Saturday, 17 July 2021

Know More Lies


In the latest novel from Chris Gray, Know More Lies, we meet Robbie Howard.

23-year-old Robbie has no job, but he never seems short of a bob or two. This is because he is a streetwise criminal who can talk himself into and out of just about any situation.

The only person in his life who he really cares about is his ailing grandfather who still thinks that Robbie is gainfully employed and is unaware that the job that Robbie has told him about doesn't actually exist.

Robbie tricks an elderly charity shop worker into giving him a very high value donation of clothing from a local famous rock star.

But problems occur when the son of the charity shop volunteer realises what his game is.

What will happen to Robbie and his beloved grandfather, now? Can Robbie put things right before they get too badly out of hand?

Can he fix things?

It's a well-told story about characters the reader comes to care about and clearly draws on the experiences of the author when he worked as a mentor for young people.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99.

Monday, 28 June 2021

The Last Generation

The Last Generation is a science fiction novel for young adults from author Miles Bavin.

The earth is dying. Ellie is aware that this year is the most important academic year in her life.

Because this year will be the year when she sits the examination process known as the "Level Twelves."

Those who pass "The Level Twelves" exam will be admitted to the "flight-to-freedom" programme. But what happens to those who take the exam, but fail it?

Ellie cannot hear and she has the ability to read lips as a result and a conversation she witnesses between two teachers makes her wonder what, exactly, is going on.

She begins to think about society, about the "Legion" who are in control of the selection process. What would happen if they introduce stricter, more stringent testing? 

And where are students she used to know but who, for all intents and purposes, have seemingly just disappeared? 

Is there a pattern, here? Ellie thinks there is. But what is it?

She develops a distrust of those around her, especially when a new person arrives on the scene, bringing changes with them.

Ellie wants to save herself, but she also wants to save those who are nearest and dearest to her and to do her best to make sure that humankind also survives.

Can she do this? Can humanity survive? If so, how? Who will save it? 

It's a very cohesive and intelligently told story that is very readable and will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99.

Friday, 25 June 2021

The Marble Curse

The Marble Curse
Emeritus Professor Richard Vincent has made good use of his background as a scientist and consultant cardiologist to bring out a novel aimed at children who enjoy adventure-filled stories.

Joe Raven is a very smart person who is an inventor of small gadgets who have extraordinary powers.

Joe, and his sister Beth, find a mysterious package in their garden. 

Inside they discover a silver bird, a guidebook (which is apparently blank) and a note from "Granelda" who is seeking out their assistance to overcome a vicious curse.

Joe and Beth set out on a special mission to follow the clues that Granelda has left them. 

However, they find themselves transported back to the year 1789 where they become enmeshed with a growing, spreading curse. But who was it who created the curse? Why did they do it? What was the purpose behind it?

Joe and Beth have a limited amount of time to find a way to negate the curse, save the situation and get back home safely. Can they do it? Will they succeed?

It's a rolling gallop of a novel, with a gallimaufry of amazing characters, so good, some indifferent, some utterly wicked.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99. 

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Pitfalls of Power

In the amusing novel from Peter Spenger, Pitfalls of Power, readers are introduced to Percy Penislow.

From very ordinary beginnings in his native Cornwall, Percy, against all odds, somehow manages to squeak his way into power, becoming Prime Minister.

But that is only the start of his problems. He has a plentiful array of enemies who want to see him  toppled from power and sent back to the West Country with his tail firmly between his legs.

However, his enemies think they have him on the run due to a case of mistaken identity. 

Fortunately Percy has the support of his wife and some very good friends, plus his police protection officer and his communications officer who is so well connected that it's a bit scary!

They all agree that if Percy has a sworn enemy, it's probably Percy!

He embarks on a journey of political and self-discovery as he travels along several avenues, roads and lanes (so to speak) that are populated by a bewildering array of civil servants, fellow politicians    His voyage of self-discovery leads him down many avenues as he’s joined by a cast of civil servants, fellow politicians, journalists and the Downing Street cat.

Can Percy make it through? Will he merely survive or, with the help of his wife, friends and colleagues, actually succeed?

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Riding Africa


Riding Africa is a new book from author and traveller Michael Howard-Kyan.

Michael's family were inveterate travellers and as a child he was lucky to be able to enjoy many holidays in a variety of locations.

So it wasn't surprising that Michael also developed the travelling bug, a need to explore places both near and not so near.

In his early twenties, having qualified as a newly minted surveyor, he took the decision to take some time out, to take a sabbatical time out to set out on an adventure of his own.

And so it was that in 1981 Michael decided to set out on an adventure of a lifetime; a motorcycle trip across Africa.

Ever since his father had bought him a motorbike as his student transport, he had developed a love of motorbiking so a motorcycle trip on the African continent was a natural choice. 

He prepared for his adventure with meticulous detail, finding a certain amount of joy and excitement even in the planning.

He wasn't even sure that he could make it across Africa, even having a bailout plan if things were to go wrong, his bike fail him or whatever. But his faithful mechanical steed did not fail him and, together, they succeeded in their cross continental adventure.

The store is very well told and Michael takes his readers all the way, you are with him when people throw rocks at him, when he is accused of spying, thrown into a police cell, has to deal with a variety of mechanical issues and minor details (!) such a sand dunes that had decided to block roads and the like.

He also met  some nice people, including a very smartly dressed Algerian official who proudly took him for a walk through his gardens of which he was justifiably proud.

He met with fellow adventure travellers and a wide variety of characters as he made his way through Africa.

The book is copiously illustrated with a wide range of photographs and maps.

Michael used his travels to raise money for Oxfam.

It is published by The Book Guild at £19.95 in hardback. 

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

The Quarant


The Quarant is a novel by author Graham Bullen.

He takes his readers back to the year 1348. In January of that year an earthquake and a tsunami have brought devastation upon the city state of Venice.

Malin Le Cordier is a highly successful English maritime trader sails into Venice. He has plans to bring about a coup at the behest of Edward III and Genoa.

He has only a limited period of time to bring the coup about. Can he keep the plot secret from his loved ones, even though this made him feel guilty.

However, things are not quite as simple as he believes, for Venice is a city of intrigue, plots and revenge.

Within Venice there is a very powerful force at work. A force that seeks revenge against Edward III and this powerful force is fully aware of the coup plot and is monitoring Le Cordier's every move.

Will the coup succeed? Or will the plotters meet with a bad end?

It's published by Matador at £9.99. 

Flight Path


In Flight Path E J Pepper writes a dramatic and disturbing novel which was the winner of the 2017 Exeter Novel Prize.

We meet Sophie. Sophie's life has apparently been highly successful. She and Miles have had a 30 year long and successful marriage which has produced twin girls.

Sophie and Miles have a wonderful circle of friends and Miles is a highly successful educator.  

But an allegation of sexual abuse against Miles destroys everything.

What should Sophie believe? The allegations against her husband, or the word of her husband?

Is he an innocent abroad or an extremely devious, manipulative predator?

He and his family face the humiliation of Miles' trial. Will he be found guilty or innocent? And even if he is found innocent, would that really matter because, after all, who wins in such a trial?

But what about Sophie? Does she have secrets from Miles that might also bring about the destruction of the marriage?

It's published by Matador at £9.99.