📚A Good Premise, But The Book Needed More Work. Sherry Reviews Cosy #Mystery Death By Pins And Needles by Susie Black For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

Sherry blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sherry has been reading Death By Pins And Needles by Susie Black.

I was attracted to this book by the blurb and thought it would be something I would really enjoy as I am a big fan of cozy mysteries. When I started this one, I immediately felt lost as the story dumped the reader in the midst of a lot of characters (mostly unlikable) and a scene that was hard to get acclimated in. It seems this book is part of a series and I certainly hope the readers of the initial book were oriented as to time and place and people in a better way than this book did. It was as if the reader was expected to have read the prior book and be familiar with all the characters and the setting.

I read three chapters confused and stopped reading for another week or so before picking it up again.

On the second try, things became a bit clearer but I still didn’t like any of the characters. The group of friends of the protagonist called the Yentas were rude and condescending and the woman I expected to be the murder victim was nasty as well. No one really seemed to be someone this reader could root for or even care about.

By the time I got to chapter seven, I was about to set it aside as one I wouldn’t finish.

I pressed on, hoping it would improve and it did somewhat. It still had issues I couldn’t quite get past but the story did start to make sense and I did enjoy the premise of the tale.

Some things that bothered me that stopped my total enjoyment of the story: (1) The author used a phrase that was something on the lines of, “I twirled my hands in a ta-da motion” or “I turned my hands in a ta-da motion.” I’d never seen such a phrase and it was used more than once in the book. There was quite a lot of twirling of hands and fingers throughout the book. (2) The author also used the phrase, “Gave me the big eyes” which threw me out of the story each time it was used.  (3) “Gave me the stink eye” was also overused. I think the story would have been better with some judicious editing out of some of these odd, repetitive phrases. One or two occurrences in a novel is one thing, but over and over was too much. (4) One other glaring thing was using words wrong—such as in one place, the protagonist said her “curiosity peaked” which should have been piqued. I blame this on her editor. I get that sometimes the wrong words get into books, but this should have been caught.

The main character’s way of questioning people she suspected of the crime was rude and she sometimes (a lot, actually) behaved in a stupid and reckless manner. She actively put herself in danger and alienated people. If I’d been on the other end of her questioning, I would have wasted no time telling her to go away, but these people answered her questions like she had some authority to ask them. Her style of confrontation was off-putting and I wondered many times why the other characters put up with it when they didn’t have to talk to her at all.

Overall, even though I sound like I hated this book, the premise was good and the whodunit had a lot of characters to choose from which was a plus. I think it could have used a lot more editorial work. I’m not sure how the protagonist and her friends could be made more likable for this reader but I know a lot of readers enjoy this type of protagonist—irreverent, snarky, and sometimes over the top. For someone who likes that type character, this book is perfect. It just wasn’t for me. 3.5 stars

Orange rose book description
Book description

The last thing Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected to find when she opened the closet door was nasty competitor Lissa Charney’s battered corpse nailed to the wall. When Holly’s colleague is wrongly arrested for Lissa’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth sticks her nose everywhere it doesn’t belong to sniff out the real killer. Nothing turns out the way she thinks it will as Holly matches wits with a heartless killer hellbent on revenge.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚Life As An Empty-Nester. Sherry Reviews #Contemporary Fiction Finding Verity by @jenloudonauthor, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

Sherry blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sherry has been reading Finding Verity by Jenny Loudon

The story of Verity is beautifully written and deals with a woman who made choices as a young lady that led her to a marriage where her own dreams were put on hold to raise her family and grow a business. She had an artistic soul and wanted to be like her father and be a landscape painter but went into interior design as a way to make a living.

Before her marriage, she met a man named Edward who was a free spirit. She was attracted to him but ultimately made the decision to marry a man named Matt. A man who subsumed her and her spirit.

The journey of Verity as she approaches fifty and becomes an empty nester is the bulk of the book. She and her husband live in London in the Fulham area. They had discussed for many years moving to the countryside when their children left home so she could follow her dream of being a painter. Now that the time is at hand, her husband is balking at the idea.

While I enjoyed the beautiful prose of the author and the story was well-told, (Ms. Loudon also has a lovely gift for description), I absolutely hated the character of Matt. And got pretty annoyed at Verity for her personality and how she allowed him to get away with treating her as he did. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.

I did begin to skim through some of the story as I was so upset over the relationship between Verity and her husband. I think my own strong personality and innate sense of justice led me to the anger I felt for her and at him and that may have interfered with my 100% enjoyment of the story.

If you like stories of women finding themselves even at a later time in their lives, this one could be right up your alley. It didn’t fully sit well with me but it was well written and for the right reader, it’s probably a gem. I am giving it 4 stars as it was a nicely done novel.

Orange rose book description
Book description

The heartwarming bestseller from this exciting debut novelist. An unhappy woman. An unfinished romance. A sense that time is running out…

Verity Westwood is a successful London businesswoman whose husband is handsome but selfish.

When Edward Farrell, a nomadic American journalist from her past, returns unexpectedly, she is swept by the irresistible desire to fulfil her dreams of working as an artist, like her famous father before her. After being caught in a storm on the Cote d’Azur, she vows to change her life.

What she does not foresee is the struggle involved, the ultimate price she will pay, and the powerful force of enduring love that changes everything.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚Based On A True Story. Sherry Reviews A Noble Cunning: The Countess Of The Tower by Patricia Bernstein, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

Sherry blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sherry has been reading A Noble Cunning: The Countess Of The Tower by Patricia Bernstein.

This novel is based on and inspired by the real life bravery of a Scottish countess in 1715. Her name was Winifred Maxwell, Countess of Nithsdale. She saved her husband from certain death by smuggling him out of the Tower.

The character in the book is Bethan Glentaggert, Countess of Clarencefield. When she was a child, her family fled to France with King James II (A Stuart king) when William of Orange and Queen Mary (Stuarts) took the throne. Her family was Catholic and lived in exile for many years. She married at age 27 and moved to Scotland with her husband. They lived happily for a while, having three children, but eventually, when the first Jacobite rebellion (to restore James to the throne) occurred, her husband joined in, taking many of his tenants with him into battle.

With the rebels’ loss at Preston, her husband was taken prisoner and held in the Tower of London awaiting trial. The countess sent her children to safety and traveled to London to try to save her husband.

We, as readers, make the journey with her. Through a terrible winter storm. One of the worst in years. The author did an excellent job with the descriptions and the travails of the trip. A lesser woman might have given up. The countess had to leave her companion at one point and continue on her own. As a modern day woman, I can’t even imagine how scary that was—first, with the weather and then when alone, worrying about cutthroats and robbers. A woman alone was very vulnerable, but she persevered.

Once she arrives in London, she visits her husband in the Tower and gets him legal counsel to try to fight the treason charges. She also tries to plead to the king to let him go free. She hatches a back-up plan to try to save him if the legal case doesn’t go well.

The book was full of historical details and the author did an excellent job of painting the reader a picture of the era. It was as if we were there with the intrepid countess in the snow and in the Tower. The feeling of fear she felt for her husband and what would happen to him read very real. The only disappointment I had with the book was the ending. I wanted more information about what happened when the countess joined her husband at the culmination of her brave and daring plan. I guess I’ll have to read one of the books in the bibliography at the end of the novel to learn more about the real life lady who took on the British establishment.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Based on the true story of Winifred Maxwell,
a Catholic in anti-Catholic England

Scotland, 1716 –

Traveling alone through a frightful snowstorm, Bethan Glentaggart is desperate to get to London where her husband languishes in the Tower of London. As the date of Gavin’s beheading rapidly approaches, Bethan has only her wits and her women friends to support her against King George. Will she be able to free Gavin? Will she even be allowed to see him?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS (Due out March 7th 2023)

🧙‍♀️’For Fans Of The Macabre And Light #Horror’ @JillianChantal reviews Legacy Witches by @CassKayWrites for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

Sherry blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sherry has been reading Legacy Witches by Cass Kay.

Book cover for urban fantasy Legacy Witches by Cass Kay, set against a background of a moon from a free photo from Pixabay.

Vianna Roots is a reluctant witch from a Salem family which has a long history of witchcraft.  She also sees the dead which is not a normal characteristic of a witch. She’s never fit in—either with the town or her family and she had a bad relationship with her mother. As soon as she was able, she escaped in the middle of the night and had no intention of ever returning to her childhood home.

Fate had other plans for Vianna. Her mother died and she had to return home to take part in the burial ritual. But Vianna had other plans than performing the ritual as it is supposed to go. She wanted to tie her mother to the grave so she couldn’t come back and harass her like her other dead relatives—especially her grandmother Susannah.

When Vianna arrives in Salem, she has an accident in her old truck with, of all things, a local policeman.  Then, when she gets to the house she inherited, which she can’t wait to sell off, the house won’t let her in and things continue to go downhill for her from there.

She doesn’t want to wear witch robes to the cemetery and chooses a red dress from her mother’s closet which turns out to be the dress her mother wore when she was initiated into her role as a witch. Something Vianna is determined not to let happen to herself.

At the cemetery, we meet a number of other characters who all have distinct personalities and who do not much care for the rebel Vianna. The scene is set for more drama in her life.

Vianna ties her mother to her grave and once she returns home, she starts to clear out some of the old things lying around. In searching a drawer, she finds a rotting hand. A vision of a woman reliving her death in the bathroom shows her where the hand originated. And now Vianna is on a quest to help this spirit to rest—a spirit she happens to know quite well. But she doesn’t plan to embrace her legacy as a witch. She is going to solve this issue with this spirit and sell the house and leave again as soon as she can.

Along the way to her goal, Vianna goes on a date with a man she had a crush on in high school. She finds, not only is he weird and possessive, but his mother has issues, too. He’s persistent and annoying. She’s mystified about why he’s suddenly attracted to her. Old school mates wreak havoc in her life, and, when danger arises, she even has to head back to the cemetery to dig up another ancestor and get a bone from her—not because she wants to embrace her legacy, but because it’s necessary to do so.

The cemetery caretaker is someone she knew in the past who is not welcome in the witching community either and they strike up a friendship. I loved their relationship. It was nice to have someone that the heroine could rely on and who was a great character. She offered some relief from the gloomy atmosphere and danger the heroine was in.

This book was delightful to read. A lot of great action, a mystery about some paintings and a dead girl in the bathroom as well as the friendship that arises between two people who don’t fit in, makes for a great story. The author also gives us fans of the macabre and light horror a lot of great, descriptive scenes.  This is no white witch, light comedy type story that glosses over some of the darker sides of the craft. I quite enjoyed the change of pace from those type of stories.  

I recommend this one as it is chockful of great scenes, some humor and a compelling story, not least of which is how misfits can find their place and make the home/family they need.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Coming from a long line of murderous witches hasn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows for Vianna Roots. When she inherits the family’s haunted house after her mother dies, she decides flipping the rundown dump is her smartest move—but the ghosts that haunt her have a different plan.

When Vianna finds the ghost of her childhood friend Nancy, she’s drawn into the mystery surrounding her friend’s death. Her meddling attracts the attention of the oldest coven in Salem. In order to get her out of town, they make an offer on the house, but Vianna hesitates. She’s no longer sure she wants to abandon the demon familiar who possesses her home, the transgender outcast witch—who may just be the best friend she never knew she needed—and her high school crush, who now wants her in his life.

Vianna must find a way to solve the case of her murdered friend, stay out of the hands of the most powerful coven in Salem, and face the past she’s so desperately tried to run away from.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS (Due out Oct)

🕵️‍♂️#Mystery. Sherry reviews The Forever House by Linda Acaster, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

Sherry blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sherry has been reading The Forever House by Linda Acaster.

Book cover for women's fiction The Forever House by Linda Acaster
The Forever House by Linda Acaster

This book was interesting but a little confusing.  The main character seemed to leap to many conclusions without much in the way of evidence before she did. AS I read, I actually said out loud a few times, “This woman is whackadoodle.”

I enjoyed the story for the most part, but there were things left hanging at the end that I wanted explained. As a reader, I want all the questions answered especially if it seems there is not going to be a sequel.

The premise of the story was intriguing and the fact that the main character was so strong in her opinions and actions made the tale pleasurable. The beginning was slow. The character spent a lot of time removing wallpaper and drywall and inspecting the room she was renovating. I got a little annoyed at how long that took and the amount of detail conveyed. Some readers may enjoy that kind of slow build, but personally, I am all about getting to the action. 

Once we got to the action, things moved quicker and I enjoyed the pace of the story from about chapter four or five on. The way the protagonist made leaps of logic was interesting and when she went to the police after visiting one particular man made me scratch my head as to how she came to the conclusion that led her there. It was precipitate at the least and a bit crazy at the most. I confess, I was kind of stunned—which may be what the author intended. LOL

I’d have liked the writer to give us closure on the sister-in-law and what was going on there. We got good closure on the main story, but I was disappointed at the plot points left hanging.

This one has me torn.  They were a lot of good points in the story but there were also a number of things that bothered me.  I am going to have to give it 3.5 stars.

Orange rose book description
Book description

A chilling discovery. A sense of foreboding. They say I’m obsessing. I’m not.

Resisting family pressure to sell the too-big house Carrie and her late husband began to renovate, she is determined to carry through their shared project to prove she can manage alone.

And she can, until a discovery beneath old wallpaper chills her to the bone.

As her need to know more becomes all-consuming, Carrie’s family fears she’s tipping into irretrievable obsession. Can she be dissuaded, or must she take that final step?

How far is too far to right a wrong?

AmazonUK AmazonUS

📚Post-War Fiction. Sherry reviews Bloomsbury Girls by @NatalieMJenner, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT📚

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

Sherry blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sherry has been reading Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner.

Book cover for post war fiction Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner, set against a black and white picture of a vintage book store from a free photo from Pixabay
Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

A one-hundred-year old bookstore.

Post WWII era.

Three very different women with something in common.

One a wife and mother, one a career girl and one a recent graduate of Cambridge University. They all work at the bookstore and share common issues even though that’s not readily apparent at the beginning of the story.

The author takes us on three distinct yet interwoven journeys with these women. Real literary figures appear in the tale and interact with the fictional characters which gives the setting, as well as the prose, a realism that was well done.

The social issues at play here are the end of WWII return of the men from fighting and how that affected the workforce that had been relying on women while the men were gone, the societal expectations of wives and mothers, privilege in society and how that affects behavior, and racism. The author gave us a compelling story for each of the women while weaving in these issues in a finely crafted way.

The path each of the three protagonists took and where they ended up was obvious pretty early on to this reader, but the journey of each was fulfilling and interesting.

Overall, I liked the story and the way the author interwove the various narratives. The setting was perfect as it moved the plot along at a nice pace and contributed to the issues facing the main characters. The bookstore was a little microcosm of society contained in four walls. The time period chosen for the story emphasized the issues as well. Sadly, some of the themes covered in the book are still problematic to this day. Some things seem slow to change in society and this book shows that in many ways.

An enjoyable, thought provoking read that was entertaining as well. Not at all preachy, but the author has a lot to say.

Orange rose book description
Book description

The internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world.

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager’s unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiance was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances – most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she’s been working to support the family following her husband’s breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she’s working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time – Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others – these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

👮‍♂️’#Memoir of a Compton police officer’. Sherry reviews Black, White And Gray All Over by Frederick Reynolds, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT.👮‍♂️

Today’s team review is from Sherry.

She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading Black, White And Gray All Over by Frederick Reynolds

Memoir

This memoir of a Compton police officer appealed to me for several reasons. First, the time period of the officer’s service which was partially during the Rodney King trial and the Los Angeles riots. Other important events were the gang wars and murders of rap and hip hop artists. Second, the officer grew up in Detroit and initially was headed down the wrong path and ended up turning his life around. He was a bright, sensitive child who was led astray when he got a bit older. Trying to find a way to fit in as well as to find a way to escape from his difficult home life.

The author did not try to sugarcoat his past or the difficulties he faced in his marriage and relationships with his children. The memoir was intriguing and educational. The fact that the author didn’t paint a rosy, perfect picture of himself was admirable. Not many people have the kind of insight to themselves as he does. He came from a hard background and grew up with issues between his parents and that seemed to lead to his desire to escape his reality that led him down the wrong path to start with.

I admire how he shared his journey and how we, as readers, were able to follow along and watch him grow and change. There’s a strength in that kind of honesty. He seems like he’d be a great person to sit down and share a beer or coffee with and chat long into the night. His front row seat at many events that shaped the world we live in is intriguing and being able to have a chat with him about those various events would be a great way to spend an evening. His perspective as a black man was enlightening to this reader. Race relations are volatile in our country (and have been for a very long time) and learning how people of other races see and interpret the world is vital. Those endeavors can hopefully go a long way toward peaceful coexistence in our time.

If I have one complaint about the book, it would be how it got bogged down with names and descriptions of all his coworkers and the perpetrators he arrested. There was way too much of that in the book. It dragged down the prose. The reader doesn’t need to know everyone in the room or at the crime scene or what they looked like—unless it adds to the story.

Overall, this is an interesting read and journey through a snapshot in time in the Midwest and along the west coast. Events that had national impact here in the United States. And it is, above all, the tale of one man’s story of the obstacles he faced on the way from anger and a life of crime to well-respected law enforcement officer, and ultimately, to his happiness and destiny.

Desc 1

From shootouts and robberies to riding in cars with pimps and prostitutes, Frederick Reynolds’ early manhood experiences in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s foretold a future on the wrong side of the prison bars. Frederick grew up a creative and sensitive child but found himself lured down the same path as many Black youth in that era. No one would have guessed he would have a future as a cop in one of the most dangerous cities in America in the 1980s—Compton, California. From recruit to detective, Frederick experienced a successful career marked by commendations and awards. The traumatic and highly demanding nature of the work, however, took its toll on both his family and personal life—something Frederick was able to conquer but only after years of distress and regret.

AmazonUK AmazonUS

‘Such a savage era in history.’ Sherry reviews Scottish #HistoricalFiction Rizzio by @DameDeniseMina, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry. She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading Rizzio by Denise Mina

This story about the murder of David Rizzio, the private secretary of Mary Queen of Scots was a quick read. A much fuller picture of what happened that night and the days to follow than I’d read previously

What the conspirators put the poor man through was brutal and violent. The terror he must have experienced was gut-wrenching even reading about it more than 460 years later. Queen Mary’s fear for her life as well as her child’s and the way her own husband tried to force her to have a miscarriage was awful. Imagine spending a whole night and day thinking you’re going to be killed any moment and there is no escape. And that your husband is part of the plot to kill you and your child. Such a savage era in history.

Of course, in some places, life can still be vicious and this retelling of the events of that night in 1566 reminded me that some people still live in places where such violence can be a daily occurrence. This reader counts herself lucky that she can read about such horrors without the kind of fear people face both in the past and in our time.

This killing boiled down to two things in my opinion—(1) an immature, jealous husband who was dissatisfied with his lot in life as consort, not king in his own right and (2) the greed and avarice of courtiers who saw this as their chance to take what they wanted and get rid of Mary. They played right into Darnley’s fantasy of being king and used that for their own ends with no intention of giving him his heart’s desire. A lot of nefarious people in Edinburgh.

The author here clearly researched the time frame extensively. I had not read about Henry Yair and his murder of Father Adam Black on the same night. That was an interesting part of the story I had not heard about before. Fanaticism seemed rife in that era for sure.

I can’t say I liked the book as it was a terrible, terrible time in Scotland’s history, but I did learn a lot and appreciate the author’s work in fleshing out this story. It was well-written and, as it was also brutally truthful, it was a heartbreaking read.

4 stars.

Desc 1

On the evening of March 9th, 1566, David Rizzio, the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, was brutally murdered. Dragged from the chamber of the heavily pregnant Mary, Rizzio was stabbed fifty six times by a party of assassins. This breathtakingly tense novella dramatises the events that led up to that night, telling the infamous story as it has never been told before.

A dark tale of sex, secrets and lies, Rizzio looks at a shocking historical murder through a modern lens—and explores the lengths that men and women will go to in their search for love and power.

Rizzio is nothing less than a provocative and thrilling new literary masterpiece.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Clever, But Violent. Sherry Reviews #Thriller Ashes In Venice by Gojan Nikolich, For Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review comes from Sherry. She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading Ashes In Venice by Gojan Nikolich

I chose this one to review as I thought it took place in Venice, Italy. I love Venice and was looking forward to an adventure in that city. Imagine my shock when I started reading and the first chapters were full of graphic violence and not a canal or Doge’s palace in sight. I actually went back to the cover several times on my kindle to see if I was reading the right book. And yes, it still said Ashes in Venice.

The action takes place in Las Vegas and eventually, when the character got to the Venetian Hotel, I thought maybe that was where the title came from even though that was still misleading. I admit, I was liking the main character and was intrigued by how the various threads of the story were coming together, but I also have to admit I was very distracted by why I thought from the blurb that the story was set in Italy.  Eventually, all that became clear but it was deep into the body of the book before it did.

The graphic violence was pretty startling. I’d warn potential readers about that. It wasn’t really gratuitous, but it was a bit over the top for this reader. I could see how it fit into the storyline, but sometimes, it was too much.

The story itself was gripping and the book was a page turner. I stayed up late to finish it when I got close to the end. I figured out a lot of it by about midway through, but it was compelling enough for me to read to the end and see if I was right.

Overall, I liked the story and the flawed detective who was trying to solve the crimes. He was a completely drawn personality, warts and all. His love for his wife who was ill was lovely. He had gambling and financial issues, but he was doing his best to make things good for his wife. The humor the author gave him in his internal thoughts was a welcome relief from the violence of the story. I really enjoyed the wit of the author.

The author’s imagination is a wild place based on the evidence in this tale. Some of the things he conjured were mind blowing. Clever, violent and unique is how I’d describe this book. If you’re squeamish, though, give it a pass.

4 stars.

Desc 1

A psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.

Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.

While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman gets reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.

Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is also unaware that the quirky murderer might also be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.

Add the brooding backdrop of Venice, Italy…and a vengeful killer who reads Shakespeare, and you have a teasing psychological thriller where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.

Yes, there are spiders.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

‘I could almost smell the putrid streets’. Sherry reviews #HistoricalFiction Burke And The Pimpernel Affair by @TomCW99 

Today’s team review is from Sherry. She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading Burke And The Pimpernel Affair by Tom Williams

I enjoy historical tales and chose this one to review based on the year it was set. This book was part of a series, but it doesn’t need to be read in order in my opinion. It was easy to figure out who everyone was and the adventure in this story was self-contained. The setting was after the French Revolution era and into the times of the England/France wars with Napoleon.  The main characters, James Burke and his sergeant, William Brown, were sent from England to find the leak in the English spy network. Many of the agents working for England were going missing on the route from the channel to Paris.

Brown went into France with a group of French patriots whose mission was to sabotage certain enemy strongholds and one who was to distribute anti Napoleonic propaganda. They were to take the circuitous route into Paris, moving from safe house to safe house.

Burke followed behind them to be the lookout on the ground to figure out just where the leak or unsafe house was located.

Adventure ensues as the reader follows the route of the group as well as Burke. Some tense moments were in store on the road to Paris.

The story also contains scenes with the French spymaster, Fouche’ as he plots from his office and plans his tortures of any prisoners he can get his hands on. He’s especially interested in any spies from England.  

As the tale unfolds, dangers are around every corner. The action becomes intense and without spoilers, it’s hard to say much more. Suffice it to say, there were many times this reader was on the edge of her seat.

The author did an excellent job recreating the scenes of both the countryside and Paris of the era. I could almost smell the putrid streets of the city and the woods in the country. His descriptions of the interiors of palaces, cottages and the prison were also well done. The labyrinth of the office building/archives/prison was especially well done. The description of the darkness and many passages heightened the anxiety of the parts of the book that took place there.

A very immersive tale that I think was well executed and enjoyable even through the harrowing parts.  Four stars.

Desc 1

1809: when a mission running agents into Napoleon’s France goes horribly wrong, it’s up to Burke to save the day. With the French secret police on his trail, can he stay alive long enough to free British spies from imprisonment in the centre of Paris? And how does the Empress Josephine fit into his plans?

Burke’s most daring adventure yet sees him and his loyal companion William Brown using all their cunning and courage to survive as they move from the brilliance of Napoleon’s court and Society parties to the darker Paris of brothels and gambling dens.

A thrilling story set against a convincing historical background.

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