Anne Bonny #YA #BlogTour #BookReview Nowhere Else But Here by @_rachelcotton YA #Romance #NewRelease @inkroadbooks ‘The novel has strong themes of trust, falling in love and finding a place to belong’

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Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton
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Synopsis:

Rose Valentine has found out the hard way that life’s easier when you stick to the rules and stay out of other people’s business. But her classmate Theo Lockhart is too intriguing to ignore. He’s handsome, sure – and he makes her laugh. He’s also aloof, moody and impossible to connect with. He’s a mystery; one that Rose secretly dreams of solving.

Then, when Theo disappears from town, Rose is certain he’s done a runner. Certain, until he pitches up on her doorstep, desperate to hide out at her house. He’s on the run – but why, and who from? And why on earth did he choose her?

If she lets him in, Rose will be going against everything she holds true. It’s reckless, risky – and definitely not in the rulebook.

But something about Theo makes Rose long to break the rules. His troubled presence, beset by unspoken fears, turns her world upside down. Yet neither of them can escape the real world beyond the safety of Rose’s bedroom. After a week like none other, how can life ever go back to normal?

My Review:

This novel is of the of the YA romance genre. It is possibly best suited to the pre-teen and younger teen age category. The novel focuses on the on/off romantic relationship between Rose and Theo. With added a mystery thrown in, as Theo has recently disappeared. Whilst the search is orchestrated, and the flyers displayed.
Rose wonders, where is Theo?

‘Theo Lockhart. The boy no one at our school really knew – and the boy everyone now believed something awful had happened to’ – Rose

We know that Theo is the local enigma, the boy that intrigues the legion of teen girls. But what about Rose? Her parents work long hours at the same law firm and she is left to her own devices. She is organised, self-sufficient and strong minded. Rose doesn’t follow others into danger. She likes a tidy, ordered existence. That is until Theo appears late one night. . .

“I need your help” – Theo

With the arrival of Theo comes a million internal questions for Rose. Why her house? She only knows him from being partnered in chemistry class. Why has he chosen her to seek help from? And how much trouble is Theo Lockhart in?

Theo makes Rose promise to not call the police – no matter what. He begs her for a place to stay just for a few days. For the first time, Rose relents and invites in Theo and all of his personal baggage.

‘Theo liked being a loner; it suited him’

The two begin to form a strong bond. We learn more about Rose’s upbringing and how much she misses her brother, who is away at Uni. Rose’s carefully structured existence is finally disrupted and she begins her own form of soul searching.

‘Theo actually cared, and that mattered to me more than I though it ever would’ – Rose

Teen love is so much different to the adult world. I don’t say this just as someone who has experienced a teenage boyfriend. I say this as the grown woman, that married mine 17 years ago. Youth has an emotional intimacy that you just don’t have as a guarded adult. I remember long conversations into the night, planning our whole lives out. Much like Theo and rose within the novel. Everything seems so easy when you are young and full of hopes and dreams. So, I really enjoyed reading on, as their relationship blossoms, with Theo as Rose’s secret stowaway.

‘I wanted to know everything about Theo. He was a puzzle I was intent on solving’ – Rose

When there is a public press conference for Theo, with his parents present. The pair begin to feel the burden of their secret. But Rose is growing more and more addicted to his presence in her home and life.

‘For all these years, you’ve been so nice to me and you always thought I didn’t notice’ – Theo

Eventually the secret is discovered. Theo and Rose are left to find their own path, in the aftermath of their secret being exposed. Whilst Theo must confront some home-truths about why he ran away in the first place. . .

The novel has strong themes of trust, falling in love and finding a place to belong. 4*

‘Theo Lockhart would always be a mystery to me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way’ – Rose

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Rachel Cotton
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Crime Scene by Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman @JesseKellerman #CrimeFiction @headlinepg @bookbridgr ‘The novel covers the theme of redemption and a person’s moral obligation to right their wrongs…..’

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Crime Scene by Jonathan & Jesse Kellermen
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Synopsis:

Natural causes or foul play? That’s the question deputy coroner Clay Edison must answer each time he examines a body. Figuring out motives and chasing down suspects aren’t part of his beat – until a seemingly open-and-shut case proves to be more than meets his highly trained eye.

Eccentric, reclusive Walter Rennert lies cold at the bottom of his stairs. At first glance the scene looks straightforward: a once-respected psychology professor done in by booze and a bad heart. But his daughter Tatiana insists that he has been murdered, and she persuades Clay to take a closer look at the grim facts of Rennert’s life.

When Clay learns that Rennert’s colleague died in a nearly identical manner, he becomes even more determined to discover the truth behind the man’s death. The twisting trail Clay follows will lead him into the darkest corners of the human soul.

It’s his job to listen to the tales told by the dead. But this time, he’s part of a story that makes his blood run cold.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this novel focused around a deputy coroner. It reminded me of my teens watching episodes of Quincy. I think the angle of the protagonist being a coroner, worked incredibly well. Although there are multiple references of death and methods of dying obviously.

‘When I meet new people, they’re usually dead’

The novel opens with Deputy Coroner Clay Edison called to the scene of a dead body. The victim is 18yr old Seth Lindley Powell, it is unclear at first how he died, and this gives you a whole new respect for coroners and pathologists. The work they do, to get results for the family.

‘There are an infinite number of ways to die but only five manners of death. Homicide, suicide, natural, accidental and undetermined’

Seth’s death involved multiple factors, was he drinking? Did he fall? Was he pushed? Eventually it is ruled an accident. But it is still on Edison’s mind 5yrs later when he is called back to the same town.

‘My job begins with the dead but continues with the living’

Edison is called to the residence of Dr Walter Rennert a 75yr old retired psychologist. His daughter Tatiana is at the scene and found the body. She is adamant it is not an accident and a case of murder. Edison gives her time, respect and most importantly listens to her story. He then continues to evaluate the scene.

The scene suggests an accidental fall, but on further search the team discover a bottle of Risperidone (anti-psychotic) only 5 days old and prescribed by a different doctor to Rennert’s usual physician. Why is a psychologist administering anti-psychotics to himself, when he knows the impact of the medication with his heart problems? Something about the medications presence unnerves Edison and leads him to investigate further. . .

‘A lying doctor; the echo of a fall; a murderer walking the streets’

The case of Walter Rennert’s death is extremely complex and goes deep into his past and career. Specifically, a study the doctor organised on the theme of media violence on the developing brain. Which led to the murder of a young student Donna Zhao.
The young man convicted of the murder seemed to fit the ‘perfect’ police profile.

‘Most mentally ill people – the vast statistical majority – weren’t violent’

How does Walter’s fall down the stairs relate to the conviction of Julian E Triplett? Where is Julian? Why are the doctors involved in the study so secretive?

The novel covers the theme of redemption and a person’s moral obligation to right their wrongs. It is a stark insight into the American justice system. 4*

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Jonathan Kellerman
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Jesse Kellerman
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Anne Bonny #BlogBlitz #BookReview and Q&A. Under The Woods by @KerryAnn77 KA Richardson 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #ForensicFiles #AuthorTalks @Bloodhoundbook ‘All round this is a fantastic read!’ EBook just 99P

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Under The Woods by KA Richardson
Review copy
Synopsis:

Looking for a fast-paced crime thriller?
Then you’ll love the gripping Under The Woods.

When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body.

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels…

My Review:

I really admire this authors series and I was on the previous blog tour for Watch You Burn. They are police procedurals with a strong ethos on forensics. This novel is #4 in the forensic files. One thing I also love about the author is the way, in which she creates her characters. They come across authentic and she is not afraid to tackle difficult characters to create. Which in this novel, is the character of Cheryl Whitten a local homeless lady.

The prologue opens from the killer’s perspective, which is creepy and eerie. You almost feel like a voyeur watching a serial killer perfecting his craft. The killer talks of ‘his angels’ and ‘his treasure’ but what he is in fact referring to is society’s throwaway women, he has captured and killed. We become aware he is visiting the burial site of one of his previous victims, a beautiful drug addict turned ‘angel’.

Meanwhile, in Darlington it is the Christmas party for the forensics team. TJ Tulley has been dragged along as her brother Jacob’s designated driver. Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and the party is in full swing. It is at this party that TJ first meets loveable rogue Jackson Docherty. Jackson has an eye for the ladies, shall we say!

We later learn that TJ is the proud owner of Rainbow riding stables in Durham. However, the stables doesn’t come without its downsides. She must deal with local farmer and neighbour from hell Neil Brown. He is a brutish man and regularly openly berates TJ. He is an all-round pain in the backside. But you get a sense it is a simmering tension, waiting to bubble over into violence.

TJ herself has previously been the victim of a violent assault. Which has left her with chronic pain and physical suffering. The man who assaulted her was caught and committed suicide in his prison cell, adding further anguish to TJ’s recovery. Despite the trauma of her attack, TJ sees the positive in life and agrees to allow ‘difficult teens’ to assist at the stables. Which includes her attackers son Matthew. I really admired TJ’s ability to overcome the difficulties she has faced in life.
But I then began to wonder, were they just about to get a whole lot worse. . .

Cheryl Whiffen is a local homeless woman, she hears voices and they torment her every waking hour. When we meet her, she is hungry cold and feeling the strain of life on the streets. Her only friend in the word is a fellow homeless lady named Sally. When Cheryl goes missing, Sally is the only person to notice her absence. Can Sally get the police to take the case seriously?

‘She was definitely not, and never would be, one of his angels’

I think the author has done a fantastic job of her portrayal of not only homeless people, but of mental health conditions and how they manifest. I have worked in adult mental health and in facilitates which have re-homed mentally ill people from the streets. I think what the author did was give them a personality, a background etc. Allow the reader to see them as they truly are, people that matter! People that have lived through horrific life experiences, you hope to never endure.

But back to the case in hand, Jackson is at the scene of a dead body. A male drug addict found in the woods and partially eaten by his own dog.
Is this the killer that lurks amongst the pages?

There are chapters from the killer’s perspectives as he sets his victims tasks, of which they must complete. This element reminded me of the horror movie Saw. It was petrifying yet you couldn’t help but read on!
Especially the parts about the killer’s own childhood!!!!!!!

Farmer Brown’s son goes missing. Jackson faces harassment from an ex-lover named Nicki, who is a total bunny boiler. Someone is watching TJ, casually stalking her every move. Sally struggles to get the police to take Cheryl’s disappearance seriously. This novel is packed with various spin-off stories within.

The characters are authentic, their choices questionable but realistic.
All round this is a fantastic read! 5*

Q&A:

Q) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your current series the forensic files?

A) My name is Kerry and I live in north east England with my husband Peter and our 2 Dogs, Tala and Riley. I used to work as a csi and still work for the police albeit in a different role now. My csi background and passion for forensics is a massive inspiration when it comes to writing. The Forensic Files can be read as a series or as standalones as the characters change in each novel though there is always some overlap. They’re crime novels that are heavy on the forensics and that side of the police investigation.

Q) In my review I talk about the authenticity of your characters. Are they inspired by real-life people? Where do you find your inspiration?

A) The characters are not based on any one person but may well feature traits from a few different people all melded together. I find inspiration in pretty much everything from children’s laughter to rain on the windows, but I do love a good people watching session and often build descriptions whilst sitting in coffee shops. Often an outfit or a pair of shoes seen while doing this may feature in one of my novels.

Q) The character of Cheryl Whitten as a homeless lady with mental health problems, is very accurate. Did you research homelessness or mental health problems?

A) Cheryl was a complex character to write – it did involve research into mental health – primarily multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia – and also homelessness though in my current role for the police I have some interaction with that side of things. I loved her character though – I felt bad for having to kill her off.

Q) The reason I adored the characterisation of Cheryl and Sally so much, was your ability to bring them over on the page as real people. Not a label or a stereotype, but real people with stories behind their eyes. Is this difficult to achieve as a writer?

A) That’s a tough question haha. Most characters come to me screaming loudly to be heard and desperate to tell their stories – I like them to be as real to the reader as they are to me so I get to know them first. I write a character profile for the main characters whether bad or good. This involves things like how I see them, eye colour hair etc, their hobbies, likes/dislikes and friends/enemies etc. Because I get to know them before I start, I feel I get a good handle on them being real to me. And that’s important – I love and live and breathe these characters for the time I write them so if I didn’t know them fully then they might come across as flat or 2-dimensional. This process works for the most part thought there’s always the odd one who throws you a curve ball you don’t see coming – which is also insanely interesting and fab! I love it when they surprise me!

Q) TJ Tulley comes across as a street smart and savvy woman. Yet there is this element of her that is willing to take grief from her neighbour from hell. I found this quite symbolic of how women are often expected to take a certain degree of insulting remarks or insinuations. Was this intentional?

A) Subconsciously perhaps – most of us are willing to take a lot of crap in real life before we stand up and say enough is enough. Not sure exactly why that is but with TJ, it was important to me that she not be a ‘wet lettuce’ kind of woman. She is strong – has gone through so much and still is. I think she balances what’s worth worrying about with what’s not quite well.

Q) The character of Jackson added at times a spin on the above question. As He is expected to put up with a female character infatuated with him. Even though her behaviour becomes more and more irrational. It was an interesting dynamic that draws you to the characters and their histories. What made you decide to give Jackson his stalker?

A) When I first began writing about Jackson in watch you burn, I knew instantly he’d have his own story. He has a one night stand – the first in many months for him which is unusual – he’s trying to settle down and not be a player – Nicki unfortunately didn’t like the idea of a one night stand and is rather persistent. I’ve seen this quite a lot through work – where one party in the relationship just can’t let go or sees it completely different to the other. Jackson needed a challenge to overcome as well as TJ did and I think Nicki was definitely erring on the more Challenging side!

Q) finally, what can we the readers expect from the next book in the series and are we allowed any information?

A) The next book doesn’t have a title yet (sometimes these come straight away and sometimes they reveal themselves a bit later) but it’s set in Edinburgh and feature more of Ali and Alex’s family – specifically his brother Mark who is younger than them. Mark is lovely – he’s buried himself in working as a detective for so long he’s almost forgetting there’s more to life than just work. He’s got some flaws – claustrophobia being one. And he’s not a big believer in things like psychics – until one shows up in his life. It’s about darkness and shadows, murders in the vaults under the city and family dynamics. I’m loving writing it.

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KA Richardson
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Her Cold Eyes by @TonyblackUk 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @bwpublishing @LinaLanglee ‘Horrifyingly dark crime fiction, brilliantly executed’

Super excited to be kicking off the Her Cold Eyes #BlogTour! Happy Friday reading!

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Her Cold Eyes by Tony Black
Review copy
Synopsis:

Abbie is missing, and her mother knows exactly who is to blame.

But nobody is listening.

When the case falls to DCI Bob Valentine he has no choice but to listen. Troubled by visions of a young girl’s desperate anguish and her mother’s heartbreak, Valentine soon finds himself immersed in the most harrowing investigation of his police career.

It’s an investigation that leads him and his closest colleagues to uncover ritualistic practices inextricably linked to the highest echelons of society. As the extent of the abuse, sacrifice and torture becomes clear, how can the police hope to protect the victims from their terrible fate? And how can they trap the guilty when to do so will bring down so many of those in power?

The bloodthirsty reality of Satanic ritual and his battles with those who would silence him take Valentine to a dark place where his world view is shattered, perhaps forever.

My Review:

This novel was my 127th Read of the year so far. It is possibly the darkest one yet! The subject matter of satanic ritualistic abuse of children, is never going to be an easy theme within any crime novel. Yet it is tackled in such a realistic manner it’s frightening.
This is dark and gritty crime fiction.

The prologue opens with a young girl named Abbie in captivity. She is currently being broken down by abuse and attempting to mental resist. She hears the phrase “you belong to us now” Over and over again. How long can she resist?

‘But soon I will be.
I’ll be broken.
I know I will be.
Or I’ll be dead’

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Valentine of the murder squad arrives for work. He has an assessment with Dr Carter to assess his suitability for promotion and then is informed by Chief Superintendent Martin that he will be taking over the Abbie McGarvie case. Valentine is confused at first as Abbie is currently just listed as a missing teenager. The case was a nightmare with each parent making accusations against the other. The mother’s accusations however, took a sinister tone.
It is then revealed that there is a dead body and it may/may not be Abbie.

When Valentine arrives on the scene he is shocked at what he witnesses. He finds a young teen victim with clear visible signs of physical abuse. She is found naked, with trainers on and the team instantly suspect sexual abuse. This victim is allegedly the victim of a road traffic accident (RTA).

The novel has scenes from 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2016 which detail Abbie’s lengthy introduction to the cult. They make for terrifying reading! As a parent, I found them exceptionally hard to digest. I don’t know how the real-life police that investigate these cases cope. I can only imagine the nightmares they must have.

Valentine is quick to want to interview DI Davis the original cop on the missing persons investigation and Kevin Rikards the now ex-cop who handled the abuse allegations. He also requests both Abbie’s parents be invited to the station and ID the body. What he learns from his fellow coppers/professionals will make your blood run cold. . .

“When you investigate these crimes you have to abandon all your reference points for morality – government, the courts, the police, social services, education – They have no moral authority. They are all your enemies” – Kevin Rikards

The post mortem reveals that the girls died from a broken neck. That she had sedatives and barbiturates in her system and has signs of serious sexual assault. If That wasn’t as horrific as it should be, she was also pregnant!

Valentine knows that the team are up against a dangerous elite cult. But he is also aware he has little evidence to go on. He believes the mother, former social worker and fellow police officers. But that doesn’t get him a warrant for an arrest and these are influential people of power and wealth. He even consults a professor who specialises in this type of abuse. Who has interviewed hundreds of victims.

“These people believe in evil, and believe in their right to express evil” – Dr Mason

The shadowy opposition that Valentine faces, looms in the background. It is made clear to him that to pursue justice could put his own family at risk. With two young daughters to consider, should he back off? Despite the moral dilemma he faces after speaking to Jean Clark (Abbie’s social worker) he just can’t refuse her justice. . .

“There is a reality within your reality which you cannot fully comprehend. It’s a reality so evil, so corrupt and so inhuman that if you were to fully comprehend it then your own fragile reality might begin to shatter” – Jean Clark

Can Valentine take down this elite group of psychopaths? Does a sophisticated satanic cult make mistakes? Are they untouchable by the police and the justice system?
All will be revealed. . .
Horrifyingly dark crime fiction, brilliantly executed. 4*

TB
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Spirit Photographer by Jon Michael Varese 5* Genius #Literary #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @Duckbooks ‘Perfect for fans of The Underground Railroad’

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The Spirit Photographer by Jon Michael Varese
Review Copy
Synopsis:

With dramatic twists and reminiscent of Gothic novels, The Spirit Photographer is replete with fugitive hunters, voodoo healers, and dangers lurking in the swamp. Varese’s deftly plotted debut is an intense tale of death and betrayal that will thrill readers as they unravel the mystery behind the spirit in the photograph and what became of her.

Boston, 1870. Photographer Edward Moody runs a booming business capturing the images of the spirits of the departed in his portraits. He lures grieving widows and mourning mothers into his studio with promises of catching the ghosts of their deceased loved ones with his camera. Despite the whispers around town that Moody is a fraud of the basest kind, no one has been able to expose him, and word of his gift has spread, earning him money, fame, and a growing list of illustrious clients.

One day, while developing the negative from a sitting to capture the spirit of the departed son of a senator, Moody is shocked to see a different spectral figure develop before his eyes. Instead of the staged image of the boy he was expecting, the camera has seemingly captured the spirit of a young black woman.

When Moody recognizes the woman, he is compelled to travel from Boston to the Louisiana bayou to resolve their unfinished business. But more than one person is out to stop him…

My Review:

The Spirit Photographer is a Southern Gothic literary novel, which has outstanding detail and truly brings alive the era. The fact that it is a debut novel only makes it more astounding. As I would recommend this for fans of The Underground railroad by Colson Whitehead. It is that good! The novel details the confederate states, the difference between northern/southern states of the US in that era. The racial oppression and fight for civil rights is covered in resounding accuracy. Yet, it also has this huge hook, of having an occult theme within. Can ghosts be captured on camera film? And if so does this mean our loved ones are still with us? For one unlikely lady, it is too much of a question to bare and she dares to seek the answers.
Which leads her to uncover all her secrets and personal shame. . .

The novel opens with Mr Moody, taking a photo for Mrs Lovejoy. A lady that wishes to be reunited with her deceased cousin. There are several articles within the novel that detail Mr Moody’s reputation and success as a spiritual photographer.
Slowly but surely, he is acquiring fame and fortune.

The novel centres around a married couple, the Garrett’s. Their desire to be reunited with their beloved and only, perished son William Jeffrey. Who passed away 18yrs ago, at just 3yrs old. His last words haunt his mother Elizabeth and she has never been the same woman, since he passed.
Can Mr Moody help her overcome her grief?

‘It will be gone soon’ – William Jeffrey’s last words

But the Garrett’s aren’t just any couple, for they are the political elite. Senator James Garrett is quite the radical given the historical era and setting. He has won clear legal victories against the Klan and championed the election of Hiram Revels a black Mississippi minister. James has a desire to secure fundamental rights for all the country’s citizens. He is not afraid of who this may involve taking on. Even his closest friend and loyalist ally Benjamin P Dovehouse.

Elizabeth’s roots are in southern plantations, whilst some may call her a hypocrite she uses her privilege to speak out against the harsh and unjustifiable treatment that takes place on the plantation crop fields. Which only adds to James political power. Make no mistake James and Elizabeth Garrett have political power, but they also have secrets.

‘These women could talk, and pretend to understand federal policy all they liked. But they would never be able to perceive what they were incapable of seeing. Elizabeth had seen’

Mrs Lovejoy makes the necessary introductions between Mr Moody and the Garrett’s. Once the photo is taken, it reveals a spirit. But this is not the spirit anyone could have foreseen, least of all the Garrett’s. This is the spirit of a slave girl, named Isabelle. But who is Isabelle? Why is she in the photo of the Garrett’s?

‘It was Isabelle – His Isabelle. She had finally returned’

Mr Moody becomes acquainted with Joseph Winter. Winter hopes to expose Moody as a fraud, but until he can achieve such an act he must place himself in the position of Mr Moody’s assistant. This is made much easier via negotiation, after the discovery of Isabelle in the photo. For not only did Winter know Isabelle, he is a black man and therefore able to infiltrate the black community of the south.

‘She is a powerful spirit’ – Joseph Winter

Moody hasn’t heard from Isabelle in 18yrs, since she sent him a letter before heading for Boston. He was unaware she had even passed on.
Does this photo mean that Isabelle, his love, is dead?

Winter is quick to determine their must be a link between Isabelle and the Garrett’s for her spirit to show in their image. Whilst Moody and Winter, set about their investigation.
The Garrett’s are also making plans. . .

‘If he publishes that picture, it could lead to our ruin’ – Elizabeth Garrett

The Garrett’s are extremely concerned for their reputations. They know their elitist society thrives upon rumour, speculation and assumptions. Elizabeth becomes irrational and anxious, urging James to take action. It is then that James summons Dovehouse to retrieve the image, at once.

Benjamin P Dovehouse is James best friend since their years at Harvard law school. However, Dovehouse holds rather different opinions about the negro community. He is a conservative republican and long-standing member of the American colonization society. Dovehouse believes the negroes should know their place in society.

‘A semi-barbarous race of men who worship fetishes and practice polygamy, intent on subjecting all white women to their hot unbridled lust’ 
‘The negroes are little more than children’ – Dovehouse

Moody and Winter quickly become aware that if they are going to uncover the truth, they must act quickly. They also know that they must head south, to where all Isabelle’s trouble began. . .

‘She had a power over them, as she has a power over then now. They will want this photograph destroyed’ – Joseph Winter

At this point I was fully engrossed. I was desperate to know the link between Isabelle and the Garrett’s. I also wanted to know what was so shameful, that they’ll go to such lengths to cover it up? As stated above the historical accuracy is second to none. But it isn’t just historical accuracy that makes a novel of this calibre succeed. It also requires outstanding characterisation, which you will find when you meet Moody, Winter and the Garrett’s and the people we meet along the journey.

The conversations between the characters often reference the racial bias of the generation. The ignorance however wilful, is laid bare for all to see.
“It’s a wonder to me that the women of the south can abide such barbarism”
“And just who do you think is sewing the hoods?”

As Moody and Winter make their journey to New Orleans, they both reflect upon their memories of Isabelle and what made her the woman she was. The kind, decent and honourable woman she once was.

‘Every year a hundred thousand newborn babies are brought upon the auction blocks of Richmod, Charleston, and New Orleans. Every year, tens of thousands of lives are sacrificed to the lash in the south’ – Isabelle

The answers Moody and Winter seek lay in BelleVoix, New Orleans. But they upon the journey Winter must dodge Wilcox, a notorious slave hunter. They come across a wide-range of characters, that just enhance the story in its entirety, such as Yellow Henry. What starts as a simple mystery evolves into a much bigger case, with its roots leading right to congress.

This is an outstanding novel, that I highly, highly recommend!
5* Genius

‘It was convenient – to blame the negroes. It was a trick that always worked’

MJV
Jon Michael Varese
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***The Spirit Photographer is released 3rd May***