Category Archives: Historical Thriller

BLOG TOUR – The Wickham Market Murder by Iain Maitland

Today is my turn on the blog tour for The Wickham Market Murder by Iain Maitland, Book 1 in the Bloomfield & Palmer series.

Here’s the blurb

Suffolk, 1907.

Wickham Market’s local constable William Palmer spends his days yearning to solve a significant case so he can earn his detective’s badge.

But Palmer is torn, because he is also in love with the school mistress Alice Kemp who doesn’t want to leave the village.

One night, the night of a dramatic storm, there is a murder. A housemaid – Evelyn Maud Roberts – is found stabbed to death at the local vicarage.

Palmer has his chance to make a name for himself.

The local doctor declares that Evelyn was six months pregnant.

And the vicar’s daughter, Charlotte Mellor, names three men who may have reason to commit murder; Walter Fisk, soon-to-be-master at the workhouse; Albert Nunn, the postman; Frederick Hawes, the slow-witted village boy in love with Evelyn.

Palmer investigates. But he only has so much time before Inspector Bloomfield – the veteran detective from Suffolk Police – arrives from Ipswich to take over the case.

And before the killer strikes again.

Review.

On a cold and horrible night, Evelyn Maud Roberts rushes for the safety of shelter from weather.. not knowing her life is soon to end.

When her body is discovered, local constable William Palmer decides he wants to solve this himself before reinforcements arrive. Palmer is quite a no nonsense guy and speaks without thinking sometimes..unfortunately this means the investigation doesn’t go as planned.

Soon reinforcements arrive in the form of Inspector Bloomfield. When you put these two together you get a kind of Sherlock Holmes type vibe, the inspector showing Palmer the way, tricks of the trade, the tools to help him as the investigation continues. Bloomfield is flawed though, he can have a blinkers on, which to me seems quite logical as without the tools to investigate you’d be left to rely on your gut and would go with it.. but will he get the right man form the crime? And before another body hits the floor?

The case isn’t clear cut though, there’s multiple suspects all with motives and questionable alibis…all these men could be the father to Evelyn’s unborn child…they have a lot to loose, given the tools available in 1907 it seems like this case will go nowhere.. until things kind of take a drastic turn of events.

I really enjoyed the plot and the pace, it was easy to follow and I was fascinated to see how they might solve this case without clear cut evidence. What was even better is that the story really highlighted justice, or rather injustice at times and how difficult it would be to solve some cases.

The Wickham Market Murder isn’t an overly long book either, which I really enjoyed… towards the end I was utterly focused so would have been highly annoyed if I had to put the book down ha ha. I loved escaping into this world, this case, and I was left wanting more. I’d loved to see this team return, this duo have more tales I’m sure 😊

It’s a cracking 4/5 stars from me!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

My thanks go to the author, the publisher and ZooloosBookTours for having me on the tour. I had a copy of the book so was my pleasure to jump onboard! 😊

Why not follow along?

Author Bio

Iain Maitland is the author of three previous psych thrillers, The Scribbler (2020), Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017), all published by Contraband, an imprint of Saraband. Mr Todd’s Reckoning is coming to the big screen in 2023.

Iain is also the author of two memoirs, Dear Michael, Love Dad (Hodder, 2016), a book of letters written to his eldest son who experienced depression and anorexia, and (co-authored with Michael) Out Of The Madhouse (Jessica Kingsley, 2018).

He is also an Ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity. He talks regularly about mental health issues in schools and colleges and workplaces.

Find out more about Iain at http://www.iainmaitland.net and twitter.com/iainmaitland


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Website: www.iainmaitland.net

BLOG TOUR – The Fort by Adrian Goldsworthy – REVIEW

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Fort by Adrian Goldsworthy.

Why not follow the tour?

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

AD 105: DACIA

The Dacian kingdom and Rome are at peace, but no one thinks that it will last. Sent to command an isolated fort beyond the Danube, centurion Flavius Ferox can sense that war is coming, but also knows that enemies may be closer to home.

Many of the Brigantes under his command are former rebels and convicts, as likely to kill him as obey an order. And then there is Hadrian, the emperor’s cousin, and a man with plans of his own…

Gritty, gripping and profoundly authentic, The Fort is the first book in a brand new trilogy set in the Roman empire from bestselling historian Adrian Goldsworthy.

Review

Centurion Flavius Ferox is sent to an isolated fort beyond the Danube. From the moment he arrives he has a bad feeling about things. Many of the veteran soldiers are being recalled now Ferox has arrived, and the men he has brought with him are a ragtag bunch to say the least. Some even want to kill him!

Ferox is the main focus of the tale and I loved the man. He’s the kind of solider you know will make it through..but by the skin of his teeth.. it’s not going to be an easy ride for him. His relationship with his wife also gave extra depth to the man as we see a different side to him and this leads to some very humorous moments which I loved reading.

Hadrian was another fun character.. he’s very astute and ambitious, he’s not above using men’s lives to get what he wants.

Brasus is another character who stands out, he may be one of the enemy, his task to break into the fort and slaughter..but I feel he ends up being one of the most likable characters, there’s air of respect around him.

For me it’s all about the siege..it plays a big part in the tale but is paced so perfectly you are never bored. If anything you just feel the frustration Ferox must have felt, powerless, stuck and searching for an idea to get them out of this mess!

The approach of switching perspectives helped keep the storying flowing nicely too. The testing of the siege weapons is a particular favourite of mine and there was some wonderful detail added on what methods the defenders used to repel the attackers which really had the imagination firing. If you are a fan of siege craft you’ll enjoy this one for sure!

What I really enjoyed was the relationships, the character development and the fact the author held no love for anyone, with more than one meeting their end in a gruesome way which gave it the gritty realness of war.

The author showed a real talent being able to balance the plot with historic detail, it was perfectly mixed so the flow of the story was effortless and the chapter length just right. One night I even had to force myself to bed as it was after midnight and I had work in the morning but the story just sucks you in..its always “oh one more chapter”

Thoroughly enjoyable 5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

My thanks go to the author and the publisher Head of Zeus for the ARC and for allowing me to be part of the blog tour!


About the author

Adrian Goldsworthy , Author , Broadcaster , Historical consultant .Publicity photographs for general PR and bookcovers

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR was recognised by John Keegan as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. He has gone on to write several other books, including THE FALL OF THE WEST, CAESAR, IN THE NAME OF ROME, CANNAE and ROMAN WARFARE, which have sold more than a quarter of a million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. A full-time author, he regularly contributes to TV documentaries on Roman themes.

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Facebook: @headofzeus

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

Sworn to God by Steven A. McKay – Review

So David’s Book Blurg has been absent of late. 2020 has been a tough year for us all and like many I’ve had my own share of personal events to deal with. While real life takes priority I’ve still been reading and I’m excited to get back to reviewing and sharing my thoughts with everyone.

I’m coming back with a bang!

Today I’m going to be reviewing Sworn to God by Steven A. McKay.

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Thriller

Yorkshire, AD 1329
A new religious group moves into an abandoned church just north of the village of Altofts, but when men start dying under strange and suspicious circumstances the local bailiff decides to investigate.

The Disciples of God and their charismatic leader, Lady Alice de Staynton, appear truly holy, but something sinister seems to be going on within the walls of the newly refurbished St Joseph’s. Certainly the bailiff, John Little, has his suspicions about some of the warrior-like male acolytes, but are his fears justified? Infiltrating the group seems to be the best course of action, although the volatile Will Scaflock is none too happy about being nominated for the job by Friar Tuck…
Following on from 2019’s Faces of Darkness, this standalone new story sees three legendary heroes battling invisible ‘Black Lords’ and far more dangerous earthly foes, but can they figure out what’s really going on in St Joseph’s before anyone else dies?

Review

Steven A. McKay is back and he’s revisiting some of our favourite characters from his Forest Lord Series.

Friar Tuck has been pulled into a couple of mysteries over the years along with Little John but in Sworn to God we see the lovely addition of Will “Scarlet” Scaflock.

It’s been a few years since the notorious group of men lead by Robin Hood gained their freedom and lives back. Little John has settled into the life of a bailiff, his stature and presence make it very unlikely he’s going to walk away without the money he’s owed but on one fateful day his job casts lights on the Disciples of God.. There is something strange going on.

The Disciples of God are a new order in the area and John wants to know what they are about.. even more so when one of their order takes their own life… John is soon introduced to the charismatic Lady Alice. She’s got this aura about her that draws people to her.

I won’t spoil all the details but lets just say things don’t smell right and when another suicide occurs John, along with Tuck know it’s time to dig deeper into the disciples.

Will is enlisted into the group as an unknown to Lady Alice, this way he’s able to infiltrate the group. What he learns is that for the most part the disciples are honest individuals and believe in the work they do.. but there is still something not sitting right…but what is it.

Things come to a head, and a few discoveries are made that shake the disciples to the core. For the most part you feel as our heroes do.. we know whose behind it all.. but we don’t know the motivations or how to prove anything… you can feel the frustration.

The author throws in a final twist and all becomes clear..

Wow. That ending..

I really enjoyed the plot from start to finish, it really explores the affect that individuals can have on those most in need…when times are tough..how you can be blind to what is going on all around you.

I love this series of books, there is simply no denying that. It’s the thrilling plot mixed with some characters we know and love, it puts a real twist on the normal style of mystery you’d read. It’s fresh and fun, thrilling and brutal all in one.

Overall a really fun way to develop the characters and it just bloody works brilliantly!

More of the same please!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

 

The Architect of Murder by Rafe McGregor – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Architect of Murder by Rafe McGregor.

Here’s the blurb –

Gerne – Historical Thriller

Major Alec Marshall VC, newly back in London, is enlisted to make inquiries into the will of the late Cecil John Rhodes, the wealthiest man in the British Empire. That same night one of the witnesses to the will, Eric Lowenstein, is found beaten to death in a seedy boarding house, where he was lodging under a false name. As London prepares for King Edward VII’s coronation, Marshall discovers that Lowenstein harboured a deadly secret concerning not only the vast fortune Rhodes amassed, but the very future of the Empire. Marshall’s investigation takes him into the dark heart of a flawed genius, and sets him on a personal journey that will change his life forever.

Review

Major Alec Marshall, an ex-policeman has returned to England to sad tidings. His sister Ellen has died in an unfortunate accident.

While back he is enlisted to help Supt. Melville of Scotland Yard. There’s a case and things don’t add up.

The body has been found of Eric Lowenstein, one of only two witnesses to the will of  Cecil Rhodes, a very rich man.. is there anything to the murder related to the will? Or just wrong place wrong time?

Marshall, with the aid of Inspector Truegood find links that could shake the British Empire at it’s highest level!

While cracking this case Alec become close to his sister’s best friend,  Miss Roberta Paterson. Roberta is struggling to come to terms with the death of Ellen and believes there could be more too it that meets the eye… Alec promises to find out the truth.

When reviewing my notes what I’ve mainly highlighted is the characters and their development…and just how good it was. There’s plenty of detail added to the plot to set the scene but the characters alone shine for me. Believable, interesting, and fun.

Truegood, my favourite, a big brute of a man but he’s as straight as they come. You know he will get the job done. I loved every scene with him in even though he’s a man of few words.

I found myself easily sucked into this one, the plot is expertly woven and the flow perfect, chapter length just how I like it. At not much over 200 pages there’s a lot packed in, and damn.. it’s pretty good.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.