Monday, 9 December 2019

Whatever Happened to Barry Chambers?

Whatever Happened to Barry Chambers? is described as a dramatised memoir.

When he was just four years old Barry Chambers is deposited by his mother at The King's (The Cathedral School) Boarding House in Peterborough.

Shocked by the discovery that her husband is, in fact, a bigamist, she decides to make a new life for herself, eventually setting herself up as a successful fashion designer in London.

Barry's mother is both beautiful and also manipulative and she becomes married to a Jewish businessman. She decides to pretend that she and her son are both Jewish.

Meanwhile Barry is raised as an Anglican at his boarding school, has to cope with being lonely, being bullied, cope with a sexual predator at the school, plus deal with his "lovable rogue" of a step-father and the rather erratic behaviour of his mother.

This all helps to make Barry grow up rather confused about his identity, plus leaving him somewhat vulnerable to being attracted by the wrong set of people.

Why did Barry decide to write his memoir? At his mother's funeral he realised that his mother had decided to virtually airbrush him and his sister Penny from history.

The discovery of his mother's own writings on her early married life compelled Barry (who is Professor Emeritus of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Imperial College, London) to face up his pent-up emotions of his rather troubled childhood by telling his side of the story.

The book is well illustrated with a collection of photographs from the family archives.

It's a painful but extremely illuminating account of a dysfunctional family.

It's published by The Book Guild at £10.99 and will make a superb Christmas gift for the person who enjoys well written autobiographies.

Trust Me, I'm a Care Worker

Trust Me, I'm a Care Worker is a collection of recollections from Chris Bulteel's time as a care worker.

Gloucester born Chris attended the Cathedral school where he later served as a chorister. After leaving school he entered the catering industry, having a wide and varied career covering catering and hotel management

At age 26 he became a town councillor, eventually serving as Mayor of Wimbourne, in Dorset.

After moving to Poole, he became Sheriff of Poole, later repeating the role he served in Wimbourne, becoming Mayor Poole.

He was a member of many committees, chairing several, until he eventually became Chair of Dorset Fire Authority. All the while whilst he was serving the public in these vital roles he was also working in the catering industry.

At least until he was 54 when he left the catering industry and his life took a sudden and unexpected turn when he became a care worker.

The book looks at how people who are being cared for are still, first and foremost, people and how they often face their adverse situations with true spirit and courage.

Chris reveals that his time spent in his second career as that of a carer helped to teach him understanding of people and humility.

The book is mainly written in the form of extracts from his diary and charts his colourful second career.

He met a wide and varied range of people who were his clients, and his colleagues. There was one of his first clients, George, who suffered from a deep depression, amongst other problems, risk assessments and what this had to do with a pot of aqueous cream BP,  the real and very cogent reasons why Clarissa demanded that only male carers attended to her needs. Also learn what happens when a patient is being lifted in an electrically powered hoist and there's a power cut. 

Chris believes that it's important to celebrate and highlight the great work that car workers do. He hopes that others might be inspired by reading his book to take up careers as care workers, as he did.

I think it would make a nice Christmas gift for people who are care workers or who are considering entering that field.

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

Copernicus! What HAVE You Done?

Copernicus! What HAVE You Done? is collection of very humorous poems from Don Behrend.

Don takes a fresh, new and amusing look at some topics that are (usually) treated with more reverence.

Don's poems examines topics like the sciences, music, the arts, literature and the like. But all with a less than reverential twist.

Learn how other scientists might have reacted to Copernicus,  a different take on the works of Kepler, what really happens in a novel by Dickens, how many works Bach composed.

Enjoy a different take on matters theological (including Bible stories newly retold) Mathematics, philosophical conundrums, plus matters artistic.

It's a modestly sized book that contains some wonderful ideas and will be a welcome find in the Christmas stocking of anyone who is intellectually gifted, yet doesn't take life or themselves too seriously.

It's published by Matador at £7.99.

Good Question

Good Question is a debut crime novel from V. R. Lyons.

Sue and Jeff are lovely people. They are kindhearted, lovely, decent and nice. Everyone likes them. But Terry had inadvertently brought risk and genuine physical danger to Sue and Jeff.

They are employed in an old Victorian grocery store which, over the time of their employment there, they have grown to view with a great deal of affection and loyalty.

But they are horrified to discover that the apparently innocent grocery store is merely just a front for criminal activity.

Their discovery puts them in a quandary and a dilemma. What could they do about the situation they have discovered? What should they do about it? After all, the livelihoods of people they know are now at risk.

They need to decide where they really stand. Exactly how decent are they, as a couple?

They are confronted by people who know how to use violence to get what they want and they are prepared to use it. But what, exactly, will be the outcome?

Does nice confront nasty? And if it does, who wins? Who is really nice, who is really nasty?

There are more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and this is a fine debut crime novel. Hopefully it will be the first of many.

It's published by Matador at £8.99 and should be in the Christmas stocking of mystery and thriller lovers everywhere.

Shamus Dust

In Shamus Dust Janet Rogers takes her readers back to the war damaged City of London of 1947.

It's Christmas time and a murder has been committed in the Square Mile.

It looks to be a so-called vice killing an a member of the City council wants to get to the bottom of the matter, or to hide his own involvement in the case, so he decides to hire a private detective.

The private detective who he hires is an American, called Newman.

Newman has lived in Britain for a couple of decades and perhaps isn't keen on taking the case which is on the recommendation of a former client.

But take the case he does.

As he works on the case, using his undoubted knowledge and skills as a detective, Newman begins to realise that the case is far more complex than it might have first appeared. That often happens when more deaths begin to occur in a "simple" case.

But what can Newman do? What should he do?

And what on earth did this have to do with archaeology?

Janet Roger's debut novel is what can only be described as a genuine tour de force. It's as if Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe had got bored with his life in Los Angeles and travelled to England and lived under the pseudonym of Newman and was asked to investigate a murder. Or series of murders.

Janet Roger takes her readers back to 1947, when the war was over, yet the damage still in many places yet to be repaired, exposing a great deal.

If you have a mystery fan to buy a Christmas present for, then this will be it.

It's published by Matador at £11.99.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

101 Positive Pictures

101 Positive Pictures In his book, Robert Valentine brings his readers a small, but perfectly formed, book of happiness which is illustrated with some highly inspirational cartoons by Robert Valentine.

The book will be able to inspire readers wit its beautifully coloured illustrations and ts visual affirmations.

All of us, no matter who we are, can never fully escape our own minds. How we deal with our own thoughts, how we process these thoughts can have a major impact on our lives, either for ill or for good.

However, 101 Positive Pictures is for people of all age groups and it's aim is a simple, yet noble on. To help you create for yourself a happier, more fulfilling life.

The images are colourful, engaging and by employing the simple affirmations therein, you will be able to apply the steps in your everyday life and to make some vital changes in your life and how you live it.

It's published by Matador at £12.99.

Lotus in the Sand

Lotus in the Sand is a novel from Peter Maroza.

It poses an interesting question. Which should a person chose? Honour or revenge?

Hamish McFarlane is an Afghan war veteran, who is disillusioned and jaded. He has tried to escape his troubled past by entering battle scarred Iraq.

There is a brutal terrorist assault on an oil company in Iraq and Hamish is sent in to carry out an assessment on the security there.

However, his investigations start to throw up some worrying anomalies. Although at first it seems to have been a terrorist attack, some things just do not seem to add up. The deeper his investigation digs, the more complex and downright sinister the whole matter becomes. He begins to fear for his won life and the lives of his nearest and dearest.

More people become involved and more people die and Hamish realises that he no longer knows who he can, or should, trust.

His search for the truth takes him into the mountainous Kurdistan, back inot the streets of Baghdad and even into the very heart of the British establishment.

But what will Hamish do? Will he succeed?

It's a stunning book and draws heavily on the experiences of the author's time working for s private security company in Iraq for some years.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99 and will be a great Christmas gift for the thriller lover in your life.