Monday 31 July 2017

Through The Barricades by Denise Deegan @denisedeegan #Review

She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country.
He was willing to sacrifice everything for her. 
'Make a difference in the world,' are the last words Maggie Gilligan's father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin's largely forgotten poor.  
'Don't go getting distracted, now,' is what Daniel Healy's father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative... as downright infuriating. 
A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin's striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms. 
The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive? 

Through The Barricades by Denise Deegan was published in paperback and ebook on 2 December 2016 and is the winner of the SCBWI Spark Award 2017

Although I was raised in England, my mother is Irish Catholic and I spent every summer of my childhood in County Donegal, on the north west coast of Ireland. I have always been fascinated by the history of this small but beautiful island and am an avid reader of Irish fiction. Denise Deegan's Through The Barricades is a wonderfully written, evocative story that really does invoke a real feeling of Ireland and the Irish, concentrating on one of the most important times in history.

Between the years of 1913 and 1916 as the First World War raged on, Ireland was in the grip of a revolution of its own, and Maggie and Daniel also played out their own personal war alongside this. Denise Deegan has perfectly captured the romance of their story, along with the struggles and the horror of the battlefields.

Maggie and Daniel appear at first, to have opposing views. Maggie supports the strikers whilst Daniel is the son of a policeman, and their chance meeting one day shapes their future as both of them, in their own way tackle the social issues of their time.

I read Through The Barricades as I sat by the pool in Corfu and was totally immersed by the story, hardly putting the book down at all. Maggie and Daniel are an absolute delight; characters that the reader can identify with and cheer on throughout the story. This author can certainly transport her readers to an entirely different era, with ease and with flair.

An excellent story, packed with history and romance. A novel to savour.

My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review.

Denise Deegan lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies. 

Denise has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was being a checkout girl, although ultimately this experience did inspire a short story…

Denise writes for both adults and teenagers. Her novels have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. Writing under the pen name Aimee Alexander, Denise's contemporary family dramas have become international best-sellers on Kindle.

You can follow Denise on:

Twitter: @denisedeegan 

Websites: &

Saturday 29 July 2017

Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath @mcgrathmj @HQStories #Review

An unexpected visitor.
Dr Cat Lupo aches for another child, despite the psychosis which marked her first pregnancy. So when Ruby Winter, a small girl in need of help, arrives in the middle of the night, it seems like fate.
A devastating secret.
But as the events behind Ruby’s arrival emerge – her mother’s death, her connection to Cat – Cat questions whether her decision to help Ruby has put her own daughter at risk.
Do we get the children we deserve?
Cat’s research tells her there’s no such thing as evil. Her history tells her she’s paranoid. But her instincts tell her different. And as the police fight to control a sudden spate of riots raging across the capital, Cat faces a race against time of her own…
Compulsive, dark and devastating, Give Me the Child is a uniquely skilful thriller with an unforgettable twist.

Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath was published by HQ Stories on 27 July 2017.

"Do we get the children we deserve?"

So, do we get the children that we deserve? An interesting question and one that is at the centre of this chilling story. This is so much more than just a psychological thriller, it is 'grip-lit' at its finest, with secrets and lies a plenty. However, in Give Me The Child, the author cleverly and shockingly explores how those lies can impact on children, especially when it is a child who is being forced to lie.

Back to the start then.  Dr Cat Lupo and her husband Tom appear, on the surface to have it all. She's a neuro-psychiatrist, working with troubled children whilst Tom stays at home to look after eleven-year old Freya whilst working on designing a complex computer game. For a time, they were known as 'Couple Number One'; attending the best parties and mixing with the elite, until Cat made a huge mistake at work. Coupled with an episode of post-natal psychosis, this is when their life changed and their marriage became stale and unexciting. 

Cat would dearly love another child but Tom is not keen. When, early one morning, there is a knock on the door and a small girl arrives, Cat's world shatters. It seems that the girl, Ruby Winter, is Tom's illegitimate daughter, conceived whilst Cat was in the psychiatric ward.

As Cat tries to accept Ruby Winter, she also becomes frightened, and soon begins to fear for her own daughter's safety. This is her story, told in her words against the backdrop of violence on the streets of London which turn to riots and chaos in the city.

Mel McGrath is a clever and astute author who keeps her readers on the edge throughout this compelling and addictive thriller. I was struck by the similarities between the turbulence in Cat's mind and life and the escalating violence in the city, it is very cleverly done and adds depth to the story. The portrayal of Cat's mental illness and how she is perceived because of it is both frightening and frustrating, yet incredibly realistic. It is clear that the author has researched the subject of adolescent mental health issues thoroughly, and there is a constant air of authenticity within the plot, the narrative and the characters.

Give Me The Child has such an original premise, it is complex and full of twists. The characterisation is perfectly done and the riot-torn London setting is superb. This is not just a dark and delicious thriller, it is a book that raises serious questions. It is a story that will make the reader think about that question: 'Do we get the children we deserve?'

Mel McGrath is an Essex girl, the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling family memoir Silvertown. She won the John Llewellyn-Rhys/Mail on Sunday award for Best Writer Under 35 for her first book, Motel Nirvana. She has published three Arctic mysteries featuring the Inuit detective Edie Kiglatuk under the name MJ McGrath, the first of which, The Boy in the Snow, was shortlisted for a CWA Gold Dagger.
In the last year she has been one of the founders and moving lights of the website Killer Women, which has rapidly established itself as one of the key forums for crime writing in the UK. This new standalone marks a change in direction
Find out more at
Follow her on Twitter @mcgrathmj

Friday 28 July 2017

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan #BlogTour @katekerrigan @HoZ_Books

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.
But in the end, Patrick Murphy's heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

Welcome to the Blog Tour for It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan, published in paperback by Head of Zeus on 13 July 2017

I have a real soft spot for Kate Kerrigan's writing, I've been a fan of hers for many years, ever since I read Recipes for a Perfect Marriage ten years ago. She also wrote the brilliant Ellis Island series. I reviewed her award-winning novel The Dress here on Random Things in June 2015.

It Was Only Ever You is another sweeping story from this very talented author. Set between 1950s County Mayo, Ireland and New York it is a story of hope, love, new beginnings, betrayal and discovery and features three well formed and realistic female lead characters. The three women; Rose, Ava and Sheila come from different backgrounds, different cultures and have different beliefs, yet they are intricately bound together by Patrick Murphy.

The story begins in Ireland as Patrick and Rose fall in love. Patrick comes from a hard-working, but poor family and courting the beautiful young Rose was never going to be looked at favourably by her family. She's the adopted daughter of the town Doctor, and her parents have great hopes for her. They certainly didn't envisage a life as a Murphy wife. It is their money and their influence that persuades Patrick, rather naively, to try his luck in America. He believes that Rose will follow him when he makes his fortune.

In America, Patrick's beautiful singing voice is discovered by upcoming music agent Sheila. She's a tough, straight-talking woman, ahead of her time. She does as she wants, upsets the wrong type of people and is determined to make Patrick a star. Not only has Patrick discovered his singing talent, but he's now also a husband and a father-to-be. His whirlwind romance with Ava, who dumped her solicitor fiance for Patrick has rather taken him by surprise.

Kate Kerrigan is so incredibly talented. Her female characters are so well developed, highly individual and despite Patrick's beauty, charm and success, each of these feisty females walk all over him. Patrick is a charmer, but also has a gullibility and naivety that exposes his weakness, this really is a female-led story, and I loved that.

It Was Only Ever You is set during the birth of rock n roll in the US, in the hot and sweaty ballrooms and dance clubs where the young people began to discover the frenetic dance and music that would shape our future. This is an incredibly well written, colourful and very moving story. I enjoyed every page.

KATE worked for many years as a magazine journalist and editor before her first book, Recipes for a Perfect Marriage was published in 2006. Recipes was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year, translated into 25 languages and optioned for film. Her next novel The Miracle of Grace, was also turned into a screenplay, but it was her next project, the Ellis Island Trilogy, featuring feisty heroine Ellie Hogan, that made her a New York Times bestseller. The Lost Garden, The Dress and her latest novel, It Was Only Ever You followed, all to critical acclaim and achieving bestseller status. Kate has a loyal following of readers in the U.K, Ireland, the U.S. and, increasingly, Australia. She is a ‘writers writer’ whose advocates include popular Irish writers Cecelia Ahern, Marian Keyes and Cathy Kelly.

Kate  lives and works in Killala, County Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way. She lives in a house overlooking the sea with her artist husband, Niall Kerrigan, and their two young sons, Leo and Tom. Kate writes every day in a small cottage in her mother’s back garden, in the nearby town of Ballina. She documents her life in a weekly column for the Irish Mail, and on the Irish radio programme, Sunday Miscellany.

A writing evangelist, Kate also teaches and mentors at National University College Galway (NUIG).

Find out more at

Follow her on Twitter @katekerrigan

Thursday 27 July 2017

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone @michealjmalone1 @OrendaBooks #Review

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. 
Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she's his perfect match... And she loves his son, too. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything. 
A brave, deeply moving psychological thriller which marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland's top crime writers.

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 15 September 2016.

I am a huge fan of Orenda Books and have read most of their published books. One or two have slipped under the net though and when I was looking through my books and trying to decide what to take on holiday with me, I re-discovered my copy of A Suitable Lie. I've read one of this author's crime novels and enjoyed it, and I know that A Suitable Lie has had some fabulous reviews, so the decision was made, and the book was packed in my suitcase, bound for Corfu.

Wow! What an incredible read! This is one of the most heart-breaking stories that I've read for many years. Michael J Malone has taken the almost taboo subject of male domestic violence and produced a novel that tears at the soul. He shows incredible insight into the emotional and physical impact of a man being abused by the person who should love him the most.

Lead character Andy has had his share of tragedy. His young wife died in childbirth and his own father died when Andy was young. Meeting Anna seems to be the start of a new, happier chapter for him. Anna is bright and attractive, she loves his son Pat and she seems to adore him. Their courtship is trouble-free and the future looks rosy. Everything changes on their wedding night.

Andy's complete confusion, mixed with horror and sheer terror is expertly portrayed by this very accomplished author. The reality of Andy's situation is clearly set out; he feels trapped, he doesn't know where to turn. He's a big bloke and knows that if he speaks out about Anna's violence he will be either laughed at or scorned. Who will believe him? What will happen to the children?

A Suitable Lie is a shocking, controversial and quite explosive story. It can be unsettling, is often uncomfortable but is is utterly compelling. Despite the dark themes, the author injects shots of humour within the story and has created some incredible relationships for the characters. Andy's brother Jim and his work colleague Sheila are wonderfully created and provide a glimpse of light relief amongst the otherwise quite overwhelming intensity of the story.

I'm only sorry that I didn't read A Suitable Lie before now, but I'm so pleased that I finally got around to it. It is a wrenching and deeply moving story. Michael J Malone is a talented author and I'm looking forward to reading more from him.

Michael Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns' country, just a stone's throw from the great man's cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult, maybe.

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Don't ask.

BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a "J" to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.

Find out more at
He can be found on twitter - @michaelJmalone1

Wednesday 26 July 2017

The Pinocchio Brief by Abi Silver #BlogTour @abisilver16 @RKbookpublicist @eyebooks

A schoolboy accused of a brutal murder. A retired lawyer with secrets to hide...
A 15-year-old schoolboy is accused of the murder of one of his teachers. His lawyers, the guarded veteran, Judith, and the energetic young solicitor, Constance, begin a desperate pursuit of the truth, revealing uncomfortable secrets about the teacher and the school. But Judith has her own secrets which she risks exposing when it is announced that a new lie-detecting device, nicknamed Pinocchio, will be used during the trial. And is the accused, a troubled boy who loves challenges, trying to help them or not?
The Pinocchio Brief is a gripping, very human thriller which confronts our assumptions about truth and reliance on technology.

The Pinocchio Brief by Abi Silver was published by Lightning Books in paperback on 23 July 2017 and is the author's debut novel. I'm delighted to host the Blog Tour here on Random Things today.

There can be no doubt that currently, the book market is swamped with psychological thrillers, tales of domestic noir and police and crime thrillers. Some are great, some struggle to compete in the market. The Pinocchio Brief is a thrilling and complex thriller, quite different to anything else that I've read recently and really gives the reader food for thought.

Raymond is fifteen years old and is accused of the murder of a teacher at his private school. Raymond himself is an intriguing, quite bizarre and intriguing character who is a marvellous creation. For me though, it was his legal team who are the star players in this compelling drama. His young solicitor Constance and out-of-retirement Judith; two extremely well written characters; like chalk and cheese. Old school and modern, yet both have the same beliefs and convictions.

Abi Silver introduces the idea of 'Pinocchio' to the story; a machine that will be used to 'judge' Raymond's testimony. This could appear to be outrageous, but the concept is so well explained, it feels entirely plausible, and in fact, it's probably not far from our future truth.

There is a refreshing authenticity to this story, and it is clear that the author's legal background adds depth to the story.

Extremely well written, this keeps the reader on their toes and is a fine debut. I look forward to reading more from this author.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Abi Silver talks about The Pinocchio Brief

About Abi Silver (in her words, from
I cannot remember a time when I was not writing stories.  Growing up with a house full of books (my parents were teachers), I was inspired from an early age to believe I could join the ranks of my heroes.  But I accept that I probably could not have produced “The Pinocchio Brief” without my experience as a lawyer to guide me along the way. 
Being a lawyer is just like being a detective.  You are often required to construct the whole jigsaw puzzle of your client’s case from its constituent pieces.  And you need to be a good judge of character too; the motivation behind people’s actions (which you must glean from their words and conduct) is key to understanding what really happened and why.
I was a pupil of Roundhay School Leeds, and went on to read Law at Girton College Cambridge before wanderlust sent me off travelling through Asia, Australia and South America as a student.  I also lived overseas in Israel for 5 years, during which time I learned sculpting, pottery on the wheel and began and completed an MBA.
I now live in Radlett, Hertfordshire with my husband and three sons.  The peaceful village setting and warm community gives me ample opportunity to write.  I usually have at least three plot lines going on in my head at one time and ideas come to me at the strangest of moments.  The skill, of course, is to select the one which will work best and then sit down to write.
Find out more at
Follow on Twitter @abisilver16
Abi Silver Author page on Facebook

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Take Me To Your Heart Again by Marius Gabriel @Scribbler4Bread #Review

Tensions between three sisters, divided by life and love, are about to spill over into all-out conflict.
It is 1942 and the world is at war. The eldest of the Redcliffe sisters, Isobel, impulsive and ideological, strives to make herself heard in a world distracted by violence. But her ambitious new path is strewn with obstacles, not least a private scandal that threatens to become public. Optimist Chiara has had to grow up fast, to set aside teenage dreams and make way for the unexpected realities of adulthood—but who can she count on for help? Meanwhile Felicity has challenges of a more spiritual nature: will her journey of self-discovery lead her away from the convent she thought was her calling?
Separated by distance and war, Isobel, Chiara and Felicity must learn to confront life’s challenges with passion, strength—and unity. Because family is the tie that binds tightest of all.

Take Me To Your Heart Again by Marius Gabriel was published by Lake Union in July 2016 and is the second in the Redcliffe Sisters series. I read and reviewed the first, Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye here on Random Things in October last year.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and had been looking forward to catching up with the three Redcliffe sisters again. I have to comment on the covers of the novels in this series, they really are such great quality, very attractive and eye-catching.

There is absolutely no doubt that this author really can tell a great story, despite the fact that this is the second in a series, it would read very well as a standalone novel as the author expertly weaves the character's back stories into his plot. He does this with a subtle touch and it never feels as though the first story is being re-hashed; it's seamlessly done.

The three sisters; Isobel, Chiara and Felicity are wonderfully created, with their own flaws and personalities that make each of them unique. The plot is played out against the backdrop of World War Two in both London and Cairo, and once again this author describes his locations incredibly well. It is clear that he writes with in depth knowledge of both places and the reader feels instantly at home in each setting.

With a sprinkling of scandal, romance, intrigue and politics, Take Me To Your Heart Again is a novel that I read in just one day (albeit I was sitting in the Corfu sunshine at the time!). Marius Gabriel is a true storyteller, this is a compelling story with heart and soul, populated with a fine cast of characters.
Very enjoyable and recommended by me.

My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review.

Marius Gabriel served his author apprenticeship while a student in the north of England. To finance his postgraduate research, he wrote 33 steamy romances under a female pseudonym. His identity as a man had to be kept secret until he turned to longer fiction under his own name. 

He is the author of 8 historical novels, including the best-sellers "The Mask Of Time," "The Original Sin" and "The Seventh Moon." Cosmopolitan accused him of "keeping you reading while your dinner burns." He very seldom burns his own, being an enthusiastic cook. He has three grown-up children.

His latest novel, "Take Me To Your Heart Again," (July 12, 2016) follows the fortunes of the tumultuous Redcliffe sisters through World War II. The other Redcliffe Sisters novel, "Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye," is available on Amazon. Both can be read as stand-alone novels, but if you've read one, you'll want to read the other!

Monday 24 July 2017

Dying To Live by Michael Stanley #BlogTour @Detectivekubu @OrendaBooks #MyLifeInBooks

The sixth mystery in the beloved and critically acclaimed Detective Kubu series. Kubu and his colleague Samantha Khama track a killer through the wilds of Botswana on their most dangerous case yet.

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he's clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What's more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles... but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective 'Kubu' Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who'd befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of 'Sunshine Noir', Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world's most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction's most endearing and humane heroes.

Dying To Live by Michael Stanley is the sixth in the Detective Kubu series and was published by Orenda Books in paperback on 12 July 2017.

Welcome to the #DyingToLive #BlogTour -in partnership with Orenda Books.
I'm delighted to welcome Stanley Trollip (half of the Michael Stanley partnership) here to Random Things today, to talk about My Life In Books:

My Life in Books ~ Stanley Trollip

I was 10 years old when I played the March Hare in my primary school’s stage play of this classic.  I immediately fell in love with worlds different from my own, worlds that had their own nonsensical logic that made sense to me. It made me believe that looking at things differently was okay.  It also showed me how powerful words could be.
“I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” 
“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

I was in high school when I read this.  I started it before my lights-out time, but continued reading into the wee hours of the morning until I reached the end.  As I switched off the light, I remember being resigned to the fact that I was going to die.  When my father woke me up in the morning to go to school, I was totally bewildered.  I should have been dead.  The impact that this apocalyptic story had on me gave me a deep appreciation of the power of story-telling.

Set in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in World Was II, King Rat is a story of survival in horrific circumstances.  The main character is an American who is a master of trading, and runs a successful (black market) business in the camp, buying and selling food and other items.  He comes into conflict with other characters, mainly British, whose principles are less flexible.  I regard this book as the first one that opened my eyes to how people react differently to the same circumstances and how flexible morality can be.  Clavell’s words opened up the idea of character to me more so than other books I had read.

This classic was published in the same year that the National Party came to power in South Africa.  The Nats, as they were called, were responsible for the institutionalization of apartheid.  For reasons I have never really understood, from a very young age I was appalled both by the premise of apartheid (that Black people were inferior to Whites) as well as the impact the legislation had on decent people.  Reading Cry the Beloved Country made me cry and feel ashamed that I was a privileged White.

I had a difficult time deciding whether to list The Magus or The Collector, two of John Fowles books that I love.  I decided on The Magus because I have seen the movie (Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn, Candice Bergen) more times (around 10) than I’ve seen The Collector (Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar) (4 or 5 times).  That’s probably because I had a crush on Candice Bergen.  The Magus is a weird book in which the main character, Nicholas Urfe, gets sucked into a series of psychological games, with Greek tycoon, Maurice Conchis.  As the games progress, Nicholas finds it increasingly difficult to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not.  The book spoke to me so strongly, probably because it reflected my own psychological uncertainties at the time as an undergraduate at university.  

Stanley Trollip ~ July 2017 

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers award.

Find out more at
Follow on Twitter @Detectivekubu 

Thursday 20 July 2017

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan @AusmaZehanat @noexitpress #BlogTour

One man is dead.
But thousands were his victims.
Can a single murder avenge that of many?
Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?
In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan is published by No Exit Press in paperback on 27 July 2017 and is the author's debut novel.
The Unquiet Dead is  the Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First NovelI am delighted to kick off the Blog Tour for this extraordinary book.

The Unquiet Dead is set in Canada, but deals with the horror and tragedy of the war in Bosnia in the 1990s. Inspector Esa Khattak, along with partner Rachel Getty work within the Community Policing Section in the Canadian police and are tasked with dealing with racial crimes.

Christopher Drayton has been murdered and Khattak and Getty are on the case. On the surface, Drayton appeared to be an average business man; elderly with a younger fiancee. However, it soon becomes clear that Drayton's past may hold the answers to his death when it is discovered that he is, in fact, a Bosnian war criminal.

As the characters begin to dig into the past, the author very cleverly and effectively informs the reader of the atrocities of the war in Bosnia. This is emotionally draining for the reader at times, especially with the knowledge that the author has used genuine transcripts from interviews given by survivors of this terrible era. As a reader, I began to question myself; why did I not know more details about this war? How can something that happened not so long ago have been allowed to continue? Where was the intervention from the powerful countries of the world?

Part police procedural, part crime thriller, part mystery; The Unquiet Dead is also a complex and haunting look at our recent social history. I was intrigued to find a Muslim lead character who is so far away from the current stereotypical beliefs, and the insight into both Esa's and Rachel's own lives added an interesting depth to this story.

The Unquiet Dead is a well plotted and elegantly written story. It is a remarkable debut that raises questions, but also has all the requirements for crime thriller readers.

My thanks to the publisher for sending my copy for review.

Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of The Unquiet Dead, and winner of the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. Her widely acclaimed second novel, The Language of Secrets, was published in 2016. Among the Ruins, her third mystery will be published in February 2017. She is also at work on a fantasy series, to be published by Harper Voyager, beginning in 2017. The Bloodprint is Book One of the Khorasan Archives.

A frequent lecturer and commentator, Ms. Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. Ms. Khan completed her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottawa, and her B.A. in English Literature & Sociology at the University of Toronto.

Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine. The first magazine to address a target audience of young Muslim women, Muslim Girl re-shaped the conversation about Muslim women in North America. The magazine was the subject of two documentaries, and hundreds of national and international profiles and interviews, including CNN International, Current TV, and Al Jazeera "Everywoman". 

Ms. Khan practiced immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer, and currently lives in Colorado with her husband.

Author photo taken by Athif Khan.

For more information visit :
Follow her on Twitter  @AusmaZehanat

Tuesday 18 July 2017

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen @MsTamarCohen @TransworldBooks

She knows there’s a killer on the loose.
But no-one believes her.
Will she be next?

Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking. Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying. Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen was published in paperback by Black Swan / Transworld on 13 July 2017.

It is no secret that I am a huge huge fan of Tammy Cohen. I've been reading her books for years, ever since she published The Mistress's Revenge under the name of Tamar Cohen. She's also written under the name Rachel Rhys for the historical fiction story A Dangerous Crossing.

Tammy Cohen never fails me, her writing is as tight as a drum; her writing is fresh and exhilarating and her plots are always solid. She has a very special knack of leading her readers up quite a few paths before blocking their way with an in-your-face, shocking twist, she never fails to amaze me.

They All Fall Down is set in a private psychiatric clinic and is Hannah's story. Hannah was a successful woman with a great job in publishing, married and flourishing. All she wanted was a baby and the reader is immediately aware that there's a baby at the centre of this mystery, but this author very cleverly avoids the reveal, instead she slowly and shrewdly drip feeds little snippets until she feels that the time is right to expose the facts.

Two of Hannah's co-patients have died. Reported as tragic suicides, Hannah is convinced that neither of them would have taken their own lives. She is determined to prove this, yet she's a patient in a psychiatric hospital, her senses are dimmed by anti-psychotic drugs, she has a history of erratic behaviour - why would anyone believe her?

One of the main strengths of They All Fall Down is the realistic setting. This author has clearly researched how a clinic such as this is run, with the stringent security measures, the attitudes of staff and the therapies offered. As a reader, I appreciate this, it shows a respect to the reader that I have found to be lacking in recent novels that are set in similar institutions. For me, this aspect added so much to the story.

I devoured They All Fall Down, it kept me guessing right up until the end. The writing is intelligent and Tammy Cohen's use of description for her settings and her characters is quite masterful.

I was both absorbed and at times disturbed, but always always completely consumed. This is another amazing story from one of my favourite authors.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

About Tammy Cohen, in her own words (from
I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria where my anthropologist father happened to be doing fieldwork at the time. Sabbatical years in far-flung places were a feature of my childhood and I attended school in both Sierra Leone and California. Otherwise, I mostly grew up in the suburbs of London where my adolescence was spent either in the local library or waiting for the last tube home.
After taking an American Studies degree at Manchester University I taught English in Madrid. While working as a secretary back in London, I started writing features and hand-delivering them to the magazine publishing house around the corner. The day the first one got accepted, I packed in my job and declared myself a freelance journalist, which is basically what I remained for the next twenty years, writing features for national magazines and newspapers, such as Marie Claire, The Times and The Telegraph, and then moving on to non fiction books. My dream was always to write fiction but it wasn’t until I was forty-seven that I finally conquered the self doubt and my first novel, The Mistress’s Revenge was published.
These days I live in North London with my partner and three (nearly) grown children and one very badly behaved dog. Together with my family I spent four happy years living in Spain from 2004 to 2008 and I live in fear of people finding this out and asking me something in Spanish at which I remain shamefully inept.
My first novel, The Mistress’s Revenge, was followed by three more contemporary fiction titles under the name Tamar Cohen – The War of the WivesSomeone Else’s Wedding and The Broken.
In November 2014, my first crime novel, Dying For Christmas was published under the name Tammy Cohen, followed by First One Missing a year later, and When She Was Bad in April 2016. My latest, They All Fall Down is published in July 2017.
Writing as Rachel RhysDangerous Crossing, my first foray into historical mystery was published in March 2017.
I am a member of the Killer Women collective of London-based female UK crime writers.

For more information visit
Follow on Twitter @MsTamarCohen