Dylan Young – Trauma

‘Trauma’ by Dylan Young is a psychological medical-based thriller and his latest stand-alone book. Cameron is still attempting to come to terms with an accident on holiday that ended with his girlfriend dying and him suffering severe injuries.

Dylan Young

Nearly a year on, he is still dealing with the physical aspects of his recovery, but more worrying is the mental conditions it has caused for him. He has been experiencing fugues and amnesia, Cameron is uncertain about the accident and the hallucinations he experiences during his fugues cause him to question was the accident an accident or was it a deliberate act? With the UK about to go into lockdown due to COVID-19, his support network is more of a hazy thing than something solid, he decides to investigate what happened, himself.

The thing that I have always noticed when reading Dylan Young book is that he always creates a superb story by skillfully blending fact and fiction. Cameron was a character that invokes sympathy, due to his medical needs since the accident and he is an outspoken character too. This creates a realism that has you hooked to discover what really happened to Cameron and his girlfriend. Dylan Young brings the fugues to the reader and you find yourself attempting to work it out as Cameron is. Great way to hold us!

The inclusion of the pandemic really makes for a realistic story, we all lived it and the mentioning of it gives us a solid place to feel more like we are part of Cameron’s journey. Another excellent book from Dylan Young, one that holds you within the suspense and mystery of the pages until the end.

Thank you to Random Things Tours and Dylan Young for my copy of the book.

Shawn Burgess – The Tear Collector

The Tear Collector by Shawn Burgess is his debut novel and I have reviewed the Audible version of the book. It is similar to a cross-genre story that incorporates, horror, mystery, thriller and even a touch of the supernatural. So, as you can see I can’t just put it into one box. It is the first book in a new series and I think this a series that I need to keep up with!

Shawn Burgess

What begins as a story about a boy, Brooks, being bullied soon turns into something larger when a young girl, Margo, goes missing who was last seen in Grief Hollow, the local woods, by Brooks. He decides, along with his friends to try to solve the mystery of her disappearance, at the same time as the police are investigating…the only problem is that Margo going missing is only the start.

An atmospheric, very creepy story that had me listening as long as possible. The tension grew more as the story unfolded and this made for a jumpy listen! I loved the children throughout the story and think that the author has done a marvellous job in creating them all. The utter childishness of them is pure fun and had me chuckling along at times. The realism of the characters and the creepy scenes sometimes had my heart in my mouth, and that is the sign of a story that has me immersed in that world.

I have read a lot of horror, mystery and thrillers and I must say that this particular author has me intrigued about his other work, I really need to check it out! The audiobook version is narrated by Lou Petrella and I so enjoyed his narration, I do think Lou Petrella did ‘The Tear Collector’ justice and wouldn’t mind listening to other stories with Lou Petrella narrating.

Thank you to Rachel’ Random Resources and Shawn Burgess for the copy of the audiobook for my review today.

Ray Britain – Forgotten Lives

‘Forgotten Lives’ by Ray Britain is a crime fiction book that is the second in the #ADCSTIRLINGINVESTIGATION series. I personally haven’t read the first one but I think that’s something I need to change, and soon! It is perfectly fine to read as a standalone. DCI Stirling is assigned as being the officer in charge of a case of a local man who is killed when he answers his front door.

Ray Britain

It soon becomes apparent that this is going to be a complicated case as the National Crime Agency becomes involved as they believed that the victim was involved in people trafficking and drug smuggling. But there has also been a strange badge found at the scene and when more people are killed and badges are also found it is clear that something links all the deaths.

What I enjoyed about ‘Forgotten Lives’ is that it is as clear as day that Ray Britain definitely knows what he is writing about. He has so skilfully created a story that has a brilliant plot and he has even managed to integrate the pressures the U.K police are still under to this day. In my eyes, this is always important to remember with our police force. Nobody gives them much thought, only that nothing is ever done quick enough, nobody considers the pressures or the cuts in funding, or the lack of manpower.

I loved the authenticity of the story along with the characters it really made me feel that this story could have actually happened, at some point in time. A gripping book by an author I am so happy to have discovered!

Thanks to #damppebblesblogtours for my invitation on the @Ray_Britain #Forgotten_Lives blog tour and the copy of the book.

David F. Ross – There’s Only One Garvey

There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross is one of those stories that you expect to be mainly about one thing, in this case, football, and are truly bowled over by the actual subject matter in hand. A truly different book than I expected and a brilliant addition to the Orenda Books stable.

David F. Ross

Set in Barshaw in Scotland a small village that is as a lot of small places are these days shrinking into decline. Work is sparse and as is pretty usual the entertainment is nowhere to be found! The local football team was the biggest source of pride but, as things do, that has gone downhill as well and support is on it’s way out. Danny Garvey is a lad who had a rough childhood, his mum was what you call unstable and his brother was one who opened his mouth without first putting his brain into gear, so not at all helpful in Danny’s world. His one escape was football and he showed promise on the pitch so was scouted by many a club. The years went by and Danny finds himself right back in Barshaw managing the Junior side instead of being on the pitch itself. At the same time he is attempting to bring the main football team back to life as it is in imminent danger of disappearing altogether. He feels, on his return that it feels like time has stood still in Barshaw but at the same time it’s all different now. The people from his past begin to appear and he experiences his problems from the past again and this all effects how he views things now. Maybe it’s time for a change?

As I said, it is a book that seems to be about a football team, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is a touching story that deals with issues such as community, family, loss and poverty. If I mentioned all of them we would be here all day, so I have given you a few of them! I loved the dialect within the story, this made it really realistic and true to the story. As the story develops we see an incident from Danny’s past that unfolds as we go, which makes for a little mystery in this bittersweet tale.

The cast of characters are a varied lot, I thought they brought this story to life with their roughness and big hearts that we witness. Without his friends Danny may never have returned to Barshaw and his life may have turned a different corner then.
A book that doesn’t leave you after you have turned the last page and read the last word. A deep and satisfying read that I don’t think will ever totally leave me.

A massive Thank you to Orenda Books for allowing me to join another excellent Orenda Book Tour and gifting my copy of ‘There’s Only One Danny Garvey’, I loved it.

Leopold Borstinki – The Alex Cohen Series (Books 1, 2 & 3) Boxset

Today I am bringing you my review of three of Leopold Borstinski’s Alex Cohen novels. The three books are, The Bowery Slugger, Eastside Hustler and Midtown Huckster. They all follow Alex Cohen a young Jewish boy who arrives in America at 15 years old and is determined to earn his place in the world.

The Bowery Slugger begins as he arrives in America and shows us how he makes his way in the world with the violent Jewish New York mob he becomes embroiled with.

Eastside Hustler picks up after Alex returns from war, showing even more of the true grit he will need to get to where he wants to in his life. This is not without risk and danger…especially with friends such as Al Capone! We go through the prohibition years with Eastside Hustler and see the violence and danger that Alex is prepared to endure in his quest to be at the top.

Midtown Huckster is the third visit back to Alex and the Jewish Mob gang he is an intrinsic part of. It is the 1930s now and Alex need to find a new way to earn money without prohibition. He is working for Lucky Luciano when Luciano goes to prison for racketeering. Alex is arrested and is given an impossible choice, what can you do when you trust no one? This instalment brings the beginning of narcotics trafficking and the Jewish New York mob.

This complete series is a must-read for anyone interested in America’s mob history, but then again it’s a colourful, immersive fictional read, that has good historical research for us to be able to follow a timeline within the history of the events for the mob also. It is a book that can be read as a standalone but, to be able to fully understand the mixed bag of Alex, the other two give you a fuller, more rounded picture. We see that although he wants to climb up the mobster’s chain, he has high standards and will not stamp on just anyone to further himself.
A fantastically compelling and addictive read, that is written to show the darker, murkier and grittier side of the 1930’s New York, gangsters world.

This series is a read that kept me gripped and wanting to know what came next every time I picked it up! Certainly enjoyed travelling to Alex Cohen’s world for the time I was reading this, and the other books. A big thank you to Damp Pebbles Blog Tours and Leopold Borstinski for the opportunity to be educated about the gangster world of 1930’s New York, while being highly entertained at the same time!

Damyanti Biswas – You Beneath Your Skin

‘You Beneath Your Skin’ by Damyanti Biswas is her debut psychological thriller set in Delhi. The story incorporates themes such as violence, drug abuse and broken relationships as well as dysfunctional families and I for one thought it was done sublimely.

Damyanti Biswas

Jahtin Bhatt is trapped, in many ways. He is stuck with making everybody happy, his wife, ministers that he covers up for whilst taking dirty money at the same time. Stuck with having to stay friendly with the Union Home Secretary and his family just for his Commissioner father-in-law and all because he is keeping his fingers crossed he will be appointed to his father-in-laws post someday!

Psychotherapist Dr Anjali Morgan juggles her work at a women’s project in inner-city Delhi, with her complicated personal life: her fraught relationship with her teenage son Nikhil, who has autism; her friendship with Maya who runs a small detective agency, and her on-off affair with Maya’s brother, Special Crime Commissioner Jatin. The three of them end up working together on a case involving murders in which slum women are being raped, killed and then their faces being disfigured with acid attacks. We see the three of them being affected in different ways be it opening old wounds or creating new ones.

A dark and definitely thrilling read for me. I enjoyed the twists within the story and all three of the characters jumped out at me. The setting was so well described I could have almost been there with them. I found the story a deep one with many layers to be discovered as it unfolded. I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like a thriller that has plenty of threads to be woven together this may be one to try.

Thanks to Damyanti Biswas for the copy of the book for my review today.

Rudi Choudhary – Their Frozen Graves

‘Their Frozen Graves’ is the second book in the Mackenzie Price series and it can be read as a standalone also.

Rudi Choudhary

This second story begins with three murders, talk about getting value for money!! The first one is of Detective Mackenzie Price’s dad, which is a cracker, to begin with as he is still stood at her side, so that’s a puzzle to work on. The other two bodies are women and almost identical to each other. Mackenzie is sure of one identity and goes to inform the relatives, only to find the woman she thought she identified is alive and there! Mackenzie is on the case and she wants to know why do all the women look the same and who are the dead women? At the same time she realises the woman she thought was already dead is in serious danger. Mackenzie is now+ in a race against time to discover the killer and keep others safe, but can she get to the answer before more are killed?

Mackenzie Price had me hooked immediately, she is a woman who has been through enough but come out the other side with added determination. I took to her quite quickly and was swept away in the story. A gripping read with twists added to increase the intrigue, a highly recommended read from me.

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for the copy of the book.

A.J. Frazer – The Jagged Edge

‘The Jagged Edge’ by A. J. Frazer is a book that tackles climate change in the near future. Dominic a man who loves living on the edge and fulfils that by challenging himself in every part of his life, including his articles for his company Jagged Edge Media for the internet.

A.J. Frazer

The group Earth Ghost and it’s founder, Victor Sagen, will take Dominic and his friend Dax and even the world itself to the brink due to a man who is determined to make everyone pay for the state of humanity and won’t stop until he has brought the changes the environment deserves…even if that means he has to put back all the technological advances to do it.

An adrenaline pumping and action-packed story that is a picture we may even see in the near future, that is the edge to this book. Climate change is a massive issue right now and this story does open your eyes and it makes it a compelling and breathtaking read for today.

The characters are fully fleshed out and that makes them all the more interesting, you are willing them on throughout, even if you are on the edge of your seat while you do it!

A book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime, it may just change some attitudes. A brilliant read and highly recommended.

Thank you to Random Things Tours and A.J. Frazer for my copy of the book.

Barry Kirwan – When The Children Come

‘When The Children Come’ by Barry Kirwan is a novel that pulls you in and won’t let go until you reach the final page.

Barry Kirwan

A story that skillfully blends science fiction and fact, along with action that incorporates a gritty story and characters that are so indelibly real, flawed people who have experienced both sides of life and you can tell. In my eyes, when you can empathise with the characters almost immediately, the author has fulfilled their aim with that book.

Nathan is an army veteran, and his experiences have scarred him, emotionally. He meets Lara and they see that children are being killed, won’t give any spoilers, so you need to read the book to discover the gritty stuff. They protect Nathan’s next-door neighbour, Sally, a child that the people of the world are trying to be rid of. The story follows their journey along with their struggles and discoveries they make along the way to attempt to fight to save the humankind on Earth.

Wow! A fast-paced read where we are thrown headfirst into Nathan, Lara and Sally’s world. I found it such an interesting read that I didn’t even move for a few hours so I could find out as much as I could, as quick as I could! The author’s world-building is so well done that I was immersed in my experience of this book and loved the fact that there is every possibility that this type of thing may happen one day, we will only know if we are here to see it!

As I said earlier and excellent blend of sci-fi and fact that merge together the deeper you get into the book! Highly recommended if you enjoy a blurring of the edges with sci-fi and realism, I certainly did.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Barry Kirwan for my invitation on this tour and the copy of the book.

Sam Blake – The Dark Room

‘The Dark Room’ by Sam Blake is a standalone novel that is set in County Cork. It is a dark, complex and intriguing thriller that does make for an interesting and exciting read.

Sam Blake

The two main characters are both female, Rachel and Caroline. They have both arrived at Hare’s Landing for an escape for themselves although for different reasons. Rachel has left London for the safety of Hare’s Landing after her partner Hunter ends up in hospital and their home is broken into and a homeless has died who was taking part in Hunters documentary.

Caroline is a crime reporter from New York decided to come to Hare’s Landing for a rest and relax but finds herself drawn to the mysterious death of the former owner Honoria Smyth and her painting that hangs above the fireplace. Hare’s Landing itself is a spooky setting on its own. It creates a tense and mysterious read and it is almost like it has a personality and that personality is not a pleasant one. The planned escape for both woman doesn’t go to plan as they end up involved in a missing persons case from thirty years previously.

A book that manages to keep the suspense to the point of feeling like you are walking on a tightrope, while still developing the plot and feeling as if something is not as it seems at Hare’s Landing. The tension is almost palpable as I flipped the pages and getting to a point that I didn’t know quite what to expect as the story unfolded. I was engrossed all the way through and the ending was fabulous! A great book to begin 2021 with!

Thanks to Random Things Tours and Sam Blake for the copy of the book for my review today.

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