The Closer I Get by Paul Burston – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Closer I Get was a novel that I heard a lot about without really knowing it’s synopsis. That is, until I saw a link to an article in a newspaper article about what inspired the author to write it, which then inspired me to read the book as soon as I could.

Many people are on social media. Many post things that they wouldn’t say in real life, face to face. They get involved in disagreements that are best avoided, often using the hashtag. Some become stalkers. Evie is one of the few who do all of these things. There are probably many like her, a loner who had a terrible childhood and didn’t know how to be in the real world. There were moments where I could understand her pain but not how she dealt with it. After being served with a restraining order for her actions involving Tom they both have to rebuild the lives. But are things as they appear?

I found this story mesmerising. More so because neither of the two main characters were that likeable. I couldn’t work out if either of them were being honest and neither of them were nice to anybody they came into contact with. I did have sympathy for Tom initially but I also had misgivings when I could see the way he treated his friends and lovers. He was selfish and self obsessed and couldn’t see that his friend Emma may have needed him to be there for her, just like she was expected to be there for him. The only one who brought out his better side was his developing friendship with his elderly neighbour, Colin.

As well as the characters the author does a terrific job of describing the negative side to social media. One of the platforms in particular is shown at its worst and I’m probably not the only one who was left feeling ill at ease and reluctant to post anything at all.

Totally different to many of the novels that I read, I’m looking forward to my limited edition signed copy arriving soon.

The Last Stage by Louise Voss – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…

A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Last Stage is also a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Last Stage is the second book that I have read by Louise Voss and much like the first it is a slow burner, where the reader has little idea what expect.

There are quite a few narrators. Meredith, her twin brother Pete, two police officers, one of whom is a new officer, and two very unsavoury characters. One of these I did identify fairly early on, the other I was completely wrong about.

There are a few scenes that contain violence but none of them are gratuitous. They didn’t need to be, anybody who reads this can imagine the terror that Meredith felt. Not only for the threat to herself, but also towards people she cares deeply about. She was happy in her new life and doesn’t want her past to affect it. In particular she didn’t want to think about who was responsible for her injury and the reasons why she turned her back on the music industry.

Meredith was a character who I liked more as I read. I found her to be honest, felt her remorse over the abandonment of her family and admired her determination to live her life without revealing her past and relying on her fame to be successful. Her type of music I was familiar with, being roughly the same age but I was never a fan. Unlike Mavis, who made me smile a lot.

It was slightly different too much of the crime fiction I usually read. Not as dark but many of the character felt more real. In particular the police team. The frustration, admiration and determination to impress all made a very entertaining novel to read.


A Modern Family by Helga Flatland – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A Modern Family is a book that is different to many that I read. Neither crime or historical it is instead a look at how a family dynamic changes when  parents announce that they are divorcing after being married for forty years. Most of the novel focuses on Liv and Ellen but the last chapter concerns Håkon the youngest.

All of the children are adult and all react in different ways. Liv with so much fury that it threatens to break up her own family, Ellen wrapped up in her own medical problems is practically oblivious and Håkon, the only one out of the three who actually talks to both of their parents about their own feelings.

It wasn’t a novel where I could pick a favourite character or narrative. It was one where I could see every point of view and understand what each of them was going though. Even though both Liv and Ellen did sometimes appear selfish. Especially Liv, and at times I did have a bit of sympathy for her husband Olaf. 

Many could read this book and identify with what each of the characters were feeling. At times it’s political, both American and British politics were discussed with insight given into how each could affect Norway. But it doesn’t overpower this family drama of life after divorce. It’s beautifully written and one that I would definitely choose to watch if it was ever filmed.



Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

My Review


With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is a book which you will appreciate more if you have read the earlier books in the series. Varg Veum is a character who you understand and like more if you are aware what has happened to him in the past.

He has struggled to move on after the charges of appalling crimes were dropped, both professionally and personally and he is shocked that two of the men he was charged with have died suddenly. He is also aware that somebody is following him and becomes more concerned when others he is close to are at risk.

He is a character who is completely different to many that I read about. He appears a lot more relaxed and slow to act than others but he isn’t one to give up when he doesn’t get answers straight away. Instead he persists, almost hovering in the wings until whoever he is questioning reveals their secrets, worries and anger.

What this author does so well is show what other characters other than Varg are going through. All of the characters who are connected to the historic crimes are affected by what happened. Not just the victims, the relatives and friends. It’s heart wrenching and real. One scene in particular, is very upsetting. Not because of graphic detail but the emotional distress that one character displays. And the complete lack of remorse shown by the one who should have prevented it. It is a scene where Varg shows his strengths, his expertise and caring nature whilst trying to help.

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.