The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

Synopsis

What is the difference between friendship and love?

Gustav grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s life is a lonely one until he meets Anton. An intense lifelong friendship develops but Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined until it is almost too late…

513M-O8EqiL

Review

Is it possible to fall in love with a book?

To fall so utterly under its spell that your heart aches when its finished?

The answer to both questions is yes! I fell in love with The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain and now it’s finished I am left feeling bereft. I can never again capture that magical experience of reading it for the first time. I want to sing its praises to the world. To beg everyone to read it.

Having never read any of Rose Tremain’s books before, I didn’t have any expectations. I read it simply because it was Waterstone’s recommended fiction read for February. What if I hadn’t decided to read their recommended book each month? I would have missed this and that makes me sad.

It is a hauntingly beautiful tale of friendship, unrequited love and sacrifice.

It asks the reader to question the difference friendship and love. Can love grow from the seeds of friendship? There was one moment in the book that had me so desperate to know the answer to these questions, but I almost couldn’t read on for fear of being heartbroken! While the ending took my breath away, leaving me unable to pick up another book for nearly two days. I didn’t want to move on, yearning to stay with Gustav and Anton forever.

If you buy one book this month, please consider this book. It reminded me why I love reading. Emotional, powerful and forever one of all time favourite reads.

You can buy this book from the following sites and your local independent bookshops.

 

Amazon  Waterstones

Author

Rose Tremain, born in London in 1943, was one of only five women writers to be included in Granta’s original list of 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 1983. Her novels and short stories have been published worldwide in 27 countries and have won many prizes, including the Sunday Express book of the Year Award (for Restoration, also shortlisted for the Booker Prize); the Prix Femina Etranger, France (for Sacred Country); the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award (for Music & Silence) and the Orange Prize for Fiction 2008 (for The Road Home). Restoration was filmed in 1995 and a stage version was produced in 2009. Her latest novel is the acclaimed The Gustav Sonata which sees Rose ‘writing at the height of her inimitable powers’ (Observer).

Rose lives in Norfolk, England with the biographer, Richard Holmes. She is the mother of one daughter, Eleanor and has two grandchildren, Archie and Martha. She was made a CBE in 2007 and in 2013 was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia.

(source Author Website )

Advertisements

Before The Devil Knows Your Dead by Owen Mullen

17362713_1234055516712418_4834390308377024704_n

Book blurb
Charlie’s Back! Gavin Law was a whistle blower. Now he’s missing. Just another case for Glasgow PI, Charlie Cameron, until he discovers there is more to Law and his disappearance than anyone imagined. Wallace Maitland, the surgeon responsible for leaving a woman brain-damaged may have abandoned his sacred oath and become a killer. Did the hospital which refused to accept responsibility for the tragedy have Law silenced permanently? Or, with his wife little more than a vegetable, has David Cooper, believing he has been betrayed yet again, taken justice into his own hands? Charlie comes to realise the world of medicine can be a dangerous place. Across the city, East End gangster, Sean Rafferty is preparing to exploit the already corrupt city council in a multi-million pound leisure development known as Riverside. The project will be good for Glasgow. But not everybody is keen to work with Rafferty. With more than money at stake, Sean will do anything to get his way. His motto, borrowed from his old man, is simple. Never take a no from somebody who can give you a yes. If that means murder, then so be it. Charlie has crossed Rafferty’s path before and lived to tell the tale. He may not be so lucky a second time.

Review

Firstly, I would like to thank the publisher Bloodhound books, author Owen Mullen and the bloghounds for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

A good thriller needs a strong story because thriller readers want to be thrilled!  They want a complex, but flawed hero.  It should be full of action, stylish and complex. The main character should grow and evolve, pacing should always be fast.  Your reader should be eager to turn the pages, oh and lets not forget a nasty villain, we like our villains to be cruel. So if these are the criteria we judge a thriller against, how does Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead measure up?

It hits the base on every single one of the criteria all good thrillers are judged against. Not only did it rollick along, sweeping me from the opening scene, out into the gritty streets of Glasgow, into the shadowy world of organised crime, it took me into the less than professional operating rooms of egoistical surgeons and into the shadowy halls of council politics.

In PI Charlie Cameron we have a hero who starts the story needing to move forward professionally and personally and by the end Owen Mullen gives us a character who is stronger and ready to face his demons in the next thrilling adventure.

Even better we have a villain who personifies my image of a Glasgow Mafia Boss.  Sean Raftery is cruel, manipulative and ruthless.  Now that is a villain you will love to hate.

The supporting cast of characters range from a whistleblower who disappears, a devastated husband, a disgraced surgeon and tough police officers. Its the perfect cross section of characters who alternatively leave you angry and nervous, but your also willingly them to find the justice they seek.

It all adds up to a story with numerous twists and turns.  More than once I was wrong footed, convinced I knew who the killer was.  I was thrilled to discover than Owen Mullen had delivered a story with multiple threads. Not a simple straight forward thriller.  Like suffering whiplash, you were taken down one thread of the story, only to be whipped back and sent hurtling down another.  Yet he ties up all the threads perfectly, leaving the reader wanting more, ready for the next instalment in this series.

Without doubt this is a first class thriller. One I’m sure will please committed fans, while attracting legions of new P I Cameron devotees.

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead is the third instalment in the PI Cameron series.  You can buy it from Amazon and Waterstones

You can buy the other books in the series by visiting Owen Mullen’s Amazon page

Author1075526_920776124707027_2734547940924146567_o

When he was ten, Owen Mullen won a short story competition and didn’t write anything else for almost forty years. In between he graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Tourism and a degree in Marketing, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; on occasion he still performs. He returned to Scotland to run a management consultancy and a marketing agency. He is an Arsenal supporter and a serious foodie. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow – where the Charlie Cameron books are set – and their villa in the Greek Islands

Twitter Facebook

17311391_10155147014681255_1103541040552710840_o

Two Voices One Story by Elaine Rizzo and Amy Masters.

          Two Voices One Story cover

Synopsis

This is the true story of a girl called Amy and the English “mother” who adopted her from an institute in China when she was just a baby.
It’s a story about love, family and identity; and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.
When Amy came to be adopted in 1999, China’s then notorious one-child policy had given rise to a generation of missing girls. Amy was one of them, destined to life in an orphanage if she was lucky enough to survive. That is, until she was adopted by a loving British couple who were desperate to give her the home she deserved; Elaine and Lee.
In this moving autobiography, Amy and Elaine chart their own personal experiences of their shared adoption story. Theirs is not a political account, but one which is open about the challenges of adopting a child from a foreign country and the long journey that follows; from China to the UK and from infancy through to adolescence, as Amy and her new family learn and grow together.
Now a bright and ambitious young woman on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Amy is braced for an exciting journey into adulthood, one which her proud mother is delighted to be able to share.
Two Voices, One Story is a frank but uplifting account of the complex adoption process and the profound relationship between a mother and her adopted child.

Extract

Amy:
“My birth date was told to my English Mum and Dad as 15 April, but I don’t think anyone really knows the exact date. All they know is that I was left at the gates of the Tong Ling Welfare Centre where I was found on 30 May 1998 and that the Welfare Centre’s advisory doctor thought I was about 6 weeks old at the time.

I don’t know who left me there or why. I know that the time this happened was when the Yangtze had flooded the area.

I also know that whoever left me wanted me to be found and cared for, because of where I was left. Also that whoever it was took a big risk over getting caught and punished.

Obviously, I don’t remember anything about this. Whenever I imagine what happened, I always think of my Chinese Mum, waiting until it was dark, and plucking up the courage to take me there.

I think of her with long black hair – a lot like mine is now – and being young, alone, and very afraid. I see her holding me close and then looking all round until the coast was clear. I imagine her placing me carefully at the gates and then running away fast, without looking back and with tears streaming down her cheeks which fall on the floor as she runs.”

This extract from the book deals with the few facts I actually know of my abandonment at a Welfare Centre near my birth place, with some speculation on my part to fill in the gaps.

Review

Firstly I would like to thank Elaine Rizzo and Amy Masters and their publisher Clink Street, for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

It was part of my 2017 reading challenge to read more non fiction books and I was delighted to be given the chance to read this remarkable story.

What I liked about Two Voices One Story is that it gives a voice to the mother and child in the adoption process, making it pretty much unique.  Most books only focus on the thoughts and feelings of one person, but this book acknowledges that adoption is a journey for both the adoptee and their new family.

Its well written and what touched me is that it never seeks to horrify the reader. It is also not overly sentimental, but simple and beautiful in the way it opens up their story to us the reader.  Even when talking about why she came to adopt Amy, Elaine speaks not just for herself, but other women who have suffered the loss of a child.  Amy  gives a voice to the many children not as lucky to be adopted from homes in China.  Because it follows their journey from prior to the adoption until Amy reaches eighteen, we can journey with them as they become a family and that makes their story feel very inculsive.

I would very much recommend this book because it helped me to understand that adoption is a act of faith, love and trust!  It requires a willingness to adapt for all those involved.  Two Voices, One Story  is a tender tale of a journey that was taken together and how with each step we as the reader, Elaine and Amy, come to understand that there is more than one type of family.  Love is what binds us, along with share memories and experiences.

Authors

About the authors: Elaine Rizzo (Elaine Masters) works in finance as a licensed insolvency practitioner for ClearDebt a company based in Manchester. Her daughter Amy Masters is now eighteen and at college. She enjoys art and design and her ambition is to become a photographer when she graduates. Both now live near Cardigan in West Wales.

Amazon

Sins of the Father by Sheryl Browne

Today I’m joined by Sheryl Browne, to celebrate the publication of Sins of the Father, the latest book in the Detective Matthew Adams series. Sheryl very kindly agreed to answer a series of questions ranging from who she would most like to cwtch, to her favourite read in 2016.

Firstly, a little teaser about her latest book Sins of the Father, the exciting sequel to After She’s Gone. 

16406631_10154931453862482_2351395852330673601_n

Are you ready to take a journey into the mind of a madman?

After She’s Gone.
Sins of the Father.
All-consuming thrillers that will eat you and spit you back out.

Sins of the Father
What if you’d been accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable?
Detective Inspector Matthew Adams is slowly picking up the pieces from a case that nearly cost him the lives of his entire family and his own sanity too. On the surface, he seems to be moving on, but he drinks to forget – and when he closes his eyes, the nightmares still come.
But the past is the past – or is it? Because the evil Patrick Sullivan might be out of the picture, but there’s somebody who is just as intent on making Matthew’s life hell, and they’re doing it in the cruellest way possible.
When Matthew finds himself accused of a horrific and violent crime, will his family stand by him? And will he even be around to help when his new enemy goes after them as well?

Question and answer. 

Sins Of The Father features a brutal murder. How as an author do you get into the frame of mind to write about such a disturbing event?Apparently, according to one reviewer, I have a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath. Seriously, I think my desire to delve into the darker psyche of some of my characters comes from my need to write about multifaceted people. In order to write credibly an author will do a lot of research, even undertaking courses, studying forensics and psychology, for instance. When writing crime or thriller fiction, you have to study the human condition and you can’t help but be fascinated by the nature versus nurture conundrum. Can a person truly be evil at the core, or have events in his life shaped him? Importantly, in order to write a believable character, you have to get into the mindset of that character. He becomes a living, breathing person, complete with quirks and traits. At some point, as a living entity, he’s inevitably going to start leading the plot. In Sins of the Father, by way of example, the story is based around my protagonist making a bad judgement call and finding himself a victim of a drug related sexual assault. His emotions are going to be all over the place therefore and he’s dictating his reactions. So it is with the antagonist and, though you are the author, it’s the characters who are telling the story.

You write books in two different genres psychological thrillers and edgy contemporary romance. How did you get interested in writing in two very different types of book?
Whatever genre I’m writing, it’s people who inspire the story. I tend to gravitate towards family and family dynamics and just how strong a family unit can be. I think I leaned towards psychological thriller because I actually see people as not all good or all bad. More opposite sides of the same spectrum with some crossover in between. Many of my contemporary fiction novels feature policemen and, as my leading characters grew, I found myself exploring police procedural and, inevitably, the traits of the antagonist as well as the protagonist.

What is a typical working day like for you?
I foster disabled dogs, and with one very needy one at the moment (he’s recovering from a stroke), my mornings tend to be pandemonium. I rise at six and try to get emails out of the way and have a quick dip into social media. Then it’s dog feeding, medication and walking time and thereafter back to my keyboard. I try to devote the daytime to writing and then go back to social media in the evening. Sometimes very late in the evening. Oh, and I fit the odd bit of housework in there somewhere.

What is the best thing about being an author?
Apart from the huge satisfaction of seeing our babies out there, I would say reader feedback, without doubt. Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone, readers and book bloggers, for their fantastic support? I say it a lot and I truly mean it: I could not do this without you. THANK YOU!

Cwtch is the Welsh word for a hug. It’s a safe place and can apply to a lover, parent or child. You can also cwtch a colleague, which is when it becomes a heartfelt hug! Who would you choose to give a cwtch to?
Oh, well, you’ve found me out. I’m a naturally huggy type person. Maybe it’s a trait of being an author, my heart physically hurts for anyone I see who might be sad, upset or lonely, and my natural instinct is to reach out and wrap them into a hug. I’m probably seriously annoying a lot of people! Then there are those readers (see above). I would love to give every single reader who has taken the trouble to leave a review a massive heartfelt hug!

I have an endless fascination with other readers favourite reads! What was your favourite read of 2016 and why did you love it so much?
I read a lot of crime thriller but I’m going to plump for books I read from 2015 through into 2016 by John Donoghue. His book, Police, Crime & 999 – The True Story of a Front Line Officer, is totally hilarious. His other books, Police, Lies & Alibis, Shakespeare My Butt and Police, Arrests & Suspects are similarly screamingly funny. Pure therapy.

The Author 

sheryl-browne03-rd-copy-215x300

Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy contemporary fiction and psychological thrillers.
A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and awarded a Red Ribbon by The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.
Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from multi-award winning Choc Lit.

Author Links
Website Facebook Twitter Amazon

After She’s Gone by Sheryl Browne

I’m lucky today to be able to share with you an extract from Sheryl Browne’s book After She’s Gone. 

Later in the week, join me for a question and answer post with Sheryl and news of her latest book in the Detective Matthew Adams Series, Sins of the Father. 

16406631_10154931453862482_2351395852330673601_n

Are you ready to take a journey into the mind of a madman?

After She’s Gone.
Sins of the Father.
All-consuming thrillers that will eat you and spit you back out.

After She’s Gone
He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?
There’s evil and then there’s Patrick Sullivan. A drug dealer, pimp and murderer, there are no depths to which Patrick would not sink, and Detective Inspector Matthew Adams has found this out in the most devastating way imaginable.
When Patrick’s brother is shot dead in a drug bust gone wrong, the bitter battle between the two men intensifies, and Matthew finds it increasingly difficult to hold the moral high ground. All he wants is to make the pimping scum suffer the way he did … the way Lily did.
But being at war with such a depraved individual means that it’s not just Matthew who’s in danger. Patrick has taken a lot from Matthew, but he hasn’t taken everything – and now he wants everything.

Prologue – After She’s Gone
‘Oi, you can’t park there!’ a police officer yelled as Matthew mounted the kerb, careering his car haphazardly to a stop on the pavement.
His gut twisting violently inside him, his head reeling, Matthew ignored him, ramming his door open instead to scramble from the car and set off at a run.
‘What the …?’
Vaguely aware of the man giving chase, Matthew kept going, attempting to push past another officer closing in in front of him, only to be caught from behind.
‘Whoa. Come on, mate, you need to get back.’ Taking hold of his arm, the officer behind attempted to steer him away. ‘There’s been an accident up ahead. We need to clear—’
‘Shit, it’s Adams.’ The officer in front intervened.
‘Who?’ The man still hanging on to his arm asked.
‘Detective Inspector Adams,’ the officer in front supplied warily. ‘Let him through.’
Stumbling forwards as the guy behind relaxed his grip, his legs like dead weights beneath him, Matthew forced himself on, bypassing other officers, who now stood respectfully aside.
His wife was with her. Matthew swallowed back a hard knot in his throat. She was crouched over her, holding her impossibly small hand in her own. She didn’t look up. Rebecca kept her gaze focussed on their daughter. His daughter. Matthew felt something break inside him as he took in his baby’s injuries, her broken body, the slow trickle of lifeblood pooling beneath her, staining the drab, grey road crimson.
Please don’t. Matthew prayed hopelessly as he moved closer. Please don’t do this. The world seeming to slow to a stop around him, the use of his legs finally deserting him, Matthew dropped to his knees at the side of the child he’d loved with every fibre of his being ever since he’d first glimpsed her tiny form on the monitor.
‘Hey, Tigerlily,’ he said, his voice cracking as Lily’s eyes fluttered open. Wide blue eyes, once crystal clear with the innocence of childhood, were filled with confusion and pain as she looked pleadingly up at him, silently begging him, her daddy, to fix it. His heart turned over as her lips parted. She wanted to speak. She couldn’t. Please don’t try to speak, baby. Tears he couldn’t hope to hide streaming down his face, Matthew leaned towards her, brushing her blood-matted, beautiful blonde hair gently away from her face. ‘Daddy’s here, darling,’ he choked. ‘It’s going to be just fine.’
Lies. Lies. He screamed inside. It wasn’t going to be fine. It could never be. He couldn’t fix it. How could he let his little girl go knowing he couldn’t? Cradling his baby gently in his arms, Matthew’s heart splintered inside him as he watched her life ebb away.
****
They were taking her away in an ambulance. What use was an ambulance? Panic engulfing him, Matthew took a faltering step towards it, and stopped. He couldn’t. Couldn’t ride with her, watch as the warmth drained from her body, her baby-soft skin turning blue and cold. Life fucking extinct.
‘Matthew!’ Rebecca called to him as, his chest heaving, Matthew turned away. Terrified of what he might see in her eyes, he couldn’t turn back. This was his fault. He should have been there. He’d promised to drive them to the cinema. He’d known Patrick Sullivan might make good his threat. He should have been there! A potent mixture of grief and rage broiling inside him, Matthew recalled his last encounter with the sadistic piece of scum with sickening clarity. Sullivan’s expression hadn’t altered when he’d informed him his brother had been an unfortunate casualty in a drug bust gone wrong. Matthew had been surprised. Sullivan’s hatred of him went way back since they were kids in school. Guessing he would hold him personally responsible, Matthew had been bracing himself for Sullivan to reach across the table and attack him right there in the prison interview room. Instead, Sullivan had reached casually for a cigarette. Lighting up, he’d glanced down and scratched his forehead slowly with his thumb.
‘How’s that pretty young wife of yours, DI Adams? Pregnant again, isn’t she?’ he’d enquired eventually, blowing smoke circles into the air as he’d looked back at him. ‘Give her my regards, won’t you?’
Sullivan had then leaned forwards, a twisted smirk on his face, his eyes as black as molasses and swimming with pure evil. ‘I would do it myself, but I’m a bit busy … banged up … in here.’
It had been a threat. Innocent to all ears but Matthew’s, it had been a direct threat. And now, still sitting pretty in prison with a cast iron alibi, Sullivan was no doubt congratulating himself on a job well done, imagining that he’d also succeeded in warning Matthew off pursuing him once he got out. Wrong, you bastard.

Trailer Link:

DI Matthew Adams series: https://youtu.be/0MqZ5TpBwGk

Author

Sheryl Browne

sheryl-browne03-rd-copy-215x300

 

Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy contemporary fiction and psychological thrillers.
A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and awarded a Red Ribbon by The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.
Recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer, Sheryl’s contemporary fiction comes to you from multi-award winning Choc Lit.

Facebook Author page Twitter Amazon

Anglesey Blue Dylan H Jones

34229813

I am lucky today, to be able to publish an extract from an exciting new novel by author Dylan H Jones and set on the stunning Welsh Island of Anglesey.

Synopsis

It’s not the homecoming Detective Inspector Tudor Manx was expecting, but solving the case is just the start of his problems. Recently transferred from the London Met to the North Wales Constabulary, Detective Inspector Tudor Manx has come to the Island of Anglesey hoping for a quiet life. But his hopes are dashed when a brutally mutilated body is found crucified to the bow of a fishing boat sending shockwaves through the peaceful community.  Manx faces pressure to solve the case quickly equipped with an inexperienced team.  Is the body a message or a premonition of more murders to come?  Adding to his problems, Manx’s troubled past returns to haunt him. Manx left the island after the disappearance of his younger sister, Miriam, a cold case that still remains unsolved.

Can Manx solve the case before the body count rises? 

How will he cope when he is forced to choose between his family and his duty as a police officer?

PRELUDE

They meant to kill him. He understood that now. There would be no time to process this thought, or plead for his life. Decisions had been made, plans were to be executed, and loose ends disposed of. It was the natural order of things, as inevitable as the slow rise of the sun, which had chosen this moment to cast its ghostly radiance over the late October dawn. The captain, speaking from behind the chamber of his pistol, addressed the crewman in a deliberate manner, as if speech itself might absolve him of the act he was about to commit. “No witnesses,” he said, pinching back the trigger. Fear clotted in the crewman’s mouth like a dry cloth. The remaining seconds unspooled before him, as if in slow motion: the captain’s eyes narrowing into a cruel, merciless squint, the unlit cigarette falling to the deck, the crush of the captain’s heel over the thin wrapping of tobacco, the inevitable crack of a firing pin, shattering the morning’s brittle silence. The bullet shattered the crewman’s shoulder, narrowly missing the vital web of arteries and veins. To his left, he heard the grind of machinery slipping from its gears. The sharp corner of a metal lobster basket struck his temple, whirling his senses into a blur of indiscriminate shapes and colours. Stumbling, he reached for a lifeline, finding only dead air to cling to. As he descended through the dark mass of seawater, he felt a swell of adrenaline surge through his veins. If he were a religious man, he would have thanked God for this thin sliver of mercy, but his faith was in practicalities and facts, not miracles and fairy tales.

This was merely his body’s primal need for survival, pushing upwards towards the shallow filter of sunlight. He broke the surface, and gulped at the oxygen-rich air. Pain gnawed at his shoulder and temple, as the saltwater seeped into the open wounds. If nothing else, it was a sign he was alive, and if he was alive, there had to be hope. As he pulled the surrounding landscape into focus, he scanned the horizon for any familiar landmarks, but this was no place he recognised, at least not in this light. He’d always considered himself a strong swimmer, but already, his muscles were struggling. How long could he survive out here? Hours, maybe less? Ahead of him, the grind of the boat’s engine spat a final insult of saltwater, before fading into the thick swell of fog. He was alone—the revelation fell on him like a rock. As he drifted, his hand brushed against something thick and solid. His chest tightened. He reached for the object, and felt a momentary sense of elation at his good fortune; the driftwood was large enough to support his weight. He folded his arms around the knotted timber, laid his head down, and rested. Where was he? They were scheduled to dock in Liverpool later today. Hadn’t they passed the coast of Ireland some hours ago? Or was that yesterday? Lights blinked along the mainland, as the inhabitants woke from their sleep, warm in their beds; he envied them those most mundane of luxuries. He should have studied the route more carefully, asked more questions. But, this was his maiden voyage; he was instructed to keep his head down, do what he was told, and if he worked hard, they might hire him again. Only yesterday, the Captain had offered him three hundred euros to carry six crates from the secondary hold and onto the deck. ‘Easy money,’ the Captain had said. His mother would have called it by another name: the devil’s penny. He thought of his wife, Katia. She’d be at the apartment now, making breakfast. Was she thinking about him? Or was she worrying about the day ahead? She worked too hard, worried too much.

But, that would end. He had promised her this at the dockside. He could still sense the dampness of her tears on his cheek as she kissed him. She had said nothing, just smiled, and then pulled away, as if she herself were retreating into the scenery—drawn back to the routine and rhythm of her life. The image of his father passed through his mind. He remembered the factory Viktor had worked at since he was a boy—the sort of work that broke a man’s body—a relentless grind which had shaved the layers off his heart until it was fit for nothing but scrap. He’d sworn to never permit life the satisfaction of beating him down like that. He would never be like his father; this he had promised himself. But, at this moment, he would have gladly stepped into Viktor’s boots, sweating under the filth of the steel-works, his eyes scorched by the hellish molten liquid spilling like lava into the colossal iron buckets. Maybe he’d been too rash in dismissing the apprenticeship his father had secured him. ‘A job for life, son,’ Viktor had explained to him, as if that was all that mattered. He saw it differently; it was a life traded for a job. A bargain struck at the age of sixteen, the contract fully obligated at sixty, then, if you were lucky, a handful of years in retirement, before death came to claim its inheritance. Maybe it was like his father had always said: a fool dreams of riches, a good man dreams of happiness, but to end up with neither, what did that make him? Hours later, or was it days, his body was dragged further out into the open sea. Discordant memories flickered before his eyes, yet he felt strangely at peace, as the images played out their acts. Maybe he was becoming resigned to his fate, and death would come to claim him like a soft, dark palm pressing down until he no longer felt its sting. As the cold and now familiar darkness drew over his eyes, a flash of light appeared to the east, like a large, silver-winged fish fracturing the surface. It travelled rapidly towards him, skimming across the ocean, until its transparent wing obscured the day’s scant sunlight. His fingers curled tighter around the driftwood. Above him, the great billowing wing shredded the air with noise. He closed his eyes and prayed: a childish, nursery rhyme of a prayer he remembered from school. Shadow and cold fell over him. Then, the impact, potent and precise—a direct hit to his sternum, which emptied the last remaining pockets of air from his lungs. The crewman sank, without complaint, into the unforgiving darkness, the crumbs of the half-remembered prayer still unfinished on his lips.

Author 

9eea9f_2253a12b70c74be882a899507b416199

Dylan is a native, Anglesey-born Welshman who now lives in Oakland, California with his wife Laura and daughter, Isabella. He has worked as a media executive and copywriter at numerous TV networks and advertising agencies both in London and San Francisco. Currently, he is owner and Creative Director of Jones Digital Media, a video content agency.

Dylan was born on Anglesey and moved away when he was seven years old to the Northeast of England. His family then moved to the Wirral for several years before settling back on Anglesey when he was fourteen. Dylan studied Communication Arts and Media at the University of Leeds, then moved to Cardiff, working for S4C. In 1993 he relocated to London as a Creative Director with Channel 4 TV. Today, he lives in Oakland, California. His parents, sister and most of his immediate family still live on the island.

Anglesey Blue is the first in a series of crime novels featuring the sardonic, sharp-witted but troubled detective, Detective Inspector Tudor Manx. Dylan’s life, both on and off the island, inspired him to develop the series.

“Creating flawed, compelling, and believable characters is the core of my storytelling.” Dylan says. “I want DI Tudor Manx and all the supporting characters to come alive as readers turn the page. Tudor Manx’s journey is just beginning, and I’m looking forward to writing more about this complex and troubled man as he confronts the demons of his past and hopefully finds the peace and redemption he’s searching for.”

Anglesey Blue is published by Bloodhound Books.

Author page 

http://www.dylanjonesauthor.com/the-isel-of-anglesey-

 The book can be bought from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06X9Z8132/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488026245&sr=1-2&keywords=anglesey+blue

Accidental Damage by Alice May

Synopsis

If you think the normal school run on a Monday is entertaining you should try doing it from a tent in your back garden surrounded by the jumbled up contents of your entire home. It is vastly more diverting. 

Our heroine has survived and the sudden collapse of her home- or has she?

Certain events two and a half years ago led her to deliberately destroy an important piece of herself, hiding away all remaining evidence that it ever existed.  What happens when she decides to go looking for it?

Does she really deserve to be whole again? 

Inspired by s true story, this is an account of one woman’s secret guilt and her journey in search of forgiveness!

Review

I would like to thank the author Alice May for the ARC copy of this book in return for a honest review.

Let me start by saying that Accidental Damage is an emotional, joyful and funny read.  Inspired by a true story, its about one women’s battle to succeed against what appears to be insurmountable odds.  To not only rebuild her home, keep her family together, but also heal herself.

We all face daily challenges to get through the day, but few of us have to do so from a tent in our garden. Ordinary daily tasks take on a new level of challenging for our heroine, forced to sacrifice an integral part of herself just to survive the emotional stress she is under.  Alice May gives us a tale of the ordinary life of one family, breaks it apart and then challenges us to see if it can be healed.  She looks at how the individual draws strength from deep within themselves and from those around them. For some it is not possible to move forward, not everyone has the capacity for self forgiveness.  Life experiences leave them so badly damaged that there’s no off switch for the self destructive path they have taken.  So we read to see if our heroine can heal herself, forgive and find peace.

It is a deeply rewarding read and one I will remember for a while.  I have always loved books that focus on character and emotion.  Alice May gives me all of these.  There is not always a need for what I think of as wham, bang, wallop in a book! Don’t get me wrong, I love all of these, but sometimes you want a story based in the extraordinary events of an ordinary life.  Its one of the reasons I love books like Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life and Tessa Hadley’s The Past. Courage and strength, pain and suffering come in many forms.  This is my favourite form.  Its the art of being quiet and listening to a story based around human endurance.

 

Author

alice-may-bw-author-photo_1_orig

Alice May is the 45 year working mother of four not so small children. Married to a very patient man, they live in what was a ramshackle old cottage in the country. She loves listening to the radio in the morning and is both a talented artist and author.

You can visit her author page here http://alicemay.weebly.com

On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AliceMayAuthor/  and  Twitter @Alice_May.

Accidental Damage can be bought on Amazon as an kindle book or a paperback.