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

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

Broken Dolls (Jefferson Winter #1) by James Carol @JamesCarolBooks #TuesdayBookBlog

  • Author: James Carol
  • Published: January 2014 by Faber & Faber
  • Category: Crime, Thriller, Book Review, Books, Reading, Procedural

Jefferson Winter is no ordinary investigator.

The son of one of America’s most renowned serial killers, Winter has spent his life trying to distance himself from his father’s legacy.

After a successful career with the FBI, the last few years as a high achieving profiler, Jefferson Winter’s unconventional approach prompted him to leave the constraints of an organisation and go freelance. He now consults on serial killer cases worldwide.

His father was a convicted serial killer and the three words he mouthed as he lay on the prison gurney waiting to be executed, haunt Winter. It’s one of the incentives that drive him, motivating him to do what he does and also to dissociate himself from his father. Continue reading

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields #Crime #Thriller set in Scotland @Helen_Fields

  • Author: Helen Fields
  • Published: January 2017 by Avon
  • Category: Thriller, Crime, Books, Book Review, Reading, Police Procedural

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach, Scottish born and raised in France, left Interpol under a cloud and transferred to Edinburgh’s Major Investigations Team where he is beginning his second day. Callanach has a mixed reception from his colleagues, from curiosity and distrust to welcome and offered support from DI Eva Turner. Eva sympathises because she’s not totally accepted herself, having been educated in England and consequently lost her Scottish accent. Continue reading

Bum Luck by Paul Levine #Audiobook Legal #Thriller @Jake_Lassiter #TuesdayBookBlog

  • Author: Paul Levine
  • Performed by Luke Daniels
  • Released: March 2017 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Legal Thriller, Crime, Contemporary, Book Review

Second-string linebacker turned trial lawyer Jake Lassiter squares off against his toughest, most unpredictable adversary yet: himself.

Jake Lassiter, criminal defence lawyer and ex linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, feels like killing his client after he won the case. He was not expecting to win as the evidence seemed unquestionable, but Thunder Thurston, high profile football star, has been found not guilty of murdering his wife. Jake is angry at himself, for doing his job too well, and Thunder. He’s certain Thunder is guilty and is completely disillusioned about the justice system, fantasising about taking matters into his own hands. To add to his problems Jake learns the District Attorney is attempting to charge him with jury tampering and bribing a witness. Continue reading

Someone Else’s Skin (DI Marnie Rome #1) by Sarah Hilary @sarah_hilary

  • Author: Sarah Hilary
  • Published: February 2014 by Headline
  • Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural, Fiction, Book Review

Introducing D.I. Marnie Rome, this powerful novel that will enthral fans of Val McDermid and Mo Hayder.

Called to a women’s refuge to take a routine witness statement, D.I. Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder.

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome focuses on her job, leaving little room for anything else. She knows first hand what it’s like to deal with a terrible and violent loss. Five years ago her parents were horrifically murdered by her foster brother. The resulting emotions are what drive her. Her colleagues know of her past and how hard she fought back, but few know the real Marnie. Continue reading