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Anne Bonny #BookReview He’s Gone by @_AlexandraClare 4* #CrimeFiction @ImpressBooks1 A missing child. A changed identity. A murder. . .

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He’s Gone by Alex Clare
Review copy
Synopsis:

How do you find a missing child when his mother doesn’t believe you have the right to even exist? When Detective Inspector Roger Bailley returns to work as Robyn, all she wants is to get on with the job she loves while finally being herself. When toddler Ben Chivers is snatched from a shopping centre on her first day back at work, Robyn has to find Ben and herself as she deals with the reactions of her police colleagues, the media and her own daughter.

My Review:

I loved the sound of this novel instantly. A transgender police detective, dealing not only with his own transition but the disappearance of a toddler. The synopsis had me intrigued and I wanted to learn more.

The novel opens on 18th July and the disappearance of a little boy named Benjamin from Meresbourne high street. He was out shopping with his nanny Gillian, after she becomes distracted in the pharmacist. Benjamin has vanished, panic ensues!

Across Meresbourne, Detective Inspector Roger Bailley is preparing for his return to work, dressed as and living as, Robyn. She has made the decision, to transition and is nervous and apprehensive about her return to work. How will her colleagues deal with the change? Will she be accepted? Will her change impact team morale?
Robyn is nervous.

Robyn is assigned the case of the missing child, as she is the most experienced detective they have. The team greet her warmly and she begins to believe, it may not all be as bad as she previosuly thought.

‘I’m not roger anymore – I’m Robyn’

At the scene Robyn quickly gets brought up to speed. The CCTV is mis-positioned, the security next to useless and the nanny in floods of tears. One possible lead is that the mother of the boy, Melissa has recently been on the receiving end of threats. Could the missing child be an abduction case? If so, is it linked to the mother’s threats? The CCTV footage is released online. . . .

‘Ben the unlucky one in the wrong place at the wrong time’

Robyn attempts to interview the boy’s mother. But is met with fierce resistance. She makes it apparently clear that someone ‘like her’ would only deflect attention from the case. She goes as far to call Robyn a deviant.
This is no easy case for Robyn to solve.

The mother is a difficult character, she is self- righteous and a control freak. She controls every aspect of her son’s life from his schooling to extra tuition and he isn’t even two years old. Is she raising a child or engineering a robot? Her attitude confuses the case at several turns. Her work life is occupied by dealing with the gentrification of the local docks area. Which indicates why she may have received personal threats. Especially when the docks have links to an organised crime family.

The novel is a police procedural and flows like a real-life case. You get to view the various developments of the case and sit-in on the interviews. But my personal favourite character, was Robyn. I just found her story fascinating. Imagine facing rejection by your family and having your career performance called into question, just due to your transition?
A change people can’t or won’t handle.

A tightly crafted plot with clever twists 4*

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Alex Clare
Website
Twitter

Next in the series. . . .
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She’s Fallen by Alex Clare
Synopsis:

A SUSPICIOUS FALL

Nineteen-year-old Shazia Johar has everything to live for. But when she is found critically injured after plunging from a hotel balcony, DI Robyn Bailley must determine why she fell. Was Shazia pushed or did she jump?

A BROKEN WOMAN

When Robyn’s team investigate the events that led to Shazia’s fall, they discover evidence of violence in the hotel room. What happened and who is responsible?

A DEATH

As Shazia’s life hangs in the balance, Robyn’s team discover the body of another hotel guest. With uncertainty and falsehood disturbing both investigations, Robyn must navigate the web of lies under continued criticism of her new identity from her ex-wife and her daughter.

 

Anne Bonny #BookReview Now We Are Dead by @StuartMacBride 5* #MacBrideMafia @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #CrimeFiction ‘A complex crime fiction novel, packed with all the feels and some naughty giggles!’

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Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride
My own copy
Synopsis:

She can’t prove he did it. But she might die trying…

From the Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series, comes a standalone spinoff featuring DS Roberta Steel.

Revenge is a dangerous thing…

Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel got caught fitting up Jack Wallace – that’s why they demoted her and quashed his sentence. Now he’s back on the streets and women are being attacked again. Wallace has to be responsible, but if Detective Sergeant Steel goes anywhere near him, his lawyers will get her thrown off the force for good.

The Powers That Be won’t listen to her, not after what happened last time. According to them, she’s got more than enough ongoing cases to keep her busy. Perhaps she could try solving a few instead of harassing an innocent man?

Steel knows Wallace is guilty. And the longer he gets away with it, the more women will suffer. The question is: how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop him?

My Review:

I have recently been trying to catch up with the MacBride novels, I have fallen behind with. Last month I reviewed, A Dark So Deadly and I wanted to get this novel read before the latest MacBride novel release (so excited!). I also had my arm slightly bent up my back, by Kate, Eva and Jen aka the #MacBrideMafia. Who have threatened to kick me out the mafia if I didn’t pull my socks up and we all know what that means! Lol
So here are my thoughts on Now We Are Dead. . .

This novel focuses on Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel and her fall from grace. Logan McCrae is briefly mentioned, and it would appear Steel is no fan of the man!
I actually found Steel quite difficult to like, but I think this was the point. I don’t think she was supposed to be the most likeable character. Your drawn into the plot and almost begin to sympathise with her work colleagues who have to put up with her. She is moody, difficult and set in her ways. All qualities, I could quite easily say about myself. But we shall glance over that. I don’t think Steel is intended as a protagonist you emotionally connect with. But yet, I did respect her as a copper and if I was a victim, I’d want her on my side.

The novel opens with the arrest of an unknown child shoplifter aged 9/10yrs. The author has added his usual humour into the spin-off crime stories. I did find myself giggling, at scenes in the novel. The writing is just so brilliantly done.

Later at the station Steel faces the sneers and dominance of her fellow officers. I am not sure if this is what makes her so moody or if this is the effect of her grumpy persona. It is like a chicken/egg situation. The look downs from other officers and Jack Wallace using the press to goad her, make her journey back up the career ladder much tougher.

‘Remember: the road to redemption is paved with little victories’

The young shoplifter leads the case to a raid on a flat. Where a young child is discovered. The child is not known to be missing and this develops into a much bigger case.
There is also a spin-off story of a serial masturbator, dressed as various superheroes. Now, as serious as flashing or sexually motivated crimes are, I did find myself giggling as Steel and Tufty attempt to apprehend the local perv.

‘A sex offender in the hand is better than two in the bushes’

There is also the case of Mrs Galloway, a local OAP facing serious and violent harassment at the hands of loan sharks. Steel deals with this in such a manner, that makes you really admire her. Whilst also making you think, being legally right and morally right, are two different things entirely.

The main plot running throughout the novel is the case of Jack Wallace. Who I can’t fully describe because WordPress and Amazon have community standards. But he is vile!
I can really see why he has gotten under Steel’s skin and why she refuses to back away from the case. I had faith, because I knew if I was a criminal (which I am not, just to be clear!) I wouldn’t fancy my chances if Steel was after me!

There is an emotional scene where Steel attends the scene of a young murder victim Sally Gray. It really pulled at my heart and I did begin to slowly realise Steel is human after all.

A complex crime fiction novel, packed with all the feels and some naughty giggles. 5*

SM
Stuart MacBride
Website
Twitter
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The book that the #MacBrideMafia is getting ‘slightly’ excited about. . . . . . .
TBR
The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride
Logan McRae, Book 11
Synopsis:

What drives someone to murder?

The No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author returns with the much anticipated new Logan McRae thriller.

Some things just won’t stay buried…

Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he’s policing his fellow officers.

When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him. Or they thought they did.

As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead?

But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers – and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried.
If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die…

Available in Hardback and E-book 14th June and currently listed for pre-order

 

Anne Bonny #Poetry #Review A collection by @DeanAtta 5* @SaqiBooks ‘Powerful, honest, raw and inspirational’

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I Am Nobody’s Nigger by Dean Atta
Review copy
Synopsis:

Revolutionary, reflective and romantic, I Am Nobody’s Nigger is the powerful debut collection by one of the UK’s finest emerging poets. Exploring race, identity and sexuality, Dean Atta shares his perspective on family, friendship, relationships and London life, from riots to one-night stands. Longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2014’Go Dean Atta. Speak the truth. Tweet the truth. Upload it. Let it ring out over the digital domain and strike at the heart of the offline wireless and disconnected.’ Lemn Sissay ‘Dean Atta’s poetry is as honest as truth itself. He follows no trend; he seeks no favours … Beyond black, beyond white, beyond straight, beyond gay, so I say. Love your eyes over these words of truth. You will be uplifted.’ Benjamin Zephaniah ‘Righteous and forceful’ Peter Tatchell’I can do nothing but take my hat off to Dean Atta for speaking out, saying what he believed, and doing it so effectively and powerfully that countless people heard it who would never normally have done so. Poetry is a powerful tool, and I Am Nobody’s Nigger is a perfect example of when that tool shows its full strength.’ Huffington Post’ Huffington Post ‘Raconteur Dean Atta doing what he does best; articulating London’s dark, deep-rooted social cancers through a beautiful and intricately personal narrative.’ Clash

My Review:

Powerful, honest, raw and inspirational. Just a few of the words I would use to summarise the poetry of Dean Atta.

Dean Atta moves around various social and political issues within his various poems. From the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the usage of racial terminology. To the plight of fatherless children or homeless people. He clearly is a very deep and thoughtful poet.

“Please listen when I speak
How many homeless you seen this week?”

There is a poem titled ‘Young, Black And Gay’ where Dean Atta makes it abundantly clear he is not going to apologise for who he is. This is a quality I absolutely love in an author. It was one of the qualities I admired in Paul Beatty’s Manbooker winning novel The Sellout. Dean Atta has a talented mind!

In the poem Fatherless Nation, he addresses the issue of abandoned children and how it in-turn effects the next generation to come.
With the poem Therapy, it is almost as if he is speaking to you, through the pages.

“I can speak against injustice
from a stage or on a page
I’m a poet not a politician
But I canvas for your vote
With these words I wrote”

Each new poem, has a new theme. His opinion on the London riots in Smash And Grab, questions the motives behind the behaviour, what we all saw unfold.

“it’s no wonder no one looted the libraries”

I had several favourites from the collection. Key To The City is emotional and brutally honest. Rome is Eternal, speaks of love and personal connections.
Fragmented, is just pure perfection.

“I send envelopes of hope
addressed to our tomorrow”

A deep-thinking poet, with an intelligent mind and open eyes. I’d love to buy him a cup of coffee and listen to his spoken word performances.
If Dean Atta was a politician, he’d get my vote 5*

DA
Dean Atta
Website – Don’t miss the video links of Dean’s spoken word.
Twitter
YouTube
Saqi Books

 

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Murderess by @jenwellswriter 4* #WW2 #HistoricalFiction just £1 on Ebook #WeekendReads @Aria_Fiction A family legacy laid bare. . .

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The Murderess by Jennifer Wells
From my own TBR pile
Synopsis:

1931: Fifteen-year-old Kate witnesses her mother Millicent push a stranger from a station platform into the path of an oncoming train. There was no warning, seemingly no reason, and absolutely no remorse.

1940: Exactly nine years later, Kate returns to the station and notices a tramp laying flowers on the exact spot that the murder was committed; the identity of the victim, still remains unknown.

With a country torn apart by war and her family estate and name in tatters, Kate has nothing to lose as she attempts to uncover family secrets that date back to the Great War and solve a mystery that blights her family name.

My Review:

The novel is set between two timelines 1931 and 1940. It surrounds the childhood and adult life of Kate Bewsey and the mystery that has blighted her life. Kate has grown up in having known wealth and luxury. Living her life at ‘The Grange’ her parents estate in Missensham town. The Grange was once a hot spot of social activity. Parties, cocktails and jazz. Now it just reminds them, of all they have lost since that fateful day; her mother pushed a young woman to her death!

‘My life would not be the same after that day’ – Kate

Kate had an unusual relationship with her mother, her entire childhood. With her mother viewing her more of a possession and smothering her with her love.

‘Always remember you are mine’ – Millicent Bewsey

The novel opens in May 1940, with Kate arriving at Missensham rail station. Awaiting the arrival of her aunt Audrey and cousin Jemima, she notices a homeless man. The man is dressed in the attire of a veteran of the great war and it is this, that catches Kate’s eye at first. He is laying flowers, red peonies and it is then, that Kate recalls the date.

In 1931 a young teenage Kate witnessed her mother greet a woman at the rail station. They discussed the timetable and then for no known reason, Millicent pushed the woman from the platform onto the tracks and into the path of an incoming train. The story created a huge scandal with stories of the ‘well-bred’ woman with murder on her mind. Kate’s mother remains at Holloway prison and has never spoken of the incident.

‘As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a mother’ – Kate

Kate still lives at The Grange, but she is no longer the young lady of the estate. Kate and her father live in the basement, the old servant’s quarters. It is only through the charitable acts of her aunt Audrey, they have kept The Grange in the family.
There life is one of poverty, isolation and waiting.

Despite it having been nine years, since the murder and Kate now being a young woman of 25yrs. It is remembered annually in the newspaper, much to Audrey’s disgust. But this year there is some added news, as Millicent is due a parole hearing and possible release on the tenth anniversary of the crime.

Kate’s father requests that she visit the prison, in the hope at getting a statement from her mother. Which may help with her release.
But Kate refuses to assist in any way shape of form.

‘That woman should have hung’ – Kate

The emotional pull of the entire situation, leads Kate to investigate. Why did her mother push the woman onto the tracks? Who was the victim? And who is the homeless man? What do the flowers mean?

Kate returns to the station to enquire about the homeless man. She learns via the station master that he appears every year, on the anniversary of the murder. At a second glance Kate notices the card on the flowers.

‘For my darling Rosaline’

This becomes the first piece in the mystery and Kate becomes hellbent on solving the secrets that surround her mother’s life. But can Kate uncover the reasons for the murder? And can she live with the truth?

‘Who really ever knew your mother’ – Audrey

This novel is a slow-burning, cosy mystery that is perfect reading for a Sunday afternoon. It has emotionally charged scenes, that are very well written. My heart really warmed to Kate and I longed for her to solve the questions and set her mind to rest. There is a huge twist in the novel halfway through and this has been expertly done by the author. It adds so much more depth to the narratives. It builds and builds to a dramatic and shocking ending.
A family legacy laid bare 4*

JW
Jennifer Wells
LBA Books Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview Death Wish by Brian Garfield 4* #Classic #MovieAdaption 1970s #AmericanNoir @Duckbooks #CrimeFiction #Thriller

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Death Wish by Brain Garfield
Review copy
Synopsis:

In the wake of a chilling attack, an ordinary man decides to take revenge.

When his wife and daughter are attacked in their home, Paul Benjamin is enjoying a three-martini lunch. A professional man, soft around the middle, Paul lives happily isolated from the rougher side of New York City. As he nurses his gin headache, a call comes from his son-in-law asking him to come to the hospital. In a few hours, his world will collapse around him.

As Paul slurped down his lunchtime gin, drug addicts broke into his cozy Upper West Side apartment. For a handful of money, they savagely beat Paul’s wife and daughter, leaving his wife dead and his daughter comatose. After his shock wears off, and Paul realizes the police department is helpless, his thoughts turn to revenge — not just for him, but for every decent family broken by the dark forces of society.

My Review:

Death Wish is a novel originally published in 1972. It was adapted into a feature film in 1974, starring Charles Bronson. It is also being re-made with Bruce Willis in the starring role and directed by Eli Roth. Needless to say, there are some huge names, that have fallen in love with the plot and themes within the novel.

The novel opens with our protagonist Paul Benjamin having a working lunch with fellow professional Sam Kreutzer. Paul receives a call from his son-in-law Jack, that will change his life forever. There has been a home invasion at Paul’s property and both his wife and daughter are seriously injured. Paul must get to Roosevelt Hospital as soon as he can.

When Paul arrives at the hospital, he is filled in on vague details from Jack. His wife Esther is in surgery and they are unsure if she will make it. Local cop Joe Charles from the 20th precinct is in attendance. He shocks both Paul and jack with his brutally honest attitude about apprehending the suspects and bringing them to justice.

‘Sometimes we catch them’ – Joe Charles

Esther Benjamin doesn’t make it through the surgery. Paul is left devastated. His daughter carol, is plagued by such mental anguish and PTSD, at what she witnessed, she is left catatonic. It remains clear at this point, that she will never be the same Carol, she was prior to the attack.

Lieutenant Briggs informs Paul that from the evidence and statements he has managed to gather. The case presents as three young attackers, possibly high on drugs. They laughed throughout the entire attack. Carol passed out watching the savage beating of her mother and when awoken, managed to raise the alarm for help.

Jack tries to persuade Paul, that he must go on living. That any ideas for revenge or retribution will likely just destroy Paul himself. But Paul, can’t let go. Unable to see his daughter, due to his existence being a reminder of her dead mother. He is left isolated and alone, with nothing but his inner rage for company. Paul Benjamin decides to unleash that rage. . . .

With Paul’s desire for revenge having been unleashed, he sees potential suspects everywhere. The impact of the violent crime on his own personal life, changes his fundamental views on crime and punishment in society.

I really enjoyed the novel and the evolution of Paul’s character was intense. The themes of grief and pain creating a lust for vengeance in anger. Is a theme that could work in any given historical era. There are some attitudes in the novel around the themes of race and gun ownership, which give a feeling for the era. I was shocked to discover American gun control was tighter in the 1970s than it is today!

1970s American crime fiction, recommended! 4*

BG
Brain Garfield
Website