Posts Tagged ‘Titan Books’

The Forgotten Girl by Rio Youers

May 23, 2019 - 12:00 am No Comments

The Forgotten Girl by Rio Youers

Published by Titan Books on 29th May 2019

352 pages

Harvey has a carefree life, spends his time playing his guitar, busking around Green Ridge. Then one morning he wakes up to go about his day and gets abducted. What did they want, they wanted Sally? But without any memory of Sally, is his life in danger.

Harvey was a gentle soul, and as he hunts for clues on the mystery girl, you learn so much about his upbringing. He was determined to get to the truth and even when the odds were against him, he never backed down.

Written from Harvey’s POV, you are taken on a mystery. At the start of the book you know as much about Sally as Harvey and as he finds out more information, so do you, giving you the feeling that you are on the journey with him. Whilst the relationship between him and his dad Gordon started off strained, as they spend more time together you can see that Harvey admired him. Gordon, a Vietnam Vet was injured on a tour of duty and whilst he was a bit eccentric, he loved his son and helped him throughout his search.

From the opening scenes where Harvey was being tortured for information, I knew I was in for a compelling read. This book brought out so many emotions, whether it was Harvey fighting for his life or receiving shocking news, I was committed to the story. The supernatural element of the story involving psychic ability made this story more than a regular mystery. Reading about the Spider” He crawled into my mind” ”He was inside me, scurrying along my memories and dreams” As I was reading these scenes, they felt so sinister, and you could imagine the creepy sensation having someone go through your mind looking for clues.

This was a story that I was rooting for the good guy, and a story that gave me a book hangover, whilst I read into the night. I didn’t want real life to interrupt my reading. This is a new to me author and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will look out for more from this author.

Blog tour for After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

February 25, 2019 - 6:04 am No Comments

After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

Published by Titan Books on 5th March 2019

448 pages

On the 11th August 1999, the UK experienced a full solar eclipse. I remember standing with my work colleagues outside the office looking up at the sky. This story captures that opportune moment, whilst everyone was excited about the eclipse, 11-year old Olive Warren was abducted. 16 years later and in the build-up to another eclipse, another girl has gone missing. Cassie Warren is still suffering from the guilt of losing her sister, now an unemployed journalist, can she find who took her sister and save the missing girl.

Cassie had a lot of issues, a failed relationship, anger problems that caused the loss of her job and the guilt of her missing sister. Added to this she was sole carer for her Gran who suffered from Dementia. Living back in the village of her sister’s disappearance brought back a lot of memories and whilst the majority were bad, she still had good thoughts of Marion, her 1st love.

From the moment Olive is abducted, you are drawn into a mystery that spans years. The story starts at a steady pace, but when another girl gets abducted, the pace quickens as you can sense Cassie’s urgency in solving the case. The character’s slowly come to life as you are reading and with such detailed descriptions, you would think it would be easy to guess who was behind it.  As the story is written in 3rd person, it enables you to follow the investigation step by step and you get to learn more about Cassie’s younger life. Inserted throughout the story, is Olive’s journal and the more you read, the more you find out what happened to Olive after the abduction and what she had to suffer. Cassie and Marion’s relationship rebuilds slowly and there were times that I just wanted to yell at Cassie to get her to tell Marion how she felt about her.

I love suspense thrillers that whilst the clues are there I was unable to guess who is behind it and this was one of those books, I think I went through the majority of the characters and still was not right. The story was well plotted and at the end, it was all tied up nicely and well explained.  

If you are looking for a thriller with twists that will keep you guessing then this is a book for you. This is a great debut novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

ANNO DRACULA 1899 AND OTHER STORIES by Kim Newman. Reviewed by Pauline Morgan

October 21, 2018 - 9:47 pm No Comments

ANNO DRACULA 1899 AND OTHER STORIES by Kim Newman. Titan Books, London, UK. £7.99 paperback. 369 pages. ISBN: 9781781165706
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

Many of the stories in this volume will show up the divide between the old guard of SF/Fantasy/horror readers and the younger generation. Kim Newman is very knowledgeable about films, particularly early ones in the horror genre. Many of his stories reference these.
This particular volume collects eighteen stories, originally published between 1988 and 2015, and the opening of his next novel. Some of these relate to the creations of other writers and are written in an accessible narrative style that reflects the Victorian era when a number of these originate. When you begin to read, make sure your sense of fun is turned up to maximum as Newman has certainly had fun creating many of the stories.
‘Famous Monsters’ is narrated by the off-spring of one of the Martians left behind after the War of the Worlds and relates his career as a film star. ‘Illimitable Dominion’ is also set against the background of the movies, in this case the company starts out making a film based on an Edgar Allan Poe story which is the start of a plague as the who industry becomes haunted by Poe references. The Poe in ‘Just Like Eddy’ is complaining that too many publishers are spelling his name wrong. ‘A Drug On The Market’ follows up the research Dr Jekyll did in creating his elixir, refining the recipe with the intention of making a mass market tonic. The problem is that the effects are addictive. There is always a question as to what happens to ‘monsters’ when they grow old. In ‘The Chill Clutch Of The Unseen’ it is an elderly invisible man who is in search of a last resting place.
Legendary characters turn up, years after they should have died. In ‘Red Jacks Wild’, the persona who was Jack the Ripper is rather miffed because, someone else is killing in a potential hunting ground (six tributes every three years is what Hecate has decreed for him to keep his youth). He is prepared to co-operate with the police to find this killer. The link between them is comics. A knowledge of the characters from various comics play important parts in ‘Übermensch!’ and ‘Coastal City’. In the former, the baby that became Superman landed in the forests of Bavaria and the superhero became a saviour in Germany. In the latter, what was New York has become the home of many superheroes and an attraction for supervillains.
‘The Snow Sculptures Of Xanadu’ and ‘Une Étrange Aventure De Richard Blaine’ delve into the world of film. The former relates to Citizen Kane and a certain Mr Welles visits Kane’s home of Xanadu to see the snow sculptures that haunt the building. The latter references Casablanca but is an earlier episode in the life of Rick Blaine who is coerced by the Germans to help hunt down legendary figures from Paris’s past. They are the soul of the city and the Nazi’s can only truly occupy the city when they have gone.
A few of the stories here are more traditional horror stories, in that film and comic references are kept to a minimum. ‘One Hit Wanda’ is the story of the only song that fans of
the Vanity Brothers want to hear so their stage set consists of playing it over and over again. In ‘The Intervention’ Keith does not admit to having any problems. This is unacceptable to everyone else so he needs to have the situation corrected. ‘Is There Anybody There?’ is a delightful story highlighting the consequences of being an internet predator. It is coincidence that Boyd lives in the same house as a deceased medium. Irene Dobson is the one who first realises that her ‘spirit guide’ is from the future and she takes advantage of Boyd’s knowledge.
Usually, when spirit worlds are in juxtaposition and crossover can occur, the perspective is from the contemporary side of the ‘veil’, but we are ‘The Pale Spirit People’ whose artefacts have disastrous consequences to the tribe that finds them.
There are two scripts within this volume. ‘Sarah Minds The Dog’ is an audio play in which the house/dog/teenager-sitter has the problem of dealing with the deceased dog, a beloved pet. While the start of it may be a kind of urban myth, it quickly descends into black humour. ‘Frankenstein On Ice’ relates the events after the Monster is unearthed and unfrozen in the Arctic wastes.
Along with Mary Shelley’s creation, other monsters are available. For those who like zombie apocalypses, ‘Amerikanski Dead At The Moscow Morgue’ will satisfy need for a short time. Blaming the plague of the West, the Amerikanski are the zombies which are rounded up, killed and taken to the morgue for examination. One of the researchers wants a live one, the director is remodelling a skull reputed to be Rasputin, and all the zombies start queueing up outside the building.
The volume ends with the opening segment of Yokai Town: Anno Dracula 1899,
Newman’s next novel involving vampires as a group of them seek refuge in Japan. It is a taster of what is to come.
Kim Newman is a skilled story teller and there is a lot to like in this volume. Recommended.

WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones. Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

October 21, 2018 - 9:43 pm No Comments

WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones. Titan Books, London, UK. £7.99 paperback. 508 pages. ISBN: 9781785655449
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

Folk tales and fairy tales have long held a place in popular culture. They were the stories told around fires on dark cold nights. Some contained hidden messages, especially for young girls, others were just to delight and rouse the audience. As many were not written down, it is often difficult to decide when the tale was created. These stories have been a source of inspiration for modern writers such as Angela Carter. The best of these adaptations take the heart of the story and reconfigure it for the modern reader. Others, less successfully, merely retell the tale.
In 1859, Christina Rossetti composed a poem called the Goblin Market. The elements within it were likely culled from earlier stories. S. Jae-Jones has taken the essence of Rossetti’s poem for Wintersong. It tells the story of the sisters Kathe and Liesl. Kathe, the younger, is wilful and feels that the world revolves around her. Liesl is the more practical of the two. They have a brother, Josef, who is a talented musician. At a time when women were not expected to have accomplishments, Liesl would compose scores for him. As the time approaches for Josef to perform for a master who their father hopes will take him on as an apprentice, the sisters head into the local town to collect a repaired bow for Josef to use. It is market day. While Liesl knows the danger of tasting the fruit the goblin men tempt them with, Kathe ignores her sister’s warnings. As a result, she will be claimed by the Goblin King as his bride. Unless Liesl can find a way to free her sister, this is a death sentence.
The setting for this story is unspecified. It is sometime in the past, in mid-Europe in a rural community. This makes it slippery, not knowing the context of the events. A hundred years after Rossetti’s poem was written, various critics have tried to analyse it, putting interpretations of it that may or may not have been there. Some suggest it is an exposition against Victorian marriage practices, others that it was an early feminist tract. Whatever the truth, Jae-Jones has missed the opportunity to lace her story with hidden meanings. True, Liesl is denied the opportunity to compose and play in her own right as this was regarded as a male preserve but this is not a startling observation.
If the reader is looking for a retelling of The Goblin Market, then they will be satisfied with this book. I would have liked to see more layers to the events.

Blog Tour for In Her Bones by Kate Moretti

October 12, 2018 - 4:15 am No Comments

Its my turn on the blog tour, so here is my review for this thriller.

In Her Bones by Kate Moretti
Published by Titan Publishing on 2nd October 2018
321 pages

Edie Beckett had a secret that not many people knew about. She worked for the city, was a recovering alcoholic, oh yeah, her mom was a serial killer. Whilst she did not want people to know about her mom, she had an unhealthy fascination with the families of her mom’s victims. You could say she was a stalker, but it all goes wrong when one of the family members is murdered and she is number 1 suspect. Can you find out the truth before she gets arrested?
Edie was damaged goods, she kept herself to herself and would not let anyone get close to her. The closes she got to friends was Detective Gil Brandt, the police officer in charge of capturing her mom who kept a close eye on her and Tim, her neighbour who wanted more than friendship. Her only family was her brother Dylan, although married with a child, he was barely living, and you could see the mental damaged caused by his mom.
As the story progress you get to find out more about Lilith life and crimes thanks to extracts from The Serrated Edge an unofficial biography of Lilith Wade. However, Edie’s childhood was shown as memories and soon becomes clear why Edie was apprehensive about having a life.
Whilst there was a lot of history in the book, the story never got confusing. This was a steady read, however I though at times it was a bit drawn out and I wanted Edie to get on with solving the crime. There was enough twists and red herrings to keep me guessing right up to the end, and I can honestly say I did not have a clue who did the murder.
The topic of mental health was written with sensitively and one scene jumped out at me when in The Serrated Edge extract the psychiatrist mentioned that whilst she had bipolar this was not the reason she was a murder, it was because she was a psychopath. This shows just how much more of an understanding we have with mental health.
There are a lot of thrillers on the market and as a reader of thrillers, I get bored when the storylines are similar. However, I can say that this had a unique storyline.
This was first book I have read by this author and for a thriller it ticked all the boxes.