August 10

To Kill the President – Sam Bourne

A blockbuster thriller from No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Sam Bourne, in which Maggie Costello uncovers an assassination plot to kill the tyrannical new president.

The unthinkable has happened…

The United States has elected a volatile demagogue as president, backed by his ruthless chief strategist, Crawford ‘Mac’ McNamara.

When a war of words with the North Korean regime spirals out of control and the President comes perilously close to launching a nuclear attack, it’s clear someone has to act, or the world will be reduced to ashes.

Soon Maggie Costello, a seasoned Washington operator and stubbornly principled, discovers an inside plot to kill the President – and faces the ultimate moral dilemma. Should she save the President and leave the free world at the mercy of an increasingly crazed would-be tyrant – or commit treason against her Commander in Chief and risk plunging the country into a civil war?

 

My thanks to Harper Collins for my review copy – received through Netgalley.

I don’t think there can ever have been a better timed political thriller. As I type we have President Trump threatening North Korea with “Fire and Fury”.  As the world waits to see if someone gets an itchy trigger finger (and people plan to beg George RR Martin to tweet who ends up on that Throne if the 15 minute warning sounds) we have a work of fiction which reads like the newspapers.

To Kill The President opens with a 3am situation in the…well it is in the Situation Room…as the unnamed president demands that his staff launch a nuclear attack on North Korea.  This fury has been prompted by a tweet the President has seen from the North Koreans which he believes to be a personal attack on his character.

The incident requires cool heads but that is not going to come from the Commander in Chief and someone will need to step up to save millions of lives.  I shouldn’t refer to this as an “explosive” opening but it certainly grabbed my attention. As you read To Kill The President you are left in no doubt that you are looking at a mirror on reality, perhaps some events are marginally blurred and not a true reflection on the last 8 months, but it is hard to convince yourself this could not happen.

As the title suggests – an extreme option appears the only course of action left to save USA and the World but who would step up to take the life of their democratically elected leader? Who can be trusted?  How could it be done quickly? What are the consequences of failure?

If you have even a passing interest in political thrillers then this is a great read. You don’t need to understand the inner workings of the US Political Machine to keep track of the players in this power game as the story flows with a surprisingly small central cast of characters.  Perfect summer reading and truly a thriller for our times.

 

To Kill The President is published by Harper Collins and is available in paperback and digital format.  Copies can be easily ordered through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kill-President-most-explosive-thriller-ebook/dp/B0167NVGQ0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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February 6

Corpus – Rory Clements

Corpus 2 1936.
Europe is in turmoil.
The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland.
In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror.
Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…

 

My thanks to Emily at Zaffre for my review copy

Historical fiction is always a tricky balance – can the author capture the time and setting? Are the events covered so well known that building a new story around famous characters seems implausible? Does the author challenge your perception or understanding of an historical event?  Having read Corpus I can report that Rory Clements does a fantastic job at ticking all those boxes.

It is 1936 and the Nazi party are on the rise in Europe, there are powerful men in prominent positions in England that are keeping their support of Mr Hitler very quiet. There are also a significant number of communist party members to be found in London and Cambridge so political tensions run high. All this is not helped by the pressure on the King who is involved with an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

In the midst of all these forces is American History Professor Thomas Wilde. He provides a detached overview of the political manoeuvring and his approach to analyse and challenge events makes him a great lead character. Wilde is well respected but does not seem to fit in with the traditionalists around his college. He will provide guidance to a Times journalist (who may working for more than one master) who wants to consult Wilde on the brutal murder of a member of the aristocracy as there are political ramifications which need explored.

Corpus is a political thriller, there is a murderer running around too and there is a good dose of action adventure happening here too.  As I indicated above, Rory Clements does a brilliant job in setting the scene and keeping the fictional events relevant to the established historical facts that he is weaving his story around. There are some very unlikeable characters, yet Wilde is a joy to follow and reading this story was something of a treat.

Fans of Fatherland, cold war thrillers and political dramas – this is very much one for you.

 

Corpus is published by Zaffre and is available now in hardback and digital format.  Order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corpus-gripping-thriller-rival-Fatherland/dp/1785762613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486343586&sr=8-1&keywords=Corpus

 

 

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May 5

Soho Honey – A W Rock

SohoHoney_AWRock_FrontCoverThis contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London.

Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer.

His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho’s underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted.

Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.

 

My thanks to Kate at Authoright for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.

 

There is a lot going on in Soho Honey. As the book sets up the story you are bombarded with names, details, affiliations and character back story. I will admit to being slightly overwhelmed at first, but when Soho Honey settles down the various pieces start to fall into place and there is a frenetic and fantastic story spilling out.

Branen is a complex lead character – from the outset we learn of his involvement in one of the most high-profile events of the last 20 years. He has a young family but his behaviour drives them away and Branen leaves the country seeking a fresh start (and to put some distance between himself and his employers). Despite his less than pure past I liked Branen – he drops out of the story for a while, just enough time for AW Rock to set up a compelling reason for Branen to put his life at risk and return to the streets of Soho.

I really enjoyed the mix of characters that interact within the streets of London’s Soho. Through the bars and back-street hotels will pass drug dealers, gangsters, prostitutes, businessmen, models and a covert operative of the British Secret Service – their lives will overlap in spectacular fashion.

A story which switches from gritty street drama to a political thriller then a spy/espionage tale there is a lot to like about Soho Honey.  At times it is brutally graphic in depictions of violence, there is frequent drug use and the death count is high. If you like your thrillers unpredictable and action packed then you would do well to add this to your reading queue.

 

Soho-Honey_Blog-Banner_Final copy

 

Soho Honey releases on 5 May 2016 and is published by Clink Street Publishing.

You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soho-Honey-W-Rock/dp/1911110241/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462400607&sr=1-1&keywords=soho+honey

 

 

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