Published in January 2017, A Merciful Death is the first in a series of six that I enjoyed very much.
Mercy Kilpatrick returns to her home town of Eagle’s Nest, a small rural town in Oregon, fifteen years after she fled the fallout from several disastrous events. She hasn’t seen or spoken to her family since then.
Now a special agent with the FBI she has been sent to Eagle’s Nest with fellow agent, Eddie Peterson, to help the local police force in their investigation of a spate of murders. Someone has been targeting the community of preppers and stock piling stolen weapons in what could be the preparation for a domestic terrorism event.
The Lewis Man is the second book in the fabulous Lewis Trilogy by Peter May. I listened to the audiobooks (this one relaesed in 2012), performed brilliantly by Peter Forbes.
On the Isle of Lewis peat cutting is considered a social activity, with families, friends and neighbours all joining in and working together. Trenches are dug and the peat cut and stacked as it has been for centuries. Only this time the peat cutters uncover more than they bargained for when an almost perfectly preserved body is discovered. Initially the police surgeon thinks the body could have been there for hundreds of years, it was only when a tattoo becomes visible they realise the young man had been murdered much more recently.
I note that your publisher, Smoke & Mirrors Press describes Backstories as, ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’. Isn’t this just marketing hyperbole?
Perhaps a little, but perhaps not. What I do in Backstories, in defiance of creative writing 101, is withhold the protagonists’ identities, and this omission is what makes Backstories so utterly unique.
Paul Davis is on his way home late one night when he sees the car in front has a cracked tail light and is being driven erratically.
Realising it’s his colleague, Kenneth Hoffman, Paul decides to try to get Kenneth to stop, not sure if he’s drunk or looking for somewhere particular. Then Kenneth’s car pulls off onto the pavement. Paul pulls up behind him, ready to offer assistance, but instead makes a shocking discovery which earns him a blow to the head that nearly kills him.
“Loyalty breaks as easily as a silken thread.”
Misplaced trust, power hunger, emotional blackmail, and greed haunt twelve characters from post-Roman Britain to the present day. And betrayal by family, lover, comrade can be even more devastating.
Historical Stories of Betrayal is a wonderful collection of short stories written by a variety of authors, with dates ranging from AD 455 when Roman leader Ambrosius needs people around him he can trust, up to 1849 and the present when Carina must discover the ancestor who betrayed the family or it will result in devastation for the family.
A couple of my personal favourites include Heart of a Falcon by Amy Maroney which tells the story of Estelle, a young Frenchwoman, whose family live in Rhodes town where her father is falconer to the Grand Master. When Estelle is invited by the King of Cyprus to be companion to his daughter and tutor his forthcoming grandchild her dreams are dashed as she soon discovers the underlying reason behind her being sent away.
Road to the Tower by Elizabeth St. John tells of events in 1483 when Lady Elysabeth Scrope stood as godmother to the young Prince Edward. When she received an urgent summons for herself and her husband from the Duke of Gloucester her husband was not at home. King Edward IV was dead and the prince was in danger. He must be taken to London immediately for the coronation. Elysabeth believed in Sovereynté – the right of women to make their own decisions…so she undertook the journey to London.
All the stories are of a high standard, offering a glimpse into the past when treachery, injustice and treason were rife, and includes historical figures such as Thomas Percy who is trapped in a no-win situation, Francis Drake coping with trouble at sea, Margaret Beaufort found guilty of treason, and pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack to name but a few. Anyone who loves historical fiction would find stories to enjoy in this collection.
I chose to read and review Historical Stories of Betrayal for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on the digital copy received.
A concise synopsis of each story from Amazon…
AD455—Roman leader Ambrosius is caught in a whirlpool of shifting allegiances
AD940—Alyeva and cleric Dunstan navigate the dangers of the Anglo Saxon court
1185—Knight Stephan fights for comradeship, duty, and honour. But what about love?
1330—The powerful Edmund of Kent enters a tangled web of intrigue
1403—Thomas Percy must decide whether to betray his sovereign or his family
1457—Estelle is invited to the King of Cyprus’s court, but deception awaits
1483—Has Elysabeth made the right decision to bring Prince Edward to London?
1484—Margaret Beaufort contemplates the path to treason
1577—Francis Drake contends with disloyalty at sea
1650—Can James Hart, Royalist highwayman, stop a nemesis destroying his friend?
1718—Pirate Annie Bonny, her lover Calico Jack, and a pirate hunter. Who will win?
1849/present—Carina must discover her ancestor’s betrayer in Italy or face ruin.
It’s my pleasure to spotlight The Northern Reach, a debut novel due for publication on 2nd March.
‘W. S. Winslow’s The Northern Reach is a breathtaking debut about the complexity of family, the cultural legacy of place, and the people and experiences that shape us.’
About the Book
Frozen in grief after the loss of her son at sea, Edith Baines stares across the water at a schooner, under full sail yet motionless in the winter wind and surging tide of the Northern Reach. Edith seems to be hallucinating. Or is she? Edith’s boat-watch opens The Northern Reach, set in the coastal town of Wellbridge, Maine, where townspeople squeeze a living from the perilous bay or scrape by on the largesse of the summer folk and whatever they can cobble together, salvage, or grab.
At the center of town life is the Baines family, land-rich, cash-poor descendants of town founders, along with the ne’er-do-well Moody clan, the Martins of Skunk Pond, and the dirt farming, bootlegging Edgecombs. Over the course of the twentieth century, the families intersect, interact, and intermarry, grappling with secrets and prejudices that span generations, opening new wounds and reckoning with old ghosts.