Anne Bonny #BookReview The Whisper Man by @writer_north Alex North 5* #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @MichaelJBooks #TheWhisperMan

cover
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken . . .

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys.

Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man‘.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home.

Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window . . .

My Review ~

The whisper Man opens with a chilling prologue that reads like a confession…
‘I told you so many times that there was nothing to be afraid of. That there was no such thing as monsters
I’m sorry that I lied’

The novel opens in July, with Tom and son Jake planning on moving to a new area ten months after a tragic accident. Jake is a lonely and solitary child with imaginary friends. He appears to talk often only to himself, or is he?

‘Featherbank
It sounded like a place we would be safe

However, Featherbank has quite the disturbing history. 15yrs ago five young male victims went missing and only four returned. Frank Carter would befriend his victims, targeting neglected and vulnerable boys. He would talk to them at their bedroom window, hence the nickname The Whisper Man.
But did Frank have an accomplice?

‘There’s a monster outside my window’
‘It was whispering at my window’

Tom’s past is explored and we fully understand the reasons, he is struggling as a now single father. They move to Featherbank in the September. Unaware that a few months previously a boy named Neil went missing…

‘If you’re lonely, sad and blue, the whisper man will come for you’

A serial killer that targets vulnerable young boys at an impressionable age, using the fact that they are easy to manipulate and ultimately in his control, makes for disturbing reading. Yet despite Featherbank being much more sinister than first expected, I couldn’t take my eyes from the page.

‘A nightmare can never, ever hurt you’

There is a huge revelation on page 188, which will eventually lead us to a gripping ending. I had to read back the last 5/6 pages as I read them in such a rush.
The novel is packed full of eerie occurrence that make you question Jake and Tom’s wellbeing. Are they delusions, manifestations or grief or more frighteningly…. Real!!!! 5*

Alex North’s Twitter

banner

Anne Bonny #BookReview Her Kind by @NiamhBoyce #Ireland #Historical #WitchCraft @PenguinIEBooks

cover
Her Kind by Niamh Boyce
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

1324, Kilkennie

A woman seeks refuge for herself and her daughter in the household of a childhood friend.

The friend, Alice Kytler, gives her former companion a new name, Petronelle, a job as a servant, and warns her to hide their old connection.

Before long Petronelle comes to understand that in the city pride, greed and envy are as dangerous as the wolves that prowl the savage countryside. And she realizes that Alice’s household is no place of safety.

Once again, Petronelle decides to flee. But this time she confronts forces greater than she could ever have imagined and she finds herself fighting for more than her freedom …

Tense, moving and atmospheric, Her Kind is a vivid re-imagining of the events leading up to the Kilkenny Witch Trial.

My Review ~

‘Where was the maid of Dame Alice Kytler?’

The novel opens in 1324 Kilkenny, Ireland. There are a wealth of various characters from Bishop Ledrede to Dame Alice and the humble servants such as Petronelle De Midia. We become aware that Alice and Petronelle have a shared past which is shrouded in secrecy. A past they must never speak of…

‘If only it was as easy to stop dreaming as it was to stop speaking’ – Basilia

Basilia is Petronelle’s daughter whom must portray herself as a mute. Which becomes more and more difficult when accusations begin to unsettle all the women. The era is one of female oppression and silence. The women may know more than they can let on. But as women they are forbidden from speaking out…

‘Anyone who speaks against their Bishop is either a lunatic or a heretic’

I found the whole combination of medieval history, Irish history and suspicion very dark and mysterious. The accusations of witchcraft and religious conflict of the era add to the authenticity. History proves, women rarely escaped punishment for their perceived ‘infractions’ against the church and society’s idea of common decency.

While the dialogue may not be 100% historically accurate. The title is one of fiction, it is written to be a fictional re-telling of an historical event. Unfortunately we will never be able to understand the full emotions of the women accused in the various witch trials in Ireland and the UK.
I really enjoyed Basilia’s characterisation and the ending left me open mouthed! 4*

NB
Niamh Boyce
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview No One Home by Tim Weaver 5* #DavidRaker #Series #Mystery #Thriller #NoOneHome

cover
No One Home by Tim Weaver ~ David Raker #10
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Nine neighbours gathered on Halloween.
But by the next morning, they had disappeared without a trace.
No bodies, no evidence, and no clues.

Two and a half years later, it remains a mystery.
Desperate for answers, the families of the missing turn to investigator David Raker.
How did an entire village vanish overnight?

And is he looking for nine missing people, or nine dead bodies?

My Review ~

‘Welcome to Black Gate’

No One Here is a terrific novel of suspense and mystery. It feels more like a standalone and can easily be read as one. However, the ending reminds us just why this is such a badass series! It is a cliff-hanger that has me buzzing to read the next title in the series.

‘It wasn’t just the Perry’s that had disappeared it was the whole viullage’

The title opens 2.5yrs after the disappearance of the families of Black Gate. An isolated and rural community, with the residents taking no money, passports or clothes. The local police and Raker are baffled as to how they’ve managed to simply disappear.
The missing residents are:
Chris & Laura Gibbs and their 19ur old son Mark.
Patrick & Francesca Perry.
Randolph Solomon (70yrs) & Emiline Wilson (64yrs)
John (68yrs) & Freda (67yrs) Davey.
All residents had been present that evening at the Gibbs family farm for a planned dinner party that evening. Did an organised killer strike? or did one of the group SNAP?

‘It didn’t look like a home anymore it looked like a mausoleum’
Raker begins by searching the premises of Black Gate and data checks on the financial backgrounds of the residents. But Whilst he finds some suspicious clues, it reaches to no concrete motive…

‘The crime itself was like oxygen. When it was there, a case and a story continued to breathe. When it wasn’t, everything withered and died’

There are alternative chapters set in LA following American cop Joline in 1985. An era of sexism within the LAPD. Joline is attempting to locate various criminals, as she has been nudged out of the largest police hunt… the police hunt for The Night Stalker!

There are some characters from Raker’s past involved in his investigations. We are reminded that not only is Raker an esteemed missing persons investigator. But that the cases are ingrained within his personality.
‘This wasn’t just a job to me missing people were my life’

A cracking new edition to the series and I CANNOT wait to read the next title in the series after that jaw-dropping ending!!!!!! 5*

‘Black Gate had started out as one of the strangest disappearances I’d ever come across’

TW
Tim Weaver
Website
The Authors missing persons Podcast
Twitter
My Review of I Am Missing and Q&A with Tim Weaver
My Review of You Were Gone

Anne Bonny #BookReview Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James 4* #Fantasy #BlackLeopardRedWolf

cover
Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

‘The child is dead. There is nothing left to know.’

Tracker is a hunter, known throughout the thirteen kingdoms as one who has a nose – and he always works alone. But he breaks his own rule when, hired to find a lost child, he finds himself part of a group of hunters all searching for the same boy. Each of these companions is stranger and more dangerous than the last, from a giant to a witch to a shape-shifting Leopard, and each has secrets of their own.

As the mismatched gang follow the boy’s scent from perfumed citadels to infested rivers to the enchanted darklands and beyond, set upon at every turn by creatures intent on destroying them, Tracker starts to wonder: who really is this mysterious boy? Why do so many people want to stop him being found? And, most important of all, who is telling the truth and who is lying?

Marlon James weaves a tapestry of breathtaking adventure through a world at once ancient and startlingly modern. And, against this exhilarating backdrop of magic and violence, he explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star Trilogy.

My Review ~

‘Not everything the eye sees should be spoken by the mouth’

In this highly anticipated fantasy novel, we follow the story of Tracker. His past is vague and as the reader, you become unsure who to trust. Is Tracker a trustworthy narrator of his own story?
There is a long and in-depth introduction to who Tracker is. His search for a young boy presumed to have been stolen by a witch, his body parts for sale.
But this title is so much bigger than just Tracker, prepare yourself for a shape-shifting leopard, a mysterious smoke girl and a giraffe boy…

“I need you to help me find a fly” he said
“Then consult the spider”

At times I will confess to feeling slightly ‘lost’ in the whole story. But after watching various interviews with the author, this is how we are supposed to be feeling and he reminds the reader it’s only #1 in a trilogy.
The title definitely picks up more after pg97.
Be aware, there are stories within stories and you have to pay attention!
I usually read at a pretty impressive speed of 100 pages an hour. However, with Marlon James’s titles I am much slower. It takes me (as an experienced reader of 300+ titles per year) a lot longer to digest. I’m unsure if this is due to the genre (I am a newb at fantasy), the dialogue and dialect or the intensity of the novel itself. Perhaps a combination of all of these points.

“You speak of witches?”

As said above this is #1 in the trilogy and we will be treated to three narrators and three variations of the same story. This is in keeping with African mythology and I have huge respect for the author in maintaining these levels of detail and accuracy within this trilogy. I found myself reading huge chunks of the story and then wanting to saviour it all, leaving gaps between reading and even reading entire novels in between.

Marlon James is a confident and skilled writer. 4* 

“The boy we seek. He is alive. And I know where he is”

mj
Marlon James
Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview Stasi 77 By @djy_writer David Young 5* #Historical #Thriller #ww2Fiction #KarinMuller #Stasi #Series @ZaffreBooks

cover
Stasi 77 by David Young ~ Karin Muller #4
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet

My Review ~

Stasi 77 Is #4 in the Karin Muller series. Each title offering up a unique historical theme. Stasi 77 is set between 1977 and 1943. The chapters alternate, which makes the reading feel so very intense. I found the 1943 scenes from the ww2 concentration camps particularly harrowing. But then they are historically accurate and superbly researched. The history of the ww2 concentration camps is supposed to be uncomfortable reading. If the author is doing their job correctly and bringing the horror of the camps alive on the page.

1977 – Schonefeld Airport – East Berlin
Major Karin Muller and Deputy Werner Tilsner from the serious crimes department arrive to find a victim dead from smoke inhalation. The victim is a leading local party official and is found in an abandoned old cotton mill (state owned). Who is the man? And why would somebody want to kill him?
As Karin investigates she uncovers the murder is not only deliberate but methodically planned. The victims fingernail marks leaving a sign of the sheer terror they knew before death brought salvation.

1943 – Oct – Scene from the camps
Three brothers Gregoire, Marcellin and (narrator) Philippe are transported from Buchenwald, in dire and bleak conditions…
‘I’m not a religious man. But if I was – and if I’d done some of the things that have been done to me and my compatriots and fellow prisoners – then I might imagine, one day entering hell. Today, I no longer need to imagine for I have arrived’ – Philippe
We come to learn the back story of the three brothers, who they are , why they are at the camps and the brutality of camp life they must endure.

Karin must navigate a secretive world. Where access to information depends on who you are and what position you hold. Karin comes to realise she doesn’t hold the relevant title or access to information on leading political figures and that continuing such leads, may put her own life in danger.

‘I never knew their names. But I will never, ever forget those faces’ – Philippe

When the ending finally approached and my time with Major Karin of the Kriminalpolizei was drawing to an end. I desperately wanted to read on…

‘My life is over, but I have memories to cherish, and they flicker like a well-worn newsreel’ – Philippe

5*

DY
David Young
Website
Twitter
My Review of A Darker State
An Extract of Stasi 77
My Review of Stasi Wolf and Q&A with David Young