book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Till Morning is Nigh by Rob Parker (Review)

Bracken is back on a whole new adventure! I’m so pleased to be on the blog tour for “Till Morning Is Nigh” by Rob Parker, the latest Ben Bracken Thriller. Following The Penny Black, Bracken is set to get himself into a whole heap of trouble… again. Read on for my thoughts! Till Morning is Nigh is available now in eBook and Paperback formats and is available on Kindle Unlimited.

It’s no secret that Bracken is one of my favourite protagonists to date. He’s not your typical “hero” and he’s plenty flawed. In Rob Parker’s latest offering, Bracken has a chance at a whole new life. More.. legally this time, though all still very questionable. He’s not hiding off-the-grid. He’s been given a chance. He’s got a family now and a new job consulting with the NCA.

He’s now part of a team, something different to what we’re used to from this lone wolf. However, will he play the part or will he go off and do what he wants? Does his new family effect his decisions? He has a newborn son with his partner, Carolyn, whom already has two children from her previous relationship. That’s a whole interesting story there, but it’s a spoiler for previous books, so if you’ve not read them, I’d recommend you do. 😉 It’s noticeably softened Bracken but you’ll have to find out for yourself what it means for his adventure.

A race against time with a topical, political theme, Till Morning Is Nigh is unsettling and tense throughout as Bracken goes above and beyond – as per usual, gets himself to a whole heap of trouble – as usual and puts himself firmly amongst the grey.

A little slower of a pace than his other books, this is an excellent thriller with well-built tension that had me genuinely unable to put it down – I wasn’t kidding when I say it’s unsettling and tense. While a work of fiction, the topical theme hits close to home with the current political tensions and the threats of extremism and only led to a more immersive read. I had to follow it through to the end for my own sanity. The ending didn’t fully sit with me, some of the action elements didn’t feel totally believable but I put it down to adrenaline and went with it, I’m totally fine with that, that’s literally my only criticism and it’s barely a criticism. I really enjoyed the book as a whole and I can’t get enough of Bracken. So I am pleased to say this is yet another excellent offering from Rob Parker.

About the Book

Dragged half dead from a river, Ben Bracken, fugitive ex-soldier, is in a bad way.

But, too valuable to discard and too dangerous to set free, an old friend offers him a choice: abandon his identity and become a desk-bound advisor to the National Crime Agency, or go back to the prison he broke out of – a place where he is extremely unpopular.

Bracken is forced to accept – and he’s becoming a different man.

But all this changes when, days before Christmas, an undercover narcotics officer is murdered in horrific circumstances, and only Bracken has the inside track on the key suspect. Throwing himself into the fray, Bracken finds himself in a very present-day ideological conflict, uncovering a plot which has huge implications for both Manchester’s political, socio-economic landscape, and the nation at large – coming to an explosive conclusion amidst the twinkling fairy lights and frost-tipped boughs of Christmas Eve…

book reviews · Bookish

The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (Review)

Hi! Today I am on the Love Books Group blog tour for The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith, out now! Read on for my review, more info about the book and the author, and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour. I received a copy of this book for my participation in the tour.

The Fourth Courier is an espionage thriller based in 1992 Poland that follows Porter – an FBI agent whom is in Poland to assist with investigations, Crawford – who is there from the CIA for similar reasons and Mladic – a sadist and a masochist who hopes to establish and preside over the new Serbia now that the borders to Poland have been opened.

There have been four murders. All of the bodies have turned up in the same area, on the same river, seemingly on display and with similar methods to murder and mutilation. Jay Porter has been assigned to the case, working from the Embassy with Kurt Crawford alongside the Polish investigating team.

Mladic enlists the aid of an isolated nuclear scientist and corrupt cop to assist him with smuggling uranium in to Poland in the hopes of creating a suitcase bomb. But will he succeed?

The book has quite the atmosphere and sets you firmly in Warsaw, after the fall of communism, where food is short, money is short, smuggling is common and drugs are easy. I really enjoy the way the author managed to really create such an atmosphere and convey the emotions of the people through the difficulties during this time.

I really enjoyed the way the characters were written. I was unsure why sexuality and skin colour mattered and why they were certainly noted upon in the bio. I questioned if it was to earn diversity-points. I was incredibly pleased to discover that was not the case at all and that there was a reason for it which we discover in the second half of the book which has a lot more going on as we really get in to things.

The book is incredibly steadily paced and has a good balance between the characters, environment and plot and I found this incredibly enjoyable, albeit a little predictable at times; I want to get to the end and see how it concluded from the multiple perspectives. I’d definitely recommend it.

About the Book

For International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland.

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.  

About the Author

Tim has traveled the world collecting stories and characters for his novels and screenplays which have received high praise. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his first book, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, “Stolen Memories.” His screenplays have won numerous international competitions. Tim is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. He lives in France.

book reviews · Bookish

The Revenge Trail by A.A Abbott (Review)

Hi! Today I am on the blog tour for The Revenge Trail by A.A Abbott. This is the fourth installment to the series and it is available now in both Paperback and Kindle editions – it’s also available as part of Kindle Unlimited!

The Revenge Trail is the fourth and most recent installment in the Trail series. One thing I love is that the author offers this series in large print and dyslexia-friendly versions for those who don’t have e-readers.

The Revenge Trail brings together characters met previously in the series in another vodka-fuelled tale. Returning to the stage is our main lady! Kat White and vodka salesman/business partner, Marty Bridges. Kat is an excellent distiller of vodka and Marty wants to monetize that alongside his sales of Snow Mountain vodka which comes from a distillery now owned by Kat’s mum. However, disaster strikes when Marty gets a tainted delivery and a lot of the book for Marty is all about damage control for the the situation and his financial losses.

Kat wants to just make her Starshine vodka, leave her criminal past behind and focus on her dreams. Unfortunately for her, Shaun Halloran, who we met in the first book, decides to show his face. I won’t go in to the details in case you’ve not read previous installments (you should fix that!) and because I don’t want to spoil later content in the book.

I really enjoy how Kat has developed as a character, she’s far better person than she was when she was first introduced – she seems to have grown a lot and includes others in her equations now.

The chapters are short and not filled with fluff; I really enjoy that about this series and it makes it really easy to just consume a chapter when on the go or waiting for a bus or something, but without feeling like things are lacking or that things have been cut short. Just like the previous books in the series, this was well paced and enjoyable from start to finish.

While I feel you could read this book as a stand-alone, you’d get far more enjoyment out of it if you have read the other parts of the series as this really rounds out some characters stories and plot lines and brings them to an end, so while I recommend this book, I would definitely suggest you go read the other installments first! If you’re interested and didn’t see it before, you can read my review of the first book here.

About the Book

VODKA TO DIE FOR…

Kat’s craft vodka brand makes it big, but a crazed murderer’s on her trail.

Glamorous blonde Kat White makes the best vodka in the world. At last, her craft vodka from Birmingham is going places, while the mother who abandoned her faces financial ruin.

So does vodka salesman Marty Bridges. Kat doesn’t trust him, but she has to save his business or hers will go under too.

That’s not her biggest problem. Crazed murderer Shaun Halloran wants to kill her, even if it means breaking out of jail to take his revenge.

Kat dreams of love, riches and success in her life – but shouldn’t she just focus on staying alive?

With twists, tension, secrets and suspense – “The Revenge Trail” is a gripping crime thriller that will draw you into Kat’s exciting world.  

About the Author

English thriller writer AA Abbott’s real name is Helen Blenkinsop. She loves city life, having lived and worked in London, Birmingham and Bristol. Her crime thrillers, set in Birmingham and London, sizzle with suspense, twists and the evils of office politics.

Helen’s books are available in a dyslexia-friendly large print as well as standard paperback and Kindle editions.

Her Trail Series follows the fortunes of glamorous blonde Kat White, a party girl who finds her purpose making vodka, shrewd businessman Marty Bridges, and manipulative East End crime lord Shaun Halloran


Bookish · Uncategorized

Favourite Character to Write (Guest Post)

Today, I am really pleased to be bringing you a guest post from fellow Staffordshire county…human JF Burgess, author of The Killer Shadow Thieves which is available now in both Paperback and Kindle formats; it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited. You can read his post and find out more below!



Favourite character to write.

That’s got to be the protagonist, 45-year-old widowed detective Tom Blake, whose wife and 10-year-old son was tragically killed in a fatal hit and run car crash ten years ago. Tom was driving at the time and his daughter Isabel was also in the car, both miraculously escaped the accident with minor cuts and bruises – but he still suffers from emotional flashbacks and neck pain from whiplash caused by the accident. They never caught the joyrider who killed his family but he vows to bring the perpetrator to justice once day.

He’s an intuitive, firm but fair detective who hates sitting hunched over a computer and loves the thrill of the chase and adrenaline rush you can only get from this type of job. A bit of a perfectionist, who thrives on the uncertainty of each new case and the thrill of the hunt, which brings out the dark side of his personality when good triumphs over evil?

He’s a great leader, but also quite vulnerable at times, which makes him very likeable and real. And like all good detectives, he has to fight tooth and nail for every bit of ground gained against the criminal underworld.
I really enjoyed developing his character and watching him grow. I see a lot of myself in him which is only natural I suppose. Ultimately, I think readers will enjoy rooting for him whilst trying to work out who the murder really is?
Heather Eames at Book Jar Journeys reviews sums the reader character connection up when she says…
“The characters and their development throughout the novel are a definite highlight for me. As the story progressed, I was more drawn in and intrigued by what was going on. I also enjoyed (perhaps the wrong word) the family drama that was introduced and think that it made the characters more human, I was reading with my heart in my mouth when his daughter was kidnapped!”

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Blurb

Widowed detective DI Tom Blake sets off a chain of events that change his life forever, when the brutal murder of an alcoholic skinhead, and arrest of a vicious Turkish loan shark, unwittingly disrupts an international gang’s daring plans to steal the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard.

In a cruel twist of fate, Blake’s daughter is kidnapped and the trail propels the bereft detective on a personal quest to Miami to save her life. Operating outside the law, he enters into an illicit showdown with a mysterious artefacts Collector, almost costing him his life.

As the body count rises, Blake and his team struggle to unravel the conspiracy of a shadowy killer who leaves no trace. With only circumstantial evidence against each of the suspects, they hit a wall, until twenty-six-year-old photographs linking them to the murdered skinhead emerge. It seems the victim’s depraved past is the key to identifying the killer.

Can the police uncover the truth through all the lies and deception, and crack the case before someone else gets killed? And will they recover a legendary national treasure, worth millions, before it’s lost forever?

jfburgess

Author Bio

I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and spent many years doing less than ideal jobs in and around the Potteries five towns, before finally taking the plunge and quitting work to follow my creative side. As a keen horse-racing fan, I started off in 2007 self-publishing betting how-to manuals.

This is my main business, but my real passion is for crime fiction, both reading and writing.

Inspired by authors such as Mel Sherratt, Peter James, Val McDermid, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, Martina Cole and Ian Rankin, and in need of a new challenge, I decided to try my hand at writing crime fiction.

After months of hard slog and sheer determination, I finished my first novel: The Killer Shadow Thieves. This is the first in a planned series of gritty crime fiction books set in Stoke on Trent, involving charismatic DI Tom Blake and his larger-than-life sidekick DS Jon Murphy.

The follow up, The Deadly Legacy, is a cult serial killer thriller, with a 200-year-old secret at the heart of a plot full of unexpected twists, which push the relationships of a rich pottery family into life-threatening conflicts.

I write tense, gripping, crime fiction mysteries with a twist – or urban crossbreed, as I call it. My thrillers take you deep inside the criminal mind.

I live with my wife and family in Stoke-on-Trent, England. You can find out more about me at www.jfburgess.co.uk, or on Twitter at @burgess1012.