Liz Currently Loves….The Corpse Bridge by Stephen Booth.

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Publication Date: Available Now from Little Brown/Sphere

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

The old Corpse Bridge is the route taken for centuries by mourners from villages on the western fringes of Derbyshire to a burial ground across the River Dove, now absorbed into the landscaped parkland of a stately home. When Earl Manby, the landowner, announces plans to deconsecrate the burial ground to turn it into a car park for his holiday cottages, bodies begin to appear once again on the road to the Corpse Bridge. Is there a connection with the Earl’s plans? Or worse, is there a terrifying serial killer at work?

Cooper and Fry – I’ve been with them since the start, I adore these stories, their setting, the characters and the always compelling mysteries. This one was no exception, it hooked me in immediately, put me firmly in the Peak District (a place I have never visited which must be rectified) and gave me a lovely weekend read.

In this instalment Ben is coming to terms with a tragedy and Diane is looking forward to being back in a city environment – when a body is discovered near the Corpse Bridge she is drawn back to work with Ben once more.

The absolutely best thing about Mr Booth’s novels is the ongoing ever changing relationships of the people we meet each time – Diane and Ben have a quirky unusual relationship that is ever ebbing and flowing, it keeps things interesting throughout. Everyone surrounding them are equally intriguing, you are more than happy to keep having a peek into their lives. On top of that, the crime and mystery elements are always extremely intelligent and keep you on your toes. Atmospherically speaking the sense of place is perfect. I may never have visited the Peak District but I FEEL like I have. I also think when I do go that it will all be very familiar.

Any of these novels could be read as a standalone but I recommend reading in order where possible – whilst each investigation is self contained the journey of the characters will pack a more emotional punch if you can see where they have been. The ending of this one was wonderful – I cannot wait for what comes next. The one issue of course when you read a book from a favourite series – there is always a seemingly endless wait for the next. Sigh. Chronic Impatience!

Find out more here: http://www.stephen-booth.com/

Follow Stephen on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/stephenbooth

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Corpse-Bridge-Cooper-Fry/dp/0751551732/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404115779&sr=1-1&keywords=the+corpse+bridge

Or start at the beginning….

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stephen-Booth/e/B001IXTTC8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Happy Reading Folks!

Why we Write – Drop in Feature – Guest Post from Neil Bursnoll.

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http://www.bourbonicafro.co.uk/blog/

 

Many creative types appear to suffer for their art with low self esteem and depression. Some of the most famous writers come under this banner – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King. I haven’t done the appropriate research, but it seems that having a strong affinity to wordplay opens up a much darker aspect of the brain.

 

The topic of this blog post is what makes me write – why I feel the urge to scratch the itch when a fantastic idea pops into my head. I honestly couldn’t answer it at first. I always loved to write, since I was a child. I used it to escape real life, to fashion a sweeping yarn that allowed me to venture into a non existent world. My stories tend to feature strong characters that may overcome the odds, but who are ultimately flawed deep inside. It’s indicative of us as a human race, how we project beauty and strength as being ideals, when we instead are destructive and greedy beneath the flesh.

 

It took me twenty-seven years of writing before I became a published author. I’d toiled for years over stories and ideas, but never had enough confidence to send it out there. I was most prolific in my late teens and early twenties, but as life started to open up for me, writing stayed as a mere hobby.

 

I did submit a short zombie story set in the Great Plague of London in 1665 to an anthology. I enlisted numerous help to tidy it up and make it all coherent, however I left it too late for submission and didn’t receive feedback. It inadvertently changed my outlook on how I should write.

 

I started to overthink what I was writing, and tended to repeat myself in sentences when not so much detail was needed. My wife summed it up perfectly when she called my writing ‘overly verbose’. It is fine for some descriptions, but I was tending to dump the entirety of what I could see in my mind on the page, rather than leaving gaps for the reader to fill in. I also swear I read somewhere that writing in the present tense was the better thing to do, however I have since seen this as something the vast majority of readers dislike.

 

I’d unintentionally taken a knock at being rejected from one story, and was trying to change my thinking rather than toil on the way I had been. With a lifetime of low confidence, it was a perfectly natural way of thinking.

 

Getting a book out there helped me immensely. Yes, it took me six years, but the sequel was out just over a year later. Having achieved the Holy Grail of being a published author has helped me rediscover my love for writing. If I had the time and it was financially beneficial, I’d write all day. As it stands I have a lot on in life, the same as everyone else. I’m just grateful for the times when I’m switched on enough to want to hammer my words onto the page.

 

Thanks Neil.

Try out one of Neil’s books for yourself.

Short Story: “A Frightful Encounter” Currently Free for Kindle:

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frightful-Encounter-Murkwood-Tales-Book-ebook/dp/B00K18XJOA/ref=la_B00CLFW8LG_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403849536&sr=1-1

Also Available:

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Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neil-Bursnoll/e/B00CLFW8LG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Liz Currently Loves…..Ostland by David Thomas

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Available now from Quercus.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

February 1941, wartime Berlin. Brilliant, idealistic young detective Georg Heuser joins the Murder Squad in the midst of the biggest manhunt the city has ever seen. A serial killer is slaughtering women on S-Bahn trains and leaving their battered bodies by the tracks. Heuser must confront evil eye-to-eye as he helps track down the murderer.
July 1959, peacetime West Germany: a pioneering young lawyer, Paula Siebert, is the sole woman in a federal unit investigating men who have committed crimes of unimaginable magnitude and horror. Their leader has just been arrested. His name is Georg Heuser. Siebert is sure of his guilt. But one question haunts her: how could a once decent man have become a sadistic monster?

This is not a particularly easy review to write it has to be said, because this novel made for extremely emotional reading but was also such a compelling page turner that its quite hard to know where to begin really.

Perhaps I’ll start with the basics – this is an intelligent mix of Crime Thriller, Historical Fiction and Fact all meshed together into one story that is at turns sad, horrific and thought provoking. Taking as it does one man, Georg Heuser, a man who in his early career tracked and captured the very worst humanity had to offer and in his later career BECAME that very thing, it was both a difficult read but one that grips and forces you to face some unpalatable truths.

There have been many books written about the Nazi’s and their “final solution” but I’m not sure I’ve read one before that has been done so well in bringing the realities of that time into such stark focus. Using a mix of  real life men and women and fictional characters to do so, the events of the story are all based in fact, the man at the heart of them was a real person, then into this mix Mr Thomas adds his well researched idea’s on the emotional details. I was at turns stunned by the horror of it all then contemplative about the lengths people will go to in order to survive. The story haunted my dreams and kept me reading long into the night – on occasion I was literally stopped in my tracks by the sheer scope of the bloodshed. Some portions make for extremely difficult reading and I often had tears in my eyes.

The story jumps between Heuser’s early days with the police and the later investigation and court case that saw him convicted of heinous crimes, you may be surprised at the ultimate outcome, it certainly shocked me. The heart of the tale of course is in the journey from decent human being to truly evil man, yet Mr Thomas manages to give him heart and soul, there were times when I felt genuinely sorry for him. Then I was horrified at myself for doing so – how on earth can there be any justification for such acts from anyone? Better to die than do such things surely, but a lot of the more gripping parts of this as a whole comes from the knowledge that not one of us knows how we would actually act when under such pressure. Therein lies the absolute brilliance of this – it will force you to ask yourself the tough questions.

Unbelievably good – terrifying and fascinating, completely addictive and really really poignant, I highly recommend this to everyone. Yes even the faint hearted – this is a story that needs to be told.

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ostland-David-Thomas/dp/0857389270/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403690015&sr=1-1&keywords=ostland

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Why We Write – Drop in Feature – Guest Post from Jane Isaac.

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First, I’d like to thank Liz for the invite back to her blog. It’s great to be here again.

I would like to say that I’ve been penning stories since I was nine and becoming a novelist was a lifelong ambition, but it just wouldn’t be true. In fact, I never really knew what I wanted to do until I reached my thirties.

The turning point for me was a year out that my husband and I took to travel around the world almost fifteen years ago where we kept a daily diary recording our experiences. On our return I found that the copious photos we took drew on memories, but it was reading the diary that transported me back to the sweet smell of Kuala Lumpur, to hear the of street music of Bangkok, feel the thick heat that pervades the wonderfully clean Singapore, see the red earth of Australia. Realising the power of words, I wanted to write more.

Some years later I enrolled in a creative writing course, studied journalism and did some freelance work for newspapers and magazines. Then I started the fiction module of the course and fell in love. Raised on Enid Blyton and later Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, I’ve always been a great fan of mysteries.

 

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As an adult I read many different genres, but crime fiction is still my comfort read. I love the psychological suspense of books like Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson and Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes alongside the police procedurals of Peter James and Jeffery Deaver so I set out to try to write page-turning books that I would like to read myself. I wrote a few short stories and in 2007, embarked on my first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder.

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I’m one of those annoying people with an overactive imagination and a keen interest in people (my mother always said I was nosey) and writing is a great channel for both these things. Basically it means I can sit outside cafés and ‘people watch’, all in the name of research! What could be better than that?

 

Jane Isaac was runner up, ‘Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2013. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduced Midlands based Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’ Her second book, The Truth Will Out, was released by Legend Press on 1st April 2014 and nominated as a ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com.

Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK.

www.janeisaac.co.uk

 

Thank you so much Jane!

Try out one of Jane’s delicious mysteries for yourself!

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Purchase Information:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Isaac/e/B007H9UUCK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1403600241&sr=1-2-ent

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….The Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham.

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Available now from Little Brown.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy

Tom Thorne is back in charge – but there’s a terrifying price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.

So as a long time fan of Tom Thorne, I was delighted to receive a beautiful copy of this book through the post one day, and even more delighted with how blinking good it was! I’m pretty sure its  my favourite for a very particular reason that I will come to in a while.

In this instalment Tom reluctantly accompanies killer Stuart Nicklin and a small group of people to Bardsey Island on the understanding that Nicklin will reveal the whereabouts of an old murder victim…but as the weather closes in the danger is palpable..

Absolutely brilliantly constructed this one – edge of the seat stuff with a slow burn – not that easy to achieve. Atmospherically speaking it is a marvel, and every step taken you just KNOW is going to lead to disaster, you can see it coming and can’t look away…I could hardly put it down. I’ve always loved how Mr Billingham can walk the line between character depth and thrilling plot development, never one being sacrificed for the other, I’m always right with the people all the way.

The build up to the extremely breathtaking and dramatic finale is perfect and all in all this was a most terrific read.

What made this even better? I could see this one in my minds eye so clearly as the rather addictive story flowed on because the setting was one that I know extremely well. Pwllheli will be my next (and hopefully last) place of residence, I have been house hunting in that area and I know every part of that world like the back of my hand after many many happy times spent there. Bardsey Island, Aberdaron, Abersoch, all alive in my memory and extremely well described here, so I absolutely lived this one. Thank you Mr Billingham!

A magnificent addition to the series, which just gets better and better. Long live Tom Thorne.

Find out more here: http://www.markbillingham.com/

Follow Mark on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MarkBillingham

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bones-Beneath-Tom-Thorne-Novels/dp/140870479X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403259320&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bones+beneath+mark+billingham

Happy Reading Folks!

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. One to savour.

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Publication Date: 3rd July 2014 from Picador.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

I’m actually not really sure what to say about The Miniaturist that could genuinely tell you how wonderful it is….this is one of those books that come along every so often that you fall totally in love with, even as it stomps all over your heart and soul..Whilst I was reading this one I was absolutely immersed in another time and place, as Nella’s world came to life around me. I was dazed and a bit tearful when I came to the end of it, and spent a good portion of time wandering without anchor. Thats how absolutely evocative and compelling it was.

Its an interesting one to be sure, because what you see is almost certainly not what you will get, it is beautifully unexpected in places with a gentle flow to the writing style that holds you within. A most remarkable debut indeed –  a masterclass in the use of language to stir the senses and the emotional core of a reader and make them lose themselves in the story, this is one that will stay with you long after it has finished.

The background, the fate of women in that time and the political and social attitudes of the day are so well woven within the plot, just simply there, the incredible descriptive prose lets you see exactly where things are occurring, and the characterisation is absolutely exceptional. As Nella explores her new life, comes to realisations about what is going on around her, you will be with her all the way. Marin is a remarkable woman, as is Cordelia, all three of these characters so different and yet all bound together by fate in often unanticipated ways. Magnificent.

I’m fairly sure I still havent even touched on how good this is. But thats all you get I’ve done my best. Just be sure to add this one to your reading lists and find yourselves a comfortable bolthole away from this world and enter the world of 1686 Amsterdam…

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…..

Find out more here: http://www.jessieburton.co.uk/index.html

Follow Jessie on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/jesskatbee

Pre-Order information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1447250893/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=090GQFP4YCBTNF6CE9QE&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455344027&pf_rd_i=468294

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….Artefacts of the Dead by Tony Black.

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Publication Date: 14th July 2014 from Black and White Publishing.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

It s a dead man . . . Can t you see someone s put a bloody great spike through him? The discovery of a dead banker sends shock waves through the sleepy coastal town of Ayr. And it s up to DI Bob Valentine recently back on the force after his near-fatal stabbing to find the killer. But leads are hard to find and the pressure is on from an anxious Chief Superintendent who is being hounded by the media and still has serious concerns about her DI’s mental health. And as it becomes clear that there’s a serial killer on the loose, Bob Valentine must battle the demons of his post-traumatic stress, an investigation team that’s leaking like a sieve and frightening visions that might just be the key to unlocking the mystery. Valentine is close to breaking point, but can he crack the case before he cracks up?

Tony Black has long been one of my favourite crime writers, most specifically with the tremendously gritty and addictive Gus Dury series, then last year he stunned me again with the truly emotional and wonderful  novel “His Fathers Son” – see here for what I thought of that one http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/his-fathers-son-by-tony-black-wonderful/ 

So to say I was rather excited when a beautiful proof copy of “Artefacts of the Dead” dropped through my door would be putting it pretty mildly, I managed to hold off on the reading of it until SLIGHTLY nearer publication day then my chronic impatience took over (doesnt it always?) so here we are.

This time it was DI Bob Valentine that stole my heart – back at work after being stabbed, he is languishing at the training college, wondering just what is going to happen to his career, when the stars align and due to a staff shortage he is tasked with tracking down a killer. Cue Mr Black’s trademark dark but ever realistic writing style, a case that has more of a reach than first appearances suggest and another massive page turner of the highest order.

This author never fails to remind me why I love Crime Fiction so much – the characters pretty much pop off the page, the fine line between dramatic license and realism is walked to perfection and whilst often violent and unrelenting there is also a finesse to it that means it is enough yet not too much. With this particular novel there was a definite spooky feel to it, with Bob himself walking a fine line between recovery and collapse and the whole thing was beautifully constructed and incredibly difficult to put aside.

Not sure there is much more to be said, as I tend to try not to give away plot details. Will Bob catch his killer and survive, faculties intact? You will just have to read to find out. And I would highly recommend that you do. Absolutely superb. As always.

Find out more here: http://www.tonyblack.net/

Follow Tony on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TonyblackUk

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Black/e/B003VMUM16/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Happy Reading Folks!

Interview with Neil White – The Death Collector.

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So having recently read and adored the latest crime novel from Neil White, I stalked him around the internet a bit until he agreed to answer a few questions for me and here is what he had to tell me.

 

 

A second outing for Sam and Joe – Easier or harder to write a second book in a series?

It’s a little bit of both.

When you start to write a book, the first thing you have to do is work out who’s going to be in it. What are their traits, their back-story, what history does each character have. The first one is hard because so much time is spent getting that right. With the second one, that has been done, but on the other hand you are stuck with the decisions you made for the first. Names and traits.

It’s easy to accidentally repeat yourself too, by forgetting that you’ve used a setting before, or sequence of events, or just spend too long reminding people of the characters.

On the whole, because the principal decisions have been made, it’s easier.

 

As the law is your day job, do you take a lot of inspiration from the cases you see at work?

As a prosecutor, I would not be allowed to base a book on a real case, so I don’t. That’s official.

What I do take from the job is the knowledge that whatever I can think of, I can open a file and find something worse. There are no limits to human depravity.

The main advantage is the fact that I’m comfortable in the field. I’ve come across forensic reports on most things and dealt with the police and courts at all levels, so if I’m researching something I don’t feel like I’m dealing with information that is alien. That doesn’t mean it’s never new or novel, but it makes getting to grips with a little easier.

The downside, of course, is that lawyering all day is mentally tiring, so I don’t often feel like writing when I get home. But the books won’t write themselves ….

 

I’ve always loved your death scenes, ever emotional and horrific –  do they come easy?

Thank you, Liz. I don’t know about coming easy, but I enjoy writing them. Death scenes should make you want to avert your eyes so I try to put a lot into them. I can perhaps get a little too gleeful when I’m writing them.

 

What made you decide to make your main protagonists Brothers?

It was really the culmination of a thought process.

I enjoy books where there are two characters working alongside each other; in fact, most crime fiction works like this. Even Jack Reacher has someone with him for the ride in each book. What works best is where there is contrast or conflict. Think Watson’s straight man to Holmes’s wayward genius.

In my first five books, I paired a detective and a crime reporter as a couple, as I thought there was conflict. As the reporter, he would want to find out about her cases and, as the detective, she’d want to keep him out of them.

With the new books, I wanted to go down a more legal route. I like legal thrillers. As a younger defence lawyer, I remember well the conflicts with police officers, where often the morality of my job was pointed out to me. I figured, therefore, that the two main characters should be a detective and a defence lawyer, because therein lies conflict.

It wouldn’t work as prosecution and defence lawyers, working on opposite sides, as most lawyers I know think of themselves as lawyers first, and their chosen side second. Most disapproval of defence lawyers is when they do something that isn’t in accordance with their professional obligations, rather than the morality of the client’s actions. There wouldn’t be conflict but mutual respect.

Once I decided that a detective and a defence lawyer was the most conflicted pairing, they had to have a relationship where they could judge each other. Old friends wouldn’t work, as they would just fall out and drift apart. So brothers seemed the obvious choice. Bound together by blood, pulled apart by professional choices.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about whats next?

More books, hopefully.

The back-story to the Parker Brothers, Joe and Sam, is that their sister Ellie was murdered on Joe’s eighteenth birthday, and the killer is still at large. Each brother was motivated to follow his own career path by that murder. Sam the detective by his admiration for the police, and Joe the lawyer by the prospect that the law might bring him into contact with Ellie’s killer.

The next book, The Domino Killer, brings Joe and Sam face to face with Ellie’s murderer.

 

 

Last book you read.

Con Law by Mark Gimenez. Like I say, I enjoy a legal thriller.

 

If you ruled the world one thing you would change.

I would get everyone to just chill out a bit. Let people have opposite views and stay at peace with your own.

 

Best thing about being a writer.

 

The sense of achievement, that you set out to do something that you weren’t sure you’d be able to, and it turned it out that you can.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Review:

Joe Parker is Manchester’s top criminal defence lawyer and Sam Parker – his brother – is a brilliant detective with the Greater Manchester Police force. Together they must solve a puzzling case that is chilling Manchester to the bone…
Danger sometimes comes in the most unexpected guises. The Death Collector is charming, sophisticated and intelligent, but he likes to dominate women, to make them give themselves to him completely; to surrender their dignity and their lives. He’s a collector of beautiful things, so once he traps them he’ll never let them go.

Firstly this is book 2 in this particular series – whilst it can be read as a standalone novel quite easily I would recommend you read “Next to Die” first if you havent already, if for no other reason than I can be pedantic about these sorts of things and it would make me feel better. Plus you would have two in a row then and that would surely make you feel better.

In this instalment the brothers deal with a miscarriage of justice, a new murder investigation gone awry and a dangerous killer that may be closer to home than they think. Some magnificent plotting once again, added depth to brothers Joe and Sam, at least one of Neil White’s trademark compelling death scenes and some edge of the seat moments made for a superb read once again. I literally bit my fingernails at the possible outcome for one character I loved dearly – Mr White has killed me once before when it comes to horrific outcomes,  no way I was falling for safe mode again or making any assumptions.

Tightly woven and absolutely addictive, completely authentic because its coming from a place of knowledge – of the systems, of the people who inhabit that world – and it shows, there were absolutely no downsides here for me, I was in it all the way. I still havent made up my mind which of the brothers I love the most, they are so very different and yet alike as brothers are, perhaps I should do the parent thing and say I love them both equally. The main point is they are very real and you want to follow along with them, in fact you can’t help it.

Crime fiction is one of the biggest markets and it is often difficult to see the gems in the myriad of choices out there – since I read Fallen Idols and fell in love with the writing I have avidly devoured everything Mr White has written and have never once been disappointed. Each one has been better than the last, this is no exception – Next to Die kicked off Sam and Joe’s story, this one improved and expanded on it and I can only see good things to come. If I could have the next 5 or 6 books now that would be fantabulous – where IS the Doctor when you need him…

I’ve been humerously accused of being Neil White’s biggest fan quite often – its a title I’d wear proudly and  not in a Kathy Bates kind of way either although I’m sure he would like to hide sometimes. There is a reason for this – its because the books are brilliant. Great writing, great stories, great characters, great mysteries. Every time. Whats not to love?

5 bright shiny stars and a Unicorn for this one.

Also Available:

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Find out more here: http://www.neilwhite.net/

Follow Neil on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/neilwhite1965

Purchase Information: The Death Collector: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Collector-Neil-White/dp/0751549479/ref=la_B0034P9CFW_1_7_bnp_1_har?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402902374&sr=1-7

Purchase Information: Next to Die: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Next-Die-Neil-White/dp/0751549444/ref=la_B0034P9CFW_1_3_bnp_1_har?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402902423&sr=1-3

 

Happy Reading Folks!

New Release: The Scar that Bleeds by Neil Bursnoll.

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Something is savaging Augustus Baltazar’s many wounds. Is the voice in his head the Shadow Lord, or is Solani tricking him with mind games? Can he stop the incessant rotting before it becomes too much, and consumes his very soul? DI Merrick encounters similar difficulties, after playing his hand that results in unexpected disaster. The loss of his closest colleague and the tragic circumstances of his past have become heavier than stone.

Find out which path they both take. For Stu, it could be a life of darkness and decay alongside the man of fire, or the understanding and openness with the woman he yearns and is slowly falling for. For Merrick, it could be a descent into darker territory, or a salvation that no-one is willing to offer.

 

So today see’s the release of the second book in the “Augustus Baltazar” series from local (to me) author Neil Bursnoll, I was lucky enough to get to read it early, I’d been looking forward to this one having very much enjoyed Book One.

Things grow complicated for our Stu in this instalment as he struggles to control his power and understand what is going on inside his head – those he cares for will get caught up in the aftermath of some pretty scary goings on, there is plenty of action (and a fair bit of horror) and best of all Stu’s nemesis Solani is back with a vengeance.

I liked this one even better than the last one – if anything it was even darker and I DO like my Urban Fantasy to have a bit of a kick to it. The Augustus Baltazar series hovers nicely between Urban Fantasy and Horror so fans of both genres will like this – there is a nice depth to the mythology created here and Mr Bursnoll does a good job of mixing the real world around us with the darker, hidden world of Augustus Baltazar.

This is a well rounded tale, and The Scar that Bleeds can easily be read as a standalone, there is enough information here to tell you enough about what has gone before without spoiling the original if you want to go back to it. Some well built characters, an intriguing premise and a nice flow make this a great little read. Some clever plotting means I am very much looking forward to finding out what’s next for Stu and co – I’ve a feeling things are not going to get any easier – he’s probably in for one hell of a ride.

This is definitely Urban Fantasy for adults – Not for the faint hearted but ultimately satisfying.

Find out more here: http://www.bourbonicafro.co.uk/blog/

Follow Neil on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NeilBursnoll

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scar-That-Bleeds-Augustus-Baltazar-ebook/dp/B00KYJ8N3S/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402648281&sr=1-5&keywords=neil+bursnoll

 

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Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel.

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Publication Date: September 10th 2014 from Picador.

Thank you to Ruth Hunt, the author and publisher for the review copy.

The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb.
News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
WEEK TWO
Civilization has crumbled.
YEAR TWENTY
A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe.
But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.

I read this a few weeks ago and its taken me until now to get over the book hangover and manage a bit of cohesive thinking about what I would like to say. Perhaps I’ll start by saying –  this is another terrific 2014 release that is definitely in the running for my Favourite Read of the Year (won last year by Pierce Brown’s wonderful “Red Rising”) and I’m going to be hard put to choose when we finally reach December.

Moving through past and present with a deft hand, Emily St.John Mandel weaves a magical and often emotional tale about a world in the throes of rebirth, using a brilliant cast of eclectic and wonderfully drawn characters and putting at the heart of it The Travelling Symphony – a mixed group of actors and musicians who bring some light to the struggle wherever they go. Their mantra “Survival is Insufficient” is a running theme throughout the book and whilst this is a most delicious story that will keep you reading long into the night, it is also extremely thought provoking, giving you time to pause and consider just what things should be important in life. This world has no technology to speak of, but despite the initial horror, may have gained something far more enchanting. If that is, things are allowed to evolve quietly – when the symphony falls under the watchful gaze of an emerging threat, a very different battle begins.

I don’t want to say too much on the plot, this is extremely cleverly constructed, using as it does only a 20 year gap between the “apocalypse” and the journey the symphony (and others) are taking. With tremendous insight into then and now, the memories of the “Old” world remaining intact amongst many, some of the most emotional moments come from those recollections. A true sense of nostalgia here for things that you and I still possess. The story flows over you, it is so beautifully written that you will absolutely live every moment.

When I came to the end I was bereft – I think I went a full 24 hours without picking up another book and that NEVER happens to me – so that alone should tell you something. I am truly hoping for more from this world.  Haunting, evocative and gracefully elegant,  yet with an absolutely accessible tale that could easily be called Literary AND an addictive beach read, I would highly recommend that you add this to your must read lists. Oh and that cover – isnt it stunning?

Find out more here: http://www.emilymandel.com/

Follow Emily on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/EmilyMandel

Pre-Order Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=station%20eleven&sprefix=station+eleven%2Cstripbooks%2C210&rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Astation%20eleven&ajr=2

 

Happy Reading Folks!