Friday, 18 September 2020

Red / Black

 Red / Black
is a debut novel from new author Rachel Atherton-Charvat.

It tells the story of Sarah Hughes. Sarah is a dedicated wife and mother. She loves her husband, she loves her children. But she has another, secret, passion. She is a closet gambler.

Although Sarah's life looks to be idyllic, settled to a nice, comfortable life in leafy Cheltenham with her husband of 20 plus year and her children. But there are secret issues that impacting on Sarah, she has never recovered from the loss of a child killed during a car accident when Sarah was driving the car.

The trauma is revisited upon her when her husband decides to accept a job at a British military base in Germany.

When the family has moved to Germany she finds that her depressive illness has returned. She feels isolated and the problems of the military life worsens her problems and she takes up online gambling, in secret. After all, what harm could it do?

However, as her gambling escalates to a level where it might become a problem for Sarah in more ways than one, she starts to realise that there are problems within her marriage that she had either not noticed or which had been hidden from her. 

Is her husband all that he appeared to be? Can Sarah save herself from her gambling addiction? And what other disasters will impact on her life before the end of this epic tale?

It's a finely crafted novel which examines mental health issues in an intelligent and thoughtful way, yet without losing sight of the compelling interwoven stories.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

The Unfinished Painting

The Unfinished Painting is a novel from Mercedes Aguirrel. It begins in the era of Victorian England, when a young artist called Alexander Knight is found dead in unusual and violent circumstances.

The story then moves to the present day when Anna Carter, a student of art history who is studying at Cambridge University, finds herself having recurring dreams which link her to events that took place long ago and with an unfinished painting.

How is the past linked with the present day? How can she be linked to the aggressive and bewildered  young man called Lucas who is also troubled by recurring dreams, which also draw him to the museum and its art gallery?

But what about Julian? How was he connected to this series of strange events?

And how would resolution come to them all?

It's a moving and compelling novel which is translated from the Spanish by Richard Buxton.

I hope this is the first of many books from the author.

It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Poetic Justice: Fame

In Poetic Justice: Fame readers once again meet with the ultimate anti-hero, Fran Ray's Randal Forbes.

Forbes believes that his telepathic powers are a gift. In fact he refers to it as "the gift."

But could it all be going wrong? Everything seems fine. After all he has achieved fame as a business entrepreneur and writer.

But the cost to other people has been horrendous, leaving murder victims and shattered lives in his wake.

The police are suspicious of him, but what can they prove?

His relationship with his loyal companion and devoted partner and protector Clive Hargreaves is as strong as ever and there is Forbes' wife to be, Alison Whitaker. Of course, Alinion is blissfully unaware of her fiance's gift. As is everyone else, of course. Or are they?

Because what if there was someone else with a dark power that equalled that of Forbes? Could they be able to stage a challenge to him? But why would they?

And if they did, who could possibly win such a monumental physic battle?

But can Forbes murder and trick his way to victory, again?

This is a gripping and utterly chilling continuation of the Randal Forbes story.

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

Straw Hat

Straw Hat is the second novel from the pen of Sussex-based author John David Harris. You may have already read his novel Beyond the Castle Arch.

The novel tells the story of John and Susan Grant, a married couple who are comfortable in their middle years. Having had to leave their ill daughter at the children's war of St Richard's Hospital, Chichester, they make a decision to visit a local auction room, where they both fall in love with a painting and successfully bid on it.

The painting depicts a young boy who is fishing on the River Arun which is local to the city.

But there was something that they couldn't have known. A link with a dreadful event that occurred many, many decades previously.

When they take the picture back to their farmhouse it becomes increasingly obvious to them that something is dreadfully, horribly wrong.

That their apparently beautiful picture is serving as a portal to past problems and misfortunes that are somehow dragging their .lives into a hellish nightmare.

The story also deals with the concept of a strong and burning unrequited love and how people deal with this type of situation.

It's a moving and poignant story which is very well told and gripping in its own way.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Monday, 14 September 2020

The Island of Animaux

Why don't you come down to the Island of Animaux? Because it's a very interesting and weird place.

Milo McGivern shows us an island that is populated by animals who can talk. Most of the animals there have no idea about the world outside their magical island.

Why has t never been found? Because it has the ability to move its location on the Earth on a daily6 basis.

Milo explores the island by way of a series of connected tales set on the island, concerning its amazing inhabitants.

There's Aubrey (who is a turkey) who has the idea to open a zoo. Does that take off? You'll find out when you read the charming stories and enjoy the illustrations by Yulia Somina.

What happens when they meet a vampire? What does Clifford the Platypus get up to?

It's a great book for children and the adults in their lives will enjoy sharing this book.

It's published by Matador at £6.99.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Ordinary Miracles

In Ordinary Miracles, a novel from Martyn Carey, we learn that even wizards need training.

Trainee Wizard Mike Frost has his magical powers suddenly and unexpectedly increased whilst he is at London's Paddington Station where a train has mysteriously crashed fatally, apparently caused by Mike's powers.

As a result he is dispatched to a special training centre in York so that he will be able to control them.

But who or what had used Mike to cause the train to crash? And was Mike correct in his belief that whoever or whatever had been responsible for causing the crash had trailed him to the training centre?

Following another fatal accident, Mike and his friends must work out what is really happening and find out who is behind the deadly incidents and to put a stop to them before they have the opportunity to kill again.

Can they succeed? Will the killings be brought to a stop? Can Mike control the powers behind the killing?

It's a stunning and powerful story very well told by an undoubted master of his craft. It grabs the read from the first paragraph right to the last. I will look out for the name of Martyn Carey in the future.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.

Fatal Revenge

The latest James L. Williams novel, Fatal Revenge, begins with the delivery of a package by a fake delivery man, with a limp.

Sergeant Vic Holland and Natalie, his wife and their two young children are now living a wonderful family life in Canada. And more children are on the way.

Now Vic works for the RCMP and becomes concerned and surprised when his father-in-law, Frank Jardine, a retired RCMP inspector, is able to shred light on a series of as yet unsolved crimes that are linked to England.

Vic goes back to his former beat to obtain the evidence required to solve the cases. But he also uncovers something far more shocking and potentially deadly. For there is a plot to mete revenge out on a number of people, including his own family back home in Canada's Pine Creek Falls.

But who is behind these attacks? And what is the apparent link between the attacks and Vic himself?

Vic must hurry back to Canada to save the lives of his beloved family and his own life, too.

Why was Frank attacked by a bear? And why was Vic's own father killed years previously?

And why was Vic shadowed by a mysterious limping woman on the flight back to Canada?

Would Vic even make it back alive?

It's an exciting and vibrant read of a crime thriller.

It's published by The Book Guild at £8.99

The White Phoenix

The White Phoenix is a debut historical novel from the pen of Catherine Randall.

It's 1666 in London. Lizzie Hopper is 13 and after the unexpected death of her father, Lizzie, along with her mother, must take over the management of the family's bookshop, The eponymous White Phoenix.

The bookshop is overshadowed by the imposing medieval St Paul's Cathedral.

But England is living through troubled and troubling times. The country is at war with France, threatening prophecies are being uttered and spread around and there is talk of an invasion by the French and there are reports of plague.

Against this backdrop and riots and the threat of blackmail, Lizzie must try to fight to keep the family bookshop open.

But then came the catastrophic Great Fire of London. Can she help save the bookshop and its stock of books? But there's a secret that Lizzie was keeping, a friendship she should not have had. Can she save the shop and her friend?

The story brings the London of 166 alive, with the prejudices and problems of the people of London.

It's a great historical novel ans hopefully the first of many novels from Catherine Randall.

It's published by The Book Guild at £7.99.

A World of Trouble - Fateful Decisions

A World of Trouble - Fateful Decisions is a debut from a new novelist, Jacky Renouf.

It tells the story of three women, Marion, Stella and Rachel and what happens when Marion and Rachel find themselves trapped behind enemy lines when the Germans invade the Chanel Isles.

The occupying German military forces are a ruthless invader who force the islanders who could not or would not participate in the evacuation by the British military.

Along with the other civilians on the islands Marion and Rachel lack basic supplies as the German occupiers become more and more draconian and more ruthless.

But what can they do, what will they do in order to survive? Stella is in England but she is separated from her friends and family and has to struggle on alone trying to work her way through a life that is very different to what she was expecting.

But can romance blossom in even the most unlikely places?

It's an interesting novel told through the stories of the three friends and letters sent between them.

It's published by Matador at £9.99