blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: In The Absence of Miracles – Michael J. Malone*

In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue.

Chilling, perceptive and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about.

A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.

And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country.

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers.

Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight.

His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit.

A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

My thoughts: this book goes to some dark places, twisted and cruel people emerge as John Docherty tries to uncover the truth about his unknown brother and his own past.

It’s a gripping, rollercoaster of a thriller, something that at first seems fairly formulaic that then opens up in a much larger, shocking series of terrible crimes and cruelties. What John and his younger brother Chris uncover goes far beyond a missing child.

I think there must be something in Scottish air that creates crime writers; some of the very best in British crime fiction are Scots. And Michael Malone’s writing is up there with Ian Rankin and Val McDermid.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Truth Hurts – Rebecca Reid*

Truth Hurts Cover Image .jpg

Poppy has a secret.

It was a whirlwind romance. And when Drew, caught up in the moment, suggests that he and Poppy don’t tell each other anything about their past lives, that they live only for the here and now, for the future they are building together, Poppy jumps at the chance for a fresh start.

Drew says he has nothing to hide.

But it doesn’t take long for Poppy to see that this is a two-way deal. Drew is hiding something from her. And Poppy suddenly has no idea who the man she has married really is, what he is hiding from her or what he might be capable of.

Drew is lying.

Which is more dangerous, a secret or a lie?

Rebecca Reid Author Pic.jpg

Rebecca is a freelance journalist. She is a columnist for the Telegraph Women’s section, works for Metro Online and has written for Marie Claire, the Guardian, the Saturday Telegraph, the Independent, Stylist, Glamour, the iPaper, the Guardian, Indy100, LOOK and the New Statesmen amongst others.

Rebecca is a regular contributor to Sky News and ITV’s This Morning as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, LBC, BBC News 24 and the BBC World Service to discuss her work.

She graduated from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015 and Perfect Liars is her debut novel.

Rebecca lives in North London with her husband.

 

My thoughts:

Would you marry someone you’d only known for a month? Would you agree to never discuss your pasts? Well that’s what Poppy does in this book. And of course, the past is never going to go away completely.

What seems to start as a cosy beach read quickly becomes something darker as Poppy’s history is revealed in flashbacks and in the present she starts to dig into Drew’s. Neither of them is quite who they appear to be and all the secrets start to creep out as they host Drew’s friends for a long weekend at their new home, Thursday House.

Well written and compelling this novel quickly drags you into the mysteries sounding Poppy and Drew, neither of whom are as innocent or as bland as they might seem and that could end up spelling disaster. With a few twists, especially right at the end, that you just don’t see coming, this is a clever thriller well worth a place on your commute or even on your holidays.

Truth Hurts BT Poster .jpg

 

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Burning Ambition & Takeaway Terror – B.L Faulkner*

Burning Ambition cover.jpg

Cases 7 & 8 from the DCS Palmer and the Serial Murder Squad series. In Burning ambition an organised crime gang leader wants one last big heist as a signature to his career. He chooses the Royal Mint in Wales. But other criminals have learnt of this planned heist and want ‘in’. The answer is ‘no’ but the arguments develope into murders which brings in Palmer and his team. Will they be in time to stop the job and prevent any more murders?

In Takeaway Terror two organised crime families fight over the lucrative London West End drugs trade. Are the fast food delivery lads on their mopeds delivering more than takeaways? Why have three been killed by a hit and run driver? Old school gangsters go to war with an incoming foreign drugs lord family. Palmer needs to get inside, but once inside will he get out? alive?

B Faulkner Author picture .jpg

Barry Faulkner was born into a family of petty criminals in Herne Hill, South London. His father, uncles and older siblings ran with the Richardson Crime family from time to time. At this point we must point out that he did not follow in that family tradition although the characters he met and their escapades he witnessed have added a certain authenticity to his books. He attended the first ever comprehensive school in the UK, William Penn in Peckham and East Dulwich, where he attained no academic qualifications other than GCE ‘O’ level in Art and English and a Prefect’s badge (though some say he stole all three!)
His mother was a fashion model and had great theatrical aspirations for young Faulkner and pushed him into auditioning for the Morley Academy of Dramatic Art at the Elephant and Castle, where he was accepted but only lasted three months before being asked to leave as no visible talent had surfaced. Mind you, during his time at the Academy he was called to audition for the National Youth Theatre by Trevor Nunn – fifty years later, he’s still waiting for the call back!
His early writing career was as a copywriter with the advertising agency Erwin Wasey Ruthrauff & Ryan in Paddington, during which time he got lucky with some light entertainment scripts sent to the BBC and Independent Television and became a script editor and writer on a freelance basis, working on most of the LE shows of the 1980-90s. During that period, while living out of a suitcase in UK hotels for a lot of the time, he filled many notebooks with DCS Palmer case plots; and in 2015 he finally found time to start putting them in order and into book form. Six are finished and published so far, with more to come. He hopes you enjoy reading them as much as he enjoyed writing them. If you do read one please leave a review as your comments are very much appreciated.
You can find out more about Barry Faulkner and the real UK major heists and robberies, including the Brinks Mat robbery and the Hatton Garden Heist; plus the gangs and criminals that carried them out, including the Krays and the Richardsons, on his crime blog at http://www.geezers2016.wordpress.com. Faulkner also regularly gives illustrated talks on that era to WI and other social clubs. barryfaulkner1@btopenworld.com for details.

 

My thoughts:

They don’t make criminals like they used to. The ‘faces’ in these stories hearken back to a time of gangsters and heists that you just don’t really get anymore, which makes sense when you learn about the author’s background. He knew some of the most infamous criminals in London history.

I really enjoyed these two novella length stories – DCS Palmer and his team of two (plus a few others drafted in) know the score and combining Palmer’s old school boots on the street policing with Gheeta Singh’s IT wizardry means taking down the bad guys has never looked so easy.

With a direct no-nonsense tone to match Palmer’s character, these stories crackle along, towing you in their wake. You know they’re going to get the bad guys, but how many bodies can they rack up before the cuffs are on?

Definitely for fans of British crime writing and especially for those of you who never miss a Martina Cole as these fit alongside, but from the copper’s perspective, not the con’s.

Burning Ambition BT Poster .jpg

 

*I was kindly gifted this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour, however all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A River of Bodies – Kevin Doyle*

In this sequel to his impressive debut novel To Keep A Bird Singing, Kevin Doyle delves further into the murky world of the powerful Donnelly family and their association with the Catholic church and the security forces. The clock is ticking as Noelie and his friends try to uncover the network of corruption and deception that the family have used to protect themselves and their operations. But Albert Donnelly is onto Noelie and there’s nothing he won’t do to stop him.

Edgy, dark and sharp, Kevin Doyle’s A River of Bodies is a cracking political thriller – restless, brilliantly plotted and topical.

Kevin Doyle is from Cork and works as a writer and creative writing teacher. He has been published in many literary journals, including Stinging Fly, The Cork Review, Southwords and The Cúirt Journal. He is the winner of a string of awards, including the Tipperary Short Story Award (1998) – first; Over The Edge New Writer Of The Year – shortlist; Hennessy Literary Awards(2011) – shortlist; Seán ÓFaoláin Prize(2013) – runner-up; Michael McLaverty Short Story Award(2016) – winner. In 2018, he published his first novel, To Keep A Bird Singing. He lives in Cork.


My thoughts:

First read To Keep A Bird Singing.

Talk about conspiracies. Politics in Ireland has always been complicated, mostly due to the complete mess that England made over the centuries.

This novel blends the IRA, the police and security services, the Catholic Church and its various cover ups and horrible history, and the ordinary people that get drawn into this chaos.

Noelie is the everyman hero of these books, who along with a selection of friends pursues justice at almost any cost after the deaths of his nephew and best friend in the first book.

The conspiracy gets knottier and more complicated the more they uncover and horrors of the past come to light. Albert Donnelly is really sinister and evil.

The writing is taut, compelling and powerful. The plot is quite dark, unsurprisingly given the basis of it – the church, industrial schools, child abuse and murder.

The ending is a complete cliffhanger and I cannot wait to find out in the third book what happened to Noelie and friends.

*I was kindly gifted these books in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions are my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Killing Gene – E.M. Davey*

When an archaeologist goes missing in the Congo basin, Professor Randolph Harkness and young Faraway Ross McCartney go in search of her – only to stumble upon a conspiracy to conceal ancient horrors lost to the passage of time. Evading spies and trained killers, can they expose this cover up? The Killing Gene reveals the story of our species, the paradox of the modern mind and our innate predilection for murder…

E.M. DAVEY is a journalist at Global Witness specialising in undercover investigative journalism into international corruption and environmental crime, which gives him the opportunity to travel to far-flung and unusual places. His novels incorporate real-world experiences and meticulous research, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. He has taught creative writing with the Wilbur & Niso Smith foundation and is the author of three novels: Foretold by Thunder (Duckworth 2015), The Napoleon Complex (Duckworth 2016) and The Killing Gene (Duckworth 2019). He grew up in Bristol and now lives in Kent.

My thoughts:

I thought this was a cracking read, a real thriller, plus the science and history nerd within was thrilled by all the theories and ‘discoveries’ in this book.

The author’s career as a journalist means that he knows how to make a story compelling and boy is this one.

I raced through it and then wittered on at my psychologist husband for ages about it, while he nodded and rolled his eyes.

If you’re looking for a rollercoaster read then this is a great one to pick up.

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

books, reviews

Books You May Have Missed*

Here’s a mini round up of some books I’ve read recently that might not have come to your attention. Definitely worth sticking on your TBR.

Lord of Secrets (The Empty Gods Book 1) by [Teintze, Breanna]

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul…

You Die Next: The twisty crime thriller that will keep you up all night (Starke & Bell) by [Marland, Stephanie, Broadribb, Stephanie]

In a dangerous alliance with troubled amateur sleuth Clementine Starke, DI Dominic Bell must hunt down a ruthless killer targeting a group of urban explorers who risk their lives exploring abandoned London locations. Can Starke and Bell identify the masked victims before it’s too late?

A group of anonymous urban explorers stumble into a murderer’s kill room in a derelict film studio. Terrified, they run, thinking they are safe as no one in the group knows their identities. When one of them is brutally murdered during an exploration of an abandoned underground station, they realise they are being hunted.

DI Dominic Bell and his team are investigating the series of murders but cannot find the connection between the victims. The only person who can help is Clementine Starke, who is researching adult thrillseeekers as part of a university research project. However, Clementine is haunted by dark and violent obsessions, primarily her former relationship with DI Dominic Bell.

The Academy of Chaenbalu has stood against magic for centuries.

Hidden from the world, acting from the shadows, it trains its students to detect and retrieve magic artifacts, which it jealously guards from the misuse of others. Because magic is dangerous: something that heals can also harm, and a power that aids one person may destroy another.

Of the Academy’s many students, only the most skilled can become Avatars – warrior thieves, capable of infiltrating the most heavily guarded vaults – and only the most determined can be trusted to resist the lure of magic.

More than anything, Annev de Breth wants to become one of them.

The Migration by [Marshall, Helen]

When I was younger I didn’t know a thing about death. I thought it meant stillness, a body gone limp. A marionette with its strings cut. Death was like a long vacation – a going away.

Storms and flooding are worsening around the world, and a mysterious immune disorder has begun to afflict the young. Sophie Perella is about to begin her senior year of high school in Toronto when her little sister, Kira, is diagnosed. Their parents’ marriage falters under the strain, and Sophie’s mother takes the girls to Oxford, England, to live with their Aunt Irene. An Oxford University professor and historical epidemiologist obsessed with relics of the Black Death, Irene works with a centre that specializes in treating people with the illness. She is a friend to Sophie, and offers a window into a strange and ancient history of human plague and recovery. Sophie just wants to understand what’s happening now; but as mortality rates climb, and reports emerge of bodily tremors in the deceased, it becomes clear there is nothing normal about this condition – and that the dead aren’t staying dead. When Kira succumbs, Sophie faces an unimaginable choice: let go of the sister she knows, or take action to embrace something terrifying and new.

Tender and chilling, unsettling and hopeful, The Migration is a story of a young woman’s dawning awareness of mortality and the power of the human heart to thrive in cataclysmic circumstances.

 

 

*I was kindly gifted these books from the publishers with no requirement to review or share, but as I enjoyed them I have done so.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Sinner’s Prayer – M.P. Wright*

The last book in the JT Ellington series, set in 1970s Bristol, featuring PI turned school caretaker Ellington.

Drawn back into the world of criminals and life under the radar by an old acquaintance in the police, Ellington is asked to look into the disappearance of a young Indian man who disappears hours before his wedding.

Ellington uncovers links to the underworld and gang kingpins, murders and secrets around every corner. His own family become targets as someone works against him to keep hidden things hidden.

The author has had a fascinating career history, including a stint as a PI himself, lending realism to his writing.

I enjoyed this book, I have been in a crime thriller kind of mood of late, and this did the trick.

Well written, clever and pacey, I was drawn swiftly into the world Ellington is so determined to leave.

*I was gifted this book to take part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.