October 20

A Suitable Lie – Michael J Malone

a-suitable-lieAndy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match… And she loves his son, too.

When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.

 

My thanks to Karen at Orenda for my review copy.

 

Domestic Noir has a new high bar and it is called A Suitable Lie.

This is Andy’s story, it is told in the first person and it makes for uncomfortable reading. Andy works in the local bank, he plays rugby, he is a single dad having tragically lost his wife who died during childbirth. His life is ticking along but his friends and family feel he needs to get out more so one evening he finds himself in a pub and he meets Anna.

Anna is a beauty, new to town and not happy that her “date” for the evening may have forgotten to mention his wife to her. Andy rescues Anna from a miserable evening and the two click. Before long they are a couple and then wedding bells beckon. On his wedding night Andy’s life will go from bliss to misery and he will find himself trapped in a living Hell.

Anna, petite and beautiful, is hiding a dark side – a violent and obsessive personality. She is controlling, vicious and yet loving and apologetic. Author, Michael J Malone, brings out Anna’s temper slowly and we see the violence and her control over Andy grow with each new chapter. I read A Suitable Lie with a knot of tension in my stomach – I feared for Andy and I hated everything that Anna put him through.

Yet Andy knows that he cannot (and will not) hit back. He endures beatings, humiliation and his confidence is undermined. We see him at work when he is struggling to hide his secret. His work life is also providing challenging as there are problems at the Bank and, with the distractions in his home-life, Andy is not as vigilant at work as he needs to be. His world is coming apart around him but who can he turn to?

A Suitable Lie is an intense read which is highlighting a topic which is a far bigger issue than most realise. It is a story that will stick with you for a long time to come and it is important that it does. Not to be missed.

 

A Suitable Lie is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and digital format. You can get your copy by clicking through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suitable-Lie-Michael-J-Malone/dp/1910633496/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476911441&sr=8-1&keywords=a+suitable+lie

 

suitable-lie-blog-tour-poster

Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on A Suitable Lie – Michael J Malone
September 21

Strangers – Paul Finch

strangersUnknown, alone, and fearing for your life.

As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is.

But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there’s no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come.

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.

And, unknown to Lucy, she’s already treading it…

 

My thanks to Helena at Avon Books for my review copy and the opportunity to be the first leg on the Strangers blog tour

 

I suspect that one observation shall crop up quite frequently when Strangers is reviewed…No Heck.  But what is it that makes Heck so good?  Well it’s Paul Finch of course! So when I heard that Lucy Clayburn would be the lead character in Strangers I was actually really pleased. New characters means new opportunities, new adventures and a blank canvas for an author to take a very different approach – one that would not work for the characters we may already associate with that author.

As it turns out that is exactly what we get as Lucy Clayburn is going undercover on the streets to pose as a working girl. No matter how good Heck may be I just cannot see him pulling off that role!

The good news (not that it comes as a surprise) is that PC Lucy Clayburn is a fabulous character.  There are so many spoilers to avoid but I can say she has a dubious reputation in her role which has put a blight on her career to date. Lucy has a wonderfully “punky” attitude which I immediately warmed to and when she is driven to do the best in her role and prove her worth to her colleagues she is a force to be reckoned with.

As we have come to expect from Paul Finch’s books the streets are full of some really nasty bad guys and in Strangers I am delighted that this theme continued.  A female serial killer is murdering and mutilating men and the police have very little to work on. Lucy is recruited to join a team of undercover officers who will pose as prostitutes in a bid to win the confidence of other street girls who may give some clues towards the possible identity of the killer.

But for Lucy a different opportunity arises when she is given some information which could bring the police closer to closing down the activities of some of the worst members of the North West’s criminal underworld. Lucy is desperate to redeem herself in the eyes of her bosses and agrees to put herself right into the heart of the gangster operations.

What she finds, and the consequences of her actions, make for a 5 star thrill-fest. One of those stories which you just do not want to end and one where you feel that no characters are absolutely guaranteed to still be alive come the last page. The best kind of story!

Paul Finch writes books I want to read. If you like crime fiction of the highest calibre then look no further.

 

Strangers is published by Avon and is available now in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strangers-Paul-Finch/dp/0007551312/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474496962&sr=1-1&keywords=strangers+paul+finch

 

blog-tour

Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Strangers – Paul Finch
September 21

Exclusion Zone – J.M. Hewitt

Exclusion ZoneOn 26th April 1986, reactor four exploded at the factory in Pripyat, Chernobyl.

At the same time teenager Afia Bello vanished from her home without a trace.

The damage from the nuclear fallout is examined over the following weeks, months and years by Afia’s younger sister Sissy, as she unwittingly uncovers clues relating to her sister’s disappearance, and the secret life that Afia kept hidden from her family.

In the summer of 2015 Private Detective Alex Harvey is hired to investigate the disappearances that have been occurring within the exclusion zone.

He can think of only one person to bring along with him to help; Ukrainian national Elian Gould.

Elian – who was adopted at birth – has her own reasons for accepting the job; namely to search for her own family history which has always been a mystery to her.

But the remaining citizens of Chernobyl are hiding their own secrets and with a darker force at work, the missing person’s case suddenly turns into something much more serious…

 

I received a copy of  Exclusion Zone from the author. But as she had very kindly signed it for me I bought another copy so I could keep the signed one good!

Not going to mess around on this one – it is a 5* read and I loved it.

Chernobyl as a setting is fabulous for a crime thriller – the place where nobody wants to go. A place where time stands still. And a place where evil can seemingly thrive without consequence. The scenes in the book that take place in Chernobyl are extremely dark, darker than I had expected (but this is a good thing). A killer is hunting victims and revelling in their capture. His crimes are escaping the attention of the authorities and he keeps his base of operations mobile to reduce the chance of capture.  We know this as throughout Exclusion Zone the narrative will swing away from our hero, detective Alex Harvey, to focus on the murderer – we follow the escalation in his crimes.

I mentioned Alex Harvey – he is the star of the show (and hopefully many more shows to follow) he has been engaged to investigate the disappearances that have been taking place in the Exclusion Zone.  To assist with his investigations he recruits the services of Elian Gould, a secretive young woman who will prove to be both a help and a hindrance to Harvey as his investigations take him to the edge of the exclusion zone and the mysteries that lie within.

The narrative swings between past and present with a story spanning around 3o years. It is handled brilliantly and the story flows really well – time leaping in a novel can sometimes jar or feel clumsy, not so in Exclusion Zone. The characters we meet are really well defined and you will cheer, cry and despair at how they fare (did I mention the dark edge?)

As I stated at the start of this review I loved Exclusion Zone. If you are looking for an engrossing story set in a distinctive (and fabulously described) environment with a decidedly nasty bad guy then this is a book you need to read.

Exclusion Zone is published by Endeavour Press and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Exclusion-Zone-J-M-Hewitt/dp/1530118778/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474395377&sr=1-1&keywords=exclusion+zone

 

I would also recommend catching up with JM Hewitt chatting all things Ukraine with Alex Shaw – they joined me earlier this year and you can see their full conversation here: http://grabthisbook.net/?p=1577

 

 

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Exclusion Zone – J.M. Hewitt
August 23

Holiday Reading: Volume 3 – Sarabrand

Sarabrand made the headlines this summer when Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016. As the announcement was made I had just finished reading a Sarabrand book – the third of their titles that I had read in a single month. Although I have not read His Bloody Project I need to shout a bit about three brilliant books from the Sarabrand collection which should also command a place on your bookshelves.

 

Bad Samaritan – Michael J Malone

Bad SamaritanDI Ray McBain returns and his past is catching up with him. He previously came up against a deranged Serial Killer called Stigmata, it seems that Stigmata may now be back and claiming more victims and this time it seems McBain may be a target himself.

McBain is aware of the danger he faces, however, he is investigating the murder of a student – her body found in a dark city centre alley. Cutting through the lies and fake bravado of the Glasgow student population will prove to be a challenge for McBain, particularly when many of his suspect pool interact via social media and are not very good at having a “real” conversation.

Bad Samaritan is a brilliant who-dunnit, a drama of cat and mouse and has an endgame which is equally shocking and thrilling. I love the dynamic between McBain and his partner Alessandra Rossi, the scenes with them both are frequently laugh out loud funny. Glasgow humour with cop humour – double win!

Ale is much more comfortable dealing with the students than McBain and much of this investigation is driven by her. This leaves McBain dealing with his small Stigmata problems, well that and the other issues that Mr Malone is throwing his way. McBain’s story does not always make for easy reading, he is facing some tough issues and you become fully caught up with his story. Anguish and despair are not words you like to associate with a loved character, however, McBain has to contend with this (and more).

You don’t need to have read any previous DI McBain novels to enjoy Bad Samaritan but you WILL enjoy Bad Samaritan it’s fabulous.

 

And When I Die – Russel D McLean

And When I DieWhat do you do when you are born into one of Glasgow’s most notorious crime families but you just want to live a normal life?  Well if you are Kat Scobie you adapt as best you can but it’s never going to be as simple as walking away.

Family ties are too strong and Kat returns to the city to attend a family funeral, her timing could not be worse as divisions in the family are threatening to tear the Scobie empire apart. Kat’s is trying to avoid coming into contact with John, her former lover, who now works for the Scobies. John is actually an undercover cop who has stepped too far over the line and is now caught up in the attempted murder of one of the Scobie family.

Kat and John are the main focus of And When I Die – they are pursuing different agenda but I desperately hoped everything would resolve in a way that meant they would both be okay at the end of the book.

Sigh. So much for that hope!

Everything is about to come to a head and Russel McLean is not going to give Kat or John an easy time of it, but that is okay as reading And When I Die is an absolute treat. Russel McLean has crafted an extraordinary story which I absolutely devoured in a single sitting it is one of the best stories I have read this summer.

I absolutely loved the depiction of the different characters within the Scobie family. Kat seems so out of place yet knows how to manipulate her family.  John is on the cusp of discovery and one wrong step could see him exposed and likely killed – the tension in his scenes was wonderfully handled.

You need to read this, it is as simple as that.

 

The Dead Don’t Boogie – Douglas Skelton

The Dead Don't BoogieA new lead character for Douglas Skelton, meet the smart-mouthed investigator Dominic Queste. Dominic is asked to track down a missing teenage girl – he is good at that. But what if finding the girl meant he also found a whole lot of trouble?  Well if he didn’t then The Dead Don’t Boogie would be a much shorter book!

Fortunately it seems Dominic Queste and trouble are old friends and it is not long before Queste finds himself pitted against gangsters, some busy hitmen and an irritated teenage runaway that would just like to be left alone please.

Queste has a delightfully colourful past, a former addict who has cleaned up his act (even if nobody will believe him). He has a sparring partner at the local police station who is just itching to lock him up. And his best friends are retired gangsters who now enjoy a spot of cooking in their downtime.

There is a constant stream of dark humour running through The Dead Don’t Boogie, few can handle the blend of thrills and funnies as well as Douglas Skelton can. You will find that Dominic Queste will have you laughing out loud one minute and then tensely gripping the edge of your book the next.

I enjoy many of the books that I read but The Dead Don’t Boogie had an extra level of enjoyment that many thrillers lack – it is FUN too.

 

Both Russel and Douglas are launching their books in Glasgow in early September – I am sure that they would love if you came along to ask them tricky questions about their books. Waterstones Argyle Street is the place:  And When I Die (Russel D McLean) on Friday 2nd September at 7pm.  The Dead Don’t Boogie (Douglas Skelton) on Thursday 8th September at 6.30(ish).

Sarabrand have a fabulous collection of books – view the range and order your copies here:  http://saraband.net/

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Holiday Reading: Volume 3 – Sarabrand
June 16

Willow Walk – SJI Holliday

Willow WalkWhen the past catches up, do you run and hide or stand and fight? When a woman is brutally attacked on a lonely country road by an escaped inmate from a nearby psychiatric hospital, Sergeant Davie Gray must track him down before he strikes again. But Gray is already facing a series of deaths connected to legal highs and a local fairground, as well as dealing with his girlfriend Marie’s bizarre behaviour.

As Gray investigates the crimes, he suspects a horrifying link between Marie and the man on the run – but how can he confront her when she’s pushing him away?

As a terrified Marie is pulled back into a violent past she thought she’d escaped, she makes an irrevocable decision. And when events come to a head at a house party on Willow Walk, can Gray piece together the puzzle in time to stop the sleepy town of Banktoun being rocked by tragedy once more?

 

My thanks to SJI Holliday and Black & White Publishing for my treasured review copy.

I don’t normally mention book covers, however, before I start talking about Willow Walk I just need to say – I LOVE THE COVER. Your eyes will be drawn to Willow Walk when you see it in the wild – get closer to it and pick up the book. Once it is in  your hand treat yourself and buy a copy, it is a brilliantly dark story. A chilling read.

In Black Wood SJI Holliday introduced us to Banktoun, a sleepy Scottish town with its fair share of secrets. Willow Walk sees us returning to Banktoun and there is also a welcome return for the popular character Sergeant Davie Gray. Both Black Wood and Willow Walk can be read as stand alone novels, Davie features in both but is not the lead character in either. For returning readers there are some familiar faces but these are treats to reward you on your second visit to Banktoun, Willow Walk is a brand new adventure.

The story opens in the most disturbing of circumstances – the aftermath of a party and our main character, Marie, wakes to find herself surrounded by very still (too still) partygoers. Something has happened and she has to get away. But for Marie getting away in a small town like Banktoun is going to be a problem because someone is watching. Someone that knows her better than anyone else. Someone that isn’t meant to be here any longer so how can he possibly be back? She would know. Wouldn’t she?

Marie’s boyfriend, Davie Gray, is caught up in an investigation involving deaths from legal highs. He is consulting with police from Edinburgh and his time is stretched. He also has to contend with the problems that come from having the fairground in town.  Davie is struggling to keep on top of his job and it doesn’t help that Marie is acting strangely.

Marie is struggling to keep up the pretence that all is well.  She stumbles from home to work and is on constant alert. Someone is sending her letters – a voice from the past. Someone that should not be able to speak with her.  The problem is that the letters are arriving with alarming frequency, but how does the sender even know her address? Marie’s story is the darkest of love stories and the author spins the tale magnificently. It is creepy and it is tense. I got so caught up in it that I only looked up to check that there was no one lurking in the dark corners of the room.

I love the Banktoun books. Susi Holliday captures the essence of characters so well that everyone seems real to me.  Even the regulars sitting at the bar in the pub carry more authenticity than some of the key characters in other stories I have read. The realism of the people and the town make Willow Walk sing, it becomes a story you can immerse yourself in.

Willow Walk is a 5* read. It’s the middle book of the Banktoun Trilogy and I cannot wait for the final instalment.

Willow Walk blog tour

 

 

Willow Walk is published by Black & White Publishing and is available in paperback and digital formats. You can order copies here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Willow-Walk-Banktoun-Trilogy-Holliday/dp/1785300210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466036508&sr=8-1&keywords=willow+walk

 

 

 

Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Willow Walk – SJI Holliday
June 16

Exposure – Ava Marsh

ExposureKitty Sweet isn’t like anyone you’ve ever met before.

She’s an infamous porn star, imprisoned for double murder. As damaged as she is charismatic, as dangerous as she is charming.

But once no different from you or I.

Kitty’s past is full of heartbreak and desperation, of adulation and glamour. Of ruin. She’s descended to an underworld most people can only imagine, and lived to tell the tale . . .

This is her story.

 

My thanks to Sophie at Penguin/Random House for my review copy

 

Ava Marsh wrote my favourite book of last year: Untouchable. It was dark, tense, frequently very graphic and provided insightful overview into the lives of high class escorts. It was brilliant.

I am extremely fortunate to have had the chance to read Exposure, Ava’s new novel, which is released today. It pleases me greatly to be able to say Exposure was another cracking read – I am going to spend another 12 months telling people they should be reading Ava Marsh’s books.

In Exposure we meet Kitty Sweet (or Leanne to use her real name). Kitty/Leanne is in prison for double murder. Having shunned all publicity at the time of her trial she agrees to write about her life as part of a therapy process. We get to discover her story, in her own words, as she talks about her introduction to the world of glamour modelling and then a move into porn.

If you read Untouchable then you will know that Ava Marsh does not sugar-coat life for her characters. Kitty learns the hard way that there is nothing glamourous about the life of a pornstar. Setting boundaries never lasts, there is always a demand for more and when you want to quit – well all I can say is that Kitty’s attempt to establish a “normal” life brought home the true extent of the life she had embraced. Powerful scenes and wonderfully handled by the author.

I loved Exposure. It’s not going to be for everyone as there are frank and graphic descriptions of porn shoots. But if you go into the story knowing it tackles real life issues and avoids sensationalising porn or making it seem that Kitty is living a 24/7 glamourous existence then you will get the best of Exposure.

This is a “must read” book. A murder mystery, the story of a life with a constant undercurrent of tragedy, the story of a fighter or of a girl lost. And just at the end one final twist which really challenged how I had originally viewed the story. So good…

 

Exposure is published by Corgi and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Exposure-Ava-Marsh/dp/0552171212/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466015086&sr=8-1&keywords=Exposure+ava+marsh

Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours | Comments Off on Exposure – Ava Marsh
June 13

Streets of Darkness – A. A. Dhand

Streets of DarknessThe sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be – this morning a body has been found. And it’s not just any body.

Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about but he’s been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can’t keep himself away.

Determined to restore his reputation, Harry is obliged to take to the shadows in search of notorious ex-convict and prime suspect, Lucas Dwight. But as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head as he discovers what it’s like to be on the other side of the law…

 

My thanks to Ben at Transworld for my review copy.

Detective Harry Virdee is an angry man.  His temper has landed him a suspension from the police and his timing is terrible as one of the most important cases that he could ever have handled is being taken away from him.

A prominent politician has been murdered, all the evidence points towards it being a racially motivated attack by the BNP and Bradford, a city with a history of racial tensions, becomes a powder-keg of tension.  The police are keen to keep events under wraps but someone has other ideas – there are factions scrabbling for supremacy of the criminal underworld and they will use any means possible to exploit weakness and cause chaos.

Harry Virdee is given free run by his boss to do whatever it takes to track down and capture the prime suspect in the murder (Lucas Dwight).  But Lucas and Harry have a history and bringing in his former nemesis is not going to be easy.

Streets of Darkness is a stunning debut. A A Dhand lights the blue touch-paper from the first chapter and the action seems relentless. There are so many strong and memorable characters in this story, all vying for attention, all destined to clash at some point and the city of Bradford is their arena. This is the story you will start and not want to put down.

As the star of the show Harry Virdee is a strong lead character, seemingly haunted and driven by an incident in his past (see the anger issues).  His wife, Saima, is heavily pregnant and Harry is determined not to cause her undue worry…this is going to be tricky.  Saima is equally determined as her husband and she was a brilliant contrast to Harry, their interchanges over baby names were wonderful…great moments of fun to lighten the mounting tension.

The bad guys are BAD. No spoilers but who would have thought a brown paper bag could contain something so familiar yet so terrifying to a captive prisoner!

We should be hearing a lot about Streets of Darkness in the coming months as it is a debut of some note.  An absolute cert for a 5/5 review score, I tore through it and felt drained at the end. There is so much more I want to know about Harry and his family, it cannot come soon enough.

 

 

Streets of Darkness is published by Bantam Press on 16 June and is available to order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Streets-Darkness-Detective-Harry-Virdee/dp/0593076648/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1465852614&sr=1-1&keywords=streets+of+darkness

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Streets of Darkness – A. A. Dhand
June 11

My Girl – Jack Jordan

My Girl 2Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man.

She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house.

Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death?

Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets.

But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me.

 

My thanks to Jack for my review copy and for the chance to host a leg of the My Girl blog tour.

 

Normally I open reviews by sketching an outline of the story, perhaps highlighting central themes or positioning the type of story I have read. Yet I find that My Girl is posing a problem – I don’t want to spoil anything as I am going to implore you to read it and for the full impact of Mr Jordan’s gobsmacking story you *must* avoid spoilers!

Okay lets try this…

Paige is in a spiral of despair. Her daughter was murdered, her husband has taken his own life and Paige has a drink and drugs dependency. The story follows Paige and we watch her life falling apart around her, she alienates her in-laws, runs from the help that her father tries to find for her and is pushing away her brother when he tries to get her to moderate her behaviour.

As I read about Paige I swung between pity for her situation and frustration that she just could not seem to find the strength she seemed to need to start to fight back and try to kick her addictions. Many of her worst moments are recounted in flashback – Paige waking with a hangover to realise (or be told) what she had been doing, I really enjoyed how Jack Jordan mixed up the worst of the incidents, watching them unfold ‘real time’ in some chapters then describing events in flashback in the next.

Needless to say that I did not see Paige’s story turning out well for her.  Just how horrifically things go wrong totally caught me off guard. Pity gave way to horror. My reading speed (which was already pretty speedy) picked up pace and I flew through My Girl. Not knowing how events would turn out was just not an option – this was compelling reading.

This is a book for the reader that likes their stories to have a dark and twisted edge. I started My Girl knowing only that a couple of my most trusted fellow bloggers had loved it. I am now adding my voice to their praise – this is a cracking story.

 

My Girl is released on 4 July 2016 and you can order your copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Girl-Jack-Jordan-ebook/dp/B01F7U2SVG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1465605107&sr=1-1&keywords=jack+jordan

 

Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on My Girl – Jack Jordan
June 8

Epiphany Jones – Michael Grothaus

Epiphany Jones A/W.inddJerry has a traumatic past that leaves him subject to psychotic hallucinations and depressive episodes. When he stands accused of stealing a priceless Van Gogh painting, he goes underground, where he develops an unwilling relationship with a woman who believes that the voices she hears are from God.

Involuntarily entangled in the illicit world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite, and on a mission to find redemption for a haunting series of events from the past, Jerry is thrust into a genuinely shocking and outrageously funny quest to uncover the truth and atone for historical sins.

 

My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy and the chance to host this leg of the blog tour.

 

From page one, I knew I was going to love this book.  What I hadn’t realised at that early point was just how much!

Meet Jerry. He has had a rough old time of it whilst growing up. He sees imaginary people (his ‘figments’), he is depressive, dangerously addicted to celebrity internet porn (fake) and may have stolen a Van Gogh painting from work (but he isn’t sure).  Jerry’s life is about to change in ways that he could never possibly have imagined and it is all down to a girl called Epiphany Jones – but can Jerry even be sure she is real?

If you read the introductory text from the book and took in the phrase sex-trafficking and then spotted my reference to internet porn you will realise that Epiphany Jones may not be catering for everyone’s tastes.  There are some very dark, graphic and disturbing scenes in this book. They are powerful, emotive, chilling and excellently handled by the author.  The harsh backdrop of the story is often lifted by laugh out loud moments as there are some wonderfully comedic scenes to enjoy too…Jerry’s visit to his mother’s house is worth the admission price alone.

So with Jerry’s life in turmoil what of the titular Ms Jones?  Well she is something of an enigma. Her history is a closed book. She shares nothing more than she has to and she maintains she hears God’s voice as He is guiding her mission. Jerry and Epiphany are the oddest couple I have encountered in a long time yet it works!

It absolutely and totally works.

Their conflicted relationship (not that type) bounces from flashpoint to flashpoint and the pair frequently clash. Well Jerry clashes – Epiphany just deals with it as she knows that God has brought them together for a reason.

Grothaus has taken the dark subject of sex-trafficking and made it a bedfellow of the glitz, glamour and sleaze of Hollywood. Worlds collide in spectacular fashion and Jerry and Epiphany are caught up in the middle of the carnage. It makes for utterly compulsive reading.

I cannot say enough good things about Epiphany Jones, it was a phenomenal read and, at the end, it left me somewhat traumatised. I have concentrated on the dark subjects and the black humour but there is a love story lurking, a story of self discovery and a tale of a lost soul trying to be found.  This is a book that needs to be read – assuming you can handle it.

Epiphany Jones is the perfect blend of thrills, comedy and darkness. It is going to take something special to top it this year, but I know already that this is going to be a book that I will recommend for many years to come.

A 5/5 review score for Epiphany Jones – but only because I cannot score it more than 5.  It blew me away.

Epiphany Jones Blog tour

 

Epiphany Jones is published by Orenda Booka and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here.

Category: 5* Reviews, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Epiphany Jones – Michael Grothaus
May 31

Deadly Harvest – Michael Stanley

Deadly Harvest A/W.inddA young girl goes missing after getting into a car with a mysterious man. Soon after, a second girl disappears, and her devastated father, Witness, sets out to seek revenge. As the trail goes cold, Samantha Khama – new recruit to the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department – suspects that the girl was killed for muti; traditional African medicine. She enlists opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Benga to help her dig into the past. But as they begin to find a pattern, Kubu and Samantha suddenly find they are in a race against time…

 

 

My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour

The hunt is on for a Witch Doctor in Botswana.  Not my normal type of read I had thought – but this is a cracking police procedural with a very distinctive setting and subject matter and I absolutely loved it.

A sinister Witch Doctor is promising power to men in Botswana who crave success in their chosen fields. The price of power is a high one which few can afford to pay. Even if you have the money then the Witch Doctor will require extra special materials to make his magic work.

Muti.

The remains of a young human, a life once full of energy and drive who will be murdered to fuel the ambitions of the corrupt and unworthy.  It was quite unsettling reading how innocent young girls are abducted in plain sight and taken away to a fate unknown.

Detective Kubu is implored by his new colleague, Samantha Khama, to dig into the disappearance of several young girls but Kubu is focussed on the murder of a prominent politician. His bosses have stressed that Kubu must find the politician’s murderer as a matter of utmost priority.  However, as the story unfolds it becomes clear that the politician’s murder may also tie in with the disappearance of one of the girls Samantha has been looking into.

Kubu and Samantha methodically work the cases and I loved seeing how their investigation progressed. Where leads start to run cold it was fascinating to see how Kubu utilised local beliefs and customs to shake information out of reluctant witnesses. Samantha, being younger and (in her eyes) much more practical, shunned Kubu’s superstitious methods – until it seems that they are starting to work.

How can the police overcome the deep-rooted fear of the evil power of the Witch Doctor, a man that can apparently make himself invisible if the need should arise, to get to the bottom of a series of murders? The challenge that faces Kubu is great, particularly when his own department is in a state of turmoil as a battle for power is subtly playing out.

I thought Deadly Harvest was magnificent, I just wanted to keep reading – I had to know how the story was going to play out.  I know nothing of Botswana yet the authors made the country seem so real and vibrant. I look forward to meeting with Detective Kubu again in the future – a high bar has been set.

Deadly Harvest Blog tour

Deadly Harvest is published by Orenda Books and can be ordered in paperback or digital formats here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deadly-Harvest-Detective-Michael-Stanley/dp/1910633445/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464646053&sr=1-1&keywords=deadly+harvest

Category: 5* Reviews, Blog Tours, From The Bookshelf | Comments Off on Deadly Harvest – Michael Stanley