Category Archives: John Murray
Conflicts of Interest by Terry Stiastny
Here is a writer that is already making a name for herself with her political thrillers, Terry Stiastny’s debut novel Acts of Omission won her the Paddy Power Political Fiction Book of the Year for 2015, now she returns with her second novel Conflicts of Interest that will really appeal to those who like the thrillers with a political twist.
I have to say just how much I really enjoyed this thriller, why I really enjoyed Conflicts of Interest is that there are no murders, no real high octane crime thriller this is just a real gripping political thriller that just moves along at a steady pace and keeps the reader glued to the storyline. What really helps here is Stiastny’s very clever writing and plotting.
What is have is wonderfully created characters and a story that is believable, as we move through the storyline we start to uncover a real scandal that is starting to come through. With the trapping of becoming a Lord comes all the trappings and at the same time all the seedier goings on and in this story that is actually what is happening. It is something we all know has happened and we all know it goes on. Lawrence Leith is a former TV Journalist and now retired living a peaceful life in Provence. Close by his former producer lives and this is where the story now focuses as Martin Elliott is about to become a Lord. Just how did this all come about? The story never changes pace as it moves along steadily with enough to entertain. The real star is Terry Stiastny and how she writes with just wonderfully crafted prose a novel written so beautifully. A novel of corruption and how its tentacles can spread far and wide. This is not a fast paced thriller by any means but how this really entertains is down to the authors skill in using the right words.
Thank you to Katherine Burdon for the advanced review copy.
Conflicts of Interest by Terry Stiastny is published by John Murray and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
The Countenance Divine – Michael Hughes
The Last Word Review
For a debut novel The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes can only be described as ambitious. This is a novel that will sweep you through four centuries and through a number of different voices. At times a complex but also some real humour added.
The story moves from one century to another we are in the year 1666 the Plague and The Great Fire of London ravage the city and the impoverished John Milton is trying to complete his epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ despite the fact he was blind. It is 1777 and William Blake who is of course best known for writing ‘Jerusalem’ now becomes inspired by Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and now adds visions to the poem are these visions spiritual? We then move to 1888 and a more sinister individual in Jack the Ripper and his descriptions of some of his brutal murders are a little gruesome to read some may find this aspect difficult.
In 1999 and Chris a computer programmer was trying to make sure that the dreaded millennium bug never struck to bring chaos to the world akin to the end of days. Chris has an assistant called Lucy with whom he holds a torch for, though Lucy is a somewhat struck by the meltdown that could be about to happen seems constantly to have a cigarette constantly on the go. I actually got a real liking to both characters though each was different with Chris’s lack of confidence it was a case of hoping it would come off for them both.
Each time period has its own unique voice that tells of that time and as it shifts from one time to another it keeps the reader guessing and they must keep up with an ever shifting complex tale. As you try and figure out for yourself as to where the story is heading. It will test the reader for commitment but I for one feel that this is a story well worth a read during the autumn as the nights draw in. You really become absorbed into a plot that makes you think. It is cleverly stitched together novel from a writer with ambition and for a debut novel this is making a statement and one to keep an eye on for the future.
Thank you to John Murray publishers for the advanced review copy.
The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes is published by John Murray and is available through Waterstones and all good bookshops.