Category Archives: Fiction

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

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The Flower Girls – Alice Clark-Platts

Another top notch thriller that hit the bookstands in January was The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts and one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Pulsating and compelling. A thumping good page turner. A story of a child murderer another given a new identity and what happens when that identity is revealed.

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1997 and sisters Laurel and Rosie are playing in the park and invite another girl (Kirstie) to play with them. Kirstie does not return and is found murdered and horribly tortured. Ten-year-old Laurel is found guilty of Kirstie’s murder. Rosie who is only six does not stand trial as she is too young. Instead her and her new family are given new identities and moved away to a new town.

Bring the story to current day and Primrose now given the new name of Hazel is staying at a hotel, with the weather closing in and a child goes missing from the hotel. What now for Hazel and her past and also her real name? With the family now completely severing all connections with Laurel. Now all these years later Laurel is fighting to be released. She claims that she is a reformed character. She has a lawyer who also happens to be her Uncle.

Laurel and Rosie as children and Laurel and Hazel now nineteen years later and with a child gone missing the past could unfold in front them again. Hazel has spent these past years re-building her life while her sisters was locked up. The Flower Girls is a superbly written and gripping thriller. Alice Clark-Platts has created a tense and twisty thriller that will keep you on your toes until the very powerful ending. But with so many motives and also secrets especially with what really happened that day in the park. I love a thriller that makes the palms of your hands sweaty. I really love the way the author has created this storyline and keeps the reader guessing all the way through. How would the two sisters feel when they come face to face again after all these years? Highly Recommended.

352 Pages.

Thank you to Ros Ellis (Bloomsbury Publishing) for the review copy of The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

The Flower Girls was published by Raven Books and was published on 24th January 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula at The London Library

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula

The London Library

Thursday 7th February 2019

Dracula comes home to St. James Square

Bram Stoker was a member of The London Library between 1890 and 1897 and it was during this time that he spent time at the library researching for his novel ‘Dracula’ and recently Philip Spedding, Development Director at the library discovered a number of books that Bram Stoker used to research his novel and these include notes and annotations by Stoker himself. An incredible find and so Bram Stoker used the resources to create this masterpiece of writing.

To think that Bram Stoker was present in this very quiet St. James Square and created Dracula himself which is known throughout the world in books, cinema and small screen.

And so it was that Dracula has returned to its rightful home at The London Library in the form of a quite stunning and remarkable play thanks to Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library and Creation Theatre and what a setting. Thursday 7th February was also the birthday of another literary giant Charles Dickens and Dickens himself used The London Library to write and research for some of his most famous of novels. Arriving on this very evening walking in the footsteps of the greats, there is a very special feeling. No wonder they call this London’s best kept secret.

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This is the first time in The London Library’s 178 -year history that they have put on a play and it is thanks to the hard work of the staff that they set up the each of the performances and then return it to its library glory in time for the next morning.
The Production of Dracula is thanks to Creation Theatre and its Director Helen Tennison and Kate Kerrow who is responsible for its adaptation. There is a cast of two in the play: Sophie Greenham and Bart Lambert and what an outstanding performance by them both. The setting of the Reading Room at the library is perfect. It was as if Bram Stoker himself was present. There shelves floor to ceiling packed with books and its feel. This evenings performance in the presence of theatre critics and some celebrities.
And so the lights dim and the anticipation grew and the play began as we saw as Jonathan and Mina Harker who not long married appear. Jonathan who has recently returned from Transylvania and yet something about Jonathan is not right as Mina realises. But Mina is obsessed by her cousin Lucy who died very suddenly. But why did Lucy die and what was it that she has witnessed. Children have been disappearing but what has become of them. I just became engrossed in the performance of Bart Lambert whose enthusiastic grasp of multiple roles was just brilliant and for Sophie Greenham who also played multiple roles gave a superb balance.

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Bats wings against the window panes deep red eyes seem to appear through the blinds and is that Lucy above us on the ceiling and crack on thunder and flashes of lights and then darkness. This was gripping stuff. And so to the cemetery to Lucy’s grave. But is Lucy dead or is she un-dead? Spine-tingling and darn well creepy.

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If you are hoping for an appearance of Count Dracula himself then he is not here, this is the adaptation, purely focussing of Jonathan and Mina as well as Van Helsing, Lucy and Dr Seward. All played by Bart and Sophie. There are hints of sexual tension between Jonathan and Mina. I cannot think of a better setting than The London Library for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The setting and the aroma that is all the old books. A heady mix. Dracula really has come home to St. James Square.

For someone like me who read the book when I was young and saw the films, this combined with viewing of Bram Stoker’s books on display made for a remarkable evening. My hope now is that there are future plays connected to writers from The London Library performed here. FIVE STARS.

Performances take place between 2nd February to 3rd March 2019. Tickets are still available. Performances start at 7.30pm. There is also a display of The London Library books that Bram Stoker used for his research which include notes and annotations as well as Bram Stoker’s official membership form when he joined the library. For more information and tickets: The London Library/Dracula

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The London Library.

The London Library was founded on the 3rd May 1841 by Thomas Carlyle and in 2019 celebrates its 178th anniversary. The list of those who have made The London Library their home is like the who’s who in literature. Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming. With current writers such as Sebastian Faulks, Jessie Burton, Kazou Ishiguro, Robert Harris and Sarah Waters making The London Library their home. It has been the home for 10 Nobel Prize Winners and 4 Poets Laureate’s. In 1948 Winston Churchill became honorary Vice-President. Laurence Olivier and Edward Elgar also made the library their home.

On over 17 miles of shelving you will find over 1 million books. Some of the most important documents and books dating as far back as the 1500’s is found here.

My thanks to Laura Creyke from Mark Hutchinson Management, Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library and the staff for their kind invitation and warm hospitality on what was a five-star evening.

Links:

The London Library: The London Library

Creation Theatre: Creation Theatre

Mark Hutchinson Management: Mark Hutchinson Management

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Memories of a Lost Thesaurus by Katie Hall-May

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Memories of a Lost Thesaurus by Katie Hall-May

Memories of a Lost Thesaurus is the debut novel by Katie Hall-May and was released in May 2018. A little late with this review as I read Katie’s novel in January but commitments sadly meant I am only now getting to put this review out.

This was intriguing me as there are four characters in this novel, Cath, Alice, Patrick and a mysterious unnamed character just called: M. This is really a story of relationships. Everyone has problems during a relationship, that is a fact of life. Ghosts from the past can affect the present day if they are haunting you and this really is the case with Alice. And then there is Cath is dealing with a present day issue that can cause upset.

Do we let the past something from the past influence today and tomorrow? Complex lives make good storylines and Katie Hall-May has written a debut novel that is touching and sensitive. The fact the story only contains three main characters and a mysterious one makes you concentrate on each of them.

You know characters make the novel, and each one here is pulling you into the story that the author has created. I just loved the plot and each of the complex individuals. Sometimes there is tension and will make you wonder about each of them.

This is a story that is worth every page, beautifully constructed with plenty of twists along the way to keep you wondering until the end.

Follow Katie Hall-May on Twitter: @mypapercastles

Webisite: Katie Hall-May

 384 Pages.

Thank you to Katie Hall-May for the review copy of Memories of a Lost Thesaurus

Memories of a Lost Thesaurus was published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing and was published on 1st May 2018 and is available through Amazon.

Red Snow – Will Dean

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Red Snow – Will Dean

It does not seem too long ago that I was talking about Dark Pines and Tuva Moodyson the deaf reporter at the centre of the story. If you really loved Dark Pines as much as I and the many thousands of readers did, then I have news for you. Tuva Moodyson is back in the second book just released called Red Snow by Will Dean and it is even better.

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Tuva Moodyson is looking forward to starting her new role and also leaving behind the town of Gavrik. This is always what she has wanted. Moving to Malmo is a big step up. The Liquorice factory has been a place where many of the local inhabitants have worked. But now it is going to be at the centre of this story as someone has fallen from the roof the building but if that is not enough soon after another body is found but this is sinister as two liquorice coins are covering its eyes.

Now Tuva our investigative reporter has just a few weeks to find the who is behind the deaths. Could we get to know Tuva any more after book one. Well we do and Will Dean does not really hold back as we get to know Tuva a little more. But the storyline really centres on Gavrik and the liquorice factory that is as dark and foreboding as the local forest. You either love liquorice or you hate it and this really is how the locals see the factory. A means to an end. That’s it. But some of the characters who work here are just a little quirky to say the least.

The killer has been given the name of the ‘Ferryman’ and now Tuva must find the ‘Ferryman’ before the killer strikes again and the locals are a little nervous. Add to this there is a snowstorm which makes the town more eerie and dark.

Does Tuva uncover the killer or do they stop her from leaving Gavrik to start her new life? Now you have to read Red Snow to discover what really happens next.

400 Pages.

Thank you to Point Blank Books for the review copy of Red Snow by Will Dean

Red Snow by Will Dean was published by and was published on 10th January 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

What a cracking start to 2019 with a good old fashioned murder mystery and The Hunting Party (Harper Collins) the debut crime novel Lucy Foley and what a cracking edge of your seat thriller it turned out to be. The perfect read between Christmas and New Year as you will see why.

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It is New Year’s Eve at a group of friends have come together to see in the New Year in style at The Loch Corrin Estate which is a typical out of the way hunting lodge in the Highlands. A Hogmanay to remember as it turned out for all the wrong reasons.

Snow is falling and it is turning out to be a white out, real blizzard conditions. So a group of friends who all went to oxford spend their New Year’s Eve year on year together. The story starts on New Year’s Day and something is very wrong as one of the guests is missing and a body has been found. This was no accident in the snow. This is murder. So who done it and why?

This group of friends now in their thirties have known each other for some years so who has been murdered and it is clear the killer is one of the party. With the snow getting worse. No-one is leaving and the police cannot get to the lodge due to the bad weather.

We do not know who has been murdered as Lucy Foley keeps us guessing as we work back and forth and are introduced to each of the characters and what a group of characters they are. Then there are the staff. There are three on duty for the Hogmanay celebrations and we get to know each of them. The plot is thickening and past history is bubbling to the surface.

There is something brilliantly old about reading The Hunting Party, knowing you are trapped inside this old lodge and there is a killer among you and will they strike again?

The characters really do bring something to the party and eerie setting makes for a chilling and twisty plot.

This will keep you gripped to the very end. Brilliant writing from Lucy Foley makes The Hunting Party a one to watch for January 2019. I would order your copy today. How well do you know your friends?

400 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of Emilie Chambeyron (Harper Collins) for the review copy of The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley is published by Harper Collins on 24th January 2018 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

 

The Books that made my year – 2018

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As another year comes to a close we look back on 2018 and the news might be full of bad news but in the world of books it has been another great year. Sales are continuing to grow in both physical hard copy but audio books are also booming. This really is great news and added to this more independent books shops have opened during the year with the trend set to continue. With the high street struggling like never before it is just heartening to see the growth of sales in books. Just a few years ago some were saying the days of the hard copy book were doomed.

2018 will be a year that I will remember for years to come. So many great books have been read some sadly I have not had time to read and will miss this end of year review. I look back with great memories to take away from this year whether it the honour of being asked blog about some of the books and authors for The 2018 Jewish Book Festival to being invited to assist with a very special book On Courage: Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders a day surrounded by some of the bravest men and women. Real heroes. Also to be involved with The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize a book prize that is dedicated to books on natural history and the great outdoors. Then of course there was The Lost Words project I launched for Somerset Primary Schools in August which is still going to this very day. The generosity of many that made this a success. To those behind the scenes who helped and are still helping I could not have done this without you. To the many radio interviews not just in Somerset but across the UK and also in Europe. In the early part of the Summer I was invited to take a tour of The London Library which turned out to be an incredible experience a very special place that holds over one million books on over 17 miles of shelving. You walk in the footsteps of literary giants.

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So this brings me to my 15 books of 2018. The books that made my year. This was incredibly hard as so many could have made it in.

The choices are in no particular order so there is no number one book just the best of the year.

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Our House – Louise Candlish

(Simon & Schuster) 5th April 2018

Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house. The terror of knowing your life is about to be turned upside down and all the possessions of your life with Bram have gone and who are these people moving into the home they never had any intention of selling. Bram has made a dreadful mistake and there is a price to pay. Now there are score to settle. Both have secrets that they kept from each other.

Our House is a gripping domestic noir read that I recall racing through and kept up long into the night.

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All Among the Barley – Melissa Harrison

(Bloomsbury) – 23rd August 2018

With memories of The Great War still in the minds and memories of the community it casts a shadow across the fields as the autumn harvest approaches. It is 1933 the glamorous Constance arrives from London to write about the traditions of the Suffolk farming community. For Edie Mather adulthood is approaching and the arrival of Constance is seen by Edie to be everything she longs for. But there is something more to Constance than Edie thinks. This is a remarkable and powerful novel from the Costa Shortlisted author of Hawthorn Time.

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Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon

(The Borough Press – 11th January 2018

With a Battenburg cover Three Things About Elsie is just a wonderful and delicious story. 84-Year-old Florence has had a fall and as she lies there waiting for help to come she wonders if some part of her past is come back. Florence lives in a flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly and she wonders if the new resident is who he claims to be as he died sixty years ago. It is a beautiful, charming and profound novel from the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Three Things About Elsie was longlisted for The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018.

 

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Something of His Art – Horatio Clare

(Little Toller Books) – 11th October 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

The year is 1705 and the yet unknown Johann Sebastian Bach is earning a living as a teacher and organist sets off on more than a 250 mile walk from Arnstadt to Lübeck to visit a composer. This was to be a pivotal time for the young J.S. Bach and this short book tells of his walk and Horatio Clare walks in his footsteps and re-traces that walk that was to change Bach’s life. Based on the BBC Radio 3 series of the same Horatio talks of the walk, the sights, and sounds and natural history that would have accompanied Bach on this epic adventure that would see him become the greatest composer.

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The Lost Letters of William Woolf – Helen Cullen

(Michael Joseph) – 12th July 2018

William Woolf works for the Dead Letters Depot in East London were he spends his days solving mysteries that include terrible hand writing, missing post codes, torn packages to name but a few. Then he discovers letters addressed to ‘My Great Love’ and suddenly life for William Woolf takes on a whole new perspective. These letters written by a woman to a man she has not met yet, and William now starts to think that he could be the man the letters are meant for. Now he must take on his biggest mystery to follow the clues in the letters and solve the biggest mystery of all. The human heart. This is a charming and romantic novel a wonderful debut. Shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year – Irish Book Awards.

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The Wood: The Life and Times of Cockshutt Wood – John Lewis-Stempel

(Doubleday) – 8th March 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

For four years John Lewis-Stempel managed a mixed woodland of three and a half acres that is Cockshutt Wood and raised cows and pigs that had free reign through these woods. This is John’s month by month account of his last year managing the wood. Through the lives of the trees and the birds and animals that made this wood their home a sanctuary for the wildlife and also for the author. You are there through the changing seasons through to the final days of John’s management of the woods that became his spiritual home. This is a man in tune with the natural world and one of the country’s finest natural history writers. Longlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018.

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Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

(Simon & Schuster) 11th January 2018

A scandal that will rock Westminster. This is a high profile marriage and James has been accused of a shocking crime and his wife Sophie believes in him and will protect the family. Kate on the other hand is the Barrister who believes he is guilty and will make sure he pays for the crimes he has committed.

This is an explosive thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their chair until the very end. Superbly written with great characters. A story of marriage and power and who has it and how they use it. Totally absorbing and gripping.

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The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell

(Tinder Press) – 8th February 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

Nature and solitude. Neil Ansell has spent the best part of his life walking the remote parts of Britain but here in The Last Wilderness he takes on the part of Scottish Highlands but doing so as he talks of his hearing loss and hoe this affects his love of the great outdoors and the birds he loved to hear that have now become silent. To be in the wilderness is to be at one with nature. It is indeed a love letter to both the wilderness and to the Highlands of Scotland. The wonderful rich writing of Neill Ansell almost makes you believe you are there walking in his footsteps. A treasure of a book. Shortlisted for The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018.

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I Love You Too Much – Alicia Drake

(Picador) – 8th February 2018

A novel based in Paris and centred around Paul a quiet and lonely boy who is unloved. He spends his time watching those in his family and his rather glamourous mother Séverine and her musician boyfriend Gabriel. For a boy who closely observes his family and their daily lives, you just know one day he will see something he is not supposed to see.

Paul seeks the friendship of the not so quiet Scarlett and the patisseries of this part of Paris. Paul is crying out to be loved but what if love does not come his way. What then? This is a book I totally loved and still do to this day. So deserving to be read by a wider audience. It is deft and intelligent and so beautifully told. One book I would I would recommend.

 

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Erebus: A story of a Ship – Michael Palin

(Hutchinson Books) – 20th September 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

Michael Palin tells the story of the ill-fated journey of HMS Erebus and its crew that set sail for the arctic in search of the North West Passage. In 1845 it disappeared with HMS Terror along with their crews. What really happened? A story of the ship and its crew as Palin recounts the adventure and ultimately the biggest naval disaster. Together with photographs this makes for a remarkable read for anyone who has an interest in the sea or adventures.

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Dark Pines – Will Dean

(Point Blank) – 14th June 2018

An impressive debut by Will Dean. Dark Pines is dark, chilling and atmospheric. Set in an isolated Swedish town. An unsolved murder from two decades ago a deaf reporter trying to find a story that could make her career. Now Tuva needs to find the killer before she becomes the killers next target. But there are secrets in the pine woods were Tuva must venture. If she solves the crime she could find a way out of the small of Gavrik and finally make a name for herself. Dark Pines is the thriller that really beats all thrillers in 2018 and is the first in a series with Red Snow about to be released in January 2019. If I had to choose my book of the year Dark Pines would be that book. If you have not read Dark Pines and thrillers are your genre, then read it now!

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Owl Sense – Dr Miriam Darlington

(Guardian Faber Publishing) 8th February 2018

(Non-fiction choice)

I have been fascinated by Owls all my life and have been lucky to have travelled and seen many species of Owl in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean and I loved Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington she takes walks with her son seeking species of UK Owls. Then she travels into Europe from France to Spain, Serbia and Finland and close to the arctic lands of snow and ice. But this book not only is a story of a quest for Owls but her son Benji becomes very ill and then suddenly it is also a quest for a cure. Owl Sense brings to life the mysterious lives of Owls and what we are so fascinated with these mysterious birds.

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The Lingering – SJI Holliday

(Orenda Books) – 15th November 2018

This dark and creepy ghost story is best read during the dark hours as it really sets the tone. Though you might not want to switch the light off after.

Jack and Ali move have moved into a self-sufficient commune set in Rosalind House, the local village it is said is were witches roamed and the home itself has a dark and sinister past. But it is not long after they arrive that things start to happen. Now the residents and locals are nervous, something or someone is seeking retribution. But why? Terrifying and unnerving. The Lingering really had me spooked. Superbly written and a storyline that holds until the very end.

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Take Nothing With You – Patrick Gale

(Tinder Press) – 21st August 2018

Set in the 1970’s West-Super-Mare and only son Eustace has been signed up for Cello lessons by his mother. Music is an escape for Eustace and his lessons from his teacher he cannot get enough of. But it is his mother that is not sure of the glamorous teacher. Soon though it is lessons in life and love that take on whole new meanings for Eustace. This is beautifully told story of coming of age and finding out who you really are told with real compassion. A truly wonderful read.

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The Lost Words – Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris

(Hamish Hamilton) – 5th October 2017

(Non-fiction choice)

After everything this year, I could not leave The Lost Words out of my selection for the year. It has been the bedrock of my year.

Imagine a world where children no longer talk of Heron’s, Otters, Bluebells, Acorns, Conkers, Dandelion, Bramble to name but a few. Well there are around 50 words that The Oxford Dictionary for Children removed. What they did not reckon on was Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane. Here is the most beautiful book imaginable. In words spoken as Spell-Poems and paintings by the amazing Jackie Morris they both bring these words back to life.

Many people across the country have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to bring this book in into Schools, care homes and hospitals. Even today many more are planned to launch. A truly remarkable book that has a life all of its own. And this story for Somerset has only just begun.

And so there we have it. As the old year ends and a new one is about to begin and so it starts all over again. It has been a pleasure and an honour to work with such incredible writers and publishers and I thank them all for their incredible work.

In 2019 I have some great plans ahead I am honoured to have been asked to be an official blogger for The Jewish Book Festival in early March. I will be podcasting through the year and hope to take the podcast on the road to talk to writers and may be a few publishers. I will be doing my usual book giveaways when time permits and also there will be The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize.

Have a happy and peaceful 2019 and remember “We read to know that we are not alone”. Books take us to places and to escape all the bad news of the day.

John

The Last Word Book Review

 

Good Samaritans – Will Carver

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Good Samaritans – Will Carver

Well now here is a new literary name for me and Will Carver’s latest novel Good Samaritans really has left its mark in more ways than I can express here.

Meet Seth Beauman, he really has trouble sleeping and he spends his long sleepless nights randomly calling strangers, for what purpose you might ask. Without trying to give and real spoilers away Will Carver has created a small cast in this dark and sexy novel that will keep you up in the night.

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First up we meet Hadley Serf a woman who is deeply troubled and very suicidal. Feeling like the walls around her are closing in and totally un-noticed in life. She is desperate. She decides the only way is the Samaritans and ends up in speaking with Seth who actually is not a Samaritan and their telephone conversations take place after Seth’s wife (Maeve) goes to bed. Soon both Seth and Hadley start to meet face to face.

Meave is all too aware of what her husband is up to late at night and actually gets something from this. There is in this story an actual Samaritan and this is Ant and he is still trying to recover from the loss of his best friend who was killed while touring Australia.

In the story we also meet Detective Sergeant Pace who has the grizzly task of trying to find a serial killer of young women. But this killer has a gruesome trademark. Once he kills the women he then bleaches them to leave no trace and buries them knowing one day very soon some poor unsuspecting sole will find the body. For DS Pace he too has a past and what does Meave find so fascinating about him? What is their relationship?

This is a really compelling and gripping read that gets your attention in many ways from the relationships between the characters and then the murders to bottles of bleach. There is also sex thrown in and I don’t just mean a little hanky panky here, I am talking hot and steamy and at times rampant. This is a thriller that is somewhat comical but will also get your pulse racing. The book seems to gather pace as go get further into the storyline. Will Carver you have written one hell of a thriller with more twists and turns than you can keep up with. *BRILLIANT*

 318 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan for the review copy of Good Samaritans by Will Carver

Good Samaritans by Will Carver was published by Orenda Books and was published on 15th November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

A Small Dark Quiet – Miranda Gold

 

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A Small Dark Quiet – Miranda Gold

With just a matter of weeks before London is thronged with crowds as the war is finally at an end and Germany has been defeated. It is March 1945. But the price of victory will always come at a cost as people not just in London but all over Europe will begin the long and painful journey of rebuilding their shattered lives.

Millions of lives have been lost and children without parents and children whose parents have been killed by the Nazi’s in Concentration Camps. In London. A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold follows Sylvie as she fights her battle, she has given birth to twins but one of the twins is stillborn. Sylvie and her husband Gerald are distraught at their loss.

Two years later as they rebuild they have adopted a boy who was born into the horrors of the Concentration Camps. They have given him a new name of Arthur after the child they lost. For Arthur all his past seems to now have been lost and this in the years to come will be struggle as Arthur attempts to discover his Jewish history and all that that entails. He is trapped in a life and scared to seek his own past for what this will bring.

There is rage from Gerald who has been fighting his own battle since the end of the war and seems to take it out on Arthur and this will have a deep and last effect on the boy. What we also witness is the gradual collapse of Sylvie as the weight of grief is all consuming. Arthur’s shadow is his ghost of his past that is reluctant to leave it is later in life when he finally breaks the shackles of the torment by Gerald and seeks his way in life. Nothing is going well for him though and even in a relationship with Lydia that goes wrong after he is used by her. At times this is a dark novel to read with disturbing and fractured lives broken by war and torment.

Miranda has written a very powerful novel that explores many themes including replacing one son with another and attempting to hide the pain and suffering of death but over time creates more personal devastation on a boy who has witness’s horror on scale unimaginable. With a painful ending to the story it is still one book I would recommend.

336 Pages.

Thank you to Unbound for the review copy of A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold

A Small Dark Quiet by Miranda Gold was published by Unbound and was published on 4th December 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

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Roar by Cecelia Ahern

From the best-selling author Cecelia Ahern is collection of 30 short stories about women for women. Each of the stories are just imaginative and based around challenges that women will face. Thirty stories from thirty different women.

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From the best-selling author Cecelia Ahern is collection of 30 short stories about women for women. Each of the stories are just imaginative and based around challenges that women will face. Thirty stories from thirty different women.

There are so many stories that cover every angle of what a woman faces on a daily basis. Have you ever been scared of your boss or petrified at the thought of standing in front of people and giving a speech with your nerves hanging by a thread and suffering from wind? Here they are the stories about women and women should read.

Some of the stories may seem a little over the top and a bit fanciful I think most women will really get behind the messages here and find themselves laughing along with some of the more amusing stories. The real beauty here is the pure honest in which Cecelia Ahern writes. Now with sales over 25 million and in over 40 countries. So if you have been in a position and have wanted to Roar here is a collection of stories and voices that you could not forget and only Cecelia Ahern could have written a collection with such honesty.

#Roar    #HearUsRoar   @Cecelia_Ahern

352 Pages.

Thank you to Liz Dawson for the review copy of Roar by Cecelia Ahern

Roar by Cecelia Ahern was published by Harper Collins and was published on 1st November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

The Lingering – SJI Holiday

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The Lingering – SJI Holiday

Last Christmas I read the much acclaimed The Deaths of December and what a festive feast it was. Now Susi Holiday is back with The Lingering which is a dark and twisty spine chilling ghost story that is also the perfect thriller.

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SJI Holiday has managed to write a creepy story that really seeps into your pores of your skin and haunts you long after you have finished the perfect book for the dark autumn/winter evenings.

The centre of attention is Rosalind House a home that was once a psychiatric home that is now a commune. Jack and Ali arrive as they seek to find themselves. Many of the people now at the commune are escaping the day to day rat race of city life. The area has been known in the past for stories and myths of witches. Even Rosalind House itself has a pretty scary history.

Soon after Jack and Ali arrive things really start to happen and the reader is sucked into the scary history of the home. Pretty soon history is starting to repeat itself and something or someone is hell bent of some form of pretty scary vengeance. Now everyone at the commune is getting freaked out.

Was it Jack and Ali’s arrival that sparked the latest creepy goings on. They both have something in their personal lives that seems to brings things to the boil. There are really two stories here, Jack and Ali and then the darkness of the world we don’t want to see. Bit by bit the pair are coming undone and with it the secrets that they have been keeping to themselves. The characters that come together in The Lingering will keep you page turning all the way through page after page. There is among them a ghost hunter and she is single minded and is sure there is something that is haunting Rosalind House but she is in for something much more than she expects and what a character SJI Holiday has created. A cracking spine-tingling story that is just perfect for this time of year. Dare you turn the lights off when you put the book down. Highly Recommended.

256 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of The Lingering by SJI Holiday

The Lingering by SJI Holiday was published by Orenda Books and was published on 15th November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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