#BookReview : The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements @KL_Clements @headlinepg @NetGalley

cover118615-medium.png

Today I have a ghost story set on the eerie Yorkshire Moors.  The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements is available in various formats from Amazon UK.  My thanks to NetGalley and Headline Publishing Group for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

An eerie and compelling ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of The Witchfinder’s Sister or The Silent Companions, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

‘Spine-tingling… the scariest ghost story I have read in a long time’ Barbara Erskine

‘Brooding and full of creeping menace’ Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions 

‘Like something from Emily Bronte’s nightmares’ Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

My Thoughts:

Set in the 17th century on the eerie Yorkshire Moors. Meet Mercy, she lives with her father Bartram Booth and Agnes in Scarcross Hall.  They are in the heart of the sheep community and part of a close-knit of herders, shepherds and locals. But when a stranger appears looking for work, is it coincidence that things take on a turn that boarders on creepy maybe even supernatural.

The descriptions given of the contrasts that can be experienced on the moors have been vividly told, they paint a beautiful and bleak image.  She has explored the deeply rooted sense of community. But when uncertainty mixed with fear is in the air then self-preservation is utmost priority, woe betide anyone getting on the wrong side of community spirit. Fear is something that lurks in the minds of some, makes them think of things from the past, it creeps into the heads and when things go missing, noises are heard and items are moved the feeling that something more is going on.

The plot itself is a good suspense filled one, it paints the bleak, rugged and dangerous moors as a backdrop for a more intense feeling.  I was never quite sure who or what was the cause, but by the end I felt quite satisfied that my questions and thoughts had been answered.  Mercy is a hard but likeable character, the epitomizes the strength required to work, a woman in a man’s world, doing a man’s job, just as good as any man as well.  She is a powerful character, and there were times that she did have more of a feminine side.

I thought this was a great read, it has the eerie suspense of evil that chitters away in the background, occasionally raising its head to remind you of its presence. It is atmospheric and has a beautiful description of the moors and surrounding areas.  This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, suspense and in my opinion only a hint of horror.

About the Author:

81NpCsnHasL._SY200_  Katherine Clements is a critically acclaimed historical novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, The Crimson Ribbon, was published in 2014 and her second, The Silvered Heart, in 2015. Both works are set in the seventeenth century and centre on the events and aftermath of English Civil War. Her work has been compared to the likes of Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier. Her third novel, The Coffin Path, will be published in February 2018.

Katherine is editor of Historia, the online magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association, and is a member of the HWA committee. She writes for various blogs and websites and particularly enjoys reviewing historical drama on film and TV. She is based in Manchester where she is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Manchester University, and is working on her next novel.

Visit Katherine online at http://www.katherineclements.co.uk or find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this book 🙂 xx 

Advertisements

#BookReview : The Old Bridge by Andrew Turpin @AndrewTurpin #theoldbridge

37762644

“The Old Bridge” by Andrew Turpin is the second in the Joe Johnson Series.  I had the pleasure to read The Last Nazi the 1st in the series last year and have been eagerly awaiting this one.  Purchase links are at the bottom of my post xx

Synopsis:

The explosive fallout from a top CIA man’s corruption and a US political leader’s racism. The ruins of an iconic 450-year-old bridge. And a family destroyed by civil war. 
War crimes investigator Joe Johnson is drawn into a search for a dossier of secret documents that disappeared twenty years ago from the president’s office in Sarajevo—but which have damaging links to the White House.
Johnson finds himself hunting a Bosnian army officer who vanished, along with the dossier, after a series of horrific killings. The search takes him from Dubrovnik to New York City and London.
Soon, ex-CIA man Johnson and his ex-MI6 colleague Jayne Robinson find themselves literally walking a minefield as they fend off powerful intelligence leaders with vested interests.
The Old Bridge—the second book in the Joe Johnson series—is a taut thriller, set in some of Europe’s most beautiful locations, and which explores the dark consequences of sectarian hatred and arms dealing on both sides of the Atlantic.

My Thoughts:

Last year I was introduced to Joe Johnson, a war crimes investigator.  In this second instalment Joe is taken to Europe, to investigate claims of war crimes during the Bosnia-Croatia conflict in the 1990’s. He teams up with MI6 colleague Jayne as they hunt for men implicated in the horrific crimes they have been accused of.  Add into this a request to find sensitive documents that could prove catastrophic to the political balance.

Starting at pace and with the descriptions of people being shelled on Stari Most Bridge (Old Bridge) in the midst of the conflict between Bosnians and Croatians.  Once they lived amicably, lived side by side and married until they are torn apart by this conflict.  It is at this point of the story that you realise that Andrew has done his research, there are a lot of details that have been included.  This is a conflict that was watched on television by millions around the world, using information gathered from a large variety of sources, Andrew has created a fictional plot to wrap around factual events.

The story is gripping, full of action, danger, conspiracy and believable. The extra details in this story are important adding a more authentic feeling to situations.  I was glad to see the return of some old characters to join Joe, but there is still a thorn in his side that makes his presence known as the story unfolds.  The plot was a glorious read with subplots, it has twists that follows the investigations as they unfold, following leads asking questions and also the frustrations that are encountered. I thought it was a clever and well laid out plot, it followed a logical path and made sense through to a satisfying ending.

This is a book that I didn’t want to rush due to all the details and information that have been included.  At the end of the story Andrew has included a brilliant piece that discusses his research, sources of information and where he found it all.  It also makes for great reading and gives the reader the opportunity to follow up further.  I would also suggest making an internet search of the images of  Stari Most Bridge, this I found added an extra dimension to the book as I could see the actual setting as well as the destruction of this 450 year old Ottoman built bridge. Pay attention to the cover of this book, it gives you the structure of the bridge.

This is a book that would appeal to readers who like historical fiction that is action packed, well paced with crime, mystery, intrigue, a thriller that is heavy in excitement and historical research.

I am already lining the next book in the series up for reading soon.  I would like to express my thanks to Andrew for providing me a copy of this eARC for my honest and unbiased thoughts.

About the Author:

0258_600Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together.

His first book, The Last Nazi, is being published in August 2017, and he has a second, The Old Bridge, in the advanced stages of editing.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business.

The Last Nazi draws strongly on these themes. It is the first in a planned series of thrillers featuring the protagonist, Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.

Follow Andrew on Twitter ~ Website

Joe Johnson Thriller Series:

The Last Nazi #1 My Review Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

The Old Bridge #2 Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

Bandit Country #3 Due for Publication in Feb.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and get yourself a copy of this book xx

#BookReview: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin : @HodderBooks @NetGalley

516V87fF1oL (1)

I am sharing “The Wicked Cometh” by Laura Carlin today.  I would like to thank the lovely people at Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me an eARC via NetGalley.  This book is available in various formats with a publication date of 1st February for some formats.

Synopsis:

‘We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort 
because we ARE the bad sort . . .’

‘This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type’ – The Morning Herald, Tuesday 13 September 1831

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . .

My Thoughts:

Starting in London in 1830, we are introduced to Hester White, told about her life and her reasons for being where she is.  When she is involved in an accident and taken in by the wealthy Brock family she thinks she may be on the  up.  What starts as an amiable situation takes a turn for the worse and we are taken into a deep, dark evilly twisted world set in the murky gloomy depths of London back streets.

This is a historical fiction that from the outset feels right.   The descriptions given build up a vivid picture of the murky, dark slums and back streets of London as well as the lavish and elaborate villas and large country houses of the wealthier London.  The characters have a mix of the flamboyant, the dodgy, rich and poor, honest and just down right nasty.  The plot leads you down deep, dark alleys and along bright well-lit streets as we are gradually taken further into the story and discover the depths some people will go to for the sake of their career and reputation.  I did feel it took me a little while for the book to really grab my attention, but gradually I could feel myself getting caught up in it, some passages were a little long, but the descriptions have been done well.  But this I think is another book where I am greedy to read what happens next, I must be more patient.  I really liked the character descriptions in this story, they were a good mixed bag of traits and memorable little details.

This is a book I would recommend to readers of historical mystery books, set in 1800’s London with two female sleuthing leading ladies uncovering a dark and twisted puzzle. I would like to thank Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for my eARC of this book.  My views are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:Laura Carlin

Laura Carlin left school at 16 to work in retail banking and it was only after leaving her job to write full-time that she discovered her passion for storytelling and exploring pockets of history through fiction. She lives in a book-filled house in beautiful rural Derbyshire with her family (and a very naughty cat). When she’s not writing she enjoys walking in the surrounding Peak District. THE WICKED COMETH is her first novel.

 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Better still, buy a copy of this book xx

#BlogTour :Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict : @Netgalley @Sourcebooks

cover111393-medium

 “Carnegie’s Maid” by Marie Benedict. 

Published by Source Books Landmark.  This book is available in various formats and is available to purchase from Amazon US .  I received an eARC via NetGalley of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.

Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.

If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future — and her family’s.

With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist..

My Thoughts:

Clara Kelly steps of the boat Envy, from Ireland and now emigrating to America.  A woman of the same name and from the same area of Ireland is also expected, our Clara takes the initiative and travels to Pittsburgh to become a Lady’s maid to Mrs. Carnegie, mother to Andrew a business man who will go on to become the wealthiest man in the world.

While the initial premise of this book sounds great, I did find that the idea of a Irish farmers daughter being able to pull off the skilled role of a lady’s maid somewhat unbelievable, but I actually put that aside and just enjoyed the story, this was quite interesting.  Clara spends a lot of time with her employer and builds up a friendship with her son.  I found a lot of details on the Carnegie family that I was unaware of in this book.  I didn’t know much about the family before I started this story, but by the end I found a huge amount of detail had been added as part of the story.  It did spark an interest and I found myself reading further on the internet, so I can also now add that the author has done her research well.

So, as well as the research and information given on the Carnegies, there were also some other nice details for social etiquette and status of the time especially when on a visit to New York.  The characters of Clara, Andrew and Mrs. Carnegie have been developed very well.  This book has a nice steady pace, and has some inclusion of famous historical events that help keep the feel of the era it is set in.

This is a good read that would appeal to readers of historical fiction, American History with social and economic elements from 1860’s America and Ireland included.  I did feel there were some discrepancies with the way Clara could have got this job, but I read this as more of a fiction book than a historically accurate fictionalised one.

About the Author:

B1rrvouIrFS._SY200_Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist or historian — before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein’s first wife and a physicist herself. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also authored The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149264661X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492646617

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy this book xx

 

#BookReview : Season of Blood by Jeri Westerson : @jeriwesterson @severnhouse @NetGalley

37657092

A Medieval Mystery from Jeri Westerson, “Season of Blood” is available in hardback and eBook formats.  Published by Severn House Digital

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256.0 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital; First World Publication edition (24 Dec. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B077NH7L86

Synopsis:

A missing Holy Relic. A mysterious and beautiful woman. Two murdered monks: Crispin Guest tackles his most intriguing investigation to date.

1390. Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire, England. Two monks lie murdered, their Holy Blood relic stolen: a relic that is said to run liquid for the sinless and remain stubbornly dry for the sinner. Unwilling to become involved in a bitter dispute between a country monastery and Westminster Abbey, the disgraced former knight Crispin Guest attempts to return the relic to Hailes where it belongs, but somehow it keeps returning to his hands no matter what.

My Thoughts:

This is my first visit with this author and I read this book as a stand alone.  It is set in 1390 and we are introduced to Crispin Guest and his apprentice and side kick Jack Tucker.  They have been approached by a mysterious lady for their help in finding her niece. But along with that a monk dies on Crispin’s door step and in his possession is a religious Blood Relic artefact.

This is the 10th instalment in the Crispin Guest mystery series.  As this is the first I had read by this author, I was intrigued as to how well I would get on with an established series.  For me, I am pleased to say, it worked very well, there are hints and mentions of past stories but not enough to detract from this one.  This book has a very good “well researched” feel to it.  It is one of those books that feel right for the time it is set in and Jeri has some great description to back that feel up.  It is a well paced story that has some very unexpected twists, it is one of those books that you are never quite sure who is telling the truth, creating a good edginess to it.  The characters are quick to remember and identify as they are introduced gradually.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, and I think a good introduction for me to this author, even though I have started at the wrong end of the series. I would recommend this to readers who like a good medieval murder, mystery read.  Some good twists, plots and characters.   It has been well researched and written.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

61fomTgjdpL._SY200_

I’m Jeri Westerson and I write medieval mysteries with an enigmatic, flawed, sexy, and very different protagonist. His name is Crispin Guest and he’s an ex-knight turned private eye. You might want to think of him as a Medieval Sam Spade and these mysteries as Medieval Noir. That’s what makes these novels different. They’re full of hard-hitting action and characters with dirty little secrets. Then there’s the added twist dropped in the middle of murder: a relic with mystical powers. They always seem to stir things up, whether it’s something everyone wants to get their hands on or can’t wait to get rid of.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share xx

#BlogTour : Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler : @rararesources : #BookReview

Tall Chimneys Full Banner.jpg

I am so delighted to be taking part in the tour for this stunning book, “Tall Chimneys” by Allies Cresswell.  It is available to purchase in paperback and eBook, published via Createspace.  My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Allie for my copy of this book.


Book Details: 

Tall Chimneys - Cover image

Paperback: 416 pages

 Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (5 Dec. 2017)

 Language: English

 ISBN-10: 1978036914

 ISBN-13: 978-1978036918

Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon.Com


Synopsis:

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition. Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever. One woman, one house, one hundred years.

My Thoughts:

This is stunningly beautiful book.  Tall Chimneys is a Jacobean house set in a dip alongside the Yorkshire Moors. The story that unfolds is one that shows the relationship the Talbot family have with the house over a hundred years. It is told from the perspective of Evelyn, the youngest family member at the time. As she tells her story she also includes things going on in the world, providing reference dates through history. The house has a hold over Evelyn, it has always been there for her, it has been her home as she has watched it pass through the family.  It has been a place that at witnessed and seen many things along with Evelyn.  It has hosted parties and soiree’s, held secret wartime meetings, met famous people and also American servicemen, seen births and deaths and has remained just a little out of time, not really modernised properly at any point.  It holds a whisper of times gone past.

This is such a beautiful story to read.  It dips into family dynamics and social class structure of the times, looking at the differences and expectations of those “above stairs” and also those “below stairs”.  There is a wonderful array of characters, some you will love, other despise, odd one will probably infuriate and then there are the loathsome, they share different personalities, outlooks, opinions and expectations on life, love, death and loss.

As Evelyn led me through her story I could not help but feel for her, she has stayed true to Tall Chimneys, has been caught up in the time bubble that has surrounded it, in doing this she has used the house as a security blanket, it is her home, safe haven and refuge. The detailing that Allie has added to this book regarding the house, the interior, gardens and surrounding area built up a wonderful image for me.  All this was given as Evelyn made her way through the story.  Then at the end of the book we are brought up to present day as a distant relative shows an interest in discovering his roots, it is a very good way to bring an end to the story, this I found quite emotional as I knew I was also coming towards the end of this book.

For me the pacing is perfect for this book, from the first few lines of the prologue to the final line in the epilogue.  As I read of the pull that the house had over Evelyn, I found a similar pull keeping me held with in the story, so much so that I stayed up to finish this book until 2:45am, that was how much of a hold it had on me.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book, stunning, beautiful, wonderfully written and totally captivating.  Ideal for readers of Literary Historical Fiction, General Fiction and Women’s Fiction.

Thank you so much Allie and Rachel for a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

Tall Chimneys - Allie Cresswell.JPG

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Facebook – Website – Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy the book xx

#BlogTour : Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster @TrueCrimeNovels with @rararesources : #BookReview

Blackmail Sex and Lies - Full Banner

I am delighted to part of the blog tour of “Blackmail, Sex and Lies” by Kathryn McMaster.  I wish to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot. This book is  available as a paperback or an eBook.  *Today is the last day to grab this book at a reduced price *

Synopsis:

The young Scottish socialite, Madeleine Hamilton Smith was swept off her feet by Pierre Emile L’Angelier. She thought him handsome, charming, attentive. However, things soon soured between the pair.

However, once he had seduced her, he became controlling, manipulative. While she tried desperately to withdraw from the toxic and abusive relationship he started blackmailing her; threatening to expose her indiscretions to her family and her new fiancé which would have ruined her within her strict, Victorian era society.

She felt trapped, desperate even. Suddenly, the threats were silenced by his unexpected death.

Did Madeleine Smith murder Pierre Emile L’Angelier or did he commit suicide?

For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith to have been guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857.

My Thoughts:

Kathryn has used some of the 200 letter between socialite Madeleine Hamilton-Smith and Pierre Emile L’Angelier and created a fictionalised them for a riveting read.  It documents the relationship between Madeleine and Emile in 1850’s Scotland.  Madeleine is the naive daughter of strict architect James Hamilton.  Pierre, or Emile as he is referred to, is from French parents and not in the same social league as Madeleine, but he is desperate to climb the social ladder. The two begin a secretive relationship that is doomed from the start.

This is the sort of book that I really love to read, historical, Victorian and including documentation to provide a wonderful basis for a very addictive read.  A few of the letters have been included and provide a wonderful and personal insight into the lives of the two main protagonists.  It captures and reflects their own actions as well as those around them.  It shows a darker side to romance.  A side where the ends justify the means as far as Emile is concerned.  He does not want to be married to a penniless woman, he wants one that can support him.  The more I read of Emile, the more I disliked him, but also I found myself wanting to shake some sense into Madeleine, she really was a soppy doe eyed naive girl, but at the same time I did feel sorry for her.

It has scandal, vulnerability and calculated manipulation that ultimately leads to a death, but was it murder, suicide or a cover up ?  It is well written and engaged this reader from the outset.  I always like the inclusion of the differences between social class and the living conditions of the period I am reading, this book did that.  As well as having a great story line and a pace suitable for the style of book.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like true crime, Victorian Historical Fiction, with references to Victorian Social and family Values.  A really good read.

About the Author:

 Blackmail - kathryn mcmasterKathryn McMaster is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and champion of good indie authors. She co-owns the book promotion company One Stop Fiction (www.onestopfiction.com), where readers can sign up to receive news of free and discounted 4 and 5 star reviewed books. She is also a bestselling author of historical murder mysteries set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her debut novel, “Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?” was well received. All her novels are based on true stories, and she melds fact with fiction, writing in the creative nonfiction style. She lives on her 30 acre farm in the beautiful Casentino Valley, Italy for 6 months of the year, and during the other half of the year, on the small island of Gozo, Malta.

www.kathrynmcmaster.com

https://twitter.com/TrueCrimeNovels

https://www.facebook.com/kathrynmcmaster.author/

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Drama Llama Press; 1st edition (14 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8894122859
  • ISBN-13: 978-8894122855
  • Purchase from  – Amazon UK – Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post. If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy yourself a copy.

#BlogTour : Foul Trade by B.K Duncan : ( @BKDuncanwriter ) : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #BookReview

BLOG TOUR (1)

I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Foul Trade by BK Duncan.  Published by Bloodhound Books, this is available in many formats.  If you have not read the FREE prequel novella “The Last Post” here is the link to Amazon UK for it >>Link<< I will share my thoughts on The Last Post before Foul Trade.

The Last Post, by BK Duncan

41pRJBbmHUL._SY346_

Synopsis:

It is April 1918. May Keaps is a twenty-year-old ambulance driver stationed at The Front. As if transporting hideously wounded soldiers, sleep deprivation and constant shell bombardment weren’t enough, she becomes unwittingly entangled in the untimely death of a young captain, Tobias Fairfax.

Newly-arrived in Northern France he was found with a discharged pistol by his side; rumours on the battlefield were that it wasn’t an accident and he had taken the coward’s way out, committing suicide.

Whatever the explanation, Tobias left a dangerous legacy that puts May in the line of fire. But she is not the only one with a reason to want to uncover the truth. And in a world where life can be extinguished in the blink of an eye, May might regret her search for answers…The Last Post is the haunting introduction to the May Keaps series.

Thoughts:

In this story we meet for the first time, May Keaps.  She is an ambulance driver on the front, transporting casualties of the war to hospital. For a novella, this book has a big presence.  BK has for me, captured the despair, fear, sombreness and fear of life in the war, with vivid descriptions.

As an introduction to this author and also the character of May Keaps, I cannot find fault.  It was a great read and did its job well, I look forward to the next story.  A full length one.

Foul Trade 

BK Duncan - Foul Trade_cover_high res.jpgSynopsis:

 Looking for a compelling new mystery which will have you hooked?

It is March 1920. May Keaps, the Poplar Coroner’s Officer, has never failed to provide a jury with sufficient evidence to arrive at a just verdict.

The poverty, drunken fights between visiting sailors, drug trafficking, and criminal gangs, haunting the shadows of the busiest docks in the world, mean that the Coroner sees more than its fair share of sudden and unnatural deaths.

May relishes the responsibility placed upon her but there are many who believe it’s an unsuitable job for a woman. Even May begins to wonder if that is the case when the discovery of a young man’s body, in a Limehouse alley, plunges her into an underworld of opium dens, gambling, turf wars, protection rackets and murder.

As her investigations draw her into danger, it becomes increasingly clear that whoever is responsible intends to avoid the hangman’s noose by arranging to have May laid out on one of her own mortuary slabs.

My thoughts:

So it is now march 1920, and again we are reunited with May Louise Keaps, ex ambulance driver and now officer for Poplar Coroners Court.  In this story May is the efficient and resourceful force behind the Coroner, she is the one who makes sure all the paperwork, subpoenas and warrants are dealt with, they are just the basics of her job.  She goes above and beyond the call of duty as she swaps the battlefields for the wharves of London, as she investigates a suspicious death.  She will discover a world of gangs, drugs and dens, gambling and illegal trade.

If you want a book that gives you a descriptive walk through of the London wharves and surrounding area, then this has got to be one you read.  BK has brought some vivid and detailed descriptions that make it feel very realistic with the sights, sounds and also the smells.  There has been obvious research into this period,  I found a great deal of observational content on living conditions, social housing, economics and family struggles, this added a real extra depth.  It was appropriate for the plot, now that I really did enjoy, it took me a couple of chapters to work out where the story was going.  This was all my fault as I did not read the synopsis, I just dived right in after reading The Last Post.  But as I started to pick up the threads of the story, I found it took me along the dark alleys into grim back rooms and among warehouses as the plot progressed.  Along the way there are quite a few characters to get to know, a mixed bunch of rogues, ruffians and gentlemen, you soon work out who is who, but I guarantee you will be wrong in your assumptions of some.

This is a great read that I would have no problem recommending to readers who like historical crime and mystery fiction.  It is well researched and well written.  A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Author:

BK Duncan and Foul Trade

Born on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and management consultancy (specialising in personal and organisational change) she made the switch to full time writer, combining producing her own work with lecturing in creative writing in colleges and academies in Hertfordshire and Cambridge. Her summers are spent on two never-ending tasks – re-pointing the walls of her flint cottage and reclaiming the wilderness of her meadow garden. For relaxation she reads, goes to the theatre, and explores the local countryside but her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

Her proudest moment was when she overcame her fear of deep water to go potholing in the Yorkshire Pennines.

BK Duncan also writes as Ruth Wade. Read her Amazon #1 best-seller A Fatal Rhythm on Kindle.

Follow BK Duncan on her Website  or on Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give a little share.  Better still, go and get both of these wonderful books.

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : The Learn by @TonyHalker : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 : #BookReview #BlogTour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “The Learn” by Tony Halker.  This book is available in paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis: 

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.


A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.
Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.


At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.
A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

My thoughts:

Set in North Wales during the Celtic Bronze Age we are introduced to Owayne, son of a beach scavenger.  We follow him as he follows his destined path to become a Druid.  This is a period in history where things are in a state of change, all knowledge, law and stories are done via word of mouth.  The appearance of a wooden wheel causes tensions, should wood be manipulated into a shape, would it go against the rules and laws that exist to protect nature and the environment?  These are things that Owayne will have to try to learn, the balance of the old with the emergence of the new.

This is a slow burner of a book, but it is wonderful.  The pacing is perfect for this story, the setting, the era, the lifestyle.  It does however speed up a little towards the end.  What it lacks in pace it  more than makes up for in its wonderful descriptive passages, I have seen mention on a review from another person, that it had an “almost peotic feel”, and I have to say I am in complete agreeance with that thought. The scenery, festivals, clothing, food, rituals and social aspects have all been detailed well and build a good image.  It was an image of hardship, bleakness and little comforts, but at the same time a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere, this is where for me the author shines with his descriptive details.  I do not know much about the history of this time, but I  feel that this book has a good amount of research to it from the descriptions given, nothing felt out-of-place for me.

This book is an interesting blend of ancient history, folklore, legend, myth and fiction as we follow a young man on his way to learning about nature, the environment, traditions as well as his responsibilities.

A book I would recommend for readers of historical fiction.  A good all round read, with some memorable characters, well written, with elements of nature and folklore.

About the Author:

THHeadsent1

Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a

geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.

 

Website – http://www.tonyhalker.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TonyHalker

Blog – http://www.tonyhalker.com/blog

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (29 Sept. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911110578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911110576
  • Purchase from  – Amazon UK
  • Purchase from – Foyles

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

12Days2017_Calendar

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give a little share.  Better still go and buy the book.

 

#BookReview The LimeHouse Golem by Peter Ackroyd #AskPenguin @PenguinUKBooks

51qabVyt5pL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

Penguin Uk have an #AskPenguin tag.  Give them some ideas about the sort of book you would like to read, they will respond with their book choice.  I had asked for a Victorian mystery and their suggestion was “The Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd. So I bought it and gave it a go.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (24 Aug. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784708208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784708207
  • Amazon Link
  • Other Formats available.

Synopsis:

London, 1880. A series of gruesome murders attributed to the mysterious ‘Limehouse Golem’ strikes fear into the heart of the capital. Inspector John Kildare must track down this brutal serial killer in the damp, dark alleyways of riverside London. But how does Dan Leno, music hall star extraordinaire, find himself implicated in this crime spree, and what does Elizabeth Cree, on trial for the murder of her husband, have to hide?

Peter Ackroyd brings Victorian London to life in all its guts and glory, as we travel from the glamour of the music hall to the slums of the East End, meeting George Gissing and Karl Marx along the way.

My Thoughts:

Set in London, in the 1880’s.  London is gripped by gruesome murders and the bodies are being found dismembered, the police have no idea who the murderer is.  Alongside the murders, is the story of Lizzie, later to become Mrs Elizabeth Cree.  When we first meet her it is as she is having the noose placed around her neck having been found guilty of a crime. From this point on we learn more about Lizzie’s life, her love and involvement in music halls and the characters she meets, as well as famous names of the time.

Peter Ackroyd has captures the dark and sinister aspects very well and made them quite believable.  He has built up a picture of what you would expect of Victorian London, dark, atmospheric and suspenseful.  I did at times feel that some of the descriptive passages were a little long at times, but not so much to detract from the story.  It is told in quick chapters that flit from the perspectives of Lizzie , the murder, and also diary entries, keeping the whole story moving along at a good pace.

This is a book I enjoyed and would recommend to readers who like Gothic Fiction, Historical and Literary Fiction.

The book was originally titled “Dan Leno & The Limehouse Golem”.  It has also been made into a film, and has a release date on DVD / Blu-ray of 26th December.  Amazon link HERE.

About the Author:

21ky5BEoSYL._UX250_   Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Dickens, Blake and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

 

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you like it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy the book.