Anne Bonny #BookReview Yesterday by @FeliciaMYap #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @Wildfirebks ‘With themes of politics, mental health, obsession and memory, this novel is a brave debut.’

coverYesterday by Felicia Yap
Review copy
Synopsis:

Today, the police are at your door.

They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

You can’t recall what he did that day, because you only remember yesterday.

You rely on your diary to tell you where you’ve been, who you love and what you’ve done.

So, can you trust the police?
Can you trust your husband?
Can you trust yourself?

My Review:

This is a cracking novel with a unique edge, which is not revealed in the synopsis. The world of mono/duo’s is revealed much later in the novel. However, as a psychological thriller this novel definitely delivers. It has various themes within and I think the author was very brave to tackle such a multitude of themes in a debut novel. What I would personally refer to as ‘the author came out swinging’. The book market and in-particular the psychological/thriller genre is massively competitive. I can read this genre for an entire month of new releases alone and they will all be fantastic. But I suppose what you need as a debut author in this genre, is a niche that makes your book stand out against the rest.
Yesterday, has that niche.

The novel opens 2yr before the murder of Sophia Alyssa Ayling. With a female patient in a mental health institution talking directly to the reader. She talks of revenge and of past pain, it doesn’t make much sense at the time. Yet the words are incredibly powerful.
All will be revealed much later, as they say…

‘It’s the sum total of remembered grievances that makes hatred potent’ – Sophia

‘The cat of revenge will be easy’ – Sophia

The novel then introduces Claire Evans. Claire is a mono which means her memory is much shorter than the superior duo’s. She has been married to her husband, successful author and wannabe MP Mark for 20yrs. Part of his political campaign is built upon their successful mixed marriage.
Except the marriage is far from perfect, as we read on and discover. . .

‘This is why he think he’s superior’ – Claire

The marriage seems as though it is one of appearances and carefully constructed by the pair to give the illusion that their life together is perfect. They live in a mansion, have exotic holidays and appear to want for nothing. Yet something, just does not add up.

‘My life is idyllic – but only on the surface’ – Claire

In the mono/duo world, everyone keeps a diary. Apple have amassed a small fortune from providing the idiary with fingerprint recognition. However, it is what is locked inside these diaries that is so much more revealing. . .

‘Unlike my husband, I have done very little to be proud of in my lifetime’ – Claire

When the body of a woman is discovered in the river Cam. The police are quick to investigate those listed in the victim’s diary. Leading them straight to the door of Mark Evans. DCI Hans Richardson is the investigating officer, he has secrets of his own, which he must shield from discovery.

There are several chapters from Sophia’s diary, of her brief encounters with various men. I quite liked Sophia, she is feisty and not afraid to use sexual temptation to get what she wants. It becomes clear that what she really seeks is revenge. As revenge themes go, stealing 17yrs of someone’s life is strong enough but then having them incarcerated in a mental hospital, is far more enraging. No wonder Sophia wants revenge! But she has also learnt and adapted due to her experiences in various institutions. Sophia knows to be patient, bide her time and strike only with absolute certainty.

‘They stole seventeen years of my life’ – Sophia

As the police scrutinise Mark and Claire’s life. Mark becomes aware his political career is also at risk. But what links him to the body in the Cam?

‘No one elects a man who can’t keep his own household in order. No one’ – Rowan

Claire doesn’t know who or what to believe. But she is adamant Mark has been unfaithful and for this he must pay. Also driven by revenge, she begins to create a nightmare scenario under the media spotlight. But has Mark been unfaithful? Is Claire, right? Or is the ‘other woman’ merely an attempt to obliterate his political message?
‘Someone out there is trying to bring you down’

The novel also has various articles scattered throughout that explain and expand upon the mono/duo world, better than I ever could. They give you an insight into a world where your memory length, designates your place in the class system.
The diary entries are brilliant, I am rarely hooked on this kind of element and find letters/diaries a distraction from the story. But these are just so well written and key to the plot. I was absolutely gripped. Yet again Sophia, struck gold for me with the diary entries. She had read every person involved perfectly and her character was determined by their actions against her. but why was she so obsessed with Claire, I had no idea?

‘Looking ill in a hospital isn’t a good idea. It’s as bad as looking guilty in a court of law’ – Sophia

With themes of politics, mental health, obsession and memory, this novel is a brave debut. The relationships people hold with one another and a marriage that is not all it seems, which ends with a twist in the tale, impressive and I look forward to the next release by the author. 4*

FY
Felicia Yap
Twitter
Website

Anne Bonny #BookReview Strangers On A Bridge by @LouiseMangos #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @HarperCollins #StrangersOnABridge She should never have saved him. . .

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Strangers On A Bridge by Louise Mangos
Review copy
Synopsis:

She should never have saved him.

When Alice Reed goes on her regular morning jog in the peaceful Swiss Alps, she doesn’t expect to save a man from suicide. But she does. And it is her first mistake.

Adamant they have an instant connection, Manfred’s charming exterior grows darker and his obsession with Alice grows stronger.

In a country far from home, where the police don’t believe her, the locals don’t trust her and even her husband questions the truth about Manfred, Alice has nowhere to turn.

To what lengths will Alice go to protect herself and her family?

My Review:

Strangers On A Bridge is a clever story of obsession, packed with twists! I can see this being a huge hit for summer readers and a definite one for the beach. It tells the story of Alice Reed, who saves a random stranger from a suicide attempt. Only what Alice doesn’t know yet, is this will be the unravelling of everything she holds dear.

The novel is set in the Swiss alps, which really adds to the setting in terms of background scenery. You can imagine Alice on her morning run, by the Tobel bridge.
It conjures instant images in my mind.
It is at Tobel bridge she first encounters Manfred Guggenbuhl.
She finds him alone and anxious and her training as a psychologist kicks in. . .

“I cannot live with myself any more. I cannot live with who I am, what I do. What I have done’ – Manfred

Immediately Manfred sees Alice as a saviour figure and this is when her trouble begins.
At first it is mild and almost coincidental, Manfred appears desperate to please Alice and prove to her his gratitude. But then he begins to appear everywhere she goes. She feels hounded and harassed. The police won’t listen, her own husband doesn’t seem interested. Alice feels alone and desperate.

‘The only person I could talk to was my Swiss alps GP’ – Alice

Alice turns into her own personal investigator. She becomes determined to get to the bottom of creepy Manfred. His past, his family and his history. She is desperate to understand the man hellbent on ruining her life.

The unravelling of Alice Reed

Alice is without a doubt a memorable character. She is strong-willed and defiant, refusing to allow Manfred to sabotage her future in the Swiss new neighbourhood. What ensues is a battle of wills, who will win and who will lose? 4*

LM
Louise Mangos
Twitter
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Puppet Show by @MWCravenUK 5* #CrimeFiction #DebutNovel #NewSeries Welcome to The Puppet Show. . .

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The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven #1 Washington Poe
Review copy
Synopsis:

Welcome to the Puppet Show . . .

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see.
The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …

My Review:

The Puppet Show is the first novel in a new series (I hope). It features DS Washington Poe and civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw. The duo compliment each other perfectly and it truly makes this a fantastic new series. Where Poe is brash and rugged, Tilly is socially awkward, yet intelligent and direct.
I can’t praise the creation of Poe and Tilly enough!

The novel opens with a scene of a man being set alight. It sets the tone for the nature of the crimes detailed within the novel. This is no Nancy Drew, the murders and are dark and they are brutal.
The press name the killer the ‘Immolation Man’ and the victims begin to stack up!

Washington Poe is currently residing in Cumbria, serving out a suspension, from his last case a violent torture/murder case that saw Poe lose his rag!
When DI Stephanie Flynn informs him, his name was carved into the chest of one of the victims. If he doesn’t help the team, they have to issue him an Osman warning as his life is at risk. . .

‘I need you to re-join the human race’ – Steph

The novel then goes on to detail all the victims and the savage murders that took place. It is not for the faint hearted! As said above these are violent murders. But the novel does focus more on the skills of the detectives than scenes of graphic violence.

Matilda (Tilly) Bradshaw obtained her first degree at Oxford University at just 16yrs old. Since then she has acquired a masters and two PHD’s. she specialises in computers and mathematics. She has virtually zero social skills and is routinely bullied by fellow police staff. Something Poe does not take kindly too.

Poe and Tilly attempt to fathom a connection between the victims. They are all wealthy men, of the same age and were staked and burnt in the exact same manner. Yet they struggle to establish what links these men.
Then Poe receives a postcard, with a sinister message. . .

The message leads the police to a case from the past. How this ties into the current murders they are not sure. Did someone make a mistake in a past case? Do the murders have a revenge theme? If so who is targeting Poe? And why?

This is a brilliant debut novel, with a phenomenal ending! I very much look forward to the rest of the series and I can see it having a long and prosperous life.
I applaud the author on his usage of inclusive characters. I am a huge fan of Tilly Bradshaw and can’t wait to watch her develop throughout the series! 5*

MWC
M.W. Craven
Twitter
Website

Anne Bonny #News from @ObliteratiPress #GuestPost by @daveocelot #DebutNovel The Baggage Carousel – Why I Travel. . . . .

TBC cover
The Baggage Carousel by David Olner
Synopsis:

Dan Roberts has a troubled past, anger management issues and a backpack named after an abducted heiress. A chance encounter with Amber, a free-spirited Australian girl, seems to give his solitary, nomadic life a new sense of direction. But when she doesn’t respond to his emails, the only direction he’s heading is down…

Guest Post:

Why I Travel

It was Dumaguete, The Philippines. It was a Sunday morning and felt like it, hot and hardly worth bothering with. I was hanging out of my arse like a prolapse. Staring morbidly at a breakfast burrito in the outdoor seating area of a faux-Mexican cantina, poking it periodically with a fork in the hope it might deflate. Across the road, the snuffed-out neon signage of the “Why Not?” nightclub served as a dulled reminder of my most recent fall from grace. It takes a lot to get thrown out of a nightclub in the Philippines, but I had somehow managed it just a few hours earlier, for reasons I did not, or chose not to, recall.
The looped mariachi music scraping against my brain was punctuated by a beeping horn. I registered it dully at first, thinking the track was segueing into a mash-up. But when I looked up from my plate a Geordie bloke I vaguely remembered doing shots with the night before had pulled up on his scooter. He was wearing one of those striped blue and white t shirts that people always seem to wear when they ride scooters abroad. He looked entirely too healthy and well-adjusted to fit into my vista and I wanted to wave him off to one side, so I could better take a mental photograph of my latest, self-imposed hell.
“Howay, man,” he declared stereotypically. “I’m off to buy some pork. Landlady’s gonna make lechon. Wanna come?”
I looked at him, looked at the burrito and looked at the sign across the road.
“Why not?” I replied.
We got lost on the way, nearly hit some churchgoers who got to practice their genuflections early, only made it to the fabled pork district of the city when most of the carcasses had already been ravaged. Out of all the roadside stalls, the only thing left was a single pig’s head that smiled up at us beatifically, as though we had come to deliver it from the flies.
“This is the very best part of the pig for making lechon,” the stallholder insisted.
“How come it’s still here, then?” asked the Geordie.
The man shrugged and plucked a stray hair from the pig’s face, blew it from his finger and wished us away.
We paid for the head, like a lot of men do in the Philippines. Got lost again on the way back, ended up blocked in by a crowd of local blokes heading to the cockfight arena.
“Wanna go?” the Geordie, whose name I couldn’t and still can’t remember, asked.
“Why not?” I said.
We sat in the arena, pretending to savour warm, wet beers that made us dry heave, the men looking over at us and winking as they washed their cocks. Then we watched magnificent birds set against each other like gladiators in a manky coliseum, biting and scratching each other to near death to appease the bloodlust of these men. Between us, on the rough wooden bleachers, was a smiling pig’s face in a plastic bag. Throughout the slaughter I would set my hand upon it occasionally, to steady myself. As though I were a pensive Hamlet, regarding Yorick’s skull.
“How’s the head?” asked the Geordie.
“Fine,” I replied, not knowing if he was enquiring after the pig’s welfare or mine.
Whenever people ask me why I travel, this is the first thing I think of. But I don’t tell them about it. I think of something prettier. Angkor Wat at dawn, maybe, or that herd of elephants crossing the Luangwa river at sunset in Zambia. The young calf falling back, lost in the new joy of swinging its trunk in the shallow water, until an elder doubled back and hurried it along. That Sunday morning in the Philippines wasn’t the most edifying experience of my life. Looking back on it now, it was actually fairly horrendous. But it was about doing something different, something ludicrous, even. It was about inhabiting a particular moment in a particular place, a moment that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. A moment you wouldn’t find if you stayed at home, binge-watching box-sets on Netflix and waiting for the Ocado driver to finally get out of his fucking van that’s been parked at the end of your driveway for ten minutes and is making your UPVC windows rattle to deliver the salted caramel lamb cutlets that Jan from work posted pictures of on Instagram and buying more and more things to better pad your beautiful cell. Saving all your money to upgrade that thousand-inch flat screen into a two thousand-inch curved screen and covertly praying they never invent a 360 screen. Money that could be much better spent pissed up a wall in a skanky nightclub in the Philippines, or on fly-blown pig’s heads or cockfights.
It was about saying, “Why not?”

DaveOlnerjPeg
David Olner
Obliterati Press website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BlogTour A Known Evil by Aidan Conway #GuestPost @ConwayRome #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @KillerReads #DebutAuthor A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome. . .

cover
A Known Evil by Aidan Conway
Synopsis:

A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…

A gripping debut crime novel and the first in a groundbreaking series, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.
A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.
A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.
A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?

#GuestPost:

The Not So Dolce Vita

by Aidan Conway

 

I sat down to begin writing A Known Evil on ‘blue Monday’ in January 2014. Setting out on a totally new and uncharted adventure seemed like a perfect way to keep any incipient blues at bay on the, allegedly, most depressing day of the year.
To the best of my recollection, up until then, I had never once considered writing a crime novel. I have always been a writer, in one way or another, on and off. My bottom drawer contains ample evidence of that – first, second and third drafts of short stories which might eventually also see the light of day.
But no crime. Poetry too, with which I had achieved a reasonable amount of success. But no serial killers, no thrillers, no intrigue.
So what inspired me? Around that time, on a friend’s suggestion, I had fallen back on reading some crime novels for pure, escapist pleasure.
Which might beg the question what was I escaping from? Rome has been my home since 2001 and before that for a brief period Sicily was too. Both places are breathtakingly beautiful, dramatic, unique, but problems there are aplenty.
Tourists continue to be drawn to The Eternal City in their droves to gaze at what I too marvelled at when I first came to the place. The mind-blowing museums, the Roman Forum, the Appian Way, the cobbled side-streets and cafes, the Bougainville and Jasmine scented air, warm summer evenings and cold white wine. The chatter and street theatre, the laid-back pace of life.
But then there is the dark side. The politics. The intrigue. The corruption and violence that most visitors will never have any cause to see or experience. The world of work. The problems of bureaucracy, and nepotism, favours, bribes and blackmail.
In Sicily one evening I witnessed a bomb go off, likely the work of extortionists. It never made the papers.
In Rome, when it snowed for a day in 2013, a regional councillor bought himself a 4×4, so he could ‘get around’, and all on party funds. Paid for by the tax payer. Paid for, in part, by me.
And why, for example, does it take two or three times as long to build a motorway in Italy than it does in France? Why does it cost three times as much? Who’s pocketing the spare change?
The Italian Court of Auditors has estimated that corruption costs the Italian economy some 60 billion Euros a year. That’s a lot of coffee and free lunches. I’d say it’s a conservative estimate.

Around the time I began the book, the first big immigration problem had also landed on the national agenda. It quickly became a ragged and soiled political football – scapegoating and blame were the order of the day. Real solutions seemed a secondary consideration. It wasn’t pretty.
I even got the odd dirty look or loaded comment when I walked into a shop and my accent wasn’t quite right. Politicians were exploiting it all and often getting away with murder. The credit crunch crisis too was biting hard. People were getting angry. So much for La Dolce Vita.
Neo-fascism too had got a shot in the arm as simple-minded nostalgia and cynical opportunism drew oxygen from what was happening in Rome and in the country as a whole. The political system was perceived as sclerotic, inefficient, ineffective and the media was in thrall either to the political parties and their cronyism or the megalomaniac ambitions of a small man from Milan who shall remain nameless.
On the positive side? At least the mafia weren’t doing much. Or were they? Cosa Nostra was keeping itself pretty much to itself (but it’s always there) while the Neapolitan Camorra and the Calabrian N’drangheta were the big kids who had burst on to the block as cocaine and gun-crime racking Naples and its suburbs spread northwards from its heartlands, following the money, following the power to Rome.
I realised I had plenty to write about. More than enough. In my work as a language consultant I had also had some access to the corridors of power, state bodies, multinationals. I got to sit down with CEOs, oil executives, undercover policemen, and maybe even some spies. You find people open up to you when you are an outsider and you are chatting one-to-one. And you’re cheaper than a psychiatrist. It can be illuminating.
And then I got my big idea. A short while after that Blue Monday, in a flash, an epiphany, I knew exactly how my book was going to end. I scribbled it all down in a flurry and knew then I had nailed it.
I just had to fill in the rest. I did. It’s been fun. I hope it is for you.

AC
Aidan Conway
Twitter
Author bio:
Aidan Conway was born in Birmingham and has been living in Italy since 2001. He has been a bookseller, a proofreader, a language consultant, as well as a freelance teacher, translator, and editor for the United Nations FAO. He is currently an assistant university lecturer in Rome, where he lives with his family. A Known Evil is his first novel.

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