The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn

Translated by Rosie Hedger

Summary:

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.

When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit.

With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

Exquisitely dark and immensely powerful, The Seven Doors is a sophisticated and deeply disturbing psychological thriller from one of Norway’s most distinguished voices.

My Review:

Being such a big fan of Nordic noir I really enjoyed The Bird Tribunal back in 2016 and now at last the long awaited return of Agnes Ravatn with The Seven Doors now out through Orenda Books and is a dark psychological thriller and follows the story of Nina who is a university professor and is trying to cope with the fact that their home that she loves is to be demolished, she has an adult daughter but her relationship is somewhat strained let alone Mads her husband.

Nina is dealing with the loss of the home she has lived in for many decades as Mads has agreed to the sale so that a railway can be built. Now that her daughter Ingeborg has arrived needing somewhere to stay as her own home has a problem with Silverfish. Ingeborg is pregnant with her second child. We find out that the Nina and Mads have a second home that they have rented out to Mari Nilsen. This is where the story becomes darker and tragic as Ingeborg has twisted the arms of her parents to allow her to move into the second home. When Ingeborg arrives she is more than just persuasive with her attitude and confronts Mari.

Nina is dealing with the loss of the home she has lived in for many decades as Mads has agreed to the sale so that a railway can be built. Now that her daughter Ingeborg has arrived needing somewhere to stay as her own home has a problem with Silverfish. Ingeborg is pregnant with her second child. We find out that the Nina and Mads have a second home that they have rented out to Mari Nilsen. This is where the story becomes darker and tragic as Ingeborg has twisted the arms of her parents to allow her to move into the second home. When Ingeborg arrives she is more than just persuasive with her attitude and confronts Mari.

 The following day Mari has disappeared and her young son, there is no trace of Mari. This has sent shock waves through Nina and Mads and it is Nina who decides that she cannot just leave it as it is and decides she needs to look into what really has happened to Mari and if her daughter played any role in her disappearance.

This is really why I am really taken with Agnes Ravatn’s writing as she weaves a story as seen through the eyes of Nina as she tries to uncover what happened to Mari, did Ingeborg play a part or was it Mari’s ex-husband. The more Nina tries to uncover the more she sees and is disturbed by her findings. Agnes Ravatn brings many characters to the plot and Nina is beginning to look at members of her own family. This is a very atmospheric novel and the plot will have the reader looking closely at each of the main characters. But Nina is one that many will warm to. A thoroughly engrossing psychological thriller and wonderfully translated by Rosie Hedger.

276 Pages

@OrendaBooks

#TheSevenDoors

Thank you to Orenda Books for the review copy of The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn.

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn was published by Orenda Books and was published on 17th September 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Love Orange by Natasha Randall

Love Orange by Natasha Randall

Summary:

While Hank struggles with his lack of professional success, his wife Jenny, feeling stuck and beset by an urge to do good, becomes ensnared in a dangerous correspondence with a prison inmate called John. Letter by letter, John pinches Jenny awake from the “marshmallow numbness” of her life. The children, meanwhile, unwittingly disturb the foundations of their home life with forays into the dark net and strange geological experiments.

Jenny’s bid for freedom takes a sour turn when she becomes the go-between for John and his wife, and develops an unnatural obsession for the orange glue that seals his letters…

My Review:

Take one American family, by all accounts your normal average family on the outside but then turn the story into a story about a dysfunctional family and you have an extraordinary debut novel in Love Orange (riverrun) by Natasha Randall.

This American family live in a ‘smart’ home but while Hank is the all -consuming techno husband/father that insisted that the family must have a ‘smart’ home, his wife Jenny is left to wonder what on earth her life actually really means. With one child an all hours of the day gamer and the other not knowing what his family are coming to.

Add in that Jenny has started to write pen pal letters to a prison inmate and this is where the orange comes in. (you have to read the book to find this out). But there is much more to the Tinkley’s and it is that the secrets and a family that just have lost the art of communicating with each other on a personal level and everything that entails make this a really riveting fly on the wall type of novel that you cringe on one hand but cannot take your eyes off on the other add in the various addictions and this is a family who have lost touch with the reality and with each other.

The real beauty of Love Orange is that Natasha Randall has crafted a novel with so much going on with a computer controlled house at its very heart. Everything is ultra-modern apart from Jenny’s letters.

A genius of a novel and very different from anything I have read before, I love the way Natasha writes and there is some humour in her writing.

368 Pages.

#NetGalley

@NatashaRandall @riverrunbooks

Thank you to riverrun for the Netgalley review copy of Love Orange by Natasha Randall.

Love Orange by Natasha Randallwas published by riverrun on 3rd September 2020 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Plague by Julie Anderson

Plague by Julie Anderson

Summary:

There are many ways to die. Plague is just one of them.

Work on a London tube line is halted by the discovery of an ancient plague pit and, within it, a very recent corpse. A day later another body is found, killed in the same way, also in a plague pit. This victim is linked to the Palace of Westminster, where rumours swirl around the Prime Minister and his rivals.

As the number of deaths climbs, the media stokes fear. Government assurances are disbelieved. Everyone feels threatened. This has to be resolved and fast.

The Westminster connection enables Detective Inspector Andrew Rowlands, working alone on  a series of rapes and murders of vulnerable young people in central London, to finally persuade his superiors that there is a pattern. He is assigned to lead the case.  Cassandra Fortune, a disgraced civil servant, is given the uncomfortable task of investigating the investigation, while joining forces with Rowlands to find the killers before Parliament rises for recess.

Together they navigate the arcane world of the Palace of Westminster as the body count grows. But someone is leaking important details about the case to the press and the media ratchets up the pressure. Misinformation and malice online feeds distrust and panic and the Black Death begins to stalk the streets of London once again.

Meanwhile the commercial and political world focuses on the launch of a huge government Thames-side building programme worth billions. Powerful forces, in Parliament and the City, are competing for its spoils. How, if at all, does this link with the killings? Drawn into the melee, Cassandra Fortune finds herself the object of the attentions of one of the major players, wealthy City broker, Lawrence Delahaye. The attraction is mutual. Fortune and Rowlands discover a shadowy underground network of influence and power as they race against the clock to prevent the death of more innocents and the destruction of the Mother of Parliaments itself. Cassandra will be forced to make a terrible decision as she faces ruin. Time is running out and it’s not clear what, or who, is going to survive. 

My Review:

Set in modern day London, Plague (Claret Press) by Julie Anderson is a really exciting thriller, the title suggests a novel set against a background of a plague but what this really is a gripping murder mystery and political intrigue.

The story begins when workmen discover a plague pit while working on the London underground network, but there is also a grim discovery of a body that has recently been placed there. How? And who committed the murder? Cassandra Fortune who as a civil servant has a past that he is trying hard to overcome, is there. A day later another body is discovered and there are similarities and also discovered in a plague pit. This victim has connections to the Palace of Westminster and government officials are nervous.

Mention of recently discovered bodies in plague pits and there is a media frenzy and the public are now very nervous. Is this the plague returning and are there more victims to be discovered?

 The killing is not over and time is running out, high ranking civil servants want answers before Parliament closes and there is pressure on both Cassandra and Detective Inspector Rowlands to find the killers before they strike again and strike fear into the public about the return of the Black Death? Meanwhile someone really is going after Cassandra and it is not only her career that could be ended if the killers are not found and quickly. The pressure is mounting.

Running under central London is the forgotten underground River Tyburn that plays a significant role in the storyline as do some extremely dangerous people who will not stop at anything for power and they have eyes at the very top.

Plague is a fast moving thriller that has political intrigue as well as money and greed at the very heart of the story and dark secrets of London’s underground. I really enjoyed Julie Anderson’s writing as she creates some interesting characters for the plot and creates a storyline that is tense and you are not sure what is coming next and you feared for Cassandra Fortune at every turn of the page.

288 Pages.

Thank you to Claret Press for the Netgalley review copy of Plague by Julie Anderson.

Plague by Julie Andersonis published by Claret Press and will be released on 15th September 2020 and available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Summer by Ali Smith

Summer by Ali Smith

Summary:

In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world’s in meltdown – and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time.

This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common?

Summer.

My Review:

That day in October 2016 when there was a thud on my doormat as the postman delivered Autumn by Ali Smith in what was the first instalment of the seasonal quartet. Fast forward four years and the final book has just been released this month. Summer (Hamish Hamilton) really is a magnificent finale.

Since Autumn was released in 2016 the world has gone through a seismic shift with Trump in the Whitehouse, the Brexit vote, refugees, the enviroment and elections in the UK now with Boris Johnson in Number 10 and the Coronavirus pandemic. The world is in trouble. What Ali Smith has achieved in Autumn, Winter, Spring and now Summer is staggering, writing at breakneck speed to take into account our troubled world and in each of the novels troubled characters to match.

There are characters that we have met previously as much as each book is a separate storyline each of the seasonal books are linked via the characters that appear. In Summer we meet the Greenlaw family the siblings are clever but they are split by politics and their mother Grace and the father who left have separated but despite the politics the siblings are close. A family trying to get to grips with who they really are. But there is another brother and sister from Summer’s past and they face a real threat to their lives.

The one aspect of Summer is how Ali Smith has managed to bring the current news agenda into a book that has just hit the bookshelves there is the real shock of Corvid-19 and how it has affected the world and even the death of George Floyd gets into the story. Summer flits between time frames and yet is the most current corvid novel of our times.

We are at an end now of the quartet by Ali Smith but I have a feeling that in the years that lie ahead new readers will discover the four seasons and debate about these current times.

400 Pages.

Summer by Ali Smith was published by Hamish Hamilton on 6th August 2020 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver

Hinton Hollow Death Trip Cover

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver

Summary:

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

My Review:

Having really enjoyed Good Samaritans and Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver I was really looking forward to seeing what was to come next. The wait was worth it. Hinton Hollow Death Trip (Orenda Books) is released on 6th August and its narrator is evil itself.

Will Carver Author pIc

The story begins with Henry Wallace an eight-year-old boy who was put on a train by his mother and a note attached to him saying keep him safe for a week. Back in his home town of Hinton Hollow evil has arrived and over the next five days the 5,120 inhabitants of this small town will know darkness has befallen their small town and lives will never be the same again.

This is gripping and dark novel that follows Carver’s previous novel Nothing Important Happened Today and we back with DS Pace. Nothing will prepare you for this one though. Will Carver a writer who will take you on a reading journey unlike anything else you will ever read. This small town where everyone knows everyone and their business. Now evil is here and he has a job to do. In this town you will meet some characters that could be similar to those who live in your town. But now evil is here and he is going to make them do things that are out of character to say the least.

This is the third in the series involving DS Pace, but I felt sorry for him as he returned to his home town only to face evil and its manipulations and this will be his biggest test yet. Can he save the residents of Hinton Hollow from themselves? As much as you can read as a standalone you will want to read the previous two after you have read Hinton Hollow Death Trip.

This is a novel with short chapters and into days and allows the storyline to creep under your skin the deeper you get into the book. It will leave you asking many questions of yourself and others. Will Carver’s novels are some of the best in the way that he writes and crafts his storyline and they leave you just wanting more and more. Highly Recommended.

@will_carver

@OrendaBooks

320 Pages.
Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver.
Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver was published by Orenda Books and will be published on 13th August 2020 and is available to Pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Follow the Blog Tour

FINAL Hinton Hollow BT Poster

Lockdown by Peter May

Lockdown Cover

Lockdown by Peter May

Summary:

A CITY IN QUARANTINE

London, the epicenter of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus that has already claimed thousands of victims. Health and emergency services are overwhelmed.

A MURDERED CHILD

At a building site for a temporary hospital, construction workers find a bag containing the rendered bones of a murdered child. A remorseless killer has been unleashed on the city; his mission is to take all measures necessary to prevent the bones from being identified.

A POWERFUL CONSPIRACY

D.I. Jack MacNeil, counting down the hours on his final day with the Met, is sent to investigate. His career is in ruins, his marriage over and his own family touched by the virus. Sinister forces are tracking his every move, prepared to kill again to conceal the truth. Which will stop him first – the virus or the killers?

Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.

 My Review:

Imagine writing a novel about a pandemic and then having it rejected as it was unrealistic. Well back in 2005 that is exactly what Pater May had done. He did write a novel and it was rejected and so he left it there.

Fast forward to 2020 and we have a pandemic in the form of the Coronavirus that has swept across the world. Suddenly Lockdown (Riverrun) by Peter May does not seem unrealistic after all.

Author

London is the centre stage for this gripping thriller. The world in is the grip of a pandemic with governments struggling to cope as cities are closed down and violence is spreading, now people are not allowed out of their homes with people are struggling to cope with the lockdown as the death toll mounts across the globe. Sound familiar?
In London the streets are deserted, just litter blowing through the dusty city streets. If you spoke, I am sure it would echo like a dystopian sci-fi film. A new temporary hospital is being built in London to cope with the many patients of the pandemic, it is a building site but the builders find the remains of a body and it falls to D.I. Jack MacNeil from the Met to investigate what looks like the remains of a child. MacNeil is in the final hours of his career, and he has his problems but now there is a killer on the loose and it is not the pandemic.
As D.I. MacNeil begins to investigate the case it becomes apparent that this is not just a murder case but a conspiracy and a cover up. Someone out there is watching his every move and does not want the truth to come out. Time is against MacNeil but he must get to killers before they get to him. For Jack MacNeil his career and his marriage have gone, but why should he care about the case, in a matter of hours he will be out of the force. But he is being watched! They are close and so is the virus.
If you have enjoyed Peter May’s thrillers before, then you will really enjoy Lockdown, and to think that this was written fifteen years ago and here we are with the world in the grip of the Corvid-19 pandemic. When written it really was ahead of its time. A really compelling read. Peter May remains one of my favourite thriller writers and I am delighted to recommend.

416 Pages.

Lockdown by Peter May was published by riverrun and was published on 30th April 2020 and is available to order online through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

LS3 IG Feed

To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

Summary:

Lucy Harper has a talent for invention…

She was nine years old when her brother vanished in the woods near home. As the only witness, Lucy’s story of that night became crucial to the police investigation. Thirty years on, her brother’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Now Lucy is a bestselling thriller writer. Her talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring fans. But her husband, Dan, has started keeping secrets of his own, and a sudden change of scene forces Lucy to confront some dark, unwelcome memories. Then Dan goes missing and Lucy’s past and present begin to collide. Did she kill her husband? Would she remember if she did?

Finally, Lucy Harper is going to tell us the truth.

Cross her heart.
And hope to die.

My Review:

The premise of this story was so good that I could not ignore the chance to read before publication. To Tell You the Truth (Century) by the bestselling author Gilly Macmillan has a narrator who is a very successful writer but when she was nine she was the only witness to her brother’s disappearance. He was never found.

MACMILLANg_lxa0435_11author pic

It has been thirty years since Teddy her brother disappeared without trace, but in the years since Lucy has grown to be a successful writer and is married to Dan, but Dan also is a writer except his career has gone in the opposite direction to Lucy’s.

Lucy has created one fictional character in her novels who is Eliza Grey, and this character has given Lucy all the success as a writer. Eliza seems to be a constant companion in Lucy’s mind. Constantly there. But Eliza has always been there since childhood. Lucy is haunted by her own past, what really happened to her brother? Lucy’s marriage to Dan is just ok, but spending a lot of time by herself and only Eliza for company. I am sure you are already beginning to form your own story of the couple by reading this.

Now suddenly her husband has disappeared, and there are similar traits to how her brother disappeared. Now suddenly Lucy’s past has returned with a vengeance. The couple are also living close to where her little brother disappeared all those years ago. The police are now looking for clues and also clues. Strap yourself in as you the reader are in for a rollercoaster of a twisting psychological thriller that knows no boundaries.

There is something really dark and sinister about this thriller and as a writer writing about a writer, I think Gilly Macmillan really must have been itching to write this novel.

I have to say that as a thriller is beautifully paced and a well-crafted novel with such powerful characters including one imaginary character that seems to play such a part. Just one word of warning! Once you pick this up you will really struggle to put it down.  Highly Recommended.

368 Pages.

Thank you Isabelle Ralphs (Penguin Random House) for the review copy of To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan was published by Century (Arrow Publishing) on 25th June 2020 and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

#ToTellYouTheTruth

@GillyMacmillan

Follow the Blog Tour

Blog tour banner TTYTT

NEW BLOOD 2020 – VAL MCDERMID TIPS CRIME FICTION’S RISING STARS:

New Blood authors

NEW BLOOD 2020 – VAL MCDERMID TIPS CRIME FICTION’S RISING STARS:

Thursday 18th June 2020:

I am delighted to share with you today New Blood 2020 – Val McDermid Tips Crime Fiction’s Rising Stars.

  • Deepa AnapparaDjinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus)
  • Elizabeth KaySeven Lies (Sphere)
  • Jessica MoorKeeper (Penguin)
  • Trevor WoodThe Man on the Street (Quercus)

Since 2004, the best-selling Scottish author of the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series has curated an annual celebration of the most formidable debuts taking the crime and thriller genre by storm, with an invitation to join the line-up of the world’s largest and most prestigious crime fiction festival: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

This year, Deepa Anappara has been selected for her part coming-of-age, part detective mystery Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, a heart-breaking and thought-provoking social commentary of modern India’s slums that has been recognised for the Women’s Prize. Elizabeth Kay is on the list for her explosive Seven Lies, taking domestic noir to a whole new level in a deliciously dark blurring of truth and lies, and Jessica Moore is recognised for her brutal and beautiful Keeper, the addictive literary thriller that has had everyone talking. Concluding this year’s New Blood contingent is Trevor Wood and his debut The Man on the Street, a gritty thriller set on the streets of Newcastle.

Val McDermid said: “I have been hosting the New Blood showcase since the festival began in 2003 and, in my book, discovering and sharing new talent with an eager audience is the best job in crime fiction. I know exactly what I’m looking for on my quest: fresh and distinctive voices, a well-told, convincing story and the almost indefinable sense that these authors all have much more to say. Deepa, Elizabeth, Jessica and Trevor tick all of these boxes and more, and if this year’s debuts share a theme, it is the irresistible and devastating way in which crime fiction shines a light on our times: homelessness, domestic violence, child trafficking and mental health are all dissected with an unflinching gaze. Whilst we can’t gather en masse at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate this year, I hope that readers will enjoy our virtual introduction to these brilliant new writers.”

The unveiling of McDermid’s selection has become one of the most anticipated moments of the publishing calendar, with readers on the lookout to uncover their new favourite author and add the ‘next big thing’ to their bookshelves.

Former ‘New Blood’ alumni include Clare Mackintosh, SJ Watson, Stuart MacBride, Liam McIlvanney and Belinda Bauer, as well as three authors on this year’s shortlist for the UK’s most prestigious crime writing award – Theakston Old Peculier: Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper and Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was chosen just last year for her Booker longlisted My Sister, the Serial Killer.

As part Harrogate International Festivals’ year round programme of events, each year the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival welcomes the world’s famous authors each year to Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel – the scene of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 – for a celebration of the crime genre like no other.

This year’s instalment – which formed part of Harrogate International Festival Summer Season – was cancelled, with much sadness, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and so the 2020 ‘New Blood’ showcase will be streamed on the festival’s HIF Player on what would have been the legendary weekender on Saturday 25 July 2020.

Val McDermid will also interviewed by Mark Lawson about the legacy of the New Blood panel, discussing the vital role of the showcase in giving a platform to new writers in the industry and the crime community, and giving a peek behind the scenes into how and why she chooses the books.

Trevor Wood said: “As a kid I dreamt of playing in the cup final. I’m a fraction older now but being chosen for Harrogate’s New Blood panel feels exactly like that did.”

Jessica Moor said: “To have been chosen for this panel, which has included some of my favourite new authors of the last decade, and to have been chosen by the legendary Val McDermid, is a such an honour.”

Deepa Anappara said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be picked for the New Blood panel, and grateful to Val McDermid for her immense generosity and support of debut novelists.”

Elizabeth Kay said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected for such a prestigious event. The ‘New Blood’ panel has an incredible history, and I’m delighted to be participating this year alongside three really exciting other authors.”

IMG_20200618_105217

The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood (Quercus)

It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight. Maybe it was another of his vivid nightmares? Since he found himself living on the streets, avoiding other people’s fights has helped him to survive. Trouble finds him easily enough without looking for it. Then a newspaper headline catches his eye: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost.  This makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story. The police don’t believe him. Who believes a homeless man? But Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new. But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. 

 Trevor Wood (@TrevorWoodWrite) has lived in Newcastle for twenty-five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. The Man on the Street is his first novel.

IMG_20200618_105256

IMG_20200618_105210

Keeper by Jessica Moor (Penguin)

He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes. Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside. When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide. But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder. Will you listen to them?

 Jessica Moor (@jessicammoor) studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester University. Prior to this she spent a year working in the violence against women and girls sector and this experience inspired her first novel, KEEPER.

IMG_20200618_105239

IMG_20200618_105213

Djin Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Chatto & Windus)

In a basti on the outskirts of a sprawling Indian city, nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows in the house he shares with his family Jai thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than his hardworking friend Faiz (even though he has a job). When their classmate from school goes missing, the Djinn Patrol ventures out, wielding their detective skills into the bustling city to investigate; through the rattle-tattle energy and mouth-watering smells of the bazaar, to the dangerous rubbish ground and as far as the railway station at the end of the Purple Line. But children continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, an unsympathetic police force and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth. As the disappearances edge ever closer to home, the lives of Jai and his friends will be altered forever.

 Deepa Anappara grew up in Kerala, southern India, and worked as a journalist in cities including Mumbai and Delhi. Her reports on the impact of poverty and religious violence on the education of children won the Developing Asia Journalism Awards, the Every Human has Rights Media Awards, and the Sanskriti-Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism. A partial of her debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and is currently studying for a PhD on a CHASE doctoral fellowship. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line will be publised in America, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden. deepa-anappara.com

IMG_20200618_105300

IMG_20200618_105206

Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay (Sphere)

Only you know the truth: Jane and Marnie have been inseparable since they were eleven years old. In their twenties, they both married handsome young men. Years later, Jane and Marnie are still best friends – and both men are dead. But if Jane had been honest from the start – if she hadn’t told that first little white lie – then perhaps the person she loves most would still love her too. Perhaps everything would be different. This is Jane’s opportunity to tell the real story – if you can believe her. As Jane narrates hers and Marnie’s shared history and unpicks each of seven increasingly catastrophic lies, she reveals the pockets of darkness that have infiltrated their friendship; the toxic secrets still bubbling beneath; and a tale of obsession, of grief, and the real meaning of truth.

Elizabeth Kay (@AnyOtherLizzy) started her career as an assistant at Penguin Random House. She is now a commissioning editor and is simultaneously pursuing her passion for writing. Her debut novel, Seven Lies, will be published in 2020. Elizabeth lives in London with her husband. @AnyOtherLizzy

IMG_20200618_105224

‘Harrogate International Festivals’ is a charitable organisation with a mission to present a diverse year-long programme of live events that bring immersive and moving cultural experiences to as many people as possible. Delivering artistic work of national importance, the Festival curates and produces over 300 unique and surprising performances each year, celebrating world-renowned artists and championing new and up-coming talent across music, literature, science, philosophy and psychology. The HIF+ ongoing education outreach programme engages schools, young people and the local community with workshops, talks, projects and inspiring activities, ensuring everyone can experience the Festival’s world class programme and the transformative power of the arts.

Established in 1966, Harrogate International Festivals are an artistic force to be reckoned with and a key cultural provider for the North of England.

My thanks to Gabriella Drinkald and Midas Pr for the Press Release and photographs. 

Find out more at: www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com | Facebook: @HarrogateInternationalFestivals | Twitter: @HarrogateFest | Instagram: @harrogatefestivals  

#TheakstonsCrime2020     #NewBlood   @midaspr

 

Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs

Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs

Summary:

As Benny the Fixer Pomeranski is laid to rest on a cold November morning at the turn of the twenty-first century, a motley crew of survivors from his youth assembles around the grave, its members ‘identified by their lived-in faces – faces that indicated a singular kind of past, a chequered hinterland.’ This encounter with the past, and the discovery of his father Benny’s diaries, leads Simon Pomeranski back to his childhood and the post-war days of the Astorians, a small group of criminals and traders in ‘swag’ who ran their business from Brixton Market and exercised their own particular brand of justice. From this wonderful assortment of characters we are introduced to ‘Spanish Joe’, the cultured Russian emigre, Sam ‘the Stick’, with his wounded machismo and penchant for violent retribution, and the dazzling songstress Estelle, among others. Front and centre in their world, though, is Benny himself, the autodidact owner of Pomeranski Gowns, whose passionate affair with Estelle marks the beginning of a new era for the Astorians. Both riotous and profound, this novel resurrects a vibrant era that deserves a place in our collective memory.

 My Review:

They should have been celebrating Benny Pomeranki’s eighty-first birthday the previous week but on this typical cold November day in 2000 they were instead laying Benny the fixer to rest. Pomeranski (Quartet Books) by Gerald Jacobs is both amusing and also fascinating reminder of post-war Brixton and we are introduced to some ‘interesting’ characters of the time.

Gerald Jacobs

Simon Pomeranski has discovered his father’s diaries and now a trip back in time. This is a story of a small Jewish community based in South London, an area I know very.  But this story is post-war Britain and Benny Pomeranski is just out of the army and is looking for a new start. Benny swops the army life for a life in the rag trade and soon he getting to grips with his new role and his new life. But it does not stop him there. Benny wants more.

So now together with some of his chums they set up what can only be deemed as an interesting group of young men and name themselves after the Astoria Cinema. The Astorians are a small group of friends, they are smart and clever and as Brixton is beginning to liven up, they will make sure they look after each other’s back. You cannot have a group of friends without each of them having their own unique name or badge of honour you might say. So now we have Benny ‘the fixer’.

But this group was not set up just for fun, they had plans, some of the locals deserved seeing to. So Benny ‘the fixer’ and his group set about just that, robberies and beatings took place. After all they deserved it. Was this a case of this band of young brothers just setting a marker and a place for themselves in a new world order in South London?

This is both a fascinating and brilliantly written book that harks back to the post-war days and it is at times really quite humorous but also a compelling read. The characters you will either like or you not it really is as simple as that. Look out for a cameo performance by Ruth Ellis. I really warmed to Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs, this is from a bygone era and will bring back memories for anyone growing up in South London back in the 1950’s.   

256 Pages.

Thank you to Quartet Books for the review copy of Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs.

Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs was published by Quartet Books and was published on 30th April 2020 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 

The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos

Cover

The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos

Summary:

In the small town of Crozon in Brittany, a library houses manuscripts that were rejected for publication: the faded dreams of aspiring writers. Visiting while on holiday, young editor Delphine Despero is thrilled to discover a novel so powerful that she feels compelled to bring it back to Paris to publish it.

The book is a sensation, prompting fevered interest in the identity of its author – apparently one Henri Pick, a now-deceased pizza chef from Crozon. Sceptics cry that the whole thing is a hoax: how could this man have written such a masterpiece? An obstinate journalist, Jean-Michel Rouche, heads to Brittany to investigate.

By turns funny and moving, The Mystery of Henri Pick is a fast-paced comic mystery enriched by a deep love of books – and of the authors who write them

My Review:

What the world needs now is a good old fashioned feel-good novel and this is an exciting new collaboration between Pushkin Press and Walter Presents. The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos is the first and was also released as a film with English subtitles in 2019.

AuthorThis charming if quirky novel is set in the French town of Grozon (Brittany) there is a library but this library only stocks books that have been rejected and no-one wants. Imagine you being the writer of a failed book and you have to hand it in to the library in person. Oh the ignominy of that!

The unusual library was set up by Jean-Pierre Gourvec, but when Jean-Pierre died, the library was left and more or less forgotten that it is until the arrival of two people who just happened to be in the area, Delphine is taking her boyfriend Frédéric to meet her parents and just happen find the library and they start to have a look at some of the rejected manuscripts. It is Delphine who suddenly realises that she has found a literary gem but who is the mystery writer Henri Pick? It turns out that Henri has since died but was a local.

After a visit to the late Henri’s wife they decide to get this book published and it becomes a literary sensation. But there has to be a downside to the success and there is one man who is a critic but with not much success jumps on the success to try and stop its success. But what is his reasons?

It is hard to say just how much I loved this beautiful and charming book, I just loved David Foenkinos’s writing style, it has humour and I just loved the real French feel to the storyline. This is a delightful story about books but also about people. Just a real joy to read.

288 Pages.

@PushkinPress

#WalterPresents

Thank you to Poppy Stimpson (Pushkin Press) for the review copy of The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos

The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos was published by Pushkin Press and was published on 7th May 2020 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop. Please support your local independent bookshops through these difficult times.