Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Catch 52 by P G Ronane

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Book info

Catch 52: One Man’s Tale of Surviving in a Post-Brexit World 
What do you do when your love affair with Europe comes to an undignified end?

On 24th June 2016, Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that Britain has voted to leave the EU. A committed European, he is shattered. Over the coming weeks and months, he takes a long, hard look at himself, determined to uncover the reasons why this travesty has occurred, scrutinising the faces of everyone he meets for those he believes may have voted in or out.
As he tries to cope with the looming horror of Brexit, Mike fondly recalls his visits to Europe as a young man, the relationships he formed and how these have moulded his pan-European outlook.
Digging too deeply into issues has always been his problem. Mike begins to question the views he holds so dear and discovers new things about those closest to him. As McCarthy staggers on from The Referendum to the unthinkable triggering of Article 50, he finds himself plunged himself into a different world of social comment and political media. As the strategy for Bredit emerges, he wonders where his future lies and questions his commitment to a cause that may yet plunge his and Britain’s hopes and dreams into the abyss.

Review

Welcome to my blog, where today I am hosting the book tour for P.G.Ronane’s Catch 52.  Many thanks to the author, Clink Street publishing and tour organiser Rachel Gilby for the ARC copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Firstly I must say that any political views in this post are mine and not the authors. There is no intention to offend and that I am simply expressing my views on the book.

I was looking forward to reading Catch 52, because I had a very personal and emotional reaction to the decision made to leave the EU. I should declare that I’m what has come to be termed a Remainer, and I very much consider myself as Welsh, European and then British! I know this will make some readers angry, but it’s centred around me world view and belief that in a troubled world, we are stronger together than apart!

In Catch 52 the character Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that the British electorate have voted to leave the EU.  He is shattered by this news, as I was myself and spends the novel trying to come to terms with the decision.  From page one,  I liked Mike, because I felt that we shared common emotions, disbelief, upset and even anger, at what I felt was a short sighted decision to sever ourselves, from an organisation set up to promote cooperation and integration. I have an instinctive distrust of politicians that use patriotism for self gain, those who exploit the fears of people who felt ignored by a political elite they decided had betrayed them. So I found Mike’s journey cathartic and I understood the range of emotions he goes through to come to a journey’s end.

What I also liked about this book, is the way the author explains how Mike comes to be so Euro centric and the life experiences that he enjoyed.  It goes some way to explain why others mistrust the European Union, those less lucky than himself, who lives have not allowed them to travel and emerse themselves in other cultures. They distrust what they may not understand. Or it could be that they have travelled and just not liked or enjoyed the cultures they came across.

I liked the way P.G Ronane doesn’t seek to judge those that voted to leave the European Union too harshly. The reasons people voted the way they did, were complicated and not just based on anti European vitriol.  We all have our views about what happened and the writer importantly acknowledges this. It’s a well balanced and interesting read.

There was one thing that niggled me about Catch 52 and its a minor point.  The author notes that Wales voted as a nation to leave the EU. This isn’t true, parts of Wales voted to remain, including my beloved home Cardiff, which held up its creditials as a city that aims to be inclusive. He doesn’t label all of England as voting leave, so it would be nice to ackllowedge that Wales is also a diverse nation politically. But its a small niggle. This is a novel, not a non fiction look at why people voted the way they did. As such, this point would only really bother me and I doubt would even be picked up by many readers.

Given Catch 52 has such a strong political theme, it may not be for everyone, but I urge people to give it a try.  For Remainers so they realise they are not alone and Brexiters so they can understand why so many people have had such an emotional reaction to Brexit.  If we are to heal as a nation, we need to be able to see both sides of a very emotional journey, to a Britain that sits on the presapice of a very uncertain future.

Catch 52 is an excellent look at the events that took place and voices the journey so many have also undergone.

You can buy Catch 52 via Amazon

Author Bio

After three decades of serving as a police officer in the inner-city areas of Liverpool, P.G.Ronane retired and decided to go back to school, run for office and travel the European continent. Now 61, he is an education manager living in Wirral with his family. This is his first book.

 

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~Those That Remain by Rob Ashman.

 

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Book summary

Lucas is coasting to retirement in a mundane Florida police precinct when a brutal serial killer, codenamed Mechanic, lands on his patch.

Three years ago they thought Mechanic was dead. But Mechanic is very much alive and no family is safe from the savage, ritualistic murders that this sadistic killer is compelled to commit.
Mechanic is always one step ahead and Lucas is forced to operate outside the law.

But who can he trust and who is Mechanic?

Soon Lucas will learn that truth is more terrifying than he could ever imagine and in order to find the answers he needs, he might just have to put his life on the line…

Review

I am delighted to be able to welcome you to the blog tour for an exciting new Bloodhound books release, Those That Remain by Rob Ashman. 

My thanks to Bloodhound Books, Rob Ashman and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I’ve read a lot of thrillers over the last few months and i’m begining to get a feel for what works! For me characterisation is important, along with a strong and plausible storyline.  Those That Remain fufill’s these criteria and is an exciting start to what is set to be, a must read series of books.

Rob Ashman has created in the Mechanic, a nemisis to his hero Lucas, who easily rivals any of the classic serial killers of literary and television fame.  I loved how the writer sets up this game of cat and mouse between two equally matched adversaries, skilfully avoiding making one more prominent than the other. They are eveningly matched and as a result, you as the reader are left on tender hooks, wondering who will win out in the end.

The story itself is your classic page turner.  You want and need to know the conclusion and so on you read.  Brutal serial killers are nothing new or original, so it takes a strong writer to make a character like Mechanic stand out.  Rob Ashman does this by giving him a very distinctive profile and teases the reader throughout with tit bits of information around the reasons for his shocking killing spree.  He makes you understand the tortured mind that seeks to find release by destroying the lives of others. It seems wrong, but though you are repulsed by his actions, getting an insight into a killer driven by urges he can’t control, makes you begin to understand that some people are born killers while others are made so by events we can’t comprehend. He is without a doubt a character that both repulses and fascinates me and that’s the mark of excellent characterisation.  I wanted the Mechanic, to be intelligent enough to outwit Lucas! By making him so fascinating, Rob Ashman, gave me a compulsive and addictive read.

I look forward to reading the other books in the series that are due to be published this year.  Will Lucas be faced with a new enemy or will Mechanic live on? If you want to know if he does, your going to have to read Those That Remain!

Author Bio

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Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Rob can be followed on ~

Twitter

Facebook

His author page

 

Rob is delighted that all three books in the Mechanic Trilogy will be published with Bloodhound Books in 2017.

Those That Remain  –  22 June

In Your Name            –  13 July

Pay The Penance     –  8 August

Rob now writes full time and has recently completed his fourth novel titled Faceless.

 

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

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Book summary

Description Bo Luxton has it all – a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops… Or does it?

 

Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author Sarah Stovell, Orenda books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

First things first. I loved Esquiste.  Clever, original and unnerving in its plausability, it’s sure to be one of this years must read books!

Why did I love it so much?  There were several reasons!

The strength of the plotline, which was beautifully balanced, it gave a strong voice to both female protagonists.  Added to this the writer made her two main characters, clever, intelligent and complex women.  Not for Bo and Alice supporting roles in a male dominated drama, they were front and centre and that is still the exception, rather than the norm in modern fiction.

On top of this, the story gripped me within a few pages and held me in its thrall right to the very last page.  Cleverly the story was told alternatively from Bo and Alice’s point of view. Each seeing events from a slightly different perspective and this left me flipping back and forward, continuously changing my mind about who was engaging in sinister games within their rapidly developing relationship.  The writer had me so tied in knots that at one point, I conjured up a character in my mind, who never even emerged in the novel.

The quality of the writing within Exquisite is top notch.   It’s a twisted and taunt storyline, making it a must read book! Without a doubt this is another author added to my list of automatic purchases when she releases her next novel.

You can buy this exciting read from Amazon

 

Author

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Sarah Stovell was born in 1977 and spent most of her life in the Home Counties before a season working in a remote North Yorkshire youth hostel made her realise she was a northerner at heart. She now lives in Northumberland with her partner and two children and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Lincoln University. Her debut psychological thriller, Exquisite, is set in the Lake District.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter.

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Blog Tour ~ Review~Being Simon Haines by Tom Vaughan Macaulay

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Book summary

Meet Simon Haines.
For a decade he’s been chasing his dream: partnership at the legendary, family-run law firm of Fiennes & Plunkett. The gruelling hours and manic intensity of his job have come close to breaking him, but he has made it through the years and is now within a whisker of his millions: in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba in an attempt to rediscover his youthful enthusiasm and curiosity, and to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past…
Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, and charged with emotion, Being Simon Haines is a searching story about contemporary London and aspiration, values and love. Painting a picture of a generation of young professionals, it asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are?

 

Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author Tom MacAulay and Red Door Publishing for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

In this, his first published novel, Tom MacAulay delivers an assured and fascinating study, of one man’s determined pursuit of a partnership in the law firm of Fiennes & Plunket.  All other aspects of his life, have affectively been sacrificed in his relentless pursuit of success and financial reward. Then, while waiting to hear if he has succeeded in his dream of becoming a partner, he takes a break in Cuba, alone and at a lose end for the first time in many years.

Simon Haines is not your typically likeable character. In fact as the novel opens he both irritating and selfish.  But, as he explores Cuba and recounts the events from his past that have led to this point in his life, I warmed to him. In fact I came to love him, in the way you love an annoying sibling.  This is not a bad thing, I love my brother, but sometimes I could happily slap him!

As the novel progresses he deepens into a character who is capable of looking back on past events and questioning his life choices.  Away from the crushing pressure of his London life, he has time to think, rest and reevaluate all the choices he has made. Does he want money and success over friends and a less hectic life. Is being a career devotee who Simon Haines really is?

Tom MacAulay thankfully does not fall into the trap of portraying Haines’s break in Cuba as a visit to an idyllic retreat.  He looks past the isolated all inclusive hotel resorts into the real Cuba. He immerses his character in the amongst the poverty, massive edifices from a communist past and the wondrous and spikey  personality of the Cuban people.   Across its pages he introduces Simon to all aspects of the islands inhabitants and this is what begins to loosen the stranglehold the pursuit of money and success has on Simon Haines.  His often awkward encounters with the local inhabitants made me smile and made me realise, he could be anyone of us in a similar situation.

Tom MacAulay has created a highly enjoyable and often very amusing read.  At the same time he has delivered a novel that looks at the complexities of modern life and the obsession so many people have with status and personal wealth.

Join Simon on his journey of discovery, as looking back on his past, he revaluates the decisions he made and discovers whether he is brave enough to accept who he really is.   Simon will get under your skin and good or bad, he is worth getting to know.

Without a doubt this novel deserves to read and recommended to all your book reading friends.

Being Simon Haines is published by Red Door Publishing and can be purchased from –

Amazon   and Waterstones and other great bookshops.

Author Bio

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Blog Tour ~Review~ Wolves In The Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

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Book summary

Description Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material … and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet.

Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author, publisher Orenda books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC copy of this book,  in return for an honest review.

This was my first foray into Nordic crime fiction and what an introduction!  It’s a first class story from a masterful storyteller.

It’s strengths lie in the way that Gunnar Staaleson focuses on the characterisation and imbuing his novel with a taunt sense of atmosphere.  It reels you in and makes the reader feel they are within the pages of his story, right next to the hero Varg Veum.   Masterfully he reveals the threads of his novel slowly, never once trying to give his readers an easy opt-out clause. Once you have started reading Wolves In The Dark, you won’t want to put it down, because it’s deliciously addictive. Just like constructing the pieces of a puzzle,  Gunner Staaleson slowly reveals pieces of the story to you and invites the reader to construct the puzzle with him. Slowly, but thrillingly, you start to understand the reasons why Veum now faces a fight for his career and freedom.

In Veum he has a leading character who is stoic and determined. He has a dark side, but that just makes him a more rounded and intriguing as a character.  Hero’s who are tormented by demon’s from their past, are so much more fascinating and Veum is a perfect example.  Like Mr Rochester, who is haunted by his mad wife, Veum, is haunted by the murder of the women he loved, making his quest for redemption all the more fascinating. He is complex and beautifully constructed and I found myself warming to him as the story progresses.

Like the title suggests Wolves In The Dark, has darkness at its very core, as Veum is set up by a child pornography ring and is forced to fight for his life and career.  Socially aware, the writer, brings this terrible perversion to the front of our conciousness. He uses his hero to illustrate what hides away often just below the veneer of polite society.  Its a difficult subject, but he handles it well, blending it into his story, exposing it for the unforgivable crime it is.

Wolves In The Dark is part of a series of novels featuring Veum, saying that, it reads well as a stand alone, which is how I came to read it. I would recommend it both to new readers of Nordic crime books and dedicated fans of this of this Norwegian Chandler.

Wolves In The Dark can be bought from Amazon,  Waterstones and other good bookshops.

 

Author Bio

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

Granite Noir Fest 2017

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ The Monk of Lantau by Mann Matharu

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The Monk of Lantau

The search for a meaningful existence is as universal as it is elusive. When obstacles to happiness and personal goals seem to riddle our horizons, where do we turn for answers? Meet Matthew, an average Londoner, a family man and a husband, intent on the all-too-normal pursuit of making a better life for himself and his family. When an accident threatens to become the proverbial straw that breaks his back in his pursuit of happiness and personal attainment, Matthew finds himself at a crossroad in his life.
In the way the Universe has of placing the right people in our lives at just the right time, Matthew happens upon a tale from an unlikely source, a tale of a man with mystical healing powers, someone Matthew can seek who can restore balance and harmony to his life and heal his daughter who is fighting for her own. As he traipses through Europe, the Middle East, India and Asia in search of the healer, nothing about the beautiful, trying, and challenging outward journey compares to the progress he makes as he travels into the depths of his own being.
Through Matthew’s journey, we are given the keys to finding the healer for ourselves. Most importantly, readers are invited to harness the beauty and prosperity that comes when we seek ways to recognize that we are all connected to each other and we are all marvellous and powerful creators of our own unique, stunning life story.

Review

Firstly I would like to thank author Mann Matharu, Clink Street Publishing and Rachel Gilbey for the ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Monk of Lantau is a book about a Matthew’s journey to find a cure for his seriously ill daughter and so he sets out to find a man with mystical healing powers. It’s during this journey that Matthew comes to realise he too needs healing and it’s the changes that take place within himself and those he meets, that turn out to be the greatest gift of all.

Mann Matharu has written a gentle book, full of wise words about how not just his character Matthew can heal himself, but so can we, if we take the time to sit and contiplate the issues that trouble us.

It’s a work of fiction, but Matharu uses his tale to illustrate for the reader the joy that can be gained by taking the same journey ourselves. It doesn’t have to be a literal journey, it can take place in our homes! Freeing ourselves from the burdens that trouble us and weigh us down.

The story is almost unimportant, being a vehicle for Matharu’s message of self help and self healing. He invites the reader to take a closer look at their need to own the best watch, succeed in their career, at the cost of personal peace.

A very timely read, in today’s climate of worrying change!

Author Bio

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Living in London, Mann Matharu is a qualified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a Reiki Master Teacher. Through his work, Mann has helped many people overcome mental, physical and emotional barriers and has been widely recognised by various national and international organisations including an invitation to 10 Downing Street to meet the former Prime Minister, David Cameron in 2016. Currently his philanthropic projects include: Sikhs Online which was launched in 2008 with a view of bringing Sikh news and historical content into the mainstream media and Homeless 100, a self-funded initiative to provide food for the homeless in London.

The author can be followed on websiteTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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Blog Tour ~ Extract ~ The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell.

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Extract

This is a passage from Chapter 5 . The character Serge is a Russian smuggler Ballantyne meets with a view to smuggling the wounded American out of harm’s way.
“The big man smiled. ‘I like you, Mister English, explain me more and maybe we can do deal.’ He scratched his beard and sat down on a chair, astride, as if on horseback.
‘We need to shift him out of the big hospital as soon as possible then get him over the border, maybe Uzbekistan?’
The big man laughed. ‘You think it’s easy to get to Uzbek? My friend, we are in Astana, not dream land! It’s eight hundred kilometres to Uzbekistan!’
Gilda leaned forward.
‘Look, I have had good times with Bill Hammond but he is not my—’she hesitated trying to find the right word— ‘boyfriend, I will help him but he needs to pay my friends.’
‘How much?’ Ballantyne was ready for the usual haggle.
‘Well,’ said the big man, ‘the best way is through Almaty to Kyrgyzstan.’ He pronounced it ‘Kurgistan’. ‘There is much trade there and transport is easy. A thousand US dollars it will be possible.’
His eyes looked steadily at Ballantyne. He stared back.
‘Too much. He is not a tourist, he’s just a salesman. Seven fifty.’
The man’s eyes flickered and Ballantyne knew he had done the deal.
‘OK, but cash up front.’
Ballantyne nodded.

The Kazak Contract can be bought from Amazon.

Author Bio

For thirty five years I have served the Law in UK. I have prosecuted murderers and defended them too.

I have seen about  every form of crime and most types of people – criminals and victims – police and ordinary citizens as well.

It is time to put down some of that experience into writing. Nobody will recognise himself,  because characters have been blended and the stories changed. Strangely, the mixture has produced a  wide variety of stories, some humourous and others chilling.

I enjoy meeting readers from all over the world and like feedback if it is objective and reasonable.

My hope is that you will find  the stories intriguing and not too long!

I send my best wishes to all Readers.

You can follow Paul Purnell on his Website.

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