My #BlogTour #Review #RestlessCoffins by @EllingtonWright M.P. Wright 5* GENIUS @bwpublishing #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #JTEllington

*I received an arc copy via the publisher in return for an honest review*

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Restless Coffins by M.P. Wright 
Synopsis:

A HAUNTED MAN. A BURIED PAST. A JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS.
‘Brother, a dead body can’t run from a coffin, but their spirit sure as hell can try.’
1967, Bristol. Life is tough for JT Ellington, ex-cop and reluctant private eye.
He’s still trading in favours, helping those scared of the police or trying to stay one step ahead of the law.

But when news arrives of a tragedy that’s unfolded thousands of miles away, JT’s life gets even tougher. He needs to journey home to Barbados to pay his final respects – but first he must travel to New York, where his cousin Vic is boss of a criminal empire.

On Harlem’s mean streets, JT is fast entangled with Evangeline – a smooth as velvet Black Panther – along with Pigfoot, a Bajan too flash with his knife. As the underworld draws him in, JT discovers the extent of Vic’s criminal activities –
a web of violence that stretches to Barbados and back, and connects him to the deaths of JT’s beloved wife and daughter.

Embroiled in a world of drugs, corruption, voodoo and the legacy of slavery, can JT escape the demons of his past as he returns to the island of his birth?

My review:

A haunted man.
A buried past.
A journey into darkness.

“What you want, ain’t always what you deserve”
Old Bajan saying

The novel is the third JT Ellington novel in the series. I am a HUGE fan of the protagonist! A Bajan enquiry agent who fled his previous life in Barbados, for a new life in Bristol. The previous two novels help you understand the background and character depth. It almost feels as though the series has been progressing to JT’s return to sunny Barbados and the revenge he so desperately seeks. But no one could have foreseen the brutal and harsh storyline that is, Restless Coffins…….

‘The traitors path leads to the fire’

The novel opens in 1934, a young JT with his younger sister Bernice. As they set off for a day of fishing at Ginger Bay, St Philip Parish, Barbados. They share the usual childhood and sibling rivalry; mocking each other as a sign of affection. The description is brilliant and really sets the bar for authors skill at describing a scene to perfection. Even the part where a young JT and Bernice stumble across the body of a dead police man……..

This is the first novel in the series, to offer an insight into JT’s childhood experiences. Memories, passages and details are drip fed throughout the entire novel. It offers up a great insight into how JT became the man he is. JT is often portrayed as a brooding character, a deep thinker.
In this novel we learn exactly why, he thinks first and acts later.
The heavy price JT has paid for his past actions, weighs heavy on his shoulders. Following him, haunting him and refusing to let go…

‘Sealed coffins could be opened to reveal the wonders of the undead’

In the present-day JT is now living on a narrow boat at Bristol harbour. When he is informed by his postman Harry Parkin; that he has delivered a telegram to Vic’s gym, JT’s workplace. He has no idea who or why anyone would send him a telegram. Just a gut feeling, that it must be bad news.

“Boy, yuh ‘member nuthin’ travels faster than bad news”

The telegram is from his cousin Vic, informing him of his sister Bernice’s death. JT is devastated with the news, after already surviving so much pain. He must now return to Barbados to settle Bernice’s affairs. He momentarily reminisces about his loving mother Cora and cruel father Clifford. We learn about Cora’s previous employment, working for the Monroe family. A family whose history is entwined with the Ellington families,
for all the wrong reasons.
JT then receives a call from a mysterious young woman named Evangeline Laveau. She claims to be working on Vic’s behalf and gives JT the details of his travel arrangements. Before he travels onto Barbados, he must meet with Vic in New York.

JT arrives at JFK airport to be met by Evangeline, Clefus Hopkins and Pigfoot. They arrange to drive him to Harlem and in-particular the MAME – Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal church. Where JT is handed a strange tiny coffin by a witch doctor named Obeah. The whole situation is eerie and I was desperate to understand how this voodoo element would play into the main theme of the plot.

Evangeline’s back story is fully explored. I really like her as a character. She is feisty, strong and yet raw and vulnerable in moments. She does her best to assist JT in his pursuit of Vic and transportation to Barbados. But whatever they do, any clues they come across, all paths lead back to Conrad Monroe. If you are new to the series, when you uncover why JT hates Conrad Monroe so deeply, it will shock you to your core…

‘A ghost from my past whom I feared and hated in equal measure’

Eventually JT and Evangeline make their way to New Orleans. Where Evangeline warns JT of the cultural differences between NY and the deep south. She warns him of the Jim Crow laws and the barefaced racism that is allowed to thrive unchallenged. I felt concerned for JT, although he had experienced considerable racism in the UK, now he was entering KKK territory!

‘I knew what it was like to live inside my own black skin and realised that my colour dictated how most white folk treated me’ JT

The dialogue in the novel is superb and adds to the already diverse and cultured themes. There is a scene in chapter 25, that rips your heart clean out! The author does not hold back, in terms of showing the violence and vicious behaviour that goes hand in hand with devout racism. It is at this point that I longed for JT to be reunited with Vic.
One man can only suffer, so much pain!

‘Victor Ellington is an enigma’

When JT and Vic are finally reunited. There are many unanswered questions and JT must face up to some extremely harsh truths. Vic informs him of his full intentions for vengeance upon their return to Barbados. “Tings, they gonna git bloody when we git home, yuh know that, don’t yuh”. It is at this point that JT fully understands his cousin’s plans.

‘When you know a man like Vic, the shadow of death was never too far away from your soul’

The novel builds and builds; with layer upon layer of detail from the past to the present. Eventually building to the ultimate showdown. But what peace of mind, will revenge bring to JT? Does he have the darkness within him to pursue it?

JT is an emotionally deep protagonist and Restless Coffins, deals with those whom have pained him the most. The Bajan history is handled with intelligence and care to ensure a thought-provoking read. The characters are iconic, and all have essential backstory’s. The historical accuracy, dialogue and characters are all great examples of expert writing.
An exceptional novel 5* Genius!

“People dying all the time, JT… This time the right folk gonna be headin’ fo’ the grave” – Vic

m-p-wright
M.P. Wright
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#Celebrating the novels of @LesleyPearse #25in25 #Fife #Fact #BlogTour

To celebrate the publication of Lesley Pearse’s latest release, The Woman In The Woods. Penguin have organised a #25in25 blog tour to celebrate the authors incredible talent and fabulous novels.
The novel I have been chosen to celebrate is Faith and I have a little fact from the author herself.

Faith: The first time I’ve had an older heroine, and my only book set in Scotland. I walked miles in Fife planning this book, I visited a woman’s prison, and almost bought a little house in Fife I loved it so much.

I have incorporated some images that capture the beauty of Fife.

dusk at crail harbour in the east neuk of Fife
Dusk at Crail harbour in the East Neuk of Fife.

Elie lighthouse fife
Elie lighthouse, Fife.

 

16 Faith
Faith by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

Scotland, 1995. On the hills of Cornton Vale Prison.

She was convicted of killing her best friend . . .

Laura Brannigan has been put away for murder. She insists that she didn’t kill Jackie. But her search for true justice seems futile. Then she receives a letter that takes her back to her youth and the memory of an old love, Stuart . . .

Twenty years ago was a heady time for Laura: she’d escaped an abusive home, and together with Jackie they had made a fresh start. They had sworn to be sisters for ever.

What could have possibly gone so wrong? And why is Stuart writing to her now? Does he believe Laura’s innocent and can he help free her from prison . . . and her past?

fife image
Fife

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The Woman In The Wood by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . .

One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.

It’s not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales – a large house deep in the New Forest countryside – to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before – freedom.

The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn’t come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson’s disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.

My personal favourite of the authors work:
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Remember Me by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

In 1786 a fisherman’s daughter from Cornwall called Mary Broad was sentenced to be hung for theft. But her sentence was commuted, and she was transported to Australia, one of the first convicts to arrive there.

How Mary escaped the harsh existence of the colony and found true love, and how she was captured and taken back to London in chains, only to be released after a trial where she was defended by no less than James Boswell, is one of the most gripping and moving stories of human endeavour (based on an amazing true story) you will ever read.

*I first read Remember me, in 2003 I was heavily pregnant with my first child. I have since bought my 14 year old daughter a copy and she read it last year. I can still remember the emotions I felt and the tears I shed. I was absorbed in Mary’s story and her plight upon the Australian fleets. I would urge anyone to read this novel, it is without a doubt one of my all time favourite novels. 🙂