Thursday 30 July 2015

Neil Grimmett

This is the second book I've read by this author and it's increased my admiration for his tale-telling ability. 

My review - 

This excellent story takes place on the island of Crete. Kirsty is a Scottish woman who left home to run a kafenion on the island following a divorce. A beautiful girl, Eleni, and her new husband, Patrick, come for their honeymoon and old memories are stirred up. Memories and enmities. Treachery and betrayal during WWII echo down the years and Eleni, with a half-Greek mother, is drawn in. Kirsty is determined to find the couple when they disappear in strange circumstances.

This is a tightly-written and exciting thriller which saw me carrying my kindle around for two days unable to let go. There is some breathtaking writing and some thoughtful comment on the concept of vendetta and how family honour can seem to overtake and overwhelm a whole life. It's not something we and Kirsty understand but by seeing it through Cretan eyes we find an inevitable struggle and a final acceptance. Highly recommended.

Jim Webster (et al)

This slim, poetic volume takes the characters from the author's fantasy stories and allows them to come alive! 

My review - 

This short book really amused me. If you’re familiar with the stories of Benor the Cartographer from the author’s Land of the Three Seas then you will have some idea of what to expect. Tallis Steelyard is a poet. He makes his living that way. Lambent Dreams is a collection of some of his works and his friend Benor comments on them to give some historical or geographical insight. Then there is the commentary from fellow poet and critic Lancet Foredeck. These remind me of the notes you get on wines from some of the ‘experts’ and I chuckled along with them. Perhaps funniest of all was the fact that, somehow, the footnotes inserted by one of the typesetters were left in by accident; a much more refreshing view is revealed!

This won’t take you long to read but I guarantee you’ll smile a lot while you do. A little gem!

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Bill Todd

Bill is a new author to me and on the basis of this collection - one main story and six shorter 'case files' - I will be reading more from him.

Gargoyle Pixie Dog

My review - 

Sometimes you find a series which you think you will enjoy but you missed out on the start. Do you go to the beginning and hope you’ll get chance to read them all or do you dive in and feel lost? This book, which is full novel length, is a really good way to get a taster of the author’s Danny Lancaster stories. Danny is a private investigator, an ex-soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan, and, if these stories are typical, he’s never going to get rich. He makes enough to get by but he’s got a soft heart, in spite of some of the things he becomes involved with.

I admit to being seduced by the title, though the reason for it becomes obvious when Danny is trying to trace a missing street girl. This is the main story, although there are shorter stories in the collection. I didn’t find a dud in there and I like the author’s style of writing. He comes up with some excellent phrases and isn’t a slave to cliché. I really hope I’ll find the time to read more Danny Lancaster before too long. A great collection and a lesson to series authors in how to give potential new readers a way in.

Sunday 26 July 2015

John Bowen

John Bowen is a new author to me and I really like his style. This book starts in the present day but harks back to events in the Holy Land in Crusader times.


My review - 

If you enjoy fast-paced action adventures, this is the book for you. It hits the ground running and barely lets up. Holly phones her ex-husband Gabriel for help when she finds her life is in danger. She has in her possession a mysterious vessel which two factions want and will kill to get. She herself was working for one of them as part of a team analysing it. Her boss tells an incredible tale, naming the vessel the Holy Grail though it bears no resemblance to the Last Supper cup of legend. It’s very old but appears super-modern and seems to employ nanotechnology.

The story takes place both in the present day and in historic times and is well written. The ex-husband and wife are nicely drawn characters and I felt they still held considerable attraction for one another. The finale is fast and exciting and, having made my mind up right at the end what the denouement should be, I really enjoyed the ending. Highly recommended for action/thriller fans.

The author has offered two free codes for the book on If you'd like to obtain one, please leave a comment here and I'll draw two randomly. I will need your email address if you win so check again on July 29th.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Lynda Wilcox

This is the fifth book in the Verity Long series and I never tire of them. 

Long Drive to Death

Verity Long, now Mrs Farish, has been employed part time as a researcher on the Cold Cases team of the local police where her husband is a Detective Inspector. She still works mornings researching for her old employer, Kathleen Davenport, the crime writer. Her husband decided she needs a constable as a side-kick. Their first joint effort is a 20 year old case of a body in a burnt-out car and they discover four local people went missing at that time.

There's an interesting relationship which develops between Verity and her new assistant as they interview the families of the missing persons to try to find if one of them was the body in the car. Verity, even working hand in hand with the police, manages to put herself in danger. This is another of the successful murder mysteries in this series and I hope Lynda Wilcox never runs out of ideas.

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Andrew Barrett

This book isn't available for a couple more weeks but I had an advance copy for review. Unsurprisingly, as I've loved the rest of the series, this one is another winner for me. It's available for pre-order. 

Sword of Damocles

My review - 

Scenes of Crime expert Eddie Collins is the real star of this novel. His private life is as hopeless as ever and he takes on his dad’s problems too. You know that situation when, an hour or so too late, you think of the great put-down, the witty riposte, but you weren’t fast enough? Eddie Collins is the man. He’s razor sharp and is no respecter of persons and we laugh with him while cringing as we watch him digging the hole deeper. He is also the newly-promoted head of his team and his methods of personnel management and team building are not the usual ones. He is a tragic combination of empathy and temper.

Eddie tackles a murder on his patch but he finds a connection with an unsatisfactory verdict of thirty years ago. His methods are irregular but, as he’s meticulous and the best at the job, he finds the evidence from which the detectives solve their cases. The story lines weave together very well and the interplay between the characters is a delight. The ending knocked me over. I really love the complexity of these stories and I hope we’ll hear more from Eddie in the future. This story could be read as a stand-alone although it forms part of a superb series. Hard-hitting and imaginative, this book is an absolute cracker.

I received an advance review copy of this book.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Lexie Conyngham

The author is breaking away from her usual and very successful series of historical detective stories with this. It's amazing!

Windhorse Burning

My review - 

This story is unlike anything else I have read from this author. It fascinated me and I couldn’t stop reading. Toby’s mother has just died. She was a missionary in Tibet and he finds her diaries. He contacts someone to translate them and make elaborate arrangements for the scattering of her ashes. He has an unhealthy adulation for his mother and from her diaries we see her as a young girl in her teens, enthusiastic and idealistic. Toby treats his mother’s memory as if she were a modern day saint.

There are plenty of other characters in this story, some very appealing and some rather appalling. It demonstrated the fact that a child’s innocence may have tragic results and that another child may well view a parent in unrealistic terms. The ending is unexpected and memorable. The title fascinated me and is explained in the story. I enjoyed this book a great deal. 

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Andrew Lawston

This is a departure for the author, in that it takes some of the silly humour from his short stories and produces a novella which had me smiling. It's published under a pseudonym.

Smoke me a Kipper - Neil's Farrago

My review - 

This quick read is a joyously unashamed dig at one of our political leaders who doesn't seem to need a great deal of caricature to render him funny. While visiting a relocation station for illegal aliens, Neil Farrago is outwitted by some genuine, green-man type aliens who plan to bring down his party by speaking at a conference disguised as him. Look out for cameo appearances by the Lord Mayor of London, a well-known rapper and a now defunct motoring show presenter.

This is a short read but cheekily amusing. Nobody is above being laughed at but some people invite it. I enjoyed this very much.

Thursday 2 July 2015

Jamie Sinclair

A departure from the usual style for Jamie Sinclair and it's a very successful one.


My review - 

Suppose you had been one of a gang of four young, happy lads who were celebrating leaving school, and you’d done something, collectively, which had resulted in a death. How would you live with it? This is the question posed in this unusual tale in which Vic Gossard, speaking into a digital recorder in his car in the middle of the night, wrestles with his demons. He is telling the tale of his despair, his friends, his family, and, just as it would if you were in that position, it comes out haphazardly in a stream-of-consciousness narrative which is so compelling it’s hard to stop reading. Because it’s told to the reader in the first person it has an intimacy about it.

This is a departure from Jamie Sinclair’s usual stories and a daring and worthwhile experiment. I really enjoyed it and it brought home how one uncharacteristic act by people who have previously led good lives, can devastate not only the victim and her family but the lives and families of the boys concerned. A very good read indeed.