blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Liberty Terrace – Madeleine D’Arcy

Set in a fictional area of Cork City from 2016-2020, Liberty Terrace captures the highs and lows of everyday life from both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting readers to consider what it
means to be human and to live within a wider community.
A former solicitor with experience as a Census Enumerator in 2016, Cork native Madeleine D’Arcy took inspiration from the Irish Census originally scheduled in April 2021 but now postponed until 2022 for Liberty Terrace. D’Arcy has created a rich tapestry of stories all set in and around the fictional street; the residents of Liberty Terrace come and go over the years – their lives ebbing and flowing
around each other in ways that are sometimes funny, sometimes dark and often both.
The cast of characters includes retired Garda Superintendent Deckie Google, a young homeless squatter, the mother of an autistic child working part-time as a Census Enumerator, the dysfunctional Callinan family, an ageing rock star, a trio of ladies who visit a faith healer, a philandering husband, as well as a surprising number of cats and dogs.

MADELEINE D’ARCY is an Irish fiction writer. A former solicitor, she lived in the UK for 13 years before returning to live in Cork City with her husband and her son in 1999. Madeleine’s first Doire Press short story collection ‘Waiting for the Bullet’ was awarded the 2015 Edge Hill Readers’ Prize’ from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. In 2010 she received a Hennessy X.O Literary
Award for First Fiction as well as the overall Hennessy X.O Literary Award for New Irish Writer. Her stories have been short-listed and commended in many competitions, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen Short Story
Competition, Fish Short Story Prize, the Bridport Prize and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. Madeleine has been awarded bursaries by the Arts
Council of Ireland and by Cork City Council. Madeleine was a scholarship
student on the inaugural MA in Creative Writing 2013-2014 in University College Cork. Waiting for the Bullet is Madeleine’s first collection of short stories.

My thoughts: this was a clever and moving collection of stories about moments in the lives of the residents of Liberty Terrace, a fictional street in Cork. Each story focuses on one household and their lives. From a family of immigrants still finding their feet at the beginning of lockdown, to older residents trying to help their lonely friend. Each story reminds you of the kindness and community that can be found around you.

Well written and very enjoyable, I loved seeing into these characters lives, even if only briefly, the glimpses of families, both born and built, the generosity of others, the ways in which we all live quietly alongside each other but every now and then connect.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Èkleipsis: The Abyss – Tamal Wino

Ékleipsis: The Abyss is the second short story collection by the award-winning author.

Tales of depravation and insanity are woven together with unrelenting style and depth, scrutinizing human nature’s degeneration when compromised by tragic, vicious circumstances.

These complex, wretched individuals and the irremediable conditions they are desperate to claw out of—or into—invoke the unfathomable question: What devastation are we truly capable of when left with no way out but down . . . into the obscurity of the abyss?

” It is at times appalling, strange and outright frightening, but Wino’s way with character development is outstanding. The display of artistic creativity and character creation really sets “Èkleipsis: The Abyss” apart in the field of short story collections.”
― Reader Views

“The stories are well-packaged and generally have the feel of watching a syndicated crime drama. Fans of this form of entertainment will likely enjoy these well-crafted stories about everyday people whose lives are shattered by lunatics.”
― The US Review of Books

“Wino’s writing is vivid, unsettling and filled with brilliant hints that contribute to the exhilaration of its pacing. Ékleipsis: The Abyss is a clever and creative horror offering worth checking out.”

―Independent Book Review

” Tamel really captured that essence of society and the dark side of people. Readers will appreciate the dark undertones of this horror anthology. Ekleipsis: the Abyss will surprise you more that you can imagine.”

―Literary Titan

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Tamel Wino is a Canadian fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on degeneration of sanity and morality. He studied Health Sciences and Psychology, which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.

When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic shows and traveling. EkleipsisFacebook | Instagram

Giveaway: Signed copies of Ékleipsis and Ékleipsis: The Abyss. a Rafflecopter giveaway

My thoughts: this collection of short stories explores the horror of humanity – ordinary horror, not monsters from beyond, but the ways in which human beings inflict terror and trauma on one another. From kidnapped wives and hitchhikers, lovers who kill and domestic psychopaths. Every terrible thing here is caused and created by a person not a creature of nightmare. Which makes them all the more sinister and insidious. Some of the victims are easier to empathise with than others, particularly the sadistic prison guards dished out some ice cold revenge. A clever and chilling collection examining the worst of human behaviour.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Blog Tour: The Last Line – Robert Dugoni

His old life in the rearview, Del Castigliano has left Wisconsin to work homicide for the Seattle PD. Breaking him in is veteran detective Moss Gunderson, and he’s handing Del a big catch: the bodies of two unidentified men fished from Lake Union. It’s a major opportunity for the new detective, and Del runs with it, chasing every lead—to every dead end. Despite the help of another section rookie, Vic Fazzio, Del is going nowhere fast. Until one shotgun theory looks to be dead right: the victims are casualties of a drug smuggling operation. But critical information is missing—or purposely hidden. It’s forcing Del into a crisis of character and duty that not even the people he trusts can help him resolve.

The Last Line Excerpt


Del drove from the parking garage into a blustery and cold November morning—cold being relative. In Madison, anything above freezing was balmy for November, though Del was starting to understand what Seattleites meant when they said it wasn’t the temperature that chills you; it’s the dampness. He could feel the cold in his bones. A stiff wind rocked his metallic-blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.The wind had started blowing late the prior evening; branches of a tree scraping against Del’s bedroom window had kept him awake half the night.


He drove from Capitol Hill with the defroster on high and worked his way around the southern edge of Lake Union, noting marinas and water-based businesses. He pulled into a parking lot where Moss stood beside a black Buick LeSabre, sipping coffee and towering over a patrol officer. Moss was almost as big as Del, who stood six foot five and weighed 250 pounds.


Del pulled up the collar of his coat against the howling wind as he approached the two men. He recognized the green logo on Moss’s Starbucks coffee cup, the company name taken from Captain Ahab’s first mate on the Pequod, the whaling ship Moby Dick sent to the bottom of the ocean. The logo, a green siren, tempted sailors to jump overboard and drown. Neither was a good omen.


“Look what the cat dragged out. Did we wake you, Elmo?”


“Funny.” Del had heard iterations of Elmo since his teens, when the beloved puppet first appeared on Sesame Street. Moss introduced Del to Mike Nuccitelli, the patrol sergeant. “How’d you get here so quick?” Del asked Moss. He understood Moss lived in West Seattle, twenty minutes farther from the marina than Del’s apartment.


“I didn’t take time to do my hair.” Moss rubbed the bristles of a crew cut. “I’m like my name. You know. A rolling stone.”


Del knew. More than once, Moss had told him his parents bequeathed him the moniker because as a child he never remained still. Vic Fazzio had said it was more likely Moss gave himself the nickname. His Norwegian first name was Asbjorn.


“Halloway here?” Del asked.


“At this hour of the morning?” Moss scoffed. “Stayaway doesn’t come out this early on a cold morning unless he thinks the brass might show up and he can shine their badges with his nose.”


“What do we got?” Del asked.


“Two grown men. Looks like they drowned,” Nuccitelli said. “We’re waiting for the ME.”


“What more do we know about the victims; anything?” Del asked.


Nuccitelli raised the fur collar of his duty jacket against the wind. “Hispanic is my guess, though the bodies are pretty bloated and their skin the color of soot. I’m guessing roughly late twenties to early thirties, but again . . .”


“They didn’t have any ID?” Del asked.


“Not on them,” Nuccitelli said.


“That strike you as odd—they didn’t have ID?”


Nuccitelli smiled.“Not my job.That’s your job.”


“How far out is the ME?” Moss looked and sounded disinterested.


Nuccitelli checked his watch.“Should be here in ten.”


“We’ll take it from here.”

Giveaway – win a copy of the book

Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, which has sold more than seven million books worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling Charles Jenkins series; the bestselling David Sloane series; the stand-alone novels The 7th Canon, Damage Control, The World Played Chess, and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni won an AudioFile Earphones Award for narration; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post best book of the year. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Book Award for fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two-time finalist for the Thriller Awards and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, as well as a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for mystery and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards. His books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages. 

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Robert Dugoni Q&A

From books to movies to television, police procedurals are incredibly popular with audiences. What do you think is the appeal of these stories? 

I think the appeal is readers and viewers have good guys to root for and bad guys to root against. Readers also like a good mystery. They like to see if they can solve the crime, determine the bad guy and figure out what he did and how he did it, just like the detectives. It keeps them engaged in and part of the story.

Do you recall the first detective story you ever read or perhaps you have a favorite? What was it about this type of story that made you want to write in the genre? 

Years ago, I remember reading Michael Connelly’s The Poet. I don’t know if it was the first detective story I read, probably not, but it was visceral and stuck with me. I do recall reading All The President’s Men when I was in high school, and though Woodward and Bernstein were not detectives, per se, they very much functioned like detectives in that story—finding clues, trying to piece together those clues, and then solve the puzzle. In many ways, that’s what a good detective story is all about: solving a puzzle. I think that is one of the appeals to writers, as well as readers and viewers.

Del Castigliano, the police detective in your newest release The Last Line,  has worked in narcotics, arson, sexual assaults, robbery, and now homicide. He has definitely seen the worst that humans have to offer. What keeps him sane and on the job?

For most police officers I’ve spoken with, they do the job knowing that they are keeping people safe—maybe people they know or even love. It’s a tough job and burnout can be a problem. Most detectives have to be mentally tough and can be frequently rotated to help minimize burn out. It’s one of the reasons detectives and uniformed officers, I believe, are underappreciated. It’s a tough job.

Throughout The Last Line, readers get to see Del at his worst—he faces loss, failure, insecurity, loneliness…yet we also respect him. He is honest, hardworking, and clever. How do you see him? If you were to sit down to have a beer with him, what would you talk about?

In The Last Line, I see Del as a guy trying to find his way after life has thrown him a curveball. If we sat down for a beer, I’d ask him if, looking back, he has any regrets, or if time has helped him put life in perspective and he realizes that what he went through as a young man actually helped him to get to a better place in his life.

The Last Line ends in a way that will have readers wanting more. Do you have any future plans for Del and the larger cast?

Very much so. Del is a central character in the Tracy Crosswhite series, and in Tracy #9, What She Found, the story of Del’s first case from The Last Line comes back to Tracy, who is now working a cold case and trying to figure out what happened 24 years ago.

For fans of your bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series, will they feel at home with Del as the lead protagonist? For readers who haven’t discovered Tracy yet, will they be able to dip right in?

Absolutely. The Last Line is a standalone story that predates Tracy arriving at Seattle PD. I’ve had so many readers ask me for more of Del and Faz! Writing The Last Line was an opportunity to dig into how they got started and what shaped them. I have a thought now about Tracy #10 being a cold case that Del and Faz investigated 25 years earlier and telling the story from both time periods leading up to Tracy solving the crime in the present.

What do you have coming up next?

The third book in the Charles Jenkins espionage series, The Silent Sisters, will be published, February 22, 2022, followed by Tracy #9, What She Found, which will be out August 23, 2022. Beyond that, readers can look for a new standalone legal thriller introducing criminal defense attorney Keera Duggan. I’m excited about that novel and working hard to get it finished soon.

My thoughts: this was a nice little police procedural that introduces Del Castigliano and provides some reference to his case as mentioned above. It definitely made me want to read the Tracy Crosswhite series, and find out more. Especially that ending! Whether you’re a fan already or, like me, new to the author, it’s well worth a read and won’t take long at all.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Ruabon – Carl Drinkwater*

Read my thoughts on the other books in this series: Lost Solace Chasing Solace Grubane Clarissa

Welcome to Tecant.


Nothing ever happens here.


Until today.


Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the UFS which
“liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls. Despite his ingenuity, the UFS offers few opportunities for a better life.
Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.
He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.
Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.
And if he fails, he’ll be dead.
Buy


Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in
English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.
When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake.
Not necessarily in that order.

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My thoughts: this was interesting in that it both filled in a gap in one of the Lost Solace books, Chasing Solace, but also showed you the flip side to those events. What Ruabon does that day with the drones he’s been tinkering with isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things, but to him, in that moment, it is everything. He’s so bored of his job, of the UFS, that even breaking all the rules doesn’t bother him.

If you’ve read the previous books and short stories, you’ll know what’s happening, what Opal and Athene are up to, and why UFS are so keen to catch them. This can be read as a standalone but it makes a lot more sense tied into the whole.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Clarissa – Karl Drinkwater*

Read my thoughts on the other books in this series: Lost Solace Chasing Solace Grubane

If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.
Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.
Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.
I hate them.
And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of
the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.
My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.
And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.
Buy a copy


Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in
English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.
When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake.
Not necessarily in that order.

Website
Twitter
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My thoughts: this is another short story set in the world of the Lost Solace books, which start with Opal looking for her missing sister – Clarissa. In this brief glimpse of the past, narrated by 10 year old Clarissa herself, we see what happened, what sets Opal on her quest. Clarissa has been taken by two agents, she thinks in order to force her to go to school, but they seem to have a different agenda. On the ship, Solace, they encounter something strange, something they’re afraid of. But Clarissa isn’t. It’s a really interesting bit of back story filled in, and suggests the beginning of Clarissa’s own story is even more interesting than Opal’s. Hope there’s more to come!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: In The Time of Foxes – Jo Lennan*

‘A fox could be a shape-shifter, a spirit being. It could appear in human form if this suited its purposes; it could come and go as it pleased, play tricks, lead men astray.’

A young filmmaker in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an actress dealing with a rival and the fallout of a scandal; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a freelance journalist on Mars, grappling with his fate.

When everyone is trying to make it, what does it take to survive? These men and women have learned to change shape, to adapt – but can they learn to be wise?

Showing the short story collection at its most entertaining and rewarding, In the Time of Foxes is deeply insightful about the times in which we live. With an exhilarating span of people and places, it introduces Jo Lennan as an irresistible new storyteller.

My thoughts: Foxes in folklore around the world are tricksters and magical, they slip through the world with a wink and a grin. They’re survivors, making homes in places that have changed since humans started building cities and motorways.

In this collection of short stories, foxes slip through gardens and under fences, they’re just out of the corner of the eye, as the humans strive and struggle to fit in, and try to find their place. From London to Sydney, Japan to Mars, each story is a tiny novel in itself, some I wanted to know more, others were fine to leave just as they were.

I really enjoyed these stories, snap shots of lives at one moment in time, people dealing with issues that loomed large in their lives but might seem insignificant to outsiders. Intelligent and well written, this book was a pleasure to read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Million Story City – Marcus Preece*

An author whose experience embodies the struggle faced by millions of other working class regional writers

When the filmmaker, teacher and editor Marcus Preece died in 2017 he left behind incomplete notes and drafts for dozens of short stories, screenplays, comic strips, poems and music journalism. He was also in the process of writing an inter-connective short story collection Adventures in Million-Story City from which this collected works, edited by his friend, author Malu Halasa, takes it name.

Million-Story City is a fabulous place populated by highly original, delightful characters, where storybook conventions mix and flow in a sequence of tales for both adult and younger readers: Two guys named Tom Bone. A spaceman speaking only lyrics from pop songs, confusing the aliens. A Gogolesque telesales agent with a dog problem. A return to a desolate Australian mining town. Cowboys, detectives and witches, unlike any you’ve ever seen. An irate email to Sepp Blatter. Wise children. Musings on whiskey, the sea and the end of the damn world. It all made Preece one of the most interesting writers you never got the chance to hear of.

Marcus Preece was a solidly working class writer based largely in the Midlands, and the themes of his screenplays, short fiction and poetry – racism, migration, sexism and corrupt government – resonate loudly today. He was a punk at college in Walsall when he became friends with the Birmingham-based director John Humphreys. Their first film together was United Bad Art (1989) about graffiti and other scripts of his were made into films for Yorkshire TV and BBC2. If someone in a bedsit on one of those tumbled down two-up-two-down terraced houses had some success in the wider world than anyone in Birmingham could do it.

But Preece’s personal story is one still experienced by writers around the country, and especially in the regions. In Birmingham it was too hard to make the necessary contacts and when he couldn’t earn a living from his scripts and articles Preece worked as a builder with his dad in East Grinstead. In the 2009 he retrained as a teacher of English as a second language and moved to Hanoi, where he taught English, edited the Voice of Vietnam’s English-language website and held legendary pub quizzes in dive bars when he wasn’t obsessing over his latest short story for the page or film.

Preece’s life was tragically cut short but what remains are his wonderfully acerbic and witty comics and screenplays, his melancholic poems and this anthology is a sheer delight and tribute to that.

As the UK faces an uneasy future, Marcus’s undiscovered writings, his outrage and politics speak volumes now.

Paper + Ink founder Mitch Albert said, ‘Marcus Preece’s writings reveal a man who had considerable talent and vision, and once I tucked into the stories, comics, screenplays and poems, it was a while before I looked up again. In short, I’m a fan, in addition to admiring Malu’s meaningful and highly worthwhile tribute to a fallen friend.’

Malu Halasa is an editor, writer and curator based in London. She has written the novel, Mother of All Pigs, and edited many anthologies including Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline and The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy and Design. Usually she writes about the Middle East but for Million-Story City she returns to Britain’s second city, which inspired her after she moved to the UK in the 1980s.

My thoughts:

Even in the shortest of this collection of writing you can feel how good a writer Marcus Preece was and what a loss his death is.

He creates a strong sense of place and time, drawing pictures that linger in the mind. Even in the opening piece about his birthplace of Ima in the Australian Outback, a tiny no horse town, you can see the things he’s describing so clearly, without ever having been there.

Living in the UK’s second city, Birmingham, for much of his adult life, gave him a unique perspective on its inhabitants and society. As an outsider he could see the idiosyncrasies while also feeling a deep bond and affection for his adopted home town.

This is a book that shows you snapshots of people and places, gifting them to you on the page. In the short stories, poems and screen plays, he creates whole worlds in a few words, strongly drawing you into his characters’ lives. Truly an underrated writer.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: It Will Be Quick – Karl Drinkwater*

Read my reviews of Karl’s previous books; Lost Solace Chasing Solace Grubane

A single decision can save – or ruin – a life.
An opportunistic baby theft by a young woman in pain. Two strangers shipwrecked on a lifeless rock,
unable to speak the same language. An isolated cycling holiday descends into terror. One woman seeks the courage to destroy her life. A miracle unites a community, and teenagers take a stand against hypocrisy.

Karl Drinkwater presents characters to root for – and characters to dread – in sixteen tales of humanity, endurance, and spirit.

Buy a copy here or here

Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in
English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.

Karl is an active member of the
British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake.
Not necessarily in that order.

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My thoughts:

This was an interesting mix of short stories, some just over a page long, about people making decisions, good and bad, and consequences. My favourites were Fire in the Hole even though it was very sad and the miraculous The Potential which again was quite sad but was ultimately rather lovely. I think sometimes we need bittersweet and these stories definitely are that.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: One Love Chigusa – Soji Shimada

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A love story that explores the mechanics of the heart and humankind’s inevitable evolution.

The year is 2091 AD. A horrendous motorcycle accident leaves Xie Hoyu coming to terms with his new cybernetic body. Reconstructed from the latest biomechanical prosthetics, he is discharged from hospital and tries to return to his life as an illustrator after many weeks in recovery.

But something isn’t quite right. Xie is plagued with inexplicable auditory and visual hallucinations and feelings of despair. He fears he is losing his mind and the desire for life itself until he notices a beautiful woman on the street – his sole reprieve from the madness.

Possessed by her beauty and desperate to understand what is happening to him, Xie follows her in the hope of finding answers that only she appears to offer. But not all is as it seems.

An homage to the great artist and creator of Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka, One Love Chigusa by Soji Shimada, one of Japan’s most famous authors, is a tale of obsessive love in a world where technology has crept into the very heart of humanity.

Translated by David Warren, it offers a glimpse into a possible future and questions the purpose of humanity in a manner that only Japan’s master of the postmodern whodunnit can do.

The Author

Soji Shimada’s debut novel, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, is ranked among the ‘top five best locked-room mysteries published worldwide’ (Adrian McKinty, The Guardian).

An instant classic, it transformed him into ‘Japan’s Man of Mystery’ and one of the country’s bestselling authors. His novel Murder in the Crooked House was a Sunday Times Best Book of the Year.

He is also known for his Detective Mitarai series (published by Pushkin Vertigo) and the Detective Yoshiki series.

Shimada is the recipient of the Japan Mystery Literature Award and the founder of three literary awards: Amateur Mystery Novel contests, The City of Roses Fukuyama Mystery Award and the Soji Shimada Mystery Award.

The Translator

Sir David Warren was British ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012, having served twice before in the British Embassy in Tokyo during his career as a British diplomat.

He is now honorary professor at Sheffield University, a member of the Board of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures at the University of East Anglia, and was Chair of the Council of the University of Kent until July 2020. From 2013 to 2019, he was chairman of the Japan Society, the leading independent body in the United Kingdom dedicated to UK-Japanese cultural, educational and business contacts.

One Love Chigusa is part of Red Circle Minis, a series of short captivating books by Japan’s finest contemporary writers that brings the narratives and voices of Japan together as never before. Each book is a first edition written specifically for the series and is being published in English first.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting short story about love, Hoyu is recovering from a terrible accident that meant his body and brain were repaired using cybernetics. His memories are fractured and the people he sees all look like terrible monsters.

Traumatised and struggling to recover, he wanders the city, taking refuge in a coffee shop where he sees a beautiful woman, who doesn’t turn into a monster.

He starts following her, desperate to connect and learn about her. His loneliness and despair lead him all over the city on her trail.

When he finally finds her and tries to form a connection, she seems confused and struggles to understand him.

The ending is tragic and leaves poor Hoyu with more trauma.

The suggestion that humanity’s evolution does not lead to happiness is a dark, morbid one.

A strange, unsettling story of love that ends without redemption. Incredibly well written, you follow Hoyu, desperate to find out more about Chigusa and who she is, winding through the city, trying not to look at the monstrous faces of humanity as he does.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Killing Dad & Other Crime Short Stories – Keith Wright*

KILLING DAD
A family plagued by an abusive father finally take their revenge.
THE SHIFT
A detective completes a shift at work like no other. He couldn’t see the hit coming, and he couldn’t see the positive impact he’d had on so many lives.
THE MISSING LINK
A detective holds a retirement party. His old friend indicates he knows the truth.
THE PARCEL
A devoted son carries out his mother’s wishes.
DEAD TO THE WORLD
A detective stumbles across a murder. The problem is, he is alone with the killer and there is no way out.
THE VERDICT
A woman is abused in her back garden. But are things really what they seem?
THE CONFESSION
A Catholic priest is new to the parish and befriends a lady parishioner.
THE SLEEPER
A loving husband and father, discovers a horrific scene and blames himself.
APPOLLONIA’S MIST
An aging artist falls in love with his muse. But is she as devoted to him?
FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS
An elderly couple find themselves next door to a problem family. Surely they will listen to reason?
FROM THE CRADLE
A young detective discovers his partners impropriety, but he learns a life lesson which conflicts with his instincts.
JIMMY TICKLE’S CHRISTMAS
A boy from an underprivileged family has a run-in with an intruder. It ends in tears…of joy.

Keith Wright is the Author of the crime novels in the ‘Inspector Stark series’ available on Amazon, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited|Audiobook on Audible and iTunes.

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My thoughts:

These short crime stories are inspired by the author’s former career as a police officer and his life’s experiences. Before each story he offers an insight into the inspiration for the following tale, which are pretty intriguing themselves.

The short story can be a hard form to master, there’s a lot to deliver in a limited number of words, and these are clearly written by a confident master of the form. Succinct and satisfying, each story has enough world building and character development built in to satisfy, within a few paragraphs you can picture the entire scene.

A very enjoyable collection of tales, perfect for dipping into at leisure or skipping through one after the other.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.