Book Review: Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris @baparisauthor @StMartinsPress

Bring Me Back
B. A. Paris
St. Martin’s Press, June 2018
ISBN 978-1-250-15133-9
Hardcover

A strange and troubling tale of anger, selfishness, disappearance and mystery. Finn McQuaid is a driven slick fund manager. He’s successful and popular with several women. Twelve years earlier, when the story starts, he is driving toward England out of Paris with his current lover, Layla, whom he hopes to marry soon. In the dark middle of the night they stop for fuel and Layla disappears.

Now, still more successful, McQuaid romances Layla’s sister, Ellen, moves her into the house he once shared with Layla and prepares to marry her. Then strange things begin to happen, clues drop, that indicate that Layla may not be dead after all and McQuaid admits he didn’t tell police the whole truth, that fateful dark night.

The novel is highly personal and internal in tone. It reveals the inner amoral mental state of a man who seems committed to almost nothing except his own personal reality and a unique truth that is his own. Readers will be dragged through the weeds of this internal turmoil almost from the very beginning. The use of Russian dolls to provoke and irritate McQuaid and possibly mess with his mind is brilliant but the deliberate pace and development is at times a bit tedious. Nevertheless, carefully structured and presented, the novel eventually satisfies the mystery after a deliberate buildup to a logical ending.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, May 2019.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Reunion, Red Sky.

Book Review: The Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife @ravenmaster1 @fsgbooks

The Ravenmaster
Christopher Skaife
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2018
ISBN 978-0-374-11334-6
Hardcover

Months ago, I read a blurb about The Ravenmaster in The Week magazine and I had been trying to get to it since then. Admittedly, it took a while. Totally worth the wait.

This book amused & delighted me as I read it, and again whenever parts popped into my head. Mr. Skaife seems to be a natural story-teller. I know I hung on to every word, but by the end…I still had not gotten my fill of the seven ravens that call The Tower of London home.

You can easily imagine my enthusiasm when I realized they have their own Instagram!! Turns out: my procrastination was a perk. In the essay collection, Mr. Skaife shares hopes for the future of the ravens at The Tower. I recently saw on the social media site that one of his goals has been met. So cool!

I have a new go-to-gift and it is uniquely excellent in that it is universally appealing. I cannot wait to share it with “my” students and to hand it out to my friends. No need to be into ravens, or even birds at all; the history of The Tower and the evolution of the post that is now The Ravenmaster is incredibly interesting. The bits about Mr. Skaife as a mischievous boy and later, as an eager sponge in the military are equally entertaining.

Reviewed by jv poore, May 2019.

Book Review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman @richardosman @PamelaDormanBks

The Thursday Murder Club
A Thursday Murder Club Mystery #1
Richard Osman
A Pamela Dorman Book/Viking, September 2020
ISBN 978-1-9848-8096-3
Hardcover

This is Richard Osman’s first mystery novel and it’s getting some great reviews. He is well-known in Britain having been the host of the popular television quiz show “Pointless” for a number of years.

His foray into mystery writing has been well received and indeed the novel is up for a number of awards. I’m not surprised. I really enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club. Its setting is a retirement village in Kent called Coopers Chase and that’s where we meet Ron, Joyce, Ibrahim and Elizabeth, the members of the Thursday Murder Club.

Joyce is the newest member of the Club. She is Penny Gray’s replacement. Penny is in the nursing home, unable to communicate after a debilitating stroke. Penny was an Inspector with the Kent Police before retiring. She’d brought with her a number of unsolved case files, files the Thursday Murder Club has been working to solve.

A meeting has been called by the property owner Ian Ventham with regard to proposed changes to Coopers Chase. His plans involve expanding the community solely for the purpose of increasing his wealth. The residents are frustrated and annoyed at this development, but there appears to be little they can do.

The following morning the residents are shocked to learn that Ian Ventham has been murdered. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is excited that The Thursday Murder Club has a current crime to solve. She takes charge and with the help of the other Club members set about investigating the murder.

All the characters we meet in this charming mystery are well rounded, interesting and intelligent people. There is a good deal more to Elizabeth than meets the eye, as she and her retired friend, each with a skill to enhance the investigation, boldly involve themselves in the search to uncover the killer.

There’s much to explore and more to admire as they unravel this intriguing tale.

Check it out… you won’t regret it!!

Respectfully submitted,

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, January 2021.

Book Review: A Quiet Apocalypse by Dave Jeffery @davebjeffery @SDSXXTours

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Title: A Quiet Apocalypse
A Quiet Apocalypse Book 1
by Dave Jeffery
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Amazon

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A Quiet Apocalypse
A Quiet Apocalypse Book 1

Dave Jeffery
Demain Publishing, January 2020
ISBN 979-8602850222
Trade Paperback

From the author—

The end is hear…

A mutant strain of meningitis has wiped out most of mankind. The few who have survived the fever are now deaf.

Bitter with loss and terrified to leave the city known as Cathedral, the inhabitants rely on The Samaritans, search teams sent out into the surrounding countryside. Their purpose, to hunt down and enslave the greatest commodity on Earth, an even smaller group of people immune to the virus, people who can still hear.

People like me.

My name is Chris.

This is my story.


“A Quiet Apocalypse is told from the perspective of ex-schoolteacher Chris, a hearing survivor. He has lost everything, including his freedom, and through his eyes we learn of what it is like to live as a slave in this terrible new world of fear and loss. I was keen to write a piece that preyed upon people’s traditional misconceptions of deafness as an illness, and the imposition of ‘hearing’ norms. It is a story that has poignancy in any understanding of the struggles of minority groups.” – Author, Dave Jeffery

With an unusual premise, A Quiet Apocalypse takes us on a post-apocalyptic journey thrust on mankind by a pandemic that leaves most survivors with a complete loss of hearing. Mr. Jeffery uses this concept to shine a light on disabilities in general and on the peculiar kind of slavery that comes about when the few who can still hear become a target for the government. Are the hearing now considered disabled in a twist on human reaction to being “different” or do certain factions see them as less worthy than the deaf?

Chris is a very sympathetic character while his vicious captor, Crowley, decidedly is not and here again the author makes much of the opportunity to focus our attention on humanity’s ability to build hatred and intolerance towards those who don’t fit a preconceived mold. Yes, the story is dark and, in its way, horrific but certainly reflects much of what is going on in our world today and is well worth everyone’s attention.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2021.

About the Author

Dave Jeffery is author of 15 novels, two collections, and numerous short stories. His Necropolis Rising series and yeti adventure Frostbite have both featured on the Amazon #1 bestseller list. His YA work features critically acclaimed Beatrice Beecham supernatural mystery series and Finding Jericho, a contemporary mental health novel that was featured on the BBC Health and the Independent Schools Entrance Examination Board’s recommended reading lists. A third edition of this book will be released by Demain Publishing in 2020.

Jeffery is a member of the Society of Authors, British Fantasy Society (where he is a regular book reviewer), and the Horror Writers Association. He is also a registered mental health professional with a BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Health Studies.

Jeffery is married with two children and lives in Worcestershire, UK.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

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Giveaway

$20 Amazon

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/
a-quiet-apocalypse-book-tour-and-giveaway

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Book Review: The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK

The Puppet Show
Washington Poe #1

M.W. Craven
Constable/Little, Brown Book Group, January 2019
ISBN 978-1-4721-2745-7
Trade Paperback

Winner of the 2019 CWA Gold Dagger Award

As mentioned above this book is already a winner and after reading it I’m not at all surprised.

Set in the Lake District, someone is burning people alive and leaving the bodies amid one of the many prehistoric stone circles found in the area.  On the third charred body a name has been carved.  That name is Washington Poe.  Poe is  a member of a special group of investigators known as The National Crime Agency.  Poe is meantime on suspension due to conduct in a previous investigation, but the powers that be are anxious to stop this killer and Poe is called back in, and quickly brought up to speed.  The murders are obviously the work of a serial killer.

When a fourth body is discovered,  Poe, together with who the book jacket describes as  “the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw head out to where the newest victim has been found.  Poe’s method of investigating is somewhat unorthodox and often reactionary, and with Tilly’s help they uncover a number of leads that take them slowly but surely closer to identifying this killer.

Poe and Tilly work together well and this working relationship is an interesting aspect of this story.  But Poe is beginning to question whether  the clues he and Tilly find are specifically meant for him.   Is the Killer deliberately enticing Poe into a trap?  Is he somehow connected to the killings?

This is a terrific read.  Unputdownable!  The graphic descriptions of the murders might not be for everyone, but the writing is compelling, as is the twisted plot.  I devoured this book over the course of a couple of days and can hardly wait to catch up with the next in the series, Black Summer.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, November 2020.

Book Review: Upstaged by Murder by C.S. Challinor

Upstaged By Murder
A Rex Graves Mystery #9
C.S. Challinor
Midnight Ink, July 2018
ISBN 978-0-7387-5647-9
Trade Paperback

It’s opening night for a play by a local playwright that brings together five celebrated British literary sleuths to identify the murderer of a glamorous young woman, occupant of a luxurious manor house. At the end of Act 1, Lady Naomi Grove is scripted to be killed. Shockingly, a single shot rings out, killing the actress behind a theatre scrim.

In the audience is a well-known Scottish barrister and private detective, Rex Graves. He’s enjoying a short vacation with his new wife, Helen. His natural curiosity and reputation draw him to offer his services to the local policeman tasked with finding the real killer.

With Graves, readers will be treated to an interesting twisting trail through the lives of the amateur players, all of whom are initial suspects. The community is naturally enthralled by the dramatic circumstances and nicely used by the author as the broader setting for the detection. Red herrings will mis-direct readers at crucial points throughout this cozy mystery and the relationships between Graves, his new bride and the constabulary are well-thought-out and presented.

For mystery readers who are fans of cozy murder mysteries, this novel will provide a fine weekend of enjoyable recreation beside a nice wood fire.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, May 2019.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Reunion, Red Sky.

Book Review: The Split by Sharon Bolton @AuthorSJBolton @TrapezeBooks @MinotaurBooks

The Split
Sharon Bolton
Trapeze/Orion Publishing, June 2020
ISBN 978-1-4091-7419-6
Hardback
Minotaur Books, May 2020
ISBN 978-1-250-30005-8
Hardcover

I’ve been a fan of Sharon Bolton’s for a number of years. She started out writing as S.J. Bolton no doubt because initials didn’t give away the fact that she was a woman. At any rate The Split is her newest standalone and in truth I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s opening quickly draws you in as we meet Felicity Lloyd who is a glaciologist working on the remote Island of South Georgia in the Antarctic Circle.

Felicity is worried, very worried. A cruise ship, the last of the season, is arriving and she soon learns that one of the passengers, Freddie, is the man she’s been running from for close to a year. She believes he wants to kill her, but she has no idea why.

To find out the reason behind her fears we jump back in time, to nine months previously. Felicity is in Cambridge, England. She has been found, her clothes torn, her face and body bruised and bleeding, with no memory of what happened to her. She is now undergoing a psychiatric assessment, that’s why she’s in Dr. Joe Grant’s office. She needs to pass this assessment in order to return to work.

Joe has his own problems but he likes Felicity and wants to help. For the next third of the book we get to know Felicity a little more. Strange things keep happening to her. She is attacked and she’s also sure someone is getting into her house while she sleeps. Her car goes missing and her fear and tension steadily escalates, leaving her petrified that she’s going insane.

Several street people, people Felicity knows, have gone missing and a body is found. Is Felicity involved? She doesn’t know for sure and neither does Joe, who is growing more anxious about his patient. Joe’s mother, Delilah, is a detective who is certain Felicity knows more than she is saying, and might well be a suspect.

I read a review of this book (after I’d finished it), and had to agree with the reviewer, who praised Sharon Bolton’s meticulous research, but wondered, as I did, that it seemed obvious what was happening to Felicity. That Joe and his detective mother should have reached a similar conclusion within the story.

This didn’t stop me from reading its thrilling conclusion.

But I’m still thinking and wondering about it. But while I came away feeling a little disappointed, I’ll certainly check out her next book.

Respectfully submitted,

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, July 2020.