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

In Too Deep – Bea Davenport

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

This is one of those compulsive reads that draws you in from the start. In a small market town there is a man, his wife and their young daughter. The man is keen to make his mark and how do you do that in a small town? You join the annual fair committee of course and make it the most successful one to date. How do you do that? Well you invite the journalists into your town, hype the obvious big pull, the dunking stall, no matter if it’s sexist in that only the women of the town are dunked, and you dress up in costume get the townsfolk to man their stalls and this being England, pray for fine weather.

Maura Wood is happy tending to her daughter Rosie’s needs and keeping house for Nick, well mostly happy, perhaps happier when he is out organising for the fair, but happy enough, that is until Kim a sassy journalist comes to town and opens Maura’s eyes to the possibility of life as a more independent woman, one who has more to think about than what to cook for dinner. The question everyone is asking, including Maura, is why is Kim so attentive to dowdy Maura? All of this was five years ago so what on earth happened in the meantime so that when we meet Maura she is living a life in London, not Dowerby, without her daughter and in the shadows working two jobs that pay cash in hand to avoid being found.

Well the root has to be in Dowerby, where the status quo rules, not just on the committee but in the minds of its traditional-minded inhabitants. When Nick and Maura move, far from being taken into the bosom of the community as Nick has been, but then this is where he came from, Maura isn’t quite ostracized but neither is she invited to join the other women so when Kim turns up and is interested in her life, Maura is predisposed to welcome a friend into her life, even if that friend is going to cause waves in Dowerby!

This is a clever story which unveils a chain of events, seemingly started so innocently, with a coffee and a chat, but ends up changing the course of Maura’s life forever so much so that she is extremely scared when she realises someone is onto her. On the anonymous streets of North London she hears someone mention her name, notes are posted through her door; who is this man and what does he want from her?

I thoroughly enjoyed this, the characters were well-drawn with the back-stories just enough developed to ensure that their actions were suitably aligned while the sense of small-town life was perfectly portrayed. This is a book that covers big issues but I’m relieved to say in an entertaining fashion which meant that rather than being dwelt upon or glossed over the effects remain long after the last page has been turned.

Having read this author’s second book This Little Piggy, Bea Davenport is certainly an author I will be looking out for in the future.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (March 16)

This Week In Books

Hosted by 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 Shot Through The Heart by Isabelle Grey which is absolutely gripping!

Shot through the heart

You can read the synopsis and an excerpt from this one in yesterday’s post

Before that my book of detection was of a more personal level with The People in the Photo by Hélène Gestern

The People in the Photo

Blurb

The chance discovery of a newspaper image from 1971 sets two people on the path to learning the disturbing truth about their parents’ pasts.
Parisian archivist Hélène takes out a newspaper advert calling for information about her mother, who died when she was three, and the two men pictured with her in a photograph taken at a tennis tournament at Interlaken in 1971. Stéphane, a Swiss biologist living in Kent, responds: his father is one of the people in the photo. Letters and more photos pass between them as they embark on a journey to uncover the truth their parents kept from them. But will the relics of the past fill the silences left by the players?
Winner of fifteen literary awards, this dark yet touching drama deftly explores the themes of blame and forgiveness, identity and love.
Hélène Gestern lives and works in Nancy, France. The People in the Photo is her first novel.NetGalley

Next I plan to read one of the books that has been languishing on my kindle for far too long; In Too Deep by Bea Davenport has been sitting patiently since 21 July 2013.

In Too Deep

Blurb

‘… The window’s so small I can’t see what happens next. But what I do know is that Kim is dead. And I know this, too that I helped to kill her. Kim, my lovely, only, best friend.’
Five years ago Maura fled life in Dowerby and took on a new identity, desperately trying to piece her life back together and escape the dark clouds that plagued her past. But then a reporter tracks her down, and persuades her to tell her story, putting her own life in danger once again.
Layer upon layer of violence and deceit make up the full picture for Maura to see and the reporter to reveal. Hidden secrets are uncovered that have been left to settle, for far too long. But in life some things can’t be left unsaid, and eventually the truth will out. Whatever the consequences. Goodreads

So that’s my week in books – what are you reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (October 1)

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, and thoroughly absorbed by A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore, a dual time-line novel

A Week in Paris

Blurb

The streets of Paris hide a dark past…
September, 1937. Kitty Travers enrols at the Conservatoire on the banks of the Seine to pursue her dream of becoming a concert pianist. But then war breaks out and the city of light falls into shadow.
Nearly twenty-five years later, Fay Knox, a talented young violinist, visits Paris on tour with her orchestra. She barely knows the city, so why does it feel so familiar? Soon touches of memory become something stronger, and she realises her connection with these streets runs deeper than she ever expected.
As Fay traces the past, with only an address in an old rucksack to help her, she discovers dark secrets hidden years ago, secrets that cause her to question who she is and where she belongs…
A compelling story of war, secrets, family and enduring love. Amazon

Revealing a totally different set of secrets was my recent read, This Little Piggy by Bea Davenport. This crime novel from written from the point of view of a local journalist during the miner’s strike in 1984.
Click on the book cover to read my review

This Little Piggy

Next I am going to read Hide and Seek by Amy Bird which has been published in three parts, the first being free on kindle.

Hide and Seek

Blurb

Nobody’s life is ever perfect. Families tell lies. People keep secrets. But the life which Will and Ellie Spears have built together is as perfect as it’s possible to be.
Until one day something is let slip. A discovery is made. And all of a sudden Ellie and Will’s life falls down, as acceptance gives way to an obsessive search for answers. Families tell lies. People keep secrets. But sometimes the truth is much more dangerous. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments below.

Posted in Uncategorized

This Little Piggy – Bea Davenport

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

This is the second book I’ve read this year that is set during the miner’s strike in 1984, the first being Your Beautiful Lies by Louise Douglas and it is odd to think that this is the first big news story that I was really aware of as a teenager and it is now history!

In This Little Piggy the backdrop of the miner’s strike is ever-present on the Sweetmeadows Estate where many of the men are striking miners, and those that have broken the strike are derided in public and hounded in private. The police are wary of the residents for this very reason but they have no choice but to become involved when baby James is found dead near the bins but they struggle to find a motive let alone a suspect for the killing of a baby.

Claire Jackson is a reporter on the local paper and having lost out on the chief reporter’s job has recently been assigned to the outlying district covering Sweetmeadows estate and colliery and she is quickly outperforming her colleagues ringing in copy from telephone boxes as the stories keep tumbling out. During her time getting to know the residents in a bid to get the next story she comes across nine year old Amy who has an interesting story to tell about the day of the murder. Claire soon becomes worried about Amy whose mother is seemingly absent for much of the time and with Amy having ambitions to be a reporter she soon takes far more responsibility for her than she should or is wise.

I liked Claire despite wincing at some of the choices she makes along the way and her sidekick Joe was on of a selection of strong secondary characters in this book. The plotting was good with a number of elements woven throughout the hunt for the murderer which never strayed far from the time the book was set in. Bea Davenport managed to set the time period very well without overburdening us with a multitude of references, those that were included were well-placed and felt natural. I did guess what had happened although I had doubts whether my hunch was correct until we were almost upon the denouement of this particular drama.

On the whole this was a very believable if somewhat unexpectedly creepy read with the story told entirely from Claire’s journalistic perspective which included her back story as well as the ongoing dramas at the newspaper. This made a refreshing change from the detective’s viewpoint which gives the reader a chance to see and hear far more from those who are on the periphery of the investigation, although nonetheless effected by it, than is usual.

I have a copy of Bea Davenport’s novel In Too Deep on my kindle and I won’t be waiting too long to read this one now.

I’d like to thank the publishers Legend Press for allowing me to read this book in return for my honest review. This Little Piggy will be published on 1 October 2014

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (September 24)

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 Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon by Linda Newbery which is proving to be an absorbing read.

Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon

Blurb

It was the day when everything stopped.
At quarter past two on a hot afternoon in August, Anna’s beautiful, headstrong elder sister Rose disappears.
Twenty years later, Anna still doesn’t know whether Rose is alive or dead. In her early thirties now, she sees her future unfolding – with sensible, serious Martin and a grown-up, steady job – and finds herself wondering if this is what she really wants.
Unable to take control of her life while the mystery of her sister’s disappearance remains unsolved, Anna begins to search for the truth: what did happen to Rose that summer’s day? Amazon

I recently finished Murder on the Orient Express by the wonderful Agatha Christie
Click on the cover to read my review

Murder on the Orient Express

Next I am going to read This Little Piggy by Bea Davenport

This Little Piggy

Blurb

It’€™s the summer of 1984 and there is a sense of unease on the troubled Sweetmeadows estate. The residents are in shock after the suspicious death of a baby and tension is growing due to the ongoing miners’€™ strike. Journalist Clare Jackson follows the story as police bungle the inquiry and struggle to contain the escalating violence. Haunted by a personal trauma she can’t face up to, Clare is shadowed by nine-year-old Amy, a bright but neglected little girl who seems to know more about the incident than she’€™s letting on. As the days go on and the killer is not found, Clare ignores warnings not to get too close to her stories and, in doing so, puts her own life in jeopardy. NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (September 5)

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

I have found some great books this week and I’m going to start with The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion due to be published on 25 September the sequel to The Rosie Project which I loved.

The Rosie Effect

Blurb

With the Wife Project complete, Don settles into a new job and married life in New York. But it’s not long before certain events are taken out of his control and it’s time to embark on a new project . . .
As Don tries to get to grips with the requirements of starting a family, his unusual research style gets him into trouble. To make matters worse, Don has invited his closest friend to stay with them, but Gene is not exactly the best model for marital happiness. As Don’s life with Rosie continues to be unpredictable, he needs to remember that emotional support is just as important as practical expertise. NetGalley

I also have a copy of This Little Piggy by Bea Davenport which is due to be published on 1 October 2014.

This Little Piggy
strong>Blurb

It’€™s the summer of 1984 and there is a sense of unease on the troubled Sweetmeadows estate. The residents are in shock after the suspicious death of a baby and tension is growing due to the ongoing miners’€™ strike. Journalist Clare Jackson follows the story as police bungle the inquiry and struggle to contain the escalating violence. Haunted by a personal trauma she can’t face up to, Clare is shadowed by nine-year-old Amy, a bright but neglected little girl who seems to know more about the incident than she’€™s letting on. As the days go on and the killer is not found, Clare ignores warnings not to get too close to her stories and, in doing so, puts her own life in jeopardy.

I have a copy of Summer of Ghosts by P.D. Viner, a physical book courtesy of Amazon Vine and chosen because I enjoyed The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

Summer of Ghosts

Blurb

It begins with a father calling his daughter, but whoever answers is not Pia but his daughter’s killer. He must listen, horrified, to the sounds of his only child being murdered, powerless to intervene as the killer utters two chilling words.
Most men’s thoughts would turn to vengeance but Pia’s father is far more resourceful than most. And he is not the reserved businessman his daughter always believed him to be but Franco, a notorious London drug lord who will call in all his debts to find his daughter’s killer. Including the one owed to him by DI Tom Bevans.
Only Tom is a man haunted by his own grief and every unsolved case weighs heavily against his soul. And Tom has heard the killer’s words before. Goodroads

After reading a fantastic post about this A Hank of Hair by Charlotte Jay on Confessions of a Book Novelist entitled In The Spotlight: Charlotte Jay’s A Hank of Hair

A Hank of Hair
Blurb

Gilbert Hand hasn’t been the same since his wife died. He’s moved to a dull but respectable hotel where silence seems to brood in the hall and stairway. In a secret drawer he discovers a long, thick hank of human hair, and his world narrows down to two people – himself and the murderer. Goodreads

To read more about this book read Margot’s review here

After reading an excellent review of The Guardian by Matthew Iden on My Train of Thought Karen informed me that the first in the Marty Singer series, A Reason to Live by Matthew Iden was free on kindle, so I quickly downloaded a copy.

A reason to live

Blurb

In the late nineties, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide detective Marty Singer watched the murderer walk out of the courtroom a free man.
Twelve years later, the victim’s daughter begs for help: the killer is stalking her now. But Marty has retired to battle cancer. A second shot at the killer–and a first chance at redemption–Marty has A Reason to Live. Goodreads

What have you found this week? Please share your finds with me in the comments below.