The Best Laid Plans by Russell Govan – Review.

About The Book

Undercover police officer Josh Gray, a former soldier, rescues a young woman, Amelia Harris, from assault by two men late at night. Days later Harris reappears as an old friend of a member of the terrorist cell that Gray has infiltrated. Will she blow his cover?

Her re-emergence is a further unwelcome complication in a fraught operation to investigate a terrorist group bent on detonating multiple explosive devices in densely packed public spaces. Gray’s instincts suggest that the threat might involve more than just the lone cell – headed by Ryan Watson, a charismatic ideologue whose frustration with conventional politics has driven him to embrace extremism.

The threat to national security grows, at the same time that Gray feels increasingly isolated in the operation. 

When a practice attack by the cell against a soft target succeeds in causing significant damage, albeit at the cost of one of the terrorists lives, Gray realises that the quality of equipment provided means the cell is incredibly well funded, and that Watson’s disregard for human life extends to members of his own team.

As the operation reaches its climax, a sudden terrifying twist sees Gray involved in a race to neutralise a new threat, as Watson embarks on an unexpected mission to strike at the very heart of the British establishment.

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. All over the world you hear reports of terrorist attacks where sadly innocent people die or suffer terrible injuries. This novel shows the attempts of the police and security services to try and stop them.

Josh is an undercover police officer, his real character was totally different to the one where he was part of a small but dangerous group of people. His true character was one I liked a lot, even his unconventional ways of dealing with people who he felt needed to suffer for their actions. I found myself sat waiting in anticipation for who he would be dealing with next, there were quite a few in his queue! I also liked his relationship with Molly and his pain at the way it had deteriorated. 

I knew that the person he was portraying as part of the group wasn’t real but he came across as more grounded than the others. The leader, Ryan, was a character who made me feel extremely uncomfortable with his beliefs and desire to cause as much mayhem as possible. I saw him as a cult leader who brainwashed his group into thinking the same way as him, but where they couldn’t see what was really happening or how far he was prepared to go. His team seemed to consist of those who had been damaged by society or people who should have known better and I imagine this to be a true reflection of what many groups similar to this are like in the real world. 

I hope that this is the first in a new series, I would definitely be interested in reading more about Josh in future novels. 

Rags Of Time by Michael Ward – Review.

About The Book

London.

1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil. 

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave. 

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I always enjoy a dip into historical fiction and even though I read quite a lot that takes place in London this is the first book that I have read that is set in the 17th century. I found it refreshing, interesting and enlightening.

I remember learning at school about the reign of Charles I and the onset of the English Civil War but hadn’t really followed it since. I was aware of a few battles taking place in the Northern city where I live, one of them a few hundred yards from my home. But I knew nothing about what it was like for the normal everyday citizen who had to try and survive a London that was overcrowded, full of the disease and filth that goes with overcrowding and also cope with increasingly volatile and dangerous times. Nobody was safe. Particularly Tom, the lead character in this novel who manages to find himself suspected of murder. Even though he had an alibi.

I really liked Elizabeth Seymour, forward thinking, open, and clever. I enjoyed reading about her knowledge of the human body and found it fascinating what the medics at the time thought. She didn’t fall into the image I have of a woman from these times. I couldn’t see her behaving like she was expected to. Meek, compliant and invisible. 

I see huge potential for this to be the start of a successful series. Strong characters, a less discussed period in British history and a very realistic setting.