One August Night by by Victoria Hislop

It’s the 25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.

When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.

#OneAugustNight @VicHislop @headlinepg @annecater @RandomTTours #RandomThingsTours

In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.

Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.

My Review

I remember when The Island was published in 2005. I read it in one sitting. I stayed up virtually all night to finish it. Spinalonga was a leper colony off the coast of the Greek Island of Crete. This was the 1940s and 50s, before there was a cure for leprosy. The book followed the lives of people in the village of Plaka and those who were diagnosed were sent away for ever. Even children were sent to live with a ‘new’ family on the island. Parents initially sent them to school in long trousers in case anyone saw the signs of leprosy on their legs. Spinalonga eventually became a community with its own school, church, medical centre and shops.

One August Night continues the story after the cure has been found. Maria Petrakis is one of those who survived. Her mother Eleni was sent to Spinalonga where she died, while her father Giorgios rows the boat back and forth with new exiles and supplies.

It is 1957 and Maria is finally coming home, having been cured. But on the day she arrives in Plaka, there is a terrible tragedy which involves her whole family.

Manolis has always been in love with Maria’s sister Anna to the point of obsession. But Anna is married to his cousin Andreas Vandoulakis. He knows that the tragedy of that day was partly his fault and he must seek a new life away from Plaka and his family. Away from Maria, to whom he was betrothed before she was sent to Spinalonga. Away from Sofia the child who might be his. In The Island it is Sofia’s daughter Alexis who travels to Crete to find out the secrets her mother has been keeping from her about Spinalonga.

The sequel to The Island follows the lives of these people, tied by family, love, tragedy and redemption. We also meet other wonderful people along the way, including Dr Nikos Kyritsis, who was involved in finding the cure, and Kyria Agathi, Manolis’s landlady in Piraeus. They are amongst those who will help Maria and Manolis come to terms with everything that happened. We also still see the stigma and prejudice attached to leprosy even though it can be completely cured. It is a very slow developing disease and if caught early enough leaves no lasting scars.

One August Night is not about leprosy though – it’s about the aftermath of the tragedy on that fateful day and how it affects everyone connected. But the standout story for me is that of Maria, whose ability to forgive is so magnanimous it is hard to understand, but I was full of admiration for her.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours and to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, has sold more than six million copies and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller. Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, followed and was one of the biggest selling books of 2016. The poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine. Victoria’s most recent novel, One August Night, returns to Crete in the long-anticipated sequel to The Island. The novel spent twelve weeks in the Top 10 hardback fiction charts.

Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Victoria divides her time between England and Greece and in 2020, Victoria was granted honorary citizenship by the President of Greece. She was recently appointed patron of Knossos 2025, which is raising funds for a new research centre at one of Greece’s most significant archaeological sites. She is also on the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

Twitter: @VicHislop • http://www.facebook.com/OfficialVictoriaHislophttp://www.victoriahislop.com

Would Kafka Kill a Cockroach? by Cat on a Piano Productions / Theatrephonic

Cockroaches are people too! And they are kind of cute, don’t you think. Until there is one crawling around your kitchen floor. Then it’s not so cute after all. Not in real life.

Anna and Johnson are discussing The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. The topic for Anna’s theoretical essay is whether Kafka would kill a cockroach.

But a theoretical cockroach is one thing. A real one is quite another. But what if the cockroach is really a person?

“One read of Kafka and you’re both crawling up the walls of your own insanity.” Another fun radio play from my favourite podcast.

Would Kafka Kill a Cockroach? was written by Tilly Lunken
And directed by Emmeline Braefield

Starring:
Gareth Turkington as Johnson
Honey McKenna as Anna
Robert Penny as Nick

Produced by Cat on a Piano Productions

Music:
Minor Blues for Booker by E’s Jammy Jams
Creeping Spiders by Nat Keefe and Beatmower

The Theatrephonic Theme tune was composed by Jackson Pentland
Performed by
Jackson Pentland
Mollie Fyfe Taylor
Emmeline Braefield

Cat on a Piano Productions produce and edit feature films, sketches and radio plays.

Their latest project is called @Theatrephonic, a podcast of standalone radio plays and short stories performed by professional actors. You can catch Theatrephonic on Spotify and other platforms.

For more information about the Theatrephonic Podcast, go to catonapiano.uk/theatrephonic, Tweet or Instagram us @theatrephonic, or visit our Facebook page.

And if you really enjoyed Would Kafka Kill a Cockroach? listen to Theatrephonic’s other plays and short stories and consider becoming a patron by clicking here…

The Black Dress by Deborah Moggach

Pru is on her own. But then, so are plenty of other people. And while the loneliness can be overwhelming, surely she’ll find a party somewhere?

Pru’s husband has walked out, leaving her alone to contemplate her future. She’s missing not so much him, but the life they once had – picnicking on the beach with small children, laughing together, nestling up like spoons in the cutlery drawer as they sleep. Now there’s just a dip on one side of the bed and no-one to fill it.

#TheBlackDress #DeborahMoggach @TinderPress @annecater @RandomTTours

In a daze, Pru goes off to a friend’s funeral. Usual old hymns, words of praise and a eulogy but…it doesn’t sound like the friend Pru knew. And it isn’t. She’s gone to the wrong service. Everyone was very welcoming, it was – oddly – a laugh, and more excitement than she’s had for ages. So she buys a little black dress in a charity shop and thinks, now I’m all set, why not go to another? I mean, people don’t want to make a scene at a funeral, do they? No-one will challenge her – and what harm can it do?

My Review

I could totally identify with Pru. I like to think I’m a strong, independent woman, but if I found myself in her position, I feel I would be the same. Slobbing about the house, while the dust collects on the kitchen work surface (I’ll be living on microwave meals and cheese and crackers if I can be bothered to spread the butter), while the weeds grow waist high in the untended garden.

Because Pru’s husband of decades, the father of her children, had gone off to find himself on a spiritual journey, as you do in a middle aged, mid-life crisis. Except that Pru and Greg are not middle aged anymore – they are really in their twilight years, knocking seventy, not forty. He could have just bought a motorbike and a leather jacket or gone brum brum round the garden.

Then one day Pru goes to a funeral only to find it’s the wrong one, but it gives her an idea. She buys a little black dress from a charity shop and goes to another and another on the lookout for a grieving widower. It’s not such a bad idea and no-one is going to call her out. After all, there are always strangers at funerals – people the deceased knew in their childhood or university days that no-one else knows. It becomes exciting and a little bit naughty, but it’s not doing any harm, is it?

We, the readers, and Pru meet some brilliant, eccentric, unusual and frankly bat-shit crazy characters along the way and there are a number of twists that I didn’t expect, making this more than just a humorous story of looking for love in the third age.

I loved this book. I read it two sessions and it has shot straight into my favourite books of 2021 Part Three. It’s very different from the usual feel-good novels because of the dark twists.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours and to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Deborah Moggach, OBE, is a British novelist and an award-winning screenwriter. She
has written twenty novels, including Tulip Fever, These Foolish Things (which became the bestselling novel and film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and The Carer. She lives in London.

Pivotal by Nikki Vallance

When you pass through a door does your life change or do you have power over who you become by the choices you make?

Dulcie Braybrooke is breaking through as a celebrated ceramicist.
Elizabeth is a lonely City head-hunter.
Annie is a teacher who’s lost her verve.
Liza is a lap dancer with a strong will and a tough life.

When a mysterious bequest throws each of the four into chaos, they seek support in the guise of hypnotherapist, Dr Kath O’Hannon. Through a process of self-discovery, their new-found knowledge weighs heavily as they unpick four decades of life choices and events. You might expect them to accept the windfall, yet if they do, something entirely unexpected lies around the corner…

My Review

This book is going to be difficult to review without spoilers so I’m going to keep it short (for a change).

Four women are each given a life-changing opportunity in a strange will left by an unknown benefactor. The women have never met. The bequest throws their lives into chaos and they all seek the help of a hypnotherapist – Dr Kath O’Hannon, who helps them to come to terms with the choices they have made in the past and those that they will need to make if they are to accept or turn down the specific terms of the will. They only have a short time to decide.

During the sessions with Dr Kath, each woman delves deep into her sub-conscious to examine her life as it is and where it is going. Based on this she will need to make her decision.

So basically I had three questions. Why do they all go to Gloucester to meet the solicitor? Why wasn’t it Cheltenham (where I live)? It’s far more romantic – don’t laugh. I was looking forward to reading about familiar places in the Cotswolds. Cheltenham IS the heart of the Cotswolds – Gloucester is not. Second was the business that the inheritance revolves around – I can’t say more, but it couldn’t have been more reality TV than Scent of a Woman. Thirdly, they all went to the same hypnotherapist, which seemed a bit odd. Reading with my fellow Pigeons, this part threw us all – the other two things are personal to me.

All in all a very enjoyable read with a very different reveal. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

About the Author

Nikki Vallance is a writer and coach, with a passion for unlocking creative writing talent and helping people discover the joy of words.

Girls Who Lie by Eva Bjorg AEgisdottir translated by Victoria Cribb

At once a startling, tense psychological thriller, and a sophisticated and twisty police procedural from a rising star in Icelandic literature.

When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, it is assumed that she’s taken her own life – until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

#GirlsWhoLie @evaaegisdottir @OrendaBooks @victoriacribb 
#RandomThingsTours @annecater @RandomTTours #IcelandNoir #NordicNoir
#ForbiddenIceland

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the list of suspects grows ever longer and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

My Review

Girls Who Lie is told from two points of view – that of Elma the police officer who we met in The Creak on the Stairs (told in the third person), who is assigned to solve Marianna’s murder, and that of an unknown mother (told in the first person) who has a baby daughter that she struggles to love. Her account of the child’s first few years is chilling and disturbing and you will make assumptions about the mother based on the dreadful things she has done.

But this is a book unlike any other. It’s called Girls Who Lie for good reason. In fact they all seem to be lying or are they?

Seven months earlier, Marianna, mother of teenage Hekla, disappeared without trace. She left a note saying she was sorry. The police investigated but found no clues. It was assumed that she planned to take her own life. But when a body is found on the Grábrók lava fields it is of course that of Marianna. But it’s obvious she has been murdered. Who would have done such a thing and why?

Elma and her colleagues are struggling to follow the tenuous clues and even though there are so many possible suspects, could any of them really have carried out such a terrible and violent crime? Even 15-year-old Hekla is a suspect. She didn’t exactly adore her mother and spent much of her time with her part-time ‘foster’ parents, Bergrun and Fannar, who gave her a stable family life when her mother went off the rails.

The plot gets more and more complicated and then – what a twist! One of the best in any book I have read recently. But that’s not all and by the end you are still not sure who is lying. A brilliant book by an author who is rapidly becoming my favourite in Scandi Noir.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours

About the Author

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It also went on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. It was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020. Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series. Follow her on @evaaegisdottir

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.

Elle’s A to Z of Love by Claire Huston

Haileybrook, a beautiful village in the peaceful Cotswolds countryside, is most people’s idea of heaven on earth.

Born and raised in this small slice of paradise, Elle Bea can’t wait to leave.

It should be easy, but every time she packs her bags for exotic adventures, old loves and loyalties pull her back.

Will Elle be forced to forget her dreams of far-flung places and epic romance, or can she grab one last chance to have it all?

An uplifting, romantic story about friends, family and the relationships that make a place a home.

My Review

Poor Elle! She’s not been very lucky in love so far. First there was Adam Fletcher. Devastatingly handsome and suave but no-one except Elle likes him much. That’s because he’s a bit of a prat, but Elle is too smitten to notice.

Then there’s the tall, dark, brooding, Heathcliffe-esq (OK I exaggerate a bit) Toby Cooper who runs the farm with his brother Seth and fiance Lucy – a perfect couple straight out of Hello Magazine. Elle and Toby have always been friends but could there ever be more?

Finally there’s Zach, who she met at the University library, when a book fell on his head. He invited her to a party, but when she received a message telling her that Toby’s dad was ill, she had to rush home to help. Zach has now become her ‘pen-pal’ after moving to America.

Elle’s flamboyant and eccentric mum was never cut out for motherhood, so Elle was mostly raised by her dad and her Aunt Cath, baker extraordinaire and one of the stalwarts of Haileybrook, along with Toby and Seth’s nan – the formidable Mrs Rose Cooper, keeper of the library and when that closed, the librarian at the local high school.

Elle is desperate to leave Haileybrook and forge a career in London as well as travel the world, but everything so far seems stacked against her.

Libraries and books figure heavily in this marvellous, feel-good book. It will make you smile – a lot – laugh and gasp – and dream of Florence, A Room With a View by EM Forster and KitKats. Trust me it will all make sense when you read Claire Huston’s second novel – Elle’s A-Z of Love. But who will Elle get to spend the rest of her life with? I’m certainly not telling. A lovely summer read to lift your spirits.

About the Author

Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. Art and Soul was her first novel. Elle’s A-Z of Love is her second.

A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for all the cakes mentioned in Art and Soul on her website along with over 100 other recipes. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

As well as her website, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram: linktr.ee/clairehuston_author.

Just the Place for a Snark by Cat on a Piano Productions / Theatrephonic

Welcome to the home of the world-famous Snark. If you are very lucky you may catch a glimpse, but it’s very rare that anyone gets to see it. But not to worry. There are lots of other things to see in this beautiful nature reserve – small animals, insects and beautiful plants and wild flowers.

But don’t you go straying from the paths. The signs that say danger are real. There are holes in the ground that can swallow you up and of course the high points are the most dangerous of all. A person could fall to their death up there.

If the railway gets built, this will all be destroyed and wouldn’t that be a terrible shame, a disaster in fact. Mr Bellman would be very unhappy, as would lots of other people. Mel and Jeff don’t care though. They are just here to measure up.

Brilliant and often hilarious, Just the Place for a Snark is one of my favourite Theatrephonic audio plays so far.

Written by Nigel Foster
Directed by Emmeline Braefield

Starring
Kaitlin Howard as Mel ‘Baker’
Jonathan Legg as Jeff ‘Butcher’ and The Snark
Helen Fullerton as Ferry Announcer, Daytrippers 1 & 2 and Park Ranger
and
Jayne Lloyd as Mr Bellman

Produced by Cat on a Piano Productions

Music:
Mosswood by Steve Adams

The Theatrephonic Theme tune was composed by Jackson Pentland
Performed by
Jackson Pentland
Mollie Fyfe Taylor
Emmeline Braefield

Cat on a Piano Productions produce and edit feature films, sketches and radio plays.

Their latest project is called @Theatrephonic, a podcast of standalone radio plays and short stories performed by professional actors. You can catch Theatrephonic on Spotify and other platforms.

For more information about the Theatrephonic Podcast, go to catonapiano.uk/theatrephonic, Tweet or Instagram us @theatrephonic, or visit our Facebook page.

And if you really enjoyed Just the Place for a Snark listen to Theatrephonic’s other plays and short stories and consider becoming a patron by clicking here…

All Her Fault by Andrea Mara

One missing boy.

Marissa Irvine arrives at 14 Tudor Grove, expecting to pick up her young son Milo from his first playdate with a boy at his new school. But the woman who answers the door isn’t a mother she recognises. She isn’t the nanny. She doesn’t have Milo. And so begins every parent’s worst nightmare.

Four guilty women.

As news of the disappearance filters through the quiet Dublin suburb and an unexpected suspect is named, whispers start to spread about the women most closely connected to the shocking event. Because only one of them may have taken Milo – but they could all be blamed . . .

IN A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS, WHO IS REALLY AT FAULT?

My review

I read this in 10 staves with The Pigeonhole online bookclub and I really enjoyed it. There were so many suspects and so many possible motives, that reading along with my ‘pigeon’ friends added to the excitement. We guessed and discussed and deliberated and came to so many diverse conclusions, but the ending was quite convoluted and unexpected and we mostly only touched at all the possibilities.

Reading a book like this with others in real time is such a great experience – it’s like sitting on the sofa with your mates and screaming at the TV screen. ‘No – not him. Not her. It can’t be that idiot. He couldn’t possible have done it.’ It’s such fun that when I read a book on my own I get quite frustrated at having no-one to share with.

My only reservation with All Her Fault is that the the sadness of the big reveal, while giving a definite motive, is a tiny bit out of keeping with the tone of the book. It prevents me from calling it an entertaining murder-filled romp, which is what I felt while I was reading. However I still loved it and would recommend it to anyone who wants a book that makes them really think and try to work out what’s going on.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

About the Author

Andrea Mara is a crime novelist from Dublin, Ireland, with her husband and three young children. Her first book, The Other Side of the Wall, was shortlisted for the Kate O’Brien Award 2018 and was recently an Amazon number one bestseller in Irish Crime.

Dead Man’s Grave by Neil Lancaster

This grave can never be opened.
The head of Scotland’s most powerful crime family is brutally murdered, his body dumped inside an ancient grave in a remote cemetery.

This murder can never be forgotten.
Detectives Max Craigie and Janie Calder arrive at the scene, a small town where everyone has secrets to hide. They soon realise this murder is part of a blood feud between two Scottish families that stretches back to the 1800s. One thing’s for certain: it might be the latest killing, but it won’t be the last…

This killer can never be caught.
As the body count rises, the investigation uncovers large-scale corruption at the heart of the Scottish Police Service. Now Max and Janie must turn against their closest colleagues – to solve a case that could cost them far more than just their lives…

My Review

Tam Hardie is the head of Scotland’s most notorious crime family. But he is an old man who has only been given a few months left to live. So when he goes missing, his three sons, including serious hard man Tam Hardie Jnr are understandably worried. Then a body turns up miles from anywhere in a deserted cemetery, buried in an ancient grave with a strange marking that simply says: ‘This grave can never be opened’. So what does it all mean?

Turns out it’s a blood feud dating back 200 years between the Hardies and the Leitch family and Tam Jnr – now just Tam – is never going to let it go. No-one crosses the Hardies and remains alive.

In the meantime ex-Met detective Max Craigie and his sidekick, the slightly odd university graduate Janie Calder, nicknamed Fast-Track Fannie, are sent to investigate the crime scene. But it’s not just the Hardie’s crimes they uncover. When evidence goes missing and Max is prevented from investigating too deeply, he realises that he has uncovered corruption in Scotland’s police force going up to the highest level. The point is – who can he trust if anyone? Apart from his faithful dog Nutmeg of course.

This is a great book which investigates a crime family who virtually run the underbelly of the country, together with an investigation into police corruption reminiscent of Line of Duty but not quite so complicated. ‘Mother of God’ – I highly recommend it for fans of a good crime thriller. Let’s hope it makes it to TV very soon. It will make a brilliant series with Richard Madden as Max of course. And Waffle doggy as Nutmeg.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read, and to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Neil was born in Liverpool in the 1960s. He recently left the Metropolitan Police where he served for over twenty-five years, predominantly as a detective, leading and conducting investigations into some of the most serious criminals across the UK and beyond.

Neil acted as a surveillance and covert policing specialist, using all types of techniques to arrest and prosecute drug dealers, human traffickers, fraudsters, and murderers. During his career, he successfully prosecuted several wealthy and corrupt members of the legal profession who were involved in organised immigration crime. These prosecutions led to jail sentences, multi-million pound asset confiscations and disbarments.

Since retiring from the Metropolitan Police, Neil has relocated to the Scottish Highlands with his wife and son, where he mixes freelance investigations with writing. 

The Matchmaker by Helene Fermont

Perfect Lives Don’t Come Cheap.

Marcia Bailey has it all: a passionate marriage to a rich and handsome man who is utterly devoted to her; fame and success as London’s premier matchmaker; a beautiful home in a posh neighbourhood, and fabulous holidays in exotic places.

But her perfect life turns into a nightmare overnight when a mysterious caller suddenly threatens to reveal secrets from her past she thought she had left behind forever. Who is he and what does he really want? He says he wants three million pounds to keep quiet, and she’s willing to pay. After all, she has already sacrificed so much, and perfect lives don’t come cheap.

#TheMatchmaker @helenefermont @annecater @RandomTTours #RandomThingsTours

But Marcia has a hunch her caller wants more than money from her. He wants to hurt and humiliate her. But why?

As police investigate a brutal murder in a wealthy London neighbourhood, they untangle a web of lies, violence, sex and jealousy surrounding Marcia Bailey and the group of wealthy and powerful men who have secrets of their own to keep.

The Matchmaker is filled with unexpected twists and turns — and characters that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

My Review

So many suspects and almost any one of them had motive and opportunity. How will the police solve this intriguing case involving celebrity matchmaker Marcia Bailey?

But is anyone who they say they are? More than one person is lying and Marcia is the worst of them all. Because she’s not really Marcia Bailey is she, but not even devoted husband Marcus knows the truth. What’s more, he believes their strong marriage is based on total honesty and no secrets. The problem is that everyone else seems to know and there are those ready and willing to spill the beans, especially if there’s a large sum of money and blackmail involved, not to mention revenge. And there are a lot of beans to spill, but I won’t give anything away.

In fact most of Marcia’s so-called friends are nasty enough to commit murder, but who do we believe? I stopped trying to work it out – best to just go with the flow and watch them incriminate themselves one by one.

There are plenty of twists and turns, especially where the characters are concerned. Those we dislike initially might turn out to be OK in the end and those we like – well they turn out to be capable of murder.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours.

About the Author

Hélene Fermont’s a practising psychologist with vast experience of people from all walks of life and background. Her character driven psychological thrillers are completely fictitious with much emphasis on their journey and interaction, intriguing traits and storylines.

After many years in London, Hélene divides her time between London and her home town, Malmö. Her beloved, beautiful cat, Teddy, is her writing buddy.

Hélene’s the proud author of five Psychological Thrillers – Because Of You, We Never Said Goodbye, His Guilty Secret, One Fatal Night, and The Matchmaker, released on the 14th of April. Hélene’s the author of a collection of crime and romantic stories, Who’s Sorry Now? Currently, she’s working on her second collection, Maisie’s Secret which will be released later this year.

Hélene’s novels and stories are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

www.helenefermont.com/
Twitter @helenefermont
Instagram @helenefermont
Author page on Facebook

The Beresford by Will Carver

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

#WillCarver #TheBeresford @OrendaBooks @annecater @RandomTTours

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building. Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate Smythe no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers.

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door. Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings..

My Review

Firstly let me just say one thing – don’t get too attached to the characters, they may not be around long enough. Apart from Mrs May that is. She is about a hundred years old. She never leaves the building. Her day is always the same. She drinks cold coffee in the morning, wine in the day, takes an afternoon nap, prunes the roses and lies in the bath until “her wrinkles have wrinkles”.

I loved this book. The dark humour is hilarious, but I admit that I did wince at the matter of fact way in which the killings and disposal of the bodies are portrayed. Let’s just say I winced a lot. For instance, Abe has to dispose of artist Sythe’s body.

“Abe did not want to dig. Like all good millennials, he wanted the greatest possible outcome for the least amount of effort”.

Having Googled how serial killers dispose of a dead body, Abe decides he needs to get rid of the fingerprints first, so he chops off the fingers (and toes for good measure) using Mrs May’s rose-pruning secateurs, and dissolves them in the basin (the digits not the secateurs) using drain cleaner. Mrs May wonders where all the drain cleaner went. The body or the rest of it anyway, is still in the bath. Problem – where does Abe spit after cleaning his teeth?

We never find out much about Abe’s childhood, only his university days, but we find out a lot about Blair’s religious upbringing. She comes to The Beresford to escape her parents. It’s not that she doesn’t love them – she does – but they drive her mad. It’s all about loving God and Jesus. She’s had enough. She wants her freedom. She wants to lie in on Sunday mornings instead of going to Church. I was fond of Blair and I followed her parents’ story with interest.

Gail has escaped an abusive husband. She married a wonderful man but when he came back from the war, he took to drinking, raping her and beating her up. She knows that next time he will kill her, so she runs away and moves in to The Beresford. But someone has to die first. Then the killer has sixty seconds to get rid of the body before the doorbell rings. And so it goes on.

One thing I love about this story is that it could be set anywhere. Sometimes you think you are in New York, sometimes in London. The war could be any war – Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. The men come back unable to deal with the dreadful things they’ve seen and they don’t get help. They turn to alcohol and sometimes they beat their wives.

As well as being a very clever concept, The Beresford is full of musings and philosophising on what people really want and how far they will go to get it. Something in that house makes them go farther than they ever thought themselves capable of. And there’s always the age old question – where do you hide the bodies?

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours.

About the Author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year and for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell. Good Samaritans was a book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the eBook charts.

Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.

The Rule by David Jackson

When you break THE RULE, bad things happen.

Daniel is looking forward to his birthday. He wants fish and chips, a chocolate caterpillar cake, and six comics starring his favourite superhero. Daniel will be twenty-three next week. And he has no idea that he’s about to kill a stranger.

#TheRule @Author_Dave   @ViperBooks

Daniel’s parents know that their beloved and vulnerable son will be taken away. They know that Daniel didn’t mean to hurt anyone. They dispose of the body. Isn’t that what any loving parent would do? But as forces on both sides of the law begin to close in on them, they realise they have no option but to finish what they started. Even if it means that others will have to die…

Because they’ll do anything to protect him. Even murder.

My Review

Absolutely brilliant. Funny, poignant and sad at the same time, this book has everything including murder.

Daniel is nearly twenty-three but he’s like a child, with his fixation on Adam-9, his favourite superhero, his love of comics and a chocolate caterpillar cake for his birthday. There is just one rule in Daniel’s life – don’t touch anyone because he doesn’t know his own strength and one hug could kill someone. Until it does. Another important thing about Daniel is that he doesn’t know how to lie.

And so it begins. Daniel was only protecting his dad Scott when he was attacked in the lift in their block of flats by a local hoodlum. He did what any good son would do, but he didn’t mean for the man to die. Scott will happily take the blame – it was self-defence after all – but Daniel will simply say what really happened. And then they’ll lock him up and that would be unbearable for Scott and his wife Gemma. There’s only one answer – dispose of the body. I have to admit that this was the one bit that I found rather far-fetched, but I’m not losing any stars over it.

Hannah is a police officer. She was involved in a previous case that went terribly wrong so she’s been thrown to the wolves with this one. Set up to fail. There are no suspects, though plenty of motive. But it’s Hannah’s personal tragedy that tore into my heart.

This book is so well written and Jackson being Jackson, he manages to throw in some hilarious dark humour when you least expect it. It’s what sets his writing apart from other crime writers. I adored his previous book The Resident and this one is as good if not even better.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

About the Author

From David himself: “I am the author of a series of crime thrillers featuring Irish-American NYPD Detective Callum Doyle. The first in the series, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Awards. It is published by Pan Macmillan. The follow-ups are The Helper and Marked, and I am hard at work on the fourth in the series. My writing influences include Ed McBain, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben, amongst many others. My favourite quote about my work is one from the Guardian, now carried on the front of my novels: ‘Recalls Harlan Coben – though for my money Jackson is the better writer.’”