The Red Book by Davide Cortellucci

The Red Book by Davide Cortellucci is speculative fiction that bends the boundaries of what we think is possible and we are capable of.

About the Author

Davide Cortellucci is a writer and the author of The Red Book. He has spent the last few years working on an unnamed trilogy, friendly referred by him as Little Yellow Rubber Duck. The Red Book is the first book in the trilogy. He was born on the 25th of July 1978 in Belgium, to Italian immigrant parents. He grew up in Belgium, Italy, and in London, UK.

Davide has done several jobs, from waiter to inventories, from sound engineering in shows to events manager, and many more. Davide is a college dropout with a couple of creative writing courses on his back. He has spent many years travelling around Europe, learning about cultures, and keeping an interest in the power of the mind. Davide loves writing stories that awaken the epic feeling within the reader. He now lives in South East London with his partner, he’s curious about life, and he also makes a great pasta sauce.

Follow Davide Cortellucci on Goodreadson Instagramon FacebookBuy The Red Book

About the book

Martin is a young man living in London. His life is suddenly turned upside-down by the death of his best friend, Sofia. He’s destroyed and feels lost. After a few days, he is given a small red book and he decides to go on a solo trip through Europe. In the journey, he meets Chuck, a big and funny young American-Canadian man, and they decide to stick together for the rest of the trip.

Martin experiences strange and terrible events during the trip, and the idea in him that he possesses mental abilities above the ordinary strengths. He starts to link similarities with the story written in the book, and he discovers a hidden message inside it, which takes him to the author of the book, Caesar.

Martin learns that Caesar and Akiko, her daughter, are part of a group of people with out-of-the-ordinary mental capabilities, and he joins them to learn how to handle the powers of thoughts and he discovers how his mind can produce and modify the structure of matter.

Suddenly, the Sinisters, a group of extremely dangerous individuals, capable to induce psychological fear into people and of obliterating matter, appears on his path.

Review

Martin is just a young man living in London with a brilliant best friend and great family. When his friend dies suddenly Martin feels desolate and as if he has lost his place in the world. He can’t see the meaning in life – in his life, so he just ups and leaves to explore the world and find himself again.

Not long into his journey some chance encounters change the way he perceives the world, himself and others. He experiences love at first sight, he meets a travelling companion, and he is given a handwritten journal that changes everything.

One could argue that the traumatic event makes Martin more open and vulnerable to suggestion. If he were to read something mind-boggling and unbelievable, the odds are that he would be more likely to believe it. Enter the unbelievable power of the mind stage left.

Martin starts to believe that he has the mental capabilities to make things happen, think things into existence and when he finds out he is only one of many others, every action and reaction seems to link together to make one complete picture.

‘Your thoughts have been contaminated’ – now that sentence threw a spanner in the works for me. It shrieks of cult manipulation and good old tin foil hat conspiracy theories. On some level, despite the whole good and evil aspect of the story, this made both groups equal. Suspicion, competitiveness, the need to control and manipulate – they have all of these things in common.

It is speculative fiction that bends the boundaries of what we think is possible and we are capable of. It’s all about the power of suggestion and thought. Or is it?

Buy The Red Book on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Independently published 9 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Something to Tell You by David Edwards

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Something to Tell You by David Edwards. It’s a smorgasbord of speculative fiction, science fiction, philosophy and theology.

About the Author

David Edwards previously published two anti-romance books under the pseudonym of Jack George Edmunson. He then published the historical novel, The Ebb & Flow, before moving over to children’s fiction with The Black Hand Gang. He currently lives in Switzerland. For more information visit davidedwardsauthor.com.

About the book

Something to Tell You follows the two families of Bert Leinster and his best friend Sam Murray, as the earth comes under bombardment by a Higgs Boson particle storm. The Central Control of the World council insists that survival depends on living underground, protected by The Envelope. As CCOW persuades humankind to hide in the Deeps, Bert cannot challenge CCOW nor comprehend why people cannot see the truth behind the lies.

Everything changes when he meets Her. Lily, a plant who becomes his enemy in the battle to save humankind, to save you… although 99.9% of you is empty space. Do you deserve saving?

Review

Speculative fiction can often be a marmite kind of read. It depends on how much a reader is willing to ride with the author whilst they bend boundaries, re-imagine the known norm and spread tentacles into every area of the universe and beyond. Expect your grey cells to be bounced around like flubber on a freefall from space in this read.

In essence it’s an end of the world scenario from the point of view of Bert, his family and friends. The way those who control the world, or rather those who own the media, manipulate the people in an attempt to console and defraud. To what end? To lead the flock like lambs to the inevitable slaughter.

Positive and negative – good and evil – god and the devil. All of these are two sides of the same coin. Energy and reactions equal the actions of both good and evil. God and the devil co-exist in some screwed up semblance of what we regard largely as life. To kill one is to automatically also extinguish the other and we are destined to repeat this cycle ad infinitum.

It’s a smorgasbord of speculative fiction, science fiction, philosophy and theology.

One could argue that less is often more and that clarification is better than an assumption of understanding. It depends on what you want to impart, how you do that and whether or not you are interested in the emotional resonance.

I can imagine quite a few readers walking away from this read and asking themselves, especially after reading the ending, what was the intention and/or what did I take away from this read.

For me it was the sense of powerlessness, because fate is dictated by an ever-turning and self- regenerating cycle, This also means we are programmed, whether by scientific fact or theological premise to make the same choices. mistakes or take certain paths over and over again – fifth, sixth or seventh world..

Buy Something to Tell You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in hardcover and ebook formats by troubadour Publishing in May 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Troubadour. Buy at WHSmithBarnes & Noble.

#BlogTour The Beautiful Side of the Moon by Leye Adenle

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Beautiful Side of the Moon by Leye Adenle. This is speculative fiction with moments of magical realism and told in part as an ode to African storytelling.

About the Author

Leye is the winner of the first ever Prix Marianne in 2016, and is a Nigerian writer living and working in London. His short story, ‘The Assassination’, in the anthology Sunshine Noir, was a finalist for the 2017 CWA Short Story Dagger award. Leye comes from a family of writers, the most famous of whom (to date) was his grandfather, Oba Adeleye Adenle I, a former king of Oshogbo in South West Nigeria.

Follow @LeyeAdnle on Twitter, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit leyeadenle.com

Buy The Beautiful Side of the Moon

About the book

Marking an exciting new departure by award-winning Nigerian author Leye Adenle (Easy Motion Tourist, When Trouble Sleeps), The Beautiful Side of the Moon raises an entirely unexpected and intriguing question – what would happen if God went on holiday?

In order to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be human, and to taste humanity’s joys and sorrows, God decides to have a holiday as a human being. During the course of his time off, though, he completely forgets that he’s God, which leads to some utterly unpredictable outcomes…

A delightful, playful, thoughtful adventure in speculative fiction by one of Nigeria’s most exciting new writers.Review

If I had to make a comparison, which many don’t like or agree with, however I feel sometimes comparisons help to explain certain reading experiences. It isn’t about suggesting an author is equal to or the same as an author with a better known writing career, well for me it isn’t. Sometimes it helps to show correlation between ideas, styles and creativity, in this case because the story may divide opinions.

Saying all of that, for me this definitely had a Gaiman and American Gods vibe to it, in a sense that it uses mystery, folklore, satire and poetic prose. However Adenle also uses theology, spirituality, magical realism and actual onstage magic to create and expand upon the premise.

Part of me can’t decide whether it is better to know who Osaretin is going into the read. It’s in the majority of the blurbs. Or whether the reader should be allowed to come to their own conclusion, regardless of the conclusion they come to, because based on their own frame of reference, experiences, spirituality or lack of it, they could come to a different one.

In essence this is about the loss of faith, the discovery of faith and whether it can exist without the premise of the persona the faith is based on. On a more visceral level is it asking if the world is in such chaos because of a lack of faith?

Clearly an interpretation of the story or reading experience will depend on the reader and their personal relationship with faith and whether they believe in the concept that faith is based on.

This is speculative fiction with moments of magical realism and told in part as an ode to African storytelling. Combining all these aspects, genres or sub-genres will perhaps explain why it doesn’t fit it any pre-manufactured boxes. It asks for the reader to look beyond the norm and embrace the more elusive elements of the read, for them to become the visionary, as opposed to the author being presented as said visionary.

Buy The Beautiful Side of the Moon at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hoatzin Books; pub date 21 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris. It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise.

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway (below) –  to Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

About the Author

R. N. Morris is the author of ten novels. The latest is Psychotopia, published 31 October, 2018.

A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (as the CWA Gold Dagger was briefly known). A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger.

The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin House, The Dark Palace and The Red Hand of Fury. The next novel in the series, The White Feather Killer, will be published in April 2019.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris. He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

Follow @rnmorris on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit rogernmorris.co.uk

Buy Psychotopia

About the book

A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.

PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.

It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?

Review

Right! R.N. Morris needs locking in a room with no access to the outside world and no internet – his ideas are far too dangerous.

A video game based on psychopathy, one that interacts and evolves based on the pathology of someone’s lack of empathy, conscience and in general what is considered the normal emotional response based on societal norms. The idea is dangerous.

I wondered, as I am sure many readers will, what the underlying message is. To establish a world with psychopaths in the control seat? Perhaps the idea that they can be functioning and useful members of society or indeed that there are plenty of undiagnosed psychopaths at large. The game and the response to it is also a way to diagnose and recognise different types of a pathology that experts still don’t quite understand.

Is there a rise in the number of psycho and sociopaths, and if so is it because our DNA is evolving with the environment in a way that suggests they would have a better survival rate. What a worrying thought, the natural survivor of the late 21st century could be humans with no empathy and capable of killing without compunction. Hmm.

Science is already capable of identifying specific genes that suggest a predisposition towards violence, perhaps eventually the same will apply to other or similar sub-categories or extensions of anti-social behaviour such as psychopathy. We already have tests in place to identify psychopathic tendencies.

What I found really fascinating is the labelling of P or NP, and whether the actual labelling would lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy or alternatively whether the true nature would persevere, despite the label.

I think the sex scene was perhaps superfluous, keeping the strength of the storyline in mind, and it slipped into the dangerous zone of gender tropes. I also thought the graphic reference to the two-year-old in the beginning could deter some readers from enjoying or finishing the read, despite it only being a quick example of deviant behaviour. The truth is still considered a taboo in some subjects unfortunately, because the majority of people would rather not be confronted with the atrocity of sexual deviancy.

It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise. Perhaps video game development and the advancement into virtual reality as it melds into real life deserves to be a sub-genre in its own right.

Psychotopia takes the reader to a world of open doors and what you take away from this book will be an individual experience depending on your own frame of references, including whether there is a clear conclusion or closure at the end. Hypothetical reality meets base human nature, depravity and a lack of conscience.

Buy Psychotopia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Severn House Digital; pub date 1 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Red Hand of Fury by R.N. Morris

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

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

#BlogTour Night Shift by Robin Triggs

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Night Shift by Robin Triggs. It’s a well-written and superbly plotted crime thriller based in the Antarctic.

About the Author

Writer of speculative fiction and extremely poor cricketer. #Proofreader and #SfEP member. Debut novel NIGHT SHIFT out Nov 2018. He/Him/The Monstrosity

Follow @RobinTriggs @FlameTreePress on Twitter

About the book

Antarctica. A mining base at the edge of the world.

Anders Nordvelt, last-minute replacement as head of security, has no time to integrate himself into the crew before an act of sabotage threatens the project. He must untangle a complex web of relationships from his position as prime suspect.

Then a body is found in the ice. Systems fail as the long night falls. Now Anders must do more than find a murderer: he must find a way to survive. Will anyone endure the night shift, or will ice and frozen corpses be all that remains?

Review

You are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by ice, there are only thirteen suspects, well twelve because you’re one of the thirteen and you know you didn’t do it. Cut off from civilisation as you know it and with your impending death a more likely scenario than being rescued, how do you figure out who is taking the Night Shift out – one by one?

I have to hand it to Triggs this is an excellent crime story. It combines the helplessness of being in a dangerous living situation, geographically and logistically speaking, with the mistrust and paranoia of people living in isolation the majority of the time.

At times I felt sorry and frustrated for Anders, because the new guy is automatically the most convenient suspect. He arrives and people start dying and things start blowing up. Some people would say that is a coincidence and others just think that is enough proof to point the finger at him.

He tries really hard to catch the culprit, but whoever it is always seems to be ten steps ahead of him during the entire story. This person can hack computer systems, set bombs and come and go without leaving any evidence at all.

The pinhead cameras made me realise what was going on. Perhaps not the exact execution of the how or why, but it did reveal the culprit. It has an underlying aura of suspense, as the events unfold and the suspicion is cast in every direction. It’s speculative fiction with a whodunnit vibe and an aura of creepy suspense.

This a well-written and superbly plotted crime thriller based in the Antarctica. This is the first in a planned trilogy, so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to read more by Triggs.

Buy Night Shift at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Flame Tree Press; US paperback edition (1 Nov. 2018)

Flame Tree Press is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

#BlogTour Into the Summerland by Julian Cundy

Today it’s my pleasure to kick off the BlogTour for Into the Summerland by Julian Cundy. It’s a short and thoughtful piece of fiction. Into the Summerland is speculative, spiritual and perhaps even motivational at times.

About the Author

Living in Westcliff-on-Sea Essex, Julian Cundy is a British adventurer, dedicated day dreamer, wordsmith and observer of life and all its absurdities. He is a recognisable character in his home town thanks to his eye-catching outfits comprising fine hats, cravats, tails and spats.

Follow @CundyJulian and @Authoright on Twitter

Follow JulianCundy on Instagram

Connect with RealJulianCundy on Facebook or on YouTube

Visit juliancundy.com

Buy Into the Summerland

About the book 

The eternal question – what happens when we die? Is there a consequence from how we lived? Is there a reckoning?

Henry Ashton’s turbulent life is at an end. As he moves on from this world, he discovers how elusive the final peace can be.With a spirit companion by his side, Henry learns there can be no peace without reconciliation, no rest without acceptance. He must walk his own path to absolution.

“For some souls the transition from mortal life to eternal peace is an easy one, soon completed. For others, who have been troubled in their life or who cannot reconcile the events and their part in them, the journey is longer…and harder. But every soul will find its rest.”

Review

I wonder how many of us would choose to relive both the highlights and the lowest points in our lives, even after death and as a last task before passing on to the next level. Assuming there is one to pass on or over to in the first place, but I suppose that depends on each individuals faith, belief or complete lack of either.

In this novella length story the reader revisits the past with the newly departed Henry, who has to have closure with all the emotionally charged moments of his life in an attempt to find peace in himself , his actions and decisions. This session, which appears to be endless and without any time constraints, is a challenge he needs to succeed at in order to move on.

It is a lesson in reflection and speaks to the walls we build inside our minds and hearts to seal off the most painful memories. Everyone makes mistakes, and there are no do-overs in life. We aren’t born with a manual on how to take the best path in each situation.

It is a thoughtful piece of fiction. I suppose if seen from a more psychoanalytical perspective one could also view Chuttlewizz as the conscience urging Henry to look back upon his life and make peace with his internal fears, anger and also the small pockets of joy and tranquillity. He doesn’t believe he deserves the latter and regrets the former.

Although this can be perceived as a spiritual story, it is quite simply a natural progression towards the end of a life. The older we get the more we tend to dwell on the paths taken, the mistakes we made and any possible regrets we may have. It’s interesting how we tend to focus on the negative rather than reminisce about the positive and happy times.

What I really liked was the inference or premise that after death our souls need to be whole again before they can be released. The notion that we need to fix the holes in our souls to be able to move on and rest in peace. Perhaps we shouldn’t wait until our last breath to do so.

It is speculative, spiritual and perhaps even motivational at times.

Buy Into the Summerland at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Paperback edition Kindle edition

Publisher: Little Bang Publishing (Length 77 pages)

Follow the Tour:

Monday 11th June Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog

Tuesday 12th June Wrong Side of Forty

Wednesday 13th June Spiritual Media Blog

Thursday 14th June Abooktasia

Friday 15th June Portable Magic

Monday 18th June Big Book Little Book

Tuesday 19th June Belleandthenovel

Wednesday 20th June A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Thursday 21st June Portable Magic

Saturday 23rd June Cupcake Mumma

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

hardcastleIt is unique, innovative and certainly a compelling piece of fiction, with an almost dystopian like plot.

Think Fallen (1998 with Denzel Washington) with the psychedelic feel of Clockwork Orange and crime element of a 24/7 days a week ongoing Groundhog Day meets Christie mystery.

‘Nothing here is arbitrary’ and that is exactly what readers have to keep in mind whilst reading this.

Aiden has, as far as he is aware, been summoned to Blackheath to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle, and until he can do that he has to relive the same day over and over again. Initially it all sounds like a rather complex murder mystery weekend. Then things start to get a wee bit more sinister and violent.

Aiden awakens each day in the body of a different guest, which gives him the advantage of seeing the crime and clues from a variety of angles. There are also disadvantages to inhabiting a new host every day though. When there are two conscious minds in the same body only one can be in control, which means that might not always be Aiden.

He finds himself struggling to maintain control and to differentiate between friend and foe. There seem to be other players in this nefarious game, the question is whether they are working with him or against him.

I liked the concept in its entirety, especially the retribution angle of the plot. In fact log this as a potential future method for so-called rehabilitation a la Dante’s nine circles of hell. I will gladly plan very specific scenarios for certain people, just saying.

I am certain we will be reading more by Turton in the future, and I do hope he manages to maintain his ability to think outside of the box, which in turn gets readers grey cells twisting like tiny tornadoes. I do so like the occasional unpredictable storm in my head.

Buy The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @stu_turton @BloomsburyRaven @BloomsburyBooks

Visit stuturton.wordpress.com