Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Daisy Clayton’s killer was never caught. In over ten years, there has been no breakthrough in her murder case.

Detective Renée Ballard has faced everything the LAPD’s notorious dusk-till-dawn graveyard shift has thrown at her. But, until tonight, she’d never met Harry Bosch – an ex-homicide detective consumed by this case.

Soon, she too will become obsessed by the murder of Daisy Clayton.

Because Ballard and Bosch both know: every murder tells a story. And Daisy’s case file reads like the first chapter in an untold tragedy that is still being written – one that could end with Ballard herself, if she cannot bring the truth to light.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book I have read by Michael Connelly, there are quite a few to catch up on if I ever have a dent in my reading. From what I can gather the series featuring Bosch is a lot longer than the one featuring Ballard.

The cold case involving the murder of Daisy is the one that brings both of his characters together. Two different types of police officer, Bosch is now a reserve, and they are also from different generations, have different methods but they get on well and are working as a team.

Both of the characters narrate and it was Ballard’s story I preferred. If I had known more about Bosch’s character and previous cases my feelings could have differed. But Ballard intrigued me, obviously dedicated to her job, more than capable but banished to the ‘late show’.

Whilst they are intent on finding out what happened to Daisy they both had other investigations. Bosch was looking at gang related crimes and Ballard had a variety of call outs that she had to deal with. I found this really interesting and it’s not something I have come across before. It showed how the police officer’s shift changed constantly, how much they relied on their team and how many cases they had to deal with at the same time.

Towards the end I started to see a different side to Bosch, a more sinister one. Because I haven’t read any of the earlier books I’m not sure if it how he works or whether emotions were affecting his approach.

I will, one day, read the earlier books to find out.

Tell Me Where You Are – Moira Forsyth – Guest Post – Blog Tour.

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Moira Forsyth to my blog to talk about sisters in fiction. I will show the synopsis before handing you over to Moira.

About The Book

Maybe the worst thing hadn’t happened yet. You couldn’t know the awful things lined up in the future, looming.

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

Guest Post

SUCH DEVOTED SISTERS by Moira Forsyth, author of Tell Me Where You Are(Sandstone Press, 15 May 2019)

If your sister went missing, you’d want her found. 

Or maybe not.

That’s the premise of Tell Me Where You Are, which is about three sisters, the middle one of whom has always caused trouble. All but one of my five published novels contain a set of sisters. In Tell Me Where You Are that relationship is toxic, the cause of unhappiness and conflict rather than mutual support and love.  Even in the closest of sisterly relationships there are areas of friction and dissent, and I’m far from the first author to explore that.

We could start with Dorothy Edwards’s series of children’s books: My Naughty Little Sisterwhere the younger girl is constantly getting into trouble and older sister (the unnamed narrator) must sort things out, avoid being blamed and save their mother from disruption. I wonder what they were like when they grew up? Did the older girl settle down with a steady local boy, marry and have children (one of whom was bound to be Naughty Little Brother)? Or did she tire of being responsible? Did she rebel and leave home to live with unsuitable men and play in a rock band and dye her hair pink? Did Naughty Little Sister subdue her instinct for chaos and pass her exams, getting into a good university and finding a job in public relations? (I feel publicity is her forte.) Time someone wrote the sequel.

Then there are the sisters in Ballet Shoes, who are not sisters at all, but three adoptees from widely different backgrounds, who all go on to wonderful careers. Their lives are constricted by lack of money but made glamorous by the mystery of their origins and the intensity of the ambitions they pursue. Yet Noel Streatfield created a family life around them that, however unusual, is still familiar – the rivalries and resentments of the three girls are completely credible.

I come from a small family, with one younger sister and one girl cousin. Because there were just the three of us, we were close as children, and are close now as women with grown-up children. We’ve had years in between of living far apart, pursuing different lives, and there have been small patches of coolness. What links us though is stronger than anything that might divide us. As an adult I’ve only once fallen out with my sister, at a time when we were each suffering severe stress. We were both utterly miserable until we sorted things out.

In Tell Me Where You Are Frances is the oldest sister, the sensible one, but there is a good reason she’s alienated from Susan. Susan went off with her husband when their children were tiny, and that’s something hard to forgive anyone, let alone your sister. Gillian, the youngest, has her own problems, but she has lost Susan too – what Susan did has ripped her out of the family altogether. 

One of my favourite novels when I was a child, was Little Women. There can’t be any girl who’s read it who doesn’t identify with one or other of the March sisters. I of course was Jo; my sister, Meg. She was the one content with home and family; I was the restless one, writing stories in cheap notebooks. I still can’t see why Jo should have been required (by saintly Marmee) to forgive Amy for destroying her manuscript. Just about as bad as going off with your husband (or worse….)

Jane Austen’s love for her sister Cassandra didn’t stop her from writing about sisters whose mutual understanding was less than perfect: Eleanor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility(another sensible older sister, note!) the self-centred and shallow Maria and Julia in Mansfield Park; the five sisters in Pride and Prejudice covering the spectrum from intelligent and thoughtful to downright silly. How brilliantly she depicts teenagers in that novel – man-mad Lydia and Kitty and priggish Mary.

Tell Me Where You Are is the one novel I’ve written which elicits the question from readers – are you planning a sequel? I never have. My focus is always on starting again, with a new set of characters and a different story. Each novel seems complete in itself. Yet, as I’ve begun talking about this novel again in the run up to its new publication date, I’ve started thinking about Susan’s story, and what her point of view might have been. Can you write fan fiction about your own work? Hm. Might try this one day.

Families are rich sources of conflict, high emotion and explosive secrets, and the special relationships between siblings is at the core of that. I planned to write about love and marriage in my last novel, A Message from the Other Side, but guess what? The principal characters are two sisters and two brothers. 

About The Author

Moira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 
Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.
DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late. 

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. If you haven’t read the Marnie Rome series by Sarah Hilary then you should do. And in order, mainly because the lead characters have ongoing personal problems that won’t mean as much if you are not aware of the back story.

This latest book differs slightly to the rest, with much of the storyline concerning Noah. He is trying and failing to accept the events that happened in the previous novel and it is affecting his judgment. And with the violent deaths which have devastated two families in their local area he is struggling. 

There is too much about this novel that is real life news. When I first started to read it the city I live in was on lockdown and curfew controlled due to gun and knife crime. Something that is happening everywhere but especially in London. There is Grenfell which is visible from the area in which the book is set, one part of the novel is a chilling reminder of what happened there. There are unscrupulous landlords, untrustworthy people and drugs and how children are recruited into the drug culture. But the hardest part to read was the racial hatred and how people make assumptions because of skin colour. The way Noah coped with it was revealing, showing that it must be common.

It’s riveting, very realistic, heartbreaking and eye opening. I enjoyed knowing more about what Noah was feeling and seeing his conversations with his brother but I wish he could have a break.

Marnie does still feature, she is active in the case but is also aware that Noah is noticing more than her. She is feeling responsible for him and feels guilty over not being able to help. But she also has personal problems and I have a strong feeling that her decision won’t go the way she wants it to.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series. 

Turbulent Wake by Paul Hardisty – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father. Hidden in one of the upstairs rooms of the old man’s house he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of stories that seems to cover the whole of his father’s turbulent life.

As his own life starts to unravel, Ethan works his way through the manuscript, trying to find answers to the mysteries that have plagued him since he was a child. What happened to his little brother? Why was his mother taken from him? And why, in the end, when there was no one else left, did his own father push him away?

Swinging from the coral cays of the Caribbean to the dangerous deserts of Yemen and the wild rivers of Africa, Turbulent Wake is a bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love and loss … of the indelible damage we do to those closest to us and, ultimately, of the power of redemption in a time of change.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have read Paul Hardisty’s series of books that featured Claymore Straker and enjoyed them. Turbulent Wake is completely different and I loved every bit of it. It tells the story of a family that is estranged and full of regret for the things that went wrong. It was nothing like I thought it would be. 

Ethan returns home for his father’s funeral. They have had no contact for years, no explanation, they just have separate lives. Whilst he is there he finds a manuscript that was written by his father which tells the story of his life. His mistakes, his regrets and his hopes for the future. 

Warren, or War, is described as the young engineer throughout much of the book. You see him as a child, what he wants to be when he grows up, fear and his first love. You see him becoming a teenager and married man who wants to do the right thing, who tries to help but faces setbacks along the way.

The narrative features the manuscript but also Ethan’s reaction as he reads. He is more like his father than he imagined. Both have major family problems, have careers that are not what they expected and wish things could be different. As he reads he starts to see what understand what went wrong in his own life and ways of making it better. 

But it was the manuscript that I became anxious to read, wanting to know what happened in each stage of the young engineer’s life, his errors of judgement, and his attempts to make things right. It’s not all about family. It’s about the damage that humankind are causing in the world with greed and power. He describes war torn areas, communities, nature and habitat being destroyed by mankind. All of it is brutal and devastating to read. Especially toward the end when he is no longer young.

Heartbreaking, honest, wonderful. This novel needs to be read by many, so they can see what damage they cause.

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

What secrets were covered up at the court of Henry VIII …?

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her. 

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne. 

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life… 

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy. Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?

And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I enjoy reading historical fiction and the Tudor period, especially when it concerns Henry VIII, is a favourite. Because I have read so much of it I am familiar with some of the characters. However, I was on the internet quite a lot whilst reading this book because many are portrayed differently and there were a few who I had never heard of before. These were mainly the family of Catherine Howard. 

It is an alternative look at the events surrounding two of Henry’s wives. I have read before, how he would set his eyes on a future wife and even though this novel is approached differently I could imagine some of it happening. His moods, control and violence combined with what he perceived as romance and loving behaviour. I could see, clearly, how much of a maniac he was. 

In modern day, Perdita is sifting through her grandmother’s works trying to find out more about her past. She isn’t safe, according to some, the answers she does find should stay hidden. It is here where more of the alternative Tudor court is revealed. 

I did have an inkling very early about how Perdita and Kit were connected to the past but it’s not revealed in this book. It wasn’t by what I read, more by my knowledge of the surnames of both. I will have to wait to see if I’m proved right. 

Like many dual frame time novels I read I had a favourite, in this book it was Catherine’s story that  I found more fascinating. I enjoyed getting to know more about Catherine, her sisters , her court and her terrifying relationship with the King. I had to remember that this was an alternative historical account.