Friday, 29 March 2019

The Fourth Victim

In The Fourth Victim, a new crime novel by John Mead, we are introduced to Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula.

Sergeant Lukula is facing a problem. Inspector Matthew Merry has decided to ascribe the murder of a young female jogger to being that of a mugging gone.

But Julie is not convinced. She believes that the victim was targeted by a killer. There have been three deaths, two families have suffered grievous losses and one murder team who are dealing with what could be an unknown number of murderers.

Set in a modern Whitechapel that, although it is subject to improvements and gentrification, there's still a seedy underside, drug dealers, prostitution and murders.

Julie does not think that there's any danger of her inspector setting the murder team alight. But was she correct in her judgment of him? After all, he had made it as far as an Inspector.

And the case, or cases, were far more complex than the police could have realised.

Who were the killers? Why did there seem to be so many of them? What were their motives? And what was the role of the therapist, Dr Hassan? What did she know? Anything? Or was she in the dark, too?

And what, exactly, did Julie have to hide? And were other members of the team compromised, too?

This is a highly complex, yet very credible crime thriller from established crime writer John Mead, author of The Hanging Women.

The Fourth Victim is published by The Book Guild at £8.99 and will  probably find its way into luggage for the Summer holidays.

Legend of the Lost

Legend of the Lost is a new magical adventure tale from debut children's author Ian P. Buckingham.

The story begins in a very ordinary way. As all good stories do. Holly and Lucy Savage are on holiday at Mermaid Cottage in a pretty Cornish fishing village.

As they explore their surroundings the two girls discover a Moonstone with magical powers. And it reveals wonderful things to them but also about them.

The family find themselves on a journey through Ashridge Forest, as they proceed on their journey quest they discover amazing powers and artefacts that are imbued with magical powers.

With the help of these powerful artefacts they learn of the past of their own family and find themselves in a world of fairies, changelings and magical beings.

But they find that not everyone or everything they meet on their journey is very friendly. In fact, there are some who are downright hostile to the family and who wish them harm.

And they find themselves pitched into a war with evil forces. But they must reach ruinous Castle of the Black Prince, where they will join a battle against dark forces.

But what is it about their family that makes them so unique. Will they learn the truth of their family history?

This book is published by The Book Guild and costs £7.99.

The Holy Longing

The Holy Longing is a debut collection of poems form actress and poet Vera Graziadei.

Wow. Just absolutely... wow! I just went for an invigorating, yet also relaxing, swim in a warm sea made up entirely of words, thoughts, ideas and emotions.

Vera's poems are unique. They compel, they learn, yet they also teach at the same time. By accident instead of "teach" I typed "reach." And yet I quickly realised that this was no mistake, for the poems of this remarkable person also "reach", too. They reach forward and upward, but also backward, as well.

There's love, pain loss, humility, grace, passion, spirit and spirituality in these poems.

In these poems you will learn, live and love.

There's not one style of poetry in this remarkable collection, not one form or format. Which helps to make the collection of poems come alive with crackling vibrancy.

It's published by Matador at £8.99. If you only ever buy one book of poetry in your life, please let this be that one book of poems. You'll not regret your decision. Honestly.

Sir Humphrey's Last Stand

In Sir Humphrey's Last Stand we meet Sir Humphrey was is, as it happens, making his last stand.

The book is set in Medieval times, but experts in the history of those far off, distant times might be in for a bit of a torrid time as the author, Jonathan Forth, cheerfully acknowledges that his book has only a somewhat limited grip on history and reality and perhaps might upset the more literalist of its readers.

However, having said that, there is much to recommend this book to the reader.

The French Kings has decided to remove the English. And he has, pretty much, succeeded in his aim. Pretty much? Yes, pretty much, because there's the somewhat inconvenient fact that Sir Humphrey and his merry, or morose, men on Mon St Bernard are still on French soil.

The King has sent his spies to infiltrate the English camp at Mont St Bernard but their Continental good looks and charming ways have caused the hearts of the lustful (but unfulfilled)  women of the castle to flutter more than a little bit.

The area's Mayor is in a quandary, to be frank. He doesn't know if he should support the English or the French.

However, on to the scene come a knight and a lady. Can they save the day? What can the pirates and the parrot do? And what was that man doing with a human foot in his pocket? And why did the butcher want with it?

The best way to describe this book is that it's a bit of a madcap romp. And that it's probably not too far removed from the reality of Medieval life.

It costs £9.99 and is published by Matador.

The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick

The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick is a new novel from well-known author Jan Harvey.

Martha Nelson is a journalist. Or rather, she was a journalist until she decided to retire.

But now Martha is feeling at a bit of a loss over what to do with the rest of her life, adapting to the quieter life of not being a harassed and on deadline journalist.

So when the local history group ask her if she would like to compile a book about the history of the village she lives in, she is delighted.

She then accidentally finds the ruinous Lapston Manor and finds a frisson of interest. Why was the manor allowed to fall into decay?

Talk of unexpected deaths and the change of ownership of the property and a mysterious woman called Madam Roussell add fire to the journalistic ideal of getting to the heart of any story!

And, as with many good stories, the seeds of it were sown in the past. Not the distant past in this case, but the more recent past, during the closing days of the Second World War.

The villagers and inhabitants of Lapston were captivated and intrigued by the arrival of a mysterious and extremely beautiful woman called Cecile Roussell who has arrived from Paris to visit the home of her dearly loved 'Henri'.

The family of the man they know as Henry and their companion, Maxwell Carrick, seem to be in her thrall, or certain they are somewhat in awe of her.

But strange things are coming ot the surface and all is not quite what it appears with their beautiful visitor. And soon the family and those closest to them are torn asunder by the person who they, perhaps unwisely, welcomed inot their family bosom.

The book is very well researched and also very well written. Jan Harvey brings her characters to vibrant life.

It's published by Troubador at £9.99.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

The Spell of Whirldungen

The Spell of Whirldungen is a novel for children aged nine years and over from A. J. Madelin.

Young Chris Spratt gets a life-changing letter delivered to him during the summer holidays.

He, with his friends Rosie, Ollie and Will, are all given special places at a rather unusual school called Cluifers, which is under the control of Dr. Black.

Whilst at the school they discover that Dr Black is a wicked person who, using his magical powers, created the school with the sole purpose of destroying them.

They realise that, in order to defeat Dr Black, they must find a rather nasty spell, the spell of Whirldungen, before Dr Black finds it

But where, exactly, is the spell? Aided by their magical friends, the shape-shifting moggy-clogs, Chris' very own personal genie and a talking book (a talking book who knew Chris' missing father) you'll travel on a mystical and scary journey with Chris and his friends as they have to make their way to the wonderful Library of Leaves which is in the Academy of Mandria, a magical, yet also somewhat risky place to be in.

There are gargoyles with the distressing habit of coming to life, clothing with the ability to kill you, not to mention the spell they are trying to find, Chris and his band of friends and helpers are on a very dangerous path. But it's a path that they must follow if they are to defeat the vile and evil Dr Black.

But can they succeed? Read this book with your children (It's a great book for sharing) and find out!

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Inferno Inside You

Inferno Inside You Is a unique book that is a synthesis of the talents of author Peter Jobling and artist Monika Konieczna.

It is an amazing reinterpretation of Dante's Comedy. In his original work Dante referred to the chapters of his book songs.

In it, art and literature marry and produce some excellent offspring.

This new book contains the first 17 songs of The Comedy Project, making up the first part of the Inferno Inside You.

Is it designed as an art book which contains a saga? Or a Saga which contains an art book? In truth, both descriptions would be valid.

It takes you through the remarkable stories that were fundamental to the messages that Dante wished to convey to readers.

It's about folks and their ways, about love, envy, greed, the human condition, in short.

It's a great book, large in format and beautifully bound with a hard cover.

It's published by Matador at £21.00 and deserves to have a wide readership.

The Red Chairs Mystery

The Red Chairs Mystery is a new novel from former GP, hospital doctor and psychiatrist-turned mystery writer. L. D. Culliford. And he uses his experiences in these fields to craft a very satisfying mystery novel.

The discovery of two red leather armchairs on a renowned golf course in leafy Sussex is a noteworthy event in itself.

What made this event even more worthy of note is the fact that in one of the red leather armchairs there is the corpse of a woman.

Who is she? How did she die? What is the significance of the red leather armchairs and is the location of the corpse on the golf course of significance or not?

Detective Holly Angel is given the task of finding out the answers to all of these questions. And many more, besides.

The owner of the golf club, Jamie Royle seems to be a contender for the role of villain in the story, but as he is over in Chicago watching the 2012 Ryder Cup victory over the American team, who can possibly say?

Clues and evidence seem to be in short supply, that is until the perpetrator makes themselves known, again.

Who was the killer? What was Jimmie Royle's involvement in the case, if any? And what, exactly, was the case?

And there are some very interesting twists and turns before you reach the last page.

This is a very readable and enjoyable novel and is an introduction to a series of novels about Detective Holly Angel. Which mystery novel fans will wait for eagerly.

The book is published by Matador at £8.99. It will be an excellent gift for the mystery reader in your life, or a great present to yourself, if yo are that mystery buff.

Friday, 22 March 2019


Reflections is a new novel from Jim Pennells.

Diana and Ed have it all. They have their youth, their personal happiness and successful careers.

But their lives were thrown into total chaos and meltdown when they give birth to a daughter who is brain-damaged.

Diana feels unable to cope. She flees from her responsibilities, taking up a new post with the UN in Bangkok. This causes her to feel even more cut off and isolated.

Ed loves their new daughter and he cannot fathom out why Diana is pulling away from them, is, in effect, separating herself from her family.

Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding Ed is mistaken for a blood bank buyer by a criminal gang who deals in human blood sales throughout the world.

Ed suddenly finds himself thrust into a world were kidnapped children are forcibly milked of their blood at so-called blood farms, their precious blood sold through an evil network.

Life is cheap, people are murdered. Will Ed and Diana and their daughter survive this nightmare existence?

This is a gritty page turner of a book with many twists and turns.

It's published by Matador at £7.99.


They say that one's man's trash is another man's treasure.

In Trashed, Norman Townsend's exciting and vibrant debut crime novel, we learn what happens when trash becomes a reason to kill.

Paul Stafford is ex-military. And unlike some former servicemen, Paul rather rapidly returns to life on Civvy Street.

He opens a small recycling outfit which ruffles feathers, causes some ripples and raisers a fair few hackles when he unexpectedly wins the contract to run five waste tips in the county of Hampshire.

However, he soon finds himself facing a gang of ruthless criminals. A gang which had used the waste tips as a cover for their various nefarious activities.

And they'll stop at nothing to ensure that Paul's company is pushed out of operating the tips, launching a campaign of intimidation and violence against Paul and his staff members and their nearest and dearest.

In fact, the gang are willing to go to any lengths to re-establish control of the tips to keep their multi-million pound crime enterprise in operation.

Bombs are exploded, murder committed and a maelstrom of mayhem is unleashed on Paul and his staffers. And to add to the problems an executive from the local council has vanished.

But it's likely that the gang have never come across someone as wily and as skilled an adversary as Paul Stafford. They think they have him cornered. Will the might of an internationally connected gang of criminals prevail against Paul Stafford? Or have they bitten off more than they can chew?

This is one hell of an exciting read. I think we have found, in Norman Townsend, a new and very important voice in crime thriller fiction writing.

The book is a remarkably modest £8.99 (388 pages) and is published by Matador.

A Song for Demeter

A Song for Demeter is an interesting book from Richard Kemble.

It's an autobiography that serves multiple purposes. It's a mystical, spiritual journey that uncovers teachings that are normally kept hidden from the gazing eye of the public.

When he became an adult, Richard Kemble became something of a lost soul. A wanderer with no sense of direction, no sense of purpose, no sense of hope, no sense of ambition.

In fact, he seemed to be a young man without a future or a clue of what he should do with his life.

But somehow Richard is able to gather (or re-gather, perhaps?)  himself and to gradually and slowly reform himself and to evolve into someone who did have a purpose after all.

This occurred due to education and and the obtaining of some mystical spiritual training.

With new vigor he was able to forge a new pathway for himself which ultimately resulted in him becoming a school teacher teaching children who had special needs.

The book includes intimate spiritual notes and stories, some poetry and even a quite short play that he wrote whilst he was a student.

Richard also includes stories revealed to him by a range of people from clairvoyants to healers.

The book is very moving, it contains stories that will inspire and also bewilder. For example, what ever did happen to the autistic boy, Osho and his family after they apparently just abandoned their home, even leaving the lights on? Not even the police was able to establish what happened.

I highly recommend this autobiography. It's published by Matador at £9.95.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Am I Unique?

Am I Unique? is a novel from Collin Wallace.

It tells the story of George Wilson. His life is suddenly blighted by the unexpected and tragic death of his childhood love and fiancee.

As a result, he leaves home to travel on a journey of discovery, finding himself in North Africa.

He is tricked into becoming a drug mule and ends up being jailed in Spain as a result.

After his release from prison, he decides to join the French Foreign Legion. He is posted to Algeria during the troubled times of the Algerian War of Independence.

He swiftly becomes disillusioned with the policies of the French government and decides, after saving the lives of an Algerian girl and her brother, to join the freedom fighters.

After many escapades involving himself and the Algerian girl who he loves with a strong passion, he is captured by the French Foreign Legion and placed in detention. And he finds himself facing a court martial.

But after his guilty verdict, what would happen next? He thought his life was over. But what if it wasn't?

This novel is full of twists and turns and is based against the backdrop of the real events of the Algerian War of Independence.

It is published by Matador at £8.99.

Devil's Bridge

Devil's Bridge is a fast-paced adventure thriller that is based on real-life events.

Tom Cheke served as one of the RAF's top test pilots. After inheriting a derelict Antiguan plantation he decides to move to the Caribbean.

Still governed by the fact that he signed the Official Secrets Act, he is trusted by the British government to help a large American-based insurance outfit to search for a fugitive by the name of Kevin McIlroy and to return him to justice.

Using the resources of the Royal Navy and with the assistance of an American heiress and a former Australian pilot, he uses his own considerable skills as an ace pilot to hunt down Mcilroy.

The author, Lauri Seago-Taylor is a former pilot and is a retired businessman who had considerable experience living and working in both Australia and in the Caribbean, the latter being what inspired him to create this book.

It's a great and exciting read and will be in many suitcases heading out for the summer holidays.

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