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** My thanks to Lina at Black and White Publishing for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Detective Grace Macallan is at crisis point. She’s unsure of her future, of whether she has the strength to continue with her role in serious crime. Events are threatening to run out of control, and this new investigation will test her to the limit.

An undercover officer is missing and a woman is washed up, traumatised and barely alive, on the shores of Berwickshire. She has witnessed horror on the dark waters of the North Sea, and her subsequent ordeal to survive turns her life into a nightmare.

As she untangles the woman’s story of trafficking and abuse, Grace is drawn into the world of organised crime in Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At their head is Handyside, a brutal gangland boss who’s fought hard and dirty to control his territory. But there’s a traitor in his midst, and soon the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on one another in a desperate race to destroy the evidence that will lead Grace to them.

Grace must pit her wits against Handyside, knowing he’ll stop at nothing to protect his criminal empire. She knows, too, that one wrong move could end in tragedy.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the moment I finished reading Evidence of Death I was eagerly anticipating reading the next installment if the Detective Grace Macallan series, and Peter Ritchie didn’t disappoint!

When we last encountered Grace Macallan she had just survived a bomb blast that could have killed her and the baby she didn’t know she was carrying.
The aftermath of events of her last case left emotional and psychological scars, but the birth of her son has brought her a contentment that she never knew she wanted or needed.  Despite this, Grace feels a yearning for something more, and a phonecall with news of an undercover officer having gone missing and a young woman washing up barely alive in Berwickshire is all that it takes to pull her back in.
Determined to make a decision about her future once and for all, Grace agrees to take on this case, not realising just who she will be up against and just how dangerous it will be.

As with each of the books in this series, Ritchie takes his readers on a whirlwind journey into the dark underworld, and in this case the world of people trafficking, drugs and violence.
Cleverly, Ritchie has created a character that readers will connect with and take a liking to, and the more trouble that surrounds Macallan, the more exciting the book becomes.  The danger posed by the various groups in this book makes this such a tense read, and the way that it all ties together is clever.

The action in this book is fast paced and at times does make you squirm but it works well within the bounds of the plot.  Dialogue is realistic and the added touches of slang/dialect give a wonderful authenticity to the exchanges that take place.

Another brilliant book in the series and one I would highly recommend.

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Welcome to another Friday, and a post to celebrate another great book from a brilliant indie publisher.  Today’s book is the magnificent The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan which was published Urbane Publications on 14th June 2018.


Book Feature:

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A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris.

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.

But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…..

Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.

The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Every now and again a book comes along that utterly captures your attention, takes your breath away and roots itself deeply in your heart….
I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered a rare handful of these books, Rose McGinty’s Electric Souk, Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin, and William Ryan’s The Constant Soldier instantly spring to mind, but it’s fair to say that Evie Gaughan’s The Story Collector will be joining them.

This is a beautifully written tale that captures the heart and imagination of readers as it deftly weaves together two stories from different timelines that pull a range of emotion from the audience.  Readers first encounter a hint of mysticism, folklore and sadness from the opening pages, setting the tone perfectly for what lies ahead.

The two lead female characters in this book are not dissimilar in their struggles – both trying to find their place in the world and rebuilding after heartbreaking loss.  2010 sees the reader meet Sarah Harper, an American woman on a slow spiral of self destruction.  Life hasn’t worked out fairly for her, events have robber her of joy and happiness, her marriage has broken down and she seeks solace in alcohol.
Alcohol being the catalyst for a journey that takes her hundreds of miles from home, where she discovers a diary written by Anna, a young Irish woman in 1910.
Anna is an eighteen year old woman who lives in Thornwood Village, surrounded by tales of fairies, superstition and folklore, tales that the villagers are fiercely proud of.  An American scholar, Harold Griffin-Kraus, arrives in the village with the desire to hear the tales and collect them for publishing and soon takes Anna on as his assistant.  Their joint explorations of folklore and myth are beautifully and hauntingly captured through Gaughan’s awe inspiring writing.  The tales, whilst “otherworldly” are entrancing and having an interest in mythology and folklore, I found these utterly beguiling, wanting to read more.

Clever use of diary entries give narration from Anna’s perspective and breaks up Sarah’s story, slowly giving readers a heartbreaking tale from both of the main characters.  Only when the time is right does Gaughan reveal the full extent of the tragedy that befell her characters and by doing so, ensures that readers have become invested in her wonderfully crafted creations.

The exploration of emotion and human nature is beautifully written, at times the decisions made by the characters may not be fully understandable.  But when faced with the facts of what they have encountered, you soon begin to see that the decisions, actions etc are those of a fragile and damaged person, trying to do “the right thing”, without any concrete idea what the right course may be.  The evocative and descriptive writing is magical!  I found that I could see the grandeur of Thornwood House, the cramped but homely cottage of the Butler family, the warmth of Anna’s love for Betsy the family cow, but also the vivid rawness of Sarah’s emotional state.
Initially I struggled to connect with Sarah, something about this character felt hard and unreachable but the more I read, the greater my understanding became.  I found that I needed to know what went so wrong in her life, I want to find out more about her and I wanted her to stop and take a moment to just ‘be’.

An absolutely enchanting story that captures the heart of readers and transports them.

You can buy a copy of The Story Collector via:

Amazon UK


Author Feature:

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Evie Gaughan is the author of The Heirloom, a fusion of historical and contemporary fiction set in Ireland and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, a magical story about a French boulangerie.  Her third novel, The Story Collector, will be published by Urbane Publications in June 2018.

Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic, to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, Evie developed a love of storytelling and all things historical. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

Evie is also an artist and has been known to hold the odd exhibit of her works in her native Galway.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Escaping into my imagination and creating something tangible out of nothing.  Seeing my manuscript make the journey from my head, to my laptop and ultimately to a book that I can hold in my hands.  I don’t think any author takes that process for granted, because from the moment that little idea pops into your head, you’re never really sure if it’s going to make it.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

Aside from the crippling self-doubt??  I suppose, it’s having to fight to be taken seriously.  I think when people hear that you are a writer, but they haven’t heard of your books, they assume you’re delusional!  Lots of people are writers, it’s not some sacred vocation, we don’t wear robes (well, not all the time!)  So yes, that can get a bit tiring.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Oh my God, this is tough!  Actually, I’m going to give myself a get-out clause and choose a non-fiction book.  I wish I had written The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It’s like a bible for creative types and has inspired millions of people around the world to pursue a more creative life.  I don’t know if I would be a writer today, had I not read that book – so yes, I would love to have written something that helps others find their inner spark!

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Honestly, I’m not sure I know how to switch off properly!  Do any of us?  But when I do, I like the simple things in life like being in nature, being with people I love.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

If being disorganised is a routine, then yes!  My favourite place to write is in my attic (when it’s warm enough).  I feel high above the world up there, so I put on some music and try to escape into the world I’m creating.  I’m not so much disciplined as dedicated.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

I’m slowly piecing together the beginnings of my fourth novel, which I’m hoping will be a bit like Cloud Atlas but not as confusing!

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 

Read what makes you happy – life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy.

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it?


The Story Collector begins in 1910, in a small lrish village called Thornwood, where a young American scholar undertakes a study to prove the existence of fairies.  He hires a local girl, Anna Butler, to help with his research, but before he can finish his work, he is thrown into prison and charged with murder.  One hundred years later, a young American woman arrives by chance in the same village, uncovering the true story that has been kept hidden for a century.

The Story Collector is a novel full of folklore and superstition.  It explores the unseen world that lies just beyond our fingertips, the fluttering of wings against the windowpane, blurring the lines between reality and imagination.

If you love stories that find magic in the everyday, then this one is for you!

 

Social Media Links:

Website: https://eviegaughan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/evgaughan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evgaughan/

 

 

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Today I am delighted to share a short review of a set of short stories as part of the blog tour for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected.

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** My thanks to Rachel for my copy of these books for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is an interesting collection of short stories that are filled with intrigue and suspense that show a character in some form of trouble or a dilemma of sorts.

The author’s background in psychotherapy shows through her writing where she explores the intricacies of the mind when each of her characters are in a situation that causes turmoil.  Each of the stories focuses on a different setting and different set of characters that will give readers pause for thought.  Trading with Death was one of the stories that made me really made me wonder, and it was interesting seeing how the events were portrayed to maximize impact with just enough detail to grab the attention of readers.

There’s always the danger with short stories that they might not have enough information in them or you’d want the story to be expanded on but here the tales are just right.  The information given is just enough to set the scenes and pull the reader in, and there is an unsettling edge to the tales that keeps you on edge as you read.

An interesting and quick read!

You can buy a copy of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

Social Media Links –

follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnnGirdharryAuthor/

follow on Twitter www.twitter.com/GirdharryAnn

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** My thanks to the folks at Orion and Tracy Fenton for my copy of this BRILLIANT book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

If you’ve somehow missed reading the books by Steve Cavanagh then get thee to a bookshop and remedy this immediately!  Or if you have an ereader device, then get digital copies and start reading, you will not regret it.

Fans of legal thrillers are in for a treat with Thirteen, this is an expertly plotted and paced novel that has characters that reach out to readers from the pages.
Eddie Flynn is a  reformed conman turned lawyer who can dazzle in the courtroom, his unique way of looking at facts and evidence means that he sees things differently, not accepting them at face value.  This insight proves vital for his clients, and in many instances seems to be just what he needs to convince a jury of the innocence of his client.  That is until he is brought in on this latest case, one where the evidence all points to one culprit and Flynn is expendable if it all goes wrong.

As if this weren’t enough, the author has crafted several richly detailed characters and there is one in particular that gives readers shivers.  Joshua Kane is an extremely intelligent killer, a psychopath with one of the most intricately planned modi operandi I’ve encountered in a long time.  And his determination to get a seat on the jury for the trial of movie and reality TV star, Bobby Solomon is astounding.
The real cleverness comes when Cavanagh writes from the perspective of Joshua Kane, giving readers a glimpse into the mind of the psychopath who will stop at nothing to achieve his sinister goals.   There were moments of reading what was happening in Kane’s mind that had me gasping in shock, or wanting to read with a hand over my eyes … the writing is so powerful that you cannot help but actually ‘see’ the scenes playing out in your mind like a film.

The writing is crisp and taut, the plotting is excellent and this is arguably one of my top reads of 2018.  Thirteen keeps readers on the edge of their seats and holds their attention for the duration, it’s one of those books that you actually want to read more than once, because the first read through you’re blown away by plot, but on a second read through you pick up on subtleties that Cavanagh deftly weaves throughout his writing.

Thirteen is all kinds of brilliant and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

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You can buy a copy of Thirteen via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Waterstones

 

About the Author:

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Steve was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. At 18 he moved to Dublin and studied Law, by mistake, and went on to be a pot-washer, bouncer, security guard and call centre operative before landing a job as an investigator for a large law firm in Belfast, where he eventually qualified as a solicitor. He then moved to a smaller firm where he could practice in the field of civil rights law. Steve has been involved in several high profile cases; in 2010 he represented a factory worker who suffered racial abuse in the workplace and won the largest award of damages for race discrimination in Northern Ireland legal history. He holds a certificate in Advanced Advocacy and often lectures on various legal subjects (but really he just likes to tell jokes). Steve is also one half of the hysterically funny podcast duo, Two Crime Writers and a Microphone.

Social Media Links:

Twitter @SSCav
Website http://stevecavanaghbooks.com/
Two Crime Writers & a Microphone (Twitter)

 

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Today I’m delighted to bring you not one but two posts to celebrate Indie Publishing, one is an author feature and one is a review.  The author feature (should have) posted earlier and now it’s time to share my review of the prequel novella Bermuda which is published today!

Book Feature:

Description:

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Discover how it all began…

Franklyn Jones is a devoted husband, a loving father and a middle manager working in London. His only secret is he can see ‘The Otherside’, a world that hides in the shadows of our own. After his claims of these creatures leads to the loss of his family and his commitment to a mental health facility, Franklyn’s life came to a complete stand still.

Eventually, Franklyn is recruited by the BTCO, a secret agency that monitors and maintains the truce between both worlds. Thrust into an advanced training regime based on his ‘gifts’, Franklyn soon finds himself out on his first case, investigating the disappearance of several people in Elvedon Forest in Suffolk.

Closely monitored by his trainer, Denham, Franklyn edges further into this new world, hunting a violent entity that lives within the trees, whilst also being watched by a mysterious warrior.

The explosive prequel novella to DOORWAYS and THE ABSENT MAN, BERMUDA takes you back to where it all started.

Are you ready for the answers?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I have been a huge fan of the Bermuda Jones series since I first discovered it last year and I was ecstatic when I heard that the author had been working on a prequel novella that explained the details of how our protagonist came to the attention of the BTCO and how his world was turned upside down by what he learned from his introductions to their ways.

The exploration of this character has always been one of the things I loved about Enright’s writing most, he has a way of bringing his characters to life and making them real for readers.  Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones is a troubled and broken soul, events in his life have conspired against him, he can see things that others cannot and this in turn makes everyone around him think that he’s lost his mind.  He’s lost those closest to him and the pain is almost too much for him.  His recruitment to the BTCO is his saving grace, the training her undergoes is the start of turning his life around, giving him a reason to live for.

The great thing of reading the prequel after reading the other novels is that it refreshed my memory of events and gave me answers for things that I had wondered about whilst reading the books.  Just how Bermuda got his nickname, what was the root cause of the hatred between Bermuda and Hugo were some of the things I had wondered about and I was so pleased to see that they were answered here, and it was brilliant getting to see more of Denham, a character that I found fascinating in previous books.

With all of these books, you can read them as stand alones, there is enough detail given about back stories etc to explain events and connections between characters without leaving readers feeling adrift as to previous events.

Highly readable and enjoyable series and one I would recommend!

You can buy a copy of Bermuda via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

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Born and raised in North West London and now residing in Hertfordshire, Robert Enright has been writing for over 10 years. His debut novel – ONE BY ONE – was self published on Amazon in March 2015, receiving critical acclaim and was nominated for Books Go Social Book of the Year 2015. The violent, revenge thriller gave Rob a path into crime fiction, but the constantly embraced geek within him went a different way. 2016 will see the release of DOORWAYS – published by Urbane Publications – the first in the Bermuda Jones series, a dark sci-fi about an agency dealing with the threat of a parallel world. He can’t wait to write the whole series – if he can put down his Xbox controller or his Nerf Guns!

For more information about Rob and his upcoming books, feel free to check him out on social media:

Twitter – @REnright_Author
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robenrightauthor

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** My thanks to Clara for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

 

Description:

Magical, heartbreaking, beautiful – Days of Wonder reminds us that stories have the power to save lives.

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that both of them know will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen on the brink of adulthood, that time is coming.

With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending. But maybe, just maybe, one final day of magic might just save them both.

A tale about growing up, the beauty of a special bond between father and daughter, and finding magic in everyday life, Days of Wonder is the most moving novel you’ll read all year.

My Thoughts & Review:

There are the books that you read and fall in love with and then there are the book that you read and stay in your head and heart for a long time afterwards.  Days of Wonder is definitely a book in the latter category.

Having read Keith Stuart’s previous novel A Boy Made of Blocks, I wasn’t sure if it would be possible for me to appreciate his writing any more than I already did, but his second book really blew me away.  There’s something so magical and rich about the way that he writes that he makes the world around you cease to exist, almost like creating a wee portal for his readers to step through when they open his books.

Days of Wonder centres around the story of Hannah and her father Tom.  Hannah is a fifteen year old girl that desperately wants to be like every other fifteen year old girl, but she has a heart condition that means her father is incredibly protective and cautious about what she does and where she goes.  Tom is a single father and tries to battle the need to wrap Hannah in cotton wool to protect her, but he also realises that he needs to let her live a life, let her be young and do the things that young people do, before it’s too late.  Their relationship is one of openness and frank honesty on the most part.  There are the usual parental issues of trying to hide the dangers and horrors of the adult life from your children, or appearing like a fun sucking wet blanket, but on the whole Tom and Hannah work well together.
Hannah’s personality shining through when the narration is from her perspective, her attitude understandable and relatable.  Equally, when reading from Tom’s perspective, you get a wonderful insight into what drives this character and it really brings him alive from the pages.

The plot flows effortlessly, and the pace is perfect.  Despite being a fairly chunky read, I found that I breezed through it and didn’t want to put it down, I wanted to see if they could save Willow Tree Theatre, I want to see how events would pan out and most importantly I kept hoping for a miracle for them all.

Often, when you read such a poignant and moving story you feel a lump in your throat, or even the odd sniffle will escape as you encounter a particularly emotive moment, but I found that the depth emotions I felt reading this took me by surprise.  I laughed aloud at times, I snorted at Hannah’s retorts to her father, I felt frustration for characters as events unfolded, and I wept.  I said before that Keith Stuart has the ability to stop the world around you, but it’s more than that, it’s almost like he makes the book part of you, and you it.

A beautifully written, heartwarming story that will stay with me for some time and most definitely a book I will revisit soon!

Very highly recommended!!

You can buy a copy of Days of Wonder via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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** My thanks to Melanie at Mirror Books for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CRIME WRITERS ASSOCIATION DEBUT DAGGER AWARD 

‘The dark heart of Putin’s Russia beneath the glitz of St Petersburg provides the heady setting for this excellent and gripping debut… A Child 44 for Putin-land, this classy page-turner oozes with atmosphere.’
DAVID YOUNG, bestselling author of STASI CHILD and STASI WOLF

‘Gripping, authentic and fast-paced this is a fine thriller that will delight fans of Martin Cruz Smith.’
WILLIAM RYAN, author of the CAPTAIN KOROLEV series

‘Senior Detective Natalya Ivanova does for St Petersburg what Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko did for Gorky Park… taut, fast-moving and compellingly believable.’
TOM CALLAGHAN, author of A KILLING WINTER

Motherland is the first in a gripping series of contemporary crime novels set in contemporary St Petersburg, featuring sharp and intriguing policewoman, Captain Natalya Ivanova.

Student Zena Dahl, the daughter of a Swedish millionaire, has gone missing in St Petersburg (or Piter as the city is colloquially known) after a night out with a friend. Captain Natalya Ivanova is assigned the case, making a change for Natalya from her usual fare of domestic violence work, but, because of the family’s wealth, there’s pressure for a quick result. But as she investigates she discovers that the case is not as straightforward as it may seem. Dark, violent and insightful, Motherland twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion. 

Motherland will appeal to fans of Jo Nesbo and scandi dramas like The Killing and The Bridge.

My Thoughts & Review:

I love scandi thrillers, and have to admit that I have a soft spot for anything with a setting behind the Iron Curtain, so Motherland really stood out to me when I read the description.

Motherland is a gritty and intelligently written, thrilling read.  The author paints a fantastically vivid picture of both the settings and the characters, and it’s not hard to become utterly wrapped up in the narrative.  The underlying corruption that is rife in society adds an interesting arc to the plot, the tentacles of it are far reaching and it almost makes the reader pause to consider which of the characters are corrupt to the core, and which are the ones that offer bribes as a means of getting through life in a corrupt state.

When I started reading this book I was curious to see how the events at the beginning of the book would link up with the plot and was thrilled to see how skillfully the author wove it all together.
The details about the way that police departments work adds a level of authenticity and gives readers a glimpse in to a world they may know very little about.

The character of Captain Natalya Ivanova is crafted so well, she is one that many readers will instantly take a linking towards and will want to find out more about.  The case that she’s working on throws so much at her and leaves her questioning who it’s really wise to speak to and the secrets she uncovers are enough to shake her to the core.

A very enjoyable read that keeps readers hooked throughout!  Highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of Motherland via:

Amazon UK
Wordery

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Today I am delighted to welcome you to another Friday’s “Celebrating Indie Publishing” feature, and share a review of George Costigan’s The Soldier’s Home.  George has also kindly taken some time out of his busy acting work to join me for a quick author Q&A to talk all things books, writing and what’s coming next.

Book Feature:

Description:

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‘The Soldier’s Home’ is the stunning sequel to the bestselling debut, ‘The Single Soldier’, by renowned actor and writer George Costigan.

The war is over and his home was re-built … but a home is just a set of empty rooms without people and love. After surviving the war under German occupation, can a community now rekindle their lives, and rediscover their reasons for surviving?

As the soldier waits for the return of his love, the world keeps moving, threatening to leave his hopes and dreams behind.

History, secrets and painful truths collide in his troubled soul until peace arrives finally from a very unexpected source …

My Thoughts & Review:

For those who fell in love with Costigan’s writing last year when The Single Soldier was published then you will be delighted to know that the follow up is available to purchase now.

In this book, the tale of Jacques has moved on, and the reader picks up the story of Simone in 1940s America.  Through a series of heartbreaking and frustrating letters, readers share in Simone’s heartache at being separated from her love Jacques, they read about her worries about raising their child alone and her irritation that there are few letters being sent in return.  Her desperation for word from Jacques is almost painful at times for the reader, even word about the works of the house he is rebuilding or the people she once knew in France would suffice.  Her letters take on an almost one sided conversation tone, the easy flow of them making them all the more readable and you sense a passing of time despite there being no indication of dates given throughout.

Time moves on to 1988 and we then meet Enid, a woman on path that she no longer wants to be.  She makes the decision to move to France and from here the stories of Jacques, Simone and Enid intertwine.  Enid’s journey to the life of peace and solitude is beautifully written through a series of recollections.

I am loathe to say too much more about the plot, this is a book that’s best discovered at your own pace and it’s one that you want to read at a relaxed pace to fully absorb the wonderful writing.  The themes of relationships and love is carefully and intricately explored through some incredible writing.  The use of the letters in the first part of the book is clever and allows readers to see more than what’s on the surface, allows them to peek into the minds of characters to try and understand them.  The writing is powerful and complex but at the same time there’s a beautiful poetic feel to it.

An entrancing read, and highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of The Soldier’s Home via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
The Book Depository

Author Feature:

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George Costigan has been a motor-parts storeman, a trainee accountant, another trainee accountant (both failed) a steel-worker, an insurance clerk, a wood-cutter, a bookseller, a record salesman, a book-keeper for a wedding-dress business – and then someone asked him to be in a play. College followed and a career that started in children’s theatre, then took in Butlins Repetory Theatre in Filey and eventually landed him at the Liverpool Everyman theatre. It was here he met some hugely inf

luential people – Chris Bond, Alan Bleasedale, Alan Dossor and above all, Julia North. His acting career has included working with Sally Wainwright, Willy Russell, Alan Clarke and Clint Eastwood. He has directed Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite, and his writing for the stage includes several Liverpool Everyman pub shows and ‘Trust Byron’, for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the 1990 Edinburgh Festival. He and Julia North have three sons and one grandson.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

The notion that a total stranger might be reading – and enjoying – something I wrote. That’s a fantastic, nourishing, thought.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

I haven’t yet discovered a negative. Well, realising some criticism is valid and the re-write will have to be total – that’s not jolly; but must be done…

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

I’m reading Sebastian Barry’s ‘Days Without End’ Awesome. To have written a sentence of it would do me.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

The only answer to this is – with the rest of my life … I have a career as an actor, I’m a parent, a grandparent, I love to play the guitar, the piano … the garden is a mess – etc etc

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Absolutely none. Except that when I’m on it I’m on it and can get {and want to be} tunnelled…

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

A strange love-story I need to re-write/re-arrange and then a thriller. No, a who-dun-it. Then there’s a musical for the theatre I need to sort out. That’s been waiting about seven years. I suspect it’s just jolly bollocks and utterly unfixable.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

‘To my readers’? Nothing at all. To anyone thinking of writing I must quote Noel Coward’s advice, ‘Do not write on a type-writer {aka computer} – because it looks finished – and it isn’t…’

 

 

Can you tell me a little about your latest book? How would you describe it and why should we go read it?

My latest, ‘The Soldier’s Home’ –  is a continuation/completion of the story I began with ‘The Single Soldier’.

It’s a long love story about a house…

The House that Jacques re-Built.

You ask why should we go read it?

In ALL honesty I have no answer to that – except I suppose – I believe you might enjoy it.

And I truly hope you do.

 

My thanks to George & Urbane Publications for taking part today to Celebrate Indie Publishing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rubicon Cover

** My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours & Fahrenheit Press for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.

Sam Batford is an undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.

DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.

Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

My Thoughts & Review:

Rubicon is a book that you pick up when you have a free day, it’s the sort of book that once you start, you will not want to put it down again.  It’s gripping, it’s dark and it’s utterly thrilling!

The narrative is seen from the perspective of two characters, DS Sam Batford and DCI Klara Winter, and for all intent and purposes they are on the same team but their end goals are vastly different.
Batford is an undercover agent with Metropolitan Police, and the impression he gives through his somewhat narcissistic narrative is that he’s a renegade, a damned good one though.  He’s a bit of a loose cannon, but he seems to get results, even if he doesn’t follow the rule book.
Winter on the other hand is the polar opposite, she follows the rules, she works as part of a team, and there’s no question as to whether she may be rogue or not.  Through a series of diary/journal like entries, the reader is privy to her frustrations and anger at how the current case is progressing and the politics between police departments.

It’s clear from the snappy writing that the author has experience of policing and his ability to say so much without overdoing it is superb.  The plot is pacy and taught, the characters are the sort that you almost want them to be caught out, you almost want to see Batford get caught out at times … even just to see him talk his way out of it.

It’s an action packed, thrilling read that grabs the reader from the outset and leaves you wondering who exactly the bad guy is.  It’s clever, the plotting is great and characterisation spot on!
Ian Patrick is an author I will be keeping an eye on from now on and Rubicon is highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of Rubicon via:

Amazon UK
Fahrenheit Press (Publisher)

 

About the Author:

Educated in Nottingham, Ian left school at sixteen. After three years in the Civil Service he moved to London for a career in the Metropolitan Police.

He spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes.

Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

Ian’s Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IPatrick_Author

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ian-Patrick/e/B075VB1MP4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of Fault Lines **

 

Description:

 

A little lie … a seismic secret … and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.
On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

 

My Thoughts & Review:

It’s no surprise that I have a soft spot for books set in Scotland, and there are certain locations that will always grab my attention, Edinburgh being one.  Doug Johnstone is a new author to me, I read a short story he wrote for Bloody Scotland – Painting the Forth Road Bridge and was blown away by the intensity of his writing.  I was aware of a very trusted fellow blogger raving about Fault Lines and was curious why she was so hooked by this book, so it seemed like a smart move to dive in and see what the excitement was about.

Set in an Edinburgh with a difference, the reader is plunged into a world of volcanology and death.  The shifting tectonic plates of the Earth have caused the formation/eruption of a volcano in the Firth of Forth, which brings regular seismic activity for the surrounding areas.  This backdrop is perfectly matched to the clever plot, the brooding malevolence of the volcano ties perfectly with a fast paced thrilling read that has you holding your breath in anticipation.

When an author can transport you to the location of their book and let you “see” the landscape through their words is one thing, but the way that Johnstone writes means that his readers can experience another sensation, they can feel what goes on in Fault Lines.  The way that the tremors are described feels so tangible, the threat that volcano poses feels so real and the feel of the water as Surtsey’s boat sails between The Inch and the mainland are just some examples of the wonderful writing that awaits readers in this book.  There’s a marvelouslly hypnotic quality to Johnstone’s writing, it’s utterly engrossing and you stop trying to guess ahead about “the who”, “the what” or “the why”, and just sit back and revel in the small details of the such an intricately plotted masterpiece.

The fragility of human psychology is deftly explored, emotions are laid bare and the rawness of grief and the associated disbelief at events makes this such a powerful read.  The characters are cleverly crafted, Surtsey is an extremely interesting character that you cannot quite fully fathom out.  Her thoughts and actions don’t always seem to make complete sense to the reader, her responses to the events around her are driven by feelings of grief, confusion and desperation.  It’s almost poetic to think of her as being as the personification of the volcano in a way, a dominant presence with glimpses of fragility and instability, but also with indeterminate power, leaving readers wondering what will happen next.

A highly recommended thriller that’s clever and imaginative, and will leave readers reeling!

You can buy a copy of Fault Lines via:

Amazon UK
Orenda Books eBookstore

FINAL Fault Lines blog poster 2018

 

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