Archive for the ‘dystopia’ Category

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the #Zero blog tour and share an extract from Matt Brolly’s newest mystery novel.


No crime will go unpunished

It is the near future. A zero tolerance policy results in the death penalty for all crimes, no matter how minor.

When a judge is kidnapped, and a ransom note demands the release of all prisoners awaiting execution, kleptomaniac Detective Inspector Kate Swanson is put on the case.

But soon her boss also disappears. Under increasing pressure from her superiors, and caught between the security services and the growing social unrest, Swanson must race to find a man whose murdered wife and daughter link the missing men.

Can she find him before it’s too late?

With a dystopian twist on the police procedural, Zero is an unputdownable and atmospheric thriller. The first in a powerful new series from Matt Brolly for fans of Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza or Minority Report and Blade Runner.

Extract from Zero:

It was not a comfortable space for a man of his size. Old Blue had been in the boot of the car for five hours. He was squeezed into the foetal position, his considerable stomach pushed tight against his bended legs. Sweat dripped from his brow and cooled on his silver beard. The little oxygen which remained in the cramped interior of the car was contaminated by the fetid odour of his breath. He concentrated on his breathing, drawing the stale air in through his nose and exhaling it through pursed lips. His watch told him it was eight forty-five pm.

Old Blue closed his eyes and waited for the judge.


Twelve storeys above the basement car park where Old Blue waited, Judge Lloyd was preparing to leave for the day. He had a strict policy of finishing work at nine every evening. Anything urgent was taken home with him. Lloyd was in his late sixties but looked ten years younger. He signed off his last report and placed his paperwork into his briefcase. His personal assistant, Sarah Natal, was still working in the outer office. ‘Time to wrap up now,’ he told her as he walked past. He wished her goodnight with a tired flicker of a smile. The digital clock on her desk read nine p.m. precisely.

The court building was still alive with work, and Lloyd passed a number of familiar faces as he made his way down to the car park. The lift was empty so he was able to reach the car without exchanging words with anyone. His car was in its usual reserved space close to the stairwell. As always, Judge Lloyd opened the driver side door first, placing his briefcase on the passenger seat next to him.

The evening traffic was thinning and the judge made good time back to his house. He followed his favoured route, across the river at Bridge Eight and up to the winding side streets which led to his house in Sector Twelve. The pods were visible at various points through the journey. An outstanding feat of modern engineering, the glass capsules crawled through the night sky snaking across the entire city. They moved along their tracks, dangling like giant lanterns. It was claimed you were never more than one hundred metres away from a sightline of the structure. Lloyd chose not to notice. It was not that familiarity had lessened the wonder; Lloyd never looked at the translucent domes in case he saw someone within he recognised.

At home, the electronic gates sensed the arrival of his car and opened accordingly. Lloyd pressed the button for the garage doors and drove into the space. After closing the garage doors, he entered the house through a side door in the garage, which he locked behind him.


It was nine forty-five by the time the judge left the car. Wedged into the boot, Old Blue had suffered each bump and pothole of the journey. It was eleven-thirty before he moved. He managed to pop open the latch with little effort. His arm muscles flared with pain as he hoisted himself from the car, his legs buckling as he hit the stone floor of the garage. He stretched his calves and thighs, encouraging the blood to circulate. It was a slow, painful walk to the side entrance. He opened the door with the kind of ease that only comes with months of practice.

The lights were off downstairs but Old Blue knew the space well. To reach the staircase, he had to pass through two interior doors, both made of solid oak, both unlocked. He moved as quietly as was possible for a man of his weight and lack of agility. With his right hand, he reached into the inside of his jacket and pulled out a gun. Orange nightlights, the type a child would use, lined the stairwell. Old Blue eased himself upwards towards the landing, ignoring the occasional squeaks of loose floorboards. Judge Lloyd’s bedroom was the third on the right. Without hesitation, Old Blue opened the door. A four-poster bed made from thick black wood filled the room. The judge was sitting up in bed reading. He looked up from his book and studied Old Blue, seemingly unconcerned. Seconds later, he nodded. ‘Mr. Jacobson,’ he said.

Old Blue looked at the man and shook his head.

Zero was published on 21st November by Canelo price £3.99 as an ebook, you can buy a copy here

About the Author:

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.

He is the author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed and Dead Lucky, and the near future crime trilogy, featuring DI Kate Swanson, which begins with Zero.

Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children. You can find out more about Matt at his website MattBrolly.co.uk or by following him on twitter: @MatthewBrolly

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for some brilliant reviews!




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Skeleton Blues


Author: Paul Johnston
Published: 31st December 2015
Reviewed: 07 January 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Severn House Publishers in return for an honest review.

  5 out of 5 stars  


Ex-cop Quint Dalrymple discovers there is something very rotten in the independent city-state of Edinburgh in this near-future dystopian thriller.

Edinburgh, spring 2034. The weather’s balmy, there’s a referendum on whether to join a reconstituted Scotland coming up – and a tourist is found strangled. As usual, maverick detective Quint Dalrymple is called in to do the Council of City Guardians’ dirty work.

For the first time in his career, Quint is stumped by the complexity of the case. An explosion at the City Zoo is followed by the discovery of another body – and the prime suspect is nowhere to be found. Can Quint and his sidekick, Guard commander Davie, put a stop to the killings before the city erupts into open violence? Are the leaders of other Scottish states planning to take over Edinburgh, or is the source of unrest much closer to home? Quint must race to pull the threads together before he becomes one of the numerous skeletons on display …

In 2034 the independent city-state of Edinburgh is still as apocalyptic as it was when I first encountered Quint Dalrymple in The Body Politic back in the 2020s. The City Guardians have relaxed the regime somewhat, pardoned various miscreants and allow the citizens more freedoms than were ever offered in the previous years, but some things haven’t changed.  The City is still a hotspot for tourists who still take priority over the ordinary Citizens.  Conditions for the Citizens haven’t really improved greatly and Quint Dalrymple is still sceptical about the Guardians and distrusts most people in power.

When a precious tourist is found strangled in Citizen accommodation Dalrymple is brought in to investigate and track down the missing Citizen lives there.  It’s made quite clear to him that he must find the missing woman and not abuse the power that the Council of Guardians are bestowing upon him.  
Whilst Dalrymple is working on this case there is an uprising brewing, a referendum is imminent, the Council of Guardians want the city-state to join the reconstituted Scotland and voting has been made mandatory.  They expect all Citizens to vote yes, but not all of them want to, some are willing to fight for what they believe would be a better leadership and quality of life.  

For fans of the Dalrymple series, rest assured the pairing of Quint and Davie (aka Hume 253) makes a return.  The dynamic duo are as usual on good form, the satire of their exchanges makes for good reading as well as moments to chuckle out loud.  Despite the passing of time, there is no real change to Quint Dalrymple, he’s still cynical, he’s still a Blues fan and he’s still harbouring a grudge against Billy Geddes and the Guardians.  

Johnston’s writing is as brilliant as ever, references to Classics such as Plato and Homer give away subtle hints to both the intelligence of the author as well as his studies (ancient and modern Greek at university).  There is skill in writing a futuristic setting that can also incorporate “old world” attributes, the utopian Glasgow that is hinted at (which features in The Blood Tree) contrasted with the wild borders areas emphasises the richly descriptive quality of the writing.  
The characters are good, Dalrymple is the perfect protagonist, disillusioned with the regime, sceptical, argumentative and not afraid to speak his mind.  Davie (Hume 253) as well as being a loyal Auxiliary and Guard Commander, is Quint’s best friend, shows a caring side but also can be relied on for the necessary muscle or brute force.  Other interesting characters include Hector Dalrymple, an ex Guardian and Quint’s father, and Billy Geddes, a former Auxiliary who Quint regarded as colleague and friend. 

The pace of the book is good, the storyline is gripping and so sweeps you along with it, if you can manage to put it down between chapters I suspect you would  be able to carry on without much issue at all.  

Despite this being a continuation of the series of books with Dalrymple, this story really could be read as a stand alone book.  Granted, having read the other books in the series the city-state of Edinburgh and its Council will make more sense, but this certainly will not detract from the enjoyment.

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to fans of Johnston’s previous works, especially fans of the Dalrymple series, as well as fans of Fiction and Mystery genres.  But be aware, this isn’t just a typical run on the mill mystery story, this is an intelligently written, highly addictive book!

I would like to thank Severn House Publishers for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published in Hardback on 31st December 2015, but I hope other formats will be available soon, a copy can be purchased here Skeleton Blues (UK Hardback)

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