Anne Bonny #BookReview Stasi 77 By @djy_writer David Young 5* #Historical #Thriller #ww2Fiction #KarinMuller #Stasi #Series @ZaffreBooks

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Stasi 77 by David Young ~ Karin Muller #4
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet

My Review ~

Stasi 77 Is #4 in the Karin Muller series. Each title offering up a unique historical theme. Stasi 77 is set between 1977 and 1943. The chapters alternate, which makes the reading feel so very intense. I found the 1943 scenes from the ww2 concentration camps particularly harrowing. But then they are historically accurate and superbly researched. The history of the ww2 concentration camps is supposed to be uncomfortable reading. If the author is doing their job correctly and bringing the horror of the camps alive on the page.

1977 – Schonefeld Airport – East Berlin
Major Karin Muller and Deputy Werner Tilsner from the serious crimes department arrive to find a victim dead from smoke inhalation. The victim is a leading local party official and is found in an abandoned old cotton mill (state owned). Who is the man? And why would somebody want to kill him?
As Karin investigates she uncovers the murder is not only deliberate but methodically planned. The victims fingernail marks leaving a sign of the sheer terror they knew before death brought salvation.

1943 – Oct – Scene from the camps
Three brothers Gregoire, Marcellin and (narrator) Philippe are transported from Buchenwald, in dire and bleak conditions…
‘I’m not a religious man. But if I was – and if I’d done some of the things that have been done to me and my compatriots and fellow prisoners – then I might imagine, one day entering hell. Today, I no longer need to imagine for I have arrived’ – Philippe
We come to learn the back story of the three brothers, who they are , why they are at the camps and the brutality of camp life they must endure.

Karin must navigate a secretive world. Where access to information depends on who you are and what position you hold. Karin comes to realise she doesn’t hold the relevant title or access to information on leading political figures and that continuing such leads, may put her own life in danger.

‘I never knew their names. But I will never, ever forget those faces’ – Philippe

When the ending finally approached and my time with Major Karin of the Kriminalpolizei was drawing to an end. I desperately wanted to read on…

‘My life is over, but I have memories to cherish, and they flicker like a well-worn newsreel’ – Philippe

5*

DY
David Young
Website
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My Review of A Darker State
An Extract of Stasi 77
My Review of Stasi Wolf and Q&A with David Young

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Stasi 77 by @djy_writer #NewRelease #HistFic #ww2 #Stasi @ZaffreBooks #Historical #Thriller #Stasi77

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Stasi 77 by David Young
Currently Reading ~ Review To Follow Soon

Synopsis ~

A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet.

Extract ~

April 1977
Berlin

His heart started pounding, and his throat constricting, even before he reached the crossing point.
Checkpoint C.
C for Charlie.
A place where the glitz and decadence of West Berlin gave way to the colourless grey of the East. The contrast was always striking, no matter how often he crossed the border.
He’d done this journey countless times for work. Always driving – through France, Belgium, West Germany. And then the motorway corridor into West Berlin.
Each business trip was ostensibly about making money, making connections. Doing deals with the Deutsche Demo- kratische Republik, with its voracious appetite for foreign hard currency.
But his real reason for these trips was something quite different.
It was to investigate.
To collect information. To identify people. And now he knew enough. Now he was ready to begin.

As the guard checked his papers, a deep wracking cough started, and he couldn’t stop it. His body convulsed like a beached fish. The guard stared hard at him.
“Aussteigen!”
It was all going to go wrong now, he sensed it. He managed to control the cough – a permanent legacy of a day he wished he could forget, the day that this was all about – but beads of sweat formed on his brow, and his breathing was laboured and panicked. He climbed out of the Citroén, obeying the guard’s gestures and shouts.
The guard circled the vehicle, opened its gently sloping hatched back, and pulled out the businessman’s leather workbag.
‘Open it, please.’
He flipped the catch. There was nothing in the bag that didn’t match the stated purpose of his visit: all was as it should be, except for the one thing he wanted to be found. But the busi- nessman still felt his face begin to colour up, to feel the guilt, even though he was guilty of nothing. The tension felt like it was intensifying in every sinew in his body, each second causing another twist to course through him.
The guard pulled out a plastic bottle of colourless liquid. He unscrewed the top, and immediately pulled his head back as he smelt the fumes, almost as though he’d been given a small electric shock.
“What’s this?’ he asked, grimacing.
The businessman didn’t trust his voice to answer, and instead opened his papers, lightly running his finger over the entry which corresponded to the one litre of fire accelerant – approved for temporary import into the Republic as part of his business. The business of fire prevention. The Republic was developing fire resistant materials as an offshoot of its chemi- cals industry. His job was to test them so that they matched the standards of the West before sealing any import-export deal. In effect, he needed to be a fire-starter, in order to be an effective fire-preventer. It was a career he’d chosen for a reason. Part of that reason was this visit to East Germany via its capital, even though his destination lay hundreds of kilometres back towards the West. It was a circuitous route, designed to deflect attention. He didn’t want some twitchy East German border guard ruin- ing his plan.
‘The guard glanced over to his guardhouse, as though he was about to summon a superior. But then his attention turned back to the leather bag. He rummaged around again, and pulled out the multi pack of Gauloises cigarettes the businessman had deliberately left there – he knew it flouted customs regulations.
Waving the cigarette packets in one hand, and the bottle of liquid in the other, the guard shook his head, a theatrically severe look on his face. It was a young face, an inexperienced face —- even though the businessman knew most of these officers in border guard uniforms were actually agents of the Ministry for State Security.
The Stasi.
“These don’t mix well together; said the guard. “You might have permission for this…’ He waved the bottle around again with one hand. Then the cigarettes with the other, as though he was making secret semaphore signals to his colleagues. “But importing these…’
Tm sorry. I must have forgotten to take them out, said the businessman. He tried to give a calm, unflustered outward appearance. Inside he was churning up. He needed the guard to want to confiscate the cigarettes, and relish the thought of quietly smoking them, or sharing them with his fellow officers.
The guard’s semaphore-like waving paused mid-air. ‘This interaction had reached a critical point. The businessman held his breath – his heart tapping a steady drum beat. The guard placed both objects on top of the Citroén’s roof, then glanced at his watch. He shrugged, picked up the bottle and placed it back in the bag, along with the man’s passport and documents. ‘Then he waved the businessman back into the driver’s side, and picked up the cigarette multi pack.
If he knew the businessman had left them there deliberately – that it was an unofficial ‘trade’ – it didn’t show in his deadpan face. “We will be impounding these; he said. ‘Importing them is illegal. Do not do it again.’
He waved the Citroén past, while shouting through the open driver’s window.
‘Enjoy your stay in our Socialist Republic, Herr Verbier.’

DY
David Young
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***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Stasi Blog Tour Graphic

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Secrets You Hide by @KateWritesBooks 4* #LegalThriller #CrimeFiction #Psychological @BonnierZaffre

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The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Georgia Sage has a gift: she can see evil in people. As a courtroom artist she uses her skills to help condemn those who commit terrible crimes. After all, her own brutal past means she knows innocence is even rarer than justice.

But when she is drawn back into the trial that defined her career, a case of twisted family betrayal, she realises her own reckless pursuit of justice may have helped the guilty go free.

As Georgia gets closer to the truth behind the Slater family, something happens that threatens not only her career – but even her own sanity. At first, she fears her guilt around the events of her terrible childhood is finally coming back to haunt her.

The truth turns out to be even more terrifying . . .

My Review:

The Secrets You Hide is an impressive debut novel, it is packed full of twists and turns; and you never know who you can trust. Which includes our protagonist Georgia Sage.

The novel opens in 1997, with a young girl Suzanne locked in her room, as her father commits an atrocious and traumatic crime.
‘Dad has been acting strange for months’
What’s on the other side of the door?

We then are introduced to Georgia in 2017, She is a freelance court room artist and has sat in on some horrific crimes in her career. As we meet her, she is on the morning of a awkward one night stand. We discover via her internal thoughts she is not as content with her career choice as she’d have others believe.
‘What kind of person paints pictures of the worst humanity has to offer?’

Georgia does take great pride in her work and believes that her courtroom sketches could ultimately impact the jury/public opinion. I wasn’t as sure about this, but I was intrigued by the way in which Georgia sold it to the reader…
‘I build up the layers, to reveal people as they really are, the secrets they hide even from themselves’

We become aware Georgia lives in a large property and has no financial concerns. I think this explains why she is content with a career choice that cannot earn her much money. We also become aware she is a lonely woman, with a troubled past. It is at this point she becomes an unreliable narrator, of her own story.

‘The fear of life was stronger than the relief of death’

The case Georgia is currently in court sessions for is a he/she said rape trial. But Georgia is convinced of the man’s guilt. But that isn’t the case that the novel revolves around. It is a case from Georgia’s past.
A case she has always been uncertain if justice truly was served…..

A complex twisty psychological thriller, with a shocking ending! 4*

KH
Kate Helm
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A Mother’s Grace by @RosieGoodwin 4* #Victorian #saga #HistoricalFiction @BonnierZaffre

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A Mother’s Grace by Rosie Goodwin
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Tuesday’s child is full of grace . . .

Warwickshire, 1910.

Pious young Grace Kettle escapes the world of her unsavoury and bullying father to train to be a nun. But when she meets the dashing and devout Father Luke her world is turned upside down. Her faith is tested and she is driven to make a scandalous and life-changing choice – one she may well spend the rest of her days seeking forgiveness for . . .

My Review:

A Mother’s Grace opens in 1891, Nuneaton and tells the life story of Grace Kettle. A story of overcoming adversity against the odds. It was perfect weekend reading.
I love a lazy Sunday with a saga on the sofa!

December 1891, Madeline marries Judge Jacob Kettle it is the wedding night of nightmares! So early on, you get a real understanding of the vile atrocious man Jacob is. For Madeline it is a marriage of convenience to secure herself a future away from poverty. For Jacob it is a marriage of dominance and control.

By 1892 Jacob has inherited new property which also comes with new staff Mrs Batley, Mabel and Harry. The staff are the only friends Madeline will ever have. The also really brighten the novel, Mrs Batley pushes back against Jacob’s frugal and verbally abusive manner. But she can’t save Madeline who continues to be regularly verbally abused…..
“Speak when you are spoken to, woman” – Jacob

The novel constantly brings alive the era and even more so when baby Grace Victoria is finally born. With little or no help from physicians and Jacob away from home. Madeline is left weak from the birth and never fully recovers.
She is firmly told, that she must bare no more children.

June 1897, Grace is now a young girl and the apple of her father’s eye. Her mother remains weak from her birth, But Grace enjoys the time she gets to spend with her. Grace also has a nanny Betty Donovan, who enjoys teaching Grace about life outside the property. However, Grace’s father remains possessive and controlling of her time and attention. Which I began to worry would become an unhealthy fixation.

By July 1902 Grace is now 10yrs old and her father appears to resent her maturity and attempts to cajole her as if she were much younger. When Madeline notices this, she organises to send Grace to her Aunt Gertie’s in Wales on ‘holiday’.
It is merely a temporary fix.

But in Wales Grace thrives. Gone is the occasional spoiled little madam act. Grace enjoys the local nature, people and becomes fascinated by the local convent and Catholic faith.
It is ultimately this holiday that matures Grace well beyond her years. For which she will need, as from her 16th birthday, life for Grace changes rapidly. 4*

RG
Rosie Goodwin
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My #Review 29 Seconds by @TMLoganAuthor 5* @BonnierZaffre @bonnier_publish #NewRelease #CrimeFiction by @annebonnybook #TimesUp

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29 Seconds By T.M. Logan
Synopsis:

Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . . .

When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.

He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.

All it takes is a 29 second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

My review:

The novel has an incredibly timely and appropriate theme. With the #TimesUp movement in full swing. Women are no longer willing to stay silent and deal with the abusive behaviour of men whom hold all the power. I think the author has done a fantastic job, with a very sensitive subject matter. The female victims aren’t weak or timid, but strong, feisty and relatable women. That is what makes the threat of this type of abuse, so terrifying. It can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time!

The basis of this novel, is that female victim Sarah has an opportunity to fight back! After saving the life of a young child, the mysterious father offers her a once in the lifetime chance to have revenge.
The conditions are simple, the execution will be deadly,
but does Sarah have what it takes?

‘It was a deal with the Devil’

The rules of the deal are simple. Sarah has 72hrs to provide a name, she cannot tell anyone and there’s no changing her mind, once she has given the man a name……….

The novel then jumps slightly back in time, to show the build-up to the event. Also, to show the reader exactly why Sarah has a name on the tip of her tongue.
Two weeks earlier Sarah is at a works event. She works at Queen Anne’s university and her boss the ‘bulletproof prof’ Alan is the problem. He terrorises the female employees with unwanted advances, verbal intimidation and will stop at nothing to show them the power he holds over them, their careers and mental stability. Alan made my skin crawl with his sleazy commentary and grabby hands!

‘I love you playing hard to get. You’re such a tease, Sarah’ – Alan

Oh, but why doesn’t she quit? Why doesn’t she report her boss to HR? Why does she accept the unwanted ‘attention’? I hear you say!
The truth is simple and brilliantly explained by the author. If you ask any woman, has she ever known such a man, the answer will be resounding YES! It may be your boss, co-worker, teacher or in my case the manager of the college residential building I lived in at just 16yrs old. These men use their power/authority over women/young girls to manipulate situations, where they can then paint themselves as the victim. It carries a stigma and victims are less likely to be believed, so therefore are less likely to speak out and seek help. All I know, in my case, it wasn’t me, that unlocked the creepy old man’s college dorm room door, to watch him sleep!
It is for this and many other reasons, I found Sarah’s story completely believable and relatable. I also know, without a shadow of a doubt, even just at 16 years old. I’d haven given the man, a name!

The plot of the novel then shifts to Sarah’s predicament. Will she give a name? Who is the mysterious Volkov? What will happen to her boss if she gives his name to Volkov?
Dr Sarah Haywood may hold a PHD and be an incredibly intelligent woman. But when it comes to making this choice, she struggles with her internal conscience. I will admit, as the reader, I willed her to give the name.

After being passed up for promotion yet again, and given a choice of a proposal of sex for promise of promotion in the future. Sarah suddenly snaps! She makes the call and changes all their lives….

The novel has a feel of the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie, Strangers On A Train. With two previously unknown individuals making a pact, one that will lead to murder.
But the author has had an even better idea, which leads to a superb ending!

This novel has a cleverly planned plot, the difficult theme throughout the novel is described and articulated exceptionally well. I wish the author every success with the release and applaud him for tackling this theme in this manner! 5*

TM
T.M. Logan
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