Attend by West Camel – Blog Tour Review.

 

About The Book

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read anything like this book before. I had expected it to be a crime novel with mention of gang related crime in the synopsis. But, while there is violence it is more about the emotion that the acts cause. The reasons why the violence has to occur and the loyalty portrayed by the friends and family of the people responsible. And bizarrely the lack of sympathy to the victim. 

The three main characters are ones that will stay with me for quite a while. Two of them, Sam and Anne are trying to rebuild their lives. Anne finds it very difficult, the daily struggle to stay off drugs, having to rebuild her family’s trust and the sense of loss over missing so much. Sam, who realises that he can only be really happy if he is honest about his feelings. Deborah is different, older but adamant that she will get what she wants by helping Sam and Anne come to terms with their situation. 

It’s a great feeling when you realise very early in a book that you are in for a treat. West Camel’s writing is stunning, his characters who all give me the impression of being very lonely, are ones that I was thinking about constantly. Deborah especially, with her life story and the thing that she was desperate for.  The accounts of her childhood and her experiences in the blitz are very moving,  and had me thinking of stories passed down in my own family.

It’s not only the characters in the novel that I am still thinking about it is also the setting in Deptford. When I was reading the acknowledgments I realised that the areas mentioned exist. I then spent a fascinating hour looking at local history websites and photos on the internet. And I had a strangely emotional feeling when I think I found the ‘real’ Deborah.

A wonderful book with a  fascinating setting. 

 

Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb – Review.

 

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About The Book

A price on her head. A secret worth dying for. Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.
With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…
Brimming with tension, high-stakes jeopardy and high-voltage action, and a deep, emotional core, Deep Dirty Truth is an unmissable thriller by one of the freshest and most exciting voices in crime fiction.

My Review

With thanks to Orenda Books and Steph Broadribb for the copy of the book, I was thrilled to be part of #teamlori who were all sent early copies. Dirty Truth is the third full length novel in the Lori Anderson series and it is my favourite one so far. When Lori is forced into a car after dropping her daughter Dakota off at school the danger all of them are in doesn’t lessen until the end of the book. Not only do they face danger from the mob but also from the rather nasty wildlife. I’m not sure which I’d be more wary of!
Whilst most of the narrative concerns Lori you also get to see what is happening with JT, Dakota and Red. Each time it switched I was anxious to go back again, the timing is perfect. I read a lot of books that have more than one narrative and it takes a great author to get it as perfect as it is here. For this reason I read this book very quickly, I was going to read two at once but that never happened. This is definitely a book you could read in one setting.
This is a series where the storylines tend to overlap. You could read this book as a standalone novel but will get so much more if you read the books in order. All of the characters and parts of the ongoing storyline have developed strongly.
Dakota is a character I adore, if you could read a novel where a secondary character became the primary one in another novel she would be my choice. She is brave, funny and very independent.
One of the most intimidating parts was when Lori was going though the Everglades. It’s not somewhere I know, and not something I would plan on visiting after this. I could practically see the alligators swim past me.
I felt that many storylines were closed at the end of this novel, please let there be another.

The Lingering by Susi Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About The Book

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Lingering is a book that falls into two of my favourite genres, crime and ghost fiction.
When Ali and Jack arrive at Rosalind House they are understandably apprehensive. They have left everything behind so they could move into the commune. But things aren’t as they seem. Ali and Jack have a secret and there are others who live in the house, not just the ones who are part of the commune.
There are three different narrators, Ali, Angela, who is a ghost hunter and Smeaton the owner and leader of the commune. There are also excerpts from a diary that reveal what happened when the home used be an asylum.
Events that happened in the past, the witch trials, the treatments at the asylum and the lives of some of the inhabitants are revealed steadily. There is nothing that suddenly hits you. There are some very sinister occurrences, particularly involving water but the most shocking moments involved what was happening in modern-day. It was these that left me feeling more on edge and a little chilled.
I love Susi’s writing, her imagination and her willingness to prove that she can write amazing fiction in more than one genre. I first read a ghost story from her a few years before she was published so I was thrilled to read a full length ghostly novel. The setting in an old asylum is perfect, every time I have seen one, either in real life or in local newspaper reports about one near where I live, makes me think of the tales associated with them and what might be lingering. A brilliant novel which I read in one day. It also has a cover that sent me dizzy every time I looked at it.

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Good Samaritans by Will Carver – Blog Tour Review.

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About The Book

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Good Samaritans is one of those novels that leaves you lost for words. And it is extremely difficult to review without revealing anything about the complex plotline. So, if you want to know what it is about read the synopsis.
I went through a wide range of emotions when reading. One of apprehension, where the hairs went up on my arms at some of the more graphic scenes. Of devastation where you consider what type of world we live in when a pathologist is desensitized to what they see. Of amusement at the comments regarding the often pathetic comments on social media and the inane programmes that are on television. And finally, one of sadness thinking about how many couples don’t enjoy each others company.
None of the characters who feature would I want to spend any time with. My initial likeness for any of them changed dramatically with the many twists. All of which made me realise I wasn’t as clever as I thought I was. It also left me very reluctant to answer the telephone.
It is complex, original and definitely not for the fainthearted.

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Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About The Book

Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Having read and enjoyed earlier novels by Antti Tuomainen I knew I would be in for a treat with Palm Beach Finland.
Likened to Fargo, and my thoughts are a day after finishing it, that like that film and similar the reader would appreciate and notice a lot more by reading more than once. I’m sure there are things that I missed on a first read. All because of the fascinating and multi layered characters.
I have my favourites. Chico and Robin, the two hapless criminals whose bizarre mishaps get this novel off to a great start. Lifelong friends, they both have their dreams of a different life. And Muurla, Jan’s boss who constantly reveals too much information about his private life. Nearly every scene that these three appeared in made me laugh. I never knew that an electric whisk or a tide could be so funny.
The author makes the resort of Palm Beach, rival to St Tropez believable. More rundown and a lot quieter and colder but Leivo, the unscrupulous owner is convinced he can make it a success. As long as Olivia can be convinced to sell.
Alongside the humour, unintentional violence and mayhem is the blossoming friendship between Jan and Olivia. Far from straightforward but very sweet. Just wonderful.

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