Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan – Blog Tour Guest Post and Review


Cut to the Bone is published by Bonnier Zaffre on 14 July 2016 and is available here

For fans of THE FALL and Sarah Hilary, this slick, dark contemporary thriller will have you on the edge of your seat...

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she’s missing. She’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video’s uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.

Who better to head up the investigation than the Met’s rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She’s leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It’s time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris – poster boy for multiracial policing and the team’s newest member – has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he’s around, can she trust herself?

Ruby’s millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares.

And the videos keep coming . . .

Welcome to my day on the Cut to the Bone Blog Tour! Not that long ago, I went to Crimefest 2016. I met loads and loads of authors. One of them was a certain Alex Caan. After Crimefest, I read his debut book Cut to the Bone. I loved it to bits and have been raving about it ever since.

Alex Caan is the first author I have ever read, after meeting them in real life. Cut to the Bone is going to be published this week and you all MUST read it. It is a MASSIVE pleasure to welcome Alex to the blog as part of his official blog tour. Alex is talking about the inspiration behind his book. AND there is going to be more Zain and Kate in the future! HOORAY!

I have re-published my five star review, at the bottom of the article. Enjoy!

The Inspiration Behind Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan

Firstly I just want to say – I love Christine aka Northern Lass aka the brilliant writer/host of this blog. She gave me my first five star review for Cut to the Bone, and that means a lot! My kidney is yours (although be aware it’s probably 90% cake by now and I’ve promised it to a few people already…) Ok, emotional Oscar style speech over (I will thank my family and non-existent goldfish later) and back to business.

I don’t want to sound pretentious but really the novel has been incubating inside my head for a long time (now I sound like Alien). I don’t mean the plot, but the characters of Kate Riley and Zain Harris. I had them fully formed in my head for a while, but never had the courage to write them. I thought I had to write what I know, people the novel with familiar characters like me. It was only the encouragement of my agent and his in-house editor that gave me that push and that freedom. Write what you really want to write-and if I could give anyone advice it would be that.

Once I had them, with their backstories, their attitudes, the way they spoke and carried themselves, everything right down to the music they listened to, I then needed a case I could use them in properly. I thought of a lot of ideas, but nothing really gave me the platform to write the story I wanted to. It needed to be layered and relevant.

I hit on the concept of vloggers after an innocent conversation with a nephew. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and instead of the usual doctor/lawyer/astronaut, he promptly told me he wanted to make videos and upload them to YouTube. And yes, he said, it is an actual thing and an actual job. Like most people of my generation (and anyone over 25 without kids probably!) I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. Which appealed to the researcher in me, and boy did my mind get totally blown away when I finally discovered what a vlogger was and what they do and the world they inhabit. But being a crime novelist I couldn’t just research this world without thinking ‘what if…’ and seeing the shadows. And so the idea for Cut to the Bone was born.

The story also gave me enough scope to get some things in there that I really care about, issues which I won’t reveal or it will spoil the novel. But my favourite novels are those that make me think about the world around me, and I wanted to do that with my own. And hopefully in a fast, page turning style, because I also want people to keep wanting to know what happens next and enjoy the novel as a thriller.

I hope I’ve managed just that! And it was researching something for Cut to the Bone that gave me the idea for my next novel, so am very excited about bringing Kate and Zain, and the rest of the team, back next year.

My review of Cut to the Bone

Sometimes I hear about a book, with everyone singing its praises and I want to know MORE… This is one of those times. I found ‘Cut to the Bone’ by accident, and was very intrigued. Obviously I am ancient and the whole internet stars thing has totally passed me by. Alex Caan’s first novel brings the YouTube vloggers sub culture to a wider audience, in a twisty turny engaging DARK crime read.

The book introduces us to Ruby, a girl who is worshipped by millions. Ruby is a vlogger, who has a massive following on the internet. She’s made a name for herself, filming to camera her thoughts and feelings on different subjects. She is out there, successful and sparkling. Ruby goes missing. Where is she? Who would wish her harm? On the case is the mysterious American DI Kate Riley and her new sidekick Zain Harris.

WOW!!!! What is not to love about a book set in a world, that you have never encountered before?! Seriously I am too old (thank goodness!) to look on YouTube for beauty tips or morale boosting advice. I am vaguely aware of it out there. Caan brings this teen phenomena to life and makes it all very accessible. The missing Ruby is more complex, than she first appears and her world is not straight forward. It is full of hidden under-currents and sad manipulation. Ruby is a contradiction; powerful and exploited, a victim of her own success. I was fascinated by her. Caan’s storytelling gave her a depth and made me feel compassion towards her.

As for the central characters, Zain and Kate, I really enjoyed getting to know them. Zain Harris was tortured in the line of duty and has PTSD written all over him. I know tortured heroes can be a bit of a cliché. But I loved him. I REALLY LOVED HIM. He is a techy geek, an alluring bad boy and I just wanted to know more. Kate was rather interesting as well; with secrets a-plenty and a hint of chemistry with the alluring Zain! If this is the start of a series (fingers crossed), then we are in for some serious good times ahead.

Blisteringly fabulous dark crime, that is hard to put down. Recommended.

Alex Caan is on Twitter. Say hello to him!

Cut to the Bone can be bought, loved and read from 14 July 2016 here


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About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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