Anne Bonny #BookReview The Final Hour by @TheTomWood 5* #Victor #Assassin #Thriller @LittleBrownUK

The Final Hour by Tom Wood – Victor the assassin #7

From bestselling author Tom Wood comes a unique and gasp-inducing Victor thriller that turns all your expectations on their head . . .

Former CIA agent Antonio Alvarez has been tracking a vicious murderer for years, a nameless hitman responsible for numerous homicides.

Once, the Agency deflected him away from his search, but now promotion has given him a second chance to right the past.

Only problem is, the killer has vanished.

Thousands of miles away, the professional known as Victor has stopped working – recently he began to care; he made mistakes. But there’s another assassin, Raven, who needs his help – and she is hard to refuse . . .

My Review:

A ruthless hitman and a female assassin, this is one kick ass novel!

I was really looking forward to this novel and it was practically calling to me from the book shelves. Despite having a mountain of a TBR pile, I decided to give in to temptation. I am so glad I did. The novel is action-packed and grips you from the start. It had moments it reminded me of Kill Bill the movie and Hitman the game. Thanks to my big brother, I spent many hours watching him navigate the various missions on Hitman. The world of professional hired killers, is always going to be intriguing and this novel does not disappoint. Not on one single page!

The novel opens with a man in a rural church in County Cork, Ireland. It is a small village community but this evening a man walks in to make a confession. . .

‘Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It’s exactly one year since my last confession’

The unknown man confesses to multiple murders. It is at this point I started to wonder if the whiskey drinking priest, would make it out of this chapter alive!

In alternate chapters we are introduced to a woman, in hospital over-coming a recent neurotoxin poisoning. Brought in, dead on arrival she has had to claw her way back to life. She is weak and suffering physical pain due to effects of the poison. We come to know that this woman, isn’t just any woman. She is Constance Stone aka Raven a former government operative turned rogue agent. Raven receives some flowers marked with the phrase ‘We’ll always have Coney island’. She knows they have come from the man who offered her a lifeline. She also knows escape from the hospital is her only option. . .

The novel has characters with great character depth. From Raven’s determination to stay alive and keep fighting to the details of Victor being accomplished in MMA. The author has formed some brilliant detailed charters that stay with you.
As Raven deals with the Canadian police officers Heno and Willitz. We learn from her internal thought about the ‘consensus’ a group of rich powerful, morally bankrupt and utterly ruthless individuals. They form a shadow government. Meanwhile in Ireland a shaken priest stares into the dark eyes of Victor.

‘He saw no conscience in Victors eyes to appeal to; no humanity; no mercy; no pity’

The novel jumps forward to a year later. With Alvarez forced to quit an operation. He is angry, and his anger sets him on a path for vengeance.

Victor and Raven are both approached for potential jobs. But when you’re a hired killer who can you trust? It suddenly becomes clear that for life as professional, paranoia keeps you alive.

Raven is still struggling with her symptoms, even a year after the poisoning. When she is threatened, suddenly the hunter becomes the hunted. . .

‘You need to know that we’re never going to give up. You’re never going to be safe. We’re going to keep looking and we’re going to find you again’

Raven responds with threats and it becomes crystal clear, that this assassin fears no one. Faced with the threat of death, she is forced to form her own investigations. Raven has her own unique sassy style, which makes her a brilliant character to follow.

‘I’m a regular Sherlock Holmes in high heels’ – Raven

The plot is far too complex to go fully into and I am wary of leaving any spoilers in my reviews. But faced with secret intelligence services, scrupulous handlers and plotting at every turn. Victor and Raven are backed further and further into a corner. Whilst the writing gets more and more intense.

‘Victor had never fooled himself into believing the actions of governments were any more just than those of private individuals, even when he had wore a uniform. Killing was killing, however it was marketed. Defence, regime change, intervention were all terms used to make the unpalatable less so for general consumption’

Victor and Raven have a dramatic reunion but for more unusual reasons, than you could first assume. The writing style is perfection. I often like to add quotes in my reviews, with this novel I was literally spoilt for choice. I personally think the structure of the authors descriptions is possibly the best in the genre. It must be tough as an author to convey a world of hired killers and corrupt governments. Tom Wood makes it look all so easy, with cleverly weaved paragraph after paragraph.
I will leave you with one of my favourite.

‘In a life-threatening situation, whether terrorism or a rockslide, what kills most people is slowness to react. Regular lives are so safe, so eventless, that there is a lack of comprehension when faced with death. It’s not necessarily shock. It’s disbelief. It’s dismissal. Civilians say to themselves: I’ve got this wrong; this isn’t what I think it is…’

The ending sets the scene perfectly for the next novel in the series, Kill For Me. There is even an extract available at the back.
Buy this novel, you won’t regret it! 5*

Tom Wood

Coming soon. . . .
26th July 2018

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Kill For Me by Tom Wood

For years, two sisters have vied for the turf of their dead crime boss father. Across the streets of Guatemala City, bodies have piled up; the US Drug Enforcement Agency, operating far from its own borders, is powerless to stop the fighting.

But now one sister has a weapon that could finally win the war – a cold, amoral hitman known, fittingly, as ‘Victor’.

Freed from previous employers the CIA and MI6, Victor is a killer for-hire whose sense of self-preservation trumps all else. Yet as betrayal and counter-betrayal unspool in the vicious family feud, Victor finds himself at the centre of a storm even he could be powerless to stop.

Anne Bonny #BookReview Himself by @JessKiddHerself 4* @canongatebooks A brilliant, unique and quirky novel!

Himself by Jess Kidd

When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the lies of his past.

No one – living or dead – will tell Mahony what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite his certainty that more than one of the villagers knows the sinister truth.

Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and darkly comic debut novel creates an unforgettable world of mystery, bloody violence and buried secrets.

A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice
Shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2016
Shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2017
Longlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2017

My Review:

It would be fair to say that Jess Kidd has an over-active imagination; I mean this 100% in the positive and creative way, in which authors write and bring to life amazing characters. The characters are intense, brilliantly written and definitely memorable. I can easily see why Himself was a BBC2 book club choice.
I just wish I had gotten around to reading it much sooner!

‘For Mulderrig is a place like no other’

The novel takes place between to timeframes. The build up and eventual death of a teenage mum in 1950 and the 1976 era, when the son returns to Mulderrig. It is a very unique and quirky novel, one that I could see appealing to a wide-range of readers.

‘People are born to live and stay and die here’

The prologue opens in 1950, with the savage murder of a teenage mother. Her baby escapes the scene, as her killer holds her as she is dying. It is eerie, evil and a scene that sticks in your head throughout the novel.

The novel then jumps forward in time to 1976, where we meet 29yr old Mahony. He receives some documents that lead him to Mulderrig and the past he has never known. But Mahony is not your usual protagonist, as Mahony can see the dead…..

‘For the dead are always close by in a life like Mahony’s’

In the documents he receives are a photo of a young girl and a sealed letter, which reads…..
“Your name is Francis Sweeney. Your mummy was Orla Sweeney. You are from Mulderrig, Co. Mayo. This is a picture of yourself and her. For your information she was the curse of the town, so they took her from you. They all lie, so watch yourself, and know that your mammy loved you”

Mahony quickly notes the ‘was’ in the text and believes the past tense must mean his mother is no longer alive. Mahony has never known any of his past, of his birth mother or father. He has endured a tough and often abusive upbringing by nuns. He is desperate to learn more, and this leads him to Mulderrig. Upon arriving in the small town, he is quickly acquainted with local barman Tadhg Kerrigan. Tadhg gives Mahony snippets of information regarding the other locals.

Mahony finds himself at Rathmore House, the only place that will put up an outsider. The town is full of bizarre characters both dead and alive. But it is at Rathmore House, that Mahony meets Mrs Cauley, an eccentric elderly woman with a superb outlook on life. Mrs Cauley is quick witted, blunt and at times rather rude.
I instantly liked her. I loved her rebellious approach to life, I think there is a lot we can all learn from Mrs Cauley.

Mrs Cauley has been a resident of Mulderrig the last 20yrs. She is striking, right from her first encounter, when she demands to meet Mahony. They instantly bond and hatch together a plan to solve the mystery. She is well aware of Mahony’s ability to see the dead and this becomes a topic of conversation. For if Mahony can see the dead, why can’t he see his mother?

We quickly become aware that Mahony’s mother Orla was Mulderrig’s dirty secret. That she was loathed for being an unwed mother and often referred to as wild or bad. But we also learn that Orla was a fighter, who did not give up on her baby.

‘She defied the town and everyone in it’

There are chapters scattered throughout that explore Orla’s life, the abuse she suffered makes for alarming reading. This was after all, just a 16yr old girl.
I really hoped that Mahony and Mrs Cauley got the answers they so desperately sought. I hoped that maybe, just maybe, Orla would get some justice, at last.

As the plot moves around the various characters, we discover that the author truly is genius. From Tom Bogey the local hermit to Father Eugene Quinn the weasel faced priest. All the characters are truly unique and at times, I began to ask myself, how does the author think these characters up?

The investigation formed by Mahony and Mrs Cauley is the main basis of the novel. It is dark, intriguing and at times absolutely hilarious. Which can be no easy job, so huge credit to the author for weaving comedy amongst the backdrop of a sinister crime. I absolutely LOVED the characters and look forward to becoming reacquainted with Jess Kidd’s over-active imagination in her next novel The Hoarder. 4*

Jess Kidd

Also available. . . . . 
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Hoarder by Jess Kidd

Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Whispering Room by @deankoontz 5* #JaneHawk #Epic #Series @fictionpubteam @HarperFiction #Thriller

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz (#2 in the Jane Hawk series)

It’s either fight, or die…

The second gripping thriller in an exciting new series featuring FBI agent Jane Hawk, from the master of suspense and New York Times No.1 bestselling author.

‘Do what you were born to do’

These are the words that ring in the mind of a beloved teacher as she drives a car full of burning gasoline into a hotel. The police believe she was insane, but rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk knows the truth.

In the wake of many similar inexplicable suicides, including that of her husband, Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of formidable players who are bent on obtaining world power.

Now Jane has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.

My Review:

The Whispering Room is the second novel in the Jane Hawk series. The first novel, The Silent corner kicked of the series, to a phenomenal start! I absolutely LOVED the sci-fi twist in a novel in the crime fiction genre. Jane Hawk is a likeable, strong and feisty protagonist.
In the series she refuses to back down, despite being confronted with her darkest fears. . .

‘Cowardice was the default position of the times’

The novel opens with Cora Gunderson, a 40yr old SEN teacher from Minnesota, as she goes about her morning routine. Only this morning, there is the presence of a strange man in her kitchen. Cora has been suffering from migraines lately, she often dreams of fire and has some memory loss. With her current circumstances causing her enough alarm, for her to be documenting her feelings in a journal.

Across the US, ex-FBI agent Jane is preparing to make her move on a journalist. A journalist that had recently written an article on David James Michael aka ‘DJ’ the Silicon Valley billionaire connected to the nanomachine web implants. But Jane has her back against the wall, as she is wanted in connection to several deaths. She is currently listed on the NICI National Crime Information Centre Website, as a fugitive.

‘Killing to save the word – Why is that hard to believe? It’s as old as history’

Jane must also be one step ahead of the individuals she investigates. Everything she has uncovered points to their ruthless and depraved actions and disregard for the law. These individuals are wealthy, powerful and well-connected.

As Cora finishes her morning routine, she prepares for the act before her. by the end of the morning, she will have driven a vehicle engulfed in flames into the Veblen hotel. The fire will leave a substantial death toll and a devastated community. But was it all pre-arranged? Or was Cora mentally ill and hearing the voice of god? Sheriff Luther Tillman is the local police officer frozen out of the investigation. But having personally known Cora, it is a case he can not let go.

Meanwhile Jane is learning more about Lawrence and his involvement with the people she fears are leading the nanomachine project. She also learns he has scrupulous ties to his own wife’s death just a year earlier. Everything Jane learns fuels her desire for revenge and wish to see justice brought to those involved. Using mysterious contacts given to her by the hacker. She must navigate a criminal world, staying under the radar of law enforcement.

‘If her loathing were a poison, they would all be dead’

The lengths the powerful people will go to, to control the free will of others, is truly dark and depraved. In the last novel we learnt of the club Aspasia, where young women have their personalities and memories wiped to ensure they are the perfect sex slave. The club boasts of offering women, who will give complete and utter submission. There are no lengths this organisation won’t go to, to get what they want.

‘Hell had several levels’

Sheriff Luther Tillman continues to discreetly investigate Cora’s actions. What Cora did goes against everything he has ever known. He locates the journals, just before a fire breaks out at Cora’s house and all other evidence is lots. What he discovers, is a series of comments, repeated over and over again. ‘I’ve got ice in my veins’ and talk of a spider in her head laying eggs. Was Cora suffering a mental health breakdown? Or do these phrases offer a clue to her suffering? With the death of a governor and congressman among the dead, Luther has no access to the evidence.
Just the journals and a good old fashioned hunch. . .

‘Taking refuge in the hopeless nature of anything was just a form of cowardice’

Jane follows the clues determined to gather the knowledge needed to penetrate DJ’s security at his personal residence in San Francisco. She comes across clues leading her to the mysterious location of Iron Furnace. With information of a place called ‘the whispering room’ but what does it all mean? And how is it all connected?
‘The early bird doesn’t just get the worm; he gets the worm’s entire family’
Luther follows the trail of a conference recently attended by Cora. Shortly before her symptoms developed. A conference held in the small town of Iron Furnace. . .

‘Play Manchurian with me’

This series is fantastic! It is extremely dark in places yet has a complex and well-planned plot. It has the action scenes of a movie or TV series. With Jane our protagonist hero, on a selfless mission to take down the powerful elite. 5*

I cannot wait to read the next in the series, which is titled The Crooked Staircase.

Dean Koontz

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The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz (#1 in the Jane Hawk series)
My Review
‘I very much need to be dead’

These are the chilling words left by a man who had everything to live for but took his own life. Now his widow, FBI agent Jane Hawk, is determined to learn the truth, no matter what.

People of talent, seemingly happy and sound of mind, have recently been committing suicide in surprising numbers. Jane will give up everything to find out why.

Her enemies are devoted enough to exterminate anyone in their way. But Jane is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love.

Coming soon. . . .
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The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz (#3 in the Jane Hawk series)
Due for release in the UK on 14th June 2018
‘I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead’

Rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk knows she’s living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom – and free will – of millions.

Battling the mysterious epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband has made Jane a wanted fugitive, hunted relentlessly by the secret cabal behind the plot. They are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Propelled by her righteous fury, Jane will confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.