Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT An Ugly Way To Go by Iain Pattison @AuthorIain #bookreview

Today’s second team review comes from Terry, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry chose to read and review An Ugly Way To Go by Iain Pattison


An Ugly Way to Go by Iain Pattison

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by Terry as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

Iain Pattison’s ‘quintessentially quirky tales’ is a collection of short stories of varying length, all except one of which are in a broad fantasy/humour genre. The exception is ‘Hampered’, about a couple who take a balloon ride, which is rather touching.

The book is very well presented and all the stories are competently written, with some amusing and well put together turns of phrase. As is usually the case with short story collections, they varied in quality. I very much liked ‘A Rum Tale’, a comic book style story about a pirate; cleverly done and atmospheric, with its over the top characters. Other favourites were ‘Open Sesame’, about an unhappily married couple facing a zombie apocalypse, and ‘Interview With The Vampire’ (clue’s in the name); both of these were excellent, with a funny and unexpected turnaround right at the end. The end of ‘Crowning Glory’ was good, too. Others were less well executed; the ideas were great, but I think the key to writing a good short-story-with-a-twist is that the twist MUST be unexpected (otherwise it’s like guessing the punchline to a joke!), and come at the very end, ie, the last thing you read, not two pages before the end; with a couple of them I knew exactly what was going to happen, and the ‘twist’ went on too long. However, all the stories were highly readable; none of them were boring.

A guest story by Chloe Banks, ‘Missing Signs and Wonders’, provides an enjoyable end to the collection. I spent a pleasant couple of hours reading these, and would recommend the book to any lovers of short stories.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Broken Wings by Ian Welch #bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Judith, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Judith chose to read and review Broken Wings by Ian Welch


First, I would like to thank Rosie Amber and Ian Welch for providing me this book so I may bring you this review.
Broken Wings has a huge plot-line that spans over many years. I’ll put my thoughts down in a different way than I normally do by giving the gist of the story:
Lawrence Cranston, the eldest son of a poor family who live in Portsmouth in England just after WW2, has died in mysterious explosion. The father, Edward, drinks. The mother, Isabel, is struggling to keep a roof over the family’s head. Edward becomes terminally ill. The scene is set for him to make some monumental changes that will provide for the family when he dies and will also settle an old score. After his death, and following a certain incident, Isabel makes drastic changes for herself and the rest of the family. They move to Los Angeles but trouble follows them in many guises. Eventually Isabel moves back to England to face her past.
I’ve said no more than is in the book description on Amazon.

Okay … this is a storyline that covers many years and it’s an interesting one. It’s easy to see that there has been a lot of research carried out to get the setting correct and give a sense of place, both to the houses and the towns and cities that the characters move around in. And there are enough descriptions dropped in to also give a sense of the era.
My main problem is that there is no even pace within the book; sometimes there is a great deal of time spent on scenes that, in my opinion, could be shorter (such as when Isabel and Abby meet Selwyn Sainsbury. And then there are other scenes that I wanted to be longer, to be explored, to get an inner depth (such as when Edward is diagnosed with his illness and struggles to come to terms with it). Yet overall I thought there was too much crammed in. And I felt as though the author realised this as the phrase, ‘weeks flew by’, time flew by,’ etc. was constantly reiterated. I was just getting into a certain part of the plot when, as a reader I was forced to follow another storyline. Sometimes I felt that parts of the novel read as a synopsis.

Told from an omniscient third party point of view, it was interesting to see the viewpoints of the main characters Isabel and Edward with the odd chapters designated to the children, Frank, Phoebe, and Abby.

Although the frustrations that both Isabel and Edward struggle with is revealed in the inner dialogue of both, I wanted more from both of them; Edward’s fear as a man terminally ill, Isabel’s worry about how she would cope without him as a person, rather than cheerfully planning which part of Eleanor and Selwyn Sainsbury’s house she would live in.
I did feel that, sometimes, the dialogue of all the characters was quite stilted and there was often a hint of an American vernacular. But my main problem with the dialogue was with that of the youngest daughter, Abby. At the beginning of the book it was stated she was three but soon became five (and I re-read this part because I thought I’d missed time moving on – but no). Even so, either age, she spoke more as an adult than a child and this both irritated and made her unbelievable.

So … my final thoughts
This is a wonderful story but it feels rushed. There is far more to be explored with all the characters to give them all depth, to give them backgrounds that show the reader why they act as they do. To my mind it’s at least two books, maybe even a trilogy. There is certainly enough action and plot to take it over more than one book

The book would be stronger if more evenly paced

Perhaps another edit would iron out some of the minor formatting, repetition, grammar and punctuation problems?

And, lastly, I wasn’t keen on the title, Broken Wings. The phrase wasn’t brought in until the end of the story. The strength of this plot deserves a stronger title. But this might be me … I might have missed something.

Anyway, give it a try; I’d be interested to see what other readers think.

This book is available on:

Would You BUY or PASS? #FridayFiveChallenge Busman’s Honeymoon by Jenna Bennett #Mystery

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge

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Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

This week my search word was “Magpie”

I’m not sure why this book was in the selection but this is what I chose from the cover.

Busman’s Honeymoon: the Savannah Martin Honeymoon Novella (Savannah Martin Mysteries)

Pre-order a copy from or

Book Description

It’s official. Margaret Anne Martin’s perfect daughter Savannah has tied the knot with her unsuitable boyfriend Rafe Collier, and they’re off on their honeymoon to sunny Florida, courtesy of Savannah’s brother Dix and sister Catherine.

However, the happy couple barely has time to enjoy a night of nuptial bliss before they find themselves face to face with the dead body of their hostess, Frenetta Wallin, the next morning. And as soon as the local sheriff’s deputy finds out about Rafe’s criminal record, Savannah’s new husband becomes suspect Numero Uno in what might not have been a natural death.

So much for a romantic honeymoon full of sun, sand, and hot sex.

Instead, Savannah must ferret out the truth about who wanted Frenetta dead, and why, before the sheriff can slap handcuffs on Rafe and slam the cell door behind him.

Price; £1.49 kindle edition due out on September 1st.

Number of pages; 104

No reviews yet, but this is a new book in a mystery series which have a few reviews on but are more popular on

Would I BUY or PASS? ……Pass


It was the motorbike which caught my eye on the book cover along with the title, “A Busman’s Honeymoon”. At first I thought it was one of those travel memoirs, where someone travels across a continent. I mis-read the title as “A Busman’s Holiday”. So now I’ve got a book which isn’t what I expected, so perhaps the book cover, although eye-catching, isn’t sending the reader the right message. It is a “Busy” cover with lots going on. As a thumb -nail, I had to peer at the red ribbons and tin can and I guess the “Just Married” sign on the back of the bike. They really don’t add anything to the picture when they are so small. This is only available in Kindle to start with, but if it gets released as a paperback this book cover will work better in a larger version on a bookshelf.

The book description is basic, this is a light read mystery with a bad boy biker for just 104 pages, It will be a quick read and offers a quick burst of escapism.

Here are links to other #FridayFiveChallengers

Cathy chose a psychological thriller

Shelley has gone in search of Gypsies

Liz has found an East Indianman sea faring book

Barb can’t wait to be a Grandparent, but what kind will she be?

Wendy found a very tasty mystery


Julie’s Butterfly by Greta Milan #Romance #bookreview

Julie's ButterflyJulie’s Butterfly by Greta Milán

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Julie’s Butterfly is a romance set in Europe around the little know skin disorder called epidermloysis bullosa. It’s an hereditary skin condition where normal skin strength and elasticity is missing a few genes and the sufferer gets cuts, wounds and open sores from simple knocks, scrapes and body stresses. People with the disorder are know as butterfly children because their skin is as delicate as the wings of a butterfly.

The version of Julie’s Butterfly which I read was a paperback translation into English by Alison Layland and I could not tell it was a translation. The main story begins with us meeting Julietta Hoffman at an art gallery exhibition for her friend Isabelle. Here she is introduced to Bastian Colbert the official photographer, she is very taken with him, but he is cold and defensive brushing off her attempts at conversation. However in truth he thinks she is a most beautiful creature and he admires her from afar, even taking her picture.

They meet again when thrown together to photograph a collection of Julie’s mother’s antiques and both are very uncomfortable working closely together until Julie pushed past Bastian’s icy walls of protection. Yet he runs away in fear.

Through perseverance they do come together but it is terrible hard for Bastian to reveal anything about himself, even when she is understanding of his suffering. But their relationship can never be true if he cannot learn to trust and to love himself.

It’s Bastian who forces a separation of the couple from where only he can return from the depths of despair and face his final hurdle.

This is a beautiful tender romance around a subject close to the author’s heart and one written with sensitivity and thought, it also shows the changing world of acceptance for sufferers of disorders which medicine is trying to help.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via translator Alison Layland.

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View all my reviews On Goodreads

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Angels by @BevSpice #Shortstory #Bookreview

Today’s team book review comes from Alison, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Alison chose to read and review Angels by Bev Spicer

Angels (a metaphysical horror story)

Angels by B A Spicer

This gripped me right from the beginning and I read the whole story in one sitting – very unusual for me however much I love a book because my life is horrendously busy! But I was so drawn in that I had to read on.

This story sensitively and yet honestly portrays the lengths mothers will go to for their children and the emotional depth there is behind a mother/daughter relationship. I won’t say too much for fear of spoiling the story, but as a mother it spoke to me, and I identified so closely with the main characters that it was actually quite unsettling.

And that goes to show what a talented writer B A Spicer is. The writing is beautifully crafted, the characters really well drawn for such a short piece. I do think this story has real potential to be developed into something much longer.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Danger At Thatcham Hall by @FrancesEvesham

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Barb has been reading Danger At Thatcham Hall by Frances Evesham


My Review: 4.5  stars out of 5

In John Bowen’s talk filmed at Horace Walpole’s miniature gothic Strawberry Hill—birthplace of the gothic novel—the Professor of 19th century literature at the University of York lists the essential elements of the gothic genre. Danger at Thatcham Hall, Frances Evesham’s latest novel, provides a seamless illustration of each point:

  • A proper gothic requires its heroine to be transported to a strange place, such as a wilderness or prison. When Olivia Martin’s father dies leaving his wife and daughter in dire financial straits, they accept her cousin Hugh’s offer of an empty manor house near his own estate, Thatcham Hall. Although only a train ride from London’s amenities, the English countryside is a place full of unknown terrors for London-raised Olivia, who we first meet during her encounter with a terrifying horned beast—which turns out to be a placidly grazing Jersey milk cow. Her fear is mocked by an elegant stranger, barrister Nelson Roberts, also a London transplant brought in by Lord Thatcham when one of his servants is falsely accused of animal maiming. In best gothic fashion, her relief that the cow isn’t an attacking bull is short-lived, as another stumble leads to the discovery of a murdered body. Of course, a proper gothic also includes a contrast from the past, and Olivia soon meets that in the form of a strange young boy and his even stranger grandmother, whose tragic history is connected to both Thatcham Hall and to Nelson Robert’s military service as a British Major during a botched Afghan campaign.
  • Power is always a theme in gothics, and frequently expressed in their fascination with sexuality. Vulnerable young women are threatened, either explicitly with rape or at least with the sexual power of patriarchal figures who seem to have no restraints on their desires. But the gothic is all about the ways in which those seemingly fragile and vulnerable women triumph over such supposedly unbeatable forces. In Danger at Thatcham Hall, Olivia is indeed vulnerable, seemingly without protection or resources. As she and Nelson investigate the mysterious deaths and other events, however, we learn that she is both self-reliant and strong, with a plan to escape her fate. The hero, interestingly, is not part of this power dynamic. His job, plain and simple, is to be strong, preferably witty, and save the heroine while (unsuccessfully, of course) attempting to conceal his tortured soul (from which torment, of course, she rescues him). Olivia senses the darkness and conflict in Nelson, suffering from what we would today call post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The indispensable tools of the Gothic-genre are the uncanny and the sublime. The former surfaces as Olivia and Nelson see familiar items used in peculiar ways, such as personal items stolen from Lord Thatcham’s family, rope with strange items twisted into it, or seemingly innocent herbs. For eighteenth century readers and still today, terrifying and overwhelming natural events such as storms or fire—things outside of the usual categories of beautiful or harmonious—contained sublime meaning. In Danger at Thatcham Hall, for example, a storm rages the night Nelson is accused of murder, while a climactic fire provides answers to the final mysteries.
  • As they describe frightening events, gothics usually fall into either terror or horror categories. Some, such as Frankenstein or Dracula, embrace supernatural phenomena to evoke horror. One of the early masters of the gothic, Ann Radcliffe, believed that terror could be “morally uplifting” by not explicitly showing horrific events, but only warning readers of their possibility. Horror, on the other hand, would describe those events fully, and thus be “morally bad”. In choosing terror over horror, the writers often looked for a natural or realistic explanation for perceived supernatural phenomena. For example, the ghostly sounds and events Jane Eyre witnesses prove to be caused by her lover’s very-much-alive hidden wife. As they investigate the mysteries in Danger at Thatcham Hall, Olivia and Nelson hear whispers of witchcraft, curses, and echoes of past evil.

It is such a pleasure to see an expert at work, and Frances Evesham is clearly a master of the gothic novel genre. Danger at Thatcham Hall is the second book in her Thatcham Hall Mysteries, but also stands well on its own. The main characters, Olivia Martin and Nelson Roberts, are at the same time perfectly shaped by their world and struggling against the limits imposed by their backgrounds and demographics. By rights, as the daughter of an impoverished widow, Olivia should be destined for a life as a governess or paid companion. Nelson should have been at the center of a group of military heroes telling tall tales of his exploits. But she is determined to earn a living with her music, while he struggles to make a name for himself as a barrister. Frances Evesham’s technique of alternating points of view between the two main characters allows us see them both from the outside and also get a glimpse of the people beneath their conventional facades. The Victorian vocabulary of the gothic is particularly entertaining, such as Olivia becoming properly “breathless” when being carried by Nelson. And I’m no expert on Victorian times, but I’m bowled over by the amount of period detail and research she commands.

My complaints are fairly minor. Even Victorians, I believe, would not be so formal in private as to have Miss Dainty refer to her cousin and friend Olivia as “Miss Martin” even when the two are alone. More significantly, I just couldn’t buy the final revelation of the identity of the villain who is manipulating the whole chain of events. Without going into spoiler-territory, I have to say I didn’t see enough buildup in the story to ever believe that “the villain” could possibly have the understanding and depth to influence and/or cause the events.

But overall, for the pitch-perfect orchestration of the gothic genre in all its elements, for the beautifully paced and written narrative, and for the creation of two wonderful lead characters, I would give Danger at Thatcham Hall four and a half stars out of five. And I certainly can’t wait for the next book in this incredible series!

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Rosie’s Avid Readers #RBRT Saint Anything by @sarahdessen #YA #Bookreview

Rosie’s Avid readers are people who like reading and have a book to tell us about, they are the voice of a friend who says ” I just read this book….”


Avid Reader’s Thoughts

‘Throughout my childhood, I have always loved Sarah Dessen as a writer: she explores very relevant and sometimes very upsetting topics through the narrative of a loveable, intelligent protagonist, combining this exploration of complex issues with relatable events and emotions of every teenager ever (eh hem, first crush). So when I picked up ‘Saint Anything’, I was not disappointed…

This novel is narrated by a teenage girl called Sydney, whose older brother, Peyton, has always been the apple of their parents’ eyes, receiving all of the attention: even when he is sent to jail. Yet, overshadowed by her brother’s reckless behaviour, it seems to be Sydney who is left behind with all of the guilt and shame of his mistakes. Lost and confused, Sydney finds a comfort and acceptance within the welcoming but very chaotic Chatham family, where she meets Mac, gentle, warm and protective, and who makes Sydney feel like she finally belongs. Intertwined with this tale of one young girl finding her true self are issues such as parental relationships, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, and illnesses, all very relevant and important topics in our teenage society today: it is the exploration of these controversial issues that makes the novel so powerful and moving. However, whilst these darker messages and morals are very emotional, they are explored in such a way that makes them seem more approachable and beatable, through the light-hearted and witty perspective of Sydney, the protagonist: she is rational and guarded, yet warm and loving, and there are many comments that she makes that earn her a lot of admiration and respect from me as a reader. What I also love about ‘Saint Anything’ is that there are a few very special moments throughout the novel, such as when Sydney and her new-found friends discover an old merry-go-round, an event which I feel symbolises the unexpected and magical moments that life can bring: there are lots of morals and symbols in Dessen’s writing, and you learn them without even realising, through her very clever and easy narrative style.

If I had to criticise the novel in any way (and I don’t want to), it would be that some of the events are very predictable: I won’t name them, but it comes to a point where you as the reader just know that some things are going to happen, which does take away some of the literary anticipation. However, equally there are events that do completely surprise you, so maybe Dessen has found a clever balance between the two elements?

In conclusion, there is very little about this novel that I can knock, and a lot that I can praise: the characters are developed deeply, and all are loveable in their own way; there is a plot thread of fast food, which is of course appreciated; and alongside things so light-hearted runs an exploration of some very sensitive and relevant problems with our society. So does Sydney eventually find her voice? – you’ll have to read to find out!’

Book description

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

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We welcome recommendations especially from non-authors for this feature, and would love to hear from anyone who would like to leave a comment and follow the blog.

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Undertaker’s Son by @BevSpice #BookReview

Today’s team review comes from Alison, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Alison chose to read and review The Undertaker’s Son by Bev Spicer


The Undertaker’s Son by Bev Spicer

I have to admit to being a bit of a Francophile so this book appealed straight away although not only because of its setting, but also because Bev Spicer is a writer whose books I’ve enjoyed previously.

I was hooked straight away. The sleepy charm of the French village and the relationships between its inhabitants are all really well drawn. And the character we meet first, Martha, appeals to me with her brave decision to move to France alone to live the life she wants after her marriage collapses.

But this book isn’t a jolly light summer read about British people abroad. It’s far darker and deeper than that. There’s the creepy Claude, whose obsession with a childhood friend, and strange career choice make for a very chilling character; Felix Dumas, a villain that you desperately want to get his just desserts; spoilt, selfish Angeline, who is so intent on her ambitions that she fails to see, and almost loses, what she already has; and unreliable Clement, who I wanted to hate, but whose touching dedication to his father made me warm to him. All these characters, and more, are woven together in a narrative that is intelligent, engrossing and a real pleasure to read.

This isn’t a book with a fast-paced plot, lots of excitement and dramatic twists and turns, but it is no less compelling for that. It is a well-crafted, thoughtful book about people, the choices they make, the secrets they keep, the obsessions that drive them and the paths they choose.

My only gripe is that, having become invested in Martha’s story, I felt that I lost her about half way through; she became simply part of the larger cast of characters, rather than the centre around which the others revolved. Aside from that, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book.

4-5 out of 5 stars.

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Wednesday Wing…Does your book have a Wham! Impact opening line? #wwwblogs #WriterTips

Welcome to my new feature called Wednesday Wing where I’ll be passing on

observations, tips and information to readers I’ve made a note of.

Rosie's Notebook

Today I’m passing on a tip about HIGH IMPACT opening lines.

I read several books a week, each time I open a new book I look forward to the first lines pulling me in, making me ask questions, getting me inside the head of a character. To me that’s the making of a great book.

Kate Moretti gives a concise and extremely interesting post here called “Fishing Out Your Manuscript Hook” when she wrote a guest post for Writers in the Storm.

The more books I read the more I DISLIKE prologues/ prefaces, quotes and poems, pages which, for me, interfere with launching myself into the book.

What I want is a gem of a book which grabs me and takes me off on an adventure, an escape from my ordinary life and one where I can’t stop turning the pages.

I’m going to grab some books from my bookshelf and tell you their first sentence and let’s see which ones we would carry on reading.

It was at a love-spinning that I saw Kester first. (Precious Bane by Mary Webb) A small hook for me I want to know what a love-spinning is and who Kester is?

“I need poison…now…this very night” (The Gallows Curse by Karen Maitland) Another small hook, who needs the poison? Why is their speech drawn out? Are they ill or out of breath? 

It was dark under the trees, only a little moonlight penetrating the half-bare branches. (Sovereign by C.J Sansom) No real hook here for me.

Death…David lifted his eyes from the desk, looking at the framed photograph of Duane Hanson’s plastic sculpture “Supermarket Lady”.  (Handling The Undead by John Lindqvist) A small hook, who is David? but the rest did nothing for me, in fact the word plastic turned me off.

A flash of moonlight touched her hair with silver as she scurried along the street into town. (Cold Sacrifice by Leigh Russell) A very small hook, who is this lady? But not very exciting.

“Ever-Wait!” Damen reaches toward me, grasping my shoulder, hoping to slow me, to bring me to him, but I keep moving forward, can’t afford the delay. (Ever Lasting by Alyson Noel) A good hook. who is Damen? What are they running from or to? Are they running or walking fast? Why can’t they afford a delay?

 The road was a killer, hardly wider than a decent stream of spit and snaking like a cobra between giant bushes loaded with strange flowers that resembled drops of blood. (Indulgence in Death by J.D Robb) This one hooked me, in fact it had me reading on…Why was the road a killer? Where is it set? Is the blood a significance? Why does the narrator choose these analogies? What is their mind-set? Are they male or female?

Over to you, what do you look for in a first line?

Here are links to all  previous Wednesday Wing posts.

May 6th 2015 – Checking your WordPress is linked to your Twitter helps others share your posts

May 13th 2015 – Writer’s Craft books by Rayne Hall full of REALLY useful tips

May 20th 2015 – Hyperlinks, Short links and Linkys

May 27th 2015 – Making your post titles easy to share on Twitter to maximise views.

June 17th 2015 – Creating Twitter pics that fit

June 24th 2015 – Creating a slideshow on WordPress

July 1st 2015 – Getting the most out of Google+ posts

July 8th 2015 – Automated Tweets, LOVE ‘EM or HATE ‘EM? make use of them

July 15th 2015 – What’s Your Book Genre?

July 22nd 2015 – Should you write dreams into your work?

July 29th 2015 – What can I read in the first 10% of your book?

August 5th 2015 – Dialogue – he/she said

August 12th 2015 – Creating Twitter Lists –

August 19th 2015 – Making best use of your Twitter “Thank-You”

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Kill Line by Robert Leigh @ScreamingMagpie #wwwblogs #bookreview

Today’s second team review is from Terry, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry chose to read and review Kill Line by Robert Leigh


Kill Line by Robert Leigh

5 out of 5 stars

I liked this book a lot, so much that I’ve already downloaded Robert Leigh’s latest one, Any Man Joe.

Shaun Dolan works in a call centre, and murders customers who are unnecessarily rude to him. Yet I still kind of liked the guy. I didn’t want him to get caught. That’s a real art – making the reader root for a brutal psychopath.   Oh dear, I hope it’s not just me…

The strength of this book is the sharp observation by which the characters have been created, from Shaun’s boozy mates, to the chav ex-girlfriend, to the begging victims Barry Johnson and the revoltingly pompous Derek Page-Dove (great name!), and, best of all – the ghastly, dreadful supervisors and management at Skymiles and Calltex call centre. Well done, Robert Leigh – the section in the middle about the changeover from Skymiles to Elevation, with all its corporate BS, is a masterpiece – it’s obvious the author has worked in one of those places, and the production of this novel must have made every soul destroying moment worth it. The dialogue is spot on, with every awful buzzword and phrase these people use; yes, and don’t they always refer to their staff, etc, as ‘you guys’??! Ugh!

This is not a novel for the squeamish; the violence is graphic, and you’ll want to weep for the victims. But it’s kind of funny. If you can believe that. Not laugh out loud funny, but witty and clever.

I wavered between 4 and 5 stars all the way through it, eventually deciding on 5*. I think it needs some tidying up, I thought the Harry Collins part was too much, and I was a tiny bit disappointed by the ending, but these are very minor complaints (in fact, not even complaints), are only my opinion, and the good bits are so very good that I couldn’t have given it less.

Highly recommended!

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