Anne Bonny #BookReview Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne #Historical #CrimeFiction @maclehosepress ‘The depth and the detail regarding the era and British/US social and political climate is what makes it such a fascinating read’

Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne
Translated by Sam Taylor
Review Copy

“We owe you our lives, Sergeant, but you are our worst nightmare . . .”

Burma, 1852. Sergeant Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled – his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman’s mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: “Survival”.
But for all that, only a handful escape with their lives.

Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word “Survival” has been daubed in blood by the body’s side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.
From the Burmese jungle to the slums of London to the conquest of the Wild West, Antonin Varenne takes us on a thrilling journey full of sound and unabated fury, reviving the lapsed tradition of the great writers of boundless adventure. Sergeant Bowman belongs to that breed of heroes who inhabit the imaginations of Conrad, Kipling, Stevenson . . . Lost soldiers who have plunged into the heart of darkness and will cross the globe in search of vengeance and redemption.

Translated from the French by Sam Taylor

My Review:

Firstly, let me say this paperback has a beautiful cover and perfectly sets the scene for the novel. It is brilliantly eye-catching!
The novel is historical crime fiction and very literary in parts. We follow protagonist Sgt Arthur Bowman in his quest for justice.
A quest that will see him travel through various countries on his way.

The novel opens in 1852 Burma, when Lord Dalhousie governor-general of India declared war on the king of Burma. Major Cavendish summons Bowman and informs him he is to take on a secret mission under Cpt Wright. He must intercept the ambassador. The mission is foiled and many men are captured as POW’s. Only ten men are ever liberated.

Edmund Peavish
Peter Clements
Edward Morgan
Christian Bufford
Erik Penders
Fredrick Collins
John Briggs
Horace Grennshaw
Norton Young &
Sgt Arthur Bowman
Are the liberated men.

The novel then jumps to London 1858, with Officer O’Reilly and Superintendent Andrews at the scene of a brutal murder. Bowman is tied to the case, due to his previous run-ins with men down at the docks. When he sees the body, he is in for an almighty shock. . .

‘The corpse in the sewer. I’ve seen that before. In Burma. In the forest’ – Bowman

Andrews becomes convinced Bowman is losing it, fearing he is headed for a nervous breakdown. Something we the reader learn, Bowman fears himself. As Bowman is under suspicion, he is placed under house arrest, until the case is solved. But Bowman is unlikely to just accept being a suspect in a gruesome murder on London’s streets.

‘London really was turning into hell’

Bowman acquires a list of the liberated men but is hindered further when the India company denies their existence and that such a mission took place.
Is there a cover-up at the heart of this murder?

Bowman tracks down each man individually. What her uncovers shows the true nature of the psychological/physical impact of mental and violent torture. There are no graphic details of the POW’s plight, but the readers comes to understand the depths of the soldiers despair. The trail of POW’s lead all the way across the oceans to t America, Where Bowman is reunited with old comrades. . .

‘You don’t even know if you’re seeking an honourable death or an honourable life, Mr Bowman. You’ll have to choose in the end, but until you do. You will not belong here, or anywhere else on this earth’

The murders appear to be continuing on American soil. Where black men and native American’s can be wrongly accused, leading to fatal consequences. Bowman becomes determined to correct this injustice and find the real killer.

‘They say it’s Indians. Because whites aren’t that cruel’ –
Dr Vladislav Brezisky
Bowman meets an array of characters on his travels and they truly enhance the storytelling. The display of the 1860s American landscape is remarkable.
I can see this novel drawing both British and American fans.

There is a brilliant ending, with a twist in the tale. The depth and the detail regarding the era and British/US social and political climate is what makes it such a fascinating read. 4.5*

***Don’t miss the other fantastic bloggers on the blog tour***

#BlogTour #Giveaway Zen And The Art Of Murder by Oliver Bottini Translated by @jamiebulloch @maclehosepress UK & IRL ONLY

Today on the blog I am hosting a giveaway for 3 copies of this fabulous new release!

Zen And The Art Of Murder by Oliver Bottini
Translated by Jamie Bulloch
The first in a gripping new crime series set in Germany – the Black Forest Investigations

Louise Boni, maverick chief inspector with the Black Forest crime squad, is struggling with her demons. Divorced at forty-two, she is haunted by the shadows of the past.
Dreading yet another a dreary winter weekend alone, she receives a call from the departmental chief which signals the strangest assignment of her career – to trail a Japanese monk wandering through the snowy wasteland to the east of Freiburg, dressed only in sandals and a cowl. She sets off reluctantly, and by the time she catches up with him, she discovers that he is injured, and fearfully fleeing some unknown evil. When her own team comes under fire, the investigation takes on a terrifying dimension, uncovering a hideous ring of child traffickers. The repercussions of their crimes will change the course of her own life.

Oliver Bottini is a fresh and exciting voice in the world of crime fiction in translation; the Rhine borderlands of the Black Forest are a perfect setting for his beautifully crafted mysteries.

Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch


***To enter the giveaway, all I want to know is………… What language is the novel translated from? Leave a comment on either A) this blog post B) the pinned Tweet via Twitter @annebonnybook C) My Facebook page Anne Bonny Book Reviews  I will draw the giveaway on 20th January at the end of the #BlogTour***

Please check out the other stops on the #BlogTour

#Review The Mountain by Luca D’Andrea @maclehosepress #NewRelease 4.5* @CorinnaZifko @bookbridgr @HowardCurtis49

*I received an arc via Bookbridgr in return for an honest review*

The Mountain by Luca D’Andrea
Translated by Howard Curtis
Jeremiah Salinger blames himself. The crash was his fault. He was the only survivor. Now the depression and the nightmares are closing in. Only his daughter Clara can put a smile on his face.
But when he takes Clara to the Bletterbach – a canyon in the Dolomites rich in fossil remains – he overhears by chance a conversation that gives his life renewed focus. In 1985 three students were murdered there, their bodies savaged, limbs severed and strewn by a killer who was never found.
Salinger, a New Yorker, is far from home, and these Italian mountains, where his wife was born, harbour a close-knit, tight-lipped community whose mistrust of outsiders can turn ugly. All the same, solving this mystery might be the only thing that can keep him sane.
Translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis

My review:

WOW! This novel is so much more in-depth than its synopsis! At the beginning I found the novel to be rather, slow burning and jumps from one event to another. However, once it gets going it is HIGHLY addictive!
The characterisation is brilliant, you slowly warm to protagonist, Jeremiah Salinger.
But once he had me, I was completely gripped at watching the plot unravel, through Jeremiah’s eyes!

Jeremiah Salinger, known as Salinger. Is married to the beautiful Annelise and has a young daughter Clara. Salinger is a documentary film maker with her best friend Mike McMellan. When Salinger’s career begins to struggle, his wife recommends a trip, to her native isolated home of Siebenhoch in Italy.
A break Salinger welcomes.
But Annelise may live to regret………..

Once arrived at the atmospheric location of Siebenhoch, Salinger has lengthy conversations with his father-in-law, Werner. Siebenhoch is a small remote village situated at an altitude of 1400 metres. The now, elderly Werner delights Salinger with tales from his time running and operating the Dolomite mountain rescue. This inspires Salinger to re-start the mountain rescue team. A move that does not go according to plan!
When a rescue mission goes wrong and leaves everyone dead except Salinger, he becomes a shunned man in the village. Combine that with the mental trauma of being the sole survivor and you have a very broken and devastated Salinger……….

It is during his recovery from this disastrous rescue mission, that Salinger learns of the Bletterbach killings of 1985! A case that could destroy not only Salinger but everything and everyone he holds dear. But without the beauty of hindsight and Salinger’s curious investigative mind. A re-opening of the case is born…..

“I’ll tell you everything I know without leaving anything out, and in return you promise me that you won’t let yourself be devoured by this story” – Werner

Salinger must be discreet, his wife has ensured he take a vow of sabbatical, from work, for at least a year, after the devastating rescue. But it isn’t long until Salinger is seeking out the help of local police officer Chief Max Krun. Salinger learns that three young adults went up to the secluded area of Bletterbach and were slaughtered in a brutal murder. The killer was never found, and the small village has never recovered from the deaths of Evi, Markus and Kurt. The crime scene is described in graphic detail, various limbs and heads missing from the victims. The aftermath of the crime plunged the surviving parents into a life of alcoholism and suicide.
Something, Salinger himself understands, only too well.

“That horror went inside you and you couldn’t leave” – Werner

There was little media coverage of the crime due to the remote location. There were no viable suspects, despite everyone in the area being investigated. There was no identifiable motive!
Who killed the group? And why?
Salinger just can’t get the case out of his head. He becomes determined to solve it once and for all.
Salinger’s investigation continues in secret but at quite a rapid pace. The novel may open slowly, but the investigation ignites the pace and makes for gripping reading! The locals react rather hostile towards Salinger and he learns that he must be-friend them before, he asks prying and painful questions.

“The Bletterbach is just a graveyard for monsters” – Verena

“Let’s leave the dead where they are they’re happier than us” – Hermann

The novel contains some fantastic writing and a twist you will NOT see coming! I was genuinely amazed at how much this seemingly cold case, gripped me. In the process of his case Salinger uncovers revelation after revelation, some of which shake him to his core!
I am so pleased that the novel is being translated into 30 languages, so that more readers can enjoy the amazing writing of, debut author Luca D’Andrea! 4.5*

“Some say you become an adult when you bury your parents; others, when you become a parent yourself. I didn’t agree with either of these two philosophies. You become an adult when you learn to apologise” – Jeremiah Salinger