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

CR
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
Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with A.F. Brady @AFBradyNYC #Author of, Once A Liar #NewRelease #Legal #Thriller #Suspense @HQstories

cover
Once A Liar by A.F. Brady

Synopsis ~

The next gripping thriller from AF Brady…

Peter Caine, a cutthroat Manhattan defense attorney, worked ruthlessly to become the best at his job. On the surface, he is charming and handsome, but inside he is cold and heartless. He fights without remorse to acquit murderers, pedophiles and rapists.

When Charlie Doyle, the daughter of the Manhattan DA—and Peter’s former lover—is murdered, Peter’s world is quickly sent into a tailspin. He becomes the prime suspect as the DA, a professional enemy of Peter’s, embarks on a witch hunt to avenge his daughter’s death, stopping at nothing to ensure Peter is found guilty of the murder.

In the challenge of his career and his life, Peter races against the clock to prove his innocence. As the evidence mounts against him, he’s forced to begin unraveling his own dark web of lies and confront the sins of his past. But the truth of who killed Charlie Doyle is more twisted and sinister than anyone could have imagined…

Q&A ~

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A.) I am a psychotherapist, I’ve been working in the mental health field for nearly twenty years, and Once a Liar is my second novel. I draw heavily from my experiences working with individuals with mental illnesses when I write my books, which I think lends a unique authenticity to my work.

My novels are set in Manhattan, where I grew up, a place teeming with interesting and diverse people from whom I draw inspiration.

Once a Liar is the story of Peter Caine, a cut-throat Manhattan defence attorney who has recently gained custody of his teenaged son upon the death of his ex-wife. Peter sees little value in other human beings, which has served him well in his career defending the indefensible. When he finds the tables have turned and he is accused of the brutal murder of his on-again off-again mistress Charlie Doyle, Peter desperately tries to prove his innocence, and along his journey, he finds that the damage his heartlessness has done may be too great to overcome.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea, to writing and finally to publication?

A.) I wanted to write a book from the perspective of a sociopath because I found more often than not, literary and media representation of sociopathic stories are told through the lens of those who have been hurt or victimised by the sociopath. I wanted to dig inside his mind and get unsettled in there.

Peter was born of a combination of people I have known in my career, mixed together with a healthy dose of imagination. While I was writing him, I found myself becoming sympathetic to his situation. He’s a cold and unempathetic man, but he has a past, a history that led to his current condition, and he has a future that he seems willing to take steps to improve. Peter took the reins at some point in the writing process and showed me sides of himself that I didn’t know were coming. It was quite a journey.

I was nervous and excited for publication because I knew what a risk I was taking by creating a protagonist that’s hard to sympathize with, but I’m so glad I did. I love stepping outside the box, and my readers have really enjoyed getting inside the mind of a sociopath. It’s unique in that way, but also fast paced and the plot is twisty and complex. It was a pleasure to write, despite getting a little scared of the person I was creating from time to time.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A.) I love reading books of all genres, and going back to old favourites. I love Jay McInerney, Hemingway (especially Islands in the Stream when it starts to get warm out), anything David Sedaris writes, James Frey, especially A Million Little Pieces, Chuck Palahniuk… I would recommend that everyone read Karoo by Steve Tesich. It’s one of my all-time favourites. I just love the story and the difficult protagonist. I love a journey that’s paved with self-discovery and change.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A.) As a kid, I loved Winnie the Pooh, and I still do. I loved Swallows and Amazons (Arthur Ransome), Nancy Drew, the Famous Five (Enid Blyton), all these kinds of adventure stories. My grandparents had troves of old books at their house in Greece, so every summer my brother and I would devour everything they had left over from their own childhoods. And my favourite book growing up was My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.

Q) What are you currently reading?

A.) I am currently in the middle of several books: American Overdose (Chris McGreal) Picking Cotton (Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton), Bright Lights, Big City (Jay McInerney) I reread this one almost yearly, The Plague (Camus) I reread this one almost yearly as well, and I’m just about to start Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens). I’m also reading some manuscripts so I can blurb for other suspense/thriller writers.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A.) My favourite moment came earlier this spring when a woman reached out to me via email to tell me that she has a very close friend who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was beginning a bucket list. One of the items on her bucket list was meeting me. I was absolutely floored that my writing had meant so much to someone. We arranged a date and the three of us sat at a diner in Manhattan and chatted for hours about her life, my books, and the impact I made on her life.

Connecting with readers and telling stories that people feel deep down and relate to on some level has always been my favourite part of being a writer, but this one really meant a lot to me.

We are still in touch and are planning on meeting up at the diner again!

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

My family has been incredibly supportive, especially my husband. He takes on many additional roles in order to allow me to take the time I need to write. He helps me work out sticky plot issues, and he never gets tired of sitting around over dinner discussing things I’m going to do to my characters. My dog is also omnipresent while I’m writing, and it’s gotten to the point that I can’t complete a sentence unless he’s lying with me.

AFB
A.F. Brady
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

banner

Anne Bonny #BookReview Fade To Grey by @JohnelWilliams #LegalThriller #CrimeFiction @noexitpress ‘Modern and diverse crime fiction 4*’

cover
Fade To Grey by John Lincoln
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Gethin Grey is the man you call when there’s nowhere else to turn. His Last Resort Legals team investigates miscarriages of justice. But Gethin is running out of options himself: his gambling is out of control, his marriage is falling apart and there’s no money left to pay the wages…

Izma M was sent down years ago for the brutal murder of a young woman. In jail he’s written a bestseller and become a cult hero, and now the charismatic fading-film-star Amelia Laverne wants to bankroll Gethin to prove Izma’s innocence. For Gethin – low on luck and cash – the job is heaven sent.
But is Izma M really as blameless as his fans believe?

My Review:

Fade To Grey is a fascinating legal thriller that tackles the issue of racial prejudice in the criminal justice system. Focusing around the case of Ismail Mohammed/ Izma M/ Tyrell Hanson, who is now a prominent civil rights leader from his jail cell. He currently serves his sentence for the murder of a white girl, despite there being no real evidence to convict him. Is he innocent or guilty as charged?

Gethin Grey runs Last resorts legal team, they invest in miscarriages of justice and are made aware of the case by Amelia Laverne, who wishes to bankroll the quest for justice for Izma.

‘I’ll bet if he’d been a nice middle-class white boy the case never would have got to court’

Gethin prioritises his cases in five categories from the no hopers to the good cases, to the guilty.
Izma’s case sends mixed messages. He denies the brutal murder of Hannah Gold, but DNA evidence confirms the two had sex prior to her death. Gethin and his team will have to dig into the original case notes, if they hope to find evidence of Izma’s innocence.

‘Bad luck and prejudice could easily be enough to see an innocent man convicted’

The team at Last Resorts offer an interesting blend of characters. They add more drama to the investigation as they bring their skills to the table.
Modern and diverse crime fiction. 4*

JL
John Lincoln
Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Secrets You Hide by @KateWritesBooks 4* #LegalThriller #CrimeFiction #Psychological @BonnierZaffre

cover
The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Georgia Sage has a gift: she can see evil in people. As a courtroom artist she uses her skills to help condemn those who commit terrible crimes. After all, her own brutal past means she knows innocence is even rarer than justice.

But when she is drawn back into the trial that defined her career, a case of twisted family betrayal, she realises her own reckless pursuit of justice may have helped the guilty go free.

As Georgia gets closer to the truth behind the Slater family, something happens that threatens not only her career – but even her own sanity. At first, she fears her guilt around the events of her terrible childhood is finally coming back to haunt her.

The truth turns out to be even more terrifying . . .

My Review:

The Secrets You Hide is an impressive debut novel, it is packed full of twists and turns; and you never know who you can trust. Which includes our protagonist Georgia Sage.

The novel opens in 1997, with a young girl Suzanne locked in her room, as her father commits an atrocious and traumatic crime.
‘Dad has been acting strange for months’
What’s on the other side of the door?

We then are introduced to Georgia in 2017, She is a freelance court room artist and has sat in on some horrific crimes in her career. As we meet her, she is on the morning of a awkward one night stand. We discover via her internal thoughts she is not as content with her career choice as she’d have others believe.
‘What kind of person paints pictures of the worst humanity has to offer?’

Georgia does take great pride in her work and believes that her courtroom sketches could ultimately impact the jury/public opinion. I wasn’t as sure about this, but I was intrigued by the way in which Georgia sold it to the reader…
‘I build up the layers, to reveal people as they really are, the secrets they hide even from themselves’

We become aware Georgia lives in a large property and has no financial concerns. I think this explains why she is content with a career choice that cannot earn her much money. We also become aware she is a lonely woman, with a troubled past. It is at this point she becomes an unreliable narrator, of her own story.

‘The fear of life was stronger than the relief of death’

The case Georgia is currently in court sessions for is a he/she said rape trial. But Georgia is convinced of the man’s guilt. But that isn’t the case that the novel revolves around. It is a case from Georgia’s past.
A case she has always been uncertain if justice truly was served…..

A complex twisty psychological thriller, with a shocking ending! 4*

KH
Kate Helm
Twitter
Website

#BlogTour Chapter 3 #Extract Unconvicted by @OllyJarviso @canelo_co

cover
Unconvicted by Olly Jarvis
Synopsis:

In a razor-sharp legal thriller, Jack Kowalski must win two challenging trials to save his reputation and his career

Junior barrister Jack Kowalski is crushed. His client Timothy Smart appears to have committed a monstrous crime while on bail – a bail application Jack fought hard to win.

When a high-profile Polish footballer is charged with rape and demands a fellow countryman represent him, Jack must overcome his guilt and get back to work. Before long he takes on a second case, a GBH for instructing solicitor Lara Panassai, who Jack remains desperate to impress. But neither case is what it seems, and Jack will face an extraordinary uphill battle to see that justice is done…

The second Jack Kowalski novel, Unconvicted is a gripping courtroom drama written with the expert insight of a practicing criminal barrister, perfect for fans of William L. Myers, Deborah Hawkins, and Scott Turow.

Chapter 3 #Extract:

Oblivious to the biting Mancunian wind, Jack walked down Quay Street with a spring in his step. He stopped outside chambers, touched his name on the list of members and smiled to himself. Jack Kowalski was finally a tenant at Century Buildings. He ran up the steps, two at a time, then turned left into the clerks’ room.
‘Ah, Mr Kowalski. How are we today?’ asked Bob as he watched chambers newest tenant take off his coat.
‘Fine, thanks. Speeches at half ten in my burglary trial.’ He reached into his pigeonhole. ‘What’s this?’
‘It’s a bail application in a rape, sir. On the missus. A favour for your old pupil-master – Mr Huntsman’s part heard in Liverpool. You’ll look after it, won’t you?’
Bob’s politeness didn’t fool Jack. Nobody refused the senior clerk.
‘A rape?’
‘You’ll be all right, sir. The solicitor is Ken Dobkin. He knows you haven’t got a prayer. It’s just to keep the punter ’appy. You’re on at ten.’
‘But I need to be done for my trial at half ten.’
‘It won’t take long, sir, client won’t be there, banged up in Strangeways.’
Jack looked at his watch. ‘That’s in twenty minutes! When am I supposed to read it?’
‘Walking to court, of course.’
Jack registered his disapproval with a glare.
‘Well, get a move on, sir!’
‘Just this once, then, and only because it’s for Mr Huntsman,’ said Jack as he left the clerks’ room.
‘Oh, of course, sir,’ replied Bob, winking at the junior clerks. ‘Anyway, you should be thanking me. If you’d had the brief yesterday you’d have spent all night on it.’ Bob got out of his chair and followed Jack as he hurried out onto the street. ‘Carry on the way you are, sir, and you’ll be doing your own rape trial before you know it!’
Turning the corner, Jack raised an arm in triumph.
Walking back into the clerks’ room, Bob announced: ‘I do like that boy.’

OJ
Olly Jarvis
Twitter

Author bio:
Olly Jarvis is a writer and criminal defence barrister, originally from London but now working in Manchester. Drawing on his experiences, he writes both fiction and non-fiction with a particular understanding of the pressures and excitement of life in the courtroom. He wrote the highly acclaimed Radio 4 drama Judgement, and wrote and presented the BBC documentary Mum Knows Best. He is also the author of Death by Dangerous. Olly has two children and lives in Cheshire.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the #BlogTour this week***
Unconvicted Blog Tour (5)