Latest Reads: Penance Kanae Minato

Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland

Source: Netgalley

When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.
Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emily’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.

I read Confessions from this author and loved it, a one sitting read and Penance was another one sitting read. It was strange and dark, occasionally heart breaking and beautifully done. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel I was immediately hooked in to this tale of a group of children caught up in the horrific murder of one of their friends, a sinister threat from the girls mother and how that affected them growing up..

Penance is less a murder mystery and more a character drama – the murder, and the mothers emotionally charged “threat” setting off a chain of life events for the 4 girls and indeed for the mother herself. Each girl tells her tale, about that day and about their lives after, all of them in one way or another end up paying that “Penance” that was demanded of them at a young and impressionable age. Kenae Minato really delves into personality here, taking us on a twisted, atmospheric journey through the lives of these characters, whose realities differ so much but all are tied into a seemingly unbreakable bond to that one event.

The cultural aspects are equally involving, as I read I got a real sense of both the differences and the similarities between life in Japan and life here – there are different expectations, different society rules and hierarchy, but people are people everywhere. Grief, love, trauma, those things have no borders and I was struck by how beautifully the author managed to portray the feelings, the passion, the core heart of everyone we meet within the pages.

Utterly riveting, everything in Penance hovers underneath the surface, the decisions made, the actions taken, all informed by the past  at differing levels. The plotting is taut and extraordinarily clever, its not until you come to the end of Penance and look back at it that you understand fully the complete tragedy. Because Penance is a tragedy, almost Shakespearean in nature, I devoured every word of it with a shivery intensity.

Absolutely Highly Recommended.

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Latest Reads: My Sister by Michelle Adams

Publication Date: 20th April from Headline

Source: Review Copy

Two Sisters:

You don’t get to choose your family.

She thought she’d never go back home.

But there’s something in her sister’s voice she just can’t refuse.

And hasn’t it always been that way?

What her sister asks, she does . .

A really stand out psychological thriller here from Michelle Adams – great depth to character and setting, beautifully done, not easily anticipated which is a huge plus and generally I’m a big fan of this one.

The two sisters are oh so very different – Irini, given away by her parents, never grasped the full reason, over the years her intermittent contact with sister Elle brings a whole world of trouble. When we meet Irini she has spent a while trying to escape Elle’s vortex, moving and hiding, again we are not sure why but a single phone call brings her back into Elle’s world and back into that destructive sphere of influence.

I loved My Sister for its eloquent descriptive sense, especially of the relationship between the sisters which is difficult to grasp and even harder to hold onto. Michelle Adams brings a sense of menace to the whole story but mostly to Elle who is  definitely a character I will never ever forget. Divisive, out and out scary occasionally, her loyalties questionable but unbending – it is no surprise that Irini cannot stay steady or react logically in her presence. Irini has been formed by that sense of abandonment, that inability to discover why she was discarded. Both Elle and Irini are fascinating, compelling and completely unpredictable, it is gripping gripping stuff.

The plotting is taut and effective – sitting at the heart of it, these two girls, but the multi layered mystery element is completely clever, the resolution when it comes is one of those you go away and think about for ages afterwards. My Sister is about family dysfunction, about parental love and security, about what you do to keep those you love safe. It is a psychological thriller with a whole heap of heart and I was agog at every page. You know how sometimes you actually talk out loud to a book while you are reading it? Ok maybe that’s just me then but “My Sister” and I had many discussions. I could not put it down.

Flipping awesome.

Highly Recommended.

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Fatal Music – Peter Morfoot. Blog Tour Extract.

Today I am very happy to offer you an extract of Fatal Music by Peter Morfoot  as part of the blog tour – the novel is available now from Titan books  and details follow.


The doorbell rang. And rang again. Léo had a key and no john knew the address. Stubbing out her cigarette, she went to the door and peered through the spy hole. It was a policeman. Uniformed, the safer kind. And in a hurry by the look of it. She took a moment to compose herself and then opened the door sharply to the limit of its chain.


‘Mademoiselle Daviot?’

‘Who wants to know?’

‘Mademoiselle Cristelle Marie Daviot?’

Granot arrived at the morgue just in time to oversee the ID process. He and Darac had decided to tell Cristelle only that her grandmother had drowned in her hot tub. On seeing the look in the young woman’s eyes, it was the correct decision.

‘You don’t have to do this, mademoiselle.’ Sod Dr Carl Sodding Barrau. ‘We could get dental records.’

‘It’s alright.’

‘You sure?’

She set her jaw. ‘Yes.’

‘This way, please.’

He led her into a small room containing only a TV monitor. The screen was blank.

‘May I smoke?’

‘Sorry.’ Granot reached up and removed the battery from the smoke alarm. ‘It’s not permitted.’

Cristelle lit up, offered him one – he declined – and sucked in a lungful of familiarity.

‘Are you ready?’

A nod.

Granot turned on the TV. He had to admit that in such a short time, Barrau had done a remarkable job on the right-hand half of the drowned woman’s face. And with the mutilated and missing parts of her skull hidden by cloths arranged to mimic bedclothes, the effect was as natural as could be imagined.

‘Mademoiselle, do you recognise your grandmother, Jeanne Honorine Mesnel?’

Shaking, Cristelle blew smoke, whispered that she did and then lost her cordon-bleu evening all over the floor.

‘Léo.’ She groped around in her handbag. ‘I need Léo. I have to call.’

‘What’s his number? I’ll ring him.’ Granot steadied her as she found a tissue. ‘There’s a bathroom across the hall if you want to use it.’

‘No, no.’ She closed her bag. ‘I’ll ring later, it’s alright. Across the hall?’

‘Hang on to my arm, I’ll take you.’

‘You’re very kind, Lieutenant.’

Cristelle’s stomach had settled by the time the police driver returned her to her apartment. She went to bed wondering how long she would have to wait. How long before she could enjoy stretching out in the sun? How long before gazing at the sea through a curtain of fumes would be a thing of the past? Not long, presumably. A smile giving way to a smirk, she lit a cigarette. ‘Thank you, Grand-mère,’ she said aloud. ‘Thank you, at last.’

About the Book:

Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle is called to a potential crime scene – an elderly woman found dead in her hot tub. At first it is thought that she died of natural causes, but a surprising link with Darac’s own life leads him to dig deeper. In doing so he uncovers disturbing proof that there may have been a motive to kill the woman, and there is no shortage of suspects…

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Faithless – Kjell Ola Dahl – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date:Available Now from Orenda

Source: Review Copy

Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back and this time, it’s personal… When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he ponders the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda investigates a disturbingly similar cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway and Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers – and the killer – before he strikes again.

Faithless is the first of this series I have read, which was not a problem, the characters round out nicely you don’t feel you have missed anything.

Faithless is more of a slow burner of Nordic Noir, the author bringing many layers to a beautifully atmospheric mystery – Giving one of his main protagonists, Frank, a bit of a headache and drawing the reader into his life and past in a highly intriguing fashion. Brilliantly translated by Don Bartlett, there is a wonderful flow to Faithless that sits well in the Nordic Noir genre, something I read a fair bit because it offers a genuinely different feel to things – Faithless is an excellent example and I’d even say would be a good book to give you a killer start if you’ve not read within these books before.

I was especially impressed and fascinated with the group dynamic Kjell Ola Dahl brings to this novel – with a cold case and a hot case raging on, the various strands and various characters are perfectly placed, it was easy to pick up on some of the history and understand the relationships. The mystery itself has enough twists and turns to keep your brain busy, it was a really really engaging read.

Oh, also, Killer ending. KILLER. Something I’ve been seeing a few times this year in my reading and am loving the sudden crop of authors writing clever and unpredictable finale’s – here is another one. Kudos.

Overall a tense, intelligent and character driven crime mystery that I have no trouble at all recommending. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series as they are translated.

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Dead Woman Walking – Sharon Bolton. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: 20th April from Transworld.

Source: Review Copy

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all.

Another bang on target crime novel from Sharon Bolton  – cleverly twisted plot with some great characters, emotional themes and once more is a genuine page turner. Also Nuns. Loved the Nuns.

This authors plot weaving, game changing, impressively engaging prose is second to none in the crime field really, doesn’t really matter what you expect to get, you’ll end up sent all round the houses and back again. I loved this – clever and totally riveting. Two sisters, a balloon crash, a bad  guy and a gun – edge of the seat stuff but still considered, intelligent plotting and multi-layered characters with an atmospheric sense second to none, that is what you will get here.

The sibling relationship, one both divided and yet solidly together, is one of the stand out layers in “Dead Woman Walking” – Ms Bolton really lays on the emotional trauma, building the tension with short snappy chapters and a slowly drawn out history, but one thing I love more than anything is that she doesn’t need plot devices or cliche’s to keep you guessing or keep you engaged  – the story just pings along with its own sense of self and you are utterly utterly gripped from first page to last.

I won’t give anything away obviously but Dead Woman Walking is truly brilliant, like a movie in book form, pulling you along with the ebb and flow of it, I have to give a nod also to the scene setting which is truly immersive. Loved it.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I went all capital letters and everything…

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The Magicians Lie – Greer Macallister – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Legend Press

Source: review copy

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. But one night she swaps her trademark saw for an axe.

When Arden’s husband is found dead later that night, the answer seems clear, most of all to young policeman Virgil Holt.

Captured and taken into custody, all seems set for Arden’s swift confession. But she has a different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless, and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding.

I have mixed feelings about The Magician’s Lie (even though I enjoyed it thoroughly) I thought the writing was GREAT, got all caught up in the story then it fell somewhat, away from the description of it. Not necessarily a bad thing but this one does not do what it says on the tin, at least in my opinion. The title suggested some sort of something that never really materialised. The Magician’s life story as told to the policeman that arrested her was highly compelling but somewhat unexpected based on the blurb which seems to imply either a kind of “now you see me” type magic twisty story or at least a strange or unusual outcome.

That was not the case – this was more drama than thriller, more character study than mystery and as THAT it works extremely well. Arden is an intriguing character whose life is fascinating – Virgil is the one chosen to hear her tale and as it unfolds you will find it positively gripping. There is an atmospheric tone to the writing which sets the scene beautifully, there is a wait and see kind of feeling to it, the occasional insight into the world of magic is intriguing and overall this was a wonderful read.

Enjoyable, clever characters and an emotive story make The Magician’s Lie a great story but I would recommend going into it with no expectations and just going with the flow.


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Latest Reads: How To Stop Time Matt Haig.

Publication Date: 6th July from Canongate

Source: Review copy

I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.

He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him.

The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love.

How To Stop Time is a beautiful work of fiction – you know I read a lot of books (this is actually book 120 for me of 2017) and I don’t think I have ever read an author that just grasps and conveys the vagaries of human nature quite like Matt Haig does – in a way that makes you feel like he is writing just for you. The emotional sense of his writing is enduring and never anything less than compelling no matter the story being told or the premise that starts it.

So there is that – and How To Stop Time falls firmly under page turner, with a  dash of passionate prose, a smattering of emotional trauma and a big hit of poignant insightful commentary on the human race. Pretty much what this author does in a nutshell.

Tom is one of those characters that will stay with you long after you have finished reading his story – and what a story it is. He is old, plagued (or blessed maybe that will be subjective) with a condition that means he ages at a much slower rate. Not immortal but feeling that way, he is part of history and an observer of it – we see him over time, at his best and his worst, this is a love story with a touch of mystery and is hugely gripping from the very first page until the tear inducing poignant finale.

I won’t give away much, this is one of those books that everyone will come to in their own way and will take from it different things – but Matt Haig manages to bring history alive on the page here through Tom and what he experiences, it almost feels as if you are living it with him. The characters he and we meet along the way all come with their own peculiarities and sense of self, the story weaves somewhat of a magic spell on the reader, or it did on me at least I was totally immersed into this one all the way.

The thing about stories is that they transport you to other places, make you think about other things. When you have a master storyteller at work it becomes so much less about construction and literary merit and all of those bookish things that as a reviewer I’m supposed to be perhaps commenting on –  and just becomes about you, as a reader, in those few short moments of time you are living in that other world. Matt Haig is simply, when you remove the white noise, a master storyteller.

I loved this book. Just that.

Highly Recommended.

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Desert Island Discs with David Ross – The Man Who Loved Islands Blog Tour.

David F. Ross: Desert Island Discs

Rather than pick my favourite 10 songs (because that, as any real music obsessive knows, would change every day) I decided to go with ten that I wouldn’t ever get tired of; that I continually return to. So here goes, in playlist order:

01: The Jackson 5, ‘I Want You Back’

For most of his adult life, my dad worked in the vast network of tunnels that ran under the Glasgow Central railway station. My mum worked in a secretarial office at the back of the hotel overlooking the concourse. They met at a Railwayman’s Dance in the Hotel’s function room on Hogmanay 1960. He was 25; she was 20. They got engaged a year later. Before she died in 1972, I visited her at work on a few occasions and I still recall the labyrinthine nature of the corridors and routes in the building that led to her office and that expansive view of all those Lowry-like people moving purposefully around the station. One of my last memories I have of her is of watching her dancing at her desk as ‘I Want You Back’ played on a tiny transistor radio. For those associative reasons – and the fact that it’s simply a phenomenal record – my first choice is ‘I Want You Back’ by The Jackson 5.

02: The Jam ‘That’s Entertainment’

Paul Weller captured much of that humdrum, everyday boredom of teenage life in Thatcher’s Britain in The Jam songs of the late 70s and early 80s. The pinnacle of this is ‘That’s Entertainment’: a song he claims was written in ten minutes after coming home pissed from the pub. It’s a brilliant evocation of those times, and I can identify absolutely with every line. I only hope I can write something which means half as much to other people as this song means to me. I’ll retire happy if I do.

03: Michael Head & The Strands ‘Something Like You’

The second book in the Trilogy – The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas – is about a Scottish indie band and is set in the early 80s. The Pale Fountains – Michael Head’s first group – would’ve been their contemporaries. When I asked my friend Bobby Bluebell if he might write a new song for my fictional band, to feature in the book itself, the only brief I could give him was for it to feel like ‘Thank You’; a song by Michael that captured my imagination over thirty years ago and has never quite let go since. This is from one of my favourite LPs, ‘The Magical World of the Strands’.

04: Arctic Monkeys, ‘Suck It And See’

Music has changed so much since the days of the Ramones, The Clash, The Pistols etc and not necessarily for the better. It’s virtually inconceivable that a young, enterprising band from a less than privileged background would succeed on their own terms at a national level yet back in the 80s, they were everywhere. One exception to this is the Arctic Monkeys. They are one of my favourite bands in music today. Alex Turner’s lyrics are just brilliant.

My fourth song choice is ‘Suck It And See’ almost solely for the line ‘You’re rarer than a can of Dandelion & Burdock, but those other girls are just Postmix lemonade.’

05: Bettye Swann, ‘Don’t Look Back’

My fifth song choice is a brilliant recording of ‘Don’t Look Back’ by the great Bettye Swann. This effortless version is the rehearsal demo with Betty and just a guitar accompanying her. It’s absolutely spine-tingling. One of the greatest female singers of all-time.

06: Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, ‘She Cracked’

Jonathan Richman is a pioneer. If you listen to The Modern Lovers LP, the band sound fresher than The Strokes, yet it was recorded before they were born. He is to New Wave what Iggy Pop is to punk.

07: The Smiths, ‘Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want’

Maybe more than any other, this beautifully brief song sums up the songwriting genius of Morrissey and Marr. There’s a famous story of it being played to Rough Trade company executives and them repeatedly asking ‘Where’s the rest of it?’ But there’s really nothing you could add – or take away – from this song to make it any more perfect. It’s like the Mona Lisa. Beguiling, intriguing and absolutely timeless.

08: Super Furry Animals, ‘Ice Hockey Hair’

My seventh song is ‘Ice Hockey Hair’ by the Super Furry Animals (but it must be the long version). The Super Furry Animals are one of my favourite bands of all time. Gruff Rhys is criminally underrated as a songwriter, and if I was to describe him to anyone I’d said he was Lennon AND McCartney. I was trying to think of what might connect these ten songs, even if it was subliminal, and I think their connection lies in a sort of yearning optimism. I suppose I’m just an optimistic dreamer, which – for an architect/writer – isn’t a bad place to find myself.

09: The Velvet Underground, ‘Heroin’

If you’ve never taken drugs and wanted to know what it might be like, this is as close as you’d get without injecting, ingesting or imbibing. An experimental masterpiece.

10: David Bowie, ‘Life On Mars’

On the 9th January 2016, I was approached to write a live review of the new Blackstar LP. It was a strange vibe that I got from that first listen. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and then two days later he was dead. The messages were right there in the lyrics and I – and many others – hadn’t appreciated exactly what he was saying. He’s the most imaginative and influential artist in music history and there most certainly won’t be anyone like him again. I absolutely love what he said about ‘Life On Mars’:

“The song was so easy. Being young was easy. A really beautiful day in the park, sitting on the steps of the bandstand. ‘Sailors bap-bap-bap-bap-baaa-bap.’ An anomic heroine. Middle-class ecstasy. I took a walk to Beckenham High Street to catch a bus to Lewisham to buy some shoes and shirts but couldn’t get the riff out of my head. Jumped off two stops into the ride and more or less loped back to the house up on Southend Road.

I started working it out on the piano and had the whole lyric and melody finished by late afternoon. Nice.’

One of the greatest – if not THE greatest – songs in the English language, knocked off in an afternoon between trips to the shops. Genius.

Link to the songs:

About the book:

In the early 80s, Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller were inseparable; childhood friends and fledgling business associates. Now, both are depressed and lonely, and they haven’t spoken to each other in more than 10 years. A bizarre opportunity to honor the memory of someone close to both of them presents itself, if only they can forgive and forget. With the help of the deluded Max Mojo and the faithful Hamish May, can they pull off the impossible, and reunite the legendary Ayrshire band, The Miraculous Vespas, for a one-off Music Festival—The Big Bang—on a remote, uninhabited Scottish island?

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Getting to Know You with Vera Brook. Sand Runner.

Today I am very happy to welcome Vera Brook talking about her YA novel Sand Runner and a little about herself – the book is available for pre-order and if you are in the US or Canada as I know many of my visitors to this site are, there is a goodreads giveaway going on as well, linked below.


Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it…

SAND RUNNER is a YA science fiction novel. It’s set in a dystopian future, and it follows a 16-year-old Kaiden Reed—or Kai for short—who gets recruited for the No Limits Race, a brutal competition that’s the most popular sports event on the planet. The winners become instant icons and get insanely rich. But there is a price to pay. The runners have to upgrade their bodies to qualify for the race. And, of course, there is more to the No Limits Race than Kai expected from years of watching it on TV, and he has to make some difficult choices along the way.

In terms of what the readers can expect? High stakes, a fast-paced plot, and lots of suspense. SAND RUNNER was inspired by science and technology—specifically 3D printing and bionics. But that’s just the background. The story is really about a group of characters who have to learn to trust and rely on one other in life-or-death situations, even though they don’t always see eye to eye. And Kai is at the center of this. The story is about him finding out what he’s made of. And also what he wants in life, what he values, and how far he’s willing to go to fight for his dreams.

Academic or creative at school?

Can a person be both? I was always a bookworm and interested in every subject, so I did well in school. I’m a very curious person by nature, so I was motivated to learn. But I also kept notebooks with story ideas and took black-and-white photographs. So I always had a creative side, too.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

When I was a small kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals and my family always had dogs. I thought a veterinarian was someone who talks to animals and they talk back. Once I discovered that wasn’t true, I lost interest.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

Good question. Depends on what you mean by “write.” I started keeping notebooks with story ideas in 4th or 5th grade, I think. So I wrote, and I wanted to be a writer, for a long time. But I wasn’t serious about it at first. I never finished things. I would start a story, and then jump to a new one.

It was pretty recently—maybe 3 or 4 years ago—that I got serious about writing. The biggest difference is that now I set writing goals for myself and I push myself to finish things. So for me, writing is more about discipline than about inspiration. I always have more ideas than I know what to do with. The trick is to resist the temptation to stop writing, or to jump to another project, when I get stuck.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

I’m terrible with names. So any time I run into someone and they address me by name, and I frantically search for their name and nothing comes up. Until I have to say, “Sorry, remind me of your name again.” It’s very embarrassing.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Depends on what’s broken. If it’s something like my car, then I wouldn’t even dream of trying to fix it. But if it’s something I’m trying to do on the computer – like format an ebook, or write a line of HTML code—then I’m going to give it a try first, before asking for help.

Also, it’s amazing to me how many online resources there are. People are very generous with sharing their knowledge and information. Indie publishing community is wonderful for that. You just poke your head into one of the Facebook or Goodreads groups and ask your question, and without fail, several people will respond and help you out. It’s nice.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Definitely a night owl. I love the sun. But I’m just not a morning person. Everything takes me twice as long in the morning, pre-coffee. But at night, I can stay up until late and get a lot done. It’s also my favorite time to read.

A book that had you in tears. A book that made you laugh out loud.

Actually, one and the same book had me in tears and made me laugh out loud. Or a series of seven books, to be precise. The Harry Potter series. I love J. K. Rowling’s writing. I love the characters, the magic, the humor. But I love the darkness in these books, too.

Thanks Vera!

About the Book:

Welcome to the No Limits Race.

In the near future, 16-year-old Kaiden Reed makes a bold and dangerous decision to enter the most brutal sports competition on the planet. One in which he will undergo a radical upgrade and become a new kind of athlete and a new kind of hero.

Part human. Part machine.

All Kai wants is a shot at a better life and to impress the girl of his dreams. But the stakes in the Race are higher, and the choices tougher, than Kai ever imagined. The physical challenges are just the beginning.

Ten days. Ten contenders. One winner.

Does Kai have what it takes to compete? How far will he go to win? And should he trust the person who recruited him in the first place – or is she using him to carry out a bold and dangerous agenda of her own?

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Dog Fight Michael J Malone. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Contraband

Source: Review Copy

When Kenny’s cousin, Ian, comes to the aid of a fellow ex-squaddie in a heap of trouble, he gets caught up in the vicious underground fight scene, where callous criminals prey on the vulnerable, damaged and homeless. With Ian in too deep to escape, Kenny has no option other than to infiltrate the gang for the sake of his family. Kenny is an experienced MMA fighter, as tough as they come, but has he found himself in the one fight he can never win?

Loved Dog Fight – gritty, realistic and with a sharp edge of gulp, Michael J Malone takes us and his series character Kenny into the dark underbelly of underground fighting. It is visceral and visual, you’ll feel every punch. So to speak.

Its the perfect mix of thrills and character moments, I’m a bit of a fan of Kenny – in fact any of you who like the bad boys, Dog Fight is chocka block full of them, it is a real rollercoaster of a read with some really cool descriptive prose and a hell of a lot of oomph.

Michael Malone brings a lot of emotional themes into his narrative too, its not all about the adrenalin moments and I have to give him huge points for managing to write a non annoying child character. The feeling underneath it all is cleverly portrayed, especially in relation to PTSD  – you want to growl at those evil doers who take advantage of the vulnerable, the whole story just pops off the page and drags you right in.

Dog Fight is fast, gripping, decisively authentic and a real proper page turner. Anyone wanting to just get their read on should pick up this novel and dive right in.


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