All posts by Abbie

Review – The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

The Blurb

One in 100 of us is a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. We all know them: these charmers, liars and manipulators. The ones who send prickles up the back of our neck.

These people hide in plain sight. They can be teachers, doctors, lawyers, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family.

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear?

My Thoughts

I was incredibly eager to read the second novel by Deborah O’Connor as I loved her debut My Husband’s Son (check out my review HERE) and I was immediately attracted to The Dangerous Kind’s title and cover.

Jessamine Gooch presents a radio show that examines the lives of convicted killers and this prompts a woman to approach her outside the studio one day to seek her help in finding her missing friend, Cassie.

Told through the different narratives of Jessamine, Sarah and Jitesh in the present day, and Rowena in the past, O’Connor seamlessly takes the reader from one to the other and back again. The plotting is perfect as O’Connor keeps us guessing until the shocking finale when the complex plot is cleverly pulled together.

The Dangerous Kind is a very topical and current read and O’Connor’s experience in the world of television comes through in this novel as she deals with situations that recently came to light and rocked the world of British TV, celebrity and journalism. Be warned – the central premise does not make for comfortable reading as she touches on issues that repulse and upset. There currently seems to be a real thirst for true crime and O’Connor has taken this current craze and created a compelling plot around it. Her use of up-to-date mediums move the plot along and aid in the development of her characters.

I loved the numerous themes that run throughout The Dangerous Kind. They are all grounded in reality and therefore incredibly disturbing. I guarantee that you will be thinking long and hard about this book each time you put it down for a break from reading and then again after you have completed it. O’Connor examines the issues of social media and its potential impact in the wrong hands and the destructive effect secrets have on those who harbour them. What I found the most disturbing and unnerving, however, was O’Connor’s portrayal of the sense of security money and position give to some people – literally resulting in them thinking that they can get away with whatever they want, no matter how deprived.

Just like she did in My Husband’s Son, O’Connor has once again delved into the darkest echelons of the human psyche and behaviour and the result is brilliant. If you like your novels dark and disturbing then The Dangerous Kind is a must read for you.

And remember – it’s the people you know, not the strangers around you, who often turn out to be the most dangerous kind!

The Dangerous Kind was published on ebook on 11 April 2019 and is published on hardback on 16 May 2019 by Zaffre.

Review – Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

The Blurb

A missing child
A family in denial
Six witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

On Christmas Eve in 1988, seven-year-old Alfie Marsden vanished in the dark Wentshire Forest Pass, when his father, Sorrel, stopped the car to investigate a mysterious knocking sound. No trace of the child, nor his remains, have ever been found. Alfie Marsden was declared officially dead in 1995.

Elusive online journalist, Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the disappearance, interviewing six witnesses, including Sorrel and his ex-partner, to try to find out what really happened that fateful night. Journeying through the trees of the Wentshire Forest – a place synonymous with strange sightings, and tales of hidden folk who dwell there, he talks to a company that tried and failed to build a development in the forest, and a psychic who claims to know what happened to the little boy…

Intensely dark, deeply chilling and searingly thought provoking, Changeling is an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, taking you to places you will never, ever forget.

My Thoughts

If you go down to the woods today…

Changeling is the third in Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series and it is a series of books that just goes from strength to strength. I adored the first two – Six Stories and Hydra – and I adored this one too. Wesolowski manages to provide us with something different every time and there appears to be no limits to his imagination.

Again we follow Scott King and his Six Stories podcast as he investigates the disappearance of seven-year-old Alfie Marsden on Christmas Eve 1988. Alfie vanished along the Wentshire Forest Pass while travelling with his father. King speaks to six witnesses who may be able to shed light on what happened to Alfie that night.

Written with Wesolowski’s now trademark darkly beautiful writing, Changeling has all you would expect from this series. He explores the darkest and most topical of issues leaving you thinking about the book long after you have finished reading it and does it in a way that chills you to the bone. You are immediately dragged into the story and unable to turn away, although you may feel you want to in order to compose yourself. As he takes you through the inevitable folklore that surrounds Wentshire Forest, it becomes difficult to determine what is real and what is down to the power of suggestion and yet beyond this is something that is even darker.

Relationships and what makes a good parent are themes that are explored throughout Changeling and it will have you questioning your moral code and what you believe is right. With the most shocking of all the endings so far, Changeling left me reeling. While it can easily be read as a standalone, I would urge you to read the other tow books in the series first.

If you haven’t yet discovered this talented author make sure you do quickly. Changeling is another incredible book and has to be on your 2019 TBR list. Eerie and enthralling, Wesolowski continues to startle with his third book.

Published on eBook on 15 November 2018 and paperback on 24 January 2019 by Orenda Books, you can get your copy HERE.


2019 Reading Challenge – A book with a one-word title.

Double Review – Murder at the Book Club and The Quiet Ones by Betsy Reavley

Betsy Reavley has been on my radar (and my Kindle) for far too long and given that I have had a bit more time to read my own book purchases, I took the opportunity to read a couple of her books over the Christmas period. So, today I bring you two reviews. And despite being by the same author, the books couldn’t be more different!

Murder at the Book Club

The Blurb

Imagine nine women meeting. Tea and cake are on the coffee table. They’ve come together to share their love of books. They are friends. They trust each other. It’s a happy gathering. What could be more harmless?
Then scratch the surface and look closer.
One is lonely. One is desperate and one of them is a killer.
When the body of a woman is discovered on a Cambridge common, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called in to investigate. But the motive behind the crime isn’t clear… And it all leads back to a book club.
As the lies, volatile friendships and tension among the group rise to the surface, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer must work out the motive and track down a cold-blooded killer. But just when they think they are on the right track, a twist in the case throws them off course…

My Thoughts

With the promise of a murder, a book club and a cake on the front cover, how could anyone resist reading this book? Known for her hard-hitting crime novels, Betsy Reavley has taken a different direction with Murder at the Book Club which fits more into the cosy crime genre.

When one of the members of a book club is found dead on a common in Cambridge, all eyes turn to the somewhat disparate group of women who meet regularly to discuss books. As DCI Barrett and DI Palmer investigate, Murder at the Book Club becomes part murder mystery and part, often tongue in cheek, look at human behaviour.

Murder at the Book Club relies heavily on character and part of the joy of this book is the sneaky peek we get into each of the suspects’ lives and mentality. I love trying to figure out what makes people tick and this aspect of the book appealed to me greatly. I was reminded of the people and dynamics that I have come across in various social media groups and at times it had me giggling and nodding my head. By moving it offline and taking it into the real word, Reavley has been able to further explore the idea of what can happen when a group of people who have only one ting in common come together … and it can be deadly!

Unlike in a lot of crime fiction, the focus in Murder at the Book Club is not on the detectives trying to solve the case and I really liked this. Reavley has written an old-school murder mystery in which we rely on the personalities and motivations of the characters alongside policing techniques, with the emphasis being on the characters. As none of them are particularly likeable, they are all potential suspects and this keeps the reader firmly on their toes.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, Murder at the Book Club is brilliant if you are looking for a crime fiction with a lighter edge. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and the observations of life, friendship and social groups will have you both nodding in agreement and, at times, giggling. A great read to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon.

Published on 6 August 2018 by Bloodhound Books. Grab your copy HERE.

And my second review is of The Quiet Ones which is about as far as you can get in tone and style from Murder at the Book Club!

The Quiet Ones

The Blurb

What if you didn’t know where you came from?
Who am I?
This is the question Josie asks herself when a mysterious letter arrives. Then a brutal murder turns her world upside down.
To make sense of the present, Josie must go back to the start.
But who can she trust when no one knows the truth?
And who is the sinister stranger obsessed with her life?
The past is catching up with Josie and the consequences will be fatal …

My Thoughts

I have heard a lot about Betsy Reavley and her books being disturbing and given I read a fair amount of crime fiction and psychological thrillers I thought how dark and disturbing can they actually be? Well, they can be VERY dark! Having been through a spate of guessing the outcome and twists in a lot of psychological thrillers I have read recently, The Quiet Ones proved to be the exception as it caught me totally off guard.

The Quiet Ones is very much a slow burner as it focuses on the life of writer Josie Brewers and her husband Charlie. Told through the perspective of Josie for the majority of the book, we get to know her quite well. Her life is a bit of a mess and Reavley’s portrayal of a woman on the edge of unravelling, dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic childhood and verging on alcoholism is very well done. Now, I like this in a novel as I love to get right to the heart of a character, especially a complex character but it may not appeal to everyone initially. What I would say, however, is bear with it as the ending is worth waiting for and what becomes before starts to make sense. A murder then rocks Josie’s world completely off its axis and things become even more uncontrollable for her.

Chapters are interspersed with the voice of an unknown character, a voice full of malevolence which is really chilling. This adds to the tension as the reader tries to figure out who this person is. Throughout The Quiet Ones the tone is dark and oppressive and it is a book that weighs heavily on you. There is something disconcerting throughout the book that you can’t quite put your finger on and it is a book that is oddly compelling.

It’s difficult to talk about certain aspects of The Quiet Ones without giving the plot away, but I liked the issues raised and they certainly were not on my radar. As the book ends and revelations are revealed I was left feeling winded.

The Quiet Ones is one of the darkest books I have read in a while. It left me thinking about it after I had finished it and it also left me open-mouthed. There are some really nicely written observations throughout as we see the world through Josie’s fuddled mind. A book that will appeal to those who enjoy the slow burn of a real character driven psychological thriller.

Published on 18 February 2016 by Bloodhound Books. You can get your copy HERE.

 

Review – A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan

 

 

The Blurb

“A gripping mystery with a classic feel: And Then There Were None meets The Silent Companions”
Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.
At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.
For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .
An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.

My Thoughts

I absolutely adored The Constant Soldier by William Ryan and therefore couldn’t wait to read A House of Ghosts. I had to treat myself to a hardback version of the book as it is gorgeous with a stunning cover, a map on the insert and beautiful illustrations at the head of each chapter. If you are going to treat yourself to a book that will look stunning on your bookshelf or coffee table it should be this one.

Anyway, it is the contents of the book that are important here and Ryan doesn’t disappoint on that score either. Set in the winter of 1917, Kate Cartwright and her colleague Robert Donovan are sent by the War Office to investigate the guests at weekend of spiritualism Lord Highmount has arranged at his home, Blackwater Abbey. What follows is a book that defies genre. I have to admit that I was expecting one thing with A House of Ghosts and got something totally unexpected. Ryan has successfully combined ghosts, psychic powers, a murder mystery, espionage and the personal consequences of war in one beautifully told story.

I love Ryan’s style of writing. His prose is beautiful and the way he phrases each sentence ensures that you are firmly placed within the novel’s time and setting. You are literally in the winter of 1917 and the book is brimming with atmosphere. Blackwater Abbey has all the key ingredients of gothic ambience, isolation and spookiness. While the ghosts of the title are not an overriding feature of the book their presence adds an additional air of mystery and intrigue to the story.

For me, A House of Ghosts is a book about the ravages of war on the mind, guilt and grief. Ryan has created a complex tale that revolves around the horrors of war as he examines issues of shell-shock on returning soldiers and the sadness and desperation of those family members who have lost loved ones.

With its steady pace, this is a book that demands you read it steadily to soak up the ambience and each carefully placed word. I didn’t rush through A House of Ghosts like I do other books as it begged to be savoured.

If you are looking for historical fiction that has a gothic touch and combines mystery and espionage, A House of Ghosts is the book for you.

Published on 4 October 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre, you get your copy HERE.

2019 Reading Challenge

Recently my reviewing and ‘blogging’ has slowed down and I am no longer posting reviews and a feature three times per week. I have to admit that at times reviewing has felt like a bit of a chore, but I guess that everybody needs a break now and again. Last year I made the decision to take a step back from taking part in blog tours and I haven’t regretted it, enjoying the freedom of being able to read what I want, when I want. I have also enjoyed being able to take my time over reading rather than rushing to read and finish.

I have toyed with the idea of giving up the blog and just posting reviews on Goodreads and Amazon as I did before I started Bloomin’ Brilliant Books, but I’m sticking in and continuing to go at my own pace.

I saw a post about a reading challenge over on Crime Fiction Addict on Facebook and I thought it sounded fun, so I have decided to take part. I think it will focus me a little and get me reading those books that have been sitting neglected on my bookshelf and Kindle for far too long. The challenge states to read a book per week but as rules are meant to be broken (sometimes) I’m not sticking with this and if it takes me longer, that’s fine.

So, here it is:

Note that the banner does say 2018. I did try to change it and create my own on Canva but given my limited skills in the graphics area I was unsuccessful and thought sod it, life is too short and it doesn’t really matter! Feel free to join in if you want to.

My Books Of The Year 2018

Once again it is the end of another year. I cannot believe that 2018 is over and 2019 has begun. 2018 was a great year for books, but it was a slow year in terms of reading for me with me only reading 53 books. I have struggled to decide between my favourite books of the year so although I don’t give star ratings on Bloomin’ Brilliant Books I do on Goodreads and Amazon and I have simply listed those I have rated five stars on those sites. Click on the titles to read my full review:

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Intelligent, thoughtful and damn scary, read Hydra with the big light on and not before bedtime! Absolutely bloody brilliant!

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravtn

A psychological thriller in the purest sense, The Bird Tribunal is deeply unsettling and will resonate with you for days after reading it. It is, however, more than this and the outstanding prose and rich descriptions make it a beautiful piece of literary fiction. Outstanding!

Last Orders by Caimh McDonnell

An absolute corker and a great way to end the series, Last Orders is brilliant. I loved everything about it and it, along with the other three books, will be one I return to again and again. I’m gutted it’s over but excited to see where McDonnell takes us next. If you haven’t yet read any of these books go out and buy them all now; I promise that you will love them!

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Nugent never lets me down and Skin Deep is yet another accomplished novel by this talented author. She has weaved another twisted tale to perfection ensuring her place at the top of my list of favourite authors. Skin Deep takes you for a walk on the darker side of life and it is delectable. An absolute must read for fans of psychological thrillers.

Overkill by Vanda Symon

With a twisty plot, a protagonist who shines and beautifully written observations of the cruellest things, Overkill is crime fiction at its best and this is an outstanding book. I predict that this book is going to soar here in the UK and it deserves to. I adored this book and can’t wait for the next in the series. If you read and enjoy crime fiction, you will adore it too.

Attend by West Camel

The writing is sublime and Attend is a book that is rich in imagery and metaphor, leaving me thinking about it, and feeling it, long after the final page was read. It is a beautifully spun tale that defies being pigeonholed into a genre. A delicately balanced tapestry that combines current social issues, history and a little bit of magic, Attend is an assured debut by a talented writer. Lovers of literary fiction will adore it.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

I have loved Beech’s previous books (although I still have to read How To Be Brave) but The Lion Tamer Who Lost may be my favourite yet. Incredibly moving, at times desperately heartbreaking and always tender, The Lion Tamer Who Lost reminds us that if fate exists, it is fickle and may not always be leading you to the outcome you expect. A truly outstanding and beautiful book.

Docherty by William McIlvanney

Full of grit, rage and despair, yet interspersed with dry, Scottish humour, Docherty is an uncomfortable read but an essential read. If you like your literature to be unflinching in its depiction of life at the harshest end of the scale you will enjoy Docherty.

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

A first-rate follow up to her debut novel, The Hoarder was everything I expected from Jess Kidd. If you haven’t yet read anything by this author ensure you do now! The Hoarder is exquisite, sublimely written and a great story.

The Old You by Louise Voss

I loved The Old You, and I would go as far as saying if you only read one domestic noir this year make it this one as you will be hard pushed to find better. Tense, chilling and cleverly plotted.

The Retreat by Mark Edwards

The Retreat creeps and twists like the ivy that climbs up an old building and it gets under your skin. Combining old-school style ghost story elements with modern day thriller, Edwards has created a spine-tingling story that it is enthralling and irresistible.

I also want to give a shout out to a book that I have read in a different capacity and, therefore, not reviewed but which I have a huge sort spot for. That book is The Truth About Archie and Pye by Jonathan Pinnock. It is hilarious, and I urge you to read it.

 

Review – Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso

The Blurb

In Old London, where paranormal races co-exist with ordinary humans, criminal verdicts delivered by the all-seeing Heralds of Justice are infallible. After a man is declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death, his daughter turns to private investigator Yannia Wilde to do the impossible and prove the Heralds wrong.
Yannia has escaped a restrictive life in the Wild Folk conclave where she was raised, but her origins mark her as an outsider in the city. Those origins lend her the sensory abilities of all of nature. Yet Yannia is lonely and struggling to adapt to life in the city. The case could be the break she needs. She enlists the help of her only friend, a Bird Shaman named Karrion, and together they accept the challenge of proving a guilty man innocent.
So begins a breathless race against time and against all conceivable odds. Can Yannia and Karrion save a man who has been judged infallibly guilty?

My Thoughts

Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso is not the kind of book that I would normally go for, but I was totally drawn in by the beautiful cover and I couldn’t resist it. It turns out that the words between the pages are just as great as the cover, and I thoroughly enjoyed Fallible Justice and I’m pleased to have discovered a great new author.

Laakso has combined crime fiction with fantasy and magic and it works really well, not least because of her talent for writing and character and world building. Fallible Justice is really well written with prose that draws you in to the world Laakso has created.

Yannia Wilde is a private investigator living in Old London. When she and her apprentice, Karrion, are asked to investigate the trial of a man who may have been wrongly condemned to death for the murder of a high-ranking council official it proves to be a challenging case, to say the least.

At first, this sounds like a fairly straight-forward idea for a story but what makes Fallible Justice different is the fact that nothing is of this world. The blurb explains it best when it states that ‘paranormal races co-exist with humans in Old London’. Yannia is a member of the Wild Folk and her apprentice is a Bird Shamen. Laakso’s writing is such that you completely believe in the characters, the fact that paranormal folk exist and you become part of that world. I adored Yannia, she is, despite being magical, very human with vulnerabilities and strengths like everyone else. I also warmed to Karrion immediately and loved the humour that Laakso injected into his character.

The other issue that makes the investigation difficult is the fact that the magic population’s justice system is deemed to be infallible. This concept really interested me from the perspective that almost everything is corruptible but would this be the case when magic and otherworldly powers are involved? And if so, how? While set in a time and place different to the one we inhabit, Fallible Justice’s themes are ones that we can all relate to.

Laakso’s writing is wonderful and she demonstrates a soaring imagination. I loved her portrayal of nature and the juxtaposition between brutality and beauty that comes with the natural world. Everything has been so carefully and well-thought out down to how Yannia uses her Wild Folk power to the descriptions of Old London.

It’s fair to say that I’m now a fan of the world that Laakso has created and I’m delighted that this is the first in a series. Laakso has created created enough intrigue with Yannia that you want to read the next book immediately, but, alas, we have to wait.

If you love crime fiction and fantasy or even if you love crime fiction but fancy a change and are not sure if fantasy is your thing, give Fallible Justice a try. I promise, you will not be disappointed. A brilliantly constructed and wonderfully written debut.

Fallible Justice was published on paperback on 8 October 2018 and ebook on 8 November 2018 by Louise Walters Books. Grab your copy HERE.

A huge thank you to Laura Laakso and Louise Walters for the copy in exchange for my review.

Review – Attend by West Camel

The Blurb

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

My Thoughts

Attend is the captivating debut novel by West Camel. Firstly drawn in by the striking cover, I couldn’t wait to read this book and I hoped the inside would be equally as stunning … and it is.

A book about life and crossed paths, Attend follows the lives of three disparate people who are brought together by a seemingly higher force. Anne and Sam have both had their fair share of difficulties in life and are finally getting back on track when they meet Deborah – a teller of stories and, in my mind, the orchestrator of fate. As both Anne and Sam negotiate their way through their new purposes in the world they find themselves wrapped up in Deborah’s life and enraptured by the story of her life and the possibilities she introduces to them.

I adored Camel’s prose as each word is perfectly pitched to draw you in, intrigue you and make you fall a little in love with each character. He has managed to combine historical fiction, magical realism and modern grit which, in all probability, shouldn’t work but it works wonderfully. Deborah’s stories fascinate and while we are never sure where the line between truth and fiction lies, she manages to make us all believe that just maybe there is something higher than us and that magic does exist.

Attend is the perfect book for a reading group as its themes – both current and historical – lend themselves to discussion along with the imagery that Camel uses which, I’m sure, will be open to individual interpretation. I have been deliberately vague about the storyline as I want you to experience Attend in the way that I did when I first read it, although I am desperate to discuss it!

The writing is sublime and Attend is a book that is rich in imagery and metaphor, leaving me thinking about it, and feeling it, long after the final page was read. It is a beautifully spun tale that defies being pigeonholed into a genre. A delicately balanced tapestry that combines current social issues, history and a little bit of magic, Attend is an assured debut by a talented writer. Lovers of literary fiction will adore it.

Attend is published on eBook on 15 November 2018 and paperback on 13 December 2018 by Orenda Books. You can get your copy HERE.

Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day

The Blurb

It’s 1986. Fred Sadler has just died of old age. Seventy years after he marched off to WWI. As his ghost hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home where he’s died, Fred listens in dismay as the arrangement of his funeral falls to his loathed sister-in-law, Viola. Fred’s ghost follows his family, eavesdropping on his own funeral, and agonizing over his inability to set the record straight. Did old Uncle Fred really suffer from shell shock? Why did his family lock him away in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Couldn’t they have done more for him? Fred remembers his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital. But his memories clash with Viola’s version as the family gathers one rainy October night to pay their respects.

My Thoughts

Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day is a moving novella based on letters written by her great uncle Fred who served in the World War One. This is not, however, a story about one man’s experiences in the trenches but rather the story of what happened to him afterwards partly as a result of this.

Told in third person narrative, it starts, as the title suggests, following Fred Sadler’s funeral. Unusually, we see events from the perspective of the deceased Fred as he sits in on his family’s discussion on him. Fred was the black sheep of the family before he went to war and the impact of what he saw and experienced while fighting compounds this further on his return. Fred’s Funeral is delicately told and Day gently draws you in to this moving story which, for me, is a tale about the far-reaching consequences of war, mental health and the lack of understanding that surrounds it.

As his behaviour on his return becomes erratic, his family place him in the care of a psychiatric hospital. Misdiagnosed with schizophrenia rather than ‘shell shock’, Day writes about the lack of understanding around what would now clearly be post-traumatic stress disorder. At times Fred’s Funeral is a difficult read as Day’s descriptions of his experiences in the psychiatric hospital are upsetting but necessary to the book as it represents the period of time. I love how Day also portrays Fred’s views of his own mental health by having him as a ghost looking on. As he finally discovers what his family members really thought of him we are privy to his feelings and thoughts about what he was experiencing at the time. Again, this touched me as we never really know what other people think of us.

I found his family’s lack of understanding and also their lack of appreciation of Fred upsetting. Day has perfectly captured the attitudes of the time and how they change and evolve with each generation as awareness and understanding grow – and thank God that is the case! As we discover, however, the road to understanding and awareness is paved with horrors for those suffering.

Fred’s Funeral is a great piece of historical fiction based partly on fact and influenced by a real person which makes it all the more likeable. The fact that it documents and explores the impact of World War One on the individual immediately after its conclusion makes it an interesting and a timely read. While small in size, this beautifully crafted novella packs a big punch and I recommend it.

Published on 28 November 2017, you can get your copy of Fred’s Funeral HERE.

Blog Blitz – One Dark Night by Tom Bale *Review*

Today I am taking part in my last ever blog blitz/tour and I am delighted that my final one is for Tom Bale and his latest book One Dark Night. Regular readers of Bloomin’ Brilliant Books will know that I’m a huge fan of Tom Bale’s and so I’m very excited to be sharing my thoughts on his latest book which is out today. 

The Blurb

He sees his wife’s eyes watching him in the rear-view mirror, the kids up on their knees to get a better look. That’s when he hears the scream…

You’re driving home from a family outing one afternoon, when a speeding car cuts you up, nearly causing you to crash. Like anyone would, you pull over to confront the driver.

But a glance into the backseat of the speeding car reveals a woman fighting to escape. She is terrified and she’s screaming for your help: these men have murdered her husband…

What would you do?

An addictive thriller with plenty of twists – fans of Harlan Coben, James Patterson and Robert Dugoni will be completely hooked.

My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I love a Tom Bale book and I always eagerly anticipate his latest novel. I was therefore delighted to be able to read an advance copy of his latest book One Dark Night.

When Adam and Katy Parr’s car is damaged by a speeding motorist on their way home from a family day out with the children, Adam’s temper gets the better of him and he chases after and confronts the motorist. He soon regrets his actions as he had his family end up being kidnapped by a criminal gang.

Bale once again puts his characters through the mill by placing them in an extreme – and not in a pleasant way – situation. What I love about Bale’s books is that they are pure escapism. The whole intention of One Dark Night, in my opinion, is to take the reader on a full-throttle ride and this is one hundred per cent achieved. Bale’s writing and the perfectly paced chapters ensure that the reader is kept hooked from the outset.

I was completely behind the characters of Adam, Katy and their children Freya and Dylan. Because of their ordinariness you can relate to them and it makes the situation they find themselves in all the more scary. Bale also ensures however, that there is a depth to his antagonists as well which makes One Dark Night well-rounded.

Bale firmly places One Dark Night in the present by including current social and political issues within the storyline making it current and relevant. I enjoyed some of his wry observations on society and the media.

One Dark Night is another fast-paced thriller from Bale full of the thrills and spills you would expect from this author. If you are looking for pure adrenalin-filled enjoyment, check One Dark Night out.

One Dark Night is published on 23 October 2018 by Bookouture.

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://geni.us/ODNCover
iBookstore: https://tinyurl.com/y8lt6a89
Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y82k6jnt
Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/yautyxz3

About the Author

Tom Bale is the author of nine books, including the bestsellers See How They Run and All Fall Down. His latest book, One Dark Night, is out October 23rd 2018.

Social Media Links
Twitter: https://twitter.com/t0mbale
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tombalewriter/
Website: http://www.tombale.net/

A huge thank you to Tom Bale, Bookouture and NetGalley for the advance copy of One Dark Night and for inviting me to take part in the blog blitz.