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12/04/2021

Darke Matter by Rick Gekoski @RGekoski @LittleBrownUK @RandomTTours #DarkeMatter

 

Darke Matter by Rick Gekoski was published by Constable on 1st April 2021. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation. 
 
James Darke is dreading the first family Christmas without his wife Suzy. Engulfed by grief, his grudging preparations are interrupted by a persistent knock at the door. Questions about the circumstances of his wife's death force him to confront the outside world and what really happened to her.

Isolated, angry and diminished, James soon faces a crisis both legal and psychological. It will test his resolve and threaten his freedom.

Darke Matter is a brilliant, mordant examination of the nature and obligations of love. Both immensely sad and extremely funny, the story wrestles with one of the great moral issues of our time.

The surprising sequel to Darke . . . 
 
My Thoughts: 

Darke Matter is going to be a tricky book to review. It follows on from Darke but you do not need to have read that first. There is more character study and thoughtful examination of humanity rather than pace and drama. 
 
Dr James Darke is certainly in the running for the award for most memorable character. At the outset he has barricaded himself in and has no interest in seeing or speaking to anyone. He has given up on everyone and everything, even himself. Even his family drive him up the pole, he feels obligated at Christmas time. 
 
It soon becomes clear that James Darke is a bit older and his wife Suzy has died of cancer. He thinks if he stays in then no one can bother him and he won't have to consider what actually happened. 
 
The wit and humour that rolls off of every page is sublime and there are literary references throughout which were engaging and thoroughly entertaining and I am assuming a testament to the long career of the author surrounded by the written word.. It is a book that kept me on my toes and the sort of book that I would reread to go back over the wry and humorous bits I missed the first time around.

I fear that I haven't managed very well to do this one the justice it deserves but it is a moving portrayal of love and grief and exactly what it takes to let go. All wrapped up for us by the curmudgeonly and often cantankerous Dr James Darke. A character I will always remember.


About the Author: 
Rick Gekoski came from his native America to do a PhD at Oxford, and went on to teach English at the University of Warwick. In 1982, sick of lecturing, he decided to become a full-time rare book dealer, specialising in important twentieth-century first editions and manuscripts. He lives in London and spends time each year in Paris and New Zealand.

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.



The Imposter by Anna Wharton #TheImposter @whartonswords @MantleBooks @panmacmillan @RKbookpublicist @RandomTTours

 

A girl who went missing. A family who never gave up. A lonely young woman who only wanted to help . . .
Anna Wharton’s fiction debut, The Imposter, is a gripping story of obsession, loneliness and the lies we tell ourselves in order to live with ourselves . . .

 
Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening, she's happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away the news clippings from the safety of her desk.


But there's one story that she can't stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle - a girl, Chloe's age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.


When Chloe's Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl's family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she's read so much about. But it's not long until she realizes this couple aren't all they seem from the outside . . .


But with everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous?

My Thoughts:

On the surface it might sound like The Imposter is a straight forward story and even when I was reading I thought I understood what it was all about. However it soon became much more than I anticipated. The nuances of the plot slowly unravelling much like the mental health of some of the characters. 

Chloe works at a newspaper as an archivist. She seems pretty happy doing this and minding her own business. She has her Nan to take care of after all. Nan has got Alzheimers and is becoming more and more forgetful and difficult to look after. Chloe initially out of distraction I guess becomes obsessed with the story of a girl that went missing called Angie. The story soon becomes all Chloe can think about and if she can't reign it in she is going to lose everything. 

After Nan goes missing social services are wanting to put her in a home. Chloe feels a sense of abandonment and doesn't know what to do with herself, at this stage her behaviour also becomes more erratic and dangerous with even her best friend Hollie unable to get through to her. 

Call it fate or more like fate and a little bit of digging Chloe answers an advert to become a lodger in the home of Angie's parents. I can't possibly tell you what happens next though but I guess the question would be does Chloe get the happy ever after she so desperately seeks. 

I found this story whilst a mystery was so much more thought provoking than just the mystery element. The Imposter is a story about a search for a place to call home, a place to feel loved and wanted. It is also about the lengths people would go to be accepted. So well written, completely gripping and a conclusion that was satisfying and unexpected.

The tension built as every page turned and the complexities of the multi faceted characters is something to be admired. An assured and brilliant first novel.

About the Author:  

ANNA WHARTON has been a print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years, writing for newspapers including The Times, Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Grazia and Red. She was formally an executive editor at The Daily Mail. Anna has ghostwritten four memoirs including the Sunday Times bestseller Somebody I Used To Know and Orwell Prize longlisted CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today. The Imposter is her first novel.

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour. 




05/04/2021

Repentance by Eloísa Díaz #Repentance @eloisaescribe @wnbooks @RandomTTours

 

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson on 4th February 2021. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation. 

Buenos Aires, 1981.

 

Inspector Alzada’s work in the Buenos Aires police force during the Dirty War exposes him to the many realities of life under a repressive military regime: desperate people, angry people and - most of all - missing people.

 

Personally, he prefers to stay out of politics, favouring a steady job and domesticity with his wife Paula over the path taken by his hot-headed revolutionary brother, Jorge.  But when Jorge is disappeared, Alzada knows he will stop at nothing to recover him.

 

Buenos Aires, 2001.

 

Argentina is in the midst of yet another devastating economic crisis.

 

Alzada is still an inspector. He’s burnt out, frustrated that he hasn’t been able to affect real change, and convinced of the futility of yet another doomed Argentinian attempt at democracy. This time he is determined to remain a detached bystander, to keep his head down in anticipation of a peaceful retirement with Paula and the nephew they’ve raised together.

 

However, his plans are once again derailed as the riots gain traction and a young woman’s dead body lands in the dumpster behind the morgue on the same day that a woman from one of the city’s wealthiest families goes missing.

 

Past and present collide in this sharp, darkly funny debut crime novel set during turbulent times in Argentina. Capturing the spirit of Buenos Aires, the desire for change and the protagonist’s moral dilemmas, this is crime writing with real atmosphere and a cast of characters to fall in love with.
 
My Thoughts: 

Repentance is a fascinating novel about Inspector Joaquín Alzada, his family and colleagues but far more importantly a novel that shines a light on the history of Argentina. In a dual narrative the reader gets to learn about the period of state terrorism in 1981 and the economic crisis and uprising in 2001. I willingly admit to not knowing anything about the events that took place and it was equally fascinating, scary and jaw dropping to read about, particularly having happened in such relatively recent times. 

Inspector Alzada is well due his retirement but unfortunately the money is not there for his pension. Disillusioned and confined to a desk job, he feels saddled when a new partner called Estrático joins. His partner seems to want to follow the rules to the letter something that seems to rile Alzada. I think that Alzada immediately and unfairly writes his partner off, especially as events unfold...

Amongst the chaos the body of a female turns up in a wheelie bin at the same time a female is reported as missing. Missing from one of the richest families in Buenos Aires. Mystery surrounds whether these things are linked but this book is about so much more than this as a tension builds and sense of unease to match the climate spreads across the pages. 

You see the events of 2001 have happened before, Alzada lives in fear of history repeating itself with his nephew and the impact that can cause. In 1981 his brother Jorge who was a revolutionary and an activist was disappeared. Events of which I found truly shocking in every way. 

The ending to this book seemed very abrupt and final. It left me wanting more in a good way. I could have read so much more about Argentina, Inspector Alzada and his cohorts. I really hope there is more from this author in the future. 

Repentance is important, memorable and recommended by me.

About the Author: 

Eloísa Díaz is a Spanish writer and lawyer living in Madrid. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University in 2013. Díaz’s parents emigrated from Argentina to Spain to escape the dictatorship, her father arriving when he was just a child and her mother, as a teenager. REPENTANCE, which Díaz wrote in English, is her debut novel. You can find the author on Twitter @eloisaescribe


 




02/04/2021

The April Dead By Alan Parks #TheAprilDead @AlanJParks @blackthornbks #HarryMcCoy @RandomTTours

 

Published 25th March 2021 by Black Thorn Books. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the blog tour. The April Dead by Alan Parks is the fourth book to feature Harry McCoy. The previous titles are: 

Bloody January (Book 1)
February's Son (Book 2)
Bobby March Will Live Forever (Book 3)


NO ONE WILL FORGET . . .

 
In a grimy flat in Glasgow, a homemade bomb explodes, leaving few remains
to identify its maker.


Detective Harry McCoy knows in his gut that there’ll be more to follow. The
hunt for a missing sailor from the local US naval base leads him to the
secretive group behind the bomb, and their disturbing, dominating leader.


On top of that, McCoy thinks he’s doing an old friend a favour when he
passes on a warning, but instead he’s pulled into a vicious gang feud. And in
the meantime, there’s word another bigger explosion is coming Glasgow’s
way – so if the city is to survive, it’ll take everything McCoy’s got . . .


My Thoughts: 

 The April Dead is my second instalment of Detective Harry McCoy as I read and reviewed Bobby March Will Live Forever last month. I was so looking forward to returning to the streets of Glasgow and I was not disappointed. 

Reading this series is so immersive. I instantly felt transported to April 1974 in Glasgow. If it is at all possible the streets seemed that little bit seedier and dirtier this time around. Bombs are going off and Harry McCoy knows this is only the beginning. So at the outset when a bomb maker has met their own maker Harry has got his work cut out once again. He needs to put a stop to this before is goes too far.

At the same time a missing sailor leads Harry McCoy to a US naval base. Is it possible that the bombs and the missing person are interlinked? Or is Harry McCoy sailing a bit close to the wind himself. He has got an ulcer and has been told to stop smoking and drinking, to take care of himself. I don't think that is going to happen somehow. 

Whilst all of the above is going on Harry McCoy is still mixing with gangs. His old pal Stevie Cooper has just got out of prison. As always nothing is ever simple and I adore the way that Harry McCoy treads the invisible line between right and wrong, moral and immoral, polis or corrupt. He is quite simply one of my favourite detectives of all time. I would far rather have him in my corner than against me. He is memorable and incredibly likeable despite his flaws. I very much enjoyed the interaction between Harry and his partner Wattie too.

I welcomed this return to the streets of Glasgow with open arms and it did not disappoint. In fact I enjoyed this one even more than Bobby March. I love the way the story developed and the strands unravelled. Alan Parks is a magnificent story teller.

 I will definitely be going back to buy the first two so I can say that I have read them all. I can't wait for the next one. My only disappointment is that I don't know when that will be. 

 Highly recommended, so good!

About the Author: 

Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut
novel Bloody January was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature
Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.
The April Dead is the fourth Harry McCoy thriller.

You can find the author on Twitter: @AlanJParks

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour. 




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