Chasing Black Gold by Robert Stone @rstonecbg @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

Chasing Black Gold: The Incredible True Story of a Fuel Smuggler in Africa by [Stone, Robert]

Today I am delighted to be sharing Chasing Black Gold By Robert Stone as part of the blog blitz by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Robert for my copy of the book and Rachel for the invite to join the tour xx

Where to buy a copy: The History PressAmazon UKWaterstonesBarnes and Noble

Amazon.ComeBooks.Com

Synopsis:

ROBERT STONE was a serial entrepreneur – an enterprising individual, mostly on the wrong side of the law, who spent twenty-five years operating all over the world, before being arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Over the course of his career, Stone earned and lost several lifetimes’ worth of fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, saw men die, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, trading fuel with generals, rebels and businessman, was both his career high and, ultimately, what brought him down.

My Thoughts:

Well this was a really interesting read and the author is very candid in his account of his life as a smuggler. I’m also having to remind myself that it is the book I am reviewing and not the lifestyle the author chose to live. I am someone who works hard for my weekly wage and I live within my means, so this book was a real eye opener for me. To see how the shadier side of smuggling and making the next million can consume someone to the point of risking their life.

CBG -Coastal Shipping Base Warri, Nigeria

This photo shows the coastal shipping base in Warri, Nigeria.

The author definitely ‘aint no saint, but I did get the impression that he was well thought of as an employer. He has had a dangerous life and most definitely lived it on the edge more often than not. While I can admire the inventiveness required to solve logistical problems I do not admire the fact that his life was a lie and gotten by illegal means, but I am not judging, each to their own.

CBG -Rob, Linda and Crew- Off Africa 1988.jpg

This shows Robert and his wife Linda with some of the employees off Africa.

I found that this book was really easy to get into and did capture my attention as I was taken into the authors real life world. It has danger, chases, being on the run, being in prison, being a millionaire with ships around the world to being broke and living in hiding. I must also mention he has a wife and family and on several occasions my heart went out to them as the author was essentially a husband and father who worked away a lot of the time, well most of the time.

CBG -Reunited Family 1996.jpg

The Family re-united in 1996

If you want a book that is a real eye-opener then this is one for you. It could just as easily be a script for a Hollywood Blockbuster film rather than a biography, it really is that action packed, dangerous, jaw dropping and thrilling, that will take you around the world. From beautiful beaches to regime ruled countries it has it all. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of biographies and true crime.

About the Author:

CBG -Getting ready to bury Kruggerands and money.jpg

This picture shows Robert getting ready to bury Kruggerands and money.

Author Robert Stone first came to Aberdeen Scotland in 1973 as a pioneer saturation diver in the early dangerous days of the North Sea. Retiring from diving in the mid 80’s he became a serial entrepreneur –mostly on the wrong side of the law. He spent the next decade operating businesses all over the world from his Aberdeenshire home.

Stone earned and lost several fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, was only one of his many exploits.

His Scottish wife and young children knew nothing of the dark side of his life until the day they were all arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

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Giveaway – Win 10 x signed copies of Chasing Black Gold (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Many thanks for taking the time to read my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#GuestPost : Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird & Richard Newman : @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright @gilbster1000

Veronicas Bird Cover

I am delighted to be sharing a guest post for “Veronica’s Bird”.  Published by Clink Street Publishing and available in paperback and eBook formats.  Available to purchase now at Amazon UK 

When this book was offered to me by Rachel at Authoright I knew immediately that it was one I wanted to read, but also knew that I was already booked up.   There were many questions I would like to pose to the author regarding her time working in a male prison.  So my focus was regarding the changes in prison over the years.  I have a wonderful post that is honest and insightful to share with you.  It has made me more determined than ever to read this book soon.

Guest Post:

Question: How has the prison service changed in the time Veronica was there?

Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird and Richard Newman 

It is a commonplace today to criticise the lives of prisoners: ‘too soft’, ‘too cushy’, they say. Choice of menu, carpets in cells, television and radio, ensuite facilities, own door key. What, is going on? So, are these not the good things we all aspired to in a caring society?

Let us make a comparison between a modern prison today with Dartmoor Prison when Veronica entered the Service. Prisoners in those days wore canvas uniforms printed with arrows (even their boots had studs in the shape of an arrow) no television of course, or radio, often deliberately awful food, flogging, no human rights and too far for families to travel and visit, being on the edge of the world, or at least, hidden away in the heavy moor mist. Hard labour was just that: breaking up stone (granite) in a quarry in a chain gang. The men had no rights at all and if a prisoner happened to be mentally ill they were placed under even greater hardship.

No-one, surely wants to see a return to those days, but many of the public still seek an eye for an eye, that the prisoner must feel the lash of the cat ‘o nine -tails albeit if only in a virtual world of his own making. And so, we moved away from chain gangs and, gradually, conditions improved, propped up massively by the European Court of Justice. A balance seemed to have been found. Prison was hard, boring and a huge waste of time – and treasure – but the punishment was fitting the crime in people’s minds. Canvas uniforms with arrows disappeared, there was better food, better on-site hospital care, prison visiting groups could report inconsistencies. We all felt Britain was moving towards being a member of this much espoused, caring society.

Then the pendulum began to swing. Drugs began to rear their ugly head and the snag of importing it into prisons became easier. Now, under organised crime and despite visitors having a rub down and being obliged to open their mouths at the prison gate, the drug flow continues. Drugs can be mixed with children’s paints in a picture brought in ‘for daddy’. It is hidden in kids’ nappies or it can be thrown over prison walls. With thirty-five percent of prisoners already addicted a further two thousand non-drug-takers each year will be addicted before they end their sentence.

And now, with potent drugs such as spice, while we have a prison population living within their ‘rights,’ we are also converting our youth into addicts who will steal and maim in their effort to get their ‘fix’ once they are released. Something is radically wrong here.

Today, staff are better equipped, better trained and unionised. They have to work to strict rules which protect them as well as their charges. They are though, under pressure as budgets are cut, leading to a frightening increase in assaults often triggered by the drug-taking by prisoners who know their rights and use them as a shield. Working in the Prison Service has never been easy but without radical and courageous change, something which successive governments are fain to consider, things will only get worse.

Veronica’s book continues the debate on the vexed subject of how to deal with the varying categories of prisoner. With the death penalty gone and prisoners handed the keys to their cells, we all need to think carefully what is really implied as an eye for an eye.

Veronica’s Bird   –   Copyright © Richard Newman 2018.  Authors Veronica Bird and Richard Newman. Published by Clink Street Publications 23rd January 2017

Veronicas Bird Cover

 

Synopsis:

Veronica’s Bird: Thirty-five years inside as a female prison officer 

Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates. A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust. This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match. During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons. A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is led with humour and compassion for those inside.

About the Authors:

After thirty-five years working for the Prison Service, Veronica Bird is now retired and living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She is still an active proponent of the justice system and continues to lecture across the country and is a supporter of Butler Trust, which acknowledges excellence within the prison system. A qualified architect and Swiss-trained hotelier, Richard Newman enjoyed a forty-year career designing and managing hotels worldwide before retiring in 2001. Since

then he has gone on to publish a number of novels: The Crown of Martyrdom, The Horse that Screamed, The Potato Eaters, The Green Hill, Brief Encounters and most recently The Sunday Times bestseller, A Nun’s Story. He is currently working on a new novel about retirement and an autobiography of his time in the Middle East. He lives happily with his wife in Wetherby, West Yorkshire where he enjoys being close to his family.

Monika Cover 2Follow other bloggers as they share their thoughts on Veronica’s Bird.

I will be reading this book in the near future and will then will add my thoughts also.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Better still go and buy a copy of this book xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview : Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green : http://bit.ly/YvonneBlog : @TheMirrorBooks @BookMachine : #BonusBlogTourExtra

 

I am delighted to share my thoughts on “Into The Valley” by Chris Clement-Green.  I was not able to read in time for the blog tour dates, but thanks to the generosity of  @laurasummersnow  at Book Machine  I have a bonus slot.  This book is available as a paperback and eBook and is published by Mirror Books.

Synopsis:

Encouraged by the sizeable pay increase and high divorce rate, Chris decided that answering a recruitment ad for the Thames Valley Police was just the thing for a much-needed overhaul of her life. It was 1984, a time before political correctness, at the height of the miner s strike and in the middle of five years of race riots. Perfect timing. Expanding her police knowledge, and her love life, undeterred by sexist remarks and chauvinists she decided to make her mark, kissing goodbye to her previous dull and conventional existence. Chris captures the colourful characters and humour in the situations she found herself in, but the job had its serious side, too. She was at the centre of a riot in Oxford, during which her life was saved by a young black man she had previously stopped and questioned, and was attacked by a man with mental-health problems a consequence of the decision to move care into the community . Consistently coming up against the effects of Margaret Thatcher s politics; from miner s picket-lines, covering (poorly) for striking paramedics during the ambulance dispute to everyday drunken disturbances caused by the haves (Yuppies and Oxford students) and the have-nots (alcoholic homeless and unemployed youth), Chris also tackled sex crimes and abuse. An often humorous, always candid and no-holds-barred reflection of the life of a policewoman in the 80s, this book offers a personal account of a life in uniform, while touching on the Newbury Bypass demos, the effects of Scarman, the Hungerford Massacre, the bombing of Libya, the AIDS epidemic and working under the notorious Ali Dizaei.

My Thoughts:

When the opportunity came through my email in box to read this book.  I was definitely interested in reading this, it was a book that was set during the 80’s.  For me I can remember seeing things on the news at this time, in 1984 I was 13 years old.  In 1984 Chris made the choice to join the Thames Valley Police Force.  This book covers the 16 years she spent in the force, telling of experiences, training and how things have changed over the time, both in a procedural sense as well as from a female police officer and the prejudices that were shown towards her.

Chris has had to deal with many things over the years in the force, but her dogged perseverance has served her well.  She gives a very candid account of things she has witnessed and  experienced, with stories that are a mix of various crimes she has been called to attend. Some are serious in nature, some are humorous.  It has been laid out in a very readable style, and charts her rise and her reasons for some of her decisions.  As she tells this account, she also adds what was happening in other police forces, especially notable things that made national news headlines.  It adds a good timeline perspective and helps to jog memories of where you were at the time, or what you were doing.  The book is set out in various chapters, and reads like short stories as well as continuing Chris’s story.

I really enjoyed this book, I found it quite educational at times, and it was nice to see what changes have been made within the force.  A book that I think will appeal to readers of Biography, True Crime, Politics and Society.

I would like to thank Book Machine Works and Mirror Books for my copy of this book.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

 

About the Author:

Chris Clement-Green_smChris Clement-Green recently retired from Thames Valley Police after sixteen years as a uniform sergeant followed by five as a civilian investigator on serious and organised crime teams – which included working on several murder incident rooms. Her last job involved the management of sixty registered sex-offenders. She has now moved to rural Wales and set up The Welsh Writing Shed, from where Chris runs tutored and untutored writing retreats – thewelshwritingshed.co.uk

Her serious writing started in 2007 when she was encouraged to enter the National Association of Writer’s Groups annual short story competition. It was Chris’ first ever competition so she was astonished to win with Pebbles. The win encouraged her to undertake the Open University Creative Writing course in 2010 and Advanced Creative Writing in 2011, and she completed both courses with distinction. In 2013 she was accepted onto the prestigious Bath Spa University Creative Writing MA, where she completed a life-writing manuscript Into The Valley: Policing Thatcher’s Britain. Mirror Books has recently signed Chris and her memoir is due for publication in August 2017.

Chris has had several articles and letters published in national UK magazines, most notably Writing Magazine, and in September 2016 she was published in The New Guard Volume V a literary journal based in New York. Chris has also been short listed in the Literature Works First Page Writing Prize and Writing Magazine’s Jane Eyre competition; she was also Highly Commended in the Penro Literary Festival’s memoir competition and most recently her fantasy short story, Layla, was published in Divinity Fantasia Magazine. Chris won the Oriel Davis Prose Competition in 2016 and she was also a finalist in the Women in Comedy Festival 2016 writing competition with her monologue Queenie.

Chris has just completed work on her debut novel The Soft Tread of Vengeance; a procedural crime novel which has at its heart, animal rights versus human welfare, what money can and cannot buy and the nature of terrorism and redemption. Chris is now working on the first in a series of crime novels – Come Join the Murder – which is set against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Mirror Books (21 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907324720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907324727
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give it a share.

Better still go and buy the book.