February 11

The Extremist – Nadia Dalbuono

On a hot summer’s morning in Rome, three public places — a McDonald’s, a preschool, and a café — come under siege from a group of terrorists who appear to be Islamic extremists. When word comes through that the terrorists will only negotiate with Detective Leone Scamarcio, no one is more surprised than Scamarcio himself.

The young man with frightened eyes who speaks to Scamarcio seems anything but in control. He says that Scamarcio is the only person he can trust to care about the truth. Then he gives Scamarcio an unusual list of demands, including that everything must be done without police or intelligence involvement, and within twenty-four hours — or the hostages die.

With his face on every TV screen, and with all of Italy on alert, Scamarcio must race against the clock and elude the grasp of the increasingly unhinged chief of intelligence, Colonel Scalisi, to meet the terrorists’ demands, and to uncover the truth behind the attacks. But, as Scamarcio follows the young man’s clues, he finds that every question seems to turn up five more, and, as usual for this son-of-a-Mafioso policeman, nothing is as it seems.


My thanks to Adam Howard at Scribe for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.


The Extremist stars with an explosion of horror as the reader is witness to a terror siege in Rome. One of the terrorists makes a demand – he wants to speak with Detective Leone Scamarcio and nobody else will do. This is something of a shock to Scamarcio who is required to walk into the heart of the action with no protection, no back up and no idea why he has been summoned.

Even after speaking with a nervous terrorist Scamarcio is unclear exactly what is expected of him – he does know that his own unique background (a cop with mafia connections) is the reason he was sought out.

Scamarcio is set a challenge, recover a box from a garden far from where the action is taking place then come back and speak with the terrorist again. Not easy – as soon as he leaves the scene of the siege Scamarcio is expected to update his colleagues but he is not to speak of the task he has been set and to share the detail means he will not have the chance to get to that garden…he needs to escape from the police and go it alone.

The situation in Rome is critical and Scamarcio is racing against time to meet the deadline he has been set – if he fails then innocent lives will be lost. The challenges he faces will put him in peril more than once, he cannot trust anyone and it seems the terrorists may also be pawns in a more deadly game. You need to keep your wits about you whilst reading The Extremist, it gets twisty.

The Extremist is the fourth Leone Scamarcio thriller. Do you need to have read the earlier novels?  Nope….but there is a lot going on in The Extremist and I suspect that returning readers will get great enjoyment from seeing how the characters move on while new readers get a high tempo adventure.

I usually have three or more books on the go at one time, while reading The Extremist I only wanted to focus on this one story. It is fast and furious and with many of the characters not being open with Scamarcio and playing their own game it needed my full attention to ensure I was keeping up with events.

I do enjoy when I can get my teeth into a gripping tale, when characters will have me questioning their motives and especially when I cannot predict where a story is heading.  The Extremist was an intense read but I was hooked so I am happy.


The Extremist is published by Scribe and is available in paperback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Extremist-Leone-Scamarcio-Nadia-Dalbuono-ebook/dp/B077Y7DSP5/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1518302325&sr=1-3


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March 13

Girl Waits With Gun – Amy Stewart

Girl Waits With GunFrom the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten, true story of one of the US’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mould. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters from the city to the country fifteen years before. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out that Constance has a knack for outwitting (and disarming) the criminal element, which might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life.

Through Amy Stewart’s exuberant storytelling, Constance Kopp catapults from a forgotten historical anecdote to an unforgettable historical-fiction heroine – an outsized woman not only ahead of her time, but sometimes even ahead of ours.


My thanks to Molly at Scribe for my review copy.

Using source documents and reports from around 100 years ago Amy Stewart has written a fun tale about Constance Kopp, a real life character caught up in some very hazardous situations.

Constance and her sisters find themselves facing off against an unsavoury and powerful adversary in the form of a local factory owner. His reckless driving caused a crash and damaged Constance’s buggy – the repair bill of $50 is a significant sum and Constance is not prepared to write it off.  However the factory owner is not keen to pay and it is not long before Constance and her sisters find themselves fearing for their safety when bricks (with warning messages) are thrown through the windows of their home in the wee small hours.

Yet Constance has another concern demanding her time.  Her initial endeavours to have her $50 repair bill settled has brought her into contact with a young girl who is hunting for her baby, taken when the mother was not in ‘a good place’ to care for the baby.  Constance is determined to do all she can to help track down what happened to the baby and pass word back to the anxious mother.

Amy Stewart tells a fun story in a style very much reflective of the time the story is set.  There is almost a quaint or twee feel to the read and I found that I was flicking pages at a fair old rate as the story flowed and the world was built around me.  Not my normal style of story and perhaps a little less action oriented than I would ordinarily go for.

HOWEVER…Girl Waits With Gun was a fun read, I enjoyed the time I spent with Constance and when I finished the book I was genuinely glad I had taken the time to read it. Although I said it was not my normal choice of story it is still a very entertaining book and I like to mix up what I read when the opportunity arises.

Perhaps one best suited for the girls as the boys, in the main, don’t fare too well or come across in a very positive light. It is a charming read, nicely balanced with actual historical influences and (coming on the back of a few of the more ‘graphic’ books I have read recently) it was a refreshing change of pace.



Girl Waits With Gun is published by Scribe and is available in paperback and digital format here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Waits-Gun-Constance-Kopp/dp/1925228576/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1457877176&sr=1-1&keywords=girl+waits+with+gun


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