Do No Harm by Lucy V Hay – Blog Tour Review.

D0_NO_HARM_COVER (1)

About the Book

Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Do No Harm is the follow-up novel to the excellent The Other Twin and is one of the more malevolent novels I have read. From the opening chapters you could see the venomous thoughts and the wish that the marriage between Lily and Sebastian would fail.
The narrative comes from Lily, Sebastian, and an unknown narrator. You read about how happy Lily is to get away from her controlling ex husband Maxwell, how Sebastian wants to do the best he can for Lily and her son Denny, and how all the unknown narrator wants is for the marriage to fail. I changed my mind constantly about who this person could be. The only two I didn’t suspect were Lily, because it was so evident that it couldn’t be her, and Denny because he was only six years old. These two were also the most likeable in the novel.
At times I found it very unsettling, more so at the beginning when the unexplained events were less life threatening and more mind games. The acts that involved Denny left me feeling tense. Anybody who could manipulate a situation that could cause anxiety to a six year old child must have no remorse or compassion.
I did eventually realise who was responsible quite late on in the novel, I have to admit I was convinced it was somebody else. Obviously I can’t say who.
A brilliant, even though disturbing novel that I recommend highly.

FINAL DO NO HARM BLOG TOUR POSTER

Dead of Night by Michael Stanley – Blog Tour Review.

DEAD OF NIGHT Cover VIS_preview

About the Book

When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, but within a week she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that she doesn’t want, but can’t get rid of…

Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late, both for the rhinos and for her. She has a powerful story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…

Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller from Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu series, introducing an intriguing new protagonist, while exposing one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the Detective Kubu series by Michael Stanley I knew I would enjoy this new novel, even though it is not part of that series.
The character on this series is Crys, a Vietnamese freelance journalist and biathlete who has spent most of her life in America. She is passionate about wildlife, there is a very touching part in the novel where she gives the reasons, and when a close friend goes missing whilst investigating poaching she takes his place. She hopes to find him, alive, and highlight the rhino horn poaching problem.
And it is in Africa that the magic starts. We can all go to zoos and wildlife parks in the countries that we live in, but reading this novel shows that you will never experience anything unless you see it in its natural environment. Reading about Crys’s joy at seeing the wildlife and the attempts by the farmers to keep them safe was touching and I felt like I was experiencing it myself. But there is more than just the wildlife, there is also the danger that comes with those who want to use the wildlife, in this case rhino, to make a lot of money. There are the poachers, corrupt police and many others to be wary of. There are also those who make their decisions for reasons that are more personal than greed.
This is one of those novels that make you open your eyes to a big problem. That if certain practices are not stopped it will be catastrophic for the future. There are many creatures who are at threat due to greed, power and unproven medical uses.
I don’t know if this is a standalone novel or the first in a series. It works well either way.

Dead of Night blog poster 2018 (3)

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech – Review.

51ZlA4Ois6L

About the Book

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have now read and thoroughly enjoyed all four of Louise Beech’s novels. She is the only author who doesn’t write crime fiction who I follow avidly. Her writing is exquisite.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story. Most of the novel concerns both Ben and Andrew, the reader sees both sides of their story. You first meet Ben when he is in Zimbabwe. You know that it is a life long dream but don’t know why he chose to be there at this time in his life. He is struggling with his emotions though, wanting to ring home, or write but not being able to do so. But he is somebody who struggles to admit to those close to him his true feelings. More is revealed as you read. It is a different setting for me, but I could visualise it through the writing. The weather, the magical sunrises, the lions with their beauty but also the knowledge that they could be a threat. And the vile coffee.
Andrew is a completely different character. Much more open in some ways, he has no problems with his sexuality, but in other ways he struggles. Health issues, a lonely childhood and the unfulfilled dream of becoming an author.
When reading this novel I felt like everything else that was happening in the world vanished. It was impossible to be distracted whilst reading. This is rare for me, I’m best reading with nothing happening in the background but with this book it didn’t matter. It took over everything. There is so much to love. Bob Fracklehurst ( a character who regular readers will know), the humour that is present in a relationship with a soul mate, the wrong words, the excerpts from Andrew’s book at the top of each chapter. I could go on and on.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. More than once. I cried at the relationship between Ben and Andrew a few times and I also cried over Will. The man who knew he had made mistakes, and regretted them.
An absolutely brilliant novel, told as always from the heart.

Claymore Straker’s Journey – Absolution – Paul Hardisty.

ABSOLUTION COVER AW.indd

Today it is my pleasure to finish a week of blog posts that have highlighted the Claymore Straker series by Paul Hardisty that is published by Orenda. Other posts appeared on

Monday: lizlovesbooks.com
Tuesday: off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.com
Wednesday: espressococo.com
Thursday: grabthisbook.net

ON this final day Paul will tell you about the most recent book in the series. I will show the synopsis first.

About the Book

Sequel to the critically acclaimed The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear and Reconciliation for the Dead. Claymore Straker returns in another gripping, page-turning, socially conscious thriller, with more at stake than ever…

It is 1997, eight months since vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker fled South Africa after his explosive testimony to Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Paris, Rania LaTour, journalist, comes home to find that her son and her husband, a celebrated human rights lawyer, have disappeared. On an isolated island off the coast of East Africa, the family that Clay has befriended is murdered as he watches.

So begins the fourth instalment in the Claymore Straker series, a breakneck journey through the darkest reaches of the human soul, as Clay and Rania fight to uncover the mystery behind the disappearances and murders, and find those responsible.

Events lead them both inexorably to Egypt, where an act of the most shocking terrorist brutality will reveal not only why those they loved were sacrificed, but how they were both, indirectly, responsible. Relentlessly pursued by those who want them dead, they must work together to uncover the truth, and to find a way to survive in a world gone crazy. At times brutal, often lyrical, but always gripping, Absolution is a thriller that will leave you breathless and questioning the very basis of how we live and why we love.

 Guest Post

For the fourth and latest Straker novel, I wanted to give Rania her own voice, without altering the essential point of view narrative of the rest of the series. I use Rania’s own words to tie together the plot threads from the previous three novels. Absolution opens with Clay on a lonely island near Zanzibar, on the coast of East Africa. His explosive testimony in South Africa has awakened old enemies, the inevitable consequence of fighting the establishment and telling the truth. The young family he has befriended on the island are murdered as he watches, unable to help. Meanwhile, ten thousand kilometres away in Paris, Rania returns home to find her husband and young son have disappeared. Events lead them both to Cairo, where their destinies converge in the cauldron of modern terrorism, greed, crushing poverty, and appalling pollution. Again, the action is based on real events, both historical and autobiographical, and as before, I bet that you won’t see what’s coming until it hits you. A big chunk of the book was written in Egypt.

IMG_2103

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen – Blog Tour Review.

BIG_SISTER_AW.indd

About the Book

When PI Varg Veum is approached to find a missing girl, by a half-sister he barely knew, his investigation takes him deep into the dark web, and some personal history he’d rather forget…

Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.

Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…

Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Big Sister is the latest in the long running series to feature Varg Veum and is set in 2003. The case he has to solve is often chilling and a harsh reminder that some of the more murky side to society was an issue then as well. Many of the people he has to see don’t want to talk or are simply unable to. And some of them you really wouldn’t want to meet.
With this novel I felt like I got to know Varg more. There is the case he is trying to solve, which he does in his usual way. Mainly by annoying people and putting himself in danger. But the case has been brought to him by his older half sister who he had never met. With the arrival of Norma, Varg discovers more about himself and his family and whilst apprehensive he feels an instant connection to her. Much of this side of the story really touched me, how common is it to know nothing at all about loved ones?

for an instant a thought struck me: how many siblings are out there who never meet? Who don’t even know about each other…? ‘

I think this is book twenty in the series but with the way it is written a reader can pick any of the books up and follow them easily. This one was the third that I have read and they are all later in the series. I haven’t noticed any spoilers and Varg is the type of character who you feel like you would want to always have around. Quiet, determined, and even though at times he appears to be a loner there are always people there who he can turn to.
I have enjoyed all the books that I have read so far but this is my favourite. This is the one where the poetry comes through. How many authors are there who can make rain sound so enticing?

In Bergen, November is the month of the grey monk. The snow comes later. The sun makes a guest appearance or two. Most days are grey and more often than not it rains. Not summer’s short bursts; not October’s long downpours, which flood the streets and cellars because the relevant authorities haven’t cleared the autumn leaves this year, either; nor spring’s refreshing rain, which washes away the remnants of winter and makes the town clean again. In November, rain is the personification of gloom, as though really it wants to be snow, like a teenage girl with her head in the clouds, dreaming about becoming a prima ballerina one day.

I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Big Sister blog poster 2018