Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery ODD NUMBERS by @JJMarsh1

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Odd Numbers by J.J. Marsh

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I chose this book from the review team list because I loved An Empty Vessel by this author, though this book is completely different.

For the past twenty years, Gael, Lovisa, Mika, Simone and Clark have spent every other New Year together, taking it in turns to choose the venue for a short holiday.  There used to be six of them, but Dhan died at their Y2K celebration two decades before.  At the time it was thought to be a terrible accident, but as the book progresses, we start to wonder if it was suicide, or even murder.

Interesting, interesting – and it is a testament to JJ Marsh’s storytelling skill that I enjoyed much of this, and was eager to find out what happened, despite some issues I had with the novel as a whole.

The book is told in first person chapters from all five friends, and dots back and forth in time between the present and the various reunions of the past twenty years, which were held in many different locations. To say I found the zig-zagging between time and locations confusing is something of an understatement; by half-way through I decided to stop trying to remember exactly where and when I was currently supposed to be, who was married to whom when, what already had or hadn’t happened in the chapter I was reading, and just concentrate on the relationship dynamics, and the uncovering of the mystery.

One of the characters comments that if it was not for Dhan’s death, maybe their friendship would not have endured. I thought she was probably right, as much of the time they don’t seem that keen on each other.  None of them are very likeable people (even the ‘nice’ one talks in humourless therapy-speak half the time), but I don’t mind that. I’d rather read about a sociopath than a saint any day; it’s far more interesting, the only problem being not having anyone to root for when all the characters are self-centred, cunning and/or in denial about more or less everything.

Aside from the chaotic timeline, I found it difficult to ‘know’ any of them, because each of their point-of-view chapters is written in much the same ‘voice’, despite their being of different nationalities, different social classes, etc. Aside from the varying subject matter, the odd Americanism from Clark, and Simone being a manipulative, particularly nasty piece of work, they all use the same language, have the same speech patterns, similar mood, tempo, vocabularies. Mika, Lovisa and Gael I could never ‘see’ at all; sometimes I thought I was reading Mika when it was Gael, etc. I also found some of the dialogue unrealistic.

Having said that… (and it’s a big ‘having said that’) I did enjoy reading this book, became immersed in the intrigue and thought the basic plot was great. I liked the slow uncovering of each person’s dark secrets, the truth about Dhan and the final drama, though it felt a bit rushed; I think more could have been made of it. There were a fair few irritations (not least of all the reiteration of the current trend I’ve noticed on new, young audience TV shows: that out of any group of young people, fifty per cent of them will have casual sex with either gender at the drop of a hat), but I found that … yes, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a hard one to rate. Yes, I liked it. Sort of. Mostly.

To sum up: The plot kept me interested throughout. JJ Marsh’s innate talent does come across, despite the book’s weaker elements; although the characters never really came to life for me, I liked the story a lot. So although I couldn’t say ‘yes, definitely, you must buy this’, I also want to say, it’s fun and original, and I did like it. Mostly. Sort of.

Book description

The Guilty Party meets The Secret History

Can you forgive a friend?

Strange things bring people together. Like a tragic death.

Over two decades, five friends reunite every other New Year. They celebrate, grieve and heal. Memories grow dusty and the nightmare starts to fade.

On the 20th anniversary, in a remote snowy chalet, old doubts surface.
Wounds reopen and morality comes into question.

Is friendship a safety net or a tie that hobbles to the past?

They thought they knew each other’s secrets.
Did they miss the biggest one of all?

When history is rewritten, they must act to preserve the future.
A fatal decision means this reunion will be their last.

A psychological drama with beautifully portrayed characters and an intricately woven plot. The suspense emerges between the lines, grabs you softly but never lets go.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT 1930s American #HistoricalFiction THREADS by @CWhitneyAuthor

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here, https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Threads by Charlotte Whitney

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4 out of 5 stars

Threads is a set on a farm in Michigan during the Depression, about a family struggling to survive.  The novel is told in alternating first person points of view of the three daughters: Flora, who is seventeen, Nellie, the youngest, who is seven, and Irene, somewhere in the middle.  Nellie is a tad wild, with a vivid imagination; Irene is a rather smug goody-goody on the surface, but is clearly suffering from ‘middle-child syndrome’, while Flora is very much the ‘big sister’, nearly an adult, who sees how the world works outside the concerns of the other two.  Each sister’s character is clearly defined, with her own distinctive voice.

The novel is primarily concerned simply with the way of life of that place and time; it is character rather than plot-driven, an illustration of the family’s world and their fears, joys and struggles.  These people were POOR.  If you’ve never dined on potatoes every night, or looked on a bean sandwich as a treat, you should never think of yourself as hard-up again!  Within the girls’ narratives, Ms Whitney has shown us a larger picture of the country in the 1930s; they tell of the ‘train riders’; unemployed, itinerant young men who travelled the country by stowing away on trains, begging for food wherever they stopped.  The way the community pitched in to help each other.  The fears that consumed them all; if they couldn’t sell enough produce, they would lose their homes.

I found Flora’s chapters the most interesting as she was concerned not only her own insular world (what happened at school, etc) but talked about the way of life as a whole.  On occasion, though, Irene and Nellie would reveal much within their own childlike eye-view; this was done most skillfully.

If I have any criticisms, it’s just that I would have liked a bit more actual plot; events coming to a climax and then being resolved, at some point.  There is a little mystery concerning an event from the first chapter about which we don’t get the answer until the end, but I felt there were missed opportunities to make the story more of a page-turner.  However, I did enjoy it, throughout, and would most certainly recommend it as an insightful and highly readable look at this recent and still relevant time in America’s history.

Book description

It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm in the throes of the Great Depression. But, when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny blue-black hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Football Themed #Horror Novella BURNTBRIDGE BOYS by @john_f_leonard

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Burntbridge Boys by John F. Leonard

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I’ve read quite a few of John F Leonard’s shorter length horror tales, and always enjoy both his original story ideas and characterisation.  Burntbridge boys is set in 1979 and is about Sammy ‘the butcher’ Rafferty, a former footballer, football club manager and general bad boy, whose glory days are over; he is currently on the run from the police and from unfriendly criminal types.  When Sammy finds himself in the decaying stadium of a defunct club, it seems that his dreams might not be over after all….  

Much of the story includes flashbacks to the 1960s, detailing Sammy’s career and how deeply he became involved in the corruption to do with the game: the pay offs, the dodgy transfers, the darker side of life for many of those involved.  Sammy’s backstory is as much a part of the whole as the supernatural side, which I liked; in itself, it’s something of a horror story.

I very much liked the unravelling of the ghostly mystery in the last 20% of the story, the strongest part; Sammy’s meeting with Burntbridge’s Chairman Millicent is stunningly good.  I felt that some of the earlier parts would benefit from a bit of fine-tuning, perhaps another draft or the hand of an experienced copy editor to tidy up some over-use of the subordinate clause and to make the delivery more concise.  A little more attention to detail could raise this author’s work to the next level.

Having said that, it really is an excellent story, and I love the way Mr Leonard doesn’t shy away from the distasteful, and builds tension so well – I think if you have an interest in football, you’ll love it, especially if you like your fiction on the dark side, but even if you actively dislike it, as I do, you’ll still enjoy!

Book description

It’s 1979 and Sammy Rafferty is on the run. From the past. From the police. And, perhaps more importantly, from some rather unfriendly criminal types.
He thinks his football dreams are over, but that might not be the case. He’s run to Burntbridge Lye. A place where dreams don’t always die.

Sammy “the butcher” Rafferty has long since kissed his playing days goodbye. Never kicking a competitive ball again was a hard pill to swallow and he’s not ready for his managerial career to come to an untimely end. The thought of forever being shut out of football makes his heart sink and feet itch.

There isn’t any choice. The cards have been dealt and you have to play the hand you’re given. Sammy grits his teeth and gets on with it. Life settles into monotony and offers only boredom and frustration …until he comes across an old football ground nestled in the back of beyond.

He can almost hear the roar of the crowd as he parks at the gates of the deserted Burntbridge Palmers, a decaying stadium on the outskirts of Bledbrooke Town.
The club that won’t die could be just the place for a man who still has a gleam in his eye. After all, they’re both ghosts that won’t go away.

Burntbridge Boys is about a lot of things.
Horror, for sure. No doubt there. Old school horror, with a twist. A ghost story where the ghosts aren’t really dead.
A fond reminiscence of football, back before football became completely commercialised? Yes, definitely, soccer plays its part. Although, it has to be said, the beautiful game is sometimes less than beautiful in Burntbridge Boys. It can be somewhat ugly and …disturbing. And often more than a game.
Deceit and double-dealing? Yeah, there’s a fair-sized chunk of that.

It might also be about power passed into hands too fragile for the holding. The darkness hidden in human hearts which is best kept hidden and secrets that are better not revealed. Society and its cruel attitudes, before society became an equally dreadful click-driven social media experiment.
You’ll draw your conclusions – that’s one of the joys of reading.

On a more prosaic level, is there such a thing as a football horror story? Let alone one set in the past which wallows in a darkly imagined history of the game.
Who knows? When the Dead Boxes are involved, anything is possible. Such items have always been scary things.
Even in the swinging Sixties and glam-shock punk revolution of the Seventies, they contained a terrifying mix of horror and salvation. Throw the Scaeth Mythos into the mix and stuff gets decidedly multi-dimensional.

There are different realities and the walls which separate them can be paper thin. The tiniest tear can allow horror and madness to bleed through.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction #Mystery INTO THE SUFFERING CITY by Bill LeFurgy

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Into The Suffering City by Bill LeFurgy

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3.5 stars

A most professionally presented book, which centres around the murder of a showgirl. Dr Sarah Kennecott is a doctor who happens to be on the autism spectrum, though of course this was not recognised in those days. She becomes fascinated with the case and can’t let it rest, despite much family and political opposition; she also has to contend with the attitude of the time towards professional, educated women. Through her passionate interest in Lizzie Sullivan’s murder, she becomes involved with Jack Harden, a down-on-his-luck private detective. This association is not looked upon kindly.
The author clearly has a great love for his subject, and I appreciated the pictures drawn of the development of this new city, with its excitement and opportunity, but also its dark side: corruption, narcotics, prejudices. It is most intelligently written (the author is a professional historian and archivist), and a most commendable debut.
The only problem for me with this book was that it lacked that spark that might have made it a real page-turner. I felt a lack of suspense, and didn’t become involved with the characters; they felt distant, and never became more than names on a page for me. This could be just personal taste, though, as I often struggle with third person characters written in the omniscient narrator style. I am sure that if the author works on his actual storytelling he could produce something marvellous in the future; the rest of it, I could not fault.

 

Book description

Baltimore, 1909. The city is jumping with danger and excitement. New thrills are everywhere: cars, cocaine, ragtime music, moving pictures. Old troubles also thrive, including murder, corruption, and the painful divisions of gender, class, and race.

Dr. Sarah Kennecott is on the autism spectrum—a trait that is unidentified and unappreciated at the time. Her passion is justice for murder victims, and after getting fired for looking too closely into the killing of a showgirl, she refuses to back down from the investigation. Sarah forms an unlikely bond with Jack Harden, a tormented, down-on-his-luck private detective. Jack pushes the case into Baltimore’s seedy underworld, a vitally corrupt realm of saloons, brothels, and burlesque theaters.

When Sarah and Jack pull the pieces together, they discover a stunning pair of secrets, each of which is worth killing to keep.

“Into the Suffering City” is a fast-paced, emotionally immersive story that combines originality and historical detail to explore the lives of people living in Baltimore during the early 1900s.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #CrimeFiction OBSESSION -A Crime Of The Heart by @RobinStorey1 #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Obesssion- A Crime Of The Heart by Robin Storey

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4.5*

Intellectually disabled Benny Goodchild is in his early forties, works in a warehouse where he suffers taunts from colleagues, and lives alone.  His life is humdrum indeed, but trouble starts when he starts doing gardening work for Olivia, who lives nearby.  Then he gets the opportunity to earn some serious money—the sort of serious that he suspects might be illegal.
I was engrossed in this book all the way through, looking forward to getting back to it at each session.  It’s written in the third person, with the deep point of view that allows the reader to see into Benny’s often rather confused mind.  The story has been planned well, and I couldn’t work out what was going to happen, at all—it could have taken a number of different turns.  Ms Storey has an easy, flowing writing style, and the characterisation is subtly but artfully developed, even for lesser characters.
I would have given it five stars if it wasn’t for a practical issue that didn’t convince me, but I do tend to read with an editor’s head on, and I doubt it would bother most people; if Amazon ratings had a ten star range, I’d give it eight.  Overall, this is a highly entertaining book throughout which I was not tempted to skip-read once (which is something, for me!) and it comes with a definite recommendation.  Buy it!
Book description

He’s lonely and desperate. But he wants far more than her attention…

The one thing Benny wants more than anything is a relationship. But he’s not smart or good-looking, so women ignore him or run the other way.

Then Olivia moves into the neighbourhood. It’s love at first sight for Benny. She is beautiful and kind, his fairy tale princess.

But there are two big obstacles:

Olivia doesn’t love him. Yet.

And her abusive ex-husband Lucas is still hanging around, making life difficult for her.

There’s only one course of action. But it will change everyone’s lives.

Forever.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Horror HIGHLAND COVE by @dylanjmorgan #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Highland Cove by Dylan J Morgan

HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

4*

A highly atmospheric story that gathers momentum like skeletal fingers walking slowly up your back, Highland Cove is a book that will delight lovers of dark, horrifying ghost stories that do not necessarily end well…

The party of five who set out on this foolish mission—to make a documentary in a haunted asylum on a lonely Scottish island—each have their own story, and the characters are well-defined, particularly Liam, for whom this project is something of a passion, and Alex, the sceptical rich boy who has been invited purely because he is willing to fund it.  Dylan Morgan’s descriptive powers are first class, and I particularly liked the meeting in the pub, early on, with the old sailor who was to take them across from the mainland.  Chapters written in the past added an extra dimension to the story, and made it all the more poignant.

I was pleased to find that the horror certainly ramps up during the second half, with many surprises, and I thought the last twenty per cent was actually the best part, with a twist in the tale or two that I didn’t expect, at all.  I felt that some of the detail in the first half could have been chopped down a little, but on the whole I’d say that this is a fine, well-written book with good plot, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to become immersed in a novel on the gory horror end of the supernatural genre.

Book description

Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.

The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.

But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Creature #Horror HIGHWAY TWENTY by Michael J Moore

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Highway Twenty by Michael J Moore.

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I enjoyed reading this—I like books set in small-town America, and this had a rather B-movie, pulp fiction feel to it, suitable for the genre.

The townspeople of Sedrow Woolley, Washington State, are disappearing—then they come back and they’re … different. The book starts off with a man abducting a small boy, and finding that he has bitten off more than he can chew; a most compelling, if shocking, beginning. The main characters are a mechanic called Conor and a homeless man, Percly, who sleeps in a disused train, and the story alternates between their chapters, written in third person point of view.

The great strength of this story is the characterisation and dialogue, which was spot on and totally convincing, particularly the highly likeable Conor, his wild and boozy girlfriend, Shelby, and his colleague, John. It’s a very easy read, a page-turner, and flowed well; Mr Moore can certainly spin a yarn, and the suspense was delivered well, too, with the story unravelling at a good pace.

My only complaint is that it did feel a bit too pulp fiction at times; I could imagine it being a slim volume that one might pick up in a ‘dime store’ in 1950s Sedrow Woolley, with a picture of a cartoon damsel in distress running away from a monster, on the front—it needs a better proofreader/copy editor, as I found more errors than I would expect, with issues like backwards apostrophes at the beginning of words, and the odd wrongly assigned dependent clause. But it’s good, and basically well-written. If you enjoy these sort of stories and aren’t too picky about minor errors, I think you’ll love it.

Book description

An engineer from out of town disappears. Then Conor Mitchell’s girlfriend. Then his parents. The townspeople of Sedrow Woolley, Washington are vanishing at a horrifying rate. But they come back. They all come back days later, and they’re different: Hungry. Insectile. Creatures posing as humans. Because Conor knows the truth, and because the entire police force has already been changed, and because there’s nowhere to run from an evil that only wants to spread, his sole option is to fight. But they have no intention of letting him leave town.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #CliFi SINGULARITY SYNDROME by Susan Kuchinskas #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Singularity Syndrome by Susan Kuchinskas

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4.5 stars

‘Finder’ is back, complete with dog/bird chimera The Parrott, and human/baboon Altima, as he uncovers a venture capitalist’s plan to rule the world by AI, making humans compliant by means of a nutritional energy drink. The idea that AI could eventually overtake humans is one I’ve read a fair bit about, also that its integration with humans (Numans, in this book) could be the next stage in our evolution. I find this hellish in the extreme, and it makes me glad I was born when I was.

We don’t know exactly when the book is set, but I imagine it is probably in about a hundred years’ time; Finder mentions helicopters being used in the wars of ‘the last century’. The state of the planet (the Big Change) is revealed to be not only down to the slow deterioration of climate change, but another disaster. I enjoyed the plot, but what I liked reading about most about is Finder himself, a most engaging character, and the world-building elements. Although the story paints a grim picture of human life in the future, it is not without a certain light touch that I wouldn’t exactly call humour; it’s more pathos mixed with astute observations, and off-the-wall characters.

In this book we find out a bit more about Finder’s life when he was younger, including his real name; I like the way his character is slowly building, and I’d love to read more about what has happened between now and the time in which the book is set – more background.

Having read the notes at the back, I know Ms Kuchinskas is well-informed about her subject matter, and this is evident; it is imaginative, clever and extremely well-written.  I’d definitely recommend it to fans of ‘cli-fi’, but you should read Chimera Catalyst first. I liked this more than the first book, and hope there will be more!

Book description

All humans have a complex colony of microorganisms living in our guts. This microbiome influences our health, our thinking and our moods. If you can change someone’s microbiome, can you control their thoughts?

That’s the plan of Thom Elliott, a power-mad tech titan who wants to create a new world order where humanity is ruled by Sekai, the most powerful artificial intelligence ever created. His weapon is Glorp, a nutritional energy drink beloved by the tech community that secretly includes genetically engineered microbes to transform human gut flora.

Finder is a brilliant detective who hates people. He might agree with Elliott that an AI could do a better job of running the world. But when Finder’s own microbiome is contaminated with Elliott’s brew, it’s up to him and his chimera sidekicks to stop him.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #CrimeFiction STILL YOU SLEEP by @k8vane #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Still You Sleep by Kate Vane

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4 stars

I chose this book from the review team list because I’d read another book, Brand New Friend, by this author and was most impressed by her characterisation.  Although this is a crime novel – not my usual choice – it concentrates on those involved in the situation (families, friends), and the journalists looking into it, which is why I enjoyed it much more than I might have done had it been a police procedural.

Vikki Smith is a young woman with a learning disability who is found dead from a drug overdose. The police write it off as an accident but online journalist Tilda Green and redundant crime reporter Freddie Stone believe foul play to be afoot; Freddie knows the family and Tilda scours social media on a daily basis, discovering much that makes her suspicious.

The story is very ‘real life’, warts-and-all, and one aspect that I liked is how current it is, both sociologically and in the way in which Tilda delves into every intricacy of social media, though I did wonder if it would go over the heads of people who don’t know exactly how Twitter works, on quite a complicated level. I’m a Twitter addict, though, so I really appreciated how well the author understood its idiosyncrasies.

The characterisation, dialogue and the logistics of the plot deserve a round of applause, though I felt there were one or two many storylines and character points of view. Social media strategies, dysfunctional families, social prejudice, drug dealers and abuse, alcoholism, two-faced politicians, unrequited love, alt-right versus liberal politics; every scenario is written most convincingly, but I’d sometimes get to the beginning of a new chapter from yet another POV and think, ‘Hang on a minute, who’s Simon?’, and have to look back to remind myself. The addition of so many plot threads and characters actually dilutes the evidence of her strengths; Ms Vane is a highly competent and readable writer. Less could be so much more, but this is really the only complaint I have about this book.

Still You Sleep flows along so well, wrapping all storylines together at the end, is entertaining, real, so relevant to today’s world, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates well-drawn characters by a writer who has a sharp understanding of topical issues – or who simply enjoys working out mysteries. 

Book description

Why wasn’t she safe at home?

Vikki Smith was a young woman with a learning disability, living independently for the first time, when she died of a drug overdose.

The police think it could have been an accident, but messages on social media suggest someone was exploiting her death for their own ends – before it was even announced. Her mother is convinced it was murder.

Redundant crime reporter Freddie Stone is a family friend. He wants to help them – and his failing career – but he’s a people person. He asks online journalist Tilda Green to work with him.

Tilda is curious, passionate and runs her own campaigning news site. She’s open to everything except compromise. But she’s intrigued by what Freddie tells her and agrees to work with him – for now.

Tilda thinks the trolls are organised and have links to hate groups. A charismatic local politician is determined to take them on. Some question his motives but Tilda trusts him, maybe too much.

Freddie believes the answer to Vikki’s death lies on the estate where she lived, if he could only get someone to speak out. He wants to know who was bringing drugs into Vikki’s home. He chases old contacts while struggling with his new life.

Beyond the virtual hate and her neighbours’ silence, someone knows who killed Vikki. Tilda and Freddie are determined to find the truth and tell her story.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Horror #Novella NIGHT SERVICE by @john_f_leonard

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Night Service by John F Leonard

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4 stars
In this horror novella, Luke is on his third date with Jessica and, finally, is getting to spend the night with her – but first they have to get from their night out in the city centre to her home, in a village miles away.  Luke would get a taxi, but it would bankrupt him, so they settle on their only option: the night service.
Also on board are a drunk skinhead, a chatty old man, a woman and a baby, and three members of a rock band.  All seems, if not fine, then not too much of a worry, until the bus begins to speed up, and they begin to realise that the silent driver is missing out all the stops…

Born from the author’s many travels on the night service in his younger days (it says in the notes at the back), this is a fun horror story that kept me turning the pages in its unravelling of unexpected developments, and well-painted atmosphere.  Although horrific, it is not without humour, and it sits well in the novella length, without any padding or excess detail that would slow it down.

The only aspect I was not so keen on was the constant use of the subordinate clause – short, staccato, incomplete sentences – to emphasise urgency, shock, fear.  I’m not necessarily a traditionalist when it comes to literary styles, and thought that sometimes, although not ‘correct’, it worked well, but other times it was used to the extent that it marred my enjoyment of the story.

The ending features another nice little twist; I’d say that if you love this genre and prefer shorter books that will only take you a couple of hours or so to read, you should like this.
Book description
It’s been a great night, but it’s getting late. You need to make tracks and cash isn’t king.

No worries… all aboard the Night Service. It could be the last bus you ever catch.

Every journey is a journey into the unknown, but this trip is an eye-opener, unlike anything that Luke and Jessica have ever experienced. They’re going to learn a few important lessons. Being young and in love doesn’t grant immunity from the everyday awful… or the less ordinary evil that lurks in the shadows.

There’s no inoculation from the horror of the world – it’s real and it’s waiting to touch you.

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