Monday, 29 July 2019

Running Home

Running Home is a debut novel from Brenda Shaw that examines the themes of identity and discrimination.

After her mother dies, Denise finds it a struggle to adapt to her situation. Even more so when he father later remarries and Denise starts to feel like something of a misfit.

Tensions flair in their home ion London when Denise attempts to rival her stepmother for the love of her father

She even attempts to sabotage her stepmother's strict religious Jewish observance.

When she hits sixteen, Denise makes a shocking discovery about the death of her mother that will eventually change the course of her life.

Denise finds a measure of escape when she is in the loving company of her grandmother, Vera, who dotes on Denise.

Vera had fled to England as a child refugee from Nazi persecution. Vera assists Denise to enrol in a Sixth Form boarding college in northern England. However, vile antisemitism mars her idyllic life.

After Denise finishes at university she visits Israel and is enchanted by the modern state of Israel, but concerned at the fact it has to be continually at war with its neighbours.

After her boyfriend is wounded, seriously, she returns to England, in a state of deep distress and confusion. Interestingly moral support and sympathy from a compassionate and caring British Pakistani helps to inculcate in her a desire to continue with her life.

It's a moving and thoughtful book that is published by Matador at a cost of £8.99.

A Spot of Vengeance

A Spot of Vengeance is a new novel from author C. J.Anthony It's his exciting spy thriller debut.

Danny Swift is a former Army Intelligence operative. But he's now put all his intelligence work behind him as he is an aspiring artist.

He meets an art dealer, Hafiz De Mercurio who gives him promises of assistance to launch his fledgling career as an artist.

But there's more to De Mercurio than is apparent. It seems that behind the veneer of an art dealer, lurks something sinister.

And so it is that the British Secret Service reaches out to Danny to recruit him to covertly keep track of De Mercurio.

The Secret Service believe that a major terrorist outrage is being planned, something worse than ever before and they want to stop this from happening. As does Danny, who reluctantly re-enters the world of subterfuge, secrecy and deception that he thought he'd left behind.

They are aware that the key to the whole matter lies within a cypher that is hidden somewhere within works of art. And it's Danny's task to find out what this cypher is and why it is hidden within artworks that are on display in eleven art galleries all over the world.

As corpses mount up all over the world, including a murdered wealthy London stockbroker and the smouldering remains of a Miami art critic, Can Danny crack the code? And can he help prevent an appalling crime against the elite of the art world? And why are the elite of the art world under threat from an awakeed sleeper cell?

It's a thriller of a book from the first page right to the last.

It's published on 28thy July by Matador at £9.99.

Spangles, Glam, Gaywaves & Tubes

Spangles, Glam, Gaywaves & Tubes is the autobiography of actor, writer and the co-presenter of one of Britain's most popular T.V. shows of the 1980s, The Tube, Gary James.

Gary grew up in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Inspired and excited by the Glam Rock of the 1970s, to go to London at the forefront of the new wave cultures of both Disco and Punk.

Gary was involved in pioneering theatre productions, was part of what's claimed to be the world's first gay pirate radio broadcasts and was the first openly gay TV presenter on what's arguably still one of the best roc TV shows ever, The Tube.

His book covers his school life, which sounded like a lot of fun, to celebrate the life and work of the late Phil Cox, with whom he started the first ever shows for gay people on pirate radio in London.

Plus as he points out, his time as the world's first openly gay TV presenter on The Tube.

The show has never been rebroadcast since it was first transmitted back in 1982.

Ter's the great pop icons of the day, Bolan, Bowie, Frankie Goes to Holywood, Duran Duran, Grandmaster Flash, Soft Cell and many more besides.

This is a very important look at the pop world of the day and should be on the bookshelf of any fan of the times.

It's published by The book Guild at £12.99.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Pong of Power

The Pong of Power is a political comedy from Mark Hanlon, a history graduate, a former city of London lawyer and adviser to banks and shareholders on "large-scale infrastructure projects" for the past couple of decades. Oh, yes. He's also a qualified Reki Healer who lives in South London.

In The Pong of Power we learn what might happen if an apparently ordinary person were to somehow take control of the levers of power and become or Prime Minister.

An Old Lady is, like many of us, absolutely and utterly fed up with how things are in this country.

In a shopping centre she gave a full bore rant from atop of her mobility scooter, pledging to restore "Old Lady Values" to political and public life in the UK.

But the Old Lady is not quite what you might think. Or what anyone might think, for that matter. There's the age of this partner in a firm of solicitors. Exactly how old is she, really? 157, perhaps? And then there's her extraordinary habit of dying. At least three times in one week. Well, that's a bit much, isn't it?

But then on the way back to the meth den in Catford where she lived, (what?A Catford meth den? Yes, things are getting a bit complicated, but please bear with us) she is abused by a variety of thugs, nutters and thugish nutters and she snaps, leaps upon her mobility scooter and gives a stirring speech about how life had been much better when she had been a girl back in the 1870s.

However, the entirety of her address had been broadcast not only all over the UK, but also worldwide. Even North Korea had taken notice.

She ran for parliament and won. And then, then she became Prime Minister. But all wasn't quite what it seemed. Dark and somewhat evil forces had aided and abetted her rise to power and as soon as she is in power, just as quickly they work hard to destroy her.

Her dreams become nightmares as the idea of being Prime Minister turn to ashes. She faces a whole array of devastating crises, the likes of which have never before faced a British Prime Minister.

The Russian invasion plans that weren't quite what they seemed, and there were crystals that glowed and there was the little matter of the problems with President Dump, you see?

But a peace conference in a St Ives tea shop? It really wasn't mean to be called The Old Rectum Tea Shop. That was a mistake by the owners.

Plus there was the rather unpleasant business with the now hopefully deceased Satanic Yoga teacher and his modified bubonic plague.

But the Old Lady could and would save the day. Well, she would. Wouldn't she? But what did the psychic know about the Old Lady? And why did she warn her to "beware of the teapot?"

This book is either outrageously funny, or funnily outrageous. Dear reader, you must be the judge of that after you fork out your £9.99 for your own personal copy.

It's published by Matador.

Abirami Forbes and the Magic Sapphire

Abirami Forbes and the Magic Sapphire is a wonderful novel that celebrates Indian mythology and Indian dance.

It's written by Priya Hunt and it tells the story of Abirami Forbes.

Abirami's life is devastated when she loses her family in a tragic car accident.

She is met with the terrifying prospect of having to lead a new life in India, where she is to study Indian dancing at an ancient dance school.

She finds it hard to fit in at first, but she is determined to learn to dance. Her motivation? To teach a rival a lesson.

However, Abirami (known as Abi to her friends) learns that her mother is now a celestial being who Abi can visit in heaven. If only she can track down a magic Sapphire. But there's a problem to be faced before she can visit her mother. There's a demon called Varun who is also after the gem.

Abi learns of the even steps she needs to climb in order to visit her mother in heaven.She has to perform some dangerous and daring tasks to evade Varun and to defeat his attempts to sabotage her attempts.

Can she overcome Varun and find her way to heaven to visit her family? Will she also be able to save the world from doom?

But can Abi find a way to do so much more than anyone could have ever expected of her? Read this extraordinary and very readable book to find out.

Delhi-born Priya is classically trained dancer and has been able to write a wonderful and imaginative story for young people that is based on her knowledge and love of Indian dancing and her fascination and respect for the ancient mythologies of India.

It's published by Matador at £8.99. I think it will be in the holiday luggage of many young readers this summer.

Keeping Them Off The Streets

Keeping Them Off The Streets is the autobiography of youth worker Tim Caley.

It's not merely the story of Tim's life. He has skilfully intertwined his personal memoir with a social history and an examination of the constantly moving and changing politics and policies in the field of yout work and of you people over the past 40 years. And how these policies impacted at the grassroots level.

Tim has eschewed the formal and academic way of looking at the issues and events. Instead he has chosen to provide a warm, human commentary based on his own experiences.

Although it contains amusing anecdotes and is written in a humorous fashion, it is intended to contain message and information that are vitally relevant and important messages about the continuing needs of young people as we get deeper and deeper into the 21st Century.

Tim started as a fresh, young and keen youth worker of 24 years age in 1972 in a tough area in Sheffield. He was pleasantly surprised that he had the support of the local police inspector, which wasn't always the case.

He points out that, in the 1970s, youth work was viewed through the lens of Marxist theories, of class, race and gender.

Although he had two degrees he became a teacher and later a youth worker with no formal qualifications in either teaching or youth work, which, he readily admits, did make him feel like something of a fraud when he compared himself to colleagues who did have the relevant qualifications.

He relates a very telling anecdote. A group of youth workers, it is reported, had a meeting with Edward Heath, the then Prime Minister.

They were lobbying him on benefits of youth work. They spent a considerable amount of time berating him on what they perceived as the lack of recognition, vale and their credibility.

Heath had listened to them, with patience, and eventually asked them to please explain what youth work achieved?

There was a period of pregnant silence and the youth workers found it hard to agree or to provide any coherent answers.

Tim's book is an interest study in how he and the youths he worked with grew and developed, how he worked out strategies to deal with truants (his policy was to keep them busy and not phone the Educational Welfare Officer) how to deal with officialdom, and how to deal with the ever-shifting rules and regulations that government (local and national) kept imposing on both youth workers and youths. Including the OFSTED regimen.

If you are interested in the history of youth work and youth culture, this book is for you.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.


The Journal

In The Journal readers of this novel from R. D. Stevens are faced with a major dilemma. What can a person do when they lose the only person they actually, really care for?

Ethan Willis is, at 18, a rather confused young person. He has embarked on a mission, a quest if you will, to try to locate his older sister, Charlotte.

She vanished whilst she was journeying through South East Asia.

He loves his sister and admires her for her spontaneous nature, her individualistic attitude and her understanding of the world.

In order to try to find her, he enters the world pf backpack travelling. He follows something. What is it? Perhaps it is a ghost? Might it even be the ghost of his sister, Charlotte?

He sojourns into rural Cambodia, the deepest, most remote parts of Laos and, eventually, to the party islands of Thailand.

By happenstance, he finds her journal and he is able to retrace her journey. Reading the journal rings about flashbacks to their childhood. He thinks deep thoughts abut the nature of existence, about truth, beauty and even the meaning of meaning itself.

He wonders about their relationship and why she might have vanished.

Eventually he learns of a place where Charlotte might., actually, be.

Dare he follow her to that place? would be, really, be ready to meet her, at last?

Who will, actually, be found?

It's an interesting book that takes an existential look at life.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

The Odyssey of a Sound Recordist

In the book The Odyssey of a Sound Recordist we meet Malcolm Stewart.

This is his story, published posthumously.

His story begins back in the early days of radio. It's 1944, television had been suspended for the duration of the war, the BBC Home Service held sway and one of the chaps changing the discs in the studios in Broadcasting House was 15-year-old East End boy, Malcolm Stewart.

He had, as it happens, just embarked on a career that would see him leave the poverty of the East End and the drabness of life in wartime London behind him.

He found his way on to the Continent of Europe where he would work in Hamburg for Forces Broadcasting, a billet that saw him placed in charge of former SS officers. as a byproduct of this posting and the subsequent security clearance this earned him, he drew the attention of the CIA.

The writing of his story resulted from him recovering from a serious medical condition that he fell victim to in his 70s, whilst on a cruise through Central America. The survival rate was only 20% and he realised that as he had lived such a varied and interesting life, it would be a pity to allow all that he had experienced and lived through to go to waste.

His wife brought his laptop into the hospital and he began to write down what would, eventually, become this book.

Her served in the RAF and flew with members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Although he and his friend Mike Beavis shouldn't have done so, as they were actually only in the ATC and only schoolboys!

Incidentally Mike Beavis eventually became Sir Michael Beavis, Air Chief Marshall! In correspondence with Malcolm he reminisced about the 100 hours of flyingtime he gained before he was 16 as a member of the ATC including 8 hours "stick time" as a co-pilot of B17 Flying Fortresses!

Malcolm left school a year early and began work at the BBC at Daventry where he was employed in the control room to monitor the audio output of the various shortwave transmitters that were based there.

He joined the RAF and served from 1947 to 1950, training at RAF Bridgnorth in Shropshire, then a main training station for the RAF.

Eventually he worked on some of the top British films of the 20th century, got deported as a suspected spy from Cuba and had to flee through the jungles of Ghana with the assistance of the CIA.

In his garden shed he launched a company called Audio Systems. From these somewhat humble origins his company would rival both Pinewood and Shepperton Studios for the sound services they provided.

Malcolm, it was, who developed the world's first portable multitrack sound recording device.

From the film/movie industry he moved over into the world of television news, where he covered some of the top news stories of the 1980s. He enjoyed a long and illustrious career, hobnobbing with world statesmen, senior political figures and film stars and celebrities of all types. Margaret Thatcher was on first name terms with him.

He was presented with an official IRA press pass when he worked for TF1,  there was the Russian spy who bought his used Saab.

After he had closed Audio Systems he became non-executive chairman of De Lane Lea studios. Unfortunately his failing eyesight meant that he had to retire several years later.

He also worked for the American outfit ABC, did some work for CBS.

He lived a full and extremely varied life and is well illustrated throughout and this book is a "must read" for anyone who enjoys a well-written biography.

It's published by Matador at £18.99 in hardback.

Was It Worth It?

In Was It Worth It? readers will follow the journey of one family from Poland to Ottawa.

Written by Liliana Arkuszewska, this is a heartwarming story of the struggles of one family from Poland.

The 1980s brought great changes to the country of Poland. Recently freed from the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain, millions of Polish citizens fled from their moribund country to seek a better, more fulfilling life in a variety of foreign countries.

But no matter where she travelled, Liliana still knew that her heart belonged to Poland.

Eventually,  however, the writing was on the wall and with the situation in Poland becoming worse and worse, she realised that the time to emigrate permanently with her husband and three-year-old child, plus her sister and brother-in-law, had come.

And so they left Poland for a new life in Ottawa, Canada.

Was It Worth It? is her story. A story of trials, tribulations, of adventures and fun.

Was It Worth It? Read her fascinating and extremely well-written story and find out for yourself.

It's published on the 28th July at £19.99.


In Betrayed, the latest novel from science fiction author Geoffrey Arnold, readers rejoin the Quantum Twins.

This is the third novel in the series that saw he Twins torn away from Vertazia and placed on the planet Earth a full thousand miles apart, bereft of their telepathic link.

Fearing that the twins could return to Vertazia and spread the "Human Violence Virus" the rulers of Vertazia have, with unconscious irony, began using utterly unacceptable degrees of violent behaviour to stop the friends of the Twins from effecting a rescue mission.

In Betrayed we join Qwelby as he enteres the fifth dimension, his mission is to free Tullia from imprisonment.

In his second awakening Qwelby finds love, yet tullia is troubled by bloody knife fights.

He manages to shoot his way out of danger, the Twins are able to reconnect, but before he can do anything, Qwelby is captured by the Professor.

Meanwhile, the situation on Vertazia is becoming fraught, with two key rulers plotting against one another, both have decided to use 16-year-old Xaala. But Xaala has plans of her own and corrupts their plans for her own nefarious ends.

Xaala plans to capture the heart of one of the Twins and to destroy the other. But what for? What is her real aim?

There are journeys on a pirate ship, and the Twins must return to their home world to teach the truths they have learned on the planet Earth, in order to save their own planet.

But hat will happen? Will the Twins be doomed to living on the planet Earth for good? And what of the Professor, of Tullia and Qwelby?

This book is published by Matador at £12.99.

Please note on this occasion if you buy this book at the publisher's online bookshop, there is a discounted price of £10.00 if you use the code "BETRAYED" in the appropriate box.

Windows 96

In Windows 96 author Cal Holmes takes her readers back to the year 1996.

We meet Alex. Alex is a teenage boy who spends his days dormant in the den in the garage, smoking diope and dreaming of the time when he will be able to cast all this aside and travel the world.

But there's a bit of a problem, really. Lack of money = no travelling anywhere, least of all the world!

However, Alex meets up with Fox who is a double glazing salesman, who brings Alex news of another lifestyle. The lifestyle of the double glazing salesman!

Knocking on doors with the coldest of cold canvasing, daytimes spent in the boozer, nights out in somewhat less salubrious pubs.

There was Brigette, beautiful, but cool and aloof, Brigette, in the Baston telesales department, he fancied her, but she wasn't in the slightest bit interested. Or was she?

Pretty soon Alex is finding out that things at home between his parents weren't all that he had thought they were, his finances are running on empty and he finds himself spiralling into a life of crime whilst sharing a rundown flat with his double glazing sales colleagues.

Can he get out of the rat run of double glazing sales, too many visits to pubs and nightclubs and the grotty shared flat?

If he can, where would he go? Could he jet off to explore the world? If he can, who would he go with? Who would get his Playstation, who would get his car?

This is a wry and amusing look back at a not that distant piece of our history and it's clear that the author has seen the world of double glazing sales from the seedy inside.

It's published by Matador at £7.99.

In Between The Stars

In Between The Stars is a debut science fiction novel for children and young adults from author A. A. Ripley.

A. A. Ripley examines a number of complex themes, for example, what is normal? What is alien? What can we learn from one another?

Inan is a young girl who is living on her home planet. But she is a girl who longs for excitement and adventure.

She wants to travel to planets around distant stars. But there's a major problem. For Inan's people forbid females to travel to other stars. It just isn't the done thing!

However, following a series of events including a shipwreck, Inan is kidnapped by ex-military men who have become pirates. She finds and befriends a fellow prisoner who is a human boy.

She must use her considerable wit and talents to keep her and her newfound friend safe and alive.

After an escape attempt fails to gain them their freedom they discover a strange and obviously ancient artefact that, it becomes clear, will decide the destiny of the entire galaxy of stars.

Inan must be resourceful, Inan must be brave. For the lives of the entire galaxy rest upon her shoulders. But can she do it? Can Inan risk her life to save the lives of everyone of everything else?

This is a riproaring space opera of the highest order. Although intended for children, science fiction fans of all ages (and all species) will really enjoy this book.

It's published by Matador at £7.99.

I have been a reader of science fiction novels for over 50 years. In A. A. Ripley I have found another name to watch out for.

Good job, A. A. Riley! Well done!

The Pleasure of Reading

The Pleasure of Reading Novels and their Writers and Readers is an interesting book. Having just completed a BA (Honours) degree course in Creative and Professional Writing I found it especially fascinating. In fact, I could have made great use of this book which is written by Eric Macfarlane had it been published a year or two earlier!

In his book Eric Macfarlane examines the situations that help people to become dedicated readers and also looks at the ways parents and teachers can encourage the love of stories in children.

He is critical of the traditional methods of studying literature that, he points out, deter many children from considering reading as something to be done for pleasure or relaxation.

Through his book the author examines the interests and passions that are the motivating forces for novelists and the varied topics they decide to write about, the types of stories that they decide to tell, the different themes they decide to explore, plus the skills with which they deal with plots, characters and settings.

He gives particular attention to the role of the novelist as a protester against injustice, persecution and the abuse of power.

His first gift of a book was The Digger Gnome Earns a Pippity Pebble, (a prize from Miss Falkner, owner of one of the country's last surviving Dame Schools).

He later earned copies of R. M. Balantyne's The Young Fur Traders, james Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. However, the latter books were not enjoyed by the young Eric Macfarlane and when, as a student, he had to make his way through Robinson Crusoe as a set text and realised that it was somewhat turgid and that his youthful inability to do more than look at the illustrations was not, actually, his fault!

He speaks of his home life with the small number of books that they owned, of the deliciously politically incorrect comics that he and his friends shared (The Beano, Dandy) and more serious publications such as the Adventure, Wizard, Hotspur and Rover, all published by D. C. Thompsons.

He provides commentary on the novels and writings of Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, Vikram Seth, Sue Miller, Anne Tyler, Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle, Charles Dickens, Barbara Pym and many others.

As the book is fully indexed and cited, although it has a thoroughly readable style it will serve very well as an academic text and should be on  the list of recommended books for all creative writing and literature classes at every school, college and university in the land.

And it will make a most welcome gift for any student studying literature and creative writing.

It's published on July 28th by Matador at £8.99.

Destination and Destiny

In Destination and Destiny we meet Tom and Clotilde.

Tom has spent the vast majority of his working life working for NGOs in Africa. In fact he was working in Rwanda when the genocide took place.

His partner, Clotilde, decides to embark on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with a parish group from Melbourne, Australia.

The group was a little dysfunctional but well-meaning although perhaps a little self-indulgent?

The couple had enjoyed a less than conventional relationship, but even though they spent more time apart than together, their relationship held fast and firm. In fact, was that part of the key to their success?

When they were apart they constantly corresponded with each other, sharing all that there was to share.

The book takes a backward look at the lives of these two people, of their friends and family members and the people who they met and worked with, and allows them to use the telescope of memory to look back and learn about an extraordinary couple who really loved each other but also loved other people, too.

It's a very moving romance novel by Rosalyn Taylor.

Published by The Book Guild at £8.99 it will be safe in many suitcases this summer.

The Good Priest

The Good Priest is a debut novel from author Tina Beattie.

Father John is parish priest of Our Lady of Sorrows in Westonville.

He lives an orderly and peaceful life, but all of this is virtually destroyed when, on one Ash Wednesday, a stranger walkies into the church, enters the confessional box.

What the stranger confesses to Father John is so horrific that it shatters his life.

Old memories of abuse from his past bubble up to the surface and he realises that what he thought to have been forgiven and forgotten many years since, might actually still be powerful, dark forces.

Murders are being committed. Could these be linked to the stranger's appearances in the confessional box?

And is the man really a stranger? Or could he be the cardinal who had abused John whilst he had been in Rome, many years ago?

But surely the cardinal had died during the horrendous 9/11 attacks? But what if he hadn't? What if he was here, now, tormenting Father John in his own church?

Or is he a ghostly apparition, like the young girl, Sarah, who has been a protecting presence in his life? Or is he something more sinister? Something far more evil and insidious?

This is a stunning debut novel. I think that Tina Beattie will be a potent force to reckon with in the field of detective and mystery and thriller fiction.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

What's THAT Doing There?

Apparently What's THAT Doing There? a new book from David Willers and Cate Caruth is intended as a book for children. I'm sorry, but no child is getting my copy of What's THAT Doing There? until I have finished reading it!

This is the true (or trueish) story of a very special and utterly elegant ginger cat known as Garfy, but officially given the more splendid name of Garfield Abercrombie Reginald Fergusson.

Garfy is pretty much the King Cat of all he surveys, but especially the meadow over the road from the house he shares with his manservant called David.

The meadow had, when Garfy was a kitten, been the location of a factory, but it had long ago been knocked down and nature had taken over the site, giving Garfy his own personal meadow.

Until some humans (how rude of them!) decided to build Paterson's Superstore on Garfy's meadow.

Garfy sized up the situation and realised that as he could not beat them (climbing up onto a JCB had only slowed matters down by a few brief moments) he would join them.

He decided to claim the store for his very own self and this is what he did. In fact, he was their first customer and quickly became a celebrity cat in the city of Ely, in Cambridgeshire.

But it wasn't all catnip, treats and naps for Garfy. The manager wasn't too keen on having a resident top cat at his store and there was the somewhat unpleasant incident with a tough looking black cat called Tyson who was somewhat of a usurper and thought that Garfy's full name was Carpark Abnormal Regient Furball. And who had decided to insert himself in Garfy's very own shop and to take it over!

But Tyson was a vicious street fighting cat. Could Garfy survive against the bigger, tougher and younger cat?

But all was not lost! Garfy's friends, Isabella and Morgan asked their Uncle Bruno to see if he could help Garfy. And, of course, Uncle Bruno not only could help Garfy, he did help him!

After he was able to see off Tyson the thuggish cat, Garfy developed a love of going on trips in cars and there was also the matter of the portrait of Garfy by a famous artist. But would success spoil Garfy?

This is an utterly charming fictionalised account of the life of Garfy, Ely's most famous cat, who has a Facebook following of in excess of 5,000 people from all over Ely and the rest of the world.

He has had his portrait painted by artist Rob Martin, has his own special seat at a petrol station, often hangs out on the sofa at Virgin Travel near to the local Sainsbury's.

The illustrations in the book are by artist Ginny Phillips, the book is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.

Best buy two copies, one for you and one for your child.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Mind Over Terror

In his book Mind Over Terror 3 Weeks, 2 Cities, 1 Mission Psychotherapist, Resilience Consultant and Psych-trauma trainer Dov Benyaacov-Kurtzman takes a look at three significantly traumatic events which impacted two British cities.

In his book he takes his readers with him on a startling mission, a mission to radically change the way we approach mental health issues when dealing with survivors of psychological shock and trauma in Britain.

Dov points out that for weeks after the bombing of the MEN Arena in his home town of Manchester he felt himself to be on constant "high alert" catching sleep whenever he could, living in trepidation that something else might be just around the corner.

As a result of his thinking he decided to continue his work on dealing with trauma and to change the way we approach mental health when dealing with people who have survived psychological shock and trauma.

The book looks at issues such as terrorism, personal development, military experience, major fire incidents, disasters and more besides.

Training methods are explained and it offers First Aid Cognitive Training.

If you are a police office, a medic (doctor, nurse, psychologist, psychiatrist, administrator, etc)  a charity worker, employed in local or national government, councillor, MP, etc., then you simply must have a copy of this book.

It is published by Matador at £14.99.

Killing Widows

Killing Widows is a debut novel from Clive Birch.

It is inspired by real life events that took place during the tumultuous times of the Spanish Civil War.

French student Natascha is studying at the Salamanca University, and her grandmother ask as favour of her. Could she please try to learn the truth of what happened to her English friend Joan who had been happily married to a Spaniard before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

At first Natascha is a little reluctant to get involved but as the investigation progresses she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into uncovering the last tragic months of Joan's life in the beautiful village of Santo Domigo.

However, Natascha finds that her efforts are thwarted to some extent by the fact that the local populace seems unwilling to speak about the times of the Spanish Civil War.

But Natascha is determined to learn all she can, even at the risk of her own life.

The truth, however, was a dark stain on not only the village but on all of Spain. A time when Franco's African Army swept northwards with squads who raped and murdered without mercy, pity or reason.

It was no wonder some did not want to remember, or chose to forget.

It's an emotionally charge novel looking at the dreadful plight of ordinary people during a dreadful time period in Spanish history.

It is published by Matador at £9.99.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Of Crime and Humanity

Set against the backdrop of the Burmese revolution, Of Crime and Humanity by Ma'On Shan is a political thriller that you will be talking about for time to come.Her mother is killed by a landmine whilst she was fleeing from soldiers, a young Burmese woman joins a resistance group that is based on the border between Burma and Thailand.

However, the group follows the pragmatic teachings of Aung San Suu Kyi, know throughout Burma as the Lady.

Aung San Suu Kyi was praised round the world as the person who liberated Burma. But her fall from  grace has caused many people to question if she really was the Lady who rescued Burma.

Ma'O Shan uses Of Crime and Humanity to offer education and enlightenment as to the truth of what happened by telling the adventures of the Burmese girl.

The story is a story of how those apparently dedicated to protecting the people actually use violence, rape, intimidation and enslavement just because they can, how seemingly ordinary people attempt to fight back to regain their humanity.

It is published by Matador at £12.99.

Prohibited Portrait

In Prohibited Portrait, a thrilling novel form R W Kay, a body is washed up on the shore. After it had been battered by rocks it is unrecognisable.

But the postmortem reveals something concerning. Although the remains were found in salt water, the victim had been drowned, but in fresh water.

What is the victim's name? Was her murdered? Where was he murdered? And by whom?

Using an artist's reconstruction of his face the police officers investigating the case track down his address.

It's dos covered that he may well have been involved with multiple secret service outfits.

A mysterious artefact, a tablet, is discovered. It cannot be opened, adding to its mystery.

Subsequent investigations link the artefact to Abullah Quilliam, Britain's first and only 'Sheikh of Islam,' who once owned it.

The tablet had found its way to a house on the Isle of Man, that was in an isolated location. How? Why?

They discover that the artefact is so valuable as to be without price. But so potentially dangerous that it could cause a war between rival factions of Islam.

What can be done to make certain that such a war never happens and that the artefact is kept safe?

It's a well crafted story.

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

The Bookshop of Panama

The Bookshop of Panama is a heartwarming book from Suzanne Hope.

Bookworm Kate Lewis has found herself living in the searingly hot temperatures of Panama. A country sadly bereft of bookshops.

Her live-in boyfriend, Marco, a pushy UN worker, really could not understand her fascination with books.

He was posted by the UN to work in Panama in Central America and so loyal, loving Kate upped sticks to accompany Marco to Panama.

Kate was a charity worker and Marco told her he was sure she would be able to get work with a local charity once they arrived in Panama.

Suddenly, in the midst of the move Marco announces that he must take a two week posting to the Sudan. And he expects Kate to deal with organising the move to Panama by herself.

He meets up with Kate in Panama and then, callously, dumps her. Because, as Kate so rightly assumes, he has met another woman.

At least, Candice, the other woman, a fellow UN worker,  has the residual decency to insist that Marco breaks up with Kate in person and not, as he had originally planned, over the phone.

Kate is now thousands of miles from her family and friends, unwilling owner of a broken heart.

But she swiftly discovers that there is a lively and vibrant ex-pat community in Panama and she has an interesting encounter with a man in New York and learns of a cocktail that is called Electric Lemonade.

Could she go back to her old life in London? Or could she, aided and abetted by her new very interesting friends in Panama, decide to make a new life for herself in Panama City?

There's no bookshop there. But what if there could be? Could Kate open a bookshop in Panama?

As I say, this is a heartwarming book and shows exactly how, after being dumped on, you can not only bounce back but really go places. And find love.

You'll also find the recipe for Electric Lemonade too, in this book.

Looking for something for your holiday romance collection? This is it.

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

Yoga in the Gospels?

Yoga in the Gospels? is an interesting question and also the title of a new book from A. Nicholas Cowan.

There are many books that describe the practice of Yoga, how to do it guides, one might put it, but there are not very many books that examine the philosophical basis of Yoga ot the spiritual aspects of Yoga.

And books that look at the common ground between the teachings of Christianity and thje spiritual side of yoga are even more scare.

In Yoga in the Gospels? the author discusses parallels between ancient yogic texts and the Christian Gospels.

The book takes the reader through the main aspects of yoga, including yoga through worship, yoga practice through work, what the author describes as "Yoga through non-dualism, the unity of the Individual Spirit and the Infinite Spirit of God."

The author is able to support his central thesis with the use of sacred text from the Yogic tradition and the Christian tradition and it is a well-written and well researched book which will be of great benefit to everyone who wants to better understand Yoga and Christianity.

The book is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.

Monkeying Around at Sea

Monkeying Around at Sea is an amazing travelogue written by Angela Coe, which records her two-year voyage from Singapore all the way to Spain in a ferro cement boat (yes, they make boats out of cement) called Sandpiper.

Angela her husband Bob, Pixie (a monkey) and Bob-tail, Angela's cat, embarked on an amazing journey. They had no sailing experience at all, it must be acknowledged. Even though Bob was a master mariner.

Things were not fated to go particularly well from the very beginning. Pixie was lost overboard and the captain (her husband Bob) managed to require hospitalisation with a dislocated shoulder. However, Pixie was returned to the ship, a disaster that was averted, thankfully, as they had thought they'd lost her.

When the captain was fit enough to return they, eventually, set sail. And ran into a sand bank.

They aimed to sail all the way back to England, plans to sail round the Cape somehow became a rather dangerous quest to brave the Red Sea.

Life on the Sandpiper was never dull and often involved a little bit of peril. Although the fear of a potentially exploding pressure cooker proved to be groundless, ensuring the safety of the pets and human crew took up a good deal of time and tricky matters such as a leaking chemical toilet, how to dispose of waste whilst at sea and a variety of heath issues and the like really kept them on their toes.

The book is copiously illustrated with a number of gorgeous colour photographs from the journey and their ports of call, plus some line drawing maps, too.

The action described in the book took place between 1977 to 1980.

Did they ever make it to England? Purchase the book for £11.99 and find out!

The book is published by The Book Guild.

The Two Faces of Cancer

The Two Faces of Cancer is a very important self help book written bu Rebecca Brazier.

In it Rebecca chronicles her own experiences with cancer and thye emotional trauma that resulted.

She was first diagnosed with cancer when she was 37 and 30 weeks pregnant with her second daughter.

She wrote this book because she found that cancer was, for her, a lonely and isolating experience and so she was keen to do something to help other people who experiences similar emotions.
She took training as a counsellor and then proceeded to write the book The Two Faces of Cancer which combined her personal experiences with her expert training and professional knowledge. 

The book traces her own journey through all of the stages: Diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

It is a very well researched and exceptionally well written book. It is greatly enhanced by the fact that Rebecca does not write from theory only. She has gone through the trauma of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery so when she writes something it is because it has happened to her and she feels the need to share it with all other cancer patients and their families and friends.

Every oncologist and every nurse in the oncology department should have a copy of this book as should every cancer patient and every family of a person who has cancer.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Profits from book sales will be donated to Mummy's Star., a charity dedicated to supporting pregnancy through cancer and beyond.

Exit Day

Exit Day is a novel by journalist and novelist David Laws.

There's a journalist by the name of Harry Topp who has had better days (he's somewhat out of favour, now) is surprised when a former lover appears on his doorstep. She brings Harry something that, on balance, he might rather ot have seen, to be honest.

What is it? a list of deep undercover spies in Britain. And who is topping the list? Only a cabinet minister!

Harry is shocked to the core when he finds the name of a friend s also on the list of deep cover spies. Soon poor Harry finds himself caught up between rival sets of spies.

But to add even more excitement (if any was required) is the fact that he's facing up to a conspiracy by a group of dedicated fanatics, who are controlled by the Wolf, who is, apparently, intent on corrupting the European Union from within it.

Harry's working hard for his scoop, but he doesn't realise there's something nasty rather closer to home.

And all this against the backdrop of the country heading toward Brexit! And an assassin is stalking the Prime Minister!.

But who was really in control. And just what the Hell was going on? Who could Harry trust?

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Mr Blue Sky

Mr Blue Sky is a disturbing yet very readable horror novel from published author John Darke.

Rebecca is single and in her mid thirties. She is in the employ of her uncle, working in a chemical storage warehouse.

The dreadful, terrifying nightmares have recommenced. She cannot cease to dream of Him.Who is Him? He was an ape-like creature who had saved her life when she was a child, when she went into the woods by herself. In secret they become best friends. But who or what was he>

Disaster strikes her family when Rebecca's father takes the decision to tack Him down in the woods. He dies on the hunt. Although someone is blamed for the murder, but Rebecca believes that He was really responsible for her father's slaying.

After years of therapy and counselling, Rebecca still believes that He was the one responsible for the murder.

In order to stop herself from going mad, Rebecca must find out the truth one way or another. Firstly, she needs to establish if He is a real, living creature.

Her quest for the truth takes a shocking turn and she decides to return home to finally confront the situation and to discover he truth of the situation once and for all.

But what if what she discovers is more terrifying and dreadful than her worse nightmare? How could she cope?

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

The Big House

In her novel The Big House retired Times journalist Larche Davies asks a very important question. If you believe that you life is at risk, who, if anyone, can you really trust?

It's a sequel to her previous novel The Father's House, published by Matador in 2015.

Lucy is 15 years of age. She and her teenage friends are waiting, very much on edge, as they are to give evidence in criminal trials against members of a fanatical religious sect that worships the Magnifico and are known for disposing of people it regards as detractors by poisoning them with a deadly injection.

It's know their lives are at risk from the sect. So they are moved out of London in an attempt to make sure they are protected and kept safe.

They are sent to Wales, where the Magnifico is not known to have any followers, in a foster home in the Principality. Whilst their foster mother seems to be a kindly, nice woman, they can't bring themselves to trust her. They feel unable to trust anyone but themselves.

They have little experience of life outside the stifling confines of the sect, so they have to rely on their own abilities to keep themselves going.

They children are very careful not to let anyone know too much that might help the Magnifico.

However, the agents of Magnifico are already plotting and scheming against the friends.

But who will succeed? The children or Magnifico?

It's a sharply written thriller of a novel and is published on 28th July by Matador at £10.99.


Penitence is the story of a tragic young woman and mother called Emma. It is written bu Jude Williams.

Her past holds a deep secret that she is finding it hard to cope with.

Emma's daughter was conceived at a party where Emma was drunk. The man who impregnated her had no idea that he was a father to Sophie, Emma's daughter.

Eventually, Emma meets up with a man called Gabriel when she was enjoying herself at a nightclub.

They seem to click and Emma very quickly falls in love with Gabriel. And as a result she and Sophie soon move into Gabriel's home and live with him.

However, the relationship begins to falter and then the horrible, unthinkable happens and Sophie dies unexpectedly.

After a time Emma becomes enamoured with a supermarket manager, a divorcee called Ian. She is in love with him, to an extent, but Ian has really fallen for Emma in a big way. Perhaps more than her?

Emma wants to take up a place as a mature student at Bristol University. So Ian moves to Bristol with her. Previously Emma had had to give up her university place when she had fallen pregnant with Sophie.

In Bristol Ian uncovers Emma's secret. But there's something about her secret that might involve him.

It's a moving exploration of the secrets that can lie beneath the surface of the lives of apparently ordinary people.
It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99.

Serenity Song

In Serenity Song the new novel written by Finn Dervan opens in Ireland in July 1921.

The war in Ireland had pitched the country into a terrible conflict, when anyone might be shot in the back of the head and not know the reason why.

A policeman is murdered and a secret is hidden away.

Terrible atrocities were committed by both sides, lifelong friends became sworn enemies and people who would previous have been considered as an enemy were suddenly on the same side. Or appeared so to be.

A full century later James Lucas wants to find that truth. To reveal that truth.

But does he? Exactly how far will he be willing to go to find that truth and to reveal that truth?

And what, exactly was the truth?

Should it be revealed?

This is a stunning debut novel and the story it tells is an important one.

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

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

A Human Condition

A Human Condition is a novel from established author and GP Lyn Miller.

It's a touching story of family life and friendships between women.

It's at about the time in her life when things should be just starting to get a little bit easier for Edinburgh GP and single mom, Marion. Her daughter Rose has departed for the life of a student in Bristol so Marion should, hopefully, have a little more time for herself.

But unfortunately fate decides to intervene and the health of Marion's mother begins to worsen. Her increasing Alzheimer's disease means that she is becoming more vulnerable and she is growing more and more dependant on Marion.

This begins to test Marion's abilities to cope especially when she has to deal with a discovery from the past of her family.

There's Marion's friend Nyaga who moved to Scotland from Botswana in the hope that it would advance her career as a nurse and increase her earning potential.

But she'd not counted on the fact that she'd be so lonely and homesick.

But her growing friendship with Marion helps things look better for Nyaga.

Whilst in Bristol, everything is going to well for Rose. She's in love, going to star in a drama society play, but then things start to get a little less easy for Rose in Bristol.

How will each of these woman progress through life?

Will they be able to rely on each other for support and love as they progress through their Human Condition?

It's a heartwarming book that will make you smile because you may very well have been where these women have been, in one way or another.

It's published by Matador at £10.99.


Coronach is an novel of over 782 pages in length.

It is written by Kimberley Jordan Reeman and it's an epic tale of love, heartache, loss war and death set against tragic backdrop of the doomed Jacobite Rebellion.

It's July in 1746, and the Scotish Highlands are suffering under the occupation of an invading army. Atrocities are committed and the cost will be felt through generation after generation to come.

Even so, there are individual acts of compassion and a battle-weary English soldier by the name of Mordaunt saves an infant who will eventually become his heiress and his obsession.

On what remains of his ruined estate, a shocked Franco-Scottish Laird, Earl Stirling offers refuge to a boy who had been damaged by a dreadful horror.

These apparently separate lives are bound together by fate as their destiny plays out against the turbulent and violent times of the 18th century.

It's published by Matador at £13.99 and will be most welcomed by fans for historical romances.

Pigeon Fancying in Leicestershire

Pigeon Fancying in Leicestershire is a debut novel from John Littlefair.

Lanfranco DeLuca is an avid pigeon racer. But unfortunately his top stud bird, recently bought for an exorbitant fee, just isn't able to perform is duties as a stud.

So, what's to do for DeLuca? He believes that desperate measures are required to regain his standing in the pigeon world and to regain some of his money.

But he wouldn't stoop to some pigeon kidnapping. Would he?

The matter becomes more complicated when Jon Landseer, fed up of life in London, can't really decide what he wants out of two options. A career in Briton as a struggling journalist supported by his perhaps overly ambitious partner, Louse. Or a life of rural bliss on his aunt's somewhat tumbedown smallholding in Leicestershire.

To add to the mess of complications Joe falls for a scientist called Alice who is working in the city of Leicester on research into the condition Pigeon Fancier's Lung. Unfortunately Alice is embroiled in DeLuca's pigeon scam.

They try to resolve their own issues with their suddenly more complicated lives and also to solve the mystery of the male pigeon who couldn't perform.

Will they find a cure for Pigeon Fancier's Lung? Will the stud bird perform again? Will anyone find true love? Will Deluca get his just deserts?

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

Hedgehog Magic

Hedgehog Magic is a new and exciting adventure for Alistair and his hedgehog friends from Dave Hills.

It's Autumn time and Alistair has had a surprise. The badge that the Hedgehog Queen presented to him is no ordinary badge. It's magic! He gives the badge a bit of a gentle rub and there's instantly a massive burst of sparkle dust and Hamish the hedgehog reappears.

Not long after a tiny hedgehog comes into Alistair's garden. He is seeking out the Hedgehog Queen because he needs assistance in his search for his two sisters who are lost.

He meets with a strange creature who seems to be unfriendly. Hector calls out for help and eventually the weird creature finds the little hedgehog and becomes his friend. It turns out that he is a small rat who wears a white waistcoat and a pair of glasses that are not level. His name is Mr Tilly.

Hector is in the garden and making a call to the Hedgehog Queen for her help.

Because Alistair can hear his calls he quickly finds him to see what he can do for him.

When he learns of his plight he uses the magic badge to call Hamish to see if they can help Hector in his mission to find his lost sisters.

Alistair, together with Hamish and Hector, then proceed on an exciting journey through the shiny, spooky forest where they discover that the two sister's are trapped inside a tree guarded by bats!

Can they rescue the sisters? Will Mr Tilly be able to help and might the badge be called in for some magical assistance?

It's the second in the series and it is published by The Book Guild at £6.99.

Moorland Blue

Paul and Solley are London-based property developers and in Moorland Blue, a novel by Charlie Gibb's, receive some details about the go-ahead for an extension to the HS2 railway line to Leeds.

They discover that there is a nearby property for sale which would be perfect for converting into luxury apartments.

They head to Yorkshire in an attempt to buy the property, but they are unaware that things are not quite what they seem.

When they arrive in Yorkshire they suddenly become entangled in a situation where bribery, double crossing and blackmail are the order of the day, with several other groups desperate to buy the property.

Why? What is so special about the property? And exactly how far will some of the groups go in order to make certain that they will become the owners of the property?

And how will the outsiders, Paul and Solley, fair against their northern rivals? Will they ultimately triumph? And if so, how?

This is a very well-crafted first novel. Hopefully it'll be the first of many from Chsrlie Gibb.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99

Maisie Daisy Strawberry Fayre

Maisie Daisy Strawberry Fayre is written by Elizabeth Willdon Bas and illustrated by Sarah-Leigh Wills.

Maisie Daisy is a lovely, sweet natured little girl who is loved by everyone she meets, wherever she goes.

This is the story of what happens when Maisie Daisy and her friends smell the delicious strawberries and decide to go strawberry picking.

And they end up visiting the Strawberry Faye.

It's a great book for sharing between children and adults.

It's published by Matador at £7.99.

Poppy Haviland & the Secret of the Lively Widow

Poppy Haviland & the Secret of the Lively Widow Father and daughter team Michael and Annabel Lively Barra have written the first in an exciting series of adventures.

Poppy Petunia Haviland is 12 years old and she is an aspiring actress. She loves to have adventures with her friends.

Poppy is also the daughter of one of the world's most famous movie stars. Which can be a bit daunting, at times.

Her family goes to live in a small town in an unexpected move and the sudden appearance of her mother Holly Haviland has an amazing impact on the town.

In the meantime Poppy discovers an old map within the ancient house they are renting which seems to point to the location of some buried treasure.

Poppy recruits her best friend and a rather odd neighbour to help her work out the clues in the map.

She discovers that their town was a key stopping point for the Underground Railroad, the secret method by which freed slaves were smuggled to freedom in non-slave states in the USA.

Furthermore she finds hints that her ancestors might have been involved in operating the Underground Railroad.

Can they discover the treasure indicated in the map? But who is the odd elderly fedora hatted man  who is dogging their steps? Will he or they find the treasure first?

And who was really menacing the friends?

Interestingly, the writing team is made up of Michael Barra and his daughter Annabel Lively Barra who is aged 9. They live just outside New York city with actress mum Katie and Amelia who is 6.

This is a great book, a really good thriller for children.

It's published by Matador at £8.99 and really does belong on the "must buy" list of children's books for 2019.

Parents and children will all love this book.

The Baby Box

The Baby Box is a book by Jane Hayward that is a frank and very open memoir about her tim3e in a mother and baby home.

It's 50 years after these incidents.

Her mother wanted to have an obedient, compliant daughter who would somehow magically skip right over the teenage years and jump from being an innocent child to a virgin bride. She points out that she realised that she and her mother were at war.

Jane moved to London and found herself living the dream of that time. New, interesting friends and exciting encounters.

She defied the rules set out for her by her mother but unfortunately she found herself pregnant and facing the anger of her mother who felt shamed and disgraced by what Jane had done.

And as a result Jane found herself in a mother and baby home, banished there by her "shamed" mother.

Adoption was the usual outcome of such a familial banishment, but Jane was made of sterner stuff and even the violence of her mother makes her more determined to do what is right for her and her baby and the father, Nick.

However, not all stories have happy endings.

This is a remarkably honest and courageous book

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Region 6

Region 6 is a terrifying novel from Ian Krender  about an alternative dystopian thriller that examines what life would have been like in Britain if the Nazis had won World War 2.

It's set between the years 1983 to 1994. Britain is no longer Britain, it was renamed Region 6 by the Nazi rulers. The populace is divided into two groups, those who are fortunate, those who are not.

The story involves two repressed gay men, Thomas, who is of lower class due to his Jewish heritage and Stephen who is a reasonably wealthy man who has just joined the Gestapo.

His first mission for the Gestapo is to seduce Thomas, as the Gestapo believe he is a part of the resistance.

What will happen? Will Stephen stay loyal to the Nazi regimen and murder Thomas as ordered? Or will he take another path?

Will he side with the government or work to destroy and overthrow it?

It's a well written novel that is chilling because it's very plausible.

It's published by Matador at £9.99

Civic Revolution

Civic Revolution is a book from "serial entrepreneur" Ric Casal3e.

He has an optimistic view of the powers of ordinary citizens which he outlines in this, his debut book.

He points out that cities are the places that have the greatest influence over life on our planet.

Cities are, he claims, the biggest causes of global warming and pollution. But he indicates that our cities are also the potential solution to these very problems.

Until now, however, he felt that what was missing was a citizen's guide to how to effect change and turn the city where you live into "the seat of the solution."

Which is why he has written this book. You'll learn about climate change, public affluence, biodiversity, empowerment and more besides.

The book has a forward by Sir Tim Smit.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

The Zeno Effect

In The Zeno Effect a new science fiction from from Andrew Tudor it's the year 2029 and there is no more United Kingdom.

England and Scotland are neighbours, of course, but the relationship is a little bit hostile so to speak.

Unchecked global population growth is causing even more damage to the environment.

A scientist who has become disillusioned with life and with humanity in general takes the decision to release a genetically engineered virus into the wild, which causes a rampant disease to rapidly spread round the world, killing millions of people and causing society to collapse under the horrors that this disease has unleashed.

The Scottish government's Scientific Liaison Officer, Alison MacGregor, was one of the first people to be given leaked data about the Zeno virus.

With Irene, her best friends' mother who is a Senior Scientific Adviser to the government in England and Jonathan Hart, the Director of England's Domestic Security Division, both disturbed by their government's attempts to cover up the fact that the ensuing pandemic cannot be stopped by vaccinations, and a young journalist called Julie Fenwick, they attempt to come to grips with a violent apocalyptic religious cult, maundering Border Reivers and a rising military dictatorship they must work together to find a place of safety.

But is there such a safe place? Can they find it?

I believe this book will become a classic science fiction novel. And I would not be surprised to see it turned into a film.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Strange Affairs, Ginger Hairs

In Strange Affairs, Ginger Hairs, a novel written by Arthur Grimestead, it's Hull, its 1998 and Ginger is 18, he's also broke, unemployed and single.

His parents seem to be indifferent to him and he wants to get away from them and also get himself a young lady.

His life is boring to an excruciating degree.

But then into Ginger's life comes a gold ring. And suddenly, everything changes for Ginger. But not necessarily in a good way.

He finds himself betrayed by the person who was supposed to be his best friend, caught up in a world of violence and crime and fleeing from some local bad boys who want to get what they view as their property back.

And the he meets ms Fish, And then he and ms Fish end up kidnapping Syd by clobbering him with a gun and shoving him in the boot of the car.

And then things began to get rather more complex and a good deal nastier that Ginger could ever have bargained for.

Can Ginger avoid the criminals? Can he evade the police?

And what might the future hold for Ginger, ms Fish, his parents and Syd? Might some of them have no future to speak of?

This is an exciting and quirky novel and you will find the music to accompany it at

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

The Isle of Wight's Missing Chapter

The Isle of Wight's Missing Chapter is a very interesting book that brings a fresh insight into the international history of The Isle of Wight.

Islander James Rayner has undertaken some very detailed research and he has brought together hundreds of sources, for the first time, and he tells the hidden (until now) international history of the island.

Through the years the island has played host to many international luminaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, King Cetshwayo the King of the Zulu nation, also Queen Emma of another island, Hawaii.

The island has also been home to a top Jamaican model, a cricketer from Sri Lanka and a famouus pioneering Doctor from India.

His research indicates that The Isle of Wight has been home to people of mixed races for at least the past two centuries and he points out why the island has an important place the black history.

He also looks at modern day international links including a poet from Iran and an author who hails from Poland.

The island has also been visited by many famous musicians including Miles Davies, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder.

There were also a teacher and philosopher from Cameroon called Bernard Nsokika Fonlon, and a Berber who was described as the father of Berber nationalism, Mohand Aarav Bessaoud spent the last years of his life as a political refugee after the French government decided to expel him in 1978.

It's not a long book but it is very readable and is packed with very well researched facts about some of the fascinating people who came to live on The Isle of Wight.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99 and if you are interested in black British history, this book is a must have, in my opinion.

The Rules of Engagement

At the beginning of The Rules of Engagement the new novel by K. A. Lalani, Alex and Daniel are enjoying a perfect weekend, warmed by the June sun.

However, unbeknown to them along with many other people, events are taking place in Europe that will change their lives forever, and the lives of millions of other people, too.

Alex and Daniel join the armed forces, fighting for King and Country for the next three years, knowing that each day could very well be their last day of life.

They are entirely different men, each coming from a different point on the social spectrum but what they see on the Western Front unites them in a way that they might not have been able to comprehend before they faced the horrors of trench warfare.

The novel captures very well the physical and mental deprivations that the soldiers, both men and officers of the line, went through.

And the problems faced by their families back home and the aftermath of the conflict.

It is a thoughtful novel that is well researched ad well written.

It is published by The Book Guild at £9.99.

It Wasn't Me, All Right?

Retired teacher and former school principal Robert Rooney was teaching at what was described as one of the most notorious schools in Belfast during "The Troubles" in his book It Wasn't Me, All Right?

Although intended for pupils who shad "moderate learning difficulties", Robert taught those pupils who were viewed as "failing" in mainsteam schools. The result was an intake that was made up of an eclectic range of intelligence, ability and behaviour.

The story of what happened is written in a manner that, although treating the subject matter with concern and  taking it seriously, treats it with a wry humour.

See how Robert, as a young teacher, learned to deal with a 6 foot tall pupil or wanted to fight him, with his belt wrapped round his fist, how to deal with troublesome pupils on the school buses, how to trick pupils into enjoying art lessons, and all this against the backdrop of "The Troubles."

It's a book that is witty, intelligently written yet with a certain amount of pathos, too.

It's published by Matador at £8.99.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Medicine, Justice and the Bubblegum Factory

Medicine, Justice and the Bubblegum Factory is an amazing memoir.

Graham Standen was a working-class youngster from Romford, in Essex.

He had a troubled childhood blighted by maternal illness, time spent in a children's home, fostering with relatives and he failed his 11 Plus.

However, Graham was made of stern stuff and, against all the odds, he was able, by dint of hard work, he was able to qualify as a medical Doctor.

His medical qualification was put to good use because he was able to correct a terrible miscarriage of justice involing his late father who, along with his two brothers, died from mesothelioma aftyer they worked with asbestos as boiler coverers before the war.

When Graham's father developed disseminated cancer, there were very good grounds for suspecting that exposure to asbestos was the cause. But the diagnosis of mesothelioma was not recognised at the postmortem. Much to the horror of his family.

After a decade spent as a cancer and leukaemia specialist Graham, with the assistance of a colleague who was a pathologist, the cause of Graham's father's death was looked at anew and the correct diagnosis was achieved.

Graham points out that the story of his father highlights the corporate deceit and indifference shown by the industry toward the health of their workers.

It's a very moving account of the struggle of Graham and his family in their attempt to finally gain justice for his father.

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

Gangster Hamster

Gangster Hamster tells the story of Rocco, a very extraordinary hamster.

Tired of the life of an ordinary pet hamster he makes a bid for freedom and heads for the big city. He meets up with a gang of rats who live in the seers and who raid restaurants.

He learns of a plan by a gang of cats to launch an attack on his new found friends and he decides that his moment to shine has arrived.

But! Not everything goes to plan and he soon realises that he has put not only himself but his friends at risk!

So, how can Rocco put things to right? Will he be the super hero hamster that he wants to be? Will he become Rocco the Magnificent? The world-beating Hamster Gangster?

This is a fun book for children from Angela Robb.

It's published by Matador at £7.99.

The Oath

The Oath is set in 1955. Beneath the well-polished veneer of a Northern England boarding school is something wicked and very, very unpleasant.

Senior pupils viciously bully and torment junior pupils who they consider to be inferior.

Jonathan Simon is a new boy at the school. He's warned about three monsters who share his dorm with him. They are Flicker, Sleeth and Tunk. But there's a "no snitching" code that is ruthlessly observed.

Simon befriends two other junior pupils, Ian Gracey, a pixie-faced boy and Arthur Crown. He is grossly overweight, but with a ready wit.

Whilst on a cross country run the three juniors decide to take a short cut and find themselves accidentally in the cadet rifle range. Sleeth is the Corpse Sergeant and puts them through some utterly degrading punishments.

The three junior pupils take a blood oath to ever allow themselves to be bullied again.

Loyalties will be tested to their limits and exactly how far will the pupils go to exact their revenges?

It's an interesting novel that takes a look under the hood of school life in the 1950s.

The book is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.