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.

The Woman in the Mirror BLOG TOUR

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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Only Killers And Thieves by Paul Howarth – Review.

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About the Book

One scorching day in Australia deserted outback, Tommy McBride and his brother Billy return home to discover that their parents have been brutally murdered.

Distraught and desperate for revenge, the young men set out in search of the killers. But the year is 1885, and the only man who can help them is the cunning and ruthless John Sullivan wealthy landowner and their father’s former employer.

Rallying a posse of men, Sullivan defers to the deadly Inspector Noone and his Queensland Native Police an infamous arm of colonial power whose sole purpose is the dispersal of Indigenous Australians in protection of settler rights. The retribution that follows will leave a lasting scar on the colony and the country it later becomes. It will also haunt Tommy for the rest of his life.

Set against Australia s stunningly harsh landscapes, Only Killers and Thieves is a compelling, devastating novel about cruelty and survival, injustice and honour and about two brothers united in grief, then forever torn apart.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.I read a lot of historical fiction but this is the first that I have read that is set in Australia and also the one with the biggest impact. It is set in Queensland in 1885 at a troubling time with the white settlers determined to remove the Indigenous Australians from the land that they want for their own. I had heard of the horrific events that had happened but I had never heard of the role that the Native Police played.
It is a fascinating book to read, often upsetting, often sickening but it’s also humbling and shows the different ways of coping with grief. Both Tommy and Billy cope in different ways,Billy is determined to be just like the men they are with, and he wants to prove himself and Tommy is determined not to be.
There is some violence, you couldn’t really expect anything else with a book like this, but it’s almost like being in the background. It does happen, sometimes with graphic descriptions, but most of the novel focuses on the increasing differences between the two brothers and the volatile situation in the group. There are more horrible people than nice ones, some could show compassion and understanding but then they would show their true colours in other ways. The second part of the novel which is only short shows that attitudes don’t really change but there was a chance to make amends.
It is an important piece of fiction, brilliantly written with plenty of compassion and understanding. Highly recommended and I’m sure it will be one of my top books for 2018.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh – Blog Tour Review.

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About The Book

To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Thirteen is the second full length novel that I have read featuring Eddie Flynn. And what a brilliant novel it is and it has served a reminder that I need to read the two that I missed.
It is a court based drama, which you can gather from the synopsis, but the first half of the novel concerns Kane and his attempts to be part of the jury on the case involving a Hollywood celebrity. It also focuses on Eddie trying to find a way of clearing his client’s name. What the author does so well is his different personalities. He shows the ‘showbiz’ side to the top named lawyers who are only interested in getting their names in the papers and who have no interest in justice.  And he does the ones who are in a situation they have no control over. There are only a couple who do the job for the right reasons. One of these is Eddie. Eddie is different to the others, he has a conscience, a dubious past and a wrecked marriage. But he refuses to back down, believing his client is innocent.
The parts of the novel that involved Kane were sinister. The reader knows from the prologue what he is capable of and he gets worse. There is nothing that he will stop at to ensure that he will be on he jury.  I had no idea who he was or how far he would go to do this, nor did I know why. He is only ever identified as Kane, not the person he pretends to be.
I don’t read much court based drama, they sometimes feel a little cold but this series is different to all the others. This is a series that has a lawyer who despite his past and his faults, is honest, down to earth and has a good heart. He wants to earn a living, who doesn’t? but he wants to do his job to the best of his ability for the right reason.
I can’t wait to see what he gets up to next.

THIRTEEN BLOG TOUR (002)

Rubicon by Ian Patrick -Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights. Sam Batford is a corrupt undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply. DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets. Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Rubicon is one of those novels that takes over your life. From the opening chapter I could see immediately that this would be a novel that I would struggle to put down. It was very fast paced with some very unlikable characters.
The characters who feature are either members of the police, from a variety of departments, none of whom really want to work together or criminals. There is at least one who is both. I had my suspicions about more. Sam Batford is one of them, and unlike the others he admits to being corrupt from the beginning.
You get to know him quite well. When I first read about his nightmares I felt very unsettled, mainly because I hadn’t realised what was happening. But that, and his other nightmares explain a lot about the way he is. They made me realise that even though he was a corrupt officer it wasn’t only for his gain. He noticed a lot more than I did.
I read a huge amount of crime fiction and thought I had seen it all. But this book contains murders that are among the most gruesome that I’ve read. I think that when this book makes it to the TV screen, it has been optioned by the BBC, I will be hiding behind a cushion.
A great debut, I just wonder what will be next.

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