The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton @AuthorSJBolton #BookReview

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I am delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on the dark and deviously brilliant The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton. I bought this a little while ago and it has been glaring at me from my bookshelf to be read, why oh why oh why did I wait so long……. You can buy this book in various formats from quite a range of places including real book shops, on line book shops and if your in the UK from the supermarket…….. My shopping List= Milk, Bread, Wine, Coffee, The Craftsman 🙂 and also here is a link for Amazon UK to help you.

Synopsis:

Devoted father or merciless killer?

His secrets are buried with him.

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.

Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.

Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?

My Thoughts:

Read the synopsis it gives you a taster of what to expect, but it does not give you any indication as to how this book will really get under your skin. Larry Glassbrook is buried in 1999, he was a convicted for the series of child murders. 1969 is the beginning of events.

Oh my god, where on earth to start with this book? I am going to mention that I am not someone who suffers from claustrophobia but, this book definitely had me with a sense of being closed in … I was sat in the garden reading it…. then I have to mention finger nails even writing this now I am getting a shudder thinking about finger nails being ripped in desperation arghhh, if this was a film I would have looked away, something you cannot do when reading a book. These sort of spine tingling and skin crawling moments are sporadically littered throughout the story.

So from the very outset you are aware of the culprit Larry, he was arrested, charged and sentenced. Jobs a goodun right? Now I am going to mention Florence or Flossie, a young WPC, oh my god how things have changed. Using her own strong character and bloody minded stubbornness she finds herself being involved with the detectives on the case in 1969, sounds great until you realise the patriarchal attitude of male officers at the time. She will be ideal for typing the notes as she is a woman and they are quicker at doing this than men Oh and don’t forget to make the tea. I am so glad that Flossie was portrayed as more than her colleagues thought she was, it was really great to see a female character with occasionally more balls than her male counterparts, even if it did land her in so much trouble. It could also be argued that her male colleagues were just looking out for her, not wanting her to get into disturbing situations. You will make you own decisions about this topic. I am sure I read somewhere ( I hope I got this bit right, gulp) that the author didn’t deliberately set out to raise any sort of awareness about this, and maybe this is why it worked so well for me.

I have to mention the setting of this story, PENDLE….. if you are not aware Pendle has a history with The Witch Trials of the 1600’s. What a setting and how could you not have a book in this area that does not include witchcraft and the occult. I loved the way the author embraced this part of history to include it in the story, it certainly adds to the chills down the spine. There are those that believe in the power of nature, its healing properties, the use of herbs and plants in medicine and in charms or curses, whether you believe in this or not it is up to you. But it added an element of mystery, intrigue and also of a historical interest at the same time upping the suspense even more.

This book is separated into three sections, this gave me a moment to catch a breath and try to arrange my thoughts to some sort of coherent level as I then delved into the next section, and believe me a moment is all you will want to take.

So if you hadn’t already guessed it, this book is bloody awesome. It has so many things going on in it and they are all explained and arranged so that there is no confusion with what is going on. It is about finding the truth, dispelling prejudice and accepting that there are different approaches to finding the truth. I want to write so much more about this book, I am only really skimming the surface here, and about how it made me feel really, but this is all I am giving you 🙂

It’s a suspense filled thriller and murder mystery of the very best sort. I loved it a huge amount as the occult was woven through the investigation. It was spine-tingling and dare I say nail-biting ( I still have the shudders over the nails thing), atmospheric and … hold on …. if you have not got a copy yet, then why the hell not? Take my word for it go and get a copy and see for yourself how fabulously brilliant this book really it.

Would I recommend it? Do you really need to ask LOL? I would definitely, absolutely and highly recommend it!!! xx

About the Author:

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Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. In 2014 she won the CWA Dagger in the Library for her whole body of work. Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and son.

All images used are from Amazon.co.uk

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BookReview : Letterbox by P.A.Davies @padavies #Letterbox @CarolineBookBit

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I am delighted to be sharing “Letterbox” by P.A.Davies as part of the blog tour by Caroline at Bits About Books. My thanks to Caroline for my spot on the tour and also the author for my e-copy of the book.

You can purchase a copy at :-
Paperback (signed): https://padavies.co.uk/shop/
Paperback or Ebook from Amazon: getbook.at/Letterbox

Synopsis:

Letterbox is strong, powerful, emotive. A harrowing novel about the 1996 Manchester IRA bombing – what a haunting tale and heartbreaking insight into the lives of those, responsible for the bombings and of those, who by their very being had no choice but to be implicated in it… their lives will never be the same…
At approximately 09.00 hrs on the 15th June 1996, an unassuming white lorry was parked on Corporation Street in the city centre of Manchester, England; It contained over 3000 pounds of high explosive.

At 11.15 hrs the same day, Manchester witnessed the detonation of the largest device on the British mainland since the Second World War … The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the attack.

Based around actual events, LETTERBOX tells the story of Liam Connor, an ordinary boy brought up in Manchester by a seemingly ordinary family.  He goes to the local school, loves football and has a best friend called Sean … an ordinary life.

Unbeknown to Liam, his father, Michael Connor, harbours a dark historic secret and follows a life less ordinary … as a furtive yet high ranking soldier within the IRA.

As a result of extraordinary circumstances, Liam’s innocent and carefree world is shattered when he is exposed to the truth about his family’s heritage and then learns about the tragic death of his father at the hands of the SAS.

Consumed with both hate and the need to seek retribution, Liam is taken to Ireland where he is intensively trained to become a highly skilled and efficient soldier within the Irish Republican Army … He is 16 years old.

Some years later, following the drug-induced death of his beloved sister, Liam is given the opportunity to exact his revenge on those he believed should truly be blamed for the tragedies in his life … The British Government.

Thus, on the 15th June 1996, it was Liam’s responsibility to drive the bomb-laden lorry into the unsuspecting city of Manchester and let the voice of the IRA be clearly heard …

And listened to…

My Thoughts:

This has been a difficult review for me to write. I understand people have their own reasons for their actions, I do not always agree with them. Trying to kill people to make a point is not something I agree with. But I am reviewing a book based on actual events and I will try to convey my thoughts on the story.

Theauthorhas used facts from the 1996 Manchester bombing by the IRA and wrapped a fictional aspect around it to create an addictive, powerful, hard and yet compelling read. As you will see from his Author bio below, he was raised in Manchester, he has an interest in the city. The synopsis is detailed so you are aware in advance of the content of the story.

The story begins with two old friends meeting up by chance just before the explosion, they have not seen each other for years. I was then taken back as these two characters as they grew up. Liam and Sean become best friends and I got to experience their childhood antics and the taunts towards Liam from other children. Liam’s family is a one of the father being away working a lot, with Liam not knowing exactly what his father does. This all changes one night and suddenly opens up a world that challenges everything Liam believes in.

The first part of the story is actually the main bulk of the book and deals with Liam, Sean and their lives. Then towards the end of the book is the shorter Part Two, and I got to learn a little bit about Liam’s sister. Even though she has been in the story, she is often only a brief mention, it is in this part of the story that I finally got to learn about her, and how events have affected her on a personal level. The often forgotten and older of the two siblings.

The story also incorporates little bits of history from the 1916 Easter Uprising against British rule in the Irish Republic, and the IRA. This gave a different perspective to the Manchester bombing. Though there are political reasons for why this happened, the author has not gone into the politics too much. He has kept the story about the friendship of two boys, about their family and also their belief.

The author, for me has done a wonderful job of setting out this story. I was hooked pretty quickly and as I was slowly drawn deeper in. I got a real sense of family and friendship from the lives of the boys. As they got older and events unfolded the speed gradually increased and I was flipping pages faster, it was if it had taken on an urgency as I turned the pages quicker.

The bombing is described and the author has in my opinion dealt with it well. I felt that he hadn’t over dramatised the event, but had shown a side of an event from the perspective of a characters personal point of view.

This is a book that I would definitely recommend to readers. It is an emotional, strong, fact based book.

I would also advise reading the Epilogue. I know many readers do this, but for those that don’t, you will find just a couple of pages of very interesting facts of Manchester before and also after the bombing.

About the Author:

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P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester, UK, a place he has lived in and around all his life – he loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.

For most of his life, he dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel ‘Letterbox’ was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It comes as no surprise that the writing bug now became firmly embedded within him.

P.A. Davies’ second book was published in May 2013, ‘George: A Gentleman of the Road’, a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel, ‘The Good in Mister Philips’, is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth, ‘Nobody Heard Me Cry’ (Dec. 2015) is again a fact-based tale, this time of Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel. Currently, P.A. Davies is writing his sixth novel, titled ‘I, Muslim.’

To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works diverse from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story for the author is an imaginative and versatile storyteller.

Follow the Author on ––  Website –  Facebook –  Twitter –  Goodreads – Amazon –  Google – Instagram

Other Books by the Author – 

 Absolution
Nobody Heard Me Cry
The Good in Mister Philips
George: A Gentleman of the Road
Letterbox

See what others think by following the tour

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx