#Blogtour The Hard Way by Duncan Brockwell

It’s Publication Day and the time to kick off the BlogTour The Hard Way by Duncan Brockwell.

About the Author

Duncan Brockwell is a full-time dental technician from West Sussex. Having completed his course at Lambeth College in 2018, he started writing in his spare time. An avid gardener and part-time mixologist, he loves nothing more than relaxing at home with his wife, Beks and pure white rescue cat, Milly. 

Since Duncan started writing in 2018, he has written thirteen novels, nine of which have been, or are in the process of being published. Unlike a lot of authors, Duncan feels he is a hobby writer, toiling away on his purple couch in front of the TV in the evenings and weekends. He wants nothing more than for readers to enjoy his various offerings, ranging from romantic comedy (under pseudonym Katie Simpkins) to hardcore blood and guts horror and everything in between (Under either DC Brockwell or Duncan Brockwell). Follow him at:

Follow @dcbrockwell1 on Twitter, Facebook: DC Brockwell AuthorInstagram: @dcbrockwell

About the book

When intruders enter a radio station and kill a famed presenter it sets in motion a chain of events that will push the Metropolitan Police to their limits.

Officers Hayes and Miller are on the trail of a suspect and when Eric Helsey is detained, the police realise they have arrested the wrong man. As the case grows more complicated with each revelation, and the body count rises, they find themselves investigating a series of crimes all of which may be linked.

But what ties the murder of the radio host with a Turkish casino owner and the killing of two employees at a valve factory? Hayes and Miller find themselves in a race against time to get to the truth before more people are hurt…

Review

A triple homicide has DI Amanda Hayes and DS Rachel Miller flummoxed at first. The victims don’t seem to come with clear motives. It looks like a hit, but then there are certain details of the crime scene that suggest a different kind of perpetrator. A more nefarious kind of killer.

The victims aren’t all exactly squeaky clean either, so the question is where do you start searching if your haystack comes with more needles than hay in the first place? What eventually becomes clear is that Hayes and Miller have been tasked with solving a crime that opens the doors to violence, brutality, betrayal and having to watch their six.

Here and there it could do with a bit of a nip, tuck and tighten, and perhaps in future a read through for repetitive phrases or perhaps better use of synonyms. Other than that it’s a crime read with a bite and two strong female leads, which is always a good thing.

It’s a contemporary crime read, a gritty urban story with a organised crime vibe with a bit of a Line of Duty feel to it. You just don’t know who you can trust and the duo better be prepared to fight fire with fire or one of them might just end up a statistic.

It’s fast-paced, brutal and unforgiving at times.

Buy The Hard Way at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Bloodhound Books – pub date 19 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive.

#BlogTour Bad Day in Minsk by Jonathan Pinnock

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Bad Day in Minsk by Jonathan Pinnock.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinnock is the author of Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens, the Scott Prize-winning short story collection Dot Dash, the memoir Take it Cool and the poetry collection Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff.  

Follow @jonpinnock on Twitter, Visit jonathanpinnock.com

About the book

Tom Winscombe is having a bad day. Trapped at the top of the tallest building in Minsk while a lethal battle between several mafia factions plays out beneath him, he contemplates the sequence of events that brought him here, starting with the botched raid on a secretive think tank and ending up in the middle of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

More importantly, he wonders how he’s going to get out of this alive when the one person who can help is currently not speaking to him.  Join Tom and a cast of disreputable and downright dangerous characters in this witty thriller set in a murky world of murder, mystery and complex equations.

Review

This is the fourth book in the Mathematical Mystery series. It can be read as a standalone novel, although I can imagine readers wanting to read the other books in the series after reading this one.

The Vavasor papers are at the heart of this mystery, their journey and the mystery of their alleged existence and whereabouts also features previously in the series. The papers are also an object of contention when it comes to Tom and Dorothy. He doesn’t understand her professional obsession with them and she is annoyed by his irreverent attitude towards the Vavasor papers.

The unskilled asset is once again thrown into the deep end of undercover work as he stumbles through one awkward situation after the other to find the papers. If Tom were an on-screen character he would probably be described as slapstick and this is very much a comedy of errors. Where something can go wrong – it does.

Despite it being a mathematical mystery the read isn’t bogged down by anything complex, luckily for me, and is more of a cosy mystery full of humour. I do think that’s important to note, although the author mentions it himself, that it’s supposed to fun escapism, which it absolutely is. The mathematical element is like the snarky intellectual cherry on top of the sundae.

Buy Bad Day in Minsk at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Farrago pub date 8 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive.

#BlogBlitz Willow Weeps by Louise Worthington

It’s my turn on the BlogBlitz Willow Weeps by Louise Worthington.

About the Author

Born in Cheshire, England, Louise studied literature at the University of Essex. As a teenager she read until the small hours, enjoying the darker worlds conjured by Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier.

Louise is the author of the bestseller, Rachel’s Garden, another psychological thriller and Distorted Days which Kirkus Review described as ‘a formidable work.’  Her chilling blend of the lyrical and the dark is the most gripping in her thrillers and horror.

Follow @louiseworthing9 on Twitter, on Facebookon Amazonon Goodreads, Visit louiseworthington.co.uk

About the book

A secret is a lie in the making. A charming divorcee and his young daughter. The promise of a new life – together as a family, in an apartment in a historic building.  A fresh start – or the key to a nightmare?Who will Willow believe – a young offender, or the love of her life?

Page-turning and emotional, Willow Weeps is the gripping new thriller from the author of Rachel’s Garden and The Entrepreneur. 

Review

Willow seems to have a life on the brink of being almost perfect until she decides to move in with her boyfriend. Then her life is filled with messages, warnings from behind the veil – from her sister. Her dead sister. 

It’s very much a story told by an unreliable narrator. There are many times when both the reader and Willow isn’t aware how much she is actually experiencing and how much of it is imagined or a result of her internal narrative. 

Clearly I’ve been doing life wrong if being a mature woman, and being able to notice said maturity in myself, is equal to being a bit of a sociopath. Willow really isn’t your average kind of character, although if you asked her she would be the first to deny any fault of hers, but secretly she would admire herself for being such a successful psycho.

This was a bit of a too many cooks in the kitchen kind of thing. Too many threads, many superfluous, and not enough of them coming together in a way that made sense from a story perspective. At times there seemed to be too many sub-plots and not enough focus on a main thread.

At the same time I wonder if perhaps Willow is a character the reader may misinterpret or rather interpret depending on how they read her. For me she was someone who was the danger, as opposed to her sensing some external danger courtesy of her dead sister. That’s perhaps what was missing though, the conviction of writing a flawed main character and accepting she isn’t just the protagonist, but also the antagonist of the story.

Buy Willow Weeps at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Red Escape Publishing pub date March 31, 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Rapunzel Act by Abi Silver

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Rapunzel Act by Abi Silver.

 About the Author

Abi Silver is an author and lawyer who grew up in Leeds in a traditional Jewish family. Watching Granada TV’s ‘Crown Court’ in between lessons led her to study  Law at Girton College, Cambridge. Abi then worked in London at international law firm, Allen & Overy and at RPC, before spending five years in Israel, where her husband, Daniel, was posted. 

During her time there, alongside raising her three young sons, Abi completed an MBA by distance learning, learned Hebrew and pottery on the wheel and began to write fiction, usually late at night. On returning to the UK, she went back to law before quitting a permanent position in 2015 when she decided to try her hand at writing again which led to publication of The Pinocchio Brief. Based in Radlett, Hertfordshire, Abi works part-time as a legal consultant and author.

Follow @abisilver16 on Twitter, Visit abisilver.co.uk

About the book

When Breakfast TV host and nation’s darling, Rosie Harper, is found brutally murdered at home suspicion falls o her spouse, formerly international football start, Danny ‘walks on water’ Mallard, now living out of the public eye as a trans woman, Debbie. Not only must Debbie challenge the hard evidence against her, including the blood-drenched glove at the scene of the crime, she must also contend with the nation’s prejudices, as the trial is broadcast live, turning it into a public spectacle.

For someone trying to live their life without judgement, it might just be too much to bear. Legal duo Judith Burton an Constance Lamb are subjected to unyielding scrutiny as they strive to defend their most famous client yet.

Review

When Debbie’s ex-wife is killed she doesn’t expect to have all the fingers pointing at her and more importantly how guilty she makes herself look with her initial gut reactions to the news. legal team Lamb and Burton are put under a microscope when they decide to represent Debbie. It’s fair to say they are shocked by the reactions to their client.

It’s good to see some diversity in fiction, but perhaps more so when it comes to LGBTQ plots. Debbie is not only a transgender character, she also represents the fears of many transphobes, because before she transitioned she was a sport hero worshipped by many in a sport which is the definition of male stereotypes. Football hero – national treasure. How can the embodiment of masculinity and testosterone suddenly be a woman?

The author delves into these misconceptions and the way society seems to believe they own their celebrities and sport idols, and of course that means they also have the right to question Debbie’s existence. It’s easy to crucify what you neither understand or are willing to accept.

Anyone else get  O.J. Simpson crime vibes? Chased through the streets by the police, the nations favourite sport star and a glove at the scene of the crime. Combining that with an interesting transgender character, and the misconceptions and transphobia that go along with it unfortunately, and you have a compelling courtroom and crime read.

Buy The Rapunzel Act at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Lightning Books: pub date 15 April 2021 – Paperback Original – £8.99. Buy at Amazon comAt Hive.

#BlogTour Facets of Death by Michael Stanley

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Facets of Death by Michael Stanley.

About the Author

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger. 

The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award. They have also written a thriller, Dead of Night, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.

Follow @detectivekubu and @Orendabooks on Twitter, Visit detectivekubu.com

About the book

A dark and sophisticated thriller set in the heart of Botswana, introducing Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu.

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove. When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself. First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.

Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything? 

Review

This is a prequel to the Kubu crime series. Kubu is tasked will solving a classic heist, a diamond heist no less. One set in Botswana in a diamond mine, which brings a certain level of political, corporate and economic problems with it. A minefield that Kubu is not willing or able to tiptoe through.

I think it’s a brilliant idea to give Kubu a prequel series. It really gives a lot of insight into the man and detective we have gotten to know in the Detective Kubu series. What becomes evident in this book is that the core of the man is that of resigned peace, he is astute and perceptive, and above all he tries to do what is right. It’s certainly a trait he doesn’t shake off as he gains more experience.

He has taken jibes and turned the tables on those who mock him. Where is the laugh when he himself parades the insult like a trophy for all to see. It takes the wind out of their sails, which is the sole purpose of his actions.

I kind of like this refreshing take on this series and hope there will be more. It’s a bit like the Morse series going back to his early years with Endeavour – it’s a completely different experience. It still has the same cultural relevance and gritty vibe. The same strong, vibrant characters and especially the determined Detective Kubu, and yet seeing it being built from the beginning allows readers to see everything from a different perspective. What’s not to like?

Buy Facets of Death at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books, pub date 29 April 2021 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Imposter by Anna Wharton

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Imposter by Anna Wharton.

About the Author

Anna Wharton has been a print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years, writing for newspapers including The Times, Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Grazia and Red. She was formally an executive editor at The Daily Mail. Anna has ghostwritten four memoirs including the Sunday Times bestseller Somebody I Used To Know and Orwell Prize longlisted CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today. The Imposter is her first novel.

Follow @whartonswords, Visit annawharton.com

About the book

Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening, she’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away the news clippings from the safety of her desk. But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle – a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.

When Chloe’s Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But it’s not long until she realizes this couple aren’t all they seem from the outside . . .

But with everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous?

Review

Chloe struggles with her identity, perhaps because it is neither here nor there, and now her Nan is suffering from dementia her identity is slipping away from the only family she knows. When you add that frustration to a boring job, it’s easy to see how she could be swept up by a mysterious disappearance.

A young child who simply vanished one day many decades ago. Parents who still hope for some news, whether good or bad. Chloe becomes absolutely fascinated by the correlation between the blanks in her own childhood and this young child. One could say a little obsessed.

As the obsession with fantasy merges into reality the reader isn’t sure if Chloe is on the brink of a revelation, a breakdown or has she found herself in the web of a murderous spider?

It reminded me of the way Kubica plots – there is always this insidious and nefarious thread woven into the fabric of the story. You think you know where the author is going, but just as you get comfortable there is a sharp left. Victim, villain, damaged individual – which is it or is at all three?

It’s an engrossing dark domestic psychological thriller, definitely a story for readers who like their crime twisty, tense and unpredictable. 

Buy the Imposter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mantle; pub date 1st April – Hardback – £14.99. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Republic of Love by Carol Shields

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Republic of Love by Carol Shields – can I just say I am totally here for the forewords by Margaret Atwood in these new editions.

About the Author

Carol Shields (1935–2003) was born in the United States, and emigrated to Canada when she was 22. She is acclaimed for her empathetic and witty, yet penetrating insights into human nature. Her most famous novel The Stone Diaries was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, along with the Governor General’s Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Happenstance was praised as her tour de force, masterly combining two novels in one. The international bestseller Mary Swann was awarded with the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian mystery. In 2020, the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, a North American literary award dedicated to writing by women, was set up in her honor. Her work has been published in over 30 languages.

Follow Carol Shields on Goodreadson Amazon,

About the book

On love and the absence of love – A celebration of love in its many guises, The Republic of Love recounts the heartfelt tale of two of life’s unlucky lovers: Fay, a folklorist whose passion for mermaids has kept her from focusing on any one man; and, right across the street, Tom, a popular radio talk-show host who’s been through three marriages and divorces in his search for true happiness. Touching and ironic, The Republic of Love flies the flag for ordinary love between ordinary people.

Review

It’s not my favourite book by Shields, perhaps because this is more of an eight lane carriageway. If it were set on screen it would be a Woody Allan pseudo highbrow visual representation of lives and loves of a small affluent community.

It’s clear from quite early on that Fay and Tom will eventually become a couple. What Shields does is navigate readers through their lives prior to that moment. The disappointments, the failures, the chances and opportunities not taken or those taken with a pinch of regret.

Throughout the story there is also the topic of mermaids – Fay’s work. The question was really how the mermaid element related to love, relationships and marriage. If this wasn’t a story balanced equally between Tom and Fay I would say it is all about the way men envisage women.

Mermaids are both sexually seductive, they use their call to seduce and destroy, they are also physically void of the epi-centre of temptation and violation. The myth of mermaids was born of men, who predominantly work the seas and oceans. Are they a figment of imagination driven by the solitude, the fear and biological need of men?

If the emphasis had been on Tom and his love endeavours there would be more connections to make, as is you kind of wonder what the point is. Or is the point just that there is none and that Fay is entirely obsessed with these mythical creatures who are not able to have relationships physically with moral men. Does Fay equate herself to the mermaid who always remains behind the wall she built?

As I said not my favourite, but certainly one that can get the grey cells jogging.

Buy The Republic of Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: World Editions; pub date March 2021 £11.99 paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Raft of Stars by Andrew J. Graff.

About the Author

Graff is the author of novel Raft of Stars. His fiction and essays have appeared in Image and Dappled Things. Andrew grew up fishing, hiking, and hunting in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. After a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Graff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Follow Andrew J. Graff on Amazon, Visit andrewjgraff.com

About the book 

It’s the summer of 1994 in Claypot, Wisconsin, and the lives of ten-year-old Fischer “Fish” Branson and Dale “Bread” Breadwin are shaped by the two fathers they don’t talk about.

One night, tired of seeing his best friend bruised and terrorized by his no-good dad, Fish takes action. A gunshot rings out and the two boys flee the scene, believing themselves murderers. They head for the woods, where they find their way onto a raft, but the natural terrors of Ironsforge gorge threaten to overwhelm them.

Four adults track them into the forest, each one on a journey of his or her own. Fish’s mother Miranda, a wise woman full of fierce faith; his granddad, Teddy, who knows the woods like the back of his hand; Tiffany, a purple-haired gas station attendant and poet looking for connection; and Sheriff Cal, who’s having doubts about a life in law enforcement.

The adults track the boys toward the novel’s heart-pounding climax on the edge of the gorge and a conclusion that beautifully makes manifest the grace these characters find in the wilderness and one another. This timeless story of loss, hope, and adventure runs like the river itself amid the vividly rendered landscape of the Upper Midwest.

Review

Being the polite and dutiful grandson he is, Fish leaves his grandfather a message telling him what they’ve taken, why they have to leave and what they did. Killing someone is secondary to making sure his family doesn’t worry about him too much, although that’s debatable given they are really young and have run away.

For me this had a nostalgic Stand By Me feel to it. A story of friendship, which threatens to break and equally grows stronger in the duration of this story and journey. Two boys bound together by fear, tragedy and also by the bonds of friendships.

As they embark upon said journey or escape, they see the world as only two young children can – in a heightened fantastical fashion. It’s tinged with the fact they have both been forced to embrace the world of adult problems in their own way. Fish through the lack of his father and Bread because of the violence he experiences at the hands of his own father.

It’s contemporary story with the flair of a literary read. If the characters were a little older I would say it’s also a coming-of-age story, however I think what I will take away from it is the truth of true brotherhood and a family grown through grief and tragedy.

Buy Raft of Stars at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : HQ pub date 23 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon comAt Waterstones.

#BlogTour the Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke.

About the Author

I was born and grew up in Lancashire, gained several nursing qualifications and had the privilege of a long and varied nursing career, briefly in the Royal Army Nursing Service abroad, mainly in the NHS in UK. True love and a happy family came my way and now I have the time to  read, write and remember.

Follow Alison Burke on Instagramon Facebook, Visit alisonburkefictionwriter.com

About the book 

You can find almost anything in a charity shop, but can you find love? You can certainly find friendship and there is both laughter and tears ahead when 19yr old Zaffron, lonely, anxious and without direction, meets Blaire Daintry, good-looking, charming, and gay.

Both volunteers in the charity shop, he has a hidden agenda, she has secrets,  but they are friends from the start, despite Blaire’s constant sparring with Ida, the stern, good-hearted older volunteer who Zaffron admires. And perhaps Ida has secrets too.

Together with other victims of the city’s housing crisis, Blaire and Zaffron set up a safe and happy home.  Secure at last, she tells him of the dreadful incident in her childhood that has marred her life, but not even his total acceptance gives her the confidence to start a relationship with an attractive and decent young army sergeant who falls in love with her.

Is it fear of the truth coming out that holds her back? Or is there some other reason, buried too deep in her heart for her to recognise?

Review

This seems to be floating under the heading of rom-com, but to me it had more of an Eleanor Oliphant meets chick-lit kind of feel to it. There is no romance as such, just an unrequited obsessive crush – if you can call it that at all. I thought it veered towards more of an Oedipus complex, which was interrupted by the inconvenience of Blaire’s sexuality.

Towards the end Zaffron is surprised by what Blaire reveals about his relationship and considers it a further betrayal, however I think he made that choice to curb her enthusiasm or slightly obsessive infatuation. In fact if you view his choices individually they are completely normal for someone who is intent on bettering their life and prospects.

If you view the same connections, decisions and choices through the lens of Zaffron’s references then of course it appears to be nefarious and driven by the intent to deceive and betray. At least that is how Zaffron perceives it, and that is the real gist of the entire story. How does Zaffron perceive things, as opposed to others?

It’s an interesting piece, perhaps more of darker read than a light-hearted one. A contemporary piece when it comes to people who are neither here nor there in society. On the brink of complete breakdown with no home, no job and only acquaintances born through circumstance. It shows how hard it is to reestablish yourself in society, especially when you are unable to bring certain prerequisites to the table.

One of the core elements is of course the fact that someone needs to hold out a hand and offer help for a person in need to be able to rebuild their broken down life, which is something everyone can take away from this read. A small gesture goes a long way.

Buy The Charity of Strangers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Lily Dale Press pub date 25 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Distant Dead by Heather Young

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Distant Dead by Heather Young.

About the Author

Heather Young is the author of two novels. Her debut, The Lost Girls, won the Strand Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for an Edgar Award. The Distant Dead was named one of the Best Books of Summer 2020 by People Magazine, Parade, and CrimeReads.

A former antitrust and intellectual property litigator, she traded the legal world for the literary one and earned her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars in 2011. She lives in Mill Valley, California, where she writes, bikes, hikes, and reads books by other people that she wishes she’d written.

Follow @HYoungwriter on Twitter, Visit heatheryoungwriter.com

About the book

A body burns in the high desert hills. A boy walks into a fire station, pale with the shock of a grisly discovery. A middle school teacher worries when her colleague is late for work. When the body is identified as local math teacher Adam Merkel, a small Nevada town is rocked to its core by a brutal and calculated murder.

In the seven months he worked at Lovelock’s middle school, the quiet and seemingly unremarkable Adam Merkel had formed a bond with just one of his students: Sal Prentiss, a lonely sixth grader who lives with his uncles on a desolate ranch in the hills. It is Sal who finds Adam’s body, charred almost beyond recognition, half a mile from his uncles’ compound.

Nora Wheaton, the school’s social studies teacher, sensed a kindred spirit in Adam – another soul bound to Lovelock by guilt and duty. After his death, she delves into his past for clues to who killed him. Yet, the truth about Adam’s murder may lie closer to home. For Sal’s grief seems shaded with fear, and Nora suspects he knows more than he’s telling about his favourite teacher’s death.

This unforgettable thriller brings a small American town to vivid life, filled with complex, troubled characters wrestling with the weight of the past, the promise of the future and the bitter freedom that forgiveness can bring.

Review

It begins with sadness defined as a great act of the gods and ends with the acceptance of the fact humanity is full of imperfections and there is no clear line between right or wrong. Sometimes the noblest of gestures can be the selfish of acts. The dead have no thought for the living.

The story works in circles around the untimely tragic death of a local maths teacher. His death becomes a staunch memory in the maelstrom of modern desperation and vulnerability that destroys populations quietly bit by bit.

In the last few chapters Nora alludes to the aspect of selfishness in regards to Adam and his actions, but perhaps more so because his needs or desperation supersede the wellbeing of a young man. No thought to how his actions will reverberate and cause damage after the fact.

The story is an exploration of death in a certain type of environment – the rural small town community with all its idiosyncrasies both of the surroundings and the mindset of those who live there.

I really enjoyed the way the author managed to bring the story full circle and end the book as it began with a tragedy and mystery – in a cave. It gives everything a sense of connection. It shows us our differences and similarities. It’s a mystery, a domestic thriller of sorts, but it really draws on other genres and in doing so Young creates this nostalgic mysterious rift of moving sand and time. It’s a slow burner, an atmospheric dark read.

Buy The Distant Dead at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Verve Books pub date March 18, 2021. Buy at Amazon com.