Posts Tagged ‘Thriller’

Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney

May 21, 2018 - 5:35 am No Comments

My turn for the book tour for Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney. Learn more about book and my review of a vampire in Liverpool.

Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney
Published by YouCaxton Publications on 2nd October 2015
200 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Melville was a vampire, but if you walked past him in the street, you would not know. Living in Liverpool, trying to stay “teetotal” he lived an unassuming life, but his past is trying to catch up with him.
I have read quite a few stories about vampires and they all have one thing in common. They are strong beings trying to inforce their power either by killing each other or by turning their victims. Melville was different, a quiet man who just wanted to live his life. To make his life more complicated, he had fell off the wagon, had a body to dispose of and had a new love interest. Added to the story is Lathom a retired hitman turned antique dealer, Kelly, a man with no morals with a past of his own, Peter, recently bereaved who talks to an angel, Catherine, a woman out for revenge and Sheryl, the larger than life love interest.
Reading this story you can tell that it was well plotted with only a handful of characters their stories were interlinked and each character you learn about in detail. Reading a story about an immortal, there is a lot of life history and throughout you get to know more about Melville and to say he lived an eventful life is an understatement. There was always something happening which kept me turning the pages to find out what was coming next. Kelly has some of the bloodiest scenes and there was one of the most unique ways of escaping that I have read. Scattered throughout there are some funny moments thanks to Frank the pigeon come angel and I laughed out loud when he described religion to different chains of fast food restaurants.
The author takes the vampire myths and throws them out the window and it was a refreshing change to read something different, even down to the way Melville was turned. Liverpool is a place I have never visited, however with the details in the book Ian McKinney is an ambassador for the city full of history.
With its mixture of historical, thriller and vampires it makes it attractive to a vast amount of readers. Finishing on a cliff hanger and a box of chocolates, this was a great start to a series which has got me hooked

19 Abercromby Square: Owned by the Chavasse Family and previously the Confederate banker Priorleau 

Now from the man himself

SCOUSE GOTHIC: Facts and Fiction
When reading fiction, I’ve always found it more believable if it’s based on fact, whether that is a real event, or even a real place. Consequently, when I began writing SCOUSE GOTHIC, I was determined that all the events would take place in actual locations.
Although I was born and bred in Liverpool I hadn’t lived in the city for many years. However, a combination of events meant that I had access to a new apartment in the city centre for a few months. It was during this time that I wrote the majority of SCOUSE GOTHIC.
While spending weekends there, I began to explore the city, and was constantly surprised by how much it had changed – but also, by how much of it was totally unchanged from my youth. Many of the old buildings had survived redevelopment and many had found new uses. As I walked through the streets I imagined my vampire, Melville walking the same streets and remembering his past lives in the city.
The apartment I was using was high up in a new development and overlooking Chavasse Park. I’d spend many hours looking out over the city, trying to imagine how Melville would feel, watching people in the park far below. Would he feel unconnected to them and their lives? After all, he is always an outsider, unable to put down permanent roots or have long-term relationships. How do you explain not growing older? Or the occasional missing person? No doubt he would watch individuals in the park and think them insignificant and their lives worthless. Perhaps considering them not as human beings, but prey – fresh blood to feed his addiction.
As the book progressed, I introduced more characters who all had their own personal relationship with the city. In each case I began to develop their character by walking in their shoes. Each location was recorded on a map which I reproduced in the book. I also took photographs as an aide-memoir when writing scenes at a later date. I’ve since posted these on the ‘Scouse Gothic Books’ page on Facebook, so that readers who are unfamiliar with Liverpool can see the actual locations used in the books.
I discovered that many of the buildings that Melville would have known from his previous visits to Liverpool in 1862 and 1914 have now found others uses: a church is now a bar; a dock is now a tourist attraction etc. This gave me the opportunity to explore Liverpool’s past, alongside that of Melville’s.
It started with the park I stared down on from my apartment, Chavasse Park. Why was it called that? I found out that it’s named after Noel Chavasse, a local hero from the First World War. (He was a Doctor who won the VC twice, the second posthumously) I imagined that Melville would have known him and served with him, called him a friend. Which is why he refers to it as ‘Noel’s Park’, and that in turn triggers a memory about the King’s Liverpool Regiment and 1914.
I then discovered that at that time, the Chavasse family lived in a house in Abercromby Square, and that had originally been owned by a man called Priorleau. In 1862, Priorleau was the banker for a Confederate conspiracy to secretly build warships in Liverpool to fight in the American Civil War. This led me to the story of a Confederate warship called the Florida and another story from Melville’s past.
As I walked the streets, I’d see a date on a building and wonder what it used to be? The more I delved into the history of Liverpool, the more strange coincidences I discovered. It was as though every building had a secret it was hiding. Just like my characters in SCOUSE GOTHIC, who each appear one thing to the outside world, but who are all something else entirely. Something much darker and much more complex.
Perhaps Liverpool had ceased to be merely a location for my characters to inhabit, but a character in its own right?
Which is fact and which fiction? I’ll leave that to my readers to decide.

Ghost in the Park(Unruly Ghost Mysteries Book 1) by Julianne Q Johnson

March 15, 2018 - 10:22 pm No Comments

Ghost in the Park (Unruly Ghost Mysteries Book 1) by Julianne Q Johnson
Published by JQJ Books on 21 August 2017
282 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Professor of English literature, Bryce Campbell has a gift. Whilst he writes bodice ripping stories to top up his wages, he also is a clairaudient, a person that hears the dead. When one of his students becomes the 6th victim of a serial killer, Bryce gets himself involved in the case.. To make his life more complicated, he attracts Elizabeth, an unusual ghost who can not remember how she died. With his special talents can Bryce help his best friend and lead detective Chase Robinson catch the killer and free Elizabeth’s spirit.
From page 1 I liked Bryce, he was comfortable with his abilities and never once thought himself a freak. Although he comes across as happy with his life, his meeting with Elizabeth shows exactly how lonely he was and the further you read his story, you understand why. With the additional visits from Grandpa Harris and Todd made it feel like a dysfunctional family. Elizabeth was a feisty teenager and having her story run along the serial killer story gave it some light relief.
The serial killer’s method of kill was surprising gruesome as the majority of this book read like a cozy. The relationship between Bryce and Chase was like brothers and when Elizabeth came along , was like the addition of a irritating little sister. There was some comedy moments when the ghosts started to act up.
As a British reader and reading about a British main character, I enjoyed that the author threw a few correct English phrases into the story and whilst Bryce liked his tea that was the only British stereotype.
I enjoyed this story so much I have one clicked book 2, a refreshing read

Room 119: The Whitby Trader by TF Lince

February 1, 2018 - 11:34 pm No Comments

Room 119: The Whitby Trader by TF Lince
Published 14th December 2017
280 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Dean Harrison was a successful trader based in London. Like most traders, he was cocky when he was making money and the envy of many. Like stock and shares Dean had his up and downs, and after one devastating error that was similar to the Barings bank incident, Dean’s life began falling apart. At his lowest point, when he thought it could not get any worse, a chance meeting with an elderly couple takes him to a special place and a quest he would never forget.
At the start of the story I could not take to Dean, he was slightly arrogant. Whilst he was a family man and wanted to do the best for his family, he went about it the wrong way. Staying away from his family, being one of the boys and flashing his cash. However, his actions laid the base for the rest of his story. As the story continued the old northern Dean slowly began to surface.
At the start I found the pace a bit slow, as there was a lot of background information. However, after Dean’s mistake, the paced picked up and I read it quite quickly. The addition of fantasy enabled the author to tell a story that was different. There were a few times that I thought I knew where the story was going and each time I was wrong. The minor characters each had their own story to tell, whether it was Benjie the Clown or Bill the ticket collector. There were a few surprises in the book which left me stunned and a few scenes that were tear jerkers. I enjoyed this book and hope that the author brings more books out with the mixture of genres.

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

What Hides Within blog tour

January 17, 2018 - 7:29 pm 1 Comment

I have been lucky to be involved on the blog tour of What Hides Within by Jason Parent. Here is my review of  the book that is not just about a spider

What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Published by Bloodshot Books 15th December 2017
352 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Clive was a regular Joe, Mr average, he had a 9-5 job, a friend with benefits and a strange roommate. However, after a canoe trip and an encounter with a spiderweb, he picked up a hitchhiker, who changed the person he was.
Reading about the change to Clive, showed what a boring life he had led. He became more confident and readdressed his life. He was not now the guy who people ignored when they walked past, although that could be because he was talking to the voice in his head.
With only a handful of characters, it gives you the chance to know them in depth. Each character had their quirkiness, Kevin and his love of Hannah Montana, Felix and his love of forgotten porn, Morgan and her love of Clive and Judith just wanted friends.
The story had 3 stories running concurrent, Clive’s and his relationship with Chester, a murdered young girl and a mad bomber. Sound confusing but it wasn’t, all the stories interlinked to make a gripping read. Having read other books by Jason Parent, I knew to expect twist and turns, he always has a knack of letting you think you know what is going to happen and then takes you by surprise with the outcome. Some of the one liners especially from Chester had me laughing out loud as she had a dry sense of humour. The humour helped break up some of the tragic scenes, especially when it involved young Victoria.
Whilst this is horror, it had a mystery/thriller feel to it and unless you do not like spider, you will enjoy this read.