Thursday, 31 August 2017

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Kill the Father - Sandrone Dazieri

Release Date: 10/08/17
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster


The twisty and darkly compelling thriller and RICHARD & JUDY BOOKCLUB PICK that will keep you up all night.

'The rock cast a sharp, dark shadow over a shape huddled on the ground. Please don’t let it be the boy, Colomba thought. Her silent prayer didn’t go unanswered. The corpse belonged to the mother.'


Dante Torre spent eleven young years in captivity - held by a man known only as The Father - before outwitting his abductor. Now working for the police force, Torre's methods are unorthodox but his brilliance is clear. When a young child goes missing in similar circumstances in Rome, Torre must confront the demons of his past to attempt to solve the case.

Paired with Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, all evidence suggests The Father is active after being dormant for decades, and that he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante ...


When it comes to crime novels these days, a lot of people tend to point to the Scandinavian influx that demonstrates how it can be done well blending landscape as well as culture to create something wonderfully haunting, but I have to say that one nation to keep a careful eye on are the Italians as this wonderfully translated title from Sandrone will prove as he brings his blend of crime to the english speaking world.

Its haunting, it has top notch twists and perhaps best of all characters who are so flawed that you'd swear he'd swiped them from real life. They have foibles, they have their weaknesses but its this human part that makes them so believable. Back this with a good amount of investigative detail and all round I was a happy reader. Yes it lost it a little towards the end and could have been tied up a bit neater but all round, for a debut novel I have to say I was more than impressed. I'll be keeping a careful eye on future outings for our duo Torres and Caselli and of course expect in time for them to have thier own TV show. Magic.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

FANTASY REVIEW: The Worldmaker Trilogy 2: Heartland - Lucy Hounsom

Release Date: 24/08/17
Publisher: Tor


Kyndra has saved and damned the people of Mariar. Her star-born powers healed a land in turmoil, but destroyed an ancient magic – which once concealed them from invaders. Now Kyndra must head into enemy territory to secure peace.

She finds the Sartyan Empire, unstable but as warlike as ever. It’s plagued by dissident factions, yet its emperor still has the strength to crush her homeland. The Khronostians, assassins who dance through time, could help Kyndra; or they might be her undoing. And deep within the desert, Char Lesko struggles to control his own emerging powers. He’s been raised by a mercenary whose secrets could change everything – including the future and the past.

But when Kyndra and Char meet, will their goals align? Kyndra must harness the full glory of the stars and Char has to channel his rage, or two continents will be lost.


THE Second book in the Worldmaker Trilogy and whilst its been a while, I was looking forward to getting back into Lucy's world to see what would happen next for not only characters that we've come to love but also new additions to the world.

What happens is a book that to be honest took me quite a while to get into. It felt convoluted to start with almost as if it didn't have a clear direction into which to head, which when added to a fairly slow middle did leave me feeling that I was having to struggle through to get to the good stuff. Thats not to say that its a bad book as a lot of the elements within are handled wonderfully but when I get these lulls that seem to take the wind out of the readers sails, it makes it harder to keep going despite knowing that the author knows how to deliver (as is evident within the first outing.)

It is a solid enough book in the end but I do feel and was left wondering if this was more of a filler expansion to lead up to something huge for the final book, almost as if some of these elements were added to help fulfill the contract.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Gais Valerius Verrens 8: Glory of Rome - Douglas Jackson

Release Date: 05/08/17
Publisher:  Bantam Press


77AD. Gaius Valerius Verrens is an honoured member of Emperor Vespasian’s inner circle, but the enmity between him and Vespasian’s son Domitian means that, even in Rome, danger is never far away. Meanwhile, in the outer reaches of the Empire, in Britannia, trouble is brewing.
The governor, Gnaeus Julius Agricola is preparing to march his legions north and Valerius is Agricola’s chief legal adviser and deputy governor. It's the opportunity he seeks to move his wife and son out of reach of Domitian’s wrath. But Britannia is where Valerius cut his military teeth and whetted his sword - and he will soon discover that the ghosts of his past are never far away and are more dangerous perhaps than Domitian.
The massacre of a Roman garrison and suspicious death of the legate of the Ninth Legion throw Agricola’s preparations into confusion. Now his eyes turn west to Mona, the Druids Isle, where the Celtic priesthood still harbours hopes of ridding Britannia of Roman rule. But to deal with the druids and their savage Ordovice protectors Agricola needs a soldier he can trust at the head of the ‘unlucky’ Ninth. Only one man in the province has the experience and the ability . . .
So a reluctant Valerius must put aside his scrolls and pick up his sword once more and march beside the eagle of the Ninth. It’s only as he stands on the shoreline opposite Mona that he understands any glory his new legion wins is likely to be fleeting and tainted - and that he has placed his family in deadly peril.


I love spending time with historical figures and for me, whilst I can often be found throughout the pages of history, I tend to most often be found during the roman period with authors like Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden, Anthony Riches and of course Douglas Jackson

So it'll come as no surprise that with this latest outing (Gaius's Eighth) that I am once again back in the glorious days of Rome. His books all have solid plot, top notch dialogue and a good amount of twists but for me, its his characters that have me returning time and again. I love the way that even supporting cast have a history and our main character continues to change and develop as the events he is subject to mold and shape him. A truly cracking read and if you haven't started this series yet please go back and start from the first as otherwise you'll be missing a real treat.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

FANTASY REVIEW: Age of Assassins - RJ Barker

Release Date: 03/08/17
Publisher:  Orbit


Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince's murder.
In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire land.


As many know I'm the type of reader that enjoys taking a punt on a new author as you know that what arrives is going to be something new, unexpected and at times utter thrilling as you're never sure which way things are going to go.

Here in this title, author RJ Barker brings a lot to the table. Solid world building, intriguing principle characters and of course a kickass plot that should the magical elements been dropped would have fitted well into any historical setting.

Its definitely quirky, has a lot going for it and was a very hard title to put down. Back this all up with good dialogue and solid plotting alongside murder, mystery as well as mayhem and it'll more than satisfy any fantasy reader. Cracking.