Forthcoming Publications

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Review of

Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North

4star.jpg Science Fiction

At its core Notes From the Burning Age by Claire North is a spy thriller, with as many double crosses, interrogations and night time escapes as Le Carre or Fleming. However, as with the best novels, it wears many masks and its most affecting one is that of a new and timely genre, cli-fi, or climate change fiction. North's novel tells of a world devastated by climate change where humans have been forced to start anew and live alongside nature without any of the modern and corrupting "luxuries" (read: fossil fuels, weapons of mass destruction, intensive farming). There is a growing unhappiness with this limiting world, and one group, the Brotherhood, aims to master these processes no matter the cost to the Earth. Full Review



Review of

Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell: Archibald Lox series, Volume 2, book 2 of 3 by Darren Shan

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

So. Having done the impossible and unpicked the lock to the Forgotten Crypt, from which the Departed communicate with the Merge, Archie now has grop to think about. But before that, soirees. Soirees! Archie, much to Inez's amusement, doesn't even know what one of those is. But he manages to come through the fancy party unscathed, even after an uncomfortable encounter with Kurtis, whose fledgling romance with Inez was crushed in the first volume of this series.  Full Review



Review of

The Echo Chamber by John Boyne

5star.jpg General Fiction

Meet George Cleverley. He is self-defined as "one of the few television personalities over the age of fifty without a criminal record". He starts this book a bit worried when his mistress tells him she's carrying his child, but then his author wife is getting her kicks with the Ukrainian partner "Strictly Come Dancing" paired her with. They have three children, who are a sad-sack with absolutely no social skills whatsoever, a girl who hangs around with a virtue-signalling, keyboard warrior "wokester" who wants to save the world's homeless with out-of-date food, and a fit young lad doing the gay hustle thing. Add in a few other characters – therapists, lawyers, random transgender types – that all have two very different connections to his life, and you have something that suggests an almost farcical approach to the modern world. What suggests the farcical approach even more, however, is the fact this is bloody funny. Full Review


Review of

The Heights by Louise Candlish

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

Ellen doesn't expect to see Kieran that day. She's on site, visiting a client for a lighting consultation when she spies him in a building across the way. There are lots of things, lots of people, you might see when you look out across London, but this isn't one Ellen expected that day or in fact any other day. Why? Because Kieran has been dead for over two years, and Ellen knows this for a fact, because she had a hand in his murder. Full Review



Review of

The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone

4star.jpg Crime

For those who, like me, haven't come across the Skelfs before, I'll risk a quick synopsis of who's who – although Johnstone does a good job of bringing the backstory in without being heavy handed about it. Skelf isn't some fantastic creature, though it sounds as though it ought to be, it is merely the surname of a family of undertakers. Undertakers and private investigators. Dorothy is the matriarch – Californian by birth and instinct, she married a scot and ended up helping to run the Edinburgh undertaking firm that had been in the family for generations. Recently widowed and now involved with a black Swedish police officer. Swedish by nationality. Scottish police. Daughter Jenny, 46, is haunted by her still-living husband – a violent escaped prisoner. And grand-daughter is about to graduate with a first-class physics degree and join the academic staff next term. Full Review



Review of

Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Julia, our pre-teen heroine, has been packed off with her parents and their cat from the family home in SW England to be lighthousekeepers for a summer, in the far NE of the Scottish islands. Here be Vikings, that kind of Scottish island. Dad is going to be automating the lantern, which is his specialist thing, while mum will be leaving her career in algae behind to hunt the elusive Greenland shark. And Julia, well, she will be homesick and alone – until she suddenly finds company one night. Full Review


Review of

Monster Hunting For Beginners by Ian Mark and Louis Ghibault

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Jack. Now Jack knows very little about being fearless and nimble and quick, for he's a slight boy, and although he wants for danger and peril and interesting things his dad refuses to let him out of his sight. That's because Jack's mother knew all about monsters, and look what happened to her – she died. Luckily or unluckily then, depending on your point of view, a giant ogre will threaten his aunt when Jack's father also goes AWOL, Jack will fluke the ogre's death, a dwarfish wizard-type will make him an apprentice monster hunter, and he'll be given a book that tells him all he needs to know about the perils he always wanted closer contact with. The book's name? Monster Hunting for Beginners... Full Review


Review of

The Week at World's End by Emma Carroll

4star.jpg Confident Readers

First, the title. We're in World's End Close, a mediocre set of houses, where Stevie (Vie to her friends) finds fun only with the family dog and with the boy over the road. But we could also be at World's End, because something taking a great chunk of the fun away is the fact that the Cuban Missile Crisis is kicking off. The Soviet boats are getting blockaded as America tries to reduce the risk of nuclear missiles offshore, and not much else is able to make the news. That said, Vie has news of her own – Anna, a secretive young woman hiding in their coal shed. Anna has, in no short time, taken a strong interest in the American airforce base behind the Close, said she'd locate something she wanted and leave, failed to leave, and implied her life was at risk. But surely this bit of intrigue has got nothing to do with what the Cold War is doing miles away? Full Review


Review of

The Ash House by Angharad Walker

5star.jpg Confident Readers

A new boy arrives at The Ash House. He doesn't know his name, or why he is there but he is used to the system, used to different places and different faces. He meets Dom who names him Sol and sets out to teach him the rules of The Ash House. These rules centre on a variety of Nicenesses set out by the absent Headmaster. All children must remember their Niceness and complete their chores, working as a hive in the smouldering shadows of The Ash House. But soon their easy peace is shattered by the arrival of the Doctor. By the end of the story, lives will be changed forever and The Ash House will never be the same again. Full Review



Review of

The Shadow Of The Gods by John Gwynne

5star.jpg Fantasy

The Shadow Of The Gods is the first installment of the Bloodsworn Saga, set in the era of the Vikings in the shadow of Ragnarok, when the Gods have battled and their bones lie scattered for all to see. This story is the ultimate in High Fantasy, and John Gwynne certainly does justice to the genre, with mythical creatures, archaic language and battles galore. This is a thick book, with an intricate plot and fascinating characters that are woven together to create a wonderfully realistic and gritty world in which our heroes must do battle. Full Review


Review of

The Stoning by Peter Papathanasiou

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

In a town sleazy enough to make sh*tholes elsewhere look glamorous in comparison, a teacher has been transported across town at night in a shopping trolley, and she's been taped to a tree and she's had rocks bowled at her as if she were the world's tallest cricket stumps. When she's discovered by the town gossip everyone, including the local cops, are quite confident the culprit has come from the immigrant detention centre the place is reluctantly home to. An arson attack on that shows the feeling – and it's only fair, is the general opinion, for the occupants are often setting their own fires in protest at their conditions. Cue the arrival of George Manolis, a higher rank from the city, to sort everything out. Because such an aggrieved, insular community is really going to welcome a Greek-heritaged city boy laying down the law... Full Review



Review of

I Know You by Claire McGowan

4star.jpg Thrillers

Then: Casey returns from a walk with the baby, Carson, and comes across three bodies, almost a whole family taken down.

Now: Rachel is out for a walk with her dog, Brandy, when she comes across a body in the woods. Full Review

You can work your way through the newest review, category by category, starting here.