Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Giveaway (UK & IRL only) The Lost Letters Of William Woolf by @wordsofhelen #LiteraryFiction @MichaelJBooks

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The Lost Letters Of William Woolf by Helen Cullen
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Lost letters have only one hope for survival . . .

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries. Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning.

Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

hc
Helen Cullen
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GIVEAWAY – (UK & IRL only) ~

*To be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of The Lost Letters Of William Woolf, simply RT the pinned post @annebonnybook. If you do not have Twitter, simply comment on this blog post or the Facebook page Anne Bonny Book Reviews.
I will draw the prize tomorrow AM.*

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Liberation Square by @GarethRubin #NewRelease #AlternativeHistory #Political #Thriller @MichaelJBooks

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Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

It’s 1952 and Soviet troops control British streets after winning the Second World War.

After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, and only rescued by Russian soldiers arriving from the east and Americans from the west.
The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall running through London like a scar.

On the Soviet side of the wall, Jane Cawson calls into her husband’s medical practice, hoping to surprise him. But instead she detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei, star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime.

Jane rushes to confront them, but soon finds herself caught up in the glamorous actress’s death.

Her husband Nick is arrested for murder. Desperate to clear his name, Jane must risk the attention of the brutal secret police as she follows a trail of corruption right to the highest levels of the state.

And she might find she never really knew her husband at all.

Extract ~

1
We walked all the way to Checkpoint Charlie that day. At the end of the road, the grey autumn light made the barbed wire and the concrete guard towers disappear into the sky, so that you could believe they kept on rising forever. I stood watching crowds of people stare at the only opening in the Wall for twenty kilometres, and tried to pick out those who had come for a day trip just to gaze at it from the locals who could remember it being built and still felt the loss. But the faces all showed the same mix of anger and quiet sorrow. The soldiers in their muddy- brown uniforms looked bored as they paced back and forth between the metal barriers. They always look bored. I once saw one grinning and winking at the girls in the crowd, but he was the

exception –  they stand there for six hours straight, rain or shine, and you wonder if they hope for the occasional attempt to jump the Wall, or an attack by the Western
Fascists, just so they can put their training into practice. Even I, when I had a gun placed in my hands for my
Compulsory Basic, felt a bit of a thrill as I pulled the trigger. The kick from the Kalashnikov nearly knocked me over, though, and my instructor laughed before taking it from me and replacing it with a single- shot rifle. So the boys in the watch towers were looking for a spark of excitement while the people below were looking for some sort of understanding. They wouldn’t find any there, I knew.

Nick appeared through the crowd then, carrying the drinks that he had bought from a man with a cart. He handed one to me, and we both turned to silently gaze at the barrier. ‘What do you think, when you look at it?’ he said after a while. My eyes ranged over the barbed wire and thick camouflage netting that prevented you from seeing through the

ten- metre opening in the concrete. ‘I suppose it’s hard to put into words,’ I replied. ‘It feels like we’ve lost something, something we won’t get back. But, well, maybe it’s necessary, just for now.’ He peered up at the guard tower. ‘So they say.’ A group of schoolboys shuffled past, clutching the red paperbacks that were to be the map to our future. One broke off and wandered right up to the soldiers, but his teacher caught him and dragged him away, to the laughter of the others. They were just like the ones that I used to teach. I suppose children are the same everywhere. ‘Do you remember it going up?’ I asked. ‘Vividly,’ Nick said. ‘Yes, vividly.’ I understood and twisted his warm fingers into mine. After five months of marriage I could recognize the ridges and wrinkles in his skin. ‘At least we’re on the same side of it.’ ‘Yes. That’s something.’ He sighed. ‘I do have friends over there, though.’ I looked over at the guards, wondering what they were thinking as they stared back at us. It must all have seemed very different to them. Perspective changes things. ‘I expect you’ll see them again. They might be on the other side right now, looking this way.’

‘Perhaps.’ A man approached the schoolboys, offering photographs of the Wall to be used as postcards. ‘Strange things to send,’ I said. ‘Presumably you give them to people you don’t like.’ I smiled. The school party stopped in front of a hoarding showing the country split in half, with ten occupied babies’ cots on the other side, and nine on ours alongside an empty one bearing the slogan your child. strength in numbers! The boys’ teacher reached into his briefcase, took out another copy of the red book, in which the First Secretary had set out our nation’s course, and began to read out a passage. Nick nodded in his direction with a sceptical smirk. ‘Does he think it’s all going to work so beautifully?’ he said. I glanced around to make sure we couldn’t be overheard. ‘Well it’s worth trying, isn’t it? Surely if the state makes certain everyone is fed and has a job, nine tenths of all the fights and arguments we have with each other will be gone.’ And really it did make sense –  God knows there were difficult aspects to our new life, but the argument seemed entirely logical, and rehearsing it in my mind made me hopeful for the future. ‘Overnight. In a puff of smoke.’ He tried to suppress a smile. ‘Oh, you’re a horrid man.’ I poked him in the ribs. ‘So what’s your big idea, then?’ ‘I’m glad you asked,’ he said. ‘A gliding wing.’ ‘A gliding wing?’ ‘That’s it. We build it on the roof in the dead of night,

wait until the wind picks up, then soar over the Wall like a
couple of birds. Down a pink gin and slip into the best hotel we can find for an hour.’ He did some cal culations in his head. ‘Make it ninety minutes.’ ‘You need a cold shower.’ But my hand slipped around his waist. ‘Maybe I do.’ A soldier crossed from one side of the watch tower to the other, scanning the crowd with his
binoculars. ‘Awful job,’ Nick said. ‘People surprise you. What they can do.’ ‘That’s true. That’s always true.’ Above us a flock of black birds drifted so high that they became specks of dust. ‘Shall we go?’ I nodded. ‘Yes, let’s.’ As we left, north towards Oxford Street, I gazed back at the statue of Eros, his attempt to leap over the Wall permanently frozen, caught by the concrete and the wire.

GR
Gareth Rubin
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Anne Bonny #BookReview She Lies In Wait by @thegyth 4* #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @MichaelJBooks

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She Lies In Wait by Gytha Lodge
Review Copy

Synopsis:

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust?

Seven friends went down to the woods, but one of them never came home

30 years later, a body is discovered. DCI Sheens already knows what’s waiting for him – Aurora Jackson, found at last.

They all claim to be innocent, but one of them must be lying.

Because she was found somewhere only they knew about.

Now everyone’s a suspect.

My Review:

She Lies In wait has a complex plot that revolves around a cold case from 1983. The disappearance of Aurora Jackson.
The prologue opens with the discovery of human remains and DCI Jonah Sheens is called in to investigate.
Has there been a murder at Brinken wood?
The body is identified as being a prepubescent female, showing signs of decay and immediately Johan thinks of the Aurora Jackson case. But why that is Johan’s first thought will all be revealed much later. . .

The novel jumps back to the 1983 camping trip which saw Aurora the unwilling tag-along to her big sister Topaz’s trip into the woods. We meet the various characters that were present that day and their internal motives. We also learn what has become of them in their adult lives, via scenes in the modern day.

Aurora’s family is desperate for confirmation/news/updates on the case. With sister Topaz even flying in to be present in town.
I found Topaz quite frustrating in the 1983 scenes. Here is her younger sibling, left at various stages in risky positions. Whilst Topaz seems to have zero regard for her own safety, or that of her younger sibling. I had to agree that although I wouldn’t behave as Topaz did, she played the role of selfish teenager perfectly.

This novel is a classic mystery and whodunit. You as the reader are constantly trying to guess the motives of the various members of the camping trip and their motives in the modern day for remaining silent.
Something happened on that trip and someone knows the truth. . .

There are moments where the novel is slow paced. But it is without a doubt a great start to a new series 4*

GL1
Gytha Lodge
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse 4* #NewRelease 1960s #Saga #HistoricalFiction @MichaelJBooks @ed_pr #LoveLesley25

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The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Twenty-three-year-old Katy Speed has always been fascinated by the house across the street . . .

The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, and other times the women come with children.

Hilda, Katy’s mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders where these mysterious visitors have come from, and what they want. Does Gloria have sinister reasons for secretly bringing strangers into the heart of the community?

Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained strangers must be responsible, until her father is arrested and charged with murder.

Surely the police have arrested the wrong person?

Is the rest of the street safe?

Can Katy find the truth before it’s too late?

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Lesley Pearse and her novel Remember Me, is one of my all-time favourites. I recently enjoyed The Woman In The Wood, but noticed the author had taken a much darker spin on her usual saga type novels. It was still a cracking read, but I was surprised at some of the tough/violent themes.
This time she has written a similar dark novel, set in the 1960’s. The era really sets the tone, as this was an era of fundamental change for women and the beginnings of the female sexual revolution.

The prologue opens in Bexhill-On-Sea, Essex 1964. Katy (22yrs) is busy spying on her neighbours, when she is interrupted by her brother Rob. He is currently home from university and appears to not feel too welcome in his own home.
It becomes quite clear why upon the introduction of Hilda. Katy and Rob’s mother, is far from ‘mothering’. She appears to enjoy belittling and making nasty remarks to others including her own daughter, son and husband. But no one is a bigger target for Hilda than the glamour neighbour Gloria.

Mrs Gloria Reynolds is a local business owner. She owns ‘Gloria’s Gowns’ and Katy is in complete awe of her. Something which sees to incense Hilda even further. Gloria is considered a ‘glamourous divorcee’ locally. With divorce still being considered a taboo subject. Katy is desperate to know more information about her, but aware of the social restrictions to simply ask…..
‘It was rude to ask personal things of someone you didn’t know’ – Katy

Gloria had often taken the time to give Katy advice and guidance, which led to a growth in her confidence and self-esteem. Which enrages Hilda as she feels the slip of her control over her daughter growing.
Especially when Gloria recommends a life in London for Katy.

Hilda is a battle-axe and all-round snob, but as her character develops, we uncover there is more going on inside her own head.
As the saying goes, damaged people, damage people.

In January 1965, there is a terrible fire in the middle of the night at Gloria’s. A fire that will take the lives of two souls, including Gloria. Albert (Katy’s long-suffering father) rushes to help. Whilst Hilda continues to make vicious snide comments and be opinionated beyond the realms of human decency.

When the fire is discovered to be arson and Katy’s father is arrested. Katy must turn amateur sleuth to separate fact from fiction. Albert denies any such affair or knowledge of a motive for the fire. Whilst Hilda turns on her own husband.
‘By consorting with that woman right under my nose, he deserves all he gets’ – Hilda

Katy seeks out Gloria’s friend Edna, is a desperate search for clues of who would want Gloria dead. What she uncovers is a world of domestic abuse, hidden and hushed up amongst middle-class society.

The plot is very moving, and protagonist centred around Katy. I struggled with the constant reminders of this being an issue impacting ‘middle-class’ people. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, it certainly doesn’t discriminate due to wealth. 4*

Lesley Pearse Copyright Charlotte Murphy 2014
Lesley Pearse
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Chosen Ones by @HowardLinskey 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #TheChosenOnes @MichaelJBooks Trapped. An unknown kidnapper. No way out. #FreeEva Ebook just 99p

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The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey
Review copy
Synopsis:

Eva Dunbar wakes in a large metal box.

She has no idea who has taken her.

She has no way out.

She isn’t the first young woman to disappear.
And with no leads Detective Ian Bradshaw has precious little time.
When at last a body is found, the police hope the tragic discovery might at least provide a clue that will help them finally find the kidnapper.
But then they identify the body – and realise the case is more twisted than they ever imagined . .

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Howard Linskey’s crime fiction novels and also his ww2 novel Hunting The Hangman. He certainly is a man of many talents. The Chosen Ones centres around the disappearance of several women in 1997. It is not for the faint of heart, the opening scenes set the tone perfectly.

Eva Dunbar awakens in a large metal box, she is terrified of her surrounding and unsure how she ended up there. She is aware she is wearing different clothes and her bra is missing. She feels hazy as though she has been drugged. But it is at the moment of noticing some markings on the wall that her reality sinks in.
The markings signify the number 5, 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? Or 5 years? And with that Eva descends into a screaming frenzy.

DS Ian Bradshaw is back, in the previous novel we witnessed a sick twisted killer attempt to get inside Bradshaw’s head. I wondered what tricks the author would have up his sleeve this time that would add to the torment of Bradshaw. They start almost immediately when he is summoned to DI Kate Tennant’s office. With eight coppers suspended over a recent corruption sting. The police force is undermanned and overworked. Bradshaw is quickly and without any real say, handed the case of ‘the disappeared’.
He has the case file exactly 5 minutes when a call comes in of a body found.

Bradshaw is met at the scene by DC Hugh Rennie, who is close to retirement. The victim has been tied to a tree in an almost ritualistic manner. But she is too old to be one of ‘the disappeared’ that is until Rennie takes a closer look and recognises her from a previous case.

With a link established between the victims. The coppers are left to wonder if this is the same killer and if so why has he struck again. Bradshaw asks DC Malone to trawl through the case files from 1979. What she uncovers is, five women went missing in 1979-1980. Only one was ever recovered. . . until now!

Due to the lack of staff and support, Bradshaw is allowed to bring in investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton. I really love this angle to this series and the dynamic the three personalities bring to the case.

Meanwhile, across Durham a young woman named Jenna Ellison starts receiving threatening and intimidating notes…
‘I know who you are’

As Bradshaw, Tom and Helen attempt to establish a link between the victims, they find none. Nothing links these five current missing victims. They all have different appearances, colour of hair etc.

When Bradshaw attends the post mortem of the current victim from a 1979 abduction. It adds more mystery than clues. The victim was suffering from severe liver and kidney damage. She also had a severe case of rickets. Did the woman abuse alcohol? Has she been forcibly malnourished? Where has she been for the last 18yrs?

There are scenes from Eva’s point of view in captivity, they are tense and scary. You begin to urge the police to find something, some clue that can free Eva.

This novel is intense but what really struck a chord with me, is that it is so close, to a possible true story. The sort of story you’d read online in sheer horror and disbelief. 5*

HL
Howard Linskey
Twitter
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My review and Q&A – Hunting The Hangman
My review – The search

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