Book reviews, Court room drama, Thriller

Beyond Reasonable Doubt by Gary Bell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

Elliot Rook QC is one of the greatest barristers of his generation.

He is also a complete fraud.

Elliot Rook is the epitome of a highly successful, old Etonian QC. Or so everyone believes. In fact, he is an ex-petty criminal with a past that he has spent decades keeping secret. Until now.

An unidentified young woman of Middle Eastern origin has been found murdered on the outskirts of Rook’s home town. Billy Barber – a violent football hooligan and white-supremacist – is accused of her murder. Barber insists that Rook must defend him. If Rook refuses, Barber will expose him, bringing crashing to the ground the life and career that Rook has spent his life building.

The truth is there for the finding. But at what cost?

The start of a thrilling new legal series, perfect for fans of Robert Galbraith and The Secret Barrister, written by an acclaimed QC

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MY REVIEW

This is the first in a series featuring Elliot Rook QC.

Elliott Rook is a QC with a past that he has kept a secret from his peers

His personal life is a mess, his wife has gone, he drinks and smokes too much but he’s committed to the law. Everyone is entitled to a fair trial.

Talking to a colleague about taking on a junior, they show a lack of respect for any one not from the established background of Eton and privilege……but Rook then meets Zara Barnes and her background reminds him of his own and so he takes her on as his Junior…

Both from working class background in Nottinghamshire, and with a similar determination they hit it off immediately…..Rook laughs genuinely for the first time in a long while…..

Zara is meant to be helping with a fraud case, by trawling though tonnes of paperwork to find evidence…..but Rook takes her along to a meeting with his new client, Billy Barber, a name from his past.

There has been a murder of a young girl from a Middle Eastern background and Barber has been arrested….all evidence points to him….doesn’t it?

Barber is a horrible excuse for a human being, a racist, white supremacist thug and Rook really doesn’t want the case, but Barber threatens to tell of his criminal background so he takes the case….

This tells of the investigation, the court case and the friendship that builds between Zara and Rook. Violent, twisty and so compelling. With a marvellously satisfying ending…..I love it and will be looking out for the next in the series….

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

About Gary Bell:

Born into a coal mining family, Gary Bell QC left school without any qualifications and was an apprentice mechanic, fork lift truck driver, production line worker, builder, fireman and door-to-door salesman, as well as a notorious football hooligan, before being arrested for fraud aged 18. After a brief stint in prison he set off to seek fame and fortune abroad and, after two years drifting around Europe ended up penniless and homeless. He next enrolled in a FE College to study his O and A levels, and then went on to study law as a mature student at Bristol University where he ‘became’ an Old Etonian. After graduating he spent a year as a litigation lawyer in Beverly Hills before coming back to England to become a barrister. He has spent over thirty years at the Bar, specialising in defending in major fraud and murder trials, becoming a QC in 2012. Always on the look out for challenges and opportunities he has also been an award winning stand-up comedian; an after-dinner speaker (when at University he won several national debating competitions and was runner up in the World’s Humorous Debating Competition at Princeton); he has learned to fly a plane, hosted his own TV show (the Legalizer) on BBC1; writes regularly for national newspapers; has a column in The Spectator and wrote his best-selling autobiography, Animal QC.

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Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/garybellqc

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Reasonable-Doubt-Elliot-Rook/dp/1526606127/ref=sr_1_3?qid=1558094244&refinements=p_27%3AGary+Bell&s=books&sr=1-3&text=Gary+Bell

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Reasonable-Doubt-Elliot-Rook-ebook/dp/B07NNR7SVT/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=beyond+reasonable+doubt+gary+bell&qid=1558094317&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/beyond-reasonable-doubt-elliot-rook,gary-bell-9781526606129

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/beyond-reasonable-doubt/gary-bell/9781526606129

GoogleBooks: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Beyond_Reasonable_Doubt.html?id=cwlivwEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/lu/book/beyond-reasonable-doubt/id1457759503

Publishing Information:

Published in hardcover and eBook formats by Bloomsbury Raven on 13th June 2019.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt by Gary Bell (Elliot Rook, QC Book 1)

#BeyondReasonableDoubt #ElliotRookQC @garybellqc @BloomsburyRaven @EmmaFinnigan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

‘A smart, classy thriller blazing with the heat of Australia that slowly reveals its many layers.’ Fiona Mozley, author of Man Booker shortlisted Elmet

‘Engrossing and goosebumpy from start to finish, this novel about three young sisters who vanish all together one night has the chilling feel of true events that are stranger than fiction, and the stuff of nightmares….A novel that is as delightful as it is terrifying, and just scary good.’

Tim Johnston, bestselling author of Descent and The Current

‘I deeply admire the languid, lived-in prose of Felicity McLean’s lovely novel THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE. This is a story as much about forgiving ourselves our own childhoods, as it is about acknowledging and embracing the people we’ve become because of those adolescent (and sometimes life altering) choices.’

Hannah Pittard, author of Visible Empire

‘A taut, beautifully written thriller with a scorching expansive setting. The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is a fantastic debut and a story that lingers.’

Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One

‘How do you escape your childhood, emotionally, actually? This compelling mystery by Felicity McLean has a rare depth of psychological and emotional truth. It will engage your heart.’ Delia Ephron, author of Siracusa

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

Tikka Molloy was eleven years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in an isolated suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river.

Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved. Now, years later, Tikka has returned home and is beginning to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her. The girls that she never forgot.

Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – a perfect summer chiller with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart.
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MY REVIEW

What an engrossing, atmospheric read…..the stifling heat practically seeps off the page.

“The day of the school Showstopper –  like every other day – the sky was blue and clear. It had been windy in the night and the she-oaks has shaken off their needles. They lay on the ground like brown entrails we couldn’t read.”

Hannah, Cordelia and Ruth disappear during an outdoor school concert… The girls had been inseparable due to a shared harsh family life with a strict, religious father, who believes a beating is the correct punishment for any perceived misdemeanour…..

When the girls go missing questions are asked…..did they run away from their home life? Or were they taken?

The story has many wonderful characters  some creepy and sinister and some delightful as Tikka looks back on the events around the girls disappearance…the tension is palpable at times as the what ifs, pain, emotions and the feeling of something missing is felt.  There is humour too in this stunning, chilling read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

About the author

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Felicity McLean was born in Sydney Australia. She graduated at Sydney University with a BA in English and Australian literature and worked as a book publicist before embarking on a freelance career. Her journalism has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail and the Big Issue, among others, and she has ghost-written celebrity autobiographies. THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is her first novel. She lives with her English husband and two young children in Australia.

Felicity McLean is available for interview and to write pieces.
Published by POINT BLANK 6 June 2019 Hardback £14.99