Book reviews, Cyberpunk, Dystopian fiction, Mystery, Noir

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull. 

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine. 

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror

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MY REVIEW 

Auxiliary is set in London in the not so distant 2039.

Carl Dremmler is a jaded detective sent to the scene of a death …..seeming just a man plugged in to Alt-World and had forgotten to live in the real world.

This is a world connected to technology, from driverless cars, robot surgeons and arachnoid posties……all with a single operating system known as TIM….’Alexa on steroids’. Robots are everywhere in the workplace and even the bedroom….

Dremmler is then sent to a murder case….the suspect says he prosthetic arm killed his girlfriend….it was out of control. Dremmler’s boss, Maggie, wants this investigated quietly so as to prevent any panic.  But when his partner, T, is murdered things get dark.

This is cyberpunk Noir…..a tale of robots, cybernetics, tech and the loss of society. It’s also a murder mystery, a thriller with some truly horrific moments and so terrifying in its plausibility. I’ll never look at a wireless printer the same way again. A compelling, heart pounding read. Unputdownable!!

Thank you to Heather Fitt at Overview Media 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.

 

Book reviews, Noir

Zodiac by Anamaria Ionescu – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When investigator Sergiu Manta is handed the investigation into a series of bizarre murders, he can’t sure what he’s getting involved in as he has to work with regular detective Marius Stanescu, who has his own suspicions about the biker he has been told to work with, and wants to get to the truth. The twists and turns of their investigation takes them from the city of Bucharest to the mountains of rural Romania, and back.
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MY REVIEW 

#2 in the series featuring Sergiu Manta. It can also be read as a stand-alone.

Set in Romania this is in Bucharest and a small town of Voineasa. 

Four bodies are found, in different locations though, all with similar marks on their bodies. Is a serial killer at work and what is the link to Voineasa?

Sergiu is the investigator and is tasked with working alongside a cop, Marius. They are both wary of each other’s motives but both want the truth. Can a secret agent and a cop work together?

This is a quick, fast paced read with a clever plot with plenty of intrigue and twists to keep your attention from start to finish.

Thank you to Kelly at Love Book 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.

 

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/32pjB2s

 

Corylus Books

 

Corylus Book is a new venture aiming to publish fiction translated into English. The people behind the company have very different backgrounds, but what brings us together is a deep appreciation of crime fiction and a strong interest in books from countries that so have been under-represented in English.

 

It took a while before it turned out that everyone’s thoughts had been on similar lines – that we wanted to take a chance on presenting some of the great European crime fiction that wouldn’t normally make its way into English. With a mixture of language, translation and other skills between the four of us, it seemed the logical next step to take.

 

The first Corylus books are a pair of Romanian crime novellas, Living Candles by Teodora Matei and Zodiac by Anamaria Ionescu.

 

There’s more to come in 2020 – starting with Romanian novelist’s Bogdan Teodorescu’s Sword, a powerful political thriller that has already been a bestseller in Romania and in its French translation. Sword will be available in May and will be followed later in the year by the first of two books by Icelandic crime writer Sólveig Pálsdóttir. The Fox will be available in the second half of this year, followed by Shackles in 2021.

 

And there’s more to come, with a novel by Bogdan Hrib set partly in Romania and partly in the north-east of England, a second novel from Teodora Matei, and we’re talking to more exciting writers from across Europe about what we can do together…

 

Important – Tagging 

It is really important that the author, publisher and Love Books Tours can find and share your blog features with ease. The point of the feature is promotion.  We encourage tagging the author, publisher and Love Books Tours Twitter handles.

 

@ami2ro @CorylusB @Lovebookgroup #Lovebookstours 

 

If you are posting your feature on Instagram, please tag us there too so we can share – https://www.instagram.com/lovebookstours/

Book reviews, Noir, Science fiction

Vulcan’s Forge by Robert Mitchell Evans – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

Jason Kessler doesn’t fit in the society of Nocturnia, the sole colony that survived the Earth’s destruction. Between the colony’s dedication to a distorted vision of mid-twentieth century Americana, its sexually repressive culture, and the expectation that his most important duty is marriage and children Jason rebels, throwing himself into an illicit and dangerous affair with Pamela Guest, but Pamela harbors a secret. 

Soon the lovers are engaged in a lethal game of cat and mouse with the colony’s underworld head and the secrets Jason unlocks upend everything he knew, exposing dangers far beyond Nocturnia and its obsessions.

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MY REVIEW

This is Sci-Fi Noir, it’s the tale of Jason Kessler who is bored, bored of the committee approved life, from what movies to watch to the expectation that you will marry and have children and not endanger colonial morals!

Nocturnia is mankind’s new home, but Jason wants a life, so when he sees a beautiful woman he decides to risk an illicit affair.

But was it a coincidence she came into his life? Or does Pamela have a secret?

“You have never known a normal life “

Wow…..the world building in Vulcan’s Forge is just so well done, the feeling of almost claustrophobic tension is felt throughout. There’s also the frustration of being under strict control but what is the cost of rebelling?

Jason is about to find out.

This has a mix of crime, lies, betrayals and death all in a twisty and compelling plot. Engaging and entertaining from the first to last pages. 

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 preorder a copy here: https://amzn.to/3984dJp

Available from 26 March 2020

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Robert Mitchell Evans was born in North Carolina but split his early life between that state and sunny Florida before a brief and ultimately unsuccessful tour in the United States Navy.

A life-long enthusiastic fan of film and genre fiction Robert’s interests include all form of science, history, and politics. He has played role-playing games since the early 80s and enjoys a wide array of board and card games as well. He haunts local conventions and his favorite Shakespearean play is Macbeth. Like so many ex-sailors he lives in San Diego with his sweetie-wife and an ever-growing film library

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched recently in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Noir, Police procedural

Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The papers want blood.

The force wants results.

The law must be served, whatever the cost.

July 1973. The Glasgow drugs trade is booming and Bobby March, the city’s own rock-star hero, has just overdosed in a central hotel.

Alice Kelly is thirteen years old, lonely and missing.

Meanwhile the niece of McCoy’s boss has fallen in with a bad crowd and when she goes AWOL, McCoy is asked – off the books – to find her. McCoy has a hunch. 

But does he have enough time?

 

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MY REVIEW 

#3 in the DI Harry McCoy series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Set in 1703’s Glasgow, a violent time full of drugs, alcohol and some really nasty people, and that’s just the police!

Young Alice Kelly has gone missing and it’s a race against time to find her. 

But, McCoy is assigned to a different case as his acting boss wants the glory of the Kelly case.

So McCoy is sent to investigate the Bobby March case. Bobby, a well known rock star (he could have been one of the Rolling Stones you know!) has been found dead with a needle in his arm…..so OD ?

McCoy is also asked by his actual boss, Murray to find his niece, Laura, as she has run away from home again. He wants this done on the quiet and McCoy wonders why?

This brings to life the reality of inner city poverty, the violence of gangs, the drugs, alcohol, music and even the IRA in the 70’s.

I can’t say much more for fear of spoiling this amazing tale. It will drag you through the grim world of the dark side of Glasgow, with its truly great characters, good and downright evil,  and a complex plot. This is Noir with a capital N, it’s gritty, violent and downright grim at times, but it’s thoroughly engrossing from the first page to the last. 

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/2wL4swv

 

About the Author

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Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow, and is available for press and events. 

 

Will appeal to fans of Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Peter May, William McIlvanney and Val McDermid, as well as TV series such as Idris Elba’s Luther

 

Publication date: 30 January 2020

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.99

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Noir

Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Hamburg state prosecutor Chastity Riley investigates a series of arson attacks on cars across the city, which leads her to a startling and life-threatening discovery involving criminal gangs and a very illicit love story…

Night after night, cars are set alight across the German city of Hamburg, with no obvious pattern, no explanation and no suspect.

Until, one night, on Mexico Street, a ghetto of high-rise blocks in the north of the city, a Fiat is torched. Only this car isn’t empty. The body of Nouri Saroukhan – prodigal son of the Bremen clan – is soon discovered, and the case becomes a homicide.

Public prosecutor Chastity Riley is handed the investigation, which takes her deep into a criminal underground that snakes beneath the whole of Germany. And as details of Nouri’s background, including an illicit relationship with the mysterious Aliza, emerge, it becomes clear that these are not random attacks, and there are more on the cards…

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MY REVIEW 

Hamburg is having a spate of car burnings, inconvenient but nothing more, until the body of Nouri Saroukhan is found in one. He was a member of a notorious crime family, but they claim to have disowned him. Did this have anything to do with his relationship with Aliza, a woman from an opposing family…?

This is where Chastity Riley begins the investigation, accompanied by Stepanovic they see the worst and scariest of people as they try to get to the truth. 

Chastity is a fantastic character, she’s heartbroken, not sleeping, constantly smoking and drinking and says exactly what she thinks. Tough on the outside but soft inside, which is why she’s a bit of a mess. But when it comes to work, she is solid.

This is noir at its darkest, it deals with fear, of brutality and violence, organised crime, immigration and corruption. There is also humour, a love story (very Romeo and Juliet) and a little romance too. 

This really is a unique crime thriller in that the language used is almost poetic, it draws you in and won’t let go. It has a fantastic style of writing that gives a modern day setting the feel of a classic noir. Original, stylish, fascinating and totally gripping from start to finish. 

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/3cEx7ny

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
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Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

 

PRAISE FOR SIMONE BUCHHOLZ

 

‘This is a punk-rock album translated into a hard-bitten tale of low-life scum and a lone officer. Fierce enough to stab the heart’

Spectator on Blue Night

 

‘Lyrical and pithy’

The Sunday Times Crime Club on Blue Night

 

‘Simone Buchholz writes with real authority and a pungent, noir-is sense of time and space … a palpable hit’

Barry Forshaw, Financial Times

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Noir

Raging by Stephen Scarcliffe – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A bloody turf war is erupting between the shellsuit gangsters and the Donaldsons, while the family outcasts look to take advantage of the disorder on the streets…

Who torched Dougie Donaldson’s taxi? 

Why are the bodies piling up in the high rises? 

Why is a scorned figure from the past poking his nose into everyone’s business?

As things escalate, Billy Wright is forced to question who is plotting against him as he is dragged even deeper into the world he is trying to escape. George Donaldson is sucked into a bitter feud with childhood pals that forces him to answer serious doubts around his loyalties and Sean Donaldson schemes to shift the balance of power in Muirhouse, hellbent on revenge against the uncle who has frozen him out of the family drug business.

Will Billy fulfil the promise he made to girlfriend Lyndsay and leave the life of crime behind as fatherhood approaches? Can George successfully defend his old man’s territory in the face of mounting adversity? Is there any line Sean won’t cross in his quest for supremacy?
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MY REVIEW 

Wow what a read…..

#2 in the Chemical Estates Series but I feel it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

Set in 90’s Edinburgh, this is the tale of violence.

Drug gangs are vying for control.

Billy is trying to change his life as he is soon to be a father, but someone is setting him up. So, he needs to get this sorted before it gets out of hand.

Well suffice to say things get messy.

Written just as people speak, so it can take a little while to get used to, but I felt it really added to the reality. The characters are well developed and not one of them has any redeeming traits, they all want power at any cost. Reputation is king. 

A fast paced Dark, violent, brutal, gritty and so thoroughly engrossing.

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

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Growing up around the north of Edinburgh where the Chemical Estate book series is set lends first-hand experience and authenticity to both the story and its characters. 

Around 14 years ago, and 4 pints (or more) down, I bumped into a certain Irvine Welsh in a pub in Edinburgh city centre. After giving him a copy of a short story I had written, I received a really encouraging email that spurred me on to write a novel. The process was extended somewhat by spending 10 years as the singer-songwriter for Edinburgh Alt-rock band The Number 9s, before opting to turn my main focus to writing. Two books in now with number 3 in development I hope to continue for many years to come. 

You can keep up to date with details of new releases and plenty more by signing up for my mailing list at http://www.stephenscarcliffe.co.uk. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   

 

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephenScarc  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.scarcliffe/

Website: http://www.stephenscarcliffe.co.uk 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephenscarcliffe_writer

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK:

Digital https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raging-Stephen-Scarcliffe-Chemical-Estate-ebook/dp/B081ZG3NQX/ref=sr_1_2?crid=MJZ1A4FSXQZV&keywords=raging+stephen+scarcliffe&qid=1580733343&sprefix=raging+ste%2Cdigital-text%2C145&sr=8-2

Paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raging-Stephen-Scarcliffe-Chemical-Estate/dp/1711748803/ref=sr_1_3?crid=MJZ1A4FSXQZV&keywords=raging+stephen+scarcliffe&qid=1580733375&sprefix=raging+ste%2Cdigital-text%2C145&sr=8-3

Amazon US:

Digital https://www.amazon.com/Raging-Stephen-Scarcliffe-Chemical-Estate-ebook/dp/B081ZG3NQX/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=raging+stephen+scarcliffe&qid=1580733406&sr=8-1

Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Raging-Stephen-Scarcliffe-Chemical-Estate/dp/1711748803/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=raging+stephen+scarcliffe&qid=1580733425&sr=8-2

08C12C49-176D-4799-8125-45DB376D9C2F 

 

Book reviews, Noir, Psychlogical thriller

The Home by Sarah Stovell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A dark and emotive thriller which shines a light on the troubling issue of children in care, The Home marks the return of Sarah Stovell, author of the 2017 international bestseller Exquisite.

When the body of pregnant, fifteen-year-old Hope Lacey is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away.

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

A dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also a heartbreaking and insightful portrayal of the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

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MY REVIEW

On Christmas morning the staff at Hillfoot House, The Home, find two girls are missing. They report this to the police and are told they’ve been found, but one girl has been murdered. 

This is the tale of Hope, Annie and Lara. All three girls have had unimaginable trauma in their short lives, they’ve seen, heard and done more than any child ever should.

There’s the mystery of the murder, but also the events that have lead to this. A look into the lives of these three girls and their pasts and the care system too.  It’s not an easy read by any means as it deals with child prostitution, abuse, violence and murder. All told in such a way it’s so believable and utterly tragic. All credit to Sarah Stovell’s incredible writing.

It’s such a harrowing tale, full of emotions, love, anger, fear and utter despair at times and makes for an uncomfortable read. Beautifully written and so utterly compelling. It will grab you by the heartstrings and not let go. Heartbreaking and unforgettable. A 5* must read.

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/36EEerU

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, was called ‘the book of the summer’ by Sunday Times. 

Book reviews, Noir, Thriller

Pine by Francine Toon – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

They are driving home from the search party when they see her. The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men.

Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.

In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.

Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.

In the shadow of the Highland forest, Francine Toon captures the wildness of rural childhood and the intensity of small-town claustrophobia. In a place that can feel like the edge of the word, she unites the chill of the modern gothic with the pulse of a thriller. It is the perfect novel for our haunted times.

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MY REVIEW 

Lauren and her father, Niall, live in a secluded area of the Scottish highlands. Her mother had disappeared years before when Lauren was a baby. 

One night, after a trip to the village for Halloween they come across a young woman in the road. Naked except for a dressing gown, Niall takes the silent woman back to their home to help, but by morning she has disappeared.

Then young Ann-Marie goes missing…..is there a link between the two women? Is the same person responsible?

What follows is a moody, creepy thriller with a slightly mystical, supernatural edge. With Lauren, nearly 11 years old, who has an interest in tarot and spells, her father’s grief and heavy drinking and the oppressive, almost claustrophobic atmosphere of the woods, this is a tale of loss, grief and a small community. A gripping, goosebumpy read. 

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/2NpewB5
56BDEFB6-1730-419D-85B9-D6A22AE3AE7C

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, Cosy mystery, LGBTQ, Noir

Smalltown Boy by T.S. Hunter – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

It’s Christmas Eve, 1988 and Russell and Joe are among the guests at a lavish party in a celebrity mansion in the heart of Soho.

Television presenter and national treasure, Nathan Bentley has a formidable reputation for legendary parties—with wall-to-wall celebrities, drink flowing, drugs, dancing, ill-tempered Cordon-Bleu chefs laying on the food and world famous musicians providing the entertainment. What could be better for a bunch of waifs and strays on Christmas Eve?

But when a body is found in the courtyard garden before the dessert has been served, questions begin to fly. Did he fall or was he pushed? And who of the many guests and hangers-on had either the means or motive for murder?

Hidden pasts and present jealousies all threaten to destroy a life carefully built in this festive crime caper set in the heart of London’s Soho. 
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MY REVIEW 

This is the final episode in the Soho Noir series by T.S. Hunter, oh and what a finale!

It’s Christmas, Joe and Russell have been invited to the flamboyant TV personality’s party. Reluctantly they go, taking their respective partners, Mike and Freddy along but then a body is found and the adventure begins. 

With a fabulous cast of characters including my favourite, Patty, there’s much mayhem and drama as ever. Then the reprehensible Skinner arrives…..will he finally get his comeuppance?

While this is a short novella, it packs a lot of story in. There’s the 80’s music references and little mentions of the events of the time too, which all build the atmosphere perfectly of 80’s London. Joe and Russell happy in their relationships too make this a wonderful ending to a thoroughly entertaining series

I have read the whole series now and am bereft it’s over…..I’ll just have to read them all again….

Thank you to Dylan at Red Dog Press for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/35mcZBL

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Noir

Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. 

Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….


Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.
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MY REVIEW

Set in Japan, many years after the horrific bombing of Hiroshima. This is historical fiction with a difference.

There are several plot lines running together, which at first may seem a little disjointed, but it all comes together in this incredibly dark tale.

Not only does it tell of the life and culture of Japan, it tells of a darker side. The side effects of the bombing are described in gruesome detail. There’s also murder, mystery, brutality, rape, torture and a lot of violence but also about family and relationships.

It’s so hard to put this into any specific genre as it really has a bit of everything. Beautifully written and almost poetic at times but it’s dark, very dark too.

Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for the opportunity to take part in this review tour, for the promotional material and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

available on Amazon at a discounted price at the moment too

 

 
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