Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Literary Stalker by Roger Keen

April 11, 2018 - 7:28 pm 2 Comments

Today is my turn to review this book

Literary Stalker by Roger Keen
Published by Darkness Visible Publishing on 18th September 2017
229 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

The majority of us live on social media and it is one of the best ways to spread the word about what you are doing. But what happens when an innocent comment is taken the wrong way or someone does not like your work. Nick Chatterton, an Indie author uses his personal experience on social media to pen The Facebook Murders.
Nick is an aspiring author, working the horror scenes whilst connecting with other authors and a major user of social media. Having published a few short stories, he was looking for that next big novel. An idea came to him when he re-watched Theatre of Blood and the novel was born Using Jago as Nick’s main character showed how vindictive and petty Nick was. How he fixated on certain Facebook comments and wanted to seek revenge. However he had a dark side which showed itself when he was conjuring up the murders, whilst they were based on scenes from films, you could feel his blood lust and knew he enjoyed them too much. Whilst were reading Jago’s story, we also get to know about Nick’s life, his doomed relationship with Robin and his obsession with acclaimed write Hugh Canford-Eversleigh, which over the years developed into stalking.
Reading a story in a story may sound confusing but it wasn’t as the usage of 3rd POV helped. I got to grips pretty quick with the swapping over between Nick and Jago story. Whilst reading the story you learn in detail what each victim had done to upset Nick and I kept imagining Nick/Jago to insert a villainous laugh every time he killed someone. I got drawn into this story as I was waiting for Nick’s evil side to be revealed and as the story was coming to an end I was not disappointed. The story was complete and there was no unanswered question. This is a different type of crime story to what I usually read and I enjoyed it a lot. One thing to take note is to be careful what you put on social media as Jago may be just around the corner.

Fifty Years of Fear by Ross Greenwood

January 31, 2018 - 11:29 pm No Comments

Fifty Years of Fear by Ross Greenwood
Published 1st October 2017
365 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

You are introduced to Vincent at the age of 14, a difficult age for most teenagers. Even more difficult if you are timid and anxious. Adding to his fears was his dad who had suffered a stroke. Following Vincent for the next 36 years whilst he battles his fears and finds out what type of man he is.
Vincent is a character that if you saw him in the street, you would just walk past him. Whilst he was a bit a loner, there was times where he came out of his shell and made friends. Reading those scenes, you could see how free he was and showing that he didn’t have a care in the world. Watching his back or sometimes causing the trouble was his older brother Frank. Frank came across as a thug, always getting into trouble and rebelling against the rules, even being blamed for the disappearance of a school boy who bullied Vincent
The author tackled a few difficult subjects and whilst you are reading this story, it makes you think. The story showed the stigma that goes with people who have a mental health and the fear that families have talking about it. Whilst this is an emotional book there is some humour usually from Vincent and one of my favourite scenes was when he met Betty and Arnold at the hotel in Cromer. Even now after I have finished this book Vincent is still on my mind, did he do what he was reported to have done, would he had been different if they had talked about mental health when he was younger. This is a stand-alone story that will take you on an emotional journey. This was my first book by this author and I have already downloaded some of his other books to read

The Real Town Murders by Adam Roberts

September 6, 2017 - 6:26 pm No Comments

The Real-Town Murders by Adam Roberts

Published by Gollancz on 24th August 2017

230 pages

Reviewed by Chris Stocks

Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, where most people spend all their time in a fully immersive successor to the internet, known as Shine. However, Alma’s partner has been infected with a genetically-engineered lipid phage, which renders her bed-bound. Alma must treat her within a five-minute window every four hours or she will die. Consequently, Alma is one of the few people still living wholly in the real world.

Alma is assigned to a murder investigation at an automated car factory. A body has been found in the boot of a newly assembled car – though the CCTV footage shows there was no body present at any point in the assembly process.

She is then warned off the case by a government agent, who is subsequently killed. Now a suspect, Alma must go on the run, evade arrest, avoid the machinations of political conspirators and solve the impossible-seeming murder – as well as return home every four hours to treat her partner! This latter requirement adds an extra layer of dramatic tension to what might otherwise have turned into an extended series of chase sequences.

The near-future setting is convincing. The streets are almost deserted, as most people live in the Shine. Most pedestrians are somnambulant figures dressed in Mesh suits that take their bodies for walks to avoid muscular atrophy, whilst their minds are in the Shine – a high-tech version of The Wrong Trousers! AIs and nanotechnology are used to keep the country ticking over, but the overall impression is of decay. Indeed, the underlying political conspiracy involves different government factions who either want everyone to live permanently in the Shine or to tempt Shine users back to the real world.

This is an exciting, fast-paced and often darkly comic thriller, with all the twists and turns of an Alfred Hitchcock film, albeit in a futuristic setting. Indeed, there are deliberate nods to Hitchcock throughout. Some chapter titles allude to Hitchcock films – “Dial ‘C’ for Caring”, “Strangers on the Terrain”, for example. There are also more overt references. One passage features an attack by a swarm of small drones that could have come straight out of The Birds. Another is a tense chase scene set amongst the nanobot-sculpted faces of famous Britons (William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill etc.) that now adorn the White Cliffs of Dover – an allusion to the Mount Rushmore scene in North by North-West. The great director himself even makes a small cameo – as is only right and proper!

There are also numerous references to other works. Alma at one point gets into an amusing argument with the low-grade AI running her front door about whether it should admit her or not. This reminded me of a very similar scene from the Philip K. Dick novel, Ubik. I also spotted passing references to Catch 22, The Princess Bride and The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy amongst others – and I’m sure I missed many more.

In summary, I really enjoyed Adam Robert’s latest novel and can thoroughly recommend it. It is an intriguing thriller as well as referencing enough Hitchcock films and SF classics to satisfy the discerning fan of both genres.

By Any Means Necessary by Stephen Sayers

April 15, 2017 - 5:53 pm No Comments

By Any Means Necessary by Stephen Sayers

Published by Britain’s Next Seller on 9th December 2016

242 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After losing his mom at an early age, Tommy Myers followed 3 simple rules: Don’t let fear rule his life, fight for those he cared about and never stop unless someone kills him. Knock him down and he would get up fighting. Everything with his life was going to plan, his boxing career was on the rise, he was best friends with his stepsister and he thought nothing could go wrong. However, fate had other plans and after a vicious attack on his sister, Tommy sticking to his rules ends up in prison. Set in Newcastle upon Tyne, we follow Tommy over 3 generations, and see what choices he makes.

The instant, I was introduced to Tommy, I took to him straightaway. A loveable rogue, he earnt respect because he had morals. Sticking to his rules gave him a sense of purpose and even though he was sometimes on the wrong side of the law, he was never greedy and only used violence if necessary. As family come first we get to know Tommy’s family really well. Donna the stepmom, held the family together at their darkest times and although it must have been hard stepping into Mary’s shoes, she always supported the family and never turned her back on them. Karen, Tommy stepsister vowed never to be the victim again and although she had bouts of depression, once she had a project to keep her busy, she put 100% effort into it, not afraid to inflict pain on the male population, she was the one that people under-estimated. Tommy’s nemesis from the moment he was locked up was Jack Hudson, ruling the criminal activity in Newcastle, with the help of bent police office Detective Patrick Campbell, he wants to get revenge on Tommy.

From the prologue, you know that this is going to be an intense story. Set in the criminal world, you expect scenes that are dark and graphic, but each scene is relevant to the story. The author has not just written the scenes for shock sake. The author has your emotions on a rollercoaster, the twists he adds to the story makes it a page turner and you do not know where the author will take you next. I enjoyed reading about the 80s as being a teenager in that decade reminded me about the fashion and music that was around and with some of the comments Tommy made, made me smile to myself.

I was shocked to find that this was his novel as it was written so well. For lovers of the true gritty thrillers, then this is the book for you.  Martina Cole needs to watch out as there is a new author close on her heels.

Death Stalks Kettle Street by John Bowen

November 22, 2016 - 8:14 pm No Comments

Death Stalks Kettle Street by  John Bowen
Page Count: 374
Release date: 9th December 2016
Reviewed by Chris Amies

51twfa4udcl-_sy346_

Greg Unsworth has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Massive, almost-crippling OCD that makes it difficult for him to get out of the house and he has to count backwards from 100 before he can cross the road. His world is circumscribed by drawing comic-book characters, making trips to the local shop, and occasional excursions to the city.
Beth Grue is an aspiring writer. She has Cerebral Palsy but doesn’t let that stand in her way. More of an issue for her at the moment is that the teacher of her Creative Writing class assumes wrongly she’ll be an easy catch.
And in the town they live in, the suburban peace is about to get broken by a series of inexplicable and vicious murders.
I enjoyed this novel. I felt the narrative bowled along. The murders are intriguing and Bowen sets us up from the first to expect what is known as a ‘cosy’ … but then there is nothing cosy about murder, and it has ramifications, not least in this case where Greg seems to be being set up to take the blame. Teaming up with Beth the two of them set off to find out what is going on. There are suitable blind alleys and red herrings and characters who could easily have done it, but did they? The reader has to read and find out.
The two protagonists having respectively OCD and CP was intriguing and convincing especially about the question which all must be asked, without actually saying it: What’s wrong with you? Both are tough characters in their way and their relationship develops interestingly. The secondary characters are well-rounded: throughout there is a theme of people not being reducible to a word or an adjective: that one story tends to become the only story. Your adjective is not your definition or your limitation. A similar lack of definition extends to the novel’s setting: the characters’ home town (‘Northcroft’) is likely Northfield, a southern suburb of Birmingham, and the ‘city’ is clearly Brum, including a good description of the new Library. They aren’t named as such though which allows the writer to take liberties with their geography.
There is no supernatural element to the story, unlike some of John Bowen’s other work. Instead “Death Stalks Kettle Street” marks a strong and confident turn towards the detective genre.