CORK GETS SWEPT INTO CRIME FICTION SPOTLIGHT WITH DOYLE’S TRILOGY

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River Of Bodies Final CoverThe city of Cork is the second largest city in the Irish republic after the capital Dublin, but is often considered by its residents to be the real capital.  It could have something to do with having the second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney and the oldest yacht club in the world, founded in 1702. The city’s other claims to fame are, it was the location of the first Ford factory outside of America and the “Rebel County” of Cork is the largest county in Ireland.

I have a connection to the countymy mother’s family are from West Cork. I was only down there in July for a family birthday. As well as that, the city is home to one of the largest Jazz festivals outside of New Orleans, which takes place in October each year attracting over 40,000 visitors annually. Cork is also home to Noel “Noelie” O’Sullivan, the central character in this month’s first book review, its River of Bodies by Kevin Doyle and is  published by Blackstaff Press (www.blackstaffpress.com) in June this year.

River of Bodies is the second book in The Solidarity Books trilogy following To Keep A Bird Singing, which was published in 2018. The books follow the journey of small time activist  Noelie Sullivan as he continues his investigation into the powerful Donnelly clan, who were mixed up in the goings on in an industrial boys school in Cork back in the 60’s and the murder of a IRA informer, and its cover up by the Irish Police Force’s Special Branch unit in Cork. In the process of his research, his girlfriend and nephew have been murdered. His own life and the lives other close friends have been threatened.

It all started with the fairly innocuous theft of some classic records from Noelie’s flat tenTo Keep A Bird Singing Cover years previously and when, he by chance, discovers them in a charity shop at the start of the first book he also finds the confession of an ex Garda and a sheet of paper with the name of ‘Brian Boru’ (an old Irish king) in a couple of the LP sleeves. Early on in River of Bodies, his neighbour and friend dies from his injuries after a mysterious single car accident. As the trail takes him well beyond the county border and internationally, how many more deaths must Noelie and his close family and friends endure before they can unearth the truth?

One of the draw backs reviewing a literary series, is that I and my fellow bloggers/reviewers regularly get in at the second or third book. Now in most cases, there is enough back story to plough on regardless.  I was sent the first book in this trilogy as well, this time around and I was glad it had come too. As I attempted dive straight into River Of Bodies, only to discover 20 pages in, that there were quite a few references to what had preceded in the first book. So back I went and read it. There’s a funny story from our book group of one of our members picking up the second Hunger Games book inadvertently instead of the first one and then sitting there in the meeting all confused trying figure out what we were talking about…

You know from the outset that Doyle is onto a winner with these books owing to the topic and the other primary ingredients. Yep, kids, paedophiles and that old reliable, the religious orders.

If this trilogy is anything, it comes across a bit like an Irish take on The Millennium series, except their success was helped by the untimely death of its author Steig Larsson. Here’s hoping Kevin Doyle is in good health and the only thing he will need to achieve the success of this series is his great writing.

Our hero Noelie, is nothing special, just an ordinary Joe. A middle aged man, between jobs, whose only real claim to fame was a failed attempt to embarrass President Ronald Reagan at Shannon Airport when he visited Ireland in 1984.

I liked Noelie, but probably wouldn’t hold the same political views. Ireland maybe neutral but the American soldiers transiting through Shannon are helping the local and wider economy. Noelie maybe taken from Doyle’s own character, he’s an activist too, Noelie probably doesn’t want water charges, while I’m of the view nothing in this world is free and when we start rationing water, you’ll have to pay then (Soapbox away now)

The support cast, ergo the ragtag group of friends are all regular people too…  real earthy characters. There’s a previous occupant of the industrial schools, Black Gary, who sounds more like a pirate than a social avenger, Martin, Noelie’s gay neighbour,along with Meabh (a real nod to Lisbeth Salanader).

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Kevin Doyle

This is Irish Author Kevin Doyle’s (www.kevindoyle.ie) third book. Before writing To Keep A Bird Singing, he wrote a children’s book, The Worms Who Saved The World with Spark Deely (2017). Kevin has a masters in Organic Synthesis from University College Cork and has worked and lived in Australia and America, before returning home to Ireland where he now lives.

The story in both books is set ten years ago, during Ireland’s struggle to get out of the recession following the banking crisis. Everything seems real enough bar technical things which seemed a bit unbelievable for the law enforcement agencies of a bankrupt country which could hardly keep its fleet of vehicles on the road let alone eavesdrop on conversations using a person’s phone, especially when iPhones were still in their infancy. But again it all goes to help Doyle ratchet up the suspense around the mystery and the numerous disappearances and murders that occur.

My reading of the book with an English tainted accent probably didn’t do it justice and I’d love to hear it read in a local Cork accent. Foreigners or people like my wife from the East Midlands of the UK, may need to listen to it a couple of times if listening to an audiobook of this story.

So, if you’ve never been to Cork; then now maybe the time to go, in the company of the slightly rogueish Noelie Sullivan and his friends. Then once you read both of these books, get yourself on a cheap flight to there just in time for the Jazz festival and see what the lovely city on the River Lee has to offer.

 

Reviewed by: Adrian Murphy

 

 

This book is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought, visit their blogs listed below, Then if you read the trilogy, come back and tell us what you thought.

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GRIFFITHS SECOND BOOK LIES EASILY WITH ME, IF ONLY THE ENDING WAS A BETTER FIT.

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A Place To Lie CoverI seem to be having a run of family secret and particularly sister relationship novels to read. Either via my  book club or The Library Door; they keep coming. A feminine spin on things would appear to be 2019’s trademark, with remakes for films using female lead characters instead of the original, male ones and a raft of strong female leads in film and TV.

A place to Lie, by Rebecca Griffiths published in paperback by Sphere (www.littlebrown.co.uk) on the 19th August, is this month’s third book review and tells the story of a summer in the childhood of two sisters.

Told in the present day and in flashback to 1990, we unravel a complex series of events, which result in two deaths and the destruction of many lives. The story begins with the death of Caroline, who believed she was being stalked. Having lost contact with her sister a decade earlier, Joanna is at first guilt-ridden. She starts to look into Caroline’s recent history and begins to think there might be a link between current events and what happened in the summer of 1990. Joanna and Caroline are sent to stay with their Aunt Dora for the summer, after the death of their father and an attempted suicide by their grieving mother. Left to their own devices by their aunt, they indulge in childhood games and adventures, with a local girl, Ellie. Going unsupervised and unnoticed, they observe the odd and furtive behavior of many of the local inhabitants. Caroline who has a crush on Ellie’s older brother and believes he reciprocates her feelings is horrified to find he has a girlfriend. When Ellie disappears, the sister’s question the motives of everyone around them and Caroline makes an accusation that affects the futures of all involved. Joanna’s present-day enquiries uncover some unpleasant truths and put her in the sights of a killer….

Another complicated sister relationship here. Whereas in Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou, reviewed previously on this site, whose story was told through the eyes of one of the sister’s, giving I felt, a biased perspective to events, this story is told in the third person. There were lots of sinister characters here. The subject of child grooming and paedophilia loomed large. It was interesting to read how, despite Caroline’s discomfort around several of the male character’s over friendliness, their behavior was tolerated. I can certainly recall the odd over-familiar family friend, being a bit too cuddly, but as a youngster, being too young to realize the inappropriateness and too polite to make a fuss, you simply put up with it in a different era when lewd comments, bum pinching were accepted. Griffiths makes the most of several instances and suggestions of dodgy men, so that when Ellie is killed you have a raft of suspects. There is also more than a hint of Atonement by Ian McEwan here; with an accusation that is unable to be retracted. Is it entirely unfounded? Who is the perverted killer? Did they strike again?

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Rebecca Griffiths

This is English author Rebecca Griffiths (@rebeccagriffit7) second book after her debut novel, The Primrose Path (2016). After a successful business career which saw her working in London, Dublin and Scotland, she returned to her roots in Mid-Wales with her artist husband , their three vampiric cats and over-sized pet sheep.

I enjoyed this book in the main. The ending and reveal, left me slightly dissatisfied. The ploy of the person you least expect was pushed to an extreme, I felt. The explanations for the other suspects behaviour seemed contrived. I felt a little short changed. Part of the fun of reading a crime thriller is to try and work out who done it before the reveal, and I felt a bit cheated. But at least it was a surprise!

A well written book, which gripped me throughout and which I could see being turned into a TV series or film easily. So, download a copy or nip down your local book shop soon, because I don’t think it will be lying about on the shelves for long.

Reviewed by : Georgina Murphy

This book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of it visit their sites listed below. Then, if you get a copy and read it come back and tell us what you thought, we’d love to hear your feedback.

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DEAKIN’S SECOND BOOK IS GONE BUT BLOOMS INTO THE SPECTACULAR

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Gone Cover ImageAll good things must come to end, either by death or dispute. The maturity is accepting that people leave, friendships end, love vanishes and life goes on with empty feelings, sad smiles, and a broken soul.

This is something I am coming to terms with recently, owing to two of my best friends walking away from our thirty-five-year friendship over my refusal to accept their relationship with a convicted sex offender. This month’s second book review is a thriller, also about a group of people who also mysteriously walk out of their lives, it’s called “Gone” by Leona Deakin and is published by Black Swan (https://www.penguin.co.uk/company/publishers/transworld/black-swan.html) as an ebook on the 19th August and in paperback on the 3rd October.

When four people go missing from various parts of the UK on their birthdays after receiving cards from an anonymous source, daring them to partake in a game, the police don’t suspect anything. These people went voluntarily and are playing a game. But then the daughter of one of the missing persons contacts her neighbour’s brother Marcus Jameson, an ex MI6 Agent, and his partner Dr Augusta Bloom, a Psychologist, who together run a private investigation company dealing with unusual cases.

At first, they think it just four random disappearances across a couple of months, then with the help of the police, they discover there are over a hundred people missing supposedly playing this game. When one of the missing then returns home and brutally murders her husband in front of their young kids, Jameson and Bloom suspect there could be some sort of terrorist motive behind the game. As well as that, Bloom has realised all the missing share psychopathic personalities and that they are being singled out for this reason. But to what end? As their investigation digs deeper, Bloom and Jameson discover that they are now part of the game and are forced to take part in it. With psychopaths in all walks of life, is there anyone they can really trust? Can they stop this twisted game and find the mastermind behind it, and discover for what purpose is it being run, before another member of the public or one of their family or friends is hurt?

As well as the sense of loss running through my life in the past couple of weeks, I’ve also had to read this month’s choice for my book group, which was the Booker Prize winner Milkman. Well, I’m very glad that Gone came through my door, because compared to Milkman (I threw it down after twenty pages), the telephone directory was looking very appealing!

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Robbie Coltraine in “Cracker”(Denofgeek)

Deakin’s book on the other hand, is a sleep depriving, white knuckle ride from the first page to the dramatic conclusion at the end, that left me with a crick in my neck too.

The plotting is superb and the edginess of the story and the multitude of dark and sinister possibilities for why these people are targeted and then used is the biggest hook and the reason it’s an out and out page turner. When the two main characters started getting paranoid of people in public, I was so into this book, I too felt the need to look over my shoulder and became wary of people on public transport and in the street.

Deakin’s two main characters our straight out of the Mulder and Scully school of teamwork and interaction. There is a perfect chemistry of brains and brawn, Jameson is almost bond-esque, without the gadgets, while Bloom does all her fighting with her scalpel sharp mind. This book is similar to Val McDermaid’s Wire in the Blood which inspired the TV series of the same name and also in the same vain as The Cracker series starring Robbie Coltraine, as they both centre around the work of a criminal psychologist. But I felt Gone had a fifth gear as a result of its pace and the numerous possible threats to its protagonists along with the far-reaching consequences to the wider population. My hope is that Deakin can keep this is edge of your seat pace going forward into the next book.

It’s been a number of years since a decent crime series involving a criminal psychologist has stepped out of the shadows on to our book shelves and in this book we have the beginning of what could be a cracker (excuse the pun) of a series, written by a professional in the field. However, the public interest hasn’t waned, judging by the success of Netflix’s new Mindhunter series.  The level of detail in the book and the facts about those with this type of personality, speaks volumes about the authors expertise and allows you to be drawn deeper into this immersive and completely engrossing story.

This is English Author and occupational psychologist Leona Deakin’s (@leonadeakin1)

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Leona Deakin

second book. Her first one was a romantic thriller called Anomaly published in 2013, but didn’t feature Bloom or Jameson. She has previously been a psychologist with West Yorkshire Police and lives in Leeds with her family.

This is undoubtedly up there as one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and we are still in August, I am really looking forward to seeing if it becomes a series featuring these two characters or at least reading her next book.

So download it now as an e-book, or I dare you to put and order in with your local bookshop before they’re Gone…

 

Reviewed by Adrian Murphy

This review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of it go to their blogs sites listed below. If after reading this or any of the reviews you go out and get  a copy, comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d love to hear your feedback.

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THE FORTY FIVE PAGES SHORT OF THE YEAR IS ALL THAT’S MISSING FROM KAYS MULTI-LAYERED THRILLER.

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One Year Later CoverAs I was reading this months first book,  I was spending a long weekend in Kerry with my husband’s extended family. Nothing too sinister in the way of secrets involved, just a surprise 70th birthday celebration for his uncle. It had been planned over months and involved various relatives flying in or driving down to Kerry, caterers and, of course, a cake. All went off without a hitch, the birthday boy being left, for once, speechless. It was still interesting as a newcomer to the family to watch the interactions, the ancient but tolerated jokes and the acceptance of a few little irritations, which occur when a large group of people are forced together for several days.

The house we rented had access to its own private beach and there were some prior conversations regarding children and safety but as it turned out the beach was a good 15-minute walk from the house. Its easy to see how accidents may happen though.  In such a big group everyone assumes someone else is watching the children. Fortunately, the most dramatic event of this kind that occurred was myself being forgotten about at the serving of the party food, as I was keeping an eye on a three-year-old niece in a far-flung corner of the house at the time.

That is the premise of this month’s book, a family gathering following the tragic and untimely death of a young member. Its One Year Later by Sanjida Kay and published by Corvus Books (www.atlantic-books.co.uk) on the 1st of August .

One year after Ruby -May, Amy’s daughter dies in a tragic accident, the family go on a holiday to an idyllic Italian island to heal and repair family relationships. Once they arrive, they find nothing is as it seems and at least one of them hides a shocking secret. Things begin to spiral out of control and Amy wonders if all of them will make it back.

I can only imagine the horror and guilt that occur when a child drowns on a family property, as a result of a moments lapse of supervision. This is what has happened to Ruby- May, although for a while it isn’t clear what happened to cause her death. Guilt and recriminations have ravaged what was once a close family. Everyone is questioning their actions. Ruby-May’s grandfather has been blamed as he, we are told, was supposed to be looking after her. However, there is some suspicion that he has started to suffer from Alzheimer’s, so is he really to blame? The family go away for the anniversary of the death. Their father turns up as an unwanted quest and there are some other non family members along for the holiday too, such as their nanny and their sister’s personal trainer. Nick, Amy’s brother starts to question the events surrounding Ruby-May’s death . Also it seems someone is watching the family in their holiday home, creeping around. You begin to wonder if the family is safe.

I liked the way Sanjida Kay told the story from both Nick and Amy’s viewpoints. This gave you a different perspective to events. I enjoy books where the story is told by a different character each chapter and you slowly get the full picture. Here there weren’t too many characters to keep track of either. The plot was rather like an onion, with layer after layer slowly being unpeeled (and occasionally making your eyes water!) There was a slow build of tension to a clever twist or two and a satisfying conclusion.  In some ways this was Agatha Christie-esque with a limited number of suspects in an isolated location.  There were a number of red herrings to distract you too as almost everyone had a secret. It certainly had me turning stuff over between reads!

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Sanjida Kay (writingproject.co.uk)

Dante’s Divine Comedy is referenced at the beginning of the novel in an epigram and throughout by one of the characters reading it, and by his copy being seen in story locations. I have been thinking about its meaning in relation to this story. It has a link to the Italian location but I wondered if the author had referenced it in relation to the difficult path through grief or to the labyrinthine layers of secrets and pain to be worked through in this story in order for the family to reach a happier conclusion. I’m no scholar and it’s all a little too deep for me, but it piqued my interest. I wonder what others on the blog tour felt?

This is English writer and broadcaster, Sanjida Kay’s (www.sanjida.co.uk), fourth psychological thriller. The others are My Mothers Secret (2018), Stolen Child (2017) and Bone by Bone (2016). She’s also written a number of books of historical fiction including Sugar Island (2011) and The Naked Name Of Love (2009). As a result of her work on BBC televisions wildlife programmes she’s written books about nature and science as well as one looking at Mind Reading. She currently  lives in Somerset with her husband and daughter.

There are similar themed novels  to One Year Later out there, such as a particular favourite of mine, Liane Moriarty’s Truly, Madly, Guilty, which has been optioned for a movie by Reece Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman; but I see this giving that a run for its money. Its certainly a book I’d be recommending to friends, so don’t wait a year to get this gripping read.

Reviewed by : Georgina Murphy

 

This book is part of  a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of the book, please take the time to visit their sites listed below. If you read this book, please come back and tell us what you thought, it would be very much appreciated.

 

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OLGUIN’S ON THE RIGHT TRACK WITH A HIGH SPEED STORY FROM BUENOS AIRES

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The Fragility of Bodies CoverThe adage goes about regular gamblers, ‘that they’d bet on two flies walking up a wall…”. Years ago, betting shops where the only way to place a bet, primarily on horses and dogs. Also back then, they were predominantly a male preserve. Dark and seedy places, that gave off a totally uninviting image. Nowadays, you can watch live races while drinking freshly made coffee and, owing to the removal of the boards which covered the windows of their predecessors, they are now light and airy places that want to entice customers of any age or sex.

However, with the development of the internet and social media, the modern betting shop is on the decline and the ability to gamble is easier today than at any time in the past. But despite this there is still a dark side to gambling where, shady back street bookies and fronts for criminal organizations can launder dirty money while taking bets on any manner of weird activity. Although your perception of weird and mine may differ, but if you have the money, there will always be someone willing to bet against you on any activity you maybe watching or engaged in. Whether it be, dog fighting, hare coursing, a cockerel fight or people playing chicken with a moving vehicle.

The final example is the premise for this months second book review, it’s the Fragility Of Bodies by Segio Olguin, published by Bitter Lemon press on the 11th July 2019 (www.bitterlemonpress.com).

Veronica Rosenthal is a young Argentinian journalist with a leading weekly magazine in Buenos Aires. She decides to follow up what seem likes a straight forward crime piece on a train driver who has committed suicide, leaving a note saying he was sorry for the deaths of the four boys. What she initially thinks is the confession of a serial killer, leads her to investigate the unusually high number of suicides on the Buenos Aires railway network, which seem to all involve young boys. Talking to colleagues of the driver who committed suicide, she discovers that at the time of the incidents, there are reports of witnesses to the apparent suicides. Her investigation awakens her promiscuous streak and she starts up a relationship with the married friend and colleague of the driver, who has also been involved in a number of these supposed suicides. As things progress it turns out there is some sort of weird game being played here that the underworld is gambling on. Her investigation in turn brings her into direct conflict with the games organizers and this has implications for both her, her family and the families of the boys involved. Can Veronica stay one step ahead of the criminal gangs organizing this sordid game of chicken and in doing so complete her expose and save other boys from being needlessly killed and break the criminal network involved?

The first thing that gets you about this book, is that its lead character is not shy, especially in the bedroom department. Veronica Rosenthal has the morals of a tom cat and would give 007 a run for his money in the womanizing/man eating stakes. In this book alone, Veronica beds more than one man, including a priest…  So, she comes across as more of a nymphomaniac than a crusading journalist. Yes, I like my characters to be complicated and to have busy lives or interesting hobbies, but at times her insatiable sexual appetite ends up being more of a distraction.

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Sergio Olguin (Alchetron.com)

As for the main plotline this is a refreshing and totally believable storyline, People have been playing the dangerous game of chicken on railway lines for years. Figures from Network Rail in the UK for 2016 showed there were 8000 reported incidents of people on the tracks. Of that 555 were children and half of those killed on train tracks were under 25 years of age.

That this book is also set in a country with great divides of wealth and poverty and where the criminal fraternity thrive with their brothels and underground gambling dens, which allow punters to gamble freely on any sort of activity, while also praying on the weak and needy (in the book the participants are paid 20 Pesos for taking part and 100 pesos if they win). The Fragility Of Bodies is a page turner that had me intrigued from the first to the three hundredth and eightieth page, but again at times I did think it was a bit long.

Of the characters, Veronica and the two boys she ends up  trying to save are the onlyChicken with train interesting ones. The criminal and gangland figures are stereotypical and after that, there are many others who only serve to complicate and overcrowd an already busy storyline.

This is Argentinian author Sergio Olguin’s (@olguinserg)  first novel to be translated into English. He’s a successful writer in Argentina where his previous books have already been translated into German, Italian and French. In Argentina, he’s also a scriptwriter and editor of cultural publications. The Fragility Of Bodies is the first of a crime trilogy featuring the journalist Veronica Rosenthal.

So, if you are looking for fresh new story and heroine, set in the overcrowded and warm streets of the Argentinian capital, then you could do no wrong by getting in with Veronica Rosenthal. Then afterwards await the next installment of this series.

 

Reviewed by :  Adrian Murphy

 

This book is part of a Random Things Blog Tour. To see what the other reviewers thought, visit their sites listed  below and then after you’ve read the book, comeback and tell us what you thought. We’d love to hear your feedback.

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THEY WON’T BE WHISPERING HIS NAME AFTER NORTH’S REINVENTION,BUT SHOUTING IT FROM ROOFTOPS

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whisperman cvrIf you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken

We all have those rhymes or tunes which stick in our head and can become annoying; ‘ear worms’, as they are known in modern parlance. Sometimes a few evocative words, somehow familiar but out of context, will send you back to a moment in time, elicit a strong, visceral reaction or a sense of déjà vu. We don’t really understand how the human brain works to protect us from dangers or how our senses and bodies can act in an extraordinary manner when faced with danger. Maybe those instances of heightened sensitivity, foreboding feelings and ghostly warnings are just the chemical reactions in our brains, trying to help us.

This month’s book review is The Whisper Man by Alex North and published by Penguin Michael Joseph (www.penguin.co.uk/company/publishers/michael-joseph.html ) on 13th June, has two of my favourite things combined: crime fiction and the supernatural. I’ve always been fascinated by murder mysteries, serial killers and evidence of the paranormal since childhood. Jake, the child in this story has an imaginary friend. Common in only children, I had one myself , Caroline,  who had to have a place set for meals and took tea with me in my Wendy house.  Jake’s however, appears a little more sinister. She makes him repeat the rhyme, “if you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken”.

Jake and his dad, Tom have just moved to strange looking house in Featherbank village,

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Purple Emperor Butterfly 

to make a fresh start after the sudden death of Jake’s mum. Jake is understandably traumatised, and Tom is struggling to deal with his own grief and to form a good relationship with his son. Jake is a sensitive child but appears to be regressing into his own world and talking to an invisible person, who he says he hears whispering to him at night. Unbeknownst to them, Featherbank was the scene of a series of child murders some fifteen years earlier, by a killer known as The Whisper Man. He was caught and jailed. When another boy goes missing under mysteriously similar circumstances, the police revisit their investigations and Jake appears to be being targeted as the next victim. What links Jake and Tom to the investigation? Who is Jake’s ghostly friend? Is the whisperer real or a nightmare?

This book moved between the police investigation and the story of Jake and Tom’s attempts at recovery from traumatic loss very smoothly. Overall, I felt this was a book which looked closely at the relationships between fathers and sons. We are often more like our parents than we’d like to admit. Some of that can be due to nature and some to nurture but this book showed that while some men fall into repeating the sins of the father as it were, some do manage to overcome genetics and poor childhoods and blossom. This may all sound a bit deep for a crime novel but the characters are in the main, beautifully drawn. We get inside the heads of the men here. The women are support acts but good ones.

 

This is the first book by British author Alex  North (@writer_North), although not his first foray into  crime fiction as he previously wrote crime novels under another name. He was born in Leeds, where he studied psychology at Leeds University and where in a previous life worked in its sociology department. The Whisper Man was inspired by his own son, who remarked one day that he was playing with the boy in the floor. North currently lives in Leeds with his wife and son.

There were lots of twists and turns and plenty of explanations at a satisfying conclusion. If I had any any complaints I’d maybe think there was too much in way of coincidence, in the way everything fitted together so neatly. But that’s the joys of fiction . You can contrive a set of events to suit. I do love an aligning of the fates and a “fancy that” moment in real life so I shouldn’t question their appearance in a story, I guess. Tom seemed a little vague at times. Can you be married to someone and really know nothing of their upbringing? Then again, I’m not a quizzer of people myself. Sometimes you just accept people and don’t query.

This had a few genuinely creepy moments as well as a slow build of tension to frantic search for a killer. It should appeal to those crime readers and the fans of whispers and things that go bang in the dark.

So take my advice and get a copy from your local bookshop or download a copy. But before diving in to what has been described as the “Best Crime Novel of the Year”, remember to close the door fully, so you won’t be disturbed.

 

Reviewed by: Georgina Murphy

 

This book review is part of a blog tour organised by the publisher. To see what the other reviewers thought about visit their websites listed below. Then, if and when you get a copy and have read it, come back and tell us what you think. We’d love your feedback.

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PETROU’S SISTERLY DEBUT BURNS BRIGHTLY AMONG THE OTHER SUMMER READS

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Sister Of Mine CoverI’m an only child, and the offspring of two other only children so the opportunity to observe at first hand the joys and tribulations of sibling relationships has been pretty non-existent.  My grandparents had many siblings however; and I recognised that in their families there was an emotional intensity to the reactions between siblings, both in terms of unconditional love and in some cases, long held feelings of jealousy and dislike. I always wondered what it would be like to have a brother or sister myself and enjoyed books such as Little Women and TV dramas such as the Walton’s so I was intrigued to read this month’s second offering and todays blog tour entry, Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou, published by No Exit Press (www.noexitpress.co.uk) on the 20th June.

Hattie and Penny Grayson are sisters who have grown up in a small town. Everyone knows their troubled histories, but no one can know of the secret that binds them together. There is a fire, and someone dies, albeit a cruel and overbearing husband. Who is responsible and why? This shapes their future relationships with those they meet and each other.

This debut thriller was a very enjoyable read. Engrossing and thought provoking; I did, as the cover suggested, burn through it. There is a steady build-up of tension and a feeling of impending crisis throughout. The characters are very well described, and you feel you have great insight into their personalities and motivations because of this and the insights the slow drip of background history gives.

There was , I felt,  an interesting twist in perspective towards the end of the book , which I don’t want to spoil for other readers but I will say it changed my view of the main characters entirely and kept me mulling over the story and the effect a character being the narrator has on your perception of what is the ‘truth’. History is written by the victors as they say.

Despite sibling rivalry being a theme which has long been in our consciousness, with Cain and Abel , Romulus and Remus and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane to name a few disastrous relationships , this book to me felt fresh and not cliched. There were two strong female characters in lead roles, with the men playing minor, villainous or subservient parts.

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Laurie Petrou

There is a matriarchal  onus to the book with the memory of a deceased mother constantly shaping the sister’s behaviour. There were some moments of dark humour too.

This Canadian author Laurie Petrou’s (www.lauriepetrou.wordpress.com)  first book, her day job is an associate professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, at its Media School. She’s also the director of the Masters of Media Production program at the school too. In 2016 she won the Inaugural Half the World Global Literati Award, which honours unpublished works by female authors, featuring female protagonists, for Sister Of Mine. She Lives in a small town in Ontario’s wine country with her winemaker husband and their two sons.

Overall, I was surprised this was Petrou’s literary debut as it felt so assured. Also given its size coming in at two hundred and fifty pages, it won’t take up too much room in your luggage. I myself am looking forward to seeing what she produces next. Will it  top this Sister Act?

 

Reviewed by:     Georgina Murphy

 

This review is apart of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought, visit their blogs listed below. Then if you pick up a copy and read it, comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d all love to hear your feedback.

Sister of Mine BT Poster