Category Archives: Raven Books
Alex Reeve – The House on Half Moon Street – Guest Post
I am delighted to welcome to my blog author Alex Reeve whose debut novel is a Victorian crime thriller called The House on Half Moon Street is released on 3rd May (Raven Books) an exciting new historical series. Leo Stanhope is a transgender coroner’s assistant who must uncover a killer without risking his own future.
A body is found in the River Thames it is London in 1880. Was it suicide, accidental or something more sinister. Introducing Leo Stanhope who is hiding one hell of a secret. He was born Charlotte, and his father was heavily involved in the church. When Leo left home at the age of fifteen he left his family home never to return or to see his mother and father again. He knew that life as Charlotte was not the life and he knew from an early age he wanted to be a man. Leo is in love with Maria but can his love survive this secret? At this moment in time he is hiding this secret from the world and it must not come out. Leo’s fear of being found out pours out of the pages of this historical thriller.
Now he is heavily involved in a mystery involving the body of a man washed up by the Thames. A superbly written thriller that is written with so much warmth for our protagonist Leo. Reeve’s describes Victorian London perfectly that you can almost feel the smog around you and also smells and noise of 1880 London. This is a novel that has been carefully thought out and the characters that Reeve brings to the reader are just so incredibly real. At times I was reading this while travelling on a bus and was totally lost in a bygone age. I feared for Leo as every page was turned wondering if his secret would be exposed and what fate would befall him. At times I was so involved in this intricate thriller that time just passed me by. There is so much in this stunning debut novel by Alex Reeve that touches so many subjects including gender. it is atmospheric and dark yet intricate. I cannot recommend The House on Half Moon Street highly enough and I congratulate Alex Reeve on a fantastic debut novel. I am already looking forward to book two.
Alex has been kind enough to write a little Guest Post for my blog and here he talks about his debut novel The House on Half Moon Street.
The story of the story
The first inklings of an idea for The House on Half Moon Street came during a train journey I took with a transgender co-worker. I felt great compassion and anger about the way she was treated. It wasn’t anything overtly aggressive, but it was persistent: glances, stares, whispers and sighs. And she had to deal with it every single day! All she’d done was make a choice about her identity. What more fundamental human right could there be?
Surely, I thought, things must be getting better?
I love historical crime novels, so I started doing some research. I found lots of examples of transgender men and women, and of course there must be lots more, people who lived and died in happy obscurity. However, I also found they suffered many of the same issues as today: societal disapproval, legal uncertainty and health issues, among other things.
At some point, Leo Stanhope took up residence in my head and wouldn’t leave. I knew everything about him almost immediately. I could hear his voice, both amused and exasperated, and sense his romantic nature. I knew I had to write about him and, after a few false starts, I did.
From the very start I decided this wouldn’t be a novel about being transgender; it would be about a man who happened to be transgender. That distinction steered the story; Leo suffers a tragedy that could happen to anyone, and he sets off to solve the crime. It’s neither caused by, nor solved by, his being transgender. His perspective might be unique, but so is everyone’s.
I’ve been asked before how it feels to write about a transgender experience, but actually I found writing the women much harder. After all, Leo is a man and almost all the time people treat him as a man. His personality is very different from mine though. In fact, one of things that most attracts me to this peculiar profession is the chance to live as someone else for a while, someone who’s quite different from me. If I only ever wrote versions of myself, trust me, the result would be very boring indeed.
And now I get to do it all again! The second in the Leo Stanhope series is nearing completion, and the plot of the third is taking shape. Soon there’ll be even more characters for me to live as, for a little while.
My thanks to Alex for giving his time ahead of publication for writing a Guest Post.
The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve (Raven Books)
Thank you to Amber Mears-Brown (Bloomsbury) for the advanced review copy of The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve.
Published by Raven Books on 3rd May and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
This is How It Ends by Eva Dolan
If you are a fan of Eva Dolan then This is How It Ends (Raven Books) you will not want to miss. I could not put her latest book. It is just so incredibly compelling and Eva’s writing is just superb. It just grabs hold of you and does not let go. This is a story of modern day London and a body in a part empty house. But how will it end?
If you have read any of Eva Dolan’s previous crime novels then you will know you are in for a thrilling read, but in her latest novel this is more of an ambitious approach. Straight from the beginning you are drawn into the plot. This is not Eva’s previous crime detective style of novel this is a new approach and how it really works.
Straight from the off you meet the main characters of this plot, activists against property developers, but these are the sort who will go straight to action as opposed to just talking about it. The two main characters are Molly who is a battle hardened campaigner who is not afraid of demonstrating and then there is Ella who is a Phd student who is also a dab hand at blogging.
There is a tower block that developers have their eye on for a lucrative property development and both Molly and Ella do not want to see them get their hands on this and squeeze out the ordinary hard working people of this part of London.
Now add in to the story a body of a man in the tower and hidden in the lift shaft and did this man meet his death. Only two people really know what happened to this man and it is their secret so now we have a story based on lies and also deceit and throw in a little matter of trust between the two women. The story just gets more tense at the turn of every page. It is just superbly written by a writer who is now at the very top of her game. We have two utterly brilliant characters both so different in age and also in background, they have a secret but what happens to their secret and what happens to Molly and Ella. This is a timely novel and there is so much in this book that the reader will discover. A totally brilliant piece of writing and a book destined to be a bestseller. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
This is How It Ends by Eva Dolan is published by Bloomsbury Raven and is published on 25th January 2018 and is available to Pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
How many of you recall the film Deliverance that starred Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds which was based on the popular novel by James Dickey. The film won a raft of Academy and Golden Globe Awards. It still ranks among one of my all-time favourite films. So now comes the heart-pounding The River at Night by Erica Ferencik a superbly written novel about a group of female friends out on a white-water rafting trip deep in the Maine wilderness were no-one can hear you if anything went wrong. But what could possibly go wrong?
The scene is set for a thrilling adventure for four women in their forties, for an adventure in the wilderness that to many would seem extreme especially as this adventure would be taking the four friends well and truly out of their comfort zone. A wild white water rafting experience deep in the wilderness. Seriously?
Our narrator is Win and is out of sorts with life since her divorce, not sure about her role in life and is still grieving for her brother Marcus. Basically Win is in a rut and she needs something to bring her out of it. The out of the blue Pia invites her on a daring trip into the Maine wilderness and what’s more it would involve wild water and a raft. On the trip also are Rachel and Sandra.
The beauty of this novel is how well Ferencik has created the characters each one has something about their personality whether she is a recovering alcoholic or one who is the centre piece an extrovert willing to try new and exciting adventures. From the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle that is the city life the women are so used to seeing in their busy everyday lives to the sheer majestic beauty of the Maine countryside, so beautifully described by Ferencik. It is not hard to see where she drew her inspiration for The River at Night.
The four women set off on an adventure of a lifetime though Win still has real misgivings about the adventure. Along with them is a guide Rory Ekhart still in his 20’s and it becomes apparent very quickly that one of the group has her eyes on the young guide. The trip does not start well for Win and this just adds to her forebodings. But what harm could this trip do, they all need some excitement. One seeks excitement before they hit the water and now the group really needs to focus on what lies ahead.
White water rafting is a bonding experience when everyone has to work to together, here in this thrilling novel the bonds that tie the friends together are tried and tested beyond anything that could have been envisaged from the outset. Sometimes in situations when it becomes a test of survival you see people react and it is not always the people you think who are the strongest. This is why I really enjoyed how Ferencik worked on the characters to create such a strong and powerful storyline. How Win comes through and in my belief ends up the strongest out the group as they try to survive when things go terribly wrong.
This is a gripping novel and the comparisons to the famous novel and film are clearly there and the chill of the river scenes are incredibly detailed and told.
Erica Ferencik has written a masterful novel and so well told you are almost in the raft with the women and feel the chill of the water as you are turned over still aboard and you are trying to escape, this is a book told as if it was in 3D as I have read in a long time the scenery and the water all stand out and come at you at speed. This is a white water experience and a bid to survive when all seems lost. Leadership is required when your lives and the lives of your friends are at risk.
This is exhilarating and packed full of suspense and as you reach the climax you are still not sure who will come out of this alive.
To coincide with the release of The River at Night there is a special price for anyone wanting to download the book for Kindle, at £1.49 via Amazon Kindle and you the thrilling book for January.
Thank you to Joseph Thomas at Bloomsbury for the advanced review copy.
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik is published by Raven Books (Bloomsbury) and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
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