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Archive for January, 2017

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Justine John’s “Gilding The Lily” and share an extract with you from this brilliant book.

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Description:

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…

You can buy a copy of Gilding The Lily here

 

About the Author:

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After over thirty years of working in the corporate sector in London Justine John left the rat race for the stunning countryside of the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, horses and two dalmatians.

For more information or to contact Justine please check out any of the following links:

Website  – http://www.justinejohn.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JustineCJohn

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/justinejohnauthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15985439.Justine_John


Extract from Gilding The Lily:

From chapter 15

We were sitting at a farmhouse table, in a barn-style room next to the bar, where there were just a handful of other diners. There was an old cuckoo clock on the wall near the table, next to an old hunting print. It tick-tocked loudly, but the bird had been quiet for years. A delicious aroma of roast lamb hung in the air. I thought Dad looked tired and it did occur to me that after his eight-hour flight with an upset tummy, perhaps we shouldn’t have come out, but he had insisted, and he seemed so happy, smiling and laughing. The warmth of us three together, in this cosy country pub, chatting and sharing food and wine, comforted me. It felt good.

We all talked non-stop about our lives. My father was attentive, he smiled and nodded, and took a real interest. More so than usual, I thought. I think I even caught him looking at me fondly, once or twice, but then it could have been him noticing my new haircut. He spoke about his house, his friends, his new classic car… he didn’t mention Evelyn, except to say that she had gone to her house “upstate” while he was in the UK. He seemed happy and bright – no longer the sick man I saw the day before.

“It’s a good job she’s got so many houses, Dad!” I joked. “With all of those, I don’t suppose she’ll be after yours!” It was just a flippant remark to fill the gap, but I did wonder if it came out wrong.

He talked “business” with Jack, and he even flattered me on how well I was dealing with my company too. In passing, I mentioned the missing emails (I was sure there was more than one). He glossed over it.

“Well, you know I’m no computer whizz kid. I struggle each time the technology changes, and that seems to happen so often. A ‘technophobe’, isn’t it, Jack?” he said, laughing.

But as I watched him closely that night, as he laughed with my husband, I saw them, separately from me, as two friends, having a catch-up. It was then I noticed something missing from Dad – something so small, naked to the eye. I felt the urge to ask him “What’s wrong, are you really ok, is there something troubling you?’, but it seemed the opportunity never came, and even if it had, the words wouldn’t come – it was impossible to form even the syllables. I couldn’t open my mouth and let out the question. It seemed wrong.

And then it was gone, the thing I thought I saw. And I just saw the two men I loved the most, smiling and laughing, chatting and talking. The thing I thought I saw was a shadow and now it was gone. It probably wasn’t even there in the first place.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for review and more extracts of this brilliant mystery novel!

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Keith Stuart’s wonderful  novel “A Boy Made of Blocks” and share my review with you.

Description:

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Discover a unique, funny and moving debut that will make you laugh, cry and smile.
Meet thirtysomething dad, Alex

He loves his wife Jody, but has forgotten how to show it. He loves his son Sam, but doesn’t understand him. Something has to change. And he needs to start with himself.
Meet eight-year-old Sam

Beautiful, surprising, autistic. To him the world is a puzzle he can’t solve on his own.
But when Sam starts to play Minecraft, it opens up a place where Alex and Sam begin to rediscover both themselves and each other . . .
Can one fragmented family put themselves back together, one piece at a time?
Inspired by the author’s experiences with his own son, A Boy Made of Blocks is an astonishingly authentic story of love, family and autism.

My Thoughts & Review:

A Boy Made of Blocks is one of those rare books that changes how a reader thinks, it makes you pause and re evaluate things you once took for granted and makes you appreciate the things you do have.

From the very beginning of the novel Alex is a character that many readers will struggle to connect with.  His attempts to rebuild his life after the breakdown of his marriage are awkward, showing incredible insensitivity, impatience and a complete lack of understanding.  Making the decision to try a trial separation from his marriage to Jody he moves in with a friend, his temporary break from the toils of parenting are welcomed.  However, there is no break for the long suffering Jody, she still has to parent Sam, their eight year old autistic son.
It’s at this point that I will freely admit to not having much knowledge of Autism and related spectrum disorders.  Having never encountered this disorder I did some research whilst reading this book and I can understand some of Alex’s struggles.

Narration by Alex opens this character up for a lot of criticism, but also lets the reader see what it can be like to struggle to adjust to something so huge.  There is no comprehensive parenting manual handed out when exiting the maternity hospital, and as a parent I know that sometimes “winging it” is the only thing you can do.  So when parents are faced with a life changing diagnosis of their young child this must make things 100% more confusing, more difficult, and more challenging.

As the story unfolds, the reader begins to empathise with Alex, understands his troubles and realises there’s a deep rooted issue that needs to be addressed.  I sympathised with Jody, she is the main carer for Sam having given up her job previously.  Alex feels that Jody has no time for him, and in a way he is right, Jody spends her day navigating the labyrinth of triggers with Sam whilst trying to keep a home for Alex to retu

rn to at the end of the working day and she is exhausted – physically and mentally drained.  It’s no wonder therefore that their relationship falters, they are both struggling and both need the others support.

Sam is a wonderfully rich character, the author’s writing really gives the reader a feel for how Sam struggles with everyday life.  How noises or changes to routine can upset him to the point of meltdown, and the fallout from it all is traumatic for both Sam and his parents.  His struggles with school and the interactions highlighted an issue faced by many parents in this situation and the need for more specialist schools equipped to help and support.

The turning point for the family is the discovery of Minecraft, a computer game that Sam discovers after Jody was given an old xbox for him to play with.  The effect it has on Sam is beautiful, Alex’s reaction when he watches Sam playing it was a joy to read.  Seeing that light bulb moment for Alex when he realises that his son has connected with the game, captivated by it.  Minecraft appearers a very structured game, things have purpose and a place which means that Sam can relate to this.  But through playing the game he and Alex begin to bond, a connection between them forms.

There is a very poignant aspect to this novel, but it’s also humorous and insightful at the same time.  Keith Stuart has written a story that evokes emotion and laughter whilst educating his audience, the fact that he has written it from personal experience adds an authenticity.

Utterly brilliant, tear jerking, funny and true to life are just some of the things I can say about this book, but it’s really one you need to read for yourself to decide.  Just make sure you have tissues near by….

You can buy a copy of A Boy Made of Blocks here.

 

About the Author:

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In 2012 one of KEITH STUART‘s two sons was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The ramifications felt huge. But then Keith and both boys started playing videogames together – especially Minecraft. Keith had always played games and, since 1995, has been writing about them, first for specialist magazines like Edge and PC Gamer then, for the last ten years, as games editor for the Guardian. The powerful creative sharing as a family and the blossoming of communication that followed informed his debut novel.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour, a new set of bloggers each day right up to Friday 20th January 2017!

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eBook & Paperback publishes 23rd February 2017

‘A stunning read from a superb storyteller.’ Clare Mackintosh

 

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence travelling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

The Good Daughter is a compelling take on a genre that shows no sign of slowing down. The perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.

You can pre order a copy via Amazon

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Published: 24 November 2016
Reviewed: 11 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Urbane Publications

Description:

1798. Three people, two brutal murders, and a single promise…

Golo Eck is searching for the fabled lost library of The Lynx, Europe’s first scientific society, founded in 1603.

Fergus, his friend and fellow adventurer, is on the trail of the legend in Ireland when he becomes embroiled in the uprising of the United Irish against English rule. His only hope of escape is Greta, a courageous messenger for the United Irish cause. Following the bloody battles of New Ross and Vinegar Hill, Fergus is missing, and Greta is on the run.

Golo meanwhile suspects other forces are on the trail of the Lynx, and he heads to Holland in pursuit. When Golo’s ship founders and he disappears, his ward Ruan is left to fend for himself, a stranger in a strange land.

Can Ruan pursue the trail to the lost library? Will Golo and Fergus be found? Can Greta escape Ireland with her very life? And will the truth of the Legacy of the Lynx finally be revealed?

Award winning writer Clio Gray has written a thrilling adventure story, steeped in historical fact and legend, that will keep readers gripped to the very last page.

My Thoughts & Review:

During 2016 I decided to challenge myself, read more books outwith my set comfort zone and try to see what else was out there to tempt readers and stumbled upon a publisher that was bringing new books to readers that they might never have considered.  This was one such book that I looked at and thought it was one that I might not naturally pick up but game for a giggle I settled down for a new and challenging read.

The Legacy of the Lynx is a story about the adventure of Golo Eck’s search for the lost library of The Lynx, and along with his friends Fergus and Ruan, he believes it will be the key to saving mankind from a violent and undemocratic world.
When the friends are separated they quickly discover that someone is out to stop Golo Eck’s quest.  But through each of the characters the reader is introduced to an aspect of the plot that is fascinating and entertaining, Fergus returns to Ireland where he meets Greta, who is a wonderful character.  Greta could be described as feisty, strongly opined but entirely likeable, she acts as a guide for Fergus through town.

The writing and language in this is exceptional, the author has ensured that the language corresponds well with the time of the setting, the 18th Century giving a feel of authenticity as well as giving readers a more intelligent read and a chance to expand their lexical knowledge.

Despite being a historical adventure tale, there is a crime story hidden in there too, so this becomes a book for more than just one audience.  The adventure/discovery is admittedly the main theme but it is written with enough pace that it will hold the attention of readers and remain interesting.

You can buy a copy of The Legacy of the Lynx directly from Urbane Publications here or via Amazon here.

About the Author:

Clio was born in Yorkshire, spent her later childhood in Devon before returning to Yorkshire to go to university. For the last twenty five years she has lived in the Scottish Highlands where she intends to remain. She eschewed the usual route of marriage, mortgage, children, and instead spent her working life in libraries, filling her home with books and sharing that home with dogs. She began writing for personal amusement in the late nineties, then began entering short story competitions, getting short listed and then winning, which led directly to a publication deal with Headline. Her latest book, The Anatomist’s Dream, was nominated for the Man Booker 2015 and long listed for the Bailey’s Prize in 2016.


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I am honoured to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Steph Broadribb’s explosive debut novel #DeepDownDead and share my 5 star review of this wonderfully thrilling read.

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Description:

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.

My Thoughts & Review:

Deep Down Dead is a book that deserves your full and undivided attention, hell it demands it really.  Turn off your mobile, unhook the landline and forget about anything else while you become immersed in this frantic action packed thrilling ride.  Be warned, the pace never lets up, so don’t bank of moving anytime during this book!

Without retelling the plot and doing it an injustice, I will say that there is more to our protagonist than you might initially think.  Lori Anderson is a Floridian bounty hunter, fearless and damn good at what she does.  But she is also a single mother to a nine year old girl with leukaemia, and she will do whatever it takes to keep her daughter fit, healthy and cancer free.  The reader then plummets down the rabbit hole with Lori on an adrenaline fuelled journey, one that has them on the edge of their seat with tension, laughing out loud at other moments or just staring at the pages is sheer amazement.

The characters in this are utterly fantastic, I’ve never met a cast of characters that I’ve become so invested in.  The flowing ease with which Broadribb has crafted them means that the reader can see Lori, Dakota, JT so vividly, but also feel like they actually know these people.  The dialogue and chemistry between them is clever and authentic, the atmosphere between Lori and JT practically fizzles off the page.
Lori is one of those characters that readers cannot help but become invested in, she’s hard hitting, fearless and yet vulnerable at the same time.  The maternal side of her is so carefully written that I felt I could understand some of her qualms in the novel.  Many people have likened her to a female Jack Reacher and I think in some senses they are right, but there’s “something” more to her…..something I can’t put my finger on but she will definitely be a character I can’t wait to catch up with in future books!

I really wouldn’t be surprised if this book ended up being turned into a film, it reads as a sensational Hollywood blockbuster.  It has action from the opening pages, reads at a whirlwind pace and never lets up,  just enough violence to keep it real without becoming gratuitous and without a doubt one of the best books to be published in 2017.

And Steph, please don’t leave us waiting too long for book 2…..

You can buy a copy of Deep Down Dead here.


About the Author:

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Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at www.crimethrillergirl.com where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.

Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens.

DEEP DOWN DEAD is her debut novel.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the #DeepDownDead Blog Tour for reviews and guest posts by the lovely Steph Broadribb.

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Published: 15 December 2016
Reviewed: 11 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Headline

 

Description:

Join Izzy on her journey from January blues to joy. THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life’s magic – all thanks to one little word: yes. Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Mhairi McFarlane and Lucy-Anne Holmes, you’re in for a real treat.

The first of four exclusive part-serialisations of THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle.

Dear Readers

It’s drizzling outside, which totally matches my #currentmood. Pigs in blankets, all the mince pies and a festive Baileys or five are distant memories. You know the drill – it’s January. Everyone’s banning booze (terrible idea) or cutting carbs (impossible). To add to the misery pile, my plans to seduce the man of my dreams at the stroke of midnight flopped spectacularly.

I’m Izzy. I don’t just need a New Year resolution, I need a whole new life. And I need YOU. My dreary life is about to get a total makeover – it’s my ‘Year of Saying Yes’. And this is where you come in. It’s up to you to #DareIzzy. I’m saying yes to your challenges, no matter how nuts, adventurous or wild they are. The sky’s the limit – I’m at your mercy, readers!

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

Love

Izzy x

Don’t miss Part 2 of Izzy’s adventure, where Izzy is challenged to ask a total stranger for his number, pose naked for a life drawing class and, wait for it… perform at Glastonbury!

My Thoughts & Review:

Initially I was hesitant to read this, when I see that a book is split into smaller editions I would steer clear and wait until all of them have been published so I can read them back to back or wait to see if they are grouped into one book, but when this popped through the letterbox I was intrigued.  The description sparked my interest and before I knew it I’d read almost half of the novella in one sitting.  Thankfully part two is out 12th January (so if scheduling has worked then it’s out TODAY!  *dashes to Amazon to buy next instalment*)

Izzy is a fun character, she’s one that many readers will be able to relate to and share in her misery (and have a few giggles) when life throws her a curve ball.  The supporting characters so far seem to be likeable and realistic.

Hannah Doyle writes beautifully, the flow of her writing pulls the reader in and ensures they are entertained the whole way through, the wit and humour in her writing giving you no option but to fall in love with the book and characters.

You can buy a copy of The Year of Saying Yes Part 1 here  and then join me in buying Part 2 straight after!

 

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Published: 12 January 2017
Reviewed: 11 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Little, Brown Book Group UK as part of the blog tour

 

Description:

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Dry was an example of a book I saw spoken about on social media, many commenting that this would be the book to look out for, a story so cleverly crafted and interwoven, atmospheric to the point of rendering the reader speechless.  Well that was more than enough to catch my interest and thankfully I managed to get a copy to review and see for myself just how good this book actually was.

Initially I found this slow to get into, perhaps it was the fact that previous to this I’ve been lucky enough to read some amazing pacy thrillers, but fellow reviewers suggested persevering, stating that they had loved this book, so I continued reading.
Looking back I can appreciate the slow opening now, working so well with the depressive atmosphere in Kiewarra, the arid heat causing people and animals to slowly wilt and languish.

Aaron Falk is an interesting character, not only because of his link to the deceased Luke Hadler and the secret they shared, but also for the person he has become since leaving the town twenty years ago.  His inability to say no to Hadler’s parents means he becomes involved in the investigation of the deaths of Hadler, his wife and his son.  The oppressive hostility he faces from the townspeople shows just have little their mindsets have advanced in the decades after his departure.  Working alongside Raco, the new chief of police they discover there may be more to things than initially thought.
Both of these characters were very interesting and readers will feel able to connect with them quite easily.  Conversely, Grant Dow was a character that I struggled with, malicious, nasty and downright horrible – a very well crafted character!  Emphasising the point that some bullies never change.
The juxtaposition of the open space of the town and the closed knit community always makes for engaging reading, and that is definitely the case here.  Outsiders are exactly that, people from outside the town, and are made to feel this the entire time they there – the atmosphere is very oppressive and claustrophobic.  None of this is aided by the drought that is ravaging the town, people are quick to mistrust, tempers are frayed and it only needs a small spark to ignite the arid landscape.   Adding to the overall enthralment of the novel.

Jane Harper has shown herself to be a very accomplished author with this impressive debut, and although it was slow to begin with I am very glad I stuck with it.

You can buy a copy of The Dry here.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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Published: 16 December 2016
Reviewed: 9 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Bookouture

 

Description:

The perfect daughter. The perfect girlfriend. The perfect murder?

Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets …

Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.

Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die?Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist from the author of the Number One bestseller The Sister.

My Thoughts & Review:

After devouring Louise Jensen’s debut novel The Sister I couldn’t barely contain my excitement when it was announced that The Gift was due to be published at the end of 2016.  Louise has fast become a firm favourite with many readers and bloggers for obvious reason, she writes amazingly good novels that push a reader to think outside the box, consider the unthinkable and plunges them through the rabbit hole into a world of dark intrigue.

As far as psychological thrillers go, this one has to sit right there up on a pedestal.  Not only is is taut and gripping, the plot itself is clever and intricately woven so that the reader is helplessly dragged in and held captive.  The concept of organ donation and cellular memory is fascinating and to see it written with so much detail made for an incredibly gripping read, and whilst I am aware this is a work of fiction I really want to go on to find out more about cellular memory based on what I read here.

Jensen has proved herself as a skilled and able writer, her flowing style of writing works so well here, the intensity builds slowly but is almost claustrophobic at times.  Cleverly weaving events and details from both the past and present gives the reader the feeling they know what has happened and can almost predict where things might be going….wrong!  There are twists and red herrings aplenty here to keep the reader on their toes and shrewdly keep them reading on at a frantic pace to find out just where it will all end up.

Characterisation is excellent, the contrast between the likeable and unlikeable characters adds to the engaging and thrilling edge of this novel.  The emotional rollercoaster that Jensen sets in motion for her characters and readers is immense, I really felt that I’d “been put through the wringer” with this one – superb writing!!

This is a book that would be amazing to see on “the big screen”, it screams blockbuster to me!

You can buy a copy of The Gift here.

 

About the Author:

Louise is a USA Today Bestselling Author, and lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, madcap spaniel and a rather naughty cat.

Louise’s first two novels, The Sister and the Gift, were both No.1 Bestsellers, and have been sold for translation to ten countries. The Sister was nominated for The Goodreads Awards Debut of 2016. Louise is currently writing her third psychological thriller.

Louise loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at www.louisejensen.co.uk, where she regularly blogs flash fiction.

 

 

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Published: 12 January 2017
Reviewed: 6 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Urbane Publications

 

Description:

The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch. On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel

My Thoughts & Review:

Having enjoyed the first in the Hampstead Murder series by Guy Fraser-Sampson I was delighted to be offered the chance to read and review Miss Christie Regrets.  I should add that the first book is titled Death in Profile and is a wonderful homage to the Golden Age detective story writers such as Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie.

The setting of this book would feel very much at home within the pages of an Agatha Christie novel penned over 30 years ago, and yet it seems to work in this modern day take of a classic crime novel.
The reader is once again in Hampstead and where a murder has occurred, and unbeknownst to the murderer is the fact that Detective Karen Willis is visiting an exhibition at the museum in her free time.  This leaves visit leaves Willis in a slightly awkward position when the cavalry is called in.  The awkwardness of a love triangle between Willis, her colleague and lover Bob Metcalfe, and boyfriend Peter Collins adds a personal element to the plot, one which allows for wonderful character development.

The plot is such that I really do not want to spoil it, it is intelligent and well crafted.  There are some wonderful references to Golden Age techniques and figures prominent in that era which add a layer of sophistication to this as well as an authenticity.

Karen Willis is an interesting character, adapting to her surrounding and company like a chameleon.  When in the presence of boyfriend Peter Collins she adopts a more “dated” and somewhat elegant persona, attending art exhibitions and events that would comfortably sit in decades long since passed.  Yet when she is in the company of Bob Metcalfe she reflects a much more modern character, even her dress sense is altered in the modern setting.  The idea that she was a different person depending on the company she was intriguing.

I absolutely loved the cameo of the Queen of Crime, her appearance as a key witness was wonderful and very well written.

I appreciate that some people may not like this book, it may be too “cozy” for some, there is no gratuitous violence, it’s not dark and gritty but it is a lovely change of pace from a gruesome and dark thriller.

You can buy a copy of Miss Christie Regrets directly from the publisher here or via Amazon here.


About the Author:

Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer, having published not only fiction but also books on a diverse range of subjects including finance, investment, economics and cricket. His darkly disturbing economic history The Mess We’re In was nominated for the Orwell Prize. His Mapp & Lucia novels have all been optioned by BBC TV, and have won high praise from other authors including Alexander McCall Smith, Gyles Brandreth and Tom Holt. The second was featured in an exclusive interview with Mariella Forstrup on Radio 4, and Guy’s entertaining talks on the series have been heard at a number of literary events including the Sunday Times Festival in Oxford and the Daily Telegraph Festival in Dartington. With Death in Profile he begins a new series entitled The Hampstead Murders. Set in and around the iconic North London village, the first book in the series sees a team of detectives pursuing a serial sex killer while internal politics and a love triangle threaten to destabilise the enquiry. Harking back (sometimes explicitly) to the Golden Age of detective writing, Death in Profile introduces us to a group of likeable central characters whose loves, eccentricities and career ups and downs will be developed throughout the series. Very different from the contemporary model of detective novel, Guy’s innovative style and approach has been endorsed by leading crime writers such as Christopher Brookmyre and Ruth Dugdall.

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Published: 15 October 2016
Reviewed: 1 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Legend Press in return for an honest review

Description:

When Jen goes to her grandmother’s house for the last time, she’s determined not to dwell on the past. As a child, Jen adored Lily and suspected she might be a witch; but the spell was broken long ago, and now her death means there won’t be any reconciliation.

Lily’s gone, but the enchantments she wove and the secrets she kept still remain. In Lily’s house, Jen and her daughter Marianne reluctantly confront the secrets of the past and present – and discover how dangerous we become when we’re trying to protect the ones we love.

My Thoughts & Review:

I’m not quite sure what it was about this book that first caught my attention, perhaps it was the beautiful artwork of the cover image or maybe the description which sounded so intriguing but either way I am definitely glad I took a gamble on this book.  A break from my usual crime thrillers, this book hints towards an existence of “magic” or “special abilities”, something I avoid but here it works so well within the plot.

The reader meets Jen who has sadly lost her grandmother Lily.  Jen and her daughter head off to Lily’s house to deal with affairs and get the house in order and the reader is quickly drawn into the stories of the house, how it played an important part in Jen’s younger years, the memories attached to the house come flooding back to Jen.  What she doesn’t count on are the secrets that she uncovers amongst the memories.

Cassandra Parkin possesses a rare gift, her writing flows so beautifully, it is full of emotion and is utterly enchanting.  I found that I was mesmerised when reading this book, my attention never wavering from the pages and delighted with all the subtle nuances cleverly woven into to the text.  The characters were so well constructed, each multilayered and engaging.  The plot is clever but there is mention to a topic that some readers may feel uncomfortable reading about, domestic abuse.  Parkin however does write with care and sensitivity on this subject ensuring that it remains integral to the plot without becoming gratuitous.

I cannot quite believe that this is the first book that I have read by Cassandra Parkin, but based on this novel I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future works!

You can buy a copy of Lily’s House here.

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