Flesh Evidence by Malcolm Hollingdrake

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MY REVIEW: 4*

Set in Harrogate, a kidnapping occurs of a teenage boy.  When some body parts start turning up in jars of honey, DCI Cyril Bennett knows he has a unique kidnapper and murderer on his hands.  The jar contain cryptic notes that have biblical and Latin terminology, these are to lead and confuse the police onto other disappearances.  The story leads you through the lives of suspects, but nothing is straightforward or obvious.  There are red-herrings scattered throughout this story  keeping the police on their toes and pushed to their limits.  Added pressure of trying to find the next victim, identify the kidnapper and unravel all the leads keep the police frustrated.

This is the 3rd in the series of DCI Bennett books.  I have not read any of the previous books in this series so read it as a standalone book.  It works very well as a stand-alone, there is no need to read earlier books, though I will be looking to read more of them.

The story rolls along at a good pace containing lots of twists and numerous red-herrings.  As you progress the story will keep you guessing and second guessing.  There has been obvious research for this book, such as; Latin, biblical and some chemistry, though nothing that will confuse the reader.

I would recommend this book to readers of crime and mystery.

THE BLURB:

An explosive, edge of your seat, crime thriller
In Harrogate things are about to get weird.

Jars of honey containing pieces of tattooed flesh are the first clue in the search for the whereabouts of a missing fourteen-year-old boy. Then another boy goes missing and further jars of honey are discovered.

Serial kidnappings taking place in Harrogate and the culprit is unlike any other Bennett has dealt with before.

A number of leads seem to be going nowhere and the police are running out of time.

Can Bennett and his team catch a psychopath before any more damage is done?

This will be his toughest case yet.

BOOK DETAILS:

Kindle Edition, 201 pages
Published December 19th 2016 by Bloodhound Books
ASIN B01MXVPW0O
Edition Language English
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

Book 1: Only The Dead

Book 2: Hell’s Gate

Hell’s Gate was previously published as Sweet Taste of Evil. It’s an explosive crime thriller that will appeal to fans of authors like Ian Rankin, Robert Bryndza, Mel Sherratt, Helen H Durrant and Mark Billingham.

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#BookReview : The Risen by @TarnRichardson : @DuckBooks

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Before I review this book and then give an overview of this Trilogy, I would like to say i have loved these books immensely. I have been amazed and blown away by this incredible trilogy, is a huge story, well researched and executed.

MY REVIEW: 5*

The Risen is the final book in “The Darkest Hand” trilogy.  It is set in during The First World War, when war is ravaging Europe and its implications are felt across the world.  The Vatican is dealing with its own internal war, the implications of this will affect the populations across the world.  The Apocalypse is almost here.  Those loyal to the Church will have to draw heavily on their reserves and resources as they battle the hordes.  They will discover the truth behind a prophecy. That all is not as it appears and old foes will again play their part. The story takes you on a journey around the globe, showing how far evil and war can travel, but comes back full circle as the battle against the Antichrist reaches its climax.

With this book being the final in the trilogy, it pulls together all the subplots, previously unanswered questions from the earlier books.  A small detail or conversation mentioned in those books, suddenly carries a great weight.  A seemingly insignificant detail becomes a bombshell of realisation.  Nothing has been missed out in this gory, brutal, bloody and truthful conclusion.  The story has come full circle into an epic finale.

REVIEW OF THE TRILOGY:

I fell in love with a little e-book called “The Hunted”. It had so many things going on its 45 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would transfer into a longer book, nevermind a trilogy of them.  Tarn Richardson has brilliantly put together a huge story with a vast array of memorable and unique characters.  I have loved some, loathed some and have been very wrong in my opinion of some.  For me this shows what a great author he is, he has managed to bring his characters and his books alive for me in the words he has written.  It is like reading a film.  There has been a huge amount of research gone into this book and it shows, through the way he has intertwined his world into our own world history.  For me he has pulled off one of the most amazing trilogies i have come across.  I agree with Cal Moriarty’s comment on the front cover, “Evokes the fantasy of Tolkien and the darkness of King” very deserving of this recommendation.  For me these books are second only to The Lord of The Rings books, and they are my favourite.

You will not be disappointed when you read these books.  Be warned however;  you will become addicted, you will not want to miss a single word or sentence, if you skim over any passage (I don’t think you will) you will miss a crucial detail. You will be immersed in a magnificently twisted and deep-rooted plot, that will be intertwined with treachery, conspiracy, immorality and also faith, loyalty, friendship and so much more.

I would recommend these books for readers of fantasy, dark fiction, horror, thriller and historical fiction.

THE BLURB:

The final, thrilling instalment of Tarn Richardson’s Darkest Hand trilogy (‘a remarkably original premise [with] damn fine characters’ David Moody), The Risen serves up a fittingly visceral, relentlessly gripping and action-packed climax to this epic series of dark fantasy.

1917. War and revolution are consuming the world, and the apocalypse is imminent. The world is desperate for a hero who can push back the relentless tide of darkness, and save humanity from the return of the Antichrist. But where is Poldek Tacit, the only man capable of defeating these terrifying forces? As old allies unite in a frantic race to unmask the Antichrist and thwart his plan to bring everything into his power, the Darkest Hand continues to terrorise the innocent – while in the Vatican’s vaults long-buried secrets are about to be unveiled, and humanity’s chance of redemption from the forces of evil hangs by a single thread…

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 18th 2017 by Duckworth Overlook
ISBN13 9780715651704
Edition Language English
Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy these great books.  You will not be disappointed.

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

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MY REVIEW: 5*

The first thing I noticed about this book was its cover.  It appealed to me because I like to sew, I learnt from my Mum and my Nanna.  The fact that I have seen my Mum use the old crank handle Singer sewing machine, that used to be my Nanna’s, and it still worked, also helped.

We are introduced to some very memorable characters.  Jean who used to work at the Singer Factory in Clydebank, Scotland in 1911 during the strike there, Connie a woman who really knows how to sew and can alter just about anything, Fred an inheritor of a machine, Ruth a mother and a nurse and all the people who are involved in their lives.

This story flutters between these main characters, drawing you into a deeply sentimental journey through their lives.  It is a story of hardship and disappointment, but more of determination, pride, resilience and love.  There are family secrets that are revealed and as these secrets come into the open, the reader mirrors the reactions of the characters. It is very cleverly drawn to its conclusion, bringing the story full circle .

It is hard to say where this book got me hooked, but suddenly I could not put it down. It is a beautifully written account of the lives of these people through the different decades from 1911 to 2016. I would recommend this book, it is an ideal book for cuddling up and forgetting the world with.  It has a great feel good factor.

THE BLURB:

It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.

More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents. His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams.

He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.

BOOK DETAILS:

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2017 by Unbound
ISBN13 9781911586241
Edition Language English

Ronald Laing:The Rise and Fall and Rise of a Revolutionary Psychiatrist by David Boyle.

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MY REVIEW: 4*

This is not my usual reading genre, but after seeing it around and also reading a fellow reviewers blog, I decided to give it a go.

This story charts the rise of Laing, from large audiences and followers who listened to his ideas on mental health reformation, to the depressed LSD drug taking, alcoholic who occasionally got into fights.  The treatment of patients in Mental Institutes was cruel and inhumane.  He disagreed with the practices and fought to change them, disagreeing with the use of ECT, Electro Convulsive Therapy, No talking policy and lobotomy’s.  It is mainly schizophrenia that is dealt with in this book,  and charts his alternative ideas he had on treatment. Laing was born in Glasgow, his grandfather and father had mental problems in their 50’s, his mother seems to always have had problems.  His use of LSD was to relive past memories, his alcoholism didn’t stop until almost the end of his life.

This is a well laid out book and a lot of things have been explored in it, but only scratching the surface.  I feel it would be a good book for someone of little knowledge of psychiatry and there is not an overuse of jargon.  It is a basic account of Laing, his theories, beliefs and work.

THE BLURB:

The radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing took the world by storm in the 1960s and 1970s with his ideas about madness, families and people’s need for authenticity. At the height of his fame he could fill stadiums like Bob Dylan, and often did so. He became an icon of the movement that held psychiatry to be an agency of repression, his phrases on a million hippy T-shirts. Then he fell from grace, flung out of the medical profession, and his influence has been waning since. His basic ideas have been regarded as having been discredited. Yet, despite this, his influence is also everywhere – but largely unnoticed and unremarked.

This book tells the extraordinary human story of his struggle, first with the authorities as a psychiatrist in the army and then a series of mental hospitals. It explains his extraordinary influence in the context of the upheavals of those psychedelic days – and it looks at what we can still learn from Laing today. Boyle finds he still has an unexpectedly potent message.

BOOK DETAILS:

 

  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: The Real Press (12 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0993523986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0993523984

 

The Running Game by L.E. Fitzpatrick

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MY REVIEW: 4*

This book is set in a futuristic London, governments have failed across Europe then further.  What is left is corruption, poverty and crime.

S’aven.  Originally called Safe Haven.  Pinky Morris is one of the crime bosses. He has his eyes set on Rachel Aaron, she is a Reacher.  They are sought out for their super abilities.  She has been able to hide from authorities and from those who hunt them for the bounty paid.  But suddenly finds she is being stalked, she has a feeling, it has been happening for a couple of weeks now.

Charlie and John Smith have been hired by Pinky to find and follow Rachel.  John is the dark and broody killing machine, his brother Charlie is the brains with past demons that haunt him.

The book is the start of a series, this is an introduction to the futuristic world, where some humans have special abilities such as telepathy and telekinesis.  The police force are open to bribes and are corrupt.  Churches have gone underground.

This is fast paced, with a mix of mob style crime, greed and corruption.  A good cast of memorable characters, with a solid plot line, and sub-plots that have mingled and twisted into a good addictive read.

I would recommend this book for people who like gritty thriller and crime.  Even if you are not a fan of dystopian genres this is a great book, and well worth reading.

THE BLURB:

Her father called it the running game. Count the exits, calculate the routes. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.

Rachel had let her guard down and they had found her. She could run now, leave the city and try her luck beyond the borders, but with no money and a dark secret to hide her chances of survival are slim.

But then she meets two brothers with a dangerous past and secrets of their own. Can they help her turn the game around?

This is the first installment of the Reacher series. Set in a grim and not too distant future, this urban thriller will keep you hooked until the last page.

BOOK DETAILS:

ebook, 1, 228 pages
Published 2013 by Smashwords
ISBN13 9781311313867
Edition Language English

 

A Falling Friend by Sue Featherstone & Susan Pape

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MY REVIEW: 4*

I was lucky enough to win this e-book on a giveaway run by Lakewater Press. Here is my honest review.

This is about two friends Teri and Lee, they are lecturers in a Yorkshire University. The story alternates chapter by chapter between the two women. One is described as slim and good-looking, the other a bedraggled charity shop user.  They have been friends for many years. The story begins with them at an event run at the university.  As the story develops we get a glimpse into each of their worlds, they are support for each other, share thoughts, dreams and future aspirations.  Their childhoods are described and show a big difference in the way their parents raised them.

As the story unfolds it becomes obvious that the two women we met at the beginning are not the same two we see at the end.  They have each had to go through various personnal and professional issues, leaving them very different people.

I enjoyed this story, and I would recommend this book to Book Reading and Discussion groups, I feel there would be a lot of things in the story to make great topics for debate. It has a meandering pace and is pleasant to read.  Ideal for a lazy afternoon.

THE BLURB:    A Falling Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape, a tale of two friends – one who always seems to make the wrong choices, and the other who’s always there to catch her.
After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire, England, —and to studying. That’s when she discovers John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and poet of all things depraved. What she doesn’t realise is even beyond his grave, his influence over her is extraordinary. To hell with the consequences.
Having gone out on a limb to get old friend Teri a job at the university at which she teaches, it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to recognise a pattern. Wherever Teri goes, whatever she does, every selfish choice she makes, it’s all setting her up for a nasty fall. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch. And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.
Published by Lakewater Press, a new boutique publishing house, based in Queensland, Australia, but with a worldwide reach.

BOOK DETAILS:

ebook
Published April 25th 2016 by Lakewater Press
ISBN13 9780994451149
Edition Language English

 

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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MY REVIEW: 4*

I received this ARC from Netgalley and Penguin for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Set in Bayview High, five students are brought together for not following the “No Phones In Class” rule.  They all deny the charge but it falls on deaf ears. The five seem to be from different backgrounds both socially and academically.

Bronwyn the brainy one, Addy the beautiful one, Nate the drug dealer and on probation, Cooper the sportsman and Simon the gossip spreader.  After barely half an hour into detention Simon is dead.

What follows, is a story of what happens to the remaining four students.  Their family background as well as their own feelings and relationships are explored.  The expectations of the parents for their children, as well as the pressures that accompany those expectations.  They have to deal with media, gossip and investigations.  It is soon apparent that the students are not quite as they first appear.

This story is written almost in a diary like format.  Each chapter has sub-chapters that are headed with the name of the student, date and time.  It gives each character a way of giving their own view-point and perspective.  It allows the story to develop individually as well as collectively right through to the conclusion.

This is a good solid story, set at a good pace.  I would recommend it to older YA Readers and general mystery readers.  I enjoyed it from start to finish.

THE BLURB:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: June 1st 2017 by Penguin (first published May 30th 2017)
ISBN 0141375639 (ISBN13: 9780141375632)

My Soul To Keep by Jackie Sonnenberg

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MY REVIEW:  3*

This story tells the tale of Sky, since the death of her father she has struggled.  Her mother enrolls her into Applewhite Preparatory Boarding School.  It is there that she is introduced to the Guardians of Light.

At first she feels this group can help her fit in, it boasts being an inspirational group, with a non religious message of bring light and peace to people.  Sky feels that she needs to find peace and it is one of the reasons for joining.  There are regular meetings and activities.  Over time she becomes more involved with the group and her room-mate Deanna notices her drifting away from dormitory activities.  Sky feels she is being shunned, but actually she is being isolated and more reliant on the Guardians.

As December 21st 2012 approaches the warnings of the end of the world are being banded around.  The more time she spends with the Guardians, the more she is sucked into their beliefs.  How the earth will end, and how, as a group they will need to be prepared and get ready for the afterlife.

This is an interesting read, and not a genre I usually choose to read from.  It was insightful to how easy it can be for vulnerable people to be coerced into a dangerous group. I did feel that is was stretched out in many places, and at times the countless mentions of yet another meditation session could have been shortened.  That being said it is well written, and is set at a good pace.  Ideal read for young paranormal readers.

I would like to thank Jackie for sending me an eARC copy of this book for my honest and unbiased opinion.

THE BLURB:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I shall die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take… When thirteen-year-old Sky Monroe arrives at her new boarding school, all she can think about is death and connecting with the afterlife. Soon she discovers her school’s spirituality group called Guardians of Light-and they have a secret. The Guardians of Light can speak with the dead… When Mitchell Brooks, the teacher and leader of the group, reveals this unnerving secret to Sky-though this is exactly what she believed she wanted-she learns the organization is rapidly becoming a cult. Now she’s concerned she and her friend Damien will not be permitted to walk away. Danger and death lurk around every corner… The campus house, where Sky resides, is haunted, and the spirits have their own agenda. December 21, 2012 threatens the end of the world, and Mitchell and the spirits have special plans in store. They just might bring Sky closer to the afterlife-and possibly beyond-than she ever imagined. Sky is looking for a connection to the afterlife, but what she finds may be more than she bargained for…because what lies after life is death.

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 404 pages
Published May 19th 2016 by Limitless Publishing, LLC (first published 2016)
ISBN 1680586327 (ISBN13: 9781680586329)

The Fallen by Tarn Richardson.

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Book 2 of The Darkest Hand Trilogy

MY REVIEW:  5*

Set in 1915 on the Italian Austro-Hungarian border during the 1st World War.  The war between armies are ferocious, battles are bloody. The focus is on the Italian front, the Soco River in Northwest Slovenia. With Poldek Tacit incarcerated after the killing of a cardinal in the first book, the Inquisitors are torturing him.  The Vatican is rife with conspiracy, no-one is to be trusted.  Many secret meetings are happening, rumours are rife and trouble is brewing.  The Darkest Hand has their own agenda, and their own  plans.  Demonic possession has increased, exorcism is getting more common, crows are massing in Vatican City, fountains flow with blood and a general feeling of wickedness and evil is creeping its way across Rome and beyond.

This story throws a lot of curve balls, and unexpected turns of events.  Old friends and allies still remain, new allegiances are forged.  Ancient rituals are once again being prepared for and performed. Races that have fought as enemies for centuries find themselves up against a common enemy.

This is the 2nd in the trilogy, I was concerned as to how this book would live up to the first, The Damned.  There was no need for concern.  It went straight into the fast paced action where the first book left off. There was no lull, no hanging around and at times no pause for breath.

This book is a slightly different beast to the first, it has less of its main character Poldek Tacit, he has his own battle to deal with. But you can feel his presence simmering away in the background as you read.  It is a chance to get more acquainted with the characters that still have a story to tell.  Again there are several stories twisting their way through the pages that culminate in a huge and explosive finale.

I love the fact that every character has a reason for being in this story, each person mentioned has a name.  No-one is a bystander or an extra.  This book puts you right in the midst of things, as I was reading, there were times I actually saw the fights and the chases.  Being able to create a world out of words, so that I can actually see as i read is outstanding.

It is obvious that a lot of  research has been done, as was in the first book.  The descriptions of battles fought in the trenches, battlefields and mountainsides, shows great care and attention to historical detail, it is a credit to the author.

This is another I would recommend if you love fantasy, horror, historical, thriller and mystery. A mashup of Dark Fiction at it’s finest.

How am I going to be able to survive until the 18th May 2017 for the 3rd book The Risen. (Only 6 days at the time of writting this, but it feels longer.) I would like to thank Tarn Richardson for my copy of this book, I was lucky enough to win it in a competition.

THE BLURB:

1915. As the second battle of the Isonzo Front rages on the Italian Austro-Hungarian border, war threatens to engulf the Inquisition as dark forces muster amongst the most fanatical servants of the Catholic Church.

Prior to his murder, a desperate priest sends a secret letter to his brother serving in the Italian Army. Now this young soldier, destined for the horrors of a frontline high above the clouds, carries with him a letter which holds the key as to why terrible satanic rituals are being committed and by whom.

Drawn into this conspiracy and hunted by agents of The Darkest Hand, old rivals must put aside their differences to discover the contents of the letter before it’s too late. But unity comes at a price for this unholy alliance. While the war rages, old enemies return from the dead and conspiracies weave tighter and deeper still into the heart of the Vatican. Only Poldek Tacit, the most determined and unhinged inquisitor of them all, can hope to push back the forces of evil and unite those for good. But what happens when Tacit finds that the path he walks has already been prophesised and that where it leads threatens the very future of a world already on the edge of the abyss?

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 1st, 352 pages
Published May 5th 2016 by Duckworth Overlook
Original Title The Fallen
ISBN13 9780715650592
Edition Language
English Series

The Damned by Tarn Richardson

23289299

MY REVIEW:A definite 5*

Initially set in the First World War, in the city of Arras, France.  The barrage of artillery fire is the least of the British or the German forces problems.  There is something more dark and deadly under their feet.  The locals warn them, but the soldiers are deaf to their advice.

Then the reader is introduced to the main character of Poldek Tacit, a priest of the most unusual kind.  Trained by the Catholic Church to hunt down heretics and those wishing to undermine the Church.  He is moody, blunt, aggressive, uncompromising and often found drinking.

During the book Poldek’s life is laid out.  The more you learn about him, the more you realise that there is more to him than the fighting priest, whose reputation precedes the man himself.  There are hidden layers to him and gradually you find a heart and soul that is true and faithful.

There are more battles than those of men.  There are subplots and stories throughout this book that have kept me riveted.  From start to finish, the research that has obviously been done, shows.  The characters that are included have a reason to be there.  They have their own history and purpose in the book, the author has not just thrown them in for the thrill of it.  The book flits back and forth through the years, to achieve a brilliantly pieced together world and story to create a fantastic alternative reality.

This book expertly intertwines the genres of fantasy, horror, thriller,crime and history.  It also draws on fact, folklore, conspiracy and myth. The reader is taken on a journey of epic proportions.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a story they can get their teeth into, who want adventure, action, well written and researched books. The tag line of “Dark Fiction” is a deserved one for this story.

I would like to thank Tarn Richardson for sending me this book for my unbiased and honest review.

THE BLURB:

1914. The outbreak of war. In the French city of Arras, a Father is brutally murdered. The Catholic Inquisition – still powerful, but now working in the shadows – sends its most determined and unhinged of Inquisitors, Poldek Tacit to investigate: his mission to protect the Church from those who would seek to undermine it, no matter what the cost.

Yet as Tacit arrives, armed forces led by Britain and Germany confront each other across No Man’s Land. As the Inquisitor strives in vain to establish the truth behind the murder and to uncover the motives of other Vatican servants seeking to undermine him, a beautiful and spirited woman, Sandrine, warns British soldier Henry Frost of a mutual foe even more terrible lurking beneath the killing fields that answers to no human force and wreaks their havoc by the light of the moon. Faced with impossible odds and his own demons, Tacit must battle the forces of evil, and a church determined at all costs to achieve its aims, to reach the heart of a dark conspiracy that seeks to engulf the world, plunging it ever deeper into conflict.

Morally complex and fast paced, this is a gripping work of dark fiction set in an alternative twentieth century, where humanity’s desire for love, compassion and peace face daunting challenges in a world overwhelmed by total war and mysterious dark forces.

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 28th 2015 by Gerald Duckworth & Co (first published May 21st 2015)
ISBN13 9780715649541
Edition Language English