Monday 29 May 2017

The Last Cut by Danielle Ramsay #BlogTour @DanielleRamsay2 @HodderPublicity

The first in a brand new series, a gritty thriller for fans of Paul Finch and Tania Carver.'I absolutely loved THE PUPPET MAKER...totally fabulous' Martina Cole

Obsessions can kill. First, he selects them. Strips them of their identity. Then he kills them. All for her...DS Harri Jacobs transferred to Newcastle from the Met in the hope of leaving her past behind: the moment where her stalker turned violent. He left her alive, saying that one day he would be back. And she ran. But a year later, she realises he has followed her from home. He'll prove his devotion. With blood...

The Last Cut by Danielle Ramsay is published on 1 June 2017 by Mulholland and is the first in a new series by this author.

As part of the Blog Tour, I am really pleased to welcome Danielle Ramsay here to Random Things. She's talking about the books that are important to her, in My Life In Books.

My Life In Books ~ Danielle Ramsay

 The question for me was where to start? So, I decided to simply list a few of the books that I could never imagine being without. However, there are so many more that I could have included.
The first three books I am listing are simply because they are a great read. The final two challenged me on many levels, but in particular, regarding my own identity growing up white-skinned in Dundee with a black-skinned mother of Algerian descent.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Eco’s debut novel is a murder mystery masterpiece set in the year 1327. The detective is the Franciscan Friar, William of Baskerville whose arrival at a Benedictine monastery with a Benedictine novice, Adso Melk coincides with a suicide which is later followed by several murders. The quote from the book, ‘books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told,’ exemplifies for me why I relish this novel. It is not just a detective story, it refers to the postmodern idea that all texts refer to other texts and as such, reminded me of my favourite short story, “Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) by Edgar Allan Poe who has been credited with creating the first detective, C. Auguste Dupin; an eccentric and a recluse whose nameless English side-kick is the narrator. Postmodernism and other academic theorising aside, The Name of the Rose is a really good whodunit!

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Simply, instead of being a whodunit, it is a whydunit which made for a fascinating read. Also, it is set in New England at an elite Vermont college and centres around a close knit group of six classics students. I had spent a year in New England before returning to the UK to attend University, so the setting of the novel already had me ensnared. Add in that at the outset, a secret is revealed to the reader – that one of the six has been murdered within the group. It personally felt as if I had been taken in confidence and that secret had only been shared with me – and me alone, and not millions of other readers.

Ulysses by James Joyce. Despite being 265,000 words in length it stands as one of my all-time favourite books which is paradoxical given the fact that I wrote a polemical feminist rant for my Masters on the last 30 pages dedicated to Molly Bloom in a form of a soliloquy, or her stream of consciousness. My own preconception was that it would be a difficult and excruciatingly boring book, but in reality it is a playful and intoxicating novel that makes for a fascinating and riveting read –the antithesis of his later novel, Finnegan’s Wake. 

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. Published in 1966, it is a postcolonial novel. As a feminist, I was really drawn to this book as it explores the inequality in power between men and women and also the notion of race and displacement. It is also, crucially a whydunnit. It is a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847) and gives a backstory to Mr Rochester’s wife – the madwoman in the attic. I had grown up reading Jane Eyre and had rejoiced in the exploration of sexuality, social class and religion and had even romanticised the Byronic Mr Rochester.   However, I could not ignore the disturbing denouement; Rochester’s wife – the madwoman in the attic – jumps to her death against the spectacular backdrop of the house burning to the ground. Why? Let’s say that Wide Sargasso Sea, and Antoinette Cosway, Rhys’ version of Bronte’s “madwoman in the attic”, answered my questions, and much more.

Beloved by Toni Morrison. Published in 1987 its themes of black/white relations founded on such an inequitable past as slavery, are still very current. Morrison forewarns the reader that her work will be challenging to say the least when she dedicates it to the “Six Million and more” Africans and their descendants who died during the transatlantic slave trade. Morrison pulls no punches as she asks the reader to suspend disbelief as she takes them into a world of two narratives, one set during slavery and the other after the end of the Civil War. The narrative is powerfully alluring and lyrical and at the same time, harrowing as it exposes the unspeakable insidious ills of slavery. This is the radical retelling of an old story told by an earlier female writer (amongst others), Harriet Beecher Stowe. However, Morrison, unlike her predecessor has not limited her exposure of the horrors of slavery; instead, she tells it as it was – regardless of how unpalatable.  

Danielle Ramsay ~ May 2017

Danielle Ramsay is a proud Scot living in a small seaside town in the North-East of England. Always a storyteller, it was only after initially following an academic career lecturing in literature that she found her place in life and began to write creatively full-time. After much hard graft her work was short-listed for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2009. Always on the go, always passionate in what she is doing, Danielle fills her days with horse-riding, running and murder by proxy.

Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRamsay2

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