Junior West(Minster) Wing

‘Mystery in the Palace of Westminster’ by Sarah Lustig

Also on the tour today, The Pufflekitteh Reads

Theo Duncan is just an ordinary student. Except he also happens to be the son of the Prime Minister, Will Duncan. 

When the parliamentary mace is stolen from inside the Houses of Parliament, Theo is determined to help his dad get it back. But he can’t do it alone. And when help is offered, there’s a problem. It comes from the new girl at school, Sammy Jhor, who’s a supporter of the opposition party. 

Theo and Sammy form an unlikely team to spy on government officials, sneak through the corridors of Downing Street and pursue the thief through the Palace of Westminster. 

But when the evidence points to suspects at the highest levels of government, finding the thief could threaten Will Duncan’s leadership. 

Can Theo and Sammy put aside their differences to find the mace – and the thief – before the government is brought to its knees? 

As always with anything which touches on politics in literature, there is the difficulty of life colliding with fiction.

For example, reading this frightfully nice book aimed at children/young adults, the thing which most stands out for a reader in the contemporary age is exactly this collision.

Hear teenage son of a Prime Minister, think Euan Blair.

Hear a Prime Minister even deigning to acknowledge paternity of a child think, ‘Nope, not going to happen’.

Also unbelievable in the modern age – a PM in any way interested in things “like recovering the parliamentary mace and by extension the legitimacy of the government.’ Our glorious leader prefer proroguing.

None of this is the fault of Sarah Lustig who has written a nice, old fashioned novel set around the aforementioned recovery of the mace of state.

Poor 14 – nearly 15, mind – Theo has to contend with the usual embarrassing parents, except his father is flanked by armed personal protection officers and he can’t open his front door without cameras clicking and journalists shouting questions.

On the bright side, Samira (Sammy ) Jhor has just joined his school, and now his heart is aflutter while they set off on a quest to help his father.

I enjoy these sort of young adult(ish) novels when they come across the review queue. A criticism might be that they central protagonists always seem very young – I work in high schools. 15 year olds aren’t this nice. There’s lot more single entendre and vaping.

However, in a world where the Home Secretary would no doubt be deporting Samira unless her parents donated a tennis game’s worth of cash in a suitcase to prove she wasn’t the wrong kind of immigrant and the Prime Minister is trying to spend his time crowbarring his partner into six figure government careers whilst simultaneously turning the heart of government into the last days of Nero’s Rome, it is nice to read a novel as well written, pure hearted and entertaining as ‘Mystery in the Palace of Westminster’.

I sincerely wish that those at the top in the real world has as much civic responsibility and interest in doing what is right for the country as 14 year old Theo.

This is as assured a debut as I have read by an author working in this genre and I look forward to Book Two immensely.  

Purchase Links

https://www.sarahlustig.com/product-page/mystery-in-the-palace-of-westminster

https://www.waterstones.com/book/mystery-in-the-palace-of-westminster/sarah-lustig/9781739773601

Author Bio –

Sarah Lustig grew up in London and went to school in Westminster, with politicians’ children. Her experiences at school and interest in politics inspired the idea for the Westminster Mysteries series. Mystery in the Palace of Westminster is her debut novel. She has been a book editor for nearly 15 years and now lives in Buckinghamshire, where she spends her time reading, writing and pottering on her balcony garden.

Social Media Links –

https://www.instagram.com/sarahlbooks/

Digging with Spades, Coming Up Trumps

‘Murder in the Cards’ by Gina Cheyne

Also on the tour today, The Word is Out – Alyson’s Reviews  

Death is the rule, survival the exception in 1960s Soho bridge circles

When the SeeMs Agency detectives play bridge online in 2020, they don’t expect their opponent to die during the game and yet a post-mortem the next day proves Brian Deliverer was dead halfway through the night. Can a dead man play bridge?

Employed by Brian’s daughter Karen to investigate his death, the team are led back to a notorious 1920s murder and to a missing teenager from a Sussex village in the 1960s.

Should they tell his daughter the terrible truth behind her father’s death even if it costs her everything?

‘Murder in the Cards’ is the third instalment in Gina Cheyne’s SeeMs Agency stories. I was lucky enough to be on the blog tour for the opening novel, ‘The Mystery of the Lost Husbands’ back in March.

That initial novel in the sequence had a lovely, quite charm to it. The establishment of the detective agency, the gentle concept of the SeeMs Dog Detective Agency all whispered cosy crime and we know what to expect.

Now at novel three, Cheyne is expanding her work to feature aspects of structure – a duel timeline narrative mixing events in the sixties with lockdown fever for Miranda in the 2020s. She’s also using a specific vernacular in the 1960s setting – that of Polari, a secret language of the gay community in use at the time. Obviously, this adds a lovely period detail and authenticity but also achieves that thing which really good crime fiction can do: educate and entertain together.

With further complications linking even further back to the 1920s, this is a novel which will keep you guessing till the end and when and if we discover whether Miranda and the team can come up trumps.

Purchase Links

Author Bio –

Gina has worked as a physiotherapist, a pilot, freelance writer and a dog breeder.

As a child, Gina’s parents hated travelling and never went further than Jersey. As a result she became travel-addicted and spent the year after university bumming around SE Asia, China and Australia, where she worked in a racing stables in Pinjarra, South of Perth. After getting stuck in black sand in the Ute one time too many (and getting a tractor and trailer caught in a tree) she was relegated to horse-riding work only. After her horse bolted down the sand, straining a fetlock and falling in the sea, she was further relegated to swimming the horses only in the pool. It was with some relief the racehorse stables posted her off on the train into eastern Australia to work in a vineyard… after all what could go wrong there?

In the north of Thailand, she took a boat into the Golden Triangle and got shot at by bandits. Her group escaped into the undergrowth and hid in a hill tribe whisky still where they shared the ‘bathroom’ with a group of pigs. Getting a lift on a motorbike they hurried back to Chiang Rai, where life seemed calmer.

After nearly being downed in a fiesta in Ko Pha Ngan, and cursed by a witch in Malaysia, she decided to go to Singapore and then to China where she only had to battle with the language and regulations.

Since marrying the first time, she has lived and worked in many countries including Spain and the USA.

For a few years Gina was a Wingwalking pilot, flying, amongst others, her 64-year-old mother standing on the wing to raise money for a cancer charity. She was also a helicopter instructor and examiner and took part in the World Helicopter Championships in Russia and the USA.

She became a writer because her first love was always telling a good yarn!

Under the name Georgina Hunter-Jones she has written illustrated children’s books such as The Twerple who had Too Many Brains, and Nola the Rhinoceros loves Mathematics.

She now lives in Sussex with her husband and dogs, one of who inspired the Biscuit and Pugwash Detective Series about naughty dogs who solve crimes.

Murder in the Cards’ is the second in the SeeMS Detective Agency series

Social Media Links –

Website: www.ginacheyne.com

Taking Wings Against A Blackened Sky

The Sky Turned Black’ by John Steele

Also on the tour today, B For Bookreview

HIS BIGGEST CASE YET. BUT IT COULD BE HIS LAST…

NYPD officer Callum Burke is on a routine drugs raid when he bursts in on a scene of unimaginable horror – and two killers about to get away.

The men are caught but they won’t talk. All the cops know is that they’re Russian and extremely dangerous which means this could be the start of a savage new gang war.

Callum Burke is tasked with finding out what is going on. It’s Manhattan in 1997 and the city is being cleaned up. The pressure is on.

But when Callum discovers there might be more to the Russian involvement than just criminal gangs, he finds himself in deeper trouble than he’s ever known…

‘Hard and intriguing. Callum Burke is a cop on the edge’ David Albertyn

‘The Sky Turned Black will make your head spin’ T. J. English

‘The Sky Turned Black is a crime saga that combines gritty detail with a global scope’ Thomas Mullen

John Steele’s last novel, 2021’s ‘Rat Island’ was a heavyweight tome which attracted praise from the some heavyweight names (Tony Parson, Claire McGowan) and drew comparisons with the undisputed heavyweight of the American crime saga, Don Winslow. So, pretty good company then.

My own review, described the first in this series of novels as, “a tautly atmospheric portrait of New York at that tipping point in its history as it moved from pimps and hoes, No-Go Zone to the sanitised tourist trap it was to become.”

Here, Steele – and what a great name for a writer of hard-boiled detective fiction that is – picks up the character in 1997 as that move towards tourist friendly city is underway.

The arrival of the post-Perestroika Russians adds a further element to the sprawling city which Steele is working to render like a 3D map of the evolution of New York as well as adding a contemporary resonance.

As well as working picture of a city becoming aware of its new identity, Steele writes action with an adrenaline-fuelled punch.

If you like your thrillers sophisticated, thoroughly rooted in the real world and sprinkled with the verisimilitude of a period piece, then ‘The Sky Turned Black’ will brighten your day.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turned-Black-Callum-Burke-NYPD-ebook/dp/B09T6VFQM1/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Turned-Black-Callum-Burke-NYPD-ebook/dp/B09T6VFQM1/

Author Bio –

John Steele was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1995, at the age of twenty-two he travelled to the United States and has since lived and worked on three continents, including a thirteen-year spell in Japan. Among past jobs he has been a drummer in a rock band, an illustrator, a truck driver and a teacher of English. He now lives in England with his wife and daughter.

He began writing short stories, selling them to North American magazines and fiction digests. He has published four previous novels: Ravenhill, Seven Skins, Dry River and Rat Island, the first of which was longlisted for a CWA Debut Dagger award. John’s books have been described as ‘remarkable’ by the Sunday Times, ‘dark and thrilling’ by Claire McGowan, and ‘spectacular’ by Tony Parsons. The Irish Independent called John ‘a writer of huge promise’ and Gary Donnelly appointed him ‘the undisputed champion of the modern metropolitan thriller’.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @JohnSte_author

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of The Sky Turned Black (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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‘Five Dead Men’ by Rachel Green

‘Five Dead Men’ by Rachel Green

Also on the blog tour today: www.ramblingmads.com http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com  

When the bodies of five men are discovered in a secret vault at the villa Belle Époque, suspicion falls upon the villa’s former owner, enigmatic Pascal Deveraux.

Actor, gambler, general good-for-nothing – Pascal has lived a life of privilege and excess. But with no evidence to implicate him in murder, the case goes unsolved.

Called in to investigate the cold case, it’s not long before Margot’s enquiries re-open old wounds. Aided by policière municipale, Alia Leon, the investigation moves swiftly from the smugglers’ trails of the Pyrenees to the cannabis clubs of Barcelona. And it’s there, in the dark medieval streets of the city’s Gothic Quarter, that someone finds a reason to silence her.

When I reviewed the first instalment in the Madame Renard Investigates series I described Rachel Green as “clearly an accomplished writer. She is alert to colour and the subtleties and nuance of people’s movements and, always a big bonus for me, her dialogue has the snap and sparkle of real people.”

 This sense very clearly continues as the widowed investigator returns for her second outing. Green is – in a similar way to the work of Martin Walker which I praised so highly last week building a milieu and cast of characters which are becoming like familiar friends.

Also like Walker, Green has a nicely sparse style which makes these investigations easy to read and a pleasure to spend time with. Renard is a charming character – still somewhat mourning her husband, relaxing into her changing body and enjoying trainers rather than high heels these days, frustrated by her limited painting skills.

An additional similarity to the work of Walker is that Green packs a much starker picture than people will expect. These are not ‘Rosemary and Thyme’ en Francais. There’s a down to earth quality which makes the charming setting and likeable lead character undergirded by steel.

Overall, a worthy addition to the series and another accomplished performance from Rachel Green.

Author Bio

Rachel Green is the pen name of a writer from the UK. Rachel has twice been longlisted for both the Bath Novel Award and the BPA First Novel Award, as well as being on the shortlist for the Capital Crime New Voices Award. Rachel lives in a tiny village in England, but travels frequently to the south of France where the stories from the Madame Renard Investigates series are set

Purchase Link –

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09NK367Q7

Social Media Links –

www.rachelgreenauthor.com

https://www.instagram.com/authorrachelg/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelG

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rachel-green?follow=true

Best Forelock Forward

‘The Chase’ by Evie Hunter

When stable girl, Farah Ash, is sacked from her job, her only concern is the beloved horses she cares for. Farah suspects foul play and is determined to expose the secrets and lies she’s uncovered – no matter what.

Self-made millionaire, Isaac Fernandez witnesses Farah’s shocking dismissal and senses immediately that she has uncovered something dangerous – perhaps even deadly. And his fears are confirmed when Farah is almost killed.

And as more threats come Farah’s was, it’s clear someone is out to silence her for good. Unless Farah and Isaac can uncover the truth and put a stop to the deadly chase – before it’s too late.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3LoN4ia

Whenever you come across a thriller set in the world of horses, you just automatically go to Dick Francis – or at least I do. Once one of the biggest names in the publishing world, latterly Francis’ work appears consigned to the history books even while the adaptations appear on obscure platforms like BBC Radio 4 Extra.

So, I was charmed to read this novel written by Evie Hunter, a non de plume of Wendy Soliman, a hugely experienced regency romance writer. So, was this going to be Dick Francis meets Bridgerton?

Thankfully for this reader, no.

This is a hard edged, gritty thriller in the best traditions of Boldwood Books, an imprint offering a platform for, often, women writers to unpack and expand the criminal underworld.

Hunter is talented writer and the reader is in no doubt that an experienced writer is at the helm. Tightly plotted, an enjoyable thriller packed with real world scenarios.

Author Bio –

Evie Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and is now redirecting her talents to produce dark gritty thrillers for Boldwood. For the past twenty years she has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wendy.soliman.author

Twitter https://twitter.com/Wendyswriter

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/EvieHunter

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/evie-hunter

Stoking the Fires

‘Fallout’ by Edie Baylis

Secrets. Lies. Revenge.

With the odds stacked against her, Samantha Reynold is determined to prove she’s tough enough to be the boss. But when a secret from the past threatens to ruin Sam’s reputation, she suddenly feels very alone in this dark new world. There’s only one man she can turn to – rival club owner, Sebastian Stoker.

Seb knows first-hand how secrets and lies can tear a family apart. He wants to protect Sam at all costs, but siding with her could threaten his own position as head of the Stoker family and risk accusations of betrayal.

With loyalties divided and two families at war – the fallout could be deadly.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3pYMsrB

I have made the point, several times now, that Boldwood Books are a company doing interesting work. They certainly seem to have a found a formula which works for them. Crime, often written by talented women such as Heather Atkinson, https://pajnewman.com/2022/05/08/they-aint-heavies-theyre-brothers/ Gillian Godden https://pajnewman.com/2022/02/02/whats-harder-than-nails/ and Caro Savage https://pajnewman.com/2021/03/01/jumping-for-jailbirds/ and often involving crime families and the internecine rivalries of the underworld.

Here, Edie Baylis presents the second in her Allegiance series, Fallout, which opens in 1995.

This is an interesting milleau – a world of stolen Spar sandwiches, Safeways’ own brand cider and bad dentistry. Basically, the Major-era Tories as a cost of living crisis bit the working poor.

So, no echoes of the present day at all then.

This is the type of fiction which Boldwood does so well. Interesting characters, hard-edged settings, sweary characters capturing the patois of the street.

If you want a read which flows and offers menacing characters embroiled in swirling tugs of loyalty and explosive conclusions, readers should fall in to Fallout.

Author Bio –

Edie Baylis is a successful self-published author of dark gritty thrillers with violent background settings. She lives in Worcestershire, has a history of owning daft cars and several motorbikes and is licensed to run a pub. She has signed a five-book deal with Boldwood.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/downfallseries

Twitter https://twitter.com/ediebaylis

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ediebaylis/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/EdieBaylisnewsletter

Dark Hearts and Right Wrongs

Outcast‘ by Chris Ryan

After single-handedly intervening in a deadly terrorist attack in Mali, SAS Warrant Officer Jamie ‘Geordie’ Carter is denounced as a lone wolf by jealous superiors.

Now a Regiment outcast, Carter is given a second chance with a deniable mission: locate SAS hero-gone-rogue, David Vann.

Vann had been sent into Afghanistan to train local rebels to fight the Taliban. But he’s since gone silent and expected attacks on key targets have not happened.

Tracking Vann through Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Carter not only discovers the rogue soldier’s involvement in a conspiracy that stretches far beyond the Middle East – but an imminent attack that will have deadly consequences the world over . . .

As with most things in books, there are people who are sniffy about writers originating from ranks of the military. There is a snobbery around books which are designed to sell and to entertain people and this is doubled down upon if the writers have done something in a previous incarnation.

Chris Ryan, of course, had quite the life before he turned to writing thrillers. Any man who holds a Military Medal and can walk from Iraq to Syria whilst under fire deserves some form of attention.

It is this background, as part of the fabled Bravo Two Zero platoon which gives Ryan the authority to write the novels which he does. His experience in the ranks of the SAS which lend all of his thrillers the verisimilitude which so many other writers of “men of action” tales lack.

Here, however, protagonist Jamie ‘Geordie’ Carter finds himself caught up in a plot which might have come straight from the pen of Joseph Conrad – disgraced hero left to search for an outcast SA legend-gone-rogue.

That might, of course, be true only if Conrad had ever written a sentence like “the stiff afternoon breeze scraping through his dark hair, and wished to fuck he was somewhere else.” But, to be fair, this would have livened up the snoozeathon which is ‘Heart of Darkness’ no end.

There’s a healthy disrespect for authority and politician both officially and those in the rank and file which adds a layer of sympathy to the poor put upon hero.

Ryan has a control of the punchy sentence. Tension is built, backstory filled in. The point of these novels is to vicariously experience the snapping of bone and the crunch of boots on gravel and for all to be right with the world in the end.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outcast-Chris-Ryan-ebook/dp/B09SM14MPC

US – https://www.amazon.com/Outcast-Chris-Ryan-ebook/dp/B09SM14MPC

https://www.brownsbfs.co.uk/Product/RYAN-CHRIS/OUTCAST/9781838777616

Author Bio

Chris Ryan was born in Newcastle.

In 1984 he joined 22 SAS. After completing the year-long Alpine Guides Course, he was the troop guide for B Squadron Mountain Troop. He completed three tours with the anti-terrorist team, serving as an assaulter, sniper and finally Sniper Team Commander.

Chris was part of the SAS eight-man team chosen for the famous Bravo Two Zero mission during the 1991 Gulf War. He was the only member of the unit to escape from Iraq, where three of his colleagues were killed and four captured, for which he was awarded the Military Medal. Chris wrote about his experiences in his book ‘The One That Got Away’, which became an immediate bestseller. Since then he has written over fifty books and presented a number of very successful TV programmes.

Social Media Links  

Twitter

Chris Ryan and Zaffre Books

They Ain’t Heavies – They’re Brothers

‘Blood Pact’ by Heather Atkinson

To survive, they’ll need to stick together…

After the defeat of the rival Gordon and Thompson families, the Blood Brothers’ reputations as feared lieutenants of the McVay clan are firmly established. The Gallowburn has become an untouchable stronghold in their capable hands.

However, danger rears its head in another form – Jamie’s deadliest foe, Cameron Abernethy. Still fighting to be released from prison, Cameron decides to use the Lawson family, the Blood Brothers’ biggest rivals, to discover his daughter’s whereabouts.

With his enemies getting closer, and the police on his tail too, Jamie has some impossible choices to make. This is his last chance to live the life he’s dreamed of with the woman he loves, but first he’s got to make sure he’s not caught or killed…

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3KhTlf2

The opening instalment of Heather Atkinson’s Gallowburn series of crime novels, ‘Blood Brothers’, came out in December 2020. When I reviewed it, I noted that her publisher – Boldwood Books – were an interesting independent publisher making some interesting moves and that Atkinson was definitely one to watch.

I think by now, she must be a jewel in the crown.

Atkinson writes fast: usually people see this as a negative but in her case this is the fourth instalment in the series in just two years. Producing novels at a rate of one every six months is some going.

And clearly, you would expect a diminution in quality – but Atkinson is not declining. The dialogue is still punchy, the punches are still punchy as well and she lays the pipe of plot with aplomb.

Characters from previous novels, events which took place in seemingly insignificant moments in earlier books, are all threaded through the story.

It is, in the best sense of the word, like a soap opera. By now, we know the Blood Brothers, we know their families – we also know their enemies and the danger they are in as the Gallowburn estate remains as treacherous as ever to navigate.

For authentic Glasgow gangsters, crunching action and a sense of stepping back into a comfortable set of characters it’s a pleasure to revisit, readers will be very satisfied.

You can read a review of the third novel in the series here:

Author Bio –

Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre. Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Her new gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with the title Blood Brothers and was published in December 2020.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/booksofheatheratkinson/

Twitter https://twitter.com/HeatherAtkinso1

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heathercrimeauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/HeatherAtkinsonNews

The Clue’s All There…

‘Mollie Mack, Private Detective’ by Linda Dobinson

Mollie is excited!

She has been a private detective for six months, and FINALLY a BIG case has landed on her desk. If she solves it, it will make the papers and make her agency famous. She needs to give it her full attention; but she already has three cases she is working on. And when she gets an unexpected lead in her oldest case, she HAS to run with it.

Completely coincidentally, I saw a headline this morning which read, “Each generation get the Nancy Drew it deserves”.

This struck me as apt, although Nancy Drew is a name to me rather than a lived memory. In the gendered 80s, the Hardy Boys were my go-to American kids investigates crime fare as the teen detective of the female persuasion were not offered to young boys.

And here we have Linda Dobinson introducing Mollie Mack, Private Detective. A lead character with a passion for crime fiction – she’s read all the Sherlock Holmes and the Agatha Christie – and criminal psychology and who, alongside her trusty feline companion Clarabel she’s got her own detective agency.

What is better, is that this is the sort of novel which ought to be acceptable to readers of any gender and which parents will enjoy reading to their youngsters.

Mollie Mack looks for excitement in a place synonymous with nothing but glamour and excitement: Basingstoke.

Dobinson has crafted a charming tale which should appeal to the amateur sleuth in us all.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Molly-Private-Detective-Linda-Dobinson-ebook/dp/B09NL5Y8Y1/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Molly-Private-Detective-Linda-Dobinson-ebook/dp/B09NL5Y8Y1/

Author Bio –

Linda Dobinson was born in Croydon but grew up in Barbados – endless sunshine and never too far from the beach. She has worked in fashion, the motor industry, and been a PA.

In the 90s she picked up her pen and started writing poetry. Her work has appeared in poetry magazines, and for two successive years she had poems selected for the anthologies Southern England and South-West England. Her second collection Encounter reached the top of Amazon’s poetry charts. Since then she has started writing middle grade novels and has discovered that immersing herself in a plot is a great distraction from a pandemic.

Social Media Links –

https://goodreads.com/author/show/6077640.Linda_Dobinson

https://www.instagram.com/baspoet/

www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Dobinson/e/B00J0ZVZ14/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Giveaway to Win a Kindle copy of Mollie Mack, Private Detective (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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A Pearl Coming Up With A Diamond

‘The Chair Man’ by Alex Pearl

Michael Hollinghurst is a successful corporate lawyer living a comfortable, suburban life in leafy North West London. But on 7 July 2005, his life is transformed when he steps on a London underground train targeted by Islamist suicide bombers. While most passengers in his carriage are killed, Michael survives the explosion but is confined to a wheelchair as a result.

Coming to terms with his predicament and controlling his own feelings of guilt as a survivor conspire to push him in a direction that is out of character and a tad reckless. In a quest to seek retribution, he resorts to embracing the internet and posing as a radical Islamist in order to snare potential perpetrators.

Much to his surprise, his shambolic scheme yields results and is brought to the attention of both GCHQ and a terrorist cell. But before long, dark forces begin to gather and close in on him. There is seemingly no way out for Michael Hollinghurst. He has become, quite literally, a sitting target.

On the morning of July 7th 2005, I was waiting to catch a flight to Venice. News began to filter through that something terrible had happened in London. One of my best friends lived in north London and was working out towards Heathrow.

As the BBC News began speculating about power surges and explosions on the Tube, I watched in horror as the route my friend, Dan, took every day was highlighted by the ashen-faced presenters.

Then an exploded bus was shown. Also on his route.

My phone began lighting up. There are a bunch of us: the same age, the same year at school – we speak every day. Richard phoned. “I can’t get a hold of Dan.”

“Me neither.” Texts went unanswered. Phone calls fizzled out. We realised that the mobile phone networks had been shut down in order to avoid remote detonations.

My partner at the time was flapping. “Do we fly? What are we going to do? Aren’t all the trains cancelled?”

I had no answers.

At 09:30, the phone rang. “What?” snapped a fairly cheesed off Dan, whose phone had almost combusted with the number of calls and messages.

“Where the fuck have you been?”

“I walked to work. It took ages. What’s the matter?”

Never been so delighted to hear the crabbit Cockney in my life.

And here we have a novel which uses this as the catalytic event of the main characters life. Alex Pearl has crafted an exciting thriller which sees his protagonist Michael Hollinghurst ensnared in all sorts of dramas, trapped between a terrorist cell and the security services.

The novel opens with one of the most surprising events I can remember in a thriller and Pearl is very good on the daily issues and inconveniences experienced by the disabled.

Overall, a thumping good read with a white knuckle conclusion.

Purchase Links

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-chair-man-alex-pearl/1136672496?ean=2940164005511

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1009862

https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-chair-man/id1503252665

Author Bio –

Alex’s first novel ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’, a darkly humorous urban fantasy, written for children and young adults, was initially published by PenPress in 2011. It has since become a Kindle bestseller in the US. In 2014, his fictionalised account of the first British serviceman to be executed for cowardice during the First World War was published by Mardibooks in its anthology, ‘The Clock Struck War’. A selection of his blog posts is also available in paperback under the title ‘Random Ramblings of a Short-sighted Blogger.’ In 2019, his psychological thriller, ‘The Chair Man’ that is set in London in 2005 following the terrorist attack on its public transport system, was published as an ebook by Fizgig Press. The paperback followed in 2020.

Alex lives in NW London with his wife and terribly spoilt feline.

He is quite possibly the only human being on this planet to have been inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve.

You can visit his website at http://booksbyalexpearl.weebly.com

Social Media Links – https://linktr.ee/AlexPearl