Thursday 28 January 2021
Monday 25 January 2021
On Friday I was asked if I would like to post an excerpt from Beneath The Crimson Willow by Martin Niewood, so I had a peep at the description on Amazon and, I must say, it certainly piqued my interest...
Life on the run has been hard for Violet Noone and her family, and it's about to get harder. While pursued by the authorities and the Marked, a secret organization focused on revenge, Violet is approached by a mysterious stranger. She is blackmailed into solving the brutal murder of Georgina Givens, a victim of the poisonous compound, Unelse. The investigation reveals that religious, political, and corporate forces might be at play, although Violet can't rule out the possibility that Georgina's husband, Leonard, may be the murderer.
Georgina and her husband were no strangers to criminal schemes and Violet quickly uncovers the connection between the theft of valuable intelligence and Georgina's death. Pursuing each lead, Violet slips deeper into a world of conspiracy and lies and learns she can trust no one. Beset by their own demons, her family is unable to support her, forcing a seventeen-year-old Violet to accept unwelcomed truths about herself and face challenges well beyond her years.
This time, Violet is on her own. With her enemies closing in, she must unravel the mystery, retrieve the intelligence, and solve the murder. But can she do it before the Marked find her?
So here for you now is said except;
An excerpt from Beneath the Crimson Willow
Danny Garvey could have had it all. At 16 he left home to make his name as the football hero he was expected to become. His skills and footballing nous had the Premier League clubs after his signature but it never quite went his way and now he's back in his home village of Barshore coaching the local team. And to say they are bad is an understatement.
Don't be fooled or put off though by thinking this is just about football, there's a lot more to the story than that.
Thirteen years ago 'something' happened in Danny's life that left a dark cloud hanging over him. Barshore is filled with 'characters', which gives the story a good amount of humour and this balances out well with the darker flashbacks to 'the event'.
As for the team, will Danny get them playing well, can they avoid getting relegated even further down the league? Well, you'll just have to read this gem to find out.
The only thing people may have a problem with is that with Barshore village being in Scotland there are a few Scottish terms that aren't necessarily understandable to non-native readers but it's worth persevering with (I myself didn't have an issue with it, I read a lot of Scottish set fiction)
Friday 22 January 2021
Love Me Tender is the fifth in the series featuring D I Paulo Stirling and, as usual Lorraine Mace doesn't make things easy for him.
Still grieving the death of a colleague in the last book Stirling is not really on top of his game. His replacement and Stirling don't get on so tensions run high even before a dead body, a disappearance and a drugs investigation there is plenty going on but the story does not get muddled. As always the characters are strong and although a lot of other crime fiction has passed through the BlogCave's door since I read Mace's previous novel in the series it felt like being back on comfortable ground from the off.
As gritty as I would expect from this author, the series goes from strength to strength
Well, this was a tough read but at the same time a rewarding one too. Lewis was, as you can guess from the title, pretty deep in London's Gangland culture but after time in prison accused of murder (not guilty) he decided to turn his life around and this is his story.
Beyond Broadhall is the sequel to the time travel novel The 86 Fix which I reviewed here earlier in the week. It is impossible for me to pass on my thoughts without spoilers for book 1 so if you haven't read that or are part way through it you might be better off coming back to this review later on.
Right, here we go...
As The 86 Fix finished we were left on a bit of a cliffhanger. Craig Pelling had travelled back to 1986, spent a weekend their righting personal wrongs and decided, just as the clock to his return was ticking down that he wanted to stay in 1986. For this to happen he sought to run as far from his Commodore 64 (the time travel maguffin) as he could but his plan failed and he returned to the present where his problems were only just beginning. Craig wakes up in hospital to find he died at midnight on that Sunday night in 86 when he was sent back to the here and now. By all accounts he doesn't exist yet here he is.
Beyond Broadhall doesn't have as much time travel as 86 Fix but that is mainly down to the fact that it covers Craig finding out the after effects of his actions in 86 and, trust me, they are not all good.
This is the perfect companion novel to 86 Fix as the story flows seamlessly from one book to the next, to the extent that it feels more like one book in two parts rather than two separate books.
By the end Craig kinda knows that what he changed in the past probably wasn't the best thing to have done and gets the chance to finally get things right. He does this by realising it's not the past he needs to change, it's Craig himself.
I really enjoyed The 86 Fix and Beyond Broadhall has extended that enjoyment. The best compliment you can give a book is that you miss it when the story is ended and you know your time in that world, with those characters is over. This book certainly achieved that.
Wednesday 20 January 2021
Just imagine if you could go back in time and change the one thing you did that you feel gave you the life you now have. Would you take it?
Craig Pelling is stuck in a loveless marriage, in a job he hates and is being forced out of that very same job by his former school bully (who hasn't changed). He is also very much out of shape, short on cash and rapidly reaching the end of his 40s. And he knows exactly where things went wrong for him.
One weekend back in 1986 a chance meeting with the then love of his life leads to him sorting out her young brother's computer problem and as a 'thank you' she takes him to her room for some 'fun'. The experience is a disaster and Craig is in a slump which leads to him not doing as well as he expected in his exams, to his poor career options, meeting and marrying Megan - you get the drift.
Due to an (as I thought) rather clever chance Craig gets to go back to that weekend 30 years ago and, with the lessons of 30 years of living, but in teenage Craig's body he sets out to guide his future down a better path. But can you predict the future even if you fix the past in your favour?
I stumbled across this book by chance as the author was a contestant on Radio 2's Popmaster last week. He said he was an author of "Low fantasy and Time Travel Fiction" so I looked him up on Amazon and decided to have a look at The '86 Fix as I was a teenager around that time too and thought the era would be good for me (and it certainly brought back memories - Um Bongo, Quatro, Texan bars, West End Girls, Commodore 64s). I'm certainly glad I did as this book has been an absolute joy, keeping me going for 'just one more chapter' several nights in a row. And then to find 'THAT' ending - well, it caught me out. I didn't know there was a second book but I bought it straight away and tore into it the same day. But more on that later in the week.
Before last week I had never heard of Keith A Pearson but going on this book and it's sequel alone he will be high up on my Must Read Authors List (MuRAL)
A highly recommended 4.9/5*
Monday 18 January 2021
'British secret agent Richard Knox has been hung out to dry by someone in MI5,
and while his former boss lies in a coma, he needs to find the traitor in their
In Russia, top scientist Irina Valera discovers the secret to sending messages
through space, a technology that could change the world. But a terrible
accident forces her to flee.
Desperate for a way back into MI5, Knox makes an unlikely ally in Abey
Bennett, one of the CIA’s only female recruits, realizing that Valera’s
technology in the hands of the KGB could be catastrophic for the West.
As the age of global surveillance dawns, all three have something to prove.
Set against a backdrop of true events during the Cold War, RED CORONA is a
smart, fast-paced spy thriller from a talented new crime writer.'
This debut thriller from Tim Glister is one of my stand-outs from 2020. Felt, to me, like a old time Bond type story but with a more modern view point (ie the female characters aren't just there to look nice).
Richard Knox has to find the Mole in MI5 after he can give no alibi for where he was the night his boss ended up in a coma and his time is running out.
Where the story really picked up for me though was with the Irena Valera character. She doesn't come across as a typical Russian thriller type. She has discovered a technology that could raise Russia's standing in both the Cold War and the Space War but is conflicted about how it will be used - until the decision is made for her and she has to flee.
The author does a good job with his location settings bringing both Russia and 60s London to life and the short punchy chapters make for a fairly quick and exciting read
Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this Blogtour and to Point Blank for providing the copy. Please try and have a look at the other posts by the bloggers on this tour (below)
Sunday 17 January 2021