condition. Naturally, plot is key and setting is important, but the murder mysteries I find most interesting are those that delve into their characters’ psyche: those that examine the situations that can drive a person to that most extreme of acts – depriving another person of life. As the poet Alexander Pope observed, ‘The proper study of mankind is man’. Crime fiction is all about what it means to be a human being.

            I also think the best of crime fiction, like the best of any kind of literature, is a kind of time machine that conveys us to different ages and different places. We can become acquainted with unfamiliar scenery, traditions, customs through reading. We hear the local dialects. We smell the local scents. We see the local sights. Sometimes we’re even treated to the tastes of the local delicacies.

            As for my decision to write crime fiction, I think it’s a natural development of my love of reading. I was a bookworm as a child. I was especially fond not only of famous English books but also of Russian literature. Oddly, I found Russian writers more understandable, their characters more sympathetic, their themes more fascinating, than German, French, or Italian ones. I read – of course, all these ‘foreign’ books in translation. They inspired in me a wish to try my hand at stories, too. I imagine anyone who loves to read harbors a desire, whether conscious or not, to try to write.

I think I should explain now why I embarked on my so-called ‘Inspector Inoue mystery series’. Set in present-day rural Japan, it consists of three books – Imperfect Strangers (2015); Progeny (2016); and Lady First (2017). I began to read and study Japanese literature some twenty years ago, when I became involved in the topic of crime fiction as an academic discipline. Having read and analyzed Japanese crime fiction, I conceived a desire to try to write it myself. I felt thirty-six years’ residence in Japan had made me sufficiently aware of the manners and mode of thought of the Japanese to allow me to make my protagonist a Japanese chief of police in a small town on the island of Kyushu. I have been especially gratified by the reviews of my three ‘Japanese novels’ which observe that their greatest value or attraction lay in the way they ‘explain’ Japan and the Japanese to Westerners unfamiliar with that exotic country and its inhabitants.

I have just completed a standalone murder mystery set in small-town America. Writing it has been a cathartic exercise. I based that fictional setting on my own tiny hometown in the northwest corner of Indiana. Composing it felt like exorcising ghosts of my own past.

Reading and writing crime fiction has been an education as well as a form of enjoyment and entertainment. It’s made me more aware of the dark corners of the human psyche, of my own weaknesses and faults, but equally of the powers of reason and kindness which can help us to overcome evil in ourselves and others.  

           © Lea O’Harra

Awards Lea O'Harra

Autumn 2017 “Lady First” was awarded ‘finalist’ status in the crime fiction section of the Beverly Hill Book Awards.

‘Lady First’ was also a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards in 2018.

Dead Reckoning by Lea O'Harra

Lea O’Harra has published three crime fiction novels set in rural modern-day Japan: Imperfect Strangers (2015); Progeny (2016); and Lady First (2017). These comprise the so-called ‘Inspector Inoue Murder Mystery’ series originally published by Endeavour Press (UK). She has also had a story included in Best Asian Crime Fiction published by Kitaab Press (Singapore) in 2020. In the spring of 2022 Sharpe Books reissued the Inoue mystery series and, in September 2022, published Lea O’Harra’s fourth novel, Dead Reckoning, a stand-alone set in her tiny hometown in the American Midwest. 

Amazon.co.uk

Giveaway Dead Reckoning by Lea O'Harra

This giveaway is for 3 print copies and is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on February 1, 2023 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. 
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Dead Reckoning by Lea O'Harra

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Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Jan 5 Review & Guest Post

Bookgirl Amazon & Goodreads Jan 6 Review

Mark Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Jan 9 Guest Review

DTChantel Amazon & Goodreads Jan 11 Review

Kari From the TBR Pile Jan 12 Excerpt

Jody Amazon & Goodreads Jan 16 Review

Sal Bound 4 Escape Jan 17 Guest Review

Denise Amazon & Goodreads Jan 18 Review

Becky Life as Rog Jan 19 Review

Lisa’s Writopia Jan 19 Guest Post

Lynelle Inspire to Read Jan 20 & Excerpt

Leslie Storeybook Reviews Jan 23 Review

Ruth Media From the Heart Jan 24 Review & Excerpt

Kari From the TBR Pile Jan 25Review

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Jan 26 Guest Review & Guest Post

Lisa’s Writopia Jan 27 Review

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Jan 30 Review & Excerpt

Bee Book Pleasures Jan 31 Review


  Dead Reckoning by Lea O'Harra

2 comments:

  1. I'm so glad Laura enjoyed 'Dead Reckoning'. Thanks so much for hosting Lea!

    ReplyDelete

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