Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT ARDENT JUSTICE by Peter Taylor-Gooby Financial #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Ardent Justice by Peter  Taylor-Gooby

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My Review:

It could be seen churlish to be in any way negative about Ardent Justice, especially as the reader is told up front that the book is  endorsed by Polly Toynbee and that the book is inspired by such eminent authors as Zoe Fairbairns and Lionel Shriver. And that all profits will go to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity. But the mention of this somehow grated on me; it was as though I was being challenged to find any fault in the novel.

So, gripe over and having said that I will try to be as balanced as I can in this review.

Starting with the Blurb. There are too many small details in the second paragraph that is more or less repeated in the last. I’m not sure the second paragraph is needed. Hmm…

I enjoyed parts of the book. It’s an interesting, intricate  plot and, on the whole, I did like the author’s writing style.

Endorsed as a  feminist thriller, I can see why Ade is the strong protagonist and Paul a secondary character. But, for me, these characters didn’t come to life as I would have liked them to. Told from the perspective of Ade, I didn’t feel the anger in her that was warranted, with all that happens in the story.

There is also a lot of emphasis on how small and vulnerable Paul is which would have been all right but constant reference to this felt odd in comparison with him being portrayed as a protector of the homeless and a trouble maker by the police.

And I didn’t feel that the two characters formed a realistic relationship.

The dialogue attributed to Ade felt more like ‘telling’ instead of her talking and the internal dialogue was too stilted, too correct in the structure of the syntax, although the dialogue of other characters was good.

The descriptions of the settings gave a good sense of place and although the dreams sections slowed the action they were evocative and did sometimes reveal the turmoil of the protagonist’s mind.

I was in two minds about the ending; the hope that the two characters would be finally able to provide care for the homeless was uplifting but the knowledge that there would still be corruption and sexism in the City of London and that nothing could stop it was depressing.

I think the book would benefit from tighter editing.

All in all this book wasn’t really a book for me but will, I think, appeal to readers who enjoy, the cut and thrust of a city’s financial shenanigans.

Book Description

Ade is a tax-inspector. She hates the City of London. She hates the endless corruption, the bland assumption that tax is for the little people. She hates the casual sexism, the smug self-assurance, the inviolability of the men she deals with, and the cold certainty that nothing you can do will ever touch them.
She finds herself in the world of the rootless, marginal street homeless who live meagre lives in the shadow of the office blocks that house the rich. She meets Paul, an Occupy activist who works with homeless people. As their love for each other grows, they find real fulfilment in fighting for the rights of ordinary people, such as Gemma, a homeless single parent.
Ardent Justice is a gripping feminist thriller, endorsed by Polly Toynbee, the leading Guardian columnist. It tells the story of Ade’s struggle against the City and for her own integrity, and of her love for Paul, and of how hard it is to live a morally good life in a corrupted world. It has been inspired by Zoe Fairbairns and Lionel Shriver and will appeal to fans of character-led thrillers. Profits will be donated to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

“Good to find a novel with a strong social message about the way we live now”

Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

About the author

Peter Taylor-Gooby

My novels deal with how people live their lives in a diverse globalised capitalist world. In ‘Ardent Justice’, Ade struggles against the corruption of the City of London, where high finance and street homelessness flourish cheek by jowl. In ‘The Baby Auction’ Ed and Matt struggle to lead a passionate, humane and generous life in a world dominated by the market.
In my day job I’m an academic. My research shows how market capitalism generates inequalities between haves and have-nots and promotes a corrosive individualism that stunts our capacity for empathy, charity and love.
I enjoy hill-walking, riding my bike, holidays and looking after my grand-daughter (not in that order). I became interested in social policy issues after working on adventure playgrounds, teaching, claiming benefits and working in a social security office in Newcastle. I’ve worked in the UK, most European countries, Canada, the US, China, Korea and Japan, Australia and South Africa.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Guest Author Patrick Brigham

Today our guest is Patrick Brigham, author of yesterday’s book Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery. Here is a link to the post if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4YB

Patrick Brigham

Let’s find out more about Patrick.

1)  Where is your home town?

I was born in a village just outside the town of Reading in Berkshire England.

2) How long have you been writing books?       

I started to write seriously in the late 80’s at a time when the UK was enjoying one of its many economic crashes and I had to put my day job on the back burner, along with the many others who got hammered alongside me. A friend suggested that I joined a writers club in Wimbledon where I was encouraged to write. It was where I met two quite well known authors, who obviously hadn’t joined in order to learn how to write, but went there because they said that they enjoyed the company of other writers and the inspiration this promoted. Writing is a lonely profession.

3) What was the key idea which started the storyline for you of Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery?       

Because I was the editor of a news magazine in Bulgaria, I was fascinated by the prospect of murdering myself as a fictional character, which is what seems to happening to Liam Side in Judas Goat. So I bumped myself off on a Narrow Boat, after which the story started to develop. I had always been very anti arms trade, seeing it as a scourge  which causes so many unnecessary deaths and so that became one of the main themes of this book. It underlined the fact that for someone to pull a trigger, first there has to be a trigger to pull!

4) I believe you’ve lived and worked in Bulgaria, how long were you there for?       

I lived there for nearly twenty years although I’d been there regularly, before the so called political changes in 1989, and met many of the Communist players.

5)  Can you tell the readers what led to Liam Side having business dealings with Bulgaria.

In the book it is made clear that most of his business dealings are on behalf of South Africa where he is from originally. This means that he travels a lot around the world including the Soviet Union, its satellite countries and client states. For this reason he is sucked into a shady arms deal mainly because his daughter’s  life has been threatened if he does not cooperate. However, because he is a cool character, he manages to turn this threat into an invitation for his co-conspirators to            ultimately meet either justice or their ultimate doom –hence the title Judas Goat!

6)  Can you explain the political relationship between South Africa and Bulgaria which led to Thomas Biko being in Sophia.       

Thomas Biko is the new South African Ambassador. A supporter of the ANC, he has been placed there by supporters of Nelson Mandela after the political changes within South Africa. Liam Side tries to help him to purchase necessary plant and equipment, missing from SA due to the past embargo.

7) Why is Antony Kwong based in the UK? And how would you describe his type of business?

 Antony Kwong is a very typical shady businessman who enjoys the thriving commerce of London and the fact that it has so many banks and historical connections with international trade. We must never forget that trading is a major part of the many activities in the City of London, as is commodity trading and maritime insurance. Unfortunately, arms trading also becomes a part of this business – officially and unofficially – as many tyrannical third world dictators try to stay in control of their countries and to exploit their own population.

8) Yuri Vassilev turned out to be very helpful to Lambert, tell us about his career path.       

He would be a career policeman attached to the Ministry of The Interior. He is an exception to the rule and as a civilized man, wishing to distance himself from the  corruption which Communism breeds. Forget Karl Marx and Lenin, Communism is about power and money and he just wants to be a good policeman. He is also useful and appears in my forthcoming novel too.

9) Tell us about your other book, Herodotus.

Herodotus – The Gnome of Sofia is a light hearted look at the bumbling antics of a largely inward looking and mediocre diplomatic corps, whose mantra is ‘If you do nothing, you do nothing wrong.’ Imbued with elitism and totally self serving, in this book we can see their world gradually falling apart when you the reader,            discover that the British Ambassador’s wife is in fact the daughter of Britain’s most notorious spy, Jim Kilbey. Not a particularly nice woman and rather like her natural father in many ways, she turns out to be treacherous, selfish and – showing all the signs of being a sociopath – not far distant from her father Jim Kilbey’s            disreputable character.

10)  What are you working on at the moment, do you have an expected publishing date?

In an Angel over Rimini, once more come across Detective Chief Inspector Michael Lambert, this time working for Europol. This is also a story which has two prongs – one past and one present – when he is sent by Europol to help investigate the abduction of a little English girl from Rimini in Italy. A part of the obnoxious trade in human beings and misery, Lambert discovers that the Italian police have practically given up trying to trace her. A problem of perception, Vice Inspector Bosola of the State Police is convinced that she was murdered by her parents and buried somewhere locally, despite the fact that there is evidence which shows that she has been kidnapped and transported into Europe. Lambert pursues the evidence which leads him to Greece, into Eastern Europe and back to Germany.

The second prong of this mystery is an historical one which involves his late father Billy. He served as an RAF officer in a Pathfinder Squadron, during the allied invasion of Southern Europe and what has become known as ‘The Dirty War.’ It seems that he may have had an affair with a beautiful Italian aristocrat whilst serving in Bari and that Michael Lambert might have a secret Italian half brother . But who is Billy Lambert really and why did he always carry a pistol?  There appears to be a mystery side to Billy Lambert which his son knows nothing about and possibly a murder as well! When DCI Lambert finally reaches through the smoke and mirrors he discovers the true story.

Judas Goat - The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery

 Find a copy here from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Thank you Patrick and Good Luck with the next book.