Author Interview: J B Morrison. The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81.

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I am pleased to welcome Mr Morrison to the blog today to tell us a little bit more about his novel, The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick Age 81 a very funny book, amongst other things.

 

Tell us a little about how the story started for you.
I was spending a lot of time commuting back and forth to Sussex to look after my 81 year old mum. At some point I started writing a story of  a completely different 81 year old living in Sussex. I had no idea what I was writing about at first, other than wanting to say something non patronising about ageing and living alone in modern Britain.

 

I laughed such a lot – how difficult is it to make things genuinely funny.
I have always instinctively made jokes about even the most serious things in life, so it does come fairly naturally to me. I have to trust my own taste in comedy when I’m writing. If it makes me laugh then it will hopefully be funny to others. Now that a lot of people have said how the book made them laugh I hope I don’t feel too under pressure to repeat that with the next book. I don’t want to have to try too hard to make jokes.
Frank is quite a remarkable character and the book is very life affirming – do you think age is mostly just a state of mind?
In a way I do. Although ill health and natural wear and tear may have other ideas. I’m definitely uncomfortable with ageing. I’m incredibly vain and more bothered by what other people might think about me than I should be. But I felt like that when I was in my mid thirties and I expect I will when I’m eighty.

 

The last book you read…
‘The Way Inn’ by Will Wiles
If you could live anywhere in the world….
There are a couple of places I’ve been to where I thought I wanted to live. Perth Australia and Los Feliz California, but I’d probably choose South Devon. I feel at home there. Can I have somewhere with an indoor swimming pool please. Detached. Near the sea. Thanks.
One rule to live by.

 

Be nice.

 

Author biog:

Born in London ages ago to his two parents, Frank and Jenny, J.B. Morrison is a musician and already the author of two novels – Storage Stories and Driving Jarvis Ham. Goodnight Jim Bob is an autobiographical account of his ten years as singer with punk-pop band Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.

With Carter USM J. B. Morrison had 14 top 40 singles and a number one album. He played all over the world, headlined Glastonbury and was sued by The Rolling Stones. He’s also made a ton of solo albums and written the screenplay for a film. Plus he was in a musical, in 2010 at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Is there no end to his talents? Yes. Everything not mentioned here. Don’t ask him to put up a shelf or cook you dinner. The shelf will fall off the wall and you won’t like the food.

Purchase Information:

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Frank Derrick is eighty-one. And he’s just been run over by a milk float. It was tough enough to fill the hours of the day when he was active. But now he’s broken his arm and fractured his foot, it looks set to be a very long few weeks ahead. Frank lives with his cat Bill (which made more sense before Ben died) in the typically British town of Fullwind-on-Sea. The Villages in Bloom competition is the topic of conversation amongst his neighbours but Frank has no interest in that. He watches DVDs, spends his money frivolously at the local charity shop and desperately tries to avoid the cold callers continuously knocking on his door. Emailing his daughter in America on the library computer and visiting his friend Smelly John used to be the highlights of his week. Now he can’t even do that. Then a breath of fresh air comes into his life in the form of Kelly Christmas, home help. With her little blue car and appalling parking, her cheerful resilience and ability to laugh at his jokes, Kelly changes Frank’s life. She reminds him that there is a big wide-world beyond the four walls of his flat and that adventures, however small, come to people of all ages. Frank and Kelly’s story is sad and funny, moving, familiar, uplifting. It is a small and perfect look at a life neither remarkable nor disastrous, but completely extraordinary nonetheless. For fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this is a quirky, life affirming story that has enormous appeal. And it’s guaranteed to make you laugh.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Extra-Ordinary-Life-Frank-Derrick/dp/1447252748/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405319389&sr=1-1&keywords=the+extra+ordinary+life+of+frank+derrick+age+81

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves…..The Last Tiger by Tony Black.

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Publication Date: Available now from Cargo Publishing.

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

It’s 1910 and 12-year-old Myko and his family have fled the Czarist occupation of their native Lithuania for the freedom of America—only to discover their ship has arrived in Tasmania, the once notorious prison island of the British Empire, known as Van Diemen’s Land. Myko wonders what will become of them as he watches his father, Petras, and mother, Daina, become anxious about how they will survive in this new land where tigers roam. Myko has never seen a tiger before, except in his picture books, and is filled with fear as stories of the tigers’ vicious attacks upon the island’s settlers are retold to him. He wishes his brother Jurgis was with him, but knows his sibling’s disappearance is something he should force out of his mind. But when Petras takes work as a tiger trapper and Myko discovers the den of the last tigers, the family are thrust into a fight over the last of these beautiful, wild beasts that will force dark secrets to the surface, and pit son against father.

This is the second time Mr Black has made me cry – the first time with the wonderful family saga “His Fathers Son” and now with “The Last Tiger”. I am going to have to have words…

What an absolutely amazing and fascinating tale this was – beautifully written, absolutely captivating and with an emotional resonance that will stick with me forever, I was completely and utterly caught up in the story of Myko and his family – and the alluring and graceful wild animals that come between them.

With a beautifully realistic sense of place and time, a truly addictive and heartfelt storyline and characters that pop off the page and straight into your heart, this is at times heart stopping, tear inducing and evocative reading. It is very difficult to put into words – but as the rift develops and deepens between Myko and his Father and  the truth begins to emerge about his brother, you will not be able to look away. And right at the heart of it is the “Last Tiger” – an animal that Myko is determined to protect but at what cost?

This was one of those novels that leaves you reeling. Another book that reminded me why I read in the first place, Mr Black is an enchanting and spellbinding storyteller – and with his family drama’s very old school in a way that I adore. “The Last Tiger” has just confirmed for me that it doesnt much matter whether what he writes in the future I’m going to be reading it. Absolute wizardry with words. Every time.

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

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

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Tiger-Tony-Black/dp/1908885556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405151091&sr=1-1&keywords=the+last+tiger+tony+black

Happy Reading Folks!

Joanna Courtney is born…Guest post from new Pan Macmillan Author.

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I’m VERY pleased to welcome Joanna to the blog today to tell us a little about her journey. She will be making a return visit in August so keep an eye out! 

Yesterday I signed my contract with Pan Macmillan to publish my trilogy – The Queens of the Conquest – and in that moment Joanna Courtney was born.

I went to bed and stared at the book I’m reading (the brilliant ‘The Secrets we Left Behind’ by Susan Elliot-Wright) and imagined my own in my hands. This is not a new dream for me. Like all wannabe writers it’s a vision I’ve cherished for years to keep me motivated but this time, amazingly, it isn’t just a possibility, or even a goal, but a reality. I may have to wait a year to hold my own novel in my hands but it IS going to happen and that’s a powerful thrill.

It’s been a long time coming. It turns out that everything they tell you about persistence and determination and perspiration and sheer bloody-mindedness is so, so true. It’s been fifteen years since I talked to my then-fiancé about changing jobs and we had the surreal conversation that’s eventually got me to this point:
‘What would you really like to do?’ he asked me as we stood in the kitchen of his grotty little flat.
‘Really like?’
‘Yes. Why not? What would you really like to do?’
‘Well,’ I told him, feeling weird even saying it, ‘there’s two things I’ve always wanted to do – one is run a bookshop and the other is write.’
‘So why don’t you?’ he asked.
‘What, run a bookshop? How would I…’
‘No, stupid,’ he said, as if we were discussing what to cook for tea, ‘why don’t you write?’

He made it sound so simple, so obvious even, and – bless him – I imagine there have been times in the long years since when he’s regretted it, but if so he’s never said and I thank him so much for that. He’s put up with tears and burbling and endless ‘that’s it, I’m going to get a real job’. He’s held me after rejection letters and forced me back to my desk the next day and he’s always believed in this madness so I’m really hoping to prove him right now.

The trick is holding onto the belief that writing is something you want to do and something that you can do and then just keeping on honing your work into something worthy of your ambitions. I’m not sure I’m at that yet but now I have a lovely editor, Natasha Harding, to help me and I’m really looking forward to having her input.

Above all else, it’s brilliant to have confirmation that I’m up to the task. I’ve been a published writer for many years in the women’s magazines and I have loved the way that securing editors’ good opinions has confirmed that I’m on the right path. Every year though, when I find myself inexorably drawn back to the X-factor auditions on TV (using the tried-and-tested ‘I’m watching it with the kids’ excuse) I have a tremor of fear that I’m like those dreadful people who arrive in ballgowns believing they are God’s gift to music and then open their mouths and produce aural diarrhoea. What if, I always wonder, it’s only me who thinks I can write? Hopefully I am now proving that’s not the case but every time I start a blank page I still believe I might have forgotten how to do it!

This is getting terribly serious and actually right now I’m feeling far more elated and excited and even giddy than anything deeper or more ponderous. I’ve been more or less living on bubbly since my dear agent, Kate Shaw (who has been with me in various encouraging guises for nearly 9 years without so much as a penny of commission until now) phoned me with the news that finally not just one but two publishers were interested in buying my trilogy. We had to pop a cork to celebrate that, then the actual offer, then the decision to accept and now the contract… It’s a miracle I’m sober enough to write anything but as my friend and very talented writer Tracy Bloom said at the launch of her fantastic book ‘No One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday’, a writer’s successes are hard-won and you have to grab any chance to celebrate them. Advice I have embraced!

Now that I’ve filled the recycling with heavy-bottomed bottles, though, I need to get on with my editing and with creating Book 2 and I can’t wait. PanMac and I have decided to embrace a pen name I’ve always wanted to use – Joanna Courtney. Courtney is my middle name and the name of my paternal grandma who I loved to bits but sadly lost just before I was sixteen. She was an American, brought back to Britain by my grandpa at the end of World War II, and her own father, Howard Swiggett, was a very successful thriller writer in the 40s and 50s so I hope this new name links me, just a little, back to him.

So – onwards and upwards to becoming Joanna Courtney. I have a feeling that what has already felt like a long journey has really only just begun and I hope to chart it here for anyone who might be interested. All comments and thoughts more than welcome on my facebook page or via twitter – @joannacourtney1.

About Joanna:

Joanna Courtney has wanted to be a writer ever since she could read. As a child she was rarely to be seen without her head in a book and she was also quick to pick up a pen. After spending endless hours entertaining her siblings with made up stories, it was no surprise when Joanna pursued her passion for books during her time at Cambridge University – where she combined her love of English and History by specialising in Medieval Literature.

 

Joanna continued to write through her first years of work and then, married and living in Derbyshire, in the sparse hours available between raising four children. She has flourished in shorter fiction and has over 200 stories and serials published in women’s magazines. Some of her short stories have been broadcast on BBC radio, she has won several fiction prizes and written and directed an award-winning play. She also teaches creative writing across the country and for the Open University.

 

Joanna is fascinated by defining moments in history, of which the Battle of Hastings is certainly one. The outcome of that momentous day is one of the big ‘what-ifs?’ of England’s past and she has loved being able to immerse herself in the world of the Anglo-Saxons, Normans and Vikings whilst writing The Queen’s of the Conquest trilogy. The first book will be published by Pan Macmillan in 2015.

Follow Joanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/joannacourtney1

Find out more: http://www.joannabarnden.co.uk/

Liz Currently Loves….The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

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Publication Date: 1st August 2014 from Harlequin (UK)

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

“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”
Mia Dennett can’t resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar. But going home with him will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

Now we all know I love a good twisty tale – and this was an excellent example – with some great characters, a wonderful flow and a genuinely intriguing mystery, cleverly constructed and very addictive.

Mia lives separately from her rich and influential family – when she meets a stranger in a bar, she impulsively agrees to go home with him – however he is not what he appears and soon she finds herself in real danger, cut off from civilisation and fighting to survive. Meanwhile, back at home, her Mother is determined to find out what has happened to Mia, despite her husband’s insistence that there is nothing wrong.

My favourite thing about this one was the way the story came together – short snappy chapters telling first one person’s story then another and set both in the before and after – cleverly done so you are often looking backwards as well as forwards – one event may lead you to interpret a previous happening differently. The characters are all well drawn, from Mia herself, her family,Gabe the policeman who searches doggedly for clues and right at the centre, my favourite person in the mix, Colin. The Man who took her away…

Add to that some intelligent plotting, a plethora of clues to follow, some wonderfully emotional moments and a bad guy you will fall in love with and you have a most terrific story that will make the dullest day flow past you at break neck speed. The ending lives up to the promise of the rest (I did in fact work it out quite a bit before but was REALLY hoping to be wrong) and overall this is a most terrific example of its kind.

Highly Recommended for fans of the psychological thriller and a story with a sting in the tail…

Find out More here: http://www.marykubica.com/

Follow Mary on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MaryKubica

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1848453116/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1W1BY9TK0G26XWRK52GW&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455344027&pf_rd_i=468294

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….Only Ever Yours by Louise O Neill.

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Publication Date: Available now from Quercus

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

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.
For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.
Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

So I read the final page of “Only Ever Yours” and was incoherent for about half an hour. Literally. Thats how good it was. Unbelievably believable, , compelling, utterly riveting and scary as hell when you think how much of this imaginary world could so easily be our reality given a simple twist of history or fate, I was completely undone by the whole reading experience.

We follow along mostly with frieda – she’s an “Eve”, a female bred for the pleasure or service of men. She is at “school” learning to be perfect, respectful, pleasing and beautiful, and hoping to be ranked in the top ten which almost guarantee’s that she will become a companion, wife to a man with the sole purpose really of bearing him sons. Each day is filled with a number of classes and activities to ensure perfection in all things – weight, skin, hair, and attitude. When Frieda’s friend Isabel starts gaining weight disproportionately, Frieda is torn between supporting her in her time of need and maintaining a distance. But Isabel is behaving strangely and all is not as it appears.

It is really difficult to put into words the impact this book has – Ms O Neill has a unique writing style which literally pops off the page – you are drawn into this strange yet oddly familiar world – where even when there is a drug for everything, the young girls face the same issues that can be found in our world. Bulemia, anorexia, self esteem issues and peer pressure. The school environment is very similar to high school – the popular girls rule, any sign of being different is frowned upon. As the time moves ever closer for the ceremony that will see the girls move into their next life as either companion, concubine (basically prostitutes)  or chastities (those who remain in school and teach the next generation) frieda’s world starts to disintigrate into madness as she struggles to maintain her worth. It is heart pounding, captivating and often hard to read.

I am deliberately being a bit obtuse about plot details – it will shock you, enthrall you and completely absorb you during the time you are in it, but if I tell you too much of the whys and wherefores the impact will lessen. And that would not do, oh no not at all.

This book is most definitely “The Handmaids Tale” for a new young generation – Whilst it is dark, uncompromising and utterly daunting to read as a woman, it is and should be a classic in the making. If you want a happy read, an uplifting and redemptive tale then look away now – this is stark, unrelenting and absolutely gut wrenching,  yet completely  fascinating and will make you consider a lot of things. If my daughter were still a teenager I would be throwing this book at her. I’m probably going to throw it at her anyway. This one will stay with me for a long time.

Basically, just read it now. Thats all I really NEED to say.

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

Follow Louise on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/oneilllo

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-Ever-Yours-Louise-ONeill/dp/184866415X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404816488&sr=1-1&keywords=only+ever+yours+louise+oneill

Highly HIGHLY recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell.

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Publication Date: Out Now from Randomhouse.

Source: Goodreads Giveaway – thank you kindly.

Meet the Bird Family
All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.
But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart.

Admittedly I have never read a Lisa Jewell book before – which tends to make people frown at me – so when I received The House We Grew Up In as part of a Goodreads Giveaway I was very excited. And boy, was this good or was this good?

Jumping between past and present we meet the Bird family. In the past, we have a seemingly idyllic childhood – Easter egg hunts, a laid back and relaxing lifestyle, full of fun and laughter and togetherness. Jump forward in time and the family are separate and fractured – as we begin to discover why, and watch them try and put themselves back together, it is emotional and fascinating reading.

Filled with a plethora of intriguing and very real characters, this was a wonderful reading experience. At turns sad, funny, unbelievably emotional and always compelling it was one of those novels you force yourself to put aside occasionally so you can savour the moment you come back to it – and of course, make it last just that bit longer..

I think my favourite pair have to be the enigmatic and very troubled Lorelei, offset by steadfast and opposite daughter Meg – as a real insight into how our upbringing can affect us, Meg is an almost perfect example for many reasons – having said that Ms Jewell manages to make every single character here deliciously captivating. As we see how each one reacts to tragedy, there is a depth and resonance to it that you don’t find in many family drama’s and I was totally hooked throughout.

Pyschologically speaking we have a look into a very real problem faced by some people – I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil the story – but that part of the novel is obviously well researched, absolutely fascinating and told in a genuinely moving way. Some of it did bring tears to my eyes.

Overall a fabulous and poignant tale of family – immediately putting Lisa Jewell on my must read list. Indeed I am reading “The Third Wife” as we speak – so I daresay you will be hearing about that one soon.

Follow Lisa on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/lisajewelluk

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/House-We-Grew-Up/dp/0099559552/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404722118&sr=1-1&keywords=the+house+we+grew+up+in

Currently Reading:

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Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves….The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre.

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Publication date: 17th July 2014 Hardback – Kindle edition available now. From Orion.

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

Deanna Madden, aka Jessica Reilly, hasn’t touched another person in three years.
She hasn’t left her apartment.
She makes money from performing to webcams on a sex site, where her clients pay $6.99 a minute for her time.
She’s doing alright. The dollars are piling up in the bank. She’s the number 3 model on cams.com.
And she hasn’t killed anyone for years.
But when Deanna sees on the news that a little girl called Annie has gone missing, the story rattles her carefully ordered world. It’s uncomfortably similar to the dark fantasy of one of her most disturbing online clients. She’s convinced he’s responsible for the girl’s abduction – but no one will listen to her.
So, after three years, Deanna finally leaves the apartment.
And this is what happens..

This book in a soundbite: Sexy as hell and deeply disturbing.

I loved it, in that way that you do as a reader when you immediately connect with a character like I did with Jessica. Damaged and beautiful, she works as a camgirl, hides herself away and never leaves her apartment – her urge to kill is so ingrained into her that she believes any real contact with the outside world will end badly. For those she encounters, not her. As she says, she doesnt play well with others…

As we learn more about Jessica and what has led her here, it is utterly compelling and actually very emotional – I loved her attitude, her determination, felt sorry for her loneliness, appreciated her dark side which is offset by a moral code that even she doesnt realise she possesses a lot of the time. Ok, the sexually explicit content as she describes her life as a camgirl may not be for everyone but Ms Torre has done an absolutely amazing job in making it both strangely fascinating yet imperative to the understanding of the person, her motives, and of course what comes next….

There is some clever play on the relationships that Jessica DOES develop – the psychiatrist she uses, the man who delivers her parcels, the lad down the hall who locks her safely into her apartment every night – and of course all those online encounters that mean when the axe falls Jessica has a whole world of knowledge to fall back on. When she realises that she may be the only hope that young 6 year old Annie  has of surviving, she embarks on a journey that is dangerous, utterly thrilling and kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole of the last portion of the book. Constructively speaking this was intelligent writing at its best – every step Jessica takes is utterly realistic because you KNOW her. Very very good indeed.

This is an astute, imaginative and creative character driven tale with a very dark heart that will keep you turning the pages long into the night – for me it was all about redemption for Jessica, I hoped throughout that everything she does will end up giving her release from her demons and the hope of a more normal life. Add to that the very thrilling mystery aspect of this -a child in danger, always an impassioned subject, the truth about what happened to Jessica before her life as it is and you have a terrific all round read with a depth that may surprise you if all you have to hand is the synopsis. Give this one a go, I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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

Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ReadAlessandra

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-6E-R-Torre/dp/1409153495/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_2_har?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404542903&sr=1-1&keywords=the+girl+in+6e

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Its Book Break Day!

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BOOK BREAK – the new online book show series – Episode 6

Log on during your lunch hour for the sixth of ten monthly shows where author Alexandra Heminsley is joined by Jessie Burton and Jonathan Harvey who will be talking about their new books and we’ll be talking all things summer reads with industry insiders.

 

 

Broadcast date: Friday 4th July
Broadcast time: 12:30pm 

In episode six of BOOK BREAK, anchored by author Alexandra Heminsley (Running Like a Girl), we are joined by Jessie Burton, an actress and debut novelist and Jonathan Harvey, the creator of Gimme Gimme Gimme, one of the star writers on Coronation Street and already an award-winning novelist. 

 

Jonathan Harvey’s The Girl Who Just Appeared is a poignant, funny read which follows Holly (who was adopted as an infant) in the present day and Darren (who is negotiating life with his errant mother and the younger brother he is bringing up) in 1981. Flitting between the present and the past we gradually discover how Darren and Holly’s lives become intertwined.

 

Jessie Burton’s debut, The Miniaturist, is a story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth set in 1686 in the home of the illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, told through the eyes of his new bride Nella.

 

We’ll also hear from Ellen Feldman in our writer’s room segment where we’ll delve into her writing rituals. Finishing off being transported to an industry party, we’ll hear from publishing insiders on their recommendations for summer reading- from those already on the shelves to books that haven’t even been published yet.

 

Follow #bookbreak on Twitter, subscribe to the Pan Macmillan’s YouTube channel or watch the broadcast right here at 12:30pm on Friday 4th July. 

Alexandra Heminsley is joined by Jessie Burton and Jonathan Harvey for Book Break which will be broadcast on Friday 4th July 12:30pm at http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/book-break-6

For more information http://www.panmacmillan.com/

 

Hashtag: #bookbreak

Lets talk about Broadchurch….

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Publication Date: 14th August from Sphere.

Thank you to Erin Kelly for arranging the review copy.

In the sleepy British seaside town of Broadchurch, Detective Ellie Miller has just returned from vacation, only to learn that she’s been passed over for a promotion at work in favor of outsider Alec Hardy. He, escaping the spectacular failure of his last case, is having trouble finding his way into this tight-knit community wary of new faces. But professional rivalry aside, both detectives are about to receive some terrible news: 11-year-old Danny Latimer has been found murdered on the beach.

Right, so, the UK tv sensation of 2013 completely passed me by. Oblivious was I, having watched 10 minutes of the opening episode, then getting distracted by a book or possibly even by chocolate. Luckily I also managed to avoid any and all spoilers, so for me, apart from the fact that there was a body on the beach, I knew nothing.

When I found out that the novel version was to be penned by the devilishly twisty mind of the lovely Erin Kelly I was literally chomping at the bit – for many reasons. Firstly because I adore her books anyway and secondly, being the only person on the planet who did NOT know who murdered Danny Latimer, I wondered if I could work it out. We’ll come back to that one. First lets look at the book overall.

This was a genuine page turner for me, haunting, evocative, looking at a small town coming apart at the seams after a most horrific event. As suspicion rises in all quarters, it was compelling stuff. Its probably good that I can’t make comparisons between the tv portrayal of David (swoon) Tennant and Olivia Coleman and the characterisation provided by Ms Kelly here of Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller, but both of those characters came to life in my head, as did every single one of the others. Emotionally speaking this was a shot straight through the heart – the grief bang in the centre of the Latimer family is brought into stark contrast by the police investigation going on around them – I did often have a tear in my eye especially when Danny’s mum Beth was having her darker moments, alone and in pain.

So yep, packing a definite emotional punch, one that I can’t imagine will be outdone by the viewing of it when I do that – I’ll move onto the heart of the mystery – just who DID kill Danny Latimer and why? Well according to many many people who I have spoken with, on the screen it was glaringly obvious. In the hands of Erin Kelly? Not so much. In fact I got it completely wrong. Utterly, I’m actually embarrassed that now she has had me twice on the twisty turny stuff, once with The Burning Air and now with Broadchurch. When I look back I realise that everything I needed to know was right there – what this author does so well is not hide the facts but make you look the other way. Misdirection. Cleverly done – especially since in this instance she was working from a story already told and to someone elses script. At which point I should say I am VERY much looking forward now to seeing Chris Chibnall’s vision of this story. I have planned to write another blogpost once I have done that to do a direct compare and contrast.

For now though I think that if you did watch the show, and loved it as many did, then this novel will absolutely enhance and expand that experience. Because for me, it would not have mattered one little bit if I had already known the culprit, the heart of this novel is not in the whodunnit, but in the emotionally charged atmosphere of the people and place involved. In a community where everybody knows everybody else and there is nowhere to hide, still Broadchurch has many  devastating secrets buried just below the surface. And as brilliant as ALL the actors who took part in the show surely are, you cannot see what they are thinking, feeling at depth or considering doing. That is where the novel will absolutely beat the visual medium I have no doubt. Because Erin Kelly can write characters straight out of real life and onto the page – in this case with a deft hand and an imaginative turn that will hold you gripped within the boundaries of Broadchurch for a good while.

Brilliantly done, loved it!

Follow Erin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mserinkelly

Follow Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisChibnall

Tell me your thoughts @Lizzy11268 using hashtag #BroadchurchNovel

Pre- Order information:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Broadchurch-Erin-Kelly/dp/0751555584/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404289885&sr=1-1&keywords=broadchurch

Happy Reading Folks!