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

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

Tempest in the Highlands (Scottish Relic Trilogy #3) @MayMcGoldrick #histfic #FridayReads @MacmillanAudio

Miranda MacDonnell is on the run. When she inherited a mysterious relic from her mother, she had no idea the dangers it would bring. Now hunted by a relentless foe who will stop at nothing to find her, she has one choice: stow away on the ship of the notorious privateer, Black Hawk.

Miranda MacDonnell has always been aware of her mother’s gift and what it entails. The visions her mother experienced enabled her to avert disasters and now, as her health fails completely, she passes the relic to her daughter. Miranda is persuaded to flee her home due to premonitions of great danger and she takes the fourth piece of the relic with her. She has to find her twin brother, Gavin, given away at birth in order to save his life, and stay out of the clutches of Sir Ralph Evers to save her own life. 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

Secrets of the Heart (Heartfelt Series #3) by Adrienne Vaughan @adrienneauthor #SundayBlogShare

  • Author: Adrienne Vaughan
  • Published: November 2014 by New Romantics Press
  • Category: Romance, Drama, Review

Finally free to be together on the remote Irish isle of Innishmahon, campaigning journalist Marianne Coltrane and her movie star partner, Ryan O’Gorman are looking forward to life away from the bright lights of Hollywood and the constant pursuit of the paparazzi.

Secrets of the Heart is the final instalment of the Heartfelt series. Marianne Coltrane’s birth parents, reunited after years apart, have finally tied the knot and she couldn’t be happier. The fabulously flamboyant Kathleen MacReady and Brian Maguire are in Dublin on honeymoon after a lovely wedding day. Continue reading

Ghost Variations: The Strangest Detective Story in Music by Jessica Duchen #RBRT @jessicaduchen #bookreview #FridayReads

  • 32053103Author: Jessica Duchen
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Historical, Fiction
  • five-stars

London, 1933. Dabbling in the once-fashionable “glass game” – a Ouija board – the famous Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Arányi is amazed to receive a message supposedly from the spirit of the great composer Robert Schumann, asking her to find and play his long-suppressed violin concerto.

Ghost Variations is created from real people and true events which occurred during their lives; history dramatised into a rich and enchanting narrative.

Jelly d’Arányi, the central character, is a renowned Hungarian violinist, living in 1930s London with her sister, Adila and her family. Jelly has been the muse for several famous composers and is dedicated to her music, to the exclusion of her personal life, especially since she lost the man she loved at the Battle of the Somme during WWI. The sisters have lived in London since Jelly was sixteen and now as she approaches her fortieth birthday, Jelly is aware she is (unfairly) considered past her prime as a musician.  Continue reading

The Replacement Chronicles by Harper Swan #TuesdayBookBlog #Prehistoric #HistFic @harperswan1 #RBRT

  • 33539455Author: Harper Swan
  • Published: December 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Prehistorical Fiction
  • five-stars

Two Lives… separated by millennia but nevertheless linked irrevocably. 

What possible link could Mark Hayek, an introverted twenty-first century research scientist, have to Raven, a young healer who lived during the late Pleistocene? It has everything to do with an injured Neanderthal man taken captive by Raven’s band while he and his brothers were hunting bison. 

I read the first of the Replacement Chronicles, Raven’s Choice, in early 2015 and loved it. As that is included in this omnibus, I’ll add my thoughts from the previous review.

Mark Heyek from the Parkinson’s Institute is a research scientist working in the field of genetics. Having sent a saliva sample to Genetics and Me, Inc. for further research into Parkinson’s disease, and as lead collaborator, he is invited to attend a meeting. What follows is an amazing fictional, although based on scientific knowledge, look back at the genetics that make up modern man. Continue reading

La Petite Boulain (Above all Others; The Lady Anne #1) reviewed for #RBRT #Historical #Tudor

  • 29507218Author: G. Lawrence
  • Published: March 2016 by G. Lawrence
  • Category: Historical 
  • four-half-stars

May 1536, London… a fallen queen sits waiting in the Tower of London, condemned to death by her husband. As Death looms before her, Anne Boleyn, second queen of Henry VIII looks back on her life…from the very beginning. Daughter of a courtier, servant to queens… she rose higher than any thought possible, and fell lower than any could imagine. 

The story begins in the Tower of London where Anne Boleyn awaits her fate, contemplating those who died in the manner that now lies ahead for her. In return for HenryVIII’s promise of protection for her daughter, Anne signs her life away, admitting to all she is falsely accused of. Sleepless, determined not to panic and to die with dignity, Anne lets her thoughts wander back to her happy and carefree childhood at Hever Castle. Continue reading

Inkker Hauser ~ Part 2: Literastein

  • InkkerAuthor: Phil Conquest
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Fiction, Dark Comedy
  • five-stars

Having spent a pleasant day preparing to harness his muse and strolling around his local neighbourhood committing acts of literary vandalism, our hero contemplates his research into such matters as he prepares for his date with the gorgeous Tylissa. 
The date does not work out as he had hoped. In fact, the whole night turns into a disaster of spectacular proportions, but the worst surprise of all waits for him on his return home….

Part two of the story of Inkker Hauser, Literastein, follows straight on from Rum Hijack and takes place over the course of a day. After stocking up on groceries and booze, Inkker decides he needs new clothes for his date that evening and proceeds to buy several shirts and a couple of trouser suits which would also, he thought, further his intellectual self-image. After delivering a tirade of abuse at his Twitter timeline and logging in to his account to change his name to Inkker Hauser, he has an idea and takes a trip into town. 

I popped the lid off the pen and turned to the title page just inside the book. An inch or so below the title, in large letters, as neatly as I could under the circumstances, I wrote: #InkkerHauser. I put the lid on the pen quickly, closed the book, got up and returned it to the shelf. A wave of exhilaration shot through me.

Being privy to Inkker’s inner monologue and observations is fairly intense, his thoughts are quite extreme but that only makes him a more captivating protagonist, maybe in part because he’s a loner, mostly scorned by others, has a fragile grip on reality and he’s hurting. The weirdness and eccentricities are increasing. And he must be slowly killing himself with amount of alcohol he consumes.

Well lubricated before his date after several afternoon drinks in the pub, and more at home watching the video documentary of the Kursk submarine disaster, the evening was destined to be a major disaster. Inkker still firmly believes he will write the literary masterpiece he believes himself capable of, if he could just write that first elusive sentence. The more he drinks, the more he tries to impress Tylissa, the more outrageous and unpredictable his behaviour and dialogue become.  His despair as the evening goes downhill with increasing speed is tangible. And when he gets home, to top it all off, he learns he has a new neighbour. This information, coupled with the events of the last few hours, sends him into a tailspin and causes quite a meltdown. 

As with Rum Hijack, this is a very out of the ordinary, well written, dark, entertaining and humorous instalment in the tortuous life of our protagonist. I could pull out any number of great quotes, but the one that sticks in my mind is Inkker’s belief that there is a ‘space reserved for me in the car park of the literary kingdom.’

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

PhilConquestPhil comes from southern England and now lives in the US. He is a radical, innovative, avant-garde writer whose prose attracts readers every time it is encountered. His influences are many but he has been compared favourably with Rimbaud, Bukowski and Dosteovesky for his dark and earthy tales of outsiders on the edge.

Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack, his debut on Amazon, is the darkly comic tale of a frustrated and slightly insane would-be writer who begins taking out his “writers’ block” on the local community. Inkker Hauser Part 2 is the follow-up and contains a hysterical, surreal and agonising karaoke sequence, which will probably never be equalled.

Rum Hijack was recently included in a list of the top 50 Best Indie books of the year in 2014.

Phil’s other main interests are music and basketball – and is a fan of the Chicago Bulls. His Bukowskiesque blog, Motel Literastein, about an Englishman living on the fringes of society and sanity in a motel in Philadelphia, is controversial, confrontational and cathartic, but never dull, beautifully written and well worth following.

He will probably never return home.

Author links ~ GoodreadsTwitterWebsite

Inkker Hauser ~ Part 1: Rum Hijack

  • InkkerAuthor: Phil Conquest
  • Published: September 2014 by Phil Conquest
  • Category: Fiction, Dark Comedy
  • four-half-stars

One day he will write the masterpiece that renders critics speechless and seats him on the throne of literary infamy. 

It’s inside him…somewhere. 

In the meantime, between going from one failed relationship to the next, he sits in his dead grandfather’s flat watching videos of nautical disasters, scorning bestselling ebook writers and searching for his elusive muse. 

One day he will show them all. 

All he has to do is write that first sentence…

Beginning with the violent demise of his computer by his own hand, or rather hammer, the unconventional and strange narrator drew me in almost immediately. He is a man of repetitive behaviours, habitual visits to the same few places and routinely eating the same food (potatoes and coleslaw for three weeks.)  His extreme frustration at the lack of inspiration and the belief he is a literary genius, destined to write a masterpiece if only he could get past the dreaded writer’s block, jumps off the page. As soon as the intense excitement of creative power engulfs him, it’s gone leaving him out of touch with reality and reasoning that it ‘shows how potent and unstable a mix my talent is,’ which I think applies more to his balance of mind.

Living in his late grandfather’s flat surrounded by older neighbours, he feels isolated and lonely by design, yet needs emotional support. There are nine televisions usually on different channels balanced atop each other in his living room and scattered about the completely disorganised flat, among other things, are several model submarines, lights stolen from road works and a fish named Kursk, who he talks to affectionately. He often tries to commune spiritually with his grandfather..and his fish. 

Sometimes I go into my grandfather’s old and now empty bedroom to meditate and try to attempt some sort of psychic connection with him, hoping he’ll come to me from the spirit world, to give me some sign or message to confirm that I am indeed destined for literacy notoriety.

Not helped by the ample quantities of alcohol he consumes, along with very strange eating habits, his agonising attempts to begin his masterpiece somehow make him quite engaging, regardless of his obvious dislike, and avoidance of, people in general and especially writers. Social media doesn’t escape his contempt and gets a severe verbal bashing. To confound even further, he goes out of his way to be kind to a lady in a charity shop, who is having a one-sided (naturally) conversation with a ceramic elephant. And when he finds a travel typewriter he’s sure it’s a sign. ‘It’s all in there, I thought. My book is in there somewhere.’

An unusual and cleverly written novella, it’s a dark, humorous and touching story. And in spite of, or perhaps because of, all the quirks and weirdness, the impossible highs and the desperate lows, he’s a compelling protagonist. I so want him to succeed before his tortured soul is pulled over the edge and into the abyss. Looking forward to the next instalment.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

PhilConquestPhil comes from southern England and now lives in the US. He is a radical, innovative, avant-garde writer whose prose attracts readers every time it is encountered. His influences are many but he has been compared favourably with Rimbaud, Bukowski and Dosteovesky for his dark and earthy tales of outsiders on the edge.

Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack, his debut on Amazon, is the darkly comic tale of a frustrated and slightly insane would-be writer who begins taking out his “writers’ block” on the local community. Inkker Hauser Part 2 is the follow-up and contains a hysterical, surreal and agonising karaoke sequence, which will probably never be equalled.

Rum Hijack was recently included in a list of the top 50 Best Indie books of the year in 2014.

Phil’s other main interests are music and basketball – and is a fan of the Chicago Bulls. His Bukowskiesque blog, Motel Literastein, about an Englishman living on the fringes of society and sanity in a motel in Philadelphia, is controversial, confrontational and cathartic, but never dull, beautifully written and well worth following.

He will probably never return home.

Author links ~ Goodreads, Twitter, Website