Thursday, 30 January 2020

Sunbeam by Mark Eklid

 OK, this is a two part post I guess.

Firstly, about the book then.

A year ago John Baldwin and his friend, Stef, were coming back from a night out when a mugging gone wrong left Stef dead and sent John into a spiral of self destruction. A year of drinking has cost him everything, including his job and his wife. But now, one year on things take a change for the better when the dead Stef appears to John and tells him he can help him turn his life around and the cost won't be too high.

True to Stef's word John's life improves, he kicks the booze, his prospects rise etc now all he has to do is the one thing Stef wants - find the man who killed him. . .

This was a cracking read. John's character redemption felt real and believable. In the latter stages things change for John and I did wonder where it was all going and the ending surprised me.

This is Mark Eklid's first novel and on this showing I hope he will be writing many more.

Right then, onto the second part of this post, the story behind me getting hold of Sunbeam.

A fortnight ago I saw a post on twitter from my local library mentioning an author event in April. That author happened to be Mark Eklid and through retweets and the likes we made contact and he asked if I'd read his book. Through further chat it turned out that Mark used to live two streets up from where we live now. Small world eh.

I like Sheffield based stories but Sunbeam goes one better than that - a good bit of it is actually set in the area where I live. We even took the path where Stef was murdered at the back end of last year. It certainly adds to the story.

So, in short, local author, cracking story 4/5* Highly Recommended

Friday, 17 January 2020

Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse

 Welcome to Day 9 of the Blogtour for Lucie Whitehouse'Critical Incidents.

DI Robin Lyons has been sacked from  from her job Met. (Homicide and Major Crimes dept.) in London and with nowhere left to go has to return home to her parents in Birmingham with her 13yr old daughter in tow.

She manages to get some work as a Private Detective but it is mainly benefit fraud cases. Alongside these she also takes on a missing person case, her old friend has been killed in a house fire, her husband is missing and their son is in hospital. By this point it's all getting very busy indeed but despite this the author manages to keep it all tied together quite well.

With Robin back in Birmingham a lot of 'past history' is raked up as she continues to investigate and often treads on the toes of the local police (led by the love of her teenage life who dumped her out of the blue), but that's what you come to expect from these kinds of tale and it adds to the tension at times.

The characters and their actions seemed believable for the most part and I did enjoy the book although it got a little confusing at times with the different story strands but that's probably because I was rushing the pages along to get to the end.

Dependable Detective Fiction 3.5/5*
 Thanks to Martina Ticic for inviting me onto this Blogtour and please try and find the time to check out the reviews by the other bloggers on this tour

Thursday, 16 January 2020

The House Share by Kate Helm

If something seems too good to be true. . .

When Immi and Dex both turn up at The Factory, a 'community based house share' neither expect to be selected but both are given 3 month's trial to make sure they are the right fit. Both have secrets they are trying to run away from and at first it seems idyllic but there soon turns out to be a murky undercurrent and people's true colours start to show.

It starts with small pranks but soon the bodies start piling up. Who is responsible and what is The Factory really all about?

This book got its claws into me from very early on. Keeps you guessing all the way to the end and I did keep swapping my opinion on who was responsible. The ending tied things up nicely as well.

Recommended 4/5*

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Firewatching by Russ Thomas

 Welcome to Day 2 of the Blogtour for Russ' Thomas's debut Firewatching.

DS Adam Tyler is the sole member of the Cold Case team in Sheffield and only there because it keeps him out of the way after 'an incident' that could have ended his career. When a body is found bricked up behind a wall in a mid-renovation house it is soon found to be that of dodgy businessman Gerald Cartwright. The prime suspect is his son Oscar which leads to a massive problem - unknowingly Oscar is the man Adam Tyler had slept with the night before! Does Tyler say something or keep it quiet?

Soon enough the case entwines with an arson case happening right now so Tyler is brought 'in from the cold' to help out.

There is plenty to keep the reader puzzling along to the end. Several times I was sure I knew what was going on, who was responsible but when the reveal came, I'll be honest, it was not who I expected.

As was hinted at earlier the lead character Tyler is gay and this is put across really well in the narrative. It all feels natural and that is just how it should be. Obviously there are snide comments and wind-ups from his colleagues but that is what you would expect.

I feel I ought to say at this point that I do know Russ from his time as a Bookseller at my local Waterstones but that does not cloud my judgement on this book. As a crime thriller this is top notch stuff but as a debut it's easy to see why the author was snapped up quickly. I was eager to get hold of Firewatching as soon as I heard of it and I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed.

5/5 * Highly recommended

Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and please, if you get a chance, have a look at the other blogger reviews on the tour

Monday, 13 January 2020

Loot & I'm With The Band by Barry Faulkner

 Welcome to Day 1 of the Blogtour for books 5&6 in the DCS Palmer/Serial Murder Squad books.

As you may guess from the title this is part of a series. The books are fairly short but pack plenty in.

Loot has Palmer and his second I command DS Gheeta Singh chasing stolen WW2 Nazi gold and solving murders that may well be linked to the case. A twisty tale well told

With book 2, I'm With The Band is a slightly different scene. This one revolves around the titular band Revolution. They've been around for 40 years and are still playing to massive crowds but someone is killing off original members. Can Palmer and Singh get to the bottom of it all before it's too late? This story gives Singh a chance to step to the forefront with her tech skills as Palmer isn't up to much with computers and the killer is taunting them on social media.

When I first got the chance to be on this Blogtour I decided to get the first 4 in the series just incase there was a running theme but they all stand alone so can be read separately (but do yourself a favour and get the early ones too).

As the stories are quite shortish they are perfect for days off


 Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and please, if you can, take a look at the reviews from the other bloggers

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

The God Game by Danny Tobey

 Welcome to Day 2 of the Blogtour for Danny Tobey's novel The God Game.

Right from the off I was intrigued by the idea for this book. Charlie and his friends are the typical nerds/computer geeks/gamer types but also their High School's prankers. All is going along swimmingly for them until Peter introduces them to online concept 'The G.O.D. Game'.

It seems someone has created a programme that works as if it is God itself. The idea is that G.O.D. gives you a task to complete for rewards but once you are in there is no way out. The tasks get bigger, the rewards likewise but the tasks can hurt other people and if you try to back out their are 'results' for you - and it is never good.

As the gang get in deeper their lives start to crumble and this is where, for me, the story really kicks off. It's uncomfortable reading at times but in a way that kept me hooked.

I won't begin to try and tell you about the computer tech side of things because at times it was beyond me (but, hey, I'm in my 50's so never really got into this kind of thing) but it didn't stop this from being a cracking story, a great start to 2020 and a story I can see being massive.

Thanks to Stevie Finegan at Gollancz for providing the review copy and inviting me onto the Blogtour. Please try and find the time to have a look at the other reviews on the tour