Tuesday 25 May 2021

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman


 So, here we are, 2 days away from the UK launch for The Blacktongue Thief, the fantasy debut of Christopher Buehlman - and the book you didn't know you needed in your life. 

 What we have here is, in short, a quest story but also, so much more than that. The lands here are still recovering from the Goblin Wars and times, for many, are a tad desperate. That is why we find our 'hero' Kinch about to waylay a traveller in the woods on the road into town, a decision that is about to change his life's direction. 

 There are so many things that impressed me about this book. First up is the attention to detail both in the world building and the tiny 'extra' details (a prime example being money - different coins and different denominations from different areas could be really dull but the author has given Kinch a love of coins that makes it seem interesting). 

 The world itself reminded me a lot of Edding's Belgariad with lots of different peoples populating various lands and our gang passing through them. No two countries quite the same leaves the reader feeling they are part of a Grand Tour - and I absolutely loved it! There's a snap of the map below. 

Where the author really excels though is dialogue. Buehlman also does the Renaissance Fair circuit in the US as Christophe the Insultor - where people pay him to insult them (check out YouTube - he's very funny). It seems he has given CtI's word skills to Kinch who is the Narrator he and reading him is an absolute joy. I lost track of how many times I had to stop reading as I was laughing so much. 

 The Blacktongue Thief has the makings of a true genre classic and I cannot wait for more

 5/5* Must Read 

This is the first day of the tour (thanks for the invite Will O'Mullane) so make sure you check out the rest of the posts for more insights into the world of Kinch Na Shannack, The Blacktongue Thief. 

Thursday 20 May 2021

And It's A Beautiful Day - A Fargo Companion by Nige Tassell


 This wonderful little book is, as the title suggests, a companion guide to the film that made the Coen's - Fargo. It's hard to believe that the film is 25 years old (but that may be, to me, because I only got to watching it after seeing the first series of the TV show) 

 Over 43 chapters the author takes us through the movie, starting with when he first saw it on the opening day right through to 'the afterlife' where he looks at what happened to the characters, the location and the actors when the cameras stopped rolling and also takes a look at the 'True Story' Fargo is based around. 

 As a former Minessota resident Tassel is well placed to tell of the area, the places and the weather of the State so it brings for an insightful depth of vision to the book. Studying the characters and asking what makes them tick, why did they do what they did but in short chapters means the flow of the book continues at a steady pace but doesn't leave the reader bogged down in details. 

 I enjoyed Fargo when I first saw it but watched it again after finishing this book and loved it even more so I guess Mr Tassell has done what he set out to achieve, giving the reader and the viewer a deeper understanding of the wonderful world of Fargo



Thanks, as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and for Polaris for supplying the review copy. 
 Please have a look at the posts from the other bloggers on the tour (below) 

Tuesday 11 May 2021

The Robert B Parker Showcase with No Exit Press

 Welcome to my spot the Blogtour for 3 new releases from No Exit Press which are all set in the 'world' of Robert B Parker's crime novels


 First up is Ace Atkin's Someone To Watch Over Me. This novel features Parker's most popular creation Spenser and has the Boston PI investigating a 'billionaire money manager who is also into providing under age girls for his clients' needs' - and his own.

 I'll admit this was a tough read in places, especially as it is quite reminiscent of a recent high profile case in the real world, but I did enjoy the writing. At just over 200 pages this was a quickish read but one that sticks with you afterwards


 Next up is the first of two from Mike Lupica - Grudge Match featuring the PI Sunny Randall. Grudge Match has Sunny searching for the girlfriend of her gangster 'friend' missing. If Sunny helps find her Tony will 'clear the slate' and all favours owed will be forgotten.

 At first it seems like maybe she doesn't want to be found but after Sunny starts digging deeper it turns out things could run a lot deeper and Sunny may well have her work cut out to find her in time.

 I really enjoyed this one, a proper pocket sized thriller (again just over 200 pages) with characters that felt like I knew them from the start.


Finally, in Fool's Paradise we meet Police Chief Jesse Stone. A body is discovered with links to Stone and it's not long before he and his friends become targets too. Someone's out to get the Paradise Police Department.

 I think that, of the three, Fool's Paradise is my favourite. It is late on into the series (19th?) but reads ok as a stand-alone but I will be going back to the earlier books I believe.

 I first discovered Robert B Parker when he finished Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe novel Poodle Springs after Chandler's death so to rediscover him through the authors who are continuing his own legacy (Parker himself died in 2010) has a certain kind of pleasing symmetry to it.


 I would certainly recommend all 3 of these and will be searching out more

 Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and No Exit Press for providing the review copies. Please have a look at the posts by the other reviewers (below)

Friday 7 May 2021

The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl


 This, I'll be honest, threw me a bit at first. The story is told through two different timelines; in 1924, when Ludvik Paaske is working for the police and trying to bring down his nemesis Jack Rivers and in 1938, when Norway and the world are on the brink of war and Paaske and Rivers are now working together as Private Investigators.

 In the 1938 timeline Paaske and Rivers are employed on a marital infidelity case which seems fairly straightforward until links start to emerge with events in their lives from the early 1920s and things get a lot more dangerous.

 In my opinion Rivers, the Assistant of the title, carries the bulk of the story which is a good thing as I found him the more relatable character (everybody loves a fictional rogue) than Paaske. Once I got into the two timeliness the story flowed well and the author did a great job of bringing the prohibition era Norway to life on the page.

 Where the book fell down for me a little was in the translation (I'm guessing). This made it feel a bit clunky in places but this can often be the case. It didn't really detract from a cracking story.

 This is certainly an author I will go back to again.

Thanks as always to Anne Cater at Random Things  for inviting me onto this Blogtour and please have a look at the posts by the other tour bloggers

Sunday 2 May 2021

New Books In The Mail This Week

 I sometimes think our Postman might really regret getting up some mornings (although, to be fair, he always delivers the mail with a smile). Over the past 3 days he has had 6 book packages to deliver and the majority are chonkers. Here's the pile

See what I mean? Of those 6 there was only 1 that would fit through the letterbox! Just how I like it 😉😂

First to arrive was The Tyrant by Seth Dickinson (Tor, 13th May 2021)

First things first, HOW GORGEOUS IS THAT COVER?

Right, now I've got that out of my system, The Tyrant is the third in a fantasy quartet that follows Baru Cormorant on her quest to destroy the Imperial Republic of Falcrest from the inside. I've really enjoyed the two previous volumes in this series and I've no doubt The Tyrant will be just as good.

Next delivery was one I had been particularly waiting for

2019's Master of Sorrows was Justin Call's debut and my choice for Book of the Year. Master Artificer picks up exactly where MoS finished so I can't say much for fear of spoilers for those who haven't read MoS yet (seriously, go find a copy, you won't regret it). What I will say is that this volume moves out into the wider world that JC has created and so far I'm loving it. This is out from Gollancz on the 6th of May and I aim to have a partial review at least by then.

And then came Saturday... I saw the Postman come to our shared drive... and walk straight past! But I wasn't overly concerned, I have plenty of reading material for the weekend.

Then, half an hour later, a knock at the door... Postie is back and this time he's brought his van! Yup, Saturday was an Epic Delivery Day. Four parcels!!

First up

The House of Always is the fourth I Jenn Lyons' Chorus of Dragons series (I think there will be five but don't quote me on that). This series has everything - Gods, Monsters, Dragons, Quests, Magic Weapons, Footnotes, Epic World building (and possibly world destroying) with a great cast of characters. I've been hooked since book 1 (A Ruin of Kings) so this has always been high up on my I Want It And I Want It Now!! list. And again, how stunning is the cover art here.

THoA is released on 13th May from Tor

Day Zero by C Robert Cargill (Gollancz 20th May) is the sequel to Sea of Rust

Day Zero is the story of the day (or days possibly) leading up to the Robot Revolution and tells the story of Pounce, a young Nannybot who finds a box in the attic that shows something he didn't know - when his young charge is grown Pounce will be discarded. Will he join the revolution or lead his charge to safety?

Must say I'm very much liking the sound of this one.

Chuck Wendig's Wanderers was a cracking read, compared by many to King's The Stand and I have to agree. It really was that good. So when I heard of The Book of Accidents (Del Rey 20th July) trying for a review copy was a no-brainer.

In short Nathan and Maddie didn't have great childhoods but now they are married and forgetting all about the past. Until Nathan's father dies, passes the family home to them and they return home (seriously, when will people ever learn, it's never going to end well!! I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm glad characters make these stupid decisions, we wouldn't have these fantastic scary stories without them but, ye gods and sweaty socks, couldn't you just bang their heads together). Anyhoo, before too long the past comes back to haunt them and their son is involved too. I am really, really looking forward to getting my teeth into this, I think it's gonna be a belter.

Finally we have The Mash House by Alan Gillespie (Unbound, 6th May) 

I'll let the blurb speak for this one

'Cullrothes, in the Scottish Highlands, where Innes hides a terrible secret from his girlfriend Alice, a gorgeous, cheating, lying schoolteacher. In the same village, Donald is the aggressive distillery owner, who floods the country with narcotics alongside his single malt; when his son goes missing, he becomes haunted by an anonymous American investor intent on purchasing the Cullrothes Distillery by any means necessary. Schoolgirl Jessie is trying to get the grades to escape to the mainland, while Grandpa counts the days left in his life.

This is a place where mountains are immense and the loch freezes in winter. A place with only one road in and out. With long storms and furious midges and a terrible phone signal. The police are compromised, the journalists are scum, and the innocent folk of Cullrothes tangle themselves in a fermenting barrel of suspicion, malice and lies.'

Now, it's no secret I like my crime Tartan and I like it Noir (the Noirer the better if I'm being honest) and The Mash House looks like it could be all that and more. I read the first chapter just to get a feel and I honestly can't wait to get back into it

So, there we are, 6 book packages delivered in 3 days, well over 2000 pages to go at - yup, that's what I call a good end to the week.

Reviews will be posted here when the books are read