Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus

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Jerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God. Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

A complex, page-turning psychological thriller, riddled with twists and turns, Epiphany Jones is also a superb dark comedy with a powerful emotional core. You’ll laugh when you know you shouldn’t, be moved when you least expect it and, most importantly, never look at Hollywood, celebrity or sex in the same way again. This is an extraordinary debut from a fresh, exceptional new talent.

My Review:

Epiphany Jones is one of the most hard hitting novels that I have read. It’s one of a few that I have read lately that’s theme is sex crimes but this one is slightly different in the way that it comes together and the way everything is revealed.
The two main characters Jerry and Epiphany are both victims. Epiphany is a victim of sex trafficking and Jerry is suffering from tragic events that happened in his childhood. The way that he coped was unusual and in all honesty I found it very difficult to read. There is some black humour that I loved and the seedy side of Hollywood made a great storyline that was chillingly convincing. Whilst I didn’t particularly like either Jerry or Epiphany I had more sympathy for Epiphany. She was violent and unpredictable but she had her reasons.
It was a different type of novel for me. The more graphic parts of the novel I didn’t care for and I’m not sure if they contributed or detracted from the main storyline that was strong enough on its own.

 

Thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received, details of the blog tour are below.

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Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

 

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In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbour town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where 18 year old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted rollercoaster ride that builds to a stunning conclusion.

My Review:

I can’t remember the last time that I read a novel that had so many twists in it. Don’t You Cry takes place in Chicago in early winter. Quinn and Esther are housemates and when Esther disappears Quinn starts to realise that nothing is as it seems. At this time we meet Alex who lives on the outskirts of the city. He was forced to stay in his hometown to look after his alcoholic father when all his friends left to pursue their dreams. Life is mundane until the girl he names Pearl comes into his life.
The narrative switches back and forth between Quinn and Alex. Just when I thought I had it all worked out something else was revealed and proved me wrong. I think there was only one small part that I solved correctly.
I really liked Quinn, she was aware of her faults and still wanted to be there for Esther even though she was hurt by things that she was finding out. Alex as well, put his whole life on hold to care for his father and to help a girl that he knew nothing about. Reading this novel makes me want to add her previous ones to my already towering pile of books to read.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley and to Cara Thompson for the chance to appear in the blog tour.

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Quantrill Talks: The Dead Can’t Talk.

Today, I am delighted to start a series of blog posts about Nick Quantrill. He will be chatting to various bloggers all week about his work and Hull. I finished the novel last night and will review later this week.

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Starting a new series (by Nick Quantrill)

In many ways starting a new series feels like an act of madness. All that work building up a set of characters, building up their story and thinking what their futures might hold goes to one side. But after writing three books featuring Private Investigator Joe Geraghty, and making the decision to do just that, it’s something I’ve been thinking about.
I’m a huge fan of Ian Rankin’s Rebus series. It’s twenty or so books deep, but it still feels like there are layers of Rebus to be peeled back. Ditto with Michael Connelly’s exemplary Harry Bosch series. The list goes on, but these writers know when to pull back and recharge their batteries by writing a standalone. It’s all good, but George Pelecanos’s method of writing a mixture of trilogies, quartets and standalones really appeals and offers a different route forward.
Writing a character you know well is like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. You can place your protagonist into a situation and know how they will react. Joe Geraghty has rolled with the punches across three novels and just about come out on the other side. But how many times will he take on jobs, a regular northern man trying to make a living, knowing he’s opening himself up to a whole world of physical and mental pain? The end of the third novel, “The Crooked Beat”, leaves him in a place to reassess and start again. Maybe he just needs a break before he finds himself totally broken.
As a writer, freshness is undoubtedly good. It’s what keeps us at our laptops, telling more stories. My home city of Hull is undergoing major change and being 2017 UK City of Culture will put us out into the world like never before. It’ll bring money, profile and prestige, so I wanted characters that could walk through more doors than a Private Investigator could.
Anna Stone and Luke Carver are different, but also the same. They come from very different backgrounds, but share a commitment to justice. Stone is a Detective Constable with Humberside Police, but the start of “The Dead Can’t Talk” sees her on a sabbatical not of her choosing after the disappearance of her sister. Questioning her future, she’s brought back into contact with Luke Carver, a drifter she’d arrested some years previously. He’s fresh out of prison, but there’s more to his conviction that meets the eye. Carver has in his possession a videotapewhich might just give Stone the answers she craves about in relation to her sister.
How far will they go together? I have lots of ideas, but they feel like the right people to be exploring the city with as it changes further. Maybe even Joe Geraghty will feature in one of their novels. Change is always a risk, a gamble, but I hope readers will come along for the ride.

You can buy or read more about the novel here

Or visit his website

Or follow him on Twitter

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.