#BlogTour #Review #BreakingBones by @robwhite247 – Robert White @EndeavourPress #CrimeFiction #Preston

*Delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for this fantastic gritty northern novel!
I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review.*

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Breaking Bones by Robert White
Synopsis:

The streets of Preston are alive with music and banter.

But nothing can drown out the sound of breaking bones.

Inseparable since childhood and feared by their community, Tony, Eddie and Frankie are beyond the reach of justice.

The brutal gang, The Three Dogs, are a law unto themselves.

Detective Jim Hacker has watched The Dogs grow from thuggish youths to psychotic criminals. He seems to be the only one who wants to see their empire fall.

Meanwhile Jamie Strange, a young Royal Marine, finds himself embroiled in the lives of The Three Dogs when his girlfriend, Laurie Holland, cuts off their engagement… to be with the most dangerous of The Dogs: Frankie Verdi.

Jamie vows to save Laurie, before Frankie damns them both.

Every dog will have its day.

This gritty, addictive crime story, fizzes with the energy of the eighties.

My review:

Breaking Bones is set in my home town county of Lancashire. The novel centres around a criminal gang The Three Dogs. From their early years adolescence to their adulthood criminal empire. The copper attempting to take them down Detective Jim Hacker is met with a wall of silence.
The Three Dogs run the Moor Nook estate in Preston, they rule with drugs, money, violence and fear! Everyone is terrified of being on their bad side!

The Three Dogs, themselves as a gang, form an interesting mixture of violent gangsters. Preston’s answer to the Krays but set in the 1980s.
Leader of The Three Dogs, is Frankie Verdi. A violent psychopath, with no respect for anybody outside of his gang. Verdi is a terrifying individual, one you would hope never to meet.
Tony Thompson is the biggest in size of the three, but with learning difficulties, he is merely the muscle of the organisation. I would say Tony is the only one, that comes close to holding any empathy/sympathy for others.
Finally, we have Eddie Williams, Eddie is a complex character. He is a man living with a secret and a deep obsessional love for womaniser Verdi. He is ruthless with his ambition and devoted to the gang!
All three ‘dogs’ have a extremely strong bond of brotherhood. One that has already withstood many tests. By adulthood the bond is simply unbreakable. Making them an untouchable, savage and brutal gang!

Detective Jim Hacker is close personal friends with Harry Strange. They met when Hacker worked the investigation into Harry’s wife’s death. Harry’s young son Jamie is in the Royal Marines. Throughout the novel he faces war in the Falklands and the troubles of Northern Ireland. Usually with best friend and fellow squaddie Richard ‘Birdman’ Valance, by his side.
I felt the portrayal of Jamie and ‘Birdman’ as military best friends, very accurate indeed. My husband is a veteran of 15 year’s military service, it really is a brotherhood that never dies!
Jamie is dumped by fiancé Laurie Holland, as he returns to camp after his mother’s funeral. Laurie has set her sights on Frankie Verdi, a decision she will no doubt come to regret.
Laurie’s character has had a turbulent and abusive childhood, leading her to believe that access to power, respect and fear will bring safety! Laurie is sadly misguided in this belief.

“I’ll have you Laurie, make no mistake nothing and no one will stop me”
Frankie Verdi.

As the plot unravels we see all the characters mature and develop. Jamie experiences the brutality of war, which changes every man it touches. The Three Dogs rise in their criminal enterprises and Laurie learns some harsh truths, as the life of a gangster’s moll.
This novel is incredibly detailed, and I most definitely recommend! It has violence, gangs, drug empires and portrays the life of a violent gang kingpin. It vividly depicts how the love of money is the root of all evil!

It has a phenomenal ending, which literally reads right to the very last page!
4.5*

RW
Robert White 
Authors links:
Website: http://www.robertwhiteauthor.co.uk
Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/robertwhiteauthor/
Twitter: @robwhite247

Endeavour Press
Website: http://www.endeavourpress.com
Twitter: @EndeavourPress
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourPress/
Instagram: @endeavour_press

#BlogTour #Review Chasing The Traveller by @AlexKaneWriter 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #Indie

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Chasing The Traveller by Alex Kane
Synopsis:

‘I’ve fled from my husband and the only life I’ve ever known. I’m terrified that if he finds me, I’ll never find myself.’

Kat is trapped in a world where she has never belonged. As a traveller, she has always felt lost, especially since the death of her parents in a fire when she was fourteen years old. Having been taken on by the Denton family as their own, Kat falls in love with their son, tearaway Jimmy. His charm soon wears off and Kat finds herself married to a controlling and violent thug.

Sixteen years later, Kat decides enough is enough and begins plotting her escape from a lifetime of abuse.

Stripped of her personality, Kat has no idea how to start again but she finds an unlikely ally in her sister-in-law Ellie who shows Kat that she is not alone.

Kat and Ellie Denton begin their venture into a new world, where they meet new people and build new lives. But Kat still wants to know more about her parents’ past and when she seeks the location of an address on the back of a family photograph, Kat begins to uncover more than she expected including a revelation that will lead Kat back to the traveller site she had been so desperate to escape from.

Will she find the answers she is looking for, or will she fall prey to the violent Jimmy Denton once more?

My Review:

This novel opens with a prologue, which is a scene of brutal domestic violence. We become rapidly aware that Jimmy Denton is a jealous thug and his ‘wife’, has been subjected to physical violence, rape and being spat on regularly!
Jimmy’s wife Kat, is the central protagonist. She has lived a life of fear, dominance, and complete and utter control! Jimmy decides what she eats and wears. He views her, merely as his property! Kat is alone in the world with no family of her own. She is apathetic and accepts a lifetime with the ‘Denton’s’ on their traveling site. That is until a ray of hope is offered from an unlikely source……

Jimmy’s sister Ellie Denton, has always treated Kat with contempt. But one day, the women take a moment to confide in each other of the psychological scars they both bare due to Jimmy’s violent ways.
Together they are stronger, and it is together, a plan is forged!

“This is no way to live. You know it as much as the rest of us here” – Ellie

Kat after years of being victimised and dehumanised, relies upon Ellie tremendously, for their plan to work!
Their plan is one of escape, but an escape, that must be secretively, carefully and meticulously planned. If their plan is discovered, Jimmy may kill both the women.
When Kate discovers she is pregnant with Jimmy’s child, she fears for not only her own safety but the safety of her unborn child. She must put all her faith and trust in Ellie.

The traveller site that the Denton family ‘rule’, is fully explained. Denton women are forbidden to leave the site unless accompanied by a Denton man. It is easy to see how a community such as this, can easily harbour domestic abuse and sexual violence. Women are treated as possessions to be owned, rather than partners to be loved.

“Kat we’ll do it together. We’ll change our names so no one can trace us, we’ll start a new life together and we’ll get away from this shit hole” – Ellie

The women leave, with Kat clutching nothing but a single photograph of her parents. They are positively terrified, and fear follows their every step away from the site…….

I really admired the characterisation of the women. Kat as the victim and Ellie as the saviour. It was refreshing to read a novel where a female character, is helped by a fellow female, to save her own life. I found this very accurate and realistic. Ellie nurtures Kat, back to her former self.
There is a lot to be said, for the power of sisterhood amongst women and this novel is a perfect example.

The novel then progresses to one year later. Kat is now Katelyn with a three-month-old daughter named Lucia. Auntie Helen (Ellie) is still helping Katelyn overcome her painful past. Helen encourages Katelyn to seek therapy, as the women live their lives, always looking over their shoulder!
Katelyn begins to investigate the photograph, her only one possession taken from the site. What she uncovers is decades of secrets and a glimpse into her own family’s history on the traveller site!

The opening pages that describe the travellers site and the violence easily meted out. I could have quite easily believed to have been a Martina Cole novel. The writing was so detailed and brutally honest! The mental hold of domestic violence and dehumanisation is fully explored!
Beat, control and dominate!

Can Kat set herself free? Can she overcome the past? What will become of baby Lucia, if Kat fails to find the strength? Will Jimmy seek revenge?
To find out more of Kat’s journey, you will have to read the novel! But remember
“Don’t allow your past to define your future”
4*

 

#BlogTour Illusion by @StephanieElmas @EndeavourPress #Extract Chapter four

Illusion blog tour promo
Illusion by Stephanie Elmas
Synopsis:

London, 1873.

Returning home from his travels with a stowaway named Kayan, Walter Balanchine is noted for the charms, potions and locket hanging from his neck.

Finding his friend Tom Winter’s mother unwell, he gives her a potion he learned to brew in the Far East. Lucid and free from pain, the old woman remembers something about Walter’s mother.

Walter is intrigued, for he has never known his family or even his own name – he christened himself upon leaving the workhouse.

Living in a cemetery with his pet panther Sinbad to keep the body snatchers away, word soon spreads of his healing and magical abilities and he becomes a sought after party performer.

During one of Walter’s parties, Tom is approached by Tamara Huntington, who reveals she is being forced to marry a man she does not love.

Will he and Walter come to her rescue?

Try as they might, sometimes all the best intentions in the world can’t put a stop to a bad thing, and she is soon married off to the cruel Cecil Hearst.

Drama and tragedy ensue, and Walter keeps his distance from Tamara.

That is until her stricken brother-in-law Daniel requires his magical healing, and he is forced back into her life.

With secrets beginning to emerge, Walter finds his mother may be a lot closer to home than he realised…

Filled with mystery, magic and larger than life characters, Illusion will keep you guessing until the very last page.

#Extract – Chpater Four:

Walter’s re-entry into [Tom’s] quiet life had given him an unexpected jolt. His friend’s grand plans, delicious and tempting as they were, sent rivulets of terror right through him. To risk all that he had carefully built for himself, for Ma, their small oasis of domesticity… It was terrifying, yes. But god knows it was exciting, too. Life with Walter was never anything but. And could his old friend, just possibly, be the one to make Ma better? It was almost too painful to hope.
He wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead and moved his chair an inch away from the raging hearth nearby. As if in response, Rosalind halted to pull a wrap a little further up her throat. She then flexed her fingers and resumed her battle with ‘Around the Pear Tree’.
And yet, he owed Walter. He owed him everything that he had now. Because if that gawky, strange named beanpole of a boy hadn’t taken him under his wing all those years ago, then Tom Winter would be dead by now. He’d be one of those small, starved, sackful of bones they throw into pits for people who have nothing to show for in this world. He’d be deep under the frosty earth, not sizzling by the fire in Rosalind Gallop’s parlour.
‘D’ya want to see something funny?’
Those had been Walter’s first words to him. Tom had found himself unable to respond. He was too cold and too hungry: a lost and shivering little boy of eight.
But the skull-like face didn’t seem to need his question answered. ‘I’m gonna count back from five and then you’re gonna smile, like you still know how to do it.’
They were sitting in the refectory: a hundred miserable, snot faced, filthy children, and Mrs Chester was serving out the slop that passed for their food. She heaved a gigantic pan up onto the table, clutching its iron handle.
‘Pigeon broth!’ she bellowed. ‘It’s burnt, mind.’
Walter winked and began to count down quietly. ‘Five, four, three, two …,’
The lid came up from the giant pot. Mrs Chester danced back, shrieking as the room fell into disarray. Because instead of emitting the odour of burnt, liquid bird, the pot unleashed three very much alive pigeons. They spiralled up from their prison, wings flapping a series of sharp slaps in Mrs Chester’s face, feathers cascading in the air. Everyone in the room bounced up from their seats, eyes wet with laughter. Pigeons swooped and chairs got knocked over as children took cover. Mrs Chester waved an old rag around her head, cursing loudly at them all.
At last the three birds settled, perching on one of the great beams that traversed the rectory ceiling. Calm descended and Mrs Chester was about to speak again when an impressive shower of bird shit suddenly splattered down onto one of the tables.
New gasps and squawks of hilarity rippled through the room. But Mrs Chester remained silent, dangerously so, and the laughter petered out.
‘Walter!’ she cried at last, her cheeks now streaked with lurid veins. She marched towards their table, grabbing Walter by the ear.
‘I got you smiling though, didn’t I Tom Winter?’ he said as she dragged him away, his gangly legs skimming in all directions across the floor. Tom trembled at the thought of what punishment awaited this strange boy. His own skin began to tingle sympathetically as he imagined the swipe of some vile instrument striking that papery skin, bruising those knobbly bones of his. But Walter had been right. Because when those pigeons came flapping out of that pot, he had smiled. More than that. He’d laughed, for the first time since his world had fallen apart.

Stephanie Elmas 2
Stephanie Elmas
Authors links:
Website: www.stephanieelmas.com/
Twitter: @StephanieElmas

 

#BlogTour Q&A with @LRAllison77 #Author of, Twice The Speed Of Dark @unbounders #NewRelease #Literary

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Twice The Speed Of Dark by Lulu Allison
Synopsis:

A mother and daughter circle each other, bound by love, separated by fatal violence.

Dismayed by the indifference she sees in the news to people who die in distant war and terror, Anna writes portraits of the victims, trying to understand the real impact of their deaths.

Meanwhile Anna’s daughter, killed by a violent boyfriend, tells her own story from the perplexing realms of death, reclaiming herself from the brutality.

Anna’s life is stifled by heartache; it is only through these acts of love for strangers that she allows herself an emotional connection to the world.

Can Anna free herself from the bondage of grief and find a connection to her daughter once more?

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) Until I started writing this book in 2013 I had been an artist for most of my life. I exhibited my own work and also was involved with many collaborative projects as an artist. I have always been a big reader and passionate lover of books, but it didn’t occur to me that I would ever write one myself. Partly because I have the attention span of a magpie – very easily distracted by something new and shiny. Most of my work as an artist was temporary, quick to achieve, transitory. I like things that I could flick in and out of, without being tied down to a long period of commitment….

It was an art project that tricked me into writing a whole book. I had been thinking about the way news reports things differently depending on where the victims come from. British victims of terror were given much more time and care than those in Iraq or Afghanistan. So I began a project with the aim of challenging this. To think of those distant victims as real people whose deaths mattered, I wrote portraits of them, imagining the people they had been.

And I was hooked. It is one of the central aspects of Twice the Speed of Dark. Anna, the main character, is brittle, lonely, bound by unresolved grief. Her daughter was killed by a violent boyfriend. Anna’s life was thrown into disarray. In the wild anger of the months after the death and after the court case that convicted the killer with manslaughter, she was horrified to see how little attention people gave to the death of her only child. In searching the news she sees all the other unnamed dead, victims of terror in distant lands passed over as a mere tally of casualties. She starts to write portraits.

The book is the story of Anna’s struggle with the grief that has trapped her for so long. It is also the story of Caitlin, her daughter, who, from the dark realms of death, tells of how she became trapped in a violent relationship. It is in the end too, a book about love.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) It took a year, mostly of rejections from agents and a major redrafting before I found and was accepted by Unbound. Some of the agents were incredibly generous about my writing, but even the ones who loved it didn’t feel they would be able to place it with a publisher. Luckily, having been involved with art all of my life, I am well versed in understanding that rejection, though it can be dampening and dreary, is part of the job. Literary fiction is not the genre that shifts units, and that’s ok. I am so thrilled, however, that innovative publishers like Unbound have come along to re-populate the territory that has been recently abandoned by traditional publishers, as some of us still love it!

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) It is difficult to answer this question without siting an author who rarely disappoints rather than the one whose individual books have blown me away, but an author who rarely disappoints is Ian McKewan – though I have a deal of catching up to do on his more recent books.
I absolutely love A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride and
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack. Both use language so utterly beautifully – but so that it is a tool of what they want to express, not just a showcase of their skill. The language has more than a formal beauty, it becomes a vehicle into interior worlds and profound, complex feelings. Two brilliant books.

Another non-fiction writer I love is Nick Tosches, who writes, loosely, about the American south. He wrote biographies of Sonny Liston (Night Train) and Gerry Lee Lewis (Hellfire) that I absolutely loved.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My first favourite book was King Arthur and the Round Table by Alice M. Hadfield, given to me by my grandpa, along with some small plastic knights to play with! I loved it, but was so baffled and upset that Lancelot and Guinevere had to ruin things in a way that, as a child, I couldn’t really grasp..!

As a teenager I loved E.M. Forster, the gentle optimism and what seemed like a hope for the human spirit, weighed down by the foolish expectations of society. Humanely romantic, if a little heavily Empire era.

And here is a question: I read a Puffin book, I think it was in translation from Polish. It was certainly set in Poland, I think during World War Two. There were three or four boys, and they may have been helping someone hide from the occupying Germans. There was a mill where they would meet up. The cover had a painting that I remember as being Stanley Spencer-esque. I can’t remember what it was called, but would love to find it again – any clues anyone?

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) It is still a very new thing so I don’t have many experiences to go on. All of them have been fantastic and weirdly dreamy. Today, being official publication day, I will have the book launch; my daughter Lilian is a wonderful dance and spoken word artist and she has made a performance based on the words of Caitlin in Twice the Speed of Dark. I cannot wait to see that – I will report back!

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) One of the best resources an Unbound author has is the other Unbound authors. We gather on our Facebook page to whinge and wa-hay in equal measure. It is wonderful to have access to more experienced writers. And it is also great to have a place to moan, when you’ve already banged on until your partner is sick of hearing it, about how difficult x is or how unfathomable y is.

I don’t know how I would’ve coped without friends and family and my husband Pierre.

LA: Thank you for these questions Abby!

LA
Lulu Allison
Authors links:
My website: https://luluallison.net
Twitter: @lrallison77
Instagram: @lrallison77
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerLRAllison/

Author bio:

Lulu Allison studied at Central St Martin’s School of Art. She then travelled and lived abroad for a number of years, playing in bands in New Zealand, teaching scuba diving in Fiji, making spectacle hinges in a factory in Germany before settling in Brighton. She exhibited her art and worked as a community artist for Towner Gallery and Fabrica Gallery whilst raising two children.

In 2013 what began as an art project took her into writing and she unexpectedly discovered what she should have been doing all along. The art project became Twice the speed of Dark, which on completion, was taken up by Unbound and published in the autumn of 2017.

Twice the Speed of Dark is her first novel. She is currently writing a second called Wetlands.

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

AnneBonny

#BlogTour #Review Can You Keep A Secret? by @KarenPerryBooks @PenguinUKBooks @penguinrandom

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Can You Keep A Secret? by Karen Perry
Synopsis:

It’s time for a reunion
Lindsey hasn’t spoken to Rachael in twenty years, not since her brother’s 18th birthday party at their parents’ remote country house.

A night that shattered so many friendships – and left Rachel’s father dead.
Now Thornbury Hall is up for sale, and the old gang are back there, together again.
A weekend to say goodbye to the old place, to talk about the past.
But twenty years of secrets aren’t given up lightly. Some won’t speak about what happened that night.

While others want to ensure that no one does.
Surviving the weekend is going to depend on whether you can keep a secret . . .

My review:

This novel is set between two eras the present day 2017 and the 1990’s. The novel consistently reflects between the protagonist’s adult lives and their childhood, in particular Patrick’s 18th birthday party spent at Thornbury Hall in 1991.

The novel opens with Lindsey assessing the forensics at a nearby crime scene in Ireland. She decides to pay a call on Thornbury Hall, where she enjoyed many summers with her childhood best friend Rachel. When she arrives she is greeted by Rachel’s brother Patrick, they reminisce over the old days and eventually become quite close. Lindsey is plagued by ill health, a brain tumour behind her optic nerve. When she is off work and recuperating romance blossoms. It is at this point Patrick decides to sell Thornbury Hall, promising Lindsey a future full of travel and dreams.
But not before one last big reunion……….

Lindsey isn’t keen on this idea, but relents as it is what Patrick wants. The novel continues with reflective chapters and we learn that Rachel and Lindsey are now, more like sworn enemies. All due to a secret long held in the past. But what causes friends to hate one another? And how will that factor into Lindsey and Patrick’s plans for their future?

It isn’t long until all the old gang assemble at Thornbury Hall and the secrets and lies begin to surface. There are sinister secrets, dark pasts and betrayal.
Will all the jealousy and anger bubble over?

To learn more of the secrets of Thornbury Hall, you will have to read the novel!

karen-perry
Karen Perry
Paul Perry & Karen Gillece
Authors bio:

Paul Perry is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books. A winner of The Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year Award, he is a lecturer in creative writing at Kingston University, London, and course director in poetry at the Faber Academy in Dublin.
Karen Gillece is the author of four critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland).

Authors Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenPerryAuthor/
Twitter: @KarenPerryBooks