Friday 29 March 2024

The House of Mirrors by Erin Kelly #TheHouseOfMirrors @mserinkelly @HodderBooks #BookReview


One of them has killed before.

One of them will kill again.

In the sweltering summer of 1997, straight-laced, straight-A student Karen met Biba - a bohemian and impossibly glamorous aspiring actress. A few months later, two people were dead and another had been sent to prison.

Having stood by Rex as he served his sentence, Karen is now married to him with a daughter, Alice, who runs a vintage clothing company in London. They're a normal family, as long as they don't talk about the past, never mention the name Biba, and ignore Alice's flashes of dark, dangerous fury.

Karen has kept what really happened that summer of '97 hidden deep inside her. Alice is keeping secrets of her own. But when anonymous notes begin to arrive at Alice's shop, it seems the past is about to catch up with them all ...

The House of Mirrors by Erin Kelly is published on 4 April 2024 by Hodder & Stoughton. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

The House of Mirrors is a sequel to this author's debut novel; The Poison Tree, which I read way back in 2010. It is a long time ago, and I've read a lot of books in that time, including all of Erin Kelly's works. I read this as a stand alone story, I did not try to remember the detail of the first book and it really works. Whilst I'd urge anyone who hasn't read this authors earlier works to do so, you can pick this up and enjoy it without reading The Poison Tree. 

It is twenty years after that eventful summer of 1997, when Karen met Biba and her brother Rex for the very first time. It was a summer that shaped them all, changed their lives and their outlooks. It turned Karen into the overly protective, almost paranoid woman that she is today. It took years from Rex's life as he served a prison sentence. It's a time that Karen and Rex have tried their best to put in their past. 

The summer of 2017 has similarities to those days in the past, with sweltering heat causing chaos on the London streets, and the events of the 1997 seeming to rear their ugly, and unwanted head once more. 

Karen and Rex's daughter Alice is opening a vintage dress store in a small side street of the city. She's worked hard to make the shop so fabulous on social media, and her parents have worked hard to support her too.  Although an exciting new venture, Karen and Rex are worried that this may make them more noticeable, they've managed a quiet life for the past years .... they are proved correct. 

Alice begins to receive strange, anonymous notes at the shop. She's a huge true-crime podcast fan and cannot let this go, she needs to know more and it is not long before she is keeping secrets of her own. The ghosts of the past are not resting peacefully and the impact on this small family is massive. With just the family characters, and the addition of Alice's boyfriend Gabe - a man with secrets of his own, this is a tight narrative, usually seen from Karen and Alice's perspectives. 

Erin Kelly excels in creating a dark world that draws in her readers quickly. Her characterisation is immaculate, her settings sublime and the slowly unfolding plot line kept me hooked throughout. There are things that I didn't anticipate at all, shocks galore and twists that blow the mind. Oh, and that ending! What a stunner, it's perfect and left me reeling a little. 

I have read and enjoyed everything this writer has produced. Her books offer something a little different with their mix of thrills, family secrets and gothic darkness. I love it. Highly recommended. 

Erin Kelly is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind, He Said/She Said, Stone Mothers/We Know You Know, Watch Her Fall and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. 

In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011. 

He Said/She Said spent six weeks in the top ten in both hardback and paperback, was longlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier crime novel of the year award, and selected for both the Simon Mayo Radio 2 and Richard & Judy Book Clubs. 

She has worked as a freelance journalist since 1998 and written for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Red, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters. 

Thursday 28 March 2024

Leave No Trace by Jo Callaghan BLOG TOUR #LeaveNoTrace @JoCallaghanKat @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #BookReview

One detective driven by instinct, the other by logic.
It will take both to find a killer who knows the true meaning of fear . . .
When the body of a man is found crucified at the top of Mount Judd, AIDE Lock – the world’s first AI Detective – and DCS Kat Frank are thrust into the spotlight as they are given their first live case.
But with the discovery of another man’s body – also crucified – it appears that their killer is only just getting started. With the police warning local men to be vigilant, the Future Policing Unit is thrust into a hostile media frenzy as they desperately search for connections between the victims. But time is running out for them to join the dots and prevent another death.
For if Kat and Lock know anything, it’s that killers rarely stop – until they are made to. 

Leave No Trace by Jo Callaghan is published today, 28 March 2024 by Simon and Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. 

Back in January of last year, I read and reviewed the first book in this series - In The Blink of an Eye. I was so impressed by it and it has stayed with me for the whole year. I have been delighted to see how popular the book became, especially being chosen for the BBC Between The Covers series. 

Leave No Trace was one of my most anticipated books of this year, I was sure that it was going to be great, but didn't expect it to be quite this fabulous. I flew through this in a couple of sittings, it is engaging, with a strong crime plot line and the constant exploration of the relationship between Kat Frank and her AI sidekick AIDE Lock.

Kat has wanted to be in charge of a current, live case for some time. Since returning to work after the tragic death of her young husband, she has been working cold cases. She's part of a new initiative where AI has been introduced, in attempt to make police work more transparent,  the public more trusting and also to speed up investigations. Whilst Kat was, at first, dubious as to whether this is just a ploy to replace humans with AI, her working relationship with Lock has gone well so far. She still has some niggling doubts, and does not hesitate to point out that there are certain areas in which AI just can't compete, such as natural instinct, but on the whole it's all going well. 

When the naked body of a man is discovered crucified at the top of a local hill, Kat and her team are given the case. It is down to Lock that the man can be identified so quickly, but Gary Jones was a popular bloke, about to be married to his beautiful girlfriend, with a good job and plenty of friends. Who would want to kill him in such a macabre way? It is wasn't a quick death either, the post mortem proves that he actually died from hypothermia which would have been long and slow. 

Gary Jones is not the only victim. Another crucifixion takes place, not far away, the same MO, except for one detail. It's clear that there's a serial killer on the loose, but why and who and what do the two victims have in common. How to stop the next one?

Kat and Lock work well together. Jo Callaghan uses her extensive knowledge of AI when creating Lock and at times, there are some really funny parts. Lock often speaks out quite literally, almost like a small child with no filter and whilst it can be laughable, Kat is often driven to distraction by it. 

There's the underlying thread of Kat's own story too which adds such depth to the novel. The recent death of her husband, the threat to her teenage son not long enough and the return to an empty house each night means that her character is so much more than just a detective. Her relationships with her team members are mother like at times, caring and protective, putting herself last, but a blossoming new friendship is emerging and that's interesting to see. 

The plot is fast paced, a little dark at times and slowly but surely points to the unexpected. It's totally gripping. Jo Callaghan is a stylish, intelligent writer, not afraid to address social issues that need to be highlighted whilst always keeping on track. I was very impressed and look forward to book three, there's more to learn yet, I'm sure. 

Jo Callaghan works fulltime as a senior strategist, where she has carried out research into the future 
impact of AI and genomics on the workforce. 
After losing her husband to cancer in 2019 when she was just forty-nine, she started writing In the Blink of an Eye, her debut crime novel, which explores learning to live with loss and what it means to be human. 
In The Blink of an Eye was selected for BBC 2’s ‘Between the Covers’ in Spring 2023, and Jo was a featured debut at Harrogate Crime Festival and Bloody Scotland Festival. 
She lives with her two children in the Midlands. Leave No Trace is her
second novel.

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Swanna In Love by Jennifer Belle #SwannaInLove #JenniferBelle @DeadInkBooks #BookReview


It's the summer of 1982 and fourteen-year-old Swanna Swain is the only one left at camp. 

The place is a ghost town by the time her mother Val finally shows up six hours late-stoned and radiant-in a Ford pickup driven by Borislav, her new young Russian lover. 

Assuming she is headed home to her air-conditioned Upper West Side apartment, Swanna and her lovable younger brother Madding are instead dragged to Vermont-to an artist colony where kids are not welcome and they are forced to sleep in the back of the truck, while Val is cozy inside the house with the Russian. 

Then Swanna meets Dennis, a handsome married father of two, at a bowling alley, and, knowing a thing or two about seduction from Judy Blume, her best friend at camp, and her own parents' many affairs, she sets out to convince Dennis to help her. 

But love seldom obeys rules, and even a tough, smart, city girl like Swanna might not be able to handle falling in love. 

Best-selling novelist Jennifer Belle returns with a kind of inverse Lolita that explores adolescent desire from the girl's point of view. 

In turns hilarious and wildly shocking, Swanna in Love will keep your feathers ruffled and the pages gliding by.

Swanna In Love by Jennifer Belle was published on 14 March 2024 by Dead Ink. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I've not read any of Jennifer Belle's previous novels, but know that she's had lots of success with them. The premise of Swanna in Love intrigued me and I was hooked from the opening pages. 

Fourteen year old Swanna comes from a pretty dysfunctional family. Her parents are wealthy, she lives in a good area of New York, they own an original Warhol, and eat in the best places. Swanna's life has been a mix of meeting the rich and famous, but also desperately looking for attention. Swanna and her brother Madding have spent the summer at camp and it's time to go home. Swanna is happily settled on the bus, expecting to return to New York, and school when she is hauled off and told that her mother is going to collect her. 

Swanna's parents have recently separated and she's finding that difficult to come to terms with. When, six hours later, her mother arrives to collect her, in a truck driven by her new Russian boyfriend, Swanna is appalled. They go on to collect Madding from his camp and eventually end up in an artist's colony in Vermont. Children are not allowed, Swanna and Madding must sleep in the truck. 

And then she meets Dennis, a married, father of two in his thirties and there's an instant connection. Swanna's life takes an unexpected turn and this novel deals bluntly with the issues.

This is not the story you'd imagine, it's not an older man preying on a young girl. This relationship is entirely led by Swanna. She's a girl who knows too much, but is still far too young. There are explicit scenes that could never be called romantic, in fact, they are sordid and shocking, yet Swanna is 'in love'.
Of course, Dennis is the adult, and it is his responsibility at the end of the day to ensure that what happens doesn't happen, but he's also weak and feels neglected by his wife. He knows that they are doing is wrong, he hides from neighbours, friends and people in the community, but he does not stop.

Swanna is an interesting character. She's very intelligent, yet fails at school. She's loyal and protective towards her young brother, yet seems to hate her parents. She's privileged, yet neglected.  She's loving, but unloved. She's a girl with raging hormones, a girl who thinks she is in charge, but deep down, she just wants affection. She's read the books, and the newspaper columns, she's seen how her mother acts, she knows how to attract people, how to flirt, how to appear sexy and older than she is and she uses these talents to the highest level. 

The publishers call this 'a kind of inverse Lolita', and I think that's probably the perfect description. As a 50 something woman, the content disturbed me, but I am very impressed with the writing and the author's ability to get into the mind of a damaged fourteen-year-old girl. 

A book to debate and discuss. Recommended. 

Jennifer Belle burst onto the literary scene with her critically-acclaimed debut novel Going Down, which was translated into many languages and optioned for the screen, first by Madonna, for whom she wrote the screenplay, and currently by Das Films. 

Belle was named Best New Novelist by Entertainment Weekly, profiled in New York Magazine and People, and compared to Dorothy Parker, Lorrie Moore, and J.D. Salinger. 

Her second equally-praised novel, the national bestseller High Maintenance, took on the cutthroat world of Manhattan real estate, and was also optioned for film and television. In 2007, Belle published her third novel Little Stalker, another sharp and funny look at life in New York City.

Kookaburras, Cuppas, & Kangaroos by S Bavey BLOG TOUR @SueBavey @rararesources #KookaburrasCuppasandKangaroos #BookSpotlight

Fuelled by her spirit for adventure and with her £10.00 ticket in hand, Elizabeth Isle leaves 1960s England, determined to see it all, not just Australia and New Zealand, but as much as she can on the way, too. 

She surrenders her passport to the Australian government and must find work to support herself on the other side of the world from her family and friends. 

There can be no going back for two years. 

Join this intrepid young woman on the adventure of her lifetime.

 Share her amazing experiences, discover what exotic animals await, get travel tips and meet her new friends through her letters home and over plenty of cups of tea. 

Beware - the travel bug might prove infectious!

Kookaburras, Cuppas & Kangaroos by S Bavey was published in December 2023. I'm delighted to shine spotlight on the book today as part of the Blog Tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources. 

Sue Bavey (writing as S. Bavey) a British mother of two teenagers, now living in
Franklin, Massachusetts, having moved to the US in 2003. 
Writing as S. Bavey, she won a gold award from Readers’ Favorite for her grandfather’s biography: Lucky Jack (1894 – 2000), which she wrote during COVID lockdown. 
She also has a number of non-fiction stories published in various anthologies.

Kookaburras, Cuppas & Kangaroos is the story of her late mother’s emigration from Yorkshire to Australia in 1960 for three years, told via airmail letters and travel diary entries.

A free prequel to Kookaburras, Cuppas & Kangaroos”, called “A Yorkshire Lass: The Early Years” is available for free download from

Tuesday 26 March 2024

The Mercy Chair by M W Craven #TheMercyChair @MWCravenUK @LittleBrownUK @BethWright6 #WashingtonPoe #TillyBradshaw


Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin . . .

Washington Poe has a story to tell.

And he needs you to listen.

You'll hear how it started with the robber birds. Crows. Dozens of them. Enough for a murder . . .

He'll tell you about a man who was tied to a tree and stoned to death, a man who had tattooed himself with a code so obscure, even the gifted analyst Tilly Bradshaw struggled to break it. He'll tell you how the man's murder was connected to a tragedy that happened fifteen years earlier when a young girl massacred her entire family.

And finally, he'll tell you about the mercy chair. And why people would rather kill themselves than talk about it . . .Poe hopes you've been paying attention. Because in this story, nothing is as it seems . . 

The Mercy Chair by W M Craven is published in hardback on 6 June by Constable. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. This is the seventh book in the Washington Poe series.

I remember so well that January of 2019 when I discovered The Puppet Show, the first in the Washington Poe series by M W Craven. I knew this series was going to be something special and I was proved right. Every time I read another in the series, I say that it is the best yet .... and yes, I'm going to say it again. The Mercy Chair is downright addictive, it's very very dark, but it's one of the best crime stories that I've read for a long long time.  I read most of this on the plane out to Maderia, and then my other half took it and he read it in one day ..... and then we talked and talked and talked about it. God knows if anyone overheard our conversations, they were probably frightened to death of us if they did! 

I do advise that people read this series in order. The character development has been astonishing, and Poe's back story is really important. However, the author is clever, he does include enough for anyone to read this as a standalone, and not get confused. 

The Mercy Chair has a somewhat strange beginning and it took me a few pages to realise what was happening, but it's a fabulous hook and it is continued right through to the shocking ending, another Bravo for this clever author. 

We find Poe speaking with a therapist about his disturbed nights and how the crows won't leave him alone in his dreams. He goes on to relate what has recently happened and it is this case that is central to the novel. It all started when a local religious leader was stoned to death after being tied to a tree. The victim is covered in tattoos, many of them self done, and one of them holds the answer to the reason why he's dead. 

The reader is taken to some of the darkest places, and witnesses some horrific crimes during Poe's story. The most terrible cases of abuse done in the name of religion, the hidden stories that some adults have never learned to live with and the damage caused to young people who are now grown up. Adults with minds that are so broken that their only relief is to inflict as much pain as they can on those they believe are responsible. 

The case takes a great deal out of Poe and without his trusted sidekick Tilly, and his partner Estelle Doyle, he may not have have got through this. However 'always look on the bright side of life' (when you know, you know), Tilly's exceptional brain and Estelle's care do help him to crack this case. 

Once again, Craven has drawn such an amazing relationship between Tilly and Poe, two of the most unlikely friends, who will defend each other to the end of days.  In The Mercy Chair they are shadowed by an official from the Audit Office called Linus - Poe immediately nicknames him as Snoopy. Poe never feels easy about Snoopy, and I didn't either, in fact I guessed, well before Poe did, exactly why he was there, and it is devastating. When the truth is revealed about Snoopy's mission, my heart broke a little and I only hope that Craven will fix it in the next book. 

Oh, and the ending ...... oh, the ending. Total and utter shocker that I had no idea was going to happen. I knew exactly when my other half had got to 'that part' from the loudest WTF that I've head from him in years!  Prepare yourselves .... 

This is dark, emotionally challenging stuff but it is so so clever, everything ties together, everything makes sense. Don't read this one in the dark!  Highly recommended. 

Multi-award winning author M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in

He joined the army at sixteen, leaving ten years later to complete a degree in social work. Seventeen years after taking up a probation officer role in Cumbria, at the rank of assistant chief officer, he became a full-time author. 

The Puppet Show, the first book in the critically acclaimed, best-selling Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw series, was published by Little, Brown and went on to win the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger in 2019. 

Black Summer, the second in the series, was longlisted for the Gold Dagger as was book three, The Curator. 

Dead Ground won the CWA Steel Dagger in 2022 and book five, The Botanist, won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2023. 

Dead Ground and 2022’s The Botanist were both Sunday Times bestsellers. 

The series has now been translated into twenty-seven languages. 

Fearless, the first thriller in the new US-set, Ben Koenig series, was published in June 2023 by Flatiron Books in the US and by Little, Brown in the UK. Fearless will soon be a major TV series.

M. W. Craven lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn't talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

X @MWCravenUK

Instagram @m.w.craven

Monday 25 March 2024

The Collapsing Wave by Doug Johnstone BLOG TOUR #TheCollapsingWave @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #SandyIsBack #BookReview


Six months since the earth-shattering events of The Space Between Us, the revelatory hope of the aliens' visit has turned to dust and the creatures have disappeared into the water off Scotland's west coast.

Teenager Lennox and grieving mother Heather are being held in New Broom, a makeshift US military base, the subject of experiments, alongside the Enceladons who have been captured by the authorities.

Ava, who has given birth, is awaiting the jury verdict at her trial for the murder of her husband. And MI7 agent Oscar Fellowes, who has been sidelined by the US military, is beginning to think he might be on the wrong side of history.

When alien Sandy makes contact, Lennox and Heather make a plan to escape with Ava. All three of them are heading for a profound confrontation between the worst of humanity and a possible brighter future, as the stakes get higher for the alien Enceladons and the entire human race…

Sequel to the bestselling The Space Between Us, The Collapsing Wave is an exquisite, epic first-contact novel, laced with peril and populated by unforgettable characters, and the awe-inspiring book we all need right now…

The Collapsing Wave by Doug Johnstone was published on 14 March 2024 by Orenda Books and is the second in the Enceladons trilogy. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour 

A year ago, I reviewed The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone, the first in his Encedalon Trilogy. That was a book that moved me deeply, whilst I am fan of dystopia and speculative fiction, I have never thought of myself as a science-fiction fan. Doug Johnstone and his amazing characters changed that, I doubt that I'm ever going to dip into the realms of space invaders and purple aliens, but give me a five legged octopus with pulsating lights and I'm absolutely smitten. 

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of this author. One of his previous books; Breakers, sits just behind The Handmaid's Tale as my favourite book ever. He writes with a compassion and understanding of human nature that is hard to beat, there's always a touch of humour and in this series, a few tears may be shed too. 

It is six months since the end of the previous book. The encedalon that we know as Sandy has disappeared into the water off Scotland along with others that accompanied them. Our human protagonists; Lennox and Heather, Ava and Oscar Fellowes are all in dark places. 

Lennox and Heather have been captured and are being held at a purpose built US military base on the shores of Loch Broom, called, ironically and cynically, New Broom. M17 official Oscar Fellowes is also there. An English man amongst American scientists, he's slowly realising that his past actions were wrong and that the constant torture and experimentation headed up by General Carson is wicked and cruel. Any encedelon that they manage to capture is immediately experimented upon, and most of them die. 

Ava is now a mother to baby Chloe and recently stood trial for the murder of her abusive husband. Although set free, she and Chloe were immediately captured by Carson's men and hauled off to New Broom - who better to experiment on than a small baby with no preconceptions? 

Across from New Broom is an encampment made up of people who are curious about the encedalons, they are interested in them, and mean no harm. Led by a strong woman named Jodie, these are the Outwithers. 

When Lennox meets young Vonnie, an outwither, as he strolls along the camp edge, he finds someone who seems to understand and who wants to help. When Sandy then gets in touch, the plans for escape are made. 

There are some brutal scenes in this novel, the experiments and physical pain that baby Chloe experiences, in front of her desperate mother are emotionally draining. Heather's realisation that she is ill once again, and that this is part of her and how she is made up, coupled with her memories of her late daughter are heartbreaking at times. 

We live in a world of pain, of controlling dictators, of power struggles and of freedoms lost. Whilst of course, the encedelons are fictional, their experiences can be taken straight from the mouths of our news readers today. The illogical treatment of those thought of as 'aliens', the struggle of the refugee to find safety, the constant battle against prejudice and hate, it is all there, all staring at us from the pages of this novel, just as it does from our daily newspapers. 

Doug Johnstone excels in creating characters and situations that readers can truly relate to, and he does it with style and also entertains at the same time.  This is not all doom and gloom, there's fast paced action, there's beautiful human interaction and there's the joy of the wild and desolate Scottish scenery too. 

A book and series that is so hard to review, so hard to do justice to. My advice? Go out, buy a copy and read it. Highly recommended.

Doug Johnstone is the author of 16 previous novels, most recently The Opposite of Lonely
(2023) and The Space Between Us (2023). 

The Big Chill (2020) was longlisted for Theakston Crime Novel of the Year, and Black Hearts was shortlisted for the same award. 

Three of his books, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), have been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. 

He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade, and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. 

Doug is a songwriter and musician with six albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers. 

He’s also co-founder of the Scotland Writers Football Club, and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

X @doug_johnstone

Instagram @writerdougj

Friday 22 March 2024

Finding Sophie by Imran Mahmood BLOG TOUR #FindingSophie @imranmahmood777 @BloomsburyRaven @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BookReview


Sophie King is missing.

Her parents, Harry and Zara, are distraught; for the last seventeen years, they've done everything for their beloved only daughter and now she's gone.

The police have no leads, and Harry and Zara are growing increasingly frantic, although they are both dealing with it in very different ways. Increasingly obsessed with their highly suspicious neighbour who won't open the door or answer any questions, they are both coming to the same conclusion. If they want answers, they're going to have to take the matter into their own hands.

But just how far are they both prepared to go for the love of their daughter?

Finding Sophie by Imran Mahmood was published on 14 March 2024 by Raven Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Compulsive Readers Blog Tour 

I have read and enjoyed Imran Mahmood's previous novels, he writes intelligent crime fiction with an emphasis on the legal side of cases, there's no gore and violence, but Finding Sophie is filled with insidious, stealthy tension. The reader never really knows if the truth is being told. 

The author begins his story in courtroom three of the Old Bailey. The short narrative is told in the first person, a person who is on trial for murder .... we do not know who that person is. 

We are then told the story that leads up to the trial through the voices of Harry and Zara; the parents of seventeen-year-old Sophie King. Sophie is missing, she is an only child and her parents adore her, it's clear that there's been some tension in the house recently, after all, she's seventeen with raging hormones and what on earth could her parents possibly understand about her life? Despite this, Sophie's disappearance is a shock, it's not her style and Harry and Zara know that she didn't run away. They are convinced that she's been taken. 

Whilst the police are on the case, and the Kings have an affable detective to liaise with, it's not enough for them. Harry spends his days tracking the local area. He has a map with red lines leading to each house. He has spoken to everyone in every house in the neighbourhood. Except for the bloke who lives at number 210, he will not answer the door, preferring to stay behind his closed doors.
The Kings become obsessed with number 210, and are positive that their neighbour knows where Sophie is. Despite warnings from the police, Harry takes matters into his own hands, breaking laws and crossing borders to find out more. 

Zara is also investigating, but she's doing it quietly. Speaking with Sophie's friends, trying to link things together. It's clear that Zara's mental health is suffering, she insists on throwing a party for Sophie, and she's becoming more dependant on medication to help her sleep. As this couple carry on searching, they are losing their marriage, the cracks that were probably there before are widening, until eventually they become totally separate. 

The structure of this novel is excellent. The alternating narratives from Harry and Zara are a joy to read, the same story, but through different eyes, with different perceptions -giving the reader a wider vision of the whole thing. Every now and then, we go back to courtroom three where the murder trial continues and these two threads eventually tie up together in an explosive and totally unexpected ending. 

Imran Mahmood has such a talent, this novel is fresh and exciting. Filled with tension and suspicion and totally unrelenting in pace. I was gripped from page one. Highly recommended. 

Imran Mahmood is a practicing barrister with thirty years' experience fighting cases in courtrooms across the country.

His previous novels have been highly critically acclaimed: You Don't Know Me was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club choice, Goldsboro Book of the Month and was shortlisted for the Glass Bell Award; both this and I Know What I Saw were longlisted for Theakston Crime Novel of the Year and the CWA Gold Dagger. You Don't Know Me was also made into a hugely successful BBC1 adaptation in association with Netflix.

When not in court or writing novels or screenplays he can sometimes be found on the Red Hot Chilli Writers' podcast as one of their regular contributors. He hails from Liverpool but now lives in London with his wife and daughters.


Thursday 21 March 2024

Rodolfo Walsh's Last Case by Elsa Drucaroff t. Slava Faybysh BLOG TOUR #RodolfoWalshsLastCase @CorylusB @Elsa_Drucaroff @slavabob8 #Win #Prize #Competition


Killed in a desperate skirmish with military police in 1976, Rodolfo Walsh remains an instantly recognisable figure in the politics and literature of Argentina. 

A prolific journalist and author - notably a pioneer of the true crime genre with his 1957 book Operation Massacre - Walsh was also the head of intelligence for the clandestine Montoneros organisation, co-ordinating armed resistance against Argentina’s brutal military Junta. 

His killing in December 1976 took place just days after he wrote his iconic Letter to my Friends, recounting the murder of his daughter Victoria by the military dictatorship. 

Father and daughter were just two of the Junta’s many thousands of victims. 

What if this complex figure – a father, militant and writer who dug deep into the regime’s political crimes – had also sought to reveal the truth of his own daughter’s death? 

Elsa Drucaroff’s imagining of Rodolfo Walsh undertaking the most personal investigation of his life is an electrifying, suspense-filled drama in which love and life decisions are inseparable from political convictions. 

What if beneath the surface of his Letter to my Friends lay a gripping story lost to history?

Rodolfo Walsh's Last Case by Elsa Drucaroff was published on 5 March 2024 by Corylus Books. It is translated by Slava Faybysh. 

I am delighted to offer one copy of the book today as a prize, as part of this Blog Tour.

One copy of Rodolfo Walsh's Last Case by Elsa Drucaroff

Elsa Drucaroff was born and raised in Buenos Aires. 

She is the author of four novels and two short story collections, in addition to being a prolific essayist. She has published numerous articles on Argentine literature, literary criticism and feminism. Her work has been widely translated, but Rodolfo Walsh’s Last Case is Elsa Drucaroff’s first novel to be translated into English.

X @Elsa_Drucaroff

Slava Faybysh lives in Chicago and is an up-and-coming translator from two languages: Spanish and Russian into English. 

His translations have been published in the New England Review, History Magazine, Asymptote Journal, Latin American Literature Today, and Another Chicago Magazine, among others. His translation of Leopoldo Bonafulla’s anarchist memoir The July Revolution: Barcelona 1909 was published by AK Press in 2021.

X @slavabob8