#BlogTour Children of the Valley by Castle Freeman

Today it’s the last day and my turn on the BlogTour Children of the Valley by Castle Freeman.

About the Author

Castle Freeman is the author of seven novels, including the critically acclaimed Go With Me, which has been made into a film starring Anthony Hopkins, as well as two short-story collections. He has lived in rural Vermont since 1975.

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About the book

Sheriff Lucian Wing goes to the aid of a pair of young runaways, Duncan and Pamela, who have fled to his backwoods county jurisdiction in Vermont. The girl’s powerful stepfather New York has set a smoothly menacing lawyer and well-armed thugs on their trail.

At the same time Wing must deal with his wayward wife’s chronic infidelity; the snobbery of Pamela’s cosmopolitan mother; the dubious assistance of a demented World War Two enthusiast – and the climactic, chaotic onset of a prodigious specimen of the local wildlife. Amidst it all, can Wing bring Duncan and Pamela to safety?

Review

This is the third in the Lucian Wing series and can absolutely be read as a standalone novel, although I would recommend reading the others just for the read.

Lucian is sheriff in a backwoods rural community. The sort of place that tends to be filled to the brim with the kind of people others find odd, eccentric and and downright peculiar. He balances cross agency ambitions with the very special brand of loyalty rural life brings with it, and with a fiery relationship courtesy of his wife.

Lucian finds his feathers ruffled when a bigwig rocks up asking him to find a missing teenager for a rich client – her stepfather. Sounds simple enough, but all isn’t what it seems to be when the sheriff takes a closer look and the bigwigs idea of ‘finding’ doesn’t gel with his.

Can I just say that Big John deserves his own series, perhaps following his life as a hardened criminal with the talents of a particularly determined, elusive and ruthless Houdini. Between Big J and Wingate this cosy rural crime moves into its own comedy niche.

It’s an unusual blend of Fargoism meets rural and cosy crime with an often acerbic dialogue and wit. I laughed out loud quite a few times. It just has these moments of unexpected hilarity. One of Freeman’s strengths is his ability to give the characters depth with minimal world and character building.

I enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by or recommend Freeman.

Buy Children of the Valley at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Farrago; 10 Dec. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. HiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

Buy All That I Have ( Lucian Wing #1) and Old Number Five (Lucian Wing #2) by Castle Freeman.

#BlogTour For Love or Money by Clodagh Murphy

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour For Love or Money by Clodagh Murphy.About the Author

Clodagh Murphy lives in Dublin, Ireland and writes funny, sexy romantic comedies. She always dreamed of being a novelist, and after more jobs than she cares to (or can) remember, she now writes full-time. For more information about her books or to sign up to her newsletter, visit her website at http://clodaghmurphy.com/.

Follow @ClodaghMMurphy on Twitter, on Facebookon Bookbubon Instagramon Goodreadson Amazon, Buy For Love or Money

About the book

Lesley has always fancied herself as an amateur sleuth, a sort of modern day Miss Marple without the support stockings.

So when Al wants to hire her to investigate his elderly uncle’s young fiancée, she jumps at the chance. It doesn’t hurt that the job will involve posing as Al’s girlfriend and joining his glitzy, star-studded family on holiday in Nice.

Stella still can’t quite believe she’s engaged to legendary actor Sir Peter Bradshaw. She accepted what she thought was a deathbed proposal. Now she has a living, breathing fiancé and a wedding to plan.

First, though, she has to get through a holiday in the South of France with Peter’s extended family, who all seem convinced she’s a gold-digger with her sights set on the family fortune.

As Lesley bonds with Stella over shopping trips and bottles of rosé, she thinks she has it all figured out. After all, it’s no great mystery why a young woman would marry a fabulously wealthy seventy-two-year-old with a heart condition, is it? It’s an old story.

And Al may be the nicest boyfriend she’s ever had (even if he is fake), but Lesley believes in instant attraction and there’s just no spark … no matter how fit he looks in his swimming trunks. So there’s no chance he’s going to grow on her.

But people have a way of surprising you, as she’s about to discover …

Review

You can say it’s a comedy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be funny, well in this case it is. The snarky humour combined with the rather reluctant amateur sleuthing duo absolutely make this read.

Lesley often says what is on the tip of her tongue, which is how she ends up declaring herself a private detective in the middle of a singles mixer. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that doesn’t stop her from embellishing on her business adventures and covert operations.

Her slightly fantastical approach to the truth attracts the attention of one of the gentlemen, who returns at a later date to hire the definitely not-a-detective as a detective. Al wants her to help him discover whether his uncle’s fiance is legit or a gold-digger.

Lesley isn’t quite sure what his motive is. Does he want to get to know her better? Is this some kind of strange way of getting her attention? Either way she is up for it, because the fake job comes with some really good plus points. Celebrity family members, lush expensive holidays, and of course Al isn’t all that bad.

It’s a rom-com filled with snarky humour and a memorable, if somewhat reluctant, sleuthing duo. Murphy knows exactly how to balance the eccentricity of her main character with the flow of the plot, whilst slipping in the occasional comical moments.

Buy For Love or Money at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Balally Books; pub date 26 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon. Buy at Apple Barnes&Noble Kobo

#BlogTour Bait, Grist and Security by Mike Hodges

Today it’s more than a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Bait, Grist and Security by Mike Hodges, the cult director of Get Carter and Flash Gordon. The stories have a gangster, old-school boys club vibe combined with shock-jock tactics. They shine a light on the corrupt cesspit of the world of influence and money.

About the Author

Mike Hodges was born in Bristol, UK. As a television producer in the 1960s, he was invited to join the investigative programme World in Action. This took him to the US, covering the 1964 presidential election, and that same year to the war in Vietnam. He produced and sometimes directed the arts programmes Tempo and New Tempo . He is perhaps best-known for his work in cinema and television, including: Get Carter, Suspect, Rumour, The Manipulators, Pulp, The Terminal Man, Flash Gordon, A Prayer for the Dying, Morons from Outer Space, Florida Straits, Black Rainbow, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. He lives in London. This is his first book.

Follow @unbounders (publisher) on Twitter

Buy Bait, Grist and Security

About the book

Three darkly comic noir novellas from the cult director of Get Carter

In ‘Bait’, a slippery PR man, Mark Miles, is unaware he’s being manipulated and dangled as bait by an investigative reporter until he’s swallowed by a sadistic mind-expanding cult from America.

In ‘Grist’, the bestselling writer, Maxwell Grist, ruthlessly uses real people as fodder for his crime novels before finding himself living up to his name and becoming grist for his ownmurder.

In ‘Security’, an American movie star, unhappy with the film he’s working on, refuses to leave his hotel for the studios, while in the corridor outside his luxury suite mayhem and murder take over.Review

Bait, Grist and Security are three novellas written by cult director Mike Hodges. It is fair to say that all three stories are an attempt to reveal the worst traits of humans and the failings of society. I think the noir is so dark and dirty that it might be considered crud, either that or sent straight from the depraved bowels of hell.

As a director, Mike Hodges has given us film classics, such as Get Carter and Flash Gordon. I am not sure his writing translates as well as his spectacular talent at envisioning what a film should look like to viewers. Then again perhaps it is just a matter of perspective.

The stories have a gangster, old-school boys club vibe combined with shock-jock tactics. They shine a light on the corrupt cesspit of the world of influence and money. Everything is pretty and polished on the surface, but beneath the shallow exterior lurks something uncomfortable and dark.

The stories are also crude, sexually explicit and often teetering on the border of politically incorrect and absolutely socially unacceptable. The scene with the woman in the field is like something out of the Linda Lovelace (also known as Deep Throat) autobiography, except in her case the bestiality was done unto her by a canine. Then there is the occasional lean towards paedophilia.

It’s most certainly going to be a bit of a marmite read, as in not everyone’s cup of tea. Hodges plays with the dregs of humanity in a sardonic way, then mixes this tone within the constructs of the individual stories, and then lets them take their course.

Buy Bait, Grist and Security at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Unbound (29 Nov. 2018)

#BlogTour Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott

Today it’s my turn on the absolutely colossal Blogtour for Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott. A collection of hilarious letters to iconic pop and rock stars with fantastic in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves: Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Deep Purple, Devo, Dr. Hook and many, many more… Don’t miss the fantastic Q&A and my review!

About The Philpotts

Derek and Dave Philpott are the noms de plume of two ordinary members of the public, working with help from a worldwide social networking community.

Follow @DerekPhilpott @unbounders on Twitter, Facebook/ThePhilpotts

Buy Dear Mr Pop Star

About the book

For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing deliberately deranged letters to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs. They miss the point as often as they hit it.

But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back…

Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T’Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.

Q&A with The Philpotts

Tell us a little bit about Derek and Dave Philpott (keeping your 007 noms de plume alive and kicking here!) The most obvious question is where did the inspiration for this book come from? It’s basically my dad’s total ignorance of pop music. He would say the most remarkable things about songs that came on the radio and that I played at home. His lack of knowledge allowed a surreal take on lyrics that an impassioned music fan would bypass. For example, where you or I would listen to Lady Gaga singing ‘’How’d I turn my shirt inside out?’’ and equate it to a wild night at a club, he’d go ‘’Well, obviously you’ve pulled the sleeves the wrong way haven’t you!!’’, and then he’d be off on a rambling monologue about going to the launderette or something

When you started writing the letters was there any real expectation of one of the recipients sending a reply? Not because it’s an eccentric thing to do, but perhaps because it is more likely that your letter is just one of hundreds. None whatsoever. We just built this website and facebook pages and stuck the letters there unanswered, hanging in cyberspace, and we thought that was funny enough. We did tentatively try to get responses via official channels and management but soon gave up. The answers were procured through the ‘back door of the industry’, via facebook fans who were cousins of the bass players or roadies or next-door but one neighbours of someone that knew their hairdresser. It was totally organic and took a decade. We chose pseudonyms because they are not really us, they are deranged and overblown versions.

There are quite a few letters I thought stood out, both written by The Philpotts and by the artists/stars. Have you got any favourites? Seriously it changes with every dip, but this week I have to say that our duel with Christopher Butler from The Waitresses is a work of unmitigated genius.

Are there any replies you were genuinely surprised to receive? (Pop Stars are really busy sailing on yachts, riding their Arabian stallions and driving their expensive cars, right?) We didn’t think we had a hope of Alannah Myles or Devo coming back. We can only guess that their Porches and dapple greys must have been at the garage and vets respectively.

Where do Derek and Dave Philpott go from here? Is there another project in the works? Volume 3? Er.. see you in 2028 then…although, we are notorious now and it’s getting easier to get replies as the artists all tell each other and vouch for us..we’ll see how this book goes ..

Thanks for answering all of the questions! A pleasure!

Review

When I first heard about this book I thought it was a really amusing idea. I can imagine the status of celebrity comes with the additive of being the recipient of masses of fan mail or in the 21st century receiving messages on social media. There will probably be the occasional death threat (Mr Blobby can be very divisive) and eccentric messages may even equal the semi-normal ones.

Imagine being the recipient of a Philpott speciality, actually you might be surprised or unused to the ancient medium called letter writing. Using real paper, pens and envelopes to communicate with fellow humans. A Philpott communication promises to be witty, a wee bit convoluted and filled with snark. Recipients can take it with the pinch of salt with which is was intended or call their solicitors immediately.

Luckily for the Philpotts the response has been overwhelmingly positive and a lot of the replies are hilariously funny. Talented music artists and music icons have been gracious enough to participate in the joke, and the result is rather extraordinary. Musicians and bands including Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T’Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung and EMF, to mention just a few of them.

I wonder if these artists talk to each other about the Philpott letters? What I do know is that a lot of the responses are clever political missiles, amusing anecdotes and it’s definitely worth the read.

Buy Dear Mr Pop Star to Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy at Unbound 

Publisher: Unbound, Pub. date 20 Sept. 2018

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

neil-patrick-harris-book

It is certainly an interesting way to write an autobiography. The reader gets to pick which direction they want the life of Neil Patrick Harris to go. So, for instance you get to the end of a chapter get three choices and pick one. That in turn takes you to another chapter and three other choices.

No matter what you pick, when you start from the beginning again, you never get the same story twice. That in itself makes it an extraordinary read. In essence the read you experience depends completely on your own mood when you pick which direction you want to go in. The power to decide which way to go and what choices to make.

The concept works better digitally, obviously clicking a link is faster and more efficient than searching for specific pages in a hard-copy. I think that would be the only downside to the way it is constructed. Other than that it is quite entertaining.

I think one of my favourite chapters or should I say some of, are the ones about the children. The careful planning, the selection process and the hilarious POTUS like security scheme when the babies are born.

What is absolutely clear to any reader is just how much Neil loves his husband David, and their children Harper and Gideon. He sounds content, as if all his boxes have been ticked and everything else is just a cherry on top of his very own ice-cream sundae.

My very own voyage with this book was taken at a time of stress and worry. I chose an amusing, happy and fulfilling read, which is exactly what I got. I finished it with a smile on my face and a chuckle on my lips.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss.