Judge Walden Back In Session by Peter Murphy – Blog Tour Review

Judge Walden Cover Image

About the Book

Judge Walden is back, to preside over five new cases at Bermondsey Crown Court.

Retired resident judge Peter Murphy takes us back to the world of criminal trials in South London for another session with Charlie Walden keeping the peace between his fellow judges Marjorie, Legless and Hubert while fighting off the attacks of the Grey Smoothies, the civil servants who seem intent on reducing the court s dwindling resources to vanishing point in the name of business cases and value for money .

Meet the rum and memorable characters who pop into Charlie s domain, including Lester Fogle from one of London s Disorganised Crime Families, Arthur Swivell the one-time Bermondsey singing legend and the very unbardlike Elias Shakespeare. And you will never feel the same about The Owl and the Pussycat or the Entente Cordiale again.

Fortunately, Charlie has Elsie and Jeanie s lattes and ham and cheese baps, and newspaper vendor George s witty banter, to sustain him in the mornings; and in the evenings, the Delights of the Raj, or La Bella Napoli, to enjoy with the Reverend Mrs Walden.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.When I read a novella last year which introduced me to Judge Walden and all the others connected to Bermondsey Court I found it to be very entertaining so I was thrilled to be asked if I would like to read this collection.
It was like being back amongst old friends, with Charlie having to sort out all the problems that each of his trials brought as well as various other situations that occurred in the other judges courts.
There are five cases, none of which feature murder. These are the more everyday situations, robbery, smuggling and blackmail are just some of the situations we read about.
My favourite character, the Reverend Mrs Walden appears again and as before helps Charlie in a few different ways, including offering advice on battles between judges and lawyers and entertaining officials from other countries.
Very refreshing light-hearted fun and I want to read more. Still don’t fancy the daily specials though.

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Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

A little lie … a seismic secret … and the cracks are beginning to show…

In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, where a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery.
On a clandestine trip to new volcanic island The Inch, to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body, and makes the fatal decision to keep their affair, and her discovery, a secret. Desperate to know how he died, but also terrified she’ll be exposed, Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.I had never read a book by Doug Johnstone before and I can honestly say that I have never read a book quite like Fault Lines before either. I had been a little bit dubious, worrying whether it would be too scientific for me, but they were needless worries. I had no problems at all and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Many people will be familiar with Edinburgh, but the version of Edinburgh in the novel is make-believe, with its addition of a volcanic island in the Firth of Forth. It is here that the body of Tom is discovered by Surtsey.
Surtsey is the main character in the book. She is more flawed than many other characters who feature in other novels with her sometimes heavy drinking, recreational drug taking and her affair with her married boss. But she also was a character who I liked a lot and she was no different to many of the others who featured. As well as her flaws, she also had a conscience. She was devoted to her terminally ill mother and dealt with her situation a lot better than her sister. This side to her softened her a lot and helped me appreciate the depth to her personality.
All of the different characters are believable, not necessarily likeable or innocent but they suited the storyline. I didn’t feel that there was any over exaggeration of any of them. One of the most powerful parts of the novel was the description of the volcano. Combined with real life news events at the time I could picture it all vividly. First class fiction from another Orenda author.

FINAL Fault Lines blog poster 2018

The Gathering by Bernadette Giacomazzo – Excerpt – Blog Tour.

 

The Gathering Jacket

Today it is my pleasure to share an excerpt from The Gathering by Bernadette Giacomazzo

About the Book

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.

In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

Excerpt – The Gathering – a preview

I saw Emperor – looking like a hot air balloon, sounding as ridiculous as ever – blathering on about his personal Reichstag fire, and laying the blame of the explosion squarely at the feet of myself and my brothers-in-arms.

“…and it’s these traitors of the state – the threat to the security of my Empire of the United States of America – the defectors of the Cabal who go by Jamie Ryan and Basile Perrinault and, my greatest betrayal, Supreme Allied Commander Kanoa Shinomura…” he hollered into the microphone, which seemed to reverberate throughout the city.

At the sound of Kanoa’s name, the Cabal members below the balcony slammed the butts of their guns on the floor in rhythm. I knew that rhythm all too well – it was meant to be a war cry for those of us in the rank-and-file of the Cabal – but, to the untrained ear, it sounded like a machine gun going off…which was exactly the point.

But I couldn’t help but sneer at the accusation that the blast that nearly killed Evanora and Tommy was somehow our fault. He’d spent decades trying to catch us and failing miserably, yet in the same breath, believed we were inept enough to set off a blast that took no lives and could be cleaned up during a balmy New York evening. And he managed to sell this ridiculous belief to the crowd, no less.

“Let’s make something clear, asshole,” I muttered, “if it had been me and the boys that lit your shit up, you wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Despite the absurdity of the accusation – and despite the obvious absurdity of the accusation – the victims of psi just grunted along, agreeing with everything and anything that came out of Emperor’s mouth, in part because they didn’t know any better (they were psi victims, after all), and in part because any disagreement with what Emperor had to say was met with a fierce, painful punishment.

“His Word, Before All and Above All,” I muttered. “With liberty and justice for no one, so kiss my peasant Old New York ass and take a breath mint afterward, unless you like that funky aftertaste…”

My voice trailed off as my eyes focused on a strange woman on the balcony.

At first, I couldn’t discern who she was – she looked like someone I’d seen before, yet someone I’d never seen before.

Her hair was a garish white-blonde, stringy and lifeless, and pinned tightly behind her head with a set of black ceramic chopsticks. Her makeup was almost cartoonish – cat-like black eyeliner and matte black lipstick sat atop a ghostly white foundation. Even her outfit was a hideously hilarious cultural appropriation – a black silk kimono paired with a set of black stiletto heels. I’d seen Old New York 42nd Street prostitutes, with terrible heroin problems, sell the “Asian coquette” look better than what I’d seen before me now.

“Who the actual…” I began, hesitantly, unable to process who I was seeing before me.

And then it hit me, all at once, who she was.

For the first time in a long time, I was literally speechless.

When I could finally find my voice again, it barely came out in a whisper. “Rosie,” I squeaked.

I walked into the Ludlow Street apartment I shared with Angelique and was instantly greeted with the smell of a meat dish that, I would later learn, was called carne asada.

“Angelique!” I called out over the loud sizzling of steak as I kicked off my black Frye boots and set my matching acoustic guitar down. “Where are you, my love?”

“In here!” she called, out of sight, from the kitchen, where more clanging and banging sounds echoed over her voice.

I began walking through the apartment, shedding layers as I went along until I reached the kitchen wearing nothing but my black leather pants and a mischievous smile. I was hoping to have a little appetizer of crème d’Angelique before dinner, but when I reached the kitchen, I realized – much to my chagrin – that we weren’t alone.

Angelique, her hair tied back into a messy ponytail, was wearing a tight, white, see-through shorts jumper and a matching white apron. She was standing next to an unfamiliar-looking woman with a matching messy ponytail, but whose thick chocolate brown hair stood in sharp contrast to Angelique’s thin flaxen locks. The rest of her, too, was in stark contrast to Angelique, but not in a bad way – she was olive-skinned, in contrast to Angelique’s pale white skin; she was curvy, in contrast to Angelique’s ectomorphic figure; she was fiery, in contrast to Angelique’s ethereal nature.

They were standing side by side, working on something that smelled simply delicious. Angelique was mixing flour, sugar, and garlic powder, and her friend was adding melted butter and salted water to the resultant powder, then kneading it until it formed a dough.

“Am I interrupting something?” I asked as I walked behind Angelique, wrapped my arms around her waist, and kissed her neck, breathing in her scent of lilacs as I did so.

She smiled, then took her index finger and bopped the tip of my nose with the flour mixture. “Hey handsome,” she said, beatifically. “We’re making something special for you for dinner. We’ve got carne asada in the pan over there – we’ve got some arroz con gandules in the rice cooker – and we’re making…wait, girl, what’s this called?”

“Arepas,” her friend said, smiling as she continued to knead the dough between her hands, her silver thumb ring glistening in the light of the dusk as she did so.

“Right, arepas,” Angelique repeated. “Ramira here is teaching me all her magic ways – she says this is the exact dinner I need to make if I want my man to marry me.” She giggled, then elbowed Ramira, who giggled along with Angelique.

I couldn’t help but giggle, as well, as I unentwined myself from Angelique and walked over to Ramira to properly introduce myself. “I’m going to be stuffed for days with all this delicious food, so it’s only right that we become friends,” I began, extending my hand. “Hi there. I’m James Randall Ryan IV, I somehow lucked out enough to convince this lovely lady Angelique to be my girlfriend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. You can call me Jamie.”

Ramira smiled, then shook my hand with two of her fingers, taking care not to smear the wet dough across my palm. “Well, my name is Ramira Diaz, Angelique is my best friend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too. You can call me Rosie, though. Everyone else does.”

The Gathering Blog Tour Poster

Absolution by Paul Hardisty – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

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.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.Absolution is the fourth and final book in this series and the third that I have read. After reading this book I would strongly advise that you read them in order.
It takes place in 1997 and the first thing that comes to mind is that in some parts of the world nothing has changed since then. These are areas where people live in horrendous conditions, in fear of disease, terrorism and people in power. I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading a novel that was set twenty years ago.
There are two narrators, Rania’s story is told via a diary. Clay is taking you through events as they happen. Some of their tales overlap and you realise how desperate they are to find and help each other.
At times, I found it a bit confusing, I don’t have much knowledge of either African or Egyptian politics and groups but the writing is so gripping I found it didn’t matter. The author made it all very believable, shocking and at times upsetting.
There are many bad people in the novel but there are also some who stand out for their bravery and kindness. These are the people who I will think about occasionally for a while.
A fascinating conclusion to a great series.

FINAL Absolution blog poster 2018

The Old You by Louise Voss – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir
A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller
Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface … and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.
But is it Ed’s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Old You is the first book that I have read by Louise Voss that she has written on her own.
It was a book that left me in awe and lost for words. At the end of chapter one I had decided that I disliked one of the characters. But I was far too quick to judge, things were not as they seemed. As I read more I found that this was a book that completely messed with the reader’s head and I had either underestimated most of the characters in it or been duped. My thoughts and feelings changed constantly.
I hadn’t really read the book synopsis, I sometimes like to go into a book with no knowledge of the storyline and I am glad that I did so with this book. There are no spoilers there but I found it added to the suspense. It is difficult to say anything about the plot without revealing any of the twists so I won’t. All I will say is that it’s intimidating, isolating and very clever.

FINAL Old You blog poster 2018 copy