**Blog Tour** The Lighterman by Simon Michael #AuthorInterview @simonmichaeluk @urbanebooks #Giveaway

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I’m delighted to have been invited to take part in Simon Michael’s blog tour to celebrate the launch of The Lighterman, the third in his series of 1960s London thrillers featuring barrister antihero Charles Holborne. The Lighterman is published by Urbane Books and was released on the 8th June 2017. 

Matthew over at Urbane Books has kindly given me a paperback copy of The Lighterman as a giveaway, you will find the details on how to enter at the bottom of this post.

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imageThe first two novels in your series, The Brief and An Honest Man, both take place over the space of a few weeks in the early 1960s, but in The Lighterman you go back in time even further, to the 1940s. Why did you do that? Did you always intend to write historical thrillers?

As the series has progressed I have come to know Charles much better. Although when I wrote The Brief I knew he was an East End boy made good and he had been in a bit of trouble with the law in his past, as the series progressed what was a line drawing filled out to become a more three-dimensional portrait in my head. I began to understand his family dynamics better, his psychology, his hang-ups. There’s a major reveal coming in Book 4, and I wanted my readers to understand and believe in it. That entails revealing some of what happened to Charles as a teenager, which takes us back to 1940 and the Blitz. I also have a deeper understanding of how plot and character grow out of the fertile soil of place and history. People have commented that London has become an integral part of the stories; I would go further: I think London is a character in the series in its own right.
So, to answer your question simply, in one sense all stories are “historical” in that all characters have a background and past which dictate how they act in the present. If you want to create real characters, they can’t just arrive on the page in the present moment.

For someone who has his own particular moral code, Charles does a lot of lawbreaking in The Lighterman! Aren’t you worried that some of your readers will dislike him?

The reviews seem to suggest that the aspect of the series which appeals most to readers is Charles’s personality. My favourite, from one woman reviewer, is that she thinks she is “a little bit in love with Charles Holborne”. So I realise it’s very important not to make Charles dislikeable. At the same time, it’s his flaws that make him interesting. He went through the War, lived rough on the Blitzed streets, and grew up in an era when women with careers were oddities, men were expected to be the breadwinners and they weren’t supposed to speak about “feelings”. On top of that Charles has been damaged, and he carries that damage into his relationships with women. But as long as the reader sees that he is trying to overcome his deficiencies, that he’s essentially “a good guy” – even one who makes mistakes – I think (hope!) readers will see him as a complete person. As for his lawbreaking, he does it to save lives and to protect the innocent from the machinations of corrupt and venal men with power. I think most readers will forgive that.

You have mentioned Book 4. How many more are there to be in the series?

Charles is involved in a long-running battle with the Kray twins. They didn’t go to prison until 1968 and left a legacy that lasted some years after that. So I have at least a further five years to cover, and the undermining of The Establishment which occurred during the late 60s is a fascinating period in its own right. Books 4 and 5 are part-written. My guess is that there are at least another four books to come, but we shall see.

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About the author

Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: he was a barrister for 37 years and worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy during what was often considered the “Wild West” of British justice. The 1960s was a time when the Krays and the Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted the evidence and took their share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers genuine court documents from cases on which he worked and the big stories of the 1960s.

Simon was a successful author in the 1980s, published here and in the USA, and returned to writing when he retired from the Bar in 2016. The first two books in the Charles Holborne series, THE BRIEF published in September 2015 and AN HONEST MAN published in July 2016, have both garnered rave reviews for their authenticity and excitement. The theme of Simon’s books is alienation; Holborne, who dabbled in crime and in serious violence before becoming a barrister, is an outsider both in the East End where he grew up and in the Temples of the law where he now practices, where he faces daily class and religious prejudice. He has been compared to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, honourable men surrounded by corruption and violence, trying to steer an honest course.

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Links: Website   Blog     Facebook     Twitter    Goodreads    Amazon Author Page

Book Trailer Facebook 

 

Book description

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne. Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne.

When Charles Holborne’s cousin, Izzy, is accused of murder, Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?

Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the Britcrime genre.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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I have one paperback copy of The Lighterman by Simon Michael, unfortunately this is open to UK residents only. Winner will be notified within 24 hours of winning. To enter just leave a comment in the post telling me which era you would loved to have been part of?

All entries will be put into a hat and I will get the ever suffering Mr book review cafe to pick a winner.

You can follow the rest of the tour…..

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**Blog tour** Reconciliation For The Dead Paul E. Hardisty @orendabooks @Hardisty_Paul

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Today I’m delighted to be the next stop on the Paul E Hardisty author of Reconciliation For The Dead blog tour. 

Reconciliation For The Dead is published by one of my favourite publishers on the planet Orenda Books, Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction. This book is available in both kindle and paperback  and you don’t even have to wait to get a copy as it’s already been published

To celebrate the occasion author Paul E. Hardisty has written a fascinating guest post, so without further ado…….

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Engineering a Novel By Paul E. Hardisty

I was trained as a scientist and an engineer. In these disciplines, we are taught to apply scientific principles and mathematics to understand the forces, flows and stresses that govern a problem, and optimise a design to deliver the desired outcome. Over years of training and practice, this structured way of thinking becomes almost second nature, a part of you.

So, when I approach the writing of a novel, it won’t be much of a surprise when I say that I use the same approach. Even though it is a work of art, I engineer the novel.

First, I need to understand the problem. What is it that I am trying to accomplish with the book? Where do I want to take the reader, and why? What do I want to have the reader see, feel, think, experience, and what images do I want to leave them with? In other words, I need to have a firm idea, in my own mind, of the purpose of the book. For me, entertaining the reader is important, but it is not enough. I also want to inform, or evoke certain emotions, and to challenge the reader to consider other viewpoints than perhaps they might have had going in. In my new novel, Reconciliation for the Dead (third book in the Claymore Straker series), set in apartheid-era South Africa, the goals were to show readers how Clay became the man we meet first in Yemen during the 1994 civil war in The Abrupt Physics of Dying, and then in its sequel The Evolution of Fear. I also wanted to expose the reader to a little-known conflict, and illustrate why apartheid, and the ridding of that scourge from the earth, is still relevant today.

When I know where I want the book to go, I need to determine how to get there. For me, this means developing, or designing, the full narrative arc of the book, before I start writing. This arc is made of up a series of inter-connected and inter-dependent scenes. And if these pieces are not joined together well, the thing will fail when put under stress. Sometimes, I think of it a bit like a bridge, with each span and beam holding up the others. Sometimes, these designs can be quite complex, and in their own way, I hope, beautiful. In the first two books of the series, I used a simple time-forward structure, with events largely unfolding in un-creased chronological order. In Reconciliation for the Dead, I needed a more complicated structure. The core of the novel is a flashback to Clay’s time in the war as a young paratrooper in the early 1980’s. Interspersed within this are snippets of transcript (recreated) from the 1996 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where Clay gives testimony, having returned to South Africa fifteen years after the war. This is buttressed on either end (by prologue and epilogue) with short scenes that take place after Clay has finished testifying, and is in Mozambique contemplating his future. You can call it a prequel set within the envelope of a sequel.

Once the structure is designed, I can start writing (building). I find that knowing where I want to go, what I am trying to say, and how I am going to get there, gives me a sense of certainty every morning when I sit down to write. Each day I plan to work on a specific span or section. Because I know where it fits in the whole structure, its unique role, and how it fits with the others, I can focus on the prose itself, and try to create the most beautiful and powerful imagery I can. Bit by bit, day by day, the whole structure rises, until one day, I have a first draft.

Then comes what I call the testing and infilling stage. The main structure is there, and (hopefully!) has achieved its overall objectives. Now, I weave in any additional detail and context that is required, not only to strengthen the whole, but to make the parts stand strongly together. This is where expert editorial support and review from others can be so helpful.
I have always felt that in science and engineering, there can be beauty. As I write a novel, I always get a strong sense that art and science are really not so far apart.

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Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels.

In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.

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Book description

Fresh from events in Yemen and Cyprus, vigilante justice-seeker Claymore Straker returns to South Africa, seeking absolution for the sins of his past. Over four days, he testifies to Desmond Tutu’s newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recounting the shattering events that led to his dishonourable discharge and exile, fifteen years earlier.

It was 1980. The height of the Cold War. Clay is a young paratrooper in the South African Army, fighting in Angola against the Communist insurgency that threatens to topple the White Apartheid regime. On a patrol deep inside Angola, Clay, and his best friend, Eben Barstow, find themselves enmeshed in a tangled conspiracy that threatens everything they have been taught to believe about war, and the sacrifices that they, and their brothers in arms, are expected to make.

Witness and unwitting accomplice to an act of shocking brutality, Clay changes allegiance and finds himself labelled a deserter and accused of high treason, setting him on a journey into the dark, twisted heart of institutionalised hatred, from which no one will emerge unscathed. Exploring true events from one of the most hateful chapters in South African history, Reconciliation for the Dead is a shocking, explosive and gripping thriller from one finest writers in contemporary crime fiction.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

‘A solid, meaty thriller – Hardisty is a fine writer and Straker is a great lead character’ Lee Child

‘A trenchant and engaging thriller that unravels this mysterious land in cool, precise sentences’ Stav Sherez, Catholic Herald

‘Just occasionally, a book comes along to restore your faith in a genre – and Paul Hardisty does this in spades’ Sharon Wheeler, Crime Review

This is a remarkably well-written, sophisticated novel in which the people and places, as well as frequent scenes of violent action, all come alive on the page…’ Literary Review

‘Hardisty doesn’t put a foot wrong in this forceful, evocative thriller … the author’s deep knowledge of the settings never slows down the non-stop action, with distant echoes of a more-moral minded Jack Reacher or Jason Bourne’ Maxim Jakubowski

My thanks to Karen over at Orenda books who publishes the most amazing books, Anne cater who organises such brilliant blog tours for Orenda books, and Paul Hardisty for his guest post.

As my post doesn’t include a review you may want to check out some of my fellow bloggers reviews who are on the blog tour.

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**Weekly Wrap Up**

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I’ve managed to read one book this week, shocking I know (holds head in shame) my usual problem ………

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Need I say anymore!!!

I have two more blog tour books to read and then I’m going to spend the next few months catching up on books from my TBR pile that I’m desperate to get to. I really need to read some books to review for my blog, as all the books I’ve read recently are for blog tours so I can’t share them just yet.

Personally I feel I’ve constantly been reading books for blog tours (my own fault for agreeing to so many) over the last couple of months, and it’s slightly spoilt my enjoyment of reading, don’t get me wrong I’ve read some really amazing books, but it would be nice to pick up a book that doesn’t have to be read by a certain date.

What I’m reading next

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I’m really looking forward to reading The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins. 

ARC I received this week

I have been really good and only requested one book on NetGalley, and it’s one I’m desperate to read so I’m one happy bunny 🐰

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Book description

Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, “A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

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Book description

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours–the entire scope of the novel–she keeps on running.

Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan’s intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions–the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines–is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

Books I bought this week

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Book description

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

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Book description

From a bold new voice in international crime fiction, a chilling debut in which two detectives must hunt down a vengeful killer–and uncover the secret that ties each of them to the crime

A six-year-old girl is found in the Norwegian countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree with a jump rope around her neck. She is dressed in strange doll’s clothes. Around her neck is an airline tag that says “I’m traveling alone.”

A special homicide unit in Oslo re-opens with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. Holger’s first step is to persuade the brilliant but haunted investigator Mia Krüger to come back to the squad–she’s been living on an isolated island, overcome by memories of her past. When Mia views a photograph of the crime scene and spots the number “1” carved into the dead girl’s fingernail, she knows this is only the beginning. She’ll soon discover that six years earlier, an infant girl was abducted from a nearby maternity ward. The baby was never found. Could this new killer have something to do with the missing child, or with the reclusive Christian sect hidden in the nearby woods?

Mia returns to duty to track down a revenge-driven and ruthlessly intelligent killer. But when Munch’s own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, Mia realizes that the killer’s sinister game is personal, and I’m Traveling Alone races to an explosive–and shocking–conclusion.

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Book description

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

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Book description

Following on from the bestselling The Seven Sisters and The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister is the third book in Lucinda Riley’s spellbinding series, loosely based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters star cluster.

Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father – the elusive billionaire, named Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted by him from the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to their true heritage, but Star – the most enigmatic of the sisters – is hesitant to step out of the safety of the close relationship she shares with her sister CeCe. In desperation, she decides to follow the first clue she has been left, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world . . .

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in the Lake District, living close to her idol, Beatrix Potter, when machinations outside of her control lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious players, Alice Keppel. Flora is pulled between passionate love and duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a game – the rules of which are only known to others, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life . . .

As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.

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 Book description

Who do you believe?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something – and someone – is always in the dark…

Last week on the book review café

My book of the month

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/01/my-book-of-the-month-april-2017/

The One Man by Andrew Gross #Review

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/02/the-one-man-by-andrew-gross-bookreview/

Cover reveal The Detriment by David Videcette 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/02/coverreveal-the-detriment-by-david-videcette-davidvidecette-thedetriment/

Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/03/their-lost-daughters-by-joy-ellis-bookreview/

#TopFiveThursday with Sam aka cluesandreviews

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/04/topfivethursday-with-bookblogger-sam-cluesandreviews/

Dead To Me by Lesley Pearse #Review 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/04/dead-to-me-by-lesley-pearce-bookreview-lesleypearce-michaeljbooks-lovelesley/

Block 46 by Johana Gustwasson 

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/05/06/blog-tour-block-46-by-johana-gustawasson-bookreview-orendabooks-jogustawasson/

Next week on the book review café

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens #Review

**Blog tour** child Taken by Darren Young #Review

#TopFiveThursday with another awesome blogger

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And lastly I hope you don’t mind me sharing this but the book review café has hit 8,000 + followers, that’s across my blog, FB and Twitter  I’m not sure how or why I’ve gained so many followers, but I must admit I’m thrilled to bits as when I started up my blog I never really thought anyone would actually follow me.

So I would like to say a big thank you to followers old and new for following me. To fellow bloggers who constantly share and comment on my posts you guys rock. I shall be hosting a giveaway at some point to celebrate the occasion, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

 

**Blog Tour** Block 46 by Johana Gustawasson #BookReview @OrendaBooks @JoGustawasson  

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Book description

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

img_1258Nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared me for Block 46 by Johana Gustawasson, if you are looking for a unique, nail biting and gripping tale look no further than this book, it’s going to sound cliched but it literally left me speechless (not an easy task let me tell you!). Block 46 has been translated seamlessly from the original French by Maxim Jakubowski, and it’s so well translated you don’t think for one minute it’s been written in anything but English. 
Block 46 begins with the death of a young jewellery designer. When a young boy’s body is discovered with similar wounds, it seems that there is a deviant serial killer on the loose, but how do the murders link to the 1940s Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany? From the outset Block 46 is a dark and disconcerting tale that begs to be read in one sitting. The narrative moves effortlessly between the present day investigation and 1944. The chapters told from Buchenwald Concentration Camp bring the sheer barbarity of what happened there to life, heartbreakingly realistic the author describes the scenes vividly but with great empathy. It was impossible to work out how the author could possibly bring the two timelines together, but she does in the most spectacular of fashions.

The author has created one hell of an antagonist, their the worse kind of monster, and one that will send shivers down your spine, and yet I couldn’t help wanting to learn more about this twisted and depraved soul. Every location is expertly depicted, steeped in atmosphere, horror and suspense, which made for a thrilling read. Despite this book being a dark and disturbing read I was surprised that the writing is both descriptive and beautiful, you really don’t expect that with a crime thriller, but it works, in fact I think it made the book all the more chilling.

Without hesitation this book has already made it to my top reads of 2017. Why? Because it’s a rich and harrowing story of the psychology of evil, good versus bad, death versus life, it’s complex, fast paced, and disturbing, all the elements that make a crime read stand out from the norm. Gripping from the first page, Block 46 will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way to its shocking conclusion, that I can guarantee.

I’m sure it won’t come as much of a shock but I will be giving Block 46 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 good read, fantastic 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. Personally I will be waiting for Johana Gustawasson’s next book with baited breath, I’m just hoping we don’t have to wait to long. 
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My thanks to Karen over at Orenda books for giving me the opportunity to read this superb book.

Print Length: 300 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (5 Feb. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

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http://johanagustawsson.com/category/johana-gustawsson-en/

you can follow the rest of the tour for reviews, giveaways and guest posts

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Dead To Me by Lesley Pearse #BookReview @LesleyPearse @MichaelJBooks #LoveLesley

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Today I’ve been asked to share my review of Dead To Me by Lesley Pearse, which I posted on my blog.  Today Dead To Me is published in paperback.  I’m a huge fan of this author so I was very happy to oblige.

Lesley Pearse is the author of 24 incredible novels, with over 10 million copies sold world-wide, Lesley is a masterful storyteller, weaving gripping storylines and unforgettable characters.

Book description

Spring 1935. Two girls meet by chance on Hampstead Heath. To an outsider, they could not appear more different. Verity is well-mannered and smartly dressed, living with her parents in a beautiful house close to the heath. Ruby is dishevelled and grubby, used to a life of squalor where she is forced to steal to survive. Yet there’s an instant affinity between them, and when their fortunes are shockingly reversed, it is the strength of their friendship that keeps them resilient to the challenges and hardships they face.

As Britain prepares for war, Ruby finds herself in Devon with the world at her feet and enjoying her first taste of romance. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, Verity is forced to leave behind everything she has ever known and a shadow from the past threatens her chances of a new beginning. But through it all, the girls are always there for each other. Until the day Verity does the one thing that will break Ruby’s heart.

In a country torn apart by fighting, will Verity and Ruby survive long enough to find a way back to each other? Or do some betrayals go with you to the grave . . .?

img_1258Despite being a huge crime and thriller fan, (I would say 95% of the books I read are of this genre), I do love a Lesley Pearse book, I’ve read every and I mean every book she has ever written and she never fails to let me down. Dead To Me begins in spring 1935 and tells the story of Verity and Ruby, Its suffice to say the book description tells you all you need to know.

This is a story of friendship, resilience, challenges, hardship and most importantly the bond between two friends. Lesley Pearce has an extraordinarily talent, she is able to create such well developed characters you feel like you actually know them inside out, by the time I reached the end of Dead To Me I felt like I was saying “goodbye” to old friends. As Verity and Ruby suffer one traumatic event after another I felt so many emotions I laughed, I cried and felt so much empathy for these two characters, as I rooted for them to find their “happy ever after”.

Lesley Pearce always delivers on the plot, her story lines are well developed and flow seamlessly, rich in detail Dead To Me transports you first to the 1930’s and then to the blitz. I was captivated by the story of Verity and Ruby, as we follow their journey to adulthood, they face adversity that will test their friendship to the limits. Different as chalk and cheese Verity and Ruby life’s are changed dramatically by circumstances they have no control over, through tragedy and heartache, their friendship goes through many phases, which adds a sense of authenticity to both characters and their relationship. This is fairly long book at 512 pages, but it certainly never felt like it, as I found Dead To Me to be a compelling read, yes some parts of the story were predictable, but this in no way distracted from my enjoyment of this novel.

I really enjoyed this compelling story, the plot has plenty of depth to it with some suspense thrown it. Dead To Me is a heart-warming and evocative tale that is a real delight to read, if you are looking for a book to escape the demands of every day life for a few hours I would highly recommend you read Dead To Me.

Hardcover: 512 pages

Publisher: Michael Joseph (14 July 2016)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The One Man by Andrew Gross #BookReview @panmacmillan 

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Book description

Auschtwiz 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.

Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

Print Length: 475 pages

Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (22 Sept. 2016)

img_1258I’ve read quite a few books by Andrew Gross over the years and always enjoyed his writing but The One Man marks a significant departure from his previous suspense novels. The author has boldly changed direction and written a novel that is part historical and part thriller. Andrew Gross visits the horrors of Auschwitz in this harrowing yet compelling thriller. I was stunned by the overall impact this story had on me, I spent much of this book reading through my tears. It’s a novel that’s exciting, harrowing, riveting and haunting.

I read lots and I mean lots of books and normally once I’ve finished a book I move on to the next one no problem, but I found that days later I’m still thinking about this book. I would be the first to say I’m not normally a huge fan of historical fiction but after reading The One Man I would certainly read more books in this genre if they were all of this high standard. This is a story of the human will to survive against all the odds. Nathan Blum escaped from the Polish ghetto by the skin of his teeth. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life and sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man Alfred Mendl. What follows is a heart pounding adrenaline fuelled read. It brings to life the horrors that occurred inside the concentration camps. It also shows how strong and courageous man can be when met with evil.

The One Man only contains a small band of characters, but they were so well depicted I found myself immersed in their story, hence the very emotional read. Although Auschwitz is central to the story it was never the authors intention to write the definitive book on it, as he felt the atrocities there have already been well recorded. True to his word Andrew Gross depicts terrible and heartbreakingly realistic scenes, but it never felt gratuitous within the context of the story as they are very much a backdrop to the main story. Although the scenes do make The One Man an emotional and haunting read.

I found my heart racing constantly as the plot progressed, a sign that this was a truly “thrilling” read. Masterfully told The One Man makes for a disturbing and highly emotional read, both gripping and intelligent I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

 

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys #GuestReview @JoannaLouisePar

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Today I’m thrilled to welcome Joanna Park who is going to help me out with some guest reviews. We found each over on Twitter, Jo posts her reviews to Goodreads so I asked Jo if she fancied writing some guest reviews and she very kindly agreed. Passionate about books, an avid reader and a lovely lady to boot, Jo will fit in perfectly on my blog. Please give a warm welcome to Jo and here’s her first ever guest review. 

Book description

Sparkling cocktails, poisonous secrets …

1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.

IMG_1712Welcome aboard The Orontes for a fun filled glamorous crossing to Australia! Or so it first seems to Lily Shepherd who is taking advantage of the assisted passage scheme to start a new life in Australia. Life on board is a huge adventure for Lily as her eyes are opened to new things and she meets lots of interesting people, including the colourful Campbell’s, mysterious Edward and opinionated George. However as the journey continues boredom and tension start to bubble to the surface, Lily realises the journey isn’t as idyllic as she first thought. Soon Lily discovers that its hard to really know people you’ve just met, especially when they don’t have to tell you everything about themselves.
A Dangerous Crossing is one of those books that is perfect to immerse yourself in. I simultaneously wanted to read more to find out what happens and to slow down so it never ended!
The descriptions of life on board are really vivid and makes you feel that you are experiencing all the glitz and glamour alongside Lilly and watching all the action unfold. This is especially true of the wonderful descriptions of the ports they visit along the way and that I now have a yearning to visit. I felt I was there experiencing all the hustle and bustle and seeing the fantastic sights.

There is always underlying tension to the story which makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens. As the reader slowly gets to know the characters, it becomes apparent that they all have secrets to hide and are running away from something. As the outside heat increases and boredom sets in these tensions slowly bubble to the surface and start affecting the relationships on board.

The characters are all vastly different from each other which makes for a very compelling read. It was fascinating to read about their interactions with each other especially as ordinarily they wouldn’t have socialised with each other. Some of Lilly’s interactions, especially with the Campbell’s and George had me holding my breath as I wondered what was going to happen.
There is a little bit of murder mystery in it but in my opinion this is a secondary storyline, albeit one that is the reason for an amazing ending which took me completely by surprise. It’s not a traditional whodunnit and the fact that there is a murder isn’t a surprise as we know that from the start. It’s the story about getting to the murder and the reasons behind it which helps make this such a good book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who lines historical fiction that takes you to another time or place.

Thank you to Allison Barrow and Transworld publishing for the proof copy and for The Book Review cafe for inviting me to do a guest post!

Amazon UK 🇬🇧
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Hi I’m Joanna Park. I’m a stay at home mum to two children from Malvern in Worcestershire. Any spare time I have, normally when the kids are asleep, is spent reading! I will read anything, apart from horror but my favorite is historical fiction or thrillers. I got into reviewing by accident after seeing a comment about Netgalley on Facebook but am really enjoying it and have met some great people!

Links: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26160119-joanna-park

Twitter: @JoannaLouisePar

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