After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

You think you know him. Until he’s dead.

When Cameron Swift is gunned down outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer: a dual role that requires her to support the family, and also investigate them.

As the case unfolds and the body count climbs, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets.

Even the dead…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received.I have read and enjoyed all of Jane Isaac’s previous books so was looking forward to reading this book, the first in new series.
Beth has been assigned as a FLO to help the family of Cameron Swift. But this case is different to what the team expected it to be and there are others who’re affected by his death. Beth isn’t the type of officer who just accepts what people say as face value and digs deeper.
One of the reasons I like the author’s books so much is because all of her lead characters in her three series are all likeable and if you could have them as friends you would do. They are not to good to be true nor do they have a dubious past. They are just normal hard-working people who have had hardships but don’t let them effect their judgement or take over their lives. It’s not something I experience often.
I read a lot of crime fiction but I can’t think of any where the lead character is a FLO and I found it very refreshing. It was interesting to see and showed how hard it must be to work closely with a family who have suffered loss and seeing them cope in different ways and how hard to was to do everyday things.
The case is a fascinating one and totally unexpected.It made me wonder how common it was, not the murder but the situation that various people found themselves in.
I had felt a little sad towards the end but there is hope and I’m looking forward to reading book two.

The book can be purchased here

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Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

When PI Varg Veum is approached to find a missing girl, by a half-sister he barely knew, his investigation takes him deep into the dark web, and some personal history he’d rather forget…

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Big Sister is the latest in the long running series to feature Varg Veum and is set in 2003. The case he has to solve is often chilling and a harsh reminder that some of the more murky side to society was an issue then as well. Many of the people he has to see don’t want to talk or are simply unable to. And some of them you really wouldn’t want to meet.
With this novel I felt like I got to know Varg more. There is the case he is trying to solve, which he does in his usual way. Mainly by annoying people and putting himself in danger. But the case has been brought to him by his older half sister who he had never met. With the arrival of Norma, Varg discovers more about himself and his family and whilst apprehensive he feels an instant connection to her. Much of this side of the story really touched me, how common is it to know nothing at all about loved ones?

for an instant a thought struck me: how many siblings are out there who never meet? Who don’t even know about each other…? ‘

I think this is book twenty in the series but with the way it is written a reader can pick any of the books up and follow them easily. This one was the third that I have read and they are all later in the series. I haven’t noticed any spoilers and Varg is the type of character who you feel like you would want to always have around. Quiet, determined, and even though at times he appears to be a loner there are always people there who he can turn to.
I have enjoyed all the books that I have read so far but this is my favourite. This is the one where the poetry comes through. How many authors are there who can make rain sound so enticing?

In Bergen, November is the month of the grey monk. The snow comes later. The sun makes a guest appearance or two. Most days are grey and more often than not it rains. Not summer’s short bursts; not October’s long downpours, which flood the streets and cellars because the relevant authorities haven’t cleared the autumn leaves this year, either; nor spring’s refreshing rain, which washes away the remnants of winter and makes the town clean again. In November, rain is the personification of gloom, as though really it wants to be snow, like a teenage girl with her head in the clouds, dreaming about becoming a prima ballerina one day.

I can’t wait for the next instalment.

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The Woman In The Mirror by Rebecca James – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

You’ll be the woman of this house, next, miss. And you’ll like it.’

1947

Governess Alice Miller loves Winterbourne the moment she sees it. Towering over the Cornish cliffs, its dark corners and tall turrets promise that, if Alice can hide from her ghosts anywhere, it’s here.

And who better to play hide and seek with than twins Constance and Edmund? Angelic and motherless, they are perfect little companions.

2018

Adopted at birth, Rachel’s roots are a mystery. So, when a letter brings news of the death of an unknown relative, Constance de Grey, Rachel travels to Cornwall, vowing to uncover her past.

With each new arrival, something in Winterbourne stirs. It’s hiding in the paintings. It’s sitting on the stairs.

It’s waiting in a mirror, behind a locked door.

My Review

I do enjoy a bit of gothic fiction and The Woman In The Mirror ticked all the boxes with it also being a dual time frame novel.
Apart from the prologue all the of the novel takes place in either 1947 or 2018. Both women, whose connection is initially unclear both have had to rebuild their lives after suffering a devastating loss. That is their only similarity though, Rachel is much more independent than Alice and a lot more likeable.
Whilst Alice did suffer from the events that occurred at Winterbourne I found her to be frightening in her own way. I did understand the reasons why she was like she was, loneliness and the sense of going through life unloved, but I found her quite possessive. Especially with her relationship with the children who she didn’t really know.
The twins reminded me of the children in The Turning of The Screw by Henry James and whilst they did feature quite a lot I would have liked to see more of them and to know more about what happened in the intervening years. But this did not stop me enjoying the novel, I just wanted to enjoy more spookiness.
I loved the descriptions, both of the house and the area and also London during the blitz. The author did brilliant job of showing the view through the eyes of somebody who had to work there at the time.
I would love to read more books like this, its something I only read occasionally but I always enjoy it when I do.

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The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw – Review.

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About the Book

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.
It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN, because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… or does God have a higher purpose after all?
Despite that, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is neither sci-fi nor fantasy. It is a book about memory and how, if we could remember things slightly differently, would we also be changed?

In HVN, Lorna can at first remember nothing. But as her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that, maybe, she can find a way back home.

My Review

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a book that I find impossible to suggest a genre for. Part fantasy, coming of age, discovery and one that encourages a feel good atmosphere. It is likened to both Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Wizard of Oz. I have read neither but have watched the film of The Wizard of Oz. The only part of that I can remember is a couple of really annoying songs that I was singing to myself as I read this novel.
I haven’t read anything like this before. It felt a little strange having God as a main character, especially with the type of character he was. I thought of him as a track suit wearing grandfather who was slightly scatty.Some of the more scientific details went way over my head. Luckily they did the same for Lorna so I wasn’t entirely on my own and there wasn’t many of them.
But her memories of her life from when she was a child, her family life, friendships and relationships swept me up and I longed for her to be accepting of events and find some form of happiness.
A truly lovely novel, with some beautiful characters, with some brilliant names, that took me completely by surprise. I would like to thank the author for sending me the novel to review and apologise for taking so long to read it.
The e-book is currently offered as a free download on amazon

The Hanging Women by John Mead – Spotlight – Blog Tour.

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The Hanging Women

A historical crime thriller set in 1886 Chicago; the power house of America, a sink of corruption and vice which is haunted by riots and gangland killings. A story of weak men and strong women.
Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.
As a result of Jack `stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremest factions of the worker’s movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret `nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim.
With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late.
Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hanging-Women-John-Mead/dp/1912362058

Author Bio 

 

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John was born in the mid-fifties in Dagenham, London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub, he writes.

His inspiration for his debut novel came whilst attending a lecture in Denver about the history of the American midwest, describing a time and place that was very different from that espoused by popular culture, which started him thinking this would make an excellent period in which to set a crime story.

His book describes how Chicago was a prototype of much that we consider both good and bad in the current age, it had a vibrancy and decadence that allowed a few enterprising individuals to prosper whilst violence and intolerance held back many others. The situation for some African Americans and women was improving but it was still a time when to be anything other than white and male made you a second class citizen. The city was the manufacturing and transport hub of America, the vast influx of immigrants swelling it’s already booming population brought great wealth but also corruption and criminality. The midwest and Chicago typified a way of life, the ‘gun culture’ which is a euphemism for individualism, from which much of modern American social values have grown.

John is currently working on a trilogy of novels set in modern-day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city: a Whitechapel noir.

Social Media Links –
https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Mead/e/B07B8SQ2ZH/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

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