Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Moon Field – Judith Allnatt

Historical Fiction 5*'s
Historical Fiction
5*’s

George is just eighteen years old, lives with his parents and his younger siblings Ted and Lilly when he first met Violet during his deliveries as a postman. Violet was out for a walk taking photos as an escape from her duties, mainly being a companion to her sick mother The difference in their lives couldn’t be greater but George was bowled over by her beauty decides to give her one of the watercolours he has painted. Unknown to George as he hurried along to meet Violet the post he has to deliver to her that day her sparks a chain reaction that will change both their lives forever.

George goes off to war with a small group of friends and is soon dispatched to the front. Under the watchful eye of Edmund the young lads suffer the wet and the cold, the terror of the bombs and the seemingly futile push to stop the Germans advance into France.

Judith Allnatt does not sugar coat any of the horror of the war. This book eloquently shows what a generation of young men endured. There are descriptions of dead bodies left sinking in the mud and those who suffered with their injuries with no one to rescue them from the battlefield. I really feel that this book made me understand the true nature of this war, far from the statistics of non-fiction, this story about how George and his friends suffered and found their own way of coping and in doing so tells the stories of the men in an accessible, yet hard-hitting way. Despite the realities that were suffered, this is a story and a neatly plotted one at that, there are few enough characters that the author added layers to their personality over the course of the book which meant that as a reader I truly cared about so many of the fictional lives shared.

This is a fantastic book to read in the anniversary year of World War I.

This book will be published on 16 January 2013 by The Borough Press. I received an advance copy from Amazon Vine in return for this honest review.

The Moon Field

Posted in Uncategorized

On My Bookshelf – A Rainbow of Books

On My Bookshelfv1

I decided to look at the rainbow in this occasional series of posts where I take a look at books that are sitting on my bookshelf – and yes I’ve made one!

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The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that these aren’t the usual book-covers but fortunately for this post, proof copies don’t always look like the finished article!

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Death at the Priory by James Ruddick, read in June 2014.

This book takes a look at the unsolved Victorian murder of Charles Bravo, a man who died a painful death having ingested antimony in 1876. With three suspects, his wife, Florence, the housekeeper Mrs Fox and Dr Gully who had previously had a relationship with Florence, this book examines why the case wasn’t solved. An interesting well-written book which I thought took a fair and measured look at the evidence. For Agatha Christie lovers, this case was referred to in her novel Ordeal by Innocence

 

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The Secret Place by Tana French, read August 2014

If you haven’t read Tana French’s brilliant novels, you really should!
When a boy is found murdered in the grounds of an exclusive girl’s school the police need to penetrate the secretive world of teenage girls, not a task for the faint-hearted. Not only does this book have all the requisite ingredients for a great read; characters, plot and pace, it is also an enormously fun read, so much so I dubbed it ‘Mallory Towers for Grown Ups’
This book made my Top Ten of 2014 reads, it was in the parlance of some of the characters – amazeballs!

 

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Interlude by Rupert Smith, read November 2014

What book-lover can resist a book about a book? Not me that’s for sure.

In this wonderful novel we meet Helen, a bored wife and mother who decides to do something for herself, she joins an evening class in creative writing. Helen’s grandfather was a literary novelist and she decides to investigate his life – with excerpts from his book Interlude the truth in the past is unveiled. A perfect book for lovers of past and present connections that should have been more widely celebrated.
This book also made my Top Ten list for 2014.

 

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The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt, read November 2013

No list is complete in my view without a good war-time story, this one is set in World War I. A combination of coming of age and the true horrors of war Judith Allnatt spins a convincing and emotional tale which begins with George meets Violet, in the course of his rounds as a postman. At just eighteen, George heads off to war with his friends, on the front-line trying to stop the German advance into France. A great book that was out in time to mark the centenary of the start of WWI.

 

 

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The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett, read October 2015

This book starts with an absolutely riveting piece of writing about a boy who sets fire to two girls in a school playground – but, there is far more to this story than might appear. In a story that spans decades the themes of revenge are obvious but the undercurrent question of what is morally right, and what is wrong is a compelling one. It is a rare book that asks such big questions while still producing a tale full of action and surprises.

 

 

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The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, read December 2014

One of my favourite reads of last year, and one that has had me determined to re-read all this authors previous books, The Paying Guests is a sumptuous read. In the hands of this author I positively embrace the small details that may seem insignificant but all go towards building a picture of a household, events that culminate in a court case, no less. As well as being an enjoyable read the author is treated to what life was like for women from different classes in England in the 1920s.

 

 

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The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley, read December 2011

As you can see I had to go much further back to find an offering for violet, and this is another book with a historical bent, this one has the tale of Grania in modern day Ireland combined with a wartime romance in London. The Ryan family and the Lisles’s have been entangled for a century. With a cast of characters that are appealing including a foundling child, this is a book to get lost in and enjoy!

 

So that is my trip through the rainbow complete, I do hope you enjoyed it!

More posts from my bookshelf can be found here:
On My Bookshelf
On My Bookshelf – What’s in a Name?
On My Bookshelf – Women’s Lives

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (November 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them!

2011

I have long been fascinated with books that examine what makes children kill and what repercussions that has on the both the victims families but those of the perpetrator. One such book that examines this phenomenon is The Child Who by Simon Leilic which I read in November 2011.

The Child Who

Blurb

An unimaginable crime and the man who must defend it-a probing psychological thriller from the author of A Thousand Cuts. A chance phone call throws the biggest murder case in southern England into the hands of provincial attorney Leo Curtice. Twelve-year- old Daniel Blake stands accused of murdering an eleven-year-old girl. But who is truly responsible when one child kills another? As Curtice sets out to defend the indefensible, he soon finds himself pitted against an enraged community calling for blood. When the build-up of pressure takes a sinister turn, he fears for his wife and young daughter’s safety. Must he choose between his family and the life of a damaged child? With piercing psychological insight, Lelic examines a community’s response to a hideous crime.

2012 yr

November 2012 saw me read the very first of the Lewis Trilogy, The Blackhouse by Peter May – one of my best complete chance discoveries ever – this was long before I began blogging and was ill in bed and picked it up as a kindle deal for a mere 99p. Luckily for me the second book had already been published and I didn’t have to wait long for the final part. The Blackhouse (and the following two books) has strands in the past that link to a mystery in the present whilst being set in an amazing landscape and has a captivating chief protagonist in Fin Macleod.

The Blackhouse

Blurb

When a brutal murder on the Isle of Lewis bears the hallmarks of a similar slaying in Edinburgh, police detective Fin Macleod is dispatched north to investigate. But since he himself was raised on Lewis, the investigation also represents a journey home and into his past.

2013yr

The end of 2013 saw the beginning of a raft of books published to commemorate 100 years since the start of WWI and one of my favourite’s was The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt. This is a coming of age story set in war-time and the author certainly doesn’t sugar coat the realities of this war – the descriptions of the cold and the mud, the noise and the horror were all amongst the pages of this book, whilst ensuring that this was a story and not a history lesson.

The Moon Field

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

It is 1914. George Farrell cycles through the tranquil Cumberland fells to deliver a letter, unaware that it will change his life. George has fallen for the beautiful daughter at the Manor House, Miss Violet, but when she lets slip the contents of the letter George is heartbroken to discover that she is already promised to another man. George escapes his heartbreak by joining the patriotic rush to war, but his past is not so easily avoided. His rite of passage into adulthood leaves him beliveing that no woman will be able to love the man he has become.

2014yr

In 2014 I my favourite choice was a book loosely based on a real-life crime, that committed against Meredith Kercher who was killed in Italy whilst studying, one of the chief suspects was her American housemate who has now finally been cleared. In The Perfect Mother by Nina Darnton the role of a mother whose child is suspected of murder in a foreign country was convincingly and shockingly imagined.

The Perfect Mother

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

When an American exchange student is accused of murder, her mother will stop at nothing to save her.
A midnight phone call shatters Jennifer Lewis’s carefully orchestrated life. Her daughter, Emma, who’s studying abroad in Spain, has been arrested after the brutal murder of another student. Jennifer rushes to her side, certain the arrest is a terrible mistake and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring Emma home. But as she begins to investigate the crime, she starts to wonder whether she ever really knew her daughter. The police charge Emma, and the press leaps on the story, exaggerating every sordid detail. One by one, Emma’s defense team, her father, and finally even Jennifer begin to have doubts.
A novel of harrowing emotional suspense, The Perfect Mother probes the dark side of parenthood and the complicated bond between mothers and daughters.

2015yr

My choice for the best read in November 2015 was sparked from a television adaption, quite amazing as a rarely get to even hold the remote and in this instance it was left on a channel in the background. The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley is one of the best books I have ever read – I loved this coming of age tale, so much I’m sure I will have to re-read it before too long.

The Go-Betweeen

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Summering with a fellow schoolboy on a great English estate, Leo, the hero of L. P. Hartley’s finest novel, encounters a world of unimagined luxury. But when his friend’s beautiful older sister enlists him as the unwitting messenger in her illicit love affair, the aftershocks will be felt for years. The inspiration for the brilliant Joseph Losey/Harold Pinter film starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates, The Go-Between is a masterpiece—a richly layered, spellbinding story about past and present, naiveté and knowledge, and the mysteries of the human heart.

I hope you have enjoyed my trip through my November reads, if you missed the previous months you can find them here although sadly I didn’t manage to do the list for July and August.

January Five of the Best
February Five of the Best
March Five of the Best
April Five of the Best
May Five of the Best
June Five of the Best
September Five of the Best
October Five of the Best

Reviews by Author A – L

A

Rachel Abbott – And So It Begins

Rachel Abbott – The Back Road DCI Tom Douglas #2

Rachel Abbott – Come A Little Closer DCI Tom Douglas #7

Rachel Abbott – Kill Me Again DCI Tom Douglas #5

Rachel Abbott – Nowhere Child DCI Tom Douglas #4.5

Rachel Abbott – The Sixth Window DCI Tom Douglas #6

Rachel Abbott – Sleep Tight DCI Tom Douglas #3

Rachel Abbott – Stranger Child DCI Tom Douglas #4

Aimee Alexander – The Accidental Life of Greg Millar

Judith Allnatt – The Moon Field

Buffy Andrews – The Moment Keeper

Isabel Ashdown – Little Sister

Lindsay Jayne Ashford – The Woman On The Orient Express

Lucy Atkins – The Missing One

Lucy Atkins – The Night Visitor

Kate Atkinson – Life After Life 

Margaret Atwood – Alias Grace

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Fredrik Backman – My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises

Fredrik Backman – The Scandal

Fredrik Backman – Us Against You

Alison Baillie – A Fractured Winter 

Alison Baillie – Sewing The Shadows Together

Beryl Bainbridge – An Awfully Big Adventure

Beryl Bainbridge – Harriet Said

Beryl Bainbridge – Master Georgie

Beryl Bainbridge – Sweet William

Beryl Bainbridge – Winter Garden

Lisa Ballantyne – Little Liar

Lisa Ballantyne – Redemption Road

Laura Barnett – Greatest Hits

Laura Barnett – The Versions of Us

Helen Barrell – Poison Panic

Graham Bartlett – Death Comes Knocking

Fiona Barton – The Child

Fiona Barton – The Suspect 

Fiona Barton – The Widow

Belinda Bauer – The Beautiful Dead

Belinda Bauer – The Facts of Life and Death

Belinda Bauer – Rubbernecker

Belinda Bauer – The Shut Eye

Belinda Bauer – Snap

Nina Bawden – Ruffian On The Stair

Nina Bawden – The Solitary Child

Simon Beckett – The Chemistry of Death David Hunter #1

Simon Beckett – The Restless Dead David Hunter #5

Simon Beckett – Stone Bruises

Deborah Bee – The Last Thing I Remember

Gail Bell – The Poison Principle

Kimberly Belle – The Marriage Lie

Marie Benedict – Carnegie’s Maid

John Bennett – The Cromwell Street Murders 

Flynn Berry – A Double Life

Mark Billingham – Die of Shame

Mark Billingham – The Dying Hours

Mark Billingham – Love Like Blood

Mark Billingham – Rush of Blood

Mark Billingham – Time of Death

Amy Bird – The Good Mother

Amy Bird – Hide and Seek

Katarina Bivald – The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Jenny Blackhurst – Before I Let You In

Jenny Blackhurst – The Foster Child

Jenny Blackhurst – How I Lost You

Jenny Blackhurst – The Night She Died

Sam Blake – In Deep Water Cat Connolly #2

Sam Blake – Little Bones Cat Connolly #1

Victoria Blake – Mrs Maybrick

Chris Blamires – A Time of Myths

Sharon Bolton – The Craftsman

Sharon Bolton – A Dark and Twisted Tide Lacey Flint #4

Sharon Bolton – Daisy In Chains

Sharon Bolton – Dead Woman Walking

Sharon Bolton – Here Be Dragons Lacey Flint Short Story

Sharon Bolton – If Snow Hadn’t Fallen Lacey Flint Short Story

Sharon Bolton – Like This Forever Lacey Flint #3

Sharon Bolton – Little Black Lies

Sharon Bolton – Now You See Me Lacey Flint #1

Jan Bondeson – The Ripper of Waterloo Road

Simon Booker – Without Trace

Simon Bourke – And the Birds Kept on Singing

William Boyd – The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth

John Boyne – Crippen: A Novel of a Murder

John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

John Boyne – The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Mary Elizabeth Braddon – Lady Audley’s Secret

Melvyn Bragg – Grace and Mary

Rebecca Bradley – Shallow Waters

Carys Bray – The Museum of You

R.C. Bridgestock – When a Killer Strikes

Ray Britain – The Last Thread

Vera Brittain – Testament of Youth

Frances Brody – A Snapshot of Murder #10 Kate Shackleton

Frances Brody – Death at the Seaside Kate Shackleton #8

Frances Brody – Death in the Stars  Kate shackleton #9

Chris Brookmyre – Want You Gone

Dea Brøvig – The Last Boat Home

Antony M Brown – The Red Address Book

Alison Bruce – The Promise DC Gary Goodhew #6

Alison Bruce – The Siren DC Gary Goodhew #2

Elizabeth Buchan – The New Mrs Clifton

Suzanne Bugler – The Safest Place

Alafair Burke – The Ex

Graeme Macrae Burnet – His Bloody Project

Alexandra Burt – Little Girl Gone

Sian Busby – A Commonplace Killing

Sian Busby – The Cruel Mother

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Alex Caan – Cut To The Bone

Jane Cable – The Faerie Tree

Graeme Cameron – Normal

Louise Candlish – The Disappearance of Emily Marr

Louise Candlish – The Intruder at Number 40

Louise Candlish – Other People’s Secrets

Louise Candlish – Our House

Louise Candlish – The Sudden Departure of the Frasers

Louise Candlish – The Swimming Pool

Joanna Cannon – Three Things About Elsie

Truman Capote – Breakfast at Tiffany’s 

Truman Capote – In Cold Blood

Laura Carlin – The Wicked Cometh

Elisabeth Carpenter – Only a Mother 

 Emmanuel Carrère – The Adversary

Jane Carter Woodrow – Rose West: A Making of a Monster

Tania Carver – The Doll’s House

James Cary – Crossword Ends In Violence (5)

Jane Casey – After The Fire Maeve Kerrigan #6

Jane Casey – Cruel Acts Maeve Kerrigan #8

Jane Casey – The Kill Maeve Kerrigan #5

Jane Casey – Left for Dead Maeve Kerrigan #0.5

Jane Casey – Let The Dead Speak Maeve Kerrigan #7

Jane Casey – The Stranger You Know Maeve Kerrigan #4

Steve Cavanagh – The Defence

HS Chandler – Degrees of Guilt

Eve Chase – Black Rabbit Hall

Eve Chase – The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde

Agatha Christie – The A.B.C. Murders

Agatha Christie – And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie – Hickory Dickory Dock

Agatha Christie – The Murder at the Vicarage

Agatha Christie – Murder is Easy

Agatha Christie – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie – One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems

Ann Cleeves – Raven Black Shetland #1

Ann Cleeves – Silent Voices

Rory Clements – Martyr

Nicci Cloke – Lay Me Down

Deborah Cohen – Family Secrets

Tamar Cohen – The Broken

Tammy Cohen – Deadly Divorces

Tammy Cohen – Dying For Christmas

Tammy Cohen – First One Missing

Tamar Cohen – The Mistress’s Revenge

Tamar Cohen – Someone Else’s Wedding

Tammy Cohen – They All Fall Down

Tammy Cohen – When She Was Bad

Emma Cole – Every Secret Thing

Kate Colquhoun – Did She Kill Him?

Barbara Comyns – Our Spoons Came From Woolworths

Michael Stewart Conway – Caversham Lock

Michael Stewart Conway – Caversham Road

Barabara Copperthwaite – Flowers for the Dead

Elizabeth Cooke – Rutherford Park

Natasha Cooper – No Escape

Julie Corbin – Now That You’re Gone

Jane Corry – Blood Sisters

Jane Corry – My Husband’s Wife

Andrew Cowan – Worthless Men

Edmund Crispin – The Moving Toyshop

Kathryn Croft – The Girl With No Past

Kathryn Croft – The Girl You Lost

Kathryn Croft – While You Were Sleeping

Julia Crouch – Her Husband’s Lover

Julia Crouch – Tarnished

Julia Crouch – The Long Fall

Sinéad Crowley – Are You Watching Me? DS Claire Boyle #2

Sinéad Crowley – Can Anybody Help Me? DS Claire Boyle #1

Sinéad Crowley – One Bad Turn DS Claire Boyle #3

Fiona Cummins – The Neighbour 

Chris Curran – Her Deadly Secret

Judith Cutler – Green and Pleasant Land

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Suellen Dainty – The Housekeeper

Paula Daly – Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

Paula Daly – The Mistake I Made

Paula Daly – Open Your Eyes

Paula Daly – The Trophy Child

Sandra Danby – Ignoring Gravity

Nina Darnton – The Perfect Mother

Bea Davenport – In Too Deep

Bea Davenport – This Little Piggy

Caitlin Davies – Family Likeness

Caitlin Davies – The Ghost Of Lily Painter

Jane Davis – A Funeral For An Owl

Jane Davis – Half-Truths And White Lies

Jane Davis – I Stopped Time

Jane Davis – Smash All The Windows 

Jane Davis – These Fragile Things

Elizabeth Day – Home Fires

Kit de Waal – My Name is Leon

Kit de Waal – The Trick to Time

Luke Delaney – The Toy Taker

Robert Dinsdale – Little Exiles

Anthony Doerr – All The Light We Cannot See

Charlie Donlea – Don’t Believe It

Emma Donoghue – Room

Louise Doughty – Apple Tree Yard

Louise Douglas – The Secret By The Lake

Louise Douglas – Your Beautiful Lies

Renita D’Silva – Monsoon Memories

Renita D’Silva – The Forgotten Daughter

Renita D’Silva – The Stolen Girl

Ruth Dugdall – Humber Boy B #3

Ruth Dugdall – Nowhere Girl #4

Ruth Dugdall – The Sacrificial Man #2

Ruth Dugdall – The Woman Before Me #1

Sabine Durrant – Lie With Me

Sabine Durrant – Remember Me This Way

Sabine Durrant – Take Me In

Sabine Durrant – Under Your Skin

Claire Dyer – The Last Day

Claire Dyer – The Perfect Affair

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Piu Marie Eatwell – The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse

 Mark Edwards – The Magpies

Mark Edwards – Because She Loves Me

Martin Edwards – The Arsenic Labyrinth Lake District Mystery #3

Martin Edwards – The Cipher Garden Lake District Mystery #2

Martin Edwards – The Coffin Trail Lake District Mystery #1

Martin Edwards – Dancing for the Hangman

Martin Edwards – The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books 

Elsebeth Egholm – Dead Souls

Susan Eliot Wright – The Things We Never Said

Susan Eliot Wright – The Secrets We Left Behind

J.T. Ellison – No One Knows

Nuala Ellwood – My Sister’s Bones

Jennie Ensor – Blind Side

Jennie Ensor – The Girl in His Eyes

Colin Evans – The Killing of Georgie Moore

Elizabeth Evans – As Good As Dead

Harriet Evans – A Place For Us

Lissa Evans – Crooked Heart

Natalie Meg Evans – The Dress Thief

Felicity Everett – The People at Number 9

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Jane Fallon – Faking Friends

Jane Fallon – My Sweet Revenge

Jane Fallon – Skeletons 

Jane Fallon – Tell Me A Secret

Natalie Fergie – The Sewing Machine

Clare Fisher – All The Good Things

Helen FitzGerald – Bloody Women

Helen FitzGerald – The Cry

Helen FitzGerald – The Exit

Helen FitzGerald – My Last Confession

Helen FitzGerald – Viral

Rebecca Fleet – The House Swap

Emma Flint – Little Deaths

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl

Lucy Foley – The Book of Lost and Found

Margaret Forster – My Life in Houses

Margaret Forster – The Unknown Bridesmaid

Karin Fossum – The Drowned Boy

Karin Fossum – The Murder of Harriet Krohn

John Foster – Nine Times In Ten

N.J. Fountain – Painkiller

Christopher Fowler – The Book of Forgotten Authors

Dorothy Fowler – What Remains Behind

Margalit Fox – Conan Doyle for the Defence

Patty Francis- The Liars Diary

Ros Franey – The Dissent of Annie Lang

Sarah Franklin – Shelter

Caz Frear – Sweet Little Lies

Kimberley Freeman -Wildflower Hill

Nicci French – Friday On My Mind Frieda Klein #5

Nicci French – Saturday Requiem Frieda Klein #6

Nicci French – Sunday Morning Coming Down Frieda Klein #7

Nicci French – Thursday’s Child Frieda Klein #4

Nicci French – Waiting for Wednesday Frieda Klein #3

Paul French – Midnight in Peking

Tana French – Broken Harbour

Tana French – The Secret Place

Tana French – The Trespasser

Tana French – The Wych Elm

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Christine Gardner – Not Guilty

Helen Garner – This House of Grief

Pascal Garnier – The A26

Pascal Garnier – Boxes

Pascal Garnier – Moon in a Dead Eye

Alison Gaylin – What Remains of Me

Hélène Gestern – The People in the Photo

Elizabeth Gifford – The Secrets Of The Sea House

Elizabeth Gill – The Fall and Rise of Lucy Charlton

Andrea Gillies – The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay

Lesley Glaister – Nina Todd Has Gone

Holly Goddard Jones – The Next Time You See Me

Celina Grace – Hushabye

Celina Grace – Requiem

Celina Grace – Imago

Eliza Graham – Another Day Gone

Eliza Graham – The One I Was

Peter Graham – Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century

Camilla Grebe – The Ice Beneath Her

Graham Greene – The End of the Affair

Iona Grey – Letters to the Lost

Isabelle Grey – The Bad Mother

Isabelle Grey – Good Girls Don’t Die Grace Fisher #1

Isabelle Grey – Shot Through The Heart Grace Fisher #2

Isabelle Grey – The Special Girls Grace Fisher #3

Isabelle Grey – Wrong Way Home Grace Fisher #4

Michael Griesbach – The Innocent Killer

Elly Griffiths – The Blood Card Stephens & Mephisto #3

Elly Griffiths – The Chalk Pit Ruth Galloway #9

Elly Griffiths – The Dark Angel Ruth Galloway #10

Elly Griffiths – The Ghost Fields Ruth Galloway #7

Elly Griffiths – The Outcast Dead Ruth Galloway #6

Elly Griffiths – Smoke and Mirrors Stephens &  Mephisto #2

Elly Griffiths – The Stranger Diaries

Elly Griffiths – The Stone Circle Ruth Galloway #11

Elly Griffiths – The Woman in Blue Ruth Galloway #8

Elly Griffiths – The Vanishing Box Stephens &  Mephisto #4

Elly Griffiths – The Zig-Zag Girl Stephens & Mephisto #1

Rebecca Griffiths – A Place to Lie

Lauren Groff – Fates and Furies

Heather Gudenkauf – Little Mercies

Heather Gudenkauf – Missing Pieces

Heather Gudenkauf – Not A Sound

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H

Araminta Hall – Dot

Araminta Hall – Our Kind of Cruelty

Kate Hamer – The Doll Funeral

Penny Hancock – A Trick of the Mind

Helene Hanff – 84 Charing Cross Road

Jean Hanff Korelitz – You Should Have Known

John F Hanley – Against The Tide

John F Hanley – The Last Boat

Kristen Hannah – The Nightingale

Sophie Hannah – A Game For All The Family

Sophie Hannah – Did You See Melody?

Sophie Hannah – The Carrier

Sophie Hannah – The Narrow Bed

Sophie Hannah – The Telling Error

Emma Hannigan – The Summer Guests

Emma Hannigan – The Heart of Winter

Kathryn Harkup – A is For Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie

Claire Harman – Murder by the Book 

Fiona Harper – The Other Us

Jane Harper – The Dry

Jane Harper – The Lost Man

L.P.Hartley – The Go-Between

L.P. Hartley – The Shrimp and the Anemone

Mary S. Hartman – Victorian Murderesses

C.J. Hartner – Rowan’s Well

David Hastings – The Many Deaths of Mary Dobie

Paula Hawkins – The Girl On The Train

Antonia Hayes – Relativity

Samantha Hayes – Until You’re Mine

Samatha Hayes – Before You Die

Samantha Hayes – You Belong To Me

Elizabeth Haynes – Behind Closed Doors (DCI Louisa Smith #2)

Elizabeth Haynes – Human Remains

Elizabeth Haynes – The Murder of Harriet Monckton

Elizabeth Haynes – Never Alone

Elizabeth Haynes – Promises to Keep

Elizabeth Haynes – Under A Silent Moon (DCI Louisa Smith #1)

Katherine Hayton – Found Near WaterKatherine Hayton – Found Near Water

Julia Heaberlin – Black-Eyed Susans

Emma Healey – Elizabeth Is Missing

James Henry – Blackwater

James Henry – Frost at Midnight DI Frost Prequel #4

James Henry – Morning Frost DI Frost Prequel #3

Sally Hepworth – The Family Next Door

Sally Hepworth – The Mother-in-Law

Sally Hepworth – The Things We Keep

Patricia Highsmith – The Talented Mr Ripley

Sarah Hilary – Come And Find Me DI Marnie Rome #5

Sarah Hilary – No Other Darkness DI Marnie Rome #2

Sarah Hilary – Quieter Than Killing DI Marnie Rome #4

Sarah Hilary – Someone Else’s Skin DI Marnie Rome #1

Sarah Hilary – Tastes Like Fear DI Marnie Rome #3

Mark Hill – The Two O’clock Boy

Reginald Hill – A Clubbable Woman Dalziel & Pascoe #1

Reginald Hill – Bones and Silence Dalziel & Pascoe #11

Reginald Hill – Child’s Play Dalziel & Pascoe #9

Reginald Hill – Pictures of Perfection Dalziel & Pascoe #14

Reginald Hill – The Stranger House

Reginald Hill – Under World Dalziel & Pascoe #10

Susan Hill – Soul of Discretion

Victoria Hislop – The Island

Frances Hodgeson Burnett- The Shuttle

Andrea Hodgkinson – Spilt Milk

Jiliane Hoffman – All The Little Pieces

Phil Hogan – A Pleasure and a Calling

Eva Holland – The Daughter’s Secret

Anna Hope – The Ballroom

Anna Hope – Wake

Ellen Horan – 31 Bond Street 

Rachel Hore – Last Letter Home

Rachel Hore – The Silent Tide

Rachel Hore – A Week in Paris

Babs Horton – A Jarful of Angels

Jane Housham – The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane

Catherine Ryan Howard – Distress Signals

Debbie Howells – The Beauty of the End

Debbie Howells – The Bones of You

Lisa Howorth – Flying Shoes

Linda Huber – Chosen Child

Linda Huber – The Cold Cold Sea

Linda Huber – Ward Zero

Cara Hunter – Close to Home

Cara Hunter – In the Dark

Cara Hunter – No Way Out

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Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson – House Of Evidence

Kim Izzo – Seven Days in May

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David Jackson – A Tapping At My Door Nathan Cody #1

David Jackson – Don’t Make a Sound Nathan Cody #3

David Jackson – Hope to Die Nathan Cody #2

David Jackson – Pariah Callum Doyle #1

Maggie James – Blackwater Lake

Maggie James – His Kidnapper’s Shoes

P.D. James – The Lighthouse

P.D. James & T.A. Critchley – The Maul And The Pear Tree

Peter James – A Twist Of  The Knife

Peter James – Dead at First Sight Roy Grace #15

Peter James – Dead If You Don’t Roy Grace #14

Peter James – Dead Man’s Time Roy Grace #9

Peter James – Love You Dead Roy Grace #12

Peter James – Need You Dead Roy Grace #13

Peter James – Want You Dead Roy Grace #10

Peter James – You Are Dead Roy Grace #11

Rebecca James – Sweet Damage

Wendy James – The Golden Child

Wendy James – The Mistake

Wendy James – Out Of The Silence

Anna Jaquiery – Death In The Rainy Season

Charlotte Jay – A Hank Of Hair

Amanda Jennings – The Cliff House

Amanda Jennings – In Her Wake

Lisa Jewell – Before I Met You

Lisa Jewell – I Found You

Lisa Jewell – The Girls

Lisa Jewell – The House We Grew Up In

Lisa Jewell – The Making of Us

Lisa Jewell – Then She Was Gone

Lisa Jewell – The Third Wife

Lisa Jewell – The Truth About Melody Browne

Lisa Jewell – Watching You 

Jennifer Johnston – This is Not a Novel

Catherine Jones – Wonder Girls

Jack Jordan – Anything For Her

Alison Joseph – The Dying Light

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Stephen Kaminski – Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk

Emma Kavanagh – Case 48: The Kidnapping of Isaiah Rae Short Story

Emma Kavanagh – Falling

Emma Kavanagh – Hidden

Emma Kavanagh – The Killer on the Wall

Emma Kavanagh – The Missing Hours

Emma Kavanagh – To Catch A Killer

Linda Kavanagh – The Secret Wife

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: The End Is Where It Begins

Erin Kelly – Broachurch: The Letter

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Old Friends

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Over The Side

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Protection

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: One More Secret

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: The Leaving of Claire Ripley

Erin Kelly – Broadchurch: Thirteen Hours

Erin Kelly – He Said/She Said

Erin Kelly – The Burning Air

Erin Kelly – The Ties That Bind

Jim Kelly – The Water Clock

Claire Kendal – The Book of You

Christobel Kent – The Crooked House

Hannah Kent – Burial Rites

Hannah Kent – The Good People

Caroline Kepnes – You

Margot Kinberg – Past Tense

Judith Kinghorn – The Memory Of Lost Senses

Liza Klaussmann – Tigers in Red Weather

Renée Knight – Disclaimer

Renée Knight – The Secretary

Herman Koch – Dear Mr M

Herman Koch – The Dinner

Herman Koch – Summer House with Swimming Pool

Jeffrey H Konis – The Conversations We Never Had

Dorothy Koomson  – The Brighton Mermaid

Dorothy Koomson – The Flavours of Love

Dorothy Koomson – That Girl From Nowhere

Mary Kubica – Don’t You Cry

Mary Kubica – The Good Girl

Mary Kubica – Pretty Baby

Mary Kubica – When the Lights Go Out

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Lynda La Plante – Good Friday Tennison #3

Lynda La Plante – Murder Mile Tennison #4

Camilla Lackberg – Buried Angels

Camilla Läckberg – The Girl in the Woods

Camilla Lackberg – The Ice Child

Camilla Lackberg – The Lost Boy

Camilla Lackberg – The Stonecutter

Stephanie Lam – The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House

Ali Land – Good Me, Bad Me

Harriet Lane – Her

Shari Lapena – The Couple Next Door

Catherine Law – The September Garden

Deborah Lawrenson – The Sea Garden

Anthony Le Moignan – A Long Goodbye

Caroline Lea -When the Sky Fell Apart

Simon Lelic – The House

Simon Lelic – The Liar’s Room

Pierre Lemaitre – Blood Wedding

Pierre Lemaitre – Three Days and a Life

Judith Lennox – The Jeweller’s Wife

Judith Lennox – One Last Dance

H.A. Leuschel – Manipulated Lives

Luana Lewis – Don’t Stand So Close

Nell Leyshon – The Colour Of Milk

Alison Light – Common People

Alison Light – Mrs Woolf and the Servants

Elizabeth Little – Dear Daughter

Joan Lock – Dead Centre

Shari Low – One Day in December

Marie Belloc Lowndes – The Lodger

Natalie Lucus – Sixteen Sixty-One

Sofia Lundberg – The Red Address Book

Rosamund Lupton – The Quality of Silence

Jane Lythell – The Lie of You 

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Posted in Uncategorized, Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (November 29)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

Thinking in Fragments wrote a fantastic review of The Riot by Laura Wilson.
The Riot
Blurb

August 1958. London is hot and tired, and nowhere more so than Notting Hill, where DI Stratton has just been posted.
Stratton’s new manor is dirt poor and rife with racial tension. The end of the war saw a flood of Caribbean migrants. Now, a decade later, working-class Teddy Boys are showing mounting hostility towards their black neighbours.
Notorious landlord Danny Perlmann, a Polish refugee, is taking full advantage of others’ reluctance to rent to the immigrants – or to prostitutes – and is making a fortune off the high rents he charges. Caught in the middle of this war over rents and turf is Irene, a young runaway on the verge of going on the game.
When Perlmann’s rent collector is murdered, Stratton is called to investigate. Notting Hill is a cauldron, soon to be the scene of the worst racial violence England has ever known, and Stratton is right at the heart of it. Amazon /blockquote>
This is five books into a series which starts with Stratton’s War so this may in fact be more than one book added this week….

The Riot

Having just read The Moon Field set around World War I and the upcoming anniversary of the start of this war has drawn me to the following two books

The Tailor’s Girl
by Fiona McIntosh was reviewed at Write Note Reviews

The Tailor's Girl

Blurb

From the bustling streets of 1920s London to the idyllic English countryside, this is a breathtaking story of passion and determination from a phenomenal Australian storyteller.
When a humble soldier, known only as Jones, wakes in a military hospital he has no recollection of his past. Jones’s few fleeting memories are horrifying moments from the battlefield of Ypres. His identity becomes a puzzle he must solve.
The Eden Valentine arrives in his world, a stunning seamstress who dreams of her own high-fashion salon in London. Mourning the loss of her brother in the war, Eden cannot turn away the soldier in desperate need of her help.
The key to Jones’s past – and Eden’s future – may lie with the mysterious Alex Wynter, aristocratic heir to the country manor Larksfell Hall. But the news that Alex bears will bring shattering consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart. Amazon

The Tailor’s Girl

On Fiction Books I found my second book set during World War I, Dance the Moon Down by R.L. Bartram

Dance the Moon Down 1

Blurb

In 1910, no one believed there would ever be a war with Germany. Safe in her affluent middle-class life, the rumours held no significance for Victoria either. It was her father’s decision to enroll her at university that began to change all that. There she befriend the rebellious and outspoken Beryl Whittaker, an emergent suffragette, but it is her love for Gerald Avery, a talented young poet from a neighbouring university that sets the seal on her future. After a clandestine romance, they marry in January 1914, but with the outbreak of the First World War, Gerald volunteers but within months has gone missing in France. Convinced that he is still alive, Victoria’s initial attempts to discover what has become of him, implicate her in a murderous assault on Lord Kitchener resulting in her being interrogated as a spy, and later tempted to adultery. Now virtually destitute, Victoria is reduced to finding work as a common labourer on a run down farm, where she discovers a world of unimaginable ignorance and poverty. It is only her conviction that Gerald will some day return that sustains her through the dark days of hardship and privation as her life becomes a battle of faith against adversity. Amazon

Dance the Moon Down

Random House are still enabling my addiction to Netgalley – I have a copy of Don’t Stand So Close by Luana Lewis with a publication date of 13 February 2014

Don't Stand So Close

Blurb

What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help?
If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone?
What would you do if you let her in, but couldn’t make her leave?
What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?
Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.
But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella’s carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her…

Don’t Stand So Close

This sounds like my sort of psychological thriller…

 

So what did everyone else find this week?

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (November 27)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently (still) reading Love Nina by Nina Stibbe

Love Nina
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life

This book of letters is great to pick up and put down in spare minutes as it consists entirely of letters from nanny Nina to her sister during the 80’s. Great fun

I have very nearly finished The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt which will be published 16 January 2014.

The Moon Field

Blurb

A poignant story of love and redemption, The Moon Field explores the loss of innocence through a war that destroys everything except the bonds of human hearts.
No man’s land is a place in the heart: pitted, cratered and empty as the moon…
Hidden in a soldier’s tin box are a painting, a pocket watch, and a dance card – keepsakes of three lives.
It is 1914. George Farrell cycles through the tranquil Cumberland fells to deliver a letter, unaware that it will change his life. George has fallen for the rich and beautiful daughter at the Manor House, Miss Violet, but when she lets slip the contents of the letter George is heartbroken to find that she is already promised to another man. George escapes his heartbreak by joining the patriotic rush to war, but his past is not so easily avoided. His rite of passage into adulthood leaves him believing that no woman will be able to love the man he has become.
A poignant story of love and redemption, The Moon Field explores the loss of innocence in a war that destroys everything except the bonds of the human heart. Amazon

The Moon Field

This is a fantastic read, one that doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war with its scenes from the battlefield in Ypres.

I have just finished Water’s Edge by Jane Riddell

Click on the cover to read my review

Water's Edge
Water’s Edge

I plan to read The Murder Code by Steve Mosby next, publication date 3 December 2013 by Open Road Integrated Media

The Murder Code

Blurb

Detective Inspector Andrew Hicks thinks he knows all about murder. However horrific the act, the reasons behind a crime are usually easy to explain. So when a woman is found bludgeoned to death, he suspects a crime of passion and attention focuses on her possessive ex-husband. But when a second body is found, similarly beaten, Hicks is forced to think again.
When more murders arrive in quick succession, Hicks realizes he is dealing with a type of killer he has never faced before, one who fits nowhere within his logic. Then the letters begin to arrive . . .
As the death toll rises, Hicks must face not only a killer obsessed with randomness and chaos, but also a secret in his own past. If he is to stop the killings, he must confront the truth about himself . . . Netgalley

The Murder Code

I’m looking forward to this one as I read Black Flowers a couple of years ago and was impressed by the fantastic storytelling

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (November 20)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Water’s Edge by Jane Riddell
Water's Edge

When Madalena invites her four children to Switzerland for a family gathering, she isn’t prepared for the excess baggage of their lives they bring along – secrets they are compelled to keep and those that must be divulged; the compromises they make, and, ultimately, what can and can’t be resolved – for Madalena, too, has things about her past that she would prefer not to reveal.
Set against a backdrop of mountains and lakes, Water’s Edge is a tapestry of love, lies and family. Amazon

Water’s Edge

I have just finished Rose West The Making of a Monster by Jane Carter Woodrow

Rose West

Hard to believe it looking at her now, but Rose West was an exceptionally beautiful little girl, with a Maltese mother and English father. Strangers would stop and stare at her in the street and she could entrance people from a very early age. But looking back at photos of Rose as a child, you struggle to accept that she grew up to one of the country’s most notorious female criminals. What happened to that little girl to make her capable of such violence? Or was there something wrong, a predisposition to violence she was born with? In Rose, Jane Carter Woodrow goes right back to the start in her life to try and piece together what happened to turn Rose West into the violent monster she became. Jane has gained unprecedented access to the family and has revealed a fascinating story of how there was always something “not quite right” about Rose. And perhaps that’s not too surprising Rose’s childhood reads like one of the most grim misery memoirs. Her father was a violent schizophrenic and her mother received electric shock therapy for severe clinical depression, the whole way through her pregnancy with Rose. Jane has uncovered a horrific hidden story of a twisted family and how her upbringing made her a perfect partner for Fred West when they met when Rose had just turned 16. She was to kill for the first time a few months later. This is a gripping read that sheds light for the first time on the story behind what turned Rose West into a vicious and deadly serial killer. Goodreads

This is a fascinating book which concentrates on the reason why Rose West committed the crimes she did rather than on those horrific crimes. I am behind with my reviews but I will be posting soon…

Rose West: The Making of a Monster

Next I will be reading The Moon Field by Judith Allnatt

The Moon Field

It is 1914. George Farrell cycles through the tranquil Cumberland fells to deliver a letter, unaware that it will change his life. George has fallen for the beautiful daughter at the Manor House, Miss Violet, but when she lets slip the contents of the letter George is heartbroken to discover that she is already promised to another man. George escapes his heartbreak by joining the patriotic rush to war, but his past is not so easily avoided. His rite of passage into adulthood leaves him believing that no woman will be able to love the man he has become. Goodreads

I’m really looking forward to reading this book, I’m sure it will be one of many I read commemorating 100 years since the start of World War I next year.
The Moon Field

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, The Classic Club

Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton

Classic
5*s

Well, if you are looking for a cheery book, this isn’t for you! But if you want a book that eloquently takes you further and further down a despairing path, you’ve knocked on the right door, much as our enigmatic narrator does when one bleak winter he finds himself stuck and he’s welcomed, well almost, into the Frome’s home.

By the time our narrator hears the story we already know that Ethan looks older than his years, he walks with a pronounced limp and is taciturn in the extreme, but as to his past, the other residents of Starkfield, Massachusetts are not inclined to say. Our narrator is then treated to this tragic tale which involves Ethan, his wife Zeena and her cousin Mattie.

A story of a marriage which has turned sour although it’s clear that Zeena was a different woman, at least in Ethan’s eyes when she first came to Starkfield to care for Ethan’s mother but a mere seven years later, Zeena is unwell. It is up for debate that her reliance on doctors and patent medicines is a necessity or hypochondria.

“Ethan looked at her with loathing. She was no longer the listless creature who had lived at his side in a state of sullen self-absorption, but a mysterious alien presence, an evil energy secreted from the long years of silent brooding.”

Ethan life is cheered when Mattie comes to live in their house to help the ailing Zeena because she brings conversation and a sparkle to the miserable cold life that the pair share. And of course he can’t help but compare the two women and no prizes for who comes off better out of such a comparison. With his habitual reticence Ethan becomes fonder of Mattie and the wheels are set in motion for a tragedy of epic proportions.

For such a slim novel it soon becomes apparent why this is a classic. The writing is beautiful and it effortlessly conjures up the Frome house, the winter in Starkfield that almost becomes a character in its own right.

“The village lay under two feet of snow, with drifts at the windy corners. In a sky of iron the points of the Dipper hung like icicles and Orion flashed his cold fires. The moon had set, but the night was so transparent that the white house-fronts between the elms looked grey against the snow, clumps of bushes made black stains on it, and the basement windows of the church sent shafts of yellow light far across the endless undulations.”

The author really allows the third person narrative to paint the picture for us, her readers in a way Ethan never could do – after all he barely speaks which prompts the thought of why he decides to bare his soul to the man who is seeking shelter in his house. But out rolls the story of the misery of Ethan’s life. First his father’s illness curtailed his brief foray into the world where he studied engineering. Ethan was dragged back to the farm and mill, already floundering would literally become a millstone around his neck. Then his mother fell ill and Zeena cared for her only to marry Ethan and become an invalid herself. Oh but dear reader, this is just the start!

In the hands of a lesser writer all of this unhappiness could have got too much but I finished the book with a huge lump in my throat and yet a deep-seated longing that the book would last just a little bit longer.

Ethan Frome is number 8 on The Classics Club list and the second of my fifty choices that I’ve read and reviewed. A tragedy of mammoth proportions that stole a piece of my heart.

 

First Published UK: 1911
Publisher: Penguin UK
No of Pages: 128
Genre: Classic Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Derby

Put A Book On The Map is off to Derby featuring the DI Damen Brook series written by Steven Dunne.  Our blogger guide Mary Mayfield of Our Book Reviews Online has kindly agreed to give us a resident’s view of the area and has kindly  provided the wonderful photos of key spots to illustrate this post

Before Steven Dunne tells us a bit about Derby and of course DI Damen Brook’s life there, here is a little bit about Derby. Derby is also one of the places in Britain who are the furthest from the sea and somewhere that I’ve visited a few times, the Peak District being a popular place to holiday and I’ve actually stayed in Ashbourne as well as paid visits to the spa town of Buxton. But without further ado, I am delighted to introduce Steven Dunne.

D.I. Damen Brook  
1. The Reaper (2007)
2. The Disciple (2010)
3. Deity (2012)
4. The Unquiet Grave (2013)
5. A Killing Moon (2015)
6. Death Do Us Part (2016)

Derby

“Brook hadn’t chosen Derby as a place to live and work. He’d picked up the first available transfer out of London…And Derby hadn’t let him down. It was a pleasingly unremarkable place to lose himself.  An engineering town by tradition, which marked out the population as hard working and straightforward, it also boasted a large and well-integrated Asian population.

Frank Whittle, pioneer of the jet engine, was much honoured in a city where Rolls Royce was the main employer. Derby also had one of the largest railway engineering works in the world.  It was a city built on transport, going nowhere.  Obligatory retail parks ringed the city and much of the population and traffic had followed, making Brook’s neighbourhood, if not any more glamorous, then certainly a little quieter.

And despite the inevitable decline of such an industry-dependent city, crime was not excessive and murder was rare. But what really marked out this East Midlands backwater was the Peak District, a few miles to the north-west.  Brook had fallen in love with it and took every opportunity he could to drive into the hills and soak up the peace of the countryside. Ashbourne, Hartington, Buxton, Bakewell, Carsington Water – all were favoured haunts, where he could dump the car and walk for hours alone, clearing his mind of all the clutter.”

In the first novel of the Reaper series, Detective Inspector Damen Brook describes his new posting in the East Midlands after moving from London. Following a damaging, and only partially successful, struggle to bring the serial killer of the title to justice, Brook’s once-stellar career is on the skids and his marriage over. With his move, he has reconciled himself to a quieter life. Of course, he’s deluding himself and, six books later, Brook’s star begins to rise again because of his dedicated pursuit of justice.

And Brook speaks for me. My reasons for relocating from London to Derby were thankfully more mundane but, when I made the move, I experienced the same reaction to my new home. Brook works in the city – at the real-life St Mary’s Wharf police HQ – but lives in the lovely Peak District village of Hartington. Driving home through the countryside late at night provides him with an essential safety valve when a case threatens to overwhelm him and I often write these into the novels as a break from the high-octane tension of Brook’s investigations.

Derby itself is Britain’s most landlocked city and houses a quarter of a million people. It is home to global brands like Rolls Royce as well as a thriving university, which served as a location in my 5th novel, A Killing Moon. Derby is also, apparently, the most haunted city in the country, though I’ve yet to see one. Ghost walks have been thriving for years centred around the old Derby Gaol.

Brook took a while to see Derby’s virtues after being wrenched from London but neither of us could envisage going back.

By Steven Dunne

Mary Mayfield kindly offered to share her love of this series of books featuring Derby and as well as her brilliant book reviews,  you can also find her tweeting with the handle @marymayf

I first discovered Steven Dunne in 2012 with his third crime thriller Deity. I knew before reading that it was set in my home town of Derby but the only book I’d previously encountered set here was very sketchy on location, and at times the characters’ movements through the city were downright infeasible.

River Derwent

So when I read Deity, I was surprised to recognise the locations as quickly, easily and precisely as I did; in fact when a dead body is slipped into the river Derwent in the second chapter, Dunne gives enough detail that anyone familiar with the area could point to the spot. This accuracy continued throughout the book – the movements of police, victims and suspects could be plotted along familiar streets in the city centre (Waterstones book store gets a nice mention), another ‘incident’ occurs near Exeter bridge a route I regularly take between car park and downtown shops, but for me the most chilling moment came when the killer appeared to be heading to the house of a friend of mine!

 

The Quad, Arts Centre & Cinema

Since then, DI Brook has been finding dead bodies, talking to witnesses and tracking down villains, on golf courses and allotments, at both the sixth form college and the university, in the city’s pubs (always named) and pleasant suburban villages – and whether it’s Brook getting confused by Derby’s one-way system, or someone taking the quickest way on foot from one end of town to the other, I can follow the route in my head or on a map every time.

 

Silk Mill from Exeter Bridge

I think there’s something a little strange about my delight in reading crime thrillers set in places I know so well. I wouldn’t want real crime taking place there (and I certainly hope Derby doesn’t have anything approaching the number of murderers that Brook encounters) but to read about it is a different matter. Maybe it’s like watching a film and feeling that exciting moment of “I’ve been there” recognition, or a certain level of strange pride that Derby could be as famous for fictional crime as Morse’s Oxford or Rebus’s Edinburgh; whatever’s the cause, it does add a certain something to a novel.

Despite the chills I’m rather keen to see a DI Brook novel set in my own suburb. I’ve offered coffee as a bribe to encourage Steven Dunne to come and recce the area – I could point out all the hidden footpaths and alleyways that cut through the estate, all the ways a villain could make a quick getaway if necessary – but so far he’s not taken me up on the offer.

By Mary Mayfield

Read Mary’s review of Deity here which really captures how much we all seem to love books that accurately represent those places we know well.

Derby Guildhall

 

Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere

As we are really putting a whole series of books on the map, I have found a different blogger review for each title. I do hope if you’ve already read all the books, you might well find a new blogger to follow instead!

The Reaper by Euro Crime

The Disciple by Northern Crime

Deity by Our Book Reviews Online

The Unquiet Grave by The Welsh Librarian

The Killing Moon by Book Addict Shaun

Death Do Us Part by For Winter Nights

There are so many brilliant reviews of all the books in this series out there, if you have one why not share the link on twitter today to help put this book on the map!

Now don’t forget to hop over to see Susan The Book Trail to see the details of the book setting on her wonderful maps.

 

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mary and Steven for this wonderful post bringing to life a whole series worth of brilliant crime thrillers set in Derby.