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Description:

Danny Bird and the gang are back.

In this, the 3rd book of the popular series, life at The Marquess of Queensberry public house has returned to something resembling normality. Although his complicated love life is still in a state of some disarray, things are looking pretty rosy for Danny Bird.

Not for long…

Something horrible is discovered in the cellar, someone horrible comes to threaten one of the gang, and Danny and Lady Caroline are faced with some of their biggest challenges yet.

With local crime-lord Chopper Falzone keeping a watchful eye on his investment, Danny and Lady Caz must unmask a murderer, find some stolen diamonds and thwart a blackmailer – just another day at The Marq.

As the plot races breathlessly towards its conclusion, everyone realises that secrets, no matter how well hidden, can’t stay buried forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit I did give a little squeal of delight when I heard that the third book in the Danny Bird series was going to be out soon and then headed over to Amazon to pre order it as soon as the publisher tweeted the pre order link was working.  Then there was the (impatient) wait until publication day….finally Death of a Devil arrived on my kindle and I took some time away from my review books to savour this one.

Death of a Devil sees the return of the prodigal Danny Bird and Lady Caroline Holloway who worked their way into my heart back in November 2015 when they first appeared in Death of a Diva and since then have delighted and amused me in equal measure.
Farrell’s writing has always been fantastic, but this latest offering feels different, like he’s developed a newer level of plotting and story telling that exceeds all expectation.
Beautifully clever plotting keeps readers guessing and completely off guard throughout.
The varied cast of characters add colour and shape to the series and each in their own right is superb.  Having followed the series it is nice to see the development of the additional characters, as well as the stars.
In this book it was interesting to explore more of the London gangster background as well as learn more about Ali the bar manager and see a different side to her that many readers might not have ever imagined.

The madcap adventures that Danny and Caz end up embroiled in are chaotic to say the least, but they somehow seem to have more lives than the proverbial cat and come out of it all relatively unscathed – just a little wiser for their troubles.

For those not familiar with the Danny Bird series, the first book Death of a Diva, the second book Death of a Nobody, and then finally Death of a Devil.  These books are fantastic to read and I would recommend reading them in order, but if you fancy picking up the latest installment it can be read as a stand alone book as there is ample information woven throughout the plot to inform you of previous events.

Another impressive novel from Derek Farrell, I just hope he doesn’t keep us waiting too long for his next book!!

You can buy a copy of Death of a Devil via:

Amazon

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Death of a Nobody

Author: Derek Farrell
Published: 19 May 2016
Reviewed: 23 May 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 purchased via Fahrenheit Press Book Club

5 out of 5 Stars

 

Description:   

“Danny Bird is back and he’s gone full Poirot.”

When Lady Margaret Wright (local girl made good) dies, her will stipulates her wake be held in her old neighbourhood. Sensing an opportunity, Danny, Lady Caroline, Ali & the Asbo Twins commit to giving the old girl the wake to end all wakes and at the same time cement the reputation of The Marquess Of Queensbury as South London’s most up and coming gastro-pub.

As usual though things don’t quite go to plan and it isn’t long before the body count starts to mount. Danny and the unflappable Lady Caroline find themselves thrown into a classic murder mystery complete with poison pen letters, family feuds, money, jealousy and a cast of characters that would put the average Agatha Christie country house mystery to shame.

With his love-life and his business seemingly falling around his ears Danny is determined to get to the bottom of things and hopefully put a stop to people getting murdered in his damn pub.

My Thoughts & Review

Death of a Nobody sees the much awaited return of Danny Bird and Lady Caroline in the Marq. For those not already acquainted with these intrepid sleuths, check out Death of a Diva, Derek Farrell’s début novel. I had the pleasure of reviewing it in November 2015 (Death of a Diva Review) and I can honestly say that I couldn’t see how Farrell would build upon these characters or come back with anything to rival this, but he has.

Masterfully and effortlessly, a mind boggling plot is woven into the somewhat comedic tale of Danny Bird, running a pub for a gangster, attempting to rebuild his love life after it was turned upside down previously and keep his friendship with Caz as demented as ever.

The wake of Lady Margaret Wright gives Danny the perfect opportunity to showcase this abilities in the kitchen and establish the Marq. as a gastro-pub, with waiting staff hired for the event and Caz helping in the kitchen there’s nothing that could possibly go wrong for Danny……that is until a dead body turns up and rains on Danny’s parade.

Following his successful investigation of the murder of Lyra Day, Danny ropes in Caz as his incongruous Dr Watson, and the pair set about tracking down the motive and the killer. Add in the request to investigate poison pen letters and Danny is almost a modern day Poirot, except taller and has more hair.

The evolution of Danny Bird is fantastic, Farrell seems to have brought this character fully out of his shell and he really shines like a peacock resplendent in the morning sun. Danny has honed his detective skills, so making deductions based on clever observations like scratches on the wrist push him towards a Sherlock Holmes-esque detective for this reader and really shows the attention to detail in the writing.

I particularly liked the development of Caz. She really seemed come into her own in this book, and far from being Danny’s sidekick, she became more than just a main character, it was nice to see more sides to her. Snippets of her younger life (school days), her dabbling with a love life and attempting to dress down made her even more scandalous and riotous but still as delightful.

The clever plot is well crafted, once Danny reveals all you really see just how fiendishly masterful Farrell is as a writer. Being a fan of crime fiction, thrillers and mysteries, I sometimes find that I can guess who the killer is or the eventual motive for murder in a book, but here I was clutching at straws. Each time I thought I had sussed the killer I was shown the error of my ways and was left bewildered until Farrell was ready to expose the killer and their motives.

Subtly, behind the murder mystery is the idea that friendships and relationships and their value to us. Reminding us that failure and rejection are bearable when we have friends there to buoy us up.

A wonderful continuation of the Danny Bird series, and I personally cannot wait to see what Derek Farrell has on the cards for Danny next!! 

You can buy a copy of Death of a Nobody here.  
 

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Dead is Better

Author: Jo Perry
Published: 10 February 2016
Reviewed: 25 February 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 purchased through Fahrenheit Press Book Club

5 out of 5 Stars

 



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The Murder Quadrille

 

Author: Fidelis Morgan
Published: 26 January 2016
Reviewed: 05 February 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 purchased through Fahrenheit Press Book Club

5 out of 5 Stars

 

My copy of this book arrived as part of the Fahrenheit Press Book Club.  
But if you would like to buy a copy, head over to Amazon and snap up a copy of The Murder Quadrille (UK Kindle Version).

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West Of The City

Author: Grant Sutherland
Published: 28 November 2015
Reviewed: 07 December 2015
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 Fahrenheit Press in return for an honest review.

4 out of 5 stars  

 

Things could scarcely get worse for Raef Carlton – his marriage is on the rocks and his family-owned merchant bank is threatened by a hostile takeover. 

But then Daniel Stewart, Raef’s closest friend and Carlton’s treasurer is found shot dead at point-blank range and Raef’s life really plunges into free fall.

Merchant Banking is never without risk, daring or intensity, but for Carlton Brothers, the risk and intensity is all too real.  Arriving at work after the Christmas party, Raef Carlton doesn’t realise that business is about change forever.  Daniel, his closest friend and bank treasurer won’t be coming to work today, or ever again, he’s been shot dead at point blank range and the police want answers.
As Inspector Ryan delves into Daniel’s private and professional life things are uncovered that Raef is uncomfortable with.  Why did Daniel die that way, what was he up to that would result in him being shot?  Could it have been someone from the bank?  Just when Raef thought it couldn’t get any worse, there is word of scandal afoot in the bank, fraud is taking place and it will bring Carlton Brothers to the very point of collapse.  Raef struggles to wade through the trades, deals and markets to find out who could be behind this all, to see if Daniel was involved all whilst trying to continue with running the bank and dealing with a personal life that lies in tatters, his marriage is dissolving fast, he realises all too late that by building up the bank he’s pushed his wife and family to the side and has neglected them.

As the pace builds to the big reveal of “whodunnit” you really find yourself hooked, you want to know what happened to Daniel and why, but more importantly, what’s going to happen to Raef and the bank. 
To quote Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, but just how deep does the rot go?  With twists and turns aplenty, it’s difficult to guess who is the most manipulative character, who the murderer is or even how it will end up, but one thing’s for sure you will struggle to put this down!

Sutherland’s time as a stockbroker shows with the in-depth detail of market trading that takes place in this story, but there is enough information there that it is easy to pick up what’s going on.  For someone with no experience of the financial intricacies of this story I managed to keep up with the trades and deals without feeling too lost. 

The writing shows great skill, there’s a depth to this you just can’t find in a lot of books,  definitely a feel of a Le Carré or Jeffrey Archer book, the ability to layer mystery, intrigue and brilliance makes this stand up next to the works of these great authors and could easily be classed as a “good old fashioned thriller”. 

I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Financial Thrillers, Crime and Mystery Genres. 

I would like to thank Fahrenheit Press 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 on 28th November 2015, a copy can be purchased here West Of The City (UK Kindle Version)

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Death of a Diva

Author: Derek Farrell
Published: 18 November 2015
Reviewed: 24 November 2015
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 Fahrenheit Press in return for an honest review.

7 out of 5 stars  

(maths never was my strong point!)

 

Danny Bird is having a very bad day. In the space of a few hours he just lost his job, his boyfriend and his home.

Ever the optimist, Danny throws himself headlong into his dream to turn the grimmest pub in London into the most fabulous nightspot south of the river. Sadly, everything doesn’t go quite as planned when his star turn is found strangled hours before opening night.

Danny becomes the prime suspect in the crime, and then the gangster who really owns the pub starts asking where his share of the takings has gone… it seems things are going to get worse for Danny before they get better.

From the very start of this book you get a feeling that things aren’t going to go to plan for Danny Bird, the protagonist is a troubled soul.  He’s lost his job at a fashion magazine (and was escorted off the premises by burly security guards), walked in on his boyfriend and the window cleaner in flagrante and subsequently walked back out again, losing him home.  So it’s little wonder that he has a light bulb moment sitting in a dingy pub, nursing his pint that he could turn things around and transform the grittiest, grimmest, most run down pub into “the place to be”.  Even better, he’s got a star performance for the opening night, a star that will draw in the punters.

In the life he’s lived up to this point, Danny hasn’t mixed with gangsters, or run a pub, so this is a wealth of new experience for Danny, but thankfully he’s not alone.  He has Caroline, affectionately known as Caz to “help” him out.  With her Mary Poppins-esque bag, she pulls out almost everything for the situation that Danny finds himself in, miniatures of booze to settle the nerves,  lipstick and a compact mirror to make sure she’s in tip top style to show off her looks and assets to get Danny the answers he needs, or just cash to put in the till to keep things ticking over in the bar.  It’s through Caz that Danny secures his star turn for the opening night.  The night that will change everything for Danny, especially when he becomes a suspect for the murder of the star, who Danny just happens to find strangled to death in her dressing room just moments before she was due on stage.

I’m really conscious of not saying much past the first few chapters of this book, purely because I don’t want to spoil any of the intrigue or mystery that this novel has.  There are twists, turns and some absolutely fantastic dialogue that I’m desperate to share but you need to read this book to find out more!

The characters in this book are brilliantly written, Danny is a great character, you genuinely feel for him at times and you’re rooting for things to go well for him, there are points that you find yourself reading and wondering how it could go so wrong for him.  Another character of interest is Caz, for obvious reasons, she’s funny, sassy, she has a bottomless pit of a handbag and can keep Danny from spiralling into the depths of despair.  The relationship between these characters is very well written, the way they nag, nit pick and clash with each other is believable, the characters compliment each other very well which I think makes this so enjoyable to read. 

Physical descriptions are incredibly good in this book, the grim horrors of the pub, the opulence of Lyra Day’s costumes, the violence of the brawl, all give you a very real image  of what you’re reading, granted each interpretation will differ somewhat, but I think we can all agree that Danny’s pub is the sort of place you’d want to wipe your feet after leaving.

Farrell shows a great skill in his writing, this book was incredibly hard to put down, but upon picking it back up after the weekend I was immediately able to work out where about in the story I was and continue reading.  At no point did the narrative drag, or did I feel I wanted to skip ahead because I was bored or fed up.  This is definitely a page turner, and I have to agree with a review I’ve read on Amazon, it is somewhat like a modern game of Cluedo, a cleverly written “whodunnit” book, that definitely keeps you guessing and trying to work out who the murderer is and why – and I’m not ashamed to say, I was wrong when I guessed who the murderer was!

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres.  In fact, I would insist you check this book out and take a gamble if it’s not already piqued your interest! 

Many thanks to Fahrenheit Press 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 on 18th November 2015, a copy can be purchased here Death of a Diva (UK Kindle Version)

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The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter

Author : Charles Kriel
Published: 30 October 2015
Reviewed: 27 October 2015
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 Fahrenheit Press in return for an honest review.

5 out of 5 stars (I’d give it 6 or 7 out of 5 if  I could!)

 

 

Mel Barry is a detective like no other and when her step-father, Charlie ‘Lobster Boy’ Koontz is arrested and framed for murder, Mel is his only hope.

Surrounded by freaks of the modern circus, Mel pursues a heartless killer through the darkest heart of the gothic South, only to discover the mysteries of her own shadowy past revealed in blood.

Set on the carnival lot of a South Georgia tobacco town, The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter is a wild Lynch-ian ride through a world that few ‘normal’ people have ever experienced.

What do you know about the carnivals?  What do you know about freak shows?  Prepare to be informed, entertained and enlightened as you delve into the murky depths of how it all really works.  Charlie Koontz aka Lobster Boy was born into the life of an entertainer, classed as disabled by polite society, and as a freak by himself, he runs the show that pulls in the crowds but success brings the pay-offs and bribes, and this is where the story begins.

Charlie is framed for murder, and in desperate need of help he turns to his step-daughter Mel.  As she fights her way through the twists and turns of the Southern Georgian town, Mel discovers not everything is as is seems.  The facts don’t add up, evidence is being ignored, and she can’t go to Charlie to help him but she needs to do something.  With the freaks from the carnival at her side, and covering her back she takes on the fight to clear Charlie and free him, not realising that this will have her facing shadows that she’d wish stayed hidden from a past she’d rather forget.   

There is so much that I could say about this book but I really don’t want to give away too much of the plot, too many hints or clues would give away too much and believe me, this isn’t a book you want spoiled for you! 

Kriel’s writing style is quick, punchy and keeps you on your toes.  His descriptions are intensely detailed, I found myself envisioning the Big Wheel and other fairground rides, but most sensationally descriptive were the acrobatic performances and fight scenes.  In particular, the performance by one character really shows the attention to detail, the level of research undertaken and pride in ones work. The characters are engaging, you want to know more about them, you want to know what happened in their past, what secrets they have hidden. 
 
The clever marketing of this novel prior to release created a buzz, and I am happy to say that it has lived up to the hype.  This is an immensely enjoyable read, and I cannot wait to see what Kriel comes out with next, where will Mel Barry end up next?  My only concern would be whether this impressive writing style and talent can be bottled so any subsequent works can be written to the same high standard.   
  
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Mystery and hotshot PI type genres.  In fact, I would go so far as to insist you buy this book, it definitely will be one of those you’ll kick yourself for not reading! 
 
I would like to thank Chris McVeigh and Fahrenheit Press for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book will be published on 30th October 2015, a copy can be purchased here The Lobster Boy And The Fat Lady’s Daughter (UK Kindle Version)

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A Slow Death

Author : James Craig
Published: 10 September 2015
Reviewed: 16 September 2015

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 purchased via Amazon.

 

  4 (& 1/2) out of 5 stars

 

 

Berlin 1990.

“I just love the smell of tear gas in the evening…”

The Wall has fallen and Berlin is a magnet for criminals and protestors from all over Germany and the rest of Europe.

When a seemingly ordinary family are slaughtered in their home, Kriminalinspektor Max Drescher finds himself up against a ruthless Mafia clan trying to establish its operations in the newly reunited city.

Max has problems of his own but knowing this could be his last case, the veteran detective will stop at nothing to get a result.
 

Berlin, post Wall is a seedy, grubby, dark and dangerous place for everyone, especially for those instilling law and order into an archaic society.
Kriminalinspektor Max Drescher, far from a German version of Poirot is more like a German Rebus, he drinks, he smokes and he doesn’t strictly play by the rules, but the results are there for anyone to see.  Max has his own demons and problems, but that doesn’t stop him trying to solve what will end up being his final case as a Kriminalinspektor.  The mentions of Max’s past and the memories he draws up are very well written, hinting at more but giving nothing away, but you read on hoping more is given away about him.

Keen not to spoil the book for other readers, I will say there are twists and turns in this novel that will keep you glued to it.

The characters are well written in this novel, physical descriptions are very good, as are the personalities given to each, you can imagine the stubborn streak in some characters, but there are times when the reader can sympathise with the plight of a character or relate to them.

I really liked the use of German in the book, it wakened the dormant German language in my brain and soon I was translating the German in my head and excitedly checking that it was right when it appeared in English in the next sentence.  The use of the language added that little “something extra” to me and seemed to authenticate that it was set in Germany.

A small note about the publisher too, the quirky marketing tactics used to drum up interest in this book were definitely different from other publishers out there, and I have to admit that it piqued my interest seeing the good humoured back and forth between the writer and the publisher as it made for good entertainment as well as making the novel stand out to me, so much so that I pre-ordered it and waited (not so) patiently for publication and download onto my Kindle!  I think that James Craig is definitely an author to watch for the next in the series of Max Drescher, but also Fahrenheit Press to see what crime novels they come out with next!

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Mystery, Crime and Thrillers.

A copy can be purchased here A Slow Death (UK Kindle Version)

*** Edit***
Updated link for book purchase 
 

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