My #BlogTour #Review The Chalk Man by @cjtudor #NewRelease #BestSeller @MichaelJBooks @CrownPublishing @JennyPlatt90 #CrimeFiction reviews by @annebonnybook

*I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review*
cover
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor 
Synopsis:

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.
It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

My review:

I have followed the hype for this novel via social media and I was very intrigued. The synopsis is rather vague, which I quite liked. It immediately draws your attention and you want to learn more. I thought this was going to be a standard crime fiction novel, but I was wrong. Not only was I wrong, but I was in for a real treat!
The chalk man grips hold of you and won’t let go!
I read the entire novel in one sitting, staying well up past my bed time and feeling increasingly freaked out at 2am.

There are parts of the novel that reminded me of IT.
The story of a bunch of childhood friends, into the modern day.
The story that haunts them and the secrets of their shared past!
The novel isn’t a horror novel and the chalk man isn’t pennywise. But it held this eerie feeling from 80 pages in and I couldn’t get the plot out of my head. There was NO way I was putting this novel down, until I had some answers.

The novel opens with a dark prologue detailing the discovery of a body with a missing head! So, you are made well aware from the onset, that this novel has some very dark scenes. The novel has alternate chapters between 1986 and 2016. The 1986 era, is very well written. The terminology, the childhood games and friendship circle are all, spot on! The author has done a fantastic job of bringing the era alive.
Then it begins to tell the story of our protagonist Eddie/Ed…….

In 1986 Eddie aka Eddie Munster, had a gang of friends. Fat Gav, Hoppo, metal Mickey and the only girl Nicky. They meet every Saturday, to hang around the local park and build dens etc. This particular Saturday is special because the fair is in town and we all remember that feeling when the fair comes to town!!!
There is a freak accident at the fair and this brings in the introduction of waltzer girl Elisa. Elisa is the victim of the accident that leaves her horrifically disfigured. It also introduces her saviour and the new mysterious teacher Mr Halloran.

“They were wrong. Mr Halloran was many things, but normal was never one of them” – Eddie

Mr Halloran is the gang’s new teacher, at the start of term in September. He is new to the town and noticeable, as Mr Halloran is an albino. But at the opening of the novel he is portrayed as the hero that saves Elisa’s life. But there is always a shadowy, mysterious element when he enters a scene. For me personally, he became a character that evoked feelings of mistrust and a slight dislike. Why is he so creepy? What is his fascination with befriending the children? I HAD to know more about Mr Halloran!

In 2016, Eddie is now known as Ed, he is a 42yr old English teacher. Ed has stayed local and still lives in his childhood home in Anderbury. Slowly, over the course of the chapters we catch up with the rest of the gang and where they are now!
The characterisation of the gang, is brilliant and an example of some very skilled writing. It brings back childhood memories.
Even in the 2016 scenes, there is an element of mystery in the build-up. Ed starts receiving weird letters of chalk drawings. He has a young lodger Chloe, who intrudes herself into the story. He also has a dinner guest due, an old friend.
*What went through my head was, ‘he is having an old friend for dinner’. There were some subtle hints and nods to famous scary scenes.
That really added to the eerie feel of the novel.

At this point in my reading, I had hit 1am. The whole house was asleep and as I crept downstairs to the bathroom. I managed to freak myself out, which resulted in a scream and nearly waking the whole house up!
*So, a word to the wise, probably best to not read this in the dark at 1am!
The novel continues to jump between 1986 and 2016. We learn more about the elusive chalk man. How he haunts the gang and ultimately why!
Each chapter is cleverly written to drip feed information, that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
There is a real depth to the novel, details added so that the author can build upon the growing guessing game within the readers mind! Mr Halloran appears every so often with his creepy one liners, which made me even more distrustful of his intentions.

“Better to be a fool than an angel” Mr Halloran
In the modern day, someone or something is haunting the gang. When adult Mickey ends up dead, the novel really picks up its pace. There are some disturbing scenes of bullying from the past and we learn this gang is as complex as it is fascinating!
When the past and the present finally collide, it is a rollercoaster of an ending, that is in my opinion, completely unpredictable.

Huge respect to the author on this amazing debut novel.
I predict a bright future ahead of her and some sleepless nights ahead of me! 4.5*

CJ
C.J. Tudor
Authors links:
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My favourite novels of 2017! Best 26 out of 230 books, read this year! by @annebonnybook

In no particular order, a list of my absolute favourite novels of 2017!
This only includes novels I read within 2017.

seas of snow
Seas Of Snow by Kerensa Jennings
Synopsis:
1950s England. Five-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy. An only child, she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behaviour begins.

As Gracie grows older, she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry and her enduring friendship with Billy. Together they escape into the poetic fairy-tale worlds of their imaginations.

But will fairy tales be enough to save Gracie from Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behaviour – and how far will it go?

Seas of Snow is a haunting, psychological domestic drama that probes the nature and the origins of evil.
#LiteraryFiction Beautifully written & an AMAZING debut novel! 
See review here
Q&A with Kerensa Jennings here

ararat
Ararat by Christopher Golden
Synopsis:
Meryam and Adam take risks for a living. But neither is prepared for what lies in the legendary heights of Mount Ararat, Turkey.

First to reach a massive cave revealed by an avalanche, they discover the hole in the mountain’s heart is really an ancient ship, buried in time. A relic that some fervently believe is Noah’s Ark.

Deep in its recesses stands a coffin inscribed with mysterious symbols that no one in their team of scholars, archaeologists and filmmakers can identify. Inside is a twisted, horned cadaver. Outside a storm threatens to break.

As terror begins to infiltrate their every thought, is it the raging blizzard that chases them down the mountain – or something far worse?
#Thriller set in the mountains! Couldn’t read it alone, in the dark!
See review here

Q&A with Christopher Golden Here

devils peak
Devil’s Peak by Deon Meyer
Synopsis:
Soldiers never find it easy returning from war. So it is with Thobela Mpayipheli, former freedom fighter, trying to settle back into the new South Africa. But at least he has his boy, an adored companion who is a link to a happier past. Then the boy is taken from Thobela, one of a staggering number of children murdered or abused in South Africa, and Thobela knows only despair…and a cold desire for revenge. Thus is born the vigilante killer known as ‘Artemis’. The police respond by putting on the case a man who can’t afford to fail. Benny Griessel is on the brink of losing everything — his job, his family, his self-respect — and this could be his last chance to drag his life back out of the gutter. And then Benny meets Christine, a young mother working as a prostitute in Cape Town. And something happens that is so frightening, the world can never be the same again, for Benny, for Christine, or for Thobela.
#SouthAfricanNoir at its finest!
See review here

why did you lie
Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Synopsis:
A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide.
An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing.
Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea.
They have one thing in common: they all lied.
And someone is determined to punish them…
WHY DID YOU LIE is a terrifying tale of long-delayed retribution from Iceland’s Queen of Suspense.
#ScandiNoir A deep layered crime fiction feast!
See review here

maria in the moon
Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech
Synopsis:

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges… and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defenses we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
My Favourite #BlogTour of the year! It was great to read the other reviews for this emotional novel. I loved the united team work of bloggers on this tour. As we all wanted to read how the novel impacted each and everyone of us!
*Credit to Anne Cater for such a fantastic, well run #BlogTour

See review here

A rising man
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
Synopsis:

**SELECTED AS ONE OF WATERSTONES’ BEST CRIME BOOKS OF 2017**
**WINNER OF THE CWA ENDEAVOUR HISTORICAL DAGGER 2017**

India, 1919. Desperate for a fresh start, Captain Sam Wyndham arrives to take up an important post in Calcutta’s police force.

He is soon called to the scene of a horrifying murder. The victim was a senior official, and a note in his mouth warns the British to leave India – or else.

With the stability of the Empire under threat, Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee must solve the case quickly. But there are some who will do anything to stop them…
#Calcutta #India Historical crime fiction! This novel is an amazing debut novel!
I read it before it won the Dagger and was very pleased when it won. I immediately ordered the next in the series…….
See review and Q&A here

a necessary evil
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
Synopsis:
India, 1920. Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son.

The fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore is home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun. But when the heir to the throne is assassinated in the presence of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee, they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict. Prince Adhir was a moderniser whose attitudes – and romantic relationship – may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.

As Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination, they become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules and those who cross their paths pay with their lives. They must find a murderer, before the murderer finds them…
Perfect follow up to the award winning debut novel! Abir Mukherjee is getting better and better. I can not wait, to read the third novel in this phenomenal NOVEL!
See review and Q&A here

three
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Synopsis:

*****Coming soon to your screen as a major BBC adaptation by Golden Globe winner Peter Straughan*****

They’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to­­–
The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning
Another novel that sits outside my usual comfort zone! But I completely and utterly LOVED every page!
see review here

my mothers shadow
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott
Synopsis:

Hartland House has always been a faithful keeper of secrets…

1958. Sent to beautiful Hartland to be sheltered from her mother’s illness, Liz spends the summer with the wealthy Shaw family. They treat Liz as one of their own, but their influence could be dangerous…

Now. Addie believes she knows everything about her mother Elizabeth and their difficult relationship until her recent death. When a stranger appears claiming to be Addie’s sister, she is stunned. Is everything she’s been told about her early life a lie?

How can you find the truth about the past if the one person who could tell you is gone? Addie must go back to that golden summer her mother never spoke of…and the one night that changed a young girl’s life for ever.
I cried buckets during reading this novel and it remains one of my favourite novels EVER! An outstanding debut novel!
See review and Q&A here

thirteen
Th1rtt3en by Steve Cavanagh
Synopsis:

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.
HE’S ON THE JURY…
‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.
Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.
This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.
But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.
Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.
*Review scheduled for 25th January 2018* Sneak peak, it is pure GENIUS!

bluebird bluebird
Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke
Synopsis:
Southern fables usually go the other way around. A white woman is killed or harmed in some way, real or imagined, and then, like the moon follows the sun, a black man ends up dead.

But when it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he is drawn to a case in the small town of Lark, where two dead bodies washed up in the bayou. First a black lawyer from Chicago and then, three days later, a local white woman, and it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.
#AmericanNoir The novel deals with some tough issues in society. In the past and current political climate. It is an OUTSTANDING read!
See review and Q&A here

a patient fury
A Patient Fury by Sarah ward
Synopsis:
When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career.
#DerbyshireNoir Brilliant crime fiction, with a cracking ending!
See review here
Q&A with Sarah ward here

IQ
IQ by Joe Ide
Synopsis:
WINNER of the ANTHONY AWARD for Best Debut, the SHAMUS AWARD for BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL. the MACAVITY AWARD for Best First Novel; SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 EDGAR AWARD and STRAND CRITICS AWARD.

East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, the elderly are being mugged, children go missing. But word has spread: if you’ve got a case the police can’t – or won’t – touch, Isaiah Quintabe will help you out.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. His clients pay him whatever they can afford, a new set of tyres or some homemade muffins. But now he needs a client who can pay. And the only way to that client is through a jive-talking, low-life drug dealer he thought he’d left behind. Then there’s the case itself. A drug-addled rap star surrounded by a crew of flunkies who believes his life is in danger; and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. If he solves this case, IQ can put right a mistake he made long ago. If not it won’t just be the hit man coming after him …
I think the WHOLE WORLD must know how much I LOVE this series!
IQ has won multiple awards and truly is deserving of all its praise and accolades!
Here is my review from 12th February 2017 here
Q&A with Joe Ide here

righteous
Righteous by Joe Ide
Synopsis:
In a way, the hate felt good. You were righteous, godlike, the dispenser of justice . .
Super-smart sleuth Isaiah Quintabe – IQ to his friends – has built a mostly respectable life for himself, helping out friends and neighbours when he can and taking the occasional case to make ends meet. But there is one mystery that still haunts him almost ten years later – did his brother really die in a hit-and-run or was there more to the story behind his death?

IQ has been approached by his brother’s former girlfriend Sarita, whose younger sister, an erratic DJ and gambling addict, has gone missing in Las Vegas – with a frightening loan shark, Chinese Triad gangsters, and her own deadbeat boyfriend hot on her tail. Accompanied once more by his fast-talking, don’t-call-me-a-sidekick partner Dodson, IQ heads off for the casinos and massage parlours of Las Vegas. His quest takes an unexpected turn when he meets a criminal mastermind who knows something about the murky circumstances that surrounded his brother’s death. But when Isaiah learns the truth, what will he do with it?
For me, this novel made IQ one of my ALL TIME favourite protagonists! A great follow-up to debut novel IQ and I look forward to the release of IQ 3!
See review here

the mountain between us
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
Synopsis:
Now a film starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet

What if your life depended on a stranger?

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled because of a storm, Ben charters a small plane that can fly around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more passenger, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness. Ben, who has broken ribs, and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with a battle to survive. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, will they ever be the same again?
Originally picked this novel, as it had Idris Elba on the cover (won’t even lie!).
The novel has exceptional emotional depth!
*Review scheduled for 4th January 2018*

The Last Time We Spoke
The Last Time We Spoke by Fiona Sussman
Synopsis:

Winner of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel

‘A gripping story about grief and redemption’ Sunday Mirror

Carla and Kevin Reid are celebrating their wedding anniversary with their son Jack. The family together, some good food, a perfect night.

On a murderous collision course with this joyous yet fragile gathering, is Ben Toroa, an unexpected and unwanted visitor.

As Carla struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of the appalling events of the night, and Ben faces the consequences in prison, their stories will be for ever entwined.
*Review scheduled for 3rd January 2018*

The Unquiet Dead
The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Synopsis:
One man is dead.

But thousands were his victims.

Can a single murder avenge that of many?

Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel
An incredibly thought provoking novel. A brutally honest depiction of the Bosnian war, with a narrative that reflects deep into the past and the modern day.
See review and Q&A here

the year of the gun lottie armstrong
The Year Of The Gun by Chris Nickson
Synopsis:

1944: Twenty years after WPC Lottie Armstrong was dismissed from the Leeds police force, she’s back, now a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps.

Detective Chief Superintendent McMillan is now head of CID, trying to keep order with a depleted force as many of the male officers have enlisted. This hasn’t stopped the criminals, however, and as the Second World War rages around them, can they stop a blackout killer with a taste for murder?
HUGE fan of ALL this author’s various series! Especially Tom Harper and Lottie Armstrong! Chris Nickson writes female characters incredibly well and I look forward to his next release in March 2018!
See review and Q&A here

little boy lost
Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford
Synopsis:
An Amazon Charts bestseller.

A broken city, a missing young man, and a lawyer searching for truth when nobody else cares.

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.
This novel takes you on a journey across the US, its legal systems and modern racial tensions. OUTSTANDING!
See review and Q&A here 

vaseem khan #1
The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan
Synopsis:
Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce.

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovers that he has inherited an elephant: an unlikely gift that could not be more inconvenient. For Chopra has one last case to solve…
But as his murder investigation leads him across Mumbai – from its richest mansions to its murky underworld – he quickly discovers that a baby elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs.
So begins the start of a quite unexpected partnership, and an utterly delightful new series.
#Mumbai #India Modern day crime fiction, with a baby elephant! LOVE this series!
Rich in culture, diversity and very well written!
See review and Q&A here

vaseem khan #2
The Perplexing Theft Of The Jewel In The Crown by Vaseem Khan
Synopsis:
The second book in the heartwarming and charming Baby Ganesh series.

For centuries the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king.

Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem is a prize that many have killed to possess.

So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.

The heist was daring and seemingly impossible. The hunt is on for the culprits. But it soon becomes clear that only one man – and his elephant – can possibly crack this case…
Rather embarrassingly this is the only one of my favourite reads; that I do not have a review for, or a pending blog post.
So let me explain, I read this novel whilst in hospital in October 2017. I was admitted with severe DVT from the heart to the right knee. I was in complete AGONY! Then I noticed my husband had packed Vaseem Khan’s second novel into my hospital bag.
For a few hours in a noisy hospital ward. I was able to escape to Mumbai India and it was pure HEAVEN! I can not thank the author enough for that small piece of respite from the pain. It is without a doubt, a novel I will not forget!

dead lands
Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis
Synopsis:

The stunning debut from thriller writer Lloyd Otis.

When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen.

When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge – and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy.
A multifaceted complex novel, with themes of violence, past secrets, lies, police corruption, betrayals, racial tension and civil unrest. 5* Genius
See review here

streets of darkness
Streets Of Darkness by A.A. Dhand
 Synopsis:
The sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be – this morning a body has been found. And it’s not just any body.

Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about but he’s been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can’t keep himself away.

Determined to restore his reputation, Harry is obliged to take to the shadows in search of notorious ex-convict and prime suspect, Lucas Dwight. But as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head as he discovers what it’s like to be on the other side of the law…
This novel has themes of corruption, politics, racial tension, Bradford villains, grudges, BNP politics, dirty cops, revenge and redemption. All rolled into one hell of a read! It is most definitely one not to be missed.
See review and Q&A here

dear martin
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Synopsis:
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League–but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up–way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.
A compelling read by a very talented writer, who has a bright future ahead of her!
See review here
Q&A with Nic Stone here

you don't know me
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
Synopsis:
In London a young man stands accused of murder. All the evidence points to him; the police see an open and shut case.

But at his trial, this man, who has tried to stay out of trouble all his life, tells an extraordinary story. It is about a young woman who tried to protect her brother and got into terrible trouble. It’s about a young man who, in order to save her, entered a dark, violent world he’d avoided for so long.

He now stands in the dock and wants to tell you the truth. He needs you to believe him. Will you?
I absolutely loved this novel. I found it to be raw, urban and edgy! Like nothing on the UK book market currently. It depicts life lessons and a different perspective. Essentially you can engage with a novel where people may not look like you or live like you, yet you fully embrace their character.
See review and Q&A here

lightening men
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Synopsis:

Lightning Men follows the multi-award-nominated, highly acclaimed crime debut Darktown into a city on the brink of huge and violent change – and full of secrets.

Atlanta, 1950. In a divided city, crime comes home.

White officer Denny Rakestraw joins Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith from Atlanta’s Negro Officer precinct to face the Klan, gangs and family warfare in their rapidly changing city.

Black families – including Smith’s sister and brother-in-law – are moving into Rake’s formerly all-white neighbourhood, leading Rake’s brother-in-law, a proud Klansman, to launch a scheme to ‘save’ their streets. When those efforts leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family or the law.

Meanwhile, Boggs has outraged his preacher father by courting a domestic, whose dangerous ex-boyfriend is then released from prison. As Boggs, Smith, and their all-black precinct contend with violent drug dealers fighting for turf in new territory, their personal dramas draw them closer to the fires that threaten to consume Atlanta once again.
Boggs and Smith make for perfect reading and their bond is firmly cemented in this case. Fantastic historical crime fiction!
See review here

That’s it folks! Time to get started on a list for 2018!
As January is my blogs first anniversary. I will be running various #Giveaways in relation to the novel’s on this list throughout the month!
So keep your eyes peeled for chances to WIN copies!

Thank you for reading & happy new year!

 

 

Q&A with Nic Stone @getnicced #Author of, Dear Martin @randomhousekids @CrownPublishing #NewRelease #YA

I recently reviewed Dear martin on my blog (she here: https://annebonnybookreviews.com/2017/11/16/review-5-dear-martin-by-getnicced-nic-stone-ya-randomhousekids-crownpublishing-newrelease/). I then asked Nic if she would like to be part of a novel Q&A. So here it is!

Firstly, here is the novel

cover
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Synopsis:
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League–but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.
Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up–way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

Q&A:

Q) Firstly, can you please tell the readers about yourself and your amazing novel, Dear Martin?

A) Hi there! I’m Nic, current YA novelist, former Jack(Nic?)-of-all-trades, though master-of-none. 🙂 My debut novel, DEAR MARTIN—which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, can you even believe that!?—follows Justyce McAllister, a seventeen-year-old African American boy who, after a traumatic racial profiling incident, begins a journal of letters written to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where he attempts to process his experiences moving through a world that often treats him with disdain based solely on his skin color. In a nutshell, it’s a book about American race relations here in the 21st century.

Q) I read a wealth of diverse literature and what made Dear Martin stand out, was the comparison between the Dr Martin Luther King Jr era and the modern day. What was the inspiration behind the idea of the letters entitled, Dear Martin?

A) This story is a response to seeing people in positions of great influence (i.e. Bill O’Reilly, Mike Huckabee, and former mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed) invoke Dr. King in opposition to exactly the type of nonviolent protest he championed. Every time I heard “Dr. King would be appalled by the #BlackLivesMatter movement,” I wanted to break something, so I used that fury for fuel and wrote this book instead.

Q) Justyce is such a likable, realistic character. As we read the novel we watch him come of age and begin to understand the society he lives in. Was Justyce based on anyone from real life? Or a mixture of people from real life?

A) Definitely a mixture of people, myself included. I really wrote this book for my two young sons who will one day be seen as threats before they’re seen as children. I wanted them to have something that would validate the way I’m sure they’ll feel. But yeah, some of Justyce’s experiences were pulled from my own life. Like the test score conversation in the classroom? That really happened to me.

Q) SJ is another character, whose opinions on race, culture and identity are wise beyond her years! I really admired her grounded and wise points of view. I felt her voice within the novel may inspire other white people to re-think their conscious and unconscious prejudices. Therefore, I think this novel would be perfect for education settings. Would you like to see the novel debated in English classes in the US and the UK?

A) I would love to see this novel used in classrooms to spark conversations! I’ve actually had the privilege of seeing it happen already, and I hope it continues.

Q) SJ covers the topic of white privilege, which I think was possibly, one of the best ways I have heard it broken down. I loved that the topic wasn’t ‘told’ to the reader, but explained with examples. Did the writing of SJ’s character, enable you to write/walk in someone else’s shoes? As Justyce enables the reader too.

A) So funny thing: SJ is really ME/my thinking wrapped in a person white people will actually listen to because they can identify with her. My husband is Jewish and I lived in Israel for a few years, so her Jewishness is a tribute to him as well as the large contingent of Jewish people who were instrumental during the Civil Rights movement. But every word that comes out of her mouth is a word I wish I could say to white people and get away with it, lol. Secret’s out!

Q) The novel largely covers the theme of racism in modern day America. With recent Nazi marches and a president who seems unable to condemn any form of racism, America is truly experiencing some trying times. I must ask will we see a follow-on novel?

A) Mum’s the word (**insert smirking emoji**). What I will say is that I’m glad these things are happening. The ugly things, I mean. For longer than I care to think about, I’ve heard people deny the continued existence of Racism, but now it’s indisputable. First step to overcoming a problem is admitting it exists, so I see all of this as a step in the right direction.

Q) what has been your favourite moment since the novel published? Have you been into any school settings with the novel yet?

A) I had the pleasure and privilege of being on a panel at a conference with a group of 8th graders who did this really cool multi-modal study of the book in their Language Arts class. The project included stuff like a blog and twitter handle and a few Instagram accounts, and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. The kids put me to shame on the panel… they knew way more about the book than I did, lol!

Q) What have you got planned next in your writing? Are we able to have any snippets of news?

A) All I’m at liberty to say is new book—unrelated to DEAR MARTIN—coming Fall 2018!

*Huge thanks to author Nic Stone for agreeing to be on my blog for a Q&A. I wish you every success with your writing career, of which I am certain, will be exceptionally bright!

ns
Nic Stone
Authors links:
Website: http://www.nicstone.info/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/getnicced

*For my 5* review of Dear martin, see here: https://annebonnybookreviews.com/2017/11/16/review-5-dear-martin-by-getnicced-nic-stone-ya-randomhousekids-crownpublishing-newrelease/ *

#Review 5* Dear Martin by @getnicced Nic Stone #YA @randomhousekids @CrownPublishing #NewRelease

cover
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Synopsis:
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League–but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.
Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up–way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack

My Review:

Nic Stone may write fiction, but she certainly tells no lies! This is a powerful debut novel! The author holds nothing back and the novel offers you the opportunity to see life, through the lies of another, and that person is protagonist Justyce Mcallister!

As a white British woman of 34 years old. It is difficult to imagine the daily life and struggles of a 17-year-old African American teen. When you factor in the racial tensions, constantly bubbling in America and the case after case of police brutality. It becomes quite clear that Justyce and I lead very different lives.
But that is the hidden beauty of this novel, it enables the reader to walk in Justyce’s shoes.
Even if it is for just 200 pages.

The novel opens with Justyce and his ex-girlfriend Melo Taylor, as Justyce attempts to prevent her from drink driving. Melo is of mixed race heritage, but due to her mother’s Norwegian pale skin tone, can easily pass as white. When an officer of the law arrives at the scene, he is promptly judge, jury and executer of his own brand of justice.
Justyce finds himself cuffed, manhandled and treated with zero respect and dignity. But it is only when I read his thoughts as the scene unfounded, that I fully understood life from Justyce’s perspective……………….

Be respectful; keep the anger in check; make sure the police can see your hands.

Justyce is eventually cleared of all wrong-doing, but with no apology, the experience has planted a seed of how Justyce’s feel he is perceived in the world. Do people see a thug when they see him? Does his skin colour automatically, make him a likely criminal? Is he expected to be one of the many cases of young black men shot dead unlawfully?

The self-questioning and doubt lead Justyce to begin a diary to Dr Martin Luther King. It is in these letters entitled ‘Dear Martin’ that Justyce pours out his heart and soul!
The letters are incredibly moving and the writing profound. Justyce is an intelligent young man, but he also has an emotional maturity, that we see develop throughout the novel.

“Dear Martin, there are people that don’t see a man with rights when they look at me”

Justyce begins to explore other people’s attitudes and approaches to debates of race/culture. This includes class mates, teachers, best friend Manny and debate partner SJ (Sarah Jane).
SJ is quite an interesting character herself, a young white Jewish girl. Who is wise beyond her years! SJ has opinions on race/identity/privilege, that could put world leaders to shame!

There is a wide mixture of teens from all walks of life, included within the novel. Which is what makes the novel so great! Nic Stone hasn’t just considered one voice; she has written a magnitude of voices to be heard.
At times the novel made for uncomfortable reading. But so it should, racism is uncomfortable for everybody it makes a victim of. This novel could be an extremely useful tool within educational settings. To allow young adults to debate the themes within the novel and maybe learn a little of their own inner hidden prejudices!

“People often learn more from getting an undeserved free pass than they would from being punished”

I don’t want to review the novel too much and risk ruining this thought-provoking novel. At just 200 pages it is an easy read for young adults. I think the topic of BAME youth in education settings is at crisis point and this novel can shine a light on the how/why this situation developed in the first place.

“If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be?”

I cannot speak on the race issue, from personal experience. But as a mother of two sons and as a fellow human. I am horrified at seeing young men either growing up way too soon, or being the victims of police brutality and even murder!
A compelling read by a very talented writer, who has a bright future ahead of her! 5*

ns
Nic Stone
Author Bio:
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms as @getnicced.

Authors links:
Website: http://www.nicstone.info/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/getnicced