Sunday, 23 July 2017

#BlogTour: The Ludlow Ladies' Society by Ann O'Loughlin @annolwriter @bwpublishing @FMcMAssociates

Published by Black and White Publishing on 20th July 2017. My thanks to Sophie at FMcM Associates for the review copy and having me on the blog tour.

Connie Carter has lost everyone and everything dear to her. Leaving her home in Manhattan, she moves to Wicklow, Ireland hoping to heal her broken heart, and in search of answers: why did her husband plough all their money into the dilapidated Ludlow Hall before he died?

Although Connie initially avoids the villagers, she meets local women Eve and Hetty, who introduce her to the Ludlow Ladies' Society, a crafts group in need of a permanent home.

Eve Brannigan is also struggling with pain from her past. After her husband's suicide, it become clear the he had bankrupted them, and her beloved home Ludlow Hall was repossessed. Now, seeing the American Connie living there, the hurt of losing her house is renewed. But as she and Hetty begin stitching memory quilts in order to remember those they've lost, can she let go of her past and allow herself some happiness? And can Connie ever recover from the death of her much-loved daughter Molly?

My Thoughts:

The Ludlow Ladies' Society is a book that came along at the right time for me, and was a much needed change from all of the crime books I have been reading lately. It was full of warmth and compassion, and sucked me up into it, like being wrapped up in one of the infamous quilts the ladies of the society produce. 

In this story the ladies have known loss, but they have each other. Some are at transitional stages in life particularly Connie who has moved to Ludlow Hall from America. She is in a strange place, coping with her grief and not sure how she is going to fit in to the village. 

Ludlow Hall is wonderfully and descriptively written about, I could imagine that I was standing outside. There is a great sense of place here and the author manages to draw the reader in. 

The Ludlow Ladies' society is not a story all about threads and quilts though. There is real grief amongst the ladies and at times it is palpable as it threatens to overwhelm the ladies. Unusually all of the characters were all likeable and I enjoyed spending time with them all. 

Ultimately this a story of friendship and compassion, a group of ladies that support each other come what may. I found it to be absorbing, warm, witty and very moving. 

Much like the patches on a quilt, lives are made up of various moments and memories to create a jumble of the good and the bad. Friendships that stand the test of time are those that make it through the good and the bad. 

A really great read!





About the Author: 

A leading journalist in Ireland for nearly thirty years, Ann O’Loughlin has covered all major news events of the last three decades. Ann spent most of her career with independent newspapers where she was Security Correspondent at the height of The Troubles, and was a senior journalist on the Irish Independent and Evening Herald. She is currently a senior journalist with the Irish Examiner newspaper covering legal issues. Ann has also lived and worked in India. Originally from the west of Ireland she now lives on the east coast in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two children. Her debut novel The Ballroom CafĂ© was a bestseller, with over 250,000 copies sold in eBook. Her second novel The Judge’s Wife was an Irish bestseller for 5 weeks and was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel Award (RoNA) in February 2017. 

You can find the Author on Twitter: @annolwriter

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.





Saturday, 22 July 2017

#BlogTour: The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan @NoExitPress @AusmaZehanat

Published on 27th July 2017 by No Exit Press. My thanks to the publisher and Anne Cater for the review copy and having me on the blog tour.

One man is dead.
But thousands were his victims.
Can a single murder avenge that of many?
Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?
In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.
My Thoughts:

The Unquiet Dead is the debut novel of Ausma Zehanat Khan. It is a crime novel but it is also a mystery novel. It is packed full of research and information about the Bosnian War, a subject I am ashamed to admit that I know little about. 

Set in Canada, Detective Esa Khattack and Rachel Getty are investigating the death of Christopher Drayton. It soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems when evidence suggests that Drayton is a War Criminal. 

Detective Esa Khattack is a muslim and it was refreshing to read about a central character particularly a Detective that was Muslim. He was by far my favourite character in this book. 

The Author writes with great style and I was entranced throughout, I would love to hear more from Khattack and Getty in the future. 

Due to the subject matter The Unquiet Dead is not an easy read, but nonetheless it is an important one. As a reader I was left richly rewarded and I was left with much to think about. 

Whilst based around historical matters, some of which are horrific and deeply moving, this book is also made current by the fine and eloquent writing of this author. 

I feel that I have stepped outside of what would be my usual type of genre and took a leap of faith by reading this one. However I am the one that has been left all the better for reading this remarkable debut. 

Thank you to the Author for making me open my eyes, my mind and my heart. 

About the Author:



Photograph by Athif Khan
  Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of The Unquiet Dead which won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. 
A frequent lecturer and commentator, Ms. Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. Ms. Khan completed her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottawa, and her B.A. in English Literature & Sociology at the University of Toronto.
Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine. The first magazine to address a target audience of young Muslim women, Muslim Girlre-shaped the conversation about Muslim women in North America. The magazine was the subject of two documentaries, and hundreds of national and international profiles and interviews, including CNN International, Current TV, and Al Jazeera "Everywoman". 
Ausma Zehanat Khan practiced immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer, and currently lives in Colorado with her husband.
You can find the Author on Twitter: @AusmaZehanat  

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.




Sunday, 9 July 2017

#BlogTour: Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy @PenguinUKBooks @VikingBooksUK

Published by Penguin on 6th July 2017. My thanks to publisher for the review copy and having me on the blog tour.

When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship's safety.
One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone.
What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents - now turning on one another and blaming themselves - try to recover their children and their shattered lives.

My Thoughts:

Do Not Become Alarmed is the first book I have read by Maile Meloy, and I have no doubt that it will become one of the books to read this summer. It has been marketed as the biggest thriller this summer. That created a certain expectation, and sadly whilst being well written, it fell slightly short of being a thriller in the sense that I would expect. 

The story starts off with two families, who are taking a cruise for Christmas, the ship is opulent and the families are well heeled. The cruise is for two weeks and the ship will travel down the Coast of Mexico and Central America. On board the ship they make friends with a third family who are Argentinian. 

An excursion day arrives and whilst the husbands go off the play golf the others including the children all go off to explore and a this is where things begin to turn sinister. A series of unfortunate events lead up to the children's disappearance. The story is told from the parents and the children's perspective. The latter I enjoyed the most. 

The prose in this story is great but I just felt the pace was slightly off. I was however interested enough to read on to find out how things would play out. I think my biggest problem however was that I didn't feel emotionally invested in the outcome. I didn't find some of the characters believable, particularly the behaviour of the parents after the children went missing.  

An interesting read, and premise but not one I found tugged at my heartstrings and made me gasp at the end. I would have liked more emotional depth to the characters. 

About the Author:

Maile Meloy is the author of the novels Liars and Saints (which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and chosen for the Richard and Judy book club) and A Family Daughter; the short-story collections Half in Love and Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It; and the award-winning Apothecary trilogy for young readers. She has received the PEN/Malamud Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was chosen as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Los Angeles.

You can find her on Twitter: @mailemeloy

Saturday, 8 July 2017

#BlogTour: The Other Twin by @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks #TheOtherTwin


Published by Orenda Books on 3rd July 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour.


A stunning, dark and sexy debut thriller set in the winding lanes and underbelly of Brighton, centring around the social media world, where resentments and accusations are played out, identities made and remade, and there is no such thing as the truth


When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India's death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India's laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its wellheeled families, The Other Twin is startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth...

My Thoughts:

I am really excited to be able to share my review of The Other Twin today, which is highly original, very current and unlike anything else I have read. 

The Other Twin opens with Poppy returning home as her sister India has died after falling from a railway bridge. The official line is suicide, but Poppy isn't convinced. She has a need and a want to get to the truth, what unravels is a very dark, disturbing and high octane thriller. As the search for truth plays out, it is not originally clear what is real and what is not and who can be trusted.

We are wound down the darker sides of Brighton. The author makes this novel current with the use of social media and this a real reflection of the positives and negatives of this faceless society. 

The Other Twin is full of mysterious, flawed characters. A lot of whom were unlikeable, but this only added to the intrigue and the suspense elements. The Author has created a very believe and highly current novel. 

The pace is fast and short sharp chapters interspersed with online entries keeps the reader right in the middle of the action. There is a great sense of place captured here and the author has managed to bring the location to life for the reader. 

The Other Twin is gripping, fascinating and I can't wait to hear more from this author in the future. 

About the Author:
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters' Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

You can find her on Twitter:
@LucyVHayAuthor

Please do have a look at the other stops along the blog tour.









Thursday, 6 July 2017

#BlogTour: Exquisite by Sarah Stovell @Sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks #Exquisite


Published on 1st June 2017 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour.

A chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller set in the Lake District, centring on the obsessive relationship that develops between two writers…

Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. 
Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. 
When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… 
Or does it?
 Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

My Thoughts:

Delighted that I am finally able to share my review of Exquisite. An absolute page turner of a novel that kept me up for hours and left me thinking for days after finishing it. 

Exquisite is a story of obsession told from the perspectives of both Bo Luxton and Alice Dark. Bo is a well known Author who runs a writing retreat and Alice is a writer just starting out, who sees the retreat as a way of furthering her writing hopes and dreams. 

The ladies have an immediate connection, sharing emails etc when they both return home, but  it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems. From here on in the plot is tense and riveting and sucks the reader in, never quite sure what is going to happen next and what the final outcome will be. Two damaged women that are both at points in their lives where they are not particularly happy. At 250 pages, Exquisite is relatively short but it manages to deliver on so many fronts. Thought provoking, scary, exciting and really disturbing. 

Tension mounts throughout as an unease and sense of foreboding falls on to every page. Exquisite is also beautifully written with wonderful prose and a real sense of place. The writing about the Lake District was particularly good. Short, sharp chapters help to keep the pace of the story moving and as the main protagonists are both unreliable narrators makes this book so special.

I will not forget this book in a hurry. One of the best in the genre and most certainly it will be one of my favourites this year. 



About the Author:

Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

You can find her on Twitter: @Sarahlovescrime


Please do have a look at some of the other stops on the blog tour. 


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

#BlogTour: The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse #LoveLesley @ed_pr #25in25


I am delighted to be a stop on this very special blog tour to celebrate the 25th book of Lesley Pearse. The Woman in the Wood is published on 29th June 2017 by Michael Joseph. My thanks to Darran at ed public relations for having me.

Lesley Pearse is a global bestselling author, having sold more than 10 million books to date. I have read some and they are well written, crossing many genres and boundaries. Firstly I will tell you about The Woman in the Wood and then I have a Factoid for you from one of Lesley's previous books.

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan have always had each other. Until that fateful day in the wood… 

1960: Maisy and Duncan Mitcham are woken one night to find their mother is being committed to an insane asylum. Soon after, their father packs them off to ‘Nightingales’, their grandmother’s country house in the New Forest. Cold and distant, she leaves them to their own devices to explore; a freedom they have never experienced before and which they love. That is, until the day Duncan doesn’t come home from the woods. 

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive and with Grandmother Mitcham showing little concern, it falls to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the woods. A woman called Grace Deville.

So that sounds really exciting, I can't wait to read it. Perhaps you are a fan of Lesley Pearse, I would love to hear which is your favourite of hers. I have been given Lesley's 13th book to give you a fact about. Secrets was first published in 2004...



It's 1930, and Secrets tells the tale of one girl caught in a family mystery, a struggle against cruelty, and a quest for love . . .
This is just one of many captivating novels from the international NO.1 BESTSELLING author Lesley Pearse.
Without her mother she is alone in the world . . .
Twelve-year-old Adele is placed in a bleak, cruel children's home after a family tragedy drives her mother to madness. But when trust is betrayed Adele has no choice but to run away . . .
Alone and friendless, she heads for Sussex, to seek out the grandmother she has never known. However the journey, without food or shelter, leaves her desperately ill. Surrounded by the beautiful Rye Marshes, Adele is nursed back to health.
Can she now dream of a new life? But what will happen when her mother reappears, bearing shocking family secrets?
About the Author: 
Lesley Pearse's novels have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. She lives in Devon and loves walking on the beach with her Grandchildren and dogs .
Novels by Lesley Pearse:
1. Georgia
2. Tara
3. Charity
4. Ellie
5. Camellia
6. Rosie
7. Charlie
8. Never Look Back
9. Trust Me
10. Father Unknown
11. Till we Meet Again
12. Remember Me
13. Secrets
14. A Lesser Evil
15. Hope
16. Faith
17. Gypsy
18. Stolen – A No.1 Bestseller
19. Belle – A No.1 Bestseller
20. The Promise – A No.2 Bestseller
21. Forgive Me – No.1 Bestseller
22. Survivor – No.1 Bestseller
23. Without a Trace – No.1 Bestseller – over 200,000 copies sold to date.
24. Dead to Me – published in paperback, 4th May 2017.
25. THE WOMAN IN THE WOOD – LESLEY’S 25th BESTSELLER

You can find out more:
Website: www.lesleypearse.com
Twitter: @LesleyPearse

Monday, 26 June 2017

#Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee @HideawayFall @MJonathanLee #BrokenBranches

Broken Branches is published by Hideaway Fall on the 27th July 2017. It is the first release from this publisher, my thanks to them for sending me a review copy.


'Family curses don't exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don't think so.' 


A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family. 


There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse. 

My Thoughts:

Broken Branches is the first publication from brand new publisher Hideaway Fall. There has been a massive marketing campaign behind this one and social media has been abuzz. That brings a trepidation of its own as a reader and reviewer, will the story live up to hype surrounding it. I am happy to say that Broken Branches delivered on so many levels.

Ian Perkins returns to the isolated cottage that was his family home, a home that has been passed down from generation to generation. Also passed down, if it is to believed is a curse on the people that live in the cottage. A tree in the garden seems the catalyst for this. The story is pretty dark and creepy throughout, there is a really Gothic feel to it. The ethereal nature of this story means that there is little to feel happy about as events unfold.

Ian Perkins is falling apart, driving himself crazy trying to piece together his family history. Trying to find out about the curse in order to stop it. The cottage makes noises, a creak here, a door slamming there. Papers being moved and put out of order. On the face of it, this would seem ghostly. I am not convinced. The further I got into the story, the more I understood. The Author has done a deft job of writing a multi layered story a ghostly, supernatural story that can be taken at face value or one that runs much deeper if you dare to scrape beneath the surface.

There are chapters about Ian Perkins early years and his time in the cottage during his childhood. He seemingly wanted to be accepted and he also wanted to better himself, he wanted to be different. He didn't want to be defined by life on the farm. I still have a few unanswered questions about his childhood and why he felt the way that he did.

I took more from this story in the aspects of the decline in one persons Mental Health, never have I been a believer in ghosts and curses. Ian Perkins is not a well man, a fragmented mind, the branches of his memories and his present broken and becoming evermore disjointed. The Author has written about one persons unravelling with great skill and care.

The pace built to a crescendo as the story reached its final chapter, almost as if things had to get worse before they could get better. A reminder that much like a tree branch we can bend but we must not break.

Hugely readable and thought provoking.



About the Author:
M. Jonathan Lee (also known as Jonathan Lee) was born in 1974. He is an award-winning novelist who has had two novels in the #10 Amazon charts. He was born in Yorkshire, northern England where he still lives today. 

His first novel, the critically-acclaimed The Radio was shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012 and is the first in the loosely titled The 'The' trilogy. His second novel, The Page (the second in The 'The' trilogy) was released in January 2015. 

His third novel A Tiny Feeling of Fear was released in September 2015. It has been hailed as 'original and inspiring' by Sunday Times best-selling author, Milly Johnson.

He is working closely with Rethink and Mind Charities to raise awareness of mental health issues, and is a regular commentator on the BBC. 

He signed a four-book deal in February 2015 and is currently writing a non-fiction rock biography about Boston-based band Hallelujah the Hills. He is also writing three further fiction titles, the first of which is to be released in late 2017.

His fourth novel, Broken Branches is due out in July 2017, published by Hideaway Fall. 

More details including contact information can be found at his website: 

www.jonathanleeauthor.com

He is happy to talk to anyone...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

#Review: Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams #LetterstoEloise @EmilyRMWilliams

Letters to Eloise was published in February 2017. My thanks to the Author for sending me a review copy.


Letters to Eloise is the incredibly warm, witty, poignant and heart-wrenching debut epistolary novel by bestselling author Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.


‘Receiving a hand written letter is something that always puts a smile on my face, no matter who the sender is.’ Flora Tierney.


When post-graduate student Flora falls unexpectedly pregnant during her final year studies she hits a huge predicament; continue a recent affair with her handsome but mysterious lecturer who dazzles her with love letters taken from the ancient tale of ‘Abelard and Heloise’, or chase after the past with her estranged first love?
But will either man be there to support her during the turmoil ahead?



‘Banish me, therefore, for ever from your heart’, Abelard to Heloise.

My Thoughts:

I was delighted to be approached directly by the Author to read Letters to Eloise. I particularly like reading books in Epistolary format, some of my favourite books are written this way. One of the concerns I had when agreeing to read this book though was whether the plot would resonate with me, I don't have children and writing letters to an unborn child might be something that I would find hard to picture doing. However I was utterly absorbed by this book and I think that anybody that has a heart would be too. 

Flora is in her final year of University, she has lots of plans for her future and at the time that didn't involve having a baby. She finds herself in a difficult position, with little support. Although she struck me as a lady with a fierce independence and great strength of character. She knows one thing, she wants to keep her baby and she is going to love it. As I said previously the book is written in the form of letters to her baby and each chapter starts off with a measurement of how much it has grown. The letters were poignant and emotive and were the perfect vessel to show the reader the varying degrees of love. A love between a mother and child. A love between partners, and finally the love that only comes along once in a lifetime. It also allowed Flora some calm in her live through the turmoil and kept her grounded when all around her was in chaos. 

This story is wonderfully and skilfully written, by the end my heart was just about torn out. I did not anticipate how all the characters lives turned out. The Author has written the book with a great deal of skill and an emotional depth to the characters. Certainly one to read with tissues and a writer to watch in the future for sure. An assured debut. 


About the Author:

Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and a menagerie of small pets. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school. Letters to Eloise is her debut novel.

Find Emily on Twitter: @EmilyRMWilliams



Saturday, 24 June 2017

#BlogTour: Nailing Jess by Triona Scully @cranachanbooks @TScullyWriter #NailingJess

My Thoughts:


Nailing Jess has been described as shocking, I would agree with that. It is also the most unusual book I have read so far this year. It was far removed from what I expected when I set out to read it. I really love the element of surprise that was brought to me.

It took me a short while to adjust myself to reading this story. The writing is great but everything that we know is turned on its head. A crime novel is at the base of this story. A serial killer is on the loose, young boys are being brutally murdered. However this isn't any old crime story, you see. Women are in charge and the men are the stay at home parents. It is the men that get the wolf whistles and suchlike and it is the women that use the foulest of language. The men wear skirts, make up and pras and are answerable to the women. The hierarchy is completely different to the world we live in today.

DCI Jane Wayne is somewhat of a renegade Officer she behaves inappropriately and has been regularly in trouble for her behaviour towards her male colleagues. I must admit to cringing at the way she carried on and I didn't warm to her at all. Although I do believe she was the perfect character for this particular story. She doesn't like her colleague Ben who has been put in charge of the serial killer case, he is a menimist and seemingly everything Jane Wayne hates, she really doesn't want to be answerable to a male.

I was fascinated by the way that the author was able to challenge the reader. To be able to challenge the readers preconceived ideas and stereotypes and make them think about sexist attitudes that thankfully seem to be on the decline and be able to reverse all of that and say What if things had been the other way round?

The language in this book is somewhat colourful and I would suggest that this book won't be for everyone but I found it to be rewarding. I commend the author for tackling gender norms and sexism in the workplace in a way that was inspired. An exciting new author and one to watch out for in the future.

I would be fascinated to read any further work by this author.


About the Author:


Irish born Triona lives in Edinburgh with her son Mikey. Nailing Jess is her debut novel. Triona blogs at trionascully.com

Twitter: @TScullyWriter

Please have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.







Friday, 23 June 2017

#BlogTour: Calling Down the Storm by Peter Murphy #PeterMurphy @noexitpress #CallingDowntheStorm

Published by No Exit Press on 29th June 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and to Anne Cater for having me on the blog tour.

Calling Down the Storm is the story of two separate but strangely parallel lives: the life of a defendant on trial for murder, and the life of the judge who presides over his trial. 

April 1971. When DI Webb and DS Raymond receive an emergency call, a horrific scene awaits them. Susan Lang is lying on the ground, bleeding to death. Her husband Henry is sitting nearby, holding a large, blood-stained knife. In shock, Henry claims to have no memory of the events that led to his wife’s death, leaving his barrister, Ben Schroeder, little to defend a potential charge of murder. 

Unknown to his strict Baptist wife, Deborah, Mr Justice Conrad Rainer has a secret life as a highstakes gambler. In his desperation for money, he has already raided his own and Deborah’s resources, and now he has crossed another line – one from which there is no return. 

To his horror, as the trial of Henry Lang starts, Conrad discovers a sinister connection between it and his gambling debts, one that will cause his world to unravel. 

My Thoughts:

I have always enjoyed a legal thriller, something about the factual details and the pace of the courtroom I think. Calling Down the Storm is no exception to that, I found it had all the ingredients of the genre and I am certainly pleased to add another author to the list of those that I wasn't aware of.

Set in 1971 the book opens with a brutal murder. Susan Lang has been stabbed to death. Her husband Henry is sitting nearby holding the murder weapon. Seemingly in shock he can't remember what happened, Is he a cold blooded killer like everyone seems to think he is. Of course there is a back story, there always is. A messy divorce and ongoing custody battle, sets some dramatic scenes within the plot and the courtroom. 

The judge trying the case of Henry Lang is Mr Justice Conrad Rainer, who has enough problems of his own as his personal life is descending into a cycle of chaos. A problem with drinking and gambling is impacting on his career and he calls upon his friends in high places. When the trial commences it becomes evident that there is a person of disrepute that inextricably links Rainer and Lang. Does this cause damage to the trial? Is justice served? and is Lang the only one in the wrong?

I found the parallel elements of this story fascinating and the character driven nature made it very readable and gripping. It raised a lot of questions for me. Such as what happened in the 1970's when father's fought for custody. Is there one rule for the lay man and a different rule for members of the legal system? Was Justice served to all involved?

Gripping, thought provoking and believable. An interesting plot and criminal case that had me turning the pages well into the night. I could easily recommend this one to fans of the genre and perhaps to those who might be trying the genre for the first time. Authentic and believable.

About the Author:

Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and seved for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He has written two political thrillers about the US presidency - Removal and Test of Resolve - and five legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder: A Higher Duty, A Matter for the Jury, And is there Honey still for Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr and Calling Down the Storm. He lives in Cambridgeshire.


Please do have a look at the other stops on the Blog Tour.




Friday, 9 June 2017

#BlogTour: The Lighterman by Simon Michael @simonmichaeluk @urbanepub #TheLighterman

The Lighterman was published by Urbane Publications on 8th June 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Michelle Ryles (http://www.thebookmagnet.co.uk/) for inviting me on the blog tour. 

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne. Simon Michael's follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne. The Lighterman provides more of Charles's personal history, dating back to the war years when he worked on the River Thames with his cousin Izzy. Gangland leader Ronnie Kray is not a man to forgive or forget. Holborne has 'taken liberties' and revenge will follow. But how to get at a tough and resourceful Brief with his own history of criminality and a penchant for violence? The answer: find a man who can't be hanged twice. Now Holborne must dig up the secrets of the past to save two lives ... one of them his own. Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

My Thoughts:

The Lighterman is the third in the Charles Holborne series and is one book that I have eagerly anticipated since I closed the last page on An Honest Man. This series is completely solid and one that I will return to time and time again. 

The 1960's are once again vividly and evocativally described in The Lighterman. Charles Holborne is authentic and the return to 60's London was welcome. I feel that we got to know much more about the central character in this book, which was a joy as he was something of an unfinished article or an enigma in the previous books. 

Within the pages of this book we have The Blitz and Charles Holborne's earlier life, and also when he was a Lighterman.  The Krays also feature in this novel, adding a grit and relevance to the story. There is a court case too and in my opinion this is where this author shines and is actually unrivalled. 

Charles Holborne as ever is a superb character. I like the fact that he is slightly flawed, always seems to be usually on the right side of wrong and seems to find himself in tricky and compromising situations. 

Yet again another accomplished and riveting legal thriller from an author that is fast becoming the master of the genre. Yet again I cannot wait to read more from this series in the future. I would suggest that this book would read well as a standalone but you wouldn't want to not read the earlier books as they are so good.

If my review has whetted your appetite, I am delighted that I have one paperback copy of The Lighterman to giveaway. UK entrants only on this one only please. 



About the Author:
Simon Michael was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1978. In his many years of prosecuting and defending criminal cases he has dealt with a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.
A storyteller all his life, Simon started writing short stories at school. His first novel (co-written) was published by Grafton in 1988 and was followed in 1989 by his first solo novel, The Cut Throat, the first of the Charles Holborne series, based on Simon’s own experiences at the criminal Bar. The Cut Throat was successful in the UK (WH Allen) and in the USA (St Martin’s Press) and the next in the series, The Long Lie, was published in 1992. Between the two, in 1991, Simon’s short story “Split” was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan/Perrier Short Story Award. He was also commissioned to write two feature screenplays.
Simon then put writing aside to concentrate on his career at the Bar. After a further 25 years’ experience he now has sufficient plots based on real cases for another dozen legal thrillers. The first, The Brief was published in the autumn of 2015 and An Honest Man was published in 2016.

You can find Simon Michael on Twitter: @simonmichaeluk

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour: