#BlogTour Requiem in La Rossa by Tom Benjamin

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Requiem in La Rossa by Tom Benjamin. ‘Requiem in La Rossa is the third in Tom Benjamin’s critically-acclaimed Bologna-set series featuring British private detective Daniel Leicester.’ 

About the Author

Tom Benjamin grew up in the suburbs of north London and began his working life as a journalist before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He later moved into public health, where he led drugs awareness programme FRANK. He now lives in Bologna. Follow @Tombenjaminsays on Twitter

About the book

In the sweltering heat of a Bologna summer, a murderer plans their pièce de résistance…

Only in Bologna reads the headline in the Carlino after a professor of music is apparently murdered leaving the opera. But what looks like an open-and-shut case begins to fall apart when English detective Daniel Leicester is tasked with getting the accused man off, and a trail that begins among Bologna’s close-knit classical music community leads him to suspect there may be a serial killer at large in the oldest university in the world. 

Review

Leicester is asked to look into a peculiar case, a young musician who has caused the death of a professor. A clear case, but someone believes there are unanswered questions. Then again perhaps it is just about soothing a guilty conscience.

Daniel has this suave way about him, not at all like a foreigner far from home. The assimilation between himself and his country of choice helps him to blend in, and perhaps it also helps him to comprehend the truth of the matter.

I enjoyed the way the author used the imagery, sensations and reactions of the instability of the earth to parallel the same in the characters and the story. The earth moving, buildings shifting and the feeling of possible impending disaster runs smoothly alongside the revelations of Daniel’s investigations.

The author definitely makes the reader want to experience the surroundings for themselves. The moments of serenity whilst taking in the surroundings, the history and the people. You can absolutely understand how captivating it is, then add a little crime to the mix, and hey presto. It’s also another one I would love to see on the small screen.

It’s a story that comes alive through the eyes of the main character – a crime that starts off with one simple deed and evolves into something much more wicked.

Buy Requiem in La Rossa at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏:  Constable pub date 5 May 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin

 It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Reacher Guy by Heather Martin. -The Authorised Biography of Lee Child.

About the Author

Heather Martin was born in West Australia. She grew up in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, and Perth, where she would fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. She left Australia for England to become a classical guitarist but found herself singing with a Venezuelan folk group and learning to speak Spanish instead. She read Languages at Cambridge, where she also did a PhD in comparative literature, and has held teaching and research positions at Cambridge, Hull, King’s College London, and most recently, the Graduate Center, City University New York. 

Heather is a long-time Reacher fan. While waiting to get her hands on the next in the series, she once read a Lee Child book in Spanish and wound up writing to the author about the fate of his character in translation. The Reacher Guy is her first biography. Follow @drheathermartin on Twitter

About the book

The Reacher Guy is a life of bestselling superstar Lee Child, a portrait of the artist as a young man, refracted through the life of his fictional avatar, Jack Reacher. It tells the story of how the boy from Birmingham reinvented himself to become the strongest brand in publishing, selling over one hundred million books in more than forty different languages across the globe.

Heather Martin interviews friends, teachers, colleagues and neighbours, including agents and editors. Based primarily on her conversations with the author over a period of years, together with readings of his books and research in his literary archive, this authorised biography reveals the man behind the myth, tracing his origins back through the generations to Northern Ireland and County Durham, and following the trajectory of his extraordinary career via New York and Hollywood until the climactic moment when, in 2020, having written a continuous series of twenty-four books, he finally floats free of his fictional creation.

Lee Child comments: “I met Heather Martin some years ago, and we started talking about why people love telling and hearing stories. To get more depth and detail we started talking about why I do. Eventually I said, ‘If you want to really get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to write my biography.’ So she did. It was a fun and illuminating process. I had forgotten a lot, and it was fascinating to be reminded. Now it all makes sense.”

Review

The thing about biographies, even authorised ones, they tend to hover just above the surface. You will get the top layers and the more personal moments the person is used to sharing – for whatever reason, and yes that is said with cynicism.

Martin doesn’t even bother with the peeling. It’s just right in and dig to the core, of course it only works because Child is open and willing. The two of them play off each other like tennis pros, they compliment each other, which in the long run makes this a better read.

That in no way should imply the book would be less of a great read if the cooperation between writer and subject had been a little less cooperative. Martin has clearly delved deeply into the mindset of the man behind Lee Child, and the creator of Jack Reacher. Somewhere in between there is a division, and yet if you go deep enough the three are the same on certain levels.

I imagine a non-authorised version would have a lot to say about the psychology behind it all, but that’s a topic for another book. This is a well-researched and written homage to the man behind the image. Martin absolutely does the man, the body of work and the legacy, justice. It’s an engrossing read, and I highly recommend it.

Buy The Reacher Guy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable; pub date 29th September 2020 hardback £20.00 – also available as an eBook/audio. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Hunting Season by Tom Benjamin

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Hunting Season by Tom Benjamin.

About the Author

Tom Benjamin grew up in London and began his working life as a reporter before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He went on to work in international aid and public health, developing Britain’s first national programme against alcohol abuse and heading up drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He now lives in Bologna, Italy.

Find @tombenjaminsays on TwitterInstagram and Facebook or visit tombenjamin.com

About the book

It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew?

As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, from the immigrant kitchen staff to the full scale of a multi-million Euro business. After a key witness is found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu, but this time Daniel himself stands accused. And the only way he can clear his name is by finding Ryan Lee…

Discover Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he walks the shadowy porticoes in search of the truth and, perhaps, even gets a little nearer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.

Review

I think it’s fair to say searching for a supertaster – yes that’s a thing – isn’t exactly a normal case for any detective. At first Daniel Leicester finds the whole thing peculiar, then interesting and eventually he realises he has stumbled into something quite dangerous.

As Daniel and his team get closer to finding the supertaster they also discover the nature of the truffle market is a very expensive and lucrative business, perhaps one even worth killing for. Will Daniel find the supertaster or is it already too late?

Although there were moments when I thought the beautiful descriptive prose was wasted on the plot that didn’t pull a punch that was hard enough, it’s exactly that element of the read that draws the reader in. Benjamin has a Dibdin like style and charm, especially when it comes to taking his readers by the hand and walking them through the landscape, history and culture.

Delving into the world and history of truffles, the hidden morsel that went from fungi to delicacy, from background singer to A list edible – it’s an eye opener. Probably one which will make readers want to try some, but perhaps not at the ridiculous prices they sell for.

I actually think this is a series that will grow in strength and popularity. I look forward to seeing where the author takes it.

Buy The Hunting Season at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable pub date 5 Nov. 2020.  Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Darke Matter by Rick Gekoski

 It really is a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Darke Matter by Rick Gekoski, which is an excellent read.

About the Author

Rick Gekoski came from his native America to do a PhD at Oxford, and went on to teach English at the University of Warwick. In 1982, sick of lecturing, he decided to become a full-time rare book dealer, specialising in important twentieth-century first editions and manuscripts. He lives in London and spends time each year in Paris and New Zealand. 

Follow @RGekoski on Twitter, Visit gekoski.com

About the book

James Darke is dreading the first family Christmas without his wife Suzy. Engulfed by grief, his grudging preparations are interrupted by a persistent knock at the door. Questions about the circumstances of his wife’s death force him to confront the outside world and what really happened to her.

Isolated, angry and diminished, James soon faces a crisis both legal and psychological. It will test his resolve and threaten his freedom. Darke Matter is a brilliant, mordant examination of the nature and obligations of love. Both immensely sad and extremely funny

Review

I absolutely adored this read. The style of writing, the voice, the premise and above all the main character. James Darke is true unto himself and others, as no other is. He is unwilling to sway even a little from his idea of what is right, and yet he will acquiesce now and again to the norm demanded by society.

The chapters with Rudy and his grandfather are a testament to the emotions Darke keeps close to his heart and never lets anyone see or experience. He is a man of many words and lets no one in. The death of his wife and his part in it, isn’t something he is willing to expose to the gossip hungry world. Moving on and through the grief are a private endeavour until he is confronted with the legal ramifications of his actions.

I loved the way Gekoski created the fabric of the story by sewing a patterned quilt of poetry within the story. The readers imbibe the poetic and literary nuances almost in a secondary matter, because Darke is the kind of character who demands attention throughout the entirety of the book.

As if the above wasn’t enough to intrigue, the premise itself is one I feel quite strongly about and think is one of the more important moral, ethical and medical issues of our time. Making the right to die a legal option for those who are suffering and want to end their existence on their own terms. Other countries have moved on from the dark ages, the majority of people in society support euthanasia, unfortunately the medical world still believes the individual is incapable of making such a definitive decision.

I can honestly say this author is one I will be returning to if this is an indication of the brilliance he is capable of. He walks that contentious line well, the line many authors are unable to balance successfully – the line between literary intellect and trying to outsmart readers with a sense of their own self importance and said intellect.

It’s a wonderfully smart, insightful, moving and simultaneously dry and factual read with the kind of main character you can’t help but adore just a tad – even when he is being a bit of an elitist snob and crotchety old man.

Buy Darke Matter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Constable pub date 14 May 2020 – hardback £16.99/eBook. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive.

#BlogTour A Clean Canvas by Elizabeth Mundy

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour A Clean Canvas by Elizabeth Mundy. It’s a cosy crime mystery with a main character who has to navigate life as an immigrant.

About the Author

Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. An English Literature graduate from Edinburgh University, Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. A Clean Canvas is the second book in the Lena Szarka mystery series about a Hungarian cleaner who turns detective.

Follow @ElizabethEMundy on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit elizabethmundy.com

Buy A Clean Canvas

About the book

Crime always leaves a stain…

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner, dusts off her detective skills when a masterpiece is stolen from a gallery she cleans with her cousin Sarika. When Sarika goes missing too, accusations start to fly.

Convinced her cousin is innocent, Lena sweeps her way through the secrets of the London art scene. But with the evidence against Sarika mounting and the police on her trail, Lena needs to track down the missing painting if she is to clear her cousin.

Embroiling herself in the sketchy world of thwarted talents, unpaid debts and elegant fraudsters, Lena finds that there’s more to this gallery than meets the eye.

Review

This is the second book in the Lena Szarka series and can be read as a standalone novel. There are a few references made to the first book, but nothing that disturbs the flow of this read.

Lena isn’t exactly your standard sleuth, in fact she sort of accidentally falls into the role of detective again to clear the name of Sarika. It is also of utmost importance to ensure the survival of her cleaning company. She doesn’t need a bad reputation, especially not the kind of reputation that comes with the disappearance of an expensive piece of art.

It’s a cosy crime mystery with a main character who has to navigate life as an immigrant. A stranger in a country where she is judged for her origins and accent. Given the side-eye when employers misplace valuable items and in general is an undervalued individual. At the same time Lena isn’t someone to be underestimated. She is nothing less than fierce when she is fighting for someone she cares about.

I thought the theft plot was a little on the weak side and not on par with the attention Mundy pays to the characters. Each one of them is far more developed than the whole painting goes missing scenario, then again that’s maybe because I do like a good dead body and was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick story. It’s a pleasant uncomplicated read with a feisty main character.

Buy A Clean Canvas (Lena Szarka Mystery #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable; pub date 3 Jan. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Little Brown.

Buy the 2-book Lena Szarka Mystery series.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a Winsor & Newton pocket sized Watercolour set and a signed copy of A Clean Canvas. (UK Only)

Enter the Giveaway below:

Click here to Enter Rafflecopter giveaway *Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  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.*

#BlogTour The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven. Poe is a character I would always return to, and Craven as a writer of course, because of the perfect balance of crime, injustice and jovial interaction between the characters.

About the Author

A brand new voice in British crime fiction, M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. He joined the army at sixteen, leaving ten years later to complete a social work degree. Seventeen years after taking up a probation officer role in Cumbria, at the rank of assistant chief officer, he became a full-time author. The Puppet Show has sold in numerous foreign territories and has been optioned for TV by Studio Lambert.

Follow @MWCravenUK  @LittleBrownUK on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram, Visit mwcraven.com

Buy The Puppet Show

About the book

He pulls their strings. He watches them burn. Welcome to the Puppet Show…

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

Review

Washington Poe messed up big time on his last case. He made the kind of decision that cripples careers and brings them to a dead halt, much like his own at this point, and yet here is the force asking him to come right back into the fold. Apparently their latest psycho has made it a necessity for Poe to be on board.

The sideshow favourite has got to be Tilly Bradshaw, who needs her mother’s permission to stay away overnight or engage in anything dangerous, bearing in mind that she works as an analyst for the NCA. Her naivety and intelligence combined with Poe with his devil may care attitude put the funny in this brutal serial killer plot.

However not everything is as it seems in this story filled with hatred and violence. It almost seems ironic that in the end the motives of the killer aren’t dissimilar to something that might drive Poe to commit a crime.

Regardless of that, Craven keeps the ball rolling and the plot twists popping with this revenge driven crime story. The characters are strong and more importantly they are believable, especially Poe. He is the perfect example of the rule-bending, risk-taking and laughs in the face of authority kind of character readers warm to. You can always trust him to do the right thing. Not necessarily the legally right thing or the thing the upper echelon wants him to do, but always the morally right thing.

It’s crime with a funny bone, despite the vicious nature of the crimes, and indeed the horrifying reason for said crimes. Poe is a character I would always return to, and Craven as a writer of course, because of the perfect balance of crime, injustice and jovial interaction between the characters.

Buy The Puppet Show at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Constable – Little Brown Uk: pub date 24 Jan 2019