Book review – Ice Cold Heart by PJ Tracy

Michael Joseph [Publication date 22.08.19]

A violent murder. An ice-cold killer . . .

On a bitterly cold winter night, Kelly Ramage leaves her suburban home, telling her husband she’s going to meet a friend.

But she never comes back.

When her body is discovered, murdered in what seems to be a sex game gone horribly wrong, Detectives Gino and Magozzi take the case, expecting to find a flirtatious trail leading straight to the killer.

However, Kelly’s sinister lover has done a disturbingly good job of hiding his identity.

This isn’t his first victim.

And she won’t be the last . . .

I always look forward to a new book in the Monkeerench series and this latest book in the series doesn’t disappoint. Set in a wintry backdrop, the plot covers the hunt for war criminals, a perverted killer and organised crime based around cryptocurrency. Detectives Gino and Magozzi , along with Roadrunner from Monkeewrench gain a major role in this book.

Another highly readable novel in the series and as soon as you finish reading it you are eager to read another instalment in the Monkeewrench series. Always a good sign in a long running series.

Book review: Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Michael Joseph [Publication date 27.06.19]

The blurb…

Everything changed the night Flora disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

This is the second book by Claire Douglas that I have read and she is now on my ‘must read’ authors list. The story is told from various characters’ viewpoints and the story also switches from present day to the past, however it is not too difficult for the reader to keep up with it all!

I particularly like the reporter Jess’s character as she faces some tough choices when reporting on the case as she is personally and emotionally involved.

If you enjoyed TV dramas such as ‘Broadchurch’ I would heartily recommend this book as each of the main characters have a skeleton or two in their closets and these impact on the story as the book progresses.

Highly recommended.

Book review – The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

Harper Collins [Publication date 28.06.18]

It is easy to see why ‘The Quaker’ has won such high praise and the Scottish Crime Book of the Year award, as this is a proper page turner and one with plenty of twists & turns in the plot.

Set in 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city – the Quaker. DI McCormack is called in to report on the murder investigations and whether the case should be kept open after no success in tracking down the killer.

Set in 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city – the Quaker. DI McCormack is called in to report on the murder investigations and whether the case should be kept open after no success in tracking down the killer.

McIlvanney vividly creates the atmosphere of the late 60’s in Glasgow, where gangsters and corrupt coppers murky the investigation into finding the Quaker, DI McCormack himself hides a secret that could jeopardise the investigation as it reaches its climax.

Never too graphic, but with plenty of menace coming through from the villainous characters involved.

One of the best crime novels I have read in a long time, Liam McIlvanney should be on your ‘must read’ list if not already on there.

Book review – Gallowstree Lane by Kate London

Publication date 07.02.19 Corvus

A new author to me, Kate London has written a hard hitting police procedural novel based around the London gang culture.

She has a descriptive style, with a good eye for details on police procedure. The book switches between the thoughts of the main characters, ramping the tension up as the book progresses.

Perfect read for those who enjoyed Prime Suspect and I could see Gallowstree Lane being made into a TV series in the not too distant future. Impressive and Kate London joins my list of must read crime writers.

Rather Be The Devil by Ian Rankin

ir.jpg

Published by Orion

You just don’t want a Rebus novel to end as you get so engrossed in the characters. Interesting how Rebus is still getting involved in cases despite being retired – he has an uncanny knack of being in the thick of the action. This one involves Rebus’s nemesis Big Ger McCafferty, although both have a grudging respect for each other.

It involves another cold case, the unsolved 40 year old murder of Marie Turquand who was murdered in the Caledonian Hotel. It involves rock ‘n’ roll stars, music, gangsters and Rebus’s unnerving skill at being in the think of the action despite being retired and off the force.

Easily one of the best Rebus books, really enjoyable and Ian Rankin shows you can write great crime novels without the need for OTT violence favoured by some crime writers.

Hot Air 2014 – Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival

Yes at long last my hometown gets its own literary festival Hot Air 2014. It takes place between 20th and 22nd June 2014 at the Emma Bridgewater factory on Lichfield Street.

Events wise there is Melvyn Bragg (22nd June 4:30pm), Andy McNabb (20th June at 4pm – will he wear a cardboard cut-out across his eyes like on his book covers?) and Joanna Trollope ( 21st June 7:30pm), along with a crime fiction panel and many more authors, further details can be found here

Here is the latest press release:

Following on from the initial launch last month festival goers will be able to purchase event tickets from a reasonable cost of £6 per event to ensure that the festival is accessible to anyone who wishes to come along and share their passion of books, writing and reading.

Too Write Stoke, a creative writing competition in association with The Sentinel, launched in February has already seen an outstanding number of entries with winners being announced during the festival weekend.

The regionally focused competition will have three categories in which people can enter from the under 11’s, under 18’s and adults with the key theme being Stoke-on-Trent. Winners will receive a commemorative trophy produced by Emma Bridgewater, a kindle, book tokens and £200 will be given to the under 18’s schools in support of reading and writing.

Andy McNab, Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival Patron, commented: “I’m the perfect example of how reading and literacy can change your life, so to be involved with a festival that’s main focus is to make books more accessible and promote literacy to local people is something that I very am keen to be a part of.

“I was thrilled to be asked to be the patron of Stoke-on-Trent’s Literary Festival and feel that my experiences and knowledge lend well to the key messages that the festival is aiming to deliver.”

Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and Shadow Education Secretary, said: “It’s exciting to see such a strong line up of so many well known authors coming to Stoke-on-Trent. The festival is a great way for the city to celebrate the art and craft of writing and the joys of reading in an area that is renowned for its creativity.

“It will not only be of great benefit to local people from an educational point of view but will also help to put Stoke-on-Trent on the literary map. From events that draw focus upon Stoke’s literary heritage to those that have been set within the city’s surroundings the festival programme will provide an exciting forum for all those that attend.”

1,000th post :)

Blimey that soon crept up as it’s this blog’s 1,000th post. They recommend bloggers target their audience, I like to think of mine as broad minded bunch as I use a scatter gun approach to topics on here, be it Stoke City, running, books, the Theatre Royal Hanley, promoting new music or little news stories that catch my eye.

I would like to use this post to thank all the readers of my blog and those who have contributed be it by answering interview questions or commenting.

Extra special thank you’s to:

My family (even my mum has been known to read this blog occasionally!)

Stoke City FC

This blogs top comments person Scott McNeish (top man bar his misguided supporting of Liverpool). The Arsenal fan who gave me grief over the Pulis years at Stoke has gone strangely quiet. Perhaps he’s off dusting down the Arsenal trophy cabinet in expectation it may host the FA Cup come May time.

Theatre Royal Hanley – gone but not forgotten, have some great memories of my time working as a front of house volunteer there

Bill Leslie and Dave Hunter who inspired me into this blogging lark back in March 2008

The bands and musicians whose music provides a soundtrack to life. Without music the world would be a duller place (well some bands can clear right off like One Direction for starters…)

Thank you all and please do continue contribute and comment 🙂

Dedicated to fellow Stoke City supporter and author Stephen Foster who sadly passed away in 2011