Tag Archives: Historical Crime Fiction

#Attend by West Camel #BookReview @West_Camel @OrendaBooks #BlogTour #MustReads

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers on the Attend by West Craven blog tour. If you are looking for a novel thats highly original, yet captivating then I may have the perfect book for you. Read on for my thoughts….

When Sam falls in love with Deptford 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, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

There’s nothing more exciting than picking up a novel that comes with a unique and spellbinding plot, a novel that consumes your every waking minute, and yet you find yourself reluctant to carry on reading it as you don’t want it to end, and Attend by West Camel is one of those novels. Oh how I adored this book, rather like enigmatic seamstress Deborah’s sewing,  this novel is rich in detail, with its threads expertly woven, resulting in a captivating read that is told in the most lyrical way. This is a book that refuses to fit into one particular genre, and I mean that in a positive way, it’s part gritty crime thriller, yet there is also a magical quality hidden within its pages.  

Attend is the story of three people,  Deborah a seamstress, Anne an ex drug addict and Sam whose coming to terms with his own sexuality, each has their own personal challenges. The author has created three very different characters but their stories intertwine, Deborah being the thread that binds them together.  The setting of Deptford, London is perfectly depicted and so vividly described, it’s not a pretty picture,  as within the shadows of the town lie the darker elements of town life, the violence and addiction that go hand with the seedier and murky criminal fraternity, a world that both Anne and Sam know only to well. 

Craven has created characters that are rich in personality, and unforgettable. Dorothy is a character who evokes strong emotions, there’s something that makes you feel desperately sorry for her, she’s someone who deserves to have an abundance of happiness and love and yet that’s something that appears to be just outside her reach. There’s a sadness and an overwhelming sense of loneliness that radiates from Dorothy, as her story unfolds you realise why. When Anne and Sam become part of Dorothy’s life she shares her stories, some see far-fetched, even elaborate and fairy like in there telling, but these are the tales that magically bind the three together. Dorothy’s stories are rich in description and beautifully told, and then you have the strands of Anne and Sam’s stories which are both dark and gritty in their telling.  

Attend is so different to many of my previous reads, and I’m not sure the pace or the plot will be to everyone’s taste, it’s definitely not action packed, this is a novel driven by its characters.  Personally I found Attend to be a memorising read, the setting, the characters and the story line make this novel such an unusual and compelling read. West Camel writes with confidence, he breathes magic into the story he is telling, his characters come alive but best of all Attend is highly original which is always a good thing.  Highly recommended.   

  • Print Length: 276 pagesU
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (15 Nov. 2018)

About the author 

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel. You can follow West on Twitter @west_camel

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books and Anne Cater for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Follow the blog tour……..

**Blog tour** The Murder Of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes @Elizjhaynes @MyriadEditions #HarrietMonckton #MustReads

Today I’m over the moon to be on The Murder Of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes blog tour. From the award-winning and bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner comes a delicious Victorian crime novel based on a true story that shocked and fascinated the nation. Before I share my review here’s the book description to pique your interest…..

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On 7th November 1843, Harriet Monckton, 23 years old and a woman of respectable parentage and religious habits, is found murdered in the privy behind the chapel she regularly attended in Bromley, Kent.

The community is appalled by her death, apparently as a result of swallowing a fatal dose of prussic acid, and even more so when the surgeon reports that Harriet was around six months pregnant.

Drawing on the coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, Elizabeth Haynes builds a compelling picture of Harriet’s final hours through the eyes of those closest to her and the last people to see her alive. Her fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiancé, her seducer, her former lover—all are suspects; each has a reason to want her dead.

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I’m convinced I have just read a book that’s definitely going to be on my list of “top reads of 2018”of the year. I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Haynes writing and I love a good crime thriller,  but until now I’ve always shied away from historical crime fiction I much prefer to read books written in the “here and now”. I’m thrilled that I decided to put my concerns to one side and pick up The Murder Of Harriet Monckton, what a fabulous book it turned out to be. I will never forget Harriet Monckton’s story as it’s based on fact. This novel is not only fascinating and beautifully written, it’s also one of the most compelling books I’ve read EVER.

Harriet was murdered in 1843 in Bromley, England. Elizabeth Haynes stumbled across some documents whilst researching another novel and this is Harriet’s enthralling story. I must applaud Elizabeth Haynes on her meticulous research into Harriet Monckton and Bromley as it was in 1843, as the reader you not only get a sense of time and place, but the claustrophobic feel of a town that has its fair share of narrow minded bigots.

Drawing on coroner’s reports and witness testimonies, the novel unfolds from the viewpoints of each of the main characters. The Murder Of Harriett Monckton has a rich array of characters, that all draw suspicion, you have Harriet’s fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiancé, her seducer, her former lover, each one appears to have a very good reason for wanting her dead. Many are seen as upstanding pillars of the community but each and everyone comes under close scrutiny, vividly described by the author each character is brought to life. I found this novel fascinating especially the coroners investigation into Harriet’s death, everything about the investigation felt primitive but incredibly authentic.   

Harriet’s story made for an emotive read, here was a young girl naive in many ways who just happened to be led by her heart and the events that followed shaped her short and tragic life. Once I reached the afterword by the author I find myself becoming very emotional (ok I cried ugly tears), I had become so invested in Harriet’s story like Elizabeth Haynes I too wanted justice for her. To this day Harriet’s murder might remain unsolved, but the author’s gives a satisfying and entirely plausible explanation to her death.

Without a shadow of a doubt The Murder Of Harriet Monckton is a must read, the writing is sublime, the characters are wonderfully depicted, I’m sure Harriet’s story is one that will stay with me for a long time, it’s haunting and moving, and I would like to think Harriet is pleased her story has been told with such passion. In case you haven’t guessed I simply loved this book and I really can not recommend this novel highly enough.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Murder Of Harriet Monckton the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. 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 reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 437 pages
  • Publisher: Myriad Editions (28 Sept. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Elizabeth Haynes worked for many years as a police analyst. Her debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, won Amazon’s Book of the Year in 2011 and Amazon’s Rising Star Award for debut novels.

Elizabeth grew up in Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University. She is currently taking a career break having worked for the past seven years as a police intelligence analyst. Elizabeth now lives in Kent with her husband and son, and writes in coffee shops and a shed-office which takes up most of the garden. She is a regular participant in, and a Municipal Liaison for, National Novel Writing Month – an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

If my review hasn’t convinced you to buy the book, you may want to read my fellow book bloggers fabulous reviews….

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