Category Archives: Mystery

Nexus by Alison Morton – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Nexus by Alison Morton.

Here’s the blurb

Genre –  Crime Thriller

Mid 1970s. Ex-Praetorian Aurelia Mitela is serving as Roma Nova’s interim ambassador in London. Asked by a British colleague to find his missing son, Aurelia thinks it will only be a case of a young man temporarily rebelling. He’s bound to turn up only a little worse for wear.

But a spate of high-level killings pulls Aurelia away into a dangerous pan-European investigation. Badly beaten in Rome as a warning, she discovers the killers have kidnapped her life companion, Miklós, and sent an ultimatum: Back off or he’ll die.

But Aurelia is a Roma Novan and they never give up…

Review

Nexus is a novella in the Roma Nova series by Alison Morton and the first thing I’m going to say is you don’t need to have read the series to enjoy this book but it certainly would help you understand the character motivations.

Ever wonder what would have happened if Rome never fell? Well look no further. Rome lives on through Roma Nova.

Roma Nova still holds many values and one of them in integrity.. they are a respected people who have very strong female leads… one being Aurelia Mitela.

Aurelia is a fun character, she’s an ex solider who can’t seem to shake that past. In Nexus Aurelia’s skills are put to the test when a connection is made between a series of unexpected deaths.

Whilst the investigation continues she also lends her skills to tracking down a friends missing son..but does he want to be found?

She can’t do this on her own and the enigma that is Miklós is along for the ride. I love Miklós and his approach to life which varies so much to that of Aurelia. They need each other in my ways.

Nexus is full of twists and turns to provide the reader with plenty of suspense and the ending packs quite a punch.

What the author manages to do really well with this book is mix a normal base for a thriller.. mysterious deaths.. with her own unique setting to give the reader a wondrous tale.. you might have read thrillers/mysteries before but this edge the tale has gives it a different feel.. it’s fun and exciting and the plot is simply riveting.. the setting for the tale really gives it that extra something I’m always looking for.

As a fan of the series what I really enjoyed was the character development of Miklós.. it felt like he had a bigger part to play and as much as he’s still quite an unknown it was so great to see him have his own part to play.. although he does seem to get himself in rather a lot of trouble ha.

If you enjoy thrillers but need something a little different..something fresh..then this is the book for you.

Nexus builds nicely on the foundations set in previous novels for fans but also offers a chance for new readers an easy way into the authors world.. you can’t not enjoy it.

Alison’s work for me is a go to if I need a refresh.. I’ve never read anything like this before and I doubt I ever will.. nothing can live up to the high standards set by Aurelia Mitela!

My rating – 5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

No Stone Unturned (The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries Book 1) by Pam Lecky – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing No Stone Unturned (The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries Book 1) by Pam Lecky.

Here’s the blurb:-

Genre – Historical Mystery.

A suspicious death, stolen gems and an unclaimed reward: who will be the victor in a deadly game of cat and mouse?

London October 1886: Trapped in a troubled marriage, Lucy Lawrence is ripe for an adventure. But when she meets the enigmatic Phineas Stone, over the body of her husband in the mortuary, her world begins to fall apart.

When her late husband’s secrets spill from the grave, and her life is threatened by the leader of London’s most notorious gang, Lucy must find the strength to rise to the challenge. But who can she trust and how is she to stay out of the murderous clutches of London’s most dangerous criminal?

Review.

I’m a big fan of Pam Lecky’s work and have been following her progress since 2015 when I read The Bowes Inheritance. When I got wind of the latest release I couldn’t wait to grab a copy.

The tale follows Lucy, whose life has just been shattered by the death of her husband.. but nothing makes sense.. he shouldn’t have been there..what was he doing and why didn’t he tell her where he was really going?

Soon Lucy learns her husband was in league with some very bad men and her life could even be in danger.. but what are they looking for?.. to top it off her finances are a mess since her husband kept these affairs from her.

To escape the stress and the building pressure she heads to her childhood home..but things aren’t going to easy there either and while she’s trying to find out what to do with her life she ends up in more hot water… this time she gets to see the inside of a prison cell.

Lucy gets a helping hand by Phineas Stone.. they have briefly met before.. but why is he here? What is he after? Can he be trusted? Can anyone?

Soon a dark web of deceit is uncovered that goes further than either of them could have imagined.

When the pieces start to fall into place we see Lucy, who is determined to be independent, head out to solve the mystery and the revelations will have lasting repercussions for Lucy and her family.

So down to the nitty-gritty. I loved the plot and it played out at a perfect pace. The characters were fun and developed well but what Pam Lecky got spot on once again is her writing style..quite literally for me it was the perfect mix of plot progression, descriptors & character development.. nothing was forced in there.. it was a natural progression.

I also really enjoy Pam’s style of female leads.. they a flawed (like all the great characters are!), they are independent, head strong and can be ruled by emotions at times.. it’s not anything against men certainly but Pam shows female driven stories work just as well and as male driven stories.. better even. Like with all good characters there worth moments I loved her and moments she had me screaming inside to see what’s right in front of her… I wasn’t frustrated with her.. more I was invested and wanted her to succeed.

Overall a fun little historical mystery tale which ticked the all the boxes. It’s mystery, thriller and suspense all thrown into one and I do hope it’s not the last we see of Lucy and Phineas!

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Watson Letters Volume 1: Something Wicker This Way Comes by Colin Garrow – Review

Today I’m going to share my thoughts on The Watson Letters Volume 1: Something Wicker This Way Comes by Colin Garrow.

Here’s the blurb :-

Genre – Historical Mysteries

In a not quite Post-Victorian, steampunk parallel universe, Holmes and Watson continue their fight against crime.
Based on the infamous Blog of the same name, this indecorous take on the Holmes and Watson stories pitch the detecting duo into Whitechapel, the Western Isles and the Village of the Damned. Adult humour throughout.

THE WATSON LETTERS is book #1 in this Victorian comedy adventure series.

Review

I chanced upon Colin Garrow while on Twitter.. I’m nosy so had a look at the books he’s written..Sherlock Holmes? YES PLEASE!.

Sherlock has always been a favourite of mine, his humour dark as well as the subjects he explores.

This collection is written from Watson’s viewpoint as he chronicles the cases he and Sherlock examine. More often than not Holmes leaves Watson in the dark and this is where the adult humour really comes in. The relationship between the two was so much fun.. humorous..witty..

I really enjoyed the short sharp style diary entries which made it easy to read. It was exciting and riveting, a thoroughly enjoyable read!

It can’t be easy writing a story based on a well-known figure..how can you live up to expectations? For me Garrow got it spot on and I immediately felt at home with the tale and I loved it from the first page to the last!

Why did I choose to read this book you might wonder? Well I read a lot and sometimes I need a change of pace or an easy quick read. At under 150 pages this filled my needs for a quick read..but what I got was so much more than I could have expected and I’m so glad I took the time to enjoy this beauty of a book.

My rating – 5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Chase: The Hunt for a King by Thomas Dellenbusch – Review

Title – Chase: The Hunt for a King (Chase (EE) Book 2)
Author – Thomas Dellenbusch , Richard Urmston (Translator)
Genre – Crime, Thriller, Mystery
Length – 118 Pages
Publication – Feb 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Translated Version from the popular German book series of Movie-Length-Theatre-Of-The-Mind-Stories

Scotland on the brink of independence: the government is planning its own Scottish monarchy. But when a member of the close-knit planning group reveals the identity of the candidate for the throne, suddenly people appear who want to prevent this royal ascension at all costs – including murder. When CHASE is called in to assist, Jérome and Chen Lu travel to Glasgow. Together with the Scotsman James Campbell, they hunt for his father’s murderer. A secretive wax seal leads them into a maze of ancient legends and lost manuscripts. Can they solve the mystery and save the king – or will old ruins become their grave?

Review

This is the second book in the CHASE series. If you didn’t catch my review of book one then click here –  The Hunt for the Mute Poetess.

On to book two…. This time the author lets other members of the CHASE team shine and this meant the story was not only enjoyable but fresh. This added some depth to the team which we were introduced to in the previous book and it’s this kind of slow but steady build-up that makes me invest in a series.

The CHASE team have a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and they’re thrust into a life or death situation as a friend of Jérome’s life hangs in the balance.. it’s all linked to the death of his father and ties to the past and the Scottish monarchy itself.

There’s plenty of twists to this tale and exciting revelations to keep the reader hooked. Fast paced scenes keep the action flowing but there are also points in the book where you and the characters can reflect on events. For me this reminded of TV character Columbo, a real mystery to be solved and it takes the CHASE team to figure things out.

A real joy to read I must admit and both the author and the translator have got this book spot on. I really wouldn’t have guessed this book was translated from German to English at all and the story works well. It especially fits at the moment with Brexit and the question of Scotland’s independence being discussed.

A super quick, easy and fun read. I’d go so far as to say it would be impossible not to enjoy the book.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Miss Christie Regrets by Guy Fraser-Sampson – Review

Title – Miss Christie Regrets
Author – Guy Fraser-Sampson
Genre – Mystery/Crime
Length – 320 Pages
Publication – Jan 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The second in the Hampstead Murders series opens with a sudden death at an iconic local venue, which some of the team believe may be connected with an unsolved murder featuring Cold War betrayals worthy of George Smiley. It soon emerges that none other than Agatha Christie herself may be the key witness who is able to provide the missing link. As with its bestselling predecessor, Death in Profile, the book develops the lives and loves of the team at ‘Hampstead Nick’. While the next phase of a complicated love triangle plays itself out, the protagonists, struggling to crack not one but two apparently insoluble murders, face issues of national security in working alongside Special Branch. On one level a classic whodunit, this quirky and intelligent read harks back not only to the world of Agatha Christie, but also to the Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, making it a worthy successor to Death in Profile which was dubbed ‘a love letter to the detective novel’.

Review

This book is the 2nd book in the Hampstead Murders series. I read the first book in the series Death in Profile recently and loved it so much I jumped at the opportunity to read this one.

The book starts of slowly but with a clear purpose as the author reminds us about the characters from the previous book, building on them but also giving enough information that you could read this book as a standalone.

So the tale itself is a brilliant whodunit. After a body is found the suspects are interviewed nothing concrete can be found. As more evidence comes to light the attention moves from one suspect to another and then for good measure a few twists are thrown in along the way to really put you off the scent.

One of the twists has links to the past and the very well-known Agatha Christie and this just added to the already intriguing tale.

What I really enjoyed about this tale is that until all the evidence is laid out the real killer could have been anyone, motives aplenty and no solid alibi’s leave you guessing.. then bang..the author has teased you long enough and finally fills in the blanks. The last twist I must admit I loved. I understood the motive but really didn’t see it coming.

The author’s style of storytelling is what really makes a good read, easy following, sharp informative chapters keep you gripped as little by little things are pieced together.

I also really liked that the author made this book much more than just a police procedural book, he gives the characters depth. Their own lives feature heavily in the story and this influences the way they tackle the case at times. This gave realness to the tale and really does make me hope the series continues as I’m invested in the team.

A special mention has to go to the cover on this one. This is the kind of cover that would make me buy the book regardless of the subject. It’s just looks so damn good in my opinion.

My thanks to the author and Urbane Publications for a copy of this book.
To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Guillaume by Prue Batten – Review

Title – Guillaume (The Triptych Chronicle Book 2)
Author – Prue Batten
Genre – Historical Fiction
Publication – 10th Dec 2016
Pages – 314
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The Church – powerful and moneyed.
The Heretics – zealous and poor.
Lyon – a city that might claim to cast the seeds of reformed thinking upon the world.
Guillaume of Anjou, formerly an archer fighting with other Angevins in the Third Crusade, is now the manager of a successful merchant house. In his new position, he unwittingly steps into and out of the shadowed world of trade and secrets in Lyon.
Guillaume carries the weight of a book in his hands – a book that may well light the flame of the greatest philosophical and spiritual change Europe will experience so that word and sword will cut a swathe through the fabric of life in Lyon.
But he has also made an enemy who wants nothing more than revenge.
He will fight for his life…

“With her customary elegant use of language, Prue Batten plunges us effortlessly into the mercantile houses, twisted alleys and secret shadowy tunnels of medieval Europe. Guillaume is a riveting tale of twelfth century trade, treachery and intrigue.” Matthew Harffy, bestselling author of The Bernicia Chronicles.

“This is for readers who love the historical fiction of writers such as Wendy Dunn, but yearn for the adventure of an earlier period and the excitement and mystery of ordinary people tangled in dangerous politics.” Gillian Polack, bestselling author of The Middle Ages Unlocked

Review

This is my first venture into the work of Prue Batten and I can safely say I was impressed!

The book follows a man named Guillaume who helps run a merchant house. I can’t lie, I loved him.

His life is about to change very quickly. As we go through the tale you can tell he likes to give out a calm impression but underneath he’s exhausted.

From the start of the book you can tell someone is either out to get Guillaume or destroy the business he helps run but you are kept guessing as to which and the motive behind it. I really enjoyed the mystery in the book, the author keeps you hooked until she is ready to reveal all.

Character development is the thing I look for most in a book. I need to find them believable and Prue Batten has put together an ensemble that ticks all the right boxes for me.  Not only was Guillaume a great character but the story also had a great supporting cast to the tale. The relationships, motivations and personas all felt right, they developed naturally rather than being forced.

This book is full of treachery, murder, mystery and intrigue. Shadows form the past return and it’s all woven together in a wonderful plot that was gripping from start to finish. This book really was a treat to read.

I also really enjoyed the descriptiveness used by the author. Prue gives you a background to the trade Guillaume is part of and this only added to the story which made it feel more real.

I can’t spoil the plot for you but can I can say this, there’s multiple players involved in this story and until the last few chapters you don’t have all the pieces so it a real buzz when things start to click together.

A special mention must go out for the ending of this book. Again I can’t spoil it but it suited the story perfectly and left me with that empty feeling..Hold on, that’s a good thing! I mean I was left with that “oh wow” moment and was left wanting.. needing more. I can’t wait to read more of the authors work.

Guillaume is a well written tale with great characters and a perfectly paced plot.. There’s nothing about this story I didn’t love!

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work. I’ll certainly be watching out for more 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Blog Tour – The Eden Tree by Peter Worthington – Review

1Title – The Eden Tree
Author – Peter Worthington
Genre – Mystery/Contemporary Fiction
Length –    280 Pages
Publication Date – 19th July 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis                 

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” John James Morgan knew the day he was born. Two days before his sixty-first birthday he found out why. John is a happily married businessman, father and grandfather, living in Cheshire, in the heart of England. Happy, that is, until his family face a crisis. A terminal one. At the local market, a flower-seller tells John a story that changes his life. Assured his destiny is in his own hands, John crosses the globe in pursuit of a religious artefact which has remained hidden for two thousand years. Presented with an antique box containing maps, parchments and a bag of leaves, John returns to the UK and witnesses a miracle. With the box in his possession, John and his family find new friends and enemies; lives are threatened and people die, although some will be healed. With the help of many different people, from all walks of life, John’s journey will finally lead him to the discovery of an extraordinary and mysterious tree. But what will this Eden tree mean to John, his family, their faith and their future? The Eden Tree is author Peter Worthington’s first novel; a fictional account based on his own experiences with his son, John Wesley, who underwent treatment for cancer but sadly passed away shortly after his seventh birthday. The Eden Tree has allowed Peter to give his much-loved son “a happier ending.”

Review

This book was a bit of a surprise to me I must admit. When I first picked it up I had no idea how much love had clearly been put into the book and the story behind it..that came as soon as i opened the book and read the dedication and the acknowledgements and I was immediately touched that the author plans to help Great Ormond Street Hospital through this book.

Even before chapter one I had a warm fuzzy feeling tingling within me.. the anticipation

The story follows John, his world starts to fall apart. Wesley is terminally ill and there seems no hope.

Little does he know many years ago a box was found that contained the leaves of the Eden Tree. This box has been kept safe under strict instructions it’s only to be given to one man.. the man who bares the symbol and asks for help.. Without knowing what is about to happen John is whisked away on an adventure where a cure exists.

I must admit I’m not religious but I have the utmost respect for anyone who does… I wasn’t sure at first if this book would be for me with its religious undertone but  it’s done in such a way that if anything I found it intriguing, it was very well written so even someone like myself could enjoy the tale

It’s a fast paced book and I felt a couple of the relationships that formed happened a bit quickly but I can see why the author did this.. there was such much to cram in this book.. so much story to tell and quite a few characters but it all worked well.

The characters themselves were great, lots of them, each with a different personality. Sometimes with so many characters it’s hard to remember who is who but not with this book,   the author clearly defines each character and their place in the tale

It a nice, well written story that’s heart-warming but at the same time has the added buzz of adventure

One thing I did think early on with the story is if you got these magic leaves..how could you only help one person..if you don’t, how do you choose who to save..whilst also trying to keep this cure safe as anything like this would clearly be exploited. It was good to see the author tackle this towards the end of the book where the family discuss life and death.. it would be good to see this explored more but I imagine that would be a very difficult tale to write if it was possible.

This book is a labour of love and you can tell just how much the author has put into this tale. Every time I read a chapter I thought of the real Wesley and how the author has wrote this for him and it gives the book that extra something in my opinion

I liked this one.. a lot.

My thanks go to the author and Authoright for the chance to read/review the book and take part in the blog tour

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

The author has kindly wrote a piece on the process he went through with The Eden Tree, I hope you enjoy the insight as much as I do –


 

How I Got to the Finished Product. – Peter Worthington

I have been writing for a number of years. Some of my articles, short stories and flash fiction have been published. But the novel ‘the Eden Tree’ has occupied my time for a decade, with the actual writing and editing process over the past four years.

In 1980 when my wife and I were told that our toddler had cancer we were plunged into another existence. Wesley at three and a half years old endured his treatments with heroism and a smile. Sadly, after a short remission, his cancer returned and he passed away two weeks after his seventh birthday in 1984.

I have wanted since to write a novel about his life. Initially I was imagining non-fiction. But as a Christian pastor I was drawn to the miracles of the Bible. The idea came which gave me an alternative Wesley story. One with a happier ending.

From the idea – some years ago- of healing leaves from the Eden tree I began to use an A4 folder in 2012. I divided it for Characters, Chapters, Research and Resources. I had a page for each chapter and scribbled as ideas came and also inserted some notes in a clear folder.

Once I had enough of a storyline I started to type chapter one in Word. Initially I had John Morgan’s arrival in Tel Aviv as the prologue but after a few months I realised that needed to change as it did not seem to fit. So after some tries I inserted a new prologue as the two brothers discovering the box. A website I use for reviews gave me a clear thumb up.

I found the writing very enjoyable and often woke in the night with new ideas to insert in a chapter. My storyline was clear after the first year and once I had a timeline for characters, events and scenes that worked my novel took shape.

I had three drafts before I finally found an editor. I knew as a debut novel the Eden Tree needed a full structural edit so in November 2015 I sent her a few chapters to see what she would do. I was so pleased with her suggestions that I commissioned her for the full edit later that month. It is amazing with the technology that enables an editor in New Zealand edit and send back her suggestions using Word’s edit function. After three edits and my editor patiently explained her amendments along the way we finally reached the finished manuscript. The 85,000 words had been honed to a leaner 75,000. The novel had less meandering, clearer focus and made a much better read.

By that time in December 2015 I had also discovered after sending samples to various agents – nearly having my fingers burned by one – that Authoright would be a great fit as publisher, printer and publicist. The CEO phoned me personally to talk me through the process. I commissioned them in November/ December 2015 and was kept informed throughout and found it easy to negotiate. They sent several design suggestions for front cover and the one that I chose is ideal. I have found the team professional and courteous.

The momentous day arrived when twenty copies of the Eden Tree were delivered to my home in May 2016. I felt I was dreaming as I lifted the novel and I’m sure my face was beaming. Since then I have spoken to groups and used social media and my website to spread the news. My novel will be released for sale on July 19th. If I can do it anyone can!

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com