On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold

On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold

Summary:

Thorn Marsh was raised in a house of whispers, of meaningful glances and half-finished sentences. Now she’s a journalist with a passion for truth, more devoted to her work at the London Journal than she ever was to her ex-husband.

When the newspaper is bought by media giant The Goring Group, who value sales figures over fact-checking, Thorn openly questions their methods, and promptly finds herself moved from the news desk to the midweek supplement, reporting heart-warming stories for their new segment, The Bright Side, a job to which she is spectacularly unsuited.

On a final warning and with no heart-warming news in sight, a desperate Thorn fabricates a good-news story of her own. The story, centred on an angelic apparition on Hampstead Heath, goes viral. Caught between her principles and her ambitions, Thorn goes in search of the truth behind her creation, only to find the answers locked away in the unconscious mind of a stranger.

Marika Cobbold returns with her eighth novel, On Hampstead Heath. Sharp, poignant, and infused with dark humour, On Hampstead Heath is an homage to storytelling and to truth; to the tales we tell ourselves, and the stories that save us.

My Review:

I have very fond memories of walking on Hampstead Heath during my time living in London and so when I realised Marika Cobbold was releasing her eighth novel On Hampstead Heath (Arcadia Books) I was more than keen to review before publication. And what a fabulous read it really is. My thanks to Georgina Moore at Midas PR for sending me a review copy.

Thorn Marsh is a journalist for the London based newspaper The New London Journal and she has been at the paper for many years and is dedicated to her role as News Editor. But then the paper is now being bought by the Goring Group. The problem is that Marsh does not really agree with their ways of running a newspaper and this causes conflict which means that she now finds herself being somewhat moved out of the job she has loved to a role within the paper covering feel good stories. That is not really a role for our Thorn Marsh.

As this is basically a story of how much we can really believe in the newspaper business and the digital social media world the story now takes on a real twist as Thorn Marsh as she seeks to find a really good story that will make her bosses sit up and take notice except the story is not actually true but just how did she manage to come up with the story in the first place? I just love how Marika Cobbold has created the character of Thorn Marsh. There were real times I was laughing quite loudly and that is not best in the early hours.

But what of our leading character, now the story she has created has gone crazy and viral. But what does Marsh do now? She has spent the best part of thirteen years living and working as a journalist with a real conscience for the truth. And the truth is out there somewhere!

This is just a brilliant novel that I just knew I was going to love, and it is witty. A real joy. A novel to jump and down about, but not in the early hours please!

248 Pages.

My thanks to Georgina Moore (Midas PR) and Arcadia Books for the review copy of On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold.

On Hampstead Heath by Marika Cobbold is published by Arcadi Books and will be published on 15 April 2020 and is 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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The Old Enemy by Henry Porter

The Old Enemy by Henry Porter

Summary:

Ex-MI6 officer Paul Samson has been tasked with secretly guarding a gifted young woman, Zoe Freemantle. He is just beginning to tire of the job when he is attacked in the street by a freakish looking knifeman. It’s clear the target is on his back not hers. What he doesn’t know is who put it there.

At that moment, his mentor, the MI6 legend Robert Harland lies dead on a remote stretch of the Baltic coastline. Who needed to end the old spy’s life when he was, in any case, dying from a terminal illness? And what or who is Berlin Blue, the name scratched in the sketchbook beside his body?

A few hours later, Samson watches footage from the US Congress where billionaire philanthropist Denis Hisami is poisoned with a nerve agent while testifying – an attack that is as spectacular as it is lethal, but spares Anastasia Hisami, the love of Samson’s life.

Two things become clear. One, it was a big mistake to lose the mysterious Zoe Freemantle. And two, Robert Harland is making a final play from beyond the grave.

My Review:

Paul Samson is an ex-MI16 officer, but he now finds himself doing private work to pay the bills and now he has been hired to keep safe Zoe Freemantle. But now someone has tried to kill him just because he was keeping an eye on the young woman he was hired to protect. The Old Enemy (Quercus) by Henry Porter is the new gripping espionage thriller that is released today 15 April.

Sometimes it is always best to ask questions, but Samson took the job, and the money was good, but this job is more dangerous than he has realised and when news reaches Samson that his former colleague Robert Harland has been murdered, he soon realises that his own life is now in real danger and at any moment he could be next. All that he knows is that Zoe Freemantle worked for a powerful environmental organisation, but what is the connection?

Over in the States Samson’s friend Denis Hisami is giving evidence in Washington when he is poisoned with a neurotoxin, there is a real concern of something sinister like that of what happened in Salisbury. Now Paul Samson heads to Estonia to try and find the link that will lead his to those responsible for Harland’s murder as well as the poisoning of Hisami as well as the attempts on his own life.

It soon becomes clear that both Harland and Hisami were clearly on to something that involved an ex-Stasi agent. When Sampson is joined by Hisami’s wife they must act quickly and find who is responsible before anyone else is murdered and if they can strike at the heart of Washington then no-one is safe.

This is the first novel I have read by Henry Porter and is a pulsating read, the idea was created by Porter on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.

#TheOldEnemy

@HenryCPorter

@quercusbooks

@midaspr

416 Pages.

My thanks to Sophie Ransom (Midas PR) and Quercus for the review copy of The Old Enemy by Henry Porter.

The Old Enemy by Henry Porter is published by Quercus and is published today 15 April 2021 and is available to 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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The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

Summary:

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

My Review:

Since my childhood days I have had a fascination with lighthouses, I have travelled around the coastline from Cornwall to the Scottish Isles to visit as many as I can so when I heard of The Lamplighters (Picador) by Emma Stonex I knew this was a book I was going to enjoy, and it really is outstanding.

It is New Year’s Eve 1972, and a boat is approaching the Maiden Rock lighthouse off the Cornish coast. This lighthouse is far off the coast and the three men that take turns at manning the lighthouse are isolated and when a storm starts the sea that surrounds them is a boiling sea that lashes the lighthouse.

The boat has come to relive the three men and take them back to shore to be with their families. But something is not quite right. There is no sign of Bill Walker, Arthur Black or Vincent Bourne, they have vanished mysteriously. But how is that possible, as they are miles from anywhere, just the sea for company.

Once inside the Maiden Rock lighthouse nothing seems as it should. That alone is enough to send a shiver down the spine. What has happened to the three men? Was it suicide, or murder or something more ghostly?

It is now 1992 and the mystery remains just that, there are now explanations and for Helen, Jenny, and Michelle, how can they move one when they do not know what happened to their loved ones and the mystery has only driven a wedge between them. But now a writer has come forward and wants to speak to the three women about their memories and now the three women talk their theories, and so we also get to see the days of the three men at the lighthouse.

The Lamplighters is a seriously impressive mystery that I really could not leave alone. Emma Stonex has written a stunning suspense packed novel that hints at a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery story. It is just so riveting and beautifully written. One of the best novels of 2021.

#TheLamplighters

@StonexEmma

@picadorbooks

@MidasPR

368 Pages.

My thanks to Georgina Moore (Midas PR) and Picador for the review copy of The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex was published by Picador on 4th March 2021 and is available to 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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My Brother by Karin Smirnoff

My Brother by Karin Smirnoff

Translated by Anna Paterson

Summary:

Jana is returning to see her twin brother Bror, still living in the family farmhouse in the rural north of Sweden. The house is decrepit and crumbling, and Bror is determindly drinking himself into an early grave. The siblings are both damaged by horrific childhood experiences, buried deep in the past, but Jana cannot keep running.

Alive with the brutality and beauty of the landscape, My Brother is a novel steeped in darkness and violence – about abuse, love, complicity, and coming to terms with the past. It’s the story of a homecoming without a home: a story of forgiveness.

My Review:

I must admit that this could be a difficult read for some readers as there are themes running through this novel that are difficult but also there is hope and that was important. My Brother (Pushkin Press) by Karin Smirnoff deals with family abuse and cruelty and it is challenging but I was determined to finish reading.

Set in the North of Sweden, and Jana Kippo is heading home to the family farmhouse where her brother still lives. The farmhouse is now pretty much run down and that goes for Bror her brother. There are grim memories for both here and that explains why Bror is heading towards an early grave. He is drinking a lot and his health is poor.

As children they were abused in the worst way possible while their mother accepted this and both are struggling in their own to way through life, for Bror drinking, maybe it helps him forget but it is a path of self-destruction and for Jana she likes to clean. The wintery landscape is bleak with the freezing conditions and deep snow. But seasons do change and with that there is hope for the future. The storyline is bleak but there are times when we can have a glimpse of what could be for Jana and Bror.

Karin Smirnoff for her debut novel has created a difficult storyline but also an isolated setting. Smirnoff has also written in a unique style with little punctuation but every now and then the author brings something into the storyline which then hits hard into the plot and the reader, but I liked the authors writing style. A word about the translation. This is by Anna Paterson and she has done an excellent job with the translation.

The rights to My Brother have been sold to nine territories and has been optioned for a major international TV production.

320 Pages.

My thanks to Poppy Stimpson (Pushkin Press) for the review copy of My Brother by Karin Smirnoff  

My Brother by Karin Smirnoff was published by Pushkin Press and was published on 4th March 2021 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org