#FallenAngel by Chris Brookmyre

Fallen Angel Day 3

After a slow but interesting start, Chris Brookmyre’s FALLEN ANGEL finds its feet and gets better and better as it goes on. The characters are well-drawn and believable. The plot is more than believable, which gave it extra edge over other, similar, thrillers in my opinion. The end of the novel is not to be missed, as Brookmyre expertly draws all the plot threads together. His writing is beautiful, yet economical. Here is a writer who can write good, uncluttered prose without feeling the need to pad anything out.

I highly recommend FALLEN ANGEL by Chris Brookmyre. You can order it on Amazon, and in the meantime, be sure to add it to your WANT TO READ shelf on Goodreads. You won’t regret picking-up this modern masterpiece.

#THELOSTMAN Review: “Awesome!”

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I was invited to read an ARC of Jane Harper’s THE LOST MAN, in return for an honest review. I enjoy doing these sometimes–and when it comes to reading Mrs Harper’s work, I always jump at the chance.

Readers of THE DRY and FORCE OF NATURE will not be disappointed with THE LOST MAN, which may just be the best book Jane Harper has written so far.

As ever, she does a brilliant job of transporting you from the cold, wet dreary UK and dropping you into the extreme heat of the outback. She deftly handles the characters, and while the novel has a slow start, it’s for a purpose. Here is a writer who values character over all else, and she’s right to do so. If they’re not real to the reader, then the book falls at the first hurdle. But get the characters alive and kicking, as Jane Harper does time and time again, and you’re off to a great start.

Soon you are swept away by the plot, and the twists and turns, and every sleight of hand is made all the more powerful and fulfilling because Mrs Harper has made her characters literally leap off the page.

A brilliant novel, from a brilliant writer. Awesome!

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Review: THE INCENDIARIES by R. O. Kwon — #TheIncendiaries

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I recently had the pleasure of reading THE INCENDIARIES by R. O. Kwon. I was really impressed by this debut novel of faith, and what happens when devotion to something turns toxic. Kwon’s writing was assured, and her descriptive power never imposed on the flow of the prose–rather it supported it when needed, delivering the kind of devastatingly brilliant, cinematic flourishes that left me with goosebumps. I look forward to reading Kwon’s next work of fiction. For this to be her first novel, I can only imagine what is to come . . .

To purchase, Click Here

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet their first month at prestigious Edwards University.
Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn’t tell anyone she blames herself for her mother’s
recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible
college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe.
Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group—a
secretive extremist cult—founded by a charismatic former student, John Leal. He has an
enigmatic past that involves North Korea and Phoebe’s Korean American family.
Meanwhile, Will struggles to confront the fundamentalism he’s tried to escape, and the
obsession consuming the one he loves. When the group bombs several buildings in the
name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding
her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened to Phoebe and if
she could have been responsible for this violent act.
The Incendiaries is a fractured love story and a brilliant examination of the minds of
extremist terrorists, and of what can happen to people who lose what they love most.

New story ‘Adele’ out now in VINTAGE LOVE STORIES

A story of mine, called ‘Adele’ is out now in the Blunderwoman anthology VINTAGE LOVE STORIES. It will be available in ebook and paperback soon, but for now it is available as an audiobook from https://www.audiobooks.co.uk/audiobook/vintage-love-stories/348868

Vintage Love Stories, And Amanda R. Woomer, K.E. White, Jacob Strunk, Tony Healy, Kathryn Burns, Edited By Tanya Eby. Written By B.L. Aldrich, Christina Thompson, Cassandra Campbell

Here’s a snippet from ‘Adele’:

Grace looked at her left hand, at the gold band on her wedding finger. She tilted it in the dusty swirl of light from the window, the band shining as it caught the light at just the right angle. There was some sparkle left to it.
Grace looked away, to the blue sky beyond the window panes; the rooftops of houses the opposite side of the street forming sharp teeth against the blue, like terracotta mountain peaks.
Her sight grew bleary. She’d been trying to fight the tears back for days and for the most part, had managed admirably. But now they came in a deluge, pouring from her eyes, heavy raindrops that rolled down her cheeks and gathering in her lap.
If I cried long enough, she thought, I’d have a pool of water there. One hand over the other, like the hands of a garden sculpture built to capture rain for the birds. The decades would be but moments in time. Forty years of marriage—a life! —passing in a kaleidoscope of sunrise and sunset.

Review: The Leavers by Lisa Ko #TheLeavers @iamlisako @GraceEVincent @dialoguebooks

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I was kindly sent a review copy of Lisa Ko’s sensation novel, ‘The Leavers’ — and agreed to join a huge blog tour to promote the release of the book. I like joining-in with these things, as not only do I get to read excellent works of fiction, but I get to help out a fellow author, which is something I am always more than happy to do. If my little blog post can help spread the word about this terrific novel, and bring it to the attention of more readers, then that is no bad thing.

The book’s main character, Deming, has a dysfunctional beginning, which is only made more complicated when his mother Polly goes missing. With no parents, Deming is taken in by Kay and Peter–two professors–and lives with them in their upstate New York home. They give him a new name, Daniel Wilkinson, and Deming’s life begins to run a different course than perhaps it might have, had his mother Polly not disappeared, along with her boyfriend Leon.

Then, one day, Deming hears from Leon’s son, Michael. Following that, Deming heads for China, to get answers . . .

I don’t want to spoil the plot of this novel any further, but suffice to say it is a beautifully written novel concerned with the movement of people, of free-will, of wanting a life unconstrained by the expectation imposed on Chinese women by long-standing tradition, among many other things. I read a novel a few years ago, on a similar theme, called ‘The First Excellence,’ by Donna Carrick, and I encourage you to read both of these works.

Congratulations to Lisa Ko on this great, timely novel. I can’t wait to see what she conjures up next.

Review: FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper #ForceOfNature @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK @kimberleynyam

Monday 12th February (2)

(I was recently sent a copy of FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper’s publisher and was more than happy to take part in the truly epic blog tour to support the release–big shout out to Kimberley Nyamhondera at Little, Brown UK for all her support.)

I thoroughly enjoyed FORCE OF NATURE. It is structured in such a way that, in alternating chapters, we see the investigation, and the events that led to the dead woman’s (Alice) murder. Nothing is quite what it seems, and the book was full of twists and turns–many of which were thoroughly unexpected.

Harper’s prose is sharp yet nuanced, and her character work is truly first-rate. I was impressed with this follow-up to THE DRY, and hope that Harper continues the series for at least another couple of books. Falk is an excellent protagonist and, like the famous sleuths that precede him, Falk proves himself to be worth revisiting. Nuanced, multi-layered protagonists like him don’t come along often enough.

Force Of Nature by Jane Harper

Where did Alice Russell go?

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with…

Force Of Nature

(To clear something up, I have been asked several times now if I named ‘Jane Harper’ from the Harper and Lane series after novelist Jane Harper. No. I first heard Jane Harper’s name some point after HOPE’S PEAK was released. It is purely a case of coincidence, so quit asking . . .)

2017 In Review

After completing the manuscript of STORM’S EDGE, there was a lot of work, through subsequent drafts, that went into taking the book to the next level. I am glad that it got the extra time and attention (not to mention energy!) as readers seem to have responded strongly to the book. Meanwhile, HOPE’S PEAK is in the Top 20 of books sold on Amazon for the year…

I am currently 40,000 words into a new novel. Its the first book in a (hopeful) trilogy. More deets on that later on down the line. My plan is to deliver a solid draft to my agent in February, for her consideration.

On TV I have enjoyed the hell out of Star Trek Discovery, and of course Stranger Things 2 was excellent. Sorely disappointed by the lacklustre third season of Bloodline. And after a cracker second season of The Affair, it was disheartening to find it sizzle out somewhat in its third outing.
Thirteen Reasons Why was great (and timely), and I found that documentary Jim & Andy absolutely fascinating. And Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life did a fine job of pushing the series and characters onward. What we need now is an announcement for more…

At the movies, I think my favourite film of the year was Blade Runner 2049, followed closely by the fantastic The Last Jedi.
Dunkirk was phenomenal. Possibly Nolan’s best film yet. Alien Covenant proved that Scott has taken the Alien franchise about as far as it can go. You can reinvent the wheel, but you can’t reinvent it forever. After a while, all you see is a wheel, no matter what it is trying to be.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was also fabulous, and the ending was truly moving. Much like The Last Jedi, it is a sequel that takes what made the preceding film really good and elevates it to another level. Rian Johnson and James Gunn are good examples of storytellers who have been given free reign with the material, and it shows with the end product.

On the reading front, I bested my 12 books a year target by reading 17. After enjoying Graham Greene’s The Quiet American years back, I read Our Man In Havana, and The Power and The Glory. Neither very good, unfortunately.
Bernard Schaffer ordered me to read Ready Player One. When El Presidente orders you to do something, you do it. It is a solid book. I enjoyed it for the most part. But I dont think it deserves the reverence it has got. As a non gamer, there were aspects of it that left me cold, and I think that is the books downfall. These sections read like fan wank. But what it does get right are the characters, the stakes and the emotional aspects. It will make a neat film.
I was blown away by Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and by the grit of Galveston, by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto. Uncommon Type—Tom Hanks’ short story collection—was really well done, with half a dozen standout stories. Can’t wait to see what he does next. Artemis by Andy Weir is his follow-up to smash hit The Martian. It will appeal more to fans of Ready Player One than it will fans of The Martian. It was a lot of fun, and I greatly enjoyed it. It’s a hard act to follow The Martian, but he did an admirable job, and proves the success hasn’t gone to his head. I enjoyed new works by friends at Thomas and Mercer: The Devil’s Country by the ever-funny Harry Hunsicker; the awesome Baytown Salvage by Mark Wheaton and The Lucky Ones by that no-good rascal Mark Edwards.
Friend David Hulegaard relaunched his rewritten/retooled Noble Trilogy to great acclaim and you really should check it out.
The standout, for me, was Dodgers by Bill Beverly. It was a tremendous work of fiction. Crisp, clean writing. Deft plotting. It has won a slew of awards and it deserves every one of them. I am still thinking of this novel, months later. Very jealous of it, in fact. If I could write something as elegiac, as insightful, I would be a happy man.