Tag Archives: Recommended Reading

Dragonfly by Trisha Hughes – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Dragonfly by Trisha Hughes.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Mystery/Thriller

Ex-police detective Jack Curtis thought he’d seen everything.That is until he found his friend Joe naked and sobbing on the steps of his house, a gun lying beside him and his fiancée Shannon dead in a pool of blood.All the evidence points to Joe as the murderer, yet he professes his innocence. But if Joe didn’t do it, who did?Jack digs deep for answers but what he finds reveals Shannon was playing a more sinister and dangerous game than he could ever have imagined. Now he is questioning everything he thought he knew.

Review

I was immediately interested in reading Dragonfly as it’s a change in genre for the author who was more familiar to me as a historical fiction writer.. Will a mystery/thriller live up to the same standards.. lets find out.

Jack Curtis an ex-police detective is about to have his night ruined when he receives a phone call from his friend Joe.. Joe’s fiancée is dead.

Things don’t add up from the start and Jack quickly decides he’s going to be involved one way or another.

A web of lies and deception is soon uncovered. The twist in this tale is just how far these deceptions go and how far will Jack go to uncover the truth… nothing is what it seems.

The author feeds you all the right words to make you feel you know the truth pretty early on..but wait a minute..that’s too easy right? There has to be more too it but what?.. oh trust me it’s worth the wait for the big reveal.

As a mystery/thriller goes this is really good, I must admit I didn’t really warm to Jack as quickly as I’d like.. There’s a lot of back story for the reader to follow and I needed time to learn his motivations but once I’d worked him out everything fell into place and I found myself connecting with Jack more and more.

If you are looking for intense build-up that drives you crazy this is the book for you..

I seriously hopes there’s more to come.

4/5 Stars.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Faces of Darkness by Steven A. McKay

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Faces of Darkness by Steven A. McKay.

Here’s the blurb

When a young noblewoman is brutally assaulted in her own manor house, two former outlaws decide they must solve the mystery, before things go too far…

CROFTUN, NORTHERN ENGLAND
WINTER, AD 1328

Lady Isabella de Courcy is found alone in a room bolted from the inside, unconscious, and with a dagger forced through her hand, but this is just the latest in a line of similar, terrifying incidents. For months now, she’s been stalked by some shadowy tormentor yet, bafflingly, the attacker has never been clearly seen by anyone, even Lady Isabella, and he seems to leave no trace of his movements.
Can the bailiff, John Little, along with the legendary friar, Robert Stafford, uncover the truth and, more importantly, will they be able to save the troubled victim before she ends up dead?

This new standalone novella from the author of The Druid sees the return of two much-loved characters from the Forest Lord series and is based on a shocking real-life case which remains, to this day, unsolved.Genre – Historical Fiction.

Review

Steven A. McKay has delivered a gem of a story! I really thought McKay had shelved for good Robin Hood and his gang for new pastures.. turns out there’s still some stories left to be told and I couldn’t be happier.

We are back with Friar Tuck and Little John who are about to stumble upon a mystery.. and let’s be fair we all know Tuck.. he’s not one to walk away without getting to the bottom of things.

Little John in his role as bailiff is out to collect a fine and Tuck comes along for the journey. They soon learn of the plight of Lady Isabella, who is being terrorised and things seem to be escalating! There’s one issue though.. there’s no witnesses and no evidence that the individual exists..but there must be someone right?

John and Tuck do due diligence and secure the area.. with no issues found they go on their way… only to be called back as another frightful event has occurred.

It soon becomes clear that not everyone believes the stories they are being told by Lady Isabella.. things don’t add up.

Tuck is a good judge of character and soon seems to be getting somewhere.. you can see the cogs start to turn once the oil gets the gears going and it leads to a fast paced and gripping ending that packs a punch.

What I really enjoyed about this book..  it’s a perfect little mystery but with the authors fun and gritty edge.. and Tuck and John were the perfect duo. You’d be forgiven for raising an eyebrow.. you either want modern-day mysteries or straight up historical fiction right?..can you mix them? McKay certainly knows the recipe!

I’m going to put it out there now… I love these little novellas.. Can we have Will Scaflock back in the next please :).

Faces of Darkness offers an intriguing plot based around a real life event, balanced with wit from both Tuck and John.. add in the perfect pace and you’ve got a winner!

McKay knows what his readers want.. everything he offers us is pure brilliance and while we may not see the gang around that much it was so good to be back!

5/5 Stars.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

David’s Book Blurg’s Top Choices for 2019

Ok.. so there’s still time for some last minute gifts so I want to share my top picks! These are just some of the books I’ve read/listened to this year! Click the pictures to head to Amazon to have a look in detail!

  1. Are you an audiobook fan? If so you’ve got to get Lucia by Steven A McKay. It’s a gut wrenching slaves tale set in Roman times.51cHfw39UnL._SX342_
  2. Fancy a delicious new mystery novel? then look no further than No Stone Unturned by Pam Lecky. (Currently at the bargain price of £0.99 on Kindle!)46203408._SY475_
  3. Do you like a police procedural kind of novel and like flawed leads? Well The Silent Dead by Keith Nixon is the book for you.47969376._SY475_
  4. Enjoy a bit of Science Fiction without the word count? Take a look at The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon!415GhUysFtL
  5. Like a bit of a historical read.. ever heard of the Hittites? look no further than Empires of Bronze by Gordon Doherty.51Odsq2iUkL
  6. Not quite sure what you are after? Fancy more than one book? Well why not get a boxset of goodness? Check out forged in Fire, a set which includes books by authors Prue Batten, Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty 5168XFNxseL

 

There’s so many good books out there.. these are just a few of the hundreds i’d happily recommend so do check out my reviews and see if anything takes your fancy.

Do get in touch and let me know what book gifts you give and receive this year 🙂

Lucia by Steven A. McKay – Audiobook Review!

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Lucia by Steven A. McKay on available on Audible!

Here’s the blurb

At eight years old, Lucia is torn from the life she knew. Her village burned to the ground and parents murdered by Romans, she is kidnapped, sold and shipped abroad to the Villa Tempestatis in Britannia to serve the young Roman army officer Castus.

Faced with a bleak future of decades of servitude to her master, as well as sadistic brutality at the hands of his slave and manageress, Paltucca, she finds herself fixated by one thought alone. Fuelled by hatred and a belief that the gods saved her for a reason, she vows to never taste freedom until she gets her revenge.

As she and her fellow slaves are exploited mercilessly by the master and his ‘noble’ friends – and brutally punished for even the smallest misdemeanours – Lucia’s longing for vengeance only grows stronger. Despite warnings from her loyal friend, Sennianus, that her hatred won’t bring her happiness, she continues to plot the downfall of Castus and Paltucca.

When Paltucca performs an unforgivable act, cruelly destroying a chance of happiness for Lucia, the manageress seals her own fate and unwittingly becomes her own undoing. But what will become of Castus? Risen within the ranks and trusted by the master, Lucia must decide whether or not to exploit her power and risk everything to fulfil her lifelong desire.

Genre – Historical Fiction.

Review

Lucia is a slaves tale told from the very beginning when she is brutally taken from her family and those she loved left for dead.

Quickly Lucia learns her new place in life but struggles with the horrible Paltucca.. an evil manageress who never seems to be happy with the work no matter the standard.

Her master Castus is an enigma or sorts at first.. as a Roman officer he’s not always at home but when he is the wine and food flows.. some of his guests are less than delightful and their urges quite abhorrent. Castus shows himself to be a good master at times ensuring the youngest slaves aren’t unduly harmed but as time goes on he himself changes…his own deprived tastes come to the fore and Lucia feels the brunt of his affections for a time.

While Lucia learns to deal with her masters demands she proves to be a good slave.. she’s part of a family. Of course she hates those who oppress her and she swears one day to get vengeance on all those who have wronged her.

As time goes on some important events happen to Lucia and her fellow slaves..the most important is her saving the estate from thieves. It’s a catalyst which sees Lucia’s fortunes change.

To say Lucia is a tough read is an understatement… don’t get me wrong.. this tale is gripping and it’s tough to put down.. what I mean is it’s harrowing… real heart wrenching.. to see someone downtrodden..treated like they don’t matter.. it’s hard to imagine a time when slaves were common place. The hardships these people suffer arent easy to forget.

Along the way we see friendships forged..and tested. Sennianus wants nothing more than to live an easy life with Lucia but she’s broken…Senni stands by her but struggles at times to accept the situation.

Regalis is the biggest character for me and plays a pivotal part.. he’s a slave but also has the job of delivering punishments on behalf of Paltucca…the thing is everyone likes the man.. he’s as honest as they come and is just doing as commanded by his master.. there’s no malice in his actions.

Sosthenes, while not very well liked he knows his place. There’s a moment your feelings for him change as you see the man in a different light.

Dentatus, a horrible creature of a man who will do anything if it sees him in the good books of the manageress.

The point I hope I’ve made clear is that this story is not just of Lucia.. yes the main focus is on her life but there’s so much more going on.. each member of the cast play their part and stay with you… they each have their own motivations and you can’t help but feel for them all. Some find it easier to adapt to their new lives than others but under everything they are humans..and their lives are worth more..

Lucia is an Audible book only and the narrator Imogen Church did superbly at making me commit to Lucia with everything I had. I like audio but can get distracted easily..Imogen Church commands your attention.. her tone perfect for each character.. emphasis just when you’d expect.

A compelling 5* story from McKay, an author who continues to amaze me with his writing.

To find out more head to Audible or Goodreads!

Desperate Ground: (Ali Sinclair #1) by L J Morris – Review (FREE BOOK ALERT!!)

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Desperate Ground: (Ali Sinclair #1) by L J Morris which is currently free on Amazon!

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Thriller.

When the secrecy of a nuclear weapon agreement is thrown into doubt, a disgraced intelligence operative is recruited to find out if the deal is still safe…

Ali Sinclair, wrongly convicted and on the run from a Mexican prison, is enlisted to infiltrate her old friend’s inner circle and find the evidence.

The only people on her side are an ex-Cold War spook and the former Royal Marine that was sent to find her. Together they discover that the stakes are much higher than anyone knew, and the fate of the world is at risk…

But when you live in the shadows who can you trust?

Review

Ali Sinclair and Frank McGill are not to be messed with.. Ali has quite a skill set and with Frank backing her up with fire power when needed you are in deep trouble if they come calling.

Sinclair has spent time behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit.. she took the blame for the right reasons but she will never trust those in power again who left her in a hell hole of a prison.

When Sinclair breaks free Frank is their waiting.. nows she’s keeping her head down as she will be sent back to jail if caught.

When Simeon Carter learns of a potential situation that could use the skills and knowledge of Sinclair it’s Frank who must act as a middle man and gain Ali’s support… this is a chance for her to come home..to be free.. it’s not one she can pass up. She’s the ideal candidate.. she’s got the skills and a past connection on the inside to help… or are they part of the madness also?

As Frank and Ali set out on their mission Simeon is also doing his bit..he’s got an expert working with him to uncover the threat but with limited info it’s not going to be easy.

It soon comes clear there is more to this threat than originally thought and it could have devastating results… and worse still there’s a mole.. someone on their side is calling the shots..but who? and why?

Everything comes to an explosive conclusion but the threads are left to set the scene for the next book in the series which I’m excited to read.

What I really enjoyed about the book was the plot..the whole idea of how the bad guy thinks he can get his hands on nuclear weapons was fascinating.. the whole idea that security put in place to protect these system could be exploited was right up my street.

The story is quite plot driven and I would have loved a little more character development as I didn’t feel like I knew the team well enough by the end of the tale..Sinclair and McGill are a tight but I’d like to explore the background to this more.. hopefully we will see their connection grow further in the next instalment.

Desperate Ground is a spy thriller full of action and violence.. it’s the perfect thriller.. reminds me of Mission Impossible/James Bond and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ali is such a strong and fearless force it’s hard not to love her.

My thanks to Bloodhound Books and the author for the chance to read/review the book. Get your copy now while it’s on offer for free!!!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

The Silent Dead by Keith Nixon – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Silent Dead by Keith Nixon.

Here’s the blurb

Genre –  Crime Thriller/Police Procedural

A gruesome discovery. A secret long-buried. The past uncovered.

When Detective Inspector Solomon Gray is called to a quiet residential property what he discovers is truly shocking – the mummified body of a new-born baby. The tiny corpse, hidden inside a cardboard box at the back of a wardrobe, is only found after the death of the homeowner, Andrea Ogilvy.

Until a few years ago Ogilvy was a foster carer for the local council, looking after hundreds of children during her career. But something made her give up her role. But what? Nobody truly knows.

DNA analysis on the child leads Gray to three women; one of which may be the abandoned baby’s mother. As Gray digs deeper he uncovers painful family secrets and a multitude of lies. It seems vulnerable young women were being exploited by a man in a position of power. But who helped them cover everything up? And why?

And someone is setting a dog onto teenagers – criminals early in their careers. Seemingly a vigilante is operating, doing what the police won’t. And, as usual, Gray’s complex personal life interferes with his job.

Who is the baby? Why was it hidden? What lives will be shattered by Gray’s investigation?

Review

The Silent Dead is book 6 in the Solomon Gray series by Keith Nixon. To enjoy this book you don’t necessarily need to have read the rest of the series but it would certainly help you understand Sol’s personal situation. The great thing is the author very nicely links back to past events so a new reader can get an idea of what has happened whilst also keeping the loyal readers hooked.. you get sucked in..it brings everything back.. I found myself playing out bits and pieces in my head remembering the past events in Sols life… it sticks with you.

So Sol once again has his work cut out for him when a baby is found…but the poor little thing has been dead for years.. but how did they die and why was the death hidden for so long.

There’s twists and turns and dark secrets come out left, right and centre.. the author plays with you.. always misdirecting your thoughts..keeping the truth tantalizingly close until the right moment! Loved it.

Let’s just say a few people have their lives turned upside down from these events.

Sol has his personal life to deal with too and more than one stained work relationship causing him a headache. I really love this side to the story, not only does it increase the suspense, it also delivers in bucket load the character development I always yearn for.

The Silent Dead is the perfect thriller.. it’s packed with some cracking moments when the action hits. There’s also quite a harrowing side to the tale that will stick with you long after you’ve finished.

If you like thrillers this books for you… if you like suspense this books for you.. if you like police procedural novels this books for you.. if you want a heart wrenching plot this is for you.. if you want.. oh you get my drift ha. I can’t see anyone not loving this book.

Let’s talk characters for a moment.. Sol in particular.. while the ensemble cast certainly play their part well it’s Sol who sticks with you.. as he should.. he’s flawed.. he’s dealing with a lot of past pain and it shows sometimes when he really needs to step back.. but that’s what I love about the guy.. it’s real.. I’ve make errors.. I’ve needed to apologise at times.. but I always have the best intentions.. that’s Sol.. I identify with this character as I can see his thought process and would act the same as he does and this connection will keep me coming back time and time again.

I know from the author’s notes that Sol will be back.. just not soon.. While that’s hard to take I can’t wait to see what Keith comes up with next.

My rating – 5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Lions of Rome by S.J.A Turney – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Lions of Rome book 4 in the Praetorian series by S.J. A. Turney

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction.

Rufinus is dead, crumpled at the base of a cliff in far-off Dacia. Or so the world believes. Back in the west, secretly in the entourage of the fierce Septimius Severus, the young hero moves in the shadows with fellow conspirators in an attempt to finally bring down the would-be tyrant of Rome: Cleander.

Under assumed names and in a variety of roles, the former Praetorian conspires with some of the most important men in Rome, bringing the city to the very brink of disaster in a grand and complex plot to cause the fall of the untouchable chamberlain.

And as governors, prefects, Praetorians and consuls work their secret plots in the seedy underbelly of Rome, Rufinus finds he has an opportunity to settle old scores along the way.

The empire is suffering. Rome is seething. Rufinus is back.

Review

We are back with Rufinus for his fourth adventure , you’d think after past events he would want the quiet life..not so.. he still wants to see the downfall of Cleander.

Plot wise I think the author took a slight risk, although it worked pretty well, as the series takes a more fun tone at times. The author provides insights into this in his author notes and it was really interesting to see his thought process.

So on with the nitty-gritty…  Rufinus is for all intents and purposes is dead after a nasty fall from a cliff.. he survived barely and now he’s fit and healthy it’s time to get back to Cleander and his downfall. But he’s going to need the help of some likeminded and powerful individuals to do it.

Along the way we learn more about the men sent to kill Dis, a frumentarius, loyal to the Emperor who was murdered way back at the start of the series and now he’s this close Rufinus vows to take vengeance.

We see Rufinus tackle each foe In turn.. getting closer and closer until the time is right to strike..some chances come sooner than others and the waiting game certainly frustrates Rufinus whilst building up the tension for the reader.

What Turney get’s spot on for me is the detailed plot. Whilst a little bit more outrageous with Rufinus changing his appearance to stay hidden time to time the frankly exciting and well planned plot was easy to get sucked in. You can see the cogs turning slowly as Rufinus works his way through his targets and the author managed to show his impressive knowledge of roles within the empire and how individuals would interact with each other day-to-day.

I also really enjoyed the links to the past..I’m not going to say much but I’m glad Merc wasnt forgotten.

Lions of Rome is a slow burner..not to steal a phrase but we are in the endgame now..and the pieces on the board need to be set in such a way that Cleander won’t see it coming! While you might feel the frustration just like Rufinus does the author knows just what to give his readers, just wait until you get to the last 3rd of the book when everything starts to come to fruition..you won’t want it to end!

Overall a detailed and fun story that didn’t disappoint..i’m excited for more from the author although I fear he churns hits out faster than I can read them! Ha

One final note for the author.. I missed Acheron greatly.. and for anyone who gets the reference don’t worry too much 🙂

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.