The Defence by Steve Cavanagh

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Its been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter, Amy. Eddie only has forty-eight hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if he wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?

My Review:

It’s a few years since I have read a legal thriller, the ones I have read were ok but nothing memorable. I decided to download The Defence after seeing a lot of reviews praising it, I have to say that I agree, it really is very good. I decided to read it just before the release of the follow up book The Plea then I wouldn’t have to wait months for it to be published.
The start is very intense, Eddie knows how much danger both he and his family are in from the opening few pages. He isn’t sure if and how he will succeed, just that he has no other option. He has to do what they say. The people who he has to deal with are ruthless but Eddie is tough. He isn’t squeaky clean and has a few tricks of his own. He also has people he can rely on when things get bad.
It’s everything I love to read in a book. Drama, fear, humour, and the feeling that I had to keep on reading the book. Just one more chapter was a phrase I used often. After reading this I’m really looking forward to reading the follow up and I’m glad I already have it on my kindle.

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

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Hannah Dexter is a nobody, ridiculed at school by golden girl Nikki Drummond and bored at home. But in their junior year of high school, Nikki’s boyfriend walks into the woods and shoots himself. In the wake of the suicide, Hannah finds herself befriending new girl Lacey and soon the pair are inseparable, bonded by their shared hatred of Nikki. Lacey transforms good girl Hannah into Dex, a Doc Marten and Kurt Cobain fan, who is up for any challenge Lacey throws at her. The two girls bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

My Review:
But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything . . .
Girls on Fire is a slightly different read for me and one that I would struggle to select a genre for. It should just be labeled Read Me.
At the beginning a teenage boy takes his own life. When the school he attended goes into mourning two teenage girls Lacey and Hannah (Dex) become friends. It’s a strange and slightly unsettling friendship. One of them is ‘damaged’, has an obsession with Kurt Cobain and gets no family support. The other is a nobody, never one of the popular kids and often ridiculed by Nikki who is another key character in the novel.
It is very disturbing. Each chapter tell either Lacey’s or Hannah’s version of events and how they are handling the situation that they are in. I couldn’t decide who was the better friend to Hannah out of Lacey or Nikki, both of them told lies and there was betrayal and manipulation everywhere.
Religion and Satanism also have a role to play, some of the storyline has references to both and show how belief in either had an affect on all concerned.
It’s a great book, very clever, very unsettling. It made me feel very relieved that I’m no longer a teenager and that when I was I never met anybody like the characters that feature.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.

Liverpool- David Jackson: A Tapping at My Door

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Today I am pleased to welcome David Jackson to my blog to talk about Liverpool, the city where his new novel is set.

Day Three: Liverpool – A Characterful city

While reading I was struck by the love for Liverpool which seemed to pour out the book. I actually felt that the city was a character in its own right. Was there a purposeful effort to show Liverpool in its best light or does a natural enthusiasm shine through?

I think it happens naturally. Like any city, Liverpool has its rough areas, its pockets of deprivation and decay. But it’s a city with a heart that many others don’t always seem to possess. And if you ever get bored of the culture, the history, the music and the football, then there is always the people. You will never go short of someone to talk to in Liverpool.
Do you have favourite parts of the city where you like to visit or spend time?

The area around Hope Street is my usual haunt. Here you’ll find the city’s two cathedrals, the Everyman theatre, the Philharmonic Hall, lots of restaurants, and numerous great pubs.
What do you think the international perception of Liverpool is? Is it defined by its Favourite Sons, its football, on tragedy or past successes? And to take that a step further – if you think the international perception is perhaps not how you would wish the city to be viewed then how would you ‘sell’ the city?

To be honest, it’s not so much the international perception I worry about as the national one. Tourists flock here in huge numbers because of the Beatles, the waterfront, the music, the football, and so on. But within Britain itself I think there is still a substantial fraction of the population that regards Liverpool as the home of thieves, drug-dealers and various other undesirables – an opinion largely fuelled by the press and other media. It is only when people visit that they discover what a wonderful, welcoming city it is.

Thanks David for taking the time to answer some questions. You can read my review here

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar- Chris Packham- Book Event.

 

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Last night we went to see Chris Packham talk to Patrick Barkham at The Lowry Theatre in Salford. The auditorium was full and at first he looked a little nervous but he soon settled when he started talking about his lifelong passion for wildlife
It was fascinating to listen to. Among other things we discovered that tadpoles aren’t that tasty(!), how he took a young kestrel from a nest so he could train it and about the bullying he endured from adults and people his own age. All because he had different interests. He touched briefly on Aspergers and depression but his main focus was talking about his love of conservation.
When they allowed questions from the audience at the end of the evening a couple stood out. One about the situation in Malta where thousands of birds are shot every year just for the thrill. The other from a young birder who asked about the best way to preserve wildlife for the future. His answers to both questions suggested that this generation is failing and future generations will have to do so much more.
I would have loved to have our copy signed but the queue went all the way around the building but it was a very interesting evening and I’m looking forward to reading Fingers in the Sparkle Jar very soon.

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

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When the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight?

When a woman is brutally attacked by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s increasingly bizarre behaviour.

As Gray investigates the crimes, he comes to realise that there has to be a link between Marie and the man on the run. It’s the only thing that makes any sense. But he also knows that if he confronts her with the truth, he risks losing everything.

As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes a life-changing decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once again?

My Review:

Willow Walk is the second novel in the Banktoun trilogy. There are a few references to the first book Black Wood, no spoilers, but I think that the book is one that will be enjoyed more if you know what had happened previously.
From the beginning you are aware of the violence and tragedy and the feeling is in the background all the way through. There are two storylines, one concerning drug use in the local area and one that involves Marie and how the life that she has struggled to rebuild is now threatened by her past. While reading the part concerning Marie I spent much of the time looking over my shoulder at every noise. The letters and one part when she realises that the person she fears most is very close were very intimidating,
I love Davie’s character and it makes a change to read a crime novel where the lead detective has a normal life away from the job.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received for review.