Thursday, August 18, 2016

Clementina by Simon Cann | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway

The Blurb

Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating. 

Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money. 

But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered. 

When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner. 

Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.

Clementina by Simon Cann
Series: Leathan Wilkey Novel, #1
Genre: Crime Thriller  
Publication Date: June 8, 2016
Publisher: Coombe Hill Publishing
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-10: 1910398128
ISBN-13: 978-1910398128
eBook File Size: 1969 KB

The Excerpt

I stared up at the six-foot pile of brick held together by cement, then turned to the fastidious man. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Vianney,” he said.

“Vianney. Is this the only way out?”

He nodded, a precise tilt of his head like a movement fashioned by a watchmaker.

“Do you know who is over the back?” I pointed over the wall.

A shake of his head, equally precise. I pulled out my phone. Vianney shook his head again — three small twists. “No signal.” He pointed back inside. “Seven paces.”

I took seven paces and got two bars. “We’re going out the back,” I said when Reece answered. “I’m not sure what’s there, but come and find us there.” Back outside, Clementina was still staring up at the sky. “Ready?” I asked.

She seemed perplexed.

“We’re going to meet the neighbors,” I said, taking her shiny bag and handing it to Vianney. “You’re going first.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“We’re going over the wall — you’re going first. Give your bag to Vianney to hold.” I pointed to the large lump of leather still hanging from her shoulder. “And put this back on.” I handed her the jacket I was carrying. I was sure it wasn’t designed for rough and tumble, but I preferred it be scraped rather than her.

“Why…?” she began.

“Because it’s the only way out, and you’re going first because if I go first there’s no one to help you over the wall,” I said, predicting her range of questions. “What else did you want to do today?”

“I wanted…” she began, slipping on her jacket. “That was rhetorical, wasn’t it?”

[Note: this brief excerpt is from Ch 2. 
A longer excerpt, Chapter 1, can be found here at the author's website.]

The Review

I just read a really good book, y'all — Clementina by Simon Cann. Let me tell you a little about this crime suspense/thriller, Book #1 in the Leathan Wilkey series.

I initially read Chapter One of Clementina on Author Simon Cann's website, prior to registering for this blog tour. I was hooked from the beginning, and immediately signed up. I couldn't wait to finish reading Clementina!

This is definitely not my usual genre  cozy mystery. Clementina is a Crime Thriller, with some intense passages. The book is not completely dark and suspenseful, however.

Due to some undercover work in London that went bad, Leathan Wilkey left the UK for Paris. His new job is "babysitting" Clementina, which is a lot harder than it sounds since she is a spoiled, willful 17-year-old. 

Leathan, the narrator, displays a rather snarky sense of humor at times, which added a lot to my appreciation of Clementina. Here are some examples:

  • To the right, a figure appeared.
Female. Slim. Five eight. Long blond hair, styled with a just-got-out-of-bed look, which may have been due to her just getting out of bed.

  • I said the only thing I knew about jewelry in Rue de la Paix: There are no price tags. European legislation mandates that every item for sale has a visible price tag showing the full price, including any sales tax, but jewelry in Rue de la Paix has a special dispensation.
"Of course!" said Clementina, "It's art! You can't put a price on such beauty."
"And yet somehow the stores manage to find a price to charge you," I muttered, sparking Clementina's offense.

  • "What do you think of this?" she asked, holding up a very delicate necklace. To me it looked silver, but I guessed it was platinum.
"Looks good," I said, not knowing what to say. As I've said, jewelry isn't my thing.
"Say more than that," said Clementina, clearly disappointed in my response.
I shrugged.
She exaggerated a shrug back. 
I held out my hands, letting her see both sides. Then I pushed back my sleeves to show there was nothing around my wrists before I indicated my earlobes, each lacking any adornment. Finally, I tugged down my collar to show I wasn't wearing a necklace. "Do you see something missing? Something I don't display?"
She paused, letting the expression on her face fall before talking. "Oh God, I'm sorry!" she said, throwing her hands over her mouth. "Leathan, I am so, so, sooo sorry. Now you mention it, it's obvious: You're missing any sense of style. Oh, you poor thing. I am so, so sorry."
I should have been upset, but she managed to carry off the put-down with a certain aplomb.

Leathan is remarkably patient with Clementina, even though she can behave like a little snot. Leathan keeps his head, whether he's dealing with Clementina's demands or her boyfriend's dead body. He saves the day, by outwitting the bad guys with his quick thinking and fast talking.

There are two more books planned for the Leathan Wilkey series. They are also set in Paris. I can't wait to read them!

I recommend Clementina to all fans of crime thrillers and suspense. I think it will particularly appeal to fans of Frederick Forsyth and Simon Cann's other series. 

I really enjoyed Clementina by Simon Cann, and award it Four Kitties! 
Four out of five kitties
Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Clementina in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Follow the tour here, to read interviews, and other excerpts and guest posts. 
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. 

The Guest Post

Character Creation

For me, characters start with a simple question: What does this person want?

Everybody wants something, even if it’s world peace or just to be left alone. Until I know what that person want in their life, I can’t move forward.

When I have a notion about what that person wants, I ask a second question: What would this character do to get what they want? 

Would they lie? Too easy… everyone lies. Who would they lie to? Now that’s getting more interesting. Would they hurt someone to get what they want? If they would hurt someone, then how would they hurt them? Would they hurt someone’s feelings — perhaps betray a loved one — or would they be prepared to inflict physical pain? Perhaps even to kill?

From there I work backwards and ask myself what sort of person would do these things?

A mother might conceivably kill in order to protect her child. It’s not too much of a stretch to conceive of a dramatic situation where that scenario could be set. But that same mother would not kill a complete stranger who was no threat. More than that, a mother would likely avoid any situation where as a consequence she might be taken away from her child (such as jail).

For other characters the route to violence or other less socially acceptable means of solving problems will be swifter. For these characters I have to dig deeper and understand what in their lives has led then to the situation where they are so ready to deploy these more extreme measures. I may not tell the reader these details, but I need to know.

Understanding what each individual wants and what they’ll do to get what they want is also important for another reason: conflict.

Conflict is a key aspect that drives forward any story. Too often in fiction conflict is, essentially, either two people shouting at each other (usually over trivial matters) or two people punching each other. Now sure, these are pretty obvious examples of conflict, but readers want something far more nuanced and complex than a couple of guys knocking lumps out of each other (not that knocking lumps isn’t a heap of fun sometimes).

If you get two characters and they both want the same thing — but only one can have it — then you have the basic set up for a novel’s worth of conflict. Make sure it’s a zero sum game — I win so you must lose and there’s no possibility of a win/win situation — and then the question of how far each will go to get that one thing becomes really interesting.

So the story’s off and running and I still don’t have a clue what the character looks like.

The Author

About Simon Cann

Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.

In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.

Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies. He lives in London.

Find Simon on the web at

The Giveaway

Simon Cann will award a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card 
to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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