Tag: bookreview

Author Interview: Mark Stay

Today’s blog post is going to be a little bit special; I will be handing over to Mark Stay very shortly so he can tell you about himself and his recently published fantasy novel, The End of Magic. I took the opportunity to share my thoughts in my review of the book yesterday. If you haven’t seen either my review or the opportunity to win yourself a signed copy of the book, please check out the link above and my Twitter/Instagram pages for two chances to enter! The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on Sunday 7th, so don’t hang around to get your entries in!

And now, I’ll graciously hand over to Mark for a brilliantly funny Q&A: –

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself

Having failed at my childhood dream of becoming either a firefighter or Luke Skywalker, I tried writing stories, then sketches, then acting, and then started a theatre company with my wife. I wrote a few plays, turned some of them into screenplays, met a film director, made a movie with him called Robot Overlords and now I’m writing books again. I’m too old to be a firefighter, and Luke Skywalker is (spoiler alert) dead, but there’s still time for a Morgan Freeman-like late-blooming acting career! Oh, who am I kidding…

I co-present a podcast for writers called the Bestseller Experiment, and I worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years, then last Christmas they finally had enough of me and made me redundant. I now write for food.

Who/what are your inspirations and influences?

I’m an odd hodgepodge of British TV character comedy writers such as John Sullivan and Galton & Simpson, American writers like William Goldman and David Mamet, and fantasists like Harry Harrison, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s amazing anything I write makes any sense whatsoever, but over time more of the real me has seeped into the writing and I’m discovering that’s a good thing.

The End of Magic had some fun influences, including the Coen Brothers’ film Miller’s Crossing (when someone pleads for their life), The Good, The Bad and the Ugly for a dollop of redemption (when Tico asks his brother for help), Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters for showing me how to make my unsympathetic protagonist a little more tolerable (see below), and a dash of Grimdark and Pratchett.

It’s refreshing to read a fantasy tale about magic and it’s influence coming to an end as opposed to prevailing. Was this difficult to write? How did you go about it?

I had to ask myself what I could bring to the fantasy genre that thousands of white middle-age blokes hadn’t done before, which got me thinking about privilege. And who in fantasy are more privileged than the classic wizard-mentor types? They love to torment their apprentices and can be unbearably smug and superior, so I wanted to take that archetype and rob them of the thing that made them special and see how they coped. Badly, it turns out. It’s a fun way to make an unsympathetic character engaging. I remember watching the film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters and having a revelation. You just have to make their lives an utter misery. It’s very therapeutic and enjoyable for the reader.

Ending magic and its influence was a reaction to some of the magic systems I’ve come across in fantasy, where there are so many appendices and rules it’s like the instructions for a complicated board game. I decided I would be clever and do without magic… then I realised I would have to create a magic system in order to understand what happens when you take it away, so I ended up making even more work for myself.

I knew I couldn’t be too radical in the magic or the worldbuilding. It had to be a familiar kind of magic and a recognisable fantasy world in order for the reader to be engaged in its destruction. I was basically taking a hammer to a few old fantasy tropes. There’s nothing wrong with those tropes, I enjoy them as much as ever, but it simply helped keep the reader on the hook, and it doesn’t hurt to give the establishment a light kicking every now and then.

There are, I’m happy to say, no appendices in The End of Magic.

There are a huge variety of characters in the book. How were these characters developed? Do you feel you relate well to any of them, or perhaps they remind you of people you know?

There’s a lot of me in the protagonist Sander Bree, in that I had nothing to complain about in my life, but I still wasn’t content. I had a good job, a home, a wonderful family, but also tons of anxieties, and there seemed to be no reason for them. So I wanted to see how bad things could really get, if simply to remind myself that I have it very good compared to most.

Rosheen Katell is a freelance mage and she has a strict moral code. She’s me on a good day — what what I would aspire to be — and if anything I had to make her story even more challenging for her. It’s easy to take the moral high ground when you have power, but if that power is taken from you then you have some very difficult decisions to make. There’s one terrible act that she commits not long after losing her power and readers have told me it brought them to tears, which is the highest compliment you can give to a writer. Their sadness made me very, very happy (writers are terrible people, really).

And Oskar, her younger brother, is a mute and considered feeble-minded at the start of the story, but he gains all sorts of extraordinary powers as the novel progresses. I wanted to take someone who was voiceless and powerless and see what they would do with that power. His story fascinates me as he’s the most complicated of the three. The conclusion to his story has shocked a few people, and rightly so. In a way, Oskar is like some of the online trolls we encounter. They would be terrified of confrontation in the real world, but now they have the power of anonymity they can do terrible things, but they open themselves up to punishment that they’re simply not prepared for. Poor Oskar really gets put through the wringer.

The supporting characters are huge fun to write. They’re not burdened with the weight of the story and you play a little more freely with them, though there’s a danger they can overwhelm your protagonist. Oskar started out with a much smaller role, but over drafts he grew to have a much more significant role in the story. In some ways, the novel becomes more about him than anyone else.

The End of Magic suggests a conclusion – is this a standalone book, or can we expect a further series?

 

They say you should write the book you want to read, and I wanted to write a page-turning, fun and accessible stand-alone. I’m a bit done with trilogies and never-ending series in fantasy*, and the challenge was to tell a one-and-done and give the reader a satisfying read and let them get on with their lives. That said, I’ve had threats that if I don’t write a sequel there will be trouble. I’ll see what the demand is. The door is open for more, but you can definitely enjoy The End of Magic as a story with a beginning, middle and end.

*In the meantime, I’ve started a middle grade science fiction trilogy, and a World War Two fantasy series that might never end, proving that I’m nothing if not a massive hypocrite.

 

 

About the Author

 

Mark co-wrote Robot Overlords with director Jon Wright for Piers Tempest’s Tempo Productions. This was selected for the 58th BFI London Film Festival. Mark also wrote the film’s novelisation to critical acclaim.

Mark is also co-presenter of The Bestseller Experiment, which was shortlisted for the Futurebook Podcast of the Year award. The podcast began when he and Mark Desvaux challenged themselves to write, edit, publish and market a bestselling eBook in just a year… and then actually did it with their novel Back To Reality, which was a number one Kindle bestseller in ten categories worldwide.

Now in its third year, the podcast works to inspire their listeners to finish their novels and get them published, and their alumni includes Pernille Hughes, Lorna Cook, Sally Harris and fantasy author Mike Shackle.

Mark worked in bookselling and publishing for over 25 years and is a regular on the conventions circuit. The End of Magic is his debut fantasy novel.

Website: https://markstaywrites.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/markstay

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markstaywriter/

 

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Darkness That Comes Before – R. Scott Bakker

If I don’t enjoy reading a book I generally won’t talk about it on my blog. I’m not adhering to that rule today though. I have briefly mentioned this book, and why I didn’t get on with it, in a few of my previous posts. I feel that a throwback review is a perfect time to elaborate and talk a little about why.

Whether it is “okay” to post negative reviews is a common topic of conversation in blogging circles. Ultimately, I think it comes down to personal preference and the circumstances in which you read a book. Obviously, if you are reading a book on request or for a blog tour and you don’t enjoy it, it can get pretty awkward. I know friends because I have been there. A word to the wise – ask to change your blog post if you can. It saves a lot of trouble in the long run…

I don’t mind talking about why The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker isn’t for me, as it is a book I picked up and read of my own volition. There are two ways to go about a “negative review” – first, you can say “To hell, my blog means my rules! I’ll say what I like!” That’s totally fine. You’re right. Why should you not say what you truly feel about something? So long as it isn’t offensive, that is.

I’m not really like that though. As I said, usually I don’t even bother talking about books I don’t like. Instead of saying that a book is bad, horribly written, or has boring characters, you can take a softer approach and explain why it wasn’t for you.

 

The Darkness That Comes Before

Goodreads – The Darkness That Comes Before

The first book in R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series creates a world from whole cloth-its language and classes of people, its cities, religions, mysteries, taboos, and rituals. It’s a world scarred by an apocalyptic past, evoking a time both two thousand years past and two thousand years into the future, as untold thousands gather for a crusade. Among them, two men and two women are ensnared by a mysterious traveler, Anasûrimbor Kellhus – part warrior, part philosopher, part sorcerous, charismatic presence – from lands long thought dead. The Darkness That Comes Before is a history of this great holy war, and like all histories, the survivors write its conclusion.

 

My Thoughts…

I think it fair to mention that whilst I don’t really rate this book, for reasons I’ll explain below, I did stick with reading it to the end. The largest factor in deciding whether I will read a book is the writing style or narrative voice. It was a perfectly readable book. The narrative wasn’t difficult to read as far as I remember.

Although I did manage to stick with reading The Darkness that Comes Before, I am certain that I won’t be continuing the series. When I picked it up, I didn’t expect the book to be so philosophical. The world development and discussion of the nations, countries, races and religion involved was very high-minded; very descriptive, but at the same time almost snobbish in its approach (sorry, but that’s how I feel). For that, it felt distant. When I like to delve into epic fantasy I like to feel involved with the characters and their plight. I’m no stranger to the genre; I have been reading it for years. Complicated plot lines only work if the reader can relate to each of the characters and their own character arcs.

In contrast, I had no means to be able to relate to the characters in this book. I recall one was a prostitute, but as to their names, I honestly couldn’t even guess. The best way I can describe my experience of the book is that it felt like I was watching a game of chess. The pieces have their roles and rules of moving around the board, but they lack any kind of personality or identity. All that you can do is watch the match play out to its conclusion. And I did. I won’t be staying for the second round though.

Having read other reviews, it seems to be quite hit and miss. Opinions are either at one polar end or the other. I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy this really. I like history, (of which there is a lot built in), descriptive worldbuilding and epic fantasy. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

Blog Tour: Book Review and Giveaway – Psychotopia by R. N. Morris

 

 

Good morning everyone! Today brings my second blog tour post of the month and I am pleased to feature Psychotopia by R. N. Morris. The tour has been organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources; I’ve been provided with a copy of the e-book for the purposes of giving an honest review. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts, but first, here is a little about the book: –

 

Psychotopia

Goodreads – Psychotopia

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.

PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.

It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?

 

My Thoughts…

Psychotopia is a work of speculative fiction in which society is filled with psychopaths. The narrative follows select individuals, some psychopathic and some not. Through their lives, we experience the indefinite change in society from our own and consider the consequences.

The perspective that has the most influence on my interpretation of the book is the police officer, Rick. His contributions to the book are primarily retrospective to the main storyline. As he also opens and closes the book with his thoughts on all that has happened. Consequently, the story feels less like the action-packed novel the synopsis indicates it will be and rather more philosophical. It’s not a criticism because I still enjoyed the book and the overall story. It is just told a little differently!

One of the philosophical elements I drew from the book is the influence of games on people’s minds. Can one person’s vision become media that alters another’s perspective? There are numerous debates about possible links between video games and violence. Nothing has been proven though. When a creeper blew up my ground-level spider spawner, I was pretty damn bitter. It was only 50 or so blocks away from base as well! I didn’t get violent as a result though. I have to think Minecraft isn’t quite in the league of Psychotopia, for my own sanity’s sake…

Still, having access to viewing and instigating negative behaviour in games may alter perspective over time. It’s a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” argument really, but I think about stuff like that. I’m an excellent debater… (at least in my own head).

Unusually, I found that chapters with different characters are written in different persons. I thought it an inconsistency at first, but it is done quite deliberately. I also enjoyed the nuance of chapters about the game development being issued as ‘circulars’. It serves well to break up the narrative and add some informal, conversational (and twisted) ideas into play.

 

Author Bio –

R. N. Morris is the author of ten novels. The latest is PSYCHOTOPIA, published 31 October, 2018.

A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (as the CWA Gold Dagger was briefly known). A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger.

The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin HouseThe Dark Palace and The Red Hand of Fury. The next novel in the series, The White Feather Killer, will be published in April 2019.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris.

He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @rnmorris

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Psychotopia-298585774308801/

Website: rogernmorris.co.uk

 

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494205/

 

 

Blog Tour: Life, and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

Today marks the first stop on the blog tour for Life, and Other Dreams by Richard Dee. The tour has been organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and I am delighted to be taking part! I’ve been provided with a copy of the e-book for the purposes of giving an honest review. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts, but first, here is a little about the book: –

 

Life and Other Dreams

Goodreads – Life, and Other Dreams

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK      Amazon US

Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.

In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.

Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa.
When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.

Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?
Richard Dee’s fast-paced, edgy science fiction -cum- psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

 

My Thoughts…

Life and Other Dreams is an extremely approachable sci-fi psychological thriller. I would never have expected the two genres to gel as well as they do. I enjoy sci-fi books, but I confess it is the genre (of those that I “do read”) that I pick up the least. By no means am I a science geek, but that doesn’t matter. The concept of life on another planet and in a different time zone is simple and brilliant.

Two identities. Two completely separate lives. Rick and Dan exist in the other’s dreams – but where do the lines between the subconscious and reality lie? Rick lives a seemingly normal life, but Dan lives on another planet hundreds of years in the future. He and Vanessa are part of a small community colonising the planet, scouting for useful materials. The description of the unique landscape and the advancements in technology imagined are truly fantastic. More importantly to my mind, they are believable. No part of this new world feels forced or farfetched and consequently unimaginable. That can be a real deal-breaker with sci-fi, at least for me. However, I felt as much at home on Ecias as with Rick’s life on humble Earth.

It’s hard to tell if Dan and Rick are their own individual or in fact the same person, just living in different circumstances (or just the other person’s head). Each influences the other. They seem irrevocably bound together, but how or why are the intriguing questions borne from the narrative. This psychological thriller element sets Life, and Other Dreams apart from any other book I have read to date – for all the right reasons!

The pace of the novel and regular changes of perspective keep the narrative fresh. I found myself avidly devouring each chapter, desperate to find out what happens next for each of these men. They each have their own separate struggles in their own worlds, making the conflicts in the plot twice as exciting, and telling myself “just one more chapter” so much easier.

As to what happens next, we’ll just have to wait for the next instalment – Wake Me Up.

 

Author Bio –

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon. He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.

Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, working as a Marine Insurance Surveyor and as Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.

Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. Sequels to Ribbonworld and The Rocks of Aserol have been published, together with a second Andorra Pett story, Andorra Pett on Mars. He also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection. Richard is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

You can find out more about me on my website at richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free novel or short story.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor  and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi

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Book Review: The Cathedral of Known Things – Edward Cox

***I am grateful to have received a copy of this series for an honest review courtesy of Gollancz. All opinions stated are my own***

 

Goodreads – The Cathedral of Known Things

Divided, hunted and short on resources, the surviving members of the Relic Guild are in real trouble. Their old enemy, the Genii, and their resurrected master have infiltrated Labrys Town and taken over the police force.

So the Relic Guild must flee their home, and set off on a dangerous journey across the worlds of the Aelfir. One that will lead them to a weapon which might destroy the Genii. Or the whole universe…

And forty years before all this, the war which led to the fall of the Genii continues. And what happens to the Relic Guild during that conflict will change the course of their desperate flight.

 

My Thoughts…

My initial impressions of the series can be found in my review of The Relic Guild, the first book of the series. The turmoil within Labrys Town continues in this second instalment, and the Relic Guild are out of their depth.

The dual timeline between The Great War forty years ago and the present day is one of my favourite elements of the book. The circumstances have changed for both sides since the first invasion years ago. Fabian Moor has licked his wounds and learned from his mistakes. On the other hand, the Relic Guild has fewer numbers than before. The odds are stacking against them rapidly in this new attack on the Labyrinth.

It is fair to say that the narrative storyline is well developed, but isn’t hard to follow. In this second book of the series, there is far more action and plot development. It builds on the events of the first book well, so the character relations and world building are carried through. I really enjoyed the characterisation and world-building elements in the first book. Although I didn’t pick up The Cathedral of Known Things straight after the Relic Guild, it was easy to pick up again and felt familiar almost immediately. The world building and characterisation were necessary components of the first book of the series and brilliant besides. However, I am grateful to start to see the action unfold now that I have invested time into the lives of these characters.

Whilst both storylines are narrated concurrently in the book, the main emphasis I took away from it lies in the storyline of The Great War all those years ago. Could it be that the key to winning this present day war lies in events of the past? Perhaps. I’ll only know that once I read The Watcher of Dead Time later this month. I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you all. With any luck though… I’ll pull my finger out and share them with you a bit sooner than three months after the reading of it…

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Book Review: Interesting Times – Terry Pratchett

Since I finished reading Interesting Times in October last year, I’ve put myself at a little disadvantage with writing this review. I really don’t like leaving it so long because of immediate impressions from reading the book fade over time. You forget things. Well, I do, as my whole family will attest to!

I’ve had a lot of other blogging obligations, such as reading and tours to get on with, so reviewing the books I have chosen for myself “for fun” have gone on the backburner. Maybe I shouldn’t take on more than I can handle.

Anyway, enough excuses – let’s delve into the realms of the Discworld!

Goodreads – Interesting Times

‘A foot on the neck is nine points of the law’

There are many who say that the art of diplomacy is an intricate and complex dance. There are others who maintain that it’s merely a matter of who carries the biggest stick. The oldest and most inscrutable (not to mention heavily fortified) empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes; warlords are struggling for power – and what the nation wants, to avoid terrible doom for everyone, is a wizard. Rincewind is not the Disc’s premier wizard – in fact, he can’t even spell ‘wizard’ – but no-one specified whether competence was an issue. And they do have a very big stick…

Mighty Battles! Revolution! Death! War! (And his sons Terror and Panic and daughter Clancy).

 

My Thoughts…

“May you live in interesting times” doesn’t exactly feel like much of a curse to you or I. On the Discworld though, there’s never a dull moment! Karma could be just around the corner…

Beloved Rincewind finds himself in more trouble when the Unseen University finds the prime opportunity to get rid of him. The Counterweight Continent is in dire need of a wizard, but perhaps they hoped for one better than him.

I really enjoyed the links this book has to the first two of the series, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. Up until this point, I had seen those two books as an introduction to the Discworld universe more than a cohesive part of it. The reappearance of Twoflower and the tales of his holiday to Ankh Morpork play a large part in the narrative of Interesting Times; the link back to those first two books is refreshing. Of course, Twoflower is causing mayhem again. As if he hadn’t caused Rincewind enough trouble in the first place ON his holiday… he also causes him grief after it too!

I also enjoyed the appearance of some of the Discworld’s famous heroes – Conan the Barbarian and his crew throw themselves into the fray with swords raised, (as can only be expected).

Without his humour, Pratchett couldn’t have made the Discworld series the way it is today. I can’t say it often enough – it’s such an approachable series to read, enjoy and laugh at. Yet in this light-hearted, comical narrative, Pratchett always has something to say. In this particular novel, I think the focus is the farcical fighting over power and leadership. Topics like gender roles, death and religion are on the agenda in other parts of the series too. If Pratchett had something to say, his books were his outlet. Even in writing the books and achieving the success he did left behind a powerful message to the people who told him he would never amount to anything in his life.

They are a lasting legacy of a genius of our time.

Blog Tour Review: Karma Never Loses an Address – K. J. McGillick

***I received a copy of the book from the author via Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated are my own***

 

 

Karma Never Loses An Address – K. J. McGillick

Betrayal on Every Level

Marley Bennington had brutally murdered her older sister Samantha in a drug fueled rage. Only two people know that fact as true. One of those two people, was sitting in a state prison, serving a sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. Who was that unfortunate person? Alex Clarke, Samantha Bennington’s husband, the man so buried in circumstantial evidence that he confessed to a crime he didn’t commit, rather than face a trial. He was now trapped with no way out.

It all began as sibling rivalry and jealousy, as so many tales of treachery do. Now, that intense jealousy had ended in her sister’s murder. Once Alex was tucked safely away in prison, Marley was set to inherit millions of dollars tainted with her sister’s blood. But suddenly, two obstacles stood in her way preventing her from quickly obtaining the reward for her well executed plan. One obstacle was her brother, and the other a nosy little old lady. But for Marley, this wasn’t a problem. She had killed twice already and cheated the justice system. What were a few more bodies?

Justice delayed is justice denied. Can Marley be trapped by the very people she tried to deceive? Will karma finally visit her door? Another gripping, tangled tale from the author of Facing A Twisted Judgment.

Purchase Links: Amazon UK    Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Karma Never Loses an Address follows on from events in Facing A Twisted Judgment. I had the pleasure of taking part in a Blog Tour for that book back on December 4th last year. If this is the first encounter you have had with the series, you can catch up on some of the details in that post, which can be found here.

There is something so satisfying about knowing that someone is going to get what they deserve, isn’t there? And Marley sure deserves it! With an art collection worth $130 million to fight over, the stakes are high. But is the risk worth the reward?

J. McGillick’s legal knowledge shines through once again. Battles are fought inside the courtroom as well at outside. The technical matters concerning inheritance in this complex case are detailed, yet kept at a level that is easy to follow for us law novices.

The balance of familiar characters and new faces to the Bennington’s row keeps the storyline fresh. Beloved Mary cannot help herself in ensuring that Marley gets her due. To do so, she recruits an unstoppable team including Tallulah West, a family law attorney. She is one of the main character POV’s in the book as she is assigned the task of preventing Marley from obtaining administration over her late sister’s estate.

Karma Never Loses an Address has a well-developed, sophisticated plot line. Full of unpredictable characters, you never quite know what is going to happen next. Unexpected turns keep you guessing until the very end!

 

Author Bio –

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

 

Blog Tour Review: Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective Series

*** I was kindly provided with e-book copies of Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective Series by the author, via Rachel’s Random Resources, for review. All the opinions stated below are my own***

 

 

Hi guys! Today I am sharing my much anticipated Blog Tour post reviewing Brighton’s No.1 Detective series by Tom Trott. Get yourself a cup of tea (or coffee, I don’t judge) and make yourself comfortable, because I have plenty to say on why I have really enjoyed being able to read this series and share my thoughts with you!

 

You Can’t Make Old Friends

Blacklisted by the police. Being sued by a client. And broke. Things can’t get any worse for Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective, Joe Grabarz.

That’s when his best friend’s body washes up on the beach.

Could it really have been ten years? What happened? How could his life have ended like this? He needs answers.

But with the city in the grips of organised crime, and struggling to deal with an influx of legal highs, who cares about just another dead drug dealer?

Joe, that’s who. After all, you can’t make old friends.

Purchase Link: tomtrott.com/ycmof

 

My Thoughts…

Struggling Private Detective Joe Grabarz is on the brink. Living in a small flat, sleeping on only a mattress, he is struggling to make ends meet. Who cares if your clients are a little shady? Their money pays the bills, right? Not when they refuse to pay. Such is Joe’s life. He has been cut off from assisting police, described only as “their dirty habit”.

When his childhood best friend is found dead, he is determined to find out how he met his end. His personal involvement in the case introduces some elements to Joe’s life as a youth, but we find a lot more of his past plays its part in the later books.

Joe is such an easy character to get along with. His unique take on rule bending and his chequered past plants him firmly in the grey area of morality. He has no illusions to that fact either. He’s a calculated risk taker… what I would describe as a ‘means to an end’ man. He wants answers and so do the police. Does it matter how he gets them?

You Can’t Make Old Friends throws you right into the action from the start. With drugs and gang involvement, Joe walks a dangerous path with the constant reminder that his friend didn’t make it out alive. The narrative is sinister but exciting. The fast pace in which events and their consequences unravel keep you on the edge of your seat for the next development.

Choose Your Parents Wisely

One missing girl and the whole city goes crazy.

It’s been three days, and now everyone in Brighton is looking for her. There is an army of police searching, her picture is on every front page, and the public can’t get enough of it. Gangs of good citizens are going door to door, turning their neighbours’ houses upside down, but still no one can find her.

For Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective, Joe Grabarz, it brings back too many memories of his first case, another missing girl, when he learnt too many lessons the hard way. No one was going door to door then. No one cared. But her mum and dad weren’t nearly as photogenic, nor quite so saintly.

It’s a lesson Joe learnt long ago that has come back to haunt him: choose your parents wisely.

Purchase Link: https://tomtrott.com/cypw

 

My Thoughts…

Choose Your Parents Wisely, structurally, is written differently to the first book of the series. Instead of looking after a personal case which delves into Joe Grabarz’s history, the narrative is split between the current case and a historic one. Both are similar enough to urge Joe to solve the case; he is all-too-aware of the outcome of the historic case. Can he navigate through the leads in time to save her?

Joe isn’t as down on his luck and we begin to see him progressing from an introverted version of himself. I wouldn’t define him as an introvert by nature… it was entirely circumstantial. Thalia, his childhood best friend’s sister becomes a permanent feature working as his secretary. She proves a keen detective though and is more than prepared to put the time into helping Joe crack the case.

I personally enjoyed the increased detail of Joe’s past in this second book. The first book of the series made an excellent introduction to our leading man; it was time to get to know him a little better. Where You Can’t Make Old Friends touches on some unpleasant aspects of his past life, this second book fills in the gaps in a way that is entirely relevant to the ongoing investigation.

As with You Can’t Make Old Friends the plot development is well paced without compromising the quality of the novel. The balance of description, dialogue and context build a rich narrative.

It Never Goes Away

From No.1 Private Detective to No.1 Suspect

A cryptic message from an old friend leads Joe Grabarz to an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of the South Downs. But Joe is too late, someone else has got there first: his friend is dead, and all the evidence points to him.

Ten years ago the farmhouse was the scene of three infamous murders when a young boy killed his mother, father, and little sister. Now an adult, he was released from prison with a new identity. Could he be involved? The farmhouse also sits on valuable land, fought over in a struggle between building houses and drilling for shale gas. But could it really be worth killing for? Whatever is going on, Joe knows one thing for sure: his friend’s murder is just a tiny part of it.

To bring the killer to justice Joe must dig up the past, and reckon with his own, because no matter how hard you work, it never goes away.

Purchase Link – https://tomtrott.com/inga

 

My Thoughts…

It Never Goes Away is a rollercoaster ride.

Joe Grabarz has turned his life around. His past life of living in a small, dingy flat with only a mattress to sleep on feels a distant memory. Work is better than ever. Joe has a new office, his own staff and the choice of clients. What could go wrong?

Being framed for murder sure puts a spanner in the works. With only the briefest sighting of the body and the cryptic clue of “Endeavour to Solve” against a £110,110.01 retainer, Joe has to pool every resource he has into uncovering the information his friend Clarence, also a private detective died for. Fraught with danger, Joe is pretty out of his depth. The scale of the criminal operation can only mean that someone very rich and powerful is pulling the strings and they are determined to get him out of the picture.

This third book of the series ties up a number of loose ends on a larger plot built behind the main investigation cases. There is a lot of depth to these stories, even in the early stages. It is clear the series as a whole is well planned and that the author has invested a lot of time into writing a developed, cohesive series. With some writers, you feel that their writing and storytelling ability matures as it progresses. Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective series hits the ground running and doesn’t look back.

I have already recommended these books to a number of work colleagues and members of book-related groups I socialise with on social media platforms. If that doesn’t tell you how much I loved the series then I don’t know what will.

 


Author Bio

Born in Brighton, I went to school in here, worked many jobs here, and have never lived anywhere else. I first started writing at school, where I and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for assemblies, much to the amusement of our fellow pupils. The young ones would cheer (and the old ones would groan) as we stepped up onto the stage, the buzz was tangible. It has been with me ever since.

As an adult I have written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel; and won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. I published my first novel, You Can’t Make Old Friends, in 2016; my second, Choose Your Parents Wisely, in 2017, my third, The Benevolent Dictator, in 2018, and now my fourth, It Never Goes Away, in 2019. When I’m not writing books, I’m writing about writing, books, and film on Medium.

My inspirations as a writer come from a diverse range of storytellers, but I have a particular love for the works of Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Joel & Ethan Coen, Arthur Conan-Doyle, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Bryan Fuller, Ira Levin, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne, JRR Tolkien, and many many more books and films beside. If you can’t find me, or I’m not answering my phone, I’m probably at the cinema.

Social Media Links – www.twitter.com/tjtrott, www.facebook.com/tomtrottbooks, www.tomtrott.com

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Book Review: The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

In July I received news that I was one of the few and fortunate to receive an early ARC of this AMAZING debut novel, courtesy of Orion Publishing. When this book is officially published on the 7th February 2019 (make a note of that date friends), I urge any fans of crime or psychological thriller novels… or frankly ANYONE to get a copy of this book!!

Why? I started reading The Silent Patient late one night on a whim. I finished reading it in less than 24 hours and I was swept away. Yep…it really is that good, folks!

 

Goodreads – The Silent Patient

 

Synopsis…

Promising to be the debut novel of the season The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive…

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

 

My Thoughts…

I have always taken a keen interest in human Psychology. I was taught about the human brain and different types of therapy at school. It was one of the topics I enjoyed the most in my years of study. The reason I find psychological thrillers so entertaining is because I know just how unreliable the human brain is!

Alicia is an intriguing character. Basing a book around a character that refuses to speak is a difficult, but certainly not impossible, task. Despite her lack of verbal communication she has a strong presence throughout the novel. They say actions speak louder and words and this couldn’t be any truer in Alicia’s case. Even her silence has plenty to say when it wants to:

“Her silence was like a mirror – reflecting yourself back at you.
And it was often an ugly sight.”

Theo, the psychotherapist determined to break her silence, is just as complex. In fact, I would say he has a lot in common with Alicia. Both have had painful upbringings, have addictive personalities (different vices) etc. It really is like looking in a mirror.

As with all books of this genre I was trying to guess the ending, then second guessing my thoughts. The Silent Patient has a dramatic conclusion – one I didn’t even consider! I adored this book so much; I think that shows in the way I read it so quickly. It has been a long time since I have inhaled a book so fast. The Silent Patient is an entertaining, must-read psychological thriller!

 

Blog Blitz Book Review: Black Matter – G. D. Parker

***Firstly, a huge thank you to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this tour! For the purposes of providing a review, I received a free copy of this book. All opinions stated are my own***

 

Goodreads – Black Matter

Purchase Links

UK – Amazon.co.uk     US – Amazon.com

 

The future is now… it’s terrifying!!! Humanity locks jaws with the ever-increasing human desires towards highly advanced technological innovations making the world a dangerous place. Unanticipated horrific consequences unfold for Tommy McGregor when he partakes in a new high-tech innovation to enhance his health and wellbeing. He thought it would make him healthier, better looking and live forever…DI Valentina is out of her comfort zone when she’s tasked to track down a killer, unknown to her, hidden behind a digital mask. The future has already fallen upon humanity as she soon discovers, nothing is as it seems anymore as society embarks in technology that’s already here. A terrifying mystery, it feeds your imaginative mind’s eye – a fast-paced “whoisit” thrilling crime, novel that will leave you guessing until the end, (or will it?) As it leaves the hairs on your arms stand on end as you uncontrollably turn each page in this 3 part series.

 

My Thoughts…

Technology is all around us. You wake up first thing to an alarm, probably set on one electronic device or another (or several, if you’re a perpetual “snoozer”). Maybe you surf the internet, turn on the TV or listen to music. Those signals are all around us, communicating to our devices 24 hours a day. It has become so commonplace that we don’t even think about it. I just take it for granted.

What if the use of one of these devices started to manipulate you? When a man is arrested and pleads ignorance to a number of crimes he has committed, DI Valentina has her work cut out for her to prove he is guilty. But is he?

Black Matter is a fast paced novel that keeps you gripped from start to finish. The book comprises of relatively short, digestable chapters. They are written predominantly from two perspectives, Tommy McGregor and DI Valentina. We also get brief interludes to their narratives from our perpetrator(s). These craftily written chapters don’t give much insight into their identity either, making you want to keep reading to find out who they are.

I wouldn’t describe Tommy as a likeable character, but that is orchestrated with good reason. It’s hard to stick criminal charges to a character that is the archangel Gabriel personified… and make it work. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for him, however.

DI Valentina is a completely different kettle of fish. Strong-minded and passionate about doing her job right, she’s actually a morally upstanding woman. Despite all the evidence pointing to Tommy, Valentina recognises that something isn’t right and instead seeks to prove him innocent.

Against the clock, DI Valentina races to find the killer before more bodies are found. How are they controlling people? What is their agenda? More importantly, can she stop them?

 

Author Bio –

GD Parker is the author of his debut novel, Black Matter. Book one of a three-part series that explores the depths of the unfolding high-tech world we now live in, making it a dangerous place.

The novel will be available to purchase in e-book and paperback formats on the Amazon store.

Gareth was born in the UK in 1981. A family man spent much of his working life in South Wales working in a professional capacity. One day he made the decision write about an idea he dreamt about.

Still working full time for a large organisation, he enjoys reading all manner of books, and spending time with his world – his family.

Twitter: @GDParker_Author and Instagram: @gd.parker_author