#Blogtour Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson @TheSimonBot @BoroughPress @MidasPr @SofiaSaghir #SometimesPeopleDie

Borough Press September 1st 2022

The Blurb

1999. Returning to practice after a suspension for stealing opioids, a young doctor takes the only job he can find: a post as a physician at the struggling St. Luke’s Hospital in east London.

Amid the maelstrom of sick patients, overworked staff and underfunded wards, a more insidious secret soon declares itself: too many patients are dying.

My Review

Sometimes People Die was much more than a medical thriller, it was a lament, a portrait of a doctor overworked, pushed to the edge. A hospital crumbling, unable to recruit, it’s staff overworked underpaid and all this in 1999, but sounds all too familiar in 2022.

It helped that its author was indeed one of those doctors, his medical insight, his emotions and experience more than evident in his nameless narrator. A nameless narrator who took the only position open to him after the shame of a drug addled past.

We entered a world of endless hours on shift. the cardiac arrests, the ill and infirm, and then bam a death, a seemingly ordinary death until it wasn’t. Stephenson put our narrator under the spotlight, his past misdemeanours made him the ideal suspect, but there were others that stood out, that could so easily have been the culprit.

As our narrator sweated, the relentless shifts continued but Stephenson threw in some memorable characters, my favourite Felix, a drug addict with a heart condition who became the bane of our young doctors life. George the flat mate, affable, chilled, his girlfriend Amelia, the doctor with all the answers. There was student nurse Louise, eager as a young puppy to do well.

As the true extent of the deaths hit the hospital, Stephenson skilfully played around with his suspects, dangled them in front of us before taking them away.

When, at last you thought it was wrapped up, Stephenson through a spanner in the works, our narrator determined to finally discover the truth.

I somehow knew who it would be but the journey there was thrilling, immersive and as someone who loves anything medical, addictive.

The only thing Stephenson needs to do to now is get some TV rights, some fantastic actors and we would have a fantastic drama.

I would like to thank Borough Press for a copy of Sometimes People Fie to read and review and Midas PR for inviting My Bookish blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

I am from Edinburgh in Scotland, but live now in Los Angeles. I have had stopovers along the way in London and San Francisco.

I’m a writer and screenwriter, and before I became a full-time writer I was a physician.

My new novel, ‘Sometimes People Die’ will be published in September 2022.

I have written two other books. ‘Set My Heart To Five’ came out in 2020. The Washington Post review said that I might be ‘Vonnegut’s first true protege’. You’d better believe I am going to be dining out on that for the rest of my life.

‘Let Not the Waves Of the Sea’, my memoir about losing my brother came out in 2012. It won Best First Book at the Scottish Book Awards, and was serialized on BBC Radio 4.

I’ve worked as a writer on various films including Pixar’s LUCA, PADDINGTON 2, and my own THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN. Like every other screenwriter in Hollywood, I have a bottom drawer full of unproduced scripts and forgotten promises. So it goes.

#Blogtour Whisper Of The Seals by Roxanne Bouchard @RBouchard72 @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #WhisperOfTheSeals

The Blurb

Detective Moralès returns in a breathtaking literary thriller set on the icy seas of Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, in the midst of a brutal seal hunt, where nothing is as it seems and absolutely no one can be trusted…
Fisheries officer Simone Lord is transferred to Quebec’s remote Magdalen Islands for the winter, and at the last minute ordered to go aboard a trawler braving a winter storm for the traditional grey seal hunt, while all of the other boats shelter onshore.
Detective Sergeant Joaquin Moralès is on a cross-country boat trip down the St Lawrence River, accompanied by Nadine Lauzon, a forensic psychologist working on the case of a savagely beaten teenager with Moralès’ old team in Montreal.
When it becomes clear that Simone is in grave danger aboard the trawler, the two cases converge, with startling, terrifying consequences for everyone involved…

My Review

Before I go any further let me just say that there are vivid descriptions of seal culling that some may find uncomfortable . On the flip side it had its place within the novel, not something Bouchard threw in to shock but to signify the greed, of its participants and the need to make money and survive.

Now that bit is out of the way what about the rest of the novel. For me this had to be one of Bouchard’s best, one that from the very first page reeled me in and released its grip at the end.

Once again, Simone Lord was that fearless fisheries officer unceremoniously thrown onto an all male sealing boat. She was a woman in a man’s world, derided, preyed on by men that saw her as fair game, there for their enjoyment. This is what I liked about Bouchard, no stereotypical woman for her, instead a woman who kept her vulnerability firmly under wraps, her resilience, resistance focused on the job, on finding that one person who could protect her.

Then of course we had Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales. For him it was all about coming to terms with his recent divorce, a holiday to get his head together. Could he leave the job behind, work out his feelings for Simone? The simple answer was, of course no, Bouchard was not going to let him have a relaxing time. Drawn into a fellow detectives case it soon became apparent something big was about to happen.

And so, Bouchard slipped ever so seamlessly between Joaquin and Simone, both stuck on their respective boats, sailing toward the unknown.

Bouchard knew how to tweak your feelings, your emotions that sense of urgency, of cold stone fear as Simone bravely battled her thoughts and the actions of the men.

Desperation swept in on all sides, the boat crew for the kill, for the dollar signs that loomed large, for Simone the need to survive, to warn others, to do her job. As the stakes rose, so did the chill Bouchard injected into the narrative, the vivid imagery of a cold, white, soulless climate, of murder, drugs and sacrifice.

You waited for Morales to join the dots, to perhaps be the knight in shining armour, a happy ending in sight. But hey, this was a crime novel, nothing guaranteed least of all from Bouchard.

It’s not for me to tell you the ending but let’s just say, I was shocked and I will leave it at that.

The Whisper of The Seals was what I would call Bouchard’s crossroads novel, a novel that challenged its characters to the extreme both physically and emotionally. It was her way of saying, we are at that point in the series where perhaps things needed to divert in another direction, new roads, new experiences. What a great way to keep us dangling, to leave this reader wanting more and hoping it won’t be long before the next Novel drops through the letterbox.

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

About the author

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the
Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets,
and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. Her fifth novel
(first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, followed by The Coral Bride, which was a number-one bestseller in Canada, shortlisted for the CWA Translation Dagger and won the Crime Writers of Canada’s Crime Book of the Year Award. Whisper of the Seals is the third novel. She lives in Quebec with her partner, an undertak

#Blogtour The Daves Next Door by Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #randomthingstours #thedavesnextdoor

Orenda Books 21st July 2022

The Blurb

A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care. An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.
A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.
Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.
Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.
Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?
Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.


My Review

This was Will Carver at his absolute best. I have never read anything more original, more engaging and completely off the wall than The Daves Next Door.

Yes there were characters, no there wasn’t much speech, just one long blow your socks of monologue that questioned a vast array of what is wrong and right in todays society.

It all started with a security report, a multi faceted terrorist attack on London that had already happened, neatly swung back to the before as Carver systematically stripped back the why.

He started with the Daves, stuck in a loop of paranoia, fear, mental health dwindling down the proverbial drain. It did confuse me a little until bit by bit Carver unravelled their trauma and it all slowly began to make sense.

Vashti was one of my favourites, a nurse who had lost that spark, work a chore, all feeling pushed to one side. Her relationship with her patient, the sportsman was interesting, his ability to only see Vashti in colour, the rest of the world in grey. It was such a fantastic way for Carver to show the sportsman’s despair at his career ending injury, Vashti the one shining light, the beacon he gravitated towards, the one who could drive him on to full recovery.

Saul, the sad widower, death the only option until the two ‘angels’ his two lodgers, offered a path to his beloved wife Ada. His son, Ash the son wracked with guilt at his dereliction of care towards his Father, who suddenly acted to rectify only to make the ultimate sacrifice.

And what about Carver’s narrator? The man on the tube, the man who watched those around him, who waited for the right time do what he was chosen to do. He was Carvers ultimate mouthpiece, the one who questioned his characters motives, their inner psyche. Who was he, Carver asked us? Was he God, the all seeing, all knowing figure so many believed or was he a man poised to change the lives of many, the beliefs of others systematically placed in his brain, the power to change lives at his fingertips.

To me he was whatever you wanted him to be, Carvers genius instrument that questioned, cajoled the reader to dig deep, to question our reality, wether that be how we see things or how wider society views life.

The ending brilliantly captivated it all, a glorious conclusion of winners and losers, of epiphanies, enlightenment and despair.

Thank you Will Carver for once again pushing the boundaries, of being brave and skilful enough to not write the usual thriller but instead to be that off beat deep thinker we all love.

I would to thank Orenda Books for a copy of The Daves Next Door to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, 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, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford is out in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

#Blogpost Tasting Sunlight by Ewald Arenz @EwardArenz @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TastingSunlight

Orenda Books June 23rd 2022

The Blurb

Teenager Sally has just run away from a clinic where she is to be treated for anorexia. She’s furious with everything and everyone, and wants to be left in peace. Liss is in her forties, living alone on a large farm that she runs single- handedly. She has little contact with the outside world, and no need for other people.
From their first meeting, Sally realises that Liss isn’t like other adults; she
The first night lengthens into weeks as Sally starts to find pleasure in working with the bees, feeding the chickens, and harvesting potatoes. Eventually an unlikely friendship develops and these two damaged women slowly open up – connecting to each other, reconnecting with themselves, and facing the darkness in their pasts through their shared work on the land.

My Review

I always think it is a mark of a talented author particularly a male that somehow manages to understand the female psyche, to write a whole novel driven by two female protagonists.

Let’s start with Sally a young teenager on the run from a clinic fed up of being told what to do or more importantly what to feel.

She headed, unbeknown to herself to Lisa’s farm, a woman alone, ostracised by the local villagers, with an inherent sense of quiet resilience, a past mired in mystery.

Their relationship formed the brilliance of Arenz’s novel, his perception of their feelings of their emotions was to me astonishing. How could he drill down so perfectly on a young teenagers rebellion against her parents, authority, and at some points her own self. Liss, contained but never one to ask or press Sally, a quiet acknowledgment and understanding that they were the same.

I enjoyed Arenz use of the farming landscape, of the simple acts of gathering crops, of waking up to a glorious autumn sunrise, how it gave Sally peace, a full stop in the perpetual circle of fighting what others thought she should do. Yet Arenz knew their quiet existence would not and could not continue.

Sally’s need to discover Liss’s secrets pushed their quiet understanding to the limits, the encroaching encirclement of Sally’s parents and authorities forced matters to a head. I expected Arenz to bring the novel to its conclusion but no there was more

.Arenz wasn’t finished with Sally and Liss, there was more they had to say, more they had to learn about themselves and indeed each other. There was nothing dramatic about it just the slow meticulous unraveling of Liss in particular, their roles somehow swapped, Sally the strong one, the one who perhaps understood what the future may hold for Liss.

Arenz gave us a fitting ending, one where you could look back and admire this quiet, thoughtful novel with a narrative that shouted about so much but most of showcased the talent of a very gifted author.

I would like to thank Orenda for a copy of Tasting Sunlight to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the Blogtour

About the author

Ewald Arenz was born in Nurnberg in 1965, where he now teaches. He has won various national and regional awards for literature; among them the Bavarian State Prize for Literature and the great Nuremberg Prize for Literature. One of seven children, he enjoys nature, woodturning, biking, swimming, and drinking tea. He lives with his family in Germany. #TastingSunlight #JubilantJune @EwaldArenz

#Blogpost Nothing Else by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #NothingElse

Orenda Books 23rd June

The Blurb

Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts
her sister, who was taken when their parents died, aided on by her childhood
her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown
ords and a single song that continues to haunt her.
out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.
But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night …
coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

My Review

There is always that sense of anticipation when a new novel by Louise Beech thuds through the letter box. Such is her ability to write in a wide range of themes and topics you are never quite sure where she would take you, I certainly did not expect a cruise ship.

Our protagonist was the very lovely Heather, divorced, alone, a woman who merely existed but did not appear to live, that certain something missing from her life. It was that missing piece of her life, her sister, that drove Beech’s narrative that plunged into the depths of a troubled childhood, of a trauma that lingered through to the present.

I loved that Beech sent Heather on a cruise ship, her social services file tucked neatly into her luggage. Is was as if she wanted to contain Heather, to concentrate her mind, days at sea nowhere to runaway to and escape what lay between the pages.

It was hard to read her stark memories, the abuse, the protective arms she wrapped around her younger sister. Beech’s descriptions of their love for the piano, of their own song, Nothing Else, tugged at heart strings, I loved how it wove its way through the whole novel, it’s tune the talisman that bound Heather and Harriet together.

Yet it wasn’t just Heather’s story, it was also Harriet’s, a differing, perhaps softer angle but still just as powerful. Just like Heather her life was also at a crossroads, health a consideration that forced choices and also impeccable timing.

Aspects of the novel could have seemed contrived but not in Beech’s more than capable hands. Yes, you sort of had an inkling what would happen but that was not what this was about, it was very definitely about the how and the why. It’s the reason why you read Beech, to feel the intense emotions she weaves within her narrative, the human reactions, the tears that are just waiting to greet you.

In my eyes Beech can do no wrong and Nothing Else proved once again just how good an author she is.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Nothing Else to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

All six of Louise Beech’s books have been digital bestsellers. Her novels have been a Guardian Readers’ Choice, shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull. Follow her on Twitter @louisewriter
The multiple bestselling and award-winning author returns with an exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma and the unbreakable bond between sisters; a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.
Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts
her sister, who was taken when their parents died, aided on by her childhood
her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown
ords and a single song that continues to haunt her.
out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.
But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night …
coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

#Blogtour Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #LittleDrummer

Orenda Books 26th May 2022

The Blurb

When a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage, everyone suspects an overdose … until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered. Oslo Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda discover that the victim’s Kenyan scientist boyfriend has disappeared, and their investigations soon lead them into the shady world of international pharmaceutical deals.

While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications.

When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, all three investigators face incalculable danger, spanning two continents. And not everyone will make it out alive…

Exploding the confines of the Nordic Noir genre, Little Drummer is a sophisticated, fast-paced, international thriller with a searingly relevant, shocking premise that will keep you glued to the page.

My Review

The one thing you can always guarantee from Dahl are the wonderful descriptions of his beloved Oslo, the streets, the sea and its coastline and in this one a multi storey car park. Not what you would expect but then this is a crime novel and it wouldn’t be that without a starting point and indeed a body.

There was never going to be a simple explanation as to it being there, but then Dahl has never made it easy for the reader or his two detectives, Gunnarstranda and Frolich. Gunnarstranda in particular was dogged and pedantic, his gut and instinct knew the cause of death wasn’t suicide, his innate need to ferret out the truth, to discover the culprits evident from beginning to end.

Frolich, was not entirely Gunnarstranda’s opposite but altogether more easy going, the one most likely to kick back, relax and have some fun. I reckon Dahl gave him the job as gopher, the one able to do the more practical and indeed more energetic elements of the investigation.

In Dahl’s narrative they were obviously the perfect couple and as the investigation intensified, as the leads and clues became more complex it was Frolich that was packaged off to Africa to find the dead woman’s boyfriend.

What Frolich did not expect was journalist, Lise hot on the trail and I thoroughly enjoyed the cat and mouse game Dahl played with them.

It was also where Dahl’s narrative came to life, the heat, the dust, the bustling streets, the chaotic roads, the run down buildings hiding those who did not what to be found.

Those that were found and the truths uncovered were deeper than the detectives could ever have imagined. Drugs that promised everything but did nothing, dodgy financial transactions, innocents caught in the cross fire.

As always Dahl got our detectives to the end, to the truth but also he also gave them something more personal. For Gunnarstranda the realisation that his lifestyle was not perhaps conducive to longevity and an acceptance that changes would have to be made. For Frolich a little romance, perhaps a way forward in his own personal issues.

It was that human touch merged with all the classic Scandi Noir hallmarks that makes Dahl’s novels so damn good.

Roll on the next instalment.

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

About the author

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers (Oslo Detectives series) featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

#Blogtour Quicksand of Memory by Michael J Malone @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #QuicksandOfMemory

Orenda Books December 9th 2021

The Blurb

Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships. Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy. When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need. And yet, someone is watching. Someone who has been scarred by past events. Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…
Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that
memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…

My Review

What a tangled web and intricate storyline Mr Malone wove within The Quicksand Of Memory, indeed memory played such a huge role as Malone explored his characters own memories as the past crashed into the future.

The prologue couldn’t help but provoke emotion for the young Jamie, foster parents who whose cold, icy, loveless care would have a lasting effect well into his adult life.

The present was Luke and stepson Nathan attempting to rebuild a future in his chosen career as a psychiatrist, an apt profession and a genius stroke from Malone. What better way to meet and indeed enter the minds of the characters Malone would bring together.

Jenna, bookseller, carer also trying to rebuild a future. Finally Amanda, Jamie’s sister, an upbringing opposite to Jamie, bitter, twisted as Malone used that mindset to pull Jamie’s strings, to exploit his vulnerability, to dish out a revenge Amanda felt was rightfully theirs.

Malone didn’t give much away as you were left wondering how they were all connected, each character given their own voice, their own story and more importantly their own memory, their version of events. Were their recollections true, clear or merely skewed by others, and even themselves. It was them to work out as they all collided, as slowly they learnt the meaning of those connections, as the Malone pushed the stakes and indeed the danger higher and higher.

I loved that we had prior knowledge of some of those secrets, we were flies on the wall as we watched the repercussions, saw them hurtling to a tumultuous ending.

It was also about seeking closure, of reconciliation of the past with the present, of forgiveness, understanding, learning to live with events, close the door and move on.

I liked that Malone didn’t give us the stereotypical ending, question marks left on the page fir the reader to ponder and imagine.

A novel with never a quiet moment, it’s characters and indeed the reader trapped in a whirlwind of revelation, of moments that felt unnerving and uncomfortable, Quicksand Of Memory was one hell of a good read.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Quicksand Of Memory to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died, In the Absence of Miracles and A
Song of Isolation soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber
& Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

#Blogtour The Shot by Sarah Sultoon @SultoonSarah @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheShot

Orenda Books April 28th 2022

The Blurb

Samira is an up-and-coming TV journalist, working the nightshift at a major news channel and yearning for greater things. So when she’s offered a trip to the Middle East, with Kris, the station’s brilliant but impetuous star
photographer, she leaps at the chance
In the field together, Sami and Kris feel invincible, shining a light into the
darkest of corners … except the newsroom, and the rest of the world,
doesn’t seem to care as much as they do. Until Kris takes the photograph.
With a single image of young Sudanese mother, injured in a raid on her
camp, Sami and the genocide in Darfur are catapulted into the limelight. But
everything is not as it seems, and the shots taken by Kris reveal something
deeper and much darker … something that puts not only their careers but
their lives in mortal danger.
Sarah Sultoon brings all her experience as a CNN news executive to bear on
this shocking, searingly authentic thriller, which asks immense questions
about the world we live in. You’ll never look at a news report in the same way
again…


My Review

The war reporter, glamourous, dangerous, kudos off the scale, the pinnacle of any journalists career. Its what we see on TV, read in the newspapers, online, but what about behind, the lens, the words, I could have thought of no better person than Sarah Sultoon to take us there, her background at CNN the strong credentials needed that gave us that realistic and understanding, that is so often difficult to translate into fiction.

Sultoon’s approach to have her two main characters at either end of the career spectrum was genius, highlighting the disparity in thought, reasoning but what they both shared was hunger, a hunger for the story, to tell and show the truth.

Samira, young, eager desperate for that first break, hellbent at getting it at whatever the cost, often to the detriment of friendship. She could have come across as distinctly unlikeable but Sultoon didn’t go down that route, instead she gave us her backstory, a much admired lost journalist father, a man she wished to emulate.

Indeed when her break came it was in the company of veteran war photographer Kris, rebounding from a lucky escape desperate to return to the frontline. Kabul, their first assignment together was supposed to be simple, get the story, get out but Sultoon had other ideas for the two of them, a Samir that pushed for that one shot, Kris her willing participant. The consequences were hair raising, dramatic, Sultoon’s imagery blindingly brilliant yet she didn’t stop there, she wanted to show us more, Africa the final back drop. A refugee camp, warring factions on horseback, the untold story a hairs breadth away.

Yes Kabul may have been dangerous but Sultoon made this feel even more dangerous. It wasn’t the physical danger of being killed but more a culmination of years of witnessing the horrors of war, the subtle twist of the mindset, the off kilter reasoning that forced its way to the front of the novel.

Sultoon cast aside the glamour, the kudos, stripped back the bravado and instead we saw vulnerability, trauma, a loss of the self, an imposter sat before us. It reminded me of war reporter Fergal Keene who wrote of his own trauma, and psychological damage, who recognised the need to pull away before it engulfed and drowned him.

Sadly for this character Sultoon did not spare them but left it as a lesson, a line in the African sand that should not be crossed.

The Shot left me wanting more, I wanted to know more of Samira and her future career and I would be interested to know if another novel is planned.

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

About the author

Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer, whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate language degree in French and Spanish, and Masters of Philosophy in History, Film and Television. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or
throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if… Her debut thriller The Source is currently in production with Lime Pictures, and was a Capital Crime Book Club pick and a number one bestseller on Kindle.

Blogtour Faceless by Vanda Symon @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #faceless

Orenda Books March 17th 2022

The Blurb

Worn down by a job he hates, and a stressful family life, middle-aged, middle- class Bradley picks up a teenage escort and commits an unspeakable crime. Now she’s tied up in his warehouse, and he doesn’t know what to do.
Max is homeless, eating from rubbish bins, sleeping rough and barely existing – known for cadging a cigarette from anyone passing, and occasionally even the footpath. Nobody really sees Max, but he has one friend, and she’s gone missing.
In order to find her, Max is going to have to call on some people from his past,
and reopen wounds that have remained unhealed for a very long time –
and the clock is ticking…

My Review

A stand-alone novel from Vanda Symon certainly peaked my interest and it was apparent from the first page Symon would include all the hallmarks of her usual thriller content but with added extras.

I loved that she told the story using the voices of her characters, that we knew who the perpetrator was, could see their emotions, their fears.

Billy 18 years old, lived on the streets, her talent as a graffiti artist the one thing that gave her focus. Yet she was vulnerable, turned to prostitution when she needed paints for her art, skillfully dodged the pimps that wanted her for themselves. Ultimately it was her downfall, an unwilling victim to a selfish, under pressure man who wanted nothing more than to express his suppressed power over a woman.

Billy was Max’s only friend, the guardian angel who sat on his shoulder, prodded him into a modicum of life, of wanting to look after himself. It was her guardianship that thrust Max back into real life, to finally facing up to the past, to taking back control and reconnecting with family and work mates.

And what about our perpetrator Bradley? Married with a young family, a domineering wife who just wanted to fix things and a manager who piled on the work, the threat of dismissal ever present. Symon brilliantly portrayed a man who just wanted to dare himself, to prove he wasn’t just a whipping boy for his wife, evolved him into a monster, his mind and reasoning twisted to justify his actions.

As Bradley actions intensified so did those of Max as he raced to find Billy, Symon forced him to reconnect with family, with old colleagues. She slowly thrust the old Max back to the fore, his story one that showed a desperate, guilt ridden man having to confront his fears, to see a light that could lead back to a life of normality away from the streets of Auckland.

As Max desperately searched, it was Symon’s harrowing descriptions of Billy’s ordeal that grabbed your emotions, your anger as you screamed at the page for the torture to stop. As her plight became more desperate you admired her resolve, discovered her own traumatic back story before Symon hurtled you into the heart stopping final few pages.

Faceless may have been a crime novel but it also asked a question, raised a few thoughts through its title, Faceless. The faceless are those we see living on the streets, the ones that we tip toe around, see the ragged clothes, the uncleanliness, the card board boxes, the women who prostitute themselves in order to survive. Do we ever stop to think what put them there? Did we ever consider their past circumstances some much like Billy and Max? Maybe next time we should stop and think and like Symon look behind the faceless.

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

About the author

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series, which includes Overkill, The Ringmaster, Containment and Bound, hit number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and has also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award. Overkill was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.

Twitter @vandasymon, Instagram @vanda-symon, Facebook, @vandasymonauthor, http://www.vandasymon.com.

#Blogtour River Clyde by Simone Buchholz @ohneKlippo @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #RiverClyde

Orenda Books March 17th 2022

The Blurb

Chastity Riley travels to Scotland to face the demons of her past, as Hamburg is hit by a major arson attack. Queen of Krimi, Simone Buchholz, returns with the emotive fifth instalment in the electric Chastity Riley series …

Mired in grief after tragic recent events, state prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house.

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront.

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone.

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is an electrifying, poignant and powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

My Review

I can honestly say this was Buchholz’s best novel yet, totally unexpected in its direction, a Chastity Riley the like we have not seen before.

Where was that tough woman who liked her men and, who could drink many under the table? This was a stripped back, naked Riley, vulnerable, emotional, reflective but still with glimpses of that moody, stubborn Riley we have come to love. Not for her the streets of Hamburg but a new location, the streets of Glasgow, the River Clyde winding a protective layer around the city and Riley. What brought her there?

Astoundingly a dead aunt and an inherited house, one Riley was not sure, in true typical style, she would accept. Instead Buchholz gave us introspection, a glance back to childhood to her mother and father, an unconventional and tragedy filled upbringing that perhaps explained her stubborn, strong willed nature. You felt empathy, admiration and somehow a closeness not felt in previous encounters, as if Riley had to look back in order to rebuild, reconnect and discover just what it was she wanted for her future.

Was that future back in Hamburg with police detective Stepanovic, as he made a meagre attempt at some police work, his mind clearly elsewhere. In fact Riley’s fellow colleagues and friendship group all appeared to be struggling, a throw back to the tragic events we encountered in Hotel Cartegena.

Buchholz threw in some crime but it wasn’t important, merely a tool to highlight her floundering broken and healing characters.

As Riley worked through her emotions , quite a few beers and a smattering of whiskey you sensed her liking for Glasgow, for its people. Perhaps it was a city not that far removed her own hometown of Hamburg, the same hardened inhabitants, and back streets that made her feel at home. But would it be her new home, the opportunity of new adventures, maybe a new job?

That is something only Buchholz and Riley know and an answer I await with baited breath to discover.

What I can say is that River Clyde was a brave and admirable diversion from Buchholz’s norm and one that paid off in bucket loads.

It felt like it was something Buchholz had been longing to do, biding her time until both she and Riley were ready.

Bravo Simone Buchholz, amazing, emotive and brilliant.

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

About the author

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied philosophy and literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award and was runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. The next in the Chastity Riley series, Beton Rouge, won the Radio Bremen Crime Fiction Award and Best Economic Crime Novel 2017. In 2019, Mexico Street, the next in Chastity Riley series, won the German Crime Fiction Prize. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son. Follow Simone on Twitter @ohneKlippo and visit her website http://www.simonebuchholz.com.

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