Anne Bonny #Review Girl On Fire by @TonyParsonsUK DC Max Wolfe #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @PenguinRHUK

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Girl On Fire by Tony Parsons
Synopsis:

When terrorists use a drone to bring down a plane on one of London’s busiest shopping centres, it ignites a chain of events that will draw in the innocent and guilty alike.

DC Max Wolfe finds himself caught in the crossfire in a city that seems increasingly dangerous and hostile.

But does the danger come from the murderous criminals that Max is tracking down? Or the people he’s trying to protect?

Or does the real threat to Max lie closer to home?

My review:

Girl On Fire is the fifth novel in the DC Max Wolfe series. The novels always surround a contemporary moral issue that is currently faced in today’s society. The theme for this particular novel is the rise of extremism, terrorism and the social/political response to such events. The novels have a real sense of authenticity with regards to the Met police locations and accuracy of terms used. The author has done amazing in-depth research and that adds to the realism of the novel.

‘I woke up and the world was gone’

The novel opens with Wolfe at Lake Meadow shopping centre, in West London. As a helicopter is struck by a drone and the body of the aircraft falls upon the centre, causing mass confusion, panic and ultimately death. Wolfe is amongst the flames and fear and sees first-hand the destruction and carnage left behind by a random act of terrorism.

The novel then flashes forward seven days, as armed police officers get ready to raid the suspected terrorist’s premises. Operation Tolstoy aims to apprehend the criminals and gather the evidence needed to ensure that justice is done.

The suspects Asad and Adnan Khan, live with their parents Ahmed (known as Arnold), mother Azza and 16yr old niece Layla. The raid does not go as planned and the Met police have a dead officer and two dead suspects on their hands. Not to mention the media backlash and extra attention to the high profile case. Did the parents know? How do you raise criminals with such deep beliefs and remain unaware? The Focus of the investigation, now shifts to the parents of the dead suspects.

The parents are taken to (CTC) Counter terrorism command at Paddington Green station, where they’ll be questioned thoroughly. The police officers debate their approach and it seems that Wolfe is convinced of the father’s innocence, for now!

Ahmed Khan is devastated, he continues to claim he didn’t know. He tells Wolfe of his other son who died fighting. His struggle through racism and path to acceptance in 1970s Britain. He also informs the police of the recent moral outrage of his sons, against the country that is their home.

‘We destroy their buildings, but they destroy our countries’

The case is extremely complex, with the individual’s personal beliefs called into question. The topic of radicalisation is often the cause of many heated media debates. It is a controversial point via all media outlets, with no one in-particular having any clear concise answers. The situation has been deeply affected by cuts to financial reserves and manpower as referenced in the novel’s case.

Over the course of the novel, the author does break down various viewpoints. It is all set surrounding the case and I didn’t feel that there was any personal agenda. I thought the author had done a fantastic job of ensuring that various opinions were played out within the narrative. The voices of the various police officer’s guide you through the subject, legal constraints and case at hand.

Wolfe is assisted by trainee DC Joy Adams and childhood friend & fellow copper Jackson Rose. As they try to piece the case together. Wolfe was present at the shooting of Adnan by armed police officer Ray Vann and there is some confusion at what took place and how. Is Wolfe willing to inform on Vann? What will this mean for Vann’s future? Rose and Vann both have military backgrounds, and this perhaps gives them a broader understanding of the issue of radicalisation.

‘You know what we fought for in Afghanistan? It wasn’t freedom. It wasn’t democracy. It wasn’t queen and country. It was each other. And it’s the same here. We fight for each other’

Whilst the death toll continues to rise from the initial assessment of 44 dead. The public become more and more outraged at the heartbreak and loss of lives. The police officers find the (IPCC) independent police complaints commission, breathing down their necks about the possible illegal shooting of a suspect. The case becomes more and more layered, as the plot unfolds. Wolfe has to decide between telling the truth and loyalty to a fellow professional.

‘I’m not going to rat him out, but I’m not going to lie for him’ – Wolfe

The mindset of a serving soldier or veteran of the military, is one that is often difficult to get across on the page. The loyalty and brotherhood amongst soldiers is second to none. I personally, have never found soldiers to be ignorant, uneducated or overly macho. I have however, known many soldiers shaped and moulded by their experiences in overseas deployments. My husband was in the military for 14yrs and has served in Afghan. I think what the author has conveyed, is the point that civilians and on this occasion, Wolfe are often detached from the military experience. The characters of Rose and Vann offer up an alternative narrative, one too often forgotten in modern society.

Aside from the aftermath of the terrorist incident and professional fallout. Wolfe has problems close to home. Trying to raise his young daughter Scout, as a single father is a huge part of Wolfe’s psychology and what drives him as a person and a copper. But with his ex-wife Anne attempting to insinuate herself in Scout’s life and threats of going for custody. Wolfe is feeling the pressure. The theme of divorce and its impact upon the children it affects, is quite refreshing to read. Maybe I am biased as I was raised by my father. But I found the storyline very interesting and thought-provoking.

‘Only divorced adults get new lives, I thought. Divorced children are stuck with their old lives – and with their dumb-ass divorced parents forever’

Outside the Khan’s residence, a preacher holds court. A preacher with a knowledge of history and opinions he believes need to be heard. George Halfpenny is the addition of a character not afraid to speak his mind. Offering up a narrative of the honest, tolerant patriot. It may not be an opinion you agree with, but it is an honest reflection of a voice that surrounds every real-life terror situation.

‘Every murder is a hate crime’ Max Wolfe

Between the various voices within the novel, whether it be 16yr old Layla trying to understand a society that now appears to despise her. The voice of the police officers trying to solve the case and understand the logic behind the Khan brother’s radicalisation. The emotional response of Ahmed Khan at facing up to the shame his sons have brought to the family. The families left behind by the murdered police officers, just young little kids that may never remember their own mother.

This novel fully explores the social and cultural cost to society in the face of the rise in terrorism. An intelligent, well planned and hugely relevant novel.

TP
Tony Parsons
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#Review Close To Home by @CaraHunterBooks #DIAdamFawley #CrimeFiction #WhereIsDaisy @PenguinUKBooks @PenguinRHUK

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Close To Home by Cara Hunter
DI Adam Fawley #1
Synopsis:

HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2018, CLOSE TO HOME is the new crime thriller series to get addicted to.

My review:

This novel is the first in the DI Adam Fawley series.
It surrounds the disappearance of an 8yr old girl named Daisy Mason.
Daisy disappears from a neighbourhood barbeque on a quiet suburban street. From the outside Daisy has the picture perfect lower middle-class existence.
But once you get closer to home, you realise nothing, is ever as perfect as it seems…..

The police team called in to deal with the aftermath of the disappearance are a mixed bunch of characters. But as we learn over the course of the novel DI Fawley is carrying a deep personal pain. As the coppers try to ascertain the facts, the last known sighting of Daisy and the family’s lifestyle. Everything suddenly becomes so much more complex. The Mason’s are far from the perfect family. But do they have something to hide?

Daisy’s mother Sharon is a bossy, vain woman, more consumed with her own image than her two young children. Her father Barry was close to his daughter, but something recently made her retract from him and resent his presence. Older brother Leo is only 10yrs old. He is quiet, bullied and withdrawn, he presents as a child with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
I got the sense he felt unloved and ignored as the investigation unfolded.
I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything would be alright.
I may have felt that way, but neither his mother or father did.

The timeline in the novel moves around, from the present day to the days leading up to the disappearance. There is so much more to this family, this neighbourhood and this little girl, than meets the eye. The novel also has a series of Tweets and articles scattered throughout. They make the case feel more realistic and you can easily imagine the media pressure piled onto the police at work. The #FindDaisy becomes a national cause and the family are facing trial by Twitter. Where there every move/look is subject to scrutiny. I found this reminiscent of the Madeleine Mccann case, where the mother was made the ultimate villain. Is Sharon the villain of the story or just a selfish woman? Under intense media scrutiny, I think most ordinary people could have their actions taken out of context. This adds an interesting dynamic to the family’s story, you have to separate the fact from the speculation.

The police officer characters are written very accurately. The novel shows how the case of a missing little girl gets under the skin of the detectives. How policing can be more than just a job, it can be a way of life.
I wish we the reader, had gotten to know more about the detective’s personal lives. But I respect the fact that this is a first in a series and the author is laying the ground work for the series to continue. I hope we learn more about DI Fawley in the series in the future.

There are ample twists and turns within the novel, that keep you guessing. The writing style reminded me of Belinda Bauer, who is one of my favourite authors.
It finishes with a jaw-dropping ending and I look forward to the next novel in the DI Adam Fawley series. 4.5*

Cara Hunter:
Cara Hunter is the pen-name of an established novelist starting a new life of crime in a series of Oxford-based books to be published by Viking/Penguin. Though this is not the Oxford of leafy quads and dreaming spires but an altogether edgier, unkinder place. The first novel, Close to Home, will be out in January 2018, with a second slated for later that year. “So many people who’ve read Close to Home compare it to Broadchurch, and in my book, that’s a compliment to kill for…”
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#BlogTour #Giveaway #UKonly The Dying Game by @asaavdic Asa Avdic @penguinRHUK @WindmillBooks #SwedishNoir

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The Dying Game by Asa Avdic
Synopsis:
Oh, it’s really quite simple. I want you to play dead.’

On the remote island of Isola, seven people have been selected to compete in a 48-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position. One of them is Anna Francis, a workaholic with a nine-year-old daughter she rarely sees, and a secret that haunts her. Her assignment is to stage her own death and then observe, from her hiding place inside the walls of the house, how the other candidates react to the news that a murderer is among them. Who will take control? Who will crack under pressure?

But as soon as Anna steps on to the island she realises something isn’t quite right. And then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and the real game begins…

#Giveaway:

I am lucky enough to have 5 paperback copies to offer up for a giveaway via my blog! Which I think is awesome!
Not to mention the cover & synopsis, look great & sound very intriguing!

What I want to know ,via blog post comment, Pinned Tweet comment or comment on the original post on my FB page, Anne Bonny Book Reviews.
If given the chance to enter the role of Anna Francis, enter a remote island, fake your own death and watch the games begin, would you?

Could you take on the role of Anne Francis?
Answer #Yes or #No, to be in with a chance to #win!

*I label each entry with a number and one of my 3 kids picks random numbers for me! So there are no right/wrong answers! I shall announce the winners at 10pm Thursday!
via Twitter & Facebook! Good luck!

*****Let the Giveaway begin*****
Are you ready to play?

 

#BlogTour #Review 4* #AnythingYouDoSay by @GillianMAuthor @PenguinRHUK #NewRelease #CrimeFic

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

Anything You Do Say blog tour banner
Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister
Synopsis:

A tense thriller, perfect for fans of BBC’s Doctor Foster.

‘I could run, or I could stay and call him an ambulance. Now it is decision time . . . ‘

It’s the end of the night. You’re walking home on your own.

Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Coming fast.

You’re sure it’s him – the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave you alone.

You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.

Now What?

Call 999
Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice, whatever that may be. You just hope you husband, family and friends, everyone you love, will stand by you.

OR:

Run
Stay silent. You didn’t mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. Forever.

Which is it to be?

My review:

“It starts with a selfie”

Protagonist Joanna is out in a bar, in London with best friend Laura. They laugh and joke, posing for a selfie with a random man. They treat the random man (Sadiq) rather coldly, leaving his to retaliate in a rather pushy manner. They leave the bar and part their ways and that is when the unpredictable moment occurs……..

“You don’t want to be talking to me like that” Sadiq

Joanna take her path which leads her alone, down by a canal. She begins to feel followed and anxious. She takes her phone out and calls her husband Rueben, they talk for minutes before the call fails. Leaving Joanna and her pursuer alone…….

Joanna is at the top of the stairs, when she feels a close presence of the man, she thinks is Sadiq. She turns and in a fit of panic pushes the man, down the stairs. He lies at the bottom of the stairs motionless and it is NOW the time for Joanna to decide, Fight or flight?

The following narrative is played out in two sequences. Very reminiscent of the movie Sliding Doors, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. One half depicts what would have played out had Joanna revealed herself as the attacker. The other portrays what would have occurred had Joanna concealed her attack. I think the alternating chapters offer the reader, much food for thought. So I can see the novel being popular with book groups. I did contemplate myself what I would have done, in a similar situation.

Personally I found the protagonist of Joanna very unlikable. She is obsessed and infatuated with her husband. She is full of middle class drama and at times I contemplated her own mental health. But I found this, to be the point of her character. That we as the reader, won’t necessarily like her. But we will question her actions and why she behaves the way in which she does. Much like the police and the media, question the actions of all involved. Or maybe I got the narrative completely wrong, never the less.
This novel is thought provoking and I read the entire book one evening! 4*

GM
Gillian McAllister
Authors links:
Website: https://gillianmcallister.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gillianmauthor?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gillianmcallisterauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15967497.Gillian_McAllister

#Review 4* Hag-Seed by @MargaretAtwood @PenguinRHUK #LiteraryFiction #HogarthShakespeare

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Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
Synopsis:
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017

Selected as a Book of the Year – Observer, Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, i magazine

Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other. It will boost his reputation. It will heal emotional wounds.

Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. Also brewing revenge.

After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?

My review:

Before I write this review, I have a little confession to make. Well actually two confessions. Firstly, this is my first book read, by Margaret Atwood. I know, I am ashamed of myself! But to be fair, I didn’t discover Steven King until my 20s! Secondly, I have not read The Tempest by William Shakespeare, of which the novel is largely based. The only Shakespeare, I have read is Romeo And Juliet & Macbeth. These being from my school days! There we go, Abby leaves confessional!

The novel opens with Felix, the artistic director of the Makeshiweg festival, being betrayed and uprooted from his position. I would like to say this is the only emotional pain in Felix’s life, but sadly it is not. Having lost his wife in childbirth and daughter 3 years later to meningitis. Felix is in deep emotional pain.
He vows revenge upon Tony, whom has betrayed him!

“Tony and Sal must suffer”

Felix packs up his belongings and retreats to a shanty cottage in the woods. Where he remains in exile for quite sometime…. Whilst in exile he begins to have delusions of his daughter. They empower him to seek vengeance and Felix becomes an internet stalker, of the men who have wronged him. On year nine of exile, he applies for a job at the Fletcher Correctional facility. Under the secret identity of Mr Duke, he applies for the role of running the literacy program delivered to the inmates.

Felix is accepted for the position and his role involved assignments and producing a play. Of which he chooses The Tempest, guiding and aiding the inmates to fully understand the play. I found Felix to be charismatic yet troubled and charming and likable. I began to root for Felix on his journey towards revenge. By running the program Felix meets new people, who improve his life and help him heal.
But not before he has, had his revenge……

I really enjoyed this novel and can see the huge appeal of the book to book groups. There is room for the debate of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and also the character is Felix and what guides his vendetta. I really enjoyed how cleverly written the novel is and I look forward to The Handmaids tale, which is also on my book shelves! 4*

MA
Margaret Atwood
Authors Links:
Twitter: @MargaretAtwood
Website: http://margaretatwood.ca/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3472.Margaret_Atwood
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargaretAtwoodAuthor/