Codename: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson

Codenaame: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameseson

Summary:

A Mystic’s daughter flees Moscow on the eve of the Great War.
A French soldier lies wounded on the Western Front.
A German officer veers between loyalty and integrity.
An English courtesan reclines on a sea of books.

Each will make a journey that changes history.

The constellations will force the Mystic’s daughter to make an impossible choice. To remain at her harp as the shadow of war looms again – or join the top-secret Special Operations Executive (SOE). Babouli to her Sufi father, ‘Madeleine’ to the Gestapo, a lone mission to Occupied Paris promises to be the most hazardous of World War Two.

Inspired by real events, CODENAME: MADELEINE is the most unexpected spy story ever told. It teems with tigers, zeppelins, elephants, U-boats, angels, assassins, chessmen, cyanide, beetles, butterflies and Rumi. Revolving between Paris, London, Prague, India and Latin America, CODENAME: MADELEINE is a kaleidoscope of love, war, music, betrayal, poetry and resistance.

My Review:

Throughout my life I have read so many WWII spy stories, both true and also fictional but I have been completely blown away by the debut Codename: Madeleine (Whitefox Publishing) by Barnaby Jameson which is based on the true story of Noor Inayat Khan a remarkable brave woman who became the first woman SOE agent to be dropped into occupied France during WWII.

What Barnaby Jameson has written is a deeply moving and compelling accounts of one of the most celebrated heroines of the last war. She was posthumously awarded both the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre in 1949. The story though begins much further back and her father Inayat Khan who was to become a celebrated concert musician and Inayat travels meets Ora and their own journey begins. On New Years Day 1914, Noor was born in Moscow and so her story begins but first they now must leave Russia and head for London as WWI breaks out as Inayat was a pacifist as his religion dictated.

As time went on Noor would go on to study music and play the harp. But now Europe was to be engulfed by war again as WWII breaks out and the family flees Paris and heads back to London where Noor goes on to join the WAAF and it is here she learns how to become a radio operator. But it is not long that she wants more and in 1941 she is recruited into the Special Operations Executive. (SOE). The story now moves to 1943 and Noor is parachuted into France, and this is where the story really becomes compelling and heartbreaking.

I don’t want to go on from here as it is a story, I would completely recommend to anyone. There are many characters in the story based on Noor’s life here in the book including those she trained with at the SOE as well as her family members. One thing I will say is that the bravery shown by Noor and many more who joined the SOE and sent to France is something that you cannot begin to imagine, the fear as the Gestapo were always watching and listening and you feared the net was about to close at any moment.

In 2019 a blue plaque was announced at her home in Bloomsbury, London, the address she left as she headed for France on her final fatal mission. The plaque was unveiled on 28th August 2020.

At just under 500 pages this is not a short story, but this is 500 pages that goes by so quickly. Codename: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson is highly recommended.

480 Pages.

My thanks to Sofia Saghir (Midas PR) and Whitefox Publishing for the review Copy of Codename: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson Published on 28th July    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 Operation Moonlight by Louise Morrish

Operation Moonlight by Louise Morrish

Summary:

1944: Newly recruited SOE agent Elisabeth Shepherd is faced with an impossible mission: to parachute behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France and monitor the new long-range missiles the Germans are working on.

Her only advice? Trust absolutely no one. With danger lurking at every turn, one wrong move for Elisabeth could spell instant death.

2018: Betty is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. With her carer Tali at her side, she receives an invite from the Century Society to reminisce on the past.

Remembering a life shrouded in secrecy and danger, Betty remains tight-lipped. But when Tali finds a box filled with maps, letters and a gun hidden in Betty’s cellar, it becomes clear that Betty’s secrets are about to be uncovered . . .

Nostalgic, heart-pumping and truly page-turning, OPERATION MOONLIGHT is both a gripping read and a novel that makes you think about a generation of women and men who truly knew what it meant to survive.

My Review:

I love nothing more than curling up with a fabulous historical fiction novel and if it is set in WWII more the better, then recently a copy of Operation Moonlight (Century Books) by Louise Morrish landed on my doormat and I was swept away in what is a beautifully written novel which is set in both the present day and 1944.

The year is 2018 and Betty is going to be celebrating her 100th birthday and it is her carer Tali who is there helping her ready to celebrate, but it is an invitation that arrives from the Centenarians Club that could well bring back memories from her wartime past that was shrouded in mystery. But it is when her carer finds an old suitcase than contains her past it all comes back to Betty when she would rather stay quiet.

The year is 1944 and the allies are preparing for D-Day and the hope of the free world resting on the soldiers about land on the shores of Normandy. Meanwhile Elizabeth Shepherd who is fluent in French has been recruited and trained by the SOE has been given a dangerous mission to be parachuted into  Nazi-occupied France to seek and report back on the long range missiles that the Germans are about to unleash that will cause death and destruction without being tracked.

So, what does Betty do? Does she go to the Centenarians Club to celebrate her birthday and everything that will entail? Can Tali persuade her to go and what of the contents of the suitcase? The memories are flooding back for Betty when she has been trying to forget the past and her role in WWII.

Operation Moonlight is a wonderful book, it is nostalgic and heartwarming but also gripping when we are taken back to 1944 and the night Elizabeth Shepherd was parachuted behind enemy lines for the first time, knowing that is she is caught she will almost certainly never see home again.

Louise Morrish writes beautifully and has crafted her story so well and the time frames come together well in what is a compelling novel of incredible bravery.

448 Pages.

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My thanks to Isabelle Ralphs (Publicity Manager) and Century Books UK for the review Copy of Operation Moonlight by Louise Morrish Published on 21st July 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

#BookReview Katastrophe by Graham Hurley

Katastrophe by Graham Hurley

Summary:

confidant of Goebbels. Instrument of Stalin. What’s the worst that could happen?

January 1945. Wherever you look on the map, the Thousand Year Reich is shrinking. Even Goebbels has run out of lies to sweeten the reckoning to come. An Allied victory is inevitable, but who will reap the spoils of war?

Two years ago, Werner Nehmann’s war came to an abrupt end in Stalingrad. With the city in ruins, the remains of General Paulus’ Sixth Army surrendered to the Soviets, and Nehmann was taken captive. But now he’s riding on the back of one of Marshal Zhukov’s T-34 tanks, heading home with a message for the man who consigned him to the Stalingrad Cauldron.

With the Red Army about to fall on Berlin, Stalin fears his sometime allies are conspiring to deny him his prize. He needs to speak to Goebbels – and who better to broker the contact than Nehmann, Goebbels’ one-time confidant?

Having swapped the ruins of Stalingrad for the wreckage of Berlin, the influence of Goebbels for the machinations of Stalin, and Gulag rags for a Red Army uniform, Nehmann’s war has taken a turn for the worse. The Germans have a word for it:

Katastrophe.

My Review:

Part of the Spoils of War series, this is book seven and Katastrophe (Aries Fiction) by Graham Hurley is set in the final months of WWII. The vast Russian army is gathering like a storm on the horizon, but this horizon is Berlin. Nazi Germany is facing defeat. But in a Soviet Gulag is Werner Nehmann, a journalist and worked with the infamous Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels.

Nehmann was captured at the battle of Stalingrad and spent two years in the Gulag, but at the same time as a meeting at Yalta between the Allied leaders it is clear the Stalin believes that both the Americans and the British are trying to do a deal with the soon to be beaten Germans. Now Nehmann is meeting Stalin and is handed a letter that he must take to Berlin and hand it personally to Goebbels, Nehmann is now riding on the back of a T-34 tank heading in the direction of Berlin. He is going home but to a city in ruins as the carnage continues. But what is the contents of the letter? At the same time Nehmann was captured at Stalingrad Willi Schultz who is part of the German Military Intelligence was also captured now he too is meeting with Stalin and is handed a letter that he must take to his master Himmler. Clearly Stalin is trying to manipulate a situation in favour of the Soviets.

But to add to the mystery a member of MI5 is in Switzerland to oversee a meeting between British and American senior military officials and a German General that may lead to the surrender of German forces in Italy. Katastrophe is a gripping WWII historical fiction novel with many characters and events including the fall of Berlin and fabulous plot, that continue to give all through the near 500 pages.

I have not read the previous six in the series but if this is anything to go by, I now want to read all of them. I really enjoyed Graham Hurley’s writing and how he has created the characters. If you enjoy your WWII novels. Put this at the top of your reading wish list.

448 Pages.

My thanks to Sophie Ransom (Ransom PR) and Aries Fiction (Head of Zeus) for the review Copy of Katastrophe by Graham Hurley.  Published on 7th July 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 Lyrics by Bryan Ferry

Lyrics by Bryan Ferry

Summary:

Bryan Ferry’s work as a singer and songwriter, both as a solo artist and with Roxy Music, is legendary.

Lyrics collects the words written for music across seventeen albums, from the first iconic Roxy album of 1972 via the masterpiece of Avalon to 2014’s reflective Avonmore, introduced by the author, and with an insightful essay by James Truman.

All the classic Roxy anthems are here – ‘Virginia Plain’, ‘Do the Strand’, ‘Love is the Drug’ – songs in which the real and the make-believe blend in a kaleidoscopic mix, shot through with cinematic allure.

Also included are the evocative lyrics of romantic longing and lost illusions for which Ferry is rightly revered: ‘Slave to Love’, ‘Mother of Pearl’, ‘More Than This’. As he writes in his preface, ‘The low points in life so often produce the most keenly felt and best-loved songs.’ And, it might be added, some of the best poetry.

My Review:

It was the 16th of June 1972 when a band called Roxy Music released their first studio album called Roxy Music. Here we are now celebrating one of the most iconic bands in popular music. Now their lead singer and the bands main song writer Bryan Ferry has just released Lyrics (Chatto & Windus) to coincide with the bands 50th anniversary. Lyrics is a collection of the songs and the words from the bands most successful albums. I can still remember seeing the band late one night on the BBC with Bryan Ferry standing at the keyboard. From that moment on, I was hooked.

Their first single was a song called Virginia Plain, which was written just after the first album was released and was a huge hit, it subsequently included on later editions of their first album. All the great songs from Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry himself are here, from ‘Virginia Plain’, to ‘Pyjamarama’, ‘Do the Strand’, ‘Love is the Drug’, and through the latter years and one of my favourite albums by Roxy Music was Manifesto released in 1979. With tracks such as ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘Dance Away’. Just read the words to that powerful song. Then the album Avalon released in 1982 with songs such ‘More Than This’ and the beautifully written ‘Avalon’ and then more closely up to date is ‘Avonmore’ the title track of the album released in 2014.

Each chapter begins with the cover photograph of the album with the year it was released. As you read the lyrics to each song, you really do get an incredible sense of what a brilliant songwriter Bryan Ferry really is. There are words to some of the songs that really do pull on your heart strings. At the very beginning of the book James Truman, gives his thoughts on the band and the poetic song writing of Bryan Ferry. Bryan himself then introduces the book and tells the reader about how he loves poetry and how a Humphrey Bogart film inspired one of his songs.

There are some songs that through our lives when you hear them playing on the radio or via your own playlist, they will take you back to those moments in your life for reasons of real happiness or moments of deep sadness. There are many songs written by Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music that are key in my own life and some will always make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up with ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘Dance Away’ being just two.  

336 Pages.

My thanks to Laura Creyke from Mark Hutchinson Management and Chatto & Windus for the review copy of Lyrics by Bryan Ferry, which 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

#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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