Anne Bonny #BookReview The Mobster’s Lament by Ray Celestin 5* Genius #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @MantleBooks ‘Jazz musicians, dirty politicians, private eyes, the mob, hitmen and scam artists come together to make one hell of a story!’

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The Mobster’s Lament by Ray Celestin ~ #3 in the City Blues Quartet
My Own Copy ~ Hardback Book

Synopsis ~

* In Ray Celestin’s gripping third book, The Mobster’s Lament, it’s a mobster’s last chance to escape the clutches of New York’s mafia crime families: but as a blizzard descends on NYC, a ruthless serial killer is tracking his every move. *

Fall, 1947. Private Investigator Ida Davis has been called to New York by her old partner, Michael Talbot, to investigate a brutal killing spree in a Harlem flophouse that has left four people dead. But as they delve deeper into the case, Ida and Michael realize the murders are part of a larger conspiracy that stretches further than they ever could have imagined.

Meanwhile, Ida’s childhood friend, Louis Armstrong, is at his lowest ebb. His big band is bankrupt, he’s playing to empty venues, and he’s in danger of becoming a has-been, until a promoter approaches him with a strange offer to reignite his career . . .

And across the city, nightclub manager and mob fixer Gabriel Leveson’s plans to flee New York are upset when he’s called in for a meeting with the ‘boss of all bosses’, Frank Costello. Tasked with tracking down stolen mob money, Gabriel must embark on a journey through New York’s seedy underbelly, forcing him to confront demons from his own past, all while the clock is ticking on his evermore precarious escape plans.

From its tenements to its luxury hotels, from its bebop clubs to the bustling wharves of the Brooklyn waterfront, award-winning author Ray Celestin’s The Mobster’s Lament is both a gripping crime novel and a vivid, panoramic portrait of 1940s New York as the mob rises to the height of its powers . . .

My Review ~

This series has proven to be phenomenal reading. The author knows how to capture the historical era and atmosphere of post war America perfectly. The characters of Ida Davies and Michael Talbot have continued to grow with added depth to their circumstance. In this novel the focus is heavily on Michael and his doctor son Thomas, who finds himself facing the electric chair for multiple murders….

The title opens with a newspaper article dated August 1947. The article tells of a local NYC hospital worker who is charged with five counts of first-degree murder. Violent and gory deaths scandalised as a ‘Harlem voodoo cult’. The murders took place at a negro flophouse and with the accused an African American male, he is going to need a miracle to be either found not-guilty or acquitted.
This is when Michael brings in Ida to investigate.

Thomas Talbot is the only man left alive, which begs the question; what was he doing there? And how is he connected to the murder victims?

‘Welcome to Harlem’

The novels take’s you on a journey through Harlem, with a variety of characters telling their story. From hookers and their pimps, to junkies and runaways. Ida must interview anyone and everyone, if Thomas is to be set free. But is Thomas telling the truth?

‘The empire of night had arisen’

‘Michael had navigated the torments of people out on the streets’

Aside from Ida and Michael trying to solve Tom’s case. We also meet Gabriel, a man with a painful past who works for the mob. Gabriel works predominately out of the Copa Lounge, when he is asked to investigate missing money. In total 2 million dollars is missing and the mob’s approach to being ripped off is well-known.
Gabriel is a deep, thoughtful individual who has had enough of the ‘gangster’ way of life. He is making his own plans and re-writing his destiny.

‘Like every other mobster, the longer he stayed in the life, the closer he got to a prison cell or a shallow grave’

The novel details the various mobster families the relationships between each other and Gabriel’s connection to each member. I found this fascinating. I think we tend to romanticise the 1940’s, the mob and the post-war feeling. With The Mobster’s Lament the author leaves you under no illusion about how violent the gangsters can be.

There are a series of newspaper articles throughout the novel itself. They add to the atmospheric feel. When I opened the novel, I felt that I was walking amongst the characters and watching all the action unfold.
Ray Celestin does not disappoint, not on one chapter, paragraph or sentence.

The characterisation is superb, from hitmen with murder counts into the treble digits. To following Louis Armstrong and the rise of the American jazz music scene.
To an intelligent black hoodlum who is aware of the way the land lies and he doesn’t miss a trick.

‘It seemed like madness and addiction followed the whole generation around’

Jazz musicians, dirty politicians, private eyes, the mob, hitmen and scam artists come together to make one hell of a story!
5* Genius

RC
Ray Celestin
Website ~ Well worth a visit!
Instagram ~ Also worth a visit to get a feel for the series!

TAJ
The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin ~ #1 in the City Blues Jazz Quartet

Synopsis ~

Winner of the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Best Debut Crime Novel of the Year.
Shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award.
As recommended on the Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman.

Inspired by a true story, set against the heady backdrop of jazz-filled, mob-ruled New Orleans, The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin is a gripping thriller announcing a major talent in historical crime fiction.

New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – the Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him:

Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot – heading up the official investigation, but struggling to find leads, and harbouring a grave secret of his own.

Former detective Luca d’Andrea – now working for the mafia; his need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as that of the authorities.

And Ida – a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, she stumbles across a clue which lures her and her musician friend, Louis Armstrong, to the case –and into terrible danger . . .

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim.

DMB
Dead Man’s Blues by Ray Celestin ~ #2 in the City Blues Quartet

Synopsis ~

*Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of 2017*
Dead Man’s Blues is the gripping historical crime novel from Ray Celestin, following on from the events of his debut The Axeman’s Jazz, winner of the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for Best First Novel 2014.

Chicago, 1928. In the stifling summer heat three disturbing events take place. A clique of city leaders is poisoned in a fancy hotel. A white gangster is found mutilated in an alleyway in the Blackbelt. And a famous heiress vanishes without a trace.

Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are hired to find the missing heiress by the girl’s troubled mother. But it proves harder than expected to find a face that is known across the city, and Ida must elicit the help of her friend Louis Armstrong.

While the police take little interest in the Blackbelt murder crime scene photographer, Jacob Russo, can’t get the dead man’s image out of his head, and so he embarks on his own investigation.

And Dante Sanfelippo – rum-runner and fixer – is back in Chicago on the orders of Al Capone, who suspects there’s a traitor in the ranks and wants Dante to investigate. But Dante is struggling with problems of his own as he is forced to return to the city he thought he’d never see again . . .

As the three parties edge closer to the truth, their paths cross and their lives are threatened. But will any of them find the answers they need in the capital of blues, booze and corruption?

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Forgotten Village by @LornaCookAuthor 5* #NewRelease #HistFic #Mystery #Romance @AvonBooksUK #DebutAuthor

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The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook ~ (Titled, The Forgotten Wife in the US)
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

1943: The world is at war, and the villagers of Tyneham are being asked to make one more sacrifice: to give their homes over to the British army. But on the eve of their departure, a terrible act will cause three of them to disappear forever.

2018: Melissa had hoped a break on the coast of Dorset would rekindle her stagnant relationship, but despite the idyllic scenery, it’s pushing her and Liam to the brink. When Melissa discovers a strange photograph of a woman who once lived in the forgotten local village of Tyneham, she becomes determined to find out more about her story. But Tyneham hides a terrible secret, and Melissa’s search for the truth will change her life in ways she never imagined possible.

‘A coastal village abandoned in wartime, a haunting expression in an old photograph, and a charismatic TV historian: from these raw ingredients Lorna Cook creates an intriguing mystery that will keep you wanting to read more’ ~ Gill Paul

My Review ~

The Forgotten Village is the perfect summer read. It really has a little bit of everything to draw the reader in and warm the heart! It is a dual timeline novel split between the modern day and the historical era of 1943. There is a mystery at the core of the title and a brilliant dash of romance! As I type that, I am aware, I am not known to read romance as such. But with The Forgotten Village I was completely taken in, as much as I was when I devoured the entire series of Poldark!

The title opens in Tyneham, Dorset in December 1943. We become acquainted with Sir Albert and Lady veronica Standish. Their entire village is to be requisitioned and to say Bertie is unhappy about it, is a major understatement. He is furious!

In the Alternative timeline we meet Melissa who is holidaying in the area with her boyfriend Liam. She is captivated by the history of the area, when she reads in the Purbeck Times of the village’s re-opening. Only when she meets historian Guy Cameron and becomes intrigued by an old photo, she is driven to investigate the mystery that lays deep in the war time past.

The novel then  jumps between 1943/2018. We learn how relationships between men and women have changed dramatically. Especially as we follow the events in Melissa and Veronica’s lives. When Melissa fails to uncover death records for the Standish’s; the investigation really heats up! Can Melissa uncover the mysteries of the past? Can Melissa she the romance blossoming before her eyes? Will Veronica find peace in her life? What lengths will Bertie go to, to ensure veronica remains with him for eternity?

‘She had no idea that the worst was yet to come’

There are mysteries and secrets galore and it is the perfect summer read! With a mix of the ‘feel good’ cosy crime. Which would make an ideal Sunday evening TV drama. Huge congratulations to the author on pulling off a fantastic debut novel and I wish her all the best in her future writing career. 5* 

LC
Lorna Cook
Website
Twitter

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my book

Anne Bonny #BookReview Night Road by Kristin Hannah 4* #FamilyDrama @panmacmillan “A girl without a mother was a prisoner of a different kind”

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Night Road by Kristin Hannah
My Own Paperback Copy

Synopsis ~

Lexi and Mia are inseparable from the moment they start high school. Different in so many ways – Lexi is an orphan and lives with her aunt on a trailer park, while Mia is a golden girl blessed with a loving family, and a beautiful home. Yet they recognize something in each other which sets them apart from the crowd, and Mia comes to rely heavily on Lexi’s steadfast friendship.

Mia’s beloved, and incredibly good-looking, twin brother Zach, finds life much less complicated than his sister. Jude thought she’d never have to worry about her son, that he’d always sail through life easily achieving whatever he, and his family, wanted and expected – but then he fell in love.

The summer they graduated is a time they will always remember, and one they could never forget. It is a summer of love, best friends, shared confidences and promises. Then one moment one night changes them all forever. As hearts are broken, loyalties challenged and hopes dashed, the time has come to leave childhood behind and learn to face the future.

My Review ~

‘Once, this road had simply been the way home’

The Night Road is an emotional rollercoaster that surrounds the events that took place, that simmer in 2004.
The characterisation is intense, with each character playing a role in the story of what took place that summer. Teen siblings Mia and Zach are at the heart of the tale. Mia’s best friend Lexi is new to the area and moving into a local trailer park with her aunt, finally escaping a life in foster care. Mia and Zach’s mother Jude also plays a central role, as she becomes like a mother to Lexi.

Judy Farraday is the mother we all wish to be. She has known her own share of heartache and difficult upbringing, but she hasn’t let it impact the way she has chosen to raise her kids. They are at the heart of every decision she comes to make. She often agonises over every minor detail in their lives.

‘It’s impossible to love you children too much’ – Jude

Pine Island high school is where Lexi and Mia first meet and instantly strike up a deep friendship. Mia finds it difficult to fit in and Lexi is new to town and looking to settle in and get on with her education. Too often children are forced to carry the stigma of their own parents and this becomes evident in Lexi’s life. I felt quite emotional at times during Lexi’s story and the theme’s were really tear jerking.

As with all teenage friendships there will be secrets and forbidden love. But for these teens the mistakes they make one night will have a massive impact on all their futures. Can Jude protect her children?
And will Lexi survive saying bye to more people in her life?

The raw honesty of the situation is astounding. I cannot say too much here for fear of leaving spoilers. But this book left a huge dent in my heart. 4*

‘A girl without a mother was a prisoner of a different kind’

KH
Kristin Hannah
Website
My Review Of The Nightingale

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Twisted by @SSCav Steve Cavanagh 4* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #ThisBookIsTwisted @orionbooks @orion_crime

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Twisted by Steve Cavanagh
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted

My Review ~

With the novel Twisted we see ‘king of the legal thriller’ Steve Cavanagh move into a more psychological thriller narrative. This title surrounds a mysterious author known only my his author name J.T Lebeau. Very few people know exactly who this author is and that is the way the author intends to keep it.

‘Don’t believe a single word you read’

The novel opens with a character known only as Paul Cooper planning a murder. He is attending the memorial service for J.T Lebeau and I began to wonder, if not JT who does he plan on killing? But all will final be revealed…

‘Dead writers can’t do signings’

The novel then jumps backwards to four months previously and shows the reader exactly what took place in the months leading to the attempted murder. And my god, does it make for one hell of a twisted ride!

The novel details a toxic marriage where both spouses are hiding secrets from one another. But with a large amount of money at stake, things are about to get deadly…

‘Twenty million dollars was more than just money’

By the end of chapter 21, I was completely hooked! The lengths people will go to with secrets and lies, makes for fascinating reading. The reasons for the secrecy and the authors past are slowly revealed. With the pace and the consistent twists in the tale, I was completely gripped the entire read! 4*

SC1
Steve Cavanagh
Website
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris @Joannechocolat 5* Genius #NewRelease #Literature #LiteraryFiction @orionbooks

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The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.

But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray.

The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder…

My Review ~ 

‘Forty years a witch and now, at last, I have become a puritan’

I am completely new to this series and Joanne Harris’s writing. I do have several on my tbr pile, which I will be aiming to read over the summer. I found The Strawberry Thief to be exceptionally well written, the writing to be both magical and emotive. It really is a feel good summer read for those seeking quirky and eccentric characters.
So lets begin…

‘Snow, out of a clear blue sky. Someone will be dead by dawn’ – Rosette

The title opens with Vianne Rocher who lives with her daughter Rosette in Lansquenet-Sous-Tannes and together they run the local chocolate shop. Vianne deeply misses older daughter Anouk whom is living in Paris. Vianne’s pain at their separation is also followed with a sense of submission to this perfectly normal coming-of-age situation. No matter what age or the circumstance, when your oldest child flies the nest, every mother feels an added sense of loss.

The novel has narratives from various points of view. Which includes Father Reynaud, but my favourite point of view, was that of young Rosette. Who unintentionally becomes the talk of town, when elderly shop owner Narcisse passes away and leaves her an expensive piece of land. Even Vianne is unsure why Narcisse would leave such a gift to a young child. Rosette is often referred to as ‘not-normal, she is often pitied. But despite all the challenges she may face in life. Someone was looking out for her, someone thought she was extra special and someone named her The Strawberry Thief.

‘Making friends isn’t easy when you’re different’

The novel draws in various characters with the reading of the will. We meet the ‘delightful’ Michele Montour (Narcisse’s materialistic daughter) and Vianne’s on/off lover Roux. Rosette is definitely more aware than people give her credit for and in her internal dialogue she begins to question her life and routines. That is until she sees a ghost in Narcisse’s empty shop and becomes entranced by a newcomer to the village.

‘Evil has no feet’

The village is alive with the mystery of Narcisse’s will and speculation turns quickly to gossip. Why did he entrust such a prime piece of land to a young girl of 16yrs old who has her head in the clouds? What makes Rosette so special?
Only one man holds the answers and they are sealed behind the privilege of confession.

Before his death Narcisse had written a letter Which upon his death would be given to Father Reynaud. The letter is a manuscript of Narcisse’s life and within we learn all the secrets he held close to his heart and the deep bond he shared with another.
It is a story that slowly broke my heart, it cuts deep into the human psyche and why we are the way we are. Why we feel the emotions we feel.

‘Love redeems us even when we think ourselves irredeemable’

I highly recommend this title for those whom enjoy quirky characters, beautiful writing and the feeling of being in a small French village as you watch the story unfold.
5* Genius

JH
Joanne Harris
Website
Twitter

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