Crazy Like a Fox…

‘Crazy for You’ by Domhnall O’Donoghue

Also on the tour today, C L Tustin -Author and netsreadsbooks

  • ‘Genuinely hilarious, charmingly intelligent’ – The Irish Times​  
  • ‘Assured, astute and wickedly funny’ – Woman’s Way  
  • ‘Witty and charming and very, very funny’ – The Irish Examiner          

When Clooney Coyle promises Vonnie Gallagher they’ll be friends for life, he has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. The lonely and eccentric Vonnie quickly becomes obsessed with the kind-hearted but insecure actor, and her misguided crush soon develops into something much more sinister, which leaves Clooney’s career in tatters.  

But when fate takes a strange turn and elevates the pair into an overnight celebrity couple, Clooney must decide whether to embrace the fame he has longed for since childhood or end the ridiculous charade before Vonnie’s jealous – and murderous – inclinations spiral out of control.

Domhnall O’Donoghue’s third novel is a delightful romp through a heightened world of the celebrity lifestyle.

Laugh out loud funny in all the right people, the novel also examines the effect that the often shallow expectations of the public have on the private lives of the people behind the headlines.

O’Donoghue has a lightness of touch with his characters and a pleasing knack of raising the stakes for his protagonists as their world spins out of control.

At it’s heart though, is a sweet tale of lifelong friends and the toll that can take on both parties.

Bad people, doing bad things? Sometimes. ‘Crazy for You’ has an atmosphere of ‘The Sopranos’ crossed with Eurovision by way of ‘Father Ted’ and ‘Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and what’s not to love about that?

Purchase Links

Amazon: Amazon Crazy for You

Mercier Press: Mercier Press Crazy for You

Book Depository: Book Depository Crazy for You

Itunes: ITunes Crazy for You

Author Bio –

Hailing from Navan, Co. Meath, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT. He now works as a journalist, author and actor.

In 2016, Tirgearr Publishing released Domhnall’s first novel, ‘Sister Agatha: The World’s Oldest Serial Killer’ (‘We loved it’ – ‘Woman’s Way’). Pink Spear, an American, Emmy-winning production company, holds the TV and film rights.

Mercier Press, Ireland’s oldest publishing house, released Domhnall’s second and third novels, ‘Colin and the Concubine’ (‘Hilarious’ – RTE.ie) and ‘Crazy for You’ (‘Genuinely hilarious, charmingly intelligent’ – ‘The Irish Times’).

For four years, Domhnall enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at ‘Irish Tatler Man’. Thanks to this role, he interviewed high-profile names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Kevin Spacey and Chris Pine. He writes a monthly column for ‘Woman’s Way’ and is a features writer for ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’, the world’s largest Irish-interest magazine.

As an actor, Domhnall appeared as Pádraig in TG4’s award-winning series ‘Ros na Rún’ for nine seasons.

Social Media Links –

FB – Domhnall O’Donoghue (facebook.com)

T – https://twitter.com/Domhnall1982

IGhttps://instagram.com/domhnall82

@rararesources

All Under Control Here

‘Chaos at Carnegie Hall’ by Kelly Oliver

Also on the tour today, InsomniacBookwormBookreviews and Books by Bindu

Agatha Christie meets ‘Downton Abbey’ in the Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane Mystery series opener.

Can Fiona catch a killer and find a decent cup of tea before her moustache wax melts?

1917. New York.

Notorious spy, Fredrick Fredricks, has invited Fiona to Carnegie Hall to hear a famous soprano. It’s an opportunity the War Office can’t turn down. Fiona and Clifford are soon on their way, but not before Fiona is saddled with chaperon duties for Captain Hall’s niece. Is Fiona a spy or a glorified babysitter?

From the minute Fiona meets the soprano aboard the RMS Adriatic it’s treble on the high C’s. Fiona sees something—or someone—thrown overboard, and then she overhears a chemist plotting in German with one of her own countrymen!

And the trouble doesn’t stop when they disembark. Soon Fiona is doing time with a group of suffragettes and investigating America’s most impressive inventor Thomas Edison.

When her number one suspect turns up dead at the opera and Fredrick Fredricks is caught red-handed, it looks like it’s finally curtains for the notorious spy.

But all the evidence points to his innocence. Will Fiona change her tune and clear her nemesis’ name? Or will she do her duty? And just what is she going to do with the pesky Kitty Lane? Not to mention swoon-worthy Archie Somersby . . .

If Fiona’s going to come out on top, she’s going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life: the choice between her head and her heart.

In the best spirit of the Golden Age detective fiction, Kelly Oliver’s opening instalment of her new series, the Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane Mysteries.

Oliver is an accomplished author – her Pet Detective Mysteries are particular favourites of mine – and she is clearly a very busy lady (Professor of Philosophy too? Slow down, Prof, you’re showing the rest of us up).

Here, the Tennessee-based writer is ticking a number of my boxes – transatlantic travel, Golden Age setting, spies and espionage chicanery. What’s not to like?

Oliver has crafted an engaging cast of characters for such a cosy, escapist adventure. There’s a healthy dose of the appropriate period attitudes for Figg to navigate and we can only imagine the frustration which women of her ability must have felt at the shoddy nature of their treatment.

If you are looking for a tidily written, transatlantic romp in the best traditions of the old school, ‘Chaos at Carnegie Hall’ belings on your to be read pile.

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

Author Bio –

Kelly Oliver is the award-winning, bestselling author of three mysteries series: The Jessica James Mysteries, The Pet Detective Mysteries, and the historical cozies The Fiona Figg Mysteries, set in WW1. She is also the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is bringing new titles in the Fiona Figg series to Boldwood, the first of which, ‘Chaos in Carnegie Hall’, will be published in November 2022.

Social Media Links –  

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellyoliverbook 

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelly-oliver

The End of Days?

‘The Survivor’ by Simon Conway

You can read an exclusive Q&A with Simon Conway here

You can support the blog and order ‘The Survivor’ from the Bookshop link here https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10526/9781529334388

Jude Lyon of MI6 has narrowly foiled the traitor Fowle’s plot to level London, but the public are demanding answers.

Answers the government doesn’t have.

As the country reels, a new populist political figure carves a stratospheric trajectory – but is he all he seems?

In Moscow the President is furious. The world now knows the destructive power of the programme his people had been developing, and as the Russians scramble to understand how it got into Fowle’s hands, they start to worry that perhaps it could be used against them . . .

But Jude Lyon has just one question on his mind: Guy Fowle is missing, with nothing left to lose,

So what is he planning next?

Seething with political machinations, burning with blood-thumping action, and featuring the best returning MI6 operative since James Bond ‘The Survivor’ brings the espionage novel crashing into the modern day.

Shane Whaley, the legendary host of the Spybrary podcast and it’s associated Facebook group (excellent for fans of Spy Writing, appalling for the bank balance), often says he wishes that he had been alive in the time when many of the giants of the spy fiction world were publishing books.

I can’t help being delighted that we are alive in such a time as now. Mick Herron and Simon Conway are two writers destined to be remembered as first level writers of excellence in the genre. With ‘The Survivor’, Conway cements his position at the summit.

Greater experts than I concur. The Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman – he of the impeccable contacts book and the planet-sized intellect – ranks Conway at 26 in his list of the 120 all time spy writers. Although this seems low, Shipman suggests that, “if he gets the support he deserves from publishers, the sky is the limit,” and this seems about right.

When I reviewed Conway’s previous outing in the series, ‘The Saboteur’, I said, “There is also more crash, bang, wallop than in the first… Conway’s background allows him to write about the violence with predictably bone-jarring verisimilitude but – and perhaps more importantly from a character development and depth of reading enjoyment point of view – is equally strong on the aftermath of terrible acts on people forced to endure unimaginable suffering.”

This blending of the sickening after effects of violence on individuals with the clock ticking tension is once again here in full force as Lyon travels the globe hunting Fowle and attempting to get ahead of the ying to his yang at the same time as a new Prime Minister tries to stamp his authority on a financially and emotionally ravaged country.

Just as well it is fiction, eh?

With an expanded cast of characters and displaying his usual behind the scenes insights into the personalities, petty jealousies and shifting sands of loyalties and politicking within the espionage community, Conway has rendered a must read adventure.

Packed with excitement, exotic locations and the down-to-earth crunch of bone on bone, Conway truly is the heir apparent to Ian Fleming. Not in the cinematic Bond who is too debonair but in the literary Fleming where lives are seldom taken with a quip and bruises take whole books to heal.

‘The Survivor’ is, apparently, the concluding outing in the trilogy. I can only hope that – as Le Carre did with Smiley – there is at least one further outing for the Lyon of the urban jungle.

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?field-isbn=9781529334340&tag=hachetteuk-21

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/search/ref=mn_anon-h_tseft?advsearchKeywords=The%20Survivor&author_author=Simon%20Conway&utm_source=awin&source_code=CMJ30DFT1Bk145032919907C&awc=8095_1667380669_c449a3f458d9c93973c432baa259bb8c

Blackwell’s: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781529334340

Bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10526/9781529334388

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-survivor,simon-conway-jamie-parker-9781529334340

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781529334340?awc=3787_1667380645_f18b79282282c93d418730db8993fd15&utm_source=508909&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hachette.co.uk

Author Bio

Simon Conway is a former British Army officer and international aid worker. He has cleared landmines and the other debris of war across the world.

As Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition he successfully campaigned to achieve an international ban on cluster bombs.

He is currently working as Director of Capability for The HALO Trust.

He lives in Edinburgh with his wife the journalist and broadcaster Sarah Smith. He has two daughters. (Biography courtesy of www.simonconwaybooks.com)

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/simongconway

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simon.conway.author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simongconway/?hl=en

Golden by Name…

‘Spruced Up for Murder’ by Helen Golden

Death at Francis Court Now Confirmed as Murder!

Speculation is rife that the victim, estate manager Alex Sterling (44), was found by Lady Beatrice (35), the Countess of Rossex, niece of King James. Lady Beatrice, who has finally come out of hiding following her son’s departure to boarding school, has been managing the project to refurbish and redesign the Events Suite at Francis Court, alongside Perry Juke.

Heading up the murder investigation is Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam. Rumour has it that he and Lady Beatrice have a fractious history…

Awful man! How dare Fitzwilliam suggest Lady Beatrice’s sister is the number one suspect for Alex’s murder. It could be any one of the staff who were on-site that morning. Well, she’ll show Mr High and Mighty Fitzwilliam! With her attention to detail, her clever dog Daisy, Perry’s imagination, and his partner’s contacts at Fenshire CID, they’ll find the murderer before him.

Unless the murderer finds her first…

Early on in ‘Spruced Up for Murder’, Helen Golden’s delightful tale of murder amongst the minor aristocracy, there is a scene where a mother needs to channel her best stiff upper lip impression as her son departs for boarding school.

I well remember the handshake I was given as my parent drove away leaving me at my public school and the sight of my mother dabbing at her eyes as the car pulled away.

It is an image which has been much in my mind lately due to her increasingly diminished health the caring role I have now assumed. There’s an entire circle of life thing going on which seems to fit with the autumnal weather, the turning of the leaves doing some form of work for the pathetic fallacy as they turn their golden hues, die and descend to the ground.

All of which is adding an air of poignancy to a jaunty little novel which nips along with pacy plotting and a dash of humour which makes the medicine of murder go down sweetly. Short, punchy chapters, characters who say things like, “oh my giddy aunt,” and the internecine squabbles between the fairly haughty Countess of Rossex and our Chief Inspector Fitzwilliam make this a perfect mystery for the rapidly cooling nights by the fire.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spruced-Murder-Right-Royal-Investigation-ebook/dp/B0BDGN7PSB

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Spruced-Murder-Right-Royal-Investigation-ebook/dp/B0BDGN7PSB

Author Bio –

Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.

I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.

It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes

Social Media Links – insta – https://www.instagram.com/helengolden_author/

Tik Tok – https://www.tiktok.com/@helengoldenauthor  

Website – https://helengoldenauthor.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/helengoldenauthor

Lots of Water Under the Bridge, Riverside

‘Riverside’ by Glenda Young

‘Riverside’: The feel-good, life-affirming story of love, friendship, family and new beginnings

Also on the tour today, Books by Bindu and Curling Up with a Coffee and a Kindle

Changes are coming to the riverside town of Ryemouth, and while some of the community are excited by new beginnings, others are finding it hard to let go of the past.

A new 14-episode audio soap with a cast of loveable characters you’ll want to laugh and cry along with.

Susan and her boyfriend Dave can’t wait to open their new café and deli, The Old Engine Room. But Susan’s dad, George, is not so thrilled. He’s never approved of Dave, who used to hang out with the wrong crowd. Can the happy young couple win George round?

Mary and Ruby have been friends since the first day of infant school, even though their lives have turned out very differently. Mary has a contented family life with husband George and daughter Susan. Poor Ruby has never been so lucky in love. Then she meets her teenage crush in surprising circumstances. Mary has her doubts about the charming Paul. Will Ruby finally get her own happy ever after?

Dave wants to put his past behind him. His dream is to make a success of the business, and one day be a good husband and father, like his own dad, Mike. Yet, he’s forced to keep a secret from everyone he loves. Who should he turn to for help out of a tricky situation?

When the community comes under threat from developers, can everyone put their differences to one side to defend the town they love?

Riverside is full of romance, heartbreak and secrets, as well as gentle wit and humour.

The Riverside audiobook drama is based on the popular weekly magazine serial written and created by Glenda Young.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk//dp/B0B7887MYJ/

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Riverside-Audiobook/B0B7883C7S

‘Riverside’ is an intriguing piece of work. A quiet and subdued little soap opera, written well with a suitably efficient pace. It’s origin in weekly serial magazines evident in the topics and interactions between the well-drawn characters.

Of course, one of the reasons that people like soap operas is that they deliver drama and entertainment but often touch on topics and trends in the life of a nation without making it seem like medicine. Riverside is often a story of the de-and-re-industrialisation of this country. Of the way that people feel alienated by the replacement of “real” jobs in heavy industry with service industry employment specialising in artisan barista coffees.

For listeners who like their characters likeable, flawed and earnestly well-intentioned, this slickly produced and well-acted slice of life audio drama, may be right up your waterway.

Author Bio –

Ian Skillicorn is a publisher, producer and writer. He has written the script for the Riverside audiobook drama based on Glenda’s stories and characters. He also directed and produced the audiobook. Ian’s publishing imprint, Wyndham Books, publishes best-selling fiction by some of the best-loved novelists in the UK and Australia. He was a podcasting trailblazer, producing streaming audio programmes in the early 2000s well before the podcast revolution.

Glenda Young is a best-selling author and award-winning writer. She’s written Riverside, a weekly soap opera published in The People’s Friend magazine since 2016. Meanwhile, she is the author of two successful book series – gritty sagas set in a northeast mining village in 1919, and cosy crimes set in modern-day Scarborough. She has also written official TV tie-in books for ITV’s Coronation Street.

Social Media Links –

www.riversidethesoap.com

Twitter = @ian_skillicorn, @flaming_nora

Narrator Bio

Dave McClelland has enjoyed a busy career in Film, TV, theatre and radio, in both the UK and Canada. Recent television credits include Coronation St, Emmerdale, Doctors, Broken, and Compulsion, and he’s recently worked in the horror movie Black Daruma, to be released later this year. Dave worked as a radio host with CBC whilst living in Canada, and since returning to the UK, he’s put his voice to work in radio dramas, audiobooks, and voiceovers.

Melanie Crawley is an actor and voice artist. She recently produced and performed in the political theatre project ‘Next Left: Test Track Trace’ at Theatre Deli Sheffield, the northern UK tour of ‘Tannie & Tannie’ by Claudine Bennent and in various ‘All Female Shakespeare’ productions at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester. She has narrated around 50 audiobooks from her studio in Sheffield where she also works as a corporate and commercial voice artist and as an actor for radio / audio comedy and drama. Her most recent audio projects include ‘The Age of Love’ a podcast for ‘Festival of the Mind’ by Christopher Green, ‘Sketch Up’ a series of comedy radio sketches which she also performed at Leicester Comedy Festival. For screen, Melanie’s recent projects include ‘Truck’ part of the Council Culture Online TV series and ‘Tea and Cake’ one of the ‘Monarchy Monologues’ for Act Your Age. She writes, performs and produces the narrated audio-drama podcast: Low Light.

Lisa Armytage is an experienced actor in film, tv and theatre, and an established audiobook narrator. After a season with the National Youth Theatre, she trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, soon afterwards emigrating to Australia. She is best known as Dr Beverley Marshall in the iconic Aussie soap, ‘Neighbours’, and the lead female role in the Australian romantic movie ‘Cool Change’. Also in Australia, Lisa was a main cast member in the TV mini-series ‘The Lancaster-Miller Affair’ and ‘Miraculous Mellops’ and took guest roles in ‘’Cop Shop’, ‘Cell Block H’, ‘The Flying Doctors’, ‘Police Rescue 2’, ‘A Country Practice’, ‘Sky Trackers’, ‘Heartbreak High’ and ‘All Saints’. Since returning to the U.K in 2003 Lisa returned to working in theatre before narrating a wide range of audiobook genres. She has recently completed her third audiobook for best-selling British-Australian novelist Anna Jacobs, and has voiced animations and dramas, of which ‘Riverside’ is the latest.

As a Voiceover Artist, Gerard Fletcher can be heard currently voicing ads on TV and commercial radio stations worldwide (as well as major supermarkets) and has narrated 2 audio books and documentaries for BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Paramount and History Channel.

He is also the calming onhold voice of many major companies including DPD, The National Trust and Halfords and The Sheffield Tram!

He’s a musician and has published works for commercial sound libraries and theatre.

Trained at LAMDA. TV includes “The Crown” Series 5 (Netflix), “Sherwood” (BBC), “Get Even” (BBC/Netflix), “Emmerdale” (ITV),”Girlfriends” (ITV), “Happy Valley” (BBC), “Coronation Street”(ITV), “In the Club” (ITV), “The Accused” (BBC) “The Street” (BBC), “Shameless” (BBC). Feature Film: “Gold” (2018), “The Messenger”.

Gerard has performed in radio drama (BBC Radio 3, 4 and 4 Extra and Wyndham Books) and presented Screwfix’s YouTube channel for 2 years!

Glen McCready trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art where he graduated with honours. Screen credits include Signor in Years and Years (BBC), Henry Bowater in Hotel Portofino (Britbox Original) and Jack in the indie feature Above the Clouds. Stage credits include Eddie in Blood Brothers and Sgt Trotter in The Mousetrap (both in the West End). Glen works extensively as a voice actor with numerous credits in animation (including Granitface in the animated feature Dragon Rider), video games (including Maximillian in Evil Genius 2 World Domination), audiobooks (including Conan Doyle’s The Lost World), audio drama and radio drama.

As an award winning voice artist and actress, Penelope Rawlins is known for her work in animation, audio drama, narration, video games, audiobooks, theatre, radio and television.

Known for her authentic children’s voices – Penelope can be heard on Netflix in Rainbow Rangers (voice of Lavender and Indigo), in Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, voicing Jackson Jet on the Kartoon Channel, CBBC in Ninja Express, Amazon Prime in Uma & Devan Namaste! and the title role of Mini Wolf. Other animation includes Mighty Smighties, Captain Virat, Pomi & Nar, Hubert & Takako, The Amazing Adventures of Kika & Bob, Lulu Zipadoo and the voices of Princess Rhea and Princess Hera in the popular series SpacePops.

Penelope has voiced over 300 audiobooks and was nominated by Audible for Narrator of the Year. Favourite titles include; Gorillas in the Mist, Journey to the River Sea, The Turn of the Screw, Homeland: Carrie’s Run, Homeland: Saul’s Game (based on the CBS television series).

An extensive list of computer games and Warhammer titles, Penelope voiced Maleneth in series 1 and 2 of Realmslayer, opposite Brian Blessed’s Gotrek. As a stage actress for many years in regional and national theatre, Penelope played opposite Tommy Steele in Chaplin: The Musical. National tours include: Brief Encounter, Butterflies Are Free, Present Laughter, The Railway Children, The Lady Vanishes and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Radio dramas for the BBC include: Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, The Professor, The American Senator and Portrait of a Lady.

She wrote and produced her first play Pigeons in 2019 which sold out at the Hen & Chickens Theatre, London to 5 star reviews.

Becky Wright is best known for her many years on The Archers, playing Nic Grundy.

Toby Laurence is Freddie Pargetter in The Archers.

Social Media Links –

Twitter

Dave McClelland = twitter.com/mcclellanddave

Melanie Crawley = @melaniecrawley

Lisa Armytage = @LisaArmytage

Glen McCready = @McCreadyGlen

Penelope Rawlins =  @PenelopeRawlins

Toby Laurence = @TobyLaurence

Giveaway to Win 5 x Audio copies of Riverside (Open to UK/US)

*Terms and Conditions –UK/US 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494528/?

Warm Prose with Williams

‘Murder in Tuscany’ by TA Williams

Also on the tour today, Scrapping&Playing and The Book Decoder

A remote retreat…

Nestled high in the Tuscan hills lies Villa Volpone, home to renowned crime writer Jonah Moore and his creative writing course. It’s also the last place retired DCI Dan Armstrong expected to spend his retirement! Dan’s no writer, but maybe this break will help him to think about the next chapter in his own life story?

A gruesome murder…

But only days into the course, Jonah Moore is found stabbed to death with his award-winning silver dagger! And Dan finds himself pulled out of retirement with a killer to catch.

Eleven possible suspects.

The other guests all seem shocked by Jonah’s death, but Dan knows that one of them must be lying. And as he and Italian Commissario Virgilio Pisano begin to investigate it quickly becomes clear that everyone at Villa Volpone has secrets to hide…

But can Dan discover who the murderer is before they strike again?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3Pnw7q3

I’ve never met TA Williams but I can’t help thinking that I would get on with him. I respected his courage to unapologetically write romantic as a man and not be embarrassed by that. I like reading them and still feel like an outlier for doing so.

I’ve reviewed a couple of Williams’ earlier novels in this genre, ‘A Little Piece of Paradise’ and ‘A Chance in a Million’. These are two impressively accomplished examples of their genre (you should definitely check them out if this is your sort of thing.)

Another thing I definitely have in common with Mr Williams is a love of Italy. La Dolce Vita – yes please. I would happily have been zipping about on a Vespa in a well cut suit on my way for a tiny coffee under sunny skies if I wasn’t a pasty middle aged Englishman in dreary Britain.

And now he’s branching out into crime fiction. Well, yes please, grazie mille!

‘A Murder in Tuscany’ is just as accomplished, entertaining and well written as we have come to expect from Williams. There’s the Agatha Christie-style limited suspect line up, there’s the exotic location, putting readers in mind of Donna Leon or Michael Dibden and there’s the easy going charm of the flowing prose which is all Williams.

As the nights draw in and the fire goes on, I’ve really enjoyed curling up with DCI Dan Armstrong and Oscar as the retired detective finds himself pulled back into the fray of another murder.

Bravo! Bellissimo!

Author Bio –

T A Williams is the author of over twenty bestselling romances for HQ and Canelo and is now turning his hand to cosy crime, set in his beloved Italy, for Boldwood. The series will introduce us to retired DCI Armstrong and his labrador Oscar and the first book, entitled ‘Murder in Tuscany’, will be published in October 2022. Trevor lives in Devon with his Italian wife.

Social Media Links –   

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TAWilliamsBooks

Boldwood’s IG account – https://www.instagram.com/bookandtonic/

What Are the Odds?

‘A Chance in a Million’ by TA Williams

Fate brought them together, now it’s up to them to make it work…

You can support the blog and TA Williams by purchasing ‘A Chance in a Million’ from Bookshop.org

Having left the army to recover from a traumatic experience, Captain Jane Reed is on her way to Venice to assist Lady Veronica Cooper, a world-famous writer who has lost her mojo. Plagued by grief and sleepless nights, Jane soon finds a kindred spirit in Veronica, coping with her own loss after the death of her husband.

When the two relocate to Veronica’s villa in the countryside to escape the summer tourists, Jane meets the rest of the Cooper family – including Veronica’s brooding son, David. With his own tragic past, David has resigned himself to a life of solitude. Jane finds herself determined to bring joy back into his life, even if it means finally spilling her secrets.

Can Jane and David help each other heal, and find love in the process, or are some scars too deep to treat?

I have reviewed and enjoyed the work of TA Williams before. He appears to be a man after my own heart: fond of a foreign location, not afraid to enjoy a little light romantic fiction – toxic masculinity be damned or something!

Here we are treated to a romance mired in some fairly traumatic background. The opening sequence of the novel is set in Fallujah and, it is fair to say, one can certainly understand why Captain Jane Reed might feel the need to decompress afterwards.

It is often interesting to reflect that romantic fiction is dismissed as “light”. Here Williams works hard to create suspense in the reader and every degree of heat is reflected in the sweat on the brow of the protagonist.

Of course, Venice is another area known for its heat and Williams again does a fantastic job of rendering the magic of that spectacular city.

Characters each dealing with their own inner turmoils collide as the pathetic fallacy of the weather, the beauty of the surrounding and the quality of the food act as motifs which reoccur throughout this highly readable holiday novel.

Salut!

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/inaMIllion

Author Bio

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing escapist romance is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.tawilliamsbooks.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/tawilliamsbooks

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Red Lights and Weary Travellers

‘Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary: Quest for a Life’ by Brendan James

Also on the tour today is Tami and Bookish Dreamer

‘Could there be a world of interest and adventure beyond the Midlands? A world of confidence, sex and excitement? A better life – a better me?’ These are the questions Gerard Philey grapples with over New Year, 1995. Sitting in his rented Black Country room, reflecting on his thankless teaching job and miserable love life, he courageously decides to abandon his humdrum existence and embark on a quest for Euro-fulfilment, fun and fitness on the Continent.

After a shaky start in Brussels, events manoeuvre him to Amsterdam where chance encounters shift his world well and truly into fifth gear. He samples the trials and tribulations of new relationships, alongside managing a sex shop in the city’s Red Light Area – on top of the challenges of fat-free living and international travel!

Through his bittersweet diary, we see how Gerard steers a laugh-out-loud course through farcical episodes and fanciful characters…and how entanglements from past and present draw him unwittingly into a criminal underworld where events ultimately take their toll.

Purchase Link –  https://amzn.to/3spEKZ9

It has been a while since I was able to get away on a proper foreign holiday. Rather like the eponymous Gerard Philey of Brendan James’ charming debut novel, I spend my days helping to educate the next generation of souls. Although they do not – as yet – choose to decorate me with chewed up pieces of ‘Paris Match’ as his do, I certainly recognise the ennui of the listless educational professional he describes!

One of my fondest ever memory is of a holiday I took alone to France as a newly qualified teacher. I was able to nap and write and drink wine in the sun and utilise my less-than-adequate language skills to procure decent food at a bargain price. It was pure Peter Mayle (a hero of mine I’ve written about before)

This novel is a bit like a hybrid of a ‘A Year in Provence’ meets ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole’ and is very much enjoyable accordingly. James is a writer of assured quality and the wryly amusing encounters his put upon hero endures brings to mind the work of Tom Sharpe and the tortures he regularly put poor Wilt through.

A read that zips by like a galloping Eurostar, this is one for the traveller in your life. Happy holidays!

Author Bio

Brendan James is the author of the new comedy novel, “Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary: Quest for a Life”. Though this is his first novel, he has a large number of non-fiction publications (under the name Brendan Bartram) as a former university lecturer and researcher. A passionate linguist and Europhile, he spent a number of years working in the Netherlands, France and Germany. He lives in the West Midlands with his husband.

Social Media Links –

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/450811.Brendan_James

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brendan-james-4343a8237/

Twitter @Brendan23015569

Theatrical Frames, Plenty of Twists

You can support the blog by purchasing ‘The Twist of a Knife’ from Bookshop.org here

‘Our deal is over.’

That’s what reluctant author Anthony Horowitz tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne in an awkward meeting. The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.

His new play, ‘Mindgame’, is about to open in London’s Vaudeville theatre. Not surprisingly Hawthorne declines a ticket.

On opening night, ‘Sunday Times’ critic Harriet Throsby gives the play a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next morning she is found dead, stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which, it turns out, belongs to Anthony and which has his finger prints all over it.

Anthony is arrested, charged with Throsby’s murder, thrown into prison and interrogated.

Alone and increasingly desperate, he realises only one man can help him.

But will Hawthorne take his call?
(Synopsis courtesy of Penguin)

Everyone is always so grouchy about targeted advertising. Big companies like Amazon and Apple mining your online behaviour to sell you products people like you have already bought, their algorithms churning away in the background to manipulate you into parting with your hard earned cash.

I get it. It’s never nice to feel like a sheep, manipulated and herded. Netflix’s documentary, ‘The Social Dilemma‘ does an excellent job of exploring the dystopian overtones of how we live now.

But, here’s the thing – sometimes, it’s quite nice to be offered products people like you would like. Those algorithms are really just the video rental clerks of the 80s, but with about the same level of interaction skills and better personal hygiene.

So, I suspect I was the proverbial fish in a barrel when Audible told me the daily deal was Anthony Horowitz’s ‘A Line to Kill’.

Firstly, it’s written by Anthony Horowitz. I’ve written elsewhere of my affection for the latest adaptation of his Baby Bond series, ‘Alex Ryder, and I have taught the first in that series, Stormbreaker, https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10526/9781406360196 for a good number of years now.

Secondly, I had just finished reading his second James bond continuation novel, ‘Forever and a Day’, the single best continuation of that franchise in literary form since Kingsley Amis’ ‘Colonel Sun written under the pseudonym Robert Markham .

Finally, there was the setting. Alderney is the only Channel Island I have been to – as a child no less – but even as a teen I could see its potential as a locked room murder mystery setting. Throw in a literary festival – very much my “thang” and I was in.

Well, hooked does not do justice. I’ve now read – or more accurately had read to me by the superb Rory Kinnear – all of the novels in the series. Kinnear is – somewhat confusingly – the voice of Anthony Horowitz. Because what this series needed was more meta-overtones.

The latest novel in the series, Book 4, ‘The Twist of a Knife’, continues the conceit of having Horowitz as his own Watson, trailing along behind enigmatic private detective Hawthorne as he strides out in front.

Horowitz clearly has some fun depicting himself as vain and whiny in a way which must have been delightful to write but is also quite cruel and he continues to let Hawthorne get away with all the best lines.

At the opening of the novel, narrator Anthony has to grapple with the reluctance to write any more books in this series and the indisputable fact that the reader is holding/listening to the book he is refusing to write. A deliciously meta conundrum if you like that sort of thing: I do.

The US cover of ‘A Twist of the Knife

As well as being one of the most successful and clearly the hardest working writers in the UK today, Horowitz is a master craftsman. And in these novels, he deploys all of his well-honed talents to best effect.

Suspects are introduced, dismissed and re-interviewed. The theatre is also a motif in another excellent novel of this year, ‘Bad Actors’ by Mick Herron. However, Horowitz does not succumb to the temptation of making theatre related pun after pun. But, Hawthorne can’t resist an Agatha Christie dénouement and it arrives with a welcome theatrical flourish.

Narrator Anthony is worried that the books have run out of steam – after all, he’s even run out of writing allusions after ‘A Line to Kill’ (probably best he didn’t go with ‘The Pun-ishment is Death’ for this one in fairness). He’s damned if he’s going have them named Hawthorne Investigates as well: but, as a reader, I don’t think he need worry.

This is a series with plenty more puff in the tank and for anyone who likes classic murder mystery fiction, crafted by a professional at the top of their game, this is for them.

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twist-Knife-bestselling-Hawthorne-Horowitz-ebook/dp/B09MF6Z1CQ

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Twist-of-a-Knife-Audiobook/B09TCSCZGN

Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781529124323?a_aid=prh

Bookshop.org: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10526/9781529124323

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/all?term=9781529124323&aCode=AFW&awc=1414_1661248936_a7999c61868fb301e8f14dce21d3b564

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-twist-of-a-knife/anthony-horowitz/2928377085537

Author Bio:

Bestselling author Anthony Horowitz has written two highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes novels, ‘The House of Silk’ and ‘Moriarty’; three James Bond novels, ‘Trigger Mortis’, ‘Forever and a Day’ and ‘With a Mind to Kill‘; the acclaimed bestselling mystery novels ‘Magpie Murders’ and ‘Moonflower Murders’ and the Detective Hawthorne novels, ‘The Word is Murder’, ‘The Sentence is Death‘, ‘A Line To Kill’, and the latest ‘A Twist of Knife’ is out in August 2022.

He is also the author of the teen spy Alex Rider series, and responsible for creating and writing some of the UK’s most loved and successful TV series, including ‘Midsomer Murders’ and ‘Foyle’s War’. In January 2022 he was awarded a CBE for his services to literature. (Biography courtesy of https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/185113/anthony-horowitz?tab=penguin-biography)

Social Media

Twitter: @AnthonyHorowitz

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthony-horowitz/

Can You Make a Person, Without Breaking Eggs?

‘Isaac Egg’ by Bobby Palmer, narrated by Johnny Flynn

Isaac stands alone on a bridge and screams.

Something screams back.

And that, like everything which follows, is unforgettable.

This is a book about a lot of things – grief, hope, friendship, love. It’s also about what you’d do if you stumbled into the woods at dawn, found something extraordinary there, and decided to take it home.

It’s a tale that might seem familiar. But how it speaks to you will depend on how you’ve lived until now.

Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them. ‘Isaac and the Egg’ is one of the most hopeful, honest and wildly imaginative novels you will ever read. (Synopsis courtesy of https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/bobby-palmer/isaac-and-the-egg/9781472285485)

You don’t think about eggs very often, do you? At least, I don’t.

They are fragile: they are robust. Hard, soft, boiled, fried. They can represent stones rolled away from tombs, they can be balanced on their ends during the Vernal equinox. Allegedly. In evolutionary philosophy, they pose quite the conundrum – they are symbols of fertility: they are Schrodinger’s foodstuff.

And, in Bobby Palmer’s quirkily idiosyncratic debut, they may be a metaphor for the scrambled brain fog the eponymous Isaac is experiencing as his world disintegrates through loss and grief and everyone’s favourite river in Africa, denial.

Isaac and the Egg‘ is not hard boiled fiction (see what I did there?) But Palmer is a writer who blends the easy prose of a man who has worked damn hard to make it look this easy with the emotional depth charge that someone like Nick Hornby provides when dealing with men old enough to be better, but too immature to do better.

Narrator Johnny Flynn does an exceptional job. His voice has the honeyed tones of Matthew Goode – until the becalmed peace of my garden was shattered by the dog-whimpering quality of the scream used to replicate the voice of the egg. It was a shock. Almost as much as when I googled him and discovered he was the geezer from Lovesick! Either way, he is a phenomenal audiobook narrator.

‘Isaac and the Egg’ is a startling assured debut. It has a ‘Life of Pi’, ‘ET’, ‘Alien’ crossed with ‘High Fidelity’ atmosphere which marks Palmer out as a talent to watch. Moving, funny, melancholic, quirky and fast paced, this may be the late summer read we all need right now and is the sort of novel which resonates and vibrate through you as a reader long after it is finished.

Purchase Links

You can pre-order – and support this blog into the bargain – from Bookshop.org here: https://t.co/8ml3fNrc6B

Audible: https://geni.us/isaacandtheegg/opt/6?iguid=Nvg3gkry2kiFh-z3SVbXgg&ireferrer=https%3a%2f%2ft.co%2f

Amazon: https://geni.us/isaacandtheegg/opt/1?iguid=Nvg3gkry2kiFh-z3SVbXgg&ireferrer=https%3a%2f%2ft.co%2f

Foyles: https://geni.us/isaacandtheegg/opt/4?iguid=Nvg3gkry2kiFh-z3SVbXgg&ireferrer=https%3a%2f%2ft.co%2f

Waterstones: https://geni.us/isaacandtheegg/opt/0?iguid=Nvg3gkry2kiFh-z3SVbXgg&ireferrer=https%3a%2f%2ft.co%2f

WH Smiths: https://geni.us/isaacandtheegg/opt/5?iguid=Nvg3gkry2kiFh-z3SVbXgg&ireferrer=https%3a%2f%2ft.co%2f

Author Bio

BOBBY PALMER

Bobby Palmer is a freelance journalist who writes for publications including Time OutGQMen’s Health and CosmopolitanIsaac and the Egg is his debut novel. (Biography courtesy of https://www.hachette.co.uk/contributor/bobby-palmer)

Social Media:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thebobpalmer