Archive for the Books Category

Book review: All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley, News with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Hodder & Stoughton [Publication date 09.08.18]

The blurb on this book certainly tweaks your interest –

“This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself. But no one can say why. The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.”

The author, poet Claire Askew was the subject of four way bid for this book, part of a two book deal with Hodder, and it is easy to see why as this is one of the best crime debuts I have read in a good while.

Askew tells the story from the three main characters and she delves into each character’s emotions and how they are reacting to events unfolding around them. It is a classic page turner which although you know the outcome and there is no culprit to find, the book raises lots of questions about the shooting and how it affects the victims’ families and that of the shooter in the aftermath. The other key character a member of the press who will try anything to get a story and he is a certainly a character you will love to hate!

Highly recommended read, not just for fans of crime writing but anyone who enjoys a good read that makes you think after reading it.

Book review: THE GUILTY DEAD by P.J. TRACY

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Publication date 23.08.18]

Book number 9 in the Twin Cities series and the blurb on this one says…

“Gregory Norwood, wealthy businessman and close friend of Minnesota’s leading candidate for Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems clear to Detectives Gino and Magozzi that grief drove him to suicide.

Until they realise the left-handed man seems to have used his right hand to pull the trigger.”

It is very fast paced like previous books in the series, although this one sees a little less of the Monkeewrench crew in the story. It starts off as what appears to be a suicide, which quickly escalates into a murder enquiry and then add in a domestic terror plot and it all starts spiralling in terms of action and plot. Perhaps not the best book in the series as some of the plot you could second guess, still enjoyable and one of the better US crime writers currently out there.

The P.J. Tracy series of books are highly readable and perfect for lovers of page turners from the likes of Harlan Coben.

 

 

Everything Is Lies by Helen Callaghan

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on May 30, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Published 22.02.18]

The blurb certainly grabs your attention –

“Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed. Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.”

I have not read ‘Dear Amy’, however having just finished ‘Everything Is Lies’ I will definitely be reading that one. It is not a crime novel, despite the murder that starts the book. The story unfolds as Sophia learns more about her mother and her past in a cult, which was led by a charismatic former singer in a rock band.

Sophia’s mother had been writing her life story and these journals cleverly move the plot along – a book within a book if you will. Shock revelations that impact on the present are contained within and the story does rattle along at a great pace.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the book, which Helen Callaghan seems to excel at in her writing style. Like Robert Goddard, Helen Callaghan successfully takes events in the past and sees how they affect the present, although to be fair she does it at a faster pace.

Highly recommended being both a classic psychological  thriller ‘page turner’ and one that is always topical, as it touches upon the psychological and emotional effects on people by others.

Book review: The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Michael Joseph [Publication date 03.05.18]

A stand-alone novel from the bestselling author Conn Iggulden which is based on historical events related in Xenophon’s ‘Anabasis’, otherwise known as ‘The Persian Expedition’, which is available via Penguin Classics. The Persian king Artaxerxes rules an empire stretching from the Aegean to northern India and the first half of this novel covers the attempts by his brother Prince Cyrus to overthrow Artaxerxes. The attempt fails and the Greek mercenaries employed by Cyrus, including Spartans are left stranded in the heart of an enemy’s empire, without support and little  food or water. This sets the scene for the second part of the story where the young soldier and student of Socrates,  Xenophon leads the survivors against the Persian army and their bid to reach the sea and Greek territory.

Plenty of action to be had, although the battles are described briefly and not dwelled upon like say the books of Bernard Cornwell. The descriptions of the time help you immerse yourself into the story, although he does seem to describe the toilet habits a little bit too much!sparta

I won’t give the various subplots away, save to say this is an enjoyable historical novel and Conn Iggulden has the knack for penning a classic page turner. If like me you miss the works of the late, great David Gemmell this novel will be one for your bookshelf.

Book review: Body & Soul by John Harvey

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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William Heinemann [Published 19th April 2018]

“When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong. Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her. But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct. The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.”

So the blurb goes on the final of the Frank Elder novels (I have only read ‘Flesh & Blood’ in this series to date and intend to read the rest of the Elder novels), which I have to say was even more enjoyable than ‘Flesh & Blood’ and that takes some doing. Why? Because John Harvey has the knack of drawing you into the various subplots – here we have Elder’s daughter Katherine caught up in the murder of an artist, an escaped convict and how Elder himself is coping with being of the force and trying to connect with his daughter – and rounding out his characters to make you believe the story even more. Elder is quick to temper and wade into situations, but for all his faults he has a sense of justice. Even though retired from the force, he seems to be involved in his local police force.

It is a real shame the Elder series is finished now but it finishes with one of Harvey’s best books to date. If you have yet to try John Harvey you won’t be disappointed, if like me you enjoy the novels of Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham.

 

MARK STAY new book…

Posted in Authors, Books, News with tags , , , , on March 20, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Happy days! I just hit 50% FUNDED on THE END OF MAGIC! In the words of the poet, ‘Woah, we’re halfway there, woa-oh, we’re livin’ on a prayer!’

Huge thanks and big love to everyone who’s pledged so far. It’s incredible to me to think that we’ve come so far in just a few weeks.
As a treat (punishment?) here’s a quick extract of me reading from THE END OF MAGIC

I apologise in advance for the Scots accent. a) The character was written that way, and b) I’m an old ham and can’t help myself.

To pledge and support THE END OF MAGIC, click here: https://unbound.com/books/end-of-magic/

This blog celebrates ten years & tops 100,000 hits :)

Posted in Books, Family life, Football, Get Ready To Rock!, metal, News, pop, Queen, Stoke City FC, theatre royal hanley on March 11, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Yes ten years ago this month back in 2008 I started off this blog the Rock N Roll Oatcake to cover music, books, my lifelong support of Stoke City FC and family life. I think over the ten years it has covered these topics, with in recent years a little less on Stoke City and music (this is covered in my music blog the Rockin’ Chair), plus I have finally made a seperate page for memories of the Theatre Royal Hanley as the page on here was getting lost and there are some wonderful memories from people’s time at the theatre to good to be lost.

There have been book reviews and some very good author interviews, which I will repost the best of over the coming months. Plus on the side bar you can see various archive interviews with musicians that didn’t feature on Get Ready To Rock!

Thank you for all your views, comments and hopefully you find something on here of interest. Right, lets get ready for more…

Recommended reading –

Get Ready To Rock!

The Rockin’ Chair (music)

Memories of the Theatre Royal Hanley (finally made a blog for this after hosting a page on this site since 2008)

Keep On Fundraising