#Blogtour A Letter From Sarah by Dan Proops @Dan_Proops @urbanebooks @LoveBooksGroup #ALetterFromSarah

A Letter From Sarah Publlication date 7th March 2019

A Letter From Sarah by Dan Proops  Urbane Books March 7th 2019

Adam’s sister, Sarah, has been missing for seven years, but he hasn’t given up hope of finding her. He is a sculptor and lives with his bedridden father who is a bully and a curmudgeon.

One morning, as the anniversary of Sarah’s disappearance nears, Adam receives a letter from her and she is apparently alive and well, living in New York. Adam travels to Brooklyn to search for Sarah as he’s desperate to see her, but she seems determined to avoid him.

Sarah’s letters arrive weekly, but she continues to remain elusive. Adam is perplexed by Sarah’s requests for secrecy, as is his father and his girlfriend, Cassandra.

He is determined to find her, whatever the cost to his wellbeing, health and sanity….

My Review

It wasn’t obvious when I read this novel exactly what genre to place it in, it wasn’t crime, and it wasn’t thriller as the blurb on the back might have indicated. For me, it was a novel driven by the characters Proops created, a novel of self discovery, of mental health and healing.

Our main protagonist was very clearly depressed, and who wouldn’t be if your career as a sculpture was at a standstill, your father, a bully and self absorbed, and a sister who seven years ago mysteriously disappeared. It was Adam’s inability to accept the disappearance of his sister and move on that Proops used to great effect, to fashion a story around Adam, of his life and the relationships with those around him. Proops gave us a real sense of Adam’s pain and anguish and whilst you felt empathy there were also times when you felt frustrated at his inaction and general attitude. You wanted those around him to be more understanding, to help him, to push him forwards but they remained wrapped up in their own lives or unable to get through to Adam to help.

It was Cassandra, Adam’s girlfriend that appeared the most supportive, but Proops gave her her own issues, that clashed against Adam’s yet raised some thought provoking moments for the reader. I did wonder how the two had remained together for so long, but then we often stay in a relationship because of the comfort and security it offers us and I am sure this was the same for Adam and Cassandra.

The ray of sunshine, that lifted the novel from the gloom had to be Nigel, a character down on his luck and not a man you liked but one who provided lightness, whose insensitive manner and actions at times made me smile and also want to punch him!

Adam’s father, Darius, appeared older than he actually was, a man wracked with guilt at his daughter’s disappearance, yet punished his son, unwilling to see his son’s distress or so I thought.

So there we had all the main characters, and Proops’s skill was his ability to write of the relationships between them, the intricacies, the anger, and the way in which they drove the story.  It became clear as I read that each had a purpose, that they were there to teach and guide Adam, to send him on a particular path and this is what made the novel so interesting. What else made it fascinating was Proops ability to get inside Adam’s mind to document his depression, his slow mental decline and you were never quite sure how the novel would end. The ending when I did get there  was one that took me by surprise, but perfectly fitted with the whole essence of the novel.

If you like a novel that closely examines who we are, how we deal or not deal with the impact of major events in our lives then you would enjoy, A Letter From Sarah, as much as i did.

I would like to thank Urbane for a copy of A Letter From Sarah to read and review and to Love Books Group for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Dan has been a full time writer for six years and has completed four novels and a memoir. He wrote short stories as a teenager gleaning knowledge from his grandmother, the legendary advice columnist, Marje Proops.

Dan was a professional artist, and had a one man show at the age of fourteen in London. He’s had many exhibitions over a long career and his artwork was purchased by internationally acclaimed art dealer, Eric Franck. His artwork appeared frequently in the national press and his painting was featured in Image of the Week in the Times. One of his exhibitions was previewed in the Telegraphby columnist Colin Gleadell.

Dan lives and works in London. He is a Twitter influencer and has a following of 22, 000. Dan has been using the twitter platform for some years. In 2016 he had a wide outreach and his tweets were seen by 1.5 million users.

Dan lives and works in London.

You can follow Dan Proops on Twitter @Dan_Proops

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#Blogtour Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff @SarahDavisGoff @TinderPress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #LastOnesLeftAlive

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Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff   Tinder Press March 7th 2019

Remember your Just-In-Cases. Beware Tall Buildings. Watch Your Six

Raised by her mother and Maeve on Slanbeg, an island off the west coast of Ireland, Orpen has a childhood of love and stories by the fireside. But the stories grow darker, and the training begins. Ireland has been devoured by a ravening menace known as the skrake, and though Slanbeg is safe for now, the women must always be ready to run, or to fight.

When Maeve is bitten, Orpen is faced with a dilemma: kill Maeve before her transformation is complete, or try to get help. So Orpen sets off, with Maeve in a wheelbarrow and her dog at her side, in the hope of finding other survivors, and a cure. It is a journey that will test Orpen to her limits, on which she will learn who she really is, who she really loves, and how to imagine a future in a world that ended before she was born.

My Review

I’m not a huge fan of dystopian novels but when a novel like Last Ones Left Alive is surrounded by a huge amount of buzz then you know you just have to read it or forever wonder what you missed.

Last Ones Left Alive was not a novel that had much light, its themes were distinctly dark and unsettling but full of strong and what I would only describe as fierce women. None were more fierce or indeed fearless than Orphen, raised by her Mum and Maeve on an island off the coast of Ireland. Her upbringing was definitely not normal as she trained to become an efficient and effective fighter, forced to grow up quickly, and to learn to survive in a desolate, crazed world full of dangerous ‘skrakes’, creatures who would take your soul, your life, as you became one of them.

It was Oprhen’s strength and fierce personality that dominated the novel, yet she wasn’t wholly impenetrable as Davis-Goff gave us glimpses of her emotions and feelings, of her desperation at perhaps being all alone in the world. It was a world where she learnt how to trust, to form relationships, no matter how tenuous, to consider the feelings of others and more importantly to recognise that her own emotions were not necessarily a sign of weakness. It was if Davis-Goff sent her not only on a dangerous mission but also a journey of self discovery, and it was a journey that held me in its grasp.  Indeed, it was the strength of women that echoed throughout and I did wonder if Davis-Goff through her writing, was sublimely pushing her own thoughts of the position and role of women in society. It was in no way preachy, or forced on you, it was merely a thought that lingered at the back of your mind as you read.

One thing that you could not get away from was the quality of Davis-Goff’s narrative. It was hard hitting, direct and she was economical with her words, none wasted, all with a purpose, wether that was to delve into the mind of Orphen or to describe the desolate and dangerous landscape she inhabited.

There was little time to draw breath as Orphen fought constant danger, a heightened tension throughout, as you shared and felt the constant dangers Orphen faced. You longed for this young woman to find what she was looking for and in some ways to find happiness and peace, her place in a desolate and lonely world.

You never discovered what catastrophic event occurred to change Orphen’s world and society but that was of no consequence, it was enough to be immersed in her life, in her quest. It was a world I was reluctant to leave and would love to revisit and I dearly hope that at sometime in the future Davis-Goff will revisit this the life of this strong and fierce woman.

I would like to thank Tinder Press for a copy of Last Ones Left Alice to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Sarah Davis Goff

Sarah Davis-Goff was born and raised in Ireland. After going to college in the US and UK, she eventually returned, and now lives in Dublin. ‘Last Ones Left Alive’ is her debut novel.

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#Blogtour The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu @skimfu @legend_press #LostGirls

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The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore  Legend Press

A group of young girls descend on a sleepaway camp where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people.

A portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves, and the pasts we can’t escape.

My Review

Five girls stranded on an island have to find their way out, there are tensions, power struggles and their  actions perhaps not the nicest. This was the premise for Kim Fu’s novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, so I was expecting a Lord of the Flies, how wrong I was. Yes, it did contain some similarities but what was unusual and what made this novel so distinct and different was the alternative approach adopted by Fu. Fu didn’t concentrate the bulk of her narrative on the girls fight to get out, instead she examined their lives in the afterwards, what effect it had on them and it is what made the novel so utterly compelling.

Fu beautifully set the scene, the ethos behind Camp Forevermore laid out, our first meetings of the five girls gave us an initial feel for their characters, hinting at their individual nuances as they eyed each other up. It created a sense of foreboding and anticipation, a glimpse of possible trouble ahead as they set out in their kayaks on their adventure.

The adult leader, Jan was an interesting character, so full of herself, lackadaisical in here approach to responsibility and safety awareness, another clear indication that all would not go well.

It was only when tragedy struck that Fu revealed the true characters of the girls, as she took us away from the island to a time in the future, to five girls who had to process the events and get on with the rest of their lifes. This is where Fu excelled, as she unravelled five girls with widely differing and varied lifes,  some more likeable than others.

Nita was the hardest to like, the genius, the one with the hard impenetrable exterior, that made you have to dig deep to find anything that made you empathise with her and even like her.

There was Dina, spoilt, and somehow detached from real life, who I found utterly frustrating, and many times I found myself wanting to shout at her, shake her and make her wake up to the real world.

Isabel, the loner, who I found to be quite intense, yet I felt quite sorry for her, her life full of tragedy that she found to process.

Andee, was driven, always busy as though if she stopped she would have to think, have to remember and deal with her emotions. Fu’s  interesting and unique approach to Andee’s story meant we didn’t get up close to her as we did the other girls, yet she was still able to give us a sense of who she was.

Siobhan was my favourite and indeed the most likeable, the one who emerged as the natural leader, although you would not have guessed that at the beginning. Fu’s approach to Sobhan’s story was slightly different, it was almost as if Fu deliberately flipped what you expected and gave you the unexpected. Her story was perhaps the most harrowing, laying bare the true characters of the girls, and the ultimate need to survive. I found it quite unsettling to read, but understood why Fu had done it, to tie all the ends together, to give us answers and ultimately to blow apart the tension she had built.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore was a brilliant examination of human nature, of how we react to dramatic events, to those around us and the effects we take with us into the future. I admired Fu’s ability to pick apart and dig deep into the psyche of each of the girls, to highlight their differences and show off the wonderful variety and diversity in her narrative.

It was a novel that made you think, about how you would react, what you would do and to hope that you never found yourself in a similar situation and I loved it.

I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Kim Fu is a Canadian-born writer, living in Seattle, Washington. Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Hazlitt, and the Times Literary Supplement.

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Follow Kim on Twitter @skimfu

#Blogtour The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheCourier #Superb

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The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl    Orenda Books March 21st 2019

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester ’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but ends
abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire. And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…
Written with Dahl’s trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway’s most criticallyacclaimed authors at his best, as he takes on one of the most
horrifying periods of modern history. With its sophisticated storytelling and elegant prose, this stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd.

My Review

I am not sure I can put into words how much I enjoyed this superb novel, so different from his previous novels but in my opinion better.

Why? World War II always provokes huge emotion and we are so used to reading novels from the perspectives of Germany, Britain, Russia and Eastern Europe, but we never read much about Norway and Sweden’s role. This was what was so fascinating about The Courier, as I knew very little about their role or indeed what it meant for its inhabitants.

Kicking off in present day we met Turid, only a baby in World War II but with parents who had a history, and a turbulent and traumatic story, full of intrigue that you wanted to discover.

The chance spotting of a bracelet by Turid set in motion a chain of memories but also a story that enthralled and captivated. Dahl skilfully used flashbacks to 1942 and 1967 and effortlessly unravelled events, wrapping us up in a whirl of intrigue surrounding three central characters.

Ester, Norwegian and Jewish with parents who failed to evade capture by the Germans escaped to Sweden, a strong, brave young woman used as a pawn in a bigger game. She was the linchpin, the link, the one who the other characters revolved around. You had to admire her, empathise with her and you knew she was the only one who was true and honest, the only character you could trust.

Gerhard, partner of Ester’s childhood friend, Asa, deeply involved in the resistance, yet Dahl gave us glimpses of a man you perhaps could not, nor did not want to trust. I can’t say I liked him very much, and found him self absorbed, slightly unhinged and you knew there was a dangerous element to him.

Sverre was a strange character and again there was something about him I didn’t like nor trust. You questioned wether his intentions were honourable, was he protecting something bigger, yet Dahl also showed his vulnerability, his fear, making him slightly more human than Gerhard.

Intrigue and espionage whirled around them, the tension palpable, like a piece of string pulled so tight that at some point you knew it would snap but you weren’t sure when or where or what impact it would have. Dahl kept that string pulled tight throughout and the snap when it happened was dramatic but in a quiet understated way, that perfectly befitted the whole feel of the novel. It was this quiet and understated feel that I admired hugely, along with the wonderful atmosphere that Dahl created. It was an atmosphere that I have found difficult to describe, but it was almost like being out in the dead of night, with a dense fog whirling around, a chill in the air with dark figures that lurked in the shadows. You sensed danger behind every corner, every turn of the page and that is what made The Courier so deeply absorbing and utterly brilliant.

The detail, and the descriptions that infused Dahl’s narrative were such that you were in no doubt that you were in Sweden during the war. You sensed the huge danger that Ester found herself in, but you also sensed her tangled emotions, her need to do what was right for her childhood friend and to see justice done both in the past and the present.

It wasn’t until the latter parts that Dahl pulled all the varying strands together, that you finally began to see the whole picture and it was not without its surprises, surprises that weren’t dramatic but subtle, that made perfect sense.

I cannot speak highly enough of The Courier, it was atmospheric and a superbly written piece of fiction that is very definitely one of the best novels I have read this year.

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

About the author

Kjell Ola Dahl-Rolf-M-Aagaard

 

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 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.

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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 featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won theRiverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and
countries, and he lives in Oslo

#Blogtour Are You The F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell @drlfarrell #DalzellPress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #AreYouTheF**kingDoctor #IrishMed

 

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Are You the F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell  Dalzell Press November 8th 2018

General practice is the great unknown. We stand on the cusp of the beyond. Science takes us only so far, then the maps stop in the grey areas of intuition, imagination and feelings: here be dragons. Lurching from heart-breaking tragedy to high farce, we are the Renaissance men and women of medicine; our art is intangible. Anything can walk through our door…’

Family doctor, Irishman, musician, award-winning author, anarchist and recovering morphine addict, Liam became a columnist for the BMJ in 1994. He went on to write for many major publications, winning a series of prestigious awards; in 2005, he was the first doctor to win Columnist of the Year in the Periodical Publishers Association awards.

The book contains a selection of Liam’s best work, from his columns, blogs and short stories.Brilliantly funny, glittering with literary allusion and darkly wicked humour, this book is much more than a collection of stand-alone anecdotes and whimsical reflections, rather a compelling chronicle of the daily struggles – and personal costs – of a doctor at the coalface.

My Review

I’ve always wondered what the life of a GP would look like, how they dealt with the myriad of patients that stepped through their doors. When I was offered a spot on the blogtour for Dr Liam Farrell’s Are You The F**king Doctor I jumped at it. Another reason was that I had recently accepted a position as a GP receptionist in a busy medical partnership so I thought it would give me the heads up as to what to expect!

The body of the book was an anthology of Farrell’s articles published in numerous medical publications over many years of being in practice. The vast time frame allowed Farrell to take in the many changes, both good and bad and with Farrell’s own distinct take on what the changes meant not only for himself but GP’s in general.

It was Farrell’s distinct style that was one of the highlights, humour injected into what could have been a very dry and at times depressing subject. It may have been something to do with the fact that Farrell was also Irish but in my opinion more due to his brilliant narrative, a narrative that pulled no punches and was at times very funny. Prevalent throughout was one of Farrell’s patients, a man who could only be classed as a hypercondriac, yet the relationship between doctor and patient described so brilliantly, that you wondered how Farrell kept his patience and more importantly maintained as sense of humour, testament to what a wonderful GP he must be.

Whilst the humour shone through there was a also a serious side, the continual need for change, to meet targets and to operate under financial pressures were all evident, yet it never felt laboured and nor did I feel that I was being preached to. Even more serious was his own personal health issues, that made the writing all the more poignant in places, and made him seem more human, capable of making his own mistakes, unable to wave a magic wand and make everything better.

It was Farrell’s ability to maintain the balance between the personal and the facts, the serious and the funny that made Are You The F**king Doctor so enjoyable and I certainly left with a new found respect for GP’s and all that they do.

I would like to thank Dalzell Press for a copy of Are You The F**king Doctor 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

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Dr Liam Farrell is from Rostrevor, Co Down, Ireland. He was a family doctor in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, for 20 years, and is an award-winning writer and a seasoned broadcaster. He is married to Brid, and has three children Jack, Katie, and Grace.

He was a columnist for the British Medical Journal for 20 years and currently writes for GP, the leading newspaper for general practitioners in the UK. He has also been a columnist for the Lancet, the Journal of General Practice, the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. He wrote the entry on ‘Sex’ for The Oxford Companion to the Body.
On Twitter he curates #Irishmed, a weekly tweetchat on all things medical, which has a global following. He also co-curates #WritersWise, a regular tweetchat for writers, with novelist Sharon Thompson.
He was the medical columnist for the BBC Radio Ulster Evening Extra 1996-98; presented the series Health-Check for Ulster TV in 2002, and was medical consultant for both series of Country Practice in 2000 and 2002 for BBC Northern Ireland.
His awards include Columnist of the Year at Irish Medical Media Awards 2003, Periodical Publishers Association of Great Britain 2006 and Medical Journalist’s Society, London 2011, and Advancing Health through Media at the Zenith Global Healthcare Awards 2018.He was shortlisted for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Competition in 2008.
His twitter handle is @DrLFarrell

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#Blogtour Welcome To The Heady Heights by David F. Ross @dfr10 @OrendaBooks @anncater #RandomThingsTours #WelcomeToTheHeadyHeights

 

Welcome To The Heady Heights  By David F. Ross   Orenda Books  Match 21st 2019

Welcome to the Heady Heights …
It’s the year punk rock was born, Concorde entered commercial service and a tiny Romanian gymnast changed the sport forever.
 
Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realised. In a bizarre brush with the light-entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank ‘Heady’ Hendricks’, and now dreams of hitting the big-time as a Popular Music Impresario. Seizing the initiative, he creates a new singing group with five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. Together, they make the finals of a televised Saturday-night talent show, and before they know it, fame and fortune beckon for Archie and The High Five. But there’s a complication; a trail of irate Glaswegian bookies, corrupt politicians and a determined Scottish WPC known as The Tank are all on his tail…
 
A hilarious and poignant nod to the elusivity of stardom, in an age when making it’ was ‘having it all’, Welcome to the Heady Heights  is also a dark, laugh-out-loud comedy, a heartwarming tribute to a bygone age and a delicious drama about desperate men, connected by secrets and lies, by accidents of time and, most of all, the city they live in.
My Review
It was the year of the big heatwave, 1976 and the location the city of Glasgow, when things got more than just a little bit hot for a certain Mr Archie Blunt.
His was a story of politics, murder, sex and showbiz. At times it was funny, at others it was both bleak and dark.
At the heart of Archie’s story was the city of Glasgow, with its working class background. The harsh realities of life were brilliantly and starkly portrayed by Ross, his myriad of characters a dazzling mix of men like Archie, scraping a living, drowning their sorrows, wondering when it would all get better.
There was Gail, a freelance journalist looking to avenge the death of her father at the hands of those in power, even if that meant putting her own life at risk. Barbara, a young police officer, in a male dominated world putting up with lurid innuendo and slaps on the backside and a working day of making endless cups of tea and menial duties deemed appropriate to her sex and intelligence. Oh how I wanted to scream and shout, bang on the table and tell the men exactly what I thought, but this is what it would have been like and I had to accept it and keep my fingers crossed that Barbara would rise above it and show them exactly what she was made of!
Each character was a cog in a wheel, a link in a chain that Ross used to slowly unwind his story. All three set out with the same purpose, yet unaware of the other until Ross carefully and skilfully pulled all the strands together.
The narrative was sharp and punchy and at times very funny, but there was always a darkness lurking underneath. You wanted the characters to succeed and in Archie’s case break free from the relentlessness of his life with no job, no money and a dad with dementia. I loved his determination, his absolute belief in his newly created boy band and felt sympathy in his naivety when faced with blackmail and criminal intrigue.
The criminals were superb, a heady mix of politicians, entertainers, high up police chiefs and newspaper editors, their ‘Circle’ a hotbed of money and sex that wouldn’t look out of place today. Ross was adept at stirring up my emotions, making me feel angry at them, urging me to cheer on the good guys, to see them reap their revenge and bring about their downfall.
Intrigue and suspense permeated the pages and kept me well and truly hooked. The Glasgow setting and use of the true Scottish dialect added a harshness and realism that lifted the novel and made it an enthralling and brilliant read.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Welcome to The Heady heights 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

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David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.

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#Blogtour The Scent Of Death by Simon Beckett @BeckettSimon @TransworldBooks @HJ_Barnes #DavidHunter

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The Scent Of Death by Simon Beckett  Bantam Press  April 18th

It’s been a good summer for forensics expert Dr David Hunter. His relationship is going well and he’s in demand again as a police consultant. Life is good.

Then a call comes from an old associate: a body has been found, and she’d like Hunter to take a look.

The empty shell of St Jude’s Hospital now stands awaiting demolition, its only visitors society’s outcasts, addicts and dealers. A partially mummified corpse has been discovered in the hospital’s cavernous loft, but not even Hunter can say how long it’s been there. All he knows for sure is that it’s a young woman. And that she was pregnant.

Then the collapse of the loft floor reveals another of the hospital’s secrets. A sealed-off chamber, with beds still inside. Some of them occupied…

For Hunter, what began as a straightforward case is about to become a twisted nightmare that threatens everyone around him. And as the investigation springs yet more surprises, only one thing is certain.

St Jude’s hasn’t claimed its last victim…

My Review

You know when you are late to a party or join a conversation halfway through and wonder what you have missed, well that is how I felt about Simon Beckett’s The Scent Of Death. How could I have been so late to this wonderful series, and have waited so long to meet forensic anthropologist Dr David Hunter? There was obviously some back story that I didn’t know but that really did not matter as The Scent Of  Death can be read as a standalone.

Dr David Hunter was a serious soul, not surprising for someone who had lost his wife and daughter nor his choice of career. Above all else Hunter and his job were absolutely fascinating and Beckett dazzled me with his wonderful descriptions of the varying stages of a dead bodies decomposition, the techniques used to piece that person back together and discover how they died. I felt like I was there in the mortuary with Hunter and wasn’t quite sure I would have had the patience required to carry out such painstaking work.

If the dead bodies were fascinating then so to was the novels setting. The imposing, dilapidated building that was St Jude’s Hospital emitted scenes that were full of darkness, an aroma of damp and decay rose from the pages. I too felt myself lost in its unwinding, endless corridors, inhaling the dust, smelling the deadly aroma of death.

You wanted Beckett to hurry up and unearth the hospital’s secrets, but instead he took his time, filling background, slowly building the many layers of the story. I was enthralled by his wonderful set of characters, from the investigating police officers to the eerie and combative figure of Lola and her son.

Beckett brilliantly built the tension until boom, the pace went so fast that you weren’t quite sure what had hit you. The varying strands came together, connections were made and you could sense the lightness emerging until he gave us one final surprise that you never saw as it crept up on you and pounced!

For me, The Scent Of Death was crime writing at its best, it had an intelligence that is so often lacking from the many novels that litter the genre. The narrative bristled with wonderful descriptions that triggered the imagination, its characters were based in reality, personable and in some cases chilling, never one dimensional. It was a novel that that I loved and admired and I shall be revisiting the world of Dr David Hunter very soon.

I would like to thank Transworld for a copy of The Scent Of Death to read and review and to Hayley Barnes for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Simon Beckett has worked as a freelance journalist for national newspapers and colour supplements. He is the author of five international bestselling crime thrillers featuring his forensic anthropologist hero, Dr David Hunter: The Chemistry of Death, Written in Bone, Whispers of the Dead, The Calling of the Grave and The Restless Dead. His stand-alone novels include Stone Bruises and Where There’s Smoke. He lives in Sheffield.

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