Anne Bonny #BookReview Cemetery Road by Greg Iles 5* #CrimeFiction #AmericanNoir #LegalThriller

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Cemetery Road by Greg Iles
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

Two murders. One Town. And a lifetime of secrets.

‘Pure reading pleasure’ Stephen King

The No.1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying standalone. A tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.

Some things should never be uncovered…

When successful journalist Marshall McEwan discovers that his father is terminally ill, he returns to his childhood home in Bienville, Mississippi – a place he vowed to leave behind forever.

His family’s newspaper is failing; and Jet Turner, the love of his youth, has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of the powerful patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Poker Club.

Bienville is on the brink of economic salvation, in the form of a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill. But as the deal nears completion, two murders rock the town to its core, threatening far more than the city’s economic future.

Marshall and Jet soon discover a minefield of explosive secrets beneath the soil of Mississippi. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth about his own history – and the woman he loves – he would give almost anything not to face it.

My Review ~

I am a huge fan of Greg Iles and was very much looking forward to reading this mammoth book beast! I had heard from some early reviewers that Cemetery Road was very similar to the Penn Cage series and in particular the Natchez trilogy. Greg Iles is know for his deeply layered and complex stories and this one did not disappoint!

The title opens with Bienville (Mississippi) local archaeologist Buck Ferris. We are aware he is digging on private property and that he has discovered Native American bones. When he is subsequently attacked and left for dead due to his discovery, we become aware there that Bienville Is much more than the sleepy forgotten American town.

Marshall McEwan is a successful journalist that ran away from Mississippi many years ago, when he was just 18yrs old. He returns 28yrs later due to the health needs of his elderly father Duncan. Duncan McEwan is a legendary newspaper editor of the Bienville watchman. His health is in rapid decline due to his alcoholism, anger and depression. Both men are haunted by the death of Marchall’s brother Adam over 20yrs ago.

‘To understand this story, you must swim between two tides like a person moving from wakefulness to sleep and then back again’

Over the first few pages of the title we become acquainted with several of Bienville’s residents, whom all hold close ties to Marshall. From Quinn Ferris (Buck’s wife), to Denny Allman a 14yr old home-schooled loveable delinquent and Bryon Ellis a county coroner concerned with the crime rates in the African American community. We learn how each character fits into Marshall’s life and why the death of Buck Ferris wounds him so greatly.

 Marshall is a Pulitzer prize winner, a veteran of the Afghan and Iraq wars. Yet there is so much more emotional depth to his character than initially thought. We learn more about the death of his brother Adam and the impact this had on Marshall’s relationship with his parents, friends/locals and most importantly himself. Marshall has Never truly recovered from Adam’s death.

‘A fourteen-year old boy doesn’t need to know grief can last that long’

In the town of Bienville there is a massive wealth divide in the community. Between those that live rich and affluent lives and those who live in near poverty. Inequality in America is a HUGE issue and I have also seen the economic and political consequencesof it within my own country too. I felt that Greg Iles does a brilliant portrayal of this in a fictional form. The struggles of Bienville, feel very real!

‘Not caring is the same as begging for fascism’

As Marshall Looks into the case of Buck’s death, at the request of his wife. He learns something sinister is afoot in Bienville. Something very sinister, that leads all the way to his first love Jet Matheson…
The Matheson family pretty much own Bienville and if Marshall wishes to uncover their secrets, he will have to tread very carefully indeed.

‘A town like Bienville is like the river it was founded on, filled with deep and conflicting currents’

Marshall becomes convinced Buck was murdered and promises Quinn he will unmask the killer in their midst. But who would want to murder an elderly archaeologist? And why?

The book deals with two compelling main themes, that of corporate greed and the fundamental need for a free press. The last 1/4 of the title is very gritty and much more like the Penn Cage trilogy on level of shock value and twists.
American Noir at its finest. 5*

GI
Greg Iles
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Boy Who Fell by Jo Spain 4* #CrimeFiction #Irish #TomReynolds #series @QuercusBooks

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The Boy Who Fell by Jo Spain
Review Copy ~ Amazon Vine Product

Synopsis ~

FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE CONFESSION AND CO-WRITER OF RTE ONE’S TAKEN DOWN

Kids can be so cruel.
They’ll call you names.
Hurt your feelings.
Push you to your death.

In the garden of an abandoned house, Luke Connolly lies broken, dead. The night before, he and his friends partied inside. Nobody fought, everybody else went home safely. And yet, Luke was raped and pushed to his death. His alleged attacker is now in custody.

DCI Tom Reynolds is receiving the biggest promotion of his career when a colleague asks him to look at the Connolly case, believing it’s not as cut and dried as local investigators have made out. And as Tom begins to examine the world Connolly and his upper class friends inhabited, the privilege and protection afforded to them, he too realises something.

In this place, people cover up for each other.
Even when it comes to murder.

My Review ~

‘Her body showed all the hallmarks of resistance when the first responders came’

The title opens in Dublin, Ireland in 2015 at the scene of a violent murder/suicide. The crime scene is at the home of an affluent couple, who reside in a 1.2 mansion. The abandoned property will become something of local legend amongst the teens and eventually another crime will occur there…

We are quickly re-introduced to DCI Tom Reynolds and made aware of his new promotion. Tom is a highly likeable detective and has aided the series to go from strength to strength. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but he reminds me of the character Jack Frost (previously played by Sir David Jason in A Touch Of Frost) But an Irish younger version.

‘A man who doesn’t want power but is willing to take it for the greater good’

When Natasha McCarthy (head of sex crimes) brings a case to Tom, we are immediately aware, it is going to be one of much complexity. The case revolves around the potential rape/murder of 17yr old Luke Connolly. The teenager accused is 18yr old Daniel Konate.
This will be a case that will tackle various themes of consent, class divide, racial barriers and homophobia.

The case deals with many themes also amongst the bunch of teenagers that decided to party at the abandoned murder house. With Daniel being the only teen who is black, from a modest background and gay. Tom is going to have his work cut out. Is Daniel guilty? Why are the other teens so quick to pin the blame on Daniel?

‘They were a toxic little mix of money and meanness and boredom’ 

There is added heartbreak and emotional complexity, when we learn Luke had a brother. A twin brother in fact and he is currently in hospital with terminal leukaemia. Luke’s twin Ethan only has weeks left to live.
With this scenario, you really begin to feel for the Connolly parents. How do you grieve for one son, when the other has just weeks left in your life? How do you go from having two sons, to no living children?

‘Since Luke’s death, the world was on its axis’

Privileged posh kids, secrets and betrayal. 4*  

JS
Jo Spain
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Forget Me Not by Claire Allan 4* #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @AvonBooksUK

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Forget Me Not by Claire Allan
My Own Copy ~ Paperback

Synopsis ~

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

My Review ~

‘Someone had wanted this woman very much dead’

The title deals with the aftermath of a violent and sadistic murder. Elizabeth O’Loughlin stumbles upon the victim in the throes of bleeding out, whilst walking her dog. She is left emotionally and mentally disturbed by what she saw… And what the victim said…
“Warn them”

When the woman in later identified we follow not only the witness statements and local police officer DI Bradley. But we follow the lives of her two closest friends, one of them Rachel, is grieving particularly heavy and her friends death leads her to question those closest to her.

We also begin to learn of Elizabeth’s past life and the story of her family. When she begins to receive threatening notes, we know that someone close to Elizabeth, means her harm.

‘Laura sends her love’

The title deals with the impact of violent murder on those left behind in its wake. The past collides with the present in this gripping Irish crime fiction title. 4*

‘Every action has consequences. Every inaction, too.’

CA
Claire Allan
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost Trust Me, I’m Dead by Sherryl Clark #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Thriller #DebutNovel #DebutAuthor @Verve_Books @sherrylwriter

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Trust Me, I’m Dead by Sherryl Clark
Synopsis ~

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 CWA DEBUT DAGGER FOR UNPUBLISHED FIRST NOVEL

She hasn’t seen her brother in years. Now, he’s dead.

When Judi Westerholme finds out her estranged brother has been murdered, she assumes it’s connected to his long term drug addiction. Returning home, she is shocked to discover he had been clean for years, had a wife – now missing – a child and led a respectable life. But if he had turned his life around, why was he killed in a drug deal shooting? And where is his wife?

Desperate to know what really happened, Judi sets out to uncover the truth, even though it means confronting her own traumatic past.
But she’s not the only one looking for answers…

With a gutsy, unapologetic protagonist, Trust Me, I’m Dead is a gritty and bold crime thriller that explores the sacrifices people will make for their families.

Guest Post ~

Writing about families and siblings

Our family is like any other – full of ups and downs, slights and offences, great memories and lots of fun. I’ve discovered over the years that my sisters, brother and I seem to have the same sense of humour – I’m not sure how that happened or if it’s usual! I’ve written poems about my family, but I haven’t put them in a novel.

But other people’s families? They’re loaded with story ideas! I still remember years ago being told by a friend that they refused to spend Christmas Day with their family because ‘we all hate each other’. At the time, it stunned me. Now I know this is not unusual at all. While there are a lot of novels about parents and children, abuse and estrangement, and long-held hatreds, I was more interested in siblings. I was especially interested in the saying, You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.

Sibling relationships seem to fall into two camps in the stories I hear. One camp is where everyone is friends. The other camp is full of envy, jealousy, comparing achievements and failures, and stewing on old grievances. I wondered about families where the parents were unloving, and how siblings might band together, support and strengthen each other and, if that failed, how the guilt and remorse might echo down the years.

We put such demands on each other. And where one sibling absolves the other of responsibility and simply asks for help, what might make the answer No? If you’ve been madly trying to pretend there is nothing wrong with you, while you push people away and refuse to commit, you might even push your own brother away when he needs you.

Thus was born Trust Me, I’m Dead. I initially read an article about someone who died and left behind an audio cassette of secrets that changed everything his family thought they knew. In my novel, I have a sister and brother, Judi and Andy, and a family history that both binds them and pulls them apart. The background to the story is Melbourne’s gangland wars, where families were murdered in revenge – even small children saw their parents killed. It was a horrific period in the city’s recent history that continues to echo, and became the perfect setting and plot stirrer for my characters and my novel.

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Sherryl Clark
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TRUST ME, I'M DEAD Blog Blitz schedule

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

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