Tag Archives: GritLit

Breakers by Doug Johnstone #BookReview @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #Breakers #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m sharing a review for a book by a new author to me, Breakers by Doug Johnstone. If you are looking for a gritty, no nonsense, deeply moving crime  thriller, then I may have just found the book for you……

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Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt. With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation . . . unless he drags her down, too.

A pulsating, tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful, and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland’s finest crime writers

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This is the first book I have read by Doug Johnstone, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,  but one thing I wasn’t expecting was to have my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. Breakers could have been a depressing read considering it’s a modern tale of poverty, and deprivation, and yet it’s not, it’s a plausible and heartbreaking story, but buried amid all the ugliness is the beautiful and moving story of Seventeen-year-old Tyler who lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived area’s. The cards aren’t stacked in his favour, living with his junkie mum and younger sister, he lives hand to mouth stealing from people’s homes to support his family. The contrast between the affluent areas of Edinburgh and the more deprived areas are stark, but very credible. The author doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties of living in such a grim environment where violence, drugs and crime are part and parcel of everyday life for its residents. 

I really did not expect to like, let alone sympathise with Tyler’s character, after all he steals from people’s houses,  causing upset and trauma to the people from whose homes he steals. Yet once the author scratches away below the surface you realise Tyler isn’t all bad, his relationship with his little sister Bethany is heartwarming to say the least, he’s her loyal protector and desperate to shield her from the ugly and harsh realities of the life she has been born into. On the other hand, his relationship with his junkie mother is toxic, despite her shortcomings and she has many, Tyler still isn’t ready to give up on her, he sees things no child should have to witness, and it’s these scenes that are heartbreaking and harrowing, as the reader you want to wrap him in a big hug and tell him “everything is going to be alright” even though you know the realities of the world he lives in and the chance of him finding a “happy after” are slim to none. The author has the unique ability to create characters that despite their flaws, you find yourself rooting for, you feel their pain, experience their joy and cry at the injustice of the world we live in.

Doug Johnstone’s writing is superb every word, in fact every sentence has a deep impact on the reader, his characters are superbly depicted, and if this book doesn’t leave you an emotional wreck, then I’m sure you will be in the minority. Breakers is a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of modern day Britain, the author takes the reader on an emotional journey, one that at times feels uncomfortable, it packs a hell of a punch, you will find yourself questioning your own assumptions, it’s a book whose characters will remain with you long after you reach the last page. In case you haven’t already guessed I loved this book, and it will definitely be one of my top reads of 2019.  Highly recommended to those who enjoy a gritty thriller with a powerful and moving plot.

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; (16 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving Breakers my Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Life Of Crime by Kimberley Chambers #Bookreview @HarperFiction @Flisssity

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Book description

Some people are made for a life of crime

Dragged up on a council estate, Jason Rampling was determined to change his lot. Jason’s a chancer, shameless with his good looks and his gift for earning a few quid. Life is easy when the money rolls in.

Some people are ruined by it

Melissa thought she’d struck gold marrying Jason. Being on his arm meant she was finally a someone. But there’s no glamour in waiting for your husband to come home, or waiting for a knock on the door. Melissa made her bed the day she made her vows will she lie in it without a fight?

Some would kill for it

After a stretch inside Jason wants to pull off just one last job, the biggest of all, it could solve all of their problems. But this is a game that could cost them everything.

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OMG Kimberley Chambers is back with a Life Of Crime let me tell you “it’s a blinder”, I’m a huge fan of this author and have read every book she has ever written. Last year the author ended the hugely popular “Butler” series and although I was left feeling bereft after saying “goodbye” to some of my all time favourite characters, I was also excited by the prospect the author would be publishing a standalone in the shape of a Life Of Crime. If your a fan of this author and were concerned she wouldn’t be able to top her last book, let me allay your fears, Life Of Crime is definitely the authors best standalone novel so far, a diamond amid the numerous crime thrillers on the market at the moment.

A Life Of Crime is the story of Jason and Melissa Rampling, Jason wants a better life for his family than the one he had, and if that means breaking the law so be it, as Jason becomes more embroiled in the murky crime world, treachery, lies and violence become part of his every day life. Anyone who has ever read a book by Kimberley Chambers will not be surprised to hear there’s plenty of swearing in this book, personally I feel it adds authenticity to her characters and very much fits their personalities. One thing I love about this authors writing are her characters they are vibrant and larger than life, there are so many characters in Life Of Crime that I could write about, the good, the bad and the down right ugly but in doing so I would be in danger of giving away spoilers, what I will say love them or hate them Kimberley Chambers has created another set of characters that are memorable.

Life Of Crime is a story of violence, treachery, loyalty and family ties and although these are familiar themes in the authors book, she still manages to write an exciting tale, with surprises galore. Kimberley Chambers has a unique knack of adding her own style of humour to her plot with her “one liners”, which constantly made me chuckle. From the first page of this exceptional crime thriller I was hooked you could not have prised this book away from me for love nor money, in fact I pretty much read it in one hugely satisfying sitting. Fast paced, gripping and with more twist and turns than a roller coaster, it’s a thrill a minute. Kimberley Chambers has once again reminded me why she continues to be one of the best crime thriller authors out there. Highly recommended

Buying Links:  Amazon US 🇺🇸        Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Print Length: 528 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (11 Jan. 2018)

 

Cruel Secrets by Kerry Barnes #Review @KerryBarnes1

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Book description

A gripping thriller that will shock you to the core.

Controlled all her life by her religious mother, fifteen-year-old Kelly Raven commits the ultimate sin.
She soon discovers that running away to the cold, frightening streets of London is less harsh than her previous life.
A drug dealer, two fraudsters, and a prostitute are her new family now and she becomes the woman she was destined to be.

Little does she know that Eddie Raven is coming for her, but she is no sweet four-year-old child and he is certainly no doting father.
The Raven’s blood may run through her veins, but in her case, blood is not thicker than water.

My thanks to fellow book blogger Shell Baker over at Chellesbookreviews for recommending this author to me.

My review

I get so excited it when I come across a new author and even more so when When I pick up their book and it exceeds all my expectations. Cruel Secrets by Kerry Barnes falls into this category and WOW I can’t believe I haven’t picked up a book by this author before, in fact I’m kicking myself, how have I never heard of this author before? The author writes what I call “grit lit” and it’s a genre I really enjoy reading, Kerry Barnes writing has been likened to that of Martina Cole, I would agree there are some similarities but in my opinion the author has her own unique style that made Cruel Secrets an exciting and very gritty read.

What I really loved about Cruel Secrets was the abundance of characters, all of whom appear lager than life, you have the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Kelly is a brilliant character you can’t help rooting for her, as someone who starts off as the underdog I loved the way her character evolved, she’s a mass of contradictions gentle but tough, caring but hard as nails when people cross her, but she also has an air of vulnerability that make the people she meets along her journey want to care for her and protect her. Unfortunately her father Eddie Raven, the epitome of a gangster thug is definitely not a likeable character, in fact I ended up despising him, to the “why” I felt like this you will just have to read the book and see.

Cruel Secrets explores the underbelly of the crime world, so expect violence and plenty of swearing, for me this added a gritty authenticity to the plot. The author certainly knows how to write a story that packs a punch. From the first chapter it’s one of those books that just grabs your attention with a wicked plot and characters who get under your skin and worm their way into your heart (but definitely not Eddie Raven). Kerry Barnes brilliantly delivers a story of violence, treachery and family ties, a fab book to read and an impossible one to put down. I will definitely be pre-ordering the sequel Wicked Lies which will be published in 2018.

Print Length: 479 pages

Publisher: ONCE UPON A BOOK (1 Nov. 2017)

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧Amazon US 🇺🇸