#BlogTour The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards.

‘Set in Milwaukee against the real-life crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, the searing tale of a missing girl and a family devastated by her disappearance.’

About the Author

Willa C. Richards is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review and she is the recipient of a PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize for Emerging Writers. The Comfort of Monsters is her debut novel.

Willa was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1990. Both her parents are archaeologists and professors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has three sisters and a brother. The Comfort of Monsters was inspired by a case her mother worked on as an historic archaeologist. In 2014 she was contacted by a family who, based on a tip-off they received from a psychic, believed their missing daughter was buried in an old cemetery on the Milwaukee County grounds. Willa’s mother helped organise the excavation over that summer, and Willa volunteered as a field tech along with a handful of others. No remains were ever found.

About the book

Summer 1991 was the summer the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dubbed ‘the deadliest in the history of Milwaukee’ as the victims of Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing spree were revealed and dominated the headlines. The disappearance of teen Dee McBride is overlooked by an over-worked and broken justice system.

2019 nearly thirty years later, Dee’s sister, Peg, is still haunted by Dee’s disappearance. Desperate to find answers, the family hire a famous psychic and Peg is plunged back into the past. But exploring the depths of her own memories raises terrifying questions. How much trust can we place in our own recollections?

Review

Thirty years after the disappearance of her sister Dee, Peggy is still invested and obsessed with finding out the truth, and more importantly with finding Dee. The problem is she can’t get anyone to listen and no body means no crime.

Set around the real events in Milwaukee and a certain prolific serial killer, who found it easy to prey with such audacity perhaps because his victims were viewed in such a negative way. It’s often hard to believe this is fiction, because the facts are woven into the fabric of this tale in such subtle way.

This is clearly an author to watch, an incredibly talented writer. Being able to create a captivating story without a bog standard ending, despite the fact plenty of readers will probably demand a solution – it’s not only indicative of said talent, it also sails as close to reality as you can possibly get.

Richards captures the true picture of the devastation a disappearance leaves in its wake, especially when the presumption is a non-voluntary disappearance linked to a possible crime. The people, loved ones, who are left behind become living fatalities of the same crime. It’s one thing knowing and dealing with the aftermath. It’s quite another to never know and to spend the rest of your life trying to find out what happened, to be able to lay their bones to rest.

It never goes away and it crushes those left behind – the thought of what they went through and that the victim still belongs to the perpetrator because they are the only person who knows what happened. It’s all about power and the power of suggestion, and how the imagination is often a bigger weapon against ourselves than the actual truth.

This is definitely going on my favourite reads of the year list. I can’t wait to recommend it to people.

Buy The Comfort of Monsters at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Point Blank.

#BlogTour Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen, translated by Don Bartlett. ‘A vintage classic from the award-winning, multi-million bestselling Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen, available in English for the very first time.’

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. 

Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour); Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

About the book

Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues…

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three complex crimes land on his desk.

A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found.

As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.

Review

This book finds Varg just out of rehab and ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of the toxicity of the world of crime and criminals he appears to be surrounded by. The cold case of a missing child, the drowning of a young man and the disappearance of a young woman.

Varg’s freshly found stability is shaken, not stirred, by a complex combination of cases. On the surface they are seemingly unrelated until Varg starts drawing the threads together an making connections, where other people see none he starts unraveling a cleverly constructed cloak of silence.

I’m pretty sure I said this about the last Varg Veum book, but this is the best yet. It really hit the nail on the head for me. This psychological thriller is paced meticulously and superbly executed. A random set of circumstances equals an insidious deadly plot.

The author delivers a scathing commentary on the inequality of life, especially when it comes weighing up the worth of a human being and actual monetary profit. That parallel is drawn across multiple thread, whilst connecting a strong set of characters.

Simultaneously it has the Nordic Crime flair Staalesen is known for, and of course the acerbic personality of his character Varg is a delight as always. As always a riveting read.

Buy Bitter Flowers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comAt Orenda Books.

#Blogtour A Wartime Secret by Helen Yendall

 Happy Publication Day to A Wartime Secret by Helen Yendall and it’s also a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour.

About the Author

Helen Yendall: ‘I’m a writer and creative writing tutor, based in the Cotswolds . I was Warwick Poet Laureate from 2006-7. I’ve had dozens of short stories published in a variety of magazines, including Best, Take A Break, The People’s Friend and Woman’s Weekly. I won The People’s Friend serial writing competition in 2015. I am a member of the RNA and I now write female-focussed WW2 novels.’ Follow @HelenYendall on Twitter

About the book

‘Look after Violet!’ her mother called, as she was bundled into the back of the car. Then she was gone.

When Maggie’s new job takes her from bombed-out London to grand Snowden Hall in the Cotswolds she’s apprehensive but determined to do her bit for the war effort. She’s also keeping a secret, one she knows would turn opinion against her. Her mother is German: Maggie is related to the enemy.

Then her evacuee sister sends her a worrying letter, missing the code they agreed Violet would use to confirm everything was well, and Maggie’s heart sinks. Violet is miles away; how can she get to her in the middle of a war? Worse, her mother, arrested for her nationality, is now missing, and Maggie has no idea where she is.

As a secret project at Snowden Hall risks revealing Maggie’s German side, she becomes even more determined to protect her family. Can she find a way to get to her sister? And will she ever find out where her mother has been taken?

Review

Still coming to terms with life without her mother, Maggie is finding it increasingly difficult to deal with her father. He thinks only of himself and not about how his actions and decisions may impact his family. It makes living and surviving in war-torn London so much more difficult than it already is.

When an opportunity presents itself, one her father disapproves of, but gives her the opportunity to find herself and discover friendship, love and conviction – her path becomes one she determines herself from this point forward. Maggie learns valuable lessons about judging a book by its cover, that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and that small acts of kindness leave large ripples in time.

There’s nothing like a war to divide people and make them suspicious of anyone who has even a hint of the enemy about them. Maggie has to hide one side of her parentage, being half-German isn’t something you just throw out there into the conversation, when they are perceived as the essence of evil and the reason so many men have lost their lives, both in the Great War and during the ongoing one.

Yendall captures the essence of the time and her characters within said period of time. It’s historical fiction with a wink of humour, whilst laying bare the trauma of the war and the indestructible will to survive that was a paramount ingredient of the people in that situation.

It’s the kind of read that pulls at the heartstrings, and yet sees the light and joy in the small interactions and gestures. A riveting and enjoyable read.

Buy A Wartime Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎HQ Digital pub date 14 Jan. 2022. Buy at Amazon comAt Harper Collins.

#BlogTour Wahala by Nikki May

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Wahala by Nikki May.

‘Nikki’s debut novel WAHALA will be published around the world and is due to be turned into a major TV serial for the BBC by Bafta-nominated writer Theresa Ikoko.’

About the Author

Born in Bristol and raised in Lagos, Nikki May is Nigerian-British. At twenty, she dropped out of medical school, moved to London, and began a career in advertising, going on to run a successful agency. Nikki lives in Dorset with her husband and two standard Schnauzers. Follow @NikkiOMay on Twitter, Visit nikki-may.com

Nikki says: “This is a novel about the power of friendship and the stories we inherit. The inspiration for Wahala came from a long (and loud) lunch with very good friends in a Nigerian restaurant. I wanted to read a book that had people like me in it. The first scene was drafted on the train journey home. The characters became flesh and wouldn’t let me go.” 

About the book

Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English, though they don’t all choose to see it like that.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they look to the future – Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Simi supposedly wants a child (well, her husband does); Boo is frustrated and unfulfilled, caught in a whirl of school runs and lustful dreams. When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.

As cracks in their friendship begin to appear, it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may have just repeated itself.

A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on love, race and family, Wahala will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Boldly political about class, colorism and cooking, here is a truly inclusive tale that will speak to anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.

Review

Ronke, Simi, Boo are long-time friends, and it would seem that they are have an unbreakable bond of friendship, which is cemented through their dual identities in regards to culture and the fact they are all mixed-race. Their experiences of racism have been consistent – systemic, and yet also defined by their surroundings and their individual experiences.

When a unexpected fourth person inserts herself into their group the boundaries of their friendship and loyalties begin to move and crumble. A pretty face and a flashy personality can’t hide a venomous snake with vicious intentions for long.

I enjoyed the way this read evolved from the complexity of friendships, the nuances of racism and cultural expectations, into a dark domestic story. Quite unexpected, but it does the job when it comes to keeping readers on their toes. May shows the often extreme balancing act those generations have to deal with when it comes to having to pander to two cultural identities. The family has expectations and society often quite a different set of the same.

I’ll be looking forward to more interesting reads by this author.

Buy Wahala at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Doubleday Uk, pub date 6th January 2022 | Hardback | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton.

About the Author

Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of six novels, most recently Beautiful Exiles. Her previous novels include the Langum Prize–honored The Race for Paris; The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (now the PEN/Bellwether); and The Wednesday Sisters, one of Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Essential Best Friend Novels of all time. 

She has also written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes, and public radio, often on the subject of the particular challenges women face. Follow @MegWClayton on Twitter, Visit megwaiteclayton.com

About the book

The New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to London revisits the dark early days of the German occupation in France in this haunting novel—a love story and a tale of high-stakes danger and incomparable courage—about a young American heiress who helps artists hunted by the Nazis escape from war-torn Europe.

Wealthy, beautiful Naneé was born with a spirit of adventure that transcends her Midwestern roots. For her, learning to fly is freedom. When German tanks roll across the border and into Paris, this woman with an adorable dog and a generous heart joins the resistance. Known as the Postmistress because she delivers information to those in hiding, Naneé uses her charms and skill to house the hunted and deliver them to safety.

Inspired by the real life Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with American journalist Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France, Meg Waite Clayton has fashioned a sweeping tale of romance and danger, set in a world aflame with personal and political passion. The Postmistress of Paris is the haunting story of an indomitable woman whose strength, bravery, and love is a beacon of hope in a time of terror.

Review

Naneé is woman who loves being one with the air and nature, and yet simultaneously also enjoys the way others embrace and then express the way they perceive life. As the evil ideology of the Nazi regime slowly encroaches upon her life and the lives of those around her, she makes a choice. She becomes part of the solution and part of the resistance.

A story born from an inspirational story leading into and during World War 2. The author takes that inspiration and creates an emotional, caring story around it. It’s not just about love, it’s about endurance and being willing to go that extra mile under extreme circumstances for the people you love or in this case people who are stuck in the eye of a deadly storm. The courage of individuals sometimes leaves the smallest footprint, but makes the most lasting and important impression.

It’s historical fiction with plenty of amusing and endearing moments, whilst giving the historical importance of this period in time due diligence. It also opens the door into less often discussed events during this period, especially in regards to the attitude and position towards the creative arts and their creators. 

Buy The Postmistress of Paris at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Harper pub date 30 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. At Harper Collins.

#BlogTour The Unravelling by Polly Crosby

An absolutely brilliant novel – it should definitely be on some award lists this year! Welcome to the BlogTour for The Unravelling by Polly Crosby.

About the AuthorPolly Crosby lives in Norfolk with her husband and son, and her very loud and much-loved Oriental rescue cat, Dali. The Illustrated Child is her first novel. Her second novel, The Unravelling, is out on 6th January ‘22. To Find more about Polly’s writing, visit pollycrosby.comSign up to Polly’s newsletter here. Follow @WriterPolly on Twitter

About the book

When Tartelin Brown accepts a job with the reclusive Marianne Stourbridge, she finds herself on a wild island with a mysterious history.

Tartelin is tasked with hunting butterflies for Marianne’s research. But she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing than the curious creatures that inhabit the landscape. Because the island and Marianne share a remarkable history, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars, and some terrible secrets.

As Tartelin pieces together Marianne’s connection to the island, she must confront her own reasons for being there. Can the two women finally face up to the painful memories that bind them so tightly to the past?

Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is the captivating novel from the author of The Illustrated Child.

Review

Marianne is crotchety solitary figure, who is bound to her home in both physical and an emotional way. The memories, experiences and relationships that lack the right kind of closure, which will allow her some peace, are destined to remain grains of dirt under her skin. Irritations that can be dismissed, but never quite forgotten.

She has hired yet another young girl as an assistant to aid her in the accumulation of a variation of species, mainly butterflies, in order to examine and prove a theory she is working on. Tarteline finds herself a little shell-shocked by her new residence and employer. Apparently living without the common comforts of a 21st century home and a wee bit like society over a century ago, is quite the norm on this peculiar and yet beautiful island.

A story told over the span of Marianne’s lifetime, we encounter her as the curious child eager to be the apple of her father’s eye, the young woman coping with mistakes borne out of hurt pride, and the older woman filled with dreams and regrets. Can young Tarteline, who is still grieving her own loss, begin to understand her remarkable and demanding employer.

I absolutely adored this book. Crosby is an amazing writer with an innate ability to create literary and storytelling magic, as she navigates emotions, nature, memories, trauma and the fragility of human relationships. I can only hope this book is recognised as the gem it is going forward. It will definitely be going on my best reads of ’22 list. I can’t wait to read whatever she comes up with next.

Buy The Unravelling at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HQ pub date 6 Jan. 2022. Buy at Amazon comAt Harper Collins.

#Blogtour Demon by Matt Wesolowski

Another intriguing episode by this innovative author – welcome to the BlogTour Demon by Matt Wesolowski.

‘Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series.’

About the Author

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. 

His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller, Changeling (2019), Beast (2020) And Deity (2021) soon followed suit. 

Follow @ConcreteKraken on Twitter, for more on Matt click here: linktr.ee/MattJW

About the book

In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.

Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.

Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark and fanciful stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act. And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, King himself becomes a target, with dreadful secrets from his own past dredged up and threats escalating to a terrifying level. It becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…

Review

This is the sixth book in the Six Stories series, I also highly recommend the previous books they are great reads. This one has the usual moral conundrum the author tends to play with within the myths, the rumours, the folklore and the cold hard facts.

Given the raw material and factual case this was very likely based on, because a lot of it veers on the factual precipice of the tragic Bulger case and the way the public still demands their pound of flesh from the perpetrators, I can imagine the points of discussion being quite divisive.

If a child commits the unimaginable is it possible for them to create a normal life after serving their time and completing the punishment considered suitable by the judicial system? If their crime is considered evil, do the actions of one moment mean they should be hounded, harassed and persecuted till they are gone too? Clearly many people think so, but this book looks at the crime and perpetrator from a different angle – the result is an intriguing read. 

This is the kind of premise that has endless opportunities going forward, that includes any visual on-screen representation. The modern element will appeal to a multitude of readers, and true crime as a premise is always a draw. 

The author doesn’t rest on the laurels of his trail of success, he is always looking for a way to keep the premise fresh and readers engaged. Going beyond the boundaries of the crime by introducing the limitations of his main character or in this case the implications of a failing judicial system and how the world in general reacts to crime, punishment and justice.

Buy Demon at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Orenda Books pub date 26 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orenda Books.

#Review Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell

 Autopsy is book 25 in the Kay Scarpetta series written by Patricia Cornwell, yet another great read by Cornwell.

About the Author

Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, Macavity, and the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure prize. 

Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper and a biography and has created two more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, NC, and now lives and works in Boston. 

Follow @1pcornwell on Twitter, Visit patriciacornwell.com

About the book

Forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta has returned to Virginia as the chief medical examiner. Finding herself the new girl in town once again after being away for many years, she’s inherited an overbearing secretary and a legacy of neglect and possible corruption.

She and her husband Benton Wesley, now a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service, have relocated to Old Town Alexandria where she’s headquartered five miles from the Pentagon in a post-pandemic world that’s been torn by civil and political unrest. Just weeks on the job, she’s called to a scene by railroad tracks where a woman’s body has been shockingly displayed, her throat cut down to the spine, and as Scarpetta begins to follow the trail, it leads unnervingly close to her own historic neighborhood.

At the same time, a catastrophe occurs in a top secret private laboratory in outer space, and at least two scientists aboard are found dead. Appointed to the highly classified Doomsday Commission that specializes in sensitive national security cases, Scarpetta is summoned to the White House Situation Room and tasked with finding out what happened. But even as she works the first crime scene in space remotely, an apparent serial killer strikes again. And this time, Scarpetta could be in greater danger than ever before.

Review

It wasn’t until I read which number this is in the Scarpetta series that I realised just how long I have been reading books by this particular author. I must have missed a few because I was a wee bit surprised by the Marino and Kay’s sister coupling. I know his almost obsessive need to protect and to be in Kay’s orbit is a main driver, but her sister can be such ego driven being. Surely that counts as dysfunctional.

Is the obsessive close friendship only viewed as a positive, because Kay is unable to take a step back from it, as opposed to an outsider thinking Marino is on the precipice of something screwy in regards to his friend? Is that a book waiting to happen.

Kay has been more or less manipulated into the career move she has made recently. I think the full picture and repercussions of said move will be fodder for this and some books to come. I actually found Scarpetta’s lack of response to the negative attitudes, blatant disregard for her position, was infuriating. Where was her outrage instead of just letting certain people just dance on her grave?

I’m not sure whether the last few years have anything to do with it, but it certainly seemed as if there was a lot going on in this book, perhaps to the detriment of the book. The serial killer plot, the White House situation, her professional status and the way her niece is dealing with a personal loss. Many sub-plots pulling in a lot of different directions, then again some of it felt a little like a build-up to a bigger plot.

It’s certainly a gripping read, albeit it one that bounces from one goal post to the other. I am hoping in the next book Kay comes back willing to fight with a bit more vigor.

Buy Autopsy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HarperCollins pub date 25 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Harper Collins Uk.

#BlogTour The Cumbria and Lake District Coast by Kevin Sene

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Cumbria and Lake District Coast by Kevin Sene.

About the Author

Kevin Sene is a scientist and writer on water and climate themes. The idea for this guide arose from many enjoyable walks and cycle rides along the Cumbrian coast when living in Kendal and Carlisle and an interest in its history and wildlife. He has also written a book on tidal bores and a travel guide to the Mersey Estuary describing places to visit around its Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire shores. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has worked extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia. Follow @meteowriternews on Twitter, Visit meteowriter.com

About the book

The coastline of Cumbria stretches for almost two hundred miles from Morecambe Bay to the Solway Firth and passes through the beautiful Lake District National Park. The Cumbria and Lake District Coast provides suggestions for places to visit along the coast, including picturesque harbours, stately homes, museums and seaside resorts. Readers will also discover less well-known sights such as medieval buildings, lighthouses and stone circles. The Lancashire shores of Morecambe Bay and the Scottish shores of the Solway Firth are included too.

For those interested in the history of the coast, there is an introduction to the role of coastal trade through the centuries. Topics include the Roman coastal defences that once extended to Maryport beyond Hadrian’s Wall, how mining contributed to the growth of ports such as Barrow, Millom and Workington, and the canals that linked ports at Lancaster, Ulverston and Carlisle to the shore.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the book highlights the many nature reserves that dot the shoreline and the varied habitats that are found, such as sand dunes, lowland raised mires and spectacular sea cliffs. There are also tips on watching waterbirds, for which Morecambe Bay and the Solway Firth are famed, and on where to see seals and tidal bores such as the Arnside Bore.

With stunning colour photographs, The Cumbria and Lake District Coast is a must-read for travellers and local residents alike. It will also be of interest to walkers along the England Coast Path, a fabulous new long-distance trail which is due to be completed shortly.

Review

I think books like this have taken a bit of a hit in the last few decades, especially in the era of the internet. Nowadays if you want information or an image of an area or place you would like to visit, you can just use a search engine. Instant results. I can remember using a popular brand name guide book in the late 80s in New York. It’s a completely different experience to hold a book like this in your hands and experience Cumbria and the Lake District.

I also thinks it is the cherry on top of the sundae that the images in the book have been taken by the author himself. The result is authenticity instead of high gloss airbrushed magazine quality. It’s the person aligned with time, place and nature, which will resonate with readers who like to discover new places and indeed rediscover the area they live in.

It’s fairly easy to forget the natural beauty and historical relevance of our surroundings. The majority of us don’t take enough time to appreciate the small things in life. This book gives readers, walkers, explorers and historians the chance to do just that. It’s a detailed, riveting homage to Cumbria and the Lake District. I can only there will be many more.

Buy The Cumbria and Lake District Coast by Kevin Sene at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Matador – Troubador Publishing. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Fall by West Camel

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Fall by West Camel.

About the Author

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editorial director at Orenda with editing The Riveter magazine and #RivetingReviews for the European Literature Network.

He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwright project. His debut novel, Attend was published in 2018, and was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. His second novel, Fall will be published in December 2021. Follow @west_camel on Twitter, Visit westcamel.net

About the book

Twins Aaron and Clive have been estranged for forty years. Aaron still lives in the empty, crumbling tower block on the riverside in Deptford where they grew up. Clive is a successful property developer, determined to turn the tower into luxury flats.

But Aaron is blocking the plan and their petty squabble becomes something much greater when two ghosts from the past – twins Annette and Christine – appear in the tower. At once, the desolate estate becomes a stage on which the events of one scorching summer are relived – a summer that changed their lives forever.

Evocative, thought-provoking and exquisitely written, Fall is an unforgettable story of friendship and family – of perception, fear and prejudice, the events that punctuate our journeys into adulthood, and the indelible scars they leave…

Review

Aaron is, as far as he is aware, the last man standing in a building complex set for refurbishment and demolishment. He is determined to fight to preserve the family legacy, and equally determined to fight his brother Clive. The only thing they can agree on is what a blast from the past could mean for both o them when old friends start to stir up long forgotten trouble and trauma.

I think this author in particular has told a story – the actual core of the premise – that tends to be dismissed, perhaps because systemic racism is part of our colonial roots and the fabric of societal structures. It has been a part of the way we act and interact for so long that it is the norm.

Camel notes the nuances of racism in a variety of ways. From the stereotypical assumptions about the presence in a predominantly white neighbourhood, to the questioning of ownership as opposed to being renters. Most importantly how easy it is and was to point the finger, and in doing so use the systemic abuse and stereotypes to create a story no one questions. Why don’t they question? Yeh the answer is part of a bigger problem in a society that lives to the tune of the ghost of a colonial mother ship. Elitism, privilege and whiteness reign supreme, which leaves an abundance of racially profiled victims in its wake.

Although this is a completely different direction from Attend, which is also worth reading by the way, the author always cements his stories in the depths of human interactions and emotions. I think it’s a fascinating social commentary with vivid parallels being drawn throughout with the architecture and surroundings to the characters themselves.

Buy Fall at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon comAt Orenda Books.