Tag Archives: New Author To Me

The Whisper Man by Alex North @writer_north @MichaelJBooks #BookReview #TheWhisperMan #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for one of my most anticipated reads this year The Whisper Man by Alex North, and after reading this brilliant book it’s definitely a contender for my book of the year. Read on for my thoughts…….

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If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.

Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window . . .

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With a synopsis that grabbed my attention and a promise from the publishers ‘GET READY FOR THE BIGGEST THRILLER OF 2019’ there was no way on earth I was going to miss reading The Whisper Man by Alex North. There is nothing more terrifying than a child being murdered, and the author expertly plays on these fears, creating a dark, creepy, and haunting read. Be prepared for a few sleepless nights, it takes a lot to unnerve me, but this book actually scared me silly in parts! (In the best possible way). Oh, and a word of warning make sure your bedroom doors are closed at night or beware ** If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken**

After the death of his wife,  Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start, unaware that Featherbank has a very dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. Each boy heard a man whispering to him before he went missing, and now Jake is hearing the same whispers, too. Alex Lane’s emotive, creepy tale is one that’s guaranteed to keep you turning the pages of this highly addictive crime thriller, the plots brilliantly constructed and steeped in menace. 

Without a shadow of a doubt The Whisper Man makes for a spine tingling and unsettling read, but what took me by surprise was the intense emotions that this book evoked,  it’s a book that’s full of raw emotion, especially the scenes between Tom and his son Jake, these are incredible powerful and desperately sad. I adored Tom and Jake, their characters are sublime and perfectly developed.  I like the fact Tom isn’t the ‘perfect’ father, sometimes his actions or conversations with Jake seem awkward and Jake miss understands them causing father and son much heartache. As for Jake he’s adorable, my heart went out to this socially awkward child, whose grief at loosing his mum is palatable. This book may be a crime thriller with a monster at his heart, but it’s also the story of the unbreakable bonds between a father and his son. 

For me some reason I had a preconceived idea in my head that this book would be full of graphic scenes that would be stomach churning, but how refreshing it was to find the author doesn’t use this ploy to give the reader a spine chilling read. If anything Alex North’s only gives you just enough detail to allow your imagination to run riot, it really is a case of ‘less is more’. This is a book that literally drips with menace and a sense of foreboding. The Whisper Man is so different to anything I’ve read this year and one that evoked so many emotions, it’s definitely a contender for my book of the year.  I absolutely loved every page of this compulsive, heart thumping crime thriller. Would I recommend it? it’s a definite million hell yes’s. Buy it, beg, steal (I’m sure Alex Lane would prefer you to choose one of the other options though!) or borrow a copy I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise but I’m I’m giving The Whisper Man my shiny 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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  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (13 Jun. 2019) 

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Dead Inside by Noelle Holten #BookReview @nholten40 #BlogTour #TeamHolten @KillerReads @BOTBSPublicity @HarperCollins #MustReads

Today I can’t explain how thrilled I am to be on the blog tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten. This maybe the author’s debut novel, but Noelle is also a book blogger over at Crimebookjunkie, Noelle is one of the most passionate bloggers I know, she doesn’t just shout about the books she loves, she literally screams about them! I really thought I would struggle to write an unbiased review but I had the honour of beta reading Dead Inside and even then I thought this is one crime thriller that is going to be huge hit. After reading the finished copy I know it’s going to be a humungous hit with crime thriller lovers.  Read on for my thoughts…….

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A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

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Now and then I get excited about reading a book written by a debut author, so I almost wet my myself with excitement when I was approached by Noelle Holten and asked if I would read her debut novel Dead Inside, it was literally a “hell yes and how soon can I get a copy?” Moment. From the shocking and disturbing prologue I knew this was one of those books I would get so caught up in, and god help anyone who disturbed me whilst I was reading it. Part Domestic noir, part crime thriller this novel was a cracker, when you read as many books as I do in these genres you are always looking for “that” book that offers you that something extra, something that makes it standout out from the crowd, and OMFG the author has certainly managed that.

Domestic abuse is not the easiest subject to write about, how do you convey the emotions, the abuse without overstepping the mark? This is a subject that’s emotive and very disturbing but the author writes about the subject with a great deal of insight, understanding and empathy.  One thing I noticed when I was reading this book is the author’s ability to write in such away you feel like you’re a voyeur watching from the sidelines, rather like a car crash you want to look away,  but you are compelled to read on as the characters move from one crisis to another. The writing is gritty and pulls no punches, although this can feel uncomfortable it makes the read all the more shockingly credible, I should point out though the violence isn’t gratuitous and is very much in keeping with the plot and subject.  

The author has created an array of characters some are much more likeable than others, you will love them, you will hate them, you will hope some of them get their “just desserts” but each character brings something different to this riveting  tale. You will feel their emotions, their despair and their anger, you need to read on as your desperate for at least a couple of the characters to find an escape from their very unhappy and violent relationships. I thought this book was original as not only do you get the POV of the abused and the abusers but also the many agencies who are involved, supporting the victims and in some case their perpetrators. As I mentioned this is part crime thriller, and again the author keeps you riveted to the pages, as crimes are committed and the suspects mount, never giving away too much detail to spoil the read, at times the tension and suspense reached fever pitch. 

There are a huge amount of fictional books that deal with domestic violence on the market, so what makes Dead a Inside any different? I hear you say, It’s original, highly engaging, the writing is confident and bold with memorable characters, add in a compelling plot, and you have the perfect mix for a crime thriller. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was the raw emotion within the pages, as I reached the last page I felt emotionally drained. Personally I’m already excited for second book from the very talented Noelle Holten, in my opinion she is an exciting and refreshing voice in Crime fiction and one whose journey I will be following with avid interest. 

  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Killer Reads (31 May 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

What readers think of Dead Inside

‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole

‘Kept me hooked throughout … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons

‘A brilliant debut – gritty, dark and chilling. Noelle Holten knows her stuff’ Mel Sherratt

‘Dark and gritty and kept me hooked until the very end. A Fantastic debut!’ Casey Kelleher

‘A hard-hitting, impressively authentic crime fiction debut … nuanced, highly readable, page turning, a definite cut above the rest. I urge you to read this book’ Howard Linskey

‘Extremely powerful, incredibly thought provoking and ringing with authenticity, this is an excellent debut’ M. W. Craven, author of the Washington Poe series 

‘Noelle has conjured up a real page-turner here. The author’s experience with damaged and damaging people really shines through bringing a great deal of grit to the drama. Add in some fascinating characters, relentless pace and a strong story and you have a winner on your hands’ Michael J Malone

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Links:
 

A huge thanks to Noelle, Killer Reads and Sarah over at BookOnTheBrightside for inviting me on to the tour!

Sarah Hardy

Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
Twitter: @BOTBSPublicity

Follow the blog tour………

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DEGREES OF GUILT BY HS Chandler @HSCINKPEN #BookReview #DegreesOfGuilt @OrionBooks #MustReads @Helen_Fields

Good morning today I’m sharing my review for Degrees Of Guilt by H S Chandler aka crime thriller writer Helen Fields. If you love a legal thriller this book is unmissable. Read on for my thoughts……..

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When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

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Nothing in life is ever black and white, there are shades of grey that blur our opinions, our thoughts, it’s one thing hearing the facts, but what about the untold story? What hidden truths could change a guilty verdict around or vice versa? Degrees Of Guilt by H.S. Chandler is a thrilling book where your opinion of the guilty, in this case Marie who freely admits to killing her husband, will sway at almost every chapter. This has to be one of the most exciting, complex, and compelling legal thrillers I’ve read for a long time, it’s the definition of a page turner. Rather like the jury, you find yourself living and breathing Marie’s trial, separating the layers of fact from fiction and hoping you make the right decision, guilty or not guilty? It’s up to you to decide.  

With a stellar of an opening chapter Degrees Of Guilt pulls you in to Maries’s story at first she appears cold and rational, But then as the story deftly unfolds we learn more about Marie’s complex life with Edward, nothing is as it first appears, is Marie telling the truth? or is her story one that’s been fabricated to gain sympathy for her wrongdoing’s? I couldn’t help but feel some empathy for her character, even though at times I had my doubts if she really was as innocent as she claimed to be.  The novel is an intricate web of lies, secrets, manipulations, and deceit which make this story a constant, head spinning guessing game, right up until the last chapter you are never sure where the truth really lies. 

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide Marie’s fate, at first she’s a reluctant participate, she’s nervous, timid, her life is very different to Marie’s she’s a wife and mother who life centres on her family, but as Marie’s trial reveals shocking details of her marriage she realises she has far more in common with her than she first thought. I found it fascinating to see how the mixed bunch of jurors first assumptions of Marie changed throughout the story, their opinions and feelings constantly shift, so you are never sure which verdict they will choose. Marie’s story is intense, alarming and uncomfortable,  which some readers find upsetting.  The author depicts the claustrophobic feel of the courtroom and the animosity of the jury towards the accused and their peers perfectly. 

The setting of a courtroom for most of the novel adds a palatable sense of claustrophobia and trepidation, a ploy that’s guaranteed to keep you reading and will make you reluctant to put this novel down even for a few minutes. Degrees of guilt is part domestic noir infused with a believable and heart wrenching courtroom drama, oozing with tension and mystery. HS Chandler knows how to keep the reader’s attention with a complex plot, intriguing characters, and a couple of curveballs I never saw coming until they hit me in the face! A superb book that I would highly recommend to those who love domestic noir wrapped up in a courtroom drama.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Trapeze (16 May 2019)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

My thanks to Meggy over at https://chocolatenwaffles.com/, for her fabulous review that convinced me to read this book. 

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Haverscroft by S.A. Harris #GuestPost #Haverscroft @salharris1 @saltpublishing @EmmaDowson1

Today I’m delighted  to be on the blog tour for Haverscroft  by S.A.Harris. Haverscroft  has been described as a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night. Today I’m sharing a guest post from the author herself, but first the book description……

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Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Salt (15 May 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Do You Have A Choice What You Write?

In the run-up to my debut novel, Haverscroft, being published I was asked to write some articles about the road to publication. What influenced me to write dark tales and Gothic fiction. Why this genre, over say, romance? I dredged various things from my memory which had been significant one way or another over the years and wrote a couple of pieces. A friend commented she would not have such a wealth of strange experiences to pull upon and that got me thinking. Do we have a choice what we write or is it inherent like eye colour?

Those weird encounters were many and varied but the one that regularly causes outcries of horror happened when we were on a family holiday a few years ago. It had been a long journey from East Anglia to a cottage near Pitlochry, Scotland. We arrived and loved the house; a light and airy Victorian villa with a patio and manicured garden leading to a bubbling stream and fields. The weather for July was still cool so we put on the heating and settled down for the evening. And that’s when things started to get interesting.

I’d just told our youngest to go to bed for the second time when he announced there was a bat on the wall beside the fireplace in the sitting room. An original delaying tactic if ever I’d heard one. A chorus followed from the rest of the family; A bat? What do you mean, a bat? On closer inspection, it turned out our son was telling the truth.

The little critter was tiny, not much larger than a fifty pence piece and could only crawl rather than fly, thank goodness. Deliberation followed. What should be done with it and where had it come from? I fetched my laptop and began to search the internet for answers. As I sat on the sofa, out of the corner of my eye, something was moving. A small dark shape was travelling from the cushion at my back onto my shoulder and at some speed. My daughter’s exclamation gave the game away before I could shift my position. Another baby bat had arrived.

We started searching the room. Bats were crawling down the curtains, emerging from behind cushions and from beneath the sofa. My husband fled upstairs to bed – moths, spiders, creepy crawlies are not his thing and neither are baby bats it turns out.

The internet provided a number to call which even at 11:30pm on a Saturday evening was answered. Advice was given; put the bats in boxes, lids on with holes punched in the top. Judy from the Bat Conservation Society would call by and collect our small visitors in the morning and, by the way, did we know bats are protected? We should probably move out.

We followed her instructions, found Tupperware, tinfoil and caught as many as we could. I closed the sitting room door and locked up as the children headed upstairs. 

I stood on the threshold of our bedroom with the light from the landing at my back. My husband lay on the mattress, the duvet on the floor. I thought in the dim light he was asleep, at least, he was snoring, anyway. Around him on the bed were small dark shapes. Surely not, I thought. I switched on the light. My husband complained about the glare. There are bats on the bed, I said. No six-foot man has ever moved so quickly.

Early the next morning, Judy explained there was a maternity roost in the chimney. The warmth of the central heating or the heat radiating from our bodies draws out the baby rodents. She took away all the bats we had collected leaving us with the advice more were very likely to crawl out from the nest. How were we going to find alternate accommodation at peak season and at such short notice? We started packing our bags.

So back to that question, are writers born or do we choose our genre? Perhaps if I tried, I could come up with a historical drama or a cosy crime novel. Haverscroft crosses genres. Part ghost story and part intimate examination of a marriage on the rocks in the way of a psychological thriller. By day, I am a solicitor specialising in divorce and relationship breakdown, so again, I guess exposure to such events over decades influenced my writing. But I do not think genre is like eye colour. Experiences over a lifetime become ingrained in us but nothing is inherent. We all draw on experience as well as our imaginations in our writing but ultimately it is our choice what we write.

And after we packed our bags and left the bats behind? We searched for most of a day but eventually found somewhere else to stay. We had salvaged our holiday. As we pulled up to the new cottage it seemed a little strange, but then, that is another story.

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S.A.Harris is an award-winning author and family law solicitor born in Suffolk and now living and working in Norwich, Norfolk.

She won the Retreat West Crime Writer Competition in 2017. She was shortlisted for The Fresher Prize First 500 Words of a Novel Competition in 2018 and published in their anthology, Monsters, in November 2018.

Her debut novel, Haverscroft, will be published on the 15th May 2019.

She is a member of the Society of Authors. You can contact her via her publisher: chris@saltpublishing.com or on Twitter @salharris1 or author website: https://www.saharrisauthor.com

PRAISE FOR HAVERCROFT

An atmospherically creepy ghost story that keeps you guessing till the end! Sally Harris is one to watch.’ –Angela Clarke

REVIEWS OF THIS BOOK

‘The writing is taut and fluid. Both the atmosphere of the old house and the wider family dynamics are evoked with skill. Whatever one thinks of a place harbouring the spirit of past deeds this story could throw shade over certainties. Recommended, but exercise caution if reading after dark.’ –Jackie Law, Never Imitate

My thanks to the author and Emma at Salt publishing for the guest post.

Follow the blog tour…..

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When Darkness Calls by Mark Griffin #Review @themarkgriffin @LittleBrownUK

Today I’m sharing my review for When Darkness Comes, the debut crime thriller from Mark Griffin, if you are a fan of dark and gruesome crime thrillers then this one’s definitely for you.

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***The first book in a bestselling new serial killer series***

Holly Wakefield works for the NHS as a criminal psychologist specialising in serial killers. She has particular reason to be good at her job – but she keeps that to herself.

When DI Bishop from the Met Police approaches Holly to investigate a recent killing, Holly is horrified by the dismembered bodies and the way they have been theatrically positioned. More shocking still is when the pathologist reveals this is not the first time she has seen these mutilations. It means a serial killer is out there, and they’re going to kill again – soon.

Holly is used to chasing serial killers. But this killer has something in common with Holly that she’s kept hidden for as long as she can remember. And for the first time since she was a child, Holly is forced to face the darkness of her past…

The first thriller in a gritty and gripping new crime series starring forensic psychologist Holly Wakefield. For fans of Patricia Cornwell, Val McDermid, Robert Galbraith and the TV’s Luther and Line of Duty.

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When Darkness Calls by Mark Griffin opens with a tantalising first chapter, definitely a promising start for a new crime series by Mark Griffin featuring forensic psychologist Holly Wakefield. I’m a huge fan of crime thriller series (in case you hadn’t already guessed) something guaranteed to make me pick up a book is one that  features a serial killer add in a forensic psychologist in the shape of Holly Wakefield (forensic psychology is another subject that fascinates me) and it was a book I just had to read.  When Darkness Calls is definitely one for those who enjoy a crime thriller that’s veers to the dark and gruesome, it’s compelling with many a nail biting scene to keep the most hardened crime thriller riveted.  

Holly Wakefield, is a criminal psychologist who specialises in the study of psychopaths and serial killers, some of whom she works with at a London psychiatric hospital. Holly is given the chance to work as a profiler with Detective Inspector Bishop and his murder squad. Their investigation begins with the discovery of an elderly couple murdered in their country home and it leads them to discover a trail of deaths stretching back more than 20 years. Holly is a refreshing protagonist for a crime thriller, she’s a walking, talking sickopedia, of serial killers and their macabre crimes, it’s clear she is committed to her job, she’s driven, and she’s quirky, but beneath the veneer are some very dark secrets that Holly would prefer to keep hidden. 

One of the things that makes this book such a compelling read is the author’s clever ploy of using Holly’s unhealthy obsession with serial killers as part of the plot  she relates details of infamous killers, their motives and their methods to the ongoing investigation which I found fascinating, this give the reader an insight into the unknown serial killer, as well as making this crime thriller all the more disturbing. The investigation takes a very dark and seriously twisted route, as Holly and Bishop chase a serial killer who is one sick individual, a master of control, manipulation and domination.  

There aren’t many books that make me grimace, some of the crime scenes and autopsies are graphic and pretty gory to say the least, but in the author’s defence they never feel unwarranted. When Darkness Calls is perfectly paced, it’s a dark tale (definitely my kind of read), with compelling characters, there’s a palatable sense of terror that permeates each page of this well thought out crime thriller. Did I mention this is the author’s debut novel? Well it is and what a fabulous start to this author’s writing career, in my opinion Mark Griffin is a new and exciting voice in the crime thriller genre and I will definitely read the next book in the series without hesitation. Highly recommended by me.

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (1 Nov. 2018)

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

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TURBULENT WAKE by PAUL E. HARDISTY @OrendaBooks @Hardisty_Paul #TurbulentWake #BlogTour #Extract

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Turbulent Wake by Paul E. Hardisty, a book that’s been described as A stark, stunning and emotive new standalone novel. Unfortunately due to my overwhelming TBR pile I haven’t had chance to read this book, but I do have a extract from the book to share with you  ……………

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A bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love, loss and grief. This extraordinary departure from the critically acclaimed thriller writer Paul E Hardisty explores the indelible damage we can do to those closest to us, the tragedy of history repeating itself and ultimately, the power of redemption in a time of change. Paul drew on his own experiences of travelling around the world as an engineer, from the dangerous deserts of Yemen, the oil rigs of Texas, the wild rivers of Africa, to the stunning coral cays of the Caribbean.

Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father, with whom he had a difficult relationship. Whilst clearing out the old man’s house, he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of vignettes and stories that cover the whole of his father’s turbulent and restless life.

As his own life unravels before him, Ethan works his way through the manuscript, searching for answers to the mysteries that have plagued him since he was a child. What happened to his little brother? Why was his mother taken from him? And why, in the end, when there was no one left for him, did his own father push him away?

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

PUBLICATION DATE: 21 MARCH 2019 | PAPERBACK ORIGINAL | £8.99 | ORENDA BOOKS

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Collapsing Infinity

He opens his eyes and looks out at the snow-covered parkway and across the steaming white rooftops, towards the dim memory of the mountains. A breakfast – cold porridge, a plastic bowl of gaily col- oured fruit salad, slightly burned toast – sits on the bed tray before him, ignored. Overnight, snow had drifted up and swallowed the cars that had been abandoned the night before. He’d lain awake and watched their owners, one after the other, stall on the hill, trying for a while to free themselves as the snow piled higher around them, and then finally giving up, trudging towards the lights of the hospital. Now, a lone plough, its orange light flashing in the pre-dawn grey, fights against the burial, its big V-blade sending twin streams of road snow curling away, like surf breaking on a West African beach long ago.

‘How are we this morning, Mister Scofield?’ It’s the nurse, the pretty one with the freckles and the face of a ten-year-old, open and innocent, the skin so smooth and supple, her bottom lip in a pout. He notices that she has applied some balm or gloss that makes her lips look wet. Something stirs deep inside of him, shivers like an echo for a moment, retreats. She reaches under him and plumps his pillow, then winds up his bed a bit, so he can look outside without straining. She knows that’s what he likes to do, does all day, every day: stares out of the window across the winter city and the foothills that he can sometimes see in the distance if the day is cold and the cloud has moved off. Never the television. They must think he is crazy, all of them, with their drapes closed against the day and screens flickering the remaining hours away in front of their faces.
‘Did you sleep well?’ she asks.

He nods, doesn’t smile. He has never been big on smiling. Perhaps it was because he’d never had his teeth fixed to make them look straight and white. They were good teeth, had outlasted other parts of the machinery – no decay, strong, did their job. It hadn’t been until later in life, after he’d married again and divorced, that he’d even realised they were an issue for others. He’d never smiled much before, anyway. He’d always wanted to be taken seriously, to be serious. Smiling wasn’t serious.
‘No breakfast again?’ says the nurse, checking his IV.
He shakes his head. ‘No, thank you.’
‘The doctor says you must eat.’
He pushes the tray away. This was not how he’d imagined it would be, not how he’d ever wanted it. How did it happen? Your life unfolded, you made decisions or didn’t, things happened and didn’t, and what you thought was an ocean stretched out before you turned out to be only a teardrop.

‘I want you to help me,’ he says to the nurse.
She smiles at him. Her teeth are even and white, lovely. For a moment he imagines that she was the girl who’d married his son, had borne his grandsons.
‘Of course, what can I do?’ she says.
He pointed to the IV line. ‘Morphine.’
She checks the line again, his chart. ‘You can dose yourself, as
you like.’
‘No,’ he says. ‘I want more.’ He is conscious of his own voice,
cracked and dry and old. ‘A lot more.’ He looks straight into her clear, pale eyes. What beautiful children she would have made. He wonders if she knows yet that nothing else matters.
She stands a moment looking down at him. ‘You know I can’t do that, Mister Scofield.’
‘Why not? I’ll never tell.’ He curls the corner of his lip.
She doesn’t flinch. ‘If you are in pain, I will speak to the doctor about changing your dosage.’
He shakes his head. ‘I like the pain.’

She doesn’t understand, he knows. How can she? She still sees time as an ocean, can’t fathom this most cruel of illusions. Maybe that’s not so bad either, he thinks. Regardless, we’re looking back at each other from different shores of this same ocean. The only differ- ence is that I can see you, but you can’t see me. Time has accelerated for me, and passes still so slowly for you. Relativity applies. My only language now is the handful of events that I can recall, that stand out among the thousands of hours and days passed undifferentiated in offices and schoolrooms and bedrooms. Necessary, perhaps, but now I regret each of those wasted days.
But these two dozen or so times of my life, he thinks, these might be worth telling, remembering. The problem is I have no one to tell them to. No one left. Perhaps that, in itself, is one of the stories: how I came to be alone. And he wonders if these few moments are not shared, not somehow transcribed, will it be as if they had never occurred at all, and would it matter? He wonders if she would want to listen to his stories, those that might provide her with some glimpse of how to navigate the collapsing infinity between them.
The nurse is standing there, looking at him while he is thinking this. ‘Do you want me to get the doctor?’ she asks.
He shakes his head slowly. ‘The doctor can’t help me,’ he says. ‘But you can.’

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Canadian Paul E 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 of out Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science AIMS). The first four novels in his Claymore Straker series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, Reconciliation for the Dead and Absolution all received great critical acclaim and The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and was a Daily Telegraph Thriller of the Year. Paul is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.

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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing @smariedowning @penguinrandom #MyLovelyWife #BookHangoverAward #Review

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for My Lovely Wife, the debut novel from Samantha Downing.  If you are looking for a thriller that’s different, then I definitely have just the book for you……

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HOW WELL DO YOU REALLY KNOW THE ONE YOU LOVE THE MOST?

‘The twist at the end of the first chapter made me read through the night’ Jane Corry, bestselling author of The Dead Ex

This is a story about a married couple. They met, fell in love, had two beautiful children. So far, so ordinary.

But they have a very dark secret.

It’s a story with a twist. And then another. And another.

You might think you’ve read stories like this before.

You’d be wrong.

By the end of the first chapter you’ll be hooked.

At page fifty you might not sleep until you finish.

And when you turn the last page, you’ll ask yourself one question:

How well do you really know the person you love most?

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This will probably be the shortest review I’ve ever written, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing is one of those books where it’s nigh on impossible to mention the plot in any detail without giving away major spoilers. I had no idea what this book was about when I first started reading it; I had no expectations, no thoughts on where the book would lead, and for me personally it made this reading experience even more exciting and enjoyable. My Lovely Wife has to be one of the best novels I’ve read this year, addictive, deliciously dark and very disturbing. 

My Lovely Wife is the story of two ordinary people who meet, fall in love and settle into the humdrum life of suburbia and parenthood, but if you scratch beneath their veneer of respectability, there lies a dark and disturbing secret and one only the couple share, well until now that is! Narrated from the point of view of the husband, we the reader are privy to every detail of this couple’s marriage. As a reader, I’m used to seeing thrillers that come with the promise “a twist you won’t see coming” and more often than not I’m left feeling disappointed that the “twist” was obvious from the start. That’s not the case with this novel, there really were some brilliant twists and in very much in keeping with the plot. 

Samantha Downing has written a novel that captures the reader from the first chapter, and as the book description mentions “At page fifty you might not sleep until you finish” and I have to agree I literally read this book in two hugely satisfying sessions (it would have been one if life didn’t get in the way) My Lovely Wife is a deliciously dark tale of relationships and secrets, not original themes by any means, but it’s so different to any other novel I’ve read, it’s wickedly entertaining, full of black humour, and as for the characters their deeply flawed but fascinating never the less. I have a feeling this novel will be a big hit with fans of psychological and crime thrillers and rightly so. Highly recommended by me 

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books (26 Mar. 2019)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

I’m giving My Lovely Wife my shiny 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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