Discussing Death Rope with Leigh Russell

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I can’t believe it’s over two years since Leigh Russell was last on Linda’s Book Bag telling us all about the inspiration for her book Journey to Death in a post that you can read here. I knew I had to rectify that gap so when lovely Katherine Sunderland asked me if I’d like to be part of the launch celebrations for Leigh’s latest book Death Rope, of course I said yes!

I’m thrilled that Leigh is staying in with me today to tell me all about Death Rope.

Staying in with Leigh Russell

Welcome back at last to Linda’s Book Bag Leigh. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thank you for inviting me to join you here.

As if I didn’t know, tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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Tonight I’ve brought along a copy of Death Rope, the new Geraldine Steel murder investigation. The reason for my choice it is that it’s only just come out so I’m very excited about it! Death Rope is the eleventh book in the series, but it works fine as a stand alone. So if any of your followers are interested in it but haven’t read the earlier titles in the series, that’s not a problem. And if you are following the series, this book sees Geraldine working closely with her friend and former sergeant, Ian Peterson.

(I can’t believe this is the eleventh Geraldine Steel book. Many, many congratulations Leigh.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Death Rope?

Hopefully you can expect a few shocks, as well as a few plot twists. My editor said, ‘all these years of editing Geraldine Steel and you still never fail to surprise me!’ So even if you’ve read the other ten Geraldine Steel investigations, I really hope you’ll still struggle to predict everything that happens in Death Rope.

(It sounds as if you’ve another cracker of a book here!)

That said, I do my best to make my plots believable, as I hate it when I’m reading and something happens that breaks the illusion. It’s a constant juggling act to both surprise and shock your reader, while still keeping to a plausible narrative.

(I totally agree and I know you do it brilliantly.)

What else have you brought along and why?

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I’ve brought a hamper of goodies. Chocolates, because there’s nothing more enjoyable than curling up on a sofa with a good book and a box of your favourite chocolates. Of course we need Champagne so we can celebrate the publication of my new book, so I’ve brought a few crates along.

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(You’ll see I’ve poured a glass or two…)

And because we couldn’t possibly eat and drink so much and still be sober enough to read, I’ve invited a few friends to the party here. They’re the team from No Exit Press who helped turn Geraldine Steel’s latest murder investigation into a book. Time to party!

I know some of those No Exit Press folk well so it’s definitely time to party! Thanks so much for coming back to the blog and staying in with me Leigh. Congratulations on Death Rope and here’s to the next 11 Geraldine Steel books! 

Death Rope

9781843449355

THEY SAY SUICIDE. SHE SAYS MURDER.

Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.

When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.

Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?

Death Rope is available for purchase here.

About Leigh Russell

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Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

You can find out more about Leigh on her website and you can follow her on Twitter @LeighRussell. Leigh is on Facebook and there’s more with these other bloggers too:

Death Rope Blog Tour poster

Now You See Her by Heidi Perks

Now You See Her

My enormous thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow Publishing for sending me a copy of Now You See Her by Heidi Perks in return for an honest review and for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for the book. Initially I didn’t think I’d have time to read for review but once I picked up Now You See Her I couldn’t put it down so I’m delighted to have my review to share today.

Published today in hardback, Now You See Her is available for purchase in hardback and e-book here.

Now You See Her

Now You See Her

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

My Review of Now You See Her

Four year old Alice disappears when Charlotte is supposed to be looking after her for friend Harriet.

Wow. Just wow. Now You See Her is utterly and completely brilliant. I genuinely could not put it down.

The structure of Now You See Her works fabulously well as there are first person points of view from both Charlotte and Harriet so that it’s tricky to decide which of the two women deserves more sympathy or reader trust, making for a gripping read. The Now and Before sections lend a pace that is breathtaking. My heart was thumping at times and at one point I literally exclaimed aloud, ‘What! Did I really just read that?’ because Heidi Perks creates a story line that shocks and surprises. I really thought it was fabulous.

In fact, it’s difficult to say too much about the plot without revealing aspects that would spoil the read for others but I will say that it is riveting, fast paced and thrilling. I’m always slightly cynical when books are marketed with strap-lines like ‘The complusive thriller you need to read’ but in this case it is and you do!  The themes of friendship, control, relationships and trust are interwoven with such skill that Heidi Perks brings the reader’s own morals into question and makes them wonder how they might react and behave in similar circumstances. I found the ways in which social media use and school gate politics were presented was so astute and realistic too. I thought Heidi Perks’ style was masterly, being both intelligent and so readable.

Charlotte, Harriet and Brian are such compelling inventions. Each character is so convincing that they created very strong responses in me as a reader. Again I can’t reveal why but I’d defy anyone reading Now You See Her not to feel some very conflicting emotions! After I’d finished the book I kept wondering what was happening to Charlotte and Harriet and had to convince myself they are not actually real people.

I thought Now You See Her was an outstanding thriller. I was so immersed in it that I put my life on hold until I had read every word in one sitting. I loved it.

About Heidi Perks

Heidi

Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.

Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.

Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.

She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional.

You can follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiPerksBooks and find her on Facebook.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

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Literary Book Gifts Promotion

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Some weeks ago I was approached by Melissa at Literary Book Gifts to see if I would like to feature her website here on Linda’s Book Bag, but as a couple of other lovely bloggers also showcased Melissa’s lovely gifts I thought I’d wait a while before doing so here.

Melissa is passionate about books and puts together all the designs and products herself and ships worldwide from her base in Toronto. As a special favour to Linda’s Book Bag readers, Melissa is offering a 20% discount using the code LINDASBOOKBAG20. There is no minimum spend and you can pay safely through PayPal and Google Pay.

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On the Literary Book Gifts website you’ll find clothing from vests to hoodies and bags from totes to backpacks.
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I especially like the Anne of Green Gables Hoodie and the typewriter backpack as my personal favourites.

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Do take a look at Melissa’s site as there are some smashing products on offer. You’ll find everything she stocks right here.

Happy shopping!

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Staying in with Kathleen Glassburn and Giveaway

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I love historical fiction of all kinds, but life simply doesn’t allow me to read every book I’m offered and when I saw Kathleen Glassburn had an historical novel I had to invite her onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell us all about it.

Even though I haven’t had chance to read Kathleen’s book, I’m delighted to be able to offer an e-book to one lucky winner in a giveaway you’ll find further down this blog post.

So let’s find out all about it!

Staying in with Kathleen Glassburn

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag KathleenThank you for agreeing to stay in with me. 

Well this is fun, Linda. I always like to meet new people, and hear the stories they want to share.

Me too as I’m essentially quite nosy which is why I run this feature! Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

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I’ve brought my first published novel, Making It Work. It’s historical fiction that takes place from 1965 to 1975. The settings are Minneapolis, MN, Long Beach, CA, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, DC.

(I haven’t travelled in America much so Making It Work sounds like an ideal way to do so.)

What can we expect from an evening with Making It Work?

The book takes us through the Vietnam War, the free-love counter culture, ubiquitous drug use, the Women’s Movement, and Watergate just to mention a few happenings. This time period was one of the most fractured and uncertain in the United States’ history.

(Plenty of scope there for a novel I would think Kathleen!)

Making It Work follows Sheila Doty Gallagher as she attempts to make peace with this deeply chaotic world. Amid never-ending demands from her family, her friends, her work, and even the war itself, she struggles to find her place in life while staying true to herself. The feminists of this era have often been stereotyped as radical and brazen. Sheila is a teenager when her story begins, and through her inner voice, as well as her intuition about the consequences of decisions and actions, the reader sees a more accurate depiction of women during this time period who were trying to figure out how to make it work. So many of the experiences and challenges Sheila goes through are still relevant today. The details have changed with the passage of time, but most younger women will identify with Sheila’s struggles.

(This sounds so interesting.)

I’m hoping that some of her story will resonate for you, Linda.

(As I became a teenager during that time I’m sure it will.)

What else have you brought along and why?

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While writing fiction is my primary activity, I horseback ride for fun. I’d like to share some photos of my horse, Irish. I’ve owned him for two years — two exciting, educational, and growth-filled years. He has not been an easy horse. Irish is far from push button — the kind of horse that you tell to walk, trot, or canter and they do exactly that. With Irish, I’ve had to learn exactly the correct aids to get him to do what I want him to do — particularly at the canter. We’re currently working on flying lead changes. Riding him takes patience, commitment, and consistency, just like my writing does.

(He certainly seems to have a glint in his eye…)

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All this said, he is sweet and lovable, and very cooperative when I’m not in the saddle. I have found that having a close relationship with a horse can be extremely therapeutic. Mindfulness is a popular idea, and being with Irish helps me to forget about everything else, lets all my problems float away while I’m completely in the moment. Even the kindest, most dependable horse might spook, and from my own mishaps I realize how quickly falls can happen. The more I’m with Irish mentally, the more I anticipate his every mood and movement, the safer I feel. As a bonus, I get some of my best story ideas after I’ve spent time with him.

(It sounds like the perfect relationship to me.)

One of the happiest parts in Making It Work is when Sheila stays with a family in Virginia for several months and exercises one of their horses. Riding often shows up in my stories.

I’m wondering, do you have any experiences with horses, Linda? Or other animals? There are also cats in Making It Work. I have two who live with me.

(I do have experience with horses but the less said about that the better! Cats, however, are more my thing. Just look around the room we’re in and you can see so many cat items and images.)

Thank you so much for staying in with me this evening Kathleen and telling me all about Making It Work. I’ve really enjoyed our time chatting and am thrilled to be able to offer an e-book of Making It Work as a giveaway. 

Making it Work

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It is 1965 and nineteen-year-old Sheila Gallagher is grateful to have finally escaped her dysfunctional family and married her high school sweetheart. Unfortunately she has barely unpacked in their Minneapolis apartment when Jim reveals he has joined the navy. Now her plan to earn a music degree is foiled. Still, Sheila puts her dreams on the back burner, and follows Jim to California for his first assignment.

A few months after their arrival in Long Beach, Jim is deployed to Vietnam. As Sheila attempts to navigate in a strange city without her husband, she begins to question Americas military actions. And when Jim finally returns, he shocks her once again with his decision to re-enlist, prompting their divorce. As Sheila’s desire for a new beginning leads her to San Francisco, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery where she participates in anti-war demonstrations and searches for true love, meaningful friendships, and the courage to pursue her dreams. But in a time of great political and cultural change, Sheila is about to discover that a worthwhile goal can be difficult to achieve.

In this historical tale, a young woman sets out on a ten-year quest to overcome obstacles and create the future of her dreams during a tumultuous time in America.

Published by Archway, Making It Work is available for purchase here.

About Kathleen Glassburn

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Kathleen Glassburn has always wanted to write as well as read; thus began her first efforts, which ended up in mimeographed school publications. When Kathleen was twenty-four she moved to Seattle; her perfect place to live. Kathleen worked in the financial community, married and had a son and a daughter. She received her BA in English from the University of Washington, followed by an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles.

As well as writing and reading Kathleen plays the piano, horseback rides, take long walks with her husband and dogs, and travels.

You can visit Kathleen’s website for more information.

Giveaway: An E-copy of Making It Work by Kathleen Glassburn

MakingItWorkCover

For your chance to win an e-copy of Making It Work by Kathleen Glassburn click here.

Open internationally, this giveaway closes at UK midnight on Sunday 29th July 2018. Following the random selection of the winner, no data will be retained by Linda’s Book Bag from entries and the publicist will be responsible for ensuring the prize winner receives their e-book. Good luck!

Paramedic Chris by Tim Parsons

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I’ve been so lucky to review a range of children’s books on Linda’s Book Bag but I really want to support Paramedic Chris by Tim Parsons because Tim is very much hoping he can raise enough funds to support people by opening a retreat centre within his local community and monies raised from sales will go towards that.

Published by New Generation on 14th March 2018, Paramedic Chris is available for purchase here.

Paramedic Chris

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It is another day for Paramedic Chris as he travels with Paramedic Zara but are all of the calls genuine today?

My Review of Paramedic Chris

Paramedics Chris and Zara have a busy day answering calls – but not all are genuine emergencies.

I was very impressed by Paramedic Chris. Firstly I would say that the balance of text to picture was really good, with plenty of story and a good plot as Chris and Zara carry out their duties. The images themselves are bright, colourful and engaging and the only change I would make would be to have a bit more cultural diversity in them so that not all characters are Caucasian. The slightly naive image style will really appeal to children.

There’s so much of value in the story because it provides a safe and entertaining way to introduce children to the ambulance service, to the implications of making hoax calls and to the kind of accidents and illnesses that they may encounter so that there can be family or school discussions without threat. Difficult situations are demystified and this is a very important element of Paramedic Chris. I also think adults will appreciate the nuances of Luke wanting to see his working Mum and the references to what it is really like on the front line of this particular service with long waits at accident and emergency and paperwork to complete.

I thought the vocabulary was excellent. Paramedic Chris is accessible to more able readers independently and provides some more challenging words to develop language where the book is shared between adult and child. I could also see the story being turned into a drama by older children for younger ones in schools. The most important element, however, is the entertaining way in which children are made to understand the implications of making a hoax emergency call.

I really recommend Paramedic Chris. It’s a good story, it’s well written and presented and it can be used and enjoyed on many different levels with children so that it represents excellent value. I hope it does really well.

About Tim Parsons

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Tim Parsons is Chaplain to South East Coast Ambulance Service. Tim realised that the ambulance service wasn’t really represented in children’s fiction and has set out to rectify that with his Paramedic Chris series. Tim hopes one day to open a retreat centre to support people in the local community and proceeds from sales of Paramedic Chris will help towards that vision.

You can follow Tim on Twitter @chaplainparsons and there’s a smashing clip of Tim on Songs of Praise celebrating 70 years of the NHS that you can see here.

The Wives by Lauren Weisberger

The Wives

I have no idea which lovely publicist at Harper Collins sent me a surprise copy of The Wives by Laura Weisberger in return for an honest review but I’m very glad they did and would like to thank them anyway!

Published on 12th July 2018, The Wives is available for purchase through these links.

The Wives

The Wives

*Published in the USA as When Life Gives You Lululemons*

He set her up. They’ll bring him down.

Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. A successful stylist and image consultant to Hollywood stars, she cut her teeth as assistant to legendary fashion editor Miranda Priestly in New York. But with Snapchatting millennials stealing her clients, Emily needs to get back in the game – and fast.

She holes up at the home of her oldest friend Miriam in the upscale suburb of Greenwich. And when Miriam’s friend, model Karolina Hartwell, is publicly dumped by her husband Graham, a senator with presidential ambitions, Emily scents the client of a lifetime.

It’s not just Karolina’s reputation that’s ruined. It’s her family. And Miriam and Emily are determined he won’t get away with it. First they’ll get Karolina’s son back. Then they’ll help her get her own back. Because the wives are mad as hell . . .

My Review of The Wives

Emily Charlton’s stay with friend Miriam will bring her into contact with disgraced Karolina.

The Wives is a hugely fun and entertaining summer read. The plot with its triumvirate of women and errant men is entirely predictable, but actually that’s what I enjoyed. I wasn’t intellectually challenged or emotionally wrecked by reading The Wives but I did find it smashing escapism, I had fun reading it and found it funny and engaging.

Emily takes centre stage and I loved her sarcastic comments and approach. I think there’s a little bit of Emily that we’d all like to have in us. Ironically, given that she is the catalyst for most of the action, Karolina felt the least knowable of the three women to me and consequently I found her the most intriguing. Miriam is the perfect foil for both Karolina and Emily as she occupies the middle ground in all aspects.

I was aghast at the portrayal of society in the suburbs because it was so vivid an image of superficiality, with women spending their days entirely shopping, working out or trying to catch out their husbands. At times The Wives felt possibly quite misandric which I found slightly disturbing and scarily fascinating. It was so far removed from my own experiences that reading it was a bit like I was watching something awful that I could hardly bear but couldn’t tear my eyes from. Again, this made for real entertainment and enjoyment in the read.

I really liked Lauren Weisberger’s sassy style too. I found the dialogue natural and the chapter headings amusing and occasionally quite shocking! So too are some of the events which again add to the gloriously escapist elements of this book.

The Wives is acerbic, witty and an ideal escapist read for packing in your suitcase. Great fun and I really enjoyed it.

About Lauren Weisberger

Lauren Weisberger

Lauren Weisberger is the author of The Devil Wears Prada, which spent more than a year on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists. The film version starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway won a Golden Globe Award and grossed over $300 million worldwide. Her other novels have also been bestsellers. She lives in New York City with her family.

You can find out more by following Lauren on Twitter @LWeisberger and visiting her website. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

Staying in with J L Fellenor

See what you think

I’m always in awe of those who manage to get that debut novel written as I know first hand what a challenge it can be. Some authors, however, seem to go just that little bit further and when J L Fellenor got in touch I had to invite him on to the blog to stay in with me as he fascinated me!

Staying in with J L Fellenor

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag John.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

See what you think

I have brought See what You Think About This (SWYTAT). This is my first novel, and took me around twelve years to write. I have self-published on Amazon/Kindle and, despite advice to the contrary, carried out all the formatting and chose the artwork myself. SWYTAT has been heavily influenced by my interest in psychology, particularly psychoanalysis, and philosophy.

(Then See what You Think About This must have been a real labour of love. Congratulations on your debut novel.)

What can we expect from an evening in with See what You Think About This?

With SWYTAT, I attempted to defy standard literary conventions, while still trying to tell a story. However, unlike stories which generally have some kind of linear narrative, SWYTAT was designed explicitly to be picked up and read from any page to any page; beginning at the start and working to the end is only one way of doing it. That hopefully gives something away about the story, at the heart of which is [maybe] an ‘unreliable’ narrator and a journey they take. The reader, will hopefully, find themselves working to piece together the events, picking up a little philosophy on the way, and, most importantly, reflecting on what the story might mean for their own lives; in terms of what and how they remember, and the significance of things. There may have been a murder. Or there may not.

(Oh my goodness. This sounds fascinating. I bet it was a nightmare to plot! I studied philosophy as part of my degree so I think I’d find See what You Think About This an interesting read.)

What else have you brought along and why? 

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Along with SWYTAT, I brought along an eclectic range of music, for you to choose from as a background. SWYTAT was written, on the whole, while I listened to different musical pieces, to either evoke a feeling, or in many cases knowing that the rhythm of the music would somehow determine the rhythm of what I wrote. Feel free to select anything from the melancholy yet haunting sound of the Rhodes Electric Piano, through some gritty Blues, and on to the Indie scene of recent years. It’s all there, in SWYTAT!

I think we should sample if all John. Thank you so much for staying in with me to chat about See what You Think About This. I’ve found the concept of the book really intriguing. I’m off to find out a bit more!

See what You Think About This

See what you think

“Down the road some more a man looks across to the rails, and watches the train coming down out of the pass. Driver on the train talking to his mate; points across to the edge of the small town they start through. Joanie turns her head and watches the train through the window. Rodman sits back against the wall and the keys to a blue chopper drop from his hand on to the floor. Rodman dies. A nice guy”.

This is about a journey that may or may not have been taken. It’s about the things you already know; the history behind you, and how it sets out your future; the alternative choices that could have been made.

See what You Think About This is a complex psychological thriller; a puzzle to be solved by the reader. Set in a world where everything is at first glance familiar, you are invited to dig a little deeper; to reconsider your taken for granted assumptions about the world, and the part you play in it. Infused with an intense mix of influences, ranging from the philosophy of pessimism, to the pop-culture imagery of the coffee-table magazine, See What You Think About This is not designed to leave you feeling secure and safe in what you know of yourself and the world; a world where nothing is, in fact, certain. You can start at the beginning. You can choose to start in the middle. How you get to the answer, is up to you.

See what You Think About This is available for purchase here.

About John Fellenor

John

John Fellenor lives in rural southern England. Amongst other things, he has most recently worked as an academic, and has published several papers and a book chapter, although he is now looking to move into something that will allow his brain to cool down. John’s ideology, reflected in both his fiction and academic writing, has been heavily influenced by the work of Nietzsche, the philosophy of pessimism, and the psychoanalytic approaches of Jacques Lacan and Ignacio Matte Blanco.

You can follow John on Twitter @JohnFellenor.