Book reviews, LGBTQ, Noir

Bella by R.M Francis – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Bella is his debut novel and a love song to the Black Country.

It is a text that deals with queer identity and experience, specifically in a non-metropolitan setting, showcasing the upheaval and difficulties facing the working-classes of post-industrial communities.

The novel plays with oral traditions of storytelling, using Black Country dialects and the different voices of multicultural Britain. It is also a novel that fuses different genre tropes. It is set in Dudley and follows several characters from different eras, attempting to understand the strange pull the local woods have. This rhizomatic, multi-perspective narrative is part ghost story, part social realism, part queer erotica.

 

BELLA is due to be published in Spring 2020.  
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MY REVIEW 

This is quite a difficult book to review as it doesn’t really fit into one particular genre. But what it is, is unique.

Written from the perspectives of many characters, all of which have their own way of speaking, so it’s really like having a bit of a chat. It’s genius storytelling using the dialect and accents of the characters, and while it took me a little while to get into the swing of the language, it really brings it to life. I could almost hear the brummie  accent. 

It has an honesty about it, a love for people and their stories, from local history, spooky tales and love in all its forms. An homage to the Black Country and those who call the area home. A short tale, but thoughtful and thoroughly engaging.

Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can pre order a copy here (due Feb 6th 2020): https://amzn.to/36L8CSi

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

R.M. Francis is a writer from Dudley. He completed his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton for a project titled Queering the Black Country and graduated from Teesside University for his Creative Writing MA. 

He’s the author of four poetry chapbooks, Transitions (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2015), Orpheus (Lapwing Publications, 2016), Corvus’ Burnt-Wing Love Balm and Cure-All (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2018) and Lamella, (Original Plus, 2019).

 

Follow Rob on Twitter @rmfrancis

 

 

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Noir, Police procedural, Thriller

When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Published by Point Blank 9 January 2020 Hardback £14.99

‘When The Dead Come Calling confirms what many of us already knew: Helen Sedgwick is one of Scotland’s finest contemporary storytellers.’ CLAIRE ASKEW, author of All the Hidden Truths

‘By combining up-to-the-minute themes, well-tuned dialogue and warm and witty details of everyday life with a deep, impressionistic sense of dread, Sedgwick produces a mystery as addictive as it is anxiety-inducing.’ MOLLY FLATT, author of The Charmed Life of Alex Moore

A murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where long buried secrets threaten a small community

When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, the local police force set out to investigate. It’s not long before they uncover a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

But there’s worse to come. Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband Fergus, DI Georgie Strachan soon realizes that something very bad is lurking just below the surface. Meanwhile someone – or something – is hiding in the strange, haunted cave beneath the cliffs.

When The Dead Come Calling is a tense, atmospheric thriller which grips to the very last page.

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MY REVIEW 

When the publishers say this is atmospheric, believe me they are not kidding.

Set in a small village community, a body is found at a children’s playground. Dr Alexis Cosse, a psychotherapist, has been stabbed and left for dead. But who would kill him in such a small community?

Georgie is a police officer and with her colleagues Trish and Simon, they try to find out what happened. But, Simon was in love with Alexis, so there is a conflict here.

It seems everyone in this community has something to hide, a brutal father that beats his son, racist attacks on Pami, the local storekeeper, homophobia and now murder.

There are chapters told from the perspective of someone or something in a cave too, which give this a creepy feel. From the very start there’s a feeling of oppression, as though there’s someone watching just out of sight. Does someone know about the murders or will the community protect itself and keep it’s dark secrets hidden??

Great characters, beautifully descriptive and a truly menacing, almost stifling atmosphere, utterly compelling.

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

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2RdFg8I

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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HELEN SEDGWICK is the author of The Comet Seekers, selected as a best book of 2016 by the Herald, and The Growing Season, shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Before she became an author, she was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University. She now lives and writes in the Scottish Highlands.

http://www.helensedgwick.com/ @helensedgwick @PtBlankBks

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Loot & I’m With The Band (Cases 5&6) by B.L. Faulkner – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Two cases from the files DCS Palmer and the Metropolitan Police Serial Murder squad. 

Case 5 

‘Loot’ sends the team on the trail of stolen WW2 Nazi gold that seems to be the reason for two murders. 

But where has it come from and how much is there? 

Soon the body count rises as an old gangland adversary from Palmer’s past emerges together with some feisty women and an English MP all prepared to kill for the prize. 

Everybody is playing cat and mouse with the gold changing hands with every twist and turn of the story that takes Palmer out of London to Gloucester and then to Brighton for an explosive finale. 

 

Case 6. 

 

‘I’m With The Band’ features 70’s rock band Revolution are still very big and packing out the major venues today but their original members seem to be dying in suspicious circumstances. 

Or so their manager thinks and he contacts Palmer’s number two with his fears. 

Palmer is not convinced until a nasty happening at Baker Street tube station underlines what the manager was afraid of. 

But who would want the band members dead? 

With a forty year career behind them it could be any one of thousands of past or present contacts. But this killer is confident, so confident he takes on Palmer via social network and tells him ‘catch me if you can’. 

But Palmer’s second in command DS Gheeta Singh was brought into his team because of her computer skills and is a match for the killer in cyber space. 

With just one original band member left alive the threat is real and Palmer must get to the killer before the killer gets to the member. 

The finale is an explosive one at a major Rock concert at the NEC. 

Both cases move along at the usual fast pace and with the usual ending twist that Faulkner does so well.

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MY REVIEW

As the publisher’s blurb says a lot about the plots, there’s not much more to say about that part.

But, here goes. 

DCS Palmer and his DS Gheeta Singh are such a great partnership. Palmer is old school, with lots of links and memories of older crime families and events, while Gheeta is a tech whizz and uses her skills to help.

Together they search for answers and solve the various crimes, from WW2 gold, a body dumped on a building site to a rock band members being murdered one by one. With mentions of real life crime events, cub as Brinks Mat, that really gives these tales a sense of reality.

Fast paced and twisty with some explosive moments too. Great characters and clever inventive plots make these novels gripping and thoroughly entertaining.

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

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Barry Faulkner was born into a family of South London petty criminals who ran with the Richardson’s Crime Gang in the 60’s-90’s. Being the youngest his mother, a top fashion model, was determined he would not follow in the criminal footsteps of the rest of the family and enrolled him into the Morely Academy of Dramatic Art to pursue a career in acting. Sadly young Faulkner was asked to leave after three months when no acting ability had surfaced. He went onto become an advertising copywriter with the English branch of the US Agency Erwin Wasey Ruffraf and Ryan where he got lucky with some scripts he sent to the BBC TV and became a scriptwriter and editor for them and several ITV companies. During this time the DCS Palmer plots were amassed in various notebooks and three years ago Faulkner finally found time to write and publish them. His early insight into the criminal world of his family has added authenticity to the characters and plots that makes them credible and the pace keeps the reader glued to the end. His signature end twist will always surprise you. Check out his top rated crime blog at geezers2016.wordpress.com

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

The Operation by Dylan Young – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

If your life was on the line, how far would you go?

Surgeon Jacob Thorn isn’t worried when the police interview him over nurse Katy Leith’s disappearance. She is a co-worker, nothing more. 
But when a leaked video of him and the missing woman arguing goes viral, the social media reaction is vicious. 

When harrowing images of the kidnapped woman start to appear on his phone, along with a demand from her abductor that Jake confesses to a crime he has no recollection of committing, he is forced to act or face terrifying consequences. 

He needs to delve into the past for answers. But time is running out for Katy. 

Will he admit to his failings and lose everything, or plead ignorance and let an innocent girl die? 

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MY REVIEW 

Set in Oxford, a nurse, Katy has gone missing.

The police are investigation and they speak to surgeon, Jake Thorn.

Jake is married to Sarah and they have a slightly unconventional life as she spends half the week in London working and the rest, commuting to work, so they have separate lives and beds during the week. 

Jake was one of the last people to see Katy, so suspicion falls on him. When a video of him purportedly arguing with Katy is posted online, he is vilified on social media….does he deserve this? Or is there something else going on?

I can’t say much more for fear of spoiling the story, but I can say this really is an impressive thriller. The main character is not particularly likeable and his life is a bit of a mess, but he loves Sid the dog so he can’t be all bad!!

Full of secrets and lies and marvellously twisty with some real surprises on the way and full of tension. A thoroughly engrossing psychological thriller with a medical edge. 

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side and Bloodhound books for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/30fJTD3

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Dylan Young grew up in a mining village in South Wales before boarding a train for London. A 35-year career in the NHS followed, the last 27 as a consultant ophthalmologist. Three dark psychological thrillers for Random House emerged in the late nineties and over the last decade, under different pseudonyms, he’s written children’s books and an adult contemporary fantasy series. But retiring from the NHS has allowed Dylan to spend (even) more time in his writing office—a shed in the garden. After publishing a three book crime series with Bookouture, Dylan has now found a new home in the Bloodhound kennels where he writes standalone psychological thrillers with a trademark medical flavour.

 

Website: www. https://dylanyoungauthor.com/

 

Twitter: @dyoungwrites

 

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17290016.Dylan_Young