#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.

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