#BookReview Nothing Else by Louise Beech

Nothing Else by Louise Beech

Summary:

Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.

But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.

When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night … coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

An exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma, about the unbreakable bond between sisters, Nothing Else is also a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.

My Review:

I have followed Louise Beech’s writing since my blog started back in autumn of 2014 and she is rare talent and I just love her writing. So, it is always exciting to hear of a new book coming and then it arrives. Nothing Else (Orenda Books) will be released on 23 June. When a book can break you and then put you back together again, you know it is something rather special. Nothing Else really is.

Having read many of t books by Louise Beech she really is a writer who just when you think you know her style, she will surprise you with something unique and different. What Nothing Else proves above all is just what an amazing writer she really is. And in her new novel Louise brings together many emotions all of which you the reader will experience.

We are introduced to Heather who is a pianist and now piano teacher and will always love teaching children to play. But the past is haunting her and the sister she lost when they were very young. Sometimes it is just something that will spark the memory and the haunting of the past and so Heather decides that she may not have made before and takes a job playing the piano on a cruise ship as it crosses the Ocean. Surely the past cannot affect her here as she plays to entertain the passengers several times during the day. Before she departs on a new venture, Heather makes a dramatic decision and requests copies of records from the Social Services, and while on board ship she will try and find out what really happened to her sister all those years ago. And here the story really begins and the reader.

As the story moves back and forth the picture of the past appears and the emotional journey will take the reader through a whole range of emotions. And this is what Louise Beech is good at is telling a superb character driven novel and taking the reader on a journey. It is heart-breaking at times.

I have loved music since childhood and still plays an important part in my life, so this is a story I loved from start to finish, yes there is a tragic past and I am not going to give anything away here, what I will say is, before you start reading and you have access to Spotify, download the Nothing Else – The Playlist, yes there is one and if you are looking for a new book, then Nothing Else by Louise Beech, must be at the top of your list. One of my books of 2022. Thank you, Louise, you have done it again.

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours for the review Copy of Nothing Else by Louise Beech. Published by Orenda Books on 23 June 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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The Wolfson History Prize 2022. #BookReview Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688 by Clare Jackson

The Wolfson History Prize Shortlist 2022. #BookReview Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688 by Clare Jackson

Summary:

A ground-breaking portrait of the most turbulent century in English history

Among foreign observers, seventeenth-century England was known as ‘Devil-Land’: a diabolical country of fallen angels, torn apart by seditious rebellion, religious extremism and royal collapse. Clare Jackson’s dazzling, original account of English history’s most turbulent and radical era tells the story of a nation in a state of near continual crisis.

As an unmarried heretic with no heir, Elizabeth I was regarded with horror by Catholic Europe, while her Stuart successors, James I and Charles I, were seen as impecunious and incompetent, unable to manage their three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. The traumatic civil wars, regicide and a republican Commonwealth were followed by the floundering, foreign-leaning rule of Charles II and his brother, James II, before William of Orange invaded England with a Dutch army and a new order was imposed.

Devil-Land reveals England as, in many ways, a ‘failed state’: endemically unstable and rocked by devastating events from the Gunpowder Plot to the Great Fire of London. Catastrophe nevertheless bred creativity, and Jackson makes brilliant use of eyewitness accounts – many penned by stupefied foreigners – to dramatize her great story. Starting on the eve of the Spanish Armada’s descent in 1588 and concluding with a not-so ‘Glorious Revolution’ a hundred years later, Devil-Land is a spectacular reinterpretation of England’s vexed and enthralling past.

My Review:

Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2022, Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688 (Allen Lane) by Clare Jackson is a momentous book covering the period from the defeat of the Spanish Armada by Elizabeth I to what has become known as the Glorious Revolution. The years that are covered from 1588 to 1688 was nothing short of tortuous period in English history.

There is so much history from this period to pack into a book of 700 pages, England was known by foreign observers as ‘Devil-Land’. It is not difficult to see how England was seen as a nation that was failing when you consider what happened in this period. Seventeenth-century England from the perspective of foreign countries such as France, Spain, the Dutch Republic and even closer to home within our own shores from Scotland and Ireland. They viewed this nation from civil war to the Gunpowder Plot and then the Great Fire of London, let alone a Queen that was unmarried viewed in horror by Catholics across Europe and then there is her successors such as Charles I who was then executed, and England became a republic as Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector until the monarchy was restored in 1660 as Charles II became King and his reign was turbulent. England was being viewed as a failed state.

It is hard to put into words the sheer amount of research that Clare Jackson has put into a book that is packed with historical facts and the author deserves real credit for this alone. As the book reaches its climax with the ‘Glorious Revolution’ as William of Orange invaded England.

A powerful and I found a really engaging read, for what was a traumatic period in English history. Readers should not be put off by the fact the book is about 700 pages. If you enjoy reading about history, then I would really recommend Devil-Land.

704 Pages.

My thanks to Midas PR and Allen Lane for the review Copy of Devil-Land:  England Under Siege, 1588-1688 by Clare Jackson. Published on 30 September 2021 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

On Wednesday 22 June the winner of The Wolfson History Prize 2022 will be announced at 7.15pm and you can watch the announcement live via www.wolfsonhistoryprize.org.uk/2022

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#Book Review Still Lives by Reshma Ruia

#BookReview Still Lives by Reshma Ruia

Summary:

‘The glow of my cigarette picks out a dark shape lying on the ground. I bend down to take a closer look. It’s a dead sparrow. I wondered if I had become that bird, disoriented and lost.’ Young, handsome and contemptuous of his father’s traditional ways, PK Malik leaves Bombay to start a new life in America. Stopping in Manchester to visit an old friend, he thinks he sees a business opportunity, and decides to stay on. Now fifty-five, PK has fallen out of love with life. His business is struggling and his wife Geeta is lonely, pining for the India she’s left behind. One day PK crosses the path of Esther, the wife of his business competitor, and they launch into an affair conducted in shabby hotel rooms, with the fear of discovery forever hanging in the air. Still Lives is a tightly woven, haunting work that pulls apart the threads of a family and plays with notions of identity. Shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize

My Review:

A real story about family that I have to say I really enjoyed, there is something about the way Still Lives (Renard Press) by Reshma Ruia just lingers with you after you have read the last page. Very much character driven and wonderfully constructed and written.

The story of a family all just a bit flawed in their own way and it is PK Malik who really will grab the headlines from Sill Lives, when he leaves behind India his home and his plans of making a new life for himself in America via Manchester. But after visiting a friend this visit becomes much more than just that.

The years roll on by and PK is in his mid-50’s and married to Geeta who really wants nothing more than to see her home back in India. She is homesick. This is when PK is struggling with a lot in life, and worried about his business. Maybe he should have headed to America after all? Now he embarks on an affair who just happens to be the wife of his competitor, affairs are conducted in secret and in hotel rooms and this is what is happening to PK. There is so much to lose when you go down this road and there it is family life all wrapped up in a haunting and a story of betrayal but also love. You will enjoy some of the characters and yet there will be some you will not like. It will linger with the reader.

Still Lives by Reshma Ruia, shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize.

320 Pages.

My thanks to Renard Press for the review Copy of Still Lives by Reshma Ruia.     Published by Renard Press on 29 June 2022 and is now available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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#BookReview Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis

Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis

Summary:

Summer, 1942.
The Second World War rages on but Britain now faces the Nazi threat with America at its side.

In a bombed-out London swarming with gangsters and spies, DCI Frank Merlin continues his battle against rampant wartime crime. A mangled body is found in the Thames just as some items of priceless art go mysteriously missing. What sinister connection links the two?

Merlin and his team follow a twisting trail of secrets and lies as they investigate a baffling and deadly puzzle.

My Review:

There is something about a thriller set in World War II. The setting for Dead in the Water (Headline Accent) by Mark Ellis is bombed out London. Despite the war, crime still goes on and there is a murderer on the loose. But what has this got to do with the fact that some priceless art pieces suddenly go missing. This is a terrifically enjoyable historical thriller.

The story begins with a prologue set in Vienna in November 1938 and the Katz family. This sets the tone for what is really to follow.

For some the backdrop of war is the perfect time to commit crime and Britain has been facing the Nazi menace on her own but now America has entered the war and American soldiers and airman are arriving in the UK. London is scarred by the blitz but for DCI Merlin he has his hands full in solving a murder of a Russian spy. A black US serviceman has already been arrested and tried by the US military and now faces the death penalty, but the man pleads he is innocent of the crime, and he is believed by DCI Merlin, and so the race is on to find the killer before he is hanged. The clock is ticking. Time is running out.

Inside the Capital there are also Nazi spies operating, could there somehow be a link between the death of the Russian spy and the Nazi operatives in London. Some are operating as double agents, and this is a confusing picture for the police. But at the same time there are several priceless art pieces that are going missing. Who is the mysterious buyer in Portugal? The plot moves across parts of Europe, so the action is not centred purely in London.

The murders continue and for DCI Merlin and his team the sense that the killer might just be in plain sight might not be as simple as it seems. The plot thickens and the team must use all their ingenuity to put all the evidence together to find who really is behind the crimes.

What I really enjoyed was how Mark Ellis has weaved together a compelling historical thriller with the setting that is well described. Characters are so important in novels and Ellis has these drawn so brilliantly and this must go for how the plots keep you guessing all the way through to the end. Dead in the Water is an enjoyable and satisfying read.

384 Pages.

My thanks to Amber Choudhary (Midas PR) for the review Copy of Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis Published by Headline Accent on 19 May 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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#BookReview The Companion by Lesley Thomson

The Companion by Lesley Thomson

Summary:
In a grand old mansion in the middle of the Sussex countryside, seven people have seen more than they should… The new chilling thriller from Lesley Thomson.
James Ritchie was looking forward to a boys’ day out with his son, Wilbur – even if he was a little late picking him up from the home of his ex-wife, Anna. Annoyed by his late arrival, and competing for their son’s attention, Anna leaves the two of them to their day with the promise of a roast dinner when Wilbur returns.
But Anna will never see her family again. That afternoon, James and Wilbur are found dead, the victims of a double stabbing on the beach.
DI Toni Kemp, of Sussex police, must unravel a case which has shocked the county to its core. What she discovers will lead her to Blacklock House, a grand country mansion, long ago converted into flats. Here in the middle of nowhere, where a peacock struts the lawn, and a fountain plays intermittently, seven long-term residents have seen more than they should.
But this is a community who are good at keeping secrets…


My Review:

Set in leafy Sussex, there stands an old country mansion that has been turned into flats for elderly people. There a Peacock can be found wandering the grounds. You can never mistake the loud call of a Peacock at Blacklock House are secrets among the residents. The Companion (Head of Zeus) is released tomorrow 9th June and it is a wonderfully sinister murder mystery by Lesley Thomson.  

Here at Blacklock House there are younger people who are matched up with the residents via an organisation and they live in the house and here they can be a companion to one of the residents. Timothy Mew (25) is an ideal match for Rex (70) who is a retired lawyer, it is late summer and soon there are a spate of murders in the vicinity of the old house. A father and son who are out enjoying some time together flying their kite are killed and then an entire family are killed on Dedmans Heath. But who is behind the spate of killings in this normally peaceful location? DI Toni Kemp from Sussex police has been appointed at the lead officer who will try and track down the killer before they strike again and reassure the residents.

But attention soon shifts to Blacklock House where we are introduced to some of the rather interesting and intriguing residents who live here, and here lies secrets and whispers. Rex is now mistrusting his companion Timothy as since he arrived the murders have occurred or is this just pure coincidence after all there is no smoke without fire? Some of these characters could have come out of an Agatha Christie novel. Timothy really is enjoying his new life at Blacklock House, it does seem to match his life but what is his real motive for being here? Pretty soon he is disliked by several of the residents. But is he the killer?

This is a real gem of a read; I just enjoyed the hidden stories behind the characters it really made the novel come alive for me and Lesley’s writing made the novel compelling. At times it is dark but there is humour here to be found and an interesting murder mystery. I also enjoyed how the mystery ended. No spoilers from me here.

400 Pages.

My thanks to Sophie Ransom (Ransom PR) for the review Copy of The Companion by Lesley Thomson Published by Head of Zeus on 9th June 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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#BookReview Survive to Fight by Billy Billingham

Survive to Fight by Billy Billingham

Summary:

Matt Mason is attempting to put the army behind him, building a life for himself training anti-poaching forces on a game reserve.

He’s looking forward to meeting up with his eldest child, Jo, who has graduated naval college and taken a summer job working on a billionaire’s yacht in the Red Sea. But then he receives a call informing him that Jo’s boat is missing, likely abducted by Somali pirates.

Mason must call in favours from old contacts as he follows Jo’s trail. She isn’t the abduction target, she won’t be worth the pirates keeping for long. But she is still Matt Mason’s daughter, and she knows she needs to survive to fight.

My Review:

This is the second in the Matt Mason series following on from Call to Kill. Survive to Fight (Hodder & Stoughton) by Billy Billingham is released tomorrow 9th June. You might be thinking that this is an all-action thriller, but there is much more to this new thriller. There is a real storyline here and I found this to be extremely well thought out plot and there are a several of back stories.

Matt Mason has taken on the role on a game reserve training staff on anti-poaching as poachers are really targeting Elephants for their ivory and the trade is big, so Matt has his hands full. Some of what Matt must witness is horrific and, in this day, and age it is hard to believe it is still happening. You can imagine the reserve covers a wide area and trying to keep one step ahead of the poachers is a full-on task. But the poachers are armed and extremely dangerous and so the teams must be prepared for every eventuality and that includes threat to life. Matt Mason has the experience and a cool head, and this is what makes him popular and likable. Dealing with ivory poachers is one thing but who really is behind these gangs of armed and dangerous poachers?

Matt has his hands full working on the reserve, but the ivory is being shipped by criminals, but there is something about to happen that will hit Matt hard and very close to home. When a member of his own family is in real danger. Now things are about to get a lot more serious, and the tension is ratchet up high. The world of people trafficking is shocking but when it hit one of your own you will do whatever it takes to save them and smash those behind kidnapping and people smuggling. Some of the evillest people in the world and you want Matt to succeed in bringing those down and bringing those to justice.

Billy Billingham has written a powerful thriller that hits home on several themes. It is well thought out and extremely well written. There is plenty of action but there are some really compelling storylines here.

384 Pages.

My thanks to Sophie Ransom (Ransom PR) for the review copy of Survive to Fight by Billy Billingham Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 9th June 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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Snow Widows: Scott’s Fatal Antarctic Expedition Through the Eyes of the Women They Left Behind by Katherine MacInnes

Snow Widows: Scott’s Fatal Antarctic Expedition Through the Eyes of the Women They Left Behind by Katherine MacInnes.

Summary:

The men of Captain Scott’s Polar Party were heroes of their age, enduring tremendous hardships to further the reputation of the Empire they served by reaching the South Pole. But they were also husbands, fathers, sons and brothers.

For the first time, the story of the race for the South Pole is told from the perspective of the women whose lives would be forever changed by it, five women who offer a window into a lost age and a revealing insight into the thoughts and feelings of the five heroes.

Kathleen Scott, the fierce young wife of the expedition leader, campaigned relentlessly for Scott’s reputation, but did her ambition for glory drive her husband to take unnecessary risks? Oriana Wilson, a true help-mate and partner to the expedition’s doctor, was a scientific mind in her own right and understood more than most what the men faced in Antarctica. Emily Bowers was a fervent proponent of Empire, having spent much of her life as a missionary teacher in the colonies. The indomitable Caroline Oates was the very picture of decorum and everything an Edwardian woman aspired to be, but she refused all invitations to celebrate her son Laurie’s noble sacrifice. Lois Evans led a harder life than the other women, constantly on the edge of poverty and forced to endure the media’s classist assertions that her husband Taff, the sole ‘Jack Tar’ in a band of officers, must have been responsible for the party’s downfall. Her story, brought to light through new archival research, is shared here for the first time.

In a gripping and remarkable feat of historical reconstruction, Katherine MacInnes vividly depicts the lives, loves and losses of five women shaped by the unrelenting culture of Empire and forced into the public eye by tragedy. It also reveals the five heroes, not as the caricatures of legend, but as the real people they were.

My Review:

So much over the years has been written of the ill-fated expedition by Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his men to the South Pole, they risked so much to explore places and suffer the extreme hardships. But what of those left behind? In Snow Widows: Scott’s Fatal Antarctic Expedition by the Women Left Behind (William Collins) by Katherine MacInnes tells the story of the five women whose lives were thrust into the limelight.

With access to family records and years spent researching the lives of the five women, what the author has put together is superbly written account that for the first time gives the account of the five women behind the men who set off to explore the Antarctic for their country and the empire. But who were the women?

Kathleen Scott was the young wife of Captain Scott and the leader of the team, Oriana Wilson, wife of the expedition’s doctor, Emily Bowers, Mother of Henry Robertson Bowers, Emily Bowers had travelled the world as a missionary teacher, Caroline Oates, Mother of Lawrence Oates and Lios Evans, the wife of Edgar Evans. In the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic Edgar Evans was played by James Robertson Justice.

The expedition became known as the Terra Nova expedition after their ship Terra Nova and the expedition covered the years 1910-1913. Sadly, the bodies of Scott and his team were found on 12 November 1912. Now the wives and mothers of the men were thrust into the spotlight. Snow Widows is an incredibly fascinating read with so much historical detail and photographs that have not been seen before. The story of the five women and the sacrifices that they made from assisting with the fundraising and lobbying. These are their stories and for the first time are now being told.

512 Pages.

My thanks to Alison Menzies and William Collins for a copy of Snow Widows by Katherine MacInnes which was published on 14 April 2022 and is now available in Hardback through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald

Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald

Summary:

Desperate to enjoy their empty nest, Penny and Andeep downsize to the countryside, to forage, upcycle and fall in love again, only to be joined by their two twenty-something daughters, Asha and Camille.

Living on top of each other in a tiny house, with no way to make money, tensions simmer, and as Penny and Andeep focus increasingly on themselves, the girls become isolated, argumentative and violent.

When Asha injures Camille, a family therapist is called in, but she shrugs off the escalating violence between the sisters as a classic case of sibling rivalry … and the stress of the family move. 

But this is not sibling rivalry. The sisters are in far too deep for that.

This is a murder, just waiting to happen…

Chilling, vicious and darkly funny, Keep Her Sweet is not just a tense, sinister psychological thriller, but a startling look at sister relationships and the bonds they share … or shatter.


 My Review:

What is it about a dysfunctional family story that I find so engrossing and so readable? Keep Her Sweet (Orenda Books) by Helen Fitzgerald is released on Thursday 26th May and is about one family that has its fair share of issues. Now I know that every family goes through the ups and downs of life. But this story will make you think your family are just all saints.

Let me introduce you to Penny and Andeep who finally have decided to leave their home and head out into the coutryside. Fresh air and a chance to find themselves and each other. The perfect plan. Life has been stressful but now it is their time. Their new place in the country is small but you might call it cosy, after all they believed now their daughters had fled the nest and living their own lives. Wrong! Very wrong. I am sure you like me know of a family where they have the one or two with ‘issues and what Helen Fitzgerald gives us here is a real family with problems and these are big problems at that. But saying that it is the characters that make a really good story that you cannot leave alone, and this is that story.

Just when Penny and Andeep think they are alone, both their daughters Asha and Camille who are in their twenties suddenly arrive and now things really take a turn for the worst. This place is just perfect for a couple seeking solace but when you add two grown adults who clearly want to harm each other let alone anyone who gets into their way things are going to boil over, and don’t they just. This is a fabulously rich dynamic psychological thriller but with a fair amount of humour included. Both Asha and Camille are carrying enough baggage and it really shows and I felt like someone had lit a fuse and it was taking its time to burn so you could get to know all the characters including Joy, a therapist called into to help, but she has her own issues, the fuse is burning and then finally.. BANG! There are several themes running through the story and these are for you to find. I have to say I really enjoy Helen Fitzgerald’s writing. It is engrossing and intoxicating but in a way that you cannot take your eyes off this family unit. I really want more of Helen’s books.

270 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review Copy of Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald. Published on 26 May 2021 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

Companion Piece by Ali Smith

Companion Piece by Ali Smith

Summary:

The unmissable new work from Ali Smith, following the dazzling Man Booker-shortlisted Seasonal quartet

A story is never an answer. A story is always a question.’

Here we are in extraordinary times.
Is this history?

What happens when we cease to trust governments, the media, each other?
What have we lost?
What stays with us?
What does it take to unlock our future?

Following her astonishing quartet of Seasonal novels, Ali Smith again lights a way for us through the nightmarish now, in a vital celebration of companionship in all its forms.

‘Every hello, like every voice, holds its story ready, waiting.’

My Review:

Ali Smith is such a gifted storyteller. I loved the seasonal quartet that came to an end with Summer back in 2020. But low and behold the great Ali Smith has returned with Companion Piece (Hamish Hamilton) that was released in early April.

The novel is based in 2021 and Covid is still out there, and restrictions are keeping people apart and for Sandy who is doing everything she can to protect herself and from the virus and that means she cannot visit her father in hospital with a heart problem as often as she would like. But it is a telephone call out of the blue from an old University ‘friend’ a term I use lightly as Sandy never got on with Martina.

From here Sandy’s life that has been one of isolation and trying to limit her contacts suddenly all that is about to change as Martina who is now a curator at a museum will take Sandy on a journey back to when she was young, and life seemed so different when she was at university. But there is a mystery here in the story that Martina brings to Sandy.

Ali Smith has weaved a multi-layered novel that is rich with many themes running through its veins. Poetry will come into play in Companion Piece but how and why is for you to discover. The reader will go on a journey very much like Sandy as she re-visits her younger days. Hidden in the storyline are links to the past and hints of Ali Smith’s seasonal novels. Sandy will meet Martina’s family, despite Sandy doing everything she can to keep her contacts limited so she does not catch Covid herself.

I love Ali Smith’s writing as she is not afraid of confronting the life we are living through right now and the isolation that we have all faced as we began the journey to interact with people again.

Companion Piece is a clever piece of writing, it will puzzle but I feel a book that will reward time and again as there like a puzzle will reward time and again.

240 Pages.

My thanks to Hamish Hamilton for the review Copy of Companion Piece by Ali Smith which was Published on 7th April 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

The Shot by Sarah Sultoon

The Shot by Sarah Sultoon

Summary:

An aspiring TV journalist faces a shattering moral dilemma and the prospect of losing her career and her life when she joins an impetuous photographer in the Middle East.

An act of mercy
Or the ultimate betrayal…
Who decides?


Samira is an up-and-coming TV journalist, working the nightshift at a major news channel and yearning for greater things. So when she’s offered a trip to the Middle East, with Kris, the station’s brilliant but impetuous star photographer, she leaps at the chance.

In the field together, Sami and Kris feel invincible, shining a light into the darkest of corners … except the newsroom, and the rest of the world, doesn’t seem to care as much as they do. Until Kris takes the photograph.

With a single image of young Sudanese mother, injured in a raid on her camp, Sami and the genocide in Darfur are catapulted into the limelight. But everything is not as it seems, and the shots taken by Kris reveal something deeper and much darker … something that puts not only their careers but their lives in mortal danger.

Sarah Sultoon brings all her experience as a CNN news executive to bear on this shocking, searingly authentic thriller, which asks immense questions about the world we live in. You’ll never look at a news report in the same way again…  

My Review:

We have all seen the outstanding professionalism from journalists covering conflicts. Author, Sarah Sultoon now brings her experience of being an CNN news executive with her new novel The Shot (Orenda Books) which is released tomorrow 28th April. This is an extremely powerful story of an up-and-coming TV journalist and is based in the Middle East. This packs a punch and asks many questions.

I have to say what an outstanding writer Sarah Sultoon really is. Using all her experience to take the reader to the heart of the storyline. I have always had unswerving admiration for journalists that put their lives in danger to bring the stories that matter.

Samira is a journalist based in a very busy newsroom with a major news channel she is keen to learn but she harbours ambitions to get out there herself and be at the forefront of the story rather than back at the headquarters of the news channel. She can speak Arabic, so Samira is just biding her time. Kris on the other hand is an experienced cameraman and is often in danger zones filming. Now back in the newsroom the is major breaking news and some of their own team have been involved in an incident with some of the team injured including Kris but when he gets home he is desperate to get back in the field. It is not long before Samira gets her first chance, and she heads off with Kris overseas. From one assignment to another but this time it is to Darfur in Sudan and then suddenly the story really takes a turn that even knocked me off my feet that involves some shots taken by Kris that reveal much more about what is really going on. Sometimes you get so involved in a storyline that you forget almost everything else that you must do. This was the case with The Shot.

The story is gripping and heartbreaking. But superbly written and I read it in two sittings. Here is a story that will live in your memory for some time to come. It will pose so many questions for you the reader. Not wanting to give much away here but do not miss reading The Shot.

If ever a book needs to be turned into a TV drama, then Sarah Sultoon’s brilliant story deserves this. It would make gripping watching. Simply outstanding.

#TheShot

@SultoonSarah

@OrendaBooks

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review Copy of The Shot by Sarah Sultoon which is Published on 28th April 2022 and can be pre-ordered through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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