#Audiobook #BlogTour The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Audiobook BlogTour The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins by Shane Dunphy – narrated by Shane Dunphy.

About the Author

Shane Dunphy was born in Brighton in 1973. A child protection worker for 15 years, he is the bestselling author of 16 books. His first nine titles dealt with his time on the frontline of social care work, and include the number one bestseller Wednesday’s Child. His series of crime novels (written under the name SA Dunphy) feature the emotionally damaged criminologist David Dunnigan. Stories From the Margins, his new series of True Crime books written for Audible, is critically acclaimed as well as being an audio-bestseller.

Follow @shanedunphy1 on Twitteron Facebook,  Visit shanedunphyauthor.comBuy The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins 

About the book

The Bad Place sees Shane Dunphy contacted by an old friend seeking advice about children who went missing in the 1980s. The call forces him to revisit a dark time in his early career as a child protection officer, when a young girl described children in care being taken to a residence known as the Bad Place. As a conspiracy emerges that goes to the top of the Irish police and Government, Dunphy recognises the MO of the alleged killer as The Dark Man, a terrifying figure he encountered over thirty years ago, who nearly ended his career before it had even begun.

Determined to confront his past, Dunphy decides to investigate, uncovering a vast international child trafficking ring involving cases of historical child disappearances, unsolved abductions, collusion with the Catholic church and its culture of secrets, lies and cover up

Review

I love the way the music, the talk of the culture, history and folklore of Ireland are interwoven into the stories. The frightening uncertain balance between fact and fiction, abuse and murder, and the general stereotypical ideas that come to mind when the country and people are mentioned.

Dunphy lifts the lid on the horrors, the reality and the unspoken is a direct contradiction to the image portrayed by anyone outside of the aforementioned. These brutally honest stories of True Crime will often make listeners shake their heads in horror, dismay and disbelief, especially given what appears to be complacency about the systemic abuse and murder committed against children and the vulnerable in Ireland.

Dunphy also delves into the status of the Irish Travellers as an ethnic minority. History builds a picture of why there is such a divide between the travelling community and the rest of Ireland. There is so much in this second book in the Stories from the Margins it would be hard to go into each story individually and would also spoil the listen for other listeners.

I’ll be honest some of the stories are tough to listen to, others are riveting because they explain so many unanswered questions, but overall this is a fascinating listening experience. One I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Dunphy’s personal experiences result in a commentary, which will of course be uncomfortable for many, but it is important to open the doors on these horrors that the perpetrators want to keep hidden. Too many predators are organised in a way that is shockingly accurate, clever and done in a way that functions just below the surface of the face of normality. Somebody has to be the voice of the lost, the innocent and the forgotten. Shane Dunphy is one of those important voices.

Buy The Bad Place: Stories from the Margins at Amazon Uk 

Listening Length – 7 hours and 43 minutes, Author – Shane Dunphy, Narrator – Shane Dunphy, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 15 October 2020, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

Stories From the Margins #3 – Ceremony For the Dead (to be released March 2021)

Ceremony of the Dead – A group of childhood friends are coming after the man who abused them and put one of their friends in a coma; can Shane Dunphy stop their murderous plans but still bring the predator to justice?

#BlogTour Audiobook: Animal Societies by Ashley Ward

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the Audiobook – Animal Societies: How Co-Operation Conquered the Natural World by Ashley Ward.

Written and narrated by Ashley Ward, Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney, Animal Societies takes listeners around the world to give an incredible insight into the intimate worlds of social animals. Perfect for fans of David Attenborough, Animal Societies explores how the study of animals’ social behaviour can reveal much about mankind’s own behaviour, including leadership, empathy and selflessness.

About the Author

Ashley Ward is Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney and has travelled extensively for his research all over the world – studying lions and elephants in Kenya, whales in the Azores and Tonga, crows in Iceland and Nevada, and fish in Lincolnshire.

Follow @ashleyjwward  @audibleuk on Twitter, Visit ashleyward.netBuy Animal Societies

About the book

Animal Societies is a voyage of discovery across desert, forest, tundra and ocean to uncover the many benefits and intricacies of sociality in the animal kingdom.

Taking listeners on a journey from Aysgarth Falls to the Great Barrier Reef, Animal Societies explores the intimate worlds of social animals, demonstrating how studying their social behaviour provides insights to the development of such things as empathy, altruism, leadership and language. It’s clear that animals are not so far removed from us as we might imagine

In a time where humans are struggling to navigate cityscapes, isolation and a loneliness epidemic, Ward shows us that studying the social behaviour of animals offers a window into the evolutionary basis of our own species.

Review

Ward makes animal behavioural science both a learning and a captivating listening experience. The personal thoughts are woven seamlessly into the more serious aspect of the book, which isn’t without its merits when it comes to science.

It’s quite curious how humans create this invisible barrier between themselves and animals. The hierarchy of living creatures – oh and humans must be perceived as different, because our evolution suggests a superiority. Not many think of comparing us to them. How can studying animal behaviour give us insights into societal roles, communities and behaviour? For some it’s hard to fathom the commonalities and comparisons.

I especially enjoyed the last chapter, which suggests that we can’t simply explain certain base instincts and behavioural patterns based on the echos of our ancestral dna. The differences in species and their responses to specific stimuli can help us to understand their behaviour and in turn ours.

It’s a fascinating read, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book or read by Ward for educational purposes and for a read or listen that promises an expansion of knowledge, as opposed to trying to rein it in with mothball covered theories that support antiquated thought processes.

On a final note, which takes me back to the start of this audiobook and indeed Ward’s own travels. It might bring him some joy to know that where his journey was one of rejection and endurance at times, in regards to learning and sharing the same space with animals whilst doing so, that for younger generations it has become slightly easier to get access to this kind of learning and physical experience. Case in point when we spent a few weeks driving our daughter to Scarborough Sea Life Centre each day a few years ago so she could clean up smelly penguin poop and cut up baby chicks for the animals. Zoological careers and opportunities are evolving.

Buy Animal Societies at Amazon Uk  Publisher: Audible Uk; pub date 23rd April 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Audible.co.uk


Listening Length – 13 hours and 36 minutes, Author – Ashley Ward, Narrator – Ashley Ward,  Audible.co.uk Release Date – 23 April 2020, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook,Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

#BlogTour Audiobook: The Counterplot by Dai George

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Counterplot by Dai George (Author), Harry Myers (Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher).

About the Author

Dai George is a writer, critic and editor from Cardiff. His first poetry collection, The Claims Office (Seren, 2013), was an Evening Standard book of the year, and his work has been widely published in magazines and anthologies such as The Guardian, The White Review, New Welsh Reader, Boston Review and The Salt Book of Younger Poets.

Follow @dai_r_george on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit daigeorge.com, Buy The Counterplot 

About the Audiobook

The year is 1605 and Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, is struggling —  his writing career has waned and his patron, Lord D’Aubigny, has grown tired of his company. Throwing caution to the wind, Jonson pens a satirical play Eastward Ho! that includes the Monarch among its targets. But the laughs it gets cost its author dearly, landing Jonson in jail, his reputation in tatters.

Finally released, Jonson discovers that his wife Anne has gone missing. The two have been estranged, driven apart by the tragic deaths of their three children and by Jonson’s long absences from home. Eventually Ben learns that in her desperation, Anne has found comfort with the members of a Roman Catholic sect. Out of his desire to be reconciled with his wife, Ben himself becomes entangled in this secretive group, though when their planned treachery becomes clear he tries to expose them. His warnings are ignored by his former patron, Lord D’Aubigny. And after the Gunpowder Plot fails ignominiously, Ben and his wife are suspected of having been part of the conspiracy. Fittingly, it is only through his pen that Jonson can save them both.

Review

Set in the early 17th century, this is a tale of intrigue, but also one of a man who simply tries to reconcile his ambitions with his broken marriage and with his life in general. In a way the author creates a correlation between past and present by doing so.

The normality of his worries and attempts to make a living, whilst trying to regain some semblance of his previous marital relationship are really not that much different from someone in our day and age. Barring the ambitious assassination plots, the possibility of being jailed and beheaded for contentious words both written and spoken of course, perhaps even more dangerous when your words are played out on the stage for the entire city to experience.

The story is written very much with the feel and sound of the era, so at times it feels as if the listener has stepped into the 17th century and is standing in the midst of the bustling streets listening to the characters or standing in the children’s chambers as the parents confront their grief.

Chapter 19 is tragic and yet equally as beautiful in its unavoidable pain, horror and tragedy. Perceived as a natural occurrence and an event one shouldn’t and couldn’t spend time fixating on or indeed on loss.

It’s an historical thriller plotted with the pace of a piece of literary fiction – it’s visceral and engrossing. George gives his listeners a combination of almost poetic like exchanges – old English – and a character who stumbles through life with an almost accidental propensity for danger, pain, embarrassment and ultimately survival.

Buy The Counterplot at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Audible AudiobookListening Length: 15 hours and 21 minutes, Program Type: Audiobook, Version: Unabridged, Publisher: Audible Studios, Audible.co.uk – Release Date: 23 Dec. 2019, Language: English, English, ASIN: B0821KKMBN

#BlogTour Audiobook: Cast a Deadly Shadow by Roger Granelli

Today it’s a pleasure to kick off the BlogTour for the Audiobook Cast a Deadly Shadow by Roger Granelli. – Roger Granelli (Author), Andrew Wincott (Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher)

About the Author

Cast A Deadly Shadow by Roger Granelli – From the author of gripping Italian crime dramas Still Waters, Tough Love and Under the Wide Palermo Sky.

Follow @RogerGranelli on Twitter, Visit Rogergranelli.comBuy Cast a Deadly Shadow

About the Audiobook

With Cast A Deadly Shadow Roger Granelli has followed his exciting series of Palermo Stories with a full-length novel that is a fast-moving tale of murder, betrayal and lust.

Cast A Deadly Shadow is a vibrant, fast-moving tale of murder, lust, and betrayal, as Inspector Carlo Carpanini and Sergeant Leo Bracchi continue their never-ending fight against the Mafia Dons of Palermo.

Carlo and Leo have managed to capture Bardolini, a leading Mafiosi and psychopathic killer who has been a long-time target. They are bringing him back from Milan to Palermo by train but things go badly wrong. Two other Mafia hit men attempt to free Bardolini, which leads to a bloody confrontation in the railway carriage. Carlo and Leo survive but this sets off a dramatic chain of events and all manner of criminals with their own agenda want to get involved, and none of them can be trusted.

To make matters worse, Leo’s partner Sylvia is kidnapped by one of Bardolini’s henchmen, causing Leo a terrible dilemma of having to choose between duty and the need to save the love of his life. In the midst of all this Carlo and Leo also have to deal with a major raid on a Palermo bank, carried out by the Camorra mafia from Naples who are trying to muscle in on their long-established Sicilian counterparts.

All roads eventually lead to the Villa Moretti, where Sylvia is being held. Carlo and Leo are in their tightest spot ever as they try to save her, whilst being threatened by three different mafia entities, all trying to gain the bloody upper hand over each other and the police in an explosive final climax.

Review

Granelli is the author of the Palermo Stories – singles – and this is a full length novel featuring detectives Carpanini and Bracchi.

Let me start off by mentioning how perfect the choice of narrator is for this audiobook. Andrew Wincott personifies the essence of the characters and the story – perhaps he was too perfect. (Wonders if he has a mafia sideline, that’s how convincing he is.)

The story begins with the capture of the volatile killer Bardolini. He is a head honcho in the mafia and doesn’t take kindly to being captured. Carpanini and Bracchi soon discover that they might have bitten off more than they can chew when Bardolini’s men try to rescue him.

A tit for tat develops, which places one of the detectives in a conundrum. Should he pick his career and everything he believes in or should he save the person he loves. One would think the choice is clear, but at what cost does his choice come?

The author brings the coarse, abrupt and often brutal feeling of mob mentality to the table. Not the mob we know from the US – the romanticised gangster version. This speaks to the origins and the old school mafia, which is a completely different ball game. When you combine that with a character and story definition similar to Montalbano, Maltese or Il capo dei capi – you get a riveting read or listen.

It’s an old school urban mafia crime story brought alive by a captivating narrator. He definitely does justice to Granelli’s words and characters.This is a story I would recommend to listeners who enjoy crime that is abrasive and oddly charming at the same time.

Buy Cast a Deadly Shadow at Amazon Uk Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Audible Uk.

Audible Audiobook: Listening Length: 8 hours and 27 minutes,  Program Type Audiobook, Version: Unabridged, Publisher: Audible Studios, Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Dec. 2019, Language: English, English., ASIN: B081VRMCN3

#BlogTour Murders of Old China by Paul French

Today it’s a pleasure to review the Audiobook Murders of Old China by Paul French. It is narrated by Paul French.

About the Author

Paul French was born in Enfield, London and moved to Shanghai after studying Chinese at the City Literary Institute. Paul spent nearly twenty years living and working in China, splitting time between Shanghai and Beijing. During this time, he worked as a journalist and book reviewer for a number of publications, researching the early twentieth century history of both cities, particularly the foreign communities that lived there.

French is known for his true crime literary non-fiction set in twentieth century China. His book Midnight in Peking was a New York Times bestseller, and won a number of prestigious awards including the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction and the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. Paul’s second literary non-fiction book City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir was a Kirkus Book of the Year.

Follow Paul French @chinarhyming on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreads, Visit chinarhyming.comBuy Murders of Old China

About the book

Paul French (Midnight in Peking, City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir) dives into fifty years of murder and true crime across China and Hong Kong from the start of the twentieth century in Audible original narrative non-fiction Murders of Old China. Drawing on two and a half decades of research, French explores a dozen gripping murder cases, taking listeners from warlord-wracked Beijing, through the mighty international city of Shanghai and on to the remote and bandit-infested hinterlands of the Tibetan border and Inner Mongolia.

Using new documentation, cross-referencing and what French calls ‘sleuthing by hindsight’, Murders of Old China takes a fresh look at these twelve cases, whisking listeners on a journey through the dangerous underbelly of old China and uncovering more of the country’s unique history.

Each true crime case offers new insights into foreign society in China in the last days of the dying Qing Dynasty and the first decades of the Chinese Republic, shining a light on racial tensions and the criminal underworld, and querying the extent to which foreigners exploited the turmoil of the time. With a backdrop of war, imperialism and revolution, these stories provide an incredible insight into how modern China was formed, and the dark realities behind much of its recent past.

Narrated by French, and written in the style of the “American Noir” exemplified by Capote’s In Cold Blood, Murders of Old China is a must for fans of true crime, and those keen to learn more about China’s fascinating history.Review

What I really enjoyed about this Audiobook is the way the author narrates the story as if he were sat beside you having a dram whilst lounging in a comfortable leather chair in front of a log fire. He adds the smallest details, so in a sense it becomes almost like a vigorous discussion on various murderous scandals. Twelve true stories of violence, betrayal and murder that took place in the 20th century.

A Very Awkward Death in Tibet (1907) – The first big murder case tried by the American court for China in Shanghai. It was an attempt by the POTUS (Roosevelt) to extend American justice and punishments to its US citizens in China. A white foreigner killed a Chinese national. It was unheard of in times of white supremacy and patriarchy that a white man would stand trial with the possibility of death.

The Death of a Rickshaw Man (1908) – In this case a white man is tried by a jury. Once again a white foreigner kills a Chinese national. This time a British national, which meant it even made the news in Britain. The accused denied the charge and claimed self-defense. No wonder the Chinese thought the deck was stacked against them when having to abide by foreign rules in their own country.

Trafficked to her Death – Eliza Shapera (1907) – In a time when rumours of White Slavery were abundant. When gossips spoke of white women being tricked into prostitution in foreign countries. The real outrage caused by the thought that non-whites were having sex with white women. The body of a European woman was found – a prostitute.

A Deadly Rampage in Tai-O (1918) – It’s safe to say that not all the evidence or factors leading up to this tragedy were reviewed at the time. Colonialists being reluctant or unable to take issues such as inequality, racism into account and the corruption in this remote location. There is no doubt about victim or perpetrator, but perhaps the reasons for the rampage would have shed a different light on the matter.

The Irritating Betram Lennox Simpson (1930) – French wonders how Simpson managed to attract so many enemies in so many different fractions. Perhaps his part in the looting, which the in China born Simpson always denied. His machinations and loud protestations both written and vocal made him a contentious person to everyone.

A Deadly Dinner in Shanghai’s Gangster Mansion (1932) – Shanghai represented the power position of France equal to that of their rival Britain. Shanghai was often known as the Paris of the East or the Whore of the Orient. The Green Gang was a well-known criminal operation both in China and overseas. The leader or crime boss of this gang at the time, Big-Eared Du, invited the most senior and important French officials to a dinner at his fortress like mansion. It became the most vicious of lessons in authority and power plays.

Slain by His Best Friend – Two Tragic Deaths in Shanghai (1932) – Did a personal dispute really cause one man to kill the other over something as trivial as a job promotion? Why did the two friends end up in such a contentious relationship? Or was the disagreement that ended in the death of one of them born in a more base emotion like greed?

Gareth Jones – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935) – The death of the investigative journalist looked like another kidnapping gone wrong by bandits out for quick profit. However his investigations appeared to have hit a goldmine when it came to the political pulse of that era. He was an intelligent young reporter with an interest in current affairs, and interest that probably led to his death.

The Shanghai Long Drop: The Case of The Sikh They Couldn’t Hang (1935) – A straightforward crime and conviction – a death sentence. The story really starts after the death sentence is pronounced. The guilty man was transported to a hellhole, six thousand prisoners in a space equipped for two thousand prisoners. One could argue that physics play a big role in this story and perhaps not ‘luck’ per se.

The Good Doctor Colbert – Wife Poisoner? (1936) – Interesting how poisoning was considered an alternative to ridding oneself of a wife or husband. Divorce, especially for women, was synonymous with scandal. This is also the only story where the victim is actually able to watch the trial herself. It was a case that caught the attention of not only China, but also the US.

Who Killed The Baron of Frenchtown (1941) – A murder, an assassination that remains unsolved to this day. A murder with motives that draw from long before a pre-war time and culminate in wartime. The Baron opposed the new regime and wrote favourably about the prior one. He was highly critical of the way the powers that be let crime run rampant. His opinions may have made him a potential target.

The Death of a Shanghai Gold Dealer (1947) – As an East meets West city, Shanghai became a melting pot of refugees, peasants looking for a better life and ex-soldiers. Eight long years of war and occupation had left their mark on the city that once was its own jewel in the crown of China. Greed and coming to the attention of people who were interested in making a profit to restart their lives back home was the downfall of the Gold Dealer.

I think what shines through in the majority of these old cases is just how oppressive and unjust colonialism was. It’s really no surprise that there is a general sense and feeling of mistrust towards predominantly white regimes that believed themselves to be superior above all others, especially to non-whites. Was there really any justice for victims of crime when the victim was a native, and indeed if the roles were reversed the punishments were harsher for non-whites.

This is a must-listen for readers or listeners who enjoy true crime and like their crime to be factual rather than fictional. French does an excellent job of melding history, politics, social structures and culture together with well-researched crimes that have been buried and forgotten with the passing of time.

French narrates with passion and power, and opens the door to the world and captivating history of China, albeit just a small part His voice draws readers in as he tells the tragic stories of debt, theft, abuse, violence and murder. He brings in all of  the documented evidence that is available and gives life to the men, women and children who have become mere blips in history.

Buy Murders of Old China at Amazon Uk. Publisher Audible Original: pub date: 4 Dec 2019. Buy at Audible Uk.

Audible Audiobook

Listening Length: 8 hours and 32 minutes, Narrated by: Paul French, Program Type: Audiobook, Version: Unabridged, Publisher: Audible Original, Audible.co.uk Release Date: 4 Dec. 2019, Language: English, English, ASIN: B08288B56D