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

The Shot by Sarah Sultoon

The Shot by Sarah Sultoon

Summary:

An aspiring TV journalist faces a shattering moral dilemma and the prospect of losing her career and her life when she joins an impetuous photographer in the Middle East.

An act of mercy
Or the ultimate betrayal…
Who decides?


Samira is an up-and-coming TV journalist, working the nightshift at a major news channel and yearning for greater things. So when she’s offered a trip to the Middle East, with Kris, the station’s brilliant but impetuous star photographer, she leaps at the chance.

In the field together, Sami and Kris feel invincible, shining a light into the darkest of corners … except the newsroom, and the rest of the world, doesn’t seem to care as much as they do. Until Kris takes the photograph.

With a single image of young Sudanese mother, injured in a raid on her camp, Sami and the genocide in Darfur are catapulted into the limelight. But everything is not as it seems, and the shots taken by Kris reveal something deeper and much darker … something that puts not only their careers but their lives in mortal danger.

Sarah Sultoon brings all her experience as a CNN news executive to bear on this shocking, searingly authentic thriller, which asks immense questions about the world we live in. You’ll never look at a news report in the same way again…  

My Review:

We have all seen the outstanding professionalism from journalists covering conflicts. Author, Sarah Sultoon now brings her experience of being an CNN news executive with her new novel The Shot (Orenda Books) which is released tomorrow 28th April. This is an extremely powerful story of an up-and-coming TV journalist and is based in the Middle East. This packs a punch and asks many questions.

I have to say what an outstanding writer Sarah Sultoon really is. Using all her experience to take the reader to the heart of the storyline. I have always had unswerving admiration for journalists that put their lives in danger to bring the stories that matter.

Samira is a journalist based in a very busy newsroom with a major news channel she is keen to learn but she harbours ambitions to get out there herself and be at the forefront of the story rather than back at the headquarters of the news channel. She can speak Arabic, so Samira is just biding her time. Kris on the other hand is an experienced cameraman and is often in danger zones filming. Now back in the newsroom the is major breaking news and some of their own team have been involved in an incident with some of the team injured including Kris but when he gets home he is desperate to get back in the field. It is not long before Samira gets her first chance, and she heads off with Kris overseas. From one assignment to another but this time it is to Darfur in Sudan and then suddenly the story really takes a turn that even knocked me off my feet that involves some shots taken by Kris that reveal much more about what is really going on. Sometimes you get so involved in a storyline that you forget almost everything else that you must do. This was the case with The Shot.

The story is gripping and heartbreaking. But superbly written and I read it in two sittings. Here is a story that will live in your memory for some time to come. It will pose so many questions for you the reader. Not wanting to give much away here but do not miss reading The Shot.

If ever a book needs to be turned into a TV drama, then Sarah Sultoon’s brilliant story deserves this. It would make gripping watching. Simply outstanding.

#TheShot

@SultoonSarah

@OrendaBooks

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review Copy of The Shot by Sarah Sultoon which is Published on 28th April 2022 and can be pre-ordered through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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River Clyde by Simone Buchholz

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz

Translated by Rachel Ward

Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

Pages: 276

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) and Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for the review Copy of River Clyde by Simone Buchholz Published Orenda Books on 17th March 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Summary:

In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act.

And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, and King himself becomes a target of media scrutiny and the public’s ire, it becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…

My Review:

Have we really reached the sixth book in the series of the Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski? Each one of the previous five in the series has been nothing short of outstanding and just released is Demon (Orenda Books) and Matt Wesolowski has not let up with his incredible writing.
If you have not yet come across the Six Stories series, then you are in for a real treat. Scott King is the host of a podcast that looks at old crimes and interviews those close to what really went on. Each is gripping and addictive.

For the latest in the series of the podcast our host, Scott King is investigating the brutal murder of 12-year-old Sydney Parsons, he was murdered by two boys of the same age.

The tiny Yorkshire village of Ussalthwaite was shocked by the dreadful murder and the village became the centre of the news across the world. The two boys who committed the murder were locked up but at the time no real reason for the murder was ever given, but there was something supernatural about what really happened. Now that Scott King and his podcast series are investigating the murder of Sydney Parsons the past will be brought back and six people close to the case will be interviewed as Scott seeks to look at what took place prior and after the murder. But is the village ready for the past to be raked up? Emotions are still raw especially as the two boys convicted of the murder were released in 2002 and given new identities.

As Scott King begins to investigate the case, he begins to uncover the facts about the ‘Demonic Duo’ as they became known and a village with a history that has had its heart ripped out and may never recover. But as Scott King continues his investigation and interviews, something else begins and that are the threats to him, and these get more and more terrifying. Clearly there are some people who do not want Scott King to continue with the case.

It is a dark and powerful novel with Matt Wesolowski being an outstanding writer that can allow the reader to become so involved in the storyline despite taking them to the darkest of places of the human mind. But now the question is will there be any more in the series, or will this be the last we hear of mysterious Scott King and his investigative podcasts?

320 Pages.

#Demon

@ConcreteKraken

@OrendaBooks

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of Demon by Matt Wesolowski. Published on 20th January 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

Summary:

Suspicion is cast on two successful crime writers, when their seven-year-old son goes missing. Are they trying to show that they can commit the perfect crime? A mesmerisingly twisty, dark thriller from number-one bestselling author Paul Cleave…

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time… 

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.

My Review:

I have been waiting patiently to publish my review of an outstanding thriller that is dark and twisted and one of the best five star reads of 2021. The Quiet People (Orenda Books) by Paul Cleave is the perfect crime novel for the Christmas period if you have not already read it that is.

As soon as the book landed on my doormat the cover just screamed at me. When a book has the has the words “Can crime writers get away with murder?” Well, there it is. Instantly it had in its grip and that was before I had even started reading.

The crime writing husband and wife that is Cameron and Lisa Murdoch seem on paper to be the perfect couple, happily married and they have become very successful as crime writers but when one night their son Zach disappears things start to unravel for the couple.

Both Cameron and Lisa tell the police that they think Zach has run away after a family argument. When there is evidence of the pair telling a writers panel that they could get away with, it is not long before the police and even the public start to question the couple’s innocence, let alone the media and we all know how the media love a high-profile case. Meanwhile the search for Zach goes on. What I really enjoyed about how Paul Cleave set out this pulsating thriller is how he uses key characters as narrators. You cannot help but become immersed in this superb plot that has many twists and turns before you reach the last page. One thing that struck me very quickly was Cameron and Lisa, were they really the perfect couple or was this just for show? A pretence to carry on selling their books perhaps. Something to me was not right. But I will let you find that one out for yourselves.

The chapters are short so you can easily put it down and go and pour yourself another drink, but you won’t want to leave this one alone for long. The Quiet People is a compelling and gripping read from start to finish and it will have one minute supporting the couple the next you won’t.

Yes, it really is that good. Forget the tv, go to your local bookshop and get yourself a copy of The Quiet People. You won’t regret it.

300 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review Copy of The Quiet People by Paul Cleave Published on 25th November 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

No Honour by Awais Khan

No Honour by Awais Khan

Summary:

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.

My Review:

Having read No Honour (Orenda Books) by Awais Khan during the last week of August I have been thinking about this book ever since. Trying to find the right words for this outstanding and poignant novel has been hard. As you read through the opening of the book you know immediately this is going to be a difficult and at times harrowing read.

In a small Pakistani village sixteen-year-old Abida lives with her family. This is a village were age old rules that must be obeyed. Her father Jamil loves his daughter, but the families honour must come first as the rules say. Girls are not allowed to go to school and must not disobey and uphold the families honour. But Abida loves Kalim and an intimate relationship begins. We find out that in a similar situation we find out that other young women have been murdered to protect the honour of the family.

Now Abida must flee the village before she is found out and faces a similar fate. Jamil loves his daughter and so he aids her escape rather than the public death that will follow. Abida now finds herself in the big city of Lahore. Very quickly she finds out that life here is going to be no better and in fact things start to get out of control. This is no life for a young strong minded young woman. Meanwhile her father Jamil recalls how he was brought up by his mother and how strong willed she was and now he sets off to find his daughter. Soon they are trapped in a desperate dark world where drugs and prostitution and corruption seem the norm. All Abida wanted was a new life for herself her child and Kalim. The narrative of the story alternates between Abida and her father Jamil and you may think that reading this that the novel is just too horrific to read and yes at times it is graphic and hard to read but what there is here is hope and Awais Khan has written a beautiful story.

As I read through No Honour, I wanted Abida to find the freedom to bring up her child and settle down with Kalim and Abida’s father who risked everything and the shame it would bring to his family. But love for his daughter is more means everything to him. This is an important book and there were times it felt as though my heart had just been ripped out. All I will say is here is that the one thing we have is hope, and we cling to that like a life raft.

What an outstanding writer Awais Khan really is. I await to see what comes next.  

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of No Honour by Awais Khan.

No Honour by Awais Khan is published by Orenda Books and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

The Beresford by Will Carver

The Beresford by Will Carver

Summary:

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. 

In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers. 

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.

Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…

Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.

My Review:

There is something about Will Carver’s novels, I have been lucky enough to have read all of them so far and loved each one and his latest The Beresford (Orenda Books) is out in bookshops now and this is right up there with Carver’s previous novels but just be aware of the doorbell! There is something creepy about Will Carver and his books and his latest is no exception. It is dark, eerie and chilling.

Welcome to The Beresford this old building that has apartments, and some rather interesting tenants, except many won’t be around for long and so we hear the doorbell ring that heralds a new arrival.

The rates are cheap at The Beresford and so they come. We meet Mrs May whose age no-one really knows but guess. She has a daily routine; she makes coffee and lets it go cold because that is how she likes it. She even prays for many of the residents that come to stay. She prunes the roses and believes she knows everything that goes on at The Beresford.

Then we meet Abe, who seems like a nice guy, but Abe has just killed Sythe and has exactly sixty seconds to move the body. But Abe is a good person and did not want to kill Sythe. But just how is he going to dispose of the body?

The doorbell rings and a new arrival has come to stay, Blair Conroy has arrived finally away from her devout religious parents and now has the freedom to do want every she wants even with the bedroom door open.

Death awaits those who come to stay at The Beresford when the doorbell rings there is that dread of knowing that murder will follow, and each new arrival is a character, and each has their own story to be told.

Will Carver does write brilliant books and there is real humour to be found within the pages of The Beresford and you the reader are going to meet the residents as they arrive, their fate is sealed but are YOU going to judge them before they meet their fate?

But why are the people here committing murder? If the walls could speak what tales, they would tell of the goings on in this old apartment building. Of the people that come to stay and ultimately die. The Beresford is just a brilliantly chilling read in a way that only Will Carver can create. Is that the doorbell I have just heard?

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of The Beresford by Will Carver.

The Beresford by Will Carver is released through published by Orenda Books 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

One Last Time by Helga Flatland

One Last Time by Helga Flatland

Translated by Rosie Hedger

Summary:

My Review:

Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.

On a spur-of-the moment trip to France the three generations of women reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires, and learn humbling and heart-warming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.

With all of Helga Flatland’s trademark humour, razor-sharp wit and deep empathy, One Last Time examines the great dramas that can be found in ordinary lives, asks the questions that matter to us all and ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, in an exquisite, enchantingly beautiful novel that urges us to treasure and rethink … everything.

My Review:

Having really enjoyed A Modern Family I have been so looking forward to One Last Time (Orenda Books) and is Helga Flatland’s sixth novel and her second to be translated into English and beautifully translated by Rosie Hedger. I have become a fan of Helga Flatland’s writing as she does really bring a story alive with her characters.

Families can sometimes be complicated, and secrets can be kept and even cracks that appear are papered over. In One Last Time we follow the story of Anne who has been diagnosed cancer and the news is bleak. Now is a time for those close to Anne to come together and no more so than her daughter Sigrid but also for her granddaughter Mia.

In this family there have been many problems that have really caused cracks in the family to become much deeper which in turn has affected all the relationships in the family. The story focuses mainly on mother and daughter but not ignoring the problems that are occurring between Sigrid and her daughter Mia.

You may think that this is a novel that could be bleak and even dark, but with Helga Flatland you just know that she will bring something into the story even humour will find a way into the devastating storyline. Many novels can leave a lasting impression and is why I have come to love Flatland’s writing as this is a storyline that will leave a legacy on the reader as much as Anne only wants to leave only the positive of memories behind. This is a family trying to reconnect and trying to reconnect with themselves.

At the end of the day all we have is love and love can mend broken hearts and even broken families. The characters that have been created are characters you will come to know, and it is Anne and her strength and even humour when faced with what is to come.

Helga Flatland has again weaved a beautiful and emotive story and one to be cherished like life itself.

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of One Last Time by Helga Flatland.

One Last Time by Helga Flatland is published by Orenda Books on 24th June 2021. 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

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen

Summary:

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.

When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, Josephine, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…

Both a heart-wrenchingly poignant portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life- affirming read and, quite simply, unforgettable.

My Review:

This is an exceedingly difficult review to write, I am not sure that I have the right words to describe just what an outstanding debut novel Everything Happens for a Reason (Orenda Books) by Katie Allen really is. A very poignant story that was inspired by the authors own experience of stillbirth and grief.

The main character in the story is Rachel whose heart is shattered when her son was stillborn. But for Rachel who is on maternity leave without a baby wants to know why her son Luke was born sleeping and now finds herself trying to make sense of everything as well as the pain and grief. But what I will say here, there is humour in the story despite the grief.

Rachel has borrowed her mother’s sausage dog but really believes she herself is to blame for the loss of her son as on the day she found out she was pregnant she managed to stop a man committing suicide by jumping in front of a train.

If there is one statement that I really dislike is that ‘everything happens for a reason’ I have had that said to me just recently and the same happens to Rachel in the story and this is where her quest begins, try, and find the answer to ‘why’. Rachel also decides she needs to find the man she saved that day, and, in some way, it may help her to try and find some answers.

Rachel’s journey to find the man and find answers for the loss of her son will take her on a journey where she will meet some unexpected people, and this could well help her in her journey to find reasons. Then of course there are the emails, and this I will leave there for you to discover. It is a heart-breaking story packed with emotion but let us not forget the humour that is in the storyline as well.

I do not know if I am the right person to write a review about such a painful loss but Katie if you by chance read this review, you have written an incredible debut novel that I will not forget and cannot wait to see what you do next. Highly Recommended.

320 Pages.

My thanks to Orenda Books for the review copy of Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen.

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen is published by Orenda Books and is published 10th June 2021 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

Deity by Matt Wesolowski

Deity by Matt Wesolowski

Summary:

A shamed pop star
A devastating fire
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.

Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged?

Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…

My Review:

When Matt Wesolowski released his first novel Six Stories (Orenda Books) back in 2017 he had hit on an idea based on a series of six podcast interviews that try to resolve a complex crime mystery. Deity by Matt Wesolowski is book five and has just been released and the host of the podcast series ‘Six Stories’ Scott King returns in a dark and chilling novel about pop megastar Zach Crystal who has died in a fire in his remote Scottish Highlands home.

Having read all the previous four in the series and loved them all, Deity is a triumph for Matt. He has done it again. This time around focussing on a pop icon Zach Crystal who set up home in the Scottish Highlands and called it Crystal Forest, but all is not well here. With the trapping of being a worldwide pop mega star come those who follow every word that Zach Crystal says and every step he makes. In 2018 Zach Crystal just disappeared without a word and no sign of him. Was this the end for the pop icon, had he had enough of the fame and the whispers abut him. Those that loved him, truly adored him, but he has his detractors who clearly believed there was a much darker side. Was there really a tree house on the estate?

When Zach Crystal suddenly reappeared and announced that there was a new album coming but then there is a devastating fire at his isolated home and his remains are found in the ruins. There was to be no comeback for the pop icon. Now the stories and accusations started about Crystal and the young girls that was said he had an interest in. To his followers Zach Crystal was nothing more than a legend who did so much for charity and that these stories were designed to destroy his legacy and he was not there to answer them.

Now ‘Six Stories’ podcast host Scott King has turned his attention to the death of Zach Crystal. What Matt Wesolowski does with these stories is allow them to get under your skin and really make you go cold at some of the revelations and stories and how he created the pop megastar that made me feel rather uncomfortable the more you read. Truly brilliant. So now begins the six interviews that would try and unearth the truth about the man. There is so much packed into this gripping book I found that as with Matt’s previous series I could not leave the story alone. I wanted to find out more. Stop the clocks, turn off the tv and switch your phone off. Deity by Matt Wesolowski will get all your attention until the very end. If you have managed to miss the previous four in the series, then fear not as this can be read as a standalone but you may want to seek out the others in the series after.

320 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of Deity by Matt Wesolowski.

Deity by Matt Wesolowski was published by Orenda Books and was published on 18th February 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