Lockdown by Peter May

Lockdown Cover

Lockdown by Peter May

Summary:

A CITY IN QUARANTINE

London, the epicenter of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus that has already claimed thousands of victims. Health and emergency services are overwhelmed.

A MURDERED CHILD

At a building site for a temporary hospital, construction workers find a bag containing the rendered bones of a murdered child. A remorseless killer has been unleashed on the city; his mission is to take all measures necessary to prevent the bones from being identified.

A POWERFUL CONSPIRACY

D.I. Jack MacNeil, counting down the hours on his final day with the Met, is sent to investigate. His career is in ruins, his marriage over and his own family touched by the virus. Sinister forces are tracking his every move, prepared to kill again to conceal the truth. Which will stop him first – the virus or the killers?

Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.

 My Review:

Imagine writing a novel about a pandemic and then having it rejected as it was unrealistic. Well back in 2005 that is exactly what Pater May had done. He did write a novel and it was rejected and so he left it there.

Fast forward to 2020 and we have a pandemic in the form of the Coronavirus that has swept across the world. Suddenly Lockdown (Riverrun) by Peter May does not seem unrealistic after all.

Author

London is the centre stage for this gripping thriller. The world in is the grip of a pandemic with governments struggling to cope as cities are closed down and violence is spreading, now people are not allowed out of their homes with people are struggling to cope with the lockdown as the death toll mounts across the globe. Sound familiar?
In London the streets are deserted, just litter blowing through the dusty city streets. If you spoke, I am sure it would echo like a dystopian sci-fi film. A new temporary hospital is being built in London to cope with the many patients of the pandemic, it is a building site but the builders find the remains of a body and it falls to D.I. Jack MacNeil from the Met to investigate what looks like the remains of a child. MacNeil is in the final hours of his career, and he has his problems but now there is a killer on the loose and it is not the pandemic.
As D.I. MacNeil begins to investigate the case it becomes apparent that this is not just a murder case but a conspiracy and a cover up. Someone out there is watching his every move and does not want the truth to come out. Time is against MacNeil but he must get to killers before they get to him. For Jack MacNeil his career and his marriage have gone, but why should he care about the case, in a matter of hours he will be out of the force. But he is being watched! They are close and so is the virus.
If you have enjoyed Peter May’s thrillers before, then you will really enjoy Lockdown, and to think that this was written fifteen years ago and here we are with the world in the grip of the Corvid-19 pandemic. When written it really was ahead of its time. A really compelling read. Peter May remains one of my favourite thriller writers and I am delighted to recommend.

416 Pages.

Lockdown by Peter May was published by riverrun and was published on 30th April 2020 and is available to order online through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

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To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

Summary:

Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…

She was nine years old when her brother vanished in the woods near home. As the only witness, Lucy’s story of that night became crucial to the police investigation. Thirty years on, her brother’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Now Lucy is a bestselling thriller writer. Her talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring fans. But her husband, Dan, has started keeping secrets of his own, and a sudden change of scene forces Lucy to confront some dark, unwelcome memories. Then Dan goes missing and Lucy’s past and present begin to collide. Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did?

Finally, Lucy Harper is going to tell us the truth.

Cross her heart.
And hope to die.

My Review:

The premise of this story was so good that I could not ignore the chance to read before publication. To Tell You the Truth (Century) by the bestselling author Gilly Macmillan has a narrator who is a very successful writer but when she was nine she was the only witness to her brother’s disappearance. He was never found.

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It has been thirty years since Teddy her brother disappeared without trace, but in the years since Lucy has grown to be a successful writer and is married to Dan, but Dan also is a writer except his career has gone in the opposite direction to Lucy’s.

Lucy has created one fictional character in her novels who is Eliza Grey, and this character has given Lucy all the success as a writer. Eliza seems to be a constant companion in Lucy’s mind. Constantly there. But Eliza has always been there since childhood. Lucy is haunted by her own past, what really happened to her brother? Lucy’s marriage to Dan is just ok, but spending a lot of time by herself and only Eliza for company. I am sure you are already beginning to form your own story of the couple by reading this.

Now suddenly her husband has disappeared, and there are similar traits to how her brother disappeared. Now suddenly Lucy’s past has returned with a vengeance. The couple are also living close to where her little brother disappeared all those years ago. The police are now looking for clues and also clues. Strap yourself in as you the reader are in for a rollercoaster of a twisting psychological thriller that knows no boundaries.

There is something really dark and sinister about this thriller and as a writer writing about a writer, I think Gilly Macmillan really must have been itching to write this novel.

I have to say that as a thriller is beautifully paced and a well-crafted novel with such powerful characters including one imaginary character that seems to play such a part. Just one word of warning! Once you pick this up you will really struggle to put it down.  Highly Recommended.

368 Pages.

Thank you Isabelle Ralphs (Penguin Random House) for the review copy of To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan was published by Century (Arrow Publishing) on 25th June 2020 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

#ToTellYouTheTruth

@GillyMacmillan

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NEW BLOOD 2020 – VAL MCDERMID TIPS CRIME FICTION’S RISING STARS:

New Blood authors

NEW BLOOD 2020 – VAL MCDERMID TIPS CRIME FICTION’S RISING STARS:

Thursday 18th June 2020:

I am delighted to share with you today New Blood 2020 – Val McDermid Tips Crime Fiction’s Rising Stars.

  • Deepa AnapparaDjinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus)
  • Elizabeth KaySeven Lies (Sphere)
  • Jessica MoorKeeper (Penguin)
  • Trevor WoodThe Man on the Street (Quercus)

Since 2004, the best-selling Scottish author of the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series has curated an annual celebration of the most formidable debuts taking the crime and thriller genre by storm, with an invitation to join the line-up of the world’s largest and most prestigious crime fiction festival: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

This year, Deepa Anappara has been selected for her part coming-of-age, part detective mystery Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, a heart-breaking and thought-provoking social commentary of modern India’s slums that has been recognised for the Women’s Prize. Elizabeth Kay is on the list for her explosive Seven Lies, taking domestic noir to a whole new level in a deliciously dark blurring of truth and lies, and Jessica Moore is recognised for her brutal and beautiful Keeper, the addictive literary thriller that has had everyone talking. Concluding this year’s New Blood contingent is Trevor Wood and his debut The Man on the Street, a gritty thriller set on the streets of Newcastle.

Val McDermid said: “I have been hosting the New Blood showcase since the festival began in 2003 and, in my book, discovering and sharing new talent with an eager audience is the best job in crime fiction. I know exactly what I’m looking for on my quest: fresh and distinctive voices, a well-told, convincing story and the almost indefinable sense that these authors all have much more to say. Deepa, Elizabeth, Jessica and Trevor tick all of these boxes and more, and if this year’s debuts share a theme, it is the irresistible and devastating way in which crime fiction shines a light on our times: homelessness, domestic violence, child trafficking and mental health are all dissected with an unflinching gaze. Whilst we can’t gather en masse at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate this year, I hope that readers will enjoy our virtual introduction to these brilliant new writers.”

The unveiling of McDermid’s selection has become one of the most anticipated moments of the publishing calendar, with readers on the lookout to uncover their new favourite author and add the ‘next big thing’ to their bookshelves.

Former ‘New Blood’ alumni include Clare Mackintosh, SJ Watson, Stuart MacBride, Liam McIlvanney and Belinda Bauer, as well as three authors on this year’s shortlist for the UK’s most prestigious crime writing award – Theakston Old Peculier: Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper and Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was chosen just last year for her Booker longlisted My Sister, the Serial Killer.

As part Harrogate International Festivals’ year round programme of events, each year the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival welcomes the world’s famous authors each year to Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel – the scene of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 – for a celebration of the crime genre like no other.

This year’s instalment – which formed part of Harrogate International Festival Summer Season – was cancelled, with much sadness, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and so the 2020 ‘New Blood’ showcase will be streamed on the festival’s HIF Player on what would have been the legendary weekender on Saturday 25 July 2020.

Val McDermid will also interviewed by Mark Lawson about the legacy of the New Blood panel, discussing the vital role of the showcase in giving a platform to new writers in the industry and the crime community, and giving a peek behind the scenes into how and why she chooses the books.

Trevor Wood said: “As a kid I dreamt of playing in the cup final. I’m a fraction older now but being chosen for Harrogate’s New Blood panel feels exactly like that did.”

Jessica Moor said: “To have been chosen for this panel, which has included some of my favourite new authors of the last decade, and to have been chosen by the legendary Val McDermid, is a such an honour.”

Deepa Anappara said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be picked for the New Blood panel, and grateful to Val McDermid for her immense generosity and support of debut novelists.”

Elizabeth Kay said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected for such a prestigious event. The ‘New Blood’ panel has an incredible history, and I’m delighted to be participating this year alongside three really exciting other authors.”

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The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus)

It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight. Maybe it was another of his vivid nightmares? Since he found himself living on the streets, avoiding other people’s fights has helped him to survive. Trouble finds him easily enough without looking for it. Then a newspaper headline catches his eye: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost.  This makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story. The police don’t believe him. Who believes a homeless man? But Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new. But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. 

 Trevor Wood (@TrevorWoodWrite) has lived in Newcastle for twenty-five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. The Man on the Street is his first novel.

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Keeper by Jessica Moor (Penguin)

He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes. Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside. When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide. But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder. Will you listen to them?

 Jessica Moor (@jessicammoor) studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester University. Prior to this she spent a year working in the violence against women and girls sector and this experience inspired her first novel, KEEPER.

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Djin Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Chatto & Windus)

In a basti on the outskirts of a sprawling Indian city, nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows in the house he shares with his family Jai thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than his hardworking friend Faiz (even though he has a job). When their classmate from school goes missing, the Djinn Patrol ventures out, wielding their detective skills into the bustling city to investigate; through the rattle-tattle energy and mouth-watering smells of the bazaar, to the dangerous rubbish ground and as far as the railway station at the end of the Purple Line. But children continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, an unsympathetic police force and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth. As the disappearances edge ever closer to home, the lives of Jai and his friends will be altered forever.

 Deepa Anappara grew up in Kerala, southern India, and worked as a journalist in cities including Mumbai and Delhi. Her reports on the impact of poverty and religious violence on the education of children won the Developing Asia Journalism Awards, the Every Human has Rights Media Awards, and the Sanskriti-Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism. A partial of her debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and is currently studying for a PhD on a CHASE doctoral fellowship. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line will be publised in America, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden. deepa-anappara.com

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Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay (Sphere)

Only you know the truth: Jane and Marnie have been inseparable since they were eleven years old. In their twenties, they both married handsome young men. Years later, Jane and Marnie are still best friends – and both men are dead. But if Jane had been honest from the start – if she hadn’t told that first little white lie – then perhaps the person she loves most would still love her too. Perhaps everything would be different. This is Jane’s opportunity to tell the real story – if you can believe her. As Jane narrates hers and Marnie’s shared history and unpicks each of seven increasingly catastrophic lies, she reveals the pockets of darkness that have infiltrated their friendship; the toxic secrets still bubbling beneath; and a tale of obsession, of grief, and the real meaning of truth.

Elizabeth Kay (@AnyOtherLizzy) started her career as an assistant at Penguin Random House. She is now a commissioning editor and is simultaneously pursuing her passion for writing. Her debut novel, Seven Lies, will be published in 2020. Elizabeth lives in London with her husband. @AnyOtherLizzy

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‘Harrogate International Festivals’ is a charitable organisation with a mission to present a diverse year-long programme of live events that bring immersive and moving cultural experiences to as many people as possible. Delivering artistic work of national importance, the Festival curates and produces over 300 unique and surprising performances each year, celebrating world-renowned artists and championing new and up-coming talent across music, literature, science, philosophy and psychology. The HIF+ ongoing education outreach programme engages schools, young people and the local community with workshops, talks, projects and inspiring activities, ensuring everyone can experience the Festival’s world class programme and the transformative power of the arts.

Established in 1966, Harrogate International Festivals are an artistic force to be reckoned with and a key cultural provider for the North of England.

My thanks to Gabriella Drinkald and Midas Pr for the Press Release and photographs. 

Find out more at: www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com | Facebook: @HarrogateInternationalFestivals | Twitter: @HarrogateFest | Instagram: @harrogatefestivals  

#TheakstonsCrime2020     #NewBlood   @midaspr

 

Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs

Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs

Summary:

As Benny the Fixer Pomeranski is laid to rest on a cold November morning at the turn of the twenty-first century, a motley crew of survivors from his youth assembles around the grave, its members ‘identified by their lived-in faces – faces that indicated a singular kind of past, a chequered hinterland.’ This encounter with the past, and the discovery of his father Benny’s diaries, leads Simon Pomeranski back to his childhood and the post-war days of the Astorians, a small group of criminals and traders in ‘swag’ who ran their business from Brixton Market and exercised their own particular brand of justice. From this wonderful assortment of characters we are introduced to ‘Spanish Joe’, the cultured Russian emigre, Sam ‘the Stick’, with his wounded machismo and penchant for violent retribution, and the dazzling songstress Estelle, among others. Front and centre in their world, though, is Benny himself, the autodidact owner of Pomeranski Gowns, whose passionate affair with Estelle marks the beginning of a new era for the Astorians. Both riotous and profound, this novel resurrects a vibrant era that deserves a place in our collective memory.

 My Review:

They should have been celebrating Benny Pomeranki’s eighty-first birthday the previous week but on this typical cold November day in 2000 they were instead laying Benny the fixer to rest. Pomeranski (Quartet Books) by Gerald Jacobs is both amusing and also fascinating reminder of post-war Brixton and we are introduced to some ‘interesting’ characters of the time.

Gerald Jacobs

Simon Pomeranski has discovered his father’s diaries and now a trip back in time. This is a story of a small Jewish community based in South London, an area I know very.  But this story is post-war Britain and Benny Pomeranski is just out of the army and is looking for a new start. Benny swops the army life for a life in the rag trade and soon he getting to grips with his new role and his new life. But it does not stop him there. Benny wants more.

So now together with some of his chums they set up what can only be deemed as an interesting group of young men and name themselves after the Astoria Cinema. The Astorians are a small group of friends, they are smart and clever and as Brixton is beginning to liven up, they will make sure they look after each other’s back. You cannot have a group of friends without each of them having their own unique name or badge of honour you might say. So now we have Benny ‘the fixer’.

But this group was not set up just for fun, they had plans, some of the locals deserved seeing to. So Benny ‘the fixer’ and his group set about just that, robberies and beatings took place. After all they deserved it. Was this a case of this band of young brothers just setting a marker and a place for themselves in a new world order in South London?

This is both a fascinating and brilliantly written book that harks back to the post-war days and it is at times really quite humorous but also a compelling read. The characters you will either like or you not it really is as simple as that. Look out for a cameo performance by Ruth Ellis. I really warmed to Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs, this is from a bygone era and will bring back memories for anyone growing up in South London back in the 1950’s.   

256 Pages.

Thank you to Quartet Books for the review copy of Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs.

Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs was published by Quartet Books and was published on 30th April 2020 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos

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The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos

Summary:

In the small town of Crozon in Brittany, a library houses manuscripts that were rejected for publication: the faded dreams of aspiring writers. Visiting while on holiday, young editor Delphine Despero is thrilled to discover a novel so powerful that she feels compelled to bring it back to Paris to publish it.

The book is a sensation, prompting fevered interest in the identity of its author – apparently one Henri Pick, a now-deceased pizza chef from Crozon. Sceptics cry that the whole thing is a hoax: how could this man have written such a masterpiece? An obstinate journalist, Jean-Michel Rouche, heads to Brittany to investigate.

By turns funny and moving, The Mystery of Henri Pick is a fast-paced comic mystery enriched by a deep love of books – and of the authors who write them

My Review:

What the world needs now is a good old fashioned feel-good novel and this is an exciting new collaboration between Pushkin Press and Walter Presents. The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos is the first and was also released as a film with English subtitles in 2019.

AuthorThis charming if quirky novel is set in the French town of Grozon (Brittany) there is a library but this library only stocks books that have been rejected and no-one wants. Imagine you being the writer of a failed book and you have to hand it in to the library in person. Oh the ignominy of that!

The unusual library was set up by Jean-Pierre Gourvec, but when Jean-Pierre died, the library was left and more or less forgotten that it is until the arrival of two people who just happened to be in the area, Delphine is taking her boyfriend Frédéric to meet her parents and just happen find the library and they start to have a look at some of the rejected manuscripts. It is Delphine who suddenly realises that she has found a literary gem but who is the mystery writer Henri Pick? It turns out that Henri has since died but was a local.

After a visit to the late Henri’s wife they decide to get this book published and it becomes a literary sensation. But there has to be a downside to the success and there is one man who is a critic but with not much success jumps on the success to try and stop its success. But what is his reasons?

It is hard to say just how much I loved this beautiful and charming book, I just loved David Foenkinos’s writing style, it has humour and I just loved the real French feel to the storyline. This is a delightful story about books but also about people. Just a real joy to read.

288 Pages.

@PushkinPress

#WalterPresents

Thank you to Poppy Stimpson (Pushkin Press) for the review copy of The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos

The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos was published by Pushkin Press and was published on 7th May 2020 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop. Please support your local independent bookshops through these difficult times.

The Game’s Gone by Simon Barnes. An Audible Exclusive.

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The Game’s Gone by Simon Barnes

An Audible Exclusive.

Summary:

No one would call David Rose – or ‘Rosie’ as he’s known to one and all – a star, but he’s good at his job and proud of his work as a sportswriter for a national newspaper. He’s used to seeing flashier talents come and go – both on the field, and in the competitive world of the press. Football comes first in the way he spends his working life, but he’s happy to pitch in whatever the sport – from Formula 1 to Test cricket in the West Indies, the Olympics to a heavyweight championship bout in Japan.

He’s used to the ups and downs of a journalist’s life and has learned to keep his own head safely down – until an especially venal boss pins his own misdemeanours on the entirely innocent Rose. Rosie’s revenge is slow but sweet, as he manoeuvres through a world where egos clash, money talks and you’re only as safe as your latest by-line.

Not since Richard Ford’s classic novel, The Sportswriter, has a novel caught the world of sports journalism so vividly and so well. A marvellous listen – funny, touching and compelling.

Simon Barnes was the Chief Sports Writer for The Times until 2014, having worked for the paper for 30 years, during which he covered seven Olympic Games and six World Cup finals. He writes about sports and wildlife and is the author of over 20 books, including the best-selling How to be a Bad Birdwatcher.

 My Review:

Being more than just a sports fanatic I have always enjoyed Simon Barnes sports articles when he was a journalist for The Times. Now I enjoy Simon’s books on nature.

What we have here though is Simon for the former Sports Journo writing an exclusive audio book for Audible. The Game’s Gone by Simon Barnes takes us to the heart of being a sports journalist.

 

image003It is more than just competitive being one of the sportswriters for a leading national daily it can be cut throat at times. David Rose first love is football but he can more than hold his own if required when it comes to other major sporting event

‘Rosie’ tells the story of his boss who for who knows why has decided to blame David for something he is not guilty of and what he does to get his revenge. Revenge as they say is best enjoyed when it takes time to play out.

There are some in the industry with more than just big egos and that is the same for the sports editors. The pressure to deliver the perfect piece by sportswriters and to get the exclusive and how they go about protecting their pieces before it goes to press.

The Game’s Gone is narrated by Colin Mace who has narrated many audio books for Audible. This hits the mark at what it is like being a leading sportswriter by one of the best. Funny and engaging and is a really compelling listen.

#TheGamesGone

@Simonbarneswild

@audibleuk

@midaspr

 9 hours 9 minutes.

Thank you to Amber Choudhary (Midas PR) for the review copy of The Game’s Gone (Audio Book) by Simon Barnes

The Game’s Gone (Audio Book) by Simon Barnes was published by Audible and was published on 23rd April 2020 and is available only through Audible.

*New subscribers to Audible get a free 30-day trial offer.

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The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

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The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

Summary:

A lifetime of love. Six months of silence. One last chance.

Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.

For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.

Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet, but it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.

Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?

With characters that will capture your heart, THE SILENT TREATMENT celebrates the phenomenal power of love and the importance of leaving nothing unsaid.

My Review:

My goodness what a book. What a story! The Silent Treatment (Century) is the tender and poignant debut novel by Abbie Greaves. Frank and his wife Margot have been married for forty years. It is the perfect love story, a couple so devoted to each other. But then something happened and Frank has stopped speaking and has not spoken a word for six months to his wife.

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What has driven Frank to this point after forty years of marriage and to a woman he loves? How is Maggie coping with the silent treatment? The story moves between the past and the present and we see how they met and fell in love and so devoted to each other. Everybody has a breaking point and if you are being ignored for as long as Maggie has sooner or later something has to give.

It is only when Maggie is found on the kitchen floor with an empty packet of pills beside her that Frank suddenly realises the gravity of the situation and when she is placed into an induced coma Frank cannot leave her side. Now Frank pours his heart out to his wife while she lies in a coma and he begins to tell her his story of what made him withdraw from her. But is it too late for Frank? And if Maggie does recover will this mend her broken heart.

Abbie Greaves has created the perfect story of love and tragedy and her creation of two characters that will have you drawn into their lives and their story. Tender and so beautifully crafted. A story will not forget.

#TheSilentTreatment

@AbbieGreaves1

 336 Pages.

Thank you to Midas PR for the review copy of The Silent Patient by Abbie Greaves.

The Silent Patient by Abbie Greaves was published by Century and was released on 2nd April 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize Award Announcement 2020

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Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize Award Announcement 2020

Thursday evening 14th May 2020 saw the the prize giving evening for this years prize, but because of the Corvid 19 pandemic and the current lock down this years prize ceremony was held online with viewers tuning in from across the globe.

This years event was hosted by the award-winning actor and honorary fellow Michael Sheen.

Prize

This year’s shortlist comprises three poetry collections, two novels and one short story collection:

  • Surge – Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus)
  • Flèche – Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber)
  • Inland – Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • If All the World and Love were Young – Stephen Sexton (Penguin Random House)
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong (Jonathan Cape, Vintage)
  • Lot – Bryan Washington (Atlantic Books)

 

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2020 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist

And it was announced that this years £30,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize was awarded to:

  • Bryan Washington  – Lot 

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Summary:

In the city of Houston – a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America – the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He’s working at his family’s restaurant, weathering his brother’s blows, resenting his older sister’s absence. And discovering he likes boys.
This boy and his family experience the tumult of living in the margins, the heartbreak of ghosts, and the braveries of the human heart. The stories of others living and thriving and dying across Houston’s myriad neighbourhoods are woven throughout to reveal a young woman’s affair detonating across an apartment complex, a rag-tag baseball team, a group of young hustlers, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a local drug dealer who takes a Guatemalan teen under his wing, and a reluctant chupacabra.

Bryan Washington’s brilliant, viscerally drawn world leaps off the page with energy, wit, and the infinite longing of people searching for home. With soulful insight into what makes a community, a family, and a life, Lot is about love in all its unsparing and unsteady forms.
 

Many congratulations to Bryan Washington and his collection of stories ‘Lot’ which was also one of Barack Obamas books of the year. Available to order through Amazon and Waterstones as well as your local independent bookshops.

Bryan Washingon:

@brywashing

For further inforamtion about the Dylan Thomas Prize and past winners:

Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize:

https://www.swansea.ac.uk/dylan-thomas-prize/

@dylanthomprize

My thanks as always to everyone at Midas PR for this years invitation to take part in the Shortlist Blog Tour and also for the invitation to the Prize Ceremony.

@midaspr

 

My House is Falling Down by Mary Loudon

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My House is Falling Down by Mary Loudon

Summary:

For Lucy, marriage to Mark provided an anchor after several years of drifting casually across countries, into jobs and out of relationships.

Now forty-two, her anchor is working loose. Bewildered by the demands of motherhood and dissatisfied by her work, she has also grown understandably resentful of her husband: Mark has serious difficulties of his own and whilst harsh self-reliance has kept him sane, it has alienated his wife.

When Lucy falls in love with Angus, a pianist in his sixties, her shock is extreme. Adamant that she will not deceive her husband, she instead asks his advice. Mark’s reaction, however, is startlingly unorthodox, leaving Lucy to steer an impossible course between duty and desire, adventure and security. As her marriage falters and Angus presses for commitment, she is forced to choose between family and self, with lifelong consequences for everyone.

Infused with her trademark precision, clarity and dark humour, Mary Loudon’s searing, highly-charged novel My House is Falling Down is a fearless exploration of what infidelity means when no one is lying, and how brutal honesty may yet prove the biggest taboo in our relationships.

My Review:

I am delighted to share my review of My House is Falling Down by Mary Loudon that has just been released in paperback by Picador. I was lucky enough to have been sent a hard backed edition but thought I would hold off my review until publication of the paperback edition.

If you are a regular reader of my blog book reviews, you will know how much I look at how authors have created their characters for their novel and I have to say that Mary Loudon really has created some great protagonists for the reader to get to know.

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The three main characters are Lucy and Mark who are married but their marriage is drifting on an open sea of life, Lucy is clearly unhappy with her husband whose mind is clearly elsewhere. It is not long before Lucy meets Angus who is about twenty years older than she is, and Lucy has fallen in love with him. Now we have playing out here the ultimate love triangle. Does Lucy carry on an affair behind her husband’s back or does she tell Mark and risk seeing her marriage collapse? Everything is at stake for Lucy and it is clear that Angus is pushing Lucy for something more than a part-time relationship. The chemistry between the two is bubbling away and Lucy is wanting something more than just the marriage she has.

It is time for Lucy to approach her husband about the relationship. But how does she do this? Mary Loudon writes so beautifully about relationships, at times this is a brutal portrayal of married love and also infidelity. This is a totally absorbing read and one especially when Mark surprises Lucy with his response. Now Lucy plays both the wife and lover, but how long can a love triangle go on for before something has to give with consequences that will ripple through her family for ever.

There are those who read My House is Falling Down who will relate to the theme of this novel and those that will question and judge through the storyline. My hope is now this is out in paperback it will be read more widely as this deserves to be read for its pure honest look at marriage and infidelity. Highly Recommended.

*Photo of Mary Laudon was taken by James Strachan. Professional photographer.

272 Pages.

My House is Falling Down by Mary Loudon and was published by Picador. Paperback was on 30th April 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

During the pandemic lockdown many independent bookshops are offering free deliver. Please support your local independent bookshops during these difficult times. Check with your local bookshop for delivery details.

I Am Dust by Louise Beech

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I Am Dust by Louise Beech

Summary:

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?
Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

 My Review:

One of my favourite authors returns with her fifth novel. I Am Dust (Orenda Books) by Louise Beech confirms just what an exceptional writer she really is. I just would not know what genre to put Louise in as she is such a versatile writer.

Author

 I loved Louise’s last novel Call Me Star Girl and I did wonder how she was better this. I need not have worried. I Am Dust is set in and around The Dean Wilson Theatre which is believed to be haunted. As with Louise Beech’s previous novels she builds characters superbly. We meet Chloe over two timelines the first in 2005 when she was playing in the local school production of Macbeth. But all is not well with Chloe and we fast forward to 2019 and The Dean Wilson Theatre is about to put on a musical performance of Dust twenty years after it was last played at the theatre. But back then the lead actress who was playing Esme Black was found dead in her dressing room, it was murder. Now a murder in a theatre always makes a good read and this is no exception.

Chloe is now working at the theatre as an usher, The Dean Wilson Theatre has seen better days with audience attendances dropping alarmingly. Now Dust is back! But for Chloe she is not coping as she has blackouts and is self-harming and trying hard to forget her younger years. But she is about to play a significant role but not on stage.

Was Morgan Miller murdered? Is she still haunting the theatre and waiting for her killer to return? There are new actors and actresses playing in the new production of dust but the real drama is about to play out away from the stage.

Sometimes the drama of life can lurk in the shadows of our lives and as someone once said “All the world’s a stage”. Louise Beech can create a story and as a reader you are instantly drawn not only to the storyline but the characters are so real. Chloe’s story is just heart-breaking. Haunting and emotional I Am Dust is just exceptional.

300 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of I Am Dust by Louise Beech.

I Am Dust by Louise Beech was published by Orenda Books and was published on 16th April 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop. During the current lockdown most independent bookshops are offering free delivery. Check your local bookshops for delivery options.