Halfway by B. E. Jones – Blog Tour Review.

halfway cover

About The Book

If everyone is lying, who can you trust?

The Halfway Inn is closed to customers, side-lined by a bypass and hidden deep in inhospitable countryside. One winter’s night, two women end up knocking on the door, seeking refuge as a blizzard takes hold.

But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father trying so hard to tell them?

At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd is holding the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a brutal murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run – but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she’s stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the local district nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to investigate her disappearance.

The strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, but soon realise they might have been safer on the road. It seems not all the travellers will make it home for Christmas . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Halfway takes place in a small community that has been practically cut off from everywhere due to a snowstorm. There has been a murder and as you read you start to slowly uncover what has happened.
At first, I couldn’t see how the narrative matched the synopsis. The author spends a lot of time setting the scene. It’s a slightly claustrophobic atmosphere and with the chapters covering the points of view of the hitchhiker, the old man, the law and the apprentice there is a lot to learn.
The parts that concerned the hitchhiker were my favourite. They were the most intimidating and thought-provoking. At first I thought the hitchhiker was one to be wary of, you are aware that there is something she was hiding, but as I got to know more about the nurse I started to suspect that something more sinister was happening.
The chapters covering the law were amusing with the rookie police officer’s actual actions compared with the type of officer she wanted to be. All based on the way that female police heroines are portrayed in the movies and TV shows.
When you actually realise what happened on the snowy night I was amazed. I had been duped from the beginning and now want to reread to see what I misread.
Halfway is one of the more original novels that I have read this year.

halfway

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon – Blog Tour Review.

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About The Book

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction.

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark police suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I read many police procedural novels and it is normal for the lead character to have personal problems. But the problems that Sol has are much worse than any of the others that I have read. The flashbacks to the events that happened ten years and five years ago provide just enough detail to show why he is like he is in modern-day. You sense the guilt and desperation that he feels most of the time in his personal life and the way if affects his career and relationship with his colleagues.
I found this novel believable. The way his working life is portrayed, with the often mundane tasks and the relationships seems like an honest one. The way that personal feelings have to be put to one side to concentrate on a case that needs solving.
Whilst the murder case is an interesting one, the most powerful part of the novel for me was Sol and his method of coping. It felt real, the grief forcing him to keep those who could help at a distance. and the frustration it caused his colleagues. It’s a series I will definitely read more of.

DIG TWO GRAVESby Keith NixonBLOG TOUR (1)

Presumed Guilty by Jane Isaac – Blog Tour Review.

presumed guilty cover

About The Book

Accident or murder?

The first victim – a prominent local councillor, killed in a hit and run ‒ could be either, but the next bodies leave no doubt. A twisted killer is at large. And he’s not finished yet.

DC Beth Chamberlain, Family Liaison Officer, has to support the victims’ families, but before she can solve the crimes in the present, Beth needs to uncover the secrets of the past.

Meanwhile, the killer has her in his sights…

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. Presumed Guilty is the second book in the series that features Beth Chamberlain. It can be read as a standalone novel, there are no references to the previous case. But you would benefit knowing about her personal life before reading it.
Beth is a family liaison officer. One of the reasons I enjoy this series is because even though it is police procedural it is from an angle that I don’t usually read. It shows that information revealed by loved ones can go a long way to solving a crime. It also shows how much of a case is solved from the less prominent members of the force.
This book starts with a suicide and shortly after a murder. Nothing is revealed about the suicide until the second half of the book. The murdered man’s reputation is in tatters, he has nobody to really mourn his loss apart from his wife who questions if she really knew him. But despite the feelings his death still needs to be solved.
Beth wants to be more involved in the case but is being held back for various reasons by some members in the team. As more people die she is one who has the ability to dig deeper and see the connection.
She is a character I really like, both in her personal life and her professional one. I think there is huge potential for the series to be a long running one. I want to see her family life become easier and for her career to develop. The team is a close one, there are loyalties there that you don’t see immediately.
The ending is slightly ominous, and I’m looking forward to reading what happens next.

presumed-guilty

Attend by West Camel – Blog Tour Review.

 

About The Book

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read anything like this book before. I had expected it to be a crime novel with mention of gang related crime in the synopsis. But, while there is violence it is more about the emotion that the acts cause. The reasons why the violence has to occur and the loyalty portrayed by the friends and family of the people responsible. And bizarrely the lack of sympathy to the victim. 

The three main characters are ones that will stay with me for quite a while. Two of them, Sam and Anne are trying to rebuild their lives. Anne finds it very difficult, the daily struggle to stay off drugs, having to rebuild her family’s trust and the sense of loss over missing so much. Sam, who realises that he can only be really happy if he is honest about his feelings. Deborah is different, older but adamant that she will get what she wants by helping Sam and Anne come to terms with their situation. 

It’s a great feeling when you realise very early in a book that you are in for a treat. West Camel’s writing is stunning, his characters who all give me the impression of being very lonely, are ones that I was thinking about constantly. Deborah especially, with her life story and the thing that she was desperate for.  The accounts of her childhood and her experiences in the blitz are very moving,  and had me thinking of stories passed down in my own family.

It’s not only the characters in the novel that I am still thinking about it is also the setting in Deptford. When I was reading the acknowledgments I realised that the areas mentioned exist. I then spent a fascinating hour looking at local history websites and photos on the internet. And I had a strangely emotional feeling when I think I found the ‘real’ Deborah.

A wonderful book with a  fascinating setting. 

 

My Sister, Myself by Jill Treseder – Blog Tour Review.

My Sister Myself Cover

About The Book

Hungary, 1956. Russian tanks brutally crush the revolution against the Communist regime. Sisters Katalin and Marika escape Budapest with their family and settle in London.

However, the past is not so easily left behind. Their father is a wanted man, and the sisters’ relationship hangs in the balance. Their futures are shaped by loss. For Katalin, this means the failure of her ambition and a devastating discovery; for Marika, an equally heart-breaking experience.

Caught between their Hungarian heritage and their new lives in Britain, the sisters struggle to reconnect. Family secrets are exposed, jeopardising Katalin’s and Marika’s identities.

Can their relationship survive war, division and grief?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Before I started reading My Sister, Myself I was under the impression it was auto biographical. Why, I have no idea, I must have misread the blurb. But all the way through, I couldn’t shake off that feeling, even though it is fictional.
I do know there were problems in some parts of Europe after WW2 but am ashamed to say I know nothing about what happened in Hungary. In the novel the things seen and described are through the eyes of a young girl. The things that somebody that age should never see, and they are things that an adult would struggle with.
Because of that I could forgive Katalin for some of her behaviour.
There are three narratives, Katalin, Marika and Klára, their Aunt. Klára has lived in Devon for years, a refugee from a different time. She was widowed in the war and was childless. Her life changes dramatically when she has to take in the two girls when they struggle with their new life in London.
There is so much that makes you think. The type of life they had in Hungary, followed by the way they were initially treated when they were refugees who couldn’t speak the language. Both girls made different choices, I was surprised the way they did. The one who I thought I would like more and who I thought would be more successful wasn’t. Much of the novel concerns their fractured relationship and I had a lot of sympathy for Klára who had to pick up all the pieces.
It’s a wonderful book that I am thrilled to be given the chance to read. It’s a book that is out of my comfort zone and possibly wouldn’t have heard about.

My Sister Myself Blog Tour Poster