Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Guest post, Political Thriller

Curse The Day Judith O’Reilly 5*#Review @judithoreilly @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction #GuestPost #CurseTheDay #MichaelNorth #AI #Political #Thriller #Conspiracy #ArtificialIntelligence #BookReview #BlogTour #ReviewCompetition

At a global tech gala hosted at the British Museum, scientist Tobias Hawke is due to unveil an astonishing breakthrough. His AI system appears to have reached consciousness, making Hawke the leading light in his field.

But when terrorists storm the building, they don’t just leave chaos in their wake. They seize Hawke’s masterwork, sparking a chain reaction of explosive events which could end the world as we know it.

Michael North, ex-assassin and spy-for-hire, must find the killers and recover the AI. But he can’t do it alone. Hawke’s wife, Esme, and teenage hacker, Fangfang, have their own reasons to help complete North’s mission – and together they unravel a dark and deadly conspiracy which stretches right to the top of the British elite.

Can North survive long enough to uncover the whole truth? Or is it already too late for humanity?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Michael North attracts danger and violence. Living with a bullet in his head carries a death sentence, which makes him reckless about his future. With his quirky team, the only family he knows, he lives his life at a fast pace, with little regard for tomorrow.

This fast-paced political thriller has a conspiracy at its heart, with every twist deepening the deceit and increasing the menace. North and his team are diverse and easy to like. They have a great team dynamic, which provides a few lighter moments, to temper the tension.

Complex characters complement an addictive, contemporary, informed plot, which flows well and has an ending with impact.

I’M ALL EARS

Guest Post – Judith O’ReillyCurse the Day

All sorts of people are ‘broadcasting’ at the minute, as if convinced by the prospect of their own imminent death that they have to say what they have to say, or face losing their chance forever.

I get that. There is nothing like the threat of your demise to focus attention on what you think and feel, what you’ve done and still have to do, on who you love and what you know, on what you can teach and what you can share with the wider world whether that’s keeping fit or making lunch or warning the world to stay at home.

At times like these, we ask ourselves did we make the mark we wanted to make? Is there still time to do more, to say more. Is there time to say everything that has to be said before it’s just too damn late?

In the writing business, we want to sell our books and through those books, we look to sell something of ourselves. We demand to be seen. We jump up and down to be heard. And social media has given us the way to star in our very own movies.

Yet even as I struggle to get to grips with some video conferencing app or other, even as I arrange Live panels in online festivals and tweet furiously about the thriller I’m launching, I question the on-line whirligig I’m caught up in – the Facebook videos and chatter, the podcasts and the Live launches.   

And I wonder if everything that’s going on in the name of entertainment and distraction should shuffle to one side and make more room for Listening.

Because we can’t all talk at the same time. Some of us have to listen. And if we are all broadcasting, furiously determined to say what we have to say rather than take it to the grave with us, we cannot – any of us – be heard.

There is a quiet virtue to listening. There is a skill to it – an art. And I’d argue those who have been listening their entire lives, are probably more interesting that those who have been broadcasting.

Over the years, listeners have learnt to sift and analyse, spot half-truths and downright lies. They’ve learnt who makes noise and who has something worthwhile to say. Who can teach and who spreads light rather than casts shadows. Who to trust.

It’s soul destroying to have your words ignored. Not to be listened to. And, in work situations, plenty of women know exactly how that feels.

Equally, there’s something life enhancing in being listened to. Properly. Deeply. In being the focus of someone’s attention, and in feeling that, finally, you are truly seen, truly heard.

As a journalist as well as a writer, perhaps listening comes more naturally to me than to some. Perhaps I was born a listener. An only child, I certainly recognised early on that listening was both a duty and a privilege. If I sat quietly, I would learn who said what to whom and how they felt and what happened next. I would be amused. I would be privy to scandals of the past and to secrets of the heart.

So how exactly do you listen? How do you listen harder and more in a world which is so full of noise? How do you even make out what is worth listening to. What and who you want to hear more of? I would argue you have to make a conscious decision to make space for it in your life. That you remind yourself other things can wait a while, but not your child and not your partner and not your parents and not your friend. Because they need to be heard and to be heard someone has to be there to listen. Even more so at a time of crisis for all.

You put aside the chore or the phone. You meet their eye if you can. You don’t let your gaze roam if they are in the room with you, and if they aren’t (and they may not be today or over the months to come), you listen all the harder to what they are telling you. You focus. You concentrate. You allow them to move centre-stage and you focus the spotlight on them. They may need that. We all need that, especially when we’re fearful and with just cause. Moreover, sometimes what they’re saying is between the words, and that’s a whole other level of listening right there. And you don’t want to miss the unsaid. And I would say that the more you do it, the better you get at it.

We always know if someone is a good listener. And then the exchange becomes something meaningful because to talk to someone who listens involves trust. There is nothing more seductive and dangerous that someone who truly listens because we give up a part of ourselves when we are with them.

Above all know that being prepared to listen, giving someone else that gift – the gift of being heard, isn’t a way to silence ourselves. The listeners among us still have things to say. They just say it in a different way to most.

Judith O’ Reilly

Judith O’Reilly is the author of Wife in the North, a top-three Sunday Times bestseller and BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and The Year of Doing Good. Judith is a former senior journalist with The Sunday Times and a former political producer with BBC 2’s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News. Her first Michael North thriller, Killing State was set in Westminster and was praised by thriller writers around the globe.

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Review Competition for Curse The Day from April 2nd 2020

Review Competition for Curse The Day from April 2nd 2020.

To be in with a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Submit proof of your review of Curse The Day on Amazon/iBooks/Kobo to competitions@headofzeus.com,

Terms and Conditons for Review Competition forCurse The Day from April 2nd 2020.
  1. The promoter is: Head of Zeus Ltd  whose registered office is at 5-8 Hardwick Street, London, N16 5UA. 
  2. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over except employees of Head of Zeus and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.
  3. There is no entry fee to enter this competition. 
  4. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  5. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via the Head of Zeus Twitter.
     
  6. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.
  7. Closing date for entry will be 30th April 2020. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  9. The rules of the competition and how to enter are as follows:

Review either the eBook or hardback of Curse The Day by Judith O’Reilly and send proof of review to competitions@headofzeus.com. Accepted retailers include Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and Waterstones. 

10. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

11. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.

12. The prize is as follows: 1 Kindle Fire. 

The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered.The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

13. Winners will be chosen at random. 

14. The winner will be notified by email and/or DM on Twitter/Facebook and/or letter within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.

15. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected / is delivered.

16. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

17. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.

18. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by [English] law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of [England].

19. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current [UK] data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.

20. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by emailing the following address: competitions@headofzeus.com

21. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

22. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to Head of Zeus and not to any other party. 

Posted in Book Spotlight, Crime, Political Thriller, Thriller

#TexasStyleJustice @Susanpbaker #noveltexasstylejustice @rararesources #SocialMedia #Blitz #promo

Devastated by a divorce and death of a child, Judge Torie Van Fleet rebuilds her life around succeeding in the justice system. Her goal: the U.S. Supreme Court. Vowing to do whatever it takes, she risks her relationship with her new husband, her relationship with her best friend, and the support of her constituents. Not until the critical first step in the process does she realize what an exorbitant price her backers demand that she pay. Will she risk everything, come to terms with her priorities, or does she even have a choice? 

#noveltexasstylejustice

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Mystery, Political Thriller, Suspense

The Coldest Warrior Paul Vidich 4* #Review @paulvidich @noexitpress #conspiracy #RandomThingsTours #SpyThriller #mystery #PoliticalThriller #International #ColdWar #TheColdestWarrior #BlogTour #BookReview #SundayThoughts #SundayMorning @annecater

The new novel by acclaimed espionage author Paul Vidich explores the dark side of intelligence, when a CIA officer delves into a cold case from the 1950s-with fatal consequences.

In 1953, Dr. Charles Wilson, a government scientist, died when he ‘jumped or fell’ from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of the incident remain buried for twenty-two years.

With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, the Wilson case suddenly becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the public are demanding answers, especially as some come to suspect the CIA of foul play, and agents in the CIA, FBI, and White House will do anything to make sure the truth doesn’t get out.

Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It’s Gabriel’s last mission before he retires from the agency, and his most perilous. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes, and Gabriel realizes that the closer he gets to the truth, the more his entire family is at risk.

Following in the footsteps of spy fiction greats like Graham Green, John Le Carré, and Alan Furst, Paul Vidich presents a tale – based on the unbelievable true story told in Netflix’s Wormwood – that doesn’t shy away from the true darkness in the shadows of espionage.

I received a copy of the book from No Exit Press in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A well-crafted conspiracy style political thriller, which has an additional poignancy because it is inspired by a true tragedy that happened in 1953, to a family member of the author. The story begins with the tragic event, seen from the tragedy instigator’s point of view. Its execution is the substance of many spy stories, but this one resonates because of the real-life personal connection.

A subsequent investigation in the mid-seventies provokes an internal investigation by the CIA, headed by an operative close to retirement, who is friendly with the victim’s family. The investigation throws up more questions than answers in the beginning, as those involved push-back. A turning-point is an unnamed source, who has the requisite information but won’t be identified.

There is a building intensity and menace, as the investigation progresses, implied rather than overt, but there. As the story gains momentum, the threat is implicit and Gabriel, the investigator realises his family is in danger because of his actions. The ending reinforces everything that has come before.

This thriller is written in a detailed, character-driven style that works well with conspiracy thrillers. The pacing is geared more to the absorption of events, rather than action. It is atmospheric and intense and portrays the paranoia in the intelligence world of 1950s USA believably. It is immersive and disturbing reading,

Paul Vidich

PAUL VIDICH is the acclaimed author of The Coldest Warrior (2020), An Honorable Man (2016) and The Good Assassin (2017), and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, LitHub, CrimeReads, Fugue, The Nation, Narrative Magazine, and others. He lives in New York.

Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, Noir, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

The Last Drop of Blood Graham Masterton 5* #Review @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction @GrahamMasterton @GrahamMasterto1 #crimefiction #Detective #political #thriller #noir #Irish #suspense #Author #Interview #BookReview #BlogTour #KatieMaguire

The final thriller in the million-copy-selling Katie Maguire series.

In the driver’s seat of a Jaguar, on a country road, a good man burns.

Justice Garrett Quinn should have been at a sentencing. He was one of the good ones, fighting for order in a lawless world. In a burned-out car, on the outskirts of Cork, DS Katie Maguire finds what’s left of him.

But this is only the beginning. The judge’s death sparks a gang war fought with bullets and bombs, and civilians are caught in the crossfire. As the city spirals deeper into violence, Ireland’s most fearless detective must find the courage to fight for her hometown one last time.

Katie Maguire is no stranger to sacrifice – but she has lost so much already. Facing new horrors each day, Katie must decide: can she do her duty when she has nothing left to give?

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An action-orientated, crime thriller set in Cork. ‘The Last Drop of Blood is a mix of ganglit, police procedural and political thriller with a distinctive Irish ethos.

Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire battles against establishment misogyny, warring crime gangs and an indiscriminate murderer. Recently bereaved, her personal and professional lives clash. Despite this, her survival instinct keeps her moving forward, steadily solving the complex web of crimes and outwitting those who would prefer her to fail.

It’s addictive reading and leaves you in no doubt about the evil lurking on the streets of Cork. The dialogue draws you into an Irish world, and gives the story it’s engaging authenticity. The characters are complex and easy to visualise. You see the world as they see it, and sometimes it’s a scary place to be. The violence is vividly portrayed as are the episodes of domestic abuse. Sex is shown to be both a weapon and a solace for the characters in this story.

This is reputed to be the last in the series, but it is the first Katie Maguire crime thriller, I’ve read. There are many characters, but the story focuses on Katie’s point of view for the most part, with other characters offering theirs at pertinent moments. There is sufficient backstory to read this as a standalone, I was hooked from the beginning and the plot layers and reveals kept me turning the pages.

The crime detection is believable, and the clues are commensurate with the progression of the police investigation. The ending is powerful and leaves the door open.

Author Interview with Graham Masterton – ‘The Last Drop of Blood’ Blog Tour

What inspired you to write the Katie Maguire thrillers?

In 1999, my late wife Wiescka and I moved to Cork for a while, attracted (a) by a change of scenery since our three sons had all grown up and left home; and (b) by the fact that the Republic of Ireland does not charge authors income tax. We found a huge old Victorian house to rent in Montenotte, high above the River Lee, so that we could see the tankers and the pleasure boats passing to and fro from our upstairs windows.  

Cork is an extraordinary and interesting city, with a very varied and colourful history because it is the second deepest harbour in the world after Sydney and over the centuries has seen the arrival of Vikings, Spaniards, as well as Sir Francis Drake and his fleet. It was the last port of call for the Titanic before she set sail across the Atlantic. Because of that, it has a slang all its own and an accent quite distinct from the smooth Dublin Irish. People still say ‘take a sconce to that’ when they mean ‘take a look at it’ — in other words, hold up a candle to it. Shopping is ‘the messages’ and ‘benjy’ means a bad smell like BO, and ‘langered’ means drunk. 

I was fascinated by the city and its heritage…especially as the centre of the Irish struggle for independence in the 1920s. The British Army burned down the shopping centre of St Patrick Street in December of 1920 in revenge for an ambush of British Auxiliary Forces, and Cork is still known as the ‘Rebel County.’  I realised that very few thrillers had been set in Cork, if any, and that’s what inspired me to write the first novel about Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire. 

I also wanted to write about a woman who has been promoted to a high position in a male-dominated environment, and how she copes with resentment and misogyny from her male colleagues…as well as solving crimes and having a very tangled love life. My closest friends have always been women and even though a man will never be able to think like a woman 100 per cent, those friends have given me understanding and empathy with female thinking. 

At the moment one of those close friends Dawn G Harris and I are writing short horror stories together and I have never known two creative minds click together like ours. 

‘The Last Drop of Blood’, is the last in the series, are you sad to say goodbye to the character? How did you know the series was at an end?

To be honest, it was my publishers who suggested that after 11 Katie Maguire novels it might be time to take a break. They say it’s the last and maybe it will be, but it won’t be a spoiler to tell you that Katie survives and may live to fight crime another day. 

How do you create your characters? Are your characters, based partly on real-life individuals?

My characters seem to come to life spontaneously!  Of course, they are based on close observation of real people, particularly the way they talk and dress and react to stressful situations. But it’s amazing how they seem to be born fully-fleshed and with a personal history and a personality of their own…sometimes a personality that I wasn’t expecting and which causes problems in developing the story. I was trained as a newspaper reporter and so I was taught to notice everything about the way in which people behave, and this is tremendously useful in developing fictional characters. 

How do you create authentic-sounding dialogue in your novels?

If you were to write dialogue verbatim, in the way that people really speak, it would be either boring or incomprehensible (especially in the case of Corkinese) or both. So I have to write dialogue that ‘sounds’ real, even though it is more like film dialogue. I studied Cork slang and use quite a lot of it in the Katie Maguire thrillers to make them sound realistic, but if I had quoted it in the way that it is actually spoken, none of my readers would have been able to understand a word of it. Such as ‘he’s the bulb off your man in that thing’ = ‘he looks exactly like the actor in that other film that I can’t remember the name of’.’ and ‘the place was jointed’ = the club was so crowded it was difficult to push your way through and ‘that 3-in-1 gave me the gawks’ = that curry rice and chips made me puke. Every sentence has the word ‘like’ in it somewhere, and almost every sentence ends with ‘d’ya know what I mean, like?’

Do you enjoy reading crime fiction? If so, what attracts you to this genre? Or, do you prefer to read other genres?

I read almost no fiction at all of any genre. When you have been writing fiction all day it would be like being a chef and spending the evening cooking. Also I am highly critical of my own writing and just as critical of other writers and if I come across a poorly-developed plot or an awkward sentence, it totally suspends my disbelief. Almost all of my reading is non-fiction, especially historical books, for research. 

Are writing another crime fiction series? If so, can you share a little about it here?

In parallel to Katie Maguire I have written two crime novels set in the 1750s in both London and America – SCARLET WIDOW and THE COVEN. The heroine is Beatrice Scarlet, who is the daughter of an apothecary. Her childhood training from her father in chemicals gives her the qualifications to be something of an 18th-century CSI. I am planning to write more about Beatrice but I also have ideas for another major crime series, but it is a little too early in its development to share it at the moment. I promise you, though, it will be very unusual. And of course I continue to write horror fiction….the Horror Writers Association gave me a Lifetime Achievement Award last year so it would be churlish not to! 

Graham Masterton

Graham Masterton trained as a newspaper reporter before beginning a career as an author. After twenty-five years writing horror and thrillers, Graham turned his talent to crime writing.

The first book in the Katie Maguire series, ‘White Bones’, was published by Head of Zeus in 2012 and became a top-ten bestseller. The series was inspired by Graham’s five-year stay in County Cork.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Noir, Political Thriller, Suspense

The Vault Mark Dawson 5* #Review @pbackwriter #RandomThingsTours @angelaontour @annecater #Spy #Thriller #PoliticalThriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #BerlinWall #1989 #TheVault

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When Harry Mackintosh is called upon to exfiltrate a valuable asset from East to West Berlin, what could have been an intelligence coup becomes an international embarrassment. Mackintosh’s men and his lover are killed by the East German secret police in a brutal crossfire and he barely escapes with his life. He flees to the West and promises himself that he will have vengeance.

Mackintosh is the head of Berlin Station but he doesn’t have the staff to compete with the Stasi. He returns to London to plead for the resources to fight back. But instead of the seasoned operatives that he needs, Mackintosh is given a single man: Jimmy Walker, a petty criminal with a record for robbing banks.

Mackintosh takes Walker to Berlin and sets in train an audacious plan that will see them both on the other side of the Wall. Mackintosh and Walker face off against Karl-Heinz Sommer, the Stasi general known as die Spinne – the Spider – a man known for his brutality and ruthlessness.

The plan is already a longshot, and then Walker learns of the riches that Sommer stole from displaced Berliners in the days after the Wall was constructed. Will Walker follow orders or will he find the prospect of the Stasi gold in Sommer’s secret vault too tempting to ignore? Will Mackintosh have his revenge or will he become another fly caught in the Spider’s web?

With ambiguous loyalties, clashing agendas and danger beyond measure, these two men will struggle to form a team. But in a battle as unequal as this, the unexpected might be the best strategy that they have.

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THE BERLIN WALL 9 November 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the 20th Century’s most notorious structures. Built-in 1961 to divide East and West Germany, by the late 80s it was 156 km long with a 15m ‘death strip’ guarded by 11,500 border guards under shoot-to-kill orders. At least 140 people lost their lives at the Wall. The last in 1989 just months before it fell.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An atmospheric spy thriller set in Berlin, in the months preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A failed mission leaves Harry Mackintosh, damaged emotionally and professionally. He wants revenge, but will his bosses see the political expediency of his plan?

Jimmy Walker has more to recommend him, than his career as a safe breaker, but is he the man Mackintosh needs for this dangerous off the book’s mission?

The men form an unwilling partnership, in a deniable operation, which is both personal and professional for Mackintosh. The cast of characters are realistic, but there are no deep characterisations, perhaps reflecting the secret service operatives, lack of personal lives outside their career.

Fast-paced, this spy thriller effortlessly combines plot threads and delivers a believable, suspenseful story, that reflects the political tension at the time in Berlin. The plot has many layers, which are revealed by the main characters in different timescales.

The ending is well written and ties up the loose ends, whilst leaving avenues open for exploration, in further stories.

Absorbing, addictive and adrenaline-fueled, this story has authentic characters and an atmospheric historical setting.

#MarkDawson

Mark Dawson is an award-nominated, USA Today bestseller, with more than 20 books published and over 2 million books downloaded in multiple countries and languages. Mark was born in Lowestoft, in the UK. He has worked as a DJ, a door-to-door ice-cream seller, factory hand and club promoter. He eventually trained as a lawyer and worked for ten years in the City of London and Soho, firstly pursuing money launderers and then acting for A-list celebrities suing newspapers for libel.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Fantasy, Mystery, Noir, Political Thriller

Million Eyes C.R.Berry 4 * #Review @CRBerry1 @elsewhenpress #BlogTour #SFF @rararesources #SpeculativeFiction #Conspiracy #thriller #BookReview

How do you fight an enemy who has a million eyes?

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?

Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.

Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo is targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.

Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A delicious fusion of conspiracy, crime, history and time-travel science fiction.

Science fiction is not a genre I read, but this story focuses on an intriguing conspiracy theory. It is easy to understand, and if you open your mind to the fantasy, plausible enough to hold your interest. A quirky duo of historical detectives takes on a menacing ominous power that is at war with human history.

The historical connections and flashbacks, give the story its depth and kept me reading. The dynamic between the history teacher and the history graduate is believable. They are complex and flawed, and very much the underdogs. You want them to find out the truth, and as the story progresses you want them to survive.

Engaging, intelligently written and page-turning.

C.R. Berry

C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.

After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.

He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.

He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Political Thriller, Suspense

Three Hours – Rosamund Lupton 5* #Review @Rosamundlupton @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #ThreeHoursNovel #politicalthriller #suspense #familydrama #thriller #literaryfiction #crimefiction #BookReview #January2020 #MondayBlogs

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16-year-old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

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I received a copy of this book from Viking Books UK – Penguin Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

At the heart of this story is a battle of good against evil, but this is not a fantasy epic, but a believable, contemporary, real-time story, of horrific events and humanity at its best and worst.

The coastal, countryside setting intensifies the events, no one would expect this to happen in a rural idyll, but it does. Written, in an adrenaline-fueled intense style, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and turning the pages. The characters are complex and relatable, you find out a great deal about them in a short space of time and most cases, they are easy to empathise. The story manages to fuse action with deep characterisation perfectly, and the underlying research makes the story authentic.

The plot twists several times to increase the suspense and awfulness of what unfolds. The poignancy of what occurs makes this immersive, the waste of life and opportunity resonates. This is a quality story, thought-provoking and topical.

Absorbing, original and memorable.