Monday, 29 May 2017

#BlogTour: Reconciliation for the Dead by Paul E. Hardisty @OrendaBooks @Hardisty_Paul #ReconciliationForTheDead


Published by Orenda Books on 30th May 2017. My thanks to the publisher and Anne Cater for inviting me on to the blog tour.

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier. 
It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make. Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. 
Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book that I have read by this author, not really sure why I haven't read the others now. The previous two books are The Abrupt Physics of Dying and The Evolution of Fear. This book is a prequel and I did not feel at a disadvantage by not having read the previous two books first. 

Reconciliation for the Dead takes us back in time as Claymore Straker recounts the events that led to his dishonourable discharge. He testifies to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Ensues is a gripping read about a subject that I didn't know much about - The Cold War and the Apartheid Regime. 

Claymore Straker is one of the most fascinating characters that I have come across in recent times. A balance of good and bad. In fact there are lots of amazingly drawn characters that build up the scene of this magnificent novel.

Steeped in atmosphere, the authors writing style is evocative and transports the reader right into the action. The arid landscapes, the dust and the horror. Power and greed being major parts of the struggle, this book was quite disturbing at times and horrifying but my goodness it is powerful. Scenes of torture and brutality were upsetting but necessary in the telling of events that were very real and that happened in our lifetimes. 

Wonderfully researched, the superb prose just rolled off the page. A wonderful reminder that we should always try to do the right thing. I could not recommend this book more. Now off to get the other two books in the series, so I can find out more about Claymore Straker. This series has well and truly captured my imagination. 




About the Author: 

Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a cafĂ© in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.

You can find him on Twitter: @Hardisty_Paul

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



Thursday, 25 May 2017

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher #AlltheGoodThings @claresitafisher


All the Good Things will be published by Viking Books an imprint of Penguin Books on 1st June 2017. My thanks to the publisher and author for having me on the blog tour.

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?

My Thoughts:

Bethany Mitchell is only young, she is also in prison. She is a bright young lady. She loves reading and writing stories, although she hasn't done much of either lately. She has committed a terrible crime. She doesn't think that she should ever be forgiven, nor does she think she should forgive herself. With the help of her prison therapist she is encouraged to start writing a list of all the good things, instead of concentrating on the bad. 

These good things allow her to tell us in order pretty much what happened to her. Her story is told in her voice and all the bits about her past life and what actually happened to her slowly unfold. I found this to be as equally moving as I did heartbreaking. I found Beth to be a very warm character and found her story to be incredibly touching. Through Beth we get an exploration as to how a series of events can spiral out of all control.

This book explores some complex and brave themes such as Mental Health stigmas, isolation, financial difficulties and growing up within the social care system. The author tackled these with much maturity and they were sensitively handled. 

I read this book very quickly, I found it to be really sad but also very real. I think the thing I will take from it is that there is always hope and good things to take from life even when things go bad. 

An extremely haunting and accomplished debut. 

About the Author:


Clare Fisher was born in Tooting, south London, in 1987. After accidentally getting obsessed with writing fiction when she should have been studying for a BA in History at the University of Oxford. Clare completed an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and now works as a bookseller in Leeds.

An avid observer of the diverse area of south London in which she grew up, Clare's writing is inspired by her long-standing interest in social exclusion and the particular ways in which it affects vulnerable women and girls.

All the Good Things is her first novel. You can find her on Twitter @claresitafisher



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


Monday, 15 May 2017

Blog Tour: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks #Block46


Published by Orenda Books on 15th May 2017 in Paperback. My thanks to Karen at Orenda for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour. 

Evil remembers… Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. 
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea's. 
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. 
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? 
Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea's friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. 
Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

My Thoughts:

Block 46 is a book that has been expertly translated by Maxim Jakubowski. The writing flowed seamlessly. 

This book held me completely and utterly transfixed from the first page to the last. It is shocking and daring, real and raw. I have been trying to gather my thoughts for the last couple of hours, but I am still stunned by what a talented writer Johana Gustawsson is. 

This is a complex story with many, many layers. One layer is the investigation and hunt for a depraved serial killer. Another layer is the concentration camp of Buchenwald during Nazi Occupation. The two stories are inextricably linked but the author is a master of her craft in revealing this to the reader piece by piece. 

Set in London, Germany, and Sweden. This added to the size and enormity of the events that take place within the short, sharp chapters. There are a lots of characters all that worked well and added to the remarkable plot. The pace of the story is perfect, never stilted nor moving to rapidly.

There is violence within the pages, for some it will shock and for all it should. Violence that isn't in any way gratuitous, but is the vehicle by which the story is told. We all know that terrible events occurred at concentration camps. Events that should never be forgotten to people that should never be forgotten. People who's lives were forever changed and that is the ones who made it out alive. 

Having visited what was a concentration camp whilst living in Germany, the sections set in 1944 moved me profoundly. Writers should never shy away from retelling the events that occurred and I admire the author immensely for the meticulous amount of research that she must have done. 

The past have been perfectly blended with the present when dead bodies start to turn up, young boys and Linnea a talented Jewellery designer. What links these murders with the past and can the killer be stopped before he/she strikes again. 

Dark and disturbing this book has left me with much to think about. I certainly won't be forgetting it in a hurry. Characters that make your skin crawl with a convincing and intriguing plot. I also thought the working partnership between Emily Roy and Alexis Castells worked really well. There really is nothing to dislike about this book. 

This is the best book I have read so far this year!





About the Author:

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

You can find Johana on Twitter: @JoGustawsson

Please have a look at the author stops on the blog tour: 


Monday, 1 May 2017

A Life Between Us by Louise Walters @LouiseWalters12 #ALifeBetweenUs


A Life Between us was published via Matador in March 2017. My thanks to the Author for sending me a review copy.

Tina Thornton’s twin sister Meg died in a childhood accident, but for almost forty years Tina has secretly blamed herself for her sister’s death. During a visit to her aging Uncle Edward and his sister Lucia, who both harbour dark secrets of their own, Tina makes a discovery that forces her to finally question her memories of the day her sister died. 

Who, if anyone, did kill Meg? As Tina finds the courage to face the past, she unravels the tangled family mysteries of her estranged parents, her beautiful French Aunt Simone, the fading, compassionate Uncle Edward, and above all, the cold, bitter Aunt Lucia, whose spectral presence casts a long shadow over them all. 

A Life Between Us is a beautifully evocative story of a family torn apart at the seams, which will appeal to readers who enjoy family sagas and modern-day mysteries.


My Thoughts:

A Life Between Us is an utterly intriguing and compelling story. It is set across varying decades including the present day and it tells the story of one family. The characters were haunting, emotive and nuanced.

An exploration of family secrets, betrayals and mysteries, makes this book taut and suspenseful. I particularly enjoyed discovering how the characters past actions can cause lasting effects in the future both for themselves and others. 

Tina is still grieving the loss of her twin, who died when they were children, she has never quite got over it. It effects her daily life and relationship with her husband. Tina's Aunt Lucia is not a likeable character and is very unhappy in life, nothing pleases her and everybody feels her wrath and bitterness. Tina is particularly close to her Uncle Edward, but he seems to have something to hide. 

Particularly poignant parts of the book include Tina's childhood letters that she writes to her cousin in America. This only added more detail to a character that was to become deeply involved with the loss of her sister. 

This book is something of a family saga with an element of mystery involved. The pace of the book is not fast but it was exciting to read, waiting patiently for the characters and their pasts to unravel for the reader. 

I found this book to be absorbing and wonderfully written, the different threads of the story never becoming confused but carefully being sewn together at the end to create a satisfying ending. 

I really recommend this one, a story of grief and loss, family ties, mysteries and secrets.

About the Author:




Louise Walters lives in Northamptonshire with her husband and five children. Louise's debut novel, Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase (Hodder 2014), was translated into 15 languages. A Life Between Us is her second novel.

You can find her on Twitter: @LouiseWalters12