Thursday 31 March 2022

Metronome by Tom Watson #Metronome @t_m_watson @BloomsburyBooks @Ros_Ellis #BookReview


For twelve years Aina and Whitney have been in exile on an island for a crime they committed together, tethered to a croft by pills they must take for survival every eight hours. They've kept busy - Aina with her garden, her jigsaw, her music; Whitney with his sculptures and maps - but something is not right.

Shipwrecks have begun washing up, and their supply drops have stopped. And on the day they're meant to be collected for parole, the Warden does not come. Instead there's a sheep. But sheep can't swim.

As days pass, Aina begins to suspect that their prison is part of a peninsula, and that Whitney has been keeping secrets. And if he's been keeping secrets, maybe she should too. Convinced they've been abandoned, she starts investigating ways she might escape. As she comes to grips with the decisions that haunt her past, she realises her biggest choice is yet to come.

Metronome by Tom Watson was published in hardback by Bloomsbury on 31 March 2022 and is the author's debut novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Metronome is everything that I want from a book, this is most certainly going to be amongst my top books of this year. It is hauntingly beautiful, written with such precision and care. The premise is unusual and refreshing and the characters blaze gloriously from the pages. 

Aina and Whitney live in an isolated croft cottage on desolated island. They've been there for twelve years; exiled after committing a crime. Life is harsh on the island and is dictated by the pills that they must take every eight hours, in order to stay alive. They spent their time attending to the ground, attempting to grow food with regular exercise as well as an ancient jigsaw. Whitney is an artist and forms sculptures from material that he can salvage.

Other the. years, shipwrecks have washed up on the shore, empty with no sign of life and more recently, a sheep has appeared in their yard. Sheep can't swim, can they? Aina begins to suspect that Whitney knows more about their prison, is it really an island? How did the sheep get there, and why are pine needles matted in its fur? There are no pine trees on the island ... or are there?

Their parole is due and they expect the Warden to come and free them, but he doesn't appear and Aina takes matters into her own hands. She too can have secrets and she forms a plan that she cannot share with Whitney.

Metronome is beautifully written, with prose so lyrical and moving. The author captures the pure desolation of the landscape, with the weather playing such a large part in the story. There are passages that made me take such a deep breath, he describes the simple things, such as a candle being snuffed out with such care and precision - I could almost smell the molten wax as the flame fluttered and died. 

This is dystopian fiction at its best. Just like the great Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid's Tale, this author doesn't inform the reader of how the world becomes what it is in this story.  It takes some time before we learn what crime Aina and Whitney are guilty of, and when we realise, we see the horror that the world has become, it's so clever and so compelling, and nothing is as expected. 

This author is so talented, the way that the relationship between Aina and Whitney chop and change throughout the novel is done so very well. The claustrophobic feel of two people spending all of their time together, with no other human company is chilling,  and the little niggles of doubt and blame between them, that grow with an intensity throughout is impeccably handled. 

Metronome is the perfect title for this book. Aina often remembers the metronome that sat upon her piano in their previous life. The piano is central to the discovery of their 'crime' and their subsequent banishment to the island and it is a clever reminder of the time that ticks by between their eight hourly doses of medication. 

Metronome is an addictive and hugely compelling novel, I was totally enraptured by the characters and the plot. Things take an unexpected turn toward the end and the reader is left with a sense of both sorrow and hopeful joy. Original and intriguing and highly recommended by me. 

Tom Watson is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, where he was
the recipient of the Curtis Brown Prize in memory of Giles Gordon. 

His debut novel, Metronome, was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and his short fiction has been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize and awarded runner-up for the Seán Ó Faoláin Prize. 

He lives in London.

Twitter @t_m_watson

Hidden Depths by Araminta Hall #HiddenDepths @AramintaHall @orionbooks @FrancescaPear #BookReview


Lily is pregnant, travelling onboard the Titanic to her beloved family in the United States, hoping she can get there before her mind and body give up.

For a long time now she's known her husband is not the man he's pretending to be and she's not safe.

So, when she meets widower Lawrence she knows he's her last chance for help.

Or Prisoner...
But Lawrence knows he hasn't got time to save Lily.

Lawrence is the only person on board the unsinkable ship who knows he will not disembark in New York.

And the danger is much worse than either of them could imagine.

Can Lily and Lawrence help each other to safety before it's too late?

Hidden Depths by Araminta Hall is published by Orion on 31 March 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Araminta Hall's previous novel; Imperfect Women, was one of my top books of 2020. I was thrilled to receive an early copy of Hidden Depths from the publisher. Whilst, this is a completely different style to her earlier books, it is another wonderful read. Engrossing and filled with history, a story that driven by the most immaculately created characters, in a setting that will be familiar to every reader, yet is so different to how one would imagine. 

The story is set on the Titanic, but it is not about the Titantic. The imposing, beautiful, 'unsinkable' ship is merely the vessel for a tale that is compelling and enticing. Despite the fact that every reader will know the inevitable ending for the ship, this does not consume the story in any way. In fact, towards the end, I was so caught up with Lawrence and Lily that I'd forgotten what was to come.

Lily and Lawrence are two people who would probably never have met on land. Lawrence is recently widowed, his beloved wife Cissy was the absolute love of his life and he can see no future without her. Despite the fact that he has a small son, Lawrence had made the decision to end his life. He is not expecting to dock in New York, he looks forward to escaping his feelings; the sorrow, anguish, guilt and anger that he experiences when he thinks about Cissy.

Lily is pregnant. She's American, married to a cruel and unkind man who married her for her money, and to produce an heir. She is travelling, with him, and her maid and personal doctor to give birth near to her family. 

Lily is a distressed and distressing character. Her marriage is clearly a sham, she feels unloved and unwanted. She is made to appear stupid and weak by her overbearing husband. However, it is the regular medical examinations and the strange tasting tea that really alert the reader.

Araminta Hall does a lot of character building in the first 100 pages of her novel. The reader comes to know Lawrence and Lily so well, being privy to their innermost thoughts. Through Lawrence's memories, the reader also learns about his late wife Cissy; a woman who defied her upbringing to marry Lawrence and who made it her mission to ensure that women's voices were heard.  Although Cissy is dead before the story begins, her character forms the story so much. Her lasting influence on Lawrence impacts Lily too and despite the odds, she too becomes stronger and more aware of exactly what is happening to her. 

With a strong message about the treatment of women, and the slow and subtle changes made by those who supported the Suffrage movement, along with the finest and most beautiful historical detail about the iconic Titanic, this is a novel of great beauty and great depth. It is a study in relationships and attitude, a look at the higher classes and the treatment of those who were perceived to be weaker and less important. 

Elegant and moving, with a solid and important message, Hidden Depths is rich and consuming. Do be sure to read the author's notes at the end of the book which explain the background to this story. Lawrence is in fact based upon her great grandfather, and what a man he was.  He left such a legacy for his family and we are lucky that this author was able to include his story into this beautiful novel. 

Araminta Hall has worked as a writer, journalist and teacher. 

Her first novel, Everything & Nothing, was published in 2011 and became a Richard & Judy read that year. 
Her second, Dot, was published in 2013, and her third, Our Kind of Cruelty, in 2018. 
She has taught creative writing for many years at a variety of places, including New Writing South in Brighton, where she lives with her husband and three children. 

Contact Araminta on Twitter at @AramintaHall

Wednesday 30 March 2022

First Born by Will Dean BLOG TOUR #FirstBorn @willrdean @HodderBooks #BookReview @JennyPlatt90



Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin's last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

Delivering the same intensity of pace and storytelling that made THE LAST THING TO BURN a word-of-mouth sensation, FIRST BORN will surprise, shock and enthral.

First Born by Will Dean is published on 14 April 2022 by Hodder & Stoughton. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour 

There is no doubt that the reader should prepare themselves for the unexpected in First Born, the second standalone thriller from Will Dean who is also author of the very successful Tuva Moodyson series. 

As in his previous novels, Dean has created a totally authentic setting here. He has such skill in transporting his readers to different locations and in First Born, New York City becomes a character itself. So very different to the chilly Swedish locations with Tuva and a drastic contrast to the wild, desolate fenlands which is the setting for his previous standalone; The Last Thing To Burn.

Twin siblings are fascinating. A crime writer's dream, I expect. There is nothing at all like the relationship between two people who once were part of the same egg, and this novel delves deep into the inner psyche of one of those people. 

Molly and Katie are identical twins. They are exactly the same. Except, they aren't. Molly is insular, paranoid, constantly checking for hidden dangers. Katie is outgoing, adventurous and full of life and excitement. We know this because Molly tells us in her sharp and sometimes smothering narrative.

Molly lives in a flat in London and Katie has recently taken up a sponsorship at a US university. This is the first time the twins have been apart, and for Molly, it is hard. She feels as though a part of her has been taken, she's lost and restless. A phone call from her parents, telling her that Katie is dead, possibly murdered shakes her to the core. She must now arrange a flight to the US, for Molly is determined that she will discover the truth. 

First Born is unlike anything I've read before. Molly's voice is so finely tuned, yet the reader is never quite sure about her. Do we assume that she is unreliable? Do we pick up on the things that she implies about her family? Who was Katie really, and how did she come to be killed?

Clever, complex, and I have to admit, at times, a little confusing. However, this does not detract from the sinister tone that runs throughout the story. As Molly becomes more familiar with the streets of New York, so does the reader, discovering sidewalks and diners and the people who live there - all beautifully created and adding depth to what is much more than a murder thriller. 

A novel to chill and to challenge, tightly plotted with characters who edge into your heart and pull a few strings and leave a mark there. First Born is absorbing and bold, another winner from this talented author. 

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. 

After studying law at the LSE, and working many varied jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. 

He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it's from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.

Twitter @willrdean

Tuesday 29 March 2022

The Flames by Sophie Haydock BLOG TOUR #TheFlames @Words_by_Sophie @RandomTTours #Giveaway #Win @DoubledayUK #Prize #Competition


This is the story of four muses...Women whose bodies were shown in intimate detail, depicted by the charming yet controversial artist Egon Schiele. But who were they?

ADELE: his passionate and fierce admirer.

GERTRUDE: his spirited and possessive sister.

VALLY: his independent and proud model.

EDITH: Adele's quiet and conventional sister. Or was she?

The Flames reimagines the intertwining lives of these women: four wild, blazing hearts, longing to be known. In an elegant bohemian city like 1900s Vienna, everything seems possible. But just as a flame has the power to mesmerize, it can also destroy everything in its path ...

The Flames by Sophie Haydock was published in hardback on 17 March 2022 by Doubleday. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour,  I am delighted to be able to give away one copy.
Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in this blog post. UK entries only please.


One copy of The Flames by Sophie Haydock

SOPHIE HAYDOCK is an award-winning author living in east London. 

The Flames, is her debut novel. 

She is the winner of the Impress Prize for New Writers. 

Sophie trained as a journalist at City University, London, and has worked at the Sunday Times Magazine, Tatler and BBC Three, as well as freelancing for publications including the Financial Times, Guardian Weekend magazine, and organisations such as the Arts Council, Royal Academy and Sotheby's. 

Passionate about short stories, Sophie also works for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award and is associate director of the Word Factory literary organisation. 

Her Instagram account @egonschieleswomen - dedicated to the women who posed for Egon Schiele - has a community of over 110,000 followers, and continues to grow. 

For more information, visit:


‘I finished today, and I adored it. Completely convincing and utterly compelling, THE FLAMES gives vivid voice to four muses who refuse to be remembered as just that. Haydock is a writer to watch.’

‘A sizzling debut, this is banging, I love it…the detail is visionary. A great feat.’
DBC PIERRE, Booker Prize-winning author of VERNON GOD LITTLE

‘Thought provoking and illuminating and a fascinating – I so enjoyed discovering the world and the women behind works of art I adore’ 

‘The four women who loved Schiele come back to life, combining an exquisite sense of place and era with a passion and sensuality that transcend time altogether.’ 

‘Magnificent … exquisitely crafted and so absorbing. I loved it and REFUSE to accept it is a debut. It’s simply too good’ 

Monday 28 March 2022

About A Son by David Whitehouse #AboutASon @d_whitehouse @Phoenix_Bks @FrancescaPear @francescamain @Hairy007 #BookReview


On the evening of Halloween in 2015, Morgan Hehir was walking with friends close to Nuneaton town centre when they were viciously attacked by a group of strangers. Morgan was stabbed, and died hours later in hospital. He was twenty years old and loved making music with his band, going to the football with his mates, having a laugh; a talented graffiti artist who dreamed of moving away and building a life for himself by the sea.

From the moment he heard the news, Morgan's father Colin Hehir began to keep an extraordinary diary. It became a record not only of the immediate aftermath of his son's murder, but also a chronicle of his family's evolving grief, the trial of Morgan's killers, and his personal fight to unravel the lies, mistakes and cover-ups that led to a young man with a history of violence being free to take Morgan's life that night.

Inspired by this diary, About a Son is a unique and deeply moving exploration of love and loss and a groundbreaking work of creative non-fiction. Part true crime, part memoir, it tells the story of a shocking murder, the emotional repercussions, and the failures that enabled it to take place. It shows how grief affects and changes us, and asks what justice means if the truth is not heard. It asks what can be learned, and where we go from here.

About A Son by David Whitehouse is published by Phoenix on 28 April 2022 in hardback. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I have been reading About A Son for quite a few weeks now. This is a book that delivers massive emotional punches on almost every page. My feelings went from terrible sadness, to incredible anger and back again, many times. When I began reading this book, my Mum was terminally ill. I finished reading it the evening that she died. I have my own grief to deal with, but my circumstances are so far away from Colin and Sue Hehir's. Their story is one that they should never have had to tell, it's a story of the murder of a young man in the prime of his life, and the aftermath that they continue to endure. It almost broke me in parts, but I took strength from their ability to carry on. I don't know how they do it. 

David Whitehouse is an award winning author. He was sent the manuscript of Colin Hehir's diary by a Nuneaton reporter. He admits that at first he didn't know what to do with it, or if he had the strength to deal with it. When Colin contacted him directly, David knew that he had to tell this story. 

Every single one of us will experience grief in our lives. For most of us, it will be something that is expected, sometimes, when someone is suffering, it can be welcomed. Grief is a an emotion that is personal and individual, every single one of us will deal with our emotions in a different way. 

I do not know anyone personally who has been murdered. I do not know any family who has had to deal with the horror of discovering that your loved one has been taken from you by the hand of another human being. 

Colin and Sue Hehir are an ordinary couple, living in an ordinary town, doing ordinary jobs. They were proud of their boys. Morgan was twenty years old, he enjoyed music, art and sport. He had friends, he worked in a local hospital. He was ordinary, but to his family he was, quite rightly, extraordinary. 

Morgan was murdered when he and his friends were attacked by a group of strangers. It was another ordinary night in Nuneaton. Morgan and his friends were looking forward to a night on the town, laughing and joking, dressed for Halloween. Minding their own business, just being lads. 

Colin Hehir is not an academic, or a writer. However, he was compelled to keep a diary of everything that happened to him and his family after that night, and it is both powerful and devastating. Most of us see reports on the news about a tragic murder, this is often followed by reports of an arrest, a court case and then a sentence. These things did happen in this case, but it is the tiny details that Colin records, the things that the general public don't learn about that turn this into such a eye opening and heart shattering account. 

There were times when I had to stop reading. There are parts of the British justice system that are abhorrent, things that happened to Colin and Sue that defy everything that we believe about victim's rights. When you are told that you cannot go into the hospital room, to see your murdered son because he is now 'a crime scene', how do you cope?  I was angry, and sad and just totally devastated on their behalf. 

It doesn't stop there either. The strength and fortitude shown by Colin and his wife, ensuring that Morgan's death was investigated properly and that every single one of the the terrible things that happened were made public is incredibly moving. They have done everything in their power to ensure that Morgan is never forgotten and that, maybe, future incidents such as these will be handled better. 

This is a book that will never leave me. I feel as though I know the family so very well. I have nothing but admiration for this incredible family, and for Morgan's friends and associates. Nothing will ever bring him back and I'm positive that Colin would rather have never had to write his diary, but we should be grateful that the did. 

Wonderfully re-worked by David Whitehouse from Colin's own words, with compassion and understanding and at times, a little touch of humour. Incredible and a must-read. 

David Whitehouse is the author of three novels: BED, winner of the Betty Trask Prize and currently
being made into a film by Film4, MOBILE LIBRARY, winner of the Jerwood Fiction Prize, and THE LONG FORGOTTEN.

His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, Esquire, Observer, Sunday Times Style and many other publications.

He was previously the Editor-at-Large of ShortList Magazine. 

Twitter @d_whitehouse

Friday 25 March 2022

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton & James Patterson #RunRoseRun @DollyParton @JP_Books @centurybooksuk @charlottebush2 #BookReview



She's a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her.

She's also on the run.

Nashville is where she's come to claim her destiny.

It's also where the darkness she's fled might find her. And destroy her . . .

RUN ROSE RUN: a story glittering with danger and desire.

Also available: an album of 12 original Dolly Parton songs made for the novel!

Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson was published in hardback on 7 March 2022 by Century. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

It has been a long long time since I read anything by James Patterson, but what woman could fail to be intrigued by a novel co-authored by the one and only Dolly Parton?  I have been a fan of hers since I was a child, my parents were massive country music fans and I spent my childhood singing along to Dolly in the back of my Dad's Vauxhall Victor. Happy times! 

Run Rose Run is a simple and easy read, it's an entertaining romp that takes the reader to the seedier side of Nashville. Away from the bright lights, the glitter and the rhinestones, we follow young Annie Lee Keyes as she leaves home, hitching a ride to Nashville. Annie Lee is determined to make it big, she's been singing and writing songs for ever. Music and singing is her life, and she has talent. 

It's not an easy journey. A young girl alone can be vulnerable. However, AnnieLee is tougher than she looks, and soon shows who is boss. 

This is a typical poor girl gets rich story. Packed with entertaining and colourful characters who all play a huge part in the story. There's an element of mystery interweaved through the story, and I guess this is more Patterson's input than Parton's. To be honest, this was the weakest part of the tale for me and I found the insight into the workings of the music business to be more much more entertaining than the mystery of why AnnieLee, or Rose, as we discover she's really called is running. 

With an album of songs to accompany the book, this is pure Dolly. I couldn't help but imagine that Dolly IS AnnieLee, and I have no doubt that she has used her years of knowledge and experience in the business to influence the story.

It's great fun, keeps the reader engaged and I am sure will be a huge success for this partnership.

Dolly Parton is a singer, songwriter, actress, producer, businesswoman, and philanthropist. 

The composer of over 3,000 songs, she has sold over 100 million records worldwide, and given away millions of books to children through her nonprofit, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Librar

Twitter @DollyParton

JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. His books have sold in excess of 375 million copies worldwide. 

He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers.

James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books for young readers including the Middle School, I Funny, Treasure Hunters, Dog Diaries and Max Einstein series. James has donated millions in grants to independent bookshops and has been the most borrowed author of adult fiction in UK libraries for the past eleven years in a row. He lives in Florida with his wife and son.

Twitter @JP_Books

Thursday 24 March 2022

Remember Me by Charity Norman BLOG TOUR #RememberMe @CharityNorman1 @AllenAndUnwin @RandomTTours #BookReview


A close-knit community is ripped apart by disturbing revelations that cast new light on a young woman's disappearance twenty-five years ago.

After years of living overseas, Emily returns to New Zealand to care for her father who has dementia. As his memory fades and his guard slips, she begins to understand him for the first time - and to glimpse shattering truths about his past.

Are some secrets best left buried?

Another page-turning, emotive suspense novel from the Richard & Judy bestselling author of After the Fall and Radio 2 Book Club pick, 2020's The Secrets of Strangers - ideal reading-group fiction, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Clare Mackintosh.

Remember Me by Charity Norman was published by Allen & Unwin on 3 March 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.

I have been a fan of Charity Norman's writing for many years, and have eagerly lapped up every one of her novels. The thought of a new story from her always produces a feeling of excited anticipation. She writes novels with a crime theme, but they are not crime novels. She's a master at unravelling complicated family relationships and always produces a story that makes the reader think hard. 

Remember Me is set in New Zealand, a place that this author constantly brings to life for her readers. Despite the fact that I have never set foot in the country, I feel as though I know the place intimately and that is down to the excellent descriptions and story telling. 

Emily has lived in the UK for many years. She single, with a grown son and enjoys her job illustrating children's fiction books. Her two siblings still live in New Zealand, but it is Emily who is called upon to return to their childhood home when their father's condition appears to be worsening. Dr Felix Kirkland is so well respected in his home town. He was the local doctor for many years and a good friend to many. His nearest neighbour, Raewyn Parata is very fond of him. Felix cared for her terminally ill husband for many years and the family have become great friends. 

Whilst Felix may have been a pillar of society, a good man, he wasn't the greatest father. Emily remembers that she never felt quite good enough for him. He was distant and she only has a couple of memories of any real sense of being loved by him.

However, she returns to New Zealand, out of a sense of duty, and with the intention of staying just a short while. It becomes clear that Felix can no longer cope on his own; there are multiple notes dotted around the house; notes from Felix to himself; reminding him of how to do things, and even what his name is. 

One of the biggest events of Emily's young life was the disappearance of local girl Leah Parata, the daughter of Raewyn. Emily was the last person to see Leah and her body has never been discovered. Little does Emily imagine that her father's decline may solve the mystery of the missing girl, and she will also learn far more about the man who is her father than she ever expected. 

Charity Norman's insight into the slow moving and devastating effects of dementia are profoundly moving, it's as though Felix's soul and character is slowly dying in front of the reader and it is done with such care and compassion. 

Emily is a complex character herself and as she learns more about her father, and the events of many years ago, she also discovers things within herself. Whilst this is a heart breaking tale, it can often be uplifting too, the author creates a story that is becomes more compelling and intriguing with each page. 

Another wonderful story from such a talent. Existing fans will be delighted by this and I think she will gain new followers too. Highly recommended. 

Charity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. 

After several years' travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. 

In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. REMEMBER ME is her seventh novel.

Praise for Charity Norman

'A compelling and fresh premise leads to a tense, humane, and touching novel'.  Claire McGowan

‘Masterful, heart-breaking and compelling . . . a moving hymn to humanity’ Erin Kinsley, bestselling author of Found

Tuesday 22 March 2022

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz BLOG TOUR #RiverClyde @ohneKlippo t. @FwdTranslations @OrendaBooks #ChastityRiley #Noir #Glasgow #BookReview


Mired in grief after tragic recent events, state prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house. 

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront. 

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone. 

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is an electrifying, poignant and powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 17 March 2022 and is translated from the German by Rachel Ward. This is volume five in the Chastity Riley series. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour. 

In March 2021, I read and reviewed Hotel Cartagena, the fourth of the Chastity Riley series to be translated into English and published by Orenda Books. 

A year later and it's time for the fifth book; River Clyde. I've been a huge fan of this author and her wonderful character Chasity for some years and always look forward to reading more about Chas's adventures. In River Clyde, we are treated to a style that is different from the norm, as Chasity travels to Glasgow when she learns about an inheritance. 

She's not just travelling to find out more about the house that has been left to her though, she's also doing her best to leave the tragic and traumatic events that arose in the previous novel behind. I would advise readers to go back and read Hotel Cartagena at least, you'll then have some understanding of Chasity's state of mind and the reason for it. 

This is powerful, lyrical and poetic writing that shows a side of this talented author that hasn't really been seen before. She's always been adept at relaying Chastity's inner feelings, but in River Clyde, she goes one step further. The city of Glasgow, with its greying tenement buildings and run-down pubs become a character in itself, and of course, the River of the title; the Clyde. Weaving it's way through the city and also through the narrative, taking on a personality and voice of its own. 

Meanwhile, as Chastity travels around Glasgow on a journey of discovery, her team are back in Hamburg, dealing with arson attacks in the city. The guys feel incomplete with Chastity as part of the team, and they also begin to discover things. They learn more about each other, they find that Chastity really is the glue that holds them together and they begin to share thoughts and experiences. 

This is a difficult book to review, whilst there is a crime, it's not the heart of the story. It's literary, domestic, self discovery. It's beautifully structured and wonderfully translated from the German by Rachel Ward. It's an inside peek into another side of a character that readers have come to know and love and it is revelatory and enlightening.

I am eager to know what is next for Chastity. I have enjoyed her time in Scotland and learning more about her. I've loved the juxtaposition of Glasgow and Hamburg and the differences in how she behaves in the two cities.

Simone Buchholz is an extraordinary talent and Chastity Riley is one of the best female characters ever created. 

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. 

At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. 
In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. 
The critically acclaimed Beton Rouge, Mexico Street and Hotel Cartagena all followed in the Chastity Riley series, with River Clyde out in 2022. 

She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Twitter @ohneKlippo

Rachel Ward is a freelance translator of literary and creative texts from German and French to
Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study modern languages at the University of East Anglia. 
She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saaebrücken, Germany. 
During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002. 
Her published translations include Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel, and she is a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.