#BlogTour #Extract & #Giveaway UK & IRL only. Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit #NewRelease @orionbooks @orion_crime

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Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit
Synopsis:

You’d die for your family. But would you kill for them?

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Family is everything. So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.
You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them.
Is there?

My 5* review see here

#Extract

I shouldn’t write that—it seems a bit much, when your father’s in prison. If anyone had to get out, it was my father, but he couldn’t. We, on the other hand, would be leaving as soon as possible, and as four o’clock approached, we transferred what was left of the cake from the baking sheet to two paper plates—one for my father and one for Kottke and his colleagues—and then we hugged him and left, not forgetting to say thank you to Kottke. My father remained behind, of course. He’d been sentenced to eight years. The six months he spent in remand count towards that, and he’s served another six months here in Tegel, which leaves seven years. If he behaves well—and we firmly expect him to do so—he might be released in three or four years’ time. Kottke has told us repeatedly that there is no better-behaved inmate than my father, and that fuels our hopes. It would give him another few good years of life as a free man. That’s what I tell my mother. ‘If only he doesn’t die in there,’ my mother often says, and immediately repeats herself: ‘If only he doesn’t die in there.’ He’s healthy, I tell her, when she says that. He’ll make it.

‘Dad?’ I asked again, after chatting a while with Kottke. That’s how I tend to spend my time here: Kottke and I talk. He does most of the talking—Kottke’s nothing if not talkative—but that’s a good thing. It’s a help. I find the silence of the prison intolerable, because eerie sounds emanate from t that can be heard in the visitors’ room—metallic noises I can’t identify, not ringing out sharply, but flat and dull. At first I thought I could hear rhythms, as if somebody was tapping or filing, but over time I realised that I had become the victim of my own expectations—namely, that a prison must always be filled with the sounds of thwarted communication or attempted flight. There were no rhythms, nor was there any quiet sighing such as I once thought I heard—only unfamiliar, unaccountable noises coming from deep inside the building. I was glad when Kottke drowned out these sounds with his grating Berlin accent. He has a long career as a jailer behind him—more than forty years serving the law—and has a great many stories to tell. I never really wanted to know so much about the world of crime and criminals, but that world is not without interest, especially now that it intersects with our own.

Kottke was soon looking at the clock. He has an unerring instinct, always knowing when our hour together is up. ‘Time we made a move,’ he said, as usual, and I was grateful to him: this turn of phrase makes it sound as if the two of them have to leave a pleasant coffee party and drive home. Home for my father is a cell, but this uncomfortable fact is obscured by Kottke’s well-chosen words. A jailer’s sensitivity—there is such a thing. We’ve been lucky.

Until then, Kottke had been leaning against the wall next to the window. Hardly had he spoken when he took two steps across the room towards my father and put out a hand to touch his upper arm. He always does that—there are a whole host of rituals here, of repetitions and routines. In this place the gesture seems almost official, a warning that it’s not worth trying to escape, because Kottke, friendly though he may be, must do his duty. But I think he acts out of solicitude—he wants to support my father, even though there’s no need. Dad is quite capable of getting up by himself.

When Dad stood up, so did I. We gave each other a brief hug (we can now), and then he left, Kottke at his side. My father is taller than his guard: a slim six foot two to Kottke’s corpulent five foot six. He is still as trim as ever, but he has lost his hair, and with age his legs have become bowed, giving him a rolling gait like a seaman. Not that he ever was a seaman—my father was a mechanic and then a car salesman.

When they had left, another jailer appeared, one whose name I don’t know. He too was fat (a lot of the men here are), and he looked dutiful rather than friendly. We didn’t exchange a single word as he accompanied me to the door. At last, the street—cars, birds, wind in the trees, life. Twenty paces off, my Audi winked cheerily when I pressed the button on my car key.

#Giveaway
To be in with a chance of winning the goodies below. A signed copy of the novel and a bag of German sweets. Simply comment on the blog post, pinned Tweet or original FB post as Anne Bonny Book Reviews, with a time you have been #GrippedBy Fear.
UK & IRL only

German Sweet Hamper

#Review Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn @SceptreBooks @bookbridgr

*I received an arc via Bookbridgr in return for an honest review*

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Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn
Synopsis:
Set in Northfield, an understaffed military psychiatric hospital immediately before the NHS is founded, Walking Wounded is the story of a doctor and his patient: David Reece, a young journalist-to be whose wartime experiences in Burma have come back to haunt him violently; and Daniel Carter, one of the senior psychiatrists, a man who is fighting his own battles as well as those of his patients.

This moving and impressive debut explores violence and how much harm it does to those forced to inflict it in the name of war. It also captures the dilemmas of the medics themselves as they attempt to ‘fix’ their patients, each of whom raise the question of what has happened to their humanity, what can be done to help them, and what we are willing to sacrifice in the name of healing.

My review:

If you already follow my blog, you will be aware I am a HUGE ww2 fiction and non-fiction fanatic!
I was intrigued by this novel. Not only its themes of world war two but the treatment of mental health and in particular PTSD brought on by combat stress. The era of 1947 offered little in the way of research and psychiatry was a relatively new field. Especially in terms of, actually achieving any worthwhile outcomes.
The UK psychiatric/psychological sectors were heavily influenced by their American counterparts. This was at a time when America had just ‘discovered’ the lobotomy………

Northfield military psychiatric hospital is the setting of the novel. An asylum on the brink of closure, due to the new formation of the national health service. Dr Daniel Carter is the physician for which we follow throughout the novel. Dr Carter is tormented by a case from his own past and whilst his colleagues relish the chance at the new surgical theories from America. Dr Carter is determined to find another way.

Cpl David Reece is a newly arrived patient. Prior to the war David had some experience in journalism, but this has since been abandoned; due to his psychological trauma of his experiences of Burma during the war. David arrives at the hospital a year after being demobbed, after an altercation only referred to as the ‘incident’.
But the reader becomes well-aware that the ‘incident’ holds a greater relevance to David’s backstory, his experiences in the war and his mental wellbeing. Can Dr Carter unearth the significance of this incident?

The other patients are slowly introduced into the plot. John Bain a deserter arrives stating “Treatment means the blues”. Dr Hunter is a physician very much in favour of the medical model of surgery. Not to mention Freddie, a patient having spent much of his time at the hospital in silence, staring into space.
The patients are locked into the unit, until they’ve been assessed by a doctor. Something that doesn’t sit easy with David.

“I can’t see how it will ever be OK again. Not for any of us loonies and misfits in here” – David Reece

The novel then goes into greater detail of the individual characters backgrounds. Their war stories, relationships and hopes for the future.
Young men whose hopes for the future were already dashed once, on the outbreak of war. How do you piece these men back together again?

‘The Great British soldier was expected to count himself lucky he’d come through it and just get on with it’

The themes of survivor’s guilt and depiction of the war scenes the soldiers have witnessed struck a chord with me.
Are we not still failing our soldiers, in the exact same way now? A true lack of understanding and a lack of a desire to understand, what war does to the mind of the brave!

The novel continues at a slow burning pace. There is no need to rush the stories of the individuals. The veteran’s or the doctor’s, and we learn that some of the doctors are just as complicated as the very men they treat.
The novel debates the theory of ‘compulsory mourning’ treatment administered by Dr Main. A theory some may find horrifying!
The author has done a fantastic amount of research into the mental health care and treatment available in the era. The differing opinions of doctors and the impact on patients.

‘Thou shall not wallow’ Commandment of all military psychiatrists.

There are heartfelt moments, when John Bain explains his alter ego to David. How it made him feel human again. It is then that you realise, that is all these men want, their humanity back.
But can Dr Carter perform, what seems the impossible, before surgical routes are explored instead?

This novel reads like a fictionalised autobiography. The two protagonists are Dr Carter and David Reece. I felt at times this lessened the impact of their stories. I feel the novel would have been better constructed from one central protagonists point of view.
At 261 pages, this is a shorter novel. Yet I felt there was so much more room for added characters or depth of the central characters. I loved the historical accuracy, setting and general plot of the novel. I just failed to fully connect with any of the characters on a deep level. I wanted to root for David’s recovery and John’s freedom, instead the novel played out in a very blunt manner, without much further explanation or emotion.

I would recommend to fans of the world war two genre and anyone with an interest of the mental health treatments of yesteryear. 4*

 

#Extract Watch Me by @jodygehrman @StMartinsPress

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Watch Me by Jody Gehrman
Synopsis:
Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.

#Extract

SAM
There’s a key turning in your door. Adrenaline shoots through my body so fast I get a head rush.
For a second, my impulse is to stand my ground. I long to greet you and welcome you in and cook for you and ask about your day and massage the kinks from your taut shoulders and scold Emily for jumping onto your lap when it’s your turn to be petted, to be loved.
But of course none of that can happen, not yet. If you find me like this, I’ll be suspect—worse than suspect. I’ll be caught. And even though I know in my heart there’s nothing sinister about my presence here, you don’t. You won’t see it that way.
I don’t blame you. My impatience with the distance between us grows more intense every second, though.
You’re in the foyer now, closing the door. Any moment you’ll turn and see me. My heart pounds against my ribcage like a crazed dog throwing itself against a fence. I dash up the stairs, willing my boots to stay silent. If you could see me now, you’d be impressed. I’ve got stealth. My criminal instincts are honed. The good girl in you can’t help but be turned on by that. Maybe if you catch me, you’ll find it sexy.
But no. Not going to happen.
You can’t see me.
I have to disappear.
Everything’s riding on this. My pulse races.
Without thinking, I run into the first room at the top of the stairs: the bathroom. Your smell is heavy in here, a tropical storm of Kateness. I creep inside the tub and, careful not to make a sound, pull the shower curtain closed.
I hear you walking up the stairs. You’re humming. It sounds like “Wild Nights” by Van Morrison—one of my favorite songs. That has to mean something.
There’s a preoccupied cadence to your footsteps. I picture you flipping through mail, your brow furrowed in that tiny apostrophe of concentration. You probably have your reading glasses perched on the end of your nose. I ache for you. I peak around the curtain just enough to catch a glimpse of your slender bare feet reaching the top of the staircase and making a left toward your bedroom. I hold my breath, letting the curtain fall back into place.
Why didn’t I slip out when I had the chance? If you find me here, everything’s fucked.
I let my cockiness get out of hand.
From now on, I resolve to be more careful.
You’re in the bedroom, still humming. Definitely “Wild Nights.” I close my eyes and lean my head against the cool white tile. My heart continues to race. My breathing’s ragged. I can hear you searching through drawers. You must be looking for your yoga pants, your wife beater. Your humming turns to singing in the bedroom. There’s the sound of coat hangers clicking against one another. Your voice is husky and rich.
Out of nowhere, a ripple of calm washes over me. This is how it will be when we live together. You’ll be in the next room singing while you change clothes. I’ll step out of the shower, wipe steam from the mirror. I’ll walk into the bedroom, a towel wrapped around my waist. You’ll glance over your shoulder at me, your face lighting up as you pull your tank over your head. I’ll sit on the bed and rub my damp hair, caught between the need to touch you and the simple pleasure of watching you from across the room.
You drop something—your phone? The sound jolts me back to the moment. I need to go right now, while you’re still in the bedroom.
I can’t, though. With your scent in the air, your off key song in my ears, there’s too much anchoring me to the spot. We’re so close right now. I’m in your world, and even though I haven’t been invited, your nearness fills me like a drug.
Oh, God. You’re in the bathroom. You turn on the faucet at the sink. Fuck, this is torture. You’re so close.
So fucking close.
I listen to you brushing your teeth. Smell the minty freshness of your toothpaste. You gargle. Spit.
My breath catches in my throat as you fall silent. What are you doing now? You’re motionless. Are you eyeing the shower curtain? Maybe it’s not as opaque as I thought. You can see my silhouette. You’re standing there, still as a tree, holding your breath, staring at my outline in the pearly white curtain. Any second now you’ll yank open the plastic and—
Oh, God, I can’t stand it, I’m going to—
Wait. You’re leaving.
I exhale in dizzy relief as your bare feet patter back into the hallway and down the stairs.
When I hear NPR come to life in the kitchen, I decide it’s now or never. The stairs end in the downstairs hallway opposite the kitchen, so it’s risky. I have to chance it. Let’s pray you’re in the pantry or at the stove, your back to me. I lift first one foot, then the other, out of the tub, moving like a mime. Every step requires extreme control. My system’s still flooded with adrenaline; my muscles ache to take the stairs at a dead run. In spite of the radio, the oak planks will make way too much noise if I hurry. There’s a window at the landing. I catch sight of your neighbor’s children in the side yard—two little girls. They’re playing a game involving plastic guns. Like marionettes controlled by the same hand, their tiny blonde heads swivel toward me. We stare at one another through the glass for a long moment.
I need to get out of here.
Now.
There’s a bad moment at the bottom of the stairs. You’re not in the pantry. Not at the stove. You’re at the sink. All it would take for you to catch sight of me is a quick sideways glance.
Again, the crazy injustice of our situation hits me. I know you better than anyone, Kate, yet I’m forced to run away like a thief.
I hurry toward the front door.
Just as I’m closing it behind me, lunging for the porch steps, I hear you say, “Hello? Is someone there?”

CREDIT: Watch Me by Jody Gehrman. Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St Martin’s Press.

Jody Gehrman
Jody Gehrman
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