New from Jenny Worstall: Irish Charm


Sample and download
Irish Charm: a collection of ten short stories 
by Jenny Worstall 

Bye for Now

No more review blogposts for the foreseeable future;
just occasional links to new releases 
from my favourite indie authors.
Thanks for reading Indie Bookworm!

Review of Until the Robin Walks on Snow by Bernice L. Rocque

I e-met author Bernice L. Rocque 

on Twitter in a discussion about some beautiful pieces of heirloom crochet-work. 

The author's family history account of the lives of her ancestors is equally beautiful.

Bernice Rocque has meticulously researched her family history over many years and some of the fascinating details are outlined at the end of the book.
The main part of the book is a fictionalised account of the birth of a premature baby and the struggles the family have to sustain the baby in a hostile environment.
There are references to folk-lore and the family's East European background which add interest and support the narrative. The characters develop strong personalities which shine through the pages.

Anyone who has spent enough time researching their ancestors to feel that they really know them will love the way the author has made her ancestors come alive.

This family story is set in early twentieth century east coast America but it transcends geographical area and will be just as meaningful to readers anywhere in the world who have a feel for the past.

Until the Robin Walks on Snow is a charming and insightful book and I loved reading every page of it. 

It's available in the Amazon Kindle Store and I read it with my Kindle Unlimited subscription. More details here if you follow this link.

Review of Full Circle by Terry Tyler

I finished reading Dream On by Terry Tyler a few days ago and started the sequel Full Circle straightaway.

What a great story this is.

The book more than lives up to its eye-catching description:

FULL CIRCLE is the sequel to Terry Tyler’s fourth novel, DREAM ON, but many have enjoyed it as a stand alone work. It’s a tale of love triangles, infidelity, an English rock band, the lure of celebrity, and the destructive nature of alcohol addiction. FULL CIRCLE - love and parenthood dramas, rock music and secret affairs, with a few laughs along the way!

Over both volumes the characters grow and grow. Right from the start the reader knows what the main character, Ariel, really wants out of life but did ever a character go such a long distance out of the way to cover a short distance correctly?
Anyway, in the end, at the very end, author Terry Tyler gets Ariel to the right place and brings the pair of books to a very satisfying conclusion.
If you haven't read Dream On and Full Circle yet then I would recommend you do. I read the books with my Kindle Unlimited subscription and really enjoyed reading them both.

Really good holiday reading 

and details on the author's page at Amazon.

Apart from a collection of short stories I've downloaded all the books published by the very talented Terry Tyler and enjoyed reading every one.

Her characters are always real and their stories embedded into true to life situations that everyone can recognise and identify with.
The obstacles the characters encounter are always plausible and their resolutions ultimately satisfying yet the twists and turns of the plotting are often unexpected, full of surprises with plenty of proverbial spanners in the works.
Although always entertaining and easy to read the novels deal with serious and complex issues. The author doesn't back away from addictions, betrayal or exploitation, for example, which adds depth to plots and characterisation. Terry Tyler's more recent novels set in an historical framework are particularly original and innovative. You can find further details of all the books on Terry Tyler's author page at Amazon if you follow this link and I recommend that you do.


Review of Looking for Lucy by Julie Houston

I really enjoyed reading The One Saving Grace, Julie Houston's second novel (review here) and went straight on to read her recently released title, Looking for Lucy.

This is another novel set in the fictional village of Midhope in West / North Yorkshire and it's another great read from the talented Julie Houston.

From the book description:

Clementine needs to find Lucy before it's all too late. She also knows bringing up a child on your own down on Emerald Street where the street walkers ply their trade isn't easy, even when your daughter's as adorable as four-year-old Allegra. So when Peter Broadbent, wealthy, kind and possessed of the most beautiful house Clementine has ever seen, proposes, it seems almost too good to be true. It is...

Early on in the novel 

the reader has a pretty good idea of where the plot is going and what the likely outcome will be. But, the route to the highly satisfying ending is filled with surprises, unusual twists and unexpected obstacles.

The book is very readable: 

it's partly narrated by the main character, Clementine, and with good contrast in the other sections where the author takes over.

I really liked Clementine. 

She is a strong character who demonstrates positive qualities of resilience and determination that are used most effectively by the author to drive the novel forwards.

There is a well-developed sub-plot 

which is closely enmeshed with Clementine's story.
The characterisation throughout both plot and sub-plot is real and vivid.

I loved the way that Harriet and  Grace, 

the main characters from Julie Houston's earlier novels, feature in Looking for Lucy as supporting players. Along with the setting in Midhope, the inclusion of Harriet and Grace provides continuity between the three novels although Looking for Lucy can easily be read as a stand-alone work.

The missing Lucy of the title 

is another well rounded character whose story brings a whole new dimension and added depth to the narrative.

All in all, another unputdownable read!

I read Looking for Lucy with my Kindle Unlimited subscription and look forward to reading whatever Julie Houston writes next.

Follow this link for more details of Looking for Lucy in the Amazon Kindle Store.


Review of The One Saving Grace by Julie Houston

I downloaded Goodness, Grace and Me by Julie Houston in November 2013 and really enjoyed reading it. 

My review is here if you missed it.

I'm usually good at keeping tabs on new releases 

from authors I've enjoyed reading and can't understand how I missed the sequel, The One Saving Grace. In fact, the author's third book has been published recently but more of that later.

When I realised that Julie Houston had more on offer I downloaded The One Saving Grace straightaway with my Kindle Unlimited subscription. 

And it was just like meeting up with old friends. 

Once again, the relationships between Harriet, Grace and all their assorted families and friends are explored in great detail and once again it's a 100% enjoyable book to read.

The book description sets the scene:

When Harriet Westmoreland goes into labour with twins in Harvey Nichol’s men’s knicker department at exactly the moment she sets eyes on Alex Hamilton, it marks the start of a year of madness - for her, her family and, at times, it seems most of the West Yorkshire village of Midhope.
Giving birth only two months after Harriet, her childhood soulmate Grace has her own craziness to contend with. As both women hurtle down unexpected and very different paths, they flounder in a maelstrom of passion and confusion, perilously clinging on as the chain of events that threatens not only their comfortable, ordinary lives but also their very existence…

And The One Saving Grace well and truly lives up to its promise. 

I'm not saying anything more about the plot other than I thought it was brilliant. Towards the end of the novel you're on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next and how all will be resolved.
Harriet and Grace are joined by the same supporting cast of family and friends but they're joined by some newcomers notably Anisim, the Russian oligarch Harriet's husband is doing business with and Lilian, the Mrs Doubtfire nanny who saves the day more than once.
The children have grown up a bit since the first book and there's the addition of the new baby twins into Harriet's family. And Grace finally achieves her desire to become a mum and is joined in her part of the story by baby, Jonty.

I really like the way Julie Houston describes the setting of Harriet's home in Yorkshire. 

Her descriptions of nature, sunsets and the weather are almost poetic and create lovely images of a rural idyll.

Narrated by Harriet herself, the novel draws the reader so closely into Harriet's dilemmas and emotions that you feel you know her in real life.

I thought Goodness, Grace and Me was really good but, amazingly, The One Saving Grace is even better. A fantastically enjoyable novel from Julie Houston and I'm going straight on to read her latest novel, Looking for Lucy, which is also available in Kindle Unlimited.
More details of The One Saving Grace by Julie Houston here.

Review of Dream On by Terry Tyler

Dream On is one of Terry Tyler's earlier novels 

and another enjoyable story with some unexpected twists as the plot unfolds.

I really like Terry Tyler's writing. 

She has a remarkable ability to take the lives of fairly ordinary people and turn them into such interesting and engaging characters. And Dream On is no exception.

Book Description

Dave Bentley was born to be a rock star. 
He believes he's a reincarnated Viking warrior, too... 
When Dave forms his new band, Thor, there are plenty of sleepless nights for Janice, his on-off girlfriend and mother of his son. Not only must she deal with the thrills and spills of life as a hardworking single mum, but also the imminent return of singer-songwriter Ariel Swan, Dave's one true love. 
Poor Janice. Dave is still the love of her life. 
Ariel Swan returns to small town life - and Dave's heart. 
She and her friend Melodie (whose ambition is to be "a celebrity") enter a TV talent competition, so Dave and the rest of Thor decide to make the most of the opportunity for possible fame and fortune, too. This adventure brings about big changes in the lives of all of them – none of which Dave could have anticipated. 
One member of Thor even ends up on The Jeremy Kyle Show...

Whenever I read Terry Tyler novels 

I always become really involved with the story. Her writing style draws the reader in so well that every page turns itself and it's difficult to leave the narrative and go and do something else.
Dream On, just like the other Terry Tyler novels, is easy to read and yet it gives the reader something to think about. This time it's an exploration of the values that lead to fulfilment in life. Each of the main characters strives to achieve their ambition but the route to success is filled with obstacles quite often of their own making. For some the end result is not always what at first seemed to be their goal.

I read Dream On with my Kindle Unlimited subscription 

and enjoyed every chapter. Terry Tyler is the author of twelve published ebooks and I thought that, apart from a collection of short stories, I'd read them all. But on double-checking I've realised there's a sequel to Dream On.
You can be sure that I've already got Full Circle on my Kindle, waiting to be read.

You can find details of all Terry Tyler's novels, novellas and short stories on her Amazon Author Page.


Review of Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

Ignoring Gravity is Sandra Danby's debut novel and it's stunningly good.

The novel connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. 

Finding her mother’s lost diaries, Rose begins to understand why she has always seemed the outsider in her family, why she feels so different from her sister, Lily. And the secrets keep on coming.

Ignoring Gravity is a really unusual novel 

which explores family trauma through a fusion of mystery, romance and detective fiction. The romance conforms to the conventions of romantic fiction but it doesn't dominate. Rose demonstrates the skills and perseverance of the seasoned detective. And the mystery she is trying to unravel is complex and original.

The characterisation is excellent 

and the two sisters, their parents, partners, friends and colleagues are vibrant and come alive as the story evolves. 

The novel is about adoption 

and a sense of belonging that Rose begins to understand as the plot evolves; and it's a novel about relationships. 

It's an emotional novel 

and the reader readily shares the emotion but it's never sentimental. The issues explored are handled sensitively by the author although she doesn't hold back in tackling their complex difficulties.

Ignoring Gravity is a very well-constructed novel 

with a plot which keeps the reader's close attention throughout. The plot takes some unexpected turns along the way but reaches a satisfying resolution in the end. 

Highly recommended.

Find details of this and Sandra Danby's other writing on her Amazon Author Page.

Review of Ezicash by Ian Thompson

Ezicash by Ian Thompson 

has a detailed book description on its Amazon Kindle store page which is well worth reading to get a flavour of the book.

I was drawn to the book by the eye-catching cover, 

the unusual title and the European Union setting of the book given the current national obsession with all things EU. I read the book with my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Ezicash is set in 2060 in a post-EU dystopia 

where safety and health have become all-consuming for the citizens of DOSH-1-TERMINUS-UK (Department of Safety and Health).
DOSH1 residents are part of EZICASH (Eurozone Investigative Coordinating All Safety and Health) and they live a carefully controlled, micro-managed lifestyle in a super-size, all-encompassing dome.

But one day there is a problem 

which can only be fixed by an outsider - someone who doesn't live in the dome.
It becomes apparent early on in the novel that there is an alternative to the sanitised dystopia of dome life. This is explored through the narrative of Philip Lud, an old fashioned plumber whose lifestyle, and that of his friends, is the very opposite of DOSH1.

Ezicash is a most unusual, satirical and highly entertaining novel. 

The author has, amazingly, created an extraordinary but completely plausible alternative world in EZICASH. This is because so much of DOSH1 is seen through the eyes of the very down to earth outers. These characters are rather eccentric and very engaging and contrast well with their more regimented neighbours in DOSH1. The author has also created some lovely contrasts in describing the two alternative worlds: the natural world outside the dome and the artificiality within.

I enjoyed reading the novel and look forward to reading more by Ian Thompson.

Details of Ezicash are on the author's Amazon Author Page.


Review of Just Above Hades (DCI Cyril Bennett crime thriller series Book 2) by Malcolm Hollingdrake

I've visited the town of Harrogate many times but will see it with new eyes after reading Just Above Hades by Malcolm Hollingdrake.

Just Above Hades is a page-turning tale of murder, mystery and corruption hidden behind the refined and respectable facade of this beautiful Yorkshire town.
Book description
Just Above Hades, is a Yorkshire based crime novel that reunites us with DCI Cyril Bennett and DS Owen in what proves to be a rather gruesome investigation. The tentacles of the Romanian Mafia in Harrogate spread far and wide to encompass prostitution, illegal immigrants and murder. The police are faced with a complex and challenging series of events with a fight against time in a thrilling conclusion. The interaction of the two detectives continues to enthral.

The book is the second in the DCI Cyril Bennett series 

and I read it with my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

DCI Bennett is a very likeable character 

whose off-duty excitement is derived from being a serious collector of paintings. He's affable and considerate with a systematic and thorough approach to detection which leaves no stone unturned.
Cyril Bennett enjoys good working relations with his colleagues especially his forthright sergeant, Dave Owens. They're an effective team who ensure that the pages of Just Above Hades turn briskly.

I really enjoyed reading Just Above Hades

The police procedural aspects of the novel are very realistic and convincing. 

The plot involves some gruesome twists but the violent details are not gratuitous. The plot evolves at a good pace and leads to a satisfying conclusion with all loose ends successfully tied together along the way.
I've added the first DCI Cyril Bennett novel, Keen as Mustard to my waiting to be read list.

Details of Just Above Hades and other books by Malcolm Hollingdrake are on his Amazon Author Page.


Review of The Forgotten Monarch: Franz Joseph and the Outbreak of the First World War by Matthieu Santerre

When the preparations for the commemoration of the centenary of WW1 began I started exploring my family history in that era. I wrote a series of blogposts about family members who'd served in the armed forces and also the impact of the war on the lives of several other ancestors.

My Writing a Family History: World War One Stories blog is dormant at the moment but I still follow several WW1 blogs including The July Crisis: 100 Years On, 1914-2014. This blog introduced me to The Forgotten Monarch: Franz Joseph and the Outbreak of the First World War by Matthieu Santerre which I was able to borrow as part of my Kindle Unlimited subscription
The author, Matthieu Santerre, submitted the text of The Forgotten Monarch: Franz Joseph and the Outbreak of the First World War for his PhD disertation and has subsequently published it as an ebook.
This is an interesting aspect of self-publishing and I've seen many examples of academic texts being made available to the general reading public this way.
The Forgotten Monarch: Franz Joseph and the Outbreak of the First World War was fascinating to read partly because of the academic conventions followed in the book and also because the book explores an aspect of the causes of the First World War which was skated over in all the history courses I've followed.
The book examines the role of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph, in the days and weeks immediately following the assassination at Sarajevo.
In forensic and meticulously referenced detail the author explains the background to Franz Joseph's decisions and charts the inevitability of the consequences. It's well worth reading and you can check it out here.
For anyone seeking an accessible and concise overview of the causes and events of WW1 Rupert Colley's World War One: History in an Hour does exactly what it says. Having studied WW1 for 'O' level and 'A' level and also at teacher training college, I should be able to re-call all the salient points but increased grey hairs seem to have affected some of the memory cells and I found this quick-read overview very useful.
After finishing The Forgotten Monarch I skipped through WW1 in an hour and then turned to Matthieu Santerre's second book (also available on Kindle Unlimited) World War I: How Germany Blundered into War.
This book explores the same territory as The Forgotten Monarch but from the perspective of Kaiser Wilhelm and his German advisers. It's another fascinating study: well referenced and very readable
At the moment The July Crisis: 100 Years On, 1914-2014 Blog is unavailable but both books are still available in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Review of The Other Side by Terry Tyler

I've already read several novels by Terry Tyler
and know to expect something good. 

And The Other Side really is very good.

It's a story about making choices and the impact one decision can have on all the rest of life. And subsequent choices and their impact and so on.
But what makes the novel so interesting is that the tale is told in reverse chronological order.
So as the story goes back in time, the reader is already aware of the consequences of earlier decisions made by the main characters.
And then new, earlier choices are introduced which sometimes turn the story upside-down prompting a complete re-appraisal of what has already happened.

Consequently the novel is most satisfyingly complex. 

But it's made even more complex as there are four main characters each with their own story. Each of the characters' lives are profoundly impacted by the choices made but in unexpected ways.

The construction of the novel is very clever 

and the conclusion, which brings the stories up to date, is most surprising.
The more you get to know the characters the more their stories resonate with real life. Katya, Cathie, Alexa and Sandie really come to life along with their boyfriends and lovers, husbands and in-laws, children, friends and workmates. Although at first there are aspects of the main characters that are rather unlikeable, by the end of the novel, when all is revealed, they have become the reader's firm friends.

The Other Side is highly readable with a lovely, intimate narrator's voice 

that draws you in and keeps you totally engaged from start to finish.

It's such an entertaining novel and one that really makes you think. 

Highly recommended.

Links

Terry Tyler's Amazon author page

The Other Side

Follow Terry Tyler on Twitter


Review of Is It Her? by Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton

I've read just about everything that has been published by authors Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton. 

When I saw on-line that they were collaborating on a new book I had high expectations that it would be good and, of course, I wasn't disappointed.

The two authors have taken a beautifully detailed painting 

by talented artist Rod Buckingham as the starting point for their latest work. They've each written a novella which explores their separate response to this one painting.

The painting is rich in narrative potential 

and I defy anyone not to start making up their own story as they study the image.
However, apart from the shared starting point and a setting in the years around the Second World War, the novellas are very different.

Jonathan Hill 

has again demonstrated his ability to create dark, intense atmosphere as he explores intimate secrets between a quartet of disparate yet closely linked individuals. The storyline reflects the strains and stresses of the war-time era. However, the personal conflicts and tragedies that develop are the focus for this first 'Is it Her?' novella.

Kath Middleton 

presents a sweeping overview of the same period in history which incorporates one of the most awful tales of war-time betrayal that I've ever read. The perspective of younger people is explored with sensitivity and insight in the context of a war-time romance which has a warm and unexpected conclusion.

Both novellas are a pleasure to read. 

Each author demonstrates an expertise in writing on the smaller scale with depth and complexity. It was fascinating to observe how they both used the painting to stimulate their writing in such different ways.

Highly recommended.

Links

Jonathan Hill's author page at Amazon

Kath Middleton's author page at Amazon

Is it Her?

Rod Buckingham on-line

Follow Jonathan Hill on Twitter

Follow Kath Middleton on Twitter

You might also like this guest review of 'Is It Her?'


Review of 500+ Truly Useful Cooking Tips & Techniques: No Silly Hacks! by Suzy Bowler

'500+ Truly Useful Cooking Tips & Techniques: No Silly Hacks!' 

is the new version of '219 Cooking Tips and Techniques you might find useful' which I got as a free download last year.

You can read my original review here 

but when I noticed this new, extended version of the book I couldn't pass it by.
In order to download the new version I had to delete the original which caused a few technical glitches with the download. But the customer service at Amazon was 100% brilliant in sorting it out and now I've got the full 500+ version of the book.

I have loads of cooking books in my kitchen 

but what I really like about Suzy Bowler's books are that you can actually read them through from start to finish for the sheer enjoyment of her writing style and the amusing way in which she teaches the reader to cook.

Some of the tips will be familiar 

but I found useful and timely reminders amongst them. Many of the tips are new (to me anyway) and although I'm not entirely certain I'll use them all, they're worth knowing.

The photos in the book are lovely 

and even work ok on an early generation Kindle but they look really good on an iPad.

Suzy Bowler writes the Sudden Lunch Blog 

where she shares generously from her knowledge and publications.
You can get a good idea of her style from the website and, of course, read free samples of all her books at Amazon.

Links


Suzy Bowler Amazon author page

500+ Truly Useful Cooking Tips & Techniques: No Silly Hacks!

Sudden Lunch Blog

Follow Suzy Bowler on Twitter


Review of Death in a Scarlet Gown by Lexie Conyngham

Death in a Scarlet Gown is the first book in the Murray of Letho series. 

It's an historical, crime mystery and I was looking forward to finding out about my literary namesake.

Charles Murray is a student at a Scottish university which is unexpectedly wracked by murder. 

Not one but three corpses are discovered and Charles gets involved in unravelling the plot.

I'm saying nothing more about the plot 

knowing how easy it is to give something away and ruin the suspense except that it is unusual and intriguing. This is because of the historical context for the novel. Not only is the novel set in an ancient, traditional, long established university town the action takes place at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The author creates a beautifully detailed sense of university life in the era. 

The formalities and rituals; the arcane language; the eccentricities of the professors; and the relations between the townspeople and the university are some of the elements that are explored and described so well. And the author has taken the time to let the picture build up gradually so that
when the first murder occurs it comes as a complete shock.

Although Charles Murray is the pivotal character, 

there is a large supporting cast with whom he interacts as the novel evolves. Charles' brother and father, his professors and student friends are all well-developed along with their daughters, wives and sweethearts.

I particularly enjoyed the verbal skirmishes 

between some of the characters of which these examples give a wonderful flavour:
"The blackyirtly, ill-deedit, meschantly, gallow-breid"
"You contemptible gileynour".
The Kindle on-board dictionary has no explanation for some of these words but you easily get the sense. The use of this type of language contributes greatly to the sense of time and place that is created so brilliantly in this book.

I enjoyed reading Death in a Scarlet Gown 

and look forward to reading some more of the Murray of Letho series when time allows.

Full details of this and all her other books can be found on the author's Amazon page here.


Guest Review of Is it Her? by Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton

Michael and I share a KindleUnlimited subscription and if we both want to read the same book at the same time it causes a bit of a muddle each time one of us synchronises the pages. But it doesn't cause too much of a problem because we rarely want to read the same book at the same time. Until Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton released their new book 'Is it Her?'

And then we both wanted to read it ....

But Michael got in first so he's written the review.


I'm pleased to share Michael Murray's review of 'Is it Her?' by Jonathan Hill and Kath Middleton


Drama teachers are aware of a technique which involves presenting a photograph or painting to a group of students and asking them to improvise the circumstances leading up to the moment the image frozen in the frame occurs. The students can also be invited to improvise the development of the action beyond the frozen image and project the characters into the future: a 'What Happened Next?' exercise.

As a drama teacher I was rarely satisfied with this technique because it often resulted in superficial outcomes and working in a busy drama department there was rarely the time for the students to explore the technique in depth or layer in ever greater complexity.

However, Kath Middleton and Jonathan Hill have shown that the technique provides a wonderful stimulus for writers, not least because they obviously have had the time and motivation to develop the necessary complexities and create stories of depth and significance which resonate far beyond the original frozen image.

'Is it Her?', an intriguing picture by artist Rod Buckingham, is the visual stimulus chosen by the writers for their independent novellas both of which have been written without collusion. The painting depicts a bend in a cobbled road somewhere in a town or village. Terraced houses with red doors line up on either side of the bend but are separated by a gap. Linking the houses across this gap is a set of curved, iron railings. The houses and railings appear to be on a hill or a rise, overlooking a hidden landscape, possibly a plain or sea; perhaps a pond. The sky is overcast and filled with dense banks of louring cloud which extend all the way to the barely visible horizon. The cobbled road glistens beneath the pouring rain. A woman in an arresting red coat or dress stands at the railings holding aloft an opened and equally arresting bright red umbrella. The woman's back is to us as she looks out across the sea or plain towards the horizon. In the foreground of the picture an Austin Seven is parked, its bonnet towards us. The engine is running and puffs of smoke issue from the exhaust. The driver has just got out of the car and has started walking towards the woman in red. His back is also to us. In the road, to the driver's right, is another figure, possibly an old man. He carries a stick and is walking his dog. His back is to us as well. The period could be any time in the 1930s or 1940s. The scene is dismal but conveys a strong impression of mystery: there is a quality of suspense, as though something tumultuous is about to happen.

The gap between the terraced houses implies dissolution, fracture, separation yet the railings linking the two sets of houses like fragile black hairs suggest that a tenuous connection is retained and not all hope is lost. The setting is grey and bleak yet on the doors and on the woman's dress and umbrella the strongly contrasting presence of the colour red, the colour of blood, life and animation, provides a vivid contrast with the drab, prosaic setting and suggests survival, continuance, and the triumph of life over death. The principal figures in the painting are both engaged in some kind of search yet there is distance between all three which implies alienation. What intense yearning or longing motivates the woman to wait patiently in the pouring rain searching the horizon? Or is she merely waiting for a lift into town? Is there a complex relationship between the motorist and the woman or has he simply stopped to ask directions? What is the significance of the man with the dog?

The picture's semiotics are perfectly incorporated within the novellas it inspires. I will not commit the sin of divulging the plot of either. However, in both novellas the Second World War is a vital catalyst: transforming lives and sending them spinning off in totally different directions, creating unforeseen and unexpected character arcs. Kath Middleton's 'Is it Her?' is the more epic. It begins with a pre-war romance in which only one of the parties truly appreciates the threat the coming conflict presents to the future happiness of ordinary lives. Exceptionally well researched, it follows the characters for the period of the war and with many realistic and authentic details chronicles their anxieties, terrors and tragedies. On the way it beautifully evokes the tenor of those times: the enforced cheerfulness, infectious camaraderie, blind faith, daily hardships and disappointments. Yet the work also surprises us by finding altruism in unexpected places and by confounding clichés and stereotypes. It reveals the best in people and the worst in people. I particularly admired the skill with which Kath Middleton presents this wonderful, great sweep of a story within the limited canvas of a novella and tells it from the points of view of different characters; also her metaphorical use of the colour red which beautifully acts as a leitmotif throughout. The story ends at the frozen moment in the artist's frame but, like Keats' Grecian Urn, the uncompleted act tantalisingly suspends us between present and future. We savour the irony of knowing so much more than the characters and can only speculate on the shock, sadness, relief, amazement and delight with which the extraordinary information they have to impart to each other will be received. We ask whether they can ever be what they once were to each other again. The best stories do not end with the final word but continue resonating in the minds of their readers encouraging them to supply what has been deliberately omitted.

The events of 'Is it Her?' by Jonathan Hill principally occupy one night in which two men are preparing to leave their loved ones and set off for the war. Jonathan Hill creates with a sure economy the atmosphere of apprehension, dread, anger and reflectiveness that one would naturally associate with such circumstances. The novella is written in the present tense which is a masterly choice because it gives the piece compelling immediacy, but Jonathan Hill also uses it with great technical skill to suggest that, although the wartime situation is understandably tense, the hidden secrets of certain characters are generating an additional subtext which imbues their most innocuous acts or words with social danger and a threat of impending dissolution and chaos. This creates an electric atmosphere of tension and suspense and produces powerful drama. Jonathan Hill also cleverly uses the frustrating restrictions and limitations imposed by the wartime blackout to unbearably ratchet up the frustration and create even more tension. When the moment of awful revelation comes, the superb quality of the writing ensures that it is traumatic for all concerned, including the reader. The revelation also provides us with a delicious sense of that dramatic irony that can only be appreciated in retrospect when the assistance of elapsed time affords us the opportunity at the end of the story to look back and see the powerful subtext suffusing the work. Using a most ingenious point of view, Jonathan Hill takes us up to and beyond the moment frozen in the artist's frame, provides yet more tragedy and projects us into the future. Finally, he supplies a poignantly moving coda which incorporates regeneration and hope and affords us a glimpse of the better world that will arise from the ashes.

The two novellas in their different ways are superbly inventive and their resolutions poignant and moving. They provide very different interpretations of the painting but both reflect the consequences of war, the profound revelations those consequences produce and the dramatic ironies they create for the reader. In Jonathan Hill's case the ironies are strongly foregrounded; in Kath Middleton's they are more oblique yet, ultimately, in both cases, the ironies are brought about by the retrospective enlightenment afforded by historical perspective. None of the principal characters in either novella are untouched by death, yet both stories illustrate that when much is lost, out of the ruins something may also be gained. Therefore, despite everything, their resolutions are positive. Both novellas are complex works in miniature and they are highly recommended.

Sample and download Is it Her? at 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Jonathan-Hill-ebook/dp/B01DGVOGOA


My review of Best Seller: A Tale of Three Writers by Terry Tyler

This book is hot off the press 

or whatever the ebook equivalent is as it was just published yesterday.
I like Terry Tyler's writing alot and read three of her novels towards the end of last year.
I'd just finished reading her debut novel "You Wish" when I realised "Best Seller: A Tale of Three Writers" had been published. With the immediacy of my Kindle UnLimited subscription I downloaded the book straightaway and just thought I'd read a few pages to see what it was like.

An hour or so later I was hooked 

and my plan to clean the bedrooms was on hold.
"Best Seller" is a novella (about forty thousand words) so it doesn't take much more than a couple of hours to read but what is amazing is that by the end you feel like you've read a full length novel. The writing is so concise and the detailing so precise that every line of the book is at maximum capacity.
It's in the author's trademark style of  writing separate but interconnected characters whose lives are woven together in a full and engaging plot that throws up surprises right to the end.

The book is set in the exciting and fast changing world of contemporary publishing 

and the three writers of the title share the same ambition: to become a successful author. The book description tells you who the writers are:

Eden Taylor 

has made it—big time. A twenty-three year old with model girl looks and a book deal with a major publisher, she's outselling the established names in her field and is fast becoming the darling of the media.

Becky Hunter 

has money problems. Can she earn enough from her light-hearted romance novels to counteract boyfriend Alex's extravagant spending habits, before their rocky world collapses?

Jan Chilver 

is a hard up factory worker  who sees writing as an escape from her troubled, lonely life. She is offered a lifeline—but fails to read the small print...
The three women are very different from each other but each is a strong character in her own way. However they all share a common trait in their relations with the dominant male in their lives and this is the source of many of the difficulties they encounter.
It's fascinating to read in an objective way about the ins and outs of publishing.
The book description sets the background: "In the competitive world of publishing, success can be merely a matter of who you know—and how ruthless you are prepared to be to get to the top." I've read books set in publishing before but never one where self-publishing is explored so thoroughly and positively. With self-pub books now challenging the big five traditional publishers for book sales this exploration is timely. (Check out this post for more about ebook sales). At the start of the novella it's pretty clear who has the connections and the single mindedness to succeed. As the story evolves, the characters face challenges that  completely alter the reader's take on them. Although hugely entertaining, the novella has a darker side and poses some serious moral dilemmas.
Terry Tyler is an excellent writer and "Best Seller" is another highly readable and enjoyable book. You can get details of this, and all her other books, on Terry Tyler's author page at Amazon.





Happy 4th Birthday!

I've been posting on my bookblog for four years today.

Happy Birthday Book Blog!

image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/cake-candles-icing-pink-yummy-308449/

260 Posts

142 Book Reviews

80 Authors

343 Comments

53051 Page Views
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/birthday-children-s-birthday-648699/ 

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog. 

And a big thankyou to the fantastic indie authors 

who've provided hours of reading pleasure.




My Review of Darkness and Decadence: The Grumblings of a Gargoyle by Lynn Gerrard

I don't read a great deal of poetry but I do enjoy Lynn Gerrard's occasional poems on Twitter. 

I noticed this collection was available in Kindle UnLimited so thought I'd try it.
And I'm so glad I did.

The book description says that 

the poems will take you on a trip through the dark and the humorous sides of reality and fantasy alike, which they certainly do.

Some of the poems are funny, 

notably "The Lovers" and "Filth". Some even are hilarious especially "The End".

Many of the poems are dark and thought provoking. 

"Behind Closed Doors," "Old Soul" and "A Dragon and a Gargoyle" stand out. While "The Path of Yesterday," "Going Home" and "The Box" are just plain sad.
Another feature of some of the poems are the quirky twists in the final couple of lines: "Death Bed" and "An Appointment with Death" are good examples.
The rhythms in some of the poems are really musical: for example, "A Monster's Lullaby," "Panic Attack" and "Oh For Those Days".

This anthology is an excellent mix of subjects and styles

 and each poem is beautifully written with a sharp precision in the language.
I've noticed that

Lynn Gerrard has another collection of poems ready for publication on March 3rd.

I'm looking forward to seeing what's in it.
Meanwhile to read Darkness and Decadence: The Grumblings of a Gargoyle just follow this link or (if it functions on your device) use the Previewer below.

Guest Review of The Anniversary by Jonathan Hill

In the Murray household Michael and I rarely read the same books but occasionally our tastes coincide, most notably with the novels of William Boyd. And from time to time we tell each other of a book the other would probably like. One such is "The Anniversary" by Jonathan Hill which I read a few weeks ago. Click here to read my review. 
Michael got up unusually early this morning and some while later handed me this review which I'm delighted to post here today.

Michael Murray's review of The Anniversary by Jonathan Hill


The nihilistic narrator of 'The Anniversary' engages in bizarre shaving rituals and belongs to that cast of unusual and socially challenged outsiders who first made their appearance in Jonathan Hill's wonderful short story collections: Eclectic and Beyond Eclectic. The novella is a page turning psychological thriller that is perfectly plotted and has great forward drive.

The action is permeated with celebrations of Christmas and moves effortlessly back and forth through time, impressing upon us that childhood torments are exacerbated by thwarted Christmas expectations which extend into adulthood. Perhaps that's why so many adults behave so badly at office parties. The office in The Anniversary is a snake pit of suppressed malice that finds its release in alcohol and contrived Christmas bonhomie at the office party from hell. Childhood torments produce tormented individuals and the torments are never more so acute than at Christmas as this beautifully constructed and macabre novella demonstrates so cruelly and unexpectedly.

The anniversary is full of Jonathan Hill's trade mark prose: similes and analogies that make us stop and re-read sentences with admiration and respect for their unexpected appropriateness. For example, the person who initiates the narrator on his first day at the office characterises her individual co-workers with 'ruthlessness masquerading as humour, a sniper picking off each person one by one'. And I have never before been aware that the recovery from a bereavement could be compared to the movements of a stapler until I encountered Jonathan Hill's marvellous analogy.

The first person point of view is pitch perfect and demonstrates a breath-taking technique. Anyone who has ever attempted to write Stream of Consciousness will be aware of the immense technical difficulties involved such as the presentation of time and the integration of the physical actions of people and objects outside the narrator's direct consciousness; not to mention the tortuous grammatical problems occasioned by such an approach. All these technical difficulties have to be solved if the action is to appear seamless and continuous. Jonathan Hill's complete mastery of the technique eradicates any notion that such difficulties might even exist!

The Anniversary provides the delightful experience of an author extending his range. It has echoes of Bret Easton Ellis and Dostoyevsky, if Dostoevsky had a sense of humour. Highly recommended.

Michael and I both enjoyed The Anniversary as a benefit of our Kindle Unlimited subscription and it's available to download from the Amazon Kindle Store if you follow this link or (if it works on your device) there's a Previewer below.

My Review of Dead on Demand by Sean Campbell and Daniel Campbell

This book is the first of the DCI Morton series. I've already read and enjoyed the third: Ten Guilty Men.
See my review here.

The book description for Dead on Demand 

explains that Edwin Murphy is a career oriented person who puts more into his work than he puts into his family. Then life changes for Edwin when his wife files for divorce. He's on the brink of losing his home, his job and his little girl so Edwin comes up with a plan to eliminate his wife and regain his former lifestyle.

The police are baffled 

when bodies begin to appear all over London with no apparent connection between them. Inspector David Morton must think outside the box as he investigates the deadly web of deceit behind the murders.

I really liked the character of DCI Morton 

who is a straight-talking, old-school detective on the verge of early retirement. Morton doesn't want to stop work but his wife and senior colleagues think he's at the end of the road when he is unexpectedly injured. However, Morton is having none of this and more than proves his worth as the novel progresses.

The construction of the plot 

is based in the dark web about which there is sufficient information to create the plot without becoming overly geeky. The complex intricacies of the plotting keeps the reader engaged throughout. Most of the time the audience is one step in front of DCI Morton and in possession of more facts than he is. This provides a whole extra level of involvement and suspense wondering how Morton is going to catch up and get to a satisfactory conclusion.

There are some interesting aspects to the case 

which the authors explore through references to the criminal justice system which seems very authentic and adds to the credibility of the plot. It would be very easy to give something away and spoil the plot so I'll just say that Dead on Demand is a page turning, gripping, detective thriller mystery and well worth reading.

As I acquired Dead on Demand as a free download 

from the Amazon Kindle Store and enjoyed reading it so much, it was extremely good value for money! Cleaver Square is the other DCI Morton novel and it's definitely going on my Waiting To Be Read list.

Click here for Sean Campbell's author page and links to all the DCI Morton novels.


My Review of The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman by Jenny Worstall

Jenny Worstall is the author of several collections of short stories and two novels. 

I've enjoyed reading every one of them. 

The other day I was pleased to notice Miss Worstall had released a new book and I put it on my reading list straightaway.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman
is a novella and I was surprised by the sub-title: a cosy crime novella. 

This was something new. I don't think of Jenny Worstall as a crime writer; more a writer of light comedic romances and quirky tales.

Also, what is cosy crime? 

I've noticed this category before and decided it was time to find out. Cue quick Google search and a helpful Wiki definition.
A cosy mystery aka "cosies" is a sub-genre of crime fiction where sex and violence are played down or laughed at.
Also, the crime and its detection takes place in a small, socially intimate community.
The small, socially intimate community in The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman is the sleepy market town of Burcliffe in the south of England.
Most of the characters know each other, some better than others.
Broken hearted primary school teacher, Rosie Rainbow, provides a love interest for the story but it's not sexed-up.
There's some violence around the disappearance of school catering manager, Mr Spearman, but it's not graphic or particularly detailed.
The end of the book description on the Amazon page suggests that "this cosy crime novella can best be enjoyed with a large pot of tea and a mind eager to spot the cheesy clues," hinting that there may be some humour in store - which there is.

The plot twists and turns to a neatly tied up conclusion. 

The action is pacey and the storyline unfolds rapidly with clues appearing in the most unexpected places.
The main character is the jilted Rosie whose own romance is backgrounded to the cosy crime but helps to link her to it.
There's a full supporting cast from the local police, the primary school and the retirement home.
The author has shown in her other books that she's good at giving the reader little pen-portraits of her characters and she's done this really well once again in The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman.
I particularly enjoyed the parts of the story that were set in the primary school especially on Miss Rainbow's class outing.
Miss Worstall has a real flair for encapsulating life in a British primary school and describing the funny little ways of primary age children.
Two of the stars are Rosie's pupils, Ollie and Susie, who demonstrate the acute and pertinent observations that children can sometimes make.
Both children are charming but remarkably astute.

The novella is an enjoyable, light and entertaining read. 

It's humorous and the "cheesy clues" contribute to the fun.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman is definitely a cosy and it's definitely worth reading.

Read a free sample of

The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman: a cosy crime novella
by Jenny Worstall
at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01ALQ4J4K
and find details of all the author's other books here.
Or use the Previewer below to start reading The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman straightaway.



50,000 Page Views

When I started writing this blog I never dreamed it would have so many page views.

Now I know that for many bloggers this is more like their weekly hits but for a little blog like mine it's

AMAZING!

Many thanks to everyone who reads my blog and especially to those who leave comments too.

I've recently started joining in with Mystery Monday, Teaser Tuesday and WWW Wednesday.
Great fun and I've found even more brilliant books to add to my Waiting To Be Read List.

Happy Reading all day and every day!



My Review of The Bridle Path (Country Lovers Romance Book 1) by Julia Hughes

I recently read Julia Hughes' new book "Everybody Lies", a detective novel, which I really enjoyed.
My review is here.

I was looking on Julia Hughes' author page at Amazon

 and noticed The Bridle Path which is a romance.
I've already read her Celtic Cousins' Adventures series and didn't expect Julia Hughes to write romances although there are some romantic scenes in A Ripple in Time.

I find authors who write in different genres very interesting 

and so was looking forward to finding out what Miss Hughes could do with a romance.

The Bridle Path (Country Lovers Romance Book 1) 

tells the story of twelve year old Sebby who, after being tragically orphaned two years previously, elects not to speak.
Sebby's aunt and guardian, Matilda, hopes that a new home in the tranquillity of the Cornish countryside will help restore his health.
Sebby is quickly befriended by the precocious Winny, only child of a local farmer, Greg DeSilva, and soon emerges from his self-imposed prison.
As the story develops, Matilda also finds her voice; aware that she too has been drifting through life, content with "good enough" when she could be magnificent.
From being afraid to say "Boo" to a goose, Matilda finally finds the strength to go after exactly what she wants on her terms.

The Bridle Path has all the ingredients of a fine romance. 

Matilda is the believable main character who falls in once-in-a-lifetime love. The author has devised imaginative and unusual conflicts and tensions that keep the lovers apart. There's a rich cast of supporting players who help and hinder the resolution to the lovers' problems. And Julia Hughes describes a fascinating and beautiful setting in which the story unfolds.

I enjoyed watching the relationships develop 

particularly between Matilda and her young nephew, Sebby. This is in addition to Matilda's relationships with men. Her boyfriend Jude is already in the running for Most Obnoxious Boyfriend of the Year. And Matilda's first encounter with Greg DeSilva and his "partner" Mary-Jo is far from auspicious no matter how good Greg looks on horse-back.

The reader knows that, like all good romances, the story must end happily-ever-after but it really is impossible to work out how this is going to happen. But, of course, it does!

The novel is very prettily set in Cornwall 

where the countryside is presented as part of an idyllic rural lifestyle. Until the characters get up close and personal with a manure heap and other messy farm jobs.

Altogether a very enjoyable, light read 

with a delightful pun in the title. According to the Amazon book page there's another Country Lovers Romance in the pipeline and I'm looking forward to reading it when it's published.

Read a free sample of The Bridle Path (Country Lovers Romance Book 1) by Julia Hughes 

at
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bridle-Path-Country-Lovers-Romance-ebook/dp/B007QN7WQY
and find Julia Hughes' website at http://www.juliahughes.co.uk/

or just start reading with the previewer below.


You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books

Recently, 

several acquaintances have expressed an interest in reading A Single To Filey or Cabbage and Semolina but said they couldn't because they didn't own a Kindle.
No Problem, we've told them.

You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books.

Huh?
You do need an Amazon account.
Doesn't everyone have an Amazon account?
Apparently not but it's easy enough to sign in to the Amazon website and get one.

Then go on the bookpage of the book you  want to read and get the free App.

Just click the link below the cover image
and follow the instructions.
The App works on all devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, PCs.
If you have an iPad or iPhone you can get the Kindle App from the Apple iStore.
The App works just as well as the Kindle. I use an early version Kindle and the App on my iPad. The display varies from one device to the other but both are fine.

The App is FREE.

So if you, or someone you know, wants to read Kindle books but don't want to purchase a Kindle, get the App.

Do you want to know more about ebook sales?

The other day I followed this interesting link from author Chris Jane's Twitter feed.

At Author Earnings they've analysed the data from over 200,000 authors and close to a million different books.

This includes: 

Half a billion ebook purchases
Three billion dollars in e-book purchases
One billion dollars in author earnings.

The report is fascinating and makes interesting reading.

http://authorearnings.com/report/november-2015-the-uk-report-author-earnings-on-amazon-co-uk/
The report was written in relation to the first quarter of 2015 and I noticed that the most recent report was for the final quarter of 2015. This report, for the first time at Author Earnings, deals with the UK ebook market.

The report show some interesting comparisons 

with USA and UK ebook performances. The UK ebook market appears to be large and growing. Again, the report makes for very interesting reading
http://authorearnings.com/report/november-2015-the-uk-report-author-earnings-on-amazon-co-uk/

Both reports show 

that self-published and small independent publishers are taking a strong market share. This contrasts with other surveys which have suggested the opposite and Author Earnings offers a very good explanation why their data is different. It wouldn't be ethical for me to reveal their findings but a clue is ISBN.

I've bookmarked the site 

and will be reading every report in future. If you've an interest in the
progress of the ebook revolution, I recommend you check it out too.
http://authorearnings.com/

Thanks for reading my blog today.

If you've a few more minutes to spare please check out my website http://spurwing-ebooks.com

Who’s looking at your bookshelves?

There is one big drawback to ebooks.
You don’t know what other people are reading.


When you visit another reader’s home and look at their bookshelves you find out more about the person. And you usually discover a new book or two for yourself as well.

I can’t envisage asking someone to let  me look in their Kindle to see what they’ve been reading. I don’t suppose there’s any reason not to; you just wouldn’t, would you?

It’s the same with borrowing books. Currently we’ve got three paperbacks on loan from family and friends. I know you can share books from one Kindle to another but I’ve never had reason to work out how to do it and so never have.

I don’t borrow books from the public library any more. My rural lifestyle was once enhanced by the three-weekly visit of the mobile library which parked right outside my house. The generous library staff put no limit on the number of books that could be borrowed. They changed the stock regularly and I always left with a dozen or more titles to keep me going until the next visit. Council cuts and re-organisation mean that the mobile library parks up elsewhere and it doesn’t visit on a day which suits me any more.

Fortunately, I acquired my first Kindle at about the same time as the mobile library exited from my life. I use that now to discover new authors, re-visit old friends and keep up with contemporary writing when it’s on a special offer. I tend not to buy ebooks which are priced the same as the paper version. That seems to me like a publisher’s rip-off.

I also use the on-line ordering service at my nearest branch library, especially for non-fiction titles. I like that: order at leisure and collect the next time I go to town for shopping or the dentist.

The only problem: “too many books, so little time”.


(Attributed to Frank Zappa on Goodreads Quotes.)

This post was re-blogged from http://spurwingebooks.wordpress.com/blog-2/

My Review of Tellen Song by Jeffrey Perren

I've read all Jeffrey Perren's published novels and enjoyed them immensely. 

They range across time and continents and each one develops around an interesting and unusual storyline. This combines with the author's considerable research into the places and people that are the background to the story and the result is an exciting and entertaining read.

Tellen Song 

is a bit different in that it's more closely based on an existing story. Whether this is a legend or true historical fact is a matter of considerable conjecture but Jeff Perren chooses to make it seem historical with periodic references to actual dates and places to establish authenticity.

From the book description:

1307 AD — The Legend Ends, the Story Begins... 

Wilhelm Tell, hunter and builder in Üri, dares to disrespect the envious bailiff Gessler, appointed ruler of the southern forest cantons by King Albrecht of Germany. Sentenced to slavery until he completes building Gesslerburg, Tell escapes over the Alpine mountains to Lombardy. 

But the political upheaval in his homeland is mirrored there. Drawn unwillingly into the squabbles between the Pope-supporting Guelphs and the Ghibellines, who side with the Emperor, he longs to rejoin his own independence movement. 

A fugitive from Schwyz and a misfit in Milan, Tell finally sees his chance to return to lead his people. Will he forge a lasting freedom for himself, his family, and his countrymen? Or will his own brethren betray him, and themselves, at the crucial moment? 

Harking back to the founding of the Swiss Confederacy, Tellen Song tells the story of its legendary founder — set among all the rich historical details of the 14th century.

The famous apple-shooting episode 

is included but this makes up just a tiny part of the book which thoroughly explores the life and times of William Tell as well as his father and grandfather.

Whether or not the William Tell saga is true, the reader gains considerable knowledge and understanding about early fourteenth century life in middle Europe. The action takes place in Austria, Switzerland and Italy and explores the power struggles of the different regions and their rulers. The factionalism and politics of the era are explored in a dramatic and entertaining manner and the author skilfully blends fact and fiction without any hint of where one stops and the other starts.

William Tell is a forceful character 

who exhibits great loyalty to his family despite the attempts of several other characters to disrupt his life. He is a master builder and uses his skill to take him from one area to another. When the situation gets too hot in one place he packs up and moves on. He travels from one crisis to another usually managing to extract some benefit from the situation although at times with some discomfort to himself.

At a time when despotic rulers were vying with each other for control of land and property, William Tell knows his mission is to lead his countrymen to a greater degree of freedom. However, he is often obstructed by those who should be on his side as much as he is by the ruling class.

A very interesting aspect of the novel is the way in which the author makes a creative use of language forms and vocabulary that are now out-moded. This provides atmosphere and context for the story and contributes greatly to its authenticity.

Tellen Song is most entertaining and informative and I enjoyed reading it.

I think it could be Jeffrey Perren's best novel yet.

More details of Tellen Song and to read a free sample follow this link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tellen-Song-education-Wilhelm-Tell-ebook/dp/B019T7A388

Readers who don't have a Kindle can get a free app from Amazon for phones, tablets, laptops etc. Details on every book page.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like my review of
Cossacks in Paris by Jeffrey Perren

My Review of Everybody Lies by Julia Hughes

I finished reading Everybody Lies, the new DI Crombie novel from author Julia Hughes, 

a couple of weeks ago but the excitement of the Festive Season has prevented me from writing a review post. Now things are more or less back to normal, apart from several excess pounds to shed, I can catch up with my reviews.

The first thing to say is that

Everybody Lies is a really good novel and a most enjoyable detective story. 

I like Julia Hughes' writing but I think she's written her best book so far with this one.

DI Crombie is a wonderful character. 

He first appears in the author's Celtic Cousins' Adventure series where he alternately helps and hinders the cousins in pursuit of their goals. He's taciturn, down-to-earth, idiosyncratic and totally authentic and when I met him in A Raucous Time I knew he had the potential to develop into a real star. Next I read Crombie's Christmas where Crombie appears centre stage in his own short story. It's a quick read which includes some new aspects to Crombie's character and more back story about his home life. Crombie's Christmas ended with a hint from the author that there were more Crombie stories in the pipeline. And now there is! A full length Crombie novel which is really good.

A missing teenager, a disappearing conman and a suicidal rock-star are a huge challenge for Detective Inspector Crombie when he is given the job of investigating a complex web of family secrets and deceit.

The tricky plot is full of twists and red herrings that keep the reader guessing right to the end. There's a great sense of reality with sharp, entertaining dialogue and an attention to detail that makes Everybody Lies

a gripping page-turner and a thrilling whodunnit. 


Everybody Lies has a strong supporting cast and some particularly good female characters on both sides of the law. Written in a light-hearted, easy-reading style, from start to finish the book is humorous and entertaining.

A great full-length first novel for DI Crombie and another good read from Julia Hughes.

More details and read a free sample at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Everybody-Lies-Julia-Hughes-ebook/dp/B0199AB0QE

or click on the Previewer at the bottom of the page. (This doesn't work for all devices but where it does you're straight into the book.)

Readers who don't have a Kindle can get a free app from Amazon for phones, tablets, laptops etc. Details on every book page.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like: 3 detectives I met in fiction in 2015 which includes DI Crombie and two other great British Detectives.