Quick Reads celebrates its 15th birthday @midaspr @readingagency #quickreads

CELEBRATING THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF QUICK READS:

SHORT BOOKS AND GREAT STORIES TACKLING THE ADULT LITERACY CRISIS

One in six adults in the UK – approximately 9 million people – find reading difficult, and one in three people do not regularly read for pleasure. Quick Reads, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, plays a vital role in addressing these shocking statistics by inspiring emergent readers, as well as those with little time or who have fallen out of the reading habit, with entertaining and accessible writing from the very best contemporary authors.

OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE: The Baby is Mine (Atlantic)

LOUISE CANDLISH: The Skylight (Simon & Schuster)

KATIE FFORDE: Saving the Day (Arrow)

PETER JAMES: Wish You Were Dead (Macmillan)

CAITLIN MORAN: How to Be a Woman, abridged (Ebury)

Over 5 million Quick Reads have been distributed since the life-changing programme launched in 2006. From 2020 – 2022, the initiative is supported by a philanthropic gift from bestselling author Jojo Moyes. This year, for every book bought until 31 July 2021, another copy will be gifted to help someone discover the joy of reading. ‘Buy one, gift one’ will see thousands of free books given to organisations across the UK to reach less confident readers and those with limited access to books – bring the joy and transformative benefits of reading to new audiences.

27 May 2021 | £1 | #QuickReads @readingagency

www.readingagency.org.uk 

Buy one, gift one: Buy a Quick Read this summer and we’ll gift a copy to help someone discover the joy of reading.”

My Review

The Baby Is Mine.jpg

I was a librarian for 20 years before a career change yet I still champion reading and it’s importance for everyone. Reading doesn’t comes easily for some and the thought of a book with hundreds of pages can seem daunting, this is where the quick reads series can help those reluctant or those who struggle.

The Baby Is Mine was everything a quick read should be, as Braithwaite entertained with a fabulous story. She gave the reader an opportunity to escape England to experience another country, the heat, the culture and three characters who held your attention.

Bambi was the alpha male chucked out by his girlfriend for cheating only to find himself peacemaker as his aunt and her dead husbands mistress fought over a baby. It was tense, fraught with arguments, darkness, locked rooms and exciting. Just who was the mother of this innocent lovely baby, a question that kept you turning the pages. The aunt and girlfriend were suitably bitchy, claws out, both desperate to prove they were the mother.

The ending was unexpected but very fitting for the time and feel of the story. If anything can persuade an individual that reading is an escape from the rigours of normal life then The Baby Is Mine would be the perfect introduction.

About the author

Image result for Oyinkan Braithwaite

Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at a Nigerian Publishing House and has been freelancing as a writer and graphic designer since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self-published work.

In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam. In 2016, she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

She is the author of My Sister, the Serial Killer, which won the 2019 LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller, the 2019 Morning News Tournament of Books, the 2019 Amazon Publishing Reader’s Award for Best Debut Novel, the 2019 Anthony Award for Best First Novel.

It was also shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019, shortlisted for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 in the Mystery & Thriller and Debut Novel categories, shortlisted for the British Book Awards 2020 in two categories, shortlisted for the Cameo Awards 2020 in the Book to Audio category, shortlisted for Book Bloggers’ Choice Awards 2020.

It was longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019, and longlisted for the 2020 Dublin Literary Award.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is being translated into 30 languages and has also been optioned for film.

#Blogtour Mrs Narwhal’s Diary by S. J Norbury #SJNorbury @LouiseWalters12 @dampebbles #damppebblesblogtours #MrsNarwhalsDiary

Mrs Narwhal’s Diary by S.J Norbury Louise Walters Books May 16th 2021

The Blurb

“It was Woman’s Hour who suggested I keep a diary. They said it was good for mental health, and I must say I did feel much less frazzled after writing everything down yesterday. The frustrations were all still there, but somehow smoothed out – as if by a really good steam iron.”

Mrs Narwhal is overwhelmed. Her husband, Hugh, is unkind and unhappy – working every hour at a job he hates to save the ancestral home he never wanted. Then there’s Hugh’s sister, Rose, who’s spurned her one true love, and ricochets from crisis to crisis; and not to mention two small boys to bring up safely in a house that could crumble around their ears at any moment…

When Hugh’s pride receives a fatal blow, and he walks out, Mrs Narwhal is plunged into a crisis of both heart and home. With help from Rose she sets out to save the house her husband couldn’t. But can she save her marriage? And does she really want Hugh back?

Funny, charming, and moving, Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is an irresistible story which will enchant and delight its readers.

My Review

When a person decides to keep a diary the reasons can be many, but for most it’s a place to write inner feelings, and events of the day and this was the case for Mrs Narwhal.

The opening entry was droll, the ringing of a bell to signify the death anniversary of her husbands father, the family, disparate, unhappy. It was Norbury’s opportunity to set the scene to lay out the characters before the reader. Hugh, the husband, dull, the weight of the world on his shoulders, Rose the sister, colourful, flighty, the young sons desperate for escape and adventure, innocent onlookers to a broken family.

Broken? An inherited house full of history, the family seat that fell in ruins around them, a garden that could never be tamed and a tree house that screamed health and safety at you. All of this with dire financial issues, Mrs Narwhal the glue that appeared to hold it all together.

I loved that she was strong, determined, honest to herself, fully aware her marriage may not survive, Hugh lost to her, as she waded through a treacle like life. The catalyst when it came felt like a relief, the shackles released, Rose, invigorated, given a sense of purpose as Norbury sent them on a meandering path to rescue not only a house but a family.

It was never dark or full of utter despair, the diary was laced with humour, with appalling country characters full of snobbish self worth and entitlement. You grinned as Mrs Narwhal navigated dinner parties on her own, dealt with a love sick Rose and watched as her boys ran riot.

Norbury did give us a serious side in the shape of Hugh, the inability to cope with expectation, responsibility, suffocated by a house that fell around his eyes. Escape may have seemed cowardly but you did wonder what would have happened if he had stayed. I may have felt frustrated with him at first but as Norbury dug deeper you felt empathy, anger at his parents and admired the poignancy Norbury injected within the narrative.

I did want a happy ending, my investment in the characters demanded it as I fell in love with the chaotic, mad but utterly beguiling world of the Narwhal’s. Obviously it is not for me to reveal but for you to discover.

I would like to thank Louise Walters Books for a copy of Mrs Narwhal’s Diary to read and review and to Damp Pebbles Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is her first novel.

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3aDOjKw

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3xscUMc

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/2R5p3pt

WHSmith: https://bit.ly/2QZkOMq

Foyles: https://bit.ly/3gHJMKX

Nook: https://bit.ly/3aEgMQf

Blackwells: https://bit.ly/3tXM1xk

#Blogtour The Ash Museum by Rebecca Smith @RMSmithAuthor @Legend_times #TheAshMuseum

The Blurb

1944. The Battle of Kohima. James Ash dies leaving behind two families: his ‘wife’ Josmi and two children, Jay and Molly, and his parents and sister in England who know nothing about his Indian family. 
2012. Emmie is raising her own daughter, Jasmine, in a world she wants to be very different from the racist England of her childhood. Her father, Jay, doesn’t even have a photograph of the mother he lost and still refuses to discuss his life in India. Emmie finds comfort in the local museum – a treasure trove of another family’s stories and artefacts. 
Little does Emmie know that with each generation, her own story holds secrets and fascinations that she could only dream of.

Through ten decades and across three continents, The Ash Museum is an intergenerational story of loss, migration and the search for somewhere to feel at home. 

My Review

The Ash Museum was a nostalgic trip down memory Lane not only for Emmie but also for me. I felt I was stepping inside my own recollections of the 80’s and 90’s, the clothes, the music, the world in general.

Of course what I didn’t remember nor had lots of knowledge was that of India’s tea plantations, the British who ran them, their overriding righteousness and sense of entitlement not only of the land but also it’s people.

It was where Smith began her story, the two little children, Jay and Molly, born out of wedlock, an Indian mother, a British father. She brilliantly portrayed the mothers constant anguish, wondering when she might be abandoned, the worry about the future of her children.

It set up the rest of the novel beautifully as Smith thrust us into the future to the life of Emmie and her father Jay. Jay of mixed race inheritance, singled out at school just because his colouring, his family were slightly different. Assumptions made you cross, frustrated but that just highlighted how skilled Smith was, never letting the racism take over the novel. She gave a balanced view point, gave Jay and Emmie reasons to succeed and for Emmie, in particular, a quiet reticence, a shyness and unwillingness to push her father into discussing his and her own heritage.

The willingness to dig deeper wasn’t a huge earthquake just a series of events, gentle nudges that pushed Emmie to be brave, to finally push her father to acknowledge his past.

I loved Smith’s narrative, the wonderful descriptions, the use of the Ash Museum and it’s eclectic and disparate collection of odd and wondrous artefacts. It reminded me of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, a place that never ceases to amaze and intrigue on the several times I have visited.

The feel of the novel was always one of hope, the dark carefully balanced with the light and joyous elements. It had a poignancy that tugged at heart strings, and I loved Emmie’s emergence from the slightly lonely woman lacking in self confidence to one that found a little of herself, of renewed friendships and happiness.

The Ash Museum was a veritable trip down memory lane, one that I revelled in and loved.

I would like to thank Legend Times for a copy of The Ash Museum to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

RebeccaSmithPhoto.jpg

Rebecca Smith was born in London and grew up in rural Surrey. From 2009 – 2010 she was the writer in residence at Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire. The Ash Museum was inspired by her time there and by being left hundreds of old family photographs and letters.


Twitter:  @RMSmithAuthor
IG:  @rebeccamarysmith7

#Blogblast Painting Time by Maylis de Kerangel Translated by Jessica Moore #MaylisdeKerangal @MaclehosePress @QuercusBooks @MillsReid11 #PaintingTime

A highly original coming-of-age story: an atmospheric and aesthetic portrayal of love, art and craftsmanship told through the story of a young decorative painter Kerangal’s novels sell hundreds of thousands of copies in her native France. Painting Time has so far sold over 135k copies there. 13 translation deals across the world have been agreed.

Behind the ornate doors of 30, rue du Métal in Brussels, twenty students begin their apprenticeship in the art of decorative painting – that art of tricksters and counterfeiters, where each knot in a plank of wood hides a secret and every vein in a slab of marble tells a story.
Among these students are Kate, Jonas and Paula Karst. Together, during a relentless year of study, they will learn the techniques of reproducing materials in paint, whether animal, vegetable or mineral, and the intensity of their experience – the long hours in the studio, the late nights, the conversations, arguments, parties, romances – will cement a friendship that lasts long after their formal studies end.
For Paula, her initiation into the art of trompe l’œil will take her back through time, from her own childhood memories, to the ancient formations of the materials whose depiction she strives to master. And from the institute in Brussels where her studies begin, to her work on the film sets of Cinecittà, and finally the caves of Lascaux, her experiences will transcend art, gradually revealing something of her own inner world, and the secret, unspoken, unreachable desires of her heart
.

My Review

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Painting Time but once I began I knew I was in for a veritable treat.

Let’s start with the narrative, so beautifully descriptive, the world of trompe l’oeil a world I have never encountered. It was utterly fascinating to read of the techniques, the intricate detail and enrapt focus of Paula, Kate and Jonas as they attempted to replicate, to capture what went before. My absolute favourite had to be the caves of Lascaux, the history enthralling the cave paintings tantalisingly vivid.

How might you ask did the author connect the art of trompe l’oil to Paula’s past and present life. The answer lay in the actual art form itself, as Paula became more and more immersed, the peeling back of the art synched perfectly with the peeling back of her childhood memories. An awkward girl who never seemed to fit in and that appeared to carry on in her adult life. Each job she undertook felt like a coat she tried on, one that never fit, never felt comfortable. Her relationships with others were the same, transient, short lived never matching expectation, or quite the fit for Paula, her personality and her life.

Jonas and Kate hovered in the background, their lives different but was their life any better than what Paula had? I loved the special bond she shared with Jonas, was it love, unrequited love, did a future loom in the distance?

It wasn’t until the latter part of the novel, the author sending Paula to Lascaux, that a sense of fulfilment, of finding that match and a belonging began to take shape. Terrorism reared it’s head, the attack on illustrators forced a reassessment, an opportunity to be honest and open and a glimpse of a future left you feeling content and satisfied.

The magic of Painting Time was Kerangel’s narrative skill, the sublime and vivid way in which she described that art, the technique. It was her ability to weave it seamlessly into Paula’s self discovery and development that was the genius stroke and one that made reading an absolute joy and pleasure.

I would like to thank Maclehose for a copy of Painting Time to read and review and to Milly Reid for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blog blast.

About the author

See the source image

MAYLIS DE KERANGAL spent her childhood in Le Havre, France. Her novel, Birth of a Bridge (MacLehose, 2015), was the winner of the Prix Franz Hessel and Prix Médicis in 2010. In 2014, her fifth novel, Mend the Living, was published to wide acclaim in France, winning the Grand Prix RTL-Lire award and the student choice novel of the year from France Culture and Télèrama. In the UK, Mend the Living was longlisted for the Booker International Prize in 2016, and won the Wellcome Book Prize in 2017 – only the second novel and the first work in translation ever to do so.

Blog Celebration The International Dylan Thomas 2021 @dylanthomprize @midaspr #DylanThomasPrize2021

I was delighted to be invited by Midas PR to celebrate the shortlist and upcoming announcement of the winner of Dylan Thomas Prize 2021 on Thursday 13th May.

About the prize

Launched in 2006, the annual Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers, aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence.

The Prize is awarded to the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under.

Dylan Thomas, the quintessential adolescent writer, was ideally suited to serve as an inspiration to young writers everywhere. The freshness and immediacy of his writing were qualities that he never lost. The Prize seeks to ensure that readers today will have the chance to savour the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers.

“Dylan Thomas was the Swansea–born poet whose spell-binding words and performances conquered London and North America and identified him as one of the most influential writers of the mid twentieth century. The Prize established in his name has captured the imagination of writers internationally and in recent years thirty short-listed writers from all continents have come to Wales to speak to students and writing classes. The Prize has been won by writers from Wales and Northern Ireland, a Vietnamese Australian and three Americans. Swansea University is the chief sponsor of the Prize and is proud to be associated with a competition that invites entries from young writers from around the world”. (Peter Stead, Founder and President of the International Dylan Thomas Prize)

The partnership between Swansea University and the International Dylan Thomas Prize grows from common goals: we aim to identify and nurture talent, to celebrate creativity, and to achieve international excellence. We want to take the best of Swansea to the world and bring artists, scholars and students from around the globe to South Wales. As an ambitious, research intensive university, Swansea thrives on the creativity of students and staff across our many disciplines. We hope that over the years to come you will join us and the International Dylan Thomas Prize in applauding and supporting the very best young writers.

The Shortlist

  • Alligator and Other Stories by Dima Alzayat (Picador) – short story collection (Syria/USA)
  • Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis (HarperCollins, 4th Estate) – novel (USA)
  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber) – novel (Nigeria/USA)
  • Pew by Catherine Lacey (Granta) – novel (USA)
  • Luster by Raven Leilani (Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – novel (USA)
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (HarperCollins, 4th Estate) – novel (USA)

More information about the this years prize can be found at

About the prize – Swansea University

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi – A Review

The Death of Vivek Oji

They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.

One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son’s body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek’s birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family’s struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself.

Teeming with unforgettable characters whose lives have been shaped by Vivek’s gentle and enigmatic spirit, it shares with us a Nigerian childhood that challenges expectations. This novel, and its celebration of the innocence and optimism of youth, will touch all those who embrace it.

Review.

I adored this novel, and revelled in the authors ability to weave not only a story but also her skill in questioning our expectations of ourselves and others.

Vivek was the cog in which we and the characters rotated, the linch pin that bound it all together. His birth was a contradiction, happiness at his birth, grief at the death of his fathers mother. It set the tone for the rest of his life, a life Emezi ended on the first page.

We read as his mother wound herself in grief, constantly questioned family and friends, desperate for answers as to how and why he died.

His cousin, Osita, his friend Juju, Elizabeth, Somto and Olunne shared their grief but also secrets, ones that we and the family wanted to learn.

Emezi made us wait, instead plunged us backwards, to Viveks life, to his parents expectations, to achieve, to marry well. But could he live up to those expectations, what if what he wanted was different, what if his persona, his thought processes were all so very different?

The way in which Emezi tackled those questions was wonderful, the physical and in particular the mental trauma he endured made me angry and frustrated. I had to stop and remind myself that this was Nigerian society, maybe not as progressive or broad minded as that in which I live.

The effect it had on his friends, particularly Osita went from sheer happiness to despair, and maybe guilt after Vivek’s untimely death. The protective circle they formed around Vivek was poignant, a force field that allowed him to be who he wanted to be.

When the truth emerged I felt sadness, frustration not only for Vivek but for those he left behind. There was however a feeling of closure, of hope and ultimately the recognition of an author who had written a wonderfully poignant and thought provoking novel.

I would like to thank Midas Pr for a copy of The Death of Vivek Oji to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the Blogtour Celebration of the Dylan Thomas Prize 2021

About the author

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces. They are a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s ‘5 Under 35’ award for 2018, selected by Carmen Maria Machado. Born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, Emezi holds two degrees, including an MPA from New York University. In 2017, Emezi was awarded a Global Arts Fund grant and a Sozopol Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction. They won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa, and their writing has been published by Dazed Magazine, The Cut, Buzzfeed, Granta Online, Vogue.com, and Commonwealth Writers, among others. Freshwater, which was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in fiction by the American Library Association, is their debut novel.

#Blogtour Ariadne by Jennifer Saint #Ariadne

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint Wildfire April 29th 2021

The Blurb

My story would not be one of death and suffering and sacrifice, I would take my place in the songs that would be sung about Theseus; the princess who saved him and ended the monstrosity that blighted Crete’
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.
A truly spellbinding, epic story taking readers on an unforgettable journey. Perfect for fans of Circe, A Thousand Ships and The Silence of the Girls.

My Review

Did Ariadne save a hero or did she really save herself was a question Saint asked of us from the early pages of the novel.

Saint portrayed a spirited naive young woman destined to marry a man of her fathers choosing but from the moment she first set eyes on Theseus we knew life was about to change for Ariadne. And oh how it changed, not just for Ariadne but her younger sister Phaedra.

And there lay the crux of Saints novel, two women who in spite of what men threw at them somehow managed to thrive, to butt against the norm.

Ariadne, bedazzled by a man’s heroics, his good looks that hid an ambition to be the greatest no matter what the cost. Yet in adversity Saint gave her determination, a strength and indeed a graceful poise and stature. Yes she had flaws, tucked away in her own enclosed world as she chose to ignore what happened in the wider surroundings until life forced her to venture out. The consequences were not what I was expecting yet it somehow felt a right and fitting trajectory for Saint to choose.

Phaedra, the younger sister, was more stoic, hugely aware of her capacity to subversively change things. She accepted her lot but found ways to exert authority and power, to steer men to her will. Again Saint led her down a path that would be her ultimate undoing, as she paid the greatest sacrifice, over confident and a self belief that no man would turn her away, would say no.

Swirling around those two wonderful women Saint gave us a plethora of Greek gods, of myths and legends we all know about but which Saint brought to life in her wonderfully colourful narrative. We read as Icarus flew too close the son, of Poseidon and Hades their tales blended beautifully into the Ariadne’s and Phaedra’s story.

The bustling island of Crete, the magnificent city of Athens butted against the peace and solitude of the small island of Naxos. Polar opposites, much like the two cities, each sister a product of the location they resided. When finally together the sisters clashed but deep down a strong bond and love remained, each desperate to save the other, the consequences a damning indictment of man’s strong hold and self belief, of women as mere pawns in their pursuit of power and glory.

Ariadne was a fascinating, dazzling and mesmerising tale of Greek gods, myths and legends but more importantly of two women, their plight, and their strength. Putting aside its moral and undertones it was a novel to enjoy and savour.

I would to thank Maclehose for a copy of Ariadne to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. ARIADNE is her first novel and she is working on another retelling of ancient myth for her second.

Twitter @jennysaint

#Blogtour The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs Simon Schuster U.K. April 29th 2020

The Blurb

A storm has hit South Carolina, dredging up crimes of the past.
En route to Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan receives a call from the Charleston coroner. During the storm, a medical waste container has washed up on the beach. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Chillingly, Tempe recognises many details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec fifteen years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she flies to Montreal to gather evidence and convince her boss Pierre LaManch to reopen the cold case. She also seeks the advice—and comfort—of her longtime beau Andrew Ryan.
Meanwhile, a storm of a different type gathers force in South Carolina. The citizens of Charleston are struck by capnocytophaga, a bacterium that, at its worst, can eat human flesh. Thousands panic and test themselves for a rare genetic mutation that may have rendered them vulnerable.
Shockingly, Tempe eventually deduces not only that the victims in both grisly murder cases are related, but that the murders and the disease outbreak also have a common cause .

My Review

I can’t remember the last time I read a Kathy Reichs novel but as soon as I started it felt wonderfully comfortable and I felt safe in the knowledge I was in for a thumping good read.

Bodies in containers numerous years apart and in differing locations proved a tantalising and complicated case for Temperance Brennan and for us too. That didn’t faze Temperance nor did it faze me, in fact I relished having Reichs literally fry my brain. It was a heady combination of science and piecing together the history of the dead. We flew from the chill of Montreal to the humidity of Charleston as Reichs sent Temperance on multiple lines of enquiry that slowly opened up small chunks of clarity.

Reichs took us deeper into the murky underworld of the pharmaceutical industry, the dizzying theories behind genetics, vaccines and disease. The outbreak of a disease transferred from animals added to the confusion and you knew there was a connection but never quite sure what and who it might be.

Reichs didn’t forget that Temperance also had a personal life and the interjections with friend Anne and her partner Ryan gave the novel balance and indeed some light relief and humour. My favourite had to be her cat, Birdie and I loved his cantankerous indifference to everyone and anyone around him!

I revelled in the speed at which Reichs pushed the plot, she seemed to sense the readers need to be completely immersed and you waited with baited breath to see how it all ended. When it came it was suitably dramatic, numerous ends tied up and the lengths a person would go to make money and gain power laid bare on the pages.

For Temperance Brennan it was a job well done but little clues indicated something more lay in store and I for one cannot wait to find out what that might be.

I would like to thank Simon Schuster UK for a copy of The Bone Code to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead was a number one bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. The Bone Code is Kathy’s twentieth entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temper- ance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.
Dr. Reichs is one of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and as a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada.

#Blogtour Geiger by Gustaf Skorderman @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #Geiger

Image result for gustaf skordeman geiger

The Blurb

The landline rings as Agneta is waving off her grandchildren. Just one word comes out of the receiver: ‘Geiger’.

For decades, Agneta has always known that this moment would come, but she is shaken. She knows what it means.

Retrieving her weapon from its hiding place, she attaches the silencer and creeps up behind her husband before pressing the barrel to his temple.

Then she squeezes the trigger and disappears – leaving behind her wallet and keys.

The extraordinary murder is not Sara Nowak’s case. But she was once close to those affected and, defying regulations, she joins the investigation. What Sara doesn’t know is that the mysterious codeword is just the first piece in the puzzle of an intricate and devastating plot fifty years in the making . . .

My Review

Geiger read like a contradiction, on the one hand an old fashioned spy novel as the spy networks of old East Germany resurfaced and on the other hand present day, a female detective grappling with the injustices of sexual exploitation, protecting her young family and coming to terms with her own origins and future.

Skordeman didn’t hang around, a quiet family day, a phone ringing, one word spoken, Geiger, and a famous ex TV star, Uncle Stellan dead in his chair, his wife Agneta on the run.

On the other side of the city, police officer Sara, on the hunt for pimps, impetuous and downright angry. When she hears of Uncle Stellan’s murder it awoke memories of her childhood of own her ties with Stellan and his family.

What followed was brilliantly compulsive reading, Skordeman swapped effortlessly between Sara, and Agneta, between past years as slowly the layers were peeled back. It was complex but fascinating, the old East Germany, the Stasi, it’s spies who infiltrated the upper echelons of Swedish society and politics. Sara was right in the centre, desperate to solve the murder, to find out who Geiger was, what it all meant.

We went with Sara as she encountered German intelligence, fought to get her own police force to accept her findings. Whilst this was exciting I was impressed with Skordeman’s skill in interweaving Sara’s own story, her dogged determination to rid Stockholm of its seedier side of women’s sexual exploitation, of her own turmoil. Did she still love her husband, her relationship with her children and indeed her own mother. And there lay another layer, her early years living in Stellan’s property, her relationship with his children, the sudden withdrawal, the move away.

As she dug deeper, Skordeman played a master stroke, one that appalled, that shocked not only us but Sara. Just as we got our heads around that this next twist, he threw in another one, and we crashed to a dramatic and revealing ending.

Geiger was exhilarating, utterly fascinating and everything a thriller should be but with a wonderful emotive, human element. It was hardly surprising to read it has been snapped up by a production company and will soon be winging its way onto our screens.

I would like to thank Zaffre for a copy of Geiger to read and review and to Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

%d bloggers like this: