Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap #Liverpool

dj-book-on-the-map

Today The Book on the Map is in Liverpool, a book that once you’ve read it, you will realise couldn’t possibly be set anywhere else. A Tapping at my Door not only has the perfect setting it also made my top ten list of books published in 2016 and so I was particularly thrilled when David Jackson and Karen from Go Buy The Book were both keen to put this particular book on the map!

liver-bird-single

Right first to the location: Liverpool is in the North West of England and was a key port city giving rise to the kind of diverse population that springs up when ships are docking or leaving on a regular basis with some of the oldest immigrant communities in the whole of the UK. In more modern times Liverpool was of course the home of the Beatles.

 

I have only visited Liverpool once and I have to admit the biggest thrill was to see the iconic Liver Birds atop The Royal Liver Building. These really are far more impressive in real life than the pictures. But before that, many moons ago, when I first left home, I shared a house with a ‘bunch of Scousers,’ in other words they were all from Liverpool. I have incredibly fond memories of those days but the very early ones were spent with me either trying to get them to repeat what they said, or smiling inanely; The Liverpool accent takes some getting used to. Fortunately I had regular practice when we settled down together to watch the omnibus edition of Brookside on a Saturday afternoon.

Well enough of the trips down memory lane, back to the book!

A Tapping at my Door

A Tapping at My Door

david-jackson
David Jackson

A Tapping at my Door is the first of my new crime thriller series set in Liverpool. Before that, I had written four novels in a different series set in a completely different part of the world – New York, in fact. The first book in that series (Pariah) was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Awards, while the most recent (Cry Baby) was an Amazon top 10 bestseller and listed as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year. So why, you might ask, did I decide to embark on a new series?

One reason is that I was on the lookout for a new publisher, and publishers generally want something fresh, particularly if the existing books in a series are owned elsewhere. Another reason is that I felt I was missing out on local support for my books. Setting my novels here in the UK would, I reasoned, increase my chances of getting that important backing from shops and supermarkets in the area. Finally, I needed somewhere that would be easy to get to in order to carry out my research, and possessing enough interesting features to make it stand out as much as the characters in my books.

With all that in mind, Liverpool was the natural choice of location. I was born and raised there, and although I now live on the other side of the Mersey, I still travel in to Liverpool every day for my work as an academic.
As far as I am concerned, Liverpool has everything a novelist needs as a setting: the distinctive waterfront, with its Liver Buildings and Albert Dock; the Liverpool One shopping area; the Georgian Quarter, filled with more Georgian buildings than any other city outside London; the two cathedrals and two premier league football teams; the slavery museum; the Tate; the Beatles connection …

Of course, Liverpool has its darker, tougher side. There are areas of poverty and deprivation here to rival those of any other major UK city. There is also crime, without which I’d be short of material. But balanced against this is the one thing about the city that I don’t think is matched anywhere else: the humour and warm-heartedness of its people. That, above all, is what makes me want to write about Liverpool.

 

Karen from Go Buy The Book is well qualified to discuss this book as her favourite types of reading is crime fiction and she lives in Liverpool so I’ll hand over to her and her wonderful photos of actual places in this book. You can read her review of the book here

The setting of a book can be just as crucial as the characters and the plot. In the case of A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson, the use of Liverpool is so pivotal to the plot that it couldn’t really be set anywhere else.

 

waterstones-botm-dj
The former Waterstones where Cody was busking

Although the first location we encounter is Stoneycroft, the scene of a particularly gruesome murder, it is the second chapter where the city of Liverpool is really introduced. DS Nathan Cody is busking on Bold Street, a cosmopolitan area in the city centre, in front of the former Waterstones book shop, when he embarks on a high octane, if comical, chase through the city centre.

clayton-square-botm-dj
Clayton Square shopping centre where Cody’s guitar got stuck in the automatic doors!

Being from Liverpool, I found the description of the places he passes to be so well-written that I actually envisaged myself running through Central Station, over Ranelagh Street into Clayton Square and up the steps leading towards Lime Street.

 

 

 The steps leading towards Lime Street Station where Cody caught the flasher.

The steps leading towards Lime Street Station where Cody caught the flasher.

 

 

 

 

A member of the Major Incident Team, Cody works out of Stanley Road station. Situated in Kirkdale, in the north of the city, an area that has witnessed more than its fair share of crime, this is a complete contrast to where he lives in Rodney Street in the heart of the city centre. Known as the ‘Harley Street of the North’, Rodney Street is the home to doctors and dentists as well as many private residents. It is perhaps most well known for being, in 1809, the birthplace of William Ewart Gladstone, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In recent years, it has become a mecca for many television production crews with the likes of Foyle’s War and Peaky Blinders being filmed there.

 

Sheil Street
Sheil Street

 

Heading away from the city centre, the murderer strikes again in Sheil Road, near to Kensington, one of the busiest roads in the city.

 

This road is not a stranger to crime with numerous cases of anti-social behaviour and violence being reported over the past few years. Despite this, Sheil Road also contains one of the entrances to the 121 acre Newsham Park, opened in 1868.

 

One of the most iconic images of Liverpool – the Royal Liver Building – plays a vital role in the story. Construction of this building began in 1907 with the building opening a few years later in 1911. This Grade I listed building overlooks the River Mersey and stands at an impressive 90m tall. The building is probably most known for the two Liver Birds adorning each tower. Legend has it that while one looks out to sea, the other looks over the city, protecting its people. They must have been turning a blind eye as the killer struck!

 

liver-bird-building-liverpool

Book Reviews from around the Blogosphere
A Tapping at my Door

Rebecca Bradley

Bibliophile Book Club

damppebbles

Cleopatra Loves Books

There are so many brilliant reviews of A Tapping at my Door out there, if you have one why not share the link on twitter today to help put this book on the map!

the-booktrail-logo

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

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Karen and David for this wonderful post bringing to life this brilliant crime thriller set in Liverpool which starts with an excerpt from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

All books featured in this #BookOnTheMap project will get a place on the Master Page listing crime fiction by their destination with links to the wonderful collaboration between authors and bloggers.

Please email me at cleopatralovesbooks70@gmail.com if you would like to participate in this feature.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cleopatra’s Top 10 Books Published in 2016

top-ten-2016-v-2

Once again I have awarded a whole array of books the magic 5 stars which means whittling this down to a mere ten quite a task indeed, one that I have been pondering since the start of December in fact… so without further ado here are the ten books published in 2016 that I consider to have been truly outstanding and memorable reads.

The books have been listed in no particular order and you can read my full review by clicking on the book covers.

 

A Tapping at my DoorA Tapping At My Door by David Jackson
First up is a book which started with Edgar Allan Poe’s spooky poem The Raven to reveal not only a depth of characterisation but a real sense of the Liverpool setting. This is  a new series, featuring DS Nathan Cody, a detective with a troubled background and a Cop Killer on the loose.  I’m a fan of a good police procedural anyway but this was a deeper exploration than many in this genre. These characteristics may have been the icing on the cake of a fabulous plot which had me gripped throughout.

 

The Ballroom

The Ballroom by Anna Hope
Focusing on three characters who are residents of Sharston Asylum in 1911, The Ballroom was an exceptionally well researched look at life in an asylum as the treatment of those afflicted by mental illness was developing fast. What was far more shocking was the ‘crimes’ committed that may have had you detained at this time. I particularly love books that manage to inform at the same time as entertaining, the main story was never lost throughout the extraordinary amount of detail. In a personal twist Anna Hope dedicated this book to her Gt Gt Grandfather who was admitted to Menston Asylum (the inspiration for this book) in 1909.

 

The Apprentice of Split Crow LaneThe Apprentice of Split Crow Lane: The Story of the Carr’s Hill Murder by Jane Housham
This non-fiction examination of a Victorian crime is among the best I’ve read and also looks at life in an asylum at a slightly earlier time period of 1866. The crime examined is a shocking one, not least because it involves a child and the motive had me stunned. Jane Housham delivers her research in an engaging manner with care taken to look at the characters involved, both victim and accused and their families as well as recreating the setting to enable the reader to have a sometimes all too clear picture of what happened on Carr’s Hill in Gateshead one awful day.

 

house-of-birds The House of Birds by Morgan McCarthy
So I move onto my choice for historical fiction and it is a while since I’ve read such a well-constructed dual time-line novel. With both parts, the modern time featuring Oliver and Kate, and the past in 1920s Oxford featuring the downtrodden wife Sophia and her love of books, The House of Birds had me gripped in both halves. Whilst the narrative isn’t fast-moving, the language is beautiful and the tale told had me running the gamut of emotions because of the fantastically drawn characters. This was one of those books that I lost myself in for the duration, and beyond.

 

The Swimming Pool The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish
A newly renovated swimming pool is the setting of this latest psychological thriller by Louise Candlish and one which examines female friendship. I really enjoy books that are set over a relatively short period of time, particularly when the characters lives are altered forever by some event, and here in the space of a single summer Natalie’s life is changed by meeting the glamorous Lara. My original review states the dénouement is brutal, it is but brilliantly so!

 

Out of Bounds Out of Bounds by Val McDermid
Val McDermid has used one of my favourite devices in this, the fourth in the DCI Karen Pirie series set in her native Scotland. When a cold case of twenty years is has a breakthrough due to the death of a teenage joyrider, Karen Pirie is determined to find the truth. A brilliant paring with a somewhat dim second in command served well both to provide lighter moments and inform the reader without a hint of patronisation. Reading Out of Bounds  I was reminded of the many shades that this brilliant author injects into her books, whilst delivering a fantastic story.

 

Daisy in Chains Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton
Moving swiftly from one reliably brilliant author to another… Sharon Bolton has truly excelled herself in this standalone novel. Told in a linear fashion, no needs for fancy bells and whistles for this book, we meet Hamish Wolfe imprisoned for the murder of three women at HMP in the Isle of Wight. His mother is campaigning for his freedom and enlists true crime writer Maggie Rose. This is a crime novel that goes beyond simple innocence or guilt and justifiably made for compulsive reading. There are characters in Daisy in Chains which I will never forget!

 

The Museum of You The Museum of You by Carys Bray
In a rapid shift away from the darkness, The Museum of You relays the summer Clover Quinn decides to turn her mother’s former bedroom into a display about her life. Clover has never known her mother and the project helps the awkward pre-teen fill her first unsupervised summer. This book had just the right mix of pathos and humour, one of the best depictions of this age group. I fell in love with Clover and the earnest way she builds her display, knowing that she is likely to find some difficult truths along the way. It is a very rare book indeed that makes me shed real tears – this book was one of them!

 

In Her WakeIn Her Wake by Amanda Jennings
I’ve seen In Her Wake featured on many of the top ten book lists doing the rounds this month, and having absolutely been blown away by this original tale, I had to add it to mine too. This wonderful book follows Bella who finds following the death of her parents that her entire life is founded on a lie and decides to discover the truth. Filled with wonderful characters, an enticing premise and beautiful language the story takes in myths and evocative settings resulting in a haunting tale which was delightful to read.

 

Lying in wait Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
With so much to admire about Lying in Wait from the first killer line ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’ to the clever structure whereby we learn all about Lydia and Andrew Fitzsimons through Lydia’s own words, those of her son Laurence and Annie Doyle’s older sister Karen who take it in turns to narrate this novel. Set in 1980s Ireland this book also gave me moments of nostalgia without ever dragging me away from the captivating story. This is a book that should be gone into knowing as little as possible, that way you will get the full benefit of this author’s skilful and surprising plotting.

So what do you think? Have you read any of these titles or do you want to?

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have visited me here on my little corner of the internet, as well of course as the authors and publishers who have provided me with so many great books to read throughout the year. I look forward to discovering new places, people and dark plots in 2017 and do hope you will all join me on my journey.

Happy New Year to one and all!

Posted in Uncategorized

Reading Bingo 2016

reading-bingo-small

This is one of my favourite posts of the year so there was no question of me repeating this following my relative success in filling in the squares in both 2014 and 2015

I purposely don’t treat this like a challenge by finding books to fit the squares throughout the year, oh no! I prefer to see which of my (mostly) favourite books will fit from the set I’ve read.  As you can imagine this becomes a bit like one of those moving puzzles where one book is suitable for a number of squares… and then I’m left with empty squares which I have to trawl through the 136 books I’ve read and reviewed to see if any book at all will fit! This keeps me amused for many, many hours so I do hope you all enjoy the result.

Click on the book covers to read my reviews

A Book With More Than 500 Pages

Small Great Things

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult clocks in at 512 pages covering the injustice of a Ruth Jefferson, the only African-American nurse on duty when a baby gets into difficulty. With the parents white supremacists who want to blame someone Ruth is charged with murder. Not a comfortable read and I applaud the author for wanting to address racism and using an absorbing tale to do so.

A Forgotten Classic

Harriet Said

I came late to Beryl Bainbridge so I’m going to count this as a modern classic. I’ve read three of this author’s books so far, my favourite being Harriet Said. The story is based upon a murder case involving two teenaged girls in New Zealand, a case that was also the inspiration for the film Heavenly Creatures. The author creates two young teenage girls using them to reveal the push and pull of their relationship which is ultimately their undoing.

A Book That Became a Movie

Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain has lots to recommend it although I admit some of the politics towards the end, went over my head, but the tale of a young woman nursing through World War I, having put her hard one academic ambitions on hold, was incredibly poignant. With the inevitable loss of friends and family her grief for herself and her generation is palpable The film was released in 2014 to great acclaim.

A Book Published This Year

The Ballroom

As a book reviewer I have read lots of books published this year but decided to feature one from my historical fiction selection. The Ballroom by Anna Hope tells the tale of life in an asylum in West Riding, the year being 1911. With a mixture of men and women housed in the asylum the author not only writes us a great story, but has accurately researched what life was like from the perspective of inmates and attendants.

A Book With A Number In The Title

The One in a Million Boy

I give you not one but two numbers in this title: The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood is a book I denoted  ‘quirky’ but I’m so glad I read it. The story concerns the relationship between Ona Vitkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who has lived in the US since she was just four, and a boy Scout with a passion for the Guinness World Records. Touching without ever being overly sentimental this is one that will linger in my mind for quite some time.

A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain was written by Barney Norris who was born in 1987. This book not only touches on the history of Salisbury but weaves stories of five fictional characters in a literary, but oh so readable way. An accomplished novel that doesn’t let an obvious love of language interfere with a great story.

A Book With Non Human Characters

Little Stranger

Well I’m giving you double for your money with this book, not only is there a ghost in The Little Stanger by the fabulous Sarah Waters, there is also a Labrador that plays a key role in the subsequent downfall of the Ayres family. This spooky story is narrated by a country doctor in 1940’s Warwickshire and has plenty of other themes to enjoy even if you, like me, are not a fan of ghostly goings-on.

A Funny Book

A Man With One of those Faces

A Man With One Of Those Faces is a crime fiction novel written by stand-up comedian Caimh McDonnell. I know crime mixed with humour doesn’t sound as if it should work, but it does! A Man With One of Those Faces is full of observational humour with some truly entertaining characters without sacrificing a great plot with a whole heap of action to keep you on the edge of your seat.

A Book By A Female Author

My Husband's Wife

So many great books by so many fab women – in the end I chose My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry which falls into one of my favourite genres, psychological thrillers of the domestic variety. This tale mixes past and present with a whole heap of flawed characters and is told by two separate narrators Lily and Carla and they reveal more and more about themselves, and those around them. An extremely tense read which was utterly satisfying.

A Book With A Mystery

Pictures of perfection.jxr

What better mystery can there be than that of a missing policeman on Dalziel’s patch? Pictures of Perfection is the fourteenth in the Dalziel & Pascoe series written by the outstandingly talented Reginald Hill and this book was an absolute delight to read. With a horrific opening scene, the book then switches to the more genteel setting of a country fair in 1980s rural Yorkshire. Fear not though this isn’t window dressing, the plot is superb with a proper mystery to be solved.

A Book With A One Word Title

Viral

Like last year I have read six books that have a single word as their title but I have chosen Viral by Helen Fitzgerald because of the very contemporary storyline. Viral examines what happens when a sex act carried out in Magaluf ends up online for all Su Oliphant-Brotheridge’s friends and family to see but despite that taster, this story didn’t go in the direction I expected it to.

 A Book of Short Stories

manipulated-lives

Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel is a collection of five novellas all looking at manipulators and the effect on the lives of those they choose to manipulate. The author picked five different characters and settings to explore this theme and I have to admit, not being a huge fan of short stories, the common thread was far more appealing to me than some other collections.

 Free Square

Lying in wait

For my free square this year I have decided to go with the book with the best opening sentence; Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent:
My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’
With the rest of this book more than living up to the first line there was so much to love not only does the author keep the tension stretched as taut as could be, despite that opening revelation we have a wonderful Irish setting as background.

A Book Set On A Different Continent

The Woman on the Orient Express

The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford is a novel that ends up in Baghdad recreating a trip to an archaeology dig that Agatha Christie made following the divorce from her first husband. This wasn’t so much of a mystery rather a historical novel using Agatha Christie herself as the centre of the story of three woman all making this trip for very different reasons. An unusual and rewarding read with an exotic setting along with a fantastic mode of transport.

A Book of Non-Fiction

Did She Kill Him

I have read some brilliant non-fiction books, mostly about murders, and a fair proportion about poisoners, my interest (or obsession) of the year, so I am going with Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun. Florence Maybrick is the subject of this book, a middle-class woman living in Liverpool in 1889 when she stood trial for the murder, by arsenic, of her husband. While the majority of the book is relatively sympathetic to Florence, the author cleverly takes apart the arguments in the last section leaving the reader to make up their own mind if she was guilty or not.

The First Book By A Favourite Author

In Bitter Chill

I enjoyed In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward so much earlier in the year that I had to buy the second in the series, A Deadly Thaw. The setting in Bampton Derbyshire was stunning which made the awful tale of the disappearance of two girls back in 1978 all the more shocking, especially as only one of those girls returned home. Rachel Jones went  home but now an adult a suicide prompts her to find out what really happened all those years ago.

A Book I Heard About Online

The Versions of Us

Since blogging I find most of my new author finds on-line and to be honest, it is fairly easy to persuade me I must read crime fiction or psychological thrillers, I’m more resistant to other genres. But all the rave reviews about The Versions of Us by Laura Bennett, a sliding-doors novel had me intrigued – and what a great find this was. The incident that kicks off the three different lives in The Versions of Us is a student falling off her bike whilst studying at Cambridge University in October 1958 and the three tales that follow are all equally brilliant. This was an absorbing read especially taking into consideration the complicated structure.

A Best Selling Book

Love You Dead

Peter James’ Roy Grace series consistently makes the best seller list, and also happens to be my favourite police procedural series so it is only right and fitting that Love You Dead is featured for this square. For those of you who also enjoy not only the mystery but also reading about Roy Grace (and his beautiful wife, Cleo), some key story arcs are cleared up in this, the twelfth book in the series. Mystery fans don’t need to worry either, the key plot is a good one featuring a pretty woman at its heart.

A Book Based Upon A True Story

Buriel Rites

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year! With the Icelandic landscape as a backdrop to Agnes Magnúsdóttir’s final months awaiting trial for the murder of two men, we see the family she had been sent to stay with learning to adjust to the stranger in their midst. Be warned if you haven’t read this book, it is devastating, I had grown to love Agnes and yet her fate was sealed and no amount of wishing can change the course of history.

A Book At the Bottom Of Your To Be Read Pile

The Mistake

The Mistake by Wendy James is a book inspired by a true event rather than based upon it and one that had been on my TBR for a couple of years.  In The Mistake we meet Jodi Garrow whose comfortable life as the wife of a lawyer unravels when a nurse in a small town hospital remembers her from years before when she gave birth to a little girl, there is no sign of that baby and Jodi does her best to cover up the truth but the media are determined to find the truth.

 A Book Your Friend Loves

blood-lines

I introduced a friend to the wonders of DI Kim Stone this year and she loved the series, in fact, despite not being a book blogger, she told me about the upcoming release of Blood Lines by Angela Marsons before I knew it was happening!  This series goes from strength to strength and her characterisation underpins a fantastic multi-stranded mystery as our protagonist tries to find the link between the stabbing of a compassionate, well-loved woman and a prostitute.

A Book That Scares You

A Tapping at my Door

I rarely get scared by a book but from the opening excerpt of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe this book had me well and truly spooked by A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson. With opening scenes of a woman hearing a tapping sound, I was glad I wasn’t reading this on a dark night on my own. But this isn’t just a spooky police procedural, it is incredibly clever – I can’t tell you exactly how as that would spoil it but this was a book with a superb plot, probably one of the best I’ve read this year. That with a lively and interesting character in DS Nathan Cody, a Liverpool setting and more than a dash of humour, means it was an all-round great read.

A Book That Is More Than 10 Years Old

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

I decided to pick the oldest book that I’ve read this year and this one was first published in 1926 so in fact 90 years old; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is considered by many to be one of the best written by Agatha Christie and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book narrated by a doctor and one of my very favourite detectives, Monsieur Poirot leading the search for the murderer of Roger Ackroyd, killed in his very own study if you please – oh and of course the door was locked!

The Second Book In A Series

the-kill-fee

I have a love of 1920s London and Fiona Veitch Smith’s creation Poppy Denby, journalist at The Daily Globe had her second outing in The Kill Fee, this year. The mystery had its roots in Russia and the revolution and Poppy romps her way around extricating herself from ever more tricky circumstances made for a delightful and informative read.

A Book With A Blue Cover

The Museum of You

I can’t let this square go without asking has anyone else noticed the increase in blue covers? The one I’ve chosen was my surprise hit of the year; The Museum of You by Carys Bray – a story about a twelve-year-old girl putting together an exhibition about her mother wouldn’t normally make it onto the TBR, let alone be loved so much… but the lack of overt sentimentality in this book along with an exceptional array of characters made it a firm favourite for 2016.

Well look at that, for the first time ever I have completed every square!

How about you? How much of the card could you fill in? Please share!

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

A Tapping At My Door – David Jackson

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Prefaced by some lines from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven, rarely have I been so spooked by a book as I was on opening this book where Terri Latham is sat at home having a glass of wine when she hears a tapping at her door… I’m don’t have a particularly nervous nature but I was there, alongside Terri while she debated whether or not to investigate! There is no need to add that David Jackson is a master at setting a scene.

ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Next we meet DS Nathan Cody at work in the Major Investigation Team who has just found out one of his old girlfriends has joined the team, even better they are to be partners – now that’s not awkward is it? The fact that Megan Webley is now engaged to someone else just ups the potential for problems and while I’m not saying there are none, the author is rightly restrained in keeping the personal life on the fringes of the action allowing the fabulous, and it is outstanding, plot to take centre stage.

I instantly liked Nathan Cody, a former undercover policeman, he clearly had dealt with a major incident in this role, but what it was isn’t revealed for quite some time. This explains his shortish temper, particularly with local reporter, suffers with insomnia and has a hint of recklessness about him but again, David Jackson doesn’t overplay these issues, they are there and clearly a concern, not least to Cody himself, but he does work as part of a team and there are minimal lone wolf moments.

In fact all the characters are beautifully drawn from the victims, suspects and officers and other randomers, every single one was distinct, note authors this always helps the reader keep the story straight, and yet utterly authentic primarily because like real people they aren’t acting a part they are made up of many different facets, so while Cody may bark at a reporter he is capable of helping an elderly man with some shopping moments later, a lovely touch that keeps the reader in tune with, and engaged with the character.

So we have a fabulous plot and great characters so onto the Liverpool setting. This was also very well done with its helpful explanation of the difference between the new touristy bits and those slightly rougher parts of town cleverly slipped into the story to give a sense of place and to me this felt distinct from any generic English city.

But best of all the writing comes with a good dose of wry humour which I love. This meant that despite some gruesome murders, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this book to those with weak dispositions, the book never felt depressing.
I can’t recommend this book enough, it is definitely going to be in my top ten reads of 2016, there isn’t one bit that could have been better!

I’d like to say a big thank you to Bonnier Publishing for my copy of this book, this review is my unbiased thank you to them. A Tapping At My Door was published on 7 April 2016.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 6)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Girl A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson, after his second book, The Kind Worth Killing  made my Top Ten Reads of 2015, I wanted to read his debut novel.

The Girl With a Clock for a Heart

Blurb

George Foss never thought he’d see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack’s Tavern.
When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl’s grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece – the one who had committed suicide – was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved – and of the things she may have done to escape her past.
Now, twenty years later, she’s back, and she’s telling George that he’s the only one who can help her… Amazon

I have just finished The Good Mother by A.L. Bird which was published yesterday, 4 April 2016.

The Good Mother

Blurb

Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.
The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear.
The person who has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.
Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before. Amazon

My review will follow shortly

Next I am going to read A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson

A Tapping at my Door

To read the synopsis and a short excerpt please see yesterday’s post

So that’s me a week full of crime! Have you read any of these?

What are you reading this week? Do share your thoughts in the comments below

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 5)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My chosen book for this week is A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson which will be published on 7 April 2016.

A Tapping at my Door

Blurb

A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She’s disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes.
DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird – and the victim’s missing eyes.
As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too.
And then the killer strikes again, and Cody realises the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all – it’s to the police.
Following the success and acclaim of the Callum Doyle novels, A Tapping at My Door is the first instalment of David Jackson’s new Nathan Cody series. Amazon

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

L is ten.
There it is again. The sound. The tapping, scratching, scrabbling noise at the back door. Terri Latham gives it her attention and then, when the sound stops, chides herself for wasting the brainpower. Its nothing. Just the plants, probably. She laughs at that. Laughs at the way it conjures up the image of an eight-foot Venus Flytrap or some such, banging its leafy fist on her door and demanding to be fed. Like that film – what’s it called? – Little Shop of Horrors, that’s it. Because it’s funny. Sitting here alone, getting all jittery over nothing but a plant – well, that’s hilarious. Actually, she has a whole crowd of plants in pots just outside the door, but she’s not thinking of them. Most of them aren’t capable of knocking for attention.

Please note that this excerpt comes from a proof copy

I’m not sure about the writing style of this passage, those incredibly short sentences aren’t something I’m used to, but the opening certainly conjures up the setting vividly.
Would you read on? Please leave your comments and links in the comments box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (April 2)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Having been captivated by the recent true life cases I’ve read about poisoners with Last Woman Hanged by Catherine Overington and then Mrs Maybrick by Victoria Blake I was lucky enough to receive and review The Secret Poisoner by Stratmann which is a comprehensive look at poisoning in the nineteenth century so you’d think that was enough poison for one person, but no, I have now bought a copy of Poisoned Lives: English Poisoners and Their Victims by Katherine Watson!

Poisoned Lives

Blurb

Poisoners from Mary Anne Cotton, the Victorian mass murderess, to Dr Crippen have attracted a celebrity unmatched by violent killers. Secretly administered, often during a family meal, arsenic (the most commonly used poison) led to a slow and agonising death, while strychnine (with its faint smell of almonds) could kill very quickly. Poisoned Lives is the first history of the crime to examine poisoning as a whole. Unwanted husbands, wives or lovers, illegitimate babies, children killed for the insurance money, relatives, rivals and employers were amongst the many victims. Difficult to detect before 1800, poison undoubtedly had its heyday in the nineteenth century. In response to many suspected cases, forensic tests were developed that made detection increasingly likely. The sale of poisons also became much more tightly controlled. Because of this, twentieth-century poisoning became a crime carried out largely by professionals, notably doctors and nurses, including Harold Shipman and Beverley Allitt. Amazon

Through the post I got a surprise package from Corvus; Distress Signals by Irish author, Catherine Ryan Howard which will be published on 5 May 2016.

Distress Signals

Blurb

Did she leave, or was she taken?
The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her. Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…Amazon

My friend lent me a copy of Standing in the Shadows by Jon Stasiak which she won in the Jersey Evening Post, the way we Islanders keep abreast of all the local news!

Standing in the shadows

Blurb

The discovery of a brutally murdered young woman has shocked a peaceful island community.
Tom Nowak, photographer for the Jersey Evening Post, had been eagerly awaiting his best friend’s visit from the mainland, until accidentally capturing a series of ghostly silhouettes in his pictures.
With few leads, and the impending trial of the island’s most notorious criminal, the local police force seems powerless to help.
Are these ethereal shadows a way to identify and apprehend the murderer, or will Tom’s obsession in seeking justice cost him more than his career. Amazon

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Good Mother by A.L. Bird which I was resisting because I thought it was by a new to me author, and then I found out this is Amy Bird who wrote Hide and Seek, which I really enjoyed!

The Good Mother

Blurb

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.
Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.
The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear, knowing that whoever has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.
Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before. NetGalley

The Good Mother will be published by Carina UK on 4 April 2016.

I completely through away the rule book and requested a copy of A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson which is due to be published on 7 April 2016 by Bonnier Publishing.

A Tapping at my Door

Blurb

A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She’s disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes. DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird – and the victim’s missing eyes. As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too. And then the killer strikes again, and Cody realises the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all – it’s to the police. Following the success and acclaim of the Callum Doyle novels, A Tapping at My Door is the first instalment of David Jackson’s new Nathan Cody series. NetGalley

And finally I simply had to have a copy of A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters when it came up on a list of books being offered by Lovereading – this sounded like a unique read and I had it on my wishlist before I was approved by HarperCollins UK, 4th Estate. A Life Discarded will be published on 5 May 2016.

A Life Discarded

Blurb

Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.
A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation. Amazon

How good do these finds sound? I think I have fair bit of variety here; true-crime, a murder set in a local setting, a couple of psychological thrillers, the start of a new crime series and a book about the provenance of a diary!

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 6 books, and gained, 6 so the total has remained the same 172 books!
87 physical books
68 e-books
17 books on NetGalley

 

What have you found to read this week?