#Blogtour Halfway by B E Jones @bevjoneswriting @TheCrimeVault @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #Halfway

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Halfway by B E Jones  Constable November 1st 2018

If everyone is lying, who can you trust?

The Halfway Inn is closed to customers, side-lined by a bypass and hidden deep in inhospitable countryside. One winter’s night, two women end up knocking on the door, seeking refuge as a blizzard takes hold.

But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father trying so hard to tell them?

At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd is holding the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a brutal murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run – but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she’s stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the local district nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to investigate her disappearance.

The strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, but soon realise they might have been safer on the road. It seems not all the travellers will make it home for Christmas . . .

My Review

It was nearly Christmas, it was snowing and it was the middle of nowhere in Wales, and strange things were afoot. There had been a murder, a killer was on the loose and things were starting to look decidedly dodgy.

A great premise for a novel and one that was both chilling and suspenseful.

The dark murky weather immediately set the tone, the danger levels heightened, the tension at times unbearable.

Jones characters were thrown into this murk and were a disparate bunch, all with pasts that you were not quite aware of at the beginning but which slowly unravelled the more I read.

You knew that one of them was guilty of murder but what Jones did brilliantly was to keep me guessing as she wove a tangled web of mystery and intrigue.

It is very difficult to talk about the characters without giving too much away, but what I did like was their differing backgrounds which markedly shaped their actions and choices, often with grim consequences.

What I didn’t know was how or if they would all be connected and this is where Jones excelled telling each of the characters stories in alternating chapters, so that we got a real sense of their thinking and reasoning.

I did wonder if they would eventually all come together, and what the outcome would be, but I just knew that whatever it was it would be tense and very dramatic.

Halfway was not like your average thriller, fast paced with police and sirens everywhere, instead Jones slowly set the scene of the landscape, setting and the characters.

I loved her descriptions of the old Halfway Pub, with its broken furniture and eerie atmosphere, the old landlord, bedridden upstairs, full of secrets but unable to communicate or warn anyone.

I have to admit to racing through Halfway, largely due to its addictive nature and would recommend to anyone who enjoys a character driven and compelliung thriller.

I would like to thank Constable for a copy of Halfway to read and review and to Emma Welton at Damp Pebbles Blogtours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Beverley Jones was born in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, and started her ‘life of crime’ as a reporter on The Western Mail before moving into TV news with BBC Wales Today.

She covered all aspects of crime reporting before switching sides as a press officer for South Wales police, dealing with the media in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning.

Now a freelance writer she channels these experiences of ‘true crime,’ and the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers set in and around South Wales.

Halfway, her fifth crime novel follows the release of Where She Went by Little Brown in 2017.

Bev’s previous releases, The Lies You Tell, Make Him Pay and Fear The Dark are also available from Little Brown as e books

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bevjoneswriting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bev.jones.9083477

Website: http://bevjoneswriting.co.uk/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34040919-where-she-went
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beverley-Jones/e/B00F6I6XQG/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

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#Blogtour My Sister Myself by Jill Treseder @jill_treseder @SilverWoodBooks @annecater #RandonThingsTours

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My Sister Myself by Jill Treseder   Silverwood Books  July 31st 2018

Hungary, 1956. Russian tanks brutally crush the revolution against the Communist regime. Sisters Katalin and Marika escape Budapest with their family and settle in London.

However, the past is not so easily left behind. Their father is a wanted man, and the sisters’ relationship hangs in the balance. Their futures are shaped by loss. For Katalin, this means the failure of her ambition and a devastating discovery; for Marika, an equally heart-breaking experience.

Caught between their Hungarian heritage and their new lives in Britain, the sisters struggle to reconnect. Family secrets are exposed, jeopardising Katalin’s and Marika’s identities.

Can their relationship survive war, division and grief?

My Review

The plight of refugees is a topic never out of the headlines, and for some this may be their first encounter, yet it is something that has been prevalent throughout the world since time immemoriam. My Sister Myself was the story of Marika and Katalin, two young girls who fled the 1956 uprising in Budapest, Hungary.

My own experience of Budapest is one of  beauty, a vibrant city full of culture and colour, Treseder’s Budapest is grey and colourless, the buildings in ruins, the people suppressed by communism, and it was her wonderful descriptions that drew me into this haunting novel.

It was a novel steeped in history, not just of Budapest but of London, the prejudice suffered by refugees, the lack of understanding but more importantly the effect it had on the refugees themselves.

Treseder, brilliantly captured the hardships of Marika and Katalin, their vulnerability and the struggle they had to be accepted and succeed.

Marika, the youngest, was the rebel, the ‘spoilt one’, Mamas favourite, who at first I didn’t like, but when events conspired against her, she was the one who dug deep and found inner resolve and determination.

Katalin, was the quieter of the two, a daddy’s girl, the hardworking clever one, but who throughout struggled with life, could not accept what fate and circumstance doled out to her. I found her incredibly frustrating, wanted to shake her at times, but knew that she was traumatised, unable to trust and reach out to those who only wanted to care for her.

I loved the sharp contrasts between the two sisters, how Treseder somehow used her narrative to show their raw emotion, and their hurt. The dynamics between them was often dramatic and full of taut tension that was at times too much to bear as these two poor young women fought not only themselves but also society.

It was a society that today, would be totally unacceptable, a lack of 24 hour news and social media made it hard for people to truly understand the circumstances and horrors that Marika and Katalin had escaped. I often wondered if Treseder herself had had first hand experience,  so well did she encapsulate that society and time.

It could be said, that My Sister Myself was a bleak novel and indeed it was , but there were huge glimmers of light and the descriptions of Aunt Kluva and the Devon landscape lifted the novel out of the gloom.  You could sense the healing presence of the sea and indeed of Aunt Kluva, who battled to bring light into the lives of the sisters, often with differing outcomes.

My Sister Myself was a novel full of raw emotion, of a time in history when the world was at odds, in the process of change and in some ways not for the better. It was the story of two girls who lost their home, their culture and their identity and how they fought their own demons to survive and succeed.

It was a novel that reeled you in, and wouldn’t let you go until the very last page, its themes hugely emotive and I was sad to leave the wonderful characters that Treseder created.

I would like to thank Silver Wood Books for a copy of My Sister Myself to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Jill Treseder Author Picture

I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.

But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.

Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.

This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.

All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book The Wise Woman Within resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.

I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.

Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.

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#Blogtour Dead In The Water by Simon J Bower @SimonBowerBooks @MiddleFarmPress @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

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Was it murder, suicide or an accident? Who will be next to die?

Six international friends all appear to be successful, albeit to different levels. A human rights’ lawyer, an IT geek, a businessman, a waitress, a phone guy and a physiotherapist. None of them are known to the police.

One of them must know what happened that fateful night on the catamaran.

Agent Georges Fournier is assigned the case in the French resort town near Antibes. He’s short on time, with a growing health problem and a District Attorney who just wants the case closed as accidental. But he’s not letting go.

Chrissie is a single mother and respected flight attendant in New York. When she finds out who her father is, she’s ecstatic and wants to meet him. 

But within a week she’d wish she’d never known.

My Review

When its cold and wet outside, there’s nothing like a good thriller to cosy upto on an evening, although I wouldn’t have called Dead In The Water cosy.

Its characters were definitely not of the cosy variety and some distinctly unlikeable.

What I did like was the variety of Bowers’s characters, all from differing backgrounds, the dynamics extremely interesting and intriguing.

Our main protagonist, Charlie was a man who wanted everything and more, who took a sabbatical, met the luscious Ana. At first, I actually quite liked Charlie, he was your typical lad, out for a good time, but as the story unfolded my opinions changed.

Ana, was your archetypal ‘bitch’ with little thought for anyone but herself, out for whatever she could get. Bower gave us occasional glimpses into her nicer side but they were mere chinks and certainly not overly endearing.

Lena and Mia were the wealthy, Uncle and Aunt, living a life of luxury in Switzerland, yet you sensed it was a loveless marriage that was convenient and suited them both. You knew that Len’s money was not clean and he displayed a ruthless side in order to protect himself and his interests.

Charlie’s brother Scott, was what I would call hapless, bored by the minutiae of marriage and children and desperate for an alternative life.

In New York Chrissie resided with her young daughter, working hard with only her Mum for support until she decided to discover who her father was and it was this angle that had me guessing as to the role she would play in the novel.

Last but not least was Fournier, the detective sent to investigate the body in the water. He was not the best detective, in fact you could call him bumbling, clumsy in his approach, but doggedly determined to discover with truth.

Bower threw, Len, Mia, Charlie, Scott and Charlie’s housemate Stella  altogether on a catamaran and set them off sailing the mediterranean and that is where this story really began.

The dynamics were brilliantly explored and the subtle undercurrents of tension fantastically realised by Bower. A supposed fatal accident set of a chain of events that projected the characters and the storyline into a whirl of fast paced action and drama. I found it hard to guess who had done what to who so complex was the web of intrigue Bower wove, it certainly made for interesting and fast reading.

What impressed most was Bower’s handling of the intricacies of his plot and the myriad of characters, it would have been so easy for it to be utterly confusing to the reader but it wasn’t. The fact that each chapter was told from the point of view of individual characters gave the novel a multi dimensional feel that was compelling and I loved that it gave Bower the opportunity to explore their thoughts and reasoning.

Dead In the Water was a thrilling ride around Europe, with a wonderfully varied cast of individuals. It had everything you would want in a thriller, sex, money, murder, and heaps of intrigue that I loved and would recommend.

I would like to thank Middle Farm Press for a copy of Dead In The Water to read and review and to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

SIMONBOWER

Simon Bower is a British and Canadian author born in Berkshire in 1973. Since 1998, he’s adopted a global lifestyle, setting up home at times in Europe, Africa and North America.  In 2016 Simon turned to writing full time, which led to his first published work, Dead in the Water, being released in paperback and eBook by Middle Farm Press in 2018. Simon currently lives in France, near the Swiss border, where his young family, mountains, acrylic paint and sharpened skis keep him in regular mischief.

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#Blogtour Listening To Animals: The Supervet @ProfNoelFitz @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #ListeningToTheAnimalsBecomingTheSupervet. #inspiring #enthralling

Listening to the Animals: Becoming the Supervet  by Noel Fitzpatrick  Trapeze  October 18th 2018

Growing up on the family farm in Ballyfin, Ireland, Noel’s childhood was spent tending to the cattle and sheep, the hay and silage, the tractors and land, his beloved sheepdog Pirate providing solace from the bullies that plagued him at school. It was this bond with Pirate, and a fateful night spent desperately trying to save a newborn lamb, that inspired Noel to enter the world of veterinary science – and set him on the path to becoming The Supervet.

Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Noel recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.

Noel has listened to the many lessons that the animals in his care have taught him, and especially the times he has shared with his beloved Keira, the scruffy Border Terrier who has been by Noel’s side as he’s dealt with the unbelievable highs and crushing lows of his extraordinary career.

As heart-warming and life-affirming as the TV show with which he made his name, Listening to the Animals is a story of love, hope and compassion, and about rejoicing in the bond between humans and animals that makes us the very best we can be.

My Review

We have all seen Professor Noel Fitzpatrick grace our screen as the Supervet, enabling animals to regain use of their limbs or receive life saving treatment but who is, how did he get to where he is today?

Listening to the Animals was Fitzpatrick’s personal story and what a fascinating one it was.

I could not believe how lacking in self confidence he was or that much of his teenage years were spent as a recluse studying hard to pursue his dream of becoming a vet.

I loved his wonderfully vivid descriptions of the farmhouse in Ballyfin Ireland, where he grew up, but most of all I liked the admiration he had for his parents. They may not have been the most demonstrative, or affectionate but they clearly taught him the value of hardwork and resilience that saw him realise his dreams.

A lot of authors would have used such humble beginnings to ask for sympathy from their readers but that was where Fitzpatrick was different. He didn’t ask us to feel sorry for him, he clearly saw it as a huge positive, as just the way it was and I do not think he would have wished for anything different.

Much of the book was written in a similar vain, and one thing I did like a lot was the way in which some of the chapters almost felt like letters. These ‘letters’ took on many forms, in one an apology for putting his career first, in another his gratitude to the people who had inspired and pushed him further on his chosen path. I found this hugely endearing and the writing process must have been extremely cathartic for Fitzpatrick, a way of ridding himself of the guilt and angst but also to share his success with those he had encountered along the way.

What was utterly incredible about Fitzpatrick’s life was his sheer drive and determination to be a vet and to build his two animal referral centres. He struck me as being very intelligent but not academic, struggling with exams yet in practice a genius, a man who could think out of the box, with a unique perspective on the animal and indeed the human world of medicine.

It was in his latter chapters that Fitzpatrick introduced his vision of One Medicine whereby the animal and human medical world work together to improve the diagnosis, and treatment of both humans and animals. This was his time to get on his soapbox, to urge for greater co-operation and in some ways he did, but his views and opinions were both measured and balanced. He clearly stated his aims, and his reasoning in a way that made sense and wasn’t overly scientific or complicated, it clearly came from the heart and his passion shone from the pages.

If Fitzpatrick had a passion for One Medicine, his overriding passion was for that of the animals, those he treated and knew throughout his lifetime. These were, for me the hardest bits to read, as I had recently lost my beloved Border Collie Bob Dog, my constant companion for the last fifteen years.

I had a tear in my eye as he told of his best friend, farm dog Pirate and the love that he has for his present dog Keira. With his patients you could sense his desire to do what was best not only for the animal but also the owner, his honesty and openness, a breath of fresh air in a world where vets are now more commercially aware, more concerned with money than the animal.

His revolutionary techniques may be world renowned but it his compassion and dedication to the animal that is clearly prevalent and one that I admire and commend him for.

Listening to the Animals was a brutally honest insight into a man with vision, drive and determination, written from the heart it was both compelling and captivating and I could not put it down.

The book is now working its way through the list of people that have nagged me constantly to be able to read ever since it appeared on my doorstep. I am just hoping I get it back because I might just want to read it again!!

I would like to thank Trapeze for a copy of Listening To The Animals: How I became the Supervet to read and review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is a world-renowned neuro-orthopaedic veterinary surgeon, the founder of Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, and the star of the hit Channel 4 television show The Supervet, now in its twelfth series. Globally recognised for his innovative surgical solutions for animals, Noel has developed dozens of new techniques, including several world-firsts, that have provided hope where none seemed possible to provide quality of life for his patients. Noel lives in Surrey with his Border Terrier Keira, and you can follow him at:

Facebook: @ProfessorNoelFitzpatrick
Twitter: @ProfNoelFitz
Instagram: @ProfessorNoelFitzpatrick

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#Blogtour The Good Samaritans by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheGoodSamaritans #unique

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The Good Samaritans by Will Carver  Orenda Books  November 15th 2018.

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to
Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

My Review

If, like me you have preconceived ideas of what makes a good crime/thriller novel, then you need to throw those preconceptions away and hang on in as Carver takes you on one hell of a ride in his new novel the Good Samaritans.

One word of warning, there was quite a lot of sexual content, but it was actually relevant and well placed and not just put in for the sheer hell of it.

Now the warning is out of the way, what were the story and the characters like?

Let’s start with the characters.

Seth was your typical salesman, not bad at his job and married to Maeve with no kids. Seth’s main problem was his insomnia and his predeliction for calling people up and asking to talk. Why you wondered? Was he just lonely or looking for a relationship outside of his marriage? It certainly intrigued me, and at first I actually quite liked him, felt sorry for him as Maeve drank and slept through their evenings leaving him on his own.

Maeve, herself, loved Seth, wanted him to notice her but wasn’t actually sure how to do that without a crisis in their lives. I did find her frustrating but as events unfolded I had a sneaky admiration for her strength and resourcefulness.

Ant, the actual Samaritan was just plain odd, wracked by a cleaning fetish and desperate to ‘save’ those who called him. From the outset his loitering and following of Hadley was deeply suspicious. Were his intentions to save Hadley or were they something much more sinister?

Hadley was definitely mixed up, a veritable, emotional rollercoaster, one minute all was fine, the next the world was ending and she was suicidal. All she wanted was someone who understood her and Seth was that person, but never would I have imagined the outcome.

What I have forgotten to mention is the final character, and that was bottles of bleach. I will not say exactly how bottles of bleach were so prominent as that is for you, the reader to discover, but I can say it has put me off bleach for some time!

How Carver engineered the story to bring Seth, Hadley and Ant together was genius and totally unexpected, in fact I was somewhat open mouthed as I read, so shocked was I at what was happening.

The remainder of the novel was much the same, unexpected twist after twist, to the point that I wondered how Carver thought all of it up and what an unbelievably scary imagination he had.

At times, I could not believe quite what I was reading, but it was utterly compelling and I found myself beginning to wonder how it would all end. I have to say the ending was brilliant, and I never would have thought it would have ended as it did.

Carver’s Good Samaritans, was unique, and I have never read anything quite like it, and don’t expect to read anything like it in the near future. It was a novel full of the unexpected, with a great narrative, that will leave you breathless and wanting more, so hurry up Mr Carver and get writing the next one!!

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Good Samaritans ato read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

View More: http://razialife.pass.us/vanessa-and-brendans-wedding

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and
television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

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#Blogtour Attend West by West Camel @west_camel @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Attend #intriguing #compelling

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Attend by West Camel   Orenda Books  December 13th 2018

When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah. Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne
and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises. With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely
wrought characters and set against the unmistakable
backdrop of Deptford and South London.

My Review

Firstly it is so hard to believe that this is a debut novel, so rich was the narrative, so carefully crafted were its characters.

I loved Camel’s descriptions of Deptford, the new high rise flats blending with the old terraced houses on the bank of the Thames and he was wonderfully adept at weaving this into the main narrative of the story. If I thought this was good, it was his characters that clearly stood out.

Anne, recovering drug addict attempting to atone for her past life, attempting to make amends with the daughter that she abandoned, was full of remorse and guilt and I loved her fragility. I did wonder if that fragility would be her downfall, but she seemed to have an inner strength and resolve that slowly materialised.

Sam, you felt was looking for something, for acceptance and love and when he did find it, it was the decisions he had to make that formed the basis of his own personal story.

It was the character of Deborah that enthralled. She was an ethereal figure and at some points, as you will discover when you read Attend, I did question wether she was actually real. She was the linchpin of the novel, the figure that everything whirled around and it was her relationship with Anne and Sam that was most intriguing.

Was it chance that Deborah first met Anne and then Sam, was it meant to be? For me, the answer was yes, she was there to show them how to live, how to move on and get on with the rest of their lives. The fact that Anne and Sam were unaware of Deborah’s relationship with the other was used brilliantly and I did wonder how or if they would all come together. Camel skilfully swirled them around, as other characters that were common to both Anne and Sam slowly crept into the story.

Deborah’s story was Deptford’s story, a story of a London borough through the wars, the destruction of the blitz and its rebuilding. It was a story of a young girl, with no one in the world to look after her, of the discovery of a piece of needlework that would stay with her and affect her life. You never quite knew if her stories of the needlework were actually true or were used to help Anne and Sam, but that didn’t matter as they were compelling and intriguing with a magical feel to them.

Yet, it wasn’t just about Deborah’s old life it was also about the world in which we now live in, and the many issues we now face. Crime played a part as Sam struggled to accept his new found love’s violent background, drugs, cancer and acceptance were other modern themes that Camel skilfully wove into the main body of the story.

The latter parts of the novel were wonderfully tense and dramatic, almost reading like a thriller, but measured in tone and pace, fitting in neatly with the overall feel of the novel.

I wasn’t quite sure what overall description I would give to Attend, its themes crossing so many genres from contemporary, to ghost story, to thriller, and for me that was the charm of this quiet, understated novel.

Attend was a novel of new beginnings, of hope, resilience, and courage, of small glimmers of sunlight peeking out through a dark and grim world. West Camel is an author to watch and I cannot wait to see what he will write next!

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Attend to read and review and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

West Camel

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist,
and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the BestEuropean Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghostwriting a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres. A highly anticipated debut, blending the magical realism of Angela Carter and the gritty authenticity of Eastenders and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

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#Blogtour The Lingering by SJI Holliday @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours

 

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The Lingering by SJI Holliday     Orenda Books 

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history. When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution… At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

My Review

The Lingering is what I can only describe as an eerie, tangled web of intrigue and tension, that had me hooked from the very first page.

The Rosalind House Commune provided the perfect setting for Holliday’s eclectic mix of individuals and the sinister events that unfolded. Told from the point of view of three of its main protagonists, Ali, Angela and Smeaton we saw the story from all sides,

Ali, a psychiatric nurse, along with husband Jack are the newcomers, the ones who altered the dynamics of the commune, who ruffled feathers and changed. Their reasons for joining were hidden, hints dropped in here and there, menacing and slightly sinister and Ali in particular, was a woman I didn’t like, whose intentions were not neccessarily good.

Her husband Jack, came across as weak, totally under the control of his wife Ali,yet what had he done that was so bad, what was he hiding?

Angela, was so innocent, so sweet and naive, totally obsessed by the history of the house and its supernatural feel. You knew she wanted a friend, one to share her obsession and Ali was perfect so she thought, but things are not always what they seem as Angela began to discover. To me, Angela was the only truly innocent guilt free character, the only one who didn’t come along with a past, she was the one with a conscience, with morals who truly wanted what was right.

Smeaton was the leader, the founder of the commune, with his vision of light and dark, of peace and living in harmony.

He took people at face value, believed we all deserved a second chance, but got more than he bargained for with Ali and Jack.

For me, the best character in The Lingering had to be the house, its past as an asylum so apt for the ensuing events that unfolded. I loved Holliday’s descriptions of the long corridors, the abandoned rooms full of old equipment, the creaking floorboards and the distinct awareness of old patients ‘lingering’.  The inclusion of Dr Henry Baldock’s journal entries interspersed the main body of the narrative, providing the chilling history, that somehow leaked into the present.

It was the mingling of past and present that gave the story a chilling and menacing feel. You could sense Ali and Jack’s resolve to start again slowly ebb away, and the more I began to understand them as individuals and their relationship the more I came to dislike them, to resent their presence and actions. Holliday was brilliant at portraying the change in dynamics, the effects the couple had on those surrounding them and in particular, Angela.

You could see Smeaton struggle with maintaining the communes equilibrium, incapable of making the right decisions, until matters are taken out of his control.

The pervading theme throughout may have been about a humans capacity to exert control over another but it was much more about the devastating consequences when that control disappears. I can’t say I felt sorry for the characters concerned or their actions but it made for superb storytelling, that was hard to tear myself away from.

The narrative was brilliant throughout, and the author really did get to the very core of her three protagonists, bringing out the best and worst in human nature.

Having never read any of Holliday’s previous works I was hugely impressed and look forward to reading more!

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Lingering to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the authorsh.jpg

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and the festive serial killer thriller The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, inspired by her fascination and fear of ghosts.

You can follow Susi on Twitter @SJIHolliday or visit her website: sjiholliday.com