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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The Fall by Rachael Blok

The Fall by Rachael Blok

Summary:

The sins of the past echo in the present in the new literary thriller from crime-critic favourite, Rachael Blok.

The bigger the sin, the further the fall…

With Easter approaching, the verger of St Albans Cathedral was supposed to be readying the church. Instead he discovers a man lying dead, fallen from the famous 150-foot-high tower. Did he jump, or was he pushed?

For DCI Maarten Jansen, it’s a simple case of suspected suicide. Until a stranger, Willow, who witnessed the jump, prompts a deeper investigation into a long-buried past, involving a psychiatric hospital, a pregnant woman, and fifty years of silence. As Willow’s own family history entwines with the case, Jansen starts to wonder how everything is connected.

The Fall is a haunting literary thriller about loss, trauma, silence, and how our past shapes who we are.

My Review:

The question for DCI Maarten Jansen is was it suicide or something more sinister? The Fall (Aries Fiction, Head of Zeus) was released on the 14th April just ahead of Easter and ironically Easter is the setting for this gripping thriller set in St. Albans.

It is the small hours of the morning, and all seems quiet, and Willow has arrived at the St. Albans Cathedral to prepare for an event but from the darkness she hears a noise. On the roof of the Cathedral a man is struggling, and he is trying not to fall. High up there the wind is strong, and it is cold. The man cries out for help. Far below Willow thinks she hears a shout but believes she is hearing things. It is dark and sometimes you can hear things that are not there. Then there is a crash.

It is down to DCI Maarten Jansen who is originally from Rotterdam to investigate what happened to the 80-year-od man. Why would he be up there on the roof of the Cathedral in the early hours of Good Friday. Jansen believes it was suicide until Willow arrives and tells the DCI Jansen what she witnessed, and this now requires a deeper investigation, and this now has the past coming to life and there are some characters in the novel that would be keen to see this and would rather the past be buried and stay buried. This is going to be a complex case and not as straightforward for DCI Jansen.

What I really enjoyed is how Rachael Blok has created such an interesting back story that involved several characters many have stories to tell and the inclusion of the Cathedral that is centre of the novel as well as a psychiatric hospital all play a part in the novel and there are secrets from the past that are bubbling to the surface.

The Fall is slow to get going but it is worth continuing as the story really gathers pace the further you get into it. I really enjoyed Rachael’s writing and the research she has done for the background the novel. The Fall is one book I am happy to recommend.

400 Pages.

My thanks to Sophie Ransom (Ransom PR) and Aries Fiction (Head of Zeus) for the review Copy of The Fall by Rachael Blok Published on 14 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

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The Dark Flood by Deon Meyer

The Dark Flood by Deon Meyer

Translated by K.L. Seegers

Summary:

One last chance. Almost fired for insubordination, detectives Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido find themselves demoted, exiled from the elite Hawks unit and dispatched to the leafy streets of Stellenbosch. Working a missing persons report on student Callie de Bruin is not the level of work they are used to, but it’s all they get. And soon, it takes a dangerous, deeply disturbing turn.

One last chance. Stellenbosch is beautiful, but its economy has been ruined by one man. Jasper Boonstra and his gigantic corporate fraud have crashed the local property market, just when estate agent Sandra Steenberg desperately needs a big sale. Bringing up twins and supporting her academic husband, she is facing disaster. Then she gets a call. From Jasper Boonstra, fraudster, sexual predator and owner of a superb property worth millions, even now.

For Sandra, the stakes are high and about to get way higher.

For Benny Griessel, clinging to sobriety and the relationship that saved his life, the truth about Callie can only lead to more trouble.

Taut with intrigue, murder and suspense, exploding with action and excitement, The Dark Flood is a masterpiece from the author of Trackers and The Last Hunt.

My Review:

Firstly, this is my first novel that I have read by Deon Meyer, and I really do not know how this has happened. The Dark Flood (Hodder & Stoughton) was released on 14th April, and I have to say right now, just how much I really enjoyed reading. Thank you, Sophie Ransom and Hodder & Stoughton, for giving me the chance to read in advance.

I do enjoy a thriller that get off with an explosive start and it really does here. The setting for Deon Meyer’s is South Africa and here in The Dark Flood it is Stellenbosch where detectives Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido are now exiled from the elite Hawks Unit and demoted to patrolling the streets, I guess that is what you get for disobeying a direct order.

Both Griessel and Cupido have been given a missing persons report, a student by the name of Callie du Bruin has disappeared. This is out of character for Callie who has never been in any trouble so what is going on here? For Griessel and Cupido something does not seem quite right. Why would a young man who is close to his mum and studying hard just vanish? As both detectives investigate the case the more, they become concerned that he has not gone voluntarily. As you can imagine his mother is beside herself and is concerned something has happened to Callie.

There is a lot going on in this outstanding crime thriller, this is a complex and complicated case for both the detectives. There is also Sandra Steenberg who is an estate agent, and she has a real problem. She is married and has young children but for some time now she has hidden a secret from her husband, and this is about explode and could wreck all their lives, that is until local fraudster Jasper Boonstra who is a real predator and is seeking to sell one of his major properties. This is a major risk for Sandra, but the commission could ease her problems and save her marriage. But there is much more to this, and the stakes are high. Sandra is desperate but I really liked her story. An intriguing and compelling thriller that has everything that will keep you guessing what twist is coming next and how the two exiled detectives go about solving a difficult and fast paced novel. When people’s lives are at risk you will do whatever, it takes to crack the case and the ending is just an exciting as the beginning of the story. Gripping.

416 Pages.

My thanks to Sophie Ransom (Ransom PR) and Hodder & Stoughton for the review Copy of The Dark Flood by Deon Meyer Published on 14 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

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Elektra by Jennifer Saint

Elektra by Jennifer Saint

Summary:

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?

My Review:

I loved Ariadne and it was my fiction book of the year for 2021 and Jennifer Saint now returns with Elektra (Wildfire Books) which is released on 28 April, so not too long to wait and if like me you really enjoyed Jennifer’s writing then you are going to love Elektra it is well worth the wait.

What Jennifer Saint has given us in Elektra is the story from three women of the Trojan Wars. Clytemnestra who is the sister of Helen and is the wife of Agamemnon, Cassandra who is the Princess of Troy and is cursed by Apollo and then there is Elektra who is the youngest of the daughters of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon and she conspired with her brother to eliminate her mother.

This is a fabulous sweeping mythological story that now gives voice to the three women. Their lives are now brought to life and each of the characters are complex, and each has their own destiny and their ambitions. Admittedly I found the story to focus more on Clytemnestra but that does not in anyway detract from the voices of Cassandra and Elektra. Each of the chapters is by one of the three women in their own voice and their stories of revenge. There are a number of themes that are written into this story, but Jennifer writes with great sensitivity.

I have to say that I have come to really love the way Jennifer Saint writes and how she weaves the stories in both books, all the characters really come to life, with all their own induvial tragedies and I found as in Ariadne easy to follow and I just really enjoyed the interactions. The is complex at times as you would expect with Greek mythology, but it is a joy to read and beautifully written.

I am not going to give any spoilers here; you are just going to have to wait for publication day and you can enjoy. Elektra is already my favourite book of the year so far. It will take some beating. It is compelling as it is rich. I have no idea how Jennifer Saint is going to follow this, but I for one and intrigued and look forward to book three. Elektra is one book not to miss.

352 Pages.

My thanks to Caitlin Raynor (PR Director for Headline Books, Tinder Press and Wildfire Books for the review Copy of Elektra by Jennifer Saint.  Published on 28 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

Sabine’s War: The Incredible True Story of a Resistance Fighter Who Survived Three Concentration Camps by Eva Taylor

Sabine’s War: The Incredible True Story of a Resistance Fighter Who Survived Three Concentration Camps by Eva Taylor

Summary:

An astonishing tale of romance, resistance and bravery

Sabine’s War is the previously untold story of a remarkable resistance fighter and her incredible story of survival against the odds.

When Germany invaded Holland in May 1940, Sabine Zuur joined the resistance movement without a moment’s hesitation aged just 22. Helping to hide those avoiding the German authorities, she was soon betrayed and subjected to repeated violent interrogations. Many of her friends were executed but Sabine was instead sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp, via the Amersfoort and Ravensbrück camps. Enduring gruelling conditions and backbreaking forced manual labour, she survived through a combination of guile and good fortune.

But it was only after Sabine’s death that her daughter Eva discovered an archive of letters detailing her extraordinary life, revealing a rich inner world and a past she had discussed little. Amongst them were declarations of love from pilot Taro, shot down in his Spitfire over northern France aged just 26; notes from Sabine’s second love Gerard, executed by the Germans; letters to her mother smuggled out in her prison laundry; and passionate, creepy missives from a German professional criminal named Gebele who would ultimately save Sabine’s life. She emerges from this correspondence as a woman with an indefinable aura, somehow in control of her own destiny even when to all intents and purposes she was not.

A transfixing story of survival, Sabine’s War captures a remarkable life in the words of the young woman who lived it.

My Review:

Today is my spot on the blog tour for Sabine’s War by Eva Taylor (Harper North) which is published tomorrow 31st March. This is the true story of Sabine Zuur a brave Dutch resistance fighter, her story is told by her daughter Eva Taylor after she discovered an archive of letters and photographs after Sabine’s death. The letters detailed her incredible life as a resistance fighter in Holland.

Sabine Zuur was born in Samarang, Java, Indonesia in 1918 and the family moved to Holland in the early 1930’s. In the letters the Eva discovered, she manages to put together her mother’s life. As the Second World War engulfed Europe, Sabine was in love with Taro who was a fighter pilot flying Spitfires and Taro was shot down while on active service over France. Sabine like many others joined the Dutch resistance when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands in May 1940, Sabine was just 22 years-old at this time. One of her roles was to hide those that needed shelter from the Nazi regime now in control in Holland. This was a dangerous position to be in and soon Sabine was betrayed by those that colluded with the Germans.

Sabine Zuur now faced a brutal period at the hands of her Nazi interrogators as they sought to find others in the group. Sabine was not just brave she was courageous to face what she endured, but not she was to face two years in concentration camps, she was first in Amersfoot, and then Ravensbrück before being marched to Mauthausen concentration camp situated in Upper Austria. Many of her friends were executed and a number of times she believed that she was next. Sabine faced terrifying conditions with forced manual labour and little food.

Sabine managed to smuggle out letters to her mother. But it was a German criminal by the name of Gebele that despite the fact that he seemed to send Sabine terrifying letters it was he who ultimately saved Sabine’s life. The fact that she managed to survive at all is an incredible story and a powerful story at that. Sabine Zuur was brave and courageous, and her story needed to be told for future generations to understand. Sabine’s War is a remarkable story of survival against the odds.

224 Pages.

My thanks to Sofia Saghir (Midas PR) for the review Copy of Sabine’s War by Eva Taylor which is Published by Harper North on 31st March 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 Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts

The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts

Summary:

Set in the valleys of South Wales at the tail end of Thatcher’s Britain, The Green Indian Problem is the story of Green, a seven year-old with intelligence beyond his years – an ordinary boy with an extraordinary problem: everyone thinks he’s a girl.

Green sets out to try and solve the mystery of his identity, but other issues keep cropping up – God, Father Christmas, cancer – and one day his best friend goes missing, leaving a rift in the community and even more unanswered questions. Dealing with deep themes of friendship, identity, child abuse and grief, The Green Indian Problem is, at heart, an all-too-real story of a young boy trying to find out why he’s not like the other boys in his class.

Longlisted for the Bridport Prize (in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews category)

My Review:

Every now and again a book come along and just leaves and indelible mark on you and even when you finish reading you cannot stop thinking about the book. The Green Indian Problem (Renard Press) by Jade Leaf Willetts is just that book. It was longlisted for the Bridport Prize but could quite easily pass you by. If you do get the chance buy a copy you will not be disappointed.

The story is set in South Wales, and it follows seven-year-old boy called Green, it is the time of Thatcher, albeit towards the end of Thatcher’s era as Prime Minister. It is a story has Green as the narrator, he is wise beyond his years, and he is inquisitive and is looking for answers to some questions in life. He is a boy you will take to your heart and cheer for. His parents are separated, and he does not get on with his mother’s boyfriend, Dennis. Home life is not at all good and there is clearly something not right here as you will read and Green, sets all this out in his diary that he writes as he finds it easier to set out what he sees everyday and the questions of his daily life at home and his school life and also about himself, he is a boy not a girl.  But at times there is so much child like innocence and humour that you cannot help yourself being but love him even more.

But then one day his friend goes missing and this leaves Green looking for answers to questions beyond his years. I have to say that Jade Leaf Willetts has written something really quite special here and cries out to be read. The Green Indian Problem is just beautiful, tragic but warm and funny at times and I for one highly recommend reading.

208 Pages.

My thanks to Renard Press for the review Copy of The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts. Published on 22nd March 2022 and is now available directly through Renard Press https://renardpress.com/books/the-green-indian-problem/  Also via Amazon and can be ordred through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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River Clyde by Simone Buchholz

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz

Translated by Rachel Ward

Summary:

Mired in grief after tragic recent events, state prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house. 

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront. 

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone. 

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is an electrifying, poignant and powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

My Review:

I know that I have said this many times on my blog about how creating characters in novels is so key to the success of the storyline, but in Simone Buchholz she nails this brilliantly in her books. Book five featuring the state prosecutor Chastity Riley hit the bookshops last week. River Clyde (Orenda Books) and follows on from Hotel Cartagena which was released in March 2021.

If you are new to this series of books by Simone Buchholz you may want to get hold of a copy of the previous book in the series Hotel Cartagena as this follows on as you get a real insight to some of the events that take place and will give you a real idea as to were this book takes off from.

Chastity Riley is still in a real state of shock after the events that took place in Hotel Cartagena. Chastity is in a pretty dark place that is until she receives an unexpected letter and now leaves Hamburg and her role as state prosecutor and heads to Scotland it now appears she has inherited a property but just who has left her the house? What we see in River Clyde is a different Chastity Riley. The events have left her shaken and our lead character is struggling. Being in Scotland may help and we are now seeing a very different character. In Scotland she is now looking into the past that connects her family history. So, this is a bit of a personal storyline not the usual crime novel that we have become accustomed to, but that does not mean to say that back in Hamburg there is not a crime that her team are investigating. This is much more of a sombre novel.

But there is something very different about River Clyde that I was not expecting that only Simone Buchholz could have done. I had the feeling that Chastity was on a personal journey to confront the past which could unlock her future for her, an emotional one for both Chastity and the reader. It was unexpected and yet revealing.

It is translated by Rachel Ward who again has done a magnificent job. River Clyde is different from the previous books in the series but a brilliant read. What now for Chastity Riley?

Pages: 276

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review Copy of River Clyde by Simone Buchholz Published Orenda Books on 17th March 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 Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements

The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements

Summary:

Germany, late summer 1945 – The war is over but the country is in ruins. Millions of refugees and holocaust survivors strive to rebuild their lives in displaced persons camps. Millions of German soldiers and SS men are held captive in primitive conditions in open-air detention centres. Everywhere, civilians are desperate for food and shelter. No one admits to having voted Nazi, yet many are unrepentant.

Adolf Hitler is said to have killed himself in his Berlin bunker. But no body was found – and many people believe he is alive. Newspapers are full of stories reporting sightings and theories. Even Stalin, whose own troops captured the bunker, has told President Truman he believes the former Führer is not dead. Day by day, American and British intelligence officers subject senior members of the Nazi regime to gruelling interrogation in their quest for their truth.

Enter Tom Wilde – the Cambridge professor and spy sent in to find out the truth…

Dramatic, intelligent, and brilliantly compelling, THE MAN IN THE BUNKER is Rory’s best WWII thriller yet – perfect for readers of Robert Harris, C J Sansom and Joseph Kanon.

My Review:

First things first, this is the first book by Rory Clements that I have read, and I have to say it is a brilliant read from the first page through to the last. The Man in the Bunker (Zaffre) is a gripping World War II novel. The cover gives that away but even if like me you have not read any of the previous novels this does not in anyway spoil the read.

It is late summer, 1945 and the war is over, and the world can slowly begin the path to recovery, and for Cambridge Professor Tom Wilde now he can get back to the life he had before the war. Tom Wilde’s role in WWII was as a spy and now he can put this behind him or so he thinks. The allies are now rounding up senior Nazis to face trial for the atrocities during the war. But the leader of the Nazis Adolf Hitler spent the final weeks of the war in the bunker in Berlin as Berlin was being pounded by the Soviets. Hitler was said he would commit suicide in the bunker rather than being taken alive by the Soviet army and taken back to Moscow. Now the story is that Hitler did not commit suicide and somehow managed to escape the bunker and get out of Berlin.

Just to add to the mystery two British agents that were investigating whether Hitler was alive or not have been found murdered. Now Professor Tom Wilde who was just looking forward to getting back to normality is sent for to take up the investigations and is joined by Lieutenant Mozes Heck. Heck clearly has very personal reasons for hating any Nazis he comes across and his ways of extracting information is brutal and would rather kill everyone one of them and this puts both in real danger at times, but this does not stop Heck one bit, far from it. The pair will travel and track down anyone who they think will have information as to the whereabouts of senior officials with information about Hitler.

This is a really tense and pulsating read mixing both fact and fiction to create a powerful novel, there are times when some of the information about what really took place is distressing but what Rory Clements has created is a story at just under 500 pages that takes you not just into the heart of Germany just after the war but across Europe as both Wilde and Heck track down those they seek. What is described is the hell that was parts of Germany and parts of Europe as those misplaced people searched the ruins for loved ones.

No spoilers as to what happens as this is a must read and I for one now must read the previous novels that featured Professor Tom Wilde as a spy in the war. The Man in the Bunker is a stunning spy novel and is highly recommended.

484 Pages.

The Man in the Bunker by Rory Clements is Published by Zaffre and was released on 20th January 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

Women and Love by Miriam Burke

Women and Love by Miriam Burke

Summary:

Women and Love is a thought-provoking collection of seventeen tightly woven tales about the power of love, all its trials and complications, and the shattered lives it can leave in its wake. The stories explore a huge variety of sorts of love surrounding women in wildly differing settings, and features an unforgettable cast including GPs, burglars, inmates, emigrant cleaners, carers, young professionals, and many more.

Navigating heavy themes, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ experiences, including gender dysphoria and searching for a sperm donor, the stories leave the reader burning with indignation, full of empathy and wonder. ‘I couldn’t sleep that night; our conversation was like a trapped bird flying around inside my head. The next morning, I texted to say I wouldn’t be coming back. I lied about having to return to my country to nurse a sick relative. I couldn’t bear to see my story mirrored in his eyes, and to see what we never had. I knew he’d understand.’

My Review:

Now I have to admit that I am a bit of a lover when it comes to short stories, and I am grateful to Renard Press for a copy of Women and Love the debut collection of short stories by Miriam Burke. Seventeen stories about love and the power of love.

The beauty of short stories is that there are so many narratives and characters, and each story is so tightly written. This is love in all its forms with LGBTQ+ being a particular focus. In the stories you get to meet Doctors, prison inmates, burglars, carers and many more. I was really taken by how Miriam Burke went about creating such a remarkable cast of characters. There is something for everyone in this collection.

These are everyday scenarios that the stories tell, and you feel that you want to know more about each of them. Sometimes love can lead to good things, sometimes bad, and sometimes you can just not read a moment very well. They are all here. It is a thought-provoking collection and there are key moments in each story that you can take away and think about.

Miriam Burke is a writer from the West of Ireland and her short story collections have appeared in anthologies and many journals. Miriam has a PhD in Psychology and before becoming a writer she worked for many years as a Clinical Psychologist in London hospitals and GP surgeries. Women and Love is her debut collection.

224 Pages.

My thanks to Renard Press for the review Copy of Women and Love by Miriam Burke Published on 23rd February 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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