The Deal Goes Down by Larry Beinhart

The Deal Goes Down by Larry Beinhart

Summary:

Ex-private eye Tony Casella lives in the Catskill mountains, southern New York, a lonely old tough guy whose body can no longer do what it once did. His wife and son are dead; his daughter barely talks to him; his bank is threatening to repossess his house. But a chance encounter with a rich young woman on a train changes everything. He is hired to kill her superrich, Jeffrey Epstein-ish husband. That job leads to others and he joins a small start-up whose mission is to save women from abusive marriages – and make a tidy profit to boot. Tony’s problems seem to be over, but are they? An old, angry associate is determined to get his cut of Tony’s earnings, murky government agents start to tail him, and when he s sent to the Austrian alps to kill a Russian oligarch and rescue his American wife, all hells breaks loose. Packed with action The Deal Goes Down is an unforgettable portrait of a Lion in Winter who still has a few tricks up his sleeve, from a writer garlanded with awards and critical acclaim.

My Review:

After a 30-year hiatus crime writer Larry Beinhart brings back ex-private eye Tony Castella in The Deal Goes Down (Melville House) which is published this month. Life really has been tough for this tough old private eye, on top of everything that life has thrown at him, now the banks are closing in on him and threatening to take his home from him. Just how low can life get. But then a chance encounter could turn things around for. Or does it in the end?

Tony Castella is now 70 years-of-age, and is on a train journey musing over how life has turned against him, and wondering what he can do to get out of the financial crisis he is in. No-one not even his daughter. But on that train is a wealthy woman who knows he was once a private detective who got results even if they were in a questionable way. She has a $100,000 proposal for Castella, she wants him to kill her husband. But why, it turns that he is an abusive husband who has been more than just carrying on behind her back. She wants him dead. Stone cold dead.

But this job with its lucrative reward soon gets out and his former partner is looking for a cut of the reward. So it goes that one good case turns into another case but this one has serious risks attached for this ageing private eye, now he is hired to rescue the wife and son that have been taken from a very wealthy Russian, but this is where things hairy in more ways than one. Could Tony Castella have taken on one case too many, these Russian’s are armed to the teeth and won’t go quietly. Bullets are flying and so are the bodies.

One thing I will say is this is a romping good thriller from a great crime writer who can spin a really good story with some humour added. This has it all, great characters.

288 Pages.

My thanks to  Nikki Griffiths (Melville House Publishing) for the review Copy of  The Deal Goes Down by Larry Beinhart Published on 11th August 2022 and is now 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

#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 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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#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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Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald

Keep Her Sweet by Helen Fitzgerald

Summary:

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

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

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

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

This is a murder, just waiting to happen…

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


 My Review:

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

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

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

270 Pages.

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

Companion Piece by Ali Smith

Companion Piece by Ali Smith

Summary:

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

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

Here we are in extraordinary times.
Is this history?

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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

240 Pages.

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