Anne Bonny #BookReview City Of Sinners by @aadhand 5* Genius #CrimeFiction #HarryVirdee #Series #Thriller #Bradford #NewRelease @TransworldBooks No one is safe. . .

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City Of Sinners by A.A. Dhand – Harry Virdee #3
Review copy
Synopsis:

It is an ordinary Yorkshire morning, cold and miserable.

The streets are not yet busy. Police cars hurriedly pull up in the centre of town, but none of their lights are flashing and the sirens are silent.

A body has been found, elaborately and painstakingly positioned to send a message. But what message? And to who?

It’s DCI Harry Virdee’s job to find out. But Harry doesn’t know that the killer is watching him, that the killer is coming for him.

Because this is personal.

A DI Harry Virdee Thriller

My Review:

I am a huge fan of the DI Harry Virdee series and I definitely believe this to be the best yet! It has something unique this time round, with added creepy moments. With all honesty, there were moments I had twitchy restless legs and actually hide my head inside my hoodie!!!! Be warned, this case is seriously creepy!!!
The novels are best read in order so that you grasp the full background of Harry’s marriage, family and family feud. The backstory adds co much depth to the series and is a fascinating insight into multicultural Britain and the issues it faces.

Straight of the first page of the prologue you are aware of the killer’s hatred for Harry. He has a female victim present and promises
‘The start of Bradford’s darkest week begins’.

When Harry arrives at the crime scene of murder victim Usma Khan, he is horrified. The body has been posed theatrically within Bradford’s Waterstones. I don’t want to spoil the scene as it is the authors finest scenes to date. But it is worthy in a comparison of the writing of Thomas Harris and his Hannibal Lector series! Dhand has really gone for the gritty shocking crime scene and it terrified this reader!

Across Bradford at the city hospital, Saima (Harry’s wife) is in the middle of her nursing shift. When her father-in-law Ranjit Virdee, is rushed into A&E. This is far from any form of happy reunion. But this is best left explored within the novel. Especially if you are new to the series. Saima continues to be quite a big character within the series and it really works. I love to see Harry’s happy home life with Saima and their son, in comparison to the crime scene’s he witnesses.
It also adds a sense of realism to the novels too.

At the autopsy of Usma Khan, a note is discovered on the body with the inscription ‘This is only the beginning Harry’. This is the first time the police discover there maybe a connection to Harry and Harry is desperate to uncover what links him to the death of Usma Khan. Then the daughter of a prominent Bradford figure goes missing and hell breaks loose…..

The novel explores Harry’s enemies and the cases that caused the individuals to despise Harry so much. This offers an interesting insight into Harry’s background and we learn things we never knew before. Harry also ponders if this could have any relation to his brother Ronnie criminal enterprise. Harry is the only police officer to know of Ronnie’s history with alcohol and life of crime. There are some interesting passages on racism and the challenges faced in various communities. Dhand shows us that Bradford can be both a cultural minefield, and a community that has worked hard; to heal from the previous race riots of the past.

‘In his opinion, brown-on-brown racism was as toxic as it got’ – Harry Virdee

The killer begins to taunt Harry personally and publicly.
‘Do you see the sinner, Harry?’
‘I see you Harry Virdee. . . I see all the sinners’

This is an intense read from start to finish. The last 25% I was having heart palpitations! This novel has it all a dark and sinister killer, grotesque crime scenes whilst also offering a unique perspective on racial prejudice.
Don’t miss A.A. Dhand’s phenomenal series!

AAD
A.A. Dhand
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Butterfly Fish by @IrenosenOkojie #Literary #Historical @QPBookfest #LitFest @midaspr ‘A beautifully told story from an author with a very bright future ahead of her’ #ButterflyFish

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Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie
Review Copy
Synopsis:

BETTY TRASK AWARD WINNER 2016

A fragile outsider living in London, Joy struggles to pull the threads of her life back together after her mother’s sudden death. Emptiness consumes her and, needing to fill the gaps of her loss, she finds she is drawn to a unique artefact inherited from her mother – a warrior’s head cast in brass that belonged to a king in eighteenth century Benin, Nigeria.

Joy is haunted by a beautiful young woman who appears in her photographs, familiar yet beguilingly distinct, the woman trails her wherever she goes. Joy begins to dream of a different time, a different place. She feels an inexplicable pull towards this mysterious female, and a past revealing itself through clues is scattered in her path. As family secrets come to light, she unearths the ties between her mother, grandfather, the wife of the king, a fearsome warrior, and the brass head’s pivotal connection to them all.

Haunting and compelling, Butterfly Fish is a richly told story of love and hope; of family secrets, power, political upheaval, loss and coming undone.

My Review:

Butterfly Fish is a blend of various ear’s and spans between London and Benin. I think the synopsis is immediately eye-catching and extremely unique. The author has done a fantastic job of weaving modern day London, 1950s London and 19th century Benin.

The novel opens with Joy in modern-day London. She is overcoming the death of her mother and it has been a painful process. She is helped by neighbourhood eccentric Mrs Harris. Who plays the role of lonely old lady, perfectly!

“I just feel . . . abandoned” – Joy

The novel also jumps to 19th Century Benin and the community of Esan. It follows the story of Adesua whom becomes the king’s 8th wife. Adesua is beautiful and yet a tomboy. I knew instantly there would be more to her character than meets the eye.

‘The fall of a great kingdom did not always start with war’

Joy is summoned to her mother’s solicitor’s Mervyn. So that he may go through the will with Joy and explain the items. Mervyn is an old family friend, and this eases the process for Joy. What she discovers does not.
Joy’s mother has left her, her house £80K, her grandfather’s diary and a brass head artefact. But what does it all mean?

‘Maybe dead people left behind puzzles for their loved ones all the time’ – Joy

Adesua must navigate her new life and with rumours and speculation surrounding the king, it does not come easy. The narrative of 19th century Benin is brought alive on the page and I could never do it justice here. But the full story of the king, his wives and their lives is revealed. The writing is beautiful and very descriptive, I found it hard to believe this is a debut novel.

There is a third narrative and that is the story of Queenie who comes to London in the 1950s from Lagos. She is pre-warned of the miserable weather and frosty reception. She finds work and meets new people and her story begins to develop.
The beauty of this novel is how the three women’s lives collide. What unites Queenie, Joy and Adesua lies in the diaries of Peter Lowon. Joy’s search for her own history and place in the world leads her to its pages.

A beautifully told story from an author with a very bright future ahead of her. 4*

IO
Irenosen Okojie
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Irenosen Okojie will be appearing at the Queen’s Park Book Festival
Sunday 1st July at 3:30pm- 4;30pmLink to event
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Event details:
One of the country’s brightest new talents Irenosen Okojie talks about her writing with Shyama Perera and reads from her latest work. Irenosen’s debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask award and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh International First Book Award. Her short story collection Speak Gigantular was shortlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award.

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