Category Archives: Transworld Books
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Review Date: 10 October 2015
Author: Fiona Barton
Release Date: 14 January 2016
Publishers: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers).
ISBN –10: 0593076214
ISBN – 13: 0593076217
Available in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle and audio
The Last Word Review
Thought provoking psychological thriller, what does go on behind closed doors
One of the most anticipated thrillers to be published in January 2016. Fiona Barton has written the ultimate thriller in The Widow that asks the question what really does go on behind closed doors.
This is a novel as told through the perspectives of the leading characters, and you get to know them very well and some are not quite as they make out.
Bella a two year old girl has been abducted from her garden and the main suspect is Glen Taylor a delivery driver. The police arrive one day to question Glen about his whereabouts on the day Bella disappeared so the story begins. Well not quite, there much more to this psychological thriller than you think. Glen seemed to have it all a great job at the local bank except how did he lose his job and how he explained it to his wife Jean, slowly but surely the facts all start to be uncovered. Glen is not who Jean really thinks he is, in fact the long suffering wife does not know her husband all that well.
The book opens four years after Bella disappeared and a lot has taken place in that time, now Glen has been killed in an accident and Jean has decided to bring the past out into the open. This is a story that flits between the past and the present in short chapters that I found really captivating and dares you to put the book down. I could not as it is that good you just wanted to know more about Glen and why is Jean so supportive of the monster that is her husband.
Normally in a review I will give an outline of the storyline in more detail, but as this is being published in January 2016 and is destined to be a best seller, this time around I am not going to delve to deeply into the story as that will spoil it.
The Widow is superbly written and so many twists and turns and really makes you thinks about loyalty in situations like this. I utterly loathed Glen but with Jean I found myself asking ‘why’ many times and this is a very believable storyline as you can imagine there are many ‘Jeans’ out there in a similar situation.
As I write this review The Widow has been sold to over 28 countries around the world and that is destined to increase and in recent days has been ‘optioned’ for television. You will be hearing a lot more about Fiona Barton and her debut novel through the coming months.
Some will tell you that The Widow will be the new Girl on the Train or Gone Girl I am in the opinion to say that it deserves to stand up by itself and it will and the success and accolades that will surely follow. It is no surprise to learn that Fiona Barton is an award winning reporter so she knew exactly what she was writing about when writing The Widow as she covered many murder cases. What makes women like Jean Taylor stay loyal that is one of the leading questions that comes out of this outstanding crime thriller.
Make a date for 14 January 2016 and prepare to cancel a weekend as turn the first page of Fiona Barton’s The Widow.
Thank you to Ben Willis and Transworld Books for an Advanced Review Copy.
Meet the Author
Fiona Barton trains and works with journalists all over the world. Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards. The Widow is her first novel. Born in Cambridge, she currently lives in south-west France.
Into The Fire by Manda Scott
Review Date: 21 June 2015
Author: Manda Scott
Release Date: 18 June 2015
Publishers: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)
ISBN –10: 0593072472
ISBN – 13: 0593072479
Available in Hardback, and Kindle.
Authors Website: http://mandascott.co.uk/
As Part of the ‘into the Fire’ blog Tour
The Last Word Review:
‘Historical thriller with a burning desire to keep you guessing to the very end’
Imagine a thriller spanning 600 hundred years. Sounds incredible but that is exactly what Manda Scott has achieved just that with Into the Fire.
This is a unique recipe of two great crime novels rolled into one outstanding read that will keep the reader up all night. You have been warned.
The key characters are the Police Capitaine Ines Picaut from current time and from 1429 Joan of Arc trying to turn the tide in the war with the English.
The story opens in current time (2014) and Orleans is under attack by arsonists and on this occasion Capitaine Picaut is called to a hotel in the centre of the old town that has been hit and this time amid the flames lies the charred remains of a body of a male but his identity is unknown. All she has to go on are Islamic extremists claiming responsibility. Who is the dead man? Did he know his attackers? The post mortem later revealed a memory card lodged in his throat. As the investigations move forward to try and solve this crime, the arsonists strike again this time the CCTV cameras have footage. The chase is now on, but there is more to this story that a modern day crime.
In 1429 Joan of Arc (The Maid of Orléans) was in the process of fighting the English, and Tomas Rustbeard has been sent as an undercover operative to seek out and eventually kill ‘The Maid’ and the myth that surrounds her. This part of the story in woven skilfully by the author in to the modern day crime spree.
I have a bucket full of admiration for Manda Scott and the volume of research that has been undertaken to write this novel that spans 600 years. I will admit at first just holding the book I was not sure if it would stand up, but I was nothing but blown away by the storyline and style of writing.
The characters that appear in the pages of Into the Fire are not only strong and but believable as well as the outstanding storyline. Without doubt it will make it to my shortlist of books of 2015.
This is a book that should be on your reading list for this summer it has bags of Heroism and evil to match and keep the reader glued to every page as it weaves from 2014 back to 1429. A true masterclass in historical fiction writing.
Meet the Author:
Manda Scott is a former veterinary surgeon who is now a writer, Born and educated in Glasgow, Scotland, she trained at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine and now lives and works in Shropshire. She made her name initially as a crime writer. Her first novel, Hen’s Teeth, hailed by Fay Weldon as ‘a new voice for a new world’ was shortlisted for the 1997 Orange Prize, and No Good Deed was nominated for the 2003 Edgar Award.
Her subsequent novels, Night Mares, Stronger than Death and No Good Deed, for which she was hailed as ‘one of Britain’s most important crime writers’ by The Times, were published by Headline and are now published, along with her other books, by Transworld Publishers, an imprint of Random House. She writes both historical and contemporary thrillers. “The Boudica series” are her first historical novels.
Her more recent Rome series (written under the name MC Scott), beginning with The Emperor’s Spy, are spy thrillers, set in the same fictional universe with some of the surviving characters from the Boudica series.
Between the two major historical series, she wrote The Crystal Skull, a dual timeline novel with a historical thread set in the Tudor era and a contemporary thriller set in modern-day Cambridge.
Her latest novel is a fast-paced, dual timeline thriller, Into the Fire, which explores the truth behind the myth of Jeanne d’Arc – and the impact those revelations could have on modern day France.
Competition time. Would you like to win a signed copy of Into the Fire by Manda Scott. Head over to my Twitter page: @Thelastword1962 Just follow and retweet the post for this review and you will go into the draw to win a signed copy. Entries close at 9pm Friday 26 June and the Winner will be notified on Saturday morning.
It is Happy Publication Day to Manda Scott and Into The Fire released today. It is an outstanding read and will prove to be a sensational Summer hit. Look out for my review coming soon.
To coincide with the release there is an official blog tour starting on June 20 and I will be hosting the tour on Friday 26 June and that is not all as there is an exciting free prize draw to win an autographed copy of Into The Fire. All you have to do is keep any eye on my Twitter feed @ and look out for further details. In the meantime here are the tour dates for Into The Fire
Little Black Lies By Sharon Bolton
Review Date: 7 June 2015
Author: Sharon Bolton
Release Date: 2 July 2015
Publishers: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)
ISBN –10: 059306920X
ISBN – 13: 978-0593069202
Available in Hardback, Paperback, and Kindle.
Authors Website: http://www.sjbolton.com/
The Last Word Review:
‘Riveting and chilling South Atlantic thriller’
Thank you to Alison Barrow and Transworld Publishers for the ARC. This is my first Sharon Bolton thriller that I have reviewed and ‘Little Black Lies’ really left its mark on me. This is a dark thriller that has all the ingredients to be a big hit.
The scene is 1994 and the Falkland Islands, the war with Argentina ended some years before but the scars are still visible. Very quickly in to this book you are hit with something disturbing. Catrin’s two Sons are killed in a tragic accident while in the care of her best friend Rachel. This would test any long standing friendship. Now since this happened 3 other boys have gone missing from their tight knit community.
The book is very much told in the first person through the eyes of its three main characters, Catrin, Callum, (former Paratrooper and Falkland’s veteran) and Rachel. This keeps the story moving along and is very character focussed.
Catrin has never forgiven Rachel and there is an air of revenge running through this plot. Rachel feels guilty and blames herself for the accident. In the small Community there is no hiding place and Rachel is more or less left isolated by the events. When the island has visitors from a cruise ship another child goes missing and questions are coming thick and fast, the body of one of the missing children is discovered Callum now believes a killer is now among them tension and mistrust roam the community.
When the missing child is found and then to add to the panic Rachel’s young Son goes missing it is natural to think that Catrin could be behind this latest development.
‘Little Black Lies’ is packed with raw tension and drama set in a dark setting that only the South Atlantic could deliver rugged, the harsh and desolate landscape that is the Falklands. There is also the Wildlife of the islands and some distressing moments. The actual setting has been superbly chosen and the author should be congratulated on this. The book also delivers on many themes that has been woven into the story. The ending is simply outstanding and I had to re-read this a few times, that caught me out. This is an exceptional thriller that I would more than happily recommend to a book club and there are many discussion points to work through.
Meet the Author:
Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the CWA Dagger in the Library.
Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and young son. For further information please visit Sharon Bolton’s website.
Disclaimer by Renee Knight
Review Date: 23 May 2015
Author: Renee Knight
Release Date: 9 April 2015
ISBN –10: 0857522817
ISBN – 13: 0857522818
Available in Hardcover, and Download for Kindle.
The Last Word Review:
‘Gripping and tense. Be prepared to be held captive to the last page and cancel all other engagements’
Firstly a big thank you to Alison Barrow for providing a review copy of ‘Disclaimer’ by Renee Knight.
This is an exceptional debut novel. I was held captive from the opening page to the last and has plenty of twist that will keep you from putting this book down.
Imagine moving house and coming across a novel then you pick it up and realise the book is all about you. What would you think, how would you feel? Here is that rollercoaster thriller that more than packs a psychological punch. Catherine has just moved house with Robert her husband and does find that very book. Now the story unfolds and now try and put the book down. The book is called ‘Perfect Stranger’ a book along these lines needs a disclaimer, you know the one ‘any resemblance to any person living or dead’ etc. It is there bold as brass except it has a neat red line through it. Don’t know about you but that would worry me. My heart was racing from here as I knew I was reading something so unique and so very special.
The premise of this story is that Catherine has a secret she has kept locked inside for the last 20 years, so she thought. Renee Knight has written a book that will set you thinking and will play with you. There is more to ‘Disclaimer’ than the reader first realises and as you read on you become hooked. The book moves from Catherine’s narrative to an old man recounting his life with his dead wife Nancy. The one thing about ‘Disclaimer’ is that there are not too many characters so you become intertwined with their lives and with the plot. Clever, brilliant in fact.
The one thing about secrets is that you work so hard and worry about keeping the secret safe that in itself is harder than think and someone somewhere knows.
If you are planning to read Disclaimer and I urge you to go out and buy a copy, be prepared and cancel all other engagements as you will not put Disclaimer down until you have finished reading it. ‘Disclaimer’ really is that good. One of my books of 2015 without a doubt.
Meet the Author:
Renée Knight worked for the BBC directing arts documentaries before turning to writing. She has had TV and film scripts commissioned by the BBC, Channel Four and Capital Films. Her first screenplay, ‘Mother’s Day’, made it onto the Brit List of best unproduced scripts of that year. In April 2013 she graduated from the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives in London with her husband and two children.