Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview A Sinner’s Prayer by @EllingtonWright M.P Wright 5*Genius #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Series #JTEllington @bwpublishing #Bristol #ASinnersPrayer

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A Sinner’s Prayer by M.P. Wright
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Saying farewell to the dark side doesn’t mean the dark side wants rid of you. And I was about to be reminded of that fact.

1970, St Pauls, Bristol. A new decade, and JT Ellington is determined it will be a quiet one. He’s stepped away from the private-eye game to scratch a living, respectable at last, as a school caretaker.

Still his nights are full of torment – guilt and ghosts that no prayers will banish but it’s not until the past comes calling in the unwelcome form of Superintendent Fletcher that JT’s resolve is truly tested.

Fletcher has a job for JT – and the hard-nosed cop can’t be refused. A young man, Nikhil Suresh, has disappeared hours before his wedding; rumours abound and his family is distraught. JT is to investigate.

With what feels like blood money in his pocket, JT is plunged deep into a demi-monde of vice, violence and forbidden passion. An extraordinary, malevolent enemy is intent on destroying him. Now – seeking survival and redemption – JT must play as dirty and dangerous as those who want him dead.

My Review ~

‘Sooner or later, everyone round you dies JT. They are in hell, everyone you ever loved, all either burnt up or here rotting with me’

The title opens with JT confronted by the ghostly apparition of Carnell Harris. We become quickly aware of the past characters that have featured in the series. Their links to other returning characters and the toll their pain and losses takes on JT’s psyche. JT Ellington is a haunted man, haunted by his past, haunted by the present and haunted by the future!

‘Carnell Harris was dead because of me’

 The title opens on Friday 13th August 1971 in Bristol. JT is now 48yrs old and we learn that 1970’s Britain is no more kinder to JT than the previous swinging 1960’s. JT faces an avalanche of daily racism, discrimination and prejudice. A fictionalised version of the windrush experience. JT is currently a caretaker at a local primary school, having abandoned the life of a PI for a secure lifestyle for his 6yr old niece Chloe.
But as usual… Trouble lurks closely behind every corner of Jt’s life…

JT is accosted by Detective Inspector Fletcher again, (now Superintendent) He encourages or more likely coerces JT into dealing with the case of a missing shopkeepers son Nikhil Suresh. However, to unravel the mystery of Nikhil’s disappearing act, JT must navigate the world of arranged marriage.

‘I decided to take the Superintendent’s thirty pieces of silver’

We are reintroduced to a wide-range or reoccurring characters such as Aunt Pearl, Uncle Gabe and my favourite Loretta Harris.
But JT’s main focus remains the case of the missing bridegroom. The case becomes even more entangled when we learn of the men living in secret due to their sexuality. Can JT uncover the most precious secrets of those close to Nikhil? Or will Nikhil’s death remain unsolved?

‘The man you search for is with the Jinn’

The LGBT theme in 1970’s England, enables the reader to explore the underground gay scene, drag queens and others society has rejected. The era is one of oppression and it is shocking to think this is not that long ago. Needlessly, the author deals with such matters with tact, delicacy and lets the emotion lead the narrative.

‘The dead man had been associating with monsters, and he’d clearly gone on to pay a very high price for it’

When a local white child’s body is discovered at a local golf course. JT begins to question a link. But why would anyone strangle and beat an 11yr old boy? Is there a definitive link to Nikhil’s disappearance?
One thing is for certain, if the murder of a local white boy is reported in connection with Nikhil, it could unleash all manner of racial tensions, violence and possible riots on the streets. JT must act fast!

When the case is potentially linked to organised crime and gangsters of The Firm. JT calls in the big guns and by big guns, he means Vic!
‘Vic was proof that a black man could live by his own rules in Britain’

Vic is without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite male characters in the series (aside from JT). I would love to see the series developed into a TV series and think Idris Elba would make an exceptional Vic we would all fall in love with!

‘White folk were as happy here to let a black man or woman take the fall for them as they were back on Bim, whether they had committed the damn crime or not’

The novel deals with not only tough issues, but complex issues. The racial tensions of the decade are fully explored, as are the potential various motivations. Fear, ignorance and lack of self awareness all play a part in the up rise of white British racism. The plague it holds over its victims is fully explored….
‘I was perhaps descending down into hell and the devil himself would be waiting for me’ 

There are passages of beautiful prose from M.P. Wright and he has excelled himself once again with A Sinner’s Prayer.
‘I imagined prehistoric wolves making the same gesture before they howled at men, women and children sat shivering in their caves’…
‘A trio of deadly executioners, who lived in the knowledge that certain death always followed in their wake’

Dark crime fiction to mix with your dark rum on the sunny summer evenings!
*Raises glass to JT Ellington*
A series finale and a character that will live on in the hearts of his readers.
5* Genius

MPW
M.P. Wright
Twitter
My Q&A with M.P. Wright
My Review of, The Restless Coffins

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Our Little Secrets by @PRitchieAuthor 4* #CrimeFiction #GraceMacallan #Series #Scotland @bwpublishing #OurLittleSecrets

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Our Little Secrets by Peter Ritchie ~ Grace Macallan #5
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

At a dark place in Edinburgh’s heart, secrets refuse to lie dormant.

At Police Scotland HQ, Grace Macallan has pitched up in Counter Corruption. But the demons of her past are never far behind.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s gangland is in turmoil. As a new breed of upstarts challenges the old criminal order, their battle for territory causes serious havoc.

Into the war steps DI Janet Hadden. Ambitious, hardbitten and addicted to risk-taking, she knows how to throw opponents off balance. But when she’s thwarted, Hadden seeks help from a notorious underworld fixer, a man who keeps secrets but always extracts a price.

Beset by violence and double-crossing, Grace is soon embroiled in a savage game of cat and mouse with colleagues and criminals alike. With all sides driven by dark desires, theirs is an endgame that will take Grace down unless she holds her nerve.

My Review ~

The title opens with the usual introduction to the various characters and their backstories. The characterisation in Peter Ritchie’s novels is always intense. Think along the lines of Martina Cole or Stuart MacBride.
This time we are introduced to Davy ‘Tonto’ McGill, as he is being chased by an angry ‘Pete the Pole’ with an axe, an average day for Police Scotland. We are also introduced to Detective Inspector Janet Hadden, whom I took an instant dislike to. For she is no Grace Macallan. The novel follows the story of Detective Hadden as she pursues Scotland’s finest criminal using a variety of strategies, some of them not being legit…

‘Dominic Grainger was her real target’ 

Dominic Grainger is the type of baddie, that leaps from the pages. He is struggling to navigate the criminal underworld, whilst staying top of the pecking order with his two brothers Paul and Sean, and keeping father-in-law gangster Arthur Hamilton at arms length. It isn’t long until Dominic finds himself on Hadden’s radar…

‘Time and time again she was surprised by the frailty of men, and she was equipped to exploit those failings wherever she needed to’

The novel then explores the past of Dominic’s wife Jude Hamilton. The tensions that lead to a deadly rivalry between Dominic and Arthur. This is a title packed to the brim with gang wars, confidential informants, dirty cops and gritty violence!

‘A rat was a rat, even when you put a little sheriff’s badge on it and told it you cared’ 

Gangland adultery with deadly consequences! 4*

PR
Peter Ritchie
Twitter
My Review of Cause Of Death ~ Grace Macallan #1
My Review of Evidence Of Death ~ Grace Macallan #2
My Review of Shores Of Death ~ Grace Macallan #3
My Review of Where No Shadows Fall ~ Grace Macallan #4

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Lives Before Us by @JulietConlin #NewRelease #HistFic #HistoricalFiction #ww2Fiction @bwpublishing #TheLivesBeforeUs

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The Lives Before Us by Juliet Conlin
Currently Reading – Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

“I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of it. Even my vivid imagination could hardly fathom a place as tight, or dense, or narrow as Shanghai.”

It’s April 1939 and, with their lives in Berlin and Vienna under threat, Esther and Kitty – two very different women – are forced to make the same brutal choice. Flee Europe, or face the ghetto, incarceration, death.

Shanghai, they’ve heard, Shanghai is a haven – and so they secure passage to the other side of the world. What they find is a city of extremes – wealth, poverty, decadence and disease – and of deep political instability. Kitty has been lured there with promises of luxury, love, marriage – but when her Russian fiancé reveals his hand she’s left to scratch a vulnerable living in Shanghai’s nightclubs and dark corners. Meanwhile, Esther and her little girl take shelter in a house of widows until the protection of Aaron, Esther’s hot-headed former lover, offers new hope of survival.

Then the Japanese military enters the fray and violence mounts. As Kitty’s dreams of escape are dashed, and Esther’s relationship becomes tainted, the two women are thrown together in the city’s most desperate times. Together they must fight for a future for the lives that will follow theirs.

Extract ~

Kitty can’t sleep, despite the five Manhattans she ended up drinking to try to stop her whirring thoughts. Or at least slow them down long enough to fall asleep. Earlier, the young Chinese boy eagerly fixed her one drink after the next, but at one point – when the room began spinning – she shooed him away. She didn’t want a child witnessing her humiliation.
She turns to her side, the sheet sticking to her damp skin. It seems even hotter now than during the day. Finally, when the silver-plated clock on the dresser strikes out three thin chimes, she gets out of bed and goes to the window. The street below is dark and quiet, just a few lone vendors sitting here and there in front of charcoal braziers, calling out to the occasional passer-by. The apartment is located in the French Concession, the section of Shanghai under French authority, Vitali explained at length on the drive from the port. Of course, he knew all along what he intended to tell her once they’d arrived and just wanted to cover his own uneasiness with a pretend air of nonchalance.
As soon as he left, Kitty began to panic. Her first thought was to get out of there, to head back to the port before the ship started out on its return journey and get as far away from Shanghai as possible. But even before she carried her suitcase to the door, she realised it was futile. Pride has so far prevented her from counting the money Vitali left behind, but she knows there is no going back. She placed all her bets on one card – Vitali, the coward – and now, it seems, she has lost.
She presses her cheek against the cool window glass. If she cranes her head, she can make out the intersection, see the red, blue, yellow glow from the electric neon signs that line the façades of the buildings, can hear the noise of cars and trams and the shouts from rickshaw runners.
She yawns, then shivers, in spite of the cloying heat.
A shriek of laughter travels up from the street, and somewhere in the distance a car backfires. Four Chinese women in skintight embroidered dresses walk, arms interlinked, along the pavement towards the intersection fifty metres away, chatting in sweet sing-song voices. Kitty can well imagine what they are talking about. For all their exoticism, the women’s conversation is unlikely to be much different in content from those Kitty had with Resi, walking home along Stuwerstraße at dawn.
She and Resi parted on poor terms. Another dancer at the Nachtfalter accused Kitty of accepting tips that weren’t rightly hers; there was an ugly row, allegiances were formed, and Resi ended up taking sides against Kitty. Because she’d found out she was Jewish, Kitty is sure. And then, the following evening, Vitali came to the bar – the proverbial dark handsome stranger – and all seemed suddenly well. And now . . . Her breath is crushed in her chest as she fights down another surge of panic. Eyes closed, forehead resting on the windowpane, she takes several deep breaths. She has survived before. She has endured fear and suffering and humiliation at an age at which most girls would be sitting pigtailed behind school desks. She is fearless – isn’t that what Esther said?
And if Vitali really does love her, all will be good. She won’t force his hand but will wait until that wife of his has recovered from (or succumbed to, she thinks spitefully) whatever illness she is suffering from, and she will be ready and waiting and irresistible. It is far from what she envis¬aged, but if this is her only choice, well, then she will make it her own. She wipes her tears away with her hand. There is no use in crying. Life is hard, and it is a vanity to believe any different.

JC
Juliet Conlin
Website
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Where No Shadows Fall by @PRitchieAuthor 5* #NewRelease #Scotland #CrimeFiction #GraceMacallan @bwpublishing #WhereNoShadowsFall

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Where No Shadows Fall by Peter Ritchie
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Expose the truth or let the dead lie still?
Grace Macallan’s life is on an even keel – at last. But a 9-to-5 career away from the frontline isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

So when she’s sent to investigate a suicide at Glasgow’s notorious Barlinnie prison, Grace gladly escapes her desk. The dead inmate is Tommy McMartin, heir to a ferocious criminal family. His murder conviction saw Tommy’s fall from power; cast out not for violence but because the victim was his gay lover.

The investigation drags Grace into contact with her McMartin adversaries of old. But the gangland dynasty is under threat and, as it topples, secrets once dead and buried are unearthed.

As she unravels Tommy McMartin’s fate, Grace senses someone watching her from the shadows, someone who aches for revenge. An awful dilemma faces her: to expose the truth or let the dead lie still.

My Review:

I absolutely LOVE the Grace Macallan series. It is modern, gritty and always a rollercoaster of a read. The crimes are always incredibly dark and the characterisation intense. The author often provides a backstory to various characters major and minor. They offer an insight into what drives or motivates each character, whether it be cop or criminal.

‘The evidence might be gone but some crimes can never be completely washed away’

The prologue provides the perfect introduction to the authors dark and edgy style of writing. We immediately jump straight into the lives of those who pursue crime and mayhem as their trade.
Firstly we are introduced to Tommy McMartin and his position in the notorious criminal family in Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, for Tommy the life of crime is brought to an abrupt halt, when he is arrested on a murder charge. With all the evidence pointing to Tommy having committed the murder and Tommy having no memory.
He quickly finds himself locked up, as a lifer!

‘He’d walked into the trap like as amateur and forgotten every lesson he’d ever learned’

For Danny Goldstein (Tommy’s barrister) it will be the case that will haunt him long into retirement.
If Tommy is innocent, why can’t he prove it?
With the guilty verdict, Tommy’s sexuality is quickly exposed. His family maybe a crime family, but they are devout Catholics when it comes to sexuality.
They also abandon Tommy, throwing him to the prison wolves…

When Tommy can finally take the prison abuse anymore and feeling little hope for his future, given his current state of health. He resides himself to his fate, of taking his life literally in his own hands.

‘Tommy McMartin went still; no one could hurt him anymore’

Peter Ritchie set the pace, characters and scene incredibly well, by page 60 “I am hooked into the storyline”.

Grace takes Tommy’s case, due to various factors, this is not the run of the mill suicide. Whilst reporter Jacqui Bell is brought back into the series, as the reporter following up on stories of suicides in jail. Previous character Bobo McCartney also brings some very welcome comical relief to the gritty storyline.

If Tommy McMartin was innocent, then who murdered his lover? And set him up?
5*

PR
Peter Ritchie
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Anne Bonny Q&A with @karinamelvin #ArtfulEating The psychology of lasting weight loss #EatingDisorders #Recovery @bwpublishing

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Artful Eating by Karina Melvin
Book description:

This book can change your life forever!
Rediscover the magic of eating for pleasure and enjoy a life of balance with the freedom to eat the foods you want without dieting.

Artful Eating will take you on a journey filled with stories, life lessons, practical tools and strategies all rooted in the most up to date scientific and psychological research. Learn how to reprogram your mind to lose weight and achieve the body you desire, by changing your thoughts, behaviours and approach to pleasure.

Successful weight loss is not about what you eat, it’s about why and how you eat. We are missing the most vital ingredient in the weight loss battle: the mind. It is our mind that fuels every decision we make about food and by focusing solely on the symptom, the excess weight, we have lost sight of the cause.

There is no strenuous exercise regime, no food elimination, no strict meal plan, just powerful psychological tools and strategies which will create lasting change. You will be amazed at how easy it is to achieve the body you desire and truly deserve.

Q&A:

Q) Who is your perfect reader?

A) I wrote my book for anyone who is tired of ‘trying’ to lose weight. What I mean by this is anyone who has spent years feeling dissatisfied with their body and uncomfortable around food. My hope is to emancipate people from restrictive eating and the oscillation between being ‘good’ and ‘bad’ when it comes to dieting. What my readers consistently tell me is that they feel such freedom after reading this book, so I guess the perfect reader is someone who feels trapped in their relationship with food and their body. There is another way- and its all about enjoyment!

Q) What books are on your bedside table?

A) Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VIII On Transference, which is full of post-it notes and coloured tabs as I’m lecturing on it in UCD. Lacan is a psychoanalyst and his writings are notoriously challenging to read, but so worthwhile. I’m also dipping in and out of Audrey at Home: Memoirs of my Mothers Kitchen, which is written by Audrey Hepburn’s son, Luca Dotti. Its a gorgeous book, filled with anecdotes, beautiful home pictures and delicious recipes. Finally I just finish the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels and I am so saddened, I cant bring myself to take them off my nightstand! I cannot recommend them highly enough, her writing is sublime and I was completely immersed.

Q) Do you have a writing routine?

A) I used to, before my daughter was born and when she was newborn and breastfeeding, writing was a doddle! Now my routine consists of grabbing time whenever its quiet, I do need it to be quiet to write. I’ve taken recently to waking up at 5am as its very bright and peaceful and I can get so much written before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

Q) Where do you write best?

A) In my old place it used to be at this big old bankers desk I bought in a warehouse sale for 80 euro, the thing is a beast! So solid, huge and welcoming. But since we’ve moved I now enjoy sitting at the table in our front room facing the window. We’re currently in an apartment in a very grand, old Georgian house so the rooms are huge, with very high ceilings and large sash windows, so its light, bright and airy. The Irish writer Patrick Kavanagh used to live here, so I feel in very good company when I’m writing.

Q) Where did your inspiration for Artful Eating come from?

A) There were a lot of little “bread crumbs” which amassed over time to come together in the form of Artful Eating. I think the penny really dropped for me though in Barcelona. We were there for a long weekend and I was really struck by the mini versions of everything. Their cortados, which are sort of micro lattes or the una caña which is a very small beer – and of course their tapas. We ate like kings over the weekend, not denying ourselves anything, but also never over indulging. I’d been to Spain before; in fact I spent a wonderful summer in Madrid when I was 16, so I was familiar with their approach to food, but the inspiration to create Artful Eating happened while I was away that weekend. It was actually my 33rd birthday, now that I think of it! Around that time I had been noticing how so many of my clients, regardless of their size, were struggling with their relationship with food and their body and the idea hit me like a lightning bolt in Barcelona that I had to do something about it. After a lot of research and trials I created an online program and it was through the course that I got approached to write a book!

Q) What would your top ten store-cupboard ingredients be?

A) Oooh… This is a good question! And one which probably changes depending on my mood…
Butter- everything tastes better with butter!
All- purpose Flour
Chickpeas- great for anything- curries, hummus, salads…
Seeds and nuts
maple syrup
dried mushrooms
bullion
cuscus
Mustard
tinned tomatoes

This is too hard! I always think it’s incredibly helpful to have a well stocked pantry and I love collecting different jars of preserves and chutney’s, herbs and spices, sauces and alcohol when I’m travelling- way better than a fridge magnet or a postcard!

Q) What are you working on next?

A) I’m working on another book, which is a slight departure from Artful Eating. It’s all about enjoying life and I cannot wait to share it with you.

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Karina Melvin
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