A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62 #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT #Drama

  • Author: Mark Barry
  • Published: March 2017 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary, Fiction, Drama, Crime, Book Review, Reading

“I swore that I would never go home, 

but in the end, I had no choice. 

I had to confront what happened. 

And them too. 

It was going be icky. And totally scary.”

When Carol Prentice left her home town of Wheatley Fields for Manchester University she had no plans to return. Her father’s death precipitates a change in her and the subsequent return to Wheatley Fields, along with the resolve to address those intimated demons which have blighted her life and made her believe herself to be less than. She had A Plan.

After successfully applying for a job at a local bookstore, Carol and Steve, the manager, become firm friends. It’s an unlikely friendship, but they are both compelling characters, well defined with depth and relatability, even as we see their flaws. Steve, despite his previous failures and tendency to drink too much, becomes Carol’s source of strength, the foundation on which she can build, her rock. 

However, it’s not very long before Carol’s demons appear and  events are set in motion which spiral into disaster. Whatever happened to Carol prior to her leaving Wheatley Fields has defined her life up to date and is the catalyst that drives everything towards a riveting, and touching, conclusion.

The war started eight months after I started work at the bookshop. It came from nowhere and like a lightening storm, its origins were impossible to see in the distance or to predict up close. Though I began my Plan at Uni, the ideas and the formation, the war made the plan in my head inevitable. I might not have ever carried it out were it not for the declaration.

War changes everything and from the very moment you hear the sound of the guns in the distance, the wail of the air raid sirens, nothing is ever the same again.

Carol is a complex character, hiding behind a Goth exterior, emotionally damaged and with her feelings under such strict control, she perceives and registers rather than feels. The narrative is written informally in the first person from Carol’s point of view, giving a comprehensive insight into her psyche, and how deeply past events impacted on her. Although her subjective views could cast doubt on her credibility as a narrator, it doesn’t detract from believability and the vividness of her observations. Carol is real, fully developed, so much so that I felt like a spectator and completely forgot this was a man writing from a young woman’s perspective, it was so convincing.

This is the totally unpredictable and powerful story of a dramatic revenge planned down to the last detail. As more of the story is revealed, the more intriguing it becomes. How does Toby fit into Carol’s story and why is he so antagonistic? The disclosure, and learning the meaning behind the shiny coin, is appalling. 

Mark Barry is a gifted storyteller with a knack for making this reader feel she’s been put though an emotional wringer (in a good way) every time. The writing is real, gritty and sometimes violent, but always eminently readable. Engaging characters are vividly portrayed and display a realistic range of emotions and reactions. Loved the Carla reference and the small but significant cameo of the author.

I chose to read and review A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice based on a copy of the book supplied by the author/publisher and in conjunction with Rosie Amber’s book review team.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About Mark Barry

Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.

He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people.

He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club. Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell, UK, the scene of most of his fiction.

Author links ~ Website, Twitter

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger #Audiobook @lisaunger #Thriller

  • Author: Lisa Unger
  • Performed by Julia Whelan
  • Released: April 2017 by Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Category: Thriller, Audiobook, Review, Crime, Suspense

What is the difference between justice and revenge? In this buzzworthy new standalone thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark place…

Initially the characters, their stories and the differing timelines seem unrelated – until the threads of the intricately woven plot begin to come together. The story opens with an unknown protagonist, told in the first person as she confronts someone from her past.

Claudia Bishop was looking for a fresh start when her marriage failed. She moved to the country with her daughter, Raven, and began renovating an old, run down property in the country.  Her life had never been the same after a violent assault in her own home, the struggle to regain some semblance of normality and the recovery process was chronicled in her popular blog, which morphed into an ongoing account of her renovation project. Continue reading

Baby Dear by @LindaHuber19 #Psychological #Thriller @Bloodhoundbook #BlogTour

  • Author: Linda Huber
  • Published: May 2017 by Bloodhound Books
  • Category: Psychological, Thriller, Crime, Book Review, Reading, Blog Tour

Caro and Jeff Horne seem to have it all until they learn that Jeff is infertile. Caro married Jeff because her biggest wish was to be a mother, and he had the means to give their children a better life than she’d had. Jeff, who is besotted with Caro, is terrified he will lose her now they can’t have a baby.

Caroline and Jeff Horne desperately want a baby. After a round of fertility tests it transpires Jeff is infertile and their only other  choice would be IVF. Jeff immediately dismisses that option and Caroline’s world is shattered. All she wanted was a baby – and it seems Jeff may now be surplus to requirements. Continue reading

The Last Meridian by Joe Hefferon #Hardboiled #Noir reviewed for #RBRT

  • Author: Joe Hefferon
  • Released: 20th May 2017 by Evolved Publishing LLC
  • Category: Hardboiled, Noir, Crime, Mystery, Book Review

A telegram sets off a chain of events that destroys five lives, throwing Hollywood insider Nina Ferrer’s life into turmoil. The infant boy she gave up for adoption in Chicago sixteen years earlier has been arrested for murder. A plea from the boy’s adoptive mother pushes her to act, but Nina has a big problem—she never told her husband about the boy.

Lynn Killian left Chicago in 1948. She wanted a new life in a new place with a new name. With no particular plan in mind she headed west. Who she left behind would never really leave her. She would always wonder. Continue reading

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton @AuthorSJBolton #FridayReads #BookReview Psychological #Thriller

  • Author: Sharon Bolton
  • Published: June 2016 by Transworld Digital
  • Category: Book Review, Crime, Murder, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological, Reading

Famous killers have fan clubs.

Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Hamish Wolfe, handsome and charming, swears he is not guilty of the crimes for which he’s been imprisoned. His mother and posse of devotees also believe he has been wrongly convicted and, although the evidence against him seems beyond doubt, Wolfe steadfastly maintains his innocence. He and his supporters want to engage the services of Maggie Rose.  Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

I’ve had The Life List on my bookshelf for some while now and I still haven’t got to it. This is the paperback cover, the edition I have, and I love it! Continue reading

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster #4) by @RobertBryndza #TuesdayBookBlog @bookouture #BookReview

  • Author: Robert Bryndza
  • Published: April 2017 by Bookouture
  • Category: Crime, Serial Killer, Police Procedural, Book Review, Reading

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case. 

Detective Chief Inspector Erica Foster is not happy. She hates being stuck behind a desk writing reports, and has been refused her requested transfer to the Murder Investigation Team. She and former colleague, Detective James Peterson, are in a tentative relationship and were together when a call came through to Peterson about a body found in a dumpster. Erika can’t resist taking the initiative and is soon involved in the investigation. Continue reading

Favourite Opening Lines 2017 #Books #AmReading #SundayBlogShare

In no particular order, these are some of the opening lines from books I’ve read over the last twelve months that drew me in.

That Bright Land ~ Terry Roberts

In the summer of 1886 I went down South to find and kill a man. It’s not what I would have chosen, and when I first arrived in the territory, I didn’t want to admit that’s what I was about. Nevertheless, I was well suited to the task – by my past and the shadows it cast in my soul.

My review is here. Book links ~ Amazon UK | US

High Force ~ LJ Ross

As soon as she awakened, MacKenzie knew he meant to kill her. There was no confused, fumbling recollection of what had happened. On the contrary, she remembered everything with horrifying clarity.

My review is here. Book links ~ Amazon UK US Continue reading

The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat ~ #Psychological Family #Drama @LizaPerrat #FridayReads

  • Author: Liza Perrat
  • Published: January 2017 by Perrat Publishing
  • Category: Psychological, Family Drama, Historical, Fiction, Book Review

All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom. 

The story opens with Tanya packing up her parents’ home after their deaths. An old newspaper cutting her grandmother saved brings memories rushing back and, despite her uneasiness and resistance, pulls Tanya back to the sweltering summer of 1973 and her eleven year old self. Continue reading