The Siege by John Sutherland @policecommander @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orionbooks #compulsivereaders #crime #thriller #mystery #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Siege by John Sutherland. This is a fabulously tense, thriller that had me absolutely hooked. Also, very Happy Publication Day to you John 🙂

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging for my copy of this book from the Publisher – Orion Books.

Nine hostages. Ten hours. One chance to save them all.

Lee James Connor has found his purpose in life: to follow the teachings of far-right extremist leader, Nicholas Farmer. So when his idol is jailed, he comes up with the perfect plan: take a local immigrant support group hostage until Farmer is released.

Grace Wheatley is no stranger to loneliness having weathered the passing of her husband, whilst being left to raise her son alone. The local support group is her only source of comfort. Until the day Lee James Connor walks in and threatens the existence of everything she’s ever known.

Superintendent Alex Lewis may be one of the most experienced hostage negotiators on the force, but there’s no such thing as a perfect record. Still haunted by his last case, can he connect with Connor – and save his nine hostages – before it’s too late?

MY REVIEW

This was such a tense book and it soon became obvious to me that I was not going to put it down until it was finished. A brilliant story from start to finish.

As the synopsis shows, there are 9 hostages, and only 10 hours to save them. The story revolves around three main characters, Lee, Grace and Alex.

Lee is a young man who takes the 9 people hostage.
Grace is one of the hostages.
Alex is a police negotiator.

There are other characters that have supporting roles, but the focus is on these three. How they came to be in the situation they are in. But more importantly, this story gets under the skin of the characters, into their minds and this makes it a fabulously addictive read.

In some respects, this is a slow-paced story, tentative steps, planning, conversations, background and negotiations are all wrapped into the personal lives of the main three. While it is slower-paced, it is also so tense and tight that it feels as if it is a faster pace. I know this sounds very convoluted, but while the essence of the negotiations is controlled the feelings of those concerned felt fraught. I think it is the element of danger, the wonder of what will happen that add a thriller feel.

Each of the characters is introduced, and their individual stories are expanded on throughout the book. As a reader, it is great to see into the minds and lives of people in situations and also into their beliefs. This does have race and immigration at its core, but there is something that is much deeper to this story. It is a story of manipulation and of false or fake news, and how easy it is for people to believe in unsubstantiated facts.

I think this is a fabulous read, the atmospheric tension makes this a page-turner and the characters are so wonderfully portrayed. My thoughts at the beginning of the book were different by the time I had finished it. There is a wonderful message behind the story and it is one that really resonated.

This is a book for fans of tense, suspense-filled crime, thriller and with a wonderful psychological feel to it. I adored every part of this book and I would definitely recommend it. Now I have read a little more “About the Author” I can see this is a guy who definitely knows his stuff, this really shows within this story. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JOHN SUTHERLAND is a father of three who lives with his wife and children in south London. For more than twenty-five years he served as an officer in the Metropolitan Police, rising to the rank of Chief Superintendent before his retirement on medical grounds in 2018. John is a sought-after public speaker and commentator on a broad range of issues, who regularly appears on TV and radio and writes for major newspapers. His first book, BLUE, written and published while he was still serving in the Met, was a Sunday Times bestseller. It tells the remarkable stories of his policing life and describes his long road to recovery following the serious nervous breakdown that ended his operational policing career.

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The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings @Magicknegro @orbitbooks #compulsivereaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #mysterious #urbanfantasy #magick #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings. This is a brilliant read set in New Orleans with a wonderfully magical, musical and dangerous vibe.

I also want to add that the author did include a playlist for Spotify, this was so good to listen to. A mix of Jazz and Blues, some remixes and some that were new to me, and some rather modern ones!

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my PB copy of the book from the Publisher – Orbit Books

In a fantastical version of New Orleans where music is magic, a battle for the city’s soul brews between two young mages, a vengeful wraith, and one powerful song in this vibrant and imaginative debut.

Nola is a city full of wonders. A place of sky trolleys and dead cabs, where haints dance the night away and Wise Women keep the order, and where songs walk, talk and keep the spirit of the city alive. To those from Far Away, Nola might seem strange. To failed magician, Perilous Graves, it’s simply home. Then the rhythm stutters.

Nine songs of power have escaped from the magical piano that maintains the city’s beat and without them, Nola will fail. Unexpectedly, Perry and his sister, Brendy, are tasked with saving the city. But a storm is brewing and the Haint of All Haints is awake. Even if they capture the songs, Nola’s time might be coming to an end.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I adored. A mix of urban fantasy, music, family friends and enemies. They are wrapped around songs and music. New Orleans is an area that has a mix of races, nationalities and ethnicities. Each brings its own traditions, religions, faiths, legends and myths. In this book, the author has mixed all of these together to create a slightly weird, oddball, wacky and wonderful story.

Music is magic and magic is music. In this story, it is what makes Nola a special place to live. It keeps the city thriving, in check and safe, that is until a vengeful spirit decides to cause chaos. It will be down to a group of children and some of their relatives to try to work out what is happening to the magic and the songs.

This is a story that I occasionally wondered ‘what on earth is going on!’ as it flitted from one person to another, and from one group to another. Even though I had trouble following where the author was going I found myself sticking with the book. I didn’t once think of putting it down because I wanted to know the outcomes. I am really glad I did because things gradually started to merge, make sense and become more clear. Did I fully understand everything about the story? No, probably not, but that doesn’t take away the entertainment value of the story. I also really enjoyed the music references such as Stagger Lee, Buddy Bolden and songs from the old Jazz and Blues eras. There are also mentions of spirits, haints, dead cabs, and so many different other things.

Essentially this is a story that starts out as a mystery. Jaylon and Daddy Deke have gone missing. Their respective families or friends are trying to find them and discover that not everything is as they think it is. There is another side that is separated by a thin layer. There is a storm coming, one that could be catastrophic unless the main characters can work out exactly what, how and when to do what they need to do.

I do think this is one of those books that may well divide the readers. It is quirky but I do love quirky, and when it is mixed in with urban fantasy, a rich setting and has some good music vibes running through it then it makes it a book that will catch my eye. In fact, it was the cover that did it for me, it made me think of voodoo, magic and death!

This is a fabulous read, I have been wavering between giving it a 4 or a 5 star. Five for the fact that I really enjoyed the style of the story but a four because I did feel a little lost at times.

This is one for those who like adventure, to take a risk and maybe for those looking for something a little bit different. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend it. 

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The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James @amandajames61 @OneMoreChapter_ #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James. This is an author who writes some fabulous books, and I am really enjoying her latest ones that have a nice twist to them.

This is 2 of 20 in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

For Cornish artist Sennen Kellow that moment comes with the discovery of her late gran’s epic love story – a story that happened years before she ever met Sennen’s grandfather.

Now, as Sennen digs into her grandmother’s past and discovers a forgotten beach, a hidden poem, and a love that blazed brightly before Fate intervened, her search for answers leads her on a fated journey of her own. One which sees history repeating itself, and Sennen faced with a chance at the kind of once-in-a-lifetime love her gran experienced…but only if she’s willing to risk everything.

On the forgotten beach at the edge of the land,
lies a forgotten treasure beneath the sand.
A cup of kindness for Auld Lang Syne,
Sweeter than the finest wine.
In a parting glass from years gone by,
Dwells a magic strange to you and I.
Sup it down before you part,
to find the truth within your heart.
 

MY REVIEW

Oh, Amanda James, you have once again written a wonderful book. This one was absolutely fabulous.

Sennen Kellow is a local artist and shop owner. She is given a poem that her grandmother had written, there is a secret beach local to her. The only way to get to it is through the grounds of an old property, when her curiosity finally gets the better of her, Sennen decides to have a look and see what she can find out.

This is where she meets the rather abrupt, aloof and brusque owner of the property. A London lawyer who isn’t exactly charming, but does grant her a tour of the house and grounds. Not wanting to discuss why she actually has an interest in visiting as he doesn’t appear to be very open or pleasant.

The author has woven a tale that spans the generations and gives a wonderful account of families of the past. A time when money and status were paramount and marriage for love was worth nothing. The story gradually emerges and it is one that has some wonderful heartwarming moments as well as moments marred by grief.

While the situation for Sennen is intriguing, the author twists a wonderful comparison between the past and the present. It drew me further into the story and at times left me nervously turning the pages wondering if history would repeat itself.

I loved this sense of tension and the uncertainty that the author injects into this story. Using the past and the present, with mystery and romance and then twisting certain things to create a captivating story.

This is one for readers who love to read a contemporary fiction style story, that has echoes of the past, with a complicated and not necessarily straightforward romantic angle. I have to say this is a fabulous read and I loved to see mentions of characters from other books mentioned. While this is part of a series, you could read this as a standalone. But, if you did you would miss out on some wonderful storytelling from one of my favourite authors.

A cracking read from the first to the last page and also the author’s notes add a wonderful touch at the end. I would definitely recommend this book. 

The books in the series are…

Each of these can be read as stand-alone books as they are stories in their own right.

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The Chemical Cocktail Fiona Erskine @erskine_fiona @PointBlankCrime @RandomTTours #crime #mystery #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Chemical Cocktail by Fiona Erskine. This book is the 3rd book in the Jaqueline Silver series, and yes, it is the first one I have read.

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

Jaq Silver is back with a bang in this high-octane third novel in the series

When Jaq Silver’s mother dies, she is handed a poisoned chalice. An inheritance more valuable to her than she could have imagined. Travelling from Portugal to Brazil amid conspiracies and corruption to get to the bottom of her family mystery, Jaq learns she is not the only one with an interest in her unusual inheritance. Racing against the clock as the threats to her life increase on all sides, Jaq must use her scientific know-how to save what matters most. 

MY REVIEW

This is the 3rd book in the series, and as I am prone to doing, it is the first book I have read. I will say right from the off that I think this worked really well as a stand-alone. I felt that the story and the main characters worked for me. It felt like a complete story and that any questions I had were answered.

Jaq Silver, well, she is a character I really liked. I also liked how the book was laid out. Chapters were chemical symbols and their headings were aimed at the content of the chapters. This does have a back and forth timeslip to it, the past has its own symbol so at a glance you are aware of the change as well as the obvious date.

Jaq hasn’t been close to her mother, so when Angie dies whatever hasn’t been bequeathed to various other parties is left to Jaq. This is in the form of a strongbox, leather, old and full of secrets. One of which shatters what truth Jaq had known. It also sets her on a frantic journey to retrieve secrets taking her from Brazil to Portugal and back. Time is of the element (pun intended 🙂 ) and lives are at stake.

As this is the first book I have read by this author I did have a quick peek at her profile, having read the book and now the profile I can see the author knows her stuff. “Engineer by day, writer by night” and I think that this makes this book all the more interesting.

As there is a stopwatch for Jaq, this injects a thriller vibe to the story as well as a mystery one. The back and forth fills in the gaps and this worked really well for me, I was able to discover more about Jaq as a teen and as an adult and this is why this particular book works so well as a standalone.

There are some brilliant hair-raising moments in this story as Jaq tried to stay ahead of the clock and also of her pursuers. More and more details are given, and more and more questions are answered but it is not until the end that the bombshell is released. I never saw this and I was so glad I didn’t. It made for an amazing reader reaction.

I really enjoyed this book and it is one that really had me hooked. It is a bit of crime, a lot of mystery and definitely a thriller feel to it. I am looking to reading more by this author and I would definitely recommend this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fiona Erskine is a professional engineer based in Teesside, although her
work has taken her around the world. As a female engineer, she has been
often the lone representative of her gender in board meetings, cargo ships
and night-time factories, and her fiction offers a fascinating insight into this
traditionally male world. She is the author of The Chemical Detective and
The Chemical Reaction. The Chemical Detective was shortlisted for the
Specsavers’ Debut Crime Novel Award. Her second thriller in the Jaq Silver
series, The Chemical Reaction, was shortlisted for the Staunch Prize in
2020.

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Airside by James Swallow @jmswallow @welbeckpublish #crime #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Airside by James Swallow. This is a brilliant, tense, crime mystery and thriller book.

My huge thanks to Maddie at Welbeck Books for my copy of this book and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Beleaguered businessman Kevin Tyler’s life is imploding: he’s spent months setting up a deal to open an office in Northern Germany, risking everything he owns to push the project through – but at the last possible moment, his partners renege on the agreement when another party sweeps in with a better offer.

Left high and dry, Tyler knows he is going home to bankruptcy and an uncertain future. And to add insult to injury, an overbooked flight sees him bumped off the last plane home, leaving him behind to wait out a storm until the next departure the following morning.

Stranded in the airside zone of a remote municipal airport, Kevin’s luck seems to have run out – until he stumbles upon a bag of money that could be the solution to all his woes.

There’s just one problem – the money is part of a conspiracy of blackmail and murder, and those involved are willing to do anything to keep it… 

MY REVIEW

I have not read any books by this author but I do have a copy of Nomad that I really must get to. This is a standalone novel and one that takes place in a small airport in Germany.

Kevin Tyler’s day goes from bad to worse and then worse again. He has lost a lucrative deal, has been bumped from the flight due to the flight being overbooked and then he finds himself in a quandy when he discovers a small fortune in the airport toilet.

Kevin is used to only passing through this airport, it’s somewhere to pick up or switch onto connecting flights. So when he finds that he may have just put himself in the worst situation possible by taking the bag of money, he is very much on his own.

Of course, a bag of money is not going to be hidden in the toilet for just anyone to find. It will have been put there for a reason, and so also be picked up at some point. And, yes, you just know it isn’t going to be honest money.

I do like the dilemma of Kevin, he knows he shouldn’t, but just thinks about how it will help him. He isn’t one of life’s greatest thinkers, and the author does suggest that actually thinking isn’t necessarily one of Kevin’s skills. This actually paints Kevin into quite a sad, lonely and unsuccessful character. A normal businessman who has found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and doing a stupid thing like helping himself to a lot of money.

This starts as quite a slow read, it then subtly starts to speed up. I do like stories like these because it gives the reader a chance to get to know the main players and start to form opinions. The author then makes more subtle changes, adding more characters, and a slight twist and it moves the story along.

While part of me thinks this is a mystery, it is also a suspenseful thriller and it does have a certain noir feel to it. It is essentially a locked room mystery, but the room in this story is an airport. This gives the author a lot of room to play with and he uses this space to great advantage. While the characters may be limited, the airport itself becomes almost like a character in itself as various sides and levels are shown, and indeed used.

As I mentioned this is a slower book, by the end it suddenly bursts into a full-blown pace. I didn’t initially notice this but it did start to become more evident around the halfway point.

This is one for those who like a thriller that is subtle, it is almost quiet, until a lot further in the book. I like the suspense and intrigue. I wonder what other people would do if they found a bag of money – after reading this book I would definitely leave it where it was and scurry away quick!

This is a fab read and full of mystery. I am definitely going to have to look at other books by this author. Airside is a wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend.

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

I am delighted to share my review today for Operation 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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The Island by Adrian McKinty #NetGalley #PublicationDay #thriller #action @orionbooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Island by Adrian McKinty. This is one of those books that crosses many genres so I do think it will appeal to a great many readers.

My huge thanks to Orion Books who accepted my request to read and review this book via NetGalley.

IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A FAMILY VACATION.

A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT CHANGED EVERYTHING.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF UNTIL THEY COME FOR YOUR FAMILY.

After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

SOON TO BE A HULU ORIGINAL SERIES 

MY REVIEW

It was the cover of this book that caught my eye, I am not going to point out exactly what it was. This is one for those of you who like an intense thriller story and it is one I really enjoyed.

Tom Baxter, his wife Heather and his two children from a previous marriage are hoping to spend some time together. Tom is a Doctor and is in Australia as a keynote speaker. Having the rest of the family join him means they can get some time together as a family.

This family is disjointed, Tom is a busy man and while he does spend time with his children it isn’t enough. Heather isn’t really accepted by the children and there are reasons for that. The children are not a barrel of laughs either, but again there are reasons.

To stop any squabbling Tom and Heather take the children out for a drive in the hope that they will see some of the country’s animals. Taking a trip to an island should be a chance for the children to get photos and also get some good tales, a chance for some family bonding maybe! They didn’t bargain for what they encountered on the island though.

This is a fabulous read and one that I really found myself drawn into. The setting of the Australian Outback is brilliant and having an island makes this an even better scene.

The characters are a mixed bag, they whine, they argue, they try their best and then they have their world turned upside down, and for some of them, this isn’t the first time that they will have to deal with some tough stuff.

I really like the way the author has used the character’s personalities, traits and nuances. This is a great way of keeping the reader on the hoof and I was never quite sure who was really what they appeared. They all have something to hide and some do it better than others, but eventually, things do become clear.

The story is one that I enjoyed, the basic bones of it are about a family that is getting through life but not really doing together. It is a snapshot of an American family that has found themselves in a situation that they never would have imagined themselves in. This is one of those stories that you can imagine a film being made of, and I am not sure that I would actually want to watch it (I don’t do creepy, horror style movies) but I have to say the book was brilliantly done.

From a slower start and getting to know the characters this book gradually built up the pace, it became more intense and it was one of those that had me frantically flipping pages. I thought this was brilliant and it is one I would definitely recommend. 

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Outcast by Chris Ryan @exSASChrisRyan @rararesources @ZaffreBooks #crime #action #militarythriller #mystery #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the reviewers that are opening the Blog Tour today for Outcast by Chris Ryan. This is a brilliant action/ adventure crime and mystery novel and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

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 book from Zaffre Books via NetGalley.

After single-handedly intervening in a deadly terrorist attack in Mali, SAS Warrant Officer Jamie ‘Geordie’ Carter is denounced as a lone wolf by jealous superiors.


Now a Regiment outcast, Carter is given a second chance with a deniable mission: locate SAS hero-gone-rogue, David Vann.


Vann had been sent into Afghanistan to train local rebels to fight the Taliban. But he’s since gone silent and expected attacks on key targets have not happened.


Tracking Vann through Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Carter not only discovers the rogue soldier’s involvement in a conspiracy that stretches far beyond the Middle East – but an imminent attack that will have deadly consequences the world over . . .

Purchase Links AMAZON UK USBrown’s Books

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author, and it was a very addictive read. This is a book that is full of action from the first page right through to the last. I have seen there are several books by this author and after reading this latest one I really need to go and read more.

The story focuses on SAS Warrant Officer Jamie Carter, (Geordie) he has not got many friends in the ranks or in power. He is considered a bit of a liability after his last mission. His current mission is cut short at a very timely moment and he asked to go and discover the whereabouts of his old trainer Vann. He is out of contact, no one knows where or why but they do have the last location.

I really liked Geordie, while he is a maverick as such he also seems quite principled. In some respects, his principles are part of his training. His training is what keeps him alive and as Vann was the one that trained him they are very similar and this is something that Geordie can use to his advantage, as they do share a similar mindset and this will prove inevitable in trying to work out what has happened.

This is an action-packed story from start to finish. The author obviously knows his stuff and this is very apparent from the details he includes. I liked the balance of the details, enough to make a point but not over the top.

When Government organisations are involved then there is often some sort of double cross or political power play involved. This mission though is being run via two government agencies and both are adamant that he is covered, that things are good and that he has everything he needs. I do like it when agencies get involved!

Geordie is a great character, he has a dogged determination and also there is a certain amount to him that makes him trustworthy. Little things that he does along his journey make you realise that he is not all muscle and firepower.

The action is fast throughout the story, there are skirmishes, fights, and chases, but underneath all this, the author keeps the story about Geordie and his mission but with a more personal touch and I was able to learn more about this character. This is a relatively quick read at just a little over 300 pages and there are a lot of details.

This is one for those who like to read more of an action-adventure story as well as a crime thriller and mystery. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Ryan was born in Newcastle.
In 1984 he joined 22 SAS. After completing the year-long Alpine Guides Course, he was the troop guide for B Squadron Mountain Troop. He completed three tours with the anti-terrorist team, serving as an assaulter, sniper and finally Sniper Team Commander.


Chris was part of the SAS eight-man team chosen for the famous Bravo Two Zero mission during the 1991 Gulf War. He was the only member of the unit to escape from Iraq, where three of his colleagues were killed and four captured, for which he was awarded the Military Medal. Chris wrote about his experiences in his book The One That Got Away, which became an immediate bestseller. Since then he has written over fifty books and presented a number of very successful TV programmes.


Social Media Links – Twitter

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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.

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

The Caretakers Amanda Bestor-Siegal #NetGalley #LittleBrownUK #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today from The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal. I had requested this one from Net Galley. My thanks to Little Brown UK for granting my request.

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Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family–a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.

Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family’s American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault–the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

The truth lies with six women: Geraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family’s household.

Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It’s a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family–and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

MY REVIEW

Every now and again I come across a book that leaves me a little unsure. The Caretakers is one such book. It is a mystery of sorts, but the mystery is more a way to a means. By this, I mean that the mystery gave the author a chance to create storylines around her characters so that the focus was more on the characters than the mystery.

The story focus on Au pairs who live and work in France, they are The Caretakers. The caretakers of the children, the house and the secrets. The author takes various characters and gives each of them a story, about the family they work for, where they have come from and also their thoughts and opinions. This means there is a lot of back and forth between characters and also timelines. I did find this easy enough to follow and keep up with who was who.

While there are several sub-stories in this book they do eventually intertwine, some more than others. The au-pairs of foreigners to France and so they are alone, it is natural that they navigate towards one another and this is done via a French Speaking school for au-pairs and also when they meet up socially. They form tentative bonds and some friendships are more of a way of feeling not so alone in a foreign country.

The time of the story when the girls are working is around the time of the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, the author uses this to add a touch of friction, and unease and it gives a chance for opinions to surface from differing perspectives. It was a way of discovering more about living in France and being French, very interesting.

This is very much a character-driven story, at times I did actually forget that there was a mystery that started my journey with this book. This is a book where I kind of want to say not huge amounts happened, but actually, there was. It has a subtle dramatic feel and for me, I got a sense of nervousness, trepidation at living in a new country, trying to start a new chapter in life, or just trying to prove people wrong. There are several different voices in this book and each one brings their own story, thoughts, personality, history, hopes for the future or just to escape something from their past.

This is a slow burner, but it was also very captivating. There was something about this book that didn’t allow me to put it to one side. As I mentioned earlier, it is a subtle book because it isn’t always immediately obvious where the author is going as she flits from character and time.

This was a really interesting read, it is one for those who like character-driven novels, contemporary and literary fiction. I would happily recommend this one as it did keep me hooked.

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