#BlogTour @the_cwa #Anthology #ShortStories @OrendaBooks #Giveaway @detectivekubu #SunshineNoir #Novels

CWA HB AW.indd
CWA Anthology Of Short Stories – Mystery Tour
Edited by Mark Edwards
Synopsis:

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

Contributions from:
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick

*****Giveaway in ALL 3 Michael Stanley, Detective Kubu novels. UK only*****
So here is what is available in the giveaway!

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A Deadly Harvest
Synopsis:
A young girl goes missing after getting into a car with a mysterious man. Soon after, a second girl disappears, and her devastated father, Witness, sets out to seek revenge. As the trail goes cold, Samantha Khama – new recruit to the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department – suspects the girl was killed for muti, the traditional African medicine usually derived from plants, sometimes animals, and, recently and most chillingly, human parts. When the investigation gets personal, Samantha enlists opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu to help her dig into the past. As they begin to discover a pattern to the disappearances, there is another victim, and Kubu and Samantha are thrust into a harrowing race to stop a serial killer who has only one thing in mind …

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A Death In The Family
Synopsis:

‘There’s no easy way to say this, Kubu. Your father’s dead. I’m afraid he’s been murdered.’

Faced with the violent death of his own father, even Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu, Botswana CID’s keenest mind, is baffled. Who would kill such a frail old man? The picture becomes even murkier with the apparent suicide of a government official. Are Chinese mine-owners involved? And what role does the US Embassy have to play?
Set amidst the dark beauty of modern Botswana, A Death in the Family is a thrilling insight into a world ofriots, corruption and greed, as a complex series of murders presents the opera-loving, wine connoisseur detective with his most challenging case yet. When grief-stricken Kubu defies orders and sets out on the killers’ trail, startling and chilling links emerge, spanning the globe and setting a sequence of shocking events in motion. Will Kubu catch the killers in time … and find justice for his father?

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Dying To Live
Synopsis:

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles… but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman? As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

To find out more about Michael Stanley see here:
Via Orenda: http://orendabooks.co.uk/michael-stanley/
Website: http://detectivekubu.com/

All you have to do to WIN is tell me,
which publisher, published The CWA Anthology of short Stories?

Simply comment on the blog post, the pinned Tweet (@annebonnybook) or on the original post on my FB page Anne Bonny Book Reviews.
Each entry will be allocated a number & one of my children will pick a number at random!
Please feel free to RT/share the blog post!
Good luck everyone & I hope the winner enjoys the #SunshineNoir series!
*Giveaway will close tomorrow evening*

#BlogTour #GuestPost Snare by @lilja1972 Lilja Sigurdardottir @OrendaBooks

SNARE new front cover
Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir
Translated by Quentin Bates

Synopsis:
After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonja is struggling to provide for herself and win sole custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated by the fact that Sonja is in a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a nail-bitingly fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

#GuestPost

Good people, bad people or just people?

Lilja Sigurdardóttir

I am not a great believer in evil. In my mind, evil is more a consequence than a cause, as behind so many crimes, when traced back to their roots, there most often is a tragedy of some sort, rather than a decided will to do harm. It´s the result, the consequences for the people victimised by the crimes, that is the true evil.

I spent some time in prison researching for The Reykjavík Noir Trilogy that starts with Snare and came to the conclusion that a majority of crimes are committed by good people. Good people that have made mistakes, been ill, addicted or lost their ground in life by some cause, been ignorant to or in denial about the harm they cause, but are in their essence well-meaning.

The Nordic view on crime and punishment is quite mild and Iceland shares that system where imprisonment is seen as a last resort, only used when people have committed serious crimes. I am probably under the influence of this mild Nordic view on crime, which I do understand is a privileged view of societies that don´t have so much crime.

True to this view of mine I usually don´t write black-and-white characters. In Snare, they are not neither good nor bad, but rather a mixture of both. Even the enemies, the scary ones, have something good in them and the nicest characters that the readers root for, are maybe the criminals.

One of the main characters in the book, Sonja, is a rather well-off young mother and wife when her world collapses, partly because of her own actions, and partly due to greater forces. When divorced, she struggles to make ends meet so that she can regain custody of her son and after falling for an offer to make quick money, she is ensnared in a vicious cycle of drug smuggling. As a reader you condemn what she does and know she is committing criminal acts, but you can´t help but root for her because the reason that she does what she does is her love of her son. You can see the tragedy of her life.

Agla the banker, another character in Snare, is absolutely blind to the consequences of her crimes. She uses reasoning that has been heard very often in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial meltdown: “Everybody was doing it.“ Agla is a woman who has had to fight her way all through life, being the only girl in a big group of siblings and then entering the male-dominated world of finance. So her impulse to do as the others and prove herself to be even better at it, becomes understandable in a way, even though you know its wrong.

Bragi, the customs official who is hunting Sonja down in a game of cat and mouse, is living a tragedy every day, as his wife suffers from Alzheimers´ and is slowly disaapearing before his eyes. Bragi has recently realised that despite living in a welfare society that has solutions and offers for taking care of the elderly and ill, he is completely alone in his heartbreak. And that pushes him to behave in unexpected ways.

Even the little boy Tómas, commits a “crime“ of sorts when he lies to his father about his mother´s situation. An eight-year-old knows that it is not good to lie but he does it in an attempt to help his mother out and in his young mind he is justified by his love for her, and therefore does not feel guilty even if he knows lying is wrong.

I love writing multi-layered, complex characters that dance on the sometimes fine line between right and wrong. Somehow those types of characters connect to you in a deeper way as a reader. Probably we connect with them because none of us is 100 percent good or evil. We are all a curious mix of both, esentially well meaning people that sometimes do bad things.

Lilja Sigurðard.
Lilja Sigurdardottir
Author bio:
Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Translation rights have been sold in eight countries to date, and film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Authors links:
Twitter: @lilja1972
Website: liljawriter.com
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4406512.Lilja_Sigur_ard_ttir
Via Orenda Books:  http://orendabooks.co.uk/lilja-sigurdardottir/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sigurdardottir.lilja

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost #TheManWhoDied by @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks #TeamOrenda @annecater

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The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen
translated by David Hackston
Synopsis:
A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, markinng a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

#GuestPost:

Where Do You Get Your Ideas, or, The Anatomy of The Man Who Died

Two things have happened: I have worked very hard for a number of years and I have been, at times, very lucky. Both have been elemental in my becoming a fulltime writer and having written seven novels to date. Of those seven novels, five have been translated from the original Finnish to other languages. One book has been translated into 28 languages with the other four getting anything between 12 and 2 foreign editions per book.

I think no one is more surprised by this than I am. I never expected this. It nevertheless happened and it’s been wonderful. In the beginning, almost surreal. But – and I will eventually get to the point, I promise – what it has also done is getting me invited to other countries. This is where it gets even more surprising. Somebody somewhere is willing to pay for a writer to visit her/his country and talk about – and this is where it gets just downright unbelievable – her/his books. And I have been invited. All over the world. From Mexico to Hong Kong. From Stockholm to San Francisco.

On these numerous trips both home and abroad, I’ve done what has been asked of me and I have indeed talked about my books. Hundreds of times to what must be by now thousands of people. What most often happens after I’ve talked or been interviewed for the allotted time is that there are audience questions. And no matter where I find myself, a few of these questions seem indeed universal: Why do you think Scandinavian crime novels are so successful? Is Finland really that cold? What do you think of (insert here the name of the country you’re just then visiting)? And, of course: Where do you get your ideas?

Now this is where it becomes slightly difficult – never mind the questions about family (I’m married to Anu who is both beautiful and funny), my sobriety (14 years and counting, one day at a time) or money (no, I’m not rich). It gets more complicated because I feel there really isn’t a simple, ready answer. So I usually reply with what feels like the most honest and thought-through statement: I really don’t know. After all, it is to a large extent true. But that of course makes no one any wiser, myself included. So I thought I’d try to answer that question a little more thoroughly here and thought it would be easiest through a case study of sorts: by seeing how my new book The Man Who Died came to be.

My new book The Man Who Died marks a great change of direction for me. After writing five very dark novels ranging from the icy North of The Mine to the dystopia of The Healer I felt I had given all I had in that direction, at least for the time being. I tried to write a few things in the same vein but they felt forced and wrong. I had to do something different, something new. This was the first lightbulb moment. I had to take a step back and do a little inventory.

Two of my great loves, artistically, have been with me ever since I made up my mind about becoming a writer at 18. Noir and comedies. I dearly love them both. And I realized I had been curiously restricting myself. I had held back on the comedy aspect. I don’t know why the realization hit me so hard just then and there but it did. It was quite obvious I needed to combine the two. I needed to write a noir comedy. I was through with restricting myself. You have to write what you have to write. First hurdle cleared.

This led directly to the main character and his dilemma. Every story I’ve ever worked on, I always start with a character/characters. I don’t worry about the plot. Well, not anymore. I used to, but I’ve gotten over it. I trust the characters will show me where to go. I needed a person with the biggest problem and suddenly had him: a man is sitting in a doctor’s office and hears he is dying. That’s a problem, I thought. He’s been poisoned over a long period of time. That’s an even bigger problem. For a good reason, he doesn’t want to go to the police. Perfect, I thought.

I still had a number of problems. One of them was setting. My first idea for the setting of the story was an advertising agency in Helsinki. I was already on page 45 or something like that when I was about to fall asleep. The setting was so boring. I’ve worked altogether 12 years as an advertising copywriter in various advertising agencies and I can assure you that it is nothing like what you see on movies, TV and books. It is not sexy, flashy, dangerous, slick or even very cool. It is work. You enter the agency in the morning, work, leave in the evening. In between, you think, write and speak with people. I would think that applies to quite a few jobs nowadays. Anyway, that setting had to go.

One morning I was walking to my office on the other side of downtown Helsinki. I remembered an article I read a while back. It was the kind of article you see haphazardly, glance your eyes over it and forget it. And I had forgotten it, until just now. The article was a speculation about a certain type of mushroom you can (potentially) find in the Finnish forests that is (presumably) in high demand in the culinary circles in Japan. The article further speculated that if someone in Finland were to pick them and export them that might be a good business.

I called my agent immediately. Not because I wanted to start a mushroom exporting business but because after weeks of desperation I had a suitable setting for the kind of story I was telling. There was something wonderfully absurd about this. In a short time, I built a successful mushroom business – on paper, I mean. I invented a whole operation to make it possible for someone to succeed as a premium mushroom entrepreneur and exporter.

In hindsight, I must have done it quite convincingly because I was later interviewed for the Finnish Mushroom Magazine and many people who were into mushrooms told me that they never would have guessed that I know so much about mushrooms and both the international and the domestic mushroom industry. Truth is, I don’t know anything. There is neither an international nor domestic mushroom industry. I made it up. But, to get back to the original task, this was one more hurdle cleared.

The mushrooms were beneficial in another way as well. In my previous five novels, Helsinki, my home city where I’ve lived all my life apart from a year in the US and a shorter period in Berlin, had been one of the main characters. I had loved writing about Helsinki, showing its many sides, but now that had to go as well. There are no mushrooms on the streets of Helsinki. Well, there are, but they are of the illegal kind.

So the location presented another challenge. But I didn’t have to look far. I found what I was looking for in less than two hours’ drive from Helsinki. I spent my boyhood summers in Hamina, a small town on the Baltic shore, east from Helsinki. To a boy, it was a magical place in the summer months. The sea was everywhere as the town was built on peninsulas and islands. And I knew the town. I knew how it feels, how it is, I knew the streets and the environments. There were the dense forests around it, perfect for mushrooms. And somehow the small town atmosphere was, again, perfect for the kind of story I wanted to tell.

The rest of the answer, I think, lies in the writing, the physical act of sitting down and writing the book. Because that is actually where the ideas really happen. You write to see what you have to write. It might sound a bit simplistic, but it is true. For me, at least. By writing I find what I need to write next. I can think about things no end, but I won’t know if it works unless I write it. The proof is in the pudding, as I’ve heard said.

To conclude: I seem to get my most of my ideas one at a time, gradually. Both by being honest about what I want to do and by seeing what needs to be done in order to achieve that. Secondly, I need to write to see if it can be written at all. And what still remains a mystery is the part that really can’t be explained: Where did this strong urge to change directions come from? Why did I suddenly think about that article? To properly answer the original question seems impossible. But hopefully my little case study has provided some answers. I know I’m a little more aware of the anatomy – both of the novel and my own.

Antti Tuomainen
Antti Tuomainen
Author bio:
Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.
Authors links:
Twitter: @antti_tuomainen
Website: http://anttituomainen.com/
via publisher: http://orendabooks.co.uk/antti-tuomainen/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5142432.Antti_Tuomainen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnttiTuomainenOfficial/

 

 

#BlogTour #Review #HouseOfSpines by @michaeljmalone1 @OrendaBooks #NewRelease

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

House of Spines front
House Of Spines by Michael J Malone
Synopsis:

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

My review:

This novel is such an unusual mix of gothic horror, scheming relations and the fragility of mental health. It is so cleverly put together and reads right up to the very last page. Some of the quotes, I have added to my review, are some of the finest writing.
This author writes with sheer class.

The novel opens with a prologue which gives a little insight into the protagonist’s childhood. It is one, of the up most complexity and it’s revealed further in the story, as the plot develops. Ranald ‘Ran’ McGhie is contacted by a Mr Quin, a prominent lawyer, whom works within the area of wills/inheritance. Ran is set to discover some secrets about his family ancestry, that he has never been told before. Which disturbs has fragile mental health. Ran is also informed he has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion. Ran is completely taken aback by this discovery and remains shaken as he walks through the doors of the property.
But what other secrets wait for Ran?
What else will he uncover about those around him?
Is Newton House, what it appears to be……

Ran as a protagonist, is essentially very difficult to gauge. He is young, lonely and suffers from mental health problems. He has issues with taking his medication. Therefore, what he claims he ‘sees’ cannot be trusted. I think it was a great portrayal of someone battling their personal demons and their mental health problems at the same time. I felt that Ran made rational choices and showed a depth of knowledge of his own thought process.
It was intriguing to read, how Ran would respond to the problems that he faced in the novel.

Ran is made aware of the financial implications of the inheritance. The lawyer advises him, that a local couple live at the residence in a cottage. Mr & Mrs Hackett and they will act as housekeeper and gardener, for the large property. He is informed that his mother by birth a Fitzpatrick, ran off from the wealthy family, to marry an artist. Knowing that he is related to the Fitzpatrick’s, causes Ran to question who they are and who was his Uncle Alexander, who left him this property.

“My advice enjoy the house. Forget your new relatives. Mr Fitzpatrick didn’t have a good word to say about any of them” Mr Quinn    

Ran arrives at the property and meets with Mrs Hackett. She offers him only a mere few clues of her relationship to the Fitzspatrick’s. She informs him the house as a swimming pool and a library. Both of which please, the inner writer within Ran. The house is in a remote location and the novel has a real eerie feeling within the writing.
It is expertly done!

“If you’re anything like your uncle this is the room you’ll want to spend most of your time in. The library” Mrs Hackett

Ran decides to walks into the local village of Bearsden. But for socially awkward Ran, he is aware this is quite an uncomfortable experience. Never the less, he pushes himself on, one step at a time. At a small coffee shop, he meets Liz and things develop rapidly between the pair. When he takes Liz back to the house, she is later frightened by a voice proclaiming “get out, he’s mine”.
What is happening at Newton Hall? Who are the voices from the walls?

Through the novel we learn of Ran’s diagnosis of bi-polar. We learn that he is prone to fear, anxiety sleepwalking and is disturbed by memories of the past. So when ran starts seeing the image of a loving woman in the mirror. You have to ask yourself is this a haunting? Or is Ran off his meds again? We meet Martie, Ran’s ex-wife, whom reveals her own secrets surrounding Ran’s past and his illness. We also meet Donna, a character who has been like a mother to Ran. Donna also claims to have a form of psychic gift and she warns Ran, there is a presence of a woman and she means you harm……………

“…In that padded room between denial and acceptance…”

Ran’s Behaviour becomes more and more erratic and the Hackett’s bear witness. Then Mr Quinn notifies Ran there are two living relatives, who wish to meet him. Into his life walks Marcus and Rebecca. They speak of family scandals and secrets, almost as if they seek to draw Ran into the families past. Between this and the continued hauntings, Ran does start to investigate.
Only, what he will expose, will impact all the individuals in the novel…..

“He had finally slipped beyond the veil and into the madness”

“A spine can only bend so much before it snaps”

This novel has it all mysterious characters, hazy images of ghosts, greed, lust, love, loss and heartache. This is not just a novel about mental health or a dysfunctional family. Ever tiny little twist or piece of new information, is cleverly linked to Ran. I would love to see this novel developed into a two-part TV series or a film. As it would certainly keep the viewer guessing. But then as a novel, it has some of most beautiful descriptions. I shall leave this review, with my absolute favourite, even if it is a little dark. 4.5*

“Her eyes wide with the grief of a hundred bereaved mothers”

Michael Malone Photo
Michael J Malone
Author bio:
Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.
Author links:
Website: http://www.mjm-ink.com/
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/themichaeljmalonepage
Twitter: @michaeljmalone
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6203125.Michael_J_Malone
Via publisher: http://orendabooks.co.uk/michael-j-malone/

 

 

 

#BlogTour #Review #MariaInTheMoon by @LouiseWriter Louise Beech @OrendaBooks 5* Genius

*I received an Arc from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

Maria in the Moon - Blog Tour PosterMaria In The Moon by Louise Beech
Synopsis:

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges… and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…

My review:
*I found this novel so beautifully unique and moving, I found it changed my whole review style! I hope my review does this novel justice! 🙂

I loved this novel, its uniqueness and how it captivated me with a whirlwind of emotions. This novel is filled with powerful moments, two in particular gave me a swift kick to the feels! But even now, after reading it, I can’t help but stare at the wall thinking how cleverly it was all put together.

The protagonist Catherine Hope is 31yrs old. She suffers insomnia and childhood memory loss. Having recently broken up with her longest, long-term lover and suffering damage to her home in the Hull floods of June 2007. She takes on a job at a local flood crisis centre. In an attempt to fill her lonely life with a cause. I personally loved Catherine from page one. I found her honest, raw and frank approach to life, very reminiscent of my own ‘bull in a china shop’ approach to conversations and relationships with my family. So at times when her mother chastised her for swearing, I laughed. Also when she is on the receiving ends of some painful verbal home-truths, I felt the emotional burn.
Catherine was about to hold my hand and tell me her story.
I had no idea where we were going, but I wanted to listen…..

Catherine’s real mother died in child birth, her father when she was just 8yrs old. Her step-mother, whom she refers to as her mother. Has done her best to raise Catherine, but she is often distant, unemotional and cold towards her daughter. I found this rather odd and it also poked at some of my own emotional pain. So Catherine decides to jog her own memory and try to remember what caused this breakdown. As the reader, I urged her on. Only I was oblivious to what deep secrets Catherine had locked away in her mind. I was about to find out, whether I like it or not…….

She remembers a vague memory of a virgin Mary statue, her Nanny Eve and losing her middle name ‘Mary’. But putting the fragmented memory back together is proving very difficult for her to do. At the flood crisis centre she mixes with the other staff Claudia, Kath, Norman, Lindsey and her ‘buddy’ Christopher. The crazy and often bizarre calls they receive at the centre only seem to throw up vaguer memories. A man, a shadow and a room. It’s not much to work on! I begin to wonder if her story would be her descent into a mental health crisis.
I desperately willed her to piece it together.

“It’s not love unless it hurts”

When her birthday comes around, there are new memories. A rabbit named Geraldine and some photos given to her by her Auntie Mary (hairy! lol). On a drunken night out, when a fella making his moves on her referencing her jokingly as a ‘tiger’. Catherine has a freak out! But why? What does it mean? How do these clues pull together? When her close friend Fern believes she has been betrayed by Catherine. She unloads a savage personal attack on her. This plunges her deeper into the loneliness and isolation and as the reader I urged her to just ‘hold it together’. When she remembers the phrase “my beautiful Catherine. My Tiger”. The full extent of the memories is revealed. With that once sentence, my eyes dissolved into tears, as it suddenly dawns on you, what them memories are!

That is as much as I can say, for fear of spoiling Catherine’s Story. But I would urge all readers, to hold her hand and listen to her story. It is one of incredible power and emotions. A story of coming to terms with our pasts and forgiveness! When I read the final sentence of the novel, I did so with a smile on my face. An incredible story, beautifully constructed. 5* Genius

“The right people keep the ghosts away. And the blackest ghost of all had finally gone”

Louise Beech picture 2
Louise Beech
Authors Links:
Web site: https://louisebeech.co.uk/
Twitter: @LouiseWriter
Via Orenda: http://orendabooks.co.uk/louise-beech/