#BookReview 5* #Revolver by @swierczy @mulhollandbooks @HodderBooks #CrimeFic #AmericanNoir

Revolver by Duane Swierczynski

Three generations – torn apart by one bullet.

Philadelphia 1965: Two street cops – one black, one white – are gunned down in a robbery gone wrong. The killer is never prosecuted. One of the fallen officers, Stanislaw Walczak, leaves behind a twelve-year-old boy, Jimmy…

Philadelphia 1995: Homicide detective Jim Walczak learns that his father’s alleged killer, Terrill Lee Stanton, is out of prison. Walczak will be waiting, determined to squeeze the truth out of him – any way he can.

Philadelphia 2015: Jim Walczak’s daughter Audrey, studying forensic science in grad school, reinvestigates her grandfather’s murder for her dissertation. But the deeper Audrey digs, the more she realises: the man everyone thinks killed Walczak didn’t do it

And when the truth comes out, the danger’s only going to grow.

My review:

I am a huge fan of this publisher, they seem to have a brilliant eye for spotting great talent. This is my first by this author, but will definitely not, be my last. I love the real American cop/noir feel to this novel and think the interwoven individual stories works incredibly well.

This novel is the unsolved crime from the past that links three generations of the same family. The beginning is the murder of Philadelphia beat cops, Stanislaw ‘Stan’ Walczak and George W Wildey, killed in the line of duty. The 1964/5 narrative unravels the days that led up to the crime.
What drove someone to kill two of the states finest cops?

The second narrative is Stan’s son, Jimmy Wakczak. Jim being only 12yrs old at the time of the double murder. It is the case that compelled him to be a cop and has caused him great pain and grief throughout the 1995 era and up to the modern day.
What secrets lurk in the closet of Jimmy aka ‘The Captain’?

The modern narrative is told from the perspective of Jim’s daughter Audrey. She is a second year student of a intense forensics course at university of Houston. Upon returning to Philadelphia for her grandfather’s 50-year memorial, she decides to use her new found skills to finally solve the case. How do you solve a murder committed 50 years ago? When the witnesses are dead and the case has remained cold. Audrey has no idea what a hornets nest she will stir up and how much it will impact everyone she knows and loves…………

The Walczak family is full of many characters. Audrey was without a doubt my favourite. She is feisty, tough and driven. But she also has deep emotional scars from her upbringing and relationships with family members. Resulting in her refusal to bear the Walczak name! Jim is a solid career cop. He has paid a heavy price for the mistakes of his past. Throughout the novel we see him desperately trying to juggle his past and his broken relationship with his daughter. The Walczak family are most definitely not the Waltons! Seth’s character is introduced in such a unique era. 1965, the Martin Luther King era and working side by side with a black police officer as his partner. Seth has progressive views for the 1960s era and I really liked the partnership between him and George. They complimented each other so very well.
All they wanted to do was clear up their area of the city!

The novel opens on the evening of the murder 7th May 1965. Stan and George are enjoying a cold beer at a local bar after a tough day on the job. They are supposed to be at a local protest but are on a covert operation, investigating something secret only the two of them know so far. They wait at the bar of their snitch/informant Terrill Lee Stanton, when in busts a gunman armed with a revolver……..

In 1995 Terrill has just been released from a life sentence in jail. Jim finds out on the 30th anniversary of his father’s murder and vows to make Terrill talk. The hate that Jim has stored up for Terrill flows of the pages. This is a man out for revenge, a man with a score to settle. But did Terrill murder his father?
How far is Jim willing to go to know the truth?

When Audrey returns to the state for the memorial, it is evident there are some clear family problems. Audrey believes these to be due to her adoption and doesn’t really see eye to eye with anyone in her family. But what I loved about Audrey, is that there is so much more to her than meets the eye!

The novel plays out in flowing chapters from the eras. It’s very cleverly done, as the reader, you become engrossed in each era and become intrigued into how they tie together. In 1995 Jim is trying to solve a tough case. The rape and murder of a young woman. It is a very dark case and he battles this with the media attention and local politics. Each era, has a theme of racial tensions and I felt they were accurate portrayals. The location of Philadelphia is fully explained to the non-US reader. There are even some cool maps on the inside cover of the city and how it changes though the decades. The area that Stan and George patrol is known locally as the jungle. What it is in fact, is one of the first areas of the city to be flooded with heroin.
Where heroin goes, violent crime is sure to follow….

There are a wealth of characters and to include all of them in this review, would leave many, many spoilers. The author has clearly gone to great lengths to ensure that all demographics of the city/era are covered. It works brilliantly. All the twists and turns are linked to the secret and lies of the past. The crime of the past that will touch painfully on three generations.
This is a perfect blend of historical fiction and crime fiction.
Highly recommended 5*

“I’m going to find the man who did this to you. And I’m going to make him pay” Jim at his father’s funeral    

Duane Swierczynski
Authors links:
Twitter @swierczy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/97136.Duane_Swierczynski
Blog: http://secretdead.blogspot.co.uk/

#BlogTour Q&A with @DearestAnnabel #Author of #APearlForMyMistress #HistFic @HQDigitalUK

A Pearl For My Mistress by Annabel Fielding

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…


Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A)Of course. Essentially, it’s a story about three very different women get caught up in the political struggles of the 1930s, in three very different ways. It’s about the allure of fascism, the allure of love, the power of art and the art of climbing to power.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A)I have got the first idea back in 2014, but, for two years, it drowned in the incoherency of my research and my confusion at the whole writing process. It was only in the spring of 2016 when I have finally decided to set myself a reading list, a way to systematize my research, then a detailed outline, a chapter-by-chapter plan… As a result, I was able to have a revised draft with me by autumn.

I was totally new to the publishing process (and living outside the UK didn’t help!), so, for several months, I had been querying agents and young digital publishers, who didn’t mind unsolicited manuscripts. I have even tried self-publishing, but let’s just say that famous comparison to giving birth in a bar proved to be apt. So, when in March 2017 I have received The Call (or, rather, The E-Mail) from one of the HarperCollins imprints, I couldn’t have been more happy! It was like finding a home at last.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A)For historical fiction and politics, I’d say Hilary Mantel and Sarah Dunant, especially the latter’s Borgia duology. They are both really great at capturing the atmosphere of their respective eras – the fears, the hopes, the gore, the art.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Lord of the Rings, I think. On some winter nights in my boarding school, I used to dream about the glades of Lothlorien.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) I’d say, it was seeing my book encouraged and promoted by my publisher. It really makes you feel you’re not alone anymore.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) It was probably my best friend, who has kindly read all the incoherent snippets, ideas and character playlists I sent her way.

Annabel Fielding
Authors links:
Blog: http://historygeekintown.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DearestAnnabel
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabelfielding/

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.