Gap Years by Dave Holwill #BookReview #BlogTour (@daveholwill) @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #GapYears

Gap Years

Delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for Gap Years by Dave Holwill. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the author for my free copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.Gap_Years_Front

19 year old Sean hasn’t seen his father since he was twelve. His mother has never really explained why. An argument with her leads to his moving to the other side of the country.

Martin, his father, has his life thrown into turmoil when the son he hasn’t seen in nearly eight years strolls back into his life immediately killing his dog and hospitalising his step-daughter.

The one thing they have in common is the friendship of a girl called Rhiannon.

Over the course of one summer Sean experiences sexual awakenings from all angles, discovers the fleeting nature of friendship and learns to cope with rejection.

Martin, meanwhile, struggles to reconnect with Sean while trying to delicately turn down the increasingly inappropriate advances of a girl he sees as a surrogate daughter and keep a struggling marriage alive.

Gap Years is an exploration of what it means to be a man in the 21st Century seen from two very different perspectives – neatly hidden inside a funny story about bicycles, guitars and unrequited love.

I read Dave Holwill’s last book, The Craft Room, last summer and absolutely loved it so I was looking forward to more of the same. However, this book is completely different, but that is not necessarily a negative.

This is a story about family in the modern age, where people don’t marry, have 2.4 children, celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary and then die and get buried side by side in a family grave plot they bought thirty years ago. In the current climate, family is a much more fluid idea, where people have children, split, have new families, take on other people’s children as their own, make family units that are entirely unique.

This story reflects that, and how these more transient relationships affect the different generations involved. Martin split with his wife eight years previously and she moved away and took their young son with her. Martin most touch with Sean and hasn’t seen his son since, until the day Sean reappears and announces he’s moving in with his dad. The only problem is, Martin has moved on and now has a new family, including a step-daughter with whom he has a closer relationship than he has with his natural son.

This is a book that explores our family relationships. About how they are formed and maintained and fractured and broken and rebuilt. About whether blood really is thicker than water. About what it means to be a parent in the modern day and what it means to be a child. The author tells this story in the alternating voices of father and son, so we get to see the relationship from both sides, and it is absolutely fascinating.

Sean is a fairly typical confused teenager, with unrealistic ambitions who ends up stuck in a dead end job. He has a fraught relationship with both of his parents, each of whom has badly let him down as far as I can see, and he is trying to find a place where he feels at home. Oddly, it is his step-mother and new step-sister with whom he has the easiest relationship, which begs the interesting question as to whether the problems we have in our blood relationships are the expectations we place on them which can probably never be fully met, which don’t exist with people we aren’t actually related to and from who we have no right to expect anything and we have to work at meaning something to. His hormones are also racing, and leading to complications of the female kind.

When we are young, we expect our parents to know what they are doing, but as we grow older, we realise they are just as clueless as everyone else. Everyone is winging it, and this is certainly true with Martin. He feels fairly impotent, one failed relationship behind him, struggling to maintain his new one, estranged from his son and unsure how to rebuild that bond, wondering why he finds it easier to love his step-daughter than his own flesh and blood. Stuck in his own dull job. Add in a manipulative, self-serving female playing father off against son and this leads to some taut drama.

This book is very well-written and, despite the plot being a fairly small, domestic drama, absolutely riveting. The author does a magnificent job of showing the pressures and problems that beset the ordinary people up and down the country in the modern age and every reader will find something to relate to in this story. It is unusual to see male relationships portrayed so honestly and accurately, and I felt really moved by it. At the same time, it contains the same blackness and humour that I loved from Dave’s last book.

This is a really accomplished story that reflects family relationships in the twenty-first century and it was a joy to read.

Gap Years is out now and you can get a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, check out the poster below:

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About the Author

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Dave Holwill was born in Guildford in 1977 and quickly decided that he preferred the Westcountry – moving to Devon in 1983 (with some input from his parents).
After an expensive (and possibly wasted) education there, he has worked variously as a postman, a framer, and a print department manager (though if you are the only person in the department then can you really be called a manager?) all whilst continuing to play in every kind of band imaginable on most instruments you can think of.
His debut novel, Weekend Rockstars, was published in August 2016 to favourable reviews and his second The Craft Room (a very dark comedy concerning death through misadventure) came out in August 2017. He is currently in editing hell with the third.

Connect with Dave:

Website: http://davedoesntwriteanythingever.blogspot.com

Facebook: Dave Holwill

Twitter: @daveholwill

Instagram: @dave_holwill

Goodreads: Dave Holwill

Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti #BookReview #BlogTour (@Ilaria_Tuti) @wnbooks @gigicroft @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #FlowersOverTheInferno #NetGalley

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An idyllic village in the alps.
A legacy of sin.
An evil lurking in the woods.

In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of brutal assaults take place.

Police inspector Teresa Battaglia is called in when the first body is found. Soon more victims are discovered – all horrifically mutilated – and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock.

But Teresa is also fighting a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory…

Delighted to be rounding off the blog tour today for Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti. my thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me on to the tour and to Virginia Woolstencroft of Orion for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the debut novel by Ilaria Tuti, and the first novel featuring Detective Teresa Battaglia, and I have to say it is impressive to see such a strong and unique novel coming from the pen of a brand new author. Everything about this book is accomplished and confident, you would be forgiven for believing that this is a writer who has been doing this for years.

There is so much to enjoy about this book if you are a fan of the Euro-crime genre. Firstly, and probably the strongest aspect of this book, are the main detective duo. Teresa Battaglia is a really refreshing change to the standard grumpy male or feisty, young, ambitious female detectives you find carrying these stories. A woman of middle years, not beautiful, not thrusting, not particularly stand out in any way except through her intellect, her dedication to her job and the devotion she inspires in her team. I absolutely loved her, and was willing to follow her through whatever ups and downs she might face throughout the novel. She is brutal and forthright in her opinions, no nonsense, dedicated. She has personal issues, health issues, issues with relationships, but battles all these quietly and with dignity to get the job done.

She also does not suffer fools gladly, which appears to be a problem when she gets a new, young, male wet-behind-the-ears inspector to add to her team. To begin with there is the usual chalk and cheese friction between the two, but this has the makings of a great partnership for future books and the two will find that their differences can be an asset, as they have lots to learn from each other.

There is a great supporting cast for this book, but these two carry the book, along with the third standout star of the novel, which is the setting. Forget Scandi-noir, here we have Italy as a back drop for the drama, but not the picturesque coastal towns of Amalfi or Sorrento or Portofino; not the glamorous cities of Rome or Venice or Florence; not the rural beauty of Tuscany or the Italian Lakes. This is the remote, forgotten, mountainous area on the Italian-Austrian border which very rarely has the literary spotlight shone upon it. This author, however, obviously has a great fondness for the region, she brings it vividly to life throughout the book, illuminating the forests, gorges, peaks, rivers and isolated villages making the landscape an integral part of the story, a character in its own right.

The setting of this book is what gives it its atmosphere, and that atmosphere is deeply claustrophobic and unsettling. This is a place cut off from the outside world to a large degree. They are insular, superstitious and extremely suspicious of outsiders. Protective of their community and any perceived external threat, they close ranks and shut out interlopers, protecting their secrets, even if that means protecting a serial killer from the police. This makes the investigation more complicated, and the diplomatic skills of Teresa Battaglia vital to crack the case. The area is sparsely populated, mountainous, heavily wooded, large areas unexplored or long forgotten. The intrusion of the modern world into this ancient wilderness, upsetting the dynamics unchanged for centuries, is one of the fascinating themes of the book and adds to the air of menace and threat.

The case itself is gruesome and deeply disturbing. It is hard to say too much about it without including any spoilers in the review, but there are links to unpleasant echoes of a unedifying era of the area’s past. Some aspects of the book are quite graphic and upsetting, but the plot is completely gripping from start to finish and the reader will find it very hard to break away from the story without finding out what happens. I am still thinking about the plot, even now the book is finished and I have moved on to my next read. There are some moral questions raised in the book that will get you thinking more deeply than is often the case in a standard crime novel, a deeper dimension to the narrative.

The book is written from a few different perspectives, in a variety of time periods, and through different mediums, such as diary entries. As it hops around quite a lot, I did find it tricky to keep up in places. Some of this was due to the way my review copy was formatted on my Kindle I think, but I do believe that this is one of those odd books that would be more easily and enjoyably read in physical format, rather than on an e-reader. Fortuitously, this is also a book where I would suggest that the story is worth the investment in an actual book. This was something new and different and interesting din would highly recommend it. A brave new voice in the crime genre.

Flowers Over The Inferno is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour and read some alternative reviews of this book, check out the blogs on the poster below:

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About the Author

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ILARIA TUTI lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy. Rights for the novel have been sold in over 15 countries, making her one of the most internationally successful Italian authors of recent years.

Connect with Ilaria:

Twitter: @Ilaria_Tuti

Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman #BookReview #BlogTour (@LucyColemanAuth) @Aria_Fiction @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #Giveaway #SummerOnTheItalianLakes #NetGalley

The Writing Retreat on the Italian Lake

It is my turn on the tour today for this lovely summery-looking novel by Lucy Coleman, Summer on the Italian Lakes. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for offering me a place on the tour and for Aria Fiction for my complimentary copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Make sure you scroll down below the review to enter the wonderful giveaway.

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Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

Don’t you just want to dive in to this gorgeous scene? I know I do, I can feel the sunshine beaming out from cover and lifting the winter chill.

This is another lovely, warm book from Lucy Coleman, who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. This time we are following author, Brianna Middleton, as she takes up the mantle of writing tutor on a summer retreat in the Italian Lakes, whilst considering her own writing path and lack of romantic life – since the heroines in her books have way more going on in the relationship department that she has. Will meeting handsome fellow author, Arran Jamieson kickstart her romantic mojo in more ways than one?

Lucy always writes really likeable and relatable protagonists and Brianna is no exception. She is shown from the beginning of the book to be an intelligent, ambitious but possible lonely, and definitely lost, woman that you can’t possibly help but feel for. She is very open and honest with the struggles she is having, and we start off with a clear picture of what is wrong in her life and that something definitely needs to change.

Cue a fortuitous opening at a writing retreat in a villa on the shores of Lake Garda run by military historian and author, Arran Jamieson, who has problems of his own. They share an agent, who is hoping that her two clients may be able to help each other out.

The author does a great job of portraying a beautiful, lakeside setting that will draw the reader right in to the heart of Lake Garda and its environs, touching every sense with her vivid descriptions and making you wish you were there as you discover the area through Brianna’s eyes. It is the perfect read for a chilly winter weekend and I could practically feel my levels of Vitamin D rising as I read and long to book an Italian escape of my own as soon as possible.

As a writer, I also found the insight into the whole writing process that the author depicts absolutely fascinating and it brought me even closer to the character. I don’t know how much of what is described actually reflects Lucy’s own process – I’m guessing quite a lot as it would be hard to describe someone else’s writing routine so vividly – but to get a glimpse in to how other authors might work is intriguing and inspiring (although some activities I’m assuming are pure imagination and NOT part of Lucy’s daily writing routine, or maybe they are!) Anyway, I think authors and wannabe authors will really find this book has an added dimension of interest for them.

The romantic arc develops rather rapidly, it did quite take my breath away how fast it moved, but this is such a heart-warming, fun, sunshine-y, positive read that it would be positively churlish to put forward any real criticism of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish – setting, characters, plot and themed. I can’t see that anyone who enjoys this type of book will not like it. Highly recommended.

Summer on the Italian Lakes is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

Writing Retreat Prize

For your chance to win a chocolate dipping set, click on the Raffleopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To follow the rest of the tour, please check out the marvellous blogs as detailed on the poster below:

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About the Author

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From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk

Facebook: Linn B Halton Author

Twitter: @LucyColemanAuth and @linnbhalton

 

 

The Suspect by Fiona Barton #BookReview #BlogTour (@figbarton) @TransworldBooks @ThomasssHill @PenguinRHUK @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheSuspect

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When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…

I have been very excited for this tour so it has felt like it has been a long time coming but the day has finally arrived when it is my turn on the blog tour for The Suspect by Fiona Barton. Huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for offering me a place and to the author and publisher for my gifted copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the first book I have read by Fiona Barton, although I have had a copy of The Widow sat on my TBR for an embarrassingly long time (like most things on my TBR). Why have I waited so long to pick one up, I am now asking myself? This was the most enthralling, exciting and heart-stopping book I have read in a long while.

The story of two young girls going missing whilst travelling has to be every parent’s worst nightmare so, as a mother myself, I was immediately in the shoes of the parents of the missing girls; feeling their pain and confusion and riding that rollercoaster with them. However, things begin to get very interesting when a second parent-child relationship is thrown in to muddy the mix. It is difficult to say more without throwing in spoilers, so you are going to have to trust me on this – if you are a parent, this book is going to may you feel tense all the way through.

The structure of the book is interesting, told as it is from the viewpoints of one of the missing girls, her mother, the chief detective on the case and a reporter who is following the investigation very closely. The narrative jumps between these viewpoints very quickly but not in a specific order, so you have to pay close attention to begin with but the different points of view are clearly labelled and you soon get familiar with the different voices and find it easy to follow. This method of telling the story is a very effective way of revealing different plot points at relevant stages, but also giving the reader different windows on to the investigation. I really enjoyed it.

The book is set in two locations – in the UK where the missing girls’ parents are suffering their agonies and the UK police are investigating, and in Thailand where the girls have gone missing, which adds an extra level of interest to the story for readers who like to read books set in overseas locations (as I do) and the Thailand portion is very well portrayed and authentic. I really enjoyed the contrast between the way the investigation was carried out in Thailand and in the UK. The flow between the two locations was seamless and you would think that the author was equally familiar with both locations. I need to get some research tips from Fiona Barton for my own writing.

This book is full of, excuse my French, WTF moments, as all good thrillers are. There are a number of unexpected things that happen, and that happen at really startling times. I honestly raced through this book in a day because I could not put it down, and my heart was racing at points, as if I were personally living the story. The ending, for me, raised some interesting moral and personal questions, and I would be interested to see how this affects some of the main characters going forwards, if they are included in any of the author’s future books.

All in all, this is a slick, intelligent and gripping psychological thriller that covers some interesting personal and moral questions. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this genre, in fact I already told my sister to read it.

The Suspect is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to see what my fellow bloggers made of the book, please follow the tour as detailed below:

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About the Author

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Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in thirty-five countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born inCambridge, Fiona currently lives in south-west France.

Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the DailyTelegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.

While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal casesand she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it wasthose just outside the spotlight who interested her most . . .

Connect with Fiona:

Website: http://fionabartonauthor.com

Facebook: Fiona Barton Author

Twitter: @figbarton

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden #BlogTour #Extract (@lumsdenrich) @TinderPress @annecater @Bookywookydooda #RandomThingsTours #TheSixLovesOfBillyBinns

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At well over a hundred years old, Billy Binns believes he’s the oldest man in Europe and knows his days are numbered. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time.

As he looks back at the relationships that have coloured his life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a lifetime of hope and heartbreak.

This is the story of an ordinary man’s life, an enchanting novel which takes you on an epic yet intimate journey that will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on the universal turmoil of love.

I am delighted to be taking my turn today on the blog tour for The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden. My thanks to Anne Cater for offering me a place on the tour and to Tinder Press for allowing me to publish an extract from the book for you today.

Extract

One

I have to get this out.
I have to get it down before it’s gone for good.
While it’s still clear in my head.
While they’re all sat beside me, as alive now as they were then, these people I once loved.

Mary.
Hello, Mary. Do you remember me?
You were my first, though there may have been others before you; slips of things, stolen moments behind a mar- ket stall or in the straw of a cattle barn, but nothing to match the time we shared together. That first eruption of love when the world shifts and everything glows orange.

You died much too young, of a broken heart if I remem- ber right. Not sure if it was me or someone else who broke your heart, but we were never meant to last, you and me. Too many complications along the way, what with one thing and another.

Still, I loved you, Mary old girl.

Then Evie.
I loved you, Evelyn Ellis. For a lifetime, if I’m honest.

 

We were the right age for love when we started out. You were my forever girl.

A love that should have lasted to the end, but the world doesn’t work that way.

I loved you from the first moment I saw you. You might say that isn’t true, but you’d be wrong. I loved you then as I love you now.

These dry embers, buried deep, set alight once again at your memory. A fire that burned quiet for the rest of my life.

Archie.
My little boy.
I loved you, son, as soon as I knew you’d sparked into life. Knew you were a boy. I felt you kicking, your tiny feet.

Knew it would be you, Archie Binns. With your scruffy knees poking out of your shorts. Your pockets full of mar- bles; the catseye and the oxblood, the jasper, the aggie and the ruby. Your little hands.

Do you remember how we climbed trees together?
You know how much I loved you.
I’m not sure if I ever said it to you, not out loud anyway.

Not in words so you could hear. But you knew it, didn’t you, son?

Vera.
I was unhappy when I first met you, Vera. Forty-something, was I? Life was on a downward spiral, then you showed up out of the blue. You were so beautiful and you made me very happy.

 

page5image5766720page5image5756736page5image5757120page5image5763264You caused me trouble, too. I paid a price for loving you, that’s for sure. For a while I was lost in the wreckage, but isn’t that what we hope for when it comes to the end: to know we didn’t just pass by but lived through some- thing real along the way?

Everyone should be lucky enough to have a Vera once in their lives. Despite the trouble. Despite the price you end up paying.

To be taken to the edge and made to jump. To love until it hurts.

Mrs Jackson.
Black Betty.
Didn’t think I’d ever get those feelings again, much later on in life. After Evie and Vera and the rest of them. But suddenly there you were. You brought me out of retire- ment, you might say.

We were old when we met. Not proper old like I am now, of course. I was still able to do something about it back when you showed up, and we made it good, the two of us, when there wasn’t much pickings around.

Some lovely years together, me and Mrs Jackson. Funny, still calling you Mrs Jackson after all this time.

Mary, Evie, Archie, Vera, Mrs Jackson.
Five of them in all.
Five loves? Is that it?
It doesn’t sound much after all this time.
I recall the names, but the faces come and go.
When you first meet someone, you don’t know how

page6image5638976page6image5639168page6image5639360long they’ll be in your life for. It could be minutes or it could be forever.

You don’t know when it starts.
And you don’t know when it stops.
Some endings are final, others take you by surprise. Their last goodbye.
The world drags them away and all that’s left is a fading memory, turning to dust like the flesh on these old bones.

I want to remember what love feels like, one last time. To remember each of the people I loved, to see them all clearly again.

I’ll start with Mary.

Get it down on paper, all the details, before it’s gone for good.

While it’s still clear in my head.

If you enjoyed this short extract from the book and would like to read it in full, you can buy a copy of The Six Loves of Billy Binns here.

If you would like to read some reviews and see more content relating to the book, please do follow the blog tour as set out on the tour poster below:

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About the Author

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Richard Lumsden has worked as an actor, writer and composer in television, film and theatre for 30 years. As an actor his films include Downhill, Sightseers, Sense & Sensibility and The Darkest Hour, as well as numerous television shows and theatre productions. THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS is his first novel.

Connect with Richard:

Website: http://richardlumsden.com

Twitter: @lumsdenrich

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The Lock by Andrew Barrett #BookReview #BlogTour (@AndrewBarrettUK) @BOTBSPublicity #TheLock #BookOnTheBrightSidePublicity

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I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI. I was finishing up at a sudden death in an old house, waiting for the body snatchers to arrive, when I heard a noise from the cellar.

I had time to kill, so I went to investigate.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with killing on his mind.

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The Lock by Andrew Barrett, a crime novella with a forensic twist. My thanks to Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for asking me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly.

I haven’t read any of the other Eddie Collins books, so this was a short, sharp introduction to the character and the writing of Andrew Barrett, and I have to say it was a bit like getting a fast punch in the face that gave me the shock of my life and took my breath away.

This is only a short novella which took me around an hour to read, so perfect if you are wanting a quick, satisfying fix. However, I would not advise reading this if you are at all faint of heart. I made the mistake of reading it late at night just before going to sleep and it scared the pants off me.

This is only going to be a short review to give you a flavour of the book, as it is jam-packed with action from start to finish but I don’t want to include any spoilers in my review. What I will say is that it is a clever combination of forensic crime novel and an interesting dash of horror to go with it, which is quite different to my usual fare. I really liked the main character of Eddie Collins, who is a CSI rather than a policeman, so he brings a fresh and fascinating eye to a crime scene. Although this is a short book, the author does a great job of injecting a lot of Eddie’s personality in to the writing quickly and seamlessly. He does it very cleverly through his actions, thoughts and language, rather than telling us about him, which makes it an easy way to pick it up without slowing the pace of the story.

Eddie gets himself into a pickle by being a nosy parker, to be honest, and as the book goes through the tension becomes almost unbearable and you will feel ready to jump out of your skin. I liked the fact that the author is quite tongue in cheek about the horror aspect, as he has Eddie making references to the various slasher movies throughout which made me laugh a little, but didn’t lighten the tension.

It’s hard to say much more about the book without giving the plot away so I won’t. If you fancy a quick read with a gripping plot and a touch of horror thrown in that will make you jump out of your skin, this is a good choice.

The Lock is available now as an ebook and you can get your copy here.

Check out the rest of the stops on the tour as detailed on the tour poster below:

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About the Author

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Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire. 

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 120,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

You can find out more about him and his writing at http://www.andrew-barrett.co.uk

Connect with Andrew:

Website: https://www.andrewbarrett.co.uk

Facebook: Andrew Barrett Author

Twitter: @AndrewBarrettUK

Instagram: @andrewbarrettauthor

Exclusive Readers’ Group: Barrett ERG

The Monsoon Ghost Image #BookReview #BlogTour (@tomvater) @crimewavepress @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #crimewavepress #MonsoonGhostImage

the monsoon ghost image

Delighted to be on the tour today for The Monsoon Ghost Image by Tom Vater. Huge thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars And Human Beasts – Detective Maier Is Back To Investigate The Politics Of Murder

The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

This is the third book in a series featuring private detective Maier. I haven’t read books one and two but this did not hinder my enjoyment of this book which can easily be read as a standalone. However, reading books one and two first would fill in some back story and give a deeper understanding of some of the characters in the book, so if you intend to read them all it would probably be a good idea to read them in order.

This is an interesting combination of detective story and spy thriller which is constructed in a way that is very different to the mainstream. The book is extremely fast-paced, sometimes moving so quickly that events pass by in a blur and it is quite hard to keep up with what is going on; the writing a dizzying kaleidoscope of happenings that have the reader and the characters spinning to get there head around it, which is a good reflection of the situation in which the characters find themselves. On the downside, I did find the narrative jumped around quite a bit and there seemed to be linking events missing which made it confusing to follow in places and I found it quite disjointed. This may be that it is just a very different way of writing that I am unused to, but it was definitely disconcerting the way people appeared and disappear rapidly with minimal connecting narrative.

There is a rapid and varied set of locations to match the events happening. From Berlin to Bangkok to Kho Pha Ngan, the case takes Maier and his cohorts across Asia to track down the significance of The Monsoon Ghost Image and why so many people are prepared to kill to keep it from seeing the light of day. There is a high level of very graphics violence in the plot and some extremely sick and unpleasant people involved and the writer doesn’t pull any punches so readers of a sensitive disposition may not enjoy this aspect of the novel but it certainly makes for excitement and high levels of tension for those who do. Bring a healthy dose of credulity to the book, there are parts that need it. At times it reminded me of some of the wilder aspects of a James Bond plot, but there is never a dull moment. Whether or not you are convinced by every aspect will be for you to judge.

The great plus for me of the book is the vividness of Vater’s writing. The scenes are brilliantly and viscerally brought to life through his prose and descriptions and the book has more of a literary leaning than I was expecting, given the plot, as Maier ruminates on the state of the world and the nature of man and the struggle against terrorism. Sometimes the forms of writing and speech are very formal. It was a really unique and interesting mix of elements that make it stand out in a sea of thrillers. Vater’s writing is definitely worth a peek if you are looking for some thing out of the mundane.

The Monsoon Ghost Image is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, check out the poster below:

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About the Author

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Tom Vater has published four crime novels and is the co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based crime fiction imprint. He writes for many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, CNN and The Nikkei Asian Review. He is a best-selling non-fiction writer and co-author of the highly acclaimed Sacred Skin (www.sacredskinthailand.com).

Connect with Tom:

Website: http://www.tomvater.com

Facebook: Tom Vater

Twitter: @tomvater