The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski @ZooloosBT #historicalfiction crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski. While I am delighted to share I am also sad that this is the final book in the Alex Cohen series. It has been a fabulous series to read and an absolute pleasure to support in the Blog Tours.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book.

How can a crooked man ever go straight?
Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen settles down in Florida surrounded by his wife and family. But his past life in the criminal underworld stalks his every move and when a bullet whizzes past his ear, he must decide whether to run or fight.


In his desire to go straight, Alex inserts himself in the East Coast porn film industry, only to find that the tentacles of the mob are clasped tight around his life. With the Feds using new laws to hunt down mob bosses, and rats in his own organization all too ready to testify against him, Alex must clean house before the authorities throw him in jail or the mob kills him to stop him ratting them out.


The seventh book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which reveals the dying embers of Jewish organized crime in America. Leopold Borstinski’s crime fiction shines a light on the death of the old-style mob in an explosive finale.

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

MY REVIEW

Mensch is a Yiddish term for a person of integrity and honour (according to Google). Could you call a gangster a man of honour or someone with integrity?

In this final book in the Alex Cohen series, the author takes a glimpse, at times of the past, of Alex. From his beginnings when he arrived at Ellis Island to where he is in 1965. He started in The Bowery’s and has gradually emerged into a name that is revered i8n the gangs of the US. The author has had him in the mix and rubbing shoulders and swapping stories with Alfonse Capone, The Kennedys, Fidel Castro and Frank Sinatra.

As the years have passed, Alex has become a husband and a father, he has a close-knit group of friends and business partners. He has worked hard and has put himself in danger many times. and occasionally the lives of his family. He has known a vast number of people and some of them have walked away unharmed!

In this final book, Alex is contemplating his future. He has always said that certain parts of his business will become legitimate and others will go to his oldest and closest business partners and friends. As the author gradually approached the 70s, the once feared name of Alex has started to lose some of its impact. The FEDs have been around for many years, but recently the noose is tightening around the old-style gang bosses. Eager to remain free, there are some who are not averse to turning witness.

Alex has always had a motto and it is one that has been mentioned several times in each book. In this final book, it is mentioned even more. If you have followed the series then you will know to what I refer.

I have enjoyed this series from the very start, following the highs and the lows. The Mensch is a book that feels slower, and it sort of makes sense to me as Alex is starting to slow down. But, that does not for one moment mean he is relaxing and taking things easy. He is getting things in order and this means huge amounts of travelling for face-to-face meetings. I think by slower, I mean he is spending time thinking over the past, the present and the future. Life is going to change, what and when that change will be, well you are going to have to read this one to find out.

This is a series that is one for those who like historical fiction that is based around the gangsters of the US. From an unknown immigrant to one who has associated with the rich, the famous and the notorious. A fab series and a brilliant finale in this final book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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The Darkest Sin by D.V. Bishop @davidbishop #20booksofsummer #historicalfiction #crime #murder #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Darkest Sin by D.V. Bishop. This is the second book in the Cesare Aldo series and it is absolutely brilliant. My huge thanks must go to the wonderful Eva aka @noveldeelights who first introduced me to this series 🙂

This is book 19/20 in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge, and yes the final book has also been read!

The Darkest Sin is an atmospheric historical thriller by D. V. Bishop, set in Renaissance Florence and is the sequel to City of Vengeance.

Florence. Spring, 1537.

When Cesare Aldo investigates a report of intruders at a convent in the Renaissance city’s northern quarter, he enters a community divided by bitter rivalries and harbouring dark secrets.

His case becomes far more complicated when a naked man’s body is found deep inside the convent, stabbed more than two dozen times. Unthinkable as it seems, all the evidence suggests one of the nuns must be the killer.

Meanwhile, Constable Carlo Strocchi finds human remains pulled from the Arno that belong to an officer of the law missing since winter. The dead man had many enemies, but who would dare kill an official of the city’s most feared criminal court?

As Aldo and Strocchi close in on the truth, identifying the killers will prove more treacherous than either of them could ever have imagined . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in the Cesare Aldo series and you really should read the first book City of Vengeance as part of this story has links to the previous. Also, the first book gives a brilliant introduction to Aldo as a person, as an investigator and also the people in the city of Florence in this time period.

Set in Florence in 1537, Aldo is asked to see about the reports of intruders but finds the body of a man in the convent of Mary Magdalen. It is inconceivable that a nun would be responsible, but how and why this has happened is something that Aldo may not even be asked to investigate in. Aldo works for the Otto, the administration of the criminal court at the time. The murder is on Church grounds and therefore not under the same jurisdiction.

Another Otto constable is looking into a missing man when he discovers a body. Constable Strocchi is a new recruit who was introduced in the first book, while he is still wet behind the ears, he does pick things up and is learning the art of dealing with the criminal and underworld elements. He is very principled, newly married and under pressure to get results.

This second book is fantastic, and while I loved the first one, this one is even better. I think this is due to the fact that I am already aware of the main characters, their roles, their personalities and traits. The does mention the cases and details of Strocchi and Aldo, but it is so much better to already know them before starting this one.

The two investigations are run separately, so the author does flit back and forth between the two. I love this as it means I am eager to return to each of the cases to see what has progressed. The cases are different in the way they are investigated, but the basics are the same. Trying to discover the leads, getting to the truth, recognise the lies and taking the time to think things over.

It was great to see Aldo and Strocchi working sep[erately as it meant I got more insight into each of the characters and also what they are thinking about. They obviously have different priorities in their lives and this is a great way of really getting under the skin of each character.

The cases are brilliantly worked out, morals and dilemmas I do love them. Putting a character in the firing line, yes I adore that as well. The author chose some interesting routes for his characters and this meant the story had a great pace, constantly evolving and throwing up different challenges.

This is a fabulous book and it definitely cements this series as one that I will definitely be keeping up with. This is one for those who like historical murder mysteries with a complex storyline that is also easy to follow when you are in the zone. I really didn’t want to put this one down and read it in two sittings.

Excellent storyline, and interesting characters, can’t wait for the next book and it is one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D. V. Bishop writes the Cesare Aldo mysteries set in Renaissance Florence. The first in the series, CITY OF VENGEANCE, won the New Zealand Booklovers Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. Long listings include the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award, the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel, and the CWA’s Historical Dagger Award. The second Cesare Aldo mystery, THE DARKEST SIN, was published in March 2022.

Bishop was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship while writing CITY OF VENGEANCE. The novel won the Pitch Perfect competition at the 2018 Bloody Scotland international crime fiction festival and was a Sunday Times Crime Club Pick of the Week. Global bestselling author David Baldacci called the novel ‘a first-class historical thriller … a tour-de-force.’

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The Lion by Conn Iggulden #20booksofsummer #historicalfiction #netgalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Lion by Conn Iggulden. I have read quite a few books by this author and I do adore how he brings history to life, making it interesting and exciting in his telling. Brilliantly researched and addictive reading for those who love their hist/fic.

This is 14/20 of the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

Ancient Greece, 5th century BC

The age of myths and legends has given way to the world of men. In the front rank stands Pericles, Lion of Athens.

Behind Pericles lies the greatest city of the ancient world. Before him, on land and at sea, stands the merciless Persian army. Both sides are spoiling for war.

Though still a young man, Pericles knows one thing: to fight a war you must first win the peace.

It’s time for a hero to rise.

For his enemies to tremble.

And for Athens, a city of wisdom and warriors, to shine with glory . . .

MY REVIEW

When I pick up a book by this author I know I am going to be in for a treat. The Lion is fabulous reading and takes the reader back to 5th Century BC, Ancient Greece. This era is one people are most like aware of given the films such as The 300, I mention this as it is in a similar timeline to the story and his son, Pleistarchus features at the beginning of the story. While Sparta played its part in past battles, it stands apart for a few years. Athens, with other city-states, created the Delian League at Delos, a central island in the Aegean Sea,

The main characters in this story are Cimon and Pericles. They are childhood friends and their fathers had fought in the battles at Marathon against the Persians. The Persians have gone quieter of late, but that does not mean there is no danger. The city-states of Greece come together to form the Delian League, they amass a fleet that patrols the Aegean to keep a look out for potential Persian threats.

Pericles is a young man and isn’t allowed a responsibility as he is deemed too young until he is 30 years old. But, his friendship with Cimon grants him access to meetings. The two form a formidable friendship and when needed they will support each other.

Pericles takes over his father’s estate after his death. This means he is bound to the land, but his heart still yearns for the sea. He has different responsibilities from Cimon, but when he is needed Pericles will join back with Cimon.

This story is a brilliant one from start to finish. The author manages to create such a wonderful and action-packed story from history. As I read this I had to remind myself I wasn’t watching a film as the imagery the author creates with his words is exceptional. He really does bring history to life in the pages.

The battles of the past are still fresh in the memories of the current, this helps to fuel the need for a fleet and to have people with experience around those in control. There are politics that come into play, but this is not a main part of the story. Ancient Greece without its politics just wouldn’t be right! The author brings the characters to life with decisions, friendships, battles and pretty much from the point of Pericles who will have a larger role in history.

This is more the story of Pericles, his decisions and his thoughts as he makes the transition from a young man into an adult and all the responsibilities that come with it. His family, his personal life and made it a more character-based story. There are plenty of other characters but focusing on just one gave a brilliant insight into one of history’s figures.

This author will probably already be known to you if you like your ancient history. It is a brilliant read and one that I would definitely recommend.

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The Cottage on Winter Moss by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler #fiction #historicalfiction #contemporaryfiction #dualtimeline #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Cottage on WInter Moss by Allie Cresswell. I have read some of Allie’s books previously and I do like her writing style a lot. When she contacted me to see if I wanted to read her latest book, there was no hesitation, of course, I would. My views are my own.

Burned-out author Dee needs fresh inspiration. Impetuously, she abandons London and her good-for-nothing boyfriend to go wherever her literary quest takes her. Journey’s end is a remote village on the shores of a wild estuary, overshadowed by a ruined pele tower. She rents Winter Cottage and waits for a story to emerge.

The bleak beauty of the whispering dunes, the jacquard of colour and texture of the marsh and a romantic tree in a secluded glade—The Trysting Tree—all seduce Dee. Nevertheless, the secretive behaviour of a handsome neighbour, lights across the marsh, a spurious squire and a bizarre, moonlit encounter all suggest there is something odd afoot.

Local gossip and crumbling graveyard inscriptions give Dee the opening she needs. She begins to weave hints about the tragic history of a local family, feuding brothers and a fatal fire into a sweeping historical saga. Her characters clamour for a voice as the tale spools effortlessly onto the page—demanding to be told. Dee feels more like its instrument than its instigator.

As she becomes enmeshed in the local community, Dee is startled to find her fiction unnervingly confirmed by fact, her history still resonating in the present-day.

Is she being guided by echoes of the past?

Purchase Link – AMAZON

MY REVIEW


I really enjoy this author’s books, her latest one was such a wonderful read. Dee, an author who has just split from her boyfriend decides to go on a road trip to… well… she drives until she runs out of road. She finds herself in a small community and there is a cottage available to let through the winter months.

The residents of this out-of-the-way village and the remote cottages where she stays give her something for her next story. Using people from the past she discovers her story just seems to want to be told. The truth of the past, the mistakes of the past, and the hurt of the past are still felt by today’s families. Bickering and feudal families from the past have set the scene for the atmosphere of the present.

This author writes some amazing descriptive passages, bringing a bleak, barren, and weather-worn area out of the shadows. She gives it a sense of being, like a character in its own right. In fact, the surrounding area in this story has secrets, just as the families do. How often do we wonder what the walls of old houses have seen, well the author gently brings this out in this story.

The story is actually a story within a story. The present-day one is of Dee and how she comes to be in the cottage on Winter Moss, the few people she meets, and how she feels drawn to the mysteries of the past. The past is something that wants to be told. As I was reading this story I felt a certain atmospheric air, one that has a nervous feeling. What if the truth is something that will cause harm or upset, how would you feel if the people from the past had their story told and it could potentially change how you perceive others or they perceive you?

Using a duel timeline was a great way to get to know the families and discover what happened many years ago. It is a story of the time, of family loyalty and of marrying into the right family. As the author leads us through the generations attitudes change but the animosity remains.

This is a gorgeous story, the author describes the setting with beauty and danger. Wind and wave-swept areas are open to the elements and are often deluged in rain. The mists and fog make it treacherous, and the water makes it dangerous. The author however weaves a wonderful tale that shows how a community has its opinions, and how the past sets a precedent for the present.

Gorgeously written, wonderful characters, heartbreak, hope, and an addictive read from start to finish. If you like dual-timeline stories that deal with families, troubles, feuds, and a chance to restart then this is one you really should look at. I would definitely recommend this book, it was fabulous reading.

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The Orphanage Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #saga #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Orphanage Girls by Mary Wood. I have read and always loved this author’s books and also the books she writes under Maggie Mason.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my wonderful PB copy of the book from the publisher – Pan Macmillan.

Children deserve a family to call their own.

Ruth dares to dream of another life – far away from the horrors within the walls of Bethnal Green’s infamous orphanage. Luckily she has her friends, Amy and Ellen – but she can’t keep them safe, and the suffering is only getting worse. Surely there must be a way out of here?

But when Ruth breaks free from the shackles of confinement and sets out into East London, hoping to make a new life for herself, she finds that, for a girl with nowhere to turn, life can be just as tough on the outside.

Bett keeps order in this unruly part of the East End – and takes Ruth under her wing alongside orphanage escapee Robbie. But it is Rebekah, a kindly woman, who offers Ruth and Robbie a home – something neither has ever known. Yet even these two stalwart women cannot protect them when the police learn of an orphan on the run. It is then that Ruth must do everything in her power to hide.

Her life – and those of the friends she left behind at the orphanage – depends on it.

MY REVIEW


I have read and enjoyed several books by this author and I know I am going to be on a heart-warming and heart-breaking journey. This book was definitely that.

The author gets straight to it with this story of Ruth Faith. An orphan in Bethnal Green’s Orphanage. It should be a place of security but not so in this case. Set in the early 1900s the author relates how orphans were treated by the staff, how they are seen to be the lowest of the low and are abused, tortured and sometimes worse!

The one thing that gives Ruth hope is that she is almost at an age to leave the home for good. She can then find work and a place to live for her fellow friends at the orphanage. However, Ruth needs to survive to stand any chance of starting a new life.

The author has once again created a story that is heartbreaking but also one that is full of hope. SHe does write some amazing sagas and I think this one is one of the tougher ones as far as the content is concerned. I am aware of the history of orphanages and how life was almost too much for its innocent residents. The author has captured the main fears, challenges, difficulties and so much more as she tells the story of Ruth and her friends.

This isn’t just about Ruth, although she is the main focus. There are several other characters such as Robbie, Hettie, Horacio, Rebekah, Bett and many more. As this is set in London, the author brings in the Cockney pride and the sense of looking out for each other. It gives some of the characters a real boost instead of feeling alone and out on a limb.

This is a fabulous read, yes it does have some tough moments but the author also brings so many other things into her story. There are social expectations, a sense of family, and community spirit but also racism, abuse, corruption and other awful things. I will say though, that the author doesn’t linger too much or over-describe things, enough to make you aware.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, sagas and stories that revolve around small close-knit communities then this is a book for you. If you have read any of this author’s previous books and enjoyed them, then you know you are getting to enjoy this one as well. It is a book I would definitely recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.


Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool, United Kingdom during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.


After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels
Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.


Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.
When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening.

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A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin @HarperFiction #histfic #regency #romance #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin. This is a brilliant read for those who like a good Regency period romance. If you are a fan of “Bridgerton”, a recent NetFlix period drama, then you are going to really enjoy this book.

My huge thanks to Harper Fiction for my e-copy that I requested to read and review via NetGalley.

The season is about to begin—and there’s not a minute to lose.

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one—not even a lord—will stand in her way…

MY REVIEW

Set in 1818 England, Kitty Talbot has one thing on her mind. THat is snagging herself a rich husband. Now, before you think she is a money-grabbing wench, she is doing this out of duty and for the benefit of her sisters. However, can she fit into the Ton and society without looking out of place?

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it has all the glamour and societal expectations but it is one full of learning curves for Kitty. Coming to London she is well out of her league, she knows what she wants but she doesn’t revolve around the high society echelons. You cannot just walk up to a Countess. Lord or Lady, you have to be properly introduced. This is a problem for Kitty as she hasn’t any connections, well she does have the connections of her Aunt, but they could be, well dubious!

This is a fun read and one that I really enjoyed, there are reasons for Kitty’s actions and when she catches the eye of a certain young, some to be rich, the gentleman then she thinks all she has to do is convince him and his family of her respectability. One problem, he has an older brother!

I did like Kitty, she is a feisty young woman who is determined, to say the least. The downside to her is that she doesn’t have the ‘breeding’ for what she is to embark on. But, to be fair she learns to hold her own. there are some wonderful battles she has to deal with and her ‘breeding’ does stand her in good stead for the most part.

The storyline at times reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice as well as the TV series Bridgerton ( I have only watched the 1st one!). It felt like a mix of history with the excitement of a modern story but in costume. This is a fun read, but it also does highlight society of the time. It does have the feel of a Young Adult story at times.

Enjoyable, fun, and fast-paced story that I really enjoyed and I would happily recommend.


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Codename Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley #JustinKerrSmiley @RandomTTours @UnicornPubGroup #action #histfic #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Codename Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley. This is a brilliant book and is one for those who like a cracking action, adventure and mystery thriller story.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my PB copy of the book via the Publisher – Unicorn Publishing Group

In 1976, Argentina is governed by a military junta bankrolled by former Nazis. It is the anniversary of a mysterious village fire in the jungle. The lone survivor, a Guaraní boy, is now a Jesuit priest. A Jewish journalist, Ariel Guzman, interviews him at his mission. The man claims Adolf Hitler escaped from Berlin with Eva Braun and made a secret camp near the Iguaçu Falls. The Führer ordered the village’s destruction, but the priest refuses to say why. He mentions the codename Edelweiss and will only reveal the person’s identity if he dies.
Argentina’s most powerful man is billionaire and Waffen-SS veteran Tiago Hecht. He is searching for Edelweiss so that he can establish a Fourth Reich. Hecht now has confirmation Hitler’s son is alive. But so does the Mossad and they have sent an agent to eliminate him. The only sanctuary for ‘Edelweiss’ is at the Vatican, but time is running out.
The hunt is on… 

MY REVIEW

When I first saw this book I knew it was one I wanted to read, there have been many conspiracies and theories following the death of Hitler. Did he really die? Did he get out of Germany? I do love a good conspiracy book and this one sounded right up my street.

The author has taken the concept that Hitler and Eva Braun did indeed survive and made a voyage to start a new life in South America. Many made this journey some for survival and some to escape any repercussions. Many stories have circulated over the years and there is something about a conspiracy that intrigues me.

The story is one that sounds plausible and one that I found extremely addictive. From a journalist taking a statement from a priest to discovering the whereabouts of a secret camp, the political, religious and moral aspects are covered. Set over several years from WWII to the 1970s the story fills in an action-packed adventure style read.

As the synopsis suggests. this book takes in various organisations, including Mossad, the Vatican and a newspaper. Politics are also woven into this as you would expect as well. The author has created a story that flows so well between the many characters and locations. It is one that is taken through scenarios that have implications for the world and for those immediately involved. While the story is about the search for Hitler’s son, the author also includes life in Argentina in the 70s, the political stage.

I found this book to be very well-paced and the tension was amazing not everything turned out as I thought it might. I did like the way the author finished this story, it answered questions raised and felt right in some ways.

This is one for those who enjoy a proper action and adventure style read with conspiracies, secrets, and mysteries that need to be revealed. A fabulous book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Kerr-Smiley was born in 1965 and educated at Newcastle University.
As a journalist, he has reported from the Balkans, Northern Ireland, the West
Bank and South America. He has also written for the Guardian, The Times
and The Spectator. He is the author of two previous novels, including Under
The Sun. He lives in London

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May God Forgive by Alan Parks @AlanJParks #HarryMcCoy @RandomTTours @canongatebooks #crime #histfic #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for May God Forgive by Alan Parks. This is a brilliant book and series, although I do still have the first two to read!!! I do have them and I really must get to them.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book via the Publisher –

Detective Harry McCoy returns in the suspenseful, atmospheric fifth instalment in Alan Park’s internationally bestselling thriller series.

Glasgow is a city in mourning. An arson attack on a hairdresser’s has left five dead. Tempers are frayed and sentiments running high.

When three youths are charged the city goes wild. A crowd gathers outside the courthouse but as the police drive the young men to prison, the van is rammed by a truck, and the men are grabbed and bundled into a car. The next day, the body of one of them is dumped in the city centre. A note has been sent to the newspaper: one down, two to go.

Detective Harry McCoy has twenty-four hours to find the kidnapped boys before they all turn up dead, and it is going to mean taking down some of Glasgow’s most powerful people to do it.

MY REVIEW

Wow! Wow! And Wow! This is a brilliant read and if you like your crime to be dark, murky and set in the 70s then you really need to pick up this book. In fact, pick up the series so far!

Harry McCoy, well what a brilliant character he is. He is the epitome of the 70s style copper. He drinks too much and smokes too much and he is suffering because of it. When he is given a case there are those who don’t think he is up to it due to his health. If you have read the previous books you will understand more of McCoy as a character, this latest book however does delve a little further into his past. Does it have connections with his present case? Well, you know what? Read the book and you’ll find out!

This is set in Glasgow in 1974. Three young men, as the synopsis states, have just been taken from a prison van. They had been charged with arson and the death of five people. Tempers are high within the community and the city. When one of their bodies is found there isn’t much sympathy for them. Just what they deserve, is the overall opinion.

Whatever the opinion is though, McCoy has a job to do, discover where the remaining men are, discover the motives and also deal with an apparent suicide. Not bad considering McCoy has just come out of the hospital!

I really enjoy this author’s writing, he does slip in some dialect, but nothing that is not understandable btw. He also does such a brilliant job of showing the reader the darker, murkier side of Glasgow. The tenements, the alley and back streets are not the places anyone would want to be, especially a copper. But McCoy is different, he knows these streets and while he isn’t afraid to walk them he is very wary.

Using his knowledge of the area and the locals he gradually pieces things together, well he thinks he does! This is the part of the book I adored, as the author teases the reader just as much as he does McCoy. It feels like things are just in grasp, but the answers are just out of reach, tantalisingly close but slippery and elusive. As I was r4eading this book I kept thinking, “I wonder if it’s…” and ” Oh what if…”. It definitely kept me turning the pages.

The way the author moves in between procedural and, well let’s say, slightly off the book, is great. It introduces the criminal and gangs to the reader. Some very nasty characters to say the least. It is a credit to the writing skill of the author who managed to give a sense of unease, danger and doubt as McCoy carefully walked the grey line between legal and illegal activities on the streets.

This book, in case you haven’t realised by now, is brilliant. I didn’t want it to end. The story is so addictive and draws in some worthy moral dilemmas. McCoy isn’t alone in his search for the truth, he has Wattie, at times a bit of a hapless character, but one who does have McCoys back. He also keeps an eye on McCoy, and yes, he does need a bit of looking out from time to time.

If you are looking for a series or a book that allows you to wander vicariously, yet safely through the underworld of Glasgow during the 70s then you need to have a look at these books. I started this series with the March one (Bobby March Will live Forever) but I did buy the previous two… I still have them to read! So, yes you can read it as a stand-alone but I for one, wish I had started this series at the very beginning.

Gritty, with some not altogether likeable characters, dark, murky, full of tensions, public opinion and an all-in-all amazing book to read. I would highly recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALAN PARKS captures the dark beating heart of 70s Glasgow in his highly acclaimed Harry McCoy series.
Parks has spent most of his working life dealing with the production of images for Musical Artists, as
Creative Director at London Records in the mid-1990’s then at Warner Music. From cover artwork to
videos to photo sessions, he created ground-breaking, impactful campaigns for a wide range of artists
including All Saints, New Order, The Streets, Gnarls Barclay and Cee Lo Green. He was also Managing
Director of 679 Recordings, a joint venture with Warner Music. For the past few years, he has worked as
an independent visual and marketing consultant.
Alan was born in Scotland and attended The University of Glasgow where he was awarded an M.A. in
Moral Philosophy. He still lives and works in the city as well as spending time in London.

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Victory Bells for the Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Victory Bells for the Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke. This is the 6th book in this series and it has been one of ups and downs.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this latest book in the series.

Can the Harpers Girls look forward to some happy times as a new dawn rises over London?

Sally Harper is busy juggling running London’s Oxford Street Store Harpers and looking after her beautiful newborn daughter, whilst her husband Ben is overseas on another dangerous mission, this time to rescue a friend in need.
Young Becky Stockbridge finds herself in a difficult situation which could bring shame to her and her family. Will Becky, with the help of her friends, find her happy ever after and keep her secret?
Marion Jackson is blessed with a son as she eagerly awaits the return of her husband Reggie. But all is not right when Reggie returns. Is Marion strong enough to save her family from yet another crisis?
As the war clouds retreat and the victory bells ring, tears and joy mingle with those of sadness as the world counts the true toll of war and celebrates peace.

MY REVIEW

Each of the books in this series follows the lives of key characters. The Girls made friends and have carried their friendships on through difficult times. Some helped nurses during the War and others did what they could to keep things going. The constant has been Harpers, an Emporium that has had its good times and its bad.

Set towards the end of World War I, this book is again such a wonderful read. It could be read as a stand-alone but I do think it is better to read in order as the lives of the characters have helped define them and their lives.

The war has had an impact on the country and also on families and friends, the constant worry as to who will get that dreaded telegram, who will have letters from family members, who will come back and also those that will never return. I really liked the emphasis the author took on some of the problems those who returned had to deal with, shell shock as it was known was dismissed by many. But for those fortunate to receive the proper care things could be easier for them over time. Encompassing the challenges of those returning as well as those lost gives a balance that felt right. While the obvious happiness of a reunion is evident, there was also a quiet sense of unease and nerves.

As I mentioned, the constant in this book is Harpers Emporium. For those who work and manage the store, there is a constant worry about getting stock and also keeping the business going so that those who work there can still get a wage. Things are in short supply, and there is a lot of moving around to make the shelves look full. Being a close-knit group friendships are as important as family. It is times of worry and distress having a non-judgmental ear is important.

There are changes afoot for a few of the characters and having the means and opportunity to talk things through really brings the closeness of the characters out. This is something that I have really enjoyed with each book I have read. The author has kept the characters moving, progressing, growing and learning. Families expand and unfortunately, families also reduce. Times of joy have a tinge of sadness as things for some will never be the same.

This is another gorgeous book to read. Keeping up with the coming and goings of the characters as they continue their lives is something I look forward to with each instalment. While there is sadness there are also things to look forward to, changes, developments, new plans and new beginnings. If you love your sags and historical fiction stories then this is one you are going to really enjoy. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Shop Girls of Harpers and The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.


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The Birdcage by Eve Chase #PublicationDay #NeyGalley @PenguinUKBooks #mystery #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Birdcage by Eve Chase. This is a wonderful suspense and mystery read set in Cornwall.

My huge thanks to Penguin Random House & Michael Joseph Books for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

Kat, Flossie and Lauren are half-sisters who share a famous artist father – and a terrible secret.

Each has found their way of burying it. Over the years they’ve grown apart, and into wildly different lives. But an invitation to Rock Point, the Cornish cliff house where they once sat for their father’s most celebrated painting, Girls with Birdcage, reunites them.

Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets, electrically charged with the one subject the family daren’t discuss. And there is someone in the shadows watching the house, their every move. Someone who remembers the girls in the painting. What they did.

The sisters must unlock the truth to set themselves free – and find each other again.

MY REVIEW

Covers are a great way of noticing books and this cover is gorgeous. The cover shows a lovely white house in a cage and as I have now read this book, it is very relevant. The Birdcage is a novel that skips back and forth in time. It has mysterious undertones that are not always obvious.

Three sisters, well half-sisters as they share the same father, but have different mothers. The sisters have been summoned back to the house which has caused painful memories. They have been summoned by their father and it is the first time they have been back for 20 years. The last time was in 1999 for the solar eclipse.

Each sister is nervous as they make their way back to Rock House, each one has something that is easting away at them and each one just wants to get through this reunion and go back to their lives. While they may have tried to put events of 20 years ago behind them, things are certainly going to resurface.

This is a wonderful book that really draws on the wilder side of Cornwall, a country steeped in mystery and one that lends itself to stories like this one so well. The author brings the windswept moors and the crashing seas into the story. In some ways, the unpredictability of the weather also matches the feelings of those in the house.

Each of the sisters has memories from 1999, but some are more deeply hidden than others. The author gives the sisters very distinct characters and personalities, but the one thing they have in common is that they have all drifted. They are not the same people they were and so this becomes a very tentative, stepping on the egg-shells reunion.

I really enjoyed how the author gradually brought in the mystery via each of the main characters, there is a sense of something quite serious happening. When this is finally revealed I sort of didn’t see it coming as such, but it also wasn’t a huge shock as I had realised the author had been very subtly leaving breadcrumbs.

This has a haunting atmospheric feel to it, with the secrets and unsaid things that have lurked in the past. It is one that I think is ideal for those who like family mysteries and secrets as well as contemporary time-slip novels. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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