Small Change by Keddie Hughes – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

An unsolved murder, a marriage at breaking point and a football club in crisis collide into one woman’s life in this dramatic new novel, set against political upheaval in Glasgow in 2011. Forty-two-year-old Izzy Campbell wants more from life than a husband who is a fanatical Glasgow Rangers football supporter and a borderline alcoholic. She has always put her family’s needs first, but with her son turning eighteen she decides it’s time things change. Izzy volunteers at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and enrols for a part-time degree in Social Sciences, and when she encounters a charismatic journalist, Sean Docherty who is investigating alleged financial mismanagement at Rangers, she finds herself offering to help. Before she knows it, she is drawn into the excitement of political activism and the arms of an attractive man. Her loyalties are further tested when she discovers her husband’s part in the murder of a young fan from Rangers’ arch enemy – Celtic. The choices Izzy makes will determine the future of her life. An engaging and heartfelt story of one woman’s personal transformation.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I’m not a football fan but like many others I was aware of the scandal that involved Glasgow Rangers football club a few years ago. Small Change is a novel that shows the impact of its collapse on just one of the families affected by it.
Jim is a business man and a lifelong Rangers fan who is convinced that he has struck the deal of a lifetime when he is awarded the contract from the club to supply new security systems. He is married to Izzy who volunteers at a local help centre for those who are crippled by debt.They have a son who dreams of success in his band and is studying for his highers. But Jim is also a heavy drinker and it is affecting his judgment. He ignores all advice offered by Izzy and all the news that is in the media. He isn’t the main character, he might only have a few sentences in each chapter but what he has to say has a big impact in the novel.
It is Izzy who much of the focus is on in the novel. She hates football and has her eyes wide open to what the rumours are regarding the club. She is devoted to her husband but is getting increasingly concerned about his drinking and isn’t aware of what he has seen on the night of the murder of the Celtic fan. She just knows that their marriage and their business is at risk.
It’s a fascinating and easy book to read. As well as the drama surrounding the club there is also the referendum, drinking culture and the level of animosity between the football clubs. It shows that it is like a religion to many and intolerance and violence is common.I don’t remember reading anything that has highlighted it quite so much before. But alongside all of this is friendship, romance and forgiveness. It was lovely to read these parts of the novel and to see the effect that being able to accept a situation made a big difference to people’s lives.
I don’t always read postscripts but I did in this novel. Some of the statistics that are mentioned are staggering. Recommended.

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My Husband’s Lies by Caroline England – Extract – Blog Tour.

 

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Today it is my pleasure to show you an extract from My Husband’s Lies by Caroline England. I will let you see what the book is about first.

About the Book

Do you really know your friends?

On the afternoon of Nick and Lisa’s wedding, their close friend is found poised on a hotel window ledge, ready to jump.

As the shock hits their friendship group, they soon realise that none of them are being as honest with themselves – or with each other – as they think.

And there are secrets lurking that could destroy everything.

Extract

Finally arriving in the drenched car park, Nick spots Dan and Will’s cars parked together like kippers. Feeling a warm spread of comfort, he jumps from the car, flicks open an umbrella and opens his mum’s door. She slips out, neat and trim in her hat and tailored suit, and smiles reassuringly. Patrick does the same for their scowling father, but at a much slower pace. Harry’s hip replacement was a complete success according to the consultant, but he still struggles. ‘He’s got a new hip. He needs to use it,’ his mum says. But only in private.
The rain splattering his polished shoes, Nick walks briskly up the path towards the stone and cream church.
‘Are you nervous, love?’ his mum asks, tightly holding his arm. ‘Big day. Your big day. Exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time.’ At the door she pats the rain from his shoulders and kisses his cheek. ‘You look very handsome. You make me so proud.’
Similar to the words she used on his first day at school, he tries to answer with a mildly sardonic quip, but finds that he can’t. It’s as though the soft, steady smell of her perfume is stuck in his throat. Instead he focuses on the door, pushing it hard and almost colliding with the priest.
‘Sorry,’ he says. ‘Nearly knocked you over, Father.’
Father Garry turns. ‘Just wiping my feet.’ He shakes Nick’s hand and Patrick’s, then his mother and father’s. ‘Welcome … Welcome all,’ he says, his eyes pale and rheumy.
Glancing at his mum, he’s not sure what to say. Father Garry has clearly forgotten their names, though the tense wedding run-through was only last night.

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The TV Detective by Simon Hall – Blog Tour – Guest Post.

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Today it is my pleasure to feature a guest post where author Simon Hall interviews his character Dan Groves. I will let you read what the book is about first.

About the Book

Dan Groves is a television reporter newly assigned to the crime beat and not at all happy about it.

Dan knows next nothing about police work or how to report on it so when he persuades Detective Chief Inspector Adam Breen to allow him to shadow a high-profile murder inquiry it seems like the perfect solution though it soon becomes clear some members of the police force have no intention of playing nice with the new boy.

With his first case Dan is dropped in at the deep-end. A man is killed in a lay-by with a blast through the heart from a shotgun. The victim is a notorious local businessman, Edward Bray, a man with so many enemies there are almost too many suspects for the police to eliminate.

As tensions rise between Dan and the police he comes close to being thrown off the case until the detectives realise that far from being a liability, Dan might actually be the key to tempting the murderer into a trap.

The TV Detective is the first book in a classic crime series from Simon Hall, who until recently was the BBC Crime Correspondent for the Devon and Cornwall area.

Character Interview

Which do you prefer; your TV reporting or investigating?

What a question! That’s like asking a parent which of their two children they prefer. There must be an honest answer, but it’s probably not one that should ever be revealed. What I would say is becoming an unofficial detective has been a new life for me, an absolute revelation, and I relish it.

Is it ethical, the way you cross the line from being an impartial reporter to helping the police with the stories you put out?

I do think about that. I take my day job very seriously, and I do my best to inform, educate, and entertain the public. I would never knowingly mislead them. But sometimes you have to balance conflicting needs and demands. And if there is something I broadcast, even if I know the police want me to do so to help them with a case, if it would assist in catching a murderer, or a rapist, or some other terrible criminal, surely I would be ethically wrong not to do so.

How do you balance the intensive demands of being a TV reporter whilst working inside a high-profile criminal inquiry?

The short answer is not always well. I do get very pressured and rather stressed sometimes. But I just about manage to keep everyone happy, from Adam as he leads the investigation, to Lizzie as she edits my stories. Both know exactly what is going on, and we all need each other, so the subtext keeps us working together, even if we sometimes get snappy with each other.

Are you ever going to make an honest woman of Claire, your detective sergeant on-off girlfriend?

I think it would be better to ask whether she is ever going to make an honest man of me! Claire is wonderful. To be honest, I don’t know what she sees in me, but I’m so glad it’s something. As to whether we will get together permanently, I can only say that we’ve been through some very difficult times and always wanted to come back together, which gives me a sense of optimism for the future.

How are you coping with the depression which has always haunted you, the swamp as you think of it?

It’s far less of an issue these days than it was. I think that’s partly because I have so much more in my life now with the criminal investigations, but I just don’t have much time for sitting around and moping. I also don’t drink as much as I used to, which I think is a big help. But most of all, there is Claire. I felt so nervous confessing to her about the depression. What has someone like me got to be depressed about? I have a great life. But she was wonderfully understanding, to the extent that I think she already knew about my suffering, and she has helped me more than I can possibly say. Love does that.

What do you really think of your best friend, and professional detective, Adam

It might be an old cliché, but we really are, if I’m honest, like an old married couple. We couldn’t be without each other, but we do sometimes wind each other up. Adam can be infuriating, with his pompous, uptight ways, but I confess I hugely admire his courage and determination, not to mention his dedication to getting justice for the victims of the dreadful crimes we investigate together. And I know he needs my perception and insight. So I guess we need each other. We just don’t say so. Ever.

What happened to you in your past to make you such a good investigator? It’s alluded to, but never discussed.

For very good reasons. I just can’t say why. It’s not that I don’t know. I do. But I can’t say for a whole host of reasons, not least my own personal safety. That was a point when I thought I would never be able to face it. It’s got easier over the last few years, what happened to me, but it’s still difficult to cope with. All I will say is that it goes back to my college days, and being guided onto a path which I probably never should have taken.

Was that part of the cause of your depression?

It certainly didn’t help. I think I have a genetic predisposition towards depression, but seeing some of the things I had to see, and doing some of the things I had to do, at such a young age, that must have made it much worse. It’s the stuff of nightmares, and I’ve had more than my share.

Onto a lighter subject. How is Dirty El, that sleazy photographer who will stop at nothing to get a snap?

He is absolutely wonderful. Apart from being a great friend, and making me laugh with his dreadful antics, he’s always got a way of getting the pictures we need to make a story work. Despite being such a buffoon, there’s nothing wrong with his wits. I spoke to him earlier and he was back at the fancy dress shop, which is always a danger sign. The last time he was in there he was getting a doctor’s outfit so he could get up to no good trying to take a snap of someone in the local hospital.

And what about Rutherford, your beautiful Alsatian dog?

I would be lost without him. We went for a walk on Dartmoor last night, and he managed to get himself jammed in a gully. I had to dig him out, which was messy and annoying. But he is a source of joy to me, on our runs and walks around the beautiful Devon countryside. He also loves Claire, and Claire loves him, so we are almost a happy family!

It’s almost time to wrap this interview, so forgive me this cheeky question… How much of your creator do you think is in you?

No comment. I never comment on that. If I even thought about it, it would scare me senseless. Bits of him in me? I don’t want to go there. In fact, I’ve just remembered I need to be off now. I’ve got to walk Rutherford, and Adam needs to chat about a case.

About Simon Hall:

Simon Hall

Simon Hall is an author and journalist.

He has been a broadcaster for twenty five years, mostly as a BBC Television and Radio News Correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories Britain has seen.

His books – the tv detective series – are about a television reporter who covers crimes and gets so involved in the cases he helps the police to solve them. Seven have been published.

Simon has also contributed articles and short stories to a range of newspapers and magazines, written plays, and even a pantomime.

Alongside his novels and stories, Simon is a tutor in media skills and creative writing, teaching at popular Writers’ Summer Schools such as Swanwick and Winchester, on cruise ships and overseas.

Simon has also become sought after as a speaker, appearing at a variety of prestigious literary festivals. His talks combine an insight into his writing work, along with some extraordinary anecdotes from the life of a television reporter, including the now notorious story of What to do when you really need a dead otter.

Now 49 years old, he began a broadcasting career as a DJ on the radio and in nightclubs, then moved into radio and TV news. He worked in Europe, London, Ireland, and the south-west of England, before settling in Cambridge.

Simon is married to Jess, Director of Libraries at the University of Cambridge, and has an adopted daughter, Niamh. She’s an army officer, which makes her father both very proud and very nervous.

Simon lectures on careers in the media at Cambridge University, and in schools and colleges. Amongst his proudest achievements, he includes the number of young people he has helped into jobs in broadcasting, and aspiring writers into publication.

As for his likes, Simon lists beer – he judges at real ale festivals – cycling the countryside, solving cryptic crosswords, composing curious Tweets (find him @thetvdetective ) and studying pop lyrics.

For more on Simon, see his website – www.thetvdetective.com

Simon’s Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimonHallNews
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Simon-Hall/e/B0034Q7NPC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1523989492&sr=1-1
Buy The TV Detective direct from Fahrenheit Press:
http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_the_tv_detective.html

TV Detective

Judge Walden Back In Session by Peter Murphy – Blog Tour Review

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About the Book

Judge Walden is back, to preside over five new cases at Bermondsey Crown Court.

Retired resident judge Peter Murphy takes us back to the world of criminal trials in South London for another session with Charlie Walden keeping the peace between his fellow judges Marjorie, Legless and Hubert while fighting off the attacks of the Grey Smoothies, the civil servants who seem intent on reducing the court s dwindling resources to vanishing point in the name of business cases and value for money .

Meet the rum and memorable characters who pop into Charlie s domain, including Lester Fogle from one of London s Disorganised Crime Families, Arthur Swivell the one-time Bermondsey singing legend and the very unbardlike Elias Shakespeare. And you will never feel the same about The Owl and the Pussycat or the Entente Cordiale again.

Fortunately, Charlie has Elsie and Jeanie s lattes and ham and cheese baps, and newspaper vendor George s witty banter, to sustain him in the mornings; and in the evenings, the Delights of the Raj, or La Bella Napoli, to enjoy with the Reverend Mrs Walden.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.When I read a novella last year which introduced me to Judge Walden and all the others connected to Bermondsey Court I found it to be very entertaining so I was thrilled to be asked if I would like to read this collection.
It was like being back amongst old friends, with Charlie having to sort out all the problems that each of his trials brought as well as various other situations that occurred in the other judges courts.
There are five cases, none of which feature murder. These are the more everyday situations, robbery, smuggling and blackmail are just some of the situations we read about.
My favourite character, the Reverend Mrs Walden appears again and as before helps Charlie in a few different ways, including offering advice on battles between judges and lawyers and entertaining officials from other countries.
Very refreshing light-hearted fun and I want to read more. Still don’t fancy the daily specials though.

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Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

A little lie … a seismic secret … and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.
On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.I had never read a book by Doug Johnstone before and I can honestly say that I have never read a book quite like Fault Lines before either. I had been a little bit dubious, worrying whether it would be too scientific for me, but they were needless worries. I had no problems at all and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Many people will be familiar with Edinburgh, but the version of Edinburgh in the novel is make-believe, with its addition of a volcanic island in the Firth of Forth. It is here that the body of Tom is discovered by Surtsey.
Surtsey is the main character in the book. She is more flawed than many other characters who feature in other novels with her sometimes heavy drinking, recreational drug taking and her affair with her married boss. But she also was a character who I liked a lot and she was no different to many of the others who featured. As well as her flaws, she also had a conscience. She was devoted to her terminally ill mother and dealt with her situation a lot better than her sister. This side to her softened her a lot and helped me appreciate the depth to her personality.
All of the different characters are believable, not necessarily likeable or innocent but they suited the storyline. I didn’t feel that there was any over exaggeration of any of them. One of the most powerful parts of the novel was the description of the volcano. Combined with real life news events at the time I could picture it all vividly. First class fiction from another Orenda author.

FINAL Fault Lines blog poster 2018