#bookreview #newrelease ON THE EDGE by @AuthorJJesmond @Verve_Books #OnTheEdge #publicationday @hollieeeem

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SYNOPSIS

Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around it. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she’s checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a ‘family emergency’ takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Once safe, the real challenge begins. Jen must face her troubled past in order to figure out whether something triggered a relapse to this risky behaviour, or if there is a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown. Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and fraught relationships will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it. 

MY THOUGHTS

This debut novel from Jane Jesmond has certainly introduced me to a new author to add to my list.

This action packed and wonderfully atmospheric read kept me gripped throughout.

Jenifry Shaw, known as Jen, has been climbing her whole life. Running free along with her brother Kit, through the wild landscape of Cornwall and with a renowned mountaineer father, it’s in her blood. But adrenaline has become a drug and as her climbing became more and more risky, and after one climb ends with catastrophic outcomes she replaces the adrenaline with real drugs.

We first meet Jen in a rehab centre that she has entered voluntarily, but equally can not wait to leave. She receives a call from her brother, whom she hasn’t spoken to for some time, asking for her help. He is in serious financial difficulty after months of renovating their old family home into a holistic conference centre. Issues with their mother not also helping matters.

Arriving late and exhausted, and putting off having to meet her brother and any locals, she checks into the small hotel. The next things she knows, she awakens, finding herself tied to the outside of the lighthouse, dangerously dangling over the edge! Has she taken something that means she would have placed herself in such a situation without remembering so? Or has someone drugged her and left her to die? Who??? And Why????

As she tries to consider whether her life is in danger from herself or someone else, she starts to stubble upon the many secrets harboured by her home village.

With dramatic and superbly vivid descriptions of the Cornish weather and landscape and a well written and pacy plot, I found this a very engaging and enjoyable mystery. With a cast of characters feeling like they all have something to hid and a not overly reliable main character with problems of her own, the story line is full of twists and turns and mysterious red herrings that really ds keep the reader ‘on the edge’.

Fast moving action, yet full of characters, story lines, and back story information, this is a tightly, efficient and effective written thriller, and it’s the first in a series with more to come! Can’t wait!

Huge thanks to the publishers for the proof copy of this book and a great new find!

ON THE EDGE IS PUBLISHED TODAY!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

On The Edge is Jane Jesmond’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw. Although she was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, raised in Liverpool and considers herself northern through and through, Jane’s family comes from Cornwall. Her lifelong love of the Cornish landscape and culture inspired the setting of On The Edge. Jane has spent the last thirty years living and working in France. She began writing steadily six or seven years ago and writes every morning in between staring out at the sea and making cups of tea. She also enjoys reading, walking and amateur dramatics and, unlike her daredevil protagonist, is terrified of heights!

#bookreview #newrelease 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard @CorvusBooks @cathryanhoward @AtlanticBooks #56Days #publicationday

Publisher Corvus Books

Published in Hardback and EBook August 19th

Number of pages 424

I was totally thrilled when a copy of this book came through my letter box. I really enjoyed Rewind and thought The Nothing Man was a fantastic read, so I really couldn’t wait to dive into this new one.

Huge thanks to the author and the publisher for my gorgeous hard back copy. I love the cover and the broken glass effect really jumps out. Continue reading for my review.

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SYNOPSIS

No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

MY THOUGHTS

Oliver and Ciara meet just before the first lockdown in Dublin Ireland. Not wanting to be apart but also wanting to comply to the rules and regulations set by the lockdown period, they decide to move into together. It suits them well, even at this early stage, as neither seem keen to share this new relationship with any friends or family. Living in Oliver’s apartment, but keeping Ciara’s on, as it’s only for 2 weeks…..right?

Catherine Ryan Howard perfectly uses the pandemic and lockdown experience in this new utterly gripping thriller.

56 Days is a great blend of fully realised and believable characters, well thought out plot and story line, a police procedural and thriller genre and brilliant twists and suspense to make this another unputdownable read.

My first read where the recent lockdown is used in the story and I felt the author pitched it just right. Wonderfully describing that first experience of empty streets, queues for the supermarket, empty shelves and isolated living but without making it too full on, on fear of the virus etc, to want not to read a book like this just yet. The way it is weaved within the story line, making it a large devise of the plot works fantastically.

As the synopsis tells us, we are aware of a dead body found in Oliver’s flat at the very start of the book, but we do not know who it is until much later on. Investigations begin, by Detective Inspector Leah Riordan and Detective Sergeant Karl Connolly (loved these characters) and with the book divided up into chapters from the perspective of Oliver, Ciara and Leah we are slowly revealed the true story behind these two main characters. Chapters are headed today, and various times from just before and during the lockdown. As the different time settings switch back and forth the story grows and so does the readers understanding of the back stories of Oliver and Ciara. Along with this the suspense and wonderful tension created in this novel kept me totally absorbed.

This author always has the ability to grab my attention right from the very first chapter, but most importantly holds it there until the very end. My third of her books now and I loved the mention of The Nothing Man slipped into the pages of this new one.

A recommended read from me and if you haven’t read any of Catherine’s books before, do! Grab one, any one! You won’t be disappointed.

#bookreview #newrelease CAVE DIVER by JAKE AVILA @JacobPAvila1 @ZaffreBooks #CAVEDIVER

Published 5th August 2021

Publisher Zaffre

Number of pages 400

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SYNOPSIS

Acclaimed explorer Rob Nash has lost his way. Grieving the death of his wife, and blaming himself, he sees no reason to carry on. But when his ‘Uncle’ Frank Douglas offers him the chance to lead a cave diving expedition in the jungles of Papua, Nash can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But the expedition might not be what it seems. With a decades old Japanese submarine buried deep in a cavern, and a team hell-bent on unleashing the treasures it hides, Nash finds himself on a ship heading for danger. With a lethal band of criminals on board, who will stop at nothing to get the gold, Nash is fighting for his life. Whilst battling his own demons, can he forgive himself for the wrongs of his past – and survive the perils of the deep?

MY THOUGHTS

We meet a new action hero in this debut novel.

Rob Nash is the world famous Cave Diver of the title. While still emotionally broken by the death of his pregnant wife on one of his dives he is enticed back into diving by the opportunity to dive fabled caves in Indonesia. Accompanied by his “Uncle” Frank, Rob soon begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem and those paying for him to dive have ambitions beyond the documentary he agreed to make.

This story moves along at quite a pace, initially with pathos, then excitement and finally jeopardy as Rob uncovers the plot while trying to overcome his guilt and new found claustrophobia and keep the innocent (and not so innocent) safe. Believably he takes on the project as a penance and a way to pay back his family and others, once involved he has to see it to its conclusion.

Rob’s character is developed early in the story and we quickly understand that something has gone wrong in what was clearly an idyllic life, his guilt makes him distance himself from his family and others and it is only when the amazing opportunity and his mounting debt comes along that he begins to re-engage with his family. The other characters are also well drawn and easy to visualise.

The use of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as a setting brings these atmospheric locations directly into the story and we are given an opportunity to learn a little about the people, the history and the modern challenges of this region as the story progresses.

The author shows either a great knowledge for the technical side of diving or has thoroughly researched the subject, which only added to this convincing read. An enjoyable, tension fuelled novel that kept me engaged throughout.

Many thanks to Karen Stretch at Bonnier Books for my advance copy of the book.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Jake Avila is a full-time writer with a BA in Writing and Information Technology. He has a background in freelance journalism writing on politics, culture, technology, and sport, and taught secondary English for ten years. In 2019, he won the Adventure Writer’s Competition Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award for Cave Diver and then went on to win the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for the book in 2020. British born, he now lives in Australia.

#bookreview #newrelease THE PERFECT LIE BY JO SPAIN OUT MAY 13th 2021 #perfectlie @MillsReid11 @QuercusBooks @SpainJoanne

Hugh thanks to the publishers for a proof copy of this book. An excellent thriller, this had me glued to the page!

SYNOPSIS

He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie.

MY THOUGHTS

Dare I say it but I’ve never actually read any of Jo Spain’s books before, so when the opportunity came up of reading her new book, The Perfect Lie, and to try out this author, I jumped at the chance.

This new book, as I understand, is a little different to her previous novels, as it’s set in the US and not in Ireland, although our main character Erin is from there. Now living in Long Island, Erin is married to a detective called Danny, happy and very much in love, her world is devastated one morning when, as the synopsis explains, one morning they are called on by Danny’s partner and two other colleagues. Erin thinks nothing of it, yet they are acting strange. When Danny walks into the room he takes one look at them, and with a turn of the head towards Erin, jumps to his death from the balcony of their apartment.

It’s a great opener! Plus the rest of the story had me just as intrigued.

The novel is split into three time lines, and at the beginning I did need to go back and check a few times as to where we were in the overall story, but it was well worth it, as these different storylines work so well in this format. We are told the story in chapters headed NOW from Erin, as she is on trial for murder. THEN, again from Erin at the time of Danny’s death and HARVARD, where we hear from a young women called Ally. As you read, the different time lines build up the foundation of the story then slowly start to connect together building wonderful tension and jeopardy plus also spinning the reader around, down numerous alleys, only to have you second guessing what you originally thought. The short chapters and ever changing action gives the book a wonderful pace and keeps the reader on high alert, ready to read what will happen next or if what we’ve just read is a clue to working out how this book can possible end in the way it suggests.

A hard book to review without giving you a bunch of spoilers so what I will tell you is that I really enjoyed reading this new novel. A pacy, imaginative thriller with a wonderful array of fully described and interesting characters. I warmed to Erin quickly and her connections and relationships were very believable. Mis-directions aplenty, but not so that you feel cheated just grabbed my attention even more and I didn’t want to putt the book down in a rush to find out how it all ends. Who is telling the truth here? Or are they all telling The Perfect |Lie.

I’m a little late in writing this review so you will find this new book already released (May 13th) and available to read now!!

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a proof copy to read.

BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED BY LISA GARDNER #bookreview #blogtour @LisaGardnerBks @Rachel90Kennedy

COVER IMAGE

International Thriller Writers Award winner
Multiple  New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller  

Published by Century  | Hardback |
26th January 2021 | £12.99

SYNOPSIS

Frankie Elkin has dedicated her life to doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has forgotten.

When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. She has found fourteen victims to date, but none yet alive. Traveling from city to city with more regrets than belongings, Frankie is drawn to a new case in Boston, and to a neighbourhood with a rough reputation.

Angelique Badeau, a local teenager and Haitian immigrant, vanished eleven months ago in the middle of the day from her high school.  No scrap of surveillance footage, no cell phone tracking;
Angelique simply disappeared.

Despite resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family, Frankie starts to unpick the truth of Angelique’s disappearance and starts to discover there are those that don’t want these questions answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to find Angelique and bring her home, even if it means the next person to go missing will be herself……..

MY REVIEW

What a great book!

The author’s first standalone novel in ten years and she’s written a corker! I couldn’t put it down. I was immediately gripped by this novel. The author’s writing sucked me right in to the point when I could picture myself on the same sidewalk as our main character, seeing the same buildings, right down to smelling the delicious sounding patties and pastries in the local bakeries.

Frankie Elgin, a recovering alcoholic, has spent the last ten years travelling around the country, tracking down missing persons. So far she has a 100% success rate, finding all 14 victims, however, none of them still alive. Searching online for her next destination she finds the case of teenager Angelique ‘Angel’ Badeau, missing for nearly a year now. With only the bag on her back, for Frankie has enough ‘baggage’ already, she heads to Boston, to Mattapan, a neighbourhood that won’t be that pleased to see her, but she’s used to that.

As we follow Frankie on her search for Angel we are taken on a fast paced, thriller of a journey but also one full of compassion, heartbreak and rich, multi-layered characters that jump off the page. All with a story to tell including Frankie, but does she want anyone to know?

I loved the character of Frankie and indeed many more of the others in this story. She treats her unpaid job as if it is some kind of penance or atonement of which she doesn’t appear to be afraid if it even gets her killed, this is much to the annoyance of Detective Lothan.

The story of Angel is a multi-layered one and builds and grows as you read, with new leads, connections, twists and turns that kept me glued to the page. The pace was just right, making a suspenseful mystery, but this novel also allows for it’s characters to shine. Characters like Stoney and Viv who own/work at the bar where Frankie finds a room and work are brilliantly written, and even though they appear less than others their interactions with Frankie give the reader such a great picture of them. Plus of course Piper the cat, a match for Frankie herself.

The book touches on very serious issues that are relevant to the area and the people who live there, adding even more heart to this great plot and story.

If you like thrillers, police procedurals or mystery novels I would highly recommend this book. Hey! If you like an engaging read full of great characters, read this book!

AUTHOR INFO

AUTHOR LISA GARDNER

New York Times #1 bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, criminal minds and twisted plots into a streak of bestselling suspense novels. Her 2010 novel, THE NEIGHBOR, won Best Thriller from the International Thriller Writers. Most recently, she was honoured with the Silver Bullet Award for her work with at-risk children and homeless animals. Lisa loves to hike, travel the world, and yes, read, read, read!

#BOOKREVIEW THE CAPTIVE BY DEBORAH O’CONNOR

The Captive published Jan 7th by Zaffre Books

SYNOPSIS

Hannah knows the cage intimately. Small, the size of a shopping centre parking space. A bed, a basin, a table and chair. A hatch and metal drawer through which to exchange food and other items.

Then there’s him. Always there on the edges of her vision, no matter how hard she tries to block him out.

Every day, the same thoughts run through Hannah’s mind:

What if he speaks to me?
What if he hurts me?
What if he gets out?

MY THOUGHTS

The Captive is the second of this author’s books I have read, having previously enjoyed A Dangerous Kind. Here’s a link to my review The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor .

Set in London in the near future, our main character Hannah is grieving the loss of her husband John. John, who was a police officer, was murdered some months before, while returning home from the pub. Overwhelming evidence has meant 28 year old Jem has been found guilty and given a 25 year sentence for murder. However, it is not a prison he will be sent to but a cage, the size of a parking space, which has been constructed inside Hannah’s kitchen. The Government have replaced the old system of overcrowded, expensive and ineffective prisons with the Domestic Prison Service, a system based around restorative justice, where a convicted criminal is housed in the home of the person or person’s family they have committed a crime against, with the view that by seeing these poeple everyday and seeing their pain and the consequences of their actions, they will be less likely to reoffend.

However, this system also has a major effect on the ‘host’, having literally been assigned the same sentence as the criminal and having to face this person on a daily basis, cooking meals for them and organising their time around the Domestic Liasion Officer visits, has many not pressing charges in the first place.

Hannah is already having second thoughts before Jem is moved in and has applied for an excemption. But on those first few days/weeks of Jem’s arrival he has explained the events of the night of John’s death and Hannah is now sure that the wrong person has been charged and sets out on an investigation of her own.

With side characters of friend Aisling and John’s partner Rupert and old boss Mickey the reader soon learns of worrying events that were occurring in the lead up to John’s death.

I found this an engaging read with great characters that are both vivid and realistic. I soon warmed to Hannah as her personality comes through from the very beginning. I loved the fact that she was a baker of cakes which in turn meant that she had to spend a considerable part of her day in the kitchen and therefore unable to avoid Jem. It was a great way to watch the host and the caged getting to know each other. I also enjoyed reading the story of Jem which added another thread to the mystery neatly twisting it into the story of John’s. I found the idea of the new prison system a clever and original idea. The thought of having the person who has committed a crime against you, caged and in your home for years, sounds horrendous and this was brilliantly portrayed by the mention of the lady living up the road in a tent. I did however think it sounded more of a cost cutting decision rather than an improvement to encourage reoffending (am I surprised?) as so many would therefore not press charges to avoid becoming a host that many people must be running around free to reoffend. However I found I could easily put this thought to one side as the pace and build up of suspense was very well written and kept me interested throughout. I also thought the use of Hannah’s job, the lady next door and Jem’s past gave the book a very real feel and kept it believable and grounded.

Many thanks to Clare Kelly of Zaffre Books for my proof copy.

BOOK REVIEW FOR DEAR CHILD by Romy Hausmann

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dear child

book clipartSYNOPSISbook clipart

A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.

One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace over thirteen years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit.

book clipartMY THOUGHTSbook clipart

Wow!  Dark, immersive, intriguing, complex, and totally gripping.  A smart new take on a story of a person held captive.

This book has a very dark start, so much so, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a book for me. However, I continued, and was so glad I did.

Told from the viewpoint of a number of extremely well written characters, the story begins with Lena, abducted, she has been held captive, in a cabin in the woods, along with her two children Hannah and Johnathan and their father, her captor.  She has miraculously found a chance to escape, and running through the woods to the road, is hit by a car and badly injured.

The driver has called an ambulance. Lena is taken to hospital, along with her daughter. All they can get from Hannah are their names.  Running a trace the police find a resemblance to a Lena Beck who went missing, after walking home from a party 13 years ago, and the detective who lead the missing persons case and her parents are called.

That is a brief re-cap and I will stop there, as so much of the wonder of reading this book is from it’s structure and the way the author uses the perspectives from each character to build, continuously throughout the story, tracing out not only what is happening now, since her escape, but also during the time of her captivity.

There is an element of concentration needed for this but with such a well written book as this, and brilliantly translated I must add here, it is an extremely clever and gripping read.

The characters are so well thought out. Raw, vulnerable, sinister and the description of the chapters taking place within the cabin are frighteningly vivid.  The adults have that element of  being totally believable yet always , at the edge of my mind, wondering if they could be trusted. Hannah, who is particularly well written, is damaged and vulnerable but also slightly scary too!  This is a dark novel, but my investment in the characters and my need, to know how it ends, made me speed through this and I was utterly hooked.  When the part in the book that made me chuckle was the young girl deciding on which of her red crayons to use to draw the body on the kitchen floor, highlights the nature of this read but it is also much more than that. A great thriller and a great study of people.  Matthias’ obsessive and sometimes destructive hope in finding his daughter, after all these years.  Lena’s behaviour towards her captor and the damage captivity has had on the children, who know no different, is a real study to read.

An intense thriller that gallops along taking you on one hell of a ride!

Dear Child is out in paperback in December and can be purchased from BookShop.org https://uk.bookshop.org/a/1882/9781529401431

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Child-Romy-Hausmann-ebook/dp/B07WHWH4CQ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=C08ZLOZFR3DU&dchild=1&keywords=dear+child+romy+hausmann&qid=1604424639&s=books&sprefix=dear+child%2Cstripbooks%2C172&sr=1-1

and most independent book shops

BOOK REVIEW for THE RUMOUR by Lesley Kara

the rumour minethe rumour signed

SYNOPSIS

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realises what it is she’s unleashed?

 

MY THOUGHTS

When single mum Jo ‘up sticks’ from London to sleepy Flinstead on the Essex coast, it’s in hope of a fresh start.  Closer to her mum and a better place for her young son to grow up she is keen for them both to make new friends.

When she hears some gossip at the school gates she initially doesn’t think too much about it.  However the rumour is that there is a convicted child killer, now living in the town and as gossip can get a little carried away, Jo begins to join in and helps spreads the rumour.  What harm can it do? Plus it is a way to get talking to people, to make new friends.

Micheal, a journalist, and Jo’s ex hears of this spreading gossip and talks to Jo about it.  He is keen to follow it up in the hope of a story.  After the rumour starts to become talked of over town, Jo gets carried away and mentions a piece of information she has obtained from Micheal.  This leads to Jo becoming more involved than she would ever think possible.

As a local woman becomes a target and as Jo’s guilt and fear increases, the tension both in the town and within the book builds and Micheal and Jo are dangerously drawn into events.

Full of twists and turns and a well described set of small town characters, this book had me gripped, leading me this way and that, trying to unravel the mystery of who this child killer could be.  The thriller ramps up as the book moves along and whether or not not figure some of it out, there is a great twist at the end.

A wonderful portrayal of a small seaside town, The Rumour is a pacy, addictive read.

 

I bought my signed copy of The Rumour from Caxton Books.  Based in the town of Frinton on Sea.

The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart

I am delighted to host the blog tour today, on the date of the books virtual launch party over on Facebook tonight at 7pm.  The Lizard is out now and is the debut novel of actor,writer and director Dugald Bruce-Lockhart.

 

the lizard blog tour

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION

I went to Greece to embrace the binary code, to get off the sidelines and become a player. To live in the moment. Or, as Ellie put it, to become my own man. Was I accountable for the horror, that fateful summer? Looking back, it’s easy enough to pinpoint the sliding-door moments where I went wrong. But then, what use is hindsight? As Kierkegaard wrote: ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards’. Cold comfort when you’ve taken another man’s life.

‘A terrific, atmospheric thriller. Taut, compelling, masterfully constructed. Outstanding.’ William Boyd.

 

MY THOUGHTS

This debut novel caught my eye when I saw it had an endorsement from one of my most favourite authors, William Boyd, so I knew I had to go check it out! After requesting it on Netgally I was contacted by Fiona on behalf of the publisher Muswell Press asking if I would like to take part in the blog tour. Fantastic!  So, with the book’s synopsis, the fab endorsement and a blog tour spot, I couldn’t wait to get reading!

Wow!  What a roller coaster of a ride this book took me on!

We meet Alistar Haston, a young university student, as he sets out for the Greek Islands, after being dumped by his girlfriend Ellie.  He’s determined to show her that he has spontaneity and a bit of ‘get-up-and-go’ and sets off into the sun in the hope that she may take him back.  Travelling light he hopes to take each day at a time, working his way across the islands to earn enough for a place to stay and an enjoyable few weeks.

However, very early on, after a somewhat drunken encounter with some other young people on a ferry, he realises he has had not only most of his cash but also his passport stolen. Determined not to give in at the first hurdle, and be sent back home, he stays and finds himself sleeping out in the open air and in need of work a little sooner than anticipated.

Bumping back into Ricky, one of the guys from the ferry, Alistar is offered the opportunity of making some cash, quite a lot of cash, working with Ricky for a German artist.  Even though he’s at first not sure about the offer, he soon decides to throw caution to the wind and off he goes.  These first few chapters of the book are quite racy.  Full of parties, sex, drugs and alcohol the book begins it’s sinister story and the character of Alistair starts to get drawn into it’s dark world.

I truly wasn’t expecting an opening of this kind to the novel, but for me, the book then begins to be a thoroughly tense, pacey and gripping thriller that I simply couldn’t put down.  At every turn Alistair’s situation becomes more and more nightmarish as he discovers just how much trouble he has found himself in.  The other characters in the book add great interest and believablity to the story and the pace gets faster and faster as we find our protagonist on the run and in fear of his life.

I loved the ebb and flow of this book, slowing down to introduce new characters and to be allowed the time in the novel to evoke the vibrant setting.  I was taken away, in my minds eye, to the heat and dryness of the island and to swimming in the gorgeous blue sea, only to be whisked back to the story line when another twist is presented taking me even further into this nightmare of Alistair’s holiday.  I also thought there was a clever use of the book’s setting in 1988, to explain why Alistair perhaps doesn’t do some of the things to help himself out of a situation that would be available to him now.

All in all I found this a dark, sinister but also highly entertaining and pacey thriller and as the story gets faster and faster, it concludes with a dynamite of an ending with a really great twist at the very end which may offer up a chance of another book??  If not I still really look forward to reading more from this author.

Hop over to Facebook tonight at 7PM for the book’s virtual launch!

The Lizard launch invitation

 

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart was born in Fiji and went to school at Sedbergh in Cumbria while his parents worked abroad. After St Andrews University he trained as an actor at RADA. He has worked extensively on stage and on TV and received many accolades including a Best Actor nomination from The Stage.

He recently directed a new production of The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson by Jonathan Maitland. He appeared as Michael Gove in the original production at the Park Theatre, London.  He lives in South East London

 

 

Book Review for BENEATH THE STREETS by Adam MacQueen

beneath the streets

Having watched the BBC TV drama A Very English Scandal, I was interested when I received an email from Lightning Books about this debut novel from Adam MacQueen. With the true life story surrounding the then Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe as one of it’s main threads, this fictional story asks; what if….??!!

SYNOPSIS

When Jeremy Thorpe hired thugs to kill his ex-lover, they botched it. What if they had succeeded?

It is February 1976, and the naked corpse of a shockingly underage rent boy is fished out of a pond on Hampstead Heath. Since the police don’t seem to care, twenty-year-old Tommy Wildeblood – himself a former ‘Dilly boy’ prostitute – finds himself investigating.

Dodging murderous Soho hoodlums and the agents of a more sinister power, Tommy uncovers another, even more shocking crime: the Liberal leader and likely next Home Secretary, Jeremy Thorpe, has had his former male lover executed on Exmoor and got clean away with it. Now the trail of guilt seems to lead higher still, and a ruthless Establishment will stop at nothing to cover its tracks.

In a gripping thriller whose cast of real-life characters includes Prime Minister Harold Wilson, his senior adviser Lady Falkender, gay Labour peer Tom Driberg and the investigative journalist Paul Foot, Adam Macqueen plays ‘what if’ with Seventies political history – with a sting in the tail that reminds us that the truth can be just as chilling as fiction.

MY THOUGHTS

I raced through this book and really enjoyed it!  Now that sounds strange in a way, considering the topic and subject matter that is at the heart of the book, but enjoy it I did.

The story line follows Tommy, a former rent boy, who accidentally learns of the death of another, younger, rent boy, and is asked to investigate it.  With the prospect of a large amount of cash about to go into his pocket, or sock, he soon finds himself in a far bigger and more dangerous investigation than he thought possible.

I found this a dark, realistic, totally gripping and intriguing thriller, that had me glued to the page.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the story each time daily chores took me away.

A wonderful array of characters, most based on real life individuals from the time, were brilliantly brought to life by the author.  His description of Soho and surrounding area, and of the Dilly Boys was vivid and heartbreaking in some parts. The time setting was used to it’s full and I loved the references of how much things cost back then.

The story had wonderful pace and I loved the character of Tommy, his delightful humour used throughout the book was wonderfully cheeky. and although flawed, you would find it hard not to root for him considering his past and present life.

A great blend of fact and fiction I found this a great read full of tension, superb characterisation and a gripping plot.

A big thank you to Lightning Books for my advanced copy.  Beneath The Street is available to purchase now!