I have noticed that when police identify a murderer its common for his neighbours to exclaim that the person seemed so nice and normal, the phrase ‘very quiet, kept themselves to themselves’ is often used. Despite TV and cinema’s preference for the devious, risk taking, psychopathic serial killer, often it seems individuals become killers due to mental health issues, trauma or fear.  Do we really know those everyday acquantainces and work colleagues as well as we think. Maybe they have  secrets and hidden depths we are unaware of? Which what is examined in this months second book review, its A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon and published by The Borough Press ( ) on the 28th April.

In the book we meet Linda and Terry whose lives are unsettled from their normal routine by a series of local murders. At first there’s a sense of excitement amongst the locals who flock to the crime scenes as if for entertainment but soon fear takes over, especially as it becomes clear the serial killer might be one of them! Linda has already undergone a childhood trauma and moved to the area to make a new start.  After settling down with Terry she starts to wonder if this is all life holds? She sees the glamourous lifestyles pictured in catalogues and magazines delivered for her house’s previous occupant, Rebecca, and yearns for something more. She decides to try and track down Rebecca but is the grass always greener and why is Terry acting so oddly? 

I read and enjoyed Joanna Cannons previous book, The Trouble with Sheep and Goats and enjoyed the quirky story so much I recommended it as my book club choice shortly after. So I was delighted to be given the chance to review this,  her latest offering is another gentle, slow burn of a narrative but again Joanna really brings her characters to life. In Linda we have, I felt, one of those people who seems to be on the margins of things, that people don’t pay enough attention to, or take advantage of. You feel sorry for her and worry that she’s going to come off badly. This is reinforced by the insertion of a psychiatric hospital-based chapter every so often, which appears to be relating whats happening subsequent to  current plot events, and makes you think the worst has happened.

The thing I like best about Joanna Cannon’s writing is that she builds a feeling or belief that you have everything understood in relation to the story but then adds something which surprises you. Feeling smug and think you know what is happening? Think again! There’s also a fair amount of humour here, especially in some of Linda’s musings on her fellow characters. Plus, a masterclass in human behaviour observation. 

Joanna Cannon (The Times)

This English Author Joanna cannon’s fourth book, her previous novels were The Trouble With Sheep and Goats (2015), Three Things About Elsie (2018) and a memoir titled Breaking & Mending: A Junior Doctor’s Stories Of Compassion and Burnout (2019). She left school at fifteen and worked her way through various jobs, before returning to education in her thirties and qualifying as a doctor in her forties. her work as a Psychiatrist and interest in people on the fringes of society continues to inspire her writing, she lives in the Peak District with her family and four legged companion Lewis, whom she walks the fields with when not baking, watching football or reading.

Another brilliant novel from Joanna Cannon, that may sneak up on you or leap out of a dark corner with its understated cleverness and knock the wind out of you.

Reviewed by Georgina Murphy

This book is part of a Random Things blog tour,



The storming of The Capitol Building in Washington DC, in January last year, has been described as a failed coup. Some commentators may have claimed it was the closest America has come to a second revolution, but in truth, the US has been divided for years by race, economics, religion and geography, etc, etc. This has been fertile ground for the various militia’s, a disparate group of mostly ill-educated and brain-washed “rednecks”, who’ve been gathering in the backwaters of America for years, and have been aided in recent times by the rise of social media. This has enabled them to more easily promote their off the wall far-right ideologies, to a wider and more gullible audience. Most of these groups believe that the Republican and Democratic parties are corrupt, if any of these bandits got anywhere near the Oval Office and decision-making power, you’d be foolish to think, that that they’d be all things too all men. They too would act like any dictator who has swept to power around the globe in the past, they’d line their own pockets first and foremost. This months first book review is set in the world of the militia’s, it’s the Great American Boogaloo by Paul Flower and published by Farrago Books ( ) on the 31st March.

From his woodland bunker, Bo ‘Big Bruddah’ Watt’s has assembled an army of gun-totting militia men. When unfounded rum ours start circulating that the Liberal female President of The United States is going to tackle climate change by banning beef, snatching the great American hamburger from the mouths of patriots, he is determined to stop the president with the help of octogenarian Wilbur Tuttle and his private military enterprise, Silver Eagle Security, The plan is to kidnap the president’s daughter and launch a coup in tampa florida and then install a puppet president, then Big Bruddah and Tuttle hope to ignite the log-awaited insurrection militia members call the “Boogaloo”, what could possibly go wrong?

Yes, what could possibly go wrong? Well for me, I couldn’t get into this book. Maybe its because I think these guys are charlatans of the highest order and trying to make them look funnier and even sillier then they already are is unecessary as they don’t need any help. The book is two hundred and ninety-four pages in length, I got to fifty-six, a little over a fifth of the way in.  But I found the characters uninteresting and the whole story very unfunny. This is only my opinion, so please don’t let me take anything away from Flowers writing or the book overall. One man’s unfunny book is another mans “rollicking riot of insanity….”

I always tell people if you’re not feeling the love for a book, don’t prolong the agony, life’s too short… Also I have a rule, as I’ve stated before, if it hasn’t got you by fifty pages in, then it ain’t going to.

It could be just me, maybe if I comeback to it in a couple of months I might find it a likeable and humorous read, at this present time, though, unfortunately not.

Paul Flower

This is American author Paul Flower’s ( @flowerPaul ) third book his others are The Redeeming Power of Brain Surgery (2013) and The Great American Cheese War (2019). He has been writing professionally for over forty years, much of his career was spent in advertising and marketing. He’s also worked in broadcasting for a short time too. His writing has appeared in national and regional magazines. He currently lives in Michigan.

So please don‘t take my word for it, I would advise you to go out order a copy and then see if either you agree or think I’m the one who is literally off their rocker.

Reviewed by Adrian Murphy

This book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought, visit their blogs listed below. Then, if you get a copy, comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d really appreciate the feedback.