Tag Archives: New Author To Me

#TheFive by Hallie Rubenhold @HallieRubenhold @DoubledayUK #thefivewomen #iamPollyAnnieElizabethKateMaryJane

Today I’m sharing my review for The Five, the untold lives of the woman killed by Jack The Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. I’ve recently started reading historical crime  novels and I must say I found this book to be a fascinating read. Read on for my thoughts…..

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Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.

Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories.

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London – the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper

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I have read many true crime books over the years, and they have always focused on infamous killers with little thought given to the victims. I’m sure you can all think of a list of infamous killers, but can you remember any of the victims’ names or their life stories? Probably not I know I can’t, which is desperately sad. This book provides the reader with an incredible insight into the five victims of Jack The Ripper, Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane. Yes, they were victims of the most atrocious crimes,  but Helen Rubenhold’s The Five finally gives these women a voice. Beautifully written the author brings 1888 London to life, but more importantly she brings to life the five women, giving them back their dignity, which for almost 150 years they have been cruelly denied.

As a reader of true crime I have read many books on Jack The Ripper and many of them describe the five victims as prostitutes, a fact that obscured the truth about the women’s real life’s, (only one of the five women sold her body for money). Even back in 1888 the victims of Jack The Ripper were blighted by ‘here say’ and speculation, they were shaped and embellished to make the crimes more newsworthy (sound familiar?).  As most of the victims had no permanent roof over their heads or a husband to protect them, they were seen to be outcasts and so considered to be corrupt and impure, they faced violence, abuse, lived day to day, hungry, cold and unloved, was it any wonder every single one of the woman had struggled with alcohol addiction.

Towards the end of their short life’s circumstances for each woman changed, either through bad choices or misfortune.  Perceived to be either “broken women” or  “fallen women” It’s at this point they were treated with contempt,  and even in death the rumour mill spewed false accusations and showed little sympathy for the Ripper’s victims. None of the women were treated as individual victims in death, but were banded together as victims of “an unfortunate class”, which made me angry and incredibly sad. For the first time ever someone has taken the time to share their stories, they are desperately sad and harrowing but at the same time we see them as wife’s, daughters, and mothers, who faced adversary, and poverty, where every day was a struggle for survival, sometimes wrong choices were made, but then the choices these women had were very limited by circumstances.

Helen Rubenhold’s descriptions of a London in 1888 are vividly described, the sounds, the smells, the doss houses, overcrowded slums, the pubs, transport you back to an age where poverty, malnutrition and disease were rife. It’s obvious the author has extensively researched her subject. Although some parts are speculative, she has incorporated as much factual detail where ever possible. I should mention, if you’re expecting gruesome details of the murders of these five women, or another theory to the ripper’s identity then this book won’t be for you. If you are looking for a powerful book, that blends true crime and one that’s rich in historical detail, that gives a voice to #FiveWoman, Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane, then The Five is definitely a book I would recommend.

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (28 Feb. 2019)

Buying links :  Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

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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.

#IKnowYou by Erik Therme #BlogTour @ErikTherme @Bookouture

Today I’m thrilled to be opening the blog tour for I Know You by Erik Therme, along with my partner in crime (excuse the pun) Sarah Hardy don’t forget to check out her post at… bytheletterbookreviews

In my challenge to read more books by authors whose books I haven’t read before I decided to sign up to the blog tour, and I’m so glad I did. Read on for my thoughts….

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I can help you save your sister. But I need something from you …’

Sisters Bree and Alissa Walker share a special bond. Neglected by their parents, they have always looked out for one another. But one day, sixteen-year-old Alissa goes missing. When Bree discovers her green backpack with all her belongings, abandoned on the steps of their run-down trailer, she knows that something bad has happened …

Then she receives a chilling text message. Someone has Alissa. But Bree will have to give up something very precious in exchange.

Desperate to save Alissa, Bree looks at everyone close to their family. She’s sure that Alissa’s best friend is keeping something back about her little sister and a boy at school, and why has their estranged uncle, who they’ve not seen in years, been hanging around again?

It soon becomes clear that the person behind the message knows a lot about the dark truths within the Walker family and will go to any lengths to get revenge. And as the search for Alissa continues, Bree discovers something about her brother Tyler that she wishes she hadn’t, a dangerous secret, which is also the key to bringing her little sister back home …

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I Know You is a relatively short read at 221 pages, but what it lacks in pages it certainly doesn’t lack in action, it’s what I consider to be a fast paced, quick moving thriller. The Walkers can only be described as a “dysfunctional family”, with oldest daughter Bree being the main care provider by default for her younger brother and sister Alissa and Taylor.  

When Bree receives a text stating, simply, “find your sister”, the race is on to find sixteen year old Alissa before it is too late. Bree’s family may not win a “family of the year” award but they are Bree’s family, and rather like a lioness protecting her young she will do anything to safeguard her siblings, this mindset drives her on in the quest to save Alissa. Bree’s a character I really liked, she’s determined, resourceful and ballsy, and despite her difficult childhood she doesn’t allow this to define her.  

The challenges Bree faces to save Alissa, move from the down right scary to the almost impossible, but here’s a character whose going to save her sister come hell or high water. As the story unfolds numerous reasons come to light, each one could potentially be the reason Alissa has been taking, a clever ploy by the author because you find yourself constantly trying to work out why Alissa has been taken? and by whom? There is a long list of worthy suspects who come under the microscope, as each one is discounted another one takes their place. 

The Walker family are central to the plot and although it’s not a book entirely character driven, they do play a big part in the plot. I know You explores what can happen to a family who haven’t had the luxury of growing up in a stable and loving environment and the impact this has on their life’s, the good, the bad, and the damn right ugly.  I wouldn’t say this book had a “heart stopping twist” yes it had plenty of twists and turns, but it lacked that “OMFG” moment I was expecting from the tagline, but never the less this book made for a quick, enjoyable read. This is the perfect thriller for those who are looking for a quick read with well developed characters and a suspenseful plot.

  • Print Length: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (12 April 2019)

Buying links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07NCYMZSFSocial

Apple Books:  https://apple.co/2TtfXPM

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2MQZdzE

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/uX3W30nA9OJ

My thanks to the author, Noelle Holten and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for a honest review.

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Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa–one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: www.eriktherme.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ErikTherme

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7831573.Erik_Therme

Facebook: www.facebook.com/erik.therme

Follow the blog tour….

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55 by James Delargy #WhoIsFiftyFive? @JDelargyAuthor @SimonSchusterUK #GuestPost #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour @AnneCater

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for 55 by James Delargy. This is one book I want to read at some point it sounds fantastic. (Update I’ve actually just bought the book after reading Eva’s fab review on the blog tour  yesterday at noveldeelights)

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This book has been described as a thriller with a killer hook, and an ending that will make you gasp! Intrigued? Me too but in the meantime I have a brilliant guest post from the author himself, but first the book description……
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*** There were 54 victims before this. Who is number 55? ***
A thriller with a killer hook, and an ending that will make you gasp!

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.
He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim. 

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

James Delargy has written one of the most exciting debuts of 2019. He masterfully paints the picture of a remote Western Australian town and its people, swallowed whole by the hunt for a serial killer. This novel has been sold in 19 countries so far and has just been optioned for film.   

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (4 April 2019)

Buying link:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Favourite writers

I like a number of genres of novels but I guess my love of Crime, Thrillers and Mystery novels comes from early on in my life. I would get The Hardy Boys novels from the library in school or in the next town over and go to bed reading them, often waking up the next day with my fingers in the pages where I had fallen asleep or the poor book sprawled on the floor beside the bed. Fingers in the pages was preferential as with a floor book I was left guessing where I had finished off.

After the Hardy Boys I moved onto other writers but the main one was Stephen King. I love his storytelling and was overawed by the range of styles and genres he could produce – horrors, dramas, crime, coming of age tales – all punctuated by characters and plots that were so engrossing. Of any writer I think that he has had the most influence in terms of wanting to write, even though it took to my thirties to turn to novel writing.

Despite this the book that might have influenced me the most is The Count of Monte Cristo, the innocent man seeking his revenge on those who imprisoned him falsely. I fell in love with the elaborate plot, the twists and turns and how his desire for revenge causes the protagonist to evolve from naïve, to vengeful, to compassionate.

Other writers to have influenced me include Chuck Palahniuk for the visual, sometime stomach-churning visceral nature of his writing. Ian Rankin for the depth of his characters and the world he creates. Val McDermid for her delicious plotting, mystery and characters. Colin Bateman for the characters, the setting and the sarcastic humour. Lee Child for the wit, plotting and energy of his books.

But there are many others in recent years such as, Cara Hunter, Jane Harper, Ann Cleeves, Simon Kernick, Joseph Knox, Steve Cavanagh, Michael Connolly and Fiona Barton. Not to mention novels such as The Great Gatsby, Catch 22, The Catcher in the Rye, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Dracula, Frankenstein, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Homer (not Simpson), George Orwell, John Steinbeck, James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane. An almost endless list. So I’ll stop there. Although no doubt I’ll remember someone in the next few hours that I’ll regret leaving out. Kazuo Ishiguro. Annie Proulx. Roddy Doyle. Irvine Welsh.

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James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives. He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. 55 is his first novel.

My thanks to author James Delargy and Ann Cater for the fabulous guest post.

Follow the blog tour…..

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Brotherhood by David Beckler #BlogTour @DavidBeckler1 #Extract @SapereBooks

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Brotherhood by David Beckler blog tour. Brotherhood is an urban thriller packed full of suspense, it’s the first book in the Mason & Sterling series. I have a very intriguing extract to share with you all, but first the book description……

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A crime thriller, in which two ex-Royal Marines are pitted against a former child soldier, and one of the most brutal gangs in Manchester.

When Byron Mason’s seventeen year-old nephew, Philip, becomes embroiled in a murder, he calls his uncle for help. Byron returns to the city of his birth and, having been thrown back together with his estranged family, he finds his nephew is being hunted not only by the police, but also by a vicious gangster, Ritchie McLaughlin, the uncle of the murdered boy, both of whom believe Philip to be guilty of the crime. Shortly after Byron’s arrival, Philip disappears, leaving Byron and his firefighter friend, Adam Sterling, to track him down before time runs out.

As part of her investigation into Philip’s role in the murder, newly appointed Detective Chief Inspector Siobhan Fahey also uncovers the brutal past of Philip’s friend, Mugisa, whose very survival has depended on burying his own emotions and controlling the people around him. She quickly realises that Mugisa is a very dangerous young man.

The search for Philip is made all the more perilous when Ritchie McLaughlin decides he has unfinished business with Byron, and is bent on exacting revenge. Byron and Adam are faced with tough decisions as they fight to keep Philip and his family safe; legal and moral boundaries are crossed in their battle against ruthless adversaries. In the end, though, the greatest peril comes from an unexpected quarter……

  • Print Length: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Sapere Books (7 Feb. 2019)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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Detective Chief Inspector Siobhan Quinn finished the can of Red Bull and wrinkled her nose. She’d have much preferred a coffee, but even if she’d found the espresso machine amongst the boxes in her new flat, it would have taken too long. She shivered, coveting the warmth of her bed as the wind hurled rain at her kitchen window. The smell of fresh paint from the work she’d done last night mingled with the pungent odour of the drink.

She read the address again and located it in her new street atlas. She’d spent her first few days driving around Manchester getting to know her new patch and had a rough idea of the way. Satisfied she could find it, she put the empty can in the bin and strode into the hallway. At the cheap mirror hanging behind the front door, she checked her reflection and, satisfied she’d pass muster, set off.

Twenty minutes later she drove down yet another narrow terraced street. She’d already pulled over once to get her bearings but could see nobody around to ask. A blue light flickered in the gloom and giving thanks, she accelerated towards it. Two fire engines took up half the street and beyond them several police vehicles and a car she recognised as Eddy Arkwright’s from the three child seats crammed into the rear. She’d only met him twice, but the sergeant seemed competent.

She parked past his car, grateful the rain had eased, and put on her ‘incident kit’: disposable overalls, waterproof boots and nitrile gloves. The firefighters moved around their fire engines, stowing their gear, and a couple paused to study her. A constable with a clipboard guarded a house with smoke-stained brickwork above the openings.

“DCI Quinn,” she said, flashing her ID card and stepped in through the gaping doorframe. A wave of humid heat hit her. Metal plates on the floor denoted the path, keeping feet out of the charred slurry and preserving evidence. A string of lights illuminated the corridor.

Siobhan paused in the doorway leading to the fire-blackened room. The smell reminded her of the peat fires at her grandmother’s. Overlaying this, the sweet acrid stench of burnt plastic and something else she didn’t want to think about. Powerful floodlights filled the centre of the space with harsh light, leaving the sides in shadow. Wisps of steam rose from the charred floor timbers.

The lighting focussed on the bin and the body spilling out of it. Besides anger that someone had done this to a fellow human, she felt the stirrings of the excitement she always experienced at the start of a big case.

A detailed video and many photos would preserve images of the scene, but she wanted to see the victim in situ. A figure on the other side of the room, like her dressed in disposable coveralls, switched off his torch and straightened. She recognised the distinctive outline of her sergeant.

“Morning, ma’am.” His voice, gruff and low, matched his appearance.

“Morning, Eddy, and as I told you on Friday, I’m not the Queen.” She smiled at him. “Boss or Guv will do.”

“Yes, Boss.”

Both wore coveralls but the similarities ended there. At six foot three, Eddy Arkwright towered over her. His build attested to his former pastime as a rugby league prop forward. She’d heard how a serious knee injury had ended his playing days and almost cost him his police career. At thirty-two, he’d filled out, and the coverall strained to contain him. A broken nose and cropped brown hair gave him an intimidating air.

In contrast, she stood at five foot four and a bit, and doubted she weighed half what he did. The coverall she wore bulged with excess material. Eddy switched his torch back on and she leant forward to examine the body. Even though she expected it, the sight made her throat burn. He looked the same age Declan would have been. Come on Siobhan, this is not your brother. To catch the perpetrator, she needed to stay detached. She must see the ruined flesh as evidence, a means of trapping the killer, not the remains of a young man.

She swallowed before asking, “Do we know what happened?”

“Fire brigade found him; I think it’s a him, unless it’s a very ugly woman.” Eddy’s grin died under the withering look she gave him and his cheeks reddened as he continued. “They got the call at 04.17 from a taxi driver. One of the lads is getting his statement. They got here at 04.21 and broke in through the front door.”

“What about the back?”

“That had a security grille on it.” He flashed the torch beam at it. “The firemen ripped it off afterwards, to let the smoke out.”

“Has anyone taken prints off it?”

“No, Boss.”

“Get it done please, both sides,” she said.

“They found the body at 04.43 and—”

“How come they took twenty minutes to find him? It’s not a big house.”

“I’m not sure, Boss.” She signalled for him to continue. “Like I said, they found the body and let our guys know. A patrol car was already here. The station officer assures me, apart from moving the bin when they discovered the body, everything else is as they found it.”

She looked around the walls, noting many black scuff marks at floor level, and sooty glove-prints higher up.

“I’m sure,” she murmured.

He ignored her comment and continued, “They found the two upstairs earlier, at 04.41.”

She straightened and flexed her knees.

“They can take him away once SOCO are happy. I’ll speak to the fire officer.”

She left Eddy to carry out her instructions and returned to the front door, her mind racing through the steps needed to get the investigation up to speed. This was her first working day in a new force, and she knew she would have to rely on Eddy’s local knowledge in the early stages. She dismissed the churning in her stomach. One of her reasons for transferring was to work cases like this.

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David writes crime thrillers full of fast-paced action.

Born in Addis Ababa in 1960, he spent his first eight years living on an agricultural college in rural Ethiopia where his love of reading developed. After dropping out of university he became a firefighter and served 19 years before leaving to start his own business. 

He began writing in 2010 and uses his work experiences to add realism to his fiction.

The Mason and Sterling series centre on two ex-Royal Marines, Byron who now runs a security company and Adam who is a firefighter. A strong cast of supporting characters support his protagonists. Sapere Books are publishing Brotherhood, the first novel in the series, in late 2018.

David lives in Manchester, his adopted home since 1984. In his spare time he tries to keep fit—an increasingly difficult undertaking—listens to music, socialises and feeds his voracious book habit.

Follow the blog tour…….

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#FourFeetUnder By Tamsen Courtenay @TamsenC_writer @unbounders #Recommended #TrueStory #Homeless

Today I’m sharing my review for a very different book from my usual reads, Four Feet Under by Tamsen Courtenay. It’s the untold stories of the homeless living in London, this has to be one of the most powerful and poignant books I’ve ever read.

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Tamsen Courtenay spent two months speaking to people who live on London’s streets, the homeless and the destitute – people who feel they are invisible. With a camera and a cheap audio recorder, she listened as they chronicled their extraordinary lives, now being lived four feet below most Londoners, and she set about documenting their stories, which are transcribed in this book along with intimate photographic portraits.

A builder, a soldier, a transgender woman, a child and an elderly couple are among those who describe the events that brought them to the lives they lead now. They speak of childhoods, careers and relationships; their strengths and weaknesses, dreams and regrets; all with humour and a startling honesty.

Tamsen’s observations and remarkable experiences are threaded throughout. The astonishing people she met changed her for ever, as they became her heroes, people she grew to respect. You don’t have to go far to find these homegrown exiles: they’re at the bottom of your road. Have you ever wondered how they got there? 

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This is probably one of the most difficult books I’ve ever chosen to review, it’s definitely not one I would consider to be an enjoyable read, far from it, in fact It’s heartbreaking, shocking, and disturbing, as I turned each page I found myself grateful for the small things I take for granted, hot water, heating, clean clothes, the love of my family, the list is endless. Four Feet Under is a powerful and moving insight into the day-to-day lives of some the unfortunate people who through tragedy, misfortune and bad decisions have found themselves living on the streets of Britain, displaced, dispossessed and destitute. This book deals with complex issues such as drug use, prostitution, and mental health issues although very upsetting but it also gives an incredible insight into the homeless.

Four Feet Under a collection of stories told by the homeless, Tamsen Courtenay presents them in such a way the voices and personalities of the people she interviews shine through, they answer questions with honestly and despite their desperately sad stories and the circumstances they find themselves in, there are humorous moments amid the heart breaking ones. Some of the  stories challenge our own assumptions, others show how easily homelessness can happen through bad luck, misfortune, or making a wrong decision. Harsh treatment by impoverished authorities is also a common theme, some of the homeless featured aren’t considered not to be “enough of a hardship case” to qualify for help, despite them having serious medical problems.

As I read Four Feet Under there were so many stories that deeply affected me Charisse, who walked out on an abusive relationship, Jane and Kenny, a couple in their 60s who sleep beneath the Waterloo Imax cinema, Jade born to a teenage mother and a father who’s a paedophile and a pimp, were just a few that broke me.   Despite the hardship and the brutality many have suffered on the streets, their resilience is incredible and inspiring.

In the past I have given money to the homeless but is that enough? If anything, this book made me realise “yes” they need money to live day to day, but they also need a smile, a kind word, a cup of coffee, anything to make them feel less invisible than they already are. Tamsen Courtenay writes in a sympathetic and non judgemental way,  she doesn’t sugar the atrocities of the people she has interviewed, it’s the harsh reality for the people who live “Four Feet Under”. Although this book will not bring about big changes, the author has given the homeless a voice, a chance to share their fears, dreams and more importantly their stories, something they miss living on the streets where conversation is limited. This book has left me with a massive book hangover, but for all the wrong reasons, I can’t help wondering what happened to the characters in the book, and I’ve a feeling their stories will stay will haunt me for a long time to come. Highly recommended.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Unbound (23 Aug. 2018

Buying link:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧

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The book review café Book Of The month **February 2019**

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Whohoo It’s the 1st March, hopefully spring is just around the corner, I’m really not a winter person, bring on the lighter nights and lots of sunny days 😎.  Now we’ve got the weather out the way it’s time to choose my book of the month for February 2019, my god this was a hard one I could have chosen at least FOUR books this month but then I remembered the promise  I made last month on my blog, see below ⬇️

As only one who follows my blog will know I’m rubbish at narrowing it down to one book and more often than not I’ve chosen two or in some months three! I have had a srtrict word with myself, and this year I’m going to try and keep to just the one book of the month as the title suggests, let’s see how that goes 😂

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So after a couple of sleepless nights, and much toing and froing I came to my final decision, are you ready? I read some fabulous books in Febuary, but there is one book that really stood out. It’s 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. It’s also one that rekindled my 🖤 Of horror. So without further ado here is my ONE book of the month…….

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Turn The Other Way by Stuart James

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I read so many books that promise that “big twist” and I’m sorry to say but many of them fail to deliver, but not Stuart James, there’s twist upon twist, each one darker and more twisted than the last. It takes a lot to shock or surprise me but OMFG Turn The Other Way surpassed anything I was expecting. You know the saying “revenge is sweet”? This book is more a case of “revenge is dark, disturbing, and extremely painful”. Would I recommend this book? “It’s a hell yes” especially to those who love a horror thriller. See my full review here……..Turn The Other Way by Stuart James @StuartJames73 #MustReads #Horror #Thriller #Crime #MustRead

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After more thought and deliberation there was no way I could much choose one book

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So here is my joint winner for the book of the month

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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The author sure knows how to weave a tangled web, and then keep the reader in his clutches with a well- plotted story. It’s one that pulls you in from the shocking opening chapter and keeps you captivated all the way to it’s explosive conclusion. I literally read this book in a day, the tension mounted as each chapter ended making this an impossible book to put down. Mark my words this book is going to be a HUGE hit.

You can read my full review here…….

#TheSilentPatient by Alex Michaelides (@AlexMichaelides @OrionBooks) #2019MustReads @BenWillisUK #BookHangoverAward

Highly recommended

Full reviews can be found in the links below……..

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #MustReads

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQstories #MustReads

#DeadMemories by Angela Marsons #MustReads @WriteAngie @Bookouture #BookHangoverAward

You Belong To Me by Mark Tilbury **BlogBlitz** #BookReview @#MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

The Nowhere Child by Christian White #BookReview @CWhiteAuthor @MinotaurBooks

Books I’m hoping to read in March